Matt's Journal - Currently on FIRE (After working 10 years)

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Matt3121
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Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:45 pm

Matt's Journal - Currently on FIRE (After working 10 years)

Post by Matt3121 »

Hey everyone, I wanted to give a breakdown of my story and what my plan is in case anyone is interested. This year due to discovering ERE I was able to achieve FIRE (mostly lean). Here's the main details.

The Background

38 years old male, single, living in NJ, working consistently only for 10ish years. Was broke through most of my 20's, never worked all that much. I was tired/exhausted all the time but didn't know why (more on that later), by my late 20's I discovered coffee and was able to get into programming after many years of absence. I Took a job for 13/hr and within 4 years was earning 170/hr BUT that was cut short after a year due to being sick. I've had a lot of on again off again jobs because of that.

Through most of it I was never a huge spender in terms of buying lavish things, but I did spend a lot on just living itself. I'd say my salary over those 10 years probably averaged out to 100k-130k. I saved most of the money I earned, however I'd say my yearly burn was about 50k or so, sometimes more when I couldn't work (never got disability).

The one thing I did well was avoid stupid purchases, I did buy a new Honda Civic for 27k but I didn't buy a Bentley (which at one point I could easily afford), so at least I wasn't insane. I wouldn't say I was ever really frugal though, mostly because I came from a poor background and just didn't like that feeling, however I also was afraid to dump money on dumb things. My goal was just to save up as much as I could, and then when I got too tired I would take time off. And that's what happened. I'd work for a year then take 3-4 months off. Obviously that ate into my savings, but due to my health I had to do it. I also gave a lot of money away to help others, mostly kids, in the third world.

Something strange happened...

Then about 5 years ago I started getting really sick. A few months after I had moved to the North East and I started getting all sorts of crazy things happening mostly in one day. I felt stabbing pains in my spine, I was seeing spots (which had been happening before but it got way worse), My heart was beating very irregularly and I couldn't breath well. My muscles started siezing up if I did anything like make a fist or use anthing other than the most minimal strength. It felt like someone had turned up gravity, like I weighed 1200lbs. I was thinking heart attack but I didn't have any chest pain. It got worse, I started having insane hot flashes (I'm a guy, didn't even know what that was till I got them), I couldn't even lay down without my heart feeling like it wasn't pumping properly, and strangely if I fell asleep I'd be like electric shocked back to consciousness immediately after I fell asleep. It was literally the most insane thing ever. I didn't even know most of this could happen to a person.

I went to the hospital the next day, after 8 hours of waiting the doctor told me he was gonna run some tests. He did that and did a chest X-Ray (during which I heard technician say through the door "OH MY GOD, I've never seen anything like this, Karen come have a look!" while looking at my X-RAY... Yeah that was terrifying. Turned out she wasn't talking about my x-ray at all, which turned out to be normal). Then the doctor came back after all that and said "You are fine, You are just having a panic attack. This is all in your head". I explained patiently that I wasn't panicied (other than what was currently happening) and that this was legit. He didn't believe me at all, thankfully though the head doctor at the hospital seemed to believe me and said she was gonna run some other tests. They sent me home and said I'd be fine. Just gave me some pills with opioids. Told me "Just be careful, they are addicting". Thanks doc! I never used them as I wasn't in severe pain.

Got a call a few days later. Turned out I had a super severe bacterial infection in my brain and spinal cord. Normal range goes from 0.9 to 1.1 (1.1 is a positive), I was at 2.8. Didn't cause a fever at all, or any normal sickness signs. Apparently I had had it for years and that was what was causing my severe fatigue, at this point though my body just kinda caved in and it took over. It's a spiral bacteria (Borrelia burgdorferi, aka Lyme) related to syphilis, literally a lot of the symptoms are the same. It's not a STD though, it's tick bourne. Anyway, the only symptom I ever got was being tired afaik, but long term with both diseases it moves into your internal organs and starts going to town on your body. Apparently it can cause virtually anything to go wrong.

Anyway, I got on antibiotics and that fixed the super severe symptoms. I no longer felt like I was dying, and I was able to go back to work. Still though I was pretty tired. I was able to trudge through my work but just bearly. I've never really been a healthy eater but I hadnt gotten too big because I exercised so much (basketball, etc). After that incident however I didn't care much at all. I was too sick to cook and I was in so much discomfort I would spend any amount of money to make that go away. And paradoxically when I ate worse I felt some relief from my symtoms (apparently most of the issues I was having are not due to the bacteria itself but your body's immune reaction, so maybe eating bad hurt my immune system and therefore I felt better? no idea).

Considering how to reduce expenses

Enter ERE. So for a long time my goal was just to earn enough money I could go someplace and not have to work, mostly because it was so exhausting. I was thinking India or Thailand. Maybe even hire some people and do a little startup. But that just wasn't practical because I wasn't very healthy. Takes a lot to move across the world when you feel like you haven't slept. And I didn't have millions of dollars where I could just retire in the US.

So, in May of 2019, things just go worse to the point where I couldn't work again. I wasn't having the awful symtoms of before but I was literally so weak I couldnt sit at my desk for more than 20 minutes. My arms felt like I was lifting 200lbs just working at a keyboard. So I knew at that point I was in some trouble. My burn rate was $5,000+ a month and I knew if I couldn't work I'd be broke in 5 years or so. So I was pretty desperate for some options, I knew I needed to live cheaply but I didn't know what that meant or how it was possible.

I saw a youtube video with Graham Stephan and he mentioned how he's basically earning a million a year through YouTube but is only spending 1200 a month. That kinda blew me away. He mentioned his expenses and it kinda opened my eyes to what was possible. I mean I should be able to cutback somewhat, but I didn't really know how or think it wasn't really practical. I think he mentioned Jacob though and I got to ERE from there.

Discovering ERE

What stood out to me about Jacob is that he was so extreme, and so adamant about how extreme he was. Extreme in the sense that he basically said "You don't need all this stuff you think you need". And it made me realize... 'Hmm... maybe I don't'. I knew I couldn't hit his exact level of austerity but I could probably reduce my expenses and the more I reduced the longer I could go without havig to work. It really just hit me like a ton of bricks and made me question all the things I spend money on. Did I really need to pay that much for rent (I live in NJ and it's not cheap), did I NEED to spend 100 on internet? What if I got the 50 dollar package instead?).

Initial Spending Reductions

So I spent a week straight feeling sick and tired but reading as much of the ERE website as I could. I think what helped me was to realize I had to do it in chunks. I couldn't go from 5500 a month to 1k a month. I just need to start with what I could and reduce from there. So the immediate thing I was able to do was cut my eating out bill down. I would go to a local store here and get coffee like 2 or 3 times a day at 2 bucks a pop. That's 4-6 dollars a day I was wasting. So I went out and bought coffee and just made it at home. 10 cents a cup instead. That just exhilerated me. I also went to the grocery story and bought anything I wanted, realizing that eating out was way too much. I was spending 12 bucks to eat at Chipolte (and I ate out at least once a day). Ultimately if you spend 5 a meal from the grocery store it's much cheaper than $12 eating fast food. So that first month I got my food budget down to about $400, so a $600 a month savings. It doesn't sound like much but it was something. I was also able to remove a few bills and services I didn't need. Any little bit helped. I think that first month I saved ~1.3k overall.

Spending Breakdown:(2k utils and rent, 1k for car - 400 for car payment; 600 for gas and tolls, 1k for food, 1500 for everything else, including health insurance and golfing when I felt good.)

Getting a cheaper place to live

So now I was down to about 4.2k a month. The biggest expenses of course was housing. Now I knew if I could get down to 1 Jacob I could quit my job and live off the money I got from my investments, probably even 2 jacobs or about 15k a year. Still that was a long way to go. But that would mean that IF I could get down that low, then I wouldn't have to work, or at least not work as much. I think that was the key. The job was just taking up so much of my time where my time would be better spent working on my health (better diet, trying things, etc). Also the fact that my earning power was MUCH higher than his but my net worth was much smaller.

So with the realization that I wouldn't have to work I looked into what options I had for housing. I knew I could buy a cheap sub 100k house, and if I did I could reduce my expenses by about 1400 a month. And I wouldn't need to work so being farther from everything was no big deal. I love to drive so I knew I couldn't go full Jacob with no car, so the issue of getting groceries wasn't a problem, I didn't have to be close to that stuff. So I started my search and found a house for 90k in a small town that was livable. I knew the area and it's pretty quiet, nice neighbors, and safe enough.
I ended up buying it in cash. That brought my new monthly burn down by 1400 a month. Still had to pay $600 a month for property tax, utils and what not.

My new burn was $2,800. Still pretty high. A quick solution there was to rent out my other bedroom to a relative. I've lived alone my whole adult life but my thinking was that I'd rather have to make some sacrifices than to keep working forever. So it made sense. I got 600 a month from that, so that brought me down to $2200 a month. Cool, I was getting close.

My Car Costs

My 1k, monthly car bill was reduced because I was able to pay off the loan (was at the end of the term). So that brought that down by 400. Now we're at $1,800. I didn't have to pay any tolls anymore because I'm not driving to Philly, so about 200 a month savings. Now we're at $1,600. getting closer. Also reduced my driving somewhat so I saved on gas. Got me down to around 1400 total burn.


Other expenses

From $1,400 I was able to cut down golf somewhat (it's easier because it's cold outside), that's saving me about 150 a month, now we're at $1,250. Also was able to cut my insurance down by about 250 a month because I'm not going to be working as much so I qualify for a discount (which is good because I just can't to the extent I used to). That got me to about 1k a month burn.

So that's where I'm at now. In 6 months I got my expenses down from ridiculously high to pretty reasonable and was able to achieve FIRE. Even if the market is down and I want to replenish my money I'd only have to work about 2 months per year to more than cover all my expenses for the year and then some (granted I'm high earning but still).

I think even if I had only 6 months money saved up and could only earn 40k I'd much rather work 6 months of the year and have 6 months off for whatever I want to do. If I REALLY scrimped down I figured out I could get my expenses down to roughly $400 a month. I'm not willing to do that unless for some reason I absolutely had to but it's possible.

Hitting Fire

I hit fire once I bought my house a couple months ago and since then I've really focused heavily on my diet. No more junk, just healthy stuff I cook at home. Lots of greens and things that are good for you. Since then I've had more success healthwise. More energy. Not a ton but I can function much better than before. But instead of going back to work I'm going to just focus on my health and getting better, and whatever little side projects I feel up to.

Okay so why do a journal? If I already hit FIRE, what's the point? Well basically this is my retirement life. My goal isn't to not work but to work on things I'm more interested in. For example, maybe write some apps, another book (I wrote a tech book that was #1 in it's category for a while), a blog, a youtube channel (so cliche I know). Just work on things I find interesting, which is the whole point of ERE. You get to do what you want with your time. Long term I want to travel more if I'm up to it.

So that's my plan. Ultimately I owe Jacob a huge debt of gratitude and I'm very thankful that he woke me up to what is possible. I just didn't have any idea. I never thought about retiring early, or at all really. I thought I'd have to just trudge on but because of the drastic reductions I was able to make, I don't have to be part of the rat race anymore. I'll keep updating this as I go.

bostonimproper
Posts: 302
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2018 11:45 am

Re: Matt's Journal - Currently on FIRE (After working 10 years)

Post by bostonimproper »

Welcome Matt, and thank you for sharing your story!

My husband contracted Lyme disease as a kid and has suffered from chronic fatigue and episodic bouts of arrhythmia throughout his life. I'm glad you were able to be diagnosed and treated. It's a rough one.

Also, great job in bringing down your expenses so far down! Definitely inspiring for the rest of us that are *ahem* less than a paragon of ERE virtue in that way.

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

Re: Matt's Journal - Currently on FIRE (After working 10 years)

Post by classical_Liberal »

Holy shit Matt3121! What a great first journal post! Glad to have you here, count me as one of your readers.

Sorry about the Lyme disease, it's a pain in the butt. Did you remember ever getting the rash? That's the only dead give away, but they do test for it pretty regularly now with fatigue symptoms.

Matt3121
Posts: 66
Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:45 pm

Re: Matt's Journal - Currently on FIRE (After working 10 years)

Post by Matt3121 »

@bostonimposter Thanks, yeah it's been pretty rough, but I'm at least glad I know what it is. And in a way it led me to ERE so I guess I got that going for me, lol.

Thanks @classical_LIberal, I figured it was too long but I'm glad you got something out of it.

I don't think I ever got the rash initially. The first symptom I noticed when I was 16, all my lymph nodes got huge. I went to the doctor but they just said "Hey you have an infection, no big deal, go home". That summer I just super tired, but had an unstable family situation so I just attributed it to stress from that. Then it became the new normal. I actually did get a few massive rashes much later, 18 years later (like 12 inches wide on my arm). It was insane and very hot to the touch. It wasn't a bulls eye rash. Doctors just thought I had some virus or bacteria but didn't give me much for it. Just a topical antibiotic.

Apparently you get these diffuse rashes all over when it's late stage. Which was the case for me.

The ironic thing of all if it was when my muscles first started seizing up I went online and lyme disease came up. I told my doctor that I thought it was worth testing for, and he said it's not worth it and that's not my problem. He said he didn't know what it was but said lets just wait and see. So I went to another doctor and he tested me for it but it came back as inconclusive. Literally a month later it was off the chart when they tested again. So at that point my body just wasn't making enough antibodies for it to register I guess.

I likely contracted it in 1996 so, I guess back then it just wasn't as well known as now... Either way, thankfully I'm alive and I appreciate that fact. :-)

Thanks both of you, very encouraging words!

JustAGuyReally
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed May 10, 2017 3:31 pm

Re: Matt's Journal - Currently on FIRE (After working 10 years)

Post by JustAGuyReally »

Inspiring stuff, Matt, enjoyed reading this. Love how you slashed your way to FIRE.

(Kinda wish I would've gotten into programming/soft dev 10-15 years ago when I was in high school/college. Seems like you guys have this money-earning thing on ez-mode. The thought of sitting hunched over a desk and staring at a computer for 55 hours a week now fills me with a sense of dread, though.)

So you've dealt with chronic fatigue, etc., etc. for over two decades now? Are you able to enjoy your life much on a day-to-day or week-to-week basis?

Matt3121
Posts: 66
Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:45 pm

Re: Matt's Journal - Currently on FIRE (After working 10 years)

Post by Matt3121 »

@JustAGuyReally - Yes Software development is kidna cheating for ERE IMO. That being said, I know a number of devs who were earning 200k but spending their money on $3,000 vacuums cleaners. One guy literally said "You can't get a classy girl if you don't buy her things like this", the object he was referring to was a $1,200 Burberry coat he bought his girlfriend. She literally dumped him a few months later lol.

So at the end of the day, it is more about saving than earning, but the earning does help tremendously. Had I known about ERE before (and not have been so sick) I could have been a multi millionaire by now. Save it all and invest every penny. Not that it would change anything really.

As far as quality of life goes, I'd say it's been tough. I would say I haven't really enjoyed life much, just because I'm always so tired. I'd go to museum with friends and just want to die because i'm so exhausted. That being said I have had plenty of times where things were enjoyable. Before I got super sick 5 years ago, I was relatively normal as far as what I did. I was tired all the time but I would just super coffee up and get by okay. I'd play basketball at the gym with a bunch of guys for hours. I didn't affect me to the extent I couldn't really function.

I've had some successes in life that I don't even deserve and those were happy moments too. So it wasn't like I was just miserable all the time. Just tired. I'm actually very lucky I didn't have any kids because I just wouldn't have had the energy.

Interesting point about slashing my way to fire. Hadn't thought of that but it's true

JustAGuyReally
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed May 10, 2017 3:31 pm

Re: Matt's Journal - Currently on FIRE (After working 10 years)

Post by JustAGuyReally »

I'm sorry to hear that your illness has affected your ability to enjoy your life... 20+ years of chronic fatigue sounds absolutely brutal.

I suffer from chronic health issues and physical limitations myself and it's hard not to get down on yourself sometimes. My life would be so much easier (and dare I say better?) if I were "normal"...

I see friends & family just strolling through life without having to give anything a second thought, and while I don't begrudge them, it's hard not to get jealous at their sense of mindlessness or blunt-headed sureness or lack of needing to second guess their thoughts or abilities. "I had no problem doing this, I don't see why you can't do it..."

But I've been dealt the cards I've been dealt.

In this way, ERE's been truly revolutionary for me. Through the power of rapid saving/questioning the need for a certain lifestyle, I can use savings/money/investing as a tool to create options and security that my physical circumstances haven't allowed for.

And thanks to my current financial standing (13-15 years of savings accumlated and invested) and some luck (my medications are now generic and significantly cheaper than before), I will soon be living a life I never thought possible only 5 years ago.

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

Re: Matt's Journal - Currently on FIRE (After working 10 years)

Post by classical_Liberal »

@JustAGuyReally
I haven't read much from you for a long time!! I remember your situation well (although I think you deleted it later, so I'll honor that). Sounds like you've made a lot of progress, 13+years, congrats!

@Matt3121
I think your example is so important because I believe there to be a huge market of people out there in mid career life (late30's-50's), who are really sick of their day-to-day. I know a ton of them. Many of these people aren't complete financial F-ups and made some OK to good decisions over their working life. They might be sitting on 100K of house equity, and another 100K in "retirement" savings. However their cashflow burn rate is immense, like yours was. The thing is, people like this are really only a couple years from FI, or could at least cut back on work substantially, if they get their shit together and go down to a 1K month spend like you. The fact you were able to do it, so quickly, is a great example. I really hope you keep writing about your situation.

Matt3121
Posts: 66
Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:45 pm

Re: Matt's Journal - Currently on FIRE (After working 10 years)

Post by Matt3121 »

JustAGuyReally wrote:
Wed Dec 18, 2019 2:32 pm
I see friends & family just strolling through life without having to give anything a second thought, and while I don't begrudge them, it's hard not to get jealous at their sense of mindlessness or blunt-headed sureness or lack of needing to second guess their thoughts or abilities. "I had no problem doing this, I don't see why you can't do it..."
Man this hits really close to home. At times I think I do begrudge them (at times) just because life is so easy by comparison. In some ways it's hard too just because I've had a lot of people judge me by normal standards. And I try to explain that it's just not that simple. I can't necessarily do what is easy for you. At the end of the day though I'm thankful that it isn't something much worse.

Sorry that you are also going through something similar :-( It is really lame.
JustAGuyReally wrote:
Wed Dec 18, 2019 2:32 pm
In this way, ERE's been truly revolutionary for me. Through the power of rapid saving/questioning the need for a certain lifestyle, I can use savings/money/investing as a tool to create options and security that my physical circumstances haven't allowed for.
Yes I feel the same exact way. It's been life changing for me as well. It's like a super power really. It evens things out for me. I'll let everyone else kill themselves. I'll live more frugally but have a lot more time to myself.

Matt3121
Posts: 66
Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:45 pm

Re: Matt's Journal - Currently on FIRE (After working 10 years)

Post by Matt3121 »

classical_Liberal wrote:
Wed Dec 18, 2019 6:26 pm
I think your example is so important because I believe there to be a huge market of people out there in mid career life (late30's-50's), who are really sick of their day-to-day. I know a ton of them. Many of these people aren't complete financial F-ups and made some OK to good decisions over their working life. They might be sitting on 100K of house equity, and another 100K in "retirement" savings. However their cashflow burn rate is immense, like yours was. The thing is, people like this are really only a couple years from FI, or could at least cut back on work substantially, if they get their shit together and go down to a 1K month spend like you. The fact you were able to do it, so quickly, is a great example. I really hope you keep writing about your situation.
Yeah now that my eyes are opened I really see this a lot. My former boss has been making 130k a year from the mid 90's till now, but has NO savings. Not only that for a good portion of that time his wife was making 70k. So a combined 200k, no savings, no 401k, etc. His wife can't work now because she had a baby (at 40 years old, which is impressive), but they each have a $700 a month car payment, a house that between property tax and mortgage and utils they are paying close to 3k a month. He has a daughter he's putting through college, which I get but that is costing him another 35k a year.

What's hilarious to me is that he thinks I'm insane. He says I should be earning and spending, but if something happened to him and he couldn't work for a while he'd literally be bankrupt and lose the equity in his house (even with disability).

Hilariously he always talks about how poor he is and how he can't make any real money and wants to win the lottery. Glad I learned about ERE and FIRE, because in reality I'm not sure that would even fix his situation. You can't out earn your spending... That's for sure.

JustAGuyReally
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed May 10, 2017 3:31 pm

Re: Matt's Journal - Currently on FIRE (After working 10 years)

Post by JustAGuyReally »

@JustAGuyReally
I haven't read much from you for a long time!! I remember your situation well (although I think you deleted it later, so I'll honor that). Sounds like you've made a lot of progress, 13+years, congrats!
Thanks, c_L. Appreciate the congratulations, that means a lot to me considering you've done so much over the past two years yourself! I'll have to do a year-end wrap-up so I can further flesh out my thoughts, observations, questions.

And, for what it's worth, i agree with you. The more diversity we can get out of these journals, the better. This ERE superpower is available to anyone who wants it.
She literally dumped him a few months later lol.
Did she keep the coat? :twisted: :D

Matt3121
Posts: 66
Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:45 pm

Re: Matt's Journal - Currently on FIRE (After working 10 years)

Post by Matt3121 »

Okay so, I'm staring the 4th month in the house now, as of this point buying the house has saved me $8,000. My burn rate at the old place was 2k a month and now I pay zero, so that is super great. I'm loving that. It's been cold out and the house is small so that hasn't been too bad but I'm looking forward to warmer weather hopefully sooner than later. The house will feel bigger when i'm moving around outside more.

The first month or two I was very depressed in a small place but now that I'm used to it and I'm seeing the benefits of not being stressed to work when I am sick I am actually liking it! Reducing my expenses to this point is way more satisfying than when I was earning big money. Because at that point I was so stressed.

Anyway. The reason I bought the house was to work on my diet and maybe affect my Lyme disease in a positive way. So I've really been trying a lot of different things. First I tried to eat lots of potatos like the SpudFit youtuber who lost like 150lbs in a year eating nothing but potatoes. But that was just too hard. I did it for 3 or 4 day and ate a ton of Sweet Potatoes. And in some ways it was positive, my tremors were down a lot and my energy was way up. But I just couldn't sustain it.

I went back to eating out and eating bad food (Wendys, Chipolte, etc). Big money wasters but when I'm feeling real bad physically I don't care. Anyway, then I experimented with eating no salt. Like very little at all. It was extremely hard but I just forced myself to eat a bunch of potatoes and Rice, etc with no salt. The meals did NOT taste good, BUT they were much more filling. I noticed after that that I just wasn't hungry as much.

Before I got super sick with Lyme I weighed 170lbs, but in 5 years I ballooned up to 235. Really only because I felt terrible so I'd eat as much junk as possible to feel better. And it did make me feel better momentarily but not overall. My Lyme got worse. Either way, it's a tight fit into any pants and while my primary reason for FIRE and "retiring" is to get healthy, losing weight wouldn't be bad either.

Anyway so I did the no salt diet for 7 days. Normally I can't stay on a diet for even 1 meal. I can easily eat 5 or 6000 cals in a day. But I found that after a meal with no salt I didn't care as much, and as I did it I continued to not care. So in a week or so I went from 235 to 225. I wasn't eating much at all. Like maybe 2 potatoes a day, a banana, a couple apples. I just honestly wasn't hungry. I felt like I was finally free from the slavery I had to food. So I lost those 10 lbs, granted a lot of that is gonna be water weight because I'm not eating salt and I was giving up the water weight. But WHO CARES? I lost an inch on my belt and was feeling better than before.

Then I made a mistake. A lot of the time I just wasnt hungry or had very low grade hunger. But I decided to go hit some golf balls and had only eaten a banana. My lyme came on very strong and I felt pretty sick/depressed. So I went to Wendys and probably had 2k cals. Fried chicken sand. lrg fries, large drink and nuggets. Ate it at home and felt way better but now I was back on salt again...

Went into a bit of a binge and had a week or two of eating out a bunch or just eating tons of cereal. Overall, not packed with antioxidants and not helping my body. So finally I put the weight back on (again water weight and salt). I was bursting at the seams of my pants and my lyme was one fire. I was just laying there in misery day after day.

Finally got sick of that again and... you guessed it. I gave up salt again. But this time I realized I needed to not make the mistake of not eating enough. I now just wasn't as hungry as before but I needed to make sure that I ate, especially if I exercised. For some reason with lyme I notice if I don't eat and I do any physical activity at all my body just shuts down and I'll get tremors. So lesson learned. This time though I just made sure that I had ZERO salt at all AND I was flooding myself with antioxidants and anti inflammatory compounds. So tons of blueberries (frozen), raw garlic, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, beans, etc. Very cheap and good for you from what I've seen (nutritionfacts.org).

So it's been nearly a week and I'm back down to 226lbs (9lbs down). And this time I'm feeling a lot better physically. Not perfect, but before I was a 2 of 10 and now I'm like a 4 of 10. But I'm getting somewhat better and having more energy. So now is the time to put the pedal to the metal and just flood my body with whatever good things I can. So that's the plan.

I also have been spending time writing potential blog posts. Sort of like ERE type posts where the focus is strictly on how to retire early. Like I was able to calculate how you can retire as a Starbucks Barista in 5 years at $9 an hour. Not easy but doable under the right circumstances. I wrote about 10 blog posts, each post being about 1500 words. I notice that I can write quite quickly. I can hammer out about 1800 words pre hour which is about 6 pages per hour. If you worked 8 hours a day that is 48 pages a day x 5 days that's 240 pages per week.

TECHNICALLY that means I can write 1 book per week, or 52 books per year. Lets be realistic and say half that. So 24 books a year. I could write novel after novel. I wrote (corny I know) about 15 pages in a novel format about a young man who gets out of high school and plans to retire as soon as possible. I just thought it would be a fun little thing to do. I could definitely grind it out quickly once my health gets better if I want to.

Gives some opportunities. I don't write well but I do write quickly haha.

Also though that means I could write a blog like Jacobs and probably spend 1 or 2 days for an entire months of posts. BUUUT... I was also thinking of doing Youtube videos (A lot of crazy ideas for a guy who can bearly get out of bed without being sick). I have 3 possible topics. I'd love to make finance and frugality videos because I'm just so passionate about it right now. I've recorded like 10 sample videos in my basement, getting the background, lighting and audio just right.

None are a finished product but I think it could be a fun thing to do. The key to youtube is consistency. But I think I could crank out 1 vid a day without much of an issue. The workflow as of now is like this, 10 minutes to think up a topic (youtube videos are kinda disposable, so it's okay if it's not perfect esp. in the beginning), 20 mins to film (for a 10 min video), 1.5 hours to edit, 30 mins to upload. So you could do about 3-4 vids in 8 hours depending on how it goes. So in 2 days you can do enough for a whole week.

I also am considering doing videos on my on going struggles with lyme. There isn't anything really out there where people are documenting their struggle day to day and what they are trying (that I've found). That's not so much of a money maker idea as just something to do.

Also I'm thinking of doing a programming channel (yes do all 3 because that's not stupid...), because I have a ton of topics I can ramble on about "One thing I wish I knew before I started to program", "How I earned 6 figures with an 8th grade education", "College or Bootcamp". Then you can sell consulting sessions on top of it if you wanted to. Lots of options.

Downside to youtube is that if you have some success you are gonna be famous on some level. Not like Brad Pitt famous but you lose total anonymity. I personally like to not be known so idk what I'll decide on that... Maybe wear a baseball hat and crazy glasses in the videos? Idk... haha

I'd like to be able to earn 1k a month to cover all my expenses from this stuff. Plenty of guys in programming and finance are earning like 20k a month from youtube, but I don't need that much. I have youtube videos on a channel I had for programming, some vids have 150k views and some have 1k views. The 1k views are on EXTREMELY boring topics but they still get 1k views. All the other topics I thought have have like 10x the appeal. So if I crank out 1 vid a day and get 10k views per video (modest success), that would be about 30-40 bucks in revenue, say 35. 35 bucks a vid x 30 days is $1,050. So if I got to that point I could technically say "I'm a professional youtuber!"

Not unrealistic really. I just am a little unhappy that my downstairs studio isn't real professional but who cares at this point. It's more important that you just crank out as many vids as possible in the beginning to get into the flow and then work on quality IMO.

Okay that's it. Hopefully my health improves and I can put the plan in motion. Nobody will probably have read all this BUT, the above was about 1700 words and took 30 mins. Yay, stream of conscience

EdithKeeler
Posts: 1080
Joined: Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:55 pm

Re: Matt's Journal - Currently on FIRE (After working 10 years)

Post by EdithKeeler »

Thanks for posting your story. Your financial plan/result is impressive. I also think it’s cool you moved to a small town to achieve it. Lately I’m convinced that’s a good way to achieve FI early. I’m sorry about the Lyme disease—that’s really hard.

I do have a question: given your health concerns, how are you handling heath insurance? I was curious if you had qualified for SSDI because of the Lyme and thus was eligible for Medicare. I know that, for most of us in the US, health insurance is the big stumbling block for walking away from the office.

Matt3121
Posts: 66
Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:45 pm

Re: Matt's Journal - Currently on FIRE (After working 10 years)

Post by Matt3121 »

So that's a good question. Health insurance is the worst in many ways. Realistically prior to the health insurance changes I'd probably never qualify for insurance again because of a pre existing condition. So last year I was paying 275 a month for insurance through a company in my state (not job, just free market). I guess this was a silver plan. Now that I have no income ( well a lot less) I pay 115 a month because of the tax credit thing.

I'm sure at some point I'll be bringing in income again other than investments so maybe it'll go up but for now it's pretty reasonable because I have pretty much the same plan.

I feel like ERE people in Europe and Canada have it way easier because they don't have to mess with health insurance and figuring all that out

Matt3121
Posts: 66
Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:45 pm

Re: Matt's Journal - Currently on FIRE (After working 10 years)

Post by Matt3121 »

Just wanted to update what's been going on in "retirement". So this month I had to shell out 2k for my car, 100k mile service and 700 for new tires. Could have gotten a better deal elsewhere but the tire blew out and I didn't want to die over that lol. So I dropped it at Honda and that was that.

I was offered a job as a VP of Engineering (kinda glorified title for now) for a really cool profitable startup and I'll get some equity. Not really worth it for equity as I tend to think it's more of a scam (you get diluted easily, you can actually have to pay taxes on money you never actually get, etc). But it would be a fun project.

I have decided to unabashedly go the bloggers route (assuming I don't take the VP job). Not because I want to get rich off it but because I love to watch things grow. So it'll be fun to see it grow and or fail. Well it can't really fail per se, as long as I keep writing. It will eventually bring in some money. My plan is then to convert each blog post into a youtube video. My monthly burn is close to 1k and I think it would be so cool if I eventually got blogging/youtube earnings above 1k a month.

I love marketing in a sense. Mostly because I'm not good at it and it's a challenge. But I'll keep everyone (anyone?) updated as to how well it goes and do a review post and what not each month to see how traffic and revenue goes.

2Birds1Stone
Posts: 1276
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2015 11:20 am
Location: Earth

Re: Matt's Journal - Currently on FIRE (After working 10 years)

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

I just read your "How I got my spending down to $800/month" post, and thought "where the heck did his journal go", as I was a lurker who enjoyed your story.

Update us, yo!

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