C40's Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
Salathor
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by Salathor »

Where are you staying so far? Are you in a hotel or did you find a month-to-month apartment situation? Does the pricing differ either way?

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Re: C40's Journal

Post by jacob »

C40 wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 8:43 pm
...or go somewhere for 3 hours where I don't know if there are public bathrooms to be found.
So really no worse than Europe in general.

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C40
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by C40 »

Salathor wrote:
Tue Nov 26, 2019 5:19 pm
Where are you staying so far? Are you in a hotel or did you find a month-to-month apartment situation? Does the pricing differ either way?
So far I've rented places through AirBNB. In Bangkok, the same place for 2 months. I've also booked a place through AirBNB for the first 2 months (of maybe 3 total) in Vietnam.

Where I'm staying is more like an apartment building. The rooms are small and simple though - no kitchen, only a small refrigerator.

AirBNB seems to have rates as good or lower than other online platforms, and works better than them (Agoda is one that people say is the cheapest, but I haven't found that, and their app/website is not so good). Most places on AirBNB have their discounts for longer stays visible clearly, so it's easy.

The advertised rates can be something like:
Nightly: $1000 baht ($33)
Monthly: $10,000 baht ($330)

So there can be a pretty big discount (at some places) when booking for longer periods.

AirBNB is simpler than a 'normal' apartment in some ways (you don't pay any security deposit), and maybe more complex in others (I've read that AirBNB renting is not legal in Thailand, and can possible cause an issue when doing things like extending your visa if the agent you're speaking with discovers you're staying in an AirBNB)

I believe the cheapest route for housing is through 'walking around', or by asking locals that you're friendly with. An AirBNB price still has some "tourist pricing" built in. Walking around and talking to people can get you a cheaper place that isn't 'tourist priced' and where the owners don't advertise much. That is, book a place for just a short period or on an ongoing nightly basis, and then walk around to find somewhere. On the street I'm staying (the 'city center' length of it is maybe 700 meters), I've seen a handful of signs at places along the road advertising a room(s) for rent. There's also a hotel down the road that looks like it's probably decent and has a monthly rate advertised (10,000 baht or about $333 USD). I think the 'walking around' method (or, similarly, asking Thai people that you are friendly with can result in prices 30-40% lower - so, maybe as low as $200/month in Bangkok for a room with AC. But that method wouldn't be a sure thing, and there's more cost while in the initial daily hotel until finding and renting it.

Salathor
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by Salathor »

How is Thailand going? Are you seeing any of the Visa action that Mr. Free @33 (Dividend Mantra) has been reporting lately? He said he had to leave after being there for the last two years.

Wads
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by Wads »

Yes, Im also curious.

How has your time been? Is it what you expected? Likes/dislikes? Are you dating locals? Climate and air quality? Is this a place you could see yourself living long term if visas weren't an issue?

Sorry for so many questions. I have plans on visiting in a few years as Thailand is one of my potential locations for FIRE.

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C40
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by C40 »

—————————

2019 SUMMARY

—————————

okie dokie, here’s a little financial summary of 2019, mostly through charts because I don’t feel like typing a lot..

In short:
  • Spending was moderately low. I lost money on my motorcycle. I was in a bit of a hurry to sell it and did not get a good price. I thought about keeping it, but didn’t want to deal with it, and preferred instead to ‘burn the ships’ as I left for Asia.
  • Lived in Tucson at the start of the year. I liked it there but decided to go back up to Portland in April to live with my friends more. That was pretty nice, but had some fairly small issues that come with having roommates. I spent some time in Colorado and Arizona with family while preparing to leave for Asia, which I did in November.
  • Investments were really poppin’ off this year. My net worth is up a lot. It’s nearly all unrealized capital gains. I’m starting to think that now is a good time to sell some of my post-tax stocks to set aside money for buying a home when I return to the U.S. I’ll make a separate post about this.
  • Things are going well in Asia. I was in Bangkok for two months and now I’m in Da Nang (Vietnam) for three. I’ll make a separate post about this.



    ———————-


    Ok, I’ve split the charts into groups.

    1 - Spending
    2 - Income
    3 - Spend vs Income
    4 - Summary - Spend-Save-NW
    5 - Net Worth
    6 - Investing Analysis


    If you are highly interested in different options of visualizing you spending/income/net worth, you may also want to look back through previous yearly summaries to see more chart types.


    ————————————

    1- SPENDING

    ————————————

    Image


    Image
    (some of these chart categories don’t match up exactly with the first chart because of how I categorized things like the motorcycle sale money, travel prep/costs, etc.)

    Image


    Image


    ————————————

    2 - INCOME

    ————————————


    Image
    Huge stock price gains over the last three years.



    Image
    The areas with the green dots are mostly unrealized capital gains that resulted in net worth growth. As you see, in 2019 my net worth bumped up by enough to buy a house.



    Image
    Dividend income has been growing as expected.


    This chart includes all income types, not just dividends:
    Image
    The large increases in 2016 is because I retired then and changed my retirement account investments to dividend-focused stocks.



    ————————————

    3 - SPEND VS INCOME

    ————————————

    My cash flow in 2019 was actually positive. (just relating to spending money and bringing in money from selling things).

    I spent like 17k, but I sold my van (12k) and two motorcycles (6k). I back-dated most of that sales money to the months I bought and spent on those vehicles. So, in my data and charts, the sale money from the van and first motorcycle went to decreasing spending of previous years, and doesn’t show up in these charts in 2019


    Image


    Image
    The above two chart shows theoretical SWR income, not actual. That’s more useful pre-retirement. I should update this to show my actual forward income.


    Image


    Image
    This one shows actual income





    —————————————————

    SUMMARY - Spend/Save/NW

    —————————————————


    Image
    (the income shown above is only actual realized income like dividends, pension increase, and hobby income. Realized capital gains are not shown here, even when they did happen. Thus far I’ve tried to zero them out but messed up one year when a merger triggered gains in December that I didn’t notice


    This chart below shows all the changes that effect my net worth. (except that it doesn’t show unrealized capital losses)
    Image



    ————————————

    5 - NET WORTH

    ————————————


    Image
    When I quit work in 2016 my net worth was about $540k. It has grown to $670k. I’ll make another post soon as I’m considering converting like $50-$100k of the post-tax money into cash for “house money”.




    Net worth, longer time frame
    Image


    Net worth in years of spending
    Image


    Image



    ————————————

    6 - INVESTING ANALYSIS

    ————————————


    Here is my investing performance vs. indexes of 60% VTI and 40% TLT.
    Image

    Before 2016, most of my money was in the 401k. After that, it was under my own full management. My investing strategy results in a higher dividend yield than average indexes, and, it appears less volatility both up and down. I’m ok with that. I was feeling pretty bad about my investing performance in those years up through 2014, so it’s more reassuring to see now that I’m not totally screwing things up.



    Asset allocation, very simple:
    Image



    Asset allocation, a bit more detail:
    Image


    I expect to make a more detailed version of this, showing what account types the money is in, because that is important for me now as I think about pulling out house money and am setting up an IRA conversion/withdraw ladder. These take a lot of work to update for me because I don’t have my data set up in a way that I can pull these numbers straight from it. I’m doing it manually.

classical_Liberal
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by classical_Liberal »

Great net worth increase, glad Asia's going well for you!

Curious, wrt the motorcycle or similar large items that may depreciate, when the ownership time frame isn't necessarily known. How do you account for it? Spending in the month of purchase, then negative spending when it is sold? Seems wrong to count the spend then add in income at sale. Do you make any kind of corresponding changes to net worth? Asking because I'm trying to figure out a unified accounting method for these types of things that will hold up when I'm trying to accurately get a fix on my post retirement spending changes longer term.

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C40
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by C40 »

@WADS and @Salathor - I’ll cover those general questions in an upcoming post.

Salathor wrote:
Thu Dec 26, 2019 12:41 pm
Are you seeing any of the Visa action that Mr. Free @33 (Dividend Mantra) has been reporting lately? He said he had to leave after being there for the last two years.
I’m not the best place to look for Visa info. So far I'm just doing visas in easy ways and bouncing around between countries rather than trying to stay indefinitely in one.

But, yes, Thailand seems to be over people trying to stay permanently on tourist visa extensions.

There are a lot of people from other countries working in Thailand. You have two groups:

- People from developed nations
- People from nearby countries who are in Thailand for better income or just to have a job - a lot of people from Laos, Cambodia, and Mayanmar. Probably some from India and maybe China also.

And two categories of work:
- Working ‘normal’ professional jobs - where they get a work visa - usually managed by the employer
- Doing remote work. They just get a tourist visa and do it illegally. I’m not entirely sure how illegal it is if the source of the income is all outside of Thailand.

How the tourist visa thing works is:
- Get a 60 day visa at the Thai Embassy in another country
- Come to thailand. Extend 30 days so you have a 3 month stay
- At 90 days, go cross a border (often in to Myanmar, Laos, or Cambodia) and come back immediately. You get a 30 day extension.
- Keep doing the above until the immigration official refuses you. Eventually they will when they see that you’ve been doing this a bunch of times.
- Go to another country for a month or two
(Start this process over again)


I have only very basic familiarity with the visa laws in these:
- Thailand (described above)
- Vietnam (Pretty easy. I got a year long Multi entry visa for $220USD. They say I can stay three months at a time and leave and enter an unlimited number of times. Could maybe stay basically a year straight with three short border runs (???) )
- Malaysia (can get a three month visa on arrival just by showing up)
- Philippines (can stay for three months without even getting a visa)
- Indonesia (seems similar to Thailand)

Other countries like Mayanmar, Laos, and Cambodia are likely (much) easier than the above. So far, I’m not interested in going to those as, from what I hear and read, they seem kind of crappy in comparison, have more communicable diseases, and in some cases aren’t even less expensive (specially for things like food in Cambodia because it’s imported)

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C40
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by C40 »

@Classical_Liberal - there was another thread within the last 2-3 months about this exact subject. I can't recall the name.

When I sell something that I previously bought, I consider the sales money as "un-spending", or negative spending.

If I bought something for the purpose of selling and making money, I would account for it all in my INCOME categories. Like this:
- Negative income when buying the item
- Negative income for money put into the item or into advertising
- Positive income for money that comes in when I sell it

Thus far I don't really have any of this, but I do have some services related to photography business (website, photo editing software) that I count as negative income rather than spending.



Here is what I do for large things like vehicles, as an example:
- Purchase - May 2018. $5,000. Show all of it as spending that month
- Maintenance, registration, insurance - show all as it occurs
- Sale - happens in March 2019, $4,500. I show it as negative spending in May 2018

The end result is that I lost or 'spent' $500 on it.


This results in my Net worth changes not matching up exactly with my spending numbers, but I don't care. I don't need it to match up 100% perfectly. I'd rather have my spending data easy to analyze.


When I bought and sold my house, I think what I did was not even show the down payment or the income from sale as spending or income in my data. The money just got converted in my net worth categories from cash to real estate, and then back to cash with a sudden bump when I sold it and made some money.


For less expensive things - where the sales (and counting the money as negative spending in the month I sold it) won't cause my total income to go negative, I just enter the data as it actually happens.

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Re: C40's Journal

Post by Frugalchicos »

Great update!! and congrats on your NW increase. Quite impressive what you have achieved over the years.

Keep it up and good luck with the house finding when you go back to the US. Also, any place in particular you would be interested in moving to? (perhaps you already mentioned it in a previous post though)

Scott 2
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by Scott 2 »

If you are able to connect accounts to personal capital, they will automatically do the asset allocation breakdown for you. You can filter the chart on subsets of accounts, drill into categories, etc. It's pretty cool once setup.

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Re: C40's Journal

Post by classical_Liberal »

@C40
Thanks for the explanation! That conversation was in 2B1S's journal, I commented that I do things the same way you do.

However, I think I'm going to change going forward. Although it doesn't really matter over the long term, "lumpiness" in spending really makes a difference in shorter time frames, like 12 mo rolling. I'm a firm believer we become what we measure, and I think my decisions might be affected by the way I measure these things. So, it's more important than mere accounting.

Frugalchicos
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by Frugalchicos »

Hi there,

Just wondering which were your thoughts about purchasing a house nowadays? Would you invest the money instead? or perhaps take on a good opportunity during the potential upcoming recession?

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Re: C40's Journal

Post by akratic »

Wow, you have charts spanning 2011 to 2019, this is awesome! I'm taking this as inspiration for getting back into the game with my own journal.

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C40
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by C40 »

—————————

MARCH 2020

—————————

[Sorry about typos. I don't want to edit it all]


I haven’t posted much lately.

I’ve been in Southeast Asia since early November 2019. I was in Bangkok Thailand for two months, and now I’m in Da Nang, Vietnam, for three months so far. I’m trying/expecting to stay here longer, both because I like it here, and I would anyway because of the Coronavirus.


First, some charts.

Here’s my spending so far in Asia:
Image
In December I bought a new lens and a new phone. I tell you what - Chinese companies (and one in India) are making amazing phones these days.. paying full price for iPhones and high-end Samsungs is for suckers.

In Da Nang, I have an apartment that’s pretty nice for $190/month. It’s almost exactly what I would want. In a fairly small apartment building. I’m on the top (5th) floor, and the only apartment on that floor. Room is maybe 200 square feet, not counting the bathroom. There’s a window that has a good view. I also have a huge rooftop terrace with a cooking area out there (that is just mine). It could maybe be $150 per month if I got a true locals rate. This is a pretty good apartment for staying home a lot. Some apartments/homes here are very closed in, with no windows or only a window that opens to another building 5 feet away.



Image

This is my income and spending since quitting my job, and the area is the running savings over that time. Going into the Covid craziness, I do feel like I’ve done a good thing by keeping my spending low and building up some extra capital.




————————————————

THOUGHTS ON SE ASIA SO FAR

————————————————-


OVERALL
  • It is interesting here. There are so many things different.
  • Overall, I enjoy it. I want to stay more. In many ways, there is a charm here that I wish existed more in the U.S. Depending on how the virus impact plays out, there’s a good chance that I’ll go back to the U.S. much earlier than I’d want. It might not work out well to stay here. There are challenges related to travel and visas and places being locked down, and mismanagement in some countries that I would have wanted to go to.
  • There are various things that they do ‘right’ here that stand out from how things are in the States. Widespread use of scooters and motorcycles for transportation,, especially in Vietnam where they are the default (and for transporting big/long objects) Bidets… smaller homes.. families sticking together more… less of a fierce independence mindset, and more of helping family, social capital, etc… People aren’t fat… people find clever solutions to problems…. people make due in non-idea situations rather than freaking out… really cheap housing and food…
  • And some things that aren’t so good: horrible air pollution… trash thrown all over… widespread use of some ridiculous types of traditional medicine… poor food safety understanding and practices… very limited sex lives (for most locals) … some old fashioned gender roles, similar to Latino Machismo culture… many of the government and farmers do a miserable job related to sustainability/environmentalism.
  • Weather can be hot and really humid, but I think timing the location with the seasons can keep a person in nice weather most of the year.
  • Things are not spread out so much like in the U.S. You can walk to places. Neighborhoods feel much more alive and connected.
  • So far, Vietnam is a good place to be during Coronavirus. The government has taken action to limit incoming virus cases, by limiting travel in, and now by quarantining and testing everyone who enters Vietnam. They also do a lot of work to track down people who’ve been in contact with those who have the virus. So far they have about 230 cases, with 75 recovered, and no deaths. There are currently restrictions similar to a lockdown, but not entirely. Seems we’re at an important moment - to see whether the work they’ve done so far can prevent larger transmission from person to person inside Vietnam. If it spreads a lot, it could be a lot of trouble, as they don’t have a lot of doctors or money to provide high quality treatment…. The government response has been well-organized, consistent, and aligned. It’s a single-party government. The people here have a mindset more focused on community and nation - not so fiercely independent like in the U.S. People here trust their government and a large portion of them adhere to the restrictions.
AIR QUALITY
It is REALLY bad. A lot of people here don’t even understand what clean air is like anymore. AQI in the places that Asians consider to have very clean air is 25-150. Dirty areas are 100-400… and China is even worse. The AQI in Los Angeles is like 25. In clean parts of the U.S. it’s 3-7. (generally, AQI below 25 cause very little or no long-term health issues. Over 100 can cause ailments within a few days). Most locals are used to it, kind of like how you can get used to smoking 20 cigarettes per day.

I’ve been impacted by the air a few times. It inflames the lymph nodes in my neck, gives me a sore throat, and maybe a bit of a headache. Wearing an N95 mask helps. Having a good air filter at home helps a lot. I’ve built one myself. Like this, but with smaller parts. Cost me about $32. Could have been less if I got a better price on the fan. The purpose-built Air Purifiers cost around $200 and do the same exact thing.


IMPENDING (slow) DISASTERS
One of the impressions I’ve had since coming to Asia is that they are on track to cause/have serious problems. Problems of pollution and trash. Ecological impacts. Issues related to being so densely populated, to having so many people live in big cities… and so on. And China has the things I’ve observed multiplied by 2 or 3. I flew through Xiamen, China on my way to Bangkok. I looked at the satellite view of Google maps to see what the city is like, and I was appalled. It is so extremely dense. I’m talking 20 story buildings packed in one right up against the other, filling up huge areas of the city. It just ain’t right to live that way.

There’s also the fact that many of the cities out here within a meter or to of sea level and as the ocean continues to rise, they will have some huge problems. That seems to be coming in the next 30-60 years and could displace more than half of the population in Southeast Asia and all the big port cities in China. Seems like that will be a huge deal.



COST OF LIVING
It’s pretty darn low. My costs are around:
- Rent, $150-350
- Food, ~$120-200
- Travel between countries: $50-120 every 2-6 months
- Visas, $0 to $60 per month.

So it seems pretty easy to keep spending between $500 and $1,000 per month, and the $1,000 level would include quite a bit of spending on extra stuff


DATING
It has gone pretty well. I met a lot of women in Bangkok, and made numerous, but didn’t form any significant relationships. One was fairly close, but she wanted more of an ongoing thing that I do (to continue a long-distance relationship after I left Bangkok). I did meet a girl who is a masseuse, and (her idea) she’d come over and give me a massage like once a week. Still have never paid for a massage, even in Bangkok where it seems like everyone does. I did also meet a girl I got along with really well who turned out to be a celebrity of some sort. Related to hosting some kind of TV shows.. and now she basically makes a cooking show. It was sort of surprising.. I met her at a coffee shop. She happened to sit next to me and I started a conversation. After a while we left there and had dinner at a place nearby.. And at dinner, other customers recognized her and asked to take a picture with her. I don’t really care whether someone is a celebrity, but it was surprising/interesting. I met her like 2 weeks before leaving, so not much happened with her.


In Vietnam, I’ve dated fewer women, and have made way fewer friends, but have two women that I spend time with regularly.…. and have kind of a loose relationship with one.

WHAT’S NEXT
I’m not sure. This afternoon, I got my visa back after doing an in-place 3 month extension. I paid $350 to a visa agency to do it for me. Normally I’d go to the border, and the would’ve cost me $65 total, but we can’t do that now. Extensions without leaving are fairly complicated maybe impossible to do yourself here, I believe that is due in part to corruption, but it’s not totally clear.

Over the next three months, I’ll be deciding what to do next. If things suddenly get much lot better in the area (like the miracle Trump said might happen), I’ll continue along to other countries like I had been planning.. But I don’t think that will happen. So,.. I might try to stay in Vietnam longer. Or maybe go back to the U.S.

Going back to the U.S. will be a little tricky because I don’t have an established home to go back to. I was thinking about it before as a contingency plan.. Normally I could straight back to where my sister lives (my stuff is stored in her basement), but a truck, and then go off to some city I want to live in. But.. I was thinking it’d be a bad idea to go straight there after flying back through crowded airports and a much higher chance than normal of picking up the virus.

For now, I’m staying at home nearly all the time. I’m not making very good use of my time. Watching a lot of Youtube.. playing a video game a lot. I am some of the things I think I should - reading, exercise, investment research.

I’ll probably share some pictures. I shot a fair amount in Bangkok, but very little so far in Vietnam

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Re: C40's Journal

Post by ertyu »

DaNang sounds awesome. I spent a summer in HCMC a couple of years ago and on the whole really like VN. I like HCMC so when I wanted to stay in VN I just stayed there, but encouraged by what I read to try out other cities.

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C40
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by C40 »

Oh yeah, it's a good city. It doesn't have a lot of visually appealing old styles of buildings (like in Hoi An, for example),.. but given what it's like here, and what I've heard about Hanoi and HCMC, and seen in pictures, I have no desire to go to either of those larger cities.

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Re: C40's Journal

Post by theanimal »

Nice update! Looking forward to seeing whatever pictures you have. That's unfortunate to read about the poor air quality. How have you found the food? I remember slowtraveler talking about it being hard to find healthy food. Those are the 2 hangups for me. I've realized over the past month I would very much like to go. We'll see how this pandemic shakes out but I may be following in your footsteps in the future. Have all your dates and friends been locals? Have you encountered many expats?

CS
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by CS »

Don't know how long this will last, but some obamacare markets might still be open in three months (or you might come back sooner). You could go to one of these states, isolate and get health insurance. I know your official residence is one of the dakotas, but it might be worth the switch for this.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/23/upsh ... eopen.html

fwiw

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C40
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by C40 »

By selling the stocks, I increased my income up to where I'd get basically no subsidy. That's why I cancelled my insurance. (because then, given that I expected to stay in Asia all year, it didn't seem worth it to pay for insurance that'd only work in the U.S.)

So, if I go back to the U.S. and want insurance, I don't think the ACA marketplace matters to me for this year (other than maybe it being one more place to find full price insurance to pay for)

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