BlueNote's Journal

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

Post by BlueNote » Wed Mar 29, 2017 9:04 pm

ellipsis_has_expired wrote:
Wed Mar 29, 2017 8:34 pm
@jennypenny
$5K?? Great Buddha!
I spent a couple hundred on one by a company that actually take old hotel mattresses and completely refurbishes them with new stuffing and fabric. Looked brand new to me.

Aside from finding a recycled mattress store, I hear good things about Amazon foam mattresses.
That's compelling, never heard of it before but I assume hotels would have really good bed procurement procedures so a refurb at those prices is likely a good deal.

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BlueNote
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Re: BlueNote's Journal

Post by BlueNote » Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:19 pm

Expensive month

My wife and I went to the states (USA) for a little R&R on her birthday. I paid for a hotel and restaurant and some clothes from a discount place. I'll probably only save 50% of my take home this month.

Work

I like my new job, manager and co-workers. I can already feel the stress melting away being away from the pressure of my former role in the giant never-ending ERP project. I have received assurances that I won't be sucked back into that project again except for minor consultations. That project seems only about half done so I'm not sure what the plan is to complete the work but I'm happy to have a 'normal' job again.

Bike

I'm finally biking to work again. I actually bike half way and then take the subway. If I biked the whole way I'd likely be a sweaty mess and would need to get a gym pass to shower off and get dressed. I do plan on doing some biking rehearsals to see how long it would take me and how sweaty I'd be if I biked the whole way.

My amateur bike mechanics continue.

I now feel comfortable with the following bike maintenance:

1. Replacing tube
2. Patching a tube
3. Replacing a tire
4. Indexing the derailleur (preventing chain skipping and getting the gears running smoothly)
5. Replacing and adjusting brakes

The internet is full of videos, tutorials and other material explaining exactly how to do this stuff.


I replaced my rear tire about a year or two ago and it has degraded rapidly. The side walls are breaking down and bulging out a tiny bit in spots. The tire must have been crappy so I'll need to get a better model. The front and rear wheels are out of true. I found a loose spoke on the back wheel. I tightened it up with a spoke wrench. I flicked the loose spoke as I was tightening it and compared the tone it was making to the other spokes and essentially tuned it up like a guitar string. I think I read about this crude technique before and I don't have a proper wheel truing tool so hopefully it works out.

I'm thinking of either replacing my bike with a better condition used model, building my own bike from parts, buying new or refurbishing the existing bike. I'll need to spreadsheet this up but I'm leaning towards refurbishing because it's likely the cheapest option and also builds more mechanical skills. I'd like to get replacement wheels , but keep the old ones for backups. I'd like to replace my grip shift (it's getting dodgy), chain (rusting and a cheap part) and seat (falling apart and slightly uncomfortable). I'd need to make sure the the new rear wheel has the same gear cassette specs as the old so that I don't have to re-index my derailleur after changing wheels. Maybe I can find used parts or cannibalize a used bike.


Weight

I'm down about 21 pounds and still eating the high protein diet. I have more energy and feel healthier too.

I eat a lot of lean meats. It's not the cheapest source of protein. For the cheapest source of protein that isn't mixed in with carbs I think it'd be hard to beat egg whites. Chicken eggs are generally a very cheap source of protein and they're easy to find on sale all year round. I do a lot of meat price matching as well. I have been able to consistently get 50-60% off the sticker price of beef, chicken and pork products this way. I'll eat fish but my wife hates fish so it's rare to have it around.

I generally also eat a vegetable with each meal and again it's not hard to find deals by buying in season products and using price matches via the Flipp app.

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BlueNote
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Re: BlueNote's Journal

Post by BlueNote » Wed May 31, 2017 8:00 pm

One handed

I got tendonitis in my wrist so I haven't really been able to type much for the last couple of weeks, I'm recovering well.

It got so bad that my left hand (my dominant hand) become almost totally useless for a about 10 days. I am catching up on alot of chores and activities (balcony garden!) that I couldn't do with the bad hand.

Family

My wife and I are still working on having children. We're starting to look at the more expensive treatments like IUI (a financial annoyance) and IVF (a serious financial outlay). If we get into IVF that'll set me back on FI a little, like a year at the most. Failing IVF we'll probably have to look at adopting, surrogacy and the like.


Money

I'm getting a little more aggressive with my portfolio , it's more like 70/30 (risky stuff/Fixed Income) now. I am making smaller tweaks then I used to , I'm definitely in a comfortable place. There is still ground to cover though. I am getting interested in options/derivatives and am in the early stages of researching various strategies. I have started investing in my non-tax sheltered "normal" accounts so I'll be getting a bigger tax bill from 2017 until I FIRE , at which point the plan is to take my tax rate down to the single digits.

Housing

Houses (freehold and condo/strata) in my area are still ridiculously priced when compared to median salary's of locals and/or rents. When my wife and I FIRE we may consider moving to a lower COL area and buying. I do like the idea of owning my own home but an investment in bricks and land comes with tax, utilities and maintenance (in big unpredictable chunks) which I don't like much. I've been researching different parts of Canada to find the best place for us. Victoria Island seems interesting (Cowichan Valley area in particular) for the weather and COL but it's really far away from "home". I'd also be open to international living but not too sure how much I'd want to do that with a child in tow.

Work

I enjoy my new job so far, the people I work with are stimulating and nice, a really good team. The work itself is financial accounting and up to this point I had been mostly involved in FP&A work so I am enjoying building up my skills in this new area.

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BlueNote
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Re: BlueNote's Journal

Post by BlueNote » Sat Jul 08, 2017 12:12 pm

One Handed Part II

After my tendonitis (see last post) I proceeded to get 2nd degree burns on my dominant hand in a cooking accident. I am thankful that my hand recovered relatively quickly with no scarring.

Gout

About a week after I finally got my hand back up and running my gout flared up again. If you've never experienced gout pain it's wicked. If I had to make a choice between the second degree burn pain and the gout pain I'm not sure which I'd choose. Burn pain has a higher initial intensity but , for me, it diminishes much faster then gout pain. My rheumatologist prescribed an oral steroid regimen. The medicine fights the inflammation but doesn't touch the root cause of high uric acid levels. Medicine to treat the root cause is hard on the renal system and is prescribed for the duration of ones life. Therefore, in order to minimize the risk of a liver transplant in my old age, we try to treat the root cause through diet and lifestyle.

Investing

I'm glad I have a significant asset allocation towards Canadian preferred shares. The BoC (Banks of Canada) is probably going to start raising rates next week which is causing bond prices to go down. Rate reset preferred prices are positively correlated with interest rates unlike bond prices which are , generally, negatively correlated to interest. Also rate reset preferreds throw off reliable semi variable dividends that are eligible for Canadian dividend tax credits if held in a taxable account. I invest in this asset class through an index fund that tracks the S&P/TSX Preferred Share Index which tracks the entire Canadian preferred share market. Another index (which has an ETF that tracks it) is the Solactive Laddered Canadian Preferred Share Index which more closely follows rate reset preferreds if you want to isolate the aforementioned interest rate to price correlation more closely.

My lending loop P2P portfolio is also doing well (no delinquencies yet). I like that the platform has some due diligence built in and that the loan payments are coming from small businesses as opposed to individuals. I treat this portfolio as an equal weighted index fund in that I buy loans as they become available in $50 increments in order to get good diversification (shooting for no loan to be more then 1-2% of entire portfolio). These are early days for the platform, I think they're going to have trouble finding quality borrowers once more lenders get involved. I am already seeing loans funded so quickly that I miss the opportunity to invest. Luckily the Canadian regulations on who can invest are keeping the lender pool significantly smaller then the population of individual investors who invest in normal stock and bond portfolio's. It's like a nice little club right now. The main problem is that this is all very private and mostly unregulated so it could all go to hell in a hand basket if the platform screws something up.

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BlueNote
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Re: BlueNote's Journal

Post by BlueNote » Tue Aug 08, 2017 7:19 pm

Pregnancy

It's still very early but so far everything is going very smoothly this time. I have reason to believe that I'll probably be a father early next year.

Image

Pretty mind blowing stuff.

I've been getting poor sleep worrying if it will stick this time but so far it has. Sometimes I wake up worrying that the child will have <insert debilitating disease here> and will have a poor quality of life. Apparently that's pretty common. My wife is also getting poor sleep because she's "growing a tiny human" as she likes to remind me when I forget or ask her to do something that I didn't realize a pregnant woman shouldn't do. We haven't really seen the hardest part(s) yet so wish me luck.

Investing/Finance

Canadian interest rates did go up , as predicted by almost everyone, and preferred shares went up a little bit as well. I think the preferred market had already baked in most of the interest rate increase and probably the next couple as wxell. Otherwise my boring balanced, diversified, globally exposed index portfolio has been treading water.

The lending loop P2P loan platform experiment is going well so far. I have a couple of delinquencies right now but still no write off's. The platform recently enabled a feature whereby they auto invest a set amount of my available cash into whatever loans are available. My portfolio is on auto-pilot now , basically an equal weighted small business loan fund.

I need to start researching life insurance.

Work

Work has been alright, could be a lot worse. I'm enjoying working close to home again and will probably start biking the 8 km (5 miles) to work and home on a more regular basis. I need to change a few things in my repetoire in order to reduce my sweat profile but since the ride there is almost all down hill it shouldn't be too hard.

rube
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Re: BlueNote's Journal

Post by rube » Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:21 am

Congrats and wishing you and DW all the luck.

jennypenny
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Re: BlueNote's Journal

Post by jennypenny » Wed Aug 09, 2017 7:14 am

I really hope it works out this time!

Don't stress too much over kids not being perfect. One of ours has one of the 'scary' diseases. It's meant our life is a little different than we planned, but it's still just as wonderful.

I'm shepherding a horde of teenagers on vacation this week. Trust me, nobody's kid is perfect. ;)

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distracted_at_work
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Re: BlueNote's Journal

Post by distracted_at_work » Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:54 pm

Good luck and congratulations!

I'm interested in hearing how P2P pans out... I haven't been brave enough to dip into that.

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BlueNote
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Re: BlueNote's Journal

Post by BlueNote » Wed Aug 16, 2017 6:48 pm

@rube

Thanks!

@jennypenny

Thanks! I am treating this like a science experiment in that I am trying to have no pre-conceptions about personality, intelligence, good behaviour etc.

@distracted_at_work


Thanks! I am still in the honeymoon phase of P2P but I'll keep the thread updated.

Jason
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Re: BlueNote's Journal

Post by Jason » Wed Aug 16, 2017 9:01 pm

Congrats. Your baby looks likes Rodin's thinker in the fetal stage. I would be more concerned about college costs in 2035 than debilitating diseases.

And I've never been in your shoes, but your wife seems to be playing the "I'm pregnant card" pretty early in the game. I mean that kid doesn't look like it's bothering anyone at this point. I would push back on that before your life is just fulfilling one indignant task after another.

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Family father
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Re: BlueNote's Journal

Post by Family father » Sun Aug 20, 2017 5:03 pm

Congrats!

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BlueNote
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Re: BlueNote's Journal

Post by BlueNote » Fri Sep 01, 2017 8:55 pm

@Jason lol Thanks!

@Family father newbye Thanks!

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BlueNote
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Re: BlueNote's Journal

Post by BlueNote » Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:32 pm

Pregnancy

It's a boy. :D

Rent Independence

My net worth has reached the point where I could confidently pay my rent for the rest of my life using withdrawals from my portfolio alone. I could live for around 10 years on my investment portfolio alone at this point. That's one hell of a nest egg.

More Job Interviews

I have a goal to do at least one outside job interview a year but I would prefer to do 3 or 4. I do this to keep myself sharp and to learn about the market for my skills. If you go back in my journal you'll see that I got a big raise as a direct result of getting out and doing about one interview a year. If I hadn't have done those interviews I wouldn't have gotten the BATNA that I used to get a counter offer. It wasn't my intention to get a counter offer but now I know one method, albeit a crude one-time-only method, to get my particular employer to take action. You should get more respect from your employer when they know you're testing the market and you have a good grip on the pay curve. However I wouldn't reccomend just resigning everytime you want to ask for a raise.

Right now I work for a fortune 500 company's accounting department but I've always been interested in what it's like to work for an NPO. An opportunity came up through a head hunter so I am going to try to go in for an interview with a well known NPO. This companies comp and staff are relatively small and the range of duties appear to be highly variable, like a jack of all trades sort of profile. The growth prospects seem low but there's always opportunities to move around in that space. The commute would be terrible. Why the hell am I doing this interview? Because it would be cool to meet some colleagues in the NPO space and learn something new about that work environment. Maybe there would be some additional job satisfaction working for an NPO. I'm open to learning something new and maybe I'll unvcover some more pros that outweigh the cons. Worst case scenario is that it's a bad fit and I move on. Also when I eventually "retire" I'll need to do something with my time and I'd like to try out working or volunteering at an NPO whose mission I believe in.

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BlueNote
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Re: BlueNote's Journal

Post by BlueNote » Thu Oct 26, 2017 7:01 pm

Job Interview

I did the phone interview and they were interested in me. However the commute would have been terrible for me and I didn't want to move because then I'd made the commute terrible for my wife. What did I learn from all this? Well overall it's very good to have a credential that's validated and controlled by an accountable professional body. My accounting credential signals that:

1) I have a business degree. These days a bachelor level business degree is almost meaningless to most employers, it's like the high school diploma was in the before the 90's.
2) have passed a test administered by a professional body that is objective and difficult to cheat. This is useful.
3) I have validated work experience, over a period of years, in specifically identified areas that are rare and valuable in the market place. Super useful

Legal, medical, engineering and other professions have similar bodies which credential their members in a similar manner.

When I put my business degree credentials and computer programmer diploma credentials on my resume and linkedin it really didn't move the needle. Nobody seemed to care, they wanted verifiable experience and no head hunters ever contacted me. CPA opened doors and continues to provide me more opportunities than I can handle.

There's also the cartel aspect of my credential but I don't think that's very strong, yet. There used to be 3 major accounting credential designating bodies in Canada and they only merged in the last 5 years. During the last decade when there were 3 different credentials (CA, CMA and CGA) these accounting bodies were minting too many accountants which resulted in a noticeable oversupply. My accounting body was taking out advertising in entire subway cars, news paper etc. It was freaking out the other groups, particularly the CA's who used to hold a virtual monopoly on the public accounting practices of audit, tax and assurance. However that competition has all stopped and now it's harder and takes longer to get in the 'club'. The standards, overall, are higher but the CA's lowered their bar a bit. I think the oversupply has been absorbed and the cartel is starting to earn the HUGE amount of money in dues they charge. They're probably lobbying hard in parliament to control the profession (keep supply in check and standards high) and will likely make my future job hunting life much easier.

At this point it's fish in a barrel for me. If I don't like what I'm doing I can usually ask to do something else or just switch to a company to do that thing.

OH yeah so about the job... I talked to the HR guy and it seemed interesting. They had a different accounting focus (big on fixed asset accounting) and seemed to have a sort of social justice warrior type of vibe. For example "We have 13 different collective bargaining agreements" , so that's 13 different unions operating inside a well known NPO (on the scale of UNICEF or OXFAM). I joked around that I'd have it easy handling the union dues deductions while the HR team deals with all the tough union demands. I read their annual report and the auditor gave them a qualified audit. That's generally bad, it means there was something wrong like a GAAP violation or in this case an inability to validate reported 'revenues'. For an NPO it's just the way they roll, no biggie, slap that on the front of the annual report and scan a crappy copy of it into the regulators web portal. Might as well have been written by an 8th grader in MS Word but I digress. I'd be fired out of a cannon for delivering a qualified audit where I work. Also they get almost all their money from the government. Donations were almost immaterial, it's like they were a pseudo government agency. I can't really blame the government for giving them all that money. Much easier to control spend this way , when you want to stop putting money into that social cause you just stop funding the NPO. If the NPO gets too devious you move the money to a better one , no government unions, political grandstanding and bureaucratic inertia. End of the day they were just too far away otherwise I would have gone in to see if it was a good fit, might have been a fun way to wrap up my career.

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BlueNote
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Re: BlueNote's Journal

Post by BlueNote » Sat Dec 23, 2017 2:12 pm

Baby Update

I have a baby due in 2 months. The reality of that is really starting to set in for me. I am having trouble sleeping because I worry about it. Good training for the crying baby phase I guess. It's cool to see him moving around. My wife balances her tablet/tablet cover on her stomach when she's on the couch watching something. The baby often moves around so much that the iPad gets knocked off, it's funny. We've probably gone to the doctors more in the last 7 months than we have all of our lives prior to being pregnant.

Currently life is very consistent and tranquil. I'm sure that will change when the baby gets here.
:D :shock: :lol:
Life Insurance

I got term life insurance through the CPA group plan. The rates were quite good. Some medical examiner came to my home and had me go through a gauntlet of tests and questions. He even made me go get him any prescription pill bottles I had and explain why I needed them. The rates are adjusted up as I age but are locked in at a contracted schedule. I will be scaling down my insurance units in rough proportion to my growth in net worth any ways so I expect my fee's will actually go down over time because I have a high savings rate.

Jason
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Re: BlueNote's Journal

Post by Jason » Sat Dec 23, 2017 5:54 pm

Congrats on Baby Bluenote. I'm no doctor, but is it good to have an electronic device laying on top of a fetus? My understanding is that it's not good for your brain or secondary sexual characteristics area(s), so I can see that as a similar type of situation. Maybe google that, although at seven months, its kind of late in the game.

I remember going through that medical examiner thing. And waiting for those results. I was sweating like Nixon circa 1960. I knew if I got rejected it would have been because I was dying and it would have completely sucked because then my wife would really need the money and the reason for me dying would most likely be grounds for divorce so it really could have ended up badly. Like divorced and then shortly thereafter dead badly. But it came back negative. I'm alive and can dream about being worth more alive than dead.

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BlueNote
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Re: BlueNote's Journal

Post by BlueNote » Sat Dec 23, 2017 9:46 pm

@Jason

Thanks

Yeah in my experience emotional gambler types are either in betting mode or reformed-gambler mode. Calculated risks aren't usually part of their preferred approach to money.

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Family father
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Re: BlueNote's Journal

Post by Family father » Sun Dec 24, 2017 1:22 pm

You may or not be lucky about sleeping once the baby is born: it doesn't depend on you (and I hope you are ;) ).

But I can't tell if the best approach is to train or to catch as much sleep as you can until the baby comes.. :oops:

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BlueNote
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Re: BlueNote's Journal

Post by BlueNote » Wed Jan 03, 2018 10:40 pm

@ Family Father

Thanks I hope I am lucky too. I am a terrible person after being awoken from a deep sleep, like a bear roused from hibernation. So I am not looking forward to that part but I guess everyone else has dealt with it somehow and I will figure out what works for me.

Work

So my boss told me they're doing a restructuring soon. Was advised we'd all be eating a shit sandwich of extremely low level, junior/clerk work, each month. I told him flat out what I thought and felt, perhaps I was too transparent. He scheduled a second meeting with me to advise me that I didn't have to worry about job security. I told him my job security was the fact that I was an experienced CPA living in Toronto ( the new york/london/tokyo of Canada). I also told him that I could just move to another part of the company if the work quality takes too much of a dive. I don't think that was taken well but I had to be honest, I have a low threshold for doing some old previously mastered low value skill , even if I am vastly overpaid to do it. The talk track was all about how everyone else also got a shit sandwich to eat , not that I don't empathize.

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Family father
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Re: BlueNote's Journal

Post by Family father » Thu Jan 04, 2018 7:08 am

BlueNote wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 10:40 pm
@ Family Father

Thanks I hope I am lucky too. I am a terrible person after being awoken from a deep sleep, like a bear roused from hibernation.
Who is not?

Sorry about work..

Personally, and looking at it with the perspective of having had 3 kids (and another due by end of february) while different working situations, it's not that bad to have a low pressure enviroment for the first months when a child comes...

Different matter is how your mind processes it (mine never did it well, either).

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