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Re: L's Journal

Posted: Sat Apr 27, 2019 7:39 am
by bigato
your inbox is probably full (max 20 messages) and further messages people try to send you won't come through

Re: L's Journal

Posted: Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:33 am
by BookLoverL
It says it's 70% full, I'll delete some older ones later. Thanks though. :)

Re: L's Journal

Posted: Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:46 am
by bigato
Strange. Maybe it’s a bug. But it worked, my message to you left my outbox.

Re: L's Journal

Posted: Thu May 02, 2019 8:42 am
by BookLoverL
I went to vote at the local elections today - yay, democracy! At these ones, there is a risk that some people will be voting based on the Brexit situation, even though people absolutely shouldn't be voting based on Brexit for this because the local councillors have literally no control over the Brexit process and instead control important things such as bin collections, council tax, libraries, local public transport, and the like. Still, I expect to wake up tomorrow and see a swing away from the two major political parties, because people are stupid and the information about individual candidates is harder to find for the local elections...

At the office yesterday I started rereading Machiavelli's The Prince online while I was working, which was pretty interesting. I did have a physical copy of it, but I lent it to a friend a while back along with my copy of Antifragile, and I think she might have lost them or something because it's been a while, so I might need to start looking for replacement copies because I love both those books and I think they were providing something to my collection that my other books weren't. In any case, Machiavelli's insights into how power works are very thought-provoking.

I'm supposed to be looking up some practice questions for one of my maths tuition clients, but I will probably end up doing that this evening/tomorrow. I spent most of the weekend and all of Monday writing a fanfiction, which I'm very pleased with because it's over 28000 words, I actually FINISHED it, and the comments on the fanfic site are good so far. Now I have started writing a sequel, so I'll see how far I get with that before I get distracted. But it would be better if I could get myself to focus on an original fiction idea with the chance of actual payment. I don't think that's how the writing muse works, though.

Re: L's Journal

Posted: Sat May 04, 2019 5:24 pm
by BookLoverL
I decided I ought to put some actual figures on here so you can all see how I'm doing! I only usually count up my total money and check what I spent it on once a year, because it takes time and in the middle of the year I just avoid spending money by not having anything I really want to spend it on, usually.

These are the figures I had for the whole of 2018, which I've just basically copied out of my journal on the MMM forum because I'm lazy.

Total income for 2018 from all sources: £9,903.80

Board to my parents (covers food and bills as well, I offered to pay closer to a realistic cost for my share out of fairness but my mum wouldn't have it): £1,330
Train travel: £549
Fuel for car: £390
Charity: £28
Snacks: £35
Make-up for office work: £44
Cinema: £47
Mobile phone (pay-as-you-go): £50
An online training course I paid for but never took: £274
Books: £53
Eating out: £73
Pills (I have a disability and these really improve my quality of life): £8.80 (this is just the ones I paid for with my card, I must have bought the others with cash)
Car insurance/MOT/other non-fuel car expenses: £836
A business expense I expect to get back in January: £57
Paying for my old blog website because I forgot to cancel it even though I haven't blogged for ages: £111
Clothes: £37
Toiletries: £5
Buying gifts for people: £74
Withdrawal of Euros I took on holiday with me: £195
Miscellaneous (I forgot what it was and the bank reference wasn't clear): £219
Cash withdrawal: £380

Cash withdrawal includes, amongst other things, two different holidays, a ridiculous amount of library fines, and some more money for snacks and for pills.

As you can see, my budget for last year still has quite a bit of slack in it, despite my already low expenditure. If I wasn't living with my parents, I could easily cut some of this stuff out and use that money to cover the increased bills. The library fines have already gone down a lot because I set up a better email alert system that means I don't forget to pay them any more. I will also spend a lot less on holidays and train travel this year, because last year I was dating someone in a long distance relationship, but I dumped them in early March due to long-term incompatibility.

Travel is still a very high expense category for me relative to the size of the housing category and to the size of the total budget, but due to the rural area my parents live in, it's necessary for me to have a car for two out of my three income sources at the moment (and the third I am slowly ditching because it's bad in other ways). Still, I'm trying to cut it down gradually, and this year I also expect to be spending less than £300 on train travel, and that's a generous estimate.

Re: L's Journal

Posted: Sat May 04, 2019 5:27 pm
by BookLoverL
Oh, and my net worth in January when I calculated this was £14,273.70, excluding student loans, which in England for my age range are not scary debt and are actually paid off more like a tax - you pay 9% of what you earn over £21,000, nothing below that, and it's forgiven after a couple of decades if you haven't paid it off by then, so I'm ignoring it for net worth purposes.

Re: L's Journal

Posted: Mon May 06, 2019 2:52 am
by BookLoverL
Do I count as semi-ERE already? I kind of feel like I do, but I kind of feel like I don't.

On the one hand:
-haven't worked more than 25 hours per week on average since November 2016, and often it was less
-have 1.5-3x yearly expenses saved up, which is ample FU money
-spend a bunch of time doing things I find fun already
-can often arrange to do things midweek if whoever I'm arranging it with isn't busy
-maintaining a savings rate nearing 50% even with the only working part time thing
-income coming from more than one source and if one of the sources dropped out I don't think it would be that hard to replace it with something else

On the other hand:
-still work in a boring office 12 hours per week
-ONLY have 1.5-3x yearly expenses saved and not, IDK, 10x or something
-live with my parents, which I don't want to be my whole-life housing solution because while I love them there are also some personality clashes
-can arrange a long weekend holiday at relatively short notice, but can't randomly decide to go on a long walking holiday for a month or something

What do people think? Am I semi-ERE?

On a related note, I often wildly oscillate between thinking "man, I'm so wealthy" because I have friends stuck in low-wage jobs who don't have the ERE or even FIRE mindset and are barely saving or are living paycheck-to-paycheck, and thinking "man, I'm so poor" because I'm way off having enough money to get myself a house with a deposit level I'd feel comfortable with, and, well, I live with my parents and even though that's more common than it used to be, amongst social groups who are older than me it's sort of embarrassing to admit.

Re: L's Journal

Posted: Mon May 06, 2019 4:02 am
by bigato
I don’t think it’s embarrassing at all, but if your situation relies on living with them and that’s not something you’re comfortable with, then I’d say no, it doesn’t count as semi-ERE. On the other side, if you has a plan B for housing that you consider comfortable and that could be supported by your numbers, then maybe you could say so. But I’d say, guarantee at least 10x before you venture on doing that. But that’s me and I can be over cautious at times. And I think your projections should account for housing. Like, when you say you have 3x yearly expenses saved, that means 3 years of living with your parents, right? I think that if that arrangement is not comfortable to you, you should not count on this housing situation when calculating the amount of years of expenses saved.

Re: L's Journal

Posted: Mon May 06, 2019 4:14 am
by classical_Liberal
In your situation, I would ask the following:

A) Work. Are you working the PT office job because it fulfills something other than money? Meaning do you learn things you want to learn, do you enjoy the social interaction, does it make you feel good, or advance a purpose important to you? If the answer is "no", it's only for money. Then you are not semi-ERE, there are plenty of people who have jobs they dislike that they only do for money, a very small percentage find their way here and eventually ERE or semi-ERE. This situation is almost the definition of not being ERE.

B) Resilience. How resilient is your current situation? Following @bigatos lead, what would happen if you could no longer live with your parents? Do you want to live with your parents? If the answer is "no", then you need other alternatives or it is not sustainable.

C) Are you taking advantage of anyone else to maintain your life? Again with the housing. Is it your parent's preference that you live with them, or are they allowing you to do so out of love and commitment? There are plenty of folks on the forum who find free housing. Some live with lovers, others crash on friends couches, some pet sit, others live with parents as caregivers. Still, each of those arrangements is mutually beneficial, non zero sum. As a result they are also resilient. Is this your situation? If "no" then probably not semi-ERE.

These are just my opinions. YMMV.

Re: L's Journal

Posted: Mon May 06, 2019 5:45 am
by BookLoverL
I guess I'm probably on the path to semi-ERE then, and not there yet. But I don't expect to have to do full time work at any time in the future, ever, to cover my lifestyle.

Regarding the housing, it's 3x if I continue living with my parents or find a situation costs the same as that, or one that costs just a little more and I cut back on my hobby spending, and it's 1.5x if I had to immediately start renting a place completely solo in an area I'd actually want to live in at full market value, i.e., the highest end of my likely housing costs. I don't mind living with them, and, since I got myself sorted, am bringing in money, and make an effort to contribute to household chores, I think they are happy for me to live with them for now, though if I got to my mid-30s and was STILL living with them I'm not sure whether they would still be fine with it. There was more tension when I first moved back in with them and hadn't found income yet and was decompressing a bit by lazing around for a couple of months, but I've matured since then so that's not likely to happen to the same extent. The reason I'm not completely happy with it is because my dad can be a bit of a workaholic and low-key expects everyone else to be too, so that sometimes feeds into bad thought patterns in my head, and also my parents and my brother (who was also living here until recently when he started spending 5+ nights a week at his girlfriend's parents' house 5 minutes away) tend to snipe at each other over petty things, which they all seem fine with but tends to disturb my attitude a bit (like, I'll be trying to relax in the evening and they'll start randomly shouting about how they can't find the keys/some gadget/whatever, and then they'll spend 5 minutes shouting about it, and meanwhile I'll quietly look in the place I think it usually is, and, lo and behold...).

I don't find it embarrassing talking to friends my own age, because about half of them are also living with parents. It's just a thing in the back of my mind if I'm talking to someone a couple of decades older, and I want to impress them/have them see me as an independent and successful person.

My other potential ideas for housing, if I sense the situation becoming less satisfactory, include:

saving up enough deposit to get a house with a mortgage (ew), then trying to get a lodger to help pay for said mortgage (cost: if I get a lodger, can probably get living costs down to about the same as now, otherwise living costs will go up). I could probably get a house right now with what I have saved up if I was willing to move to the nearby town (which I don't want to do) or have only a small deposit (which I also don't want to do), but it's not out of the realm of possibility. If I can save up 50% of the cost of a house over the next few years, buying a house and then trying to get a lodger is my most likely housing plan at the moment.

trying to rent a room in some sort of shared rental property (cheaper than renting a whole place to yourself, probably still worse than now)

seeing if any of the various old people I know in the village are feeling lonely and would like me as a lodger in exchange for board, me keeping them company, and me doing a bunch of the chores (this would likely be the cheapest option, and there are a lot of pensioners in the village, some of whom are definitely lonely, but would need me to strengthen my social connections more to get someone to agree to it)

offering to pay my parents a higher rate than I am now to continue living with them that's closer to market rate (this has the same disadvantages of the situation now but would be more expensive)

The money I am bringing in (around £10,000 per year compared to living costs last year of around £5,000) would cover even the most expensive housing option of "rent a place 100% to myself", but depending on the place, it would reduce my savings rate to, like, 5% if I did that, unless I cut my hobby spending. It wouldn't have me drawing on my stash, though - I'd only need to do that if my income dropped.

The work, I don't enjoy the part time office work, but I'm actively working on switching away from it as we speak by growing my new maths tuition business. Once I get enough maths tuition clients on a steady basis to be bringing in about the same money as I earned in the whole of last year (the tuition is new this year), I will quit the office work. I find the tuition much more satisfying and not boring at all. Also, at least some of the maths tuition clients are within walking distance, so if I wasn't having to drive to the office, I could seriously reduce the amount I'm spending on fuel.

Re: L's Journal

Posted: Mon May 13, 2019 5:35 am
by BookLoverL
As a follow up to the last week's post: what DOES count as semi-ERE, in general?

Clearly, if you are working at a job and you don't need to do it for the money at all and won't ever again, this is full FI, not semi-anything, and you've just not opted to do the RE part.

So in semi-ERE, there must clearly still be SOME element of doing work for the money. Obviously it can't be a job that is interfering with the desire for life, or making someone miss out on opportunities. But I think there would still be a place for "if I was fully FIRE I wouldn't have this job at all", even if the job is not really the job of dreams, as long as that job is fulfilling a function and is not taking up too many hours. What if the function is "I'm working this job until I learn enough about marketing/getting clients/some other skill to get this other idea that I'd rather do off the ground, and I don't plan to stay in the boring part time job longer than a couple of years"? And the job is earning enough that it covers all expenses and still allows for savings, so it isn't paycheck to paycheck for people who are sensible with money.

If they're working that job at one or two days a week and they have, what, 10x savings, idk, they'd probably definitely be semi-RE, right? But if someone is working the same job at only one or two days a week that they don't really like, but they only have three months of savings, they probably wouldn't be? But where is the line of difference between these two people? Does it make a difference if the person with 3 months savings is confident they could find another similar hours income source before their savings run out, whereas the person with higher savings hasn't got recent experience with jobhunting/freelancing/etc.? Is it like the concept in some FIRE circles of Barista-FIRE, i.e. where someone saves enough that they can quit their high-paying job and become a barista or similar for the rest of their lives? But then are the people whose main jobs were already barista-type jobs actually Barista-FIRE the whole time? Why is the person with more savings but the exact same lifestyle semi-ERE when the one with less savings isn't, given that they're both working no more than two days a week?

Regardless of the contents of this discussion, I'd still agree that I'm probably not semi-ERE, because the points about housing were very good. Maybe when I manage to move out to a house in the village in the future I will count myself as semi-ERE from then.

Re: L's Journal

Posted: Mon May 13, 2019 8:06 am
by jacob
I don't know what semi-ERE is. People make up new concepts and new words for the same concepts all the time. Since there are no clear definitions, the choice of term even depends on who you're talking to (how much do they now/what makes sense to them).

Semi-retired is when you still need some work income because you don't have enough financial income (also see a very underrated book by Bob Clyatt). Barista-FIRE seems to be the modern (FIRE movement) term for the same thing with the exception that you might be working for the health insurance more so than the money gap. A few US corporations (like Starbucks, hence barista) offer subsidized health care to part time employees.

In any case, it's a situation where a combination of financial and working income are required to cover one's expenses.

There's also something called coast FIRE. That's an oxymoron that makes no sense at all. It means that you've contributed enough to your retirement accounts so that compounding interest alone will make you FI at the traditional retirement age (so not early). In the mean time, you need to work to cover your expenses. However, your expenses no longer include retirement savings and so you could work less, perhaps at Starbucks. I'm not even sure why this [term] is a thing.

Within the ERE cannon/framework, it's different. You're either a salaryman, workman, businessman, or renaissanceman in terms of how resources flow through you. If done right, productivity>>consumption which leads to $$$ which again quickly leads to FI as a kind of afterthought of "right living".

Also see,

Re: L's Journal

Posted: Mon May 13, 2019 9:05 am
by BookLoverL
Thanks for your perspective, Jacob. I was mainly curious about the semi-ERE thing because I've seen the phrase popping up around here in a few journals, and since my plan is "work part time for a number of years but still retire before standard retirement age", I thought it sounded more like what I was doing than standard FIRE. I'll definitely look up the book you mentioned - it sounds interesting! I think that probably, by the time I end up getting a house and moving out of my parents' place, it's likely that I will count as semi-retired. Definitely some of these words that people come up with are pretty pointless, though...

With the four quadrant framework thing, my education was training me to be a salary(wo)man, but it turned out that I hate that lifestyle, so I'm trying to aim for Renaissance Man (leaning towards the working man quadrant rather than the businessman one). I recall there being a part somewhere about working full time for 5 years and then retiring forever vs. working 5 hours a week for your whole life. My original plan before I realised I wasn't a salaryman was to do the full on 5-10 years and then retire plan, but after I reassessed, I'm now on a plan of something like "work self-employed on various things 10-20 hours per week and retire somewhere between 35 and 55 depending on how it works out". I think overall this still pretty much falls within the parameters...

I read the whole Wheaton scale thread before and really like the concept in general (and was amused by the side-topic about Wheaton levels of understanding tables...). I've never been sure exactly where to place myself, but I think based on the Focus column, around level 6 is probably closest to my thought process.

Re: L's Journal

Posted: Mon May 13, 2019 9:23 am
by BookLoverL
Actually, thinking about it, right now since my income is still linearly tied to my hours, I'm working man leaning towards Renaissance Man. But I'd like to be in the Renaissance Man quadrant and am aiming to gradually drift that way as I acquire new skills.

Re: L's Journal

Posted: Tue May 14, 2019 11:01 am
by BookLoverL
Bad tic day this afternoon (my disability that I have is Tourette's). Plus I was at the office today as well. On a bad tic day, it takes around 50% of my concentration to not do big, obvious, distracting tics that will make it immediately obvious to all my coworkers in the open plan office that I'm disabled and also probably gradually drive them up the wall, leaving only 50% concentration left for actually doing the work, so it's a good thing the work is boring easy work. Also, it's a lot harder to suppress tics for the length of a work day than for a 1 to 2 hour session of something. This is why I hate working in offices...

Re: L's Journal

Posted: Tue May 14, 2019 11:50 pm
by classical_Liberal
I may be, at least partially, to blame for the usage of this term. So, I'll try to define how I utilize it. I think a review of this thread, particularly the conversation of E-ER and ERE, would be helpful as baseline representation of the difference between standard FIRE and ERE.

So, first, what Semi-ERE is not. It is not ERE. Again to me, ERE is someone who has reached or is near reaching Wheaton 7. This person is likely FI, or will shortly become FI as a result of living this way (FI wasn't necessarily the original goal). In any event, once someone is FI and is operating at Wheaton 7, they are true ERE.

It is not Barista FIRE or semiretirement. These people have a E-ER attitude. They are simply saving towards "the number", or enough of the number to reduce the amounts of time spent with specialist income generation or potentially changing salaryman specialty to something more appealing (and probably less pay).. IMO this person is probably somewhere in the Wheaton 3-5 range. However they either do not comprehend, or choose to not pursue higher Wheaton levels.

In contrast, someone who is semi-ERE has not yet attained a Wheaton 7 systems thinking lifestyle. This person is likely a Wheaton 5+, but recognizess their deficits and understands there are higher levels. They would be actively pursuing changes to reach higher levels. They are not FI, because someone who is FI and at a Wheaton 5 is, in the very least, traditional E-ER/FIRE. What this person has done is closed their system to a degree in which the waste of system (ie cashflow out) can be sustained with some means of pleasant income generation. The income generation is pleasant because it also provides additional benefits from a web-of-goals context. Possibly even acting as a means to move up Wheaton levels.

Re: L's Journal

Posted: Wed May 15, 2019 2:52 am
by BookLoverL
Thanks, c_L, that makes a lot more sense. I'll take a read through the thread. FWIW, I'm definitely not really thinking of a specific number at which everything will magically be better, and I am trying to move my income generation gradually towards methods that are more enjoyable, more efficient, and better suited to my general goals. (For instance, I'm very glad that I'm now only doing a small amount of work on my dad's business, which is the type of business that imports plastic/electronic components from China and converts them into high quality plastic things that people don't actually need - i.e., when I was working on that a lot, I was actively going against my environmental beliefs, whereas the the things I am doing now are all services, with the only plastic that's involved being the occasional office supplies.)

Re: L's Journal

Posted: Wed May 15, 2019 8:21 am
by Earlybath
Have you come across the "unjobbing" concept ? It sounds like you have some ideas in common. As I recall it's not so much about retiring early so much as recognising and accepting the trade offs involved in working at what you find fulfilling rather than maximising your income, Michael Fogler called it "acting your wage".

Jake Desyllas did some interviews and research a few years ago around the topic.
There's some podcasts on his site that might give you a deeper view of the approach, the "introduction to unjobbing" is a good a place as anywhere to start. ... =unjobbing

Re: L's Journal

Posted: Wed May 15, 2019 12:43 pm
by BookLoverL
I actually found the concept of unjobbing before I found the concept of FIRE (though it might have evolved as a concept in the last few years, this was 3-4 years ago and I haven't checked). I hadn't seen that particular site, though, only a few random blog posts, so I'll check it out. As far as I can remember, the concept was vaguely related to unschooling, maybe. Also that yes, sometimes technically you are doing a job, but your mindset is in a place where you're not really doing the job because you're already free in your brain. Or something. And sometimes you're not doing a job, you're doing things that you wanted to do anyway, but they just so happened to be giving you money. And then there was something about trying to get rid of the little "boss" voice in your head that built up over the years and always tells you that you're not being productive enough.

I'm not a huge fan of podcasts, because I get impatient with how long they take compared to the time it takes me to just read the same information, so hopefully I can find something of use on that site without having to actually listen to all those things and tie myself to my computer headphones for ages...

Re: L's Journal

Posted: Wed May 15, 2019 1:40 pm
by BookLoverL
I lasted about 10 minutes in of the 30 minute podcast before I got bored of listening (predictably, especially since it moved on to why you need to be frugal if you want the unjobbing lifestyle to work, which, well... I already know that part), but from what I heard it sounds like the mindset I already have with regard to jobs. For reasons of skill deficit and people pressuring me to earn income, I had to take on a couple of suboptimal work situations after I crashed out of the one full-time thing I tried to do with stress-related burnout, but since then I've been gradually trying to move towards work situations more closely aligned with my web of goals. So, yes, unjobbing still sounds like a thing I agree with.

Actually, the main reason I even took the boring office work in the first place was to give me something part time that was bringing money in while I retooled my skillset to include the necessary skills to attract clients for other things. Me right now knows a lot more about social skills, networking, marketing, and identifying suitable customers than me even one year ago, and has higher social capital, too, which is why the maths tuition is getting clients and the ideas I had for self employment before that weren't. So I'm basically planning to keep the office days until I reach the point where the tuition (or anything else aligned with my goals that I come up with) is bringing me the same level of income by itself that I got for the whole of last year from the office job plus the work for my dad's business, because at that point I'll have sufficiently proved to myself that I'm capable of earning money truly under my own steam.

The office work by itself is actually enough to cover 100% of my expenses as they stand (i.e., the living with my parents version). So I feel much more comfortable taking the risks I need to take to learn how to freelance properly.