BlueNote's Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
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jennypenny
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Re: BlueNote's Journal

Post by jennypenny » Wed Aug 26, 2015 8:16 pm

I used to subscribe to a high-end investing site, and a lot of the DM and momentum investors liked Dirlam's strategy.

I'm not pushing it. Momentum strategies aren't my thing. I just remember how many followers he had. There was always a thread discussing his weekly tip in detail. I don't remember many negative comments.

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BlueNote
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Re: BlueNote's Journal

Post by BlueNote » Thu Oct 01, 2015 8:29 pm

Vacation

I recently got back from my yearly vacation in Florida. The weather was great and I got a tan and enjoyed St. Pete's Beach.

Children

Since I plan on having at least one child soon I am going to devote most of the money I have been spending on yearly vacations to that child's upbringing and future needs. I think I will devote 2/3 of the money that was using for vacation and use the remaining third for cheaper or less frequent trips. From an ERE perspective my kid will be spoiled but to people like my work colleagues I will probably seem harsh or cheap. Hey I had a job almost continuously since I was 12 and I paid my way through University. Shitty jobs definitely helped me understand and appreciate the importance of a good eduction. I wouldn't have it any other way for my own child, however I would also like to give them the opportunity to build a big nut early in life which is why I'll fork out the tuition.

Investing

I have two investing models. One is a Canadian version of the Ivy 5 asset tactical allocation portfolio (a la Meb Faber). The other is dual momentum as espoused by Gary Antonnacci. You can easily learn more about them by doing a google search, I won't waste time explaining the mechanics here. I have been doing whatever my models have been telling me to do, which right now is to be in aggregate bonds and mid term Canadian government bonds. The trend following components of the these models indicate that almost all asset classes are trending down and will continue to do so. We'll see if this is a false alarm over the next few months.


Reading

My interest in investing probably hit the apex after I learned about momentum investing, and my attention has shifted and I am reading more about Stoicism and Epicureanism. I am going to read meditations (Marcus Aurelius) and "the obstacle is the way" by Ryan Holiday next so hopefully they are good reads.

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BlueNote
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Re: BlueNote's Journal

Post by BlueNote » Fri Oct 16, 2015 8:16 pm

I have been reading a little more than usual lately. I find that I vastly prefer real paper bound books over e-books. I can write on the paperbound books, and I derive pleasure from the paper, the real print and the feel of the book vs alternatives. I prefer non-fiction and like to write in the margins and markup the text. I like to refer back to books I have read and review my marginalia. I can’t do this with library books and e-book technology is great for searching for text but terrible for adding marginalia, comments etc. I sometimes even create my own index at the back of the book. In the case of one book I created my own family tree/timeline in the front of the book. I have a weakness in following books with many characters and relationships so I create little hierarchies and lists of people and their relationships to help follow along.

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BlueNote
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Re: BlueNote's Journal

Post by BlueNote » Thu Oct 22, 2015 7:49 pm

Baby is coming in May

Now that my wife is well enough along in her pregnancy I am happy to announce that I will be a first time father at some point in mid-May 2016.

I look forward to raising my daughter or son and ERE will certainly be an influence in our lives going forward. I'm sure there are many challenges in store for us and honestly right now I am filled with a combination of joy, hope and anxiety :P about the whole thing.

I have a huge to do list around the baby, not the least of which is to find a better more baby friendly place to live without breaking our budget.

The ideas we have had are:

1. Rent a house near where we work
2. Rent a bigger apartment in downtown Toronto and find a better paying job there (for both of us)
3. Buy a house (currently Toronto is in a huge one in a lifetime real estate boom , sellers market)
4. Stay put and try to adapt.
5. Stay put until baby is born and then re-weigh options then.

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jennypenny
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Re: BlueNote's Journal

Post by jennypenny » Fri Oct 23, 2015 5:12 am

Congratulations!

Totally unsolicited advice ...

You don't have to move. The baby will take up about 10 sq ft of living space assuming you don't succumb to buying every plastic baby gadget available. (a blanket on the floor works just as well as some plastic contraption, and studies show babies who are always strapped into something are heavier, less agile, and more likely to suffer from asthma). Also, if you moved to a new house, you'd end up spending free time fixing up the house to your liking instead of spending it with the baby. There's plenty of time later on to devote to fixing up a new living space. Why take on the extra burden of a suburban-ish house at the same time as a new baby, especially your first child.

The only reason I could see moving is if you anticipate grandparents or other family staying with you at times to help care for the baby, and need another bedroom to accommodate them. That's probably worth it.

Regarding where to live ... I lived in the city (Philly) when my kids were little. I loved it. IMO, it's so much easier to be in the city when they are little. Everything is close by and walkable. (strollers/slings are the easiest method of getting around with them) The doctors were close by. There was lots of free entertainment. It was easier to get something delivered if I was stuck in and needed something. It was easy to find support groups and play groups (free ones). When kids are young, they don't need great expanses of space. We had memberships at the zoo and the science museum, and that was enough to keep them, and me, entertained most of the time. We moved when they approached school age and wanted to do things like organized sports and play outside on their own. (It was easier for me to let them go off on their own in suburbia when they were young.)

If you don't like the city, then don't do it. If you like city living though, I think it's totally doable.

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BlueNote
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Re: BlueNote's Journal

Post by BlueNote » Thu Nov 05, 2015 5:56 pm

Unfortunately, not long after I wrote the post prior to this one, my wife and I learned that the pregnancy had failed. We're still going through the aftermath medically and emotionally. I am very thankful that my wife hasn't experienced any further medical complications and that Canada has high quality universal health care.

We did get a new GP who advised my wife that she didn't need to go for any dating ultra sounds which would have detected this earlier. The GYOB was surprised , as was I, that a young doctor well trained doctor like that wouldn't have recommended ultrasound testing right away on a first time pregnancy. Apparently this doctor has really good bed side manner. Personally I'll take a smart , experienced awkward doctor over a possibly sub par but nice doctor anyday.

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Re: BlueNote's Journal

Post by llorona » Thu Nov 05, 2015 8:30 pm

Very sorry about the baby.

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jennypenny
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Re: BlueNote's Journal

Post by jennypenny » Fri Nov 06, 2015 5:39 am

I'm sorry, Bluenote. It happens more frequently than people realize, it's just that people don't talk about it much. I'm glad DW is ok.

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BlueNote
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Re: BlueNote's Journal

Post by BlueNote » Fri Nov 06, 2015 5:19 pm

jennypenny wrote:I'm sorry, Bluenote. It happens more frequently than people realize, it's just that people don't talk about it much. I'm glad DW is ok.
~25% of all pregnancies fail according to our gyob

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BlueNote
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Re: BlueNote's Journal

Post by BlueNote » Tue Dec 08, 2015 9:39 pm

Personal Finance Blogs


I had a commodore 64 hand me down as a first computer. I was also bequeathed many game floppy disks along with manuals and various bits of advertising. One of the solutions advertised was a way to connect to something like the internet, possibly a BBS. I thought that was the coolest thing ever but didn't follow through on trying to locate, acquire, learn and implement said Cretaceous modem/networking software solution. However the reason I was so excited about it (circa 1992-1991) was that I could find and communicate with other like minded people easily. I don’t think I knew many, if any, other NT personality types at all. That niche aspect was really cool for a 12 year old INTP from averagetown Canada where all his friends would rather talk about hockey, drugs, drinking, pop music and girls.

23 years later the Internet is so damned good that it’s actually becoming good at annoying me with super niche advertising a. My annoyance is approaching the level I used to get to with the mass advertising I grew up with on T.V. Many of the bloggers who are targeting me are trying to turn ‘pro’. The good ones can write a decent article and shamelessly pop in an advertisement which will, due to the vast audience, make them some money. Some of the lesser ones will provide a fluffy (almost meaningless) article about something like credit card rewards which is really just advertising click bait. The niche for early retirement has basically been filled now. Newcomers will find it difficult to make similar impacts to those who have gone before, the major points have been covered and proven. I could stop reading early retirement type blogs now and do an early retirement in 10-13 years with my current knowledge and momentum. If I changed my momentum I could do it in 5-7 years. I’m not as ”golly gee whiz” amazed at the Internet as other people are. The positive surprises for me were the more artistic things like fonts, graphics, video, sound. I wasn’t expecting it to be so pretty but I guess that’s just icing on the cake. The negative surprises were the mass expansion of porn (for men) and the amplification of pre-existing shallowness perpetuated by social media (Facebook etc.). If I were to start a blog I wouldn’t do it for the money however I would probably be influenced by the readers and the interactive capabilities offed by the net.

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BlueNote
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Re: BlueNote's Journal

Post by BlueNote » Mon Jan 25, 2016 8:43 pm

Groceries

I now have a high enough net worth that I could , if I so chose, safely retire from paying for groceries. My risk of ruin is low enough that it's likely I could also grow the principal substantially while still eating like a king.

Even without my work catering breakfast and lunch I could pull this off :mrgreen:

I guess the next big milestone is being able to afford my transportation costs and then after that my housing costs. Once those three things are covered I am, by my own definition, financially independent. I could stop working and likely cover the small additional living costs with my work transportation savings.



Auto-Pilot

Most of my savings are on auto-pilot, it happens naturally as a result of a chosen lifestyle. My savings rate is slightly above 50% and I am at a skill level that I can continue without really trying. My lifestyle is setup to be self-reinforcing which perpetuates frugality and thrift.

Sabbatical

My employer offers a sabbatical program. I put money into a fund they maintain for 5 years and then take a year off. They cover my salary with the fund and I get full benefits. I thought it might be a cool goal to sign up for the sabbatical and find ways to keep my savings rate at 50% of the new sabbatical salary. Then after I come back from Sabbatical I'll be back to my pre-sabbital salary so it'll be like I got a big raise. Also a sabbatical will give me a chance to rehearse early retirement. I am still thinking this idea through....

George the original one
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Re: BlueNote's Journal

Post by George the original one » Tue Jan 26, 2016 1:49 pm

I think you've got a great plan for the sabbatical!

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BlueNote
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Re: BlueNote's Journal

Post by BlueNote » Thu Jan 28, 2016 9:25 pm

Sabbatical

Unfortunately my employer quietly ended the sabbatical program a little while ago.

I was looking forward to using that program. Maybe there are other options, like quit for a year and work casually to cover the bills. I could get more than half my workday back doing that.

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BlueNote
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Re: BlueNote's Journal

Post by BlueNote » Mon Feb 01, 2016 9:12 pm

Casual Labour

I am an accountant / finance person by trade. When I 'retire' I'd still like to be able to do some side jobs in case of trouble or boredom. Most people associate accountants with taxes. However I am not a tax accountant, in fact of all the specializations within my field that is probably my weakest area. I am more of a corporate accountant, providing analysis, advice and specialized reporting for my employer. It would be difficult to impossible to do my job as a casual side job. In fact my current occupation is pretty much a perfect template for a salaryman's job, I am a company man.

Tax accounting on the other hand is very seasonal (occurring in Canada typically between Feb and April). Some regular tax clients could allow me to go semi-FI while keeping a foot in the door of my profession. However I generally dislike tax accounting , with it's transactional nature and many arbitrary rules and regulations, so I probably won't go that route.

I'm also a decent programmer and spreadsheet jockey so maybe I can get some side hustle doing that.

I enjoy investing, as a personal hobby, and maybe I could take on some clients and handle their money management for them. I have experience implementing some of the more exotic investment strategies available to smalltime investors. I also have experience with some of the more conventional strategies. An investment advisor probably adds the most value as a coach by keeping their clients from deviating from their strategy in hard times.

I am definitely thinking about this problem now.......

I figure theres about a 10-20% chance that my employer would agree to keep me on as a consultant/contractor part time while I go into FI mode in my current role. Maybe I could put myself into a position where I'd have better chances at that when the time comes.

Unexpected success

I am skeptical by nature (INTP personality type). I wasn't expecting to be able to save at my current rate for so long. I was expecting some impenetrable barrier to stop me at some point but the opposite is happening, success is breeding success. My wife is seeing me succeed and is upping her game, she might even start beating my savings rate (she has a more competitive personality [ESTJ]).

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BlueNote
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Re: BlueNote's Journal

Post by BlueNote » Tue Feb 16, 2016 6:53 pm

Quick note on not looking at the markets all the time

I've always had trouble keeping my eye off the ticker tape. It's a stupid habit, it wastes my time as well as others and leads to nothing good. I have gone a couple of days without checking. My investing systems require checking the total returns of a few ETF's once a month so that's as often as I need to check prices.

I have no real special advice on how to do this. It seems that over time I have learned, from the school of hard knocks, that checking market prices frequently is a stupid activity and I have started naturally adjusting to just ignoring the ticker tape for days on end. Hopefully the trend will continue and I'll eventually be checking once a month.

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jennypenny
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Re: BlueNote's Journal

Post by jennypenny » Wed Feb 17, 2016 7:31 am

I've never been able to go a single day without looking, even on vacation. Not only that, but I can tell you on any given day exactly how much is in each of our accounts.

Please share more if you're able to successfully kick the habit. I'd be interested in your thoughts.

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cmonkey
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Re: BlueNote's Journal

Post by cmonkey » Wed Feb 17, 2016 8:45 am

To get your mind off of financial markets, diving into spring has helped me. That guy has a whole host of gardeners world videos. Also a bunch on daily motion. Get to start the first seeds next week!

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BlueNote
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Re: BlueNote's Journal

Post by BlueNote » Wed Feb 17, 2016 7:10 pm

jennypenny wrote:I've never been able to go a single day without looking, even on vacation. Not only that, but I can tell you on any given day exactly how much is in each of our accounts.

Please share more if you're able to successfully kick the habit. I'd be interested in your thoughts.
It's sort of boring and sometimes work gets engrossing enough where I don't want to check. I don't have any special techniques. It's hard not to check because the information is at your fingertips 24/7. I have honestly considered getting actual stock certificates and having them locked away in a safe deposit box, just collect dividend cheques. I don't even know if you can do this anymore. There's a good chance I would care far less about day to day price activity if I knew my holding were locked up in a safe and the only way to liquidate them was to go get them and send them to a broker.
Last edited by BlueNote on Wed Feb 17, 2016 7:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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BlueNote
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Re: BlueNote's Journal

Post by BlueNote » Wed Feb 17, 2016 7:11 pm

cmonkey wrote:To get your mind off of financial markets, diving into spring has helped me. That guy has a whole host of gardeners world videos. Also a bunch on daily motion. Get to start the first seeds next week!

Makes me wish I had some land to grow a garden on.

K60
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Re: BlueNote's Journal

Post by K60 » Wed Feb 24, 2016 8:23 am

I check the markets frequently, but I only check my accounts when the market is up.

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BlueNote
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Re: BlueNote's Journal

Post by BlueNote » Wed Mar 02, 2016 10:19 pm

@K60

On average US daily stock market results have about a 55% chance of being positive on any given day (statistically). However most people feel relatively more pain on losses then they do happiness on gains so it can be mentally depleting to watch the markets all the time. Better to look infrequently and spread the anguish over a longer time frame ;)

The journey to a 75% savings rate

I am at a savings rate of about 54% right now and I'd love to get that to 75%. However I'd have to cut my current expenses almost in half to accomplish this. That would mean a few lifestyle changes.A more challenging task would be increasing my take home pay by 81% but keeping expenses static. I'll go ask my boss for an 81% raise tomorrow :lol:

Theoretically this is how I would do it. Number 1 would be arranging some sort of work from home with my company and moving to a cheap COL town where rent is 1/4 of what we pay now. We did it in University and it wouldn't be too bad to do it again. Next would be our expensive yearly vacation , I'd have to nuke it. I'd also have to eat more frugally and I could probably swing it. It seems almost crazy to me, but that's the Wheaton scale mental model for you.

Jumping to a 75% savings rate probably ain't going to happen any time soon but I will be keeping my expense inflation in check so that any raises that do come my way flow to the bottom line after taxes. Unlike my extreme brethren here I am willing to trade some more time and earlier freedom for a flashier and shorter FI period.

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Tyler9000
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Re: BlueNote's Journal

Post by Tyler9000 » Wed Mar 02, 2016 10:35 pm

Sounds like a good plan to me! Getting to a savings rate goal is not something you can just flip a switch on. You grow into it. Focus on getting the most happiness for the least expenses, and you'll be fine.

K60
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Re: BlueNote's Journal

Post by K60 » Sun Mar 06, 2016 8:37 am

Interesting statistic on the US stock market.

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BlueNote
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Re: BlueNote's Journal

Post by BlueNote » Fri Mar 18, 2016 1:48 pm

@K50 I got that stat from the Fama/French data set (Fama/French 3 Factors [Daily])

23andMe Genotyping

I got my genotyping results back from 23andMe which I sent in back in December. It turns out I am genetically 100% North western european, likely 60% English/Irish decent and mix of other european. Their screens picked up only one increased genetic risk where I am about twice as likely to get Alzheimer's then the average european man (genotype: APOE ε3/ε4), my odds are about about 22-33% of getting it by age 85. I don't like this but there is nothing I can do about it except ensure that my affairs are organized for the increased possibility. The site doesn't just flash those results up on the screen, you have to go through a validation process before they'll let you see the results. That makes sense because some people don't want to know they have a higher chance of getting an incurable disease. Personally I would rather know then not know.

I am adopted so I think it was worth $200 to get the genotyping done, given that I had little hereditary data. The site also has a function to find genetic relatives who have also submitted to 23andMe, mine are all 3rd to 6th cousins I have never met. They almost all have really Anglo-Saxon sounding last names. I'm not going to try getting in touch with them but it's sort of interesting.

Job Interview

I might be going for a job interview soon. I am shooting to get a 15% raise and an extra week of vacation. The head hunter is pretty confident she can get me in for an interview as long as the spot is still open. A lot of articles I have been reading say that people who switch jobs every 3-5 years end up making a lot more money because it's easier to negotiate a higher salary from a different company than the one you work for. This is particularly true for tech workers, I am more finance/accounting but I think it still applies. Where I work that is definitely the case. In fact they like to hire people with unrelated degrees (like history, sociology, literature) and train them in finance/accounting. The stated reason is usually "diversity" but I strongly suspect that the main benefit is that these people can't compete on paper with CPA's, CFA's, MBA's Peng etc. so they stick around and accept the really low pay. Some of these people are really good too, it's like we have honorary engineers and CPA's who got educated on the job and whose skills are extremely valuable. Some of the older crowd have STEM degree's and they are a joy to work with, I only have to explain things once and they have great questions and input. It's just that employers are so lazy and risk averse about screening people that they require the credentials so they won't be seen as taking undue risk and because credentials are a cheap shortcut to separating out talent.

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BlueNote
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Re: BlueNote's Journal

Post by BlueNote » Thu Mar 24, 2016 5:58 pm

Job Interview performance


So I did end up going to a job interview. It's an adrenaline rush for a super introverted person like me to do a job interview. I was all nerves in the days preceding the interview but now that it's over I feel great! I'm starting to think I should shoot for one interview a month now. I figure I've only got a 30% or less chance of getting this job. The head hunter and the person I interviewed with made it very clear they were interviewing as many people as possible this week. However they also made it very clear that they need to move fast so I'm thinking I'm up against 2 other similarly skilled candidates. I had almost no time to prepare for this job, I like to have a weekend to prepare but only had 2 workdays so I had to sort of half ass the whole thing. There were two people interviewing me, my potential manager and his manager. I felt like I had a better connection with the high level manager then I did with my potential manager. If I get that job it will be a big jump in pay for me. I gave my headhunter an inflated (market average) number for my current salary and said that I require a raise to make switching worthwhile. They were like yeah we can definitely get you that salary, so my fingers are crossed. This job + salary + benefits could take me into the 10 year retirement savings rate without having to adjust my personal costs. This company also has way better benefits then my current employer ( a well known technology dinosaur), with a share purchase plan , DB pension, group RRSP and a few other perks.

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