Midsize Lebowski would love it if you'd come and give him notes on Semi-ERE

Where are you and where are you going?
SustainableHappiness
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Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:39 pm

Re: Midsize Lebowski would love it if you'd come and give him notes on Semi-ERE

Post by SustainableHappiness »

What's the worst that could happen? Think a brief plan for that outcome. Then you're prepared and when the more likely case that the worst doesn't happen, or maybe even the best that can happen does, you are a rock star.

I took flak for irresponsibly reducing my income to $0 for 9 months and about $80K for another 6 months at the same age before landing back into FT work making $30K less but in a respectable field that people don't question. Most flak came from people who are (at least superficially) bad with money. It has been a good lifestyle choice. Caveat, I had more years saved and therefore less guts required, maybe?

Your multiple income stream idea is cool. One thought is that more income streams typically means more scheduling hassle and mental reorientation throughout the day or week. This isn't a killer, but depending on your personality you may want to plan for this in different ways (e.g. I was/am a calendar abuser putting in blocks for specific tasks/clients/projects/roles when busier multi-income-ing)

MidsizeLebowski
Posts: 46
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:58 pm

Re: Midsize Lebowski would love it if you'd come and give him notes on Semi-ERE

Post by MidsizeLebowski »

@ C_L your situation echoes our own- we've had some very small amounts of friction when DGF makes purchases I feel unnecessary due to my covering utilities/food as she has been focused on paying down debt. I think making the move to empower her to do so faster and returning to a 50/50 split should remedy this minor issue.

Your insight regarding balancing flows is spot-on, at this point I find reducing outflows is still very much on the table - we're looking to make some "alternative" housing decisions both immediately and long term. Housing is currently 50% of my ~20k/annual spending. Health insurance is 17% which could be eliminated entirely pending ACA continuation and reduced income (not counting on this as I'd prefer high income/accumulation and biting the health insurance bullet). Part of the goal with the additional income stream choices would be to reduce our food cost which is currently 10% of annual budget as we enjoy fresh local organic produce as one of the few luxury items deemed worthwhile. Ideally through direct action/networking this may drop by 50% or so - a biannual bulk purchase of spices/rice/beans/oats/lentils (~$600) are the backbone of most meals. That's 77% of annual spending subject to reduction and there are certainly further points of refinement in the remaining 23%.

I'm also keenly aware of the changes in energy level as one ages, although I believe this can be mitigated to some extent by behavioral practices- I work with several extremely vigorous 50+ year olds- I'm certainly not looking to YOLO my way up until my fifties before pursuing FI however. A positive savings rate of at least 20% is being considered mandatory. If I find myself incapable of this pursuing my ideal path over the next several years the plan is to admit defeat and pack it in - pursuing a position as a PTA for ~50k a year and living frugally for 5-10 years from the mid 30s-40's to achieve FI. I don't consider that a terrible life- I've worked in physical therapy offices before and genuinely enjoy helping people return to health, it's the dreaded bureaucracy and cost of pursuing a master's/doctorate in PT that's kept me out of the field thus far.

In terms of absolutes I'm setting a strict deadline for myself of 60k by age 30 - currently @ ~30k and should be able to put away another 10 before moving in 3 months leaving me with 20k over the coming 2 years. I'll explain the relevance of this number if any parties are interested. It has to do with the buckets suggestion you made several weeks ago.

Great choice of link to Jacob's post, this exact post is part of what has me so adamant about helping DGF to get out of debt as quickly as possible as it's one of several JLF has written which caused me to see the ERE light last spring.

A relevant part of what has emboldened me to make these decisions is that I know I'm in fact at 3-4x annual spend (and accumulating 2x annual spend/year minimum pending execution of plan)should I/we choose to relocate (which DGF and I have discussed and are comfortable doing/plan to do once some close family members for her succumb to age/health related troubles in the coming couple years) This, coupled with the fact that I very fully intend to pursue income of some kind for as long as my health allows it, as well as having the drive/education to play salary man for a decade or more should I sense failure looming makes me much more confident in pursuing this more unconventional path.

Thanks for your comment, your journal's been fantastic to follow. Appreciate your true intentions with nursing as well!

@SH You and I have quite a bit in common when it comes to mental processes it would appear! I immediately ran through a worst case scenario in my head in which all clients (70% of which I work with on the 3 days I plan to maintain) suddenly decide that I'm an incompetent buffoon and choose to cease working with me.

My microgreens side business completely disintegrates and I'm left with 0 income in an entirely new town. I immediately cut spending down to needs of $1090/month ($790/month if we can find a proper RV to live in). In this case I have 23 months to find a full time job which pays $8 dollars an hour before taxes ($4 below the state minimum wage) lest I hemorrhage my entire life savings to this point and lie despondent on our bed bemoaning how the man turned the screws on ol' Midsize. At this juncture DGF is so disgusted she abandons me for a more attractive, successful, intelligent and emotionally developed mate. I'm left to live out my days a homeless derelict in a beachside town or ashamedly reach out to family/friends who allow me to couch surf/subsidize my living expenses until I can pull myself together.

In terms of scheduling and reorientation I am in the same camp of blocking days/times for certain activities (ie. personal training 6AM-1pm MWF, following up with income #2 customers/staff 1pm-2pm, Workout 2pm-3pm, personal training 3 pm-7pm, Leisure/Meditation T/Th/Sat/Sun 6AM-8AM, Landscape/AG/Farm/Income #2 work 8AM-4pm, 4-8pm bulk cooking, quality time with DGF) Examples of course but certainly necessary and familiar as a self-employed individual.

I appreciate your comment - definitely the type of feedback that spurred productive reflection!

MidsizeLebowski
Posts: 46
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:58 pm

Re: Midsize Lebowski would love it if you'd come and give him notes on Semi-ERE

Post by MidsizeLebowski »

June '19 Update:

This marks a full year since having began tracking expenses, totals come in at - 53k net income, 30k almost to the dollar saved for a total of 56.6%.
Should easily improve upon this in the coming year as skill level/lifestyle has changed dramatically since beginning ERE journey last year (first 1/4 of TTME).

DGF and I will be relocating close to her work to in coastal HCOL are. I've made arrangements/rescheduled clients to work/commute 3 days per week. Will not be reducing income due to move as of now (all clients have agreed to new schedule), we'll see if that stands over the coming months. Very excited at the prospect of 4 days "free time" to pursue hiking, surfing, gardening, additional side businesses, etc.

The plan is to "decompress" the first couple weeks as I've been working 6 days/week the past couple months and am closing the gap to burnout. Knowing how free time usually goes for me; I'll enjoy a week or two of loafing and becoming accustomed to the new surroundings before becoming ready to jump back into pursuing new business ventures due to "oh I could do that" syndrome.

Expecting living costs to remain roughly the same, we're not pursuing alternative housing at this time so expected housing cost will remain about 800/month or about 18% income, 42% expenses. My transport costs for work will likely rise $150/month but this will be balanced out by reductions in leisure travel/spending as we'll be living in the town we often travel to for those activities and will no longer feel mired in ultra-suburbia of current town.

Current assets at 1.2 x annual expenses, just enough cushion to make me feel confident in this shake-up.

Cheepnis
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Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:52 am

Re: Midsize Lebowski would love it if you'd come and give him notes on Semi-ERE

Post by Cheepnis »

Congrats on the one-years mark! It sounds like you're in the midst of a really positive change. With expenses staying the same, as you project, and a reduction in working days it sounds like you're hitting super-lean FIRE right now!

classical_Liberal
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Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: Midsize Lebowski would love it if you'd come and give him notes on Semi-ERE

Post by classical_Liberal »

Congrats on creating financial security for yourself. I think the lifestyle changes are even more important, so nice job making changes that matter to you.

MidsizeLebowski
Posts: 46
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:58 pm

Re: Midsize Lebowski would love it if you'd come and give him notes on Semi-ERE

Post by MidsizeLebowski »

Not much to update aside from moving.

DGF now works a 6 minute bike ride from our residence.

Unsavory month on the expenses front, saving only 25% of $5230 net income for the month. Travel for work conference, moving costs, etc. Looking forward to seeing what things look like with a "normal" month coming up in August.

Currently at 3 days of work per week (~36 hours), does this make me semi-ere? Only kidding, definitely still feel like I'm working full time but the 4 days of novelty are quite agreeable with my nature. I've been enjoying the time to garden, haven't had much in the way of long full day hikes as most days have been spent "setting up" the new house - prepping containers/worm bins/putting together furniture, organizing the place, catching up on sleep, reading for work and pleasure, etc.

Reduced frequency of work has definitely taught me a few things - mainly that I believe the sweet spot for me to be 2-3 days of 5-6 hours of structured work. I tend to think that would be the perfect blend of applying mental capacity, the rewards (financial, social, etc.), and leisure time. I'll factor this into my long time semi-ere plans going forward.

Current plan is to stay the course with current schedule for the sake of accumulation, although in the intermediate term (12-24 months) I'll likely change my schedule to either commute by train exclusively or forego commuting altogether. Something about driving 210 miles a week that makes me think I'm a complete ass and ruining it for the rest of us.

Net worth ticking along, I've stopped investing additional cash and am just holding it in to some inflation-hedging vehicles while I research further into investing. I appreciate everyone's discussion on the topic here, it has served to show me that my education on the matter is elementary at best.

I have enough in total stock indexes at this point that the "7% historical return" would take me to my WR goals if I wait until 65 to begin withdrawals. A massive, assuredly inaccurate, and largely useless prediction but it's quieted the voice in my head that says I should be investing every dime as soon as it comes in. Current valuations make me feel less like I'm watching the parade go by as well.

Life's pretty good, plenty to work on but also plenty to be thankful for and liking the direction things have headed since stepping out of "the cave". Cheers for reading, much appreciated.
Last edited by MidsizeLebowski on Mon Dec 23, 2019 4:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

bigato
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Re: Midsize Lebowski would love it if you'd come and give him notes on Semi-ERE

Post by bigato »

Oh no, those little calculations really help to keep going, feel better and also helps us understand better where you stand. It's all different means to look at the same thing, but yet part of it is a psychological game anyway, isn't it? I know that I do it all the time.

classical_Liberal
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Re: Midsize Lebowski would love it if you'd come and give him notes on Semi-ERE

Post by classical_Liberal »

Same here. FI can seem too much of a "pie in the sky" motivation when having a tough week and you just need to get through it. But reasoning like, well if i just make it through the summer I'll be to the point of "x", is really helpful. OTOH, it's so helpful that sometimes it allows us to soldier on in very undesirable circumstances for too long. Use it, but don't abuse it.

Glad to read that the new balance seems to be working in your favor!

MidsizeLebowski
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Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:58 pm

Re: Midsize Lebowski would love it if you'd come and give him notes on Semi-ERE

Post by MidsizeLebowski »

Thank you much for your insight bigato and C_L!

August saw a return to form on the savings front as expenses returned to normal. Getting in the groove with the new schedule, have had a lot more time to think of where I want to take things going forward. I'm enjoying the 3 on/4 off schedule in spite of the longer days.

As referenced previously I see the 3-day with more modest 4-5 hour days being a great long term solution for intermediate semi-ere that allows continued savings of ~25%. Alternatively I've entertained becoming a PTA and going with an intermittent work schedule as the field has a great deal of 13-week contract positions.

4-5 more years of current scenario will put me at 10x expenses or greater pending expense improvements, a place I'm comfortable transition to semi-ere w/ if continuing with a healthy savings rate. This forum has really warped my sense of financial responsibility and possibility. I'd be 32-33, have plenty of employability capital (the thread on employability has been a great read) within a refined but not overly narrow field (physical therapy, strength and conditioning, nutritionist personal trainer), and a nice cushion of savings/investments.

Intermediate (now - 2 years) priorities are 2 fold:

-Increase savings rate via income/expense improvements or combo of the two

-Find viable long-term solution for housing - DGF is open to moving to LCOL areas which makes this a good deal more pliable. We also are swimming in our 700sf duplex and have regular serious discussions of tiny home, rv, etc. as future options. We're in this place through July '20 so plenty of time to develop a proper plan.

Currently saving ~50% of income at 1.5-2 months projected expenses each month. Should we move to a LCOL area or make other living arrangements the absolute numbers are closer to 3 months of expenses each month.

Outside of financial matters, have been greatly enjoying the move out of suburbia into the new town. Harvested our first tomatoes, arugula, cilantro, and jalapenos from the garden this past week!

Lotta strands in ol' duders head on the ERE front, currently sitting at a rounding factor of 2 years expenses saved. As usual, many thanks to those of you who have commented and shared your own paths on the forum.

MidsizeLebowski
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Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:58 pm

Re: Midsize Lebowski would love it if you'd come and give him notes on Semi-ERE

Post by MidsizeLebowski »

Began volunteering at an urban farm 3 days per week learning the ropes of commercial market gardening. As it's become clear this is a vocation of choice with many positive first order side effects.

Investments continuing nicely, this month a bit stagnant as 10 day visit to family was booked- I don't like the idea of flying DW and I across the country for a trivial amount of time but have several new additions to the family - niece and nephew - and family is pressing for a visit. At some point will have to have a discussion regarding this as yearly visits is beyond excessive and it seems to be their expectation - opining that I "missed last year's". It's an interesting dynamic, with video call I feel as though the relationships are given their due but this opinion isn't shared by family or even DW.

classical_Liberal
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Re: Midsize Lebowski would love it if you'd come and give him notes on Semi-ERE

Post by classical_Liberal »

My advice, keep the familial connections as strong as possible. Assuming they are relatively healthy. Time and geography seperate people and its much harder to get it back once the ties have been weakened. At some point, if they become too weak, you will yearn for the days they were stronger.

MidsizeLebowski
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Re: Midsize Lebowski would love it if you'd come and give him notes on Semi-ERE

Post by MidsizeLebowski »

C_L Thank you for your input here, it was a reality check that my parents (68 & 69) had noticeably declined since my last visit in Sept of '18. They're still relatively healthy and active but small things like repeated stories, overthinking minor details, etc. show that their minds are not as sharp as they were when I moved 5 years ago.

mooretrees
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Re: Midsize Lebowski would love it if you'd come and give him notes on Semi-ERE

Post by mooretrees »

How's the part time work going? Just wanted to comment that my sister got a two year associate's degree as a Physical Therapy Assistant and is making a lot of money and has plenty of options for part time work. She has a lot of autonomy though she is under a PT. But, it could be an option if your other gigs stop working.

Any progress on learning the commercial gardening? I really like the health-focused options for work you have created. Looking forward to more updates!

MidsizeLebowski
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Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:58 pm

Re: Midsize Lebowski would love it if you'd come and give him notes on Semi-ERE

Post by MidsizeLebowski »

Hello mooretrees! Thanks for your input, cool to hear she's doing well as a PTA. It's definitely a field I'd expect to thrive in all conditions as well which may not be the case for my current. What setting is she in? My brother is a PT in a sports-rehab facility, I worked as an aide at a general outpatient (knee replacements, rotator cuffs, etc.) while getting my bachelor's for 2.5 years.

Part time work has been going well, although to be fair it probably doesn't qualify as part time as I'm training clients from 5am until 7pm with 1-2 hours of down time scattered throughout the day. Monthly income has continued to oscillate around the same $4800 -$5400 that was the norm prior so I consider that success.

Definitely doing well learning the commercial gardening, it's fairly simple at the heart of it - at an almost comic level of naivety I expected to be exposed to a new world of advanced techniques but really it's just scaled up veg gardening like one might do in their back yard. The exception being instead of the standard 4x8 bed with a row each of assorted lettuce types all sowed/transplanted by hand - in the market garden setting one might sow 5 rows of lettuce across 40" for an entire 100' using a 5 row seeder all in one pass, then turn around and do it for 4 more row. Learning how to run drip irrigation, rotate crops according to mineral needs, etc. has been fascinating.

One of the things that drew me to this particular farm is their lean towards sustainable practices, so in addition to only using organic fertilizers, biodynamic compost, etc. they also utilize techniques like green-manure, cover-cropping, and all work is done with hand tools vs. large machinery. It has been great, I can definitely see how doing it on a typical suburban plot one could support a JAFI level ERE if so inclined.

MidsizeLebowski
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Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:58 pm

Re: Midsize Lebowski would love it if you'd come and give him notes on Semi-ERE

Post by MidsizeLebowski »

Aside/note to self: goal for this journal in 2020 is to organize things- reading C40's front to back has inspired! Will finalize some metrics, standardize a journal format and use this as a tool rather than haphazard brain dump. I can't even make sense of some of the number's I slapped up here and my private-use sprawling excel spreadsheet is an eyesore!

ertyu
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Re: Midsize Lebowski would love it if you'd come and give him notes on Semi-ERE

Post by ertyu »

I support haphazard brain dumps *eyes own journal*

MidsizeLebowski
Posts: 46
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:58 pm

Re: Midsize Lebowski would love it if you'd come and give him notes on Semi-ERE

Post by MidsizeLebowski »

2019 Review

As noted I'll be revising the format of this journal to render it more useable, and easier to interpret for inquiring minds ;) . (template below)

Now, on with the review.

2019 Finance:

Net Income: $56,635*
Spending:$35,056

Savings:$21,579
Savings Rate: 38.1% :oops:

Investments:
Dividends:$526
Unrealized Capital Gains: $2,212

Net worth: $32,717 (+$21,067)
Cash: $7,010
Pre-Tax: $25,066
Post-Tax: $641
**no longer including vehicle in NW as it'll likely depreciate to ~0/ be traded in at a future point

*averaged income over both 1 and 2 described below and was pleased to note no significant difference

Thoughts/Analysis:

Mentally I break this year into two segments- 1. in the previous living arrangement(through June) and 2. the current.

The primary difference between them by the numbers is that 2. involves 3-day a week payed employment vs 5-6 day, an added 80 mile round-trip car commute vs biking 5 miles, and increased expenses - housing +$200/month, transportation (gas, repairs, etc.).

The end of the year was particularly harsh on the financial front with an average savings rate of 6.3% from Oct-Dec. This came from increased expenses in the form of travel/opportunity cost of travel, seasonal downturn w/ work (as anticipated)*, accumulated "debt" in the form of auto maintenance, and lastly decreased income due to spending of business revenue booking continuing ed for 2020. There were also a series of irregular purchases during this time period- a used camera, a long-term footwear solution in the form of like-new high quality secondhand boots, a gift to SO of several chiropractic appointments to help her w/ some nagging issues related to old sports injuries.

This, of course does not account entirely for such high spending, the primary factors here are a failure to find ERE suitable housing and ill-advised discretionary spending - for the love of God man -meals out were as high as $300-350 some months.

Quality of life has improved tremendously since moving, I park the car on all but the 3 days of work and am able to bike within 30-45 minutes to all the parks/beaches/ hiking trails we frequent as well as the farm I've begun volunteering with. In many ways life feels more integrated these days

The focus this coming year is to reduce unnecessary friction - the leverage points I see are the forementioned unnecessary spending due to lack of personal organization, returning our housing payment from stratospheric levels ($2050/month! - please hold your stones and rotten fruit), eliminating/improving quality and cost of commute (will either flex my schedule later to match train schedules or abandon former clientele entirely and seek employment/new clientele). I'm leaning towards the schedule flex as I have great relationships with current clients/ enjoy interacting with the majority of them. I would gladly use the 5 hours of weekly train commute for reading/administrative time for work.

In other news SO and I are planning to have monthly reviews as inspired by @frugalchicos. There is also a potential job opportunity for SO to go from 50k to 95ksalary + bonuses. She's on interview 3 of 3 this week so we shall see!

Goals for 2020

Financial:
-Reducing housing cost via exploring alternatives to traditional apt/home rental (goal reduction of 40% + i.e.)
-Reduce transportation cost via adjustments in employment/transportation strategy (currently $334 month (ins, gas, averaged maintenance)
-Maintain spending on meals @ or below marginal utility optimum (~$50)

Personal:

-Continue developing gardening/permaculture skills (attend workshops, continuing volunteering/interning, read relevant books, tend personal garden etc.)
-Read 20+ books
-Improve knowledge of investment strategy/understanding of macroeconomic trends
-Ascertain what makes a man, Mr. Lebowski?

If ya made it this far, thanks for reading and may you be prepared to do what is right, whatever the cost ;)



Updated Journal Format

Month:

Income:
Pre-tax:
Post-tax:
Net Income:

Total Spending:

Housing
Rent:
Utilities (Gas, Water, Electric):

Transportation:
Auto Ins:
Gas/Maintenance:

Food/Groceries:

Communication:
Cell:
Internet:

Entertainment:

Miscellaneous (itemized):


Net worth (+/- prior month):
Cash:
HSA:
IRA:
Roth:

*no longer recording NW w/ vehicle due to expected depreciation to <$500

WR @ TTM expenses:
WR @ LCOL expenses:
WR @ Semi-ERE

Thoughts/Review:


Upcoming Month's Plans/General Musings
Last edited by MidsizeLebowski on Sat Feb 01, 2020 9:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.

classical_Liberal
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Re: Midsize Lebowski would love it if you'd come and give him notes on Semi-ERE

Post by classical_Liberal »

Man, everytime I respond to one update today, there's another great update from a journal I'm following. :lol:

I'm glad your new living situation has been enjoyable, outside of that commute. wrt housing, I think the longer you stay in an area, the more you paint yourself into a proverbial corner of staying there. If that area happens to be a VHCOL region, there are generally a lot of benefits that go with it. There is a reason(s) it's expensive. So my best advice is to use those benefits to help offset the enormous housing costs. Also, find a solution that works well specific to that VHCOL area. If, for some reason those benefits are not usable in the rest of your web-of-goals, moving to a lower COL area should be a priority before you finish the paint job.

Good luck with everything and Happy New Year!

Edit: I'm not sure I explained myself well. Some things work very well across environments and are repeatedly useful (eyesight), somethings work very well in a specific environment (sonar for bats that live mostly in total darkness). We ERE'ers tend to create very good systems that work in our environment. Humans, in general, like to find a place to call home. If the best "home" happens to be in a cave, just accept that and work on your sonar. :lol: I'm not sure that's any better. For the record, I do not think SoCal is a cave, it's only an analogy.

MidsizeLebowski
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Re: Midsize Lebowski would love it if you'd come and give him notes on Semi-ERE

Post by MidsizeLebowski »

C_L you have read my mind sir. We're leaning heavily into RV/van as an intermediate solution, and cob/packed earth/yurt in a permaculture oasis is currently the carrot at the end of this working-man's stick long term. Much can happen, assuming ol' Duder get's his shit together on the spending front and Jacky Treehorn doesn't brew us a mean Caucasian that possibility should really open up in 3-4 years.

The ability to spend 80% of time outdoors/without climate control is certainly an opposable thumb, does that make free healthcare for those making under 133% FPL our prehensile tails?

SO and I do have plans to go on an exploratory venture through the southwest this year to scout potential ERE-friendly relocations.

MidsizeLebowski
Posts: 46
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:58 pm

Re: Midsize Lebowski would love it if you'd come and give him notes on Semi-ERE

Post by MidsizeLebowski »

January 2020

Net Income: $4814
Total Spending:$2811 (+$571 vs. $2240 expected peak satisfaction spending in current arrangement
Net savings: $2003 (41.6%)

Spending Breakdown
Housing: $1181.60
Rent:$1050
Utilities (Gas, Water, Electric): $131.60

Transportation: $336.04
Auto Ins: $106 (due to AAA memb. fee of $51)
Gas/Maintenance:$230.04

Food: $710.42
Groceries:$473.59
Dining out: $236.83

Communication: $79.58
Cell:$37.58
Internet:$42

Entertainment: $12

Health Insurance: $348


Miscellaneous: $89.09
multivitamin, botanic garden annual membership

Canine Tax: $54.36


Net worth (+/- prior month): $34892 ($+2175)
Cash: $6853
HSA:$450
Pre-Tax:$26947
Post-Tax :$642



WR @ TTM:119%
WR @ LCOL: 52.01%
WR @ Semi-ERE: 24.6%


Thoughts/Review:

I'm tracking 3 monetary metrics going forward aside from income, spending, and net worth. Those metrics are; trailing twelve expenses, Lean Cost of Living ($1515/mo) which is current spending less the premium being spent on housing (living in 1 bd in coastal CA), commuting costs, and discretionary spending that would be consciously/subconsciously avoided in circumstance of no FT work. The last is Semi-ERE which is the LCOL less $800 monthly income from part-time/hobby income). I'm confident in my ability to earn $9600/yr while allowing for the marriage of stability and freedom which is my primary ERE motive.

This month's spending felt lavish bordering on foolish, the meals out spending in particular. I'm a sucker for local economies, a cafe owned by a young couple serving 100% local organic fare opened up a block from work and I've been using this to excuse my own lack of preparation for lunches/snacks, etc. I'll reign this in but still frequent enough to support as they've become friendly (exchanging contact info, etc.) and I'd like to see their venture succeed. Other spending out included a stop for lunch on camping trip w/ DW, and a couple coffees to meet with a protege of sorts at another small business.

I've long recognized and now accepted the paying of a premium for local produce that's produced in manners I'd like to encourage and is likely still available should there be any sort of energy or famine related stoppages at the supermarket. Purchase-wise this has basically just been meat & fruit and flour from a local producer (they grow & mill their own heritage grains and it's even more delicious than one might expect). The volunteering and our home garden provides most greens and market vegetables. This month the exceptional grocery bill came from bulk purchases of oats (25lb), 2 types of beans (20lb each), rice (30lb), and lentils(20lb)that should last the first half of the year.

Slightly higher in auto this month as we visited Joshua Tree NP for a couple days & made a minor detour to see DW's family on the return trip, suppose that is really an entertainment expense...

General Musings:

There's been a shift this month wrt ERE and mindset in general. I'd attribute it to a couple factors, the first of which being improvements on the fronts of nutrition, daily rhythms (wake & sleep, decreased caffeine, increased sun exposure, controlling stress w/ walks, meditation, eliminating screens 1hr before bed) and exercise.

The latter factor being media consumption; I reread ERE, Holmgren's Permaculture Principles & Pathways, as well as books on mushroom cultivation, commercial vermicomposting, and microgreens business development. WRT mindset shift It's as if I removed a weighted vest in the physical realm and finally wiped cleaned a filthy pair of eyeglasses on the mental/emotional.

At this point I'm viewing life as more of a web than a linear race to FI / PT work. Reflecting on the TTM spending number I identify a lot of leaks in the "system" I had adopted from the status quo, it'll be exciting to apply this in the coming year and cease being so wasteful of resources. The recognition of tangential behaviors (ie. I'm still waking up earlier than optimal for health and commuting by car because it allows greater income to be had from FT job) as a hinderance to life satisfaction/overall integrity of the web has been recirculating in my daily thoughts. It now makes me palpably uncomfortable to do things that don't align with the vision I have for life-web, an excellent catalyst/signal for change no doubt.

Along the same thought I'm identifying resource leaks both personally and in my sphere of influence as opportunities for capture & upcyclying - ie. coffee grounds from new friends' cafe = oyster mushroom substrate for personal or commercial purposes. The output from this could then be combined with a personal training client's horse manure stream + personal & local businesses kitchen scraps + used microgreens soil to produce high quality vermicompost for use or sale.

Along those same lines I'll be taking a more YMOYL type examination of spending of financial resources this coming month. Goals this coming month are to reign in discretionary spending to below point of diminishing returns, resume actively pursuing microgreens business, improve general preparation for work days to minimize energetic debt on off days, and to maintain upward trajectory regarding healthy behaviors.

As always, thanks for reading and I appreciate any notes or observations, take 'er easy.
Last edited by MidsizeLebowski on Sun Feb 02, 2020 1:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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