Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Where are you and where are you going?
classical_Liberal
Posts: 1045
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Post by classical_Liberal » Mon Dec 17, 2018 2:32 am

Re wolf and travel:
@wolf correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't you mid to late 30's? I'm 42 and I sleep in my car in the Utah desert... It's still frigg'en fabulous!
Jin+Guice wrote:
Sun Dec 16, 2018 8:13 pm
Counting on any 1 dimension is always risky. This is the genius of the web of goals approach. I think having low expenses is the most important dimension because it enhances virtually all other dimensions and gives the most flexibility.
This. FU + Low expenses + some form of income + other forms of capital is by far the most resilient approach.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that if one gets too FI, where there is very little risk of ever not having enough money, it's detrimental. People in these situations often end up with a neurosis, they can become extremely afraid of losing what they have or, feel an insatiable need to accumulate more for no reason. Someone can also end up losing a part of the spice of life (maybe these two phenomenon are related?). How fun is life if a positive outcome is virtually insured? If I could buy my way out of anything in a crunch, that's not security, that's horrific boredom! Spending money to solve problems is supposed to hurt a little, otherwise we lose motivation to solve them in other ways. I've been calling this hormesis since starting my journal, and I truly believe it to be real.

I think it's very prudent to realize that a day will come where we need to rely on money more, due to physical or mental deterioration, so we should plan for that (ie fatterFIRE in older age). But now, in the prime of my life, not so much. I'm pretty sure I can figure out how do things without money or make $15/hr for a few hours a week to cover the basics. A 3% WR, plus SS or pension potential in the future, makes it all too easy. If it happens by accident(EDIT: which, less face it, it probably will with the above approach), that's one thing, but to live in a less than ideal way for too long to make that happen is another.

oldbeyond
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Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Post by oldbeyond » Mon Dec 17, 2018 3:58 am

I'm happy I spent some time(and money... with my current skills I could have been way more efficient) traveling. I also took a roundabout way in getting my degree, which allowed me some time to really think and to read some great books. I think young people(young men at least) have a desire to explore, both the world and themselves. It wouldn't be wasted on me to do these things later in life, but I think they shaped me differently showing up in my early adulthood. And I get to enjoy their benefits for a longer time. Depending on what you want to do, traveling might not have to cost that much more than regular life. If you can sublet/sell your place of residence and travel in lower COL areas you might even come out ahead on a cashflow basis. Another alternative is to get a job in a transportation hub in the region you want to explore and travel during holidays/extended weekends. Or slow travel by working in a few different places.

Sorry for the hijack J+G. If it's any consolation I'm also leaning towards your part-time, multiple cash flow approach. Your sub-cult is picking up steam ;) I'm currently an office drone with decent salary and investing chops, but little in the way of other marketable skills. But I think moving in that direction and scaling down my job step by step is my path going forwards. Apart from the diversification from having some paid labour in my portfolio, and the resilience in having several marketable skills, I think I'd be hard pressed to push myself to grow as much as my job has. Some people are very self-directed, but I thrive on that external structure, so as long as it doesn't choke out the other areas of my life it's a net positive.

I think it can be a great choice for many so thanks for your activism! The forum could use a reminder that ERE doesn't necessarily equate salarymanning it until 30x expenses in your brokerage account. It can and it's a fine choice, but it doesn't have to.

Jin+Guice
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Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Post by Jin+Guice » Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:22 am

classical_Liberal wrote:
Mon Dec 17, 2018 2:32 am
I'm going to go out on a limb and say that if one gets too FI, where there is very little risk of ever not having enough money, it's detrimental. People in these situations often end up with a neurosis, they can become extremely afraid of losing what they have or, feel an insatiable need to accumulate more for no reason. Someone can also end up losing a part of the spice of life (maybe these two phenomenon are related?). How fun is life if a positive outcome is virtually insured? If I could buy my way out of anything in a crunch, that's not security, that's horrific boredom! Spending money to solve problems is supposed to hurt a little, otherwise we lose motivation to solve them in other ways. I've been calling this hormesis since starting my journal, and I truly believe it to be real.
I never really thought of it this way. It's weird how having 10X as much money makes me worry more. What if the stock market crashes?!? Last time it crashed I didn't care.

I said basically as much in my last post, but if it wasn't for old age I don't think I'd even seek FI at all. 3-5 years of living expenses is plenty of a buffer for me (this is 3-5X as much as I had ever saved before discovering FI). I am a little worried about traditional retirement simply because I am currently so unmotivated to work and I have a few business ideas that will cost a bit of money that I want to try out. If the current SS rules remained intact I would be golden, but I'm not counting on that. This pretty much just rules out my work part-time at the library for $11/ hour plan, which is maybe ultimately a good thing. I think the main problem is I need to find a new job I like more.
oldbeyond wrote:
Mon Dec 17, 2018 3:58 am
Sorry for the hijack J+G. If it's any consolation I'm also leaning towards your part-time, multiple cash flow approach. Your sub-cult is picking up steam
Haha, worth it! Also, I don't mind, I'm interested in traveling/ have traveled a bunch too, and I always find the travel discussion on this forum interesting as it is extremely varied in opinion.

classical_Liberal
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Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Post by classical_Liberal » Wed Dec 19, 2018 10:43 pm

I still worry, but maybe less than a traditional millionaire. Also, unlike a traditional millionaire, I have to come up with alternative means of satisfying my desires. That takes work and provides stimulation.

I will say having an uninterrupted income stream to stem the tide of market valuation losses has been pretty fantastic the last few months. So much so, I keep on rooting for losses. I'd feel pretty nice going into semi-ERE with a CAPE closer to 20.

Also, I wouldn't count out SS. Even without change they anticipate benefits in the 70% range. If SS would disappear tomorrow, about half millennial/Gen X'ers would face the option of mom and dad moving in with them or being on the street. So it's not just the older voting block that's going to try and sustain it. My guess is higher taxes, not just for SS, but also for sustainability. I would tend to worry more about how higher taxes will impact investment growth vs whether or not at least part-of SS will be around in old age. Hence my projections utilize half of SS and half of historical norms on investment returns to stay conservative on both counts. If either one ends up even close to what the rest of the country expects, I'm more than golden as well.

Jason
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Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Post by Jason » Sat Dec 22, 2018 1:59 pm

Jin+Guice wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:22 am
I never really thought of it this way. It's weird how having 10X as much money makes me worry more. What if the stock market crashes?!? Last time it crashed I didn't care.
Funny how that works.

Jin+Guice
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Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Post by Jin+Guice » Sun Dec 30, 2018 9:08 pm

Part-Time Work Extreme

Everytime I think I have a new ERE idea, I reread the book and that rat bastard Fisker has beat me to it. There's nothing in this post that isn't in the book. However, the post highlights ideas that the book only mentions in passing.

I believe that the central tenet of ERE/ FIRE is that the normal approach of working 40 hours a week for 40+ years is unsatisfying and unnecessary. The means to escape is frugal living.

The FIRE movement has popularized what I will refer to as the standard method.* Work at a (preferably) high-paying job, accumulate a sum of money between 25 and 35x living expenses and retire from paid work forever. In practice, we admit that the path may not look exactly like this. Perhaps there are more questions to life than what the proper savings rate and SWR is, but most ERE/ FIRE members subscribe to the standard method.

*When I call this method standard, I'm referring to the standard method within the FIRE community. This is not the standard method for the population at large.

I'm proposing that there are many alternatives to the standard method that still align with the goals and philosophies of FIRE/ERE. I propose a mixed strategy of part-time work coupled with accumulation. While this strategy is certainly not disallowed by the FIRE gods, they don't spend much time expounding upon its advantages.

What's the point of ERE/ FIRE? Ignore the secret environmental agenda for a minute, and focus simply on personal gain. I believe the point of pursuing these strategies is to wrestle back control of your own time from the pernicious marriage of the Protestant work ethic and unabashed consumerism. In other words, the goal is to free yourself from doing work you don't enjoy, accomplished through the means of eliminating consumerist tendencies.

If this is the goal, reducing expenditures is akin to freedom. I've long wondered what expenditure level corresponds to absolute freedom. I've arbitrarily decided that it is equal to $7,250 a year. $7,250 is the annual salary of an American minimum wage worker ($7.25/ hour) working 20 hours a week for 50 weeks out of the year. Yes, there are taxes ($554.70, assuming no state tax) weighted against earned income credits to consider ($506 in 2018), but this obscures the simplicity of the number.

At the $7,250 expenditure level, the absolute least freedom you can have is working at McDonald's for 20 hours a week in a job that you don't have to give a shit about.

Of course, there are other scenarios. Where I live, the lowest-paid library job is $10/ hour. This job does not require a college degree and is often held by teenagers. At 20 hours a week this corresponds to $10,000 a year. This is an ~38% increase, which means a 38% reduction in hours worked is now feasible. I would posit that a $10/ hour position is readily available to anyone who can show up most days on time (not visibly stoned or drunk) and follow orders with a competency/ completion rate of around 50%. I think for most FIRE/ ERE members, working in a library instead of a McDonald's would constitute more freedom, as I imagine the lowliest library employee garners more respect from the general public than the lowliest fast food worker, for a barely perceivable increase in responsibility.

At this level of income, our intrepid slacker also qualifies for Medicaid. When retirement time rolls around, they'll receive a whopping 90% of their income in SS and also receive Medicare.

Note that this strategy only depends on hourly wage and expenditure rate. It also implicitly depends on the availability of part-time work. If one is sufficiently skilled enough to earn $145/ hour, then one could work 1 hour a week.

5 hours a week at this expenditure level gives us perhaps the more reasonable $29/ hour. Leading economists believe this is the exact pay rate of Mexican fisherman.

Note also how powerful expenditure is, particularly at low rates of pay. An extra $1,000 a year is equal to ~3 hours a week at the minimum wage and 2 hours a week at $10 an hour. A reduction has the same effect in the opposite direction.

The average ERE/ FIRE reader may not be interested in greasy slacking and sub-librarianism. They may want better insurance and have somewhat higher expenditures. They aren't likely to be too keen on relying on government programs for healthcare and retirement. Given the standard method mentality, I think the intrepid slacker method would represent failure. The point is that failure still looks a lot like freedom.

I've highlighted this other extreme not to expressly recommend it, but to point out that there is another "early retirement" option that is rarely discussed in the FIREsphere. For a great reference that promotes this method, check out the excellent New Escapologist magazine that Jacob contributed to.

I believe using a strategy that falls somewhere between these two strategies is very powerful. Some people will stilll want to go with the standard method, just as some people really do find a well-paid job they enjoy doing for 40 hours a week for 30-40 years. Others will no doubt be fine with the riskier but more free NE/ intrepid slacker method. However, I don't think many of those committed to either camp consider the alternate way. I'm pursuing an in-between strategy, and so I'd like to pontificate on its advantages.

But, before I do so, I'd like to briefly explain why I chose this method. I'm secretly a dedicated careerist and my chosen career is music. I love playing music, and I hope I keep enjoying it as much as I do now for my whole life. It is possible to make money as a musician, but it is difficult. I've watched many of my friends turn music from something they loved doing to something they did just for money. They end up working very hard to be poorly compensated to play music they don't really like. There are exceptions to this rule, though they are rare. Luckily, I found success and disenfranchisement at a young age as a sound engineer. I was disenfranchised at 24 and then committed career suicide by giving up my studio gig. If I'd already discovered FIRE, I probably would've stuck it out for another 10-15 years and then quit, but at the time I didn't realize this was an option.

I'll quickly define my strategy. A mixed strategy is pursuing early retirement at a more relaxed pace. A high savings rate is still recommended, but a full work week is not. Full-time work is allowed for a few years, but it isn't recommended for very long.

There are numerous advantages to this strategy compared to the standard approach. The biggest is that it allows a lot of freedom right now. What if you only had to work 2 days a week with 5 days to do as you pleased? Working a low-paying job you may enjoy is no longer saved as an afterthought for retirement. It becomes part of the plan. Many jobs are enjoyable for a few years. Why not work a well-paying job for 3 years, do the job part-time for a year, take a year off, and then work a low-paying but more enjoyable job? Removing yourself from the mindset of being enslaved to your job to reach FIRE is freeing.

This method also provides an introduction to self-managing your own time and distance from your career. Many people derive a large part of their identity from their profession; I know I did. Losing this identity can be painful. There is also the difficulty of switching from a structured schedule to completely self-guided time. All of a sudden, you become your own boss--only to realize that you're simultaneously a lazy employee and a dick boss. Unless you're a paragon of motivation and self-discipline, perhaps a limit on your free time and some structured activity, through part-time work, isn't such a bad thing?

A mixed strategist is much better suited to take advantage of career diversity than a standard strategist. This is because the mixed strategist isn't tied to one career. If your goal is to FIRE as soon as possible it make sense to specialize in one field and climb the ladder as high as you can as quickly as possible, while spending as little money as possible. However, if you're willing to take a little longer in order to obtain some freedom now, it is more likely that you'll pursue a multitude of careers. It is possible to have one specialty and simply work it in a part-time manner or take several mini-retirements/ sabbaticals.

However, a multitude of other possibilities exist. Become a specialist in 5 fields, perhaps maintaining enough knowledge to consult or find occasional work in all fields. Work 3 different jobs at once. Work an easy job that pays poorly in between working difficult/ boring jobs that pay well. The combinations are endless. The point is to maximize enjoyment along the way and perhaps even make money doing something you like or care about. Someone with a multitude of skills who changes jobs often will not be sunk if they lose a specialist job. They will have an easier time reentering the workforce in the event that their investments fail, because they have been recently employed and have practice attaining new jobs/clients.

I'm only speaking for U.S. citizens here, but the tax code is set up to benefit those with earned income and those with low expenditures. I'll get into tax dodging in a later post, but assuming you just earn money and pay taxes without any tricks, it's worth mentioning that the percentage of your income taxed increases as your income increases. Someone who earns a high amount for 5-10 years will pay much more in taxes than someone earning a low to moderate amount for 20-30 years. A low- to moderate-income earner is also able to take advantage of federally subsidized health care. A very low-income earner can take advantage of the earned income tax credit. There are some tax tricks to lower taxable income (I'll have a separate post on this later) but all of these max out after a certain income level.


Another advantage is time to learn about investing. In my opinion, investment is the weakest link in the FIRE chain. Barring major catastrophe, all other ideas in FIRE are more or less under the FIRE seekers control. However, investment is not. I do not think betting 50+ years of retirement on a buy and hold index strategy with no other understanding of investment is a good idea. I don't think many people are intuitively good investors. Yet investment returns are paramount to FIRE. One must be able to obtain 3-4% annual returns for life to FIRE. I do believe one can learn to do this with reasonable assurance (though I am not capable of this yet), but it takes time. Perhaps a lot of time. Working part-time or taking years off in between full-time jobs provides ample time for research. Accumulating assets over a number of years provides time to experiment and gain experience while the stakes are still relatively low. The market has been up for the last 9 years. How many of us have experienced a market downturn? Experiencing this when one is not fully retired has its advantages.

In the same vein, DIY skills also take time to learn and implement. It's a lot easier to lead a more "balanced" life when not busy working all of the time. We are free to pursue passion projects and skills which may not generate income now, but may later. We are free to learn how to garden, repair plumbing issues, paint the house, mend garments and learn how to make our own laundry detergent. We are free to build our social networks and attend workshops where we meet those who possess skills we wish to attain. Many of these things are not difficult, but who wants to do them when we are exhausted from working 40+ hours a week? Correcting bad habits that we've picked up from our pre-FIRE lives also takes time and mental energy. Against all popular belief, getting in shape generally takes several years. Starting that process after 5-17 more years of bad habits will only make it that much harder.

Working for money or taking care of children and a household while a spouse works for money is the major activity for most adults in our society. In many ways, it's the major way we contribute to society. I think this model is flawed; however, it is unlikely to change in our lifetime. Dropping out of paid work completely could be alienating. While I'd encourage people to become unconventional enough to step outside of this way of thinking, working for pay is still an important part of our lives. It allows us to gain skills that are difficult to acquire other places as well as socialize with people we may never meet otherwise. It is the standard and easiest way to get a large group of people to commit to a collective project where everyone shows up on time and works towards a common goal.

Income tends to be higher in certain portions of life. It's generally easier to negotiate a higher salary at 35 than 25, and I imagine it's even easier at 45. Some of this is tied to work experience and loyalty to a company/ career. A longer career of part-time work will allow the possibility of higher salaries during traditional peak earnings years.

If someone wishes to speed things along 10 years into the mixed strategy, they can always pursue an early retirement extreme strategy. Imagine how much easier this would be with 10 years of living expenses already saved, 10 years of career experience gained, and 10 years of frugal living already in the rear-view mirror.

I'll also briefly defend my method in the face of the intrepid slacker method. I think most of us have some ambition to do more with our lives than take the path of least resistance. It is not impossible that this would be a lucrative path, but in the world we live in, most difficult jobs produce enough income that it’s possible to save some of it. There are also many things that cannot be accomplished or are difficult to accomplish without money (starting a business for example). “Fuck-you money” is a powerful ally when change is needed. There will be DIY masters and minimalists who have no need for income above the minimum threshold, but life long instances of these are rare.

The point of this post isn't that one method is better than another or that anyone is doing it wrong. My goal is to point out that there are other paths to freedom if one is willing to think outside the box of the outside-the-box thinkers.

Mister Imperceptible
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Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Post by Mister Imperceptible » Mon Dec 31, 2018 1:28 am

You seem to have been working on this thesis for awhile.

Some of my thoughts for consideration. Not arguing against you, but only give reasons for why I do things.

I subscribe to what you describe as the standard FIRE method. Hoping to accumulate as much and as fast as possible so I need no new resources, only to manage what I have, wisely. I eat all of my vegetables first, so to spend the rest of the meal enjoying what I like. Not necessarily the correct way, but how I am wired to do them.

Where we are in the larger cycle. Will it always be so (relatively) easy to accumulate resources? What if the world economy tanks, and there are no job opportunities tomorrow? Perhaps level of income factors here. Maybe just as many low-paying gigs in the future but not necessarily as many high-paying ones. One’s current occupation could even get automated out of existence. Think of the Ant and the Grasshopper. I have the grasshopper in me, and as a musician so do you. But I want to make hay while the sun is shining. Do not want to starve to death when winter comes. Of course, woe to the Ant who dies just as the summer concludes, as perhaps all his labor was for nothing. “We could die tomorrow, make little in the way of preparation or sacrifice, because YOLO.” I am inclined to go in the opposite direction, as MLK said “Even if the world ended tomorrow I would still plant my tree.”

Ultimately, individual choices come down to individual circumstances and persons, and what is optimal for one is suboptimal for another.

How your work strategy fits into your web of goals. If the time freed by working part-time allows you to build the life you want, go for it. For me, this would not work because of feelings of dread. The feeling of dread you have late on a Sunday because you have to go back to a job you hate. I want to rid myself of this dread.

I like this write-up on the application of the barbell to one’s career. As a dirtbag artist, maybe this will resonate with you as it did me:

https://thedeepdish.org/barbell-strateg ... ng-artist/

I hate being in want of resources, of the idea of being a burden if my finances falter, of having to compromise my ideals. I especially hate being told what to do. If you are capable of leaving work and compartmentalizing that away in your brain, more power to you. I am too neurotic. I wish to be beholden to no one. Then, I will feel that all of my relationships are voluntary, including work and business related relationships.

One day you might want a wife, and children, as much as you say you do not want them now. I make no argument here for or against marriage. But perhaps any resource accumulation strategy should be an “open” strategy and not a “closed” strategy. You should allow yourself optionality, whether it is the option of family or of starting a business. What if you could make the music you wanted without having to need any money from making it? Personally, I want the experience of being able to create for the sheer joy of creating it, and get to the position of needing no new resources as soon as possible.

If my interpretation of your emphasis on maximizing enjoyment is overly simplistic, forgive me. You seem a rather hedonistic fellow. I in no way morally condemn you, (I myself have gulped deeply from the Cup of Life) but would ask what you think you will want out of life many years from now. Many things I used to enjoy, which now bring little or no pleasure. I think enjoyment later in life is better had from achievement, even if the number of times that is experienced is rarer.

classical_Liberal
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Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Post by classical_Liberal » Mon Dec 31, 2018 4:37 am

Preach it!

I agree with most of the points.

I would also add that semi-ERE makes a version of ERE open to a great many more people. Anyone dissatisfied enough with their work can save for a year or two, then use the savings to move on to something more fulfilling. I don't think there is anything wrong with ERE. Particularly in the situation most of the OG's come from. They were happy in careers, then bored of them and wanted to pursue something else... they just happened to be FI. Many of the folks coming here for inspiration are those who are already bored, or worst, burnt out of there jobs already. Are they willing to radically change their life? maybe if it's bad enough. But to tell them to radically change your lifestyle AND tolerate another 5-10 years of the shit-storm that drove them here... you've lost 'em. A shorter timeframe is much more appealing to the masses, period.

Additionally, I tend to think semi-ERE is more robust. Not just because someone can get a job due to more varied and recent experience, but also because income is the best inflation and sequence of return hedge available. We all know those are really the only two plan killers for FIRE. I just don't buy the argument that jobs will be automated away, or that jobs won't be available because, "recession", or whatever. In the heart of the worst unemployment epidemic in the past 80 years, 2009, I was able to find three different entry level positions in fields I had never worked, and they all paid more than double minimum wage. One of them eventually lead to my current specialty, but I was bored of the other two and quit. I quit them without other prospects because getting an, at least somewhat interesting, $15/hr job is super easy, even in the midst of double digit unemployment.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Mon Dec 31, 2018 6:14 am

What a post to wake up to. I read it in bed on my mobile, and then had to reread on the laptop over a cup of coffee.

It's interesting to see how you lay it out and collect many of the ideas and thoughts we've been discussing in various journals and threads over the past several months (yrs?). I would argue that there are more folks considering this approach than you give credit. From personal experience as well as observation, I have seen many who start down the "traditional" save 25-35x annual expenses and never work another day in your life, end up pulling the chord with some sort of PT work/side hustle approach. I've also read in passing and had several already FIRE'd forumite friends over on MMM convey that they believe they over-saved, spending entirely too long pursuing FT work. Apparently money has a way of finding you when you're not looking for it.

Personally, this level of consumption you speak of is something I balked at 4 years ago. Even considering myself a fairly open minded individual when it comes to housing, transportation, and other more extreme lifestyle options, many of the choices necessary to get to <JAFI just sounded kookoo until I slowly moved from Wheaton level to Wheaton level. It's an evolution that will take time to swallow, digest, and start implementing.

I would suggest anyone who is a truly high earner to at least get to 12.5x barebone expenses (a la c_L) before considering dropping down to minimum wage work (which I imagine can be demeaning or depressing to someone who had a higher paid and maybe more sr. position?). The tax code is amazing for low spenders/earners in the US, but even with my currently high tax rate, I could for example save 10-12 years of living expenses in 12 months of work. Is 12 months of working 40-50hrs a week better than 10-12 years of earning $7-8k? For my situation it is. Because a 20 hr/week job still means someone else has control over your time and autonomy. If you have a side hustle you can do at your own leisure (location?), to me that's more more advantageous.

Sorry for the brain dump, I really appreciate you sharing your ideas and suggestions here. It's certainly helping shape some decisions for 2019 :)

Seppia
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Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Post by Seppia » Mon Dec 31, 2018 6:55 am

I’m among those who are fully on the bandwagon.
Semi ERE will be for sure part of my life.
There’s two main reasons why I’m planning for it:

First, I’m obscenely risk adverse in certain areas of my life, so my plan is to accumulate enough assets that would theoretically give me a good chance of never needing to work again AND keep working either part time or in a generally lower stress environment, in order to cover expenses.

Secondly, while I consider myself someone with many interests, I’m scared of how I would react when confronted with 10+ additional hours of free time per day, so semi ERE would be a good first step.

@2b1s: I would beware of the stories on MMM and any other places that mention people over saving.
I believe too many forget that those retiring in 2010-15 have experienced the amazing tailwind of a raging bull market.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Mon Dec 31, 2018 9:26 am

@Seppia believe me when I tell you that I get it. I've been watching and playing devils advocate over there for years. The whole FIRE movement appeared and gained traction during a pretty darn good 10 year period. Between the work on SWR's that ERN has done (https://earlyretirementnow.com/2017/08/ ... sed-rules/ is a good example, but the whole series is worth reading, at least for anyone in the USA), and questioning a lot of the conflicting advice between "the stock market always goes up" and "past performance does not indicate/guarantee future returns". I just can't see the stock market and economic expansion lasting into infinity, or even the next 70 years for that matter, so a plan that incorporates learning/maintaining other value adding and marketable/barterable skills and using them to earn a side income, is a 100X better than saving 30x expenses vs. 25x and just counting on paper assets to retire.

But look at a guy like Dr. Doom. He reached FI on paper in 2012, pulled the plug in 2015 with 3% WR and a paid off house, over the next three years his assets almost doubled and he ended up consulting for his old employer @ $200/hr very PT. That blog is worth reading my friend, if you haven't done so. Such good content on the non financial aspects of pulling the plug. As sales guys who generally enjoy many aspects of our gigs, we can commiserate but don't have it nearly as bad as typical office drones.

Edited to add: Sorry for the hijack.

Jean
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Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Post by Jean » Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:31 am

That's What i initially wanted to do, but finding a job was to difficult, which forced me to Squeeze my expenses enough to live on my assets. I greatly overestimated how easy it would be to fond jobs..

2Birds1Stone
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Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:09 pm

Jean wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:31 am
...forced me to Squeeze my expenses enough to live on my assets. I greatly overestimated how easy it would be to fond jobs..
Did you underestimate how easy it would be to squeeze expenses to live off of assets?

Kriegsspiel
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Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Post by Kriegsspiel » Mon Dec 31, 2018 1:36 pm

classical_Liberal wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 4:37 am
In the heart of the worst unemployment epidemic in the past 80 years, 2009, I was able to find three different entry level positions in fields I had never worked, and they all paid more than double minimum wage. One of them eventually lead to my current specialty, but I was bored of the other two and quit. I quit them without other prospects because getting an, at least somewhat interesting, $15/hr job is super easy, even in the midst of double digit unemployment.
What were they? You're a nurse now, correct?

suomalainen
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Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Post by suomalainen » Mon Dec 31, 2018 4:37 pm

classical_Liberal wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 4:37 am
because income is the best inflation and sequence of return hedge available. We all know those are really the only two plan killers for FIRE.
Not so. See, e.g., children, even for a fatFIRE like Financial Samurai.

Jean
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Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Post by Jean » Mon Dec 31, 2018 8:48 pm

2Birds1Stone wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:09 pm
Did you underestimate how easy it would be to squeeze expenses to live off of assets?
Maybe, but i'm at .5 jafi.

classical_Liberal
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Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Post by classical_Liberal » Mon Dec 31, 2018 8:50 pm

Kriegsspiel wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 1:36 pm
What were they? You're a nurse now, correct?
One was a blue collar union gig, testing and repairing residential freezer units that came off a factory line, I had never worked blue collar before. If I recall this was hourly, like $17/hr plus full benefits.

Another was a contracting gig with local newspaper. Essentially a paper boy, I delivered papers in bulk to businesses and had a couple small residential routes for exercise, since I was up early doing the first anyway. I made about 2k month, essentially tax free, for 20 hours a week. No benefits, but qualified for a state medical program similar to what the ACA is now.

The last was a CD tec at a local halfway house, made about $15/hr at 32 hours a week. I basically got to make my own schedule. This evolved into some case management work for a slight pay raise. At that point I went back to school. Plan was either counseling or nursing as a result of my experience at this job. Nursing was a much greater challenge, so here I am.

This represents a period from about Nov 2008 - beginning of 2010 when I started the last gig, I kept the last through the first two years of school.
suomalainen wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 4:37 pm
Not so. See, e.g., children, even for a fatFIRE like Financial Samurai.
Ha! I've been following your discussions on other journals.

classical_Liberal
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Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Post by classical_Liberal » Mon Dec 31, 2018 9:39 pm

2Birds1Stone wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 9:26 am
But look at a guy like Dr. Doom. He reached FI on paper in 2012, pulled the plug in 2015 with 3% WR and a paid off house... and he ended up consulting for his old employer @ $200/hr very PT.
This happens A LOT. Particularly for those <50 years of age. Many have had an "itch" to scratch, like parenting (for you @suo :D ), travel, small business or volunteering adventures in a different field. Eventually the itch has been scratched, decompression has been fully achieved, and a realization that most other adults don't have much free time occurs (it ain't like college). When peers do have time, they don't want to take on meaningful projects (in whatever form) with other adults due to exhaustion. Boredom and lack of challenge ensue. The end result is often a reintegration into the workforce, but in a very controlled and meaningful fashion. Semi-ERE is simply learning from this pattern and skipping the work too long in soul-sucking job and end up bored part.

Its less likely to happen for someone >50 because at this point there are peers that are empty nesting and beginning to retire as well. Hence, social and meaningful purpose is easier to find outside the workplace. So for those of us who are older, we should plan accordingly.

Edited for standard c_L grammar and spelling issues.

AnalyticalEngine
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Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Post by AnalyticalEngine » Wed Jan 02, 2019 1:14 pm

[Redacted]
Last edited by AnalyticalEngine on Sat Mar 09, 2019 10:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

Jin+Guice
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Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Post by Jin+Guice » Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:52 am

@MI:

Thanks for challenging my ideas. As you do not reject my way, I would not reject yours. Why I've been standing so vehemently for my way is that I think it's underrepresented and misunderstood. I think those who need it most don't consider it. I think it is perceived as a weak method but is in fact very strong.

I disagree with several of your points.
Mister Imperceptible wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 1:28 am
Where we are in the larger cycle. Will it always be so (relatively) easy to accumulate resources? What if the world economy tanks, and there are no job opportunities tomorrow? Perhaps level of income factors here. Maybe just as many low-paying gigs in the future but not necessarily as many high-paying ones. One’s current occupation could even get automated out of existence.
It is possible that the economy collapses in precisely a way where those who saved enough money to be FI are spared and those who didn't are not. Maybe automation increases rapidly and any sort of redistribution is harshly rejected. Those with capital assets are carried by explosive technological gains to businesses which they own shares of, while those depending on a labor income become increasingly desperate.

I don't think the above scenario is impossible. However, under my method you still have some capital assets and can thus share in some of the bounty. In terms of money as power or becoming a major player, both methods have you being a rather minor capitalist. I blowing over this strawman for a reason. I can imagine several scenarios where achieving full FI saves the day and pursuing part-time FI fails. It's also my opinion that they are unlikely. Part-timing it to FI is much closer to pursuing FI as fast as possible than not pursuing FI at all.


I've read the barbell artist post before and I just reread it. I don't think this is a good strategy, particularly for a musician (with some exception for classical musicians, maybe). Firstly, pursuing FI part-time and using part of the remaining time to work on art is a barbell strategy, it's just not the "vertical barbell" strategy referenced in the post. Personally, I advance slowly and I can only work on music for so long in a day before being burnt out. I've found I actually benefit from having a day or two of forced time off during the week when I have to work on something unrelated. OTOH, work does sometimes get in the way of my routine (mostly a consequence of having a high paying PT job).

My family encouraged me to get a high-paying job and save a bunch of money and "retire early" (like 55) and then pursue music. You know, after I have the McMansion. It's not impossible to do this to some degree but, based on observation, this path does usually work. Of course ERE would shorten the time to retirement, but, being a musician is as much a culture and a lifestyle as it is, you know, actually playing music. I don't want to romanticize it too much, but being a starving yet still working artist gives you something that being a lawyer who jams with his bros an hour every other week does not. Again, not impossible, just improbable.

Mister Imperceptible wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 1:28 am
I hate being in want of resources, of the idea of being a burden if my finances falter, of having to compromise my ideals. I especially hate being told what to do. If you are capable of leaving work and compartmentalizing that away in your brain, more power to you. I am too neurotic. I wish to be beholden to no one. Then, I will feel that all of my relationships are voluntary, including work and business related relationships.
Only you know what you need and how you feel. But, are you not compromising your ideals in order to accumulate? Are you not being told what to do to accumulate? I hate being told what to do and I often get angry when my job steals time from me, especially unexpectedly. However, it's hard to stay mad when you only work 2 days a week. Working a few days a week, often for less than 8 hours a day is categorically different than working 5 days a week for 40-60 hours.
Mister Imperceptible wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 1:28 am
But perhaps any resource accumulation strategy should be an “open” strategy and not a “closed” strategy. You should allow yourself optionality, whether it is the option of family or of starting a business. What if you could make the music you wanted without having to need any money from making it? Personally, I want the experience of being able to create for the sheer joy of creating it, and get to the position of needing no new resources as soon as possible.
In my opinion part-time work is more of an open strategy than full-time work to full-time FI. It has more optionality as well. The only option I lose is full-time retirement. At anytime I could take multiple years off, work for minimum wage, work full-time, work several part-time jobs, learn a new skill or rest. In my experience, totally losing the drive for money in art is not advisable. See Jacob's reasons for not giving his book away for free for reasons why. I also have ample time to do shit for free, which I do quite often. In my experience, the best way is neither to do it 100% for money or 100% for love.
Mister Imperceptible wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 1:28 am
If my interpretation of your emphasis on maximizing enjoyment is overly simplistic, forgive me. You seem a rather hedonistic fellow.
I am definitely hedonistic and lazy, but that's not the reason I'm going this route. I also value doing difficult things and challenging myself. I came to the conclusion that part-time to FI is better after starting to pursue full FI and thinking about what I'd read and done deeply. I can't say I won't change my mind again, but my hope is, through sharing what I've learned as well as my current thoughts and struggles that I can help others as others have helped me by sharing their ideas and stories.

I hope that my responses don't come off as high minded or dismissive. I don't want to talk anyone out of pursuing this in their own way. I do want to challenge the idea that what I've called the "standard method" is the only or best way and break down some of the barriers people have around doing it another way.

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