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Re: My literal retirement scoreboard

Posted: Sun Nov 04, 2018 1:55 pm
by Igotgoals
Love your numbers. What they say and how they look.

Re: My literal retirement scoreboard

Posted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 1:06 pm
by unemployable
Posting an update to keep this thread alive.

On December 1 I moved out of my apartment (condo) for the winter and sublet it. I am spending the winter on the Gulf Coast with my mom, who is now a widow. This is a mutually beneficial relationship, as I help her with maintenance projects and pay some of her bills while living somewhere relatively warm and saving on household expenses. In addition I'm making some money for the two of us by selling off some of my late father's collectibles and hobby equipment -- Mom is getting her cut of that, too. So some of the usual scoreboard metrics don't apply, and besides, the board is packed away.

This activity will save me around a full point on my withdrawal rate for the year, from the low 4s to the low 3s. I'll probably spend some of the savings but should still have a WR for 2019 comfortably in the 3-handle.

My net worth at the beginning of February stood at four hundred fifty thousand dollaridoos (I prefer not using digits to make it harder to get doxxed; note all my other representations of this amount have been in image form), which was up from four twenty-six at the start of the year. I'm broadly correlated to the stock market, and while I have changed my asset allocation slightly it still tilts non-US.

Before I turned the apartment over I did a fair amount of decluttering, and am rather proud of how much I did. Got rid of four or five tubs' worth, including one I was planning on keeping with a friend but decided to give to Goodwill instead. I rent and sublet the apartment furnished, and basically all my possessions fit either under the bed (which isn't mine), in a storage closet measuring about 3' by 2' or in my car (including the car itself), and I don't need much of the car even. And I can improve on that, mostly by selling off some more valuables and getting rid of dress clothes I used to wear for work but haven't touched in almost a decade now.

I've started looking at buying a house/condo and depending on what happens with markets am shooting for doing this in the next year or two, but probably not immediately. I suspect real estate will be flat to slightly down in the places I'm looking at, due to multiple factors -- rising mortgage rates, millennials not buying second homes and economic stagnation/decline in the areas I'm looking being the salient ones. I'm definitely feeling the paradox of choice over this already, given factors involved (price, location, type of dwelling, level of maintenance effort and cost, whether I'd try to AirBnB it out when I'm not there and the issues that brings) and considering I don't have a job this place would need to be near.

Another relative on my dad's side has come down with terminal cancer right around the age everyone else did (77-78), which makes me even more aware of my mortality and affirms that's probably how much longer I have to live.

Re: My literal retirement scoreboard

Posted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 1:35 pm
by Cheepnis
Gotta say I am in love with your literal scoreboard.

Can I ask how using digits would make it easier to be doxxed?

Re: My literal retirement scoreboard

Posted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 1:46 pm
by unemployable
Cheepnis wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 1:35 pm
Gotta say I am in love with your literal scoreboard.

Can I ask how using digits would make it easier to be doxxed?
It probably doesn't, especially considering I freely use other signaling terms such as "net worth". However, I am a bit paranoid of the online trail we all leave, and say I post to another forum that I quit working 10 years ago, or that I hike a lot on weekdays, and someone who wants to know more about me is led here and discovers my financial details. A sufficiently determined person or program would probably make the connection anyway, but it does add another layer to sift through. I've already discovered this myself, running into people using the same or similar usernames on different boards and posting information that strongly indicates they're the same person, without my even trying to find them.

I've heard of people on FI-related boards getting PMed out of the blue asking for money; who knows if it'll be an alumni association or debt collector some day.

Thanks for the compliment.

Re: My literal retirement scoreboard

Posted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 4:26 pm
by Cheepnis
I've definitely seen people across boards. Anybody who has seen me post on MMM could definitely connect the dots based off the information I've shared, though I don't think I quite share enough for someone to track me down IRL unless they already know me*. I'm pretty frank about lots of things and anybody who actually knows me would know very quickly I think.

*Who am I kidding, I'm sure there are ways if somebody was motivated enough.

I find my preferred approach is to not share much I wouldn't share with most anyone should they ask. NW numbers are probably the most sensitive thing I've shared, but I'm starting to limit that. I'm less worried about my income numbers because in my industry we're all under the same contract and have the same base pay, so unless someone is payed above scale (which I'm sure has and is happening) we all have the same pay. The contract pay scale is also pretty easily findable with some basic info should someone go looking for it.

Re: My literal retirement scoreboard

Posted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 6:33 pm
by unemployable
cimorene12 wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 6:17 pm
I hope you (unemployable) are enjoying spending the winter on the Gulf Coast. In terms of weather, it is quite a bit nicer here than the Midwest, where I used to live.
I am! I'm not literally on the coast but about 20 miles in, and certainly don't miss Chicago.

Re: My literal retirement scoreboard

Posted: Sat Mar 02, 2019 4:08 pm
by unemployable
March update.

The stock market had a good month, and my end-of-Feb networth stood at 461 kilodollars. I wish it would go up 11 grand every month. Or really enough to let me get to 500. Spending was around $500, mostly food (for two) and car parts. I made back more than that from eBay, selling about $1100 worth of stuff gross. Goal for March is to net $1000, which I believe is within reach but if I don't hit it, no biggie.

Big accomplishment for the month was the work I did on my car. First I changed out the oil pan -- not the oil, the oil pan. Cost was $28 for the pan and $15 for liquid gasket maker. Would likely run around $6-700 at a mechanic. I've dented it over the years from hitting rocks on 4x4 roads, and at oil changes I had been told the oil doesn't completely drain out and the dents will lead to leaks over time. Well it started dripping so I decided to figure it out. Getting it off was the hardest part, hammering a razor blade around the gap between pan and engine where the old gasket maker had formed a seal. I'm gonna run it with the old oil (which I had changed earlier in the month) for a few days to let it pick up some gunk gybefore I change it out again with synthetic.

Then more recently I changed all four brake pads. Some of the bolts were on so tightly I broke a socket and a ratchet trying to get them off. A new socket was $5 on a longer ratchet I already had and the pads ran $55 for all four (premium quality). Probably a $400 job at a service shop.

So about $100 spent on parts that a mechanic would charge over a grand for.

March will be my last full month down here on the Gulf Coast. We're in the midst of Mardi Gras -- most people who don't live here don't realize it's not just New Orleans, every decent sized town has a few parades, and the larger cities have quite extravagant ones -- then I have some more car repairs and travel planed, then it's back to the mountains in April.

Re: My literal retirement scoreboard

Posted: Sat Mar 02, 2019 5:10 pm
by Cheepnis
Good job on the car repairs! I'm a pretty mechanically minded guy and generally love working on machinery, but I paradoxically hate doing car maintenance. Cars are just not that "cool" of a piece of machinery in my mind, would much rather work on a tractor (I'm secretly 8 years old). I've got to replace the valve cover gaskets on my Subaru. I've been putting it off and not looking forward to it.

Re: My literal retirement scoreboard

Posted: Sat Mar 02, 2019 7:01 pm
by unemployable
Cheepnis wrote:
Sat Mar 02, 2019 5:10 pm
Good job on the car repairs! I'm a pretty mechanically minded guy and generally love working on machinery, but I paradoxically hate doing car maintenance. Cars are just not that "cool" of a piece of machinery in my mind, would much rather work on a tractor (I'm secretly 8 years old). I've got to replace the valve cover gaskets on my Subaru. I've been putting it off and not looking forward to it.
Fixing your own car has low hard costs (monetary), but as I'm learning, a fair number of soft costs.
  • A place to work on it (not on the street or apartment complexes that forbid it), free time with some flexibility, and the ability to accommodate the car being out of service
  • The ability to run to a store, most likely in another car, if you suddenly need a part/tool helps immensely
  • Some social capital helps; I borrowed jack stands from one neighbor and tools from another
  • It's never as easy as youtube videos make it look. It seems like every job has what I like to call a bitch bolt. Often a fair amount of strength and/or dexterity is required. Sometimes you don't have exactly the right tool so you improvise with what you have. With the brake pads I ended up using a creatively-positioned vise to push the brake piston back far enough to fit the pads on and calipers in.
  • In general it always takes longer than you think. Sometimes it rains and you have to finish the next day.
But I enjoy the challenge and the learning experience.

Re: My literal retirement scoreboard

Posted: Sun Mar 03, 2019 4:42 am
by Seppia
It's interesting to see the different ways people use to protect their identity online.
I resort to just avoiding posting NW and income numbers (I mostly use percentages), because I'm much more open about other details.
As you mentioned, motivated people will always be able to connect the dots, it's just about not making it too easy

Re: My literal retirement scoreboard

Posted: Tue Apr 02, 2019 6:16 pm
by unemployable
April update.

Net worth stood at 465 kilodollars. Markets had a decent month despite jumping around a bit. I tilted a bit back to US and away from international as I believe the US market will reach new highs within the next year -- we're only 3-4% off as of today -- but international lower-beta markets may not follow. I have some 8% in emerging now, which during low-risk environments acts like a higher-beta version of the US.

March was dominated by working on my car. It has been out of service more often than it has been in service while I wait for parts to be delivered, spend time trying to understand what I'm doing and discover more things I want to work on that weren't on the original agenda. Most of what I've done is basically preventive / deferred maintenance and fixing stuff that has needed fixing for some time. I feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment when I finally stop that transmission fluid from leaking or that front wheel from moaning, more so than I ever felt at so-called jobs.

It is said that car repair is a mere matter of taking off some bolts, removing the old part, putting in a new part and screwing the bolts back in. I wish it were that easy. I've done a lot of pulling, shoving, cutting, hammering, blowtorching, spraying... and breaking. A couple parts had to get sent back because they were defective. Even when it's just bolts they're often hard to reach or really on there. I'm dirty every day and have ruined a few T-shirts, but they're $5/each and were at the end of their life anyway.

I want to give a fill accounting of what I've spent and compare it to what a shop would charge, but this will have to wait until I am fully finished. I am waiting on one part to finish one last job, but I've thought that several times recently only for something else to come up. Roughly I'm several hundred in on work a shop would charge a few thousand for. I can't work on my car much at my summer home, so I consider this an investment to keep my car running as long as possible. Car maintenance is a form of freedom.

Otherwise it'll be back to the mountains in mid-month, although I'll be taking some sort of roundabout route to get there.

Re: My literal retirement scoreboard

Posted: Sun Apr 07, 2019 2:07 pm
by unemployable
TL;DR: Saved $1800+ fixing my own car

Here's all the car work I've done since late February. My cost is the cost of all parts, fluids and tools that I didn't have already. Shop costs are based on a combination of estimation at 50% parts markup and $100/hr labor, direct quotes from a shop and/or experience from having had the same or similar work done previously. Then add ~8% tax. All DIY costs include tax.

Change oil pan. My cost: $28 for pan, $16 for gasket maker. Shop cost: $600, mostly based on having it done on a previous car a few years back.

Change oil with 6 quarts of full synthetic, plus oil filter. My cost: $23 for oil, $9 for long-life filter. Shop cost: $60. If you see full synthetic oil changes closer to $50 that's likely only for 5 quarts.

Drain and fill coolant. My cost: $12 for coolant, $1 for distilled water and I have some left over. A shop would do a full flush for around $120+tax, and I got about two-thirds of it out, so say $70 for a drain-and-fill.

Drain and fill transmission fluid three times. My cost: $58, with synthetic. Shop cost: about $200+tax for a full flush. I'll say $140 for this as I got some 70% of the original fluid out.

Change all four brake pads... actually that means all eight brake pads. My cost: $55. Shop cost: $150-200+tax per axle for most cars, so call it $375.

Replace left front wheel hub (hub and bearing assembly). My cost: $170 for the hub, $4 for a can of propane to blowtorch off the old one (already had torch). Shop cost: $475 w/tax, direct quote.

Replace front left axle seal and axle, to fix transmission fluid leak. I went through three seals at $24 each and two salvaged axles; first one came busted so only got charged for the second one at $61. Then $6 for a new axle nut. So my cost say $139. This is where the "shop cost" calculation gets complicated. I damaged my original axle pulling it out, which a shop may not have done, but it is possible my original axle was bad and needed replacement anyway (part of the cause of the leak). A shop would not have used a salvaged axle, though. To replace only the seal a shop would charge around $300, and then maybe another $200 for an aftermarket new axle or $500 for a new Toyota one (price to me for Toyota would be about $370; they ain't cheap). So I'll say $600 for the shop to do it.

Miscellaneous tools, cleaning supplies and the like I bought put at $30.

All parts and fluids were new OEM quality or better, except for the axle, which was still original Toyota and came from a car which had far fewer miles on it than mine.

So my total cost was $545, accurate to within a couple percent, versus a conservative shop cost of $2325, and probably a few hundred more. Note if I had done the axle seal right the first time I'd have saved around $50, and with the axle itself perhaps another $60.

So... I saved a month of living expenses? Seems like it should be more. How about this: At least FOUR moths of discretionary living expenses. I have to pay the electric bill anyway, but my summer hiking budget is like a grand, most of which is gas. Then consider the nonmonetary costs and benefits.

Soft costs incurred from doing my own work included: time spent making mistakes; frustration at things not going right the first time; apprehension over possible failure; getting self and clothes dirty and smelly; waiting on parts and refunds; car out of service for extended periods

Soft/semihard costs involved in going to a shop: gas to and from shop; time spent waiting in often unpleasant environment; risk of getting overcharged, upsold, or problem not correctly identified and solved; shop may be busy and you have to plan around their schedule

Soft benefits from doing my own work: education; sense of accomplishment; generally pleasant conversation with neighbors; confidence that future fixes will be easier; direct feedback regarding whether problems have been solved; car drives better (already noticed this), lasts longer and will probably get better mileage

Soft benefits from going to shop: maybe save time; they'll probably get it right the first time

I did leave one project unresolved. The CD changer in my car stereo has been broken for awhile. Although I simply run my MP3 player for now I'd prefer to listen to my CDs; just works better for me. I tried two used units identical to the original (~$50 each on ebay) and neither worked. I got refunded for both, so no cost there, but eventually I want to address this. I'm either finding an original unit that works or dropping $250 or whatever on a new unit that holds only one CD -- no one seems to make changers anymore, CDs are dead -- but has a USB port. The wiring on aftermarket radios is a bitch, so I'd probably pay to get it installed. I mean I have the money now.

Re: My literal retirement scoreboard

Posted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 12:13 pm
by prognastat
Nice work on the DIY car work and the large savings(or decreased spending) you managed to achieve through this.

The first time is always the biggest pain in the ass, but on the upside you probably learned a lot you could apply in future endeavours in fixing/maintaining your cars.

Re: My literal retirement scoreboard

Posted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 11:13 pm
by unemployable
Yeah, I'm still learning stuff probing a particularly stubborn leak.

Re: My literal retirement scoreboard

Posted: Wed May 01, 2019 12:39 pm
by unemployable
The scoreboard is back!

I moved back into my summer home. Tenant ended up being OK; I'll give her an A-minus. She mostly paid on time and left it clean, but took a bunch of stuff from the unit. When I told her what was missing she promptly bought me new items, and claimed she was packing in a frenzy and wasn't sure what was hers and what was mine. Still I can't find a couple small things, such as utensils. No biggie. I'd do it again.

Took eight days to drive back from Alabama to Colorado. First day was simply driving as far as possible and the second day was mostly bumming around Las Cruces, New Mexico and preparing for the meat of the trip. Then three days were spent hiking in various mountain ranges near the Mexican border. I had a fourth day of hiking planned but had a horrible upset stomach the night before and didn't want to risk being out on the trail, and barely slept that night anyway. I spent one day with a friend in Tucson and another in Saguaro National Park on a national park free day. Which is the time to go, because it's not worth paying $20 to see a bunch of cacti. Got some nice pics though.


I find a little desert hiking to go a long way. The scenery all starts to look the same and gets vaguely depressing after a while. Also the plants are your enemy -- in Saguaro they're basically out to get you, a lesson I learned the hard way. But back up here in real mountains it's snowing today.


Of the eight nights, I spent six sleeping in the car, one night in a hotel using points, and one night with the friend. So no lodging cost at all, just food and gas and $10 to use an RV park's shower and soak in its hot tub. On my last full day I dropped a few hundred at a New Mexico casino, which is accounted for as an expense on the scoreboard but was still a good amount less than what I would have paid for eight, or even five or six, nights of hotels.

Income came from selling stuff on eBay and dividends.

I mentioned computing my "fiscal death" was a work in progress. What I'm settling on is (approx yearly expenses / net worth) + current age. Of course the thing in parenthesis is aka number of years of living expenses at a zero real return. This model attempts to smooth out spending and assumes zero income, not even interest and dividends. This somewhat balances out the decision to include dividends (but not interest I don't realize) in monthly income while leaving it out of withdrawal rate. The result is fiscal death is a few years lower than it was the last time I had the scoreboard up, despite a higher net worth and having aged about half a year.

Net worth is some ten grand higher as of the end of April, but I've already established the precedent of using the amount from the beginning of the month.


I have nothing to do for a couple months until the snow melts, so maybe I'll actually look for work. Easier said than done.

Re: My literal retirement scoreboard

Posted: Wed May 01, 2019 2:13 pm
by unemployable
That's a new camera Mom got me for christmas. I got her a TV for about the same price. The colors do look more vivid to me all around, without having a "saturation level was cranked up on Photoshop" look, especially when comparing the scoreboard digits. Those three pics were completely unaltered other than resizing and cropping.

I used to be an inveterate Nikon guy when I shot film, but believe Canon is eating their lunch when it comes to digital.

Re: My literal retirement scoreboard

Posted: Fri May 31, 2019 11:38 pm
by unemployable
Did May suck, or what? I lost about a year and a half of living expenses. This feels worse than saying I lost 5½%, which is a whole percent under the S&P and accounts for living expenses. The net worth on the scoreboard is as of the beginning of the month, as always, but with such volatility -- and the directionality seems to last several weeks at a time, making the month-end numbers rather extreme-y -- doing it that way still doesn't feel right.


A bigger concern is the reality that one way or another, I will not likely be living where I am much longer, in an especially touristy part of the Colorado mountains. At the very least this is likely my last summer here, for a variety of reasons. First is that I am renting at some 30% below market and it is a matter of time before my landlord wises up. More immediately my building has become a less desirable place to live in the last year or so, primarily because the condo above mine changed hands and the new owner AirBnBs it out. This results in tenants who don't care about the noise they make and an owner who seems downright hostile to the idea of being a good neighbor. Perhaps I should point out her tenants exceed occupancy laws (one person rents and six end up staying, in a 1br unit) and thus park cars in the parking lot without permits. Then every time the unit turns over it gets cleaned, and that's a fair amount of furniture-shifting for a couple hours. Complaining to the tenants directly has little effect, as (a) they're on vacation and carelessness is kind of the point (b) they'll be gone in a day or two and (c) the next tenants will find some different way to be annoying. I'm on good terms with several of the longer-time owners here and discussed it with them, but their reaction has been mostly, "We've allowed short-term rentals all along and have to deal with it too. Tough." So I find it easier to switch than fight.

But another consideration is I've explored out most of this area and my hiking trips are now several hundred mile drives.

You call some place paradise, kiss it goodbye.

So I have to find a solution. That was easy when I first moved here, sick of Chicago and cutting out the middleman of getting on a plane every couple of weeks in order to do things I enjoyed. I have more options now, basically anywhere subject to the restraint of housing costs I would consider reasonable: three digits per month, all in. I'd have to leave the county, but otherwise the choice is rather paralyzing. Do I stay in Colorado? (Possible, but not the cheapest or logistically easiest option.) Do I repeat this exercise in Montana or the Cascades? (Attractive, but want a better plan for winter.) Do I buy a place somewhere and rent it out when I'm wandering elsewhere, trying to be a more considerate landlord than the jackass above me I have to deal with now? Do I want to keep visiting my mom in the winter -- while it's been a mutually beneficial relationship, I'm definitely ready to leave after a few months -- and what is the most efficient way to combine this with having my own place?

I haven't figured this out. Maybe I'll live somewhere new every year or so and buy in a decade. Maybe I'll be homeless for awhile and vandwell for a summer or two in the west. I've looked at retirement visas in other countries -- age 50 is not that far away anymore -- but I think I got plenty to do in North America. Besides, as I've pounded the table about on these boards, in vast parts of the US basic housing is quite reasonably priced, at least in terms of what I'm willing to spend.

There's a bit of pride here. I don't want to be forced out. I want to move on my own terms, to someplace that is cheaper, better and... fresher. To another new life, just as I designed moving out here nine summers ago. Back then it happened gradually at first, then suddenly. I'm not at the point where I'm walking through O'Hare airport at 1:30am on Monday thinking, "screw this already," but by the time I did say "screw this already" I had all the background stuff planned out so that making the leap was easy. Right now I'm planning out the background stuff, spending my nights surfing Zillow and topographic maps and figuring out where I'd go for groceries from Bumfuck, Arkentucky. If the snow ever melts here from the biggest snow year we're had in decades my mind will be back in the mountains, but once it turns cold again... stay tuned.

Re: My literal retirement scoreboard

Posted: Sat Jun 01, 2019 3:21 am
by classical_Liberal
Loving the return of the scoreboard, I missed it when you were south! Nice pics on the previous post too, I must have missed last month.

IDK what to tell you about the housing thing, I work through the same dilemmas all the time. Buy, rent, live in a vehicle, multi-unit and cashflow. Am I going to get priced out of the better areas later in life? It's tough to make these decisions. I've basically come to the point where I've stopped looking at real estate. I figure if I ever manage to find my little slice of heaven, I'll know it when it happens and figure out a way to make it work then. Maybe that's a bit too optimistic for this forum, so be it.

Re: My literal retirement scoreboard

Posted: Sat Jun 01, 2019 9:17 am
by unemployable
Bump for getting the May scoreboard pic up.
classical_Liberal wrote:
Sat Jun 01, 2019 3:21 am
Am I going to get priced out of the better areas later in life?
Well I'm experiencing that right now, but I got to live here for nine years, so refuse to whine about it. Although they started making noise upstairs around 6.30 this morning, and it's not because they needed to get out early because it's still going on two hours later. But they're the fools. They have to pack up and drive down to the airport and get on a plane back to Dallas or wherever. What they pay to be here for a week is more than what I pay to be here for a month, and they're paying for their place back home at the same time.

I'm accustomed to not staying in one place forever. Growing up my dad moved us every few years to where the opportunity was, one side effect of which is that I don't feel like I'm "from" anywhere and don't have a concept of "going home". They moved to Alabama many years ago to semi-retire but I had never grown up there, so it's not a part of me in the way, say, parts of North Carolina are.
I've basically come to the point where I've stopped looking at real estate. I figure if I ever manage to find my little slice of heaven, I'll know it when it happens and figure out a way to make it work then. Maybe that's a bit too optimistic for this forum, so be it.
One reason I don't just buy a place right now is I don't feel any hurry. They aren't hot markets. The stuff I bookmark sits around for months before selling and in the meantime a couple more places pop up. But that's a good thing. My focus is on all the interesting places I haven't been priced out of. Maybe we need to start an ERE optimism club.

Re: My literal retirement scoreboard

Posted: Sat Jun 01, 2019 10:01 am
by Seppia
Great journal, just finished reading it now.
With regards to location, there are approximately a bajillion superb places to live cheaply on this planet, I would not worry about it.
Being USA specific, I think Utah is still the most beautiful state, and unless something has changed recently, I remember it to be fairly cheap.
Getting out of the USA (easier when older due to many countries having lax policies towards retirees), southern europe and large parts of asia can provide an incredible life/dollar value