a planter's garden

Where are you and where are you going?
plantingtheseed
Posts: 138
Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2020 7:23 pm

Re: a planter's garden

Post by plantingtheseed »

When leaders speak.

2017

Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, superintendent of the Air Force Academy, stood all his 4,000 cadets at attention Thursday to deliver a message on racial slurs found written on message boards at the academy's preparatory school.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkUrnHT1VvI


"As Americans, we should be frightened — deeply afraid for the future of the nation. When good men and women can’t speak the truth, when facts are inconvenient, when integrity and character no longer matter, when presidential ego and self-preservation are more important than national security — then there is nothing left to stop the triumph of evil." [1]

"Therefore, I would consider it an honor if you would revoke my security clearance as well, so I can add my name to the list of men and women who have spoken up against your presidency." [2]

William McRaven, open letter to President Donald Trump, August 16, 2018
[1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions ... story.html
[2] https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions ... story.html

How quickly things change.. Are we at the end of this great experiment?

plantingtheseed
Posts: 138
Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2020 7:23 pm

Re: a planter's garden

Post by plantingtheseed »

CURRENT STATS: 98% cash@~3%, {CVX @60, 8.5% div}, {CLF LEAPS @7}, NW(c+p): 445k+1.35M

Status update 11/20


Entering month 9 of remote working. At times, things get a little too cozy for this lifestyle.

One time, I stopped by a store to get something as I was heading back from the office - while having a meeting over the phone. Something that would have been unthinkable prior to covid.

This newfound flexibility is welcome but I try not to blur the boundary unnecessarily. :lol:

We've been watched over by the almighty and have not been affected by the pandemic thus far. Though we are aware of others, that have passed.

I have masks everywhere - at home, at the office, in the car, in my jacket... As our region enters the 3rd wave of the pandemic, l am trying my best to look after myself so as not to act as a vector of transmission.

Many of the shops, restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues have closed down again with curfews and travel restrictions added for good measure.

I am grateful to the people that are working to bring produce and meat to our stores. They're probably the unsung heroes that are at the forefront of preventing a nationwide unrest of hungry revolutionaries. :D
Last edited by plantingtheseed on Wed Nov 25, 2020 7:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

plantingtheseed
Posts: 138
Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2020 7:23 pm

Re: a planter's garden

Post by plantingtheseed »

Dealing with 2FA


2-Factor Authentication (2FA) is becoming more common place and that is probably a good thing.

2FA is a second password, that syncs to a Time-based One Time Password (TOTP) generator, ususally a 6-digit number that is constantly changing with time.

This 6-digit code will be required for a login, within a predetermined window of time, after which a new 6-digit code is generated and must be entered instead.

However, there are a couple of problems with the way 2FA is normally implemented.

It uses QR-code to setup the authentication time sync

This is not preferred for 2 reasons.

1. The QR-code adds user login information (user@site.com) to the description of 2FA for that site.

It's like a road marker for the barbarians pointing to Rome, prior to the fall of Roman Empire.
Avoid using QR-codes, and instead use a text password provided by the site to create the 2FA and create a generic label - i.e. "school" or "work".
Or use a QR-code reader to extract the password.

2. Portability

QR-code makes it hard to migrate the 2FA authenticator to a new phone, as both the old and new phones are physically required to login and scan the qr-code on the new phone.
By using the 2FA text password from the site, it makes porting of the 2FA a breeze. This password should be well guarded.


Use of SMS text messaging for 2FA validation codes

This is better than not having 2FA except for one problem. A cell phone can be kidnapped by a hacker through a lax security in phone number porting process.
In such an event, all 2FA validation text messages will go to the kidnapped phone. Secure the phone number account with a verbal password to prevent unexpected adds, moves or changes.


https://www.freecodecamp.org/news/how-t ... 2b9ed43c3/
https://medium.com/crypto-punks/why-you ... a44876a524

plantingtheseed
Posts: 138
Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2020 7:23 pm

Re: a planter's garden

Post by plantingtheseed »

Generations


The right of passage for most us of growing up middle class in our era, was "making it" on your own.

For some of us that were more advanced, this meant having a job or two during high school and paying our own way through college until we got our first "real" job.

We were expected to start with nothing and make our own way, just as our parents and our grand parents had done in their lifetime.

There was a strong optimism and conviction that if you try and worked hard, you would eventually make it, because that was how life worked.

This was just something very middle class and a thing to look back to and be proud of. A story to share with your grand kids in the golden years.


I believe this will no longer be possible in the near future.

The current generation, and perhap the next, maybe the last of the American generations that will be able to make it on their own, starting with nothing, in this country.

This is due to the stagnant real wage growth and the ever increasing debt and inflation.

What a bachelor's degree holder is expected to earn in their lifetime (2 million)[1] already trails behind the amount of savings some say is needed to retire, especially in many urban areas (5 million)[2] of the country.

Even if they're half right, we're at near equilibrium, while debt and inflation continues to grow and wages stand still.


Longer compounding through investing at an earlier age could help bridge the gap, but eventually, limits will be reached on the achievable rates of return and the uptrend in the longevity of the populace.

At some point, an intergenerational planning will be required for families to be able to remain in the economic social hierarchy called the middle class.***

Parents of today will have to educate their young about personal finance and save even more, in order to leave something for the kids, so that they can remain economically viable.


The 100 year plan, will no longer be just for Coca Cola.


[1]https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/researc ... nings.html
[2]https://www.financialsamurai.com/suze-o ... ire-early/
*** There are consequences. You cannot get something for nothing, even for the "new" MMT.

plantingtheseed
Posts: 138
Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2020 7:23 pm

Re: a planter's garden

Post by plantingtheseed »

I am an American; free born and free bred, where I acknowledge no man as my superior, except for his own worth, or as my inferior, except for his own demerit.” T.R., Jason Selvig & Davram Stiefler.

https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-2 ... er-2020-11
https://donaldjtrump2024.com/


Truth is never an undervalued asset

Pro-Trump Donor Who Gave $2.5 Million Toward Election Fraud Investigation Wants His Money Back
https://www.complex.com/life/2020/11/pr ... estigation
Last edited by plantingtheseed on Sat Nov 28, 2020 2:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

plantingtheseed
Posts: 138
Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2020 7:23 pm

Re: a planter's garden

Post by plantingtheseed »

I had started a discussion on portfolio optimization in prior:

viewtopic.php?p=219358#p219358

Therefore, in theory, it is possible to construct a portfolio consisting of mutual funds, etfs or individual stocks, that can minimize the risk for a given return or maximize the return for a given risk.

This is mathematically possible because of the way the risk is defined - yearly price fluctuations - and by finding assets whose prices do not move in tandem, and by holding the right mixture of these assets, the so called efficient frontier can be achieved.

In practice however, the covariance between assets are dynamic (just like volatility in options) and since no two assets in the market can be completely uncorrelated*, it is nearly impossible to find the optimum efficient frontier and stay in it, at all times, practically.

Therefore, by holding groups of assets that are relatively uncorrelated will be sufficient to benefit from this methodology, such as stocks and bonds, in conjunction with indexing, dollar cost averaging and long term investing horizon.

The problem occurs, when the assets in the mix become more correlated, as we appear to be seeing between stocks and bonds as of late - time will tell.

The Achilles' heel of this methodology is in the definition of risk, which is probably very loosely right than precisely wrong.

Next: value investing.


*Now this is not true in options or futures, as it is possible to construct an allocation of assets that are negatively correlated but they have their own issues - i.e. you can't get something for nothing.

plantingtheseed
Posts: 138
Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2020 7:23 pm

Re: a planter's garden

Post by plantingtheseed »

Excellent read on the birth of Affordable Care Act


The story behind the Obama Administration’s most enduring—and most contested—legacy: reforming American health care.
https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020 ... -obamacare

plantingtheseed
Posts: 138
Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2020 7:23 pm

Re: a planter's garden

Post by plantingtheseed »

The purgatory


As the pandemic starts to wane, I am thinking it will not be a bad idea to consider retiring.

The current situation is bit like being in purgatory and you're damned if you do or don't.

Something that would sweeten the deal will be a market crash along with housing. :lol:

Despite the childish thoughts, the logical thing to do is to continue to accumulate without much risk and utilize the accumulation upon retirement as the market crashes.

We're probably looking at another 2 years or so before this pandemic is sorted out, and that is plenty of time for yet another crisis.

plantingtheseed
Posts: 138
Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2020 7:23 pm

Re: a planter's garden

Post by plantingtheseed »

Suppose there was a square. And it was cut in half.

Can we take this cut half of a square and cut that to a half?

Can we take this cut half of a half of a square and cut that to a half?

Can we take this cut half of a half of a half of a square and cut that to a half? And keep doing this forever? Of course. It would look like this:

Image


Now let's turn this around.

Suppose there was a half of a square.

Can we take this half of a square and add its half to it?

Can we take this half of a square and its half and add half of its half that was add to it?

Can we take this half of a square and its half and its half of a half and add half of a half of its half that was added to it? :lol:

We can keep adding forever.

And yet, what we would end up with - would be exactly, a square. A number.


The idea that something can grow forever and be reduced to a number, will help us in the mechanics of valuing a company.

plantingtheseed
Posts: 138
Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2020 7:23 pm

Re: a planter's garden

Post by plantingtheseed »

CURRENT STATS: 98% cash@~3%, {CVX @60, 8.5% div}, {CLF LEAPS @7}, NW(c+p): 455k+1.38M

Another housing bubble?


Been following the real estate market in various parts of California and it' appears there is yet another bubble that is forming. The prices are moving higher, anywhere from 2-4% every quarter.

The 30 year is at about 2.6% or so and it appears that the rates will continue to move downward, maybe reaching 2% or slightly below for the 30 year eventually.

This has brought higher priced homes within reach of many, which was previously not possible.

If one is gainfully employed and is in reasonable financial shape to qualify, homes in the 800k-900k range are within reach for working couples, or if willing to commute, a nice new 3bd/2ba single family home in the $500k-600k range out of the area is now possible.

Monthly payment will be in the low 2k's without private mortgage insurance and in the mid 2k's with it. This is close to what people have been paying for rent anyways so the "math adds up" for a lot of people.*,**

*Another lessons learned, if housing is in the plans for retirement, make sure to secure the housing before you quit your day job.

**Borrowing 600k for a bit over 2k a month is historically cheap money and clearly the borrowers are benefiting right now - that's a total payment of about 865k (2.4k*360) with 265k in interest before factoring in mortgage interest/property tax deduction. ( imagine the interest paid at 5% )

I've looked at number of homes and still haven't found one at the price that agrees with me. Can I afford these prices? Absolutely. Do I want to? Absolutely not. There is maintenance, utilities and other "taxes" to consider, such as HOA and/or mello-roos. And they're just plain expensive.

Factoring in resale value, I had been focusing on a new construction with minimum 3bd/2ba single story with a decent sized lot in a good school district close to ample conveniences and hospitals services, and while they do exist, the trade offs have been a deal breaker.

I am now expanding the search to include older homes in more established neighborhoods with repairs in mind as well as out of the box thinking approach disregarding the resale completely, except for the value of the land in a desirable location and zoning only.

There are some interesting approaches that people have employed to adhere to the zoning laws in order to circumventing them. I will be researching to see if some of these methods can be applied locally, as there are some very interesting locations on the outskirts, not too far from these expensive contraptions.

My current thinking is still value, pay the least amount possible for housing and of course, location.

plantingtheseed
Posts: 138
Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2020 7:23 pm

Re: a planter's garden

Post by plantingtheseed »

wolf wrote:
Sat Dec 12, 2020 4:53 am
How is it going with your second phase of early retirement - Investing?
Hi @wolf, how are things?

It has been pleasant. I have been "mentoring" some folks by providing materials (books) and how-to guidance, and have been/will be actively teaching few others through a meeting of happenstance or via a request.

They're all from different backgrounds. I don't keep track of their progress, but I try to answer any of their questions as best as I can, and also point them to local resources, mostly local university classes that I had taken that were superb and some local groups that were reasonable to attend. I try to provide the basics and fundamentals, so that they can expand in the future, if they so desire.

As to my personal journey, it's never ending of course, and I find myself always preparing for the next new insight. It's a fun process. So far so good, I haven't experienced any losses, with decent margin of safety which is probably just a beginner's luck. :D

Thanks to the dot com experience, I know just enough to hurt myself in short term trading so if I feel the tug of the old nostalgia, I try to get my toes wet again in quick scalping so long as there is plenty of volatility.

Of course, being in the market means sticking one's neck far out there, as there is no such thing as risk free investing. Anything can happen in the market. (And I've personally experienced a few of these :lol: ) I am thankful that I am able to mitigate some market risk through other means (i.e. pension), which is allowing me to save for the future at a significant rate, even if I were to be completely out of the market.


But the bigger question that I have with regards to our economic future isn't about the market but with us.

If being amoral becomes an acceptable way of life in this country, where lying, cheating and stealing dominate the social norms, then I believe the pursuit of investing will be moot.

If laws become selective - disregarded when inconvenient and over-burdening when in favor, then as a nation of laws and not of men, we will have nothing to stand on. I believe the pursuit of investing will be moot.

If blaming everyone else instead of accepting responsibility is the guise under any racial, political and social differences, then our strength in diversity will be transposed to our dissolution. I believe the pursuit of investing will be moot.


Only if I had a crystal ball. :roll:

I think what remains is to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. If not for us, then for the little faces that look back to us.

latearlyFI
Posts: 37
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:24 am

Re: a planter's garden

Post by latearlyFI »

I agree with so much you write. I'm aghast at the state of the US right now & the sheer delusions of "greatness". The Healthcare system is extortionate & ridiculous. Not only that people are determined to keep it, SMH. I've lived in a country with Universal Healthcare & it is so much better, it boggles my mind people fight against it, my only conclusion is they've been successfully brainwashed to keep the boots on their necks.

The inequality & polarization needs to be sorted or more unrest will occur. Again having worked in other countries, I find the working conditions ridiculous for a so called 1st world country. Only 2 weeks vacation! No Maternity leave, family unfriendly hours, stagnant wage growth. Oh and fluctuating benefits - eg a company I worked for without warning decided it would no longer fund Health care 100% & within a few weeks I suddenly had to pay $400 a month into Healthcare - basically a pay cut, others in the company lost other benefits too (turned out they were selling the company & slashing costs off their books without a care for the employees).

Because of all this the US culture is super competitive & ruthless, right down to softball! My daughter was on the softball team in middle school - I was happy she'd have some fun, or so I thought. No, it was super nasty, competitive & at first I couldn't understand why - it's a game! Well when you realize these parents are pushing so hard hoping for a scholarship or path to one & they desperately need it, you realize it's part of the fabric of a place where you need to be rich to go to college & fund your own healthcare.

I really hope to escape the US one day.

RockyMtnLiving
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Joined: Fri May 08, 2020 8:49 am

Re: a planter's garden

Post by RockyMtnLiving »

There is lots of interesting academic literature on the lifecycle of empires and the reasons for their decline. I'm not suggesting that the United States was an empire per se by any formal definition, but it certainly is, or was, a superpower. Whether the US was/is an empire or superpower, it is worthwhile reading Sir John Glubb's "The Fate of Empires and Search for Survival."

Glubb documents that empires have a lifecycle, with the average age curiously being about 250 years (2020 minus 1776 = 244).

Regarding reasons for, or evidence of, decline, he notes the following:

"Another remarkable and unexpected symptom of national decline is the intensification of internal political hatreds. One would have expected that, when the survival of the nation became precarious, political factions would drop their rivalry and stand shoulder-to-shoulder to save their country" (p. 12 in the pdf at the link below).

It seems most empires don't fall because of overt foreign conflict (wars, for example). They decay from within. And thus the enemies of the United States are likely waiting us out. Their intelligence services are likely using social media and other technologies available in free societies to foment internal strife, as the NYT has documented.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Bagot_Glubb (with a link to the paper)

plantingtheseed
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Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2020 7:23 pm

Re: a planter's garden

Post by plantingtheseed »

Charlie Munger interview - 14. December 2020

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btdqC1V ... e=youtu.be

"We're in very uncharted waters. Nobody has gotten by with the kind of money printing now for a very extended period without some kind of trouble"

plantingtheseed
Posts: 138
Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2020 7:23 pm

Re: a planter's garden

Post by plantingtheseed »

I think it's important to provide memory for the future generations.

Many of us were drawn to sites like these, myself included, to seek a remedy for symptoms of economic decay that were beginning to reveal themselves all around us, affecting multiple aspects of our lives.

Those of us that are here, instinctively sensed the writing on the wall and knew that whatever we were doing, to continue on that path, would eventually lead to a dead end. Something had to change.

There are some very creative solutions that have been tried and recorded in these collections of memories - so that in mere hours, one can experience years of trial and error and may end up finding a reasonable guide map of what one is trying to achieve for the future.

That is powerful.

But we can only lead a horse to water. The future does not belongs to us. It belongs to them.

They will be the ones solely responsible for creating the kind of world that they will get to live in. We can only inform them of the consequences, based on our wisdom - as fragile as it may be.

Investing is the act of foregoing present consumption, in exchange for a chance at a much larger consumption in the future.

For this process to work, a viable future must exist.

Vetinvestor
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Dec 15, 2020 10:11 pm

Re: a planter's garden

Post by Vetinvestor »

“interesting academic literature on the lifecycle of empires and the reasons for their decline”

Recently found this forum and your thread. Thanks for sharing your “life” for others to see. Lots of like-minded thinking.

I regards to your post a couple of days ago (the partial quote above), you should read Ray Dalio’s perspective on this. What you say above is partially consistent with his theory. I don’t have a link handy but you should be able to find him and his recent writings on the subject of superpowers and reserve currencies. VERY interesting. JW

plantingtheseed
Posts: 138
Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2020 7:23 pm

Re: a planter's garden

Post by plantingtheseed »

Operation Santa
https://www.uspsoperationsanta.com/


Image

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'Could You Help Santa?' In Christmas Wishlists, Children Write Of Pandemic Hardships
https://www.npr.org/2020/12/20/94711995 ... -hardships

plantingtheseed
Posts: 138
Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2020 7:23 pm

Re: a planter's garden

Post by plantingtheseed »

Official NORAD Santa Tracker

"NORAD has been tracking Santa since 1955 when a young child accidently dialed the unlisted phone number of the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Operations Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, believing she was calling Santa Claus after seeing a promotion in a local newspaper.

Air Force Colonel Harry Shoup, the commander on duty that night, was quick to realize a mistake had been made, and assured the youngster that CONAD would guarantee Santa a safe journey from the North Pole.

Thus a tradition was born that rolled over to NORAD when it was formed in 1958. Each year since, NORAD has dutifully reported Santa's location on Dec. 24 to millions across the globe."

https://www.norad.mil/About-NORAD/NORAD-Tracks-Santa/

Merry Christmas! :D

plantingtheseed
Posts: 138
Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2020 7:23 pm

Re: a planter's garden

Post by plantingtheseed »

Finances as an obstacle being reasonably out of the way, I've been slowly preparing for the next phase of ERE, which is traveling long term.

I have traveled for work a decent amount, and would often turn a work trip into a mini work-vacation by scheduling few days off at the end of the work week to explore and have unplanned adventures along the way, as I moved my way back home.

Since hotels were no longer being paid for by the employer, I've become quite fond of car camping. :lol:

After many mini work-vacations, I knew I could do this for as long as I was able. And the world was a big place.

From this experience, the basis for a vehicle that best suits the type of travel that I engage in have been on the drawing board for some time.

I've looked at multiple Class C and Class B rv's and after several consideration, have pretty much ruled them out at this point.

The top contenders were (used if at all possible) Storyteller Overland Mode 4x4 (Class B), Lazy Daze (Class C) and New Horizons (Trailer).

There were several issues with these choices:

Price - they are pretty top notch in what they do and their prices also.

Maintenance - the integration between the rv maker and the vehicle maker made serviceability less than optimal under warranty and a potential nightmare out of warranty.

Cost of operation - they were all fuel hogs and/or required heavy duty trucks (i.e. F350/F450) that were also fuel hogs (basically in the low 10's pulling). Also required specialty insurance and specialty towing service.

Lack of stealth for urban boondocking - With the exception of Class B rv, these vehicles were not suitable for the urban landscape. This meant likely incurred costs for campgrounds memberships and lodging.

I pretty much drew the line at about here and began to think of other options.

The point of traveling is the travel itself. For my style of travel, a high MPG is an important consideration. And for the longevity of travel, environmental comfort is equally important.

This lead to a combination of solutions in trying to have the cake and eat it as well. The approach I am planning to take will combine a hybrid vehicle, paid lodging (airbnb, hotel), outdoor tent & shower, various memberships (fitness, hotel, gas, credit card) and perhaps a specialty vehicle modification or a specialty module add-on purchase.

I enjoy comfort and simplification. The first and foremost in the selection of the travel vehicle is that it must be comfortable, safe, easy to drive, easy to maintain, reliable, does not cost an arm and a leg to insure and gets a great gas mileage.

The vehicles under consideration are - a lifted Prius Gen3 (cheapest), RAV4 Hybrid AWD, Sienna Hybrid AWD and possibly a Tacoma/Tundra Hybrid 4WD w/ Locker (most expensive).

To be continued...

sky
Posts: 1185
Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2011 2:20 am

Re: a planter's garden

Post by sky »

I would recommend a large minivan. It is large enough to change your clothes, use the toilet, and wash yourself in a private place inside the van. It is stealthy enough to park overnight in any legal parking space anywhere. If it is mechanically in good condition and has good tires you will be able to drive many two track roads. Its cost is relatively low and is not a target for theft. You can modify your camping methods to match your environment, for example, no cook foods and sleeping in the vehicle in the city, and a screen tent and outdoor kitchen while boondocking.

If you want to go backcountry, park the minivan at the trailhead and backpack or bikepack in.

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