Renewed motivation to push for financial independence

Where are you and where are you going?
JenAR
Posts: 44
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2020 9:46 am

Re: Renewed motivation to push for financial independence

Post by JenAR »

@Stahlmann

When you say “anally compulsive,” do you mean the spending log? I feel much less compulsive when considering my purchases carefully and maintaining an awareness and record of them than when simply spending “freely,” which usually means habitually, mindlessly, and/or as a response to an uncomfortable mental state. Trying to spend less money is fun for me, and keeping a record is like keeping score. Having an audience gets my ego involved enough to be motivating.

I was hospitalized for an infectious illness a few years ago. My partner chainsawed himself a couple weeks ago. In both cases, the hospital bills were about a couple thousand dollars. If I get cancer or hit by a bus or something, I’ll probably spend all my money and then have to declare medical bankruptcy—just like people with net worths ten or twenty times higher than mine do everyday, in which case I’ll probably be glad I didn’t have more to lose.

If my health problem is untreatable, I guess I’ll die. In which case I doubt I’ll regret not having worked more.

I feel really good about my social interactions. Not quite clear on what you mean re:social obligations, my parents, etc.

JenAR
Posts: 44
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2020 9:46 am

Spending log

Post by JenAR »

7/23:

$126.98 - Qualia Mind Nootropic supplement - my partner turned me on to this when I was struggling with burnout after the last few years managing things back home and caring for my father, and I find that it makes a VERY noticeable difference in my motivation and mental acuity; unfortunately, it's very expensive. I had already lessened the frequency of this subscription and am now putting it on hold

7/24:

$1 Kickstarter pledge

7/26:
$10 - cash to my partner, who didn't have any cash on him
$26.02 - gasoline
$19.14 - gasoline
$26.74 - tacos on the road + tip for myself and partner

We're back from the wedding, and I am back at work! Today I worked on our greenhouse design, chopped and dropped the garden, harvested currants for jelly, and went to the creek to get water for irrigating the gardens. I really enjoyed meeting my partner's family; they are incredibly good people, just like he is.

Total cost for wedding road trip: $156.35 - more than I would like to have spent, but totally worth it.

My goal is not to spend any money at all in August; should be doable unless something unexpected comes up.

classical_Liberal
Posts: 1778
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: Spending log

Post by classical_Liberal »

Road trips are the best! Glad you enjoyed yourself.
JenAR wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 8:12 pm
My goal is not to spend any money at all in August; should be doable unless something unexpected comes up.
We have no spend monthly challenges in the journals here all the time. Usually though, this means spend nothing beyond housing, basic food, and head taxes (health ins, payroll tax, etc). This may be the first challenge ever (definitely the first I've read) with a goal of absolute zero spend! Not to put any pressure on you, but... don't screw this up :D

Frita
Posts: 569
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2018 8:43 pm

Re: Renewed motivation to push for financial independence

Post by Frita »

Following your no spend August...I last tried in February 2008. Just curious, do you file income tax and/or use services like the free health clinic, ACA, or foodbank? (Please disregard if it’s none of my business)

JenAR
Posts: 44
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2020 9:46 am

Re: Renewed motivation to push for financial independence

Post by JenAR »

@c_L

Cool! That's actually pretty motivating.

@Frita

I do generally file income taxes. I don't use a free health clinic, ACA (or any other health insurance type stuff), or a food bank. I don't take advantage of any sort of "welfare" programs or private charitable organizations.

Frita
Posts: 569
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2018 8:43 pm

Re: Renewed motivation to push for financial independence

Post by Frita »

I figured as much. Bravo. I know people in the Toledo District of Belize. They went down in the 1980s to homestead. The first year was living in a tent, foraging, and planting rice paddies. Hardcore but actually an appealing lifestyle, at least when visiting.

JenAR
Posts: 44
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2020 9:46 am

Income!

Post by JenAR »

$1,298 IRS refund. So technically not exactly income, but money in my pocket, anyway.

Spent this morning making clay slip and sifting sand to put in the finish layer of the cob floors in the last two room of our house. So excited to no longer have dusty floors!

JenAR
Posts: 44
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2020 9:46 am

Income

Post by JenAR »

$3.31 interest on savings account

Plus, $10 in gas given to me by some women to whom my partner and I gave a ride to the nearest gas station and back after they ran out of gas

And a ~$300 .30-06 hunting rifle and several boxes of cartridges given to me by a good friend, which should cut down on my food expenses once I am living independently on my plot

Yay social capital!

And we laid our new cob floors today!

UrbanHomesteader
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2011 9:02 pm

Re: Renewed motivation to push for financial independence

Post by UrbanHomesteader »

I am enjoying your journal! I love to see how the ERE mindset can interact with various lifestyles, including permaculture.

Are your meals part of the package deal with the community you are living and working with?

Are there people who are living on individual plots there that are no longer working full time with the community?

JenAR
Posts: 44
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2020 9:46 am

Re: Renewed motivation to push for financial independence

Post by JenAR »

@ UrbanHomesteader

Our meals are part of the package deal. All purchased food is organic, which I appreciate, and our diet is a lot more luxurious than what I'd purchase for myself.

There have been people off and on who rent a plot of their own and live there independently, or do a work trade for it. There is one guy here who has put in four years for two acres of his own, but he transitioned into leading the "boot camp" in exchange for help on his plot from the rest of us.

A few people pop in and out seasonally as well.

--

Yesterday my partner and I helped our friend Clayton pit a bunch of cherries he had gleaned, in exchange for a bunch of tart cherry seeds to plant on our plots. In addition to tree seeds, one of my goals is to have a seed mix of 50 different species to scatter when we do the earthworks on our plots. This requires gathering a lot of seeds, since I don't want to spend money.

JenAR
Posts: 44
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2020 9:46 am

Re: Renewed motivation to push for financial independence

Post by JenAR »

In Hristo's FI thread, I mentioned that I have focused on other forms of capital than financial in my ERE journey.

That got me to thinking about something I never see referred to in these terms, but that I'd call it something like "psycho-emotional capital." It's about having the psychological and emotional resources to enjoy a lifestyle that most people would find deeply challenging, uncomfortable, painful, or even frightening.

I was thinking back to a long-distance backpacking trip I took a few years ago. A couple months into the trip, my bank back home had some kind of meltdown and my debit and credit cards were frozen. I was basically out of cash. I had to live without money for weeks. The sky didn't fall. That trip also catalyzed a sea change in my attitude toward shelter (I can survive with no more than I can carry on my back), transportation (I now realize that I can walk and/or hitchhike to anywhere in the Continental US), and money (turns out you don't really need it). I realized that my house could burn down, my truck could be totaled, my wallet and important documents could be lost, and I'd be fine. No worries. That realization allows me to live much closer to the edge in terms of ERE/FI and completely avoid the "golden handcuffs" problem.

I've also found that my meditation practice and lifestyle make me much less averse to discomfort, pain, and even death than most people, which allows me to avoid chasing what I view as the false security of trying to "buy" health and security in the form of insurance, huge cash reserves, etc. I don't have much or need much, so I don't worry about losing much (with the exception of my loved ones--I have a lot of meditation to go before I get over that one!)

Because I am secure in myself, my life direction, and my relationships, I don't worry (much--I am human) about my superficial appearance or about fitting in, so I don't waste money or time on things like shaving my legs, paying for nice clothes, trying to avoid appearing "poor," impressing friends and relatives, etc. The emotional capital of a secure attachment style, loving and respectful relationships, and a decent amount of confidence in myself translates into much lower monetary inputs to feel "okay."

I think that any pursuit of ERE requires and tends to develop what I am calling "psycho-emotional capital," to some degree. I think that each person's ratio of financial capital : social capital : intellectual capital: ecological capital : psycho-emotional capital : xyz capital will vary, but each one can substitute for the others to a great degree. My monthly expenses seem to be low even in ERE terms, and I suspect that my focus on developing psycho-emotional capital is why.

ThriftyRob
Posts: 89
Joined: Wed Jul 01, 2020 7:20 am

Re: Renewed motivation to push for financial independence

Post by ThriftyRob »

Thanks for expanding on alternative forms of capital. I found it really stimulating. It's probably a prerequisite for ERE that what others think about us (i.e. that we're weird!) shouldn't be a concern. Jacob's renaissance man model takes us back to times before specialisation and the division of labour. So developing all the skills around growing ingredients from seed, and being able to preserve and use that produce throughout the seasons becomes important again. I don't see the need to 'buy' health either – it follows on from eating and drinking healthy foods and doing good exercise (maybe in the work or by getting around {walk/bike} but certainly not by using machines with displays in a gym). It's this activity directed towards self-sufficiency that keeps us away from spending money and also reduces the occasions where having to buy in or outsource is necessary or even desirable.

JenAR
Posts: 44
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2020 9:46 am

Re: Renewed motivation to push for financial independence

Post by JenAR »

I am trying to limit myself to 3 goals I'm focusing on at any given time. In priority order, mine currently are:

1. Becoming vested in my plot here at Wheaton Labs (that means working 40 hours per week in the boot camp & doing 4 hours of "nest labor" each week, the bulk of my time/energy)
2. Mastering all six moves from Convict Conditioning (this will take a long time, but I intend to avoid being distracted by any other form of physical conditioning--as Dan John says, "The plan is to keep the plan the plan"--always my biggest challenge)
3. Becoming financially independent (this probably means ~$30,000 more dollars saved for a total of ~$60,000, plus learning to invest sufficiently well)

The goals are prioritized as they are partially by urgency and importance, but also because the first contributes to the second (eight hours of physical labor each day creates a stronger physical baseline), and the first two contribute to the third (becoming vested in my plot and improving my natural building and permaculture skills reduce my expenses, and being physically fit and healthy reduces my risk of expensive illness or injury).

I have just started re-reading the ERE book and want to look at the web of goals section again.

JenAR
Posts: 44
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2020 9:46 am

Re: Renewed motivation to push for financial independence

Post by JenAR »

Thinking about the future, I would ideally (this is a vision more than a plan or goal) be married to my partner next year and have a child the year after that. Arbitrarily, I will assign these dates to my birthday, so married by 04/11/21 and starting a family by 04/11/22. For the record, my partner and I have talked about marriage and children, but not really about the timeline, and it's not exactly a happening thing, but for planning purposes, I'm putting dates to it. (He might be mildly freaked out by reading this, which he might do--he knows I post here, and maybe he'll poke around here eventually). Anyway, I would prefer not to have children until I'm financially independent and my partner and I can both support ourselves in a home-based lifestyle with neither of us needing to go out to work, which means I have ~1 year and 8 months to accumulate $30,000. And eleven months of that will be spent working full time in the boot camp. Mrrrr. Must think about this.

Frita
Posts: 569
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2018 8:43 pm

Re: Renewed motivation to push for financial independence

Post by Frita »

JenAR wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 10:02 am
...It's about having the psychological and emotional resources to enjoy a lifestyle that most people would find deeply challenging, uncomfortable, painful, or even frightening.

I was thinking back to a long-distance backpacking trip I took a few years ago. A couple months into the trip, my bank back home had some kind of meltdown and my debit and credit cards were frozen. I was basically out of cash. I had to live without money for weeks. The sky didn't fall. That trip also catalyzed a sea change in my attitude toward shelter (I can survive with no more than I can carry on my back), transportation (I now realize that I can walk and/or hitchhike to anywhere in the Continental US), and money (turns out you don't really need it). I realized that my house could burn down, my truck could be totaled, my wallet and important documents could be lost, and I'd be fine. No worries. That realization allows me to live much closer to the edge in terms of ERE/FI and completely avoid the "golden handcuffs" problem.
This fascinates me. I have met other people who have this "psycho-emotional capital." They all live alternative lifestyles and never really bought into the mainstream. Most started with more traditional family situations. I am curious how you transitioned up your long-distance backpacking trip and what your “before” life looked like.

There seems to be different ways and orders to develop this. Having grown up on a farm with animals, coming from a hunting family, and experiencing a lot of death of people I cared about early on; I became more independent and have a death positive orientation. Conversely, I had to have enough money to realize that it is an illusion of security and traps one into a craving-spend-matrix dependent cycle. We haven’t had health insurance for several years now which freaks people out. I am still staggering around blindfolded trying to figure out some meaningful work/legacy beyond my kids.
JenAR wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 10:02 am
Becoming vested in my plot here at Wheaton Labs (that means working 40 hours per week in the boot camp & doing 4 hours of "nest labor" each week, the bulk of my time/energy)
I had to Google what “nest labor” is and found this: https://permies.com/t/86713/permacultur ... r-personal I thought it may help others understand the vocabulary and paradigm. Many people distinguish paid versus unpaid work. This breaks it down more for community living. (Or may I am a big picture weirdo who sees the connections without the categories.) Cleaning seems to be a common issue when sharing space. How has dividing 4 hours of nest work into 2 hours cleaning and 2 hours cleaning functioned?

No more overquoting, I wanted to say that being FI when you have kids is an excellent plan. That’s what we did. Things did not go as we planned, but it was easier to adapt because of that.

JenAR
Posts: 44
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2020 9:46 am

Re: Renewed motivation to push for financial independence

Post by JenAR »

@Frita

I fit your profile, in that I have always looked with a beady eye at the mainstream, even as a small child, and came from a stable, loving, functional, somewhat traditional home. I've often reflected that the people you might expect to come from weird or alternative families/situations--those who march to the beat of their own drummer, so to speak--often come from pretty normal, traditional families. I suspect that a really strong emotional/psychological/attachment foundation makes it easier for people to take risks and appear weird, which might explain the pattern.

My family is also an established, wealthy family, although not extravagantly rich (well, some of them are, but not my immediate family). I first encountered the idea of financial independence when I was quite young--elementary school, I think. We were having a family meeting with my cousin, who was also our broker, and he was impressed with some of my questions and gave me The Morgan-Stanley Guide to Personal Investing (IIRC re: the title). I was oriented toward financial independence from that point onward, although I didn't come up with the idea of radically reducing expenses until probably university. I always avoided debt. I was already a minimalist, oriented toward FI, and engaging in alternative employment, permaculture, and fairly low expenses (a few hundred dollars a month) before my backpacking trip, but the backpacking trip was a turning point as far as being able to feel secure without needing to rely on money or possessions at all, and being able to accept the idea of total loss, whereas before my framework had been more about accounting for every eventuality and relying on accumulated capital to provide a sense of autonomy/independence/freedom/security--whereas now I have all those things as an internal orientation.

Must sign off, will respond to your other questions soon!

Frita
Posts: 569
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2018 8:43 pm

Re: Renewed motivation to push for financial independence

Post by Frita »

Hm, I suspect that family financial privilege can provide freedom as an individual. There is a safety net should one be willing to return to the fold. This is more of an observation on personal experience.

JenAR
Posts: 44
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2020 9:46 am

Re: Renewed motivation to push for financial independence

Post by JenAR »

@Frita

I think that can often be true. For me it was a bit the opposite--family preoccupation with protecting wealth made me excessively averse to its potential loss. It also felt like wealth = autonomy, and being beholden to my family for money meant I was under their thumb. But in the process of accumulating my own money to escape the thumb (both my family's and a sort of general social/economic thumb), I realized that I didn't actually need the money either. So now I don't get emotionally involved in the weird inheritance dramas, etc. My relationships do make me feel more secure about living on the financial edge, but it's more in the sense of "If I had a complicated pregnancy and ended up penniless and physically unable to do much, there are plenty of people who wouldn't let me freeze or starve," but many of the people who fall into that category have/make very little money, so I think of it more as social capital than vicarious financial capital.

mooretrees
Posts: 278
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:21 pm

Re: Renewed motivation to push for financial independence

Post by mooretrees »

I've been mulling over your 'pyscho-emotional' post and finding it very useful. I am in recovery from trying to be cool, fit in, ect and it has taken some adjustment, still is in fact. It's worthwhile to push myself to continue this effort and it certainly helps to be around others who aren't super 'normal'. I've always been a bit odd, but now I'm less preoccupied with the appearance of my life and more interested in the quality.

Also, I cannot stress enough how much of a toll it takes to parent and work full time. You are doing yourself and your family a huge service by working towards FI before children. I'm lucky enough to have one parent at home, but boy would this be a different experience if we could both be home all the time. Glad you're here to push the extreme envelope!

classical_Liberal
Posts: 1778
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: Renewed motivation to push for financial independence

Post by classical_Liberal »

Add me into the fanbase for the concept of psycho-emotional capital. It's something I've never been able to put my finger on, but a sense of wellbeing because you know you can handle most situations. I have been thinking about learned helplessness and it seems to me that is a symptom of low psycho-emotional capital.

Unless you think I'm off track with my thought on its definition, I think another major contributor to building this capital is simply doing hard things. Challenge yourself, overcome obstacles, rite of passages, ect.

I don't think I had a good supply of this until a phase in my life where I did indeed have to overcome some pretty substantial challenges.

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