CS's Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
CS
Posts: 181
Joined: Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:24 pm

Re: CS's Journal

Post by CS » Sun Oct 15, 2017 4:44 pm

@Chris

A used Fiesta might be available in 18, but is pushing me towards new is
1. I like stick - they are hard to find in SE trim, especially in Minnesota. Right now I'm on the west coast - I could get one here, now.
Automatic transmissions are huge sources of headaches/repairs needs for cars. Also very not ERE frankly ("Please shift for me because I can't".
No. Learn to row your own damn boat)
2. They are desperate to unload them - 4k off, which makes it the same as one-year used one. (Unless I am not bargaining hard enough
on the used ones.)
3. I'm renting a car for work out here on assignment anyhow - why not use that money towards a new vehicle?

I'm trying really hard to just not purchase it. I keep thinking about the higher insurance, the higher registration costs, the possible 'piece of junk' factor of a Ford econobox made in Mexico, removing my cushion for retirement, other uses for that money (mom wants to go to Alaska).

Not sure how much safer it would be than the civic. 7 airbags verses 2. How well was the civic is designed structurally to disperse energy in a collision? I think the current safety standards are why all the new cars feel like rolling tanks. I'm guessing the Fiesta is as good, if not better than the current car in that regard.

I do go to CA occasionally, so I'd like my car to be CA compliant (I've got plates from there too - it is registered in two states due to my living locations for the last few years. The screws holding the plates on are so dang rusty, I've just left the CA ones on rather than switch them out.) I guess I could learn how to weld if I got a universal one. But at least one company makes a direct fit CAT for my model (yes, I looked it up_)

Rust is actually one of my biggest worries for the old car - already I'm having trouble getting to hood to latch shut again. (Recognizing a personal bad habit: I think need to *do* something about a problem before judging how bad it is. Perhaps a can of WD 40 would solve a lot of my rust issues. Or some sand paper, paint and effort. There has been more than one time I thought the car was toast - and a little bit of effort solved the problem. How many times do I have to experience this before it sinks in?)

CS
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Re: CS's Journal

Post by CS » Mon Oct 23, 2017 8:37 am

Well, I think I've made it through the temporary insanity of wanting a new car. Yay for that victory.

Spent sometime reading the miles stones thread on the Early-Retirement.org page (http://www.early-retirement.org/forums/ ... 65754.html) and now feel a little ill. Ten million here, four million there, a whole conversation on how $3900 a month was just insulting low and not nearly enough. Wtf. One person had a 2k a month property tax.

It felt like being in crazy land.

And I realized how just insane my actions would have been seen (by those folks) to go study for a MFA with about 200k in the bank. The thing is, that was one of the best experiences of my life - not having that would have, well, sucked. It also is opening up to me a new way of making money (and cost me nothing but the opportunity cost of working more in a job I don't like). Coming back to this forum brings back the air in the room.

Some other differences I noticed -
A lot of those folks just count on SS being there. A common plan was to spend down the 401ks so the SS payout was maxed at 70. Wut? I can't imagine anyone here doing such a fragility enhancing thing.

There was no talk, at all, about learning other skills. Perhaps that was a selection error of readings on my part, since their forums are huge and I was only on a few threads. Regardless, thank you Jacob for your systems thinking and being willing to post about it.

There was a lot of talk of OMY (one more year). I think I suffer from OMJ syndrome (one more job). This is probably related to the fragility of their plans. All their eggs were on that one basket, so it better be a humongous ass basket. One that could carry small cities to safety.

--

Speaking of one more job, I got a call about a full time position in my hometown. They had initially told me that I was not in the top-three-thank-you-very-much-good-bye. Fine. I sent a short note thanking them and moved on. 13 days later I get pushy calls from a (later condescending) in-house recruiter asking if I could come in. My travel work experience, which initially bounced me out of consideration, is now a plus since I've worked with so many different machines and know a lot of different stuff. And am flexible enough to work with anything. Long story short, I give in to the pressure and agree to come out next week - even though I'd be in town anyhow two weeks later. This new trip would cost me ~$1700 in lost wages and travel fees for my cat, even if they pay the airfare and hotel, which is crazy considering I thinking of having this be my last assignment for a while. That is $1700 I could really use to support myself while writing.

Also, the recruiter found my linked in page, with my writing and filmmaking stuff on it. I need to delete that thing. It was almost as creepy as when a physicist found my old band pages and pulled up a video of me drumming while I was interviewing with him. Something felt inappropriate about that in a way that I am not clear on to this day.

They are interviewing five people for the job. I tend to think I will not be chosen. Oddly, I often am the chosen one for travel positions (they also interview multiple people for those), but not nearly as often for permanent. So odds are 1.) I am not the favorite even now, and 2.) Even if I smash the interview, someone will nix me. I know the recruiter is trying to discourage me. And I have ill feelings towards him and I don't even work there (yet... or ever).

The benefits at the job on cool though - 457 and 403b plans both available, plus some employer contribution thing in addition (yes, three retirement plans are available at once). It makes it possible to contribute the max 18k (or 24k) to two of them at once, while getting another 6.5% free in a third. Almost as much as you can put away as a super successful solo 401k person.

Blah, whatever. Part of the reason I like working for myself is that someone else's bad planning is not my emergency. This job has bad planning all the heck over it. They need someone for a machine that is coming in TWO WEEKS and has to been good to go in March, with a department move, in a department that has already been designed. These are all things that you should have your person in line to oversee - not pop them in a like piece at the end and expect the whole system to run smoothy.

--

Rebalanced the portfolio. Felt a little stupid for not having more in stock since 2013 since that stock more than doubled (seriously). But using Tyler's portfolio charts (thank you!) have helped me feel better about my choices. Considering switching to the Golden Butterfly. I would do that ala Jacob's technique of saving for the new thing, rather than moving the existing money. So the old portfolio stays as is, and I add the twenty percent on top. Since there is not a planned onslaught of new money after December, this puts off any decision making about putting money into a hot market. That's just fine with me. Maybe a correction will come and I can get a bargain by the time I have cash to invest again.

CS
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Re: CS's Journal

Post by CS » Thu Oct 26, 2017 7:34 pm

Just realized this year (2018) will be the first year I'll be living off an amount equal to 3% of the current portfolio. Still trying to accumulate a little more - as well as exercising skills to bring in money a different way- but all in all, a pretty exciting milestone.

Thinking roughly 1480 hours more of day gig... but who's counting.

classical_Liberal
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Re: CS's Journal

Post by classical_Liberal » Thu Oct 26, 2017 8:53 pm

@CS

Just marathon read your journal and really appreciated it. I had ran across a comment you made in another thread and became interested (stalker, cough, stalker). Once I started reading I was drawn in because I'm currently working a series of contract jobs myself and regularly consider the option of scaling back vs full on to FI. I also saw a MN reference; I grew up in the twin cities and am actually not that far away at the moment in my current work assignment.

FYI I really enjoyed "the dance" angry post. Maybe its because I'm fascinated with other human's experiences and perceptions of events. You're correct in that there are not a lot of women out there writing about such things past their 20's (or at least I haven't found many). In any event, I have worked in male dominated fields (I'm male) and now work in a female dominated field. The differences are very interesting for a keen observer.

In any event, good luck in your next endeavor, whatever that ends up being!

CS
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Re: CS's Journal

Post by CS » Fri Oct 27, 2017 8:51 pm

@classical_liberal

Thanks for saying hi and letting me know you enjoyed that post. In the midst of mid-rant it feels good - but later it can be anxiety producing to think "what did I share?". One of the best things about getting older is that the thought that often comes after THAT one is "Meh, whatever, I said it. " :lol:

It's hard to decide on how to manage the traveling thing isn't it? On paper, a person could do it part time forever, but I find that part of me doesn't trust that the jobs will always come around when needed... hence the push lately to get the nest egg up to a safe WR. And the next money making interest going too...

Plus once I left the certification go, it's not coming back. Big commitment to quitting (and 2k a year to keep it). Do you have that same issue?

Funny that you are close (in?) to Minnesota and I'm out west. I don't know why that amuses me - the big puzzle of getting the right workers in the right places - and we are the workers they have to ship around. Heard it snowed there today!

CS
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Re: CS's Journal

Post by CS » Wed Nov 01, 2017 9:26 pm

November 1, 2017 status -
482k in PP, plus 8 months expenses in cash and 7k set aside for some desired dental work (getting rid of the Mercury).

So, yay?, made the minimum I've set for myself. Which feels weird, and oddly scary. A full time position is being persistent. I'm on the fence. I don't want to waste my life on OMY syndrome. ("but more money..." blah blah blah). I mean, technically, I do have enough for 33x times living expenses with my current situation.

--

How is this for randomly aggressive behavior - a top manager at my current assignment is having problems dealing with someone with a big purchase (he comes back to our area to vent and chit-chat). He does his venty-vent thing, then out of the blue, says it must be an estrogen problem. W-t-b-f? I know he thinks I'm the bomb because my recruiter has an email from him saying so, so why this attack on women all the sudden? (yes, I'm the only woman in the room and/or being talked about.)

I was once punched in the stomach by some 5th grader that "liked me". Pushing fifty seems a little old for this shit. Actually any age over embryonic is old for this shit. But I digress.

--

I'm having some days when I don't feel 100% mentally. I feel 50%, or less... things are not computing. I can't remember if I struggled with this in the past, but it is scary as all get out. If I have limited time to do something else (i.e the mental resources), then perhaps I should get a move on instead of perfecting my SWR. I know working full time did a number on my mum's health. I don't want to go down that path.

MDFIRE2024
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Re: CS's Journal

Post by MDFIRE2024 » Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:43 am

Great CS! Congratulations! I think that journey took a long time (if your joining date is any guideline) I guess, it is rewarding to finally achieve your goals.
May I ask, by which factor your passive income cashflow covers your past/future expenses?
Do you have a transition plan in place?

1taskaday
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Re: CS's Journal

Post by 1taskaday » Thu Nov 02, 2017 11:13 am

Enjoying the journal.
Nice to read another female view on life.

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Bankai
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Re: CS's Journal

Post by Bankai » Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:49 pm

Hi CS!

Historically, you have enough capital for close to 100% success rate. Every next year at work gives you less and less money-wise (diminishing returns) while also being the best year health-wise that you choose to trade away for some more money (that you most likely don't need). Why take the risk and trade away even more of your precious time? Or maybe quit for now and revisit the question in a year's time, when you have more data on how you actually feel while not working, know how it feels to live off capital and decide then if you want/need to come back to work? Your life can unfold in unexpected ways, but only if you let it.

CS
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Re: CS's Journal

Post by CS » Sat Nov 04, 2017 3:18 pm

@Mdfire2024
My timeline is a little deceiving. Yes, it did take me that long, but I was also going to school full time for three years during that period, which was free, and paid a little for living expenses. I worked summers and holidays. The last year and a half I've been pushing harder with near back to back gigs. So it doesn't really feel all that real yet - since I guess I've been semi-retired for a while now.
My entry into the PP was in 2013, which if you check out the heat chart from Tyler's portfolio charts, was a bad year to enter it. It feels like all my gains have been the brute force savings way. I'm taking it on faith that it will turn around now that I'm in it and will show some positive returns. I'm following all the rules the best I can. Of course, I just added a large amount, so will 2017 be the same as 2013? Maybe... the high stock market valuation alone makes me think it's possible.
I don't have a transition in place. My main goal at this point is to work on a new hobby - writing - that I hope will generate income. I'd be over the moon if I could make 15-30k a year. I'd have something fun to do, an interest to meet like minded people over, and the security of a new way to make money. My current nest egg *just* covers 3% right now. I need a little bit more if I buy a condo/townhouse/rent somewhere. That, too, makes it feel not quite there yet. On the other hand, I could travel overseas today and be set.

@1taskaday
Thanks! I like your handle. It is calming just to read! (Spoken as a list maker)

@Bankai
You are right of course. It is scary to leap off. I've done it before, with other changes, and all has worked out, so there is nothing to do but face the fear.

--

I'm doing nanowrimo this month. Or rather I'm failing to do it. All hope is not lost, since I know I can do 4k words a day (past pace) and catch up. I'm hereby declaring I'm writing the shitty version of my novel. Anything else paralyzes me with anxiety. Viva la crap!

jacob
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Re: CS's Journal

Post by jacob » Sat Nov 04, 2017 4:49 pm

In case you haven't searched the forum archives, there are several published authors and aspiring authors here. Most successful in terms of $$$ is prosaic who got discovered and ended up with several titles on the amazon bestseller list resulting in a sudden $50k+/month income. I think she is/was more active elsewhere (MMM?). Didn't really hear much from her again after the breakthrough :mrgreen:

cimorene12 has posted a lot of long updates on the writing business in general; she built her writing out very deliberately (testing, strategy, etc.), pursued what worked and canned what didn't, and turned it into a good income.

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=3764 (for first steps ... this is old stuff, maybe things have changed a bit, but it gives you an idea of the $-numbers)

MDFIRE2024
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Re: CS's Journal

Post by MDFIRE2024 » Sun Nov 05, 2017 1:30 am

I had a look on portfoliocharts. I know what you mean. But in the long run (5+ years) it has a steady SWR of about 3%. I guess the mid- and longterm is more important than the shortterm returns. ERN wrote a good post about the importance of SR and AssetAllocation. He says: "This is the beauty of early retirement and the 50%+ savings rates: A larger portion of your nest egg will be principal and you rely less on capital gains and compounding than the typical retiree with a 40 or 45-year horizon. For early retirees, asset allocation “mistakes” are less damaging!"
https://earlyretirementnow.com/2017/11/ ... etirement/
But I guess you know that already and that you have a high SR. Keep it going!

CS
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Re: CS's Journal

Post by CS » Sun Nov 05, 2017 11:39 am

@Jacob
Thanks for all those links! I've gotten about halfway through Cimorene12's update (and there is another journal to read too?). I've spent some time on lurking on kboards, but it is entirely something else to follow along on someone's path as they go. I need to do some actual writing today(!) so have to put it down as a later reward for getting some words out.

The best thing I got from it so far is 1. It takes time and 2. It takes effort. I can do those things. So I need to calm down about what is happening now, and worry about what I am doing now, and the result will come of it's own. The fact that I am making zero dollars from writing now does not mean I will always make zero dollars.

$50k a month so far past my goals, I can't even comprehend it. Not saying I wouldn't take it though! :D

@MDFire
I am going for the low withdrawal rate to hedge my bets. There is no reason to believe I can't make *some* money writing, but until I see cash in hand, I'm going on the assumption I need to live off my capital forever. :)

--

One of the links in Cimorene12's update was about Math Kids. My brother probably wasn't an 'official' math kid, but he was pulled out of his classes in sixth grade and sent to the University for calculus. I was little jealous of that. It turned out he hated it - loads of homework (busy work I'm guessing) -and hours on the school bus each day. My brother had stuff he wanted to do. And that math stuff was interfering. When I read the Math Kids article, what struck me was how it was about all who had PhD's, who had great jobs, etc. It really was about who was indoctrinated the most (my take). They were so bound to their framework that they had to evaluate girls verse boys who did more of those indoctrinated behaviors. And here is my brother who was going to have none of that. He hasn't worked for another person since he was eighteen (probably younger). He has had his own businesses all his adult life. He now has fifty plus employees, all making a living off of his creative output (well, now theirs too - he is training them). So who is more 'successful'? I'd say my brother - not because of the size of his current business - but because he hasn't had to take orders from others for close to thirty years. I feel like a sucker next to him sometimes. I hate working for others.

So I think the writers of that article sort of missed the point. But they are so far in the cave, they probably couldn't recognize it if it smashed them in the face.

--

I think I have a plan coming together. I'm going to hang on to be my current certifications, and take one gig a year (~ 3 months) if they come up, until I have three books published or make 15k a year, which ever comes sooner. The worst, worst case scenario is I work three months a year for another five years in my old field. The best, is that in 2019 I can shutter my old business. It will cost be 3-4k to leave it (yes, I have to pay to leave. This payment is in the form of a tail for my liability insurance), but I figure if I have other money coming in, that will take care of itself. Right now I have the cash for my 2018 maintenance expenses aside (2k).

The thing with the old business is I have to work once a year, or it's hard to get back in. And the jobs are not that steady, so there is the constant anxiety of 'will a gig come in time.' (Curiously, I didn't feel it at all while in school though. I want to get back to that zero f's place.)

So for the upcoming year, I'll have two business - one for writing, one for the old career. I don't want an LLC, so I might just file DBA in Minnesota under a pen name so I can get the checking account and the solo 401k started for the writing business. If I ever make tons of money where I want an LLC and/or professional accountant, I can always change things then.

I have also set aside close to 2k for the new business, for software, editors and fees. It should be enough to get started. I know I am going to have to pay for copy editing - my typo rate is amazingly high. Having a development editor would be nice too - if it's not too expensive. I am figuring ~$400 max per book to start, including covers. I can spend more when I have money coming in, although I'm not sure it would be much more... Amanda M.Lee posted about her editing and that is about what she pays - and she has a crew of three editors she uses in various ways. Of course she is a practiced journalist, so her copy is much cleaner than mine to start with! I might have to pay some sort of idiot/pain in the butt tax.

--

I know I am being too precious about this first book. Last night I worked on the characters and wrote ~800 words of a new beginning in a literary style. And hated it. I am not starting over from scratch. I decided to string the first five chapters I've already done in the Caper style (light hearted fluff mysteries with stupid humor) together into one document and viola, I'm already 9k words into my first book. Onwards and upwards.

When I wrote my first screenplay, one of the readers told me the beginning was awful, but it got much better as it went. The later part, that he liked, was written fast, fast, fast. Clearly I can over think things if allowed to.

CS
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Re: CS's Journal

Post by CS » Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:52 pm

33 more work days until I am done with this job. I cannot wait.

Just this morning, had to deal with loud laughing (yeah, it could be much worse) from one room over, my officemate's LOUD (like, what-the-heck-loud), and constant, text messages notifications, with a whistle to the sound that hurts my ears (bonus points), and loud conversations between him and others right next to me.

I'm sensitive to noise. My throat hurts just from being here for two hours. I cannot wait to be done. This is so bad for my health.

270 hours.

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anomie
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Re: CS's Journal

Post by anomie » Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:26 pm

Hi CS -

If you have considered and are truly interested in deleting your LinkedIn account, they do still allow it . How To Here

It is pretty liberating once you have made the decision.

CS
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Re: CS's Journal

Post by CS » Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:41 pm

Duplicate
Last edited by CS on Sat Nov 11, 2017 6:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

CS
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Re: CS's Journal

Post by CS » Sat Nov 11, 2017 5:01 pm

@Anomie,

Thanks for the tip. I'm considering it. It seems less is more on the internets.

--

Back in the midwest for the weekend. Facing the issue that I really don't have a long term place to live that I'm all that happy with. Trying to use it as motivation to get the writing stuff underway so that can change.

I registered with DD and read a load of threads. Read a few more stories and confirmed (again) that I don't want to do erotica, and probably not romance (although the money for romance is tempting). The categories of cozy and science fiction are more comfortable fits to my natural interests. So that is some progress.

Outlined the next sequence of my book. I'm finding it difficult to outline chapter by chapter, unless I have more structure. So I drill down, by acts (three - but really four), and sequences (generally two per act, except the first and last). It helps me. I am dead in the water unless I know where I'm going. I'm just too, too, too (I really mean it), too lazy to write a bunch of stuff that just goes into the trash. Yes, I'll kill my stuff when needed, but I'd rather not go 200 pages in the wrong direction. :cry: :shock:

--

In the interest of focus and efficient use of limited energy I think it would be prudent to sign out of/ perhaps delete - Facebook, LinkedIn, and track down what ever happened to my MySpace account (remember those?). Facebook takes way too much of my time. It's worst than TV. I find myself scrolling down pages like an addict looking for just one more interesting story at 10 pm, when I should have been asleep for an hour. Nope.

--

It was funny to read that Taleb goes to bed at 8 pm. With the time change in Portland, I've been changing into PJ's after work and hitting the sack between 6 and 8. Of course I read for a few hours in bed (research, ya know? :lol: ), or less usefully, scroll through Facebook.

So it's work, cook when get home (lunches and dinners), and read. I take shocking pleasure in my solitude. I hope I don't regret it someday, but it feels good right now to have the peace and quiet. (I can see that changing after this job is over and I'm not overstimulated eight hours a day.)

cimorene12
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Re: CS's Journal

Post by cimorene12 » Sun Nov 12, 2017 1:24 pm

jacob wrote:
Sat Nov 04, 2017 4:49 pm
cimorene12 has posted a lot of long updates on the writing business in general; she built her writing out very deliberately (testing, strategy, etc.), pursued what worked and canned what didn't, and turned it into a good income.
Excellent and succinct summary of my journal.

Prosaic is still out there and doing well. She has evolved with the market but she has a very engaged reader base and I think she will be publishing for the foreseeable future.

classical_Liberal
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Re: CS's Journal

Post by classical_Liberal » Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:08 pm

@CS welcome back to the Midwest. That white stuff is snow.

I think sometimes you have to take a leap of "faith". If you really want to write and these contract jobs are getting in the way, there is no reason not to give it a shot. Too often the high net worth/savings rates on these forums make us forget how much security a multiple six-figure savings really provides. Sure, you may need income again, but there's plenty of time to figure it out. Even if you lose your ability to take these high paying contracts due to lack of recent experience, it seems you pretty-much hate them anyway(?).

Life is short, find a different way to make ends meet. If not writing, something else will show up. You've already won the game with a half million dollar savings and reasonably low outflow.

CS
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Re: CS's Journal

Post by CS » Mon Nov 20, 2017 3:59 pm

@cimorene12
I sent you a PM.

@classical_liberal
Life is short. I'm reminded of that every day looking at the charts of people with cancer. The funny thing about saving that money is now it feels like not a lot. I think the difference is the mind-set. Once, it was 500k, woohoo!, look what I can buy, now it's "that's 1250/month for living at 3% SWR". :)

I made the (probable) mistake of letting a friend of 20+ years know I was retiring due to savings. Their reaction was I could buy a house they could live there!! I was like "no, then what would I live on?". It might not be a bad idea, except 1. owning a house is a lot of headache, 2. mixing friends and money and 3. what *would* I live on? (unless said house was much cheaper than the average where I'm currently at.) Unless we have some sort of bust/interest rate hike, I don't see that massive a correction coming. Especially not if they ramp the deficit to within an inch of it's life.

It's not so much I hate the actual work - it's more the required 9 hours a day away from my other interests, and often the lack of control of my environment. I've had a few jobs with offices - those I love - but more often than not, I'm in some common area with loud noises and all that. I don't think I'd ever be happy in an environment like that... I don't care if it paid 500k/a year. No thanks.

Plus, there is some internal embarrassment that I'm still doing this career many years after deciding I was not too happy with it. Golden handcuffs. At least there has been loads of time off to do other things.

--

Writing efforts

So I'm putting time in and learning what scrivener is verses vellum, and other nitty gritty details of how to make the writing go smoothly. I've been writing in word, but my irritation level with trying to keep chapters organized, etc is reaching a painful level. So I think I'll start with scrivener, and and deal with vellum (for formatting books) in the 2018 tax year, when I'll officially start my business. I'll also be at home with my 2012 macbook pro 15", so will have more screen real estate. I like my 12" computer I have for traveling work, but the small screen is brutal for digitally 'spreading out' and getting organized.

Finally bit the bullet and got KU for reading more books. I have a few authors that I am studying. I'm also finding a lot of authors that I give up on after a chapter or two. I hope to move my writing past some of their mistakes as quickly as possible. I know it's going to have some of them in there, but you have to start somewhere, eh?

--

Health Insurance

The HSA plan I was on switched doctor networks, so I switched plans. Now I'm on a Bronze plan, but not HSA. It should be cheap enough if I make the minimum I need in MN for tax credits (2x's the poverty level). I don't want to get on the state plan and will just convert traditional IRA to Roth if needed to get the income level right. Yes, I know I'll be paying some income taxes at that amount. If that (the worse case) comes to be because I have such poor writing income, then I figure out a different plan for 2019. I'm worried about this horrible tax bill passing, since it would affect both my health insurance and general tax rate. Now would be a good time to have all dividend income. Oh well.

--

26 more work days

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