LiquidSapphire's Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
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Post by lilacorchid » Wed Feb 27, 2013 5:21 am

LS- I used to think I was introverted and I didn't care to talk to people because everyday I would get up, put on my customer face, and go to work and har har har over the water cooler like everyone else. Turns out, I did need socialization, but was getting all I needed (and more) at work, which is why I never called my friends back to do anything when they called. At around the six month mark of being home with an infant all day, I thought, "Holy shit, I need to get out of here and talk to someone, like multiple times a week!" I also said, "Holy shit, I need some sort of hobby, new skill to learn, or project to do. I can only rearrange and organize our house so much!!!"
From everything I took in today after reading the whole thread from start to finish, I would imagine that once this job thing goes away, you will feel better. I got the distinct impression that you worked in a soul-sucking hell hole. Your writing also makes me think you are intelligent and analytical and I am guessing that there is a part of your brain that is shorting out because you are fighting to go back to that place!
(And for what it's worth, I ofter wonder if people read my journal too!)

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Post by m741 » Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:39 am

I'll second lilac. A lot of people read the journals but just comment once every few months. Plus there are lurkers who read the journals but never comment at all.

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Post by rube » Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:59 am

LS: I read all journals: please continue!

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Post by ThinSlicer » Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:55 am

LiquidSapphire, your journal is one of my favorites here. I'd be disappointed if you stopped writing.

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Post by LiquidSapphire » Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:57 pm

Thanks everyone! Makes me feel good that although my journal is not all rainbows and unicorns that people like reading it anyway. I glance at virtually every post made at this forum. Except the one about how the economy works. That thread is so N that it makes the S in me cry.
@lilac - I have zero doubts I am introverted! But I am not 100% introverted, so I do need some social interaction. I am finding that seeing my boyfriend on weekends and after work most nights, and getting together with someone else, family or a friend, 1-2x every 1-2 weeks, is enough socialization for me. My struggle right now is finding a "project" or something to work on, yeah I definitely hear you there!!! Thanks for the compliments.
I am busy on Friday + the weekend and so I am going to do my regular monthly update tomorrow morning.
So far, though...
Century Link gave me another year at $25/month for a year ($13 my half). They even upgraded me for that price, how lovely of them. I did up paying one month of $45 internet though, because I didn’t catch them in time for this billing cycle. Oh well.
I also called up my HSA provider who says I need to wait 7-10 business days for them to mail me the paperwork to transfer my HSA and no they will not refund me the $3 maintenance fee while I wait for these papers and then once they get them back it will take another 10-20 days to transfer the account over. And no, they can’t just email or fax me them. Such efficiency in 2013. They must reaaaaally love my $3 to make it this much of a pain in the ass. I didn’t even choose these jokers. Oh, but I am “fortunate” that my account doesn’t have an account closure fee. You wanna know who else is fortunate? The CSR who took my call who didn’t have to listen to my tirade against an account closure fee.
Side income this month is $62.78 (does not count investment returns/dividends). I have some pent up CC rewards so should be higher next month as I cash them in. It'll be interesting to see what the average income is at the end of the year and the sources of that income. I have no idea what is average or repeatable right now so it's a good exercise.

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Post by palmera » Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:23 pm

I also agree with Lilac :)
And LS I still read your journal's just that I haven't been commenting much in the past few months b/c My work was taking up all my time...not in a bad way...for a few months, while I worked at this contract job, I got sucked right into their company culture: working there wasn't a job, it was a lifestyle (an expense paid, extravagant lifestyle). Working there was intense but saved me a lot of time and really accelerated my expenses.

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Post by palmera » Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:28 pm

I also agree with Lilac :)
And LS I still read your journal's just that I haven't been commenting much in the past few months b/c My work was taking up all my time...not in a bad way...for a few months, while I worked at this contract job, I got sucked right into their company culture: working there wasn't a job, it was a lifestyle (an expense paid, extravagant lifestyle). Working there was intense but saved me a lot of time and really accelerated my expenses.
And now...I'M UNEMPLOYED TOO! My contract ended and even though I'm supposedly interviewing for internal positions full-time, they're notoriously slow/inconsistent/insane. I've been contacted by other recruiters too. But seriously, I'm taking the next 6 months off to finish up my bar job, and start an online business that I can work anywhere in the world, since I plan on leaving the country in the fall.
Thank GOODNESS for frugal living/ERE and savings! I don't have nearly as much savings as you (a couple years' worth) but I'm okay as I have my part-time job and a freelance side hustle to cover my expenses AND save.
How many ppl have this luxury? Not many, I'm finding out. I tell ppl I'm unemployed and they look sooooo panic-stricken on my behalf, it's sad/funny. :P

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Post by LiquidSapphire » Sat Mar 02, 2013 9:32 am

@palmera - glad to hear from you. Glad you are doing so well. :) Smiles all around. I had no idea people liked my journal so much.

NW: 260438.31

Total Assets: 280436.3
If every month were like this month I would have a 4.62% withdrawal rate.
Not much else to add that I haven't already said about February. I have a nasty cold so I canceled my Thursday training, will reschedule later. That's one thing about being unemployed... it has been a full year since I had a cold... no more being stuck around sick people in the office since they are too cheap to take a sick day. This one I got from that wife and kids of the couple I talked about above... sigh... wish they would have told me they were sick before I got there.

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Post by LiquidSapphire » Sat Mar 02, 2013 5:44 pm

I find setting small monthly goals keeps me on track so I am going to try that.
March Goals:
1) Close the loop on transferring my HSA and make sure CenturyLink really did lower my bill.
2) Redeem the rest of my CC rewards and close the loop on my credit card splurge from August so I don't get hit with annual fees, etc. Either downgrade the cards to a type without an annual fee, combine the CL with an existing CC or just flat out close it out. It was worth it though. I cleared $1750 in cash or gift cards and 40,000 USAirways miles for hardly any effort. I'd do it again but I don't have an income to report on the applications :\
3) I have two big tupperware bins full of "stuff" that I need to go through. Combination of stuff to sell, paperwork, tax paperwork, photos, etc. I need to get these emptied out and "processed" somehow. They are an eyesore.
4) Do my taxes :( :( :( I am not sure what to expect other than I think it will be a pain in my ass and I will owe some money probably.

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Post by LiquidSapphire » Tue Mar 05, 2013 10:51 pm

I settled. :)
I might be around a 4% WR now. I think that makes me FI now? I don't want to plan too much for a success rate greater than 80%.
I'd like to eventually get to 3% for more safety in case the returns sequence is not so hot over the next few years but the $$ it would take to get there would be a lot. So I am blissfully pondering that nowadays.
Feels good :)

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Post by chenda » Tue Mar 05, 2013 11:12 pm

Congratulations :) must feel fantastic, I think your definitely there. You can always do a bit of work down the line to boost your savings, or live cheaper somewhere for a few years to increase your returns, to get down your withdrawal rate.
I'm the same age as you with a very similar budget (and hopefully soon a similar net worth) so its great to see what you've achieved and how its worked out.

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Post by LiquidSapphire » Tue Mar 26, 2013 4:50 pm

Thanks chenda :) appreciate you stopping by.
March 26, 2013
I ran some #s and I decided that I will consider myself FI at a 3.5% WR. I think this is the right dose of safety without oversaving and I can sleep at night with this number. Monte Carlo simulations seem to indicate the PP is 80% successful at around a 3.5% WR and I feel good about that. If my investment assumptions are so far off on the “bad” side that my simulations are wrong, well, a 3% WR would probably not help me either. I’m also not counting social security, my pension, possible inheritances, or any future side income in my calculations, so I think I’m good with that number.
I am around 4.1 or 4.2% right now if I withdraw all expenses. 3.5% gives me just about $1000 a month in spending. The gap is closing.
So here’s the plan.
Long story short, lots of drama in my life happening (it never ends, apparently), blah blah blah, events in my personal life are leading me to believe that it is very likely that in the next 6-18 months I will buy property. How that transaction will fit into my ERE plans, I don’t know yet, as the details are very much is still up in the air as to how I will structure my life at this point. However, all the different ways I could attack it decrease my monthly expenses significantly, and therefore my nest egg requirements. Some scenarios bring me down to 3.5% today with no additional money required. The “worst case” scenario puts me at about 20-40K short of the 3.5%, but it’s an improvement over the 80K I am calculating with today’s numbers. This should become slightly more clear by this summer, and I should know by end of year exactly where I am going with this.
My side business income is also picking up much faster than I anticipated. It appears it may be a viable way to make a little money long term without much hardship. I have no idea if this income is stable, but perhaps it is. This business has potential. It also allows me to be able to write off the home office of a house, internet, and phone bills, amongst other expenses. It will also allow me to contribute to a Roth IRA, and maybe a Solo 401K. All good things.
To date I have cleared $465 in Revenue in the last 20 days. I decided to invest in some “business deductions” with a big chunk of it. Namely 2 years of VOIP service and a FreedomPop device. I don’t think it’s really going to decrease my personal expenses, but the VOIP service makes sense for the business ($185 all inclusive for 2 years of service) and the FreedomPop ($96) allows me to do work whenever I am not home. 500 megs of data/month is free and that is plenty. After some one-time reinvestments into the business, taxes, and advertising costs, I am still maintaining a profit of $111 today. I don’t feel comfortable discussing the nature of the business here but I will answer PMs.
I really only need to make about $175-$200/month to “break even”. I’d like to make a little more than that to hopefully achieve a “snowball” effect, where I withdraw less than 3.5% or 3% and allow my investments to grow passively for a while. I might also try to save a bit of my income sometimes if I exceed $200/month to assist in this effect.
I need to do research on taxes. I also need to DO my taxes. Sigh. I am also a complete fail so far on the “organization” challenge I issued myself, but I do have 6 days to go to complete it. CenturyLink lowered my bill as asked. Chase STILL hasn’t transferred my HSA. Bastards.
On a side note I recently encountered a person in my life (OK, mother of the mother of boyfriend’s kid) who really, really, really got under my skin. She bragged about her THREE luxury vehicles; a Jaguar, a Mercedes, and a BMW. She goes out to eat all the time, 1-2 meals a day, goes shopping what appears to be near constantly, buying for herself, her family, clothes, toys, blah blah blah blah. She does not work, but her husband earns a good income, which she just turns around and spends. She really gets under my skin. These behavior has been REALLY bothering me over the past few days and I am not quite sure why. It’s not jealousy, I could have $5 million and I still wouldn’t buy 1 luxury vehicle, let alone 3 of them. It just... ERKS me so much to see someone so WASTEFUL and such a TERRIBLE steward of their resources. The worst part is that she is influencing her daughter and granddaughter to do the same thing and follow in the same footsteps; that is the part I hate the most. I don’t want these people knocking on my door for more child support later so they can fund another Fashion Show from Macy’s. I really dislike this person for this alone and it overshadows everything else about them. I just can’t get past this for some reason. I just can’t even like this person. I have never had such a visceral reaction to consumerism before. Then again, I really do try hard to not hang out with people like that regularly. Maybe it’s a shock to the system to have it so blatantly thrown in my face. Was she trying to impress me? Because really it made me almost hate her and I don’t choose that word lightly.

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Post by dot_com_vet » Wed Mar 27, 2013 2:42 am

LiquidSapphire, I wouldn't want three luxury vehicles, just for the maintenance headache.
I remember carsitting a Mercedes and sitting at a gas station for 20 minutes trying to figure out how to open the gas cap. :-)

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Post by m741 » Wed Mar 27, 2013 3:57 am

You might enjoy reading the free PDF here about building a small (ERE-supporting) business:

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Post by LiquidSapphire » Mon Apr 01, 2013 4:54 am

Thx dot :) When I was a teenager I had a hard time figuring out why the most expensive car in the world was not something that sipped gas and required zero maintenance. Now I know. and thx m741 - downloaded the book and will read at some point.
April 1, 2013

CC Rewards: 76

Mystery Shopping: 4

Bing: 15

Pollbuzzer: 5

Swagbucks: 5

TOTAL: 105
Unemployment minus taxes: 765.50
Side Biz Revenue: 755.01

Advertising: 42.83

One-Time Reinvestments: 326.91

Estimated Social Security/Medicare/Income taxes: 59

Profit: 326.27

I had some unusual expenses this month. I am going to NYC next month (Never been, always wanted to go, so I’m going, damn it) and I am also going to New Hampshire this summer so travel was a big chunk. And I started getting electrolysis on my legs. I fucking hate shaving. I am practically blind and so in the shower with no glasses I cut myself all the damn time. Fuck it, that shit is gone, I don’t care if it’s financially stupid or not. It should only run like 2-3K and then I never ever have to shave again. Bye Bye stupid Intuition Razors that suck anyway. And I bought a sewing machine. I have been trying for a month to use a POS one and I’m sick of it. I bought a nice one and if I still hate sewing I’ll just return it. And if I like it well, then it’s a useful hobby/skill. And I bought my lawyers something to thank them for all of their hard work for $100.


With extraneous expenses: 1889

Without them: 1067
Assets: 345575

Debts: 21272 (Deferred Student Loans, Monthly Float on CCs)

Net Worth: 324304

3.5% of Assets Divided by 12: $1008

3.5% of NW Divided by 12: $946
I think what I’ll try to do starting now is keep a running total of where I am in comparison to a 3.5% WR. And if by mid-November 2013 I am not even, I have to go get a temp job of some kind to make up the difference. And if I end up with extra money past a 3.5% WR I will save some (to achieve snowball effect) and maybe spend some if there is something I want that costs a lot. Unemployment allows good “Training wheels” for this exercise.

Allowed to spend in March 2013 (Inflows + $946) = 2146.77

Spent in March 2013: 1886.87

2013 Slush Fund Balance: 259.90
Gold 18.6%

LT Bonds 17.3%

Stocks 23.1%

Cash 40.9%
April To Dos:


2) REBALANCE. I need moar of everything.

3) Research how to pay LESS in 2013 taxes.

4) Build the business some more, need to write more ad copy

5) Recharacterize/Combine/Cancel CCs before their annual fees hit

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Post by GPMagnus » Mon Apr 01, 2013 10:52 am

Awesome stuff LS - very happy to read that you are going to NYC - you'll love it!

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Post by LiquidSapphire » Wed May 08, 2013 9:33 pm

As of May 1:

Net Worth: 325427.725

Total Assets: 347574.465
I didn't calculate my spending yet but I know I spent $400 to go to NYC all inclusive and there may be an extra hundred or two in there so maybe $1700 or so. However, I cleared over $2000 after taxes in my side business, conservatively speaking (I am conservatively estimating my tax burden; it might be less than I anticipate.) So I'm not really too worried about money right now since I withdrew 0 from savings. We'll see how this month goes but I'm already on track for a similar income.
Building a business is a fun challenge. I'm learning again and it's nice to know that if I really blow my income goals out of the water I can not only withdraw nothing but also inflate my lifestyle a bit which is great peace of mind. I'm finding what's hard now is work/life balance in that, every minute I'm not working is a minute I could be making money and I've already lost business/money for not being around all the time. I've never had that feeling before so it's sort of odd. No matter how much or how little I worked, my paycheck wasn't going to change. Now they are very correlated which is different. So far what I've done is created a schedule and unless I have nothing better to do (rare), I don't work outside my schedule.
My cell phone experiment of living off $10 for 2 months failed when I needed to make a bunch of business calls unexpectedly so I reupped for $80 and I'm calling it a business expense. I am considering throwing $10 onto another phone just in case I get audited by the IRS, so I can keep the $80 deduction. But then I have a Google Voice number that I am thinking I can use as my "personal cell" on my iPhone so. More research needed to save all of like $10.
Has anyone come across any clever ways to shelter business income from taxes? Like a 501(c) where you take a small salary and give some of the profits to charity and keep the rest as the charity's asset? I haven't researched this much but thought it might work. I looked into an S Corp and the free accounting advice I got said it makes no sense to create it or tax your LLC like it until you gross $60K. In that structure you can pay yourself a "reasonable salary" and then the corporation retains earnings and etc, etc, Well... I'm not there yet so we'll see.
I'll probably open an LLC soon. It's cheap here, like 50 bucks. I might do Wyoming instead (it's only a couple hours drive if I really ever have to go there). I am not sure the benefits are worth the trouble so that's on my plate to research. I met with some accountants and I am not convinced they're worth the $. Maybe they are. I don't know. They want $500 to do my personal/LLC returns and $150-225 an hour for "tax advice" or whatever else outside of the return. Maybe I'll do it this year since my tax rate will be high and try to prepay them in advance or something in 2013 for 2014 work and see what they have to say regarding finding deductions for me. After that I will just probably get the business Turbo Tax. In fact I'm off to meet a third accountant right now for a consultation so maybe I'll learn something new.

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Post by JohnnyH » Wed May 08, 2013 10:35 pm

I've really enjoyed this journal, I wish you continuing success. :D

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Re: LiquidSapphire's Journal

Post by LiquidSapphire » Sun Jun 30, 2013 1:35 pm

Just a quick update. Not much to say at this point related to ERE. At the moment things in the forefront of my mind are building my business, time management (I spend a lot of time on urgent things but not "important" things like promotion in my business), creating more passive income streams in the business and getting healthier.

I have mainly been focusing on building my business and not savings, finances, or ERE. In a way I have sort of "solved" the ERE problem and my passion is shifting elsewhere. One bad thing about it is I am not really tracking my WR or anything like that at all. First, because I have so many bank accounts and CCs open in a bunch of places, it makes it a pain in the ass. Many of them provide a benefit of some kind or another and I hesitate to close them. So putting together my NW and spending each month is a real pain, even using Considering actually tracking expenses by hand next month. In a way it might actually be easier. I have an old copy of YNAB that would help. We'll see. I'm also reasonably sure I'm around 3% WR or less with my income but I'd like to be able to prove that to myself on paper.

Personal stuff going on in my life has quieted down a bit, thankfully. I thought I was going to have to move possibly in July but that is no longer the case. Right now I am thinking maybe in 6-18 months still. We'll see. I have never been one to make big decisions quickly.

I bought an electric conversion kit for my bicycle. - I bought the $499 kit. I know Jacob, MMM, and 90% of this board would say to save the $ and just suck it up with human power and in 2 months I won't need it. But I can't get over the mental hurdle of "hills" and the discomfort of what that means. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. LOVE LOVE LOVE. LOVE. If you're not biking everywhere because it's too "Hard" - buy this. It's a good crutch. I used to take the car for trips that were longer than 4 miles round trip. I now only take the car for really long trips (usually 80 miles RT) and use my bike for anything less than 10 miles round trip.

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Re: LiquidSapphire's Journal

Post by riparian » Sun Jun 30, 2013 2:53 pm

I was gone for a few months and your journal exploded with success! Yay!

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