The Education of Axel Heyst

Where are you and where are you going?
AxelHeyst
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Re: The Education of Axel Heyst

Post by AxelHeyst »

@quadalupe, that actually makes complete sense, and was a way to conceptualize it I’d not thought of. Thanks for the extra model for insertion in to the latticework.

@daylen another model! It’s a good day. I think I get the notion of conditionalized translation functions conceptually, but I’m struggling to generate a real-life for-instance. Which i think means I don’t get it as well as I think I do. :) I’ll mull on it.

AxelHeyst
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Re: The Education of Axel Heyst

Post by AxelHeyst »

Okay I triggered a new page. Hey! Look back four posts, where I relate that I’m starting an ERE Mastermind group.

Couple extra points to add to it: if you want to join, but are afraid you’re not “high wheaton level enough”, you’re probably fine. I’m not trying to set up some WL elitist club - it might be best if we had at least one person who just clawed their way up to WL4, and one person who is flirting with WL7. A solid 3 to solid 7 is probably too much of a span... but who knows, honestly this is an experimental first stab at this. Basically, the first 8 or so people who PM me are in. We have 4 people so far. If a lot more than that show interest, I’ll recommend splintering/starting a second group.

I’ll also report back to the forum on how it’s going (while keeping all content confidential of course), so the group can learn from however it winds up going.

Last note for now - the “woo factor” is going to be pretty low, but expect some sort of secular mindfulness grounding practice incorporated in to this. Om’ing three times, no, a short period of simple grounding breath and mental focus work, yes.

AxelHeyst
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Re: The Education of Axel Heyst

Post by AxelHeyst »

Scott Young just wrote a post on Pareto Efficiency: https://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/?ck_su ... =389165773

I liked his simple metaphor and drawings. His lens, of course, is productivity, but swap whatever desirable variable in that you like.

Work/Income I'm currently working 8hrs/wk. I make enough to cover 2x my living expenses, but also have enough free time to build up my shelter, work on skills, and put time towards building passive income (investing and side hustles). I could increase my hours, but that would decrease my time available to build shelter and develop passive income. I could decrease my hours, but that would require me to dip in to my stash as my passive income doesn't cover my CoL yet. Eight hours a week or so seems to be my Pareto efficient amount of time w*rking until I have passive income streams in excess of my CoL.

Transportation. I have a truck and a motorcycle (and a bicycle or two, and feet). And a cargo trailer that I move around a couple times a year. I pay ~$100/mo for the privilege of owning my truck, and also am exposed to the risk of catastrophic mechanical failure. I don't live in town. I could sell the truck. That would "force" me to put more miles on my moto, and more seriously consider walking and bicycling long distances. It'd force me to think ahead when I need to buy stuff I can't put in my panneirs or expedition cart, and try to only rent or borrow a truck every once in a while. It would decrease my exposure to catastrophic mechanical failure. I think I'm not at the Transportation Efficiency frontier here - but that selling my truck would move me closer to it. I might do this as early as May.

Food. I'm cruising at about $160-180/mo for food. My body doesn't super like carbs. I could probably improve health (glycemic response) by increasing my legume and bean / grains ratio. I can build up my pantry a bit, so that if another shutdown style thing happens or both my truck and moto suffer catastrophic mechanical failure I'll be okay on food for a couple months (system slack). I'm close to the frontier here, but have room for a couple tweaks.

Personal Life / Enjoyment / Inner life / Serenity My personal life has been frothy lately (I think I got that term from 2bs1's last journal post, referring to the markets). DW's going through some stuff, and it's been impacting me significantly, but there's a light at the end of the tunnel. A solid, habituated contemplative practice is the lowest-hanging fruit here I think, even just 10min/day (thanks RF). I've been writing regularly, which was a big step towards the frontier. My digital minimalism practice waned in rigor from a few months ago. So - DW making her move, me implementing a contemplative practice, and re-focusing on appropriate engagement with screens, are the three lowest hanging fruit actions to get closer to the frontier.

Health. I need to make an appointment for a minor non-urgent surgery. I've used {____} as an excuse to slack on physical training, which is impacting my serenity/mental health. So I'm far from the frontier here (or so it feels). In the meantime there's a few practices I can do to get closer to the frontier - walking, gentle yoga, spending more time in the forest.

AxelHeyst
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Re: The Education of Axel Heyst

Post by AxelHeyst »

All rightey we've got 8 people on the Mastermind list, with two sitting at "maybe, tell me more though". Probably should keep it no bigger than that - if you're interested, still PM me, but if more than a couple more want in we might have to create a splinter group.

And - assuming this thing doesn't suck, the rough plan is to "break up" in six months (these things need finite end dates) and then make a new one to keep things fresh.

AxelHeyst
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Re: The Education of Axel Heyst

Post by AxelHeyst »

I'm having a hard time feeling settled on the "PT or FT?" question. Things seem to be picking back up at work, so it's quite conceivable that I'd be able to come back to FT in a few months, or even be asked to come back to FT.

If I go back to FT in July, and kept my CoL <1jafi, I could punch out (achieve 30-35x) as early as July 2022. A year. (!)

If I stay PT, and ramp up passive income from 0 to 1k from July 21 to July 22, I could punch out in July 2024. Three years.

I don't like the idea of going back to 40hrs/wk, but I can do just about anything for a year.

Being 93% free (PT work) is great, but I'm also realizing that it is a mindleash. I can get a little better with this, be a little more strict about the boundaries I put around w*rk, but I still can't do stuff like "no screens, at all, for three months" or "whelp, see ya, I'm going to walk across the Mojave now, don't call me I'll call you".

In other words, the difference between 93% free and 100% free is *not* 7%, it is qualitatively different.

Neither option sucks, I realize. For now my move is to keep on keepin' on, get better at not letting w*rk seep in to the rest of my life, and if they come at me with a "pretty please come back", I probably will. But for now I'm not going to push for it.

Qazwer
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Re: The Education of Axel Heyst

Post by Qazwer »

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_preference

You are facing another one of those canonical issues that economics studies in utility function. Trade off in time - how much is a dollar today worth to you compared to a dollar plus x tomorrow?
If you viewed it with no discount, you can get rid of your lifetime employment in a year. But utility functions vary.

Western Red Cedar
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Re: The Education of Axel Heyst

Post by Western Red Cedar »

Are you still considering the dual homesite nomadic option, or are you shifting to the idea of a single homestead now?

The reason I ask is that future plans can be important in making these types of decisions. It can also be helpful in developing strategies for creating budgets and accessing funds. You might be better off thinking about saving 15-20x expenses with another pot of money set aside for large capital projects, rather than shooting for 25-33x 1 JAFI. If you know that you can market some of your skills in the future, getting up to 25-33x expenses isn't quite as important.

You certainly have an appealing setup right now with the PT work, but I can relate to the notion of a psychological leash.

7Wannabe5
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Re: The Education of Axel Heyst

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

In other words, the difference between 93% free and 100% free is *not* 7%, it is qualitatively different.
I think this mostly depends on flexibility. For instance, I am financially self-committed to working approximately 50 days/year = $15 X 8 X 50 = $6000/year in my semi-retirement, but intend to mix it up quite a bit. I might teach just in the fall one year, not work at all the next year, run small business half-day/week the next year, do something that pays more than $15/hr the next year, etc. etc. IOW, I think it is important, qualitatively different, to have some periods of absolutely no work commitment, but absolutely no work forever forward is not as necessary or valuable for me. MMV.

jacob
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Re: The Education of Axel Heyst

Post by jacob »

AxelHeyst wrote:
Thu Feb 25, 2021 11:04 am
In other words, the difference between 93% free and 100% free is *not* 7%, it is qualitatively different.
It is. But I recall some of Team semi-ERE arguing that retaining a bit of a leash was a good thing for motivation.

On a related note, being 500% free is also qualitatively different than being 100% free.

mathiverse
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Re: The Education of Axel Heyst

Post by mathiverse »

jacob wrote:
Fri Feb 26, 2021 11:13 am
On a related note, being 500% free is also qualitatively different than being 100% free.
What do you see as the notable differences in this case?

AxelHeyst
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Re: The Education of Axel Heyst

Post by AxelHeyst »

@jacob, and I've parroted the leash-as-motivation line myself. I expect it's personality and attitude dependent. The more time I spend thinking about and living different ERE lifestyle realities, the more I learn what resonates with me and what doesn't. I'm beginning to suspect that while having a bit of leash would motivate me to maintain some level of satisfactory adultitude, being 100% (or 500%) free will *un*leash me to do grander things. I'm not terribly concerned that I'm going to turn in to a NEET/slacker under any circumstances, if every single day of my life since I started remembering things is any indication. I am concerned that "a little bit" of leash is enough to keep my decisions under the yoke of expected behavior, is enough to keep my actions within some range of status quo, enough to keep my attention and focus in a certain groove. Which would be a shame.

The more I think about it (and I probably passed the point of diminishing returns on that long ago), the more the "a little leash is a good thing" concept sounds like an admission that we sheeple need at least a little bit of the hierarchy and structure of consumer society to provide guidance in our lives - that we need the organizing principle of earnings and spendings to keep us in line. I'm trying to life my life as a repudiation/wholesale rejection of that whole bucket of ideas (or at least a case study/experiment in what happens when you throw all that out, which I realize may turn out to be a cautionary tale).

I mean I get it - society doesn't offer any other organizing or meaning-making structures to choose from, unless you happen to belong to one of the few surviving organizations that provides those (e.g. the church). Going off the leash sounds like freedom, but it's more like flinging yourself into the Void. The Leash (if even just a little one) is a way of ensuring that you don't get lost out there in the horror of structure- and meaning-lessness.

(I realize The Leash isn't the only reason to semiERE, I'm not attacking the whole thing, just the "semiERE so you'll still have motivation" part).

How is 500% free different from 100%? Are there any downsides (amplified loss aversion)?

AxelHeyst
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Re: The Education of Axel Heyst

Post by AxelHeyst »

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Fri Feb 26, 2021 10:54 am
I hear that. I'd be thinking about this differently if my semiERE setup wasn't a consistent 8hrs/wk, which doesn't allow those important long stretches of no occupation.

eta: yeah, after thinking about it a little more, I think the lack of flexibility is central to what I'm feeling about this.
Last edited by AxelHeyst on Fri Feb 26, 2021 2:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jacob
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Re: The Education of Axel Heyst

Post by jacob »

AxelHeyst wrote:
Fri Feb 26, 2021 11:57 am
How is 500% free different from 100%? Are there any downsides (amplified loss aversion)?
Kinda like the difference between being 6' tall and having 6' ceilings and 30' ceilings. In the former case, you have to remember to think about jumping or swinging your arms. In the latter case, those concerns fall away. It's yet another leash for good or bad. Note e.g. the tendency for indexers to start group-hug threads or meditation sessions every time the market drops by 5%.

100% feels like the investment equivalent of worrying about losing one's job. 500% does not.

Perspective (the actual number) likely depends on one's ratio of needs/wants in the budget. 100% would feel good insofar much of one's budget is wants as they can be cut away.

Ultimately, it's about whether you think $MONEY as an external motivation is a good thing or not. Insofar the answer is yes, I think 93% feels better than 100% because the 93% has a sense of control locus over earned income which is gone in the 100% case.

AxelHeyst
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Re: The Education of Axel Heyst

Post by AxelHeyst »

Western Red Cedar wrote:
Thu Feb 25, 2021 8:16 pm
Are you still considering the dual homesite nomadic option, or are you shifting to the idea of a single homestead now?
I see some form of nomadicism (>1 place where I "live") as very likely. I am keeping in mind the idea of earmarking 20-50k for capital projects over the next 10 years, but there are a few possible scenarios where I don't have to lay the cash out myself (via OPM and OPL (other people's land)). e.g. I engage in a partnership where someone else supplies the land and materials, and I supply the design and labor.

Jin+Guice
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Re: The Education of Axel Heyst

Post by Jin+Guice »

I'm in a similar weird golden handcuffs scenario. Shockingly, I think going back to work 40 hrs a week is not a good idea, unless you feel that you want to go back to work 40 hrs a week, because you enjoy your work.

Money and forward thinking are great, but start from the actual goal, which is to control all of your time, attention and energy, correct? Controlling less of it now so you can control more of it in the future works in opposition of that goal in the present.

I don't think that not working for money for 35-50 years is a desirable goal for most people. So much of our culture is based around working and there are so many interesting things that you can do for money. ERE as a by-product of living is just so much more interesting than getting it through doing something you don't really enjoy so you can never work again.

I don't really think that it's important to be motivated to work. I dunno, I'm a workaholic, I only stop working to socialize, sleep or too get really high and watch a movie while binge eating. My definition of work is pretty broad though.


Defining economic freedom by the amount of passive income you earned in the past projected forward is a narrow definition. If you make it close to W6, I think you're as free as you allow yourself to be. This sounds like esoteric hippie bullshit, but W6 is about breaking away from money as the only means to resources, optimizing among multiple variables and finding abundance.

I don't mean to discourage people from fulltime work or from achieving full ERE. I am in favor of both of these things, under the right circumstances. I just think that 33x expenses = freedom is false. Look at the difficulty those who reach it have quitting and the amount of them who go back to work. The seductive part of this thinking is 1) It doesn't require actual change, you keep the job and lifestyle you're in and 2) it's easy/ satisfying to optimize for one variable (especially when everyone tells you that variable is almighty).

We were lucky enough to be born into a time when we were all essentially born free and economic abundance was real. It's just hard for us to grasp.

AxelHeyst
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Re: The Education of Axel Heyst

Post by AxelHeyst »

Jin+Guice wrote:
Sun Feb 28, 2021 1:11 am
ERE as a by-product of living is just so much more interesting than getting it through doing something you don't really enjoy so you can never work again.
This is gold.

Yesterday I spent all day in the sun, on a hill, overlooking the local high green valley and I could see through a notch all the way across the central valley, maybe 60 or 80 miles. There was a pleasant breeze and I was in a tshirt. I was adding new siding to an old barn with my roommate. My roommate's dog rode in my lap on the way there and back. We worked quickly but without stress, chatting about this or that every once in a while but mostly focused on our work or thinking our own thoughts. Our client fed us an amazing meal for lunch, better than 99% of restaurants (certainly any around here). I felt satisfied with our work, enjoyed the camaraderie of executing skilled work with my friend, and I made enough money to cover my living expenses for two weeks. I slept like a baby last night.

If I had to do this sort of work every day I'd hate it. But my life is *better* if I get/am fortunate enough to have day like this 1-4 times a month.

AxelHeyst
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Re: The Education of Axel Heyst

Post by AxelHeyst »

February was a big milestone for me: I hit <1jafi lifestyle* CoL for the first time.
Image

*"Lifestyle CoL" is simply what I spend, PLUS monthly cost of ownership of my vehicles (insurance, tires, etc), MINUS what I spend on capx building materials, PLUS the depreciated cost of my capx projects (for now, that's $5k/5yrs = $83/mo). So it's a more accurate number to represent how much a month of my life actually costs.

By any measure, this is the least I've spent in a month since I was in college. I went in to this month with a goal of spending $600 lifestyle. I spent $634 lifestyle. Close enough! I felt my brain changing throughout the month, which was essentially a No Buy Month. I understand now why it's Jacob's number one recommended action - it's powerful stuff.

Interestingly, I came close (by a dollar!) in May of last year to February's actual spend, but I wasn't spending money on a build then! Which is why my Lifestyle CoL was higher than Actual, because I didn't spend anything on capx, but my vehicle depreciation brought my lifestyle CoL over what I actually spent. So this February was a much more efficient lifestyle than last May, even though actual spend was identical.

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