Matty's Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
Matty
Posts: 78
Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2013 4:47 am

Re: Matty's Journal

Post by Matty »

Finances
So I am now officially invested in the share market! Last week I bought $5000 each of VAS (ASX 300 index) and VGS (MSCI world ex Aus index). This leaves me with approximately 10% of my assets in shares and 90% in cash. Still a highly conservative allocation but an important first step for me. At this stage I’d like to keep a large cash allocation until I am more clear on my medium term future i.e. purchasing real estate, semi-ERE income potential. I do plan to continue purchasing bundles of shares every 6 months to slowly increase my share allocation as I become more comfortable with the risk and more certain about my future plans.

Work
I took Monday off work and spent the weekend camping and bushwalking which was nice. I also have a weeklong trip to the Whitsundays next week which is free as I won a competition! After that I have 3 weeks left of full time work and then my weekends will be longer than my workweeks! I’m feeling a bit more positive than I sounded in my previous slightly depressing post. I’m going to break my year down into 4 quarters and set some specific goals for each as well as a general theme.

Goals for Quarter 1 2015-16
For my first 3 month period the theme will be unwinding from work, having some fun, improving my mental and physical health and exploring some ideas for the future. There’s lots of other little things I plan to do but here are my top 4 goals for Quarter 1 of 2015-16.

1. Gain 10kgs of body weight through a consistent eating and workout schedule (minimum of 3000 calories per day and 3x workouts per week).
2. Improve skill and confidence in lead/trad/big-wall climbing skills in preparation for a trip to Arapiles in Spring (climbing at least 3 times per week).
3. Improve mental health through consistent daily meditation habit (minimum of 5 minutes per day).
4. Complete the first round of food forest planting at the farm (approximately 200 plants).

Should be fun!

Matty
Posts: 78
Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2013 4:47 am

Re: Matty's Journal

Post by Matty »

So I’m back from my trip to Hamilton Island (my gf managed to win an all-inclusive holiday for us)! We stayed in a very fancy resort with amazing breakfasts, complimentary tea served by a waiter on our own private beach and unlimited use of the small sailing catamaran, snorkelling equipment, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards. It was good to indulge for a few days and pretend I was a big spender haha!

Only 3 weeks till I begin my part-time job! I’ve been posting here more lately because I’ve been quite restless at work. I really REALLY don’t want to be here anymore and my coping strategy most days has been to do the most absolute minimum at work, get home, eat dinner and spend the rest of the night watching feel good tv (except for climbing nights at the gym of course). I’m embracing the laziness as a healthy response to my situation and plan to ride it out for the next 3 weeks. My main goal for June is to avoid permanently damaging my reputation at work (or getting fired) as I plan to stay here part-time for another year. At the moment I feel exactly like Peter Gibbons: ready to crack.

In an interesting turn of events I caught up with my old band and we agreed we want to get back together! It’s perfect timing really as I will soon have the free time to commit to this. Prior to winding down due to members in 2012 moving interstate we were going quite good. We were getting regular requests for gigs and earning between $300-500 for a gig. I really enjoyed my time in the band and the prospect of earning a few hundred dollars a week for playing music is very exciting and will tie in well with my semi-ERE plans.

As I said, 3 weeks to go!!!

Matty
Posts: 78
Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2013 4:47 am

Re: Matty's Journal

Post by Matty »

So today is my last Friday at the office EVER!!! I just adjusted my timesheet to reflect my new hours which will be alternating weeks of Mon, Tues & Mon, Tues Weds. I also added an out of office schedule in Outlook for the days I am not at work. I called them weekends although they are longer than my work-weeks now. There's a certain satisfaction in saying "my weekends are longer than my work-weeks".

It’s a very interesting situation to be in right now. As I detach further from the system which I have been a part of for 3 and a half years certain aspects of that system are becoming more apparent. There is a pervasive social pressure to work full-time. In particular I am noticing the subtleties in comments and behaviours that weren’t so obvious before. Full-time work is the standard of which everything is compared to. It’s a bullsh!t cycle reinforced by people who on an individual level would love to work less but end up being sucked in by the dominant culture.

I’m resistant to that social pressure of unquestioned conformity. In fact, I am repelled by it. Every comment or behaviour that I observe putting down my choice to work less fuels me even more!

On a side note, something pretty funny happened to me last night. My PS3 died just days before my free time is set to significantly increase. I’ve been using it a fair bit the past few months. Perhaps it is a sign that I shouldn’t waste any of this new found freedom gaming! I’ll go with it for now! I have lots of living to catch up on!

bottlerocks
Posts: 64
Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2014 1:51 pm
Location: Magicant (WalkScore: Pajamas)

Re: Matty's Journal

Post by bottlerocks »

Congrats Matty! Weekends being longer than the work week sounds so ideal...I hope to be there soon.

If you happen to change your mind about catching up on PS3 games, I happen to have one collecting dust at the moment. I'll mail it to you if you pay shipping.

Matty
Posts: 78
Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2013 4:47 am

Re: Matty's Journal

Post by Matty »

Four weeks into semi-ERE and it’s time for an update!

Q1 Goal Progression
Fitness progression is going well. With my newfound freedom I have had plenty of time to keep up my workout routine and have also been hiking a lot. I have also been eating like a machine averaging around 3500 calories a day. For the first time in my life I’m no longer super skinny and it’s great! Currently sitting around 73kg, from a low point of 58kg a few years back. I’ve been following a free calisthenics progression program called Start Bodyweight which has been really good. Calisthenics training aligns perfectly with ERE as minimal equipment is required. Looking forward to the day I can do handstand pushups!

http://www.startbodyweight.com/p/start- ... utine.html

Climbing progression has been minimal as it’s been raining a lot and I’ve been feeling a bit lazy!

Meditation practice has been non-existent. I need to get onto this! I am looking into a Vipassana retreat in October plus have purchased 10 sessions in an isolation/float tank, which should be cool.

Food forest is going well. Most of the site prep is now completed and trees ready to go in. We have reassessed the planting plan for this year as rainfall has been below average and the forecast is for a dry spring and summer. We will now be planting a more manageable 50 trees with a focus on drought tolerant species so we can keep them alive more easily.

Work
Working part-time has been great so far. I am making a conscious effort to be grateful for my job and it’s benefits. I am also a lot busier at work trying to get things done in a reduced amount of time, which has made work more enjoyable and go a lot quicker.

Thoughts for the future
Previously I had the excuse of work for why I would turn down opportunities for fun. Even now that I am working less I still find myself being lazy. I need to work on filling my additional time with activities that I want to be doing rather than wasting it with “downtime” around the house. Basically, I’m done with winding down from work and keen to start some new projects!

Matty
Posts: 78
Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2013 4:47 am

Re: Matty's Journal

Post by Matty »

Work
Working part-time is amazing! The difference in lifestyle between working 40 and working 20 hours per week is in orders of magnitude. As I am at work less I find I am engaged in actual work most of the time when there and this makes my days go super quick. Combined with 2 or 3 day workweeks and it’s the weekend again before I know it. No more Sunday evening dread as I know Wednesday is only round the corner.

I have also been working one day a week in my fathers garden maintenance business for some extra cash and as a reminder of how easy and comfortable it is to look at spreadsheets all day when it is 35 (c) outside. Working each job helps me to appreciate the other, which is cool.

Finances
With my income from both jobs I am earning slightly more after tax than I was when I started work as a graduate full-time almost 4 years ago. My savings rate has improved significantly from then and is sitting around 75%.

Q1 goal updates
Fitness has been mostly good except for missing a few workouts the last month due to illness, climbing too much, small injuries etc. As such, I’ve tapered off the eating a bit to avoid fat gain. I’ll also be away for the next 2 weeks with no ability to workout so will be making a fresh start in November. Still, I’ve come a long way. I’m currently at 77 kgs and have received several comments that I’m looking much stronger.

Climbing has been going well, I have been sport climbing at the local crags around town and also at the local climbing gym a fair bit. I also went on a 4 day climbing trip to The Grampians recently where I did my first multi-pitch route and last week I was out practicing my trad placements on top rope with an experienced friend. I’m looking at a serious gear investment soon if I want to go down the trad route, probably around $1000 for a decent rack.

Orchard planting at the farm went well with a mix of about 50 fruit and nut trees in the ground. My spring seedlings are almost ready to go in and the fish are starting to eat more as it warms up

I have been trying to do some meditation each day and working on my ability to sit for extended periods. Starting Wednesday I will be attending a 10 day Vipassana Meditation course. At this point I am starting to feel very apprehensive about the whole thing! It’s gonna be hard…

I also purchased an old-mountain bike and have fixed it up as a touring bike with off-road potential. I’m looking at doing some 1-2 week bike tours over the next year. I have a 900km off-road trail in my sights but may be running out of time before it starts to really heat up (it’s in a very arid/hot area) so I might postpone that till next year and do a few shorter coastal trips this summer.

Summary
I’m pretty happy with my goal progression overall. Purchasing the bike and fixing that up helped to fill in the gaps between climbing and other outdoor activities. It was nice to have a project that I could pick up at any time if I found myself around the house with nothing to do. Now I need to think of something else to do! It seems I have sorted out the work aspect quite well and now my biggest challenge is finding productive yet fun ways to fill my time. The tendency to be lazy and unstructured is ever present! But sleeping in is still so much better than getting up early to go to work!!!

I’m gonna leave the goal setting for Q2 until I get back from my mediation course at the end of October to see if I have any new insights. Wish me luck!!!

Matty
Posts: 78
Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2013 4:47 am

Re: Matty's Journal

Post by Matty »

So I’ve been back from my Vipassana course for a few weeks now. The apprehension I had was mostly unwarranted and I really enjoyed the course. It was a good way to learn a meditation technique thoroughly and for many days afterwards I felt immune to any form of stress. The teacher recommends 2 hours of practice each day which I only managed to keep up for a few days afterwards and have been slowly reverting to my old ways. I find the days where I do sit for an hour in the morning I am much more present and aware for the entire day.

It’s amazing on these aware days you realise how many things are happening within the body which are normally managed at an unconscious level. Instant reactions of craving or aversion to circumstances good or bad, eating a nice meal, seeing an attractive person, people walking slow in front of you, getting a puff of smoke in your face. The theory behind Vipassana is that these unconscious reactions, big and small add to your overall misery. By maintaining a regular meditation practice you bring these reactions into your conscious awareness and observe them objectively and over time change the habit pattern of your mind to react to these circumstances. To me it seemed like a practical application of stoic philosophy.

Since getting back I have started getting back into my progressive calisthenics exercise program and of course climbing at every opportunity. I’ve also decided to defer my big bike trip till after Summer as it’s started heating up too much. We’ve been having regular 35-36 degree days the past few weeks and it’s hotter than that up north where I would be going. Been a bit lazy at work but no complaints there. My main goals and activities for Q2 (which is half over) are:

• Keep improving climbing abilities and knowledge. Climbing trip to the Flinders Ranges in late November.
• Start going on small 1-4 night bike camping trips in the hills and coast nearby with my new (old) bike. Test out my setup in preparation for my 900km off-road trip in Autumn (March-April) next year.
• Continue exercise program and look to put on another 1-2kg over the next few months while keeping the body fat in check.
• Start working on my ability to run 5km. I’ll be doing on a C25K program (I’ve never been any good at running).
• Meditate each day for between 30-60 minutes.
• Now the weather is warm get down for a surf more regularly after a winter off.
• Other fun stuff like camping with friends and doing a couple of 1-2 night hikes.

Matty
Posts: 78
Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2013 4:47 am

Re: Matty's Journal

Post by Matty »

General updates

Work & the future
I just came back to work after a few weeks off over Christmas. After 6 months of working part-time I have adapted to my new lifestyle and am dreaming about the next big change. I have another 6 months left on my part-time contract. In that time I need to either a) secure a new job/contract or b) decide to cruise until June and then make a big change (big adventure).

I’m not really sure how it’s all going to work out at this stage. I definitely don’t want to work the 5+ years to FI without some serious time off. I am keeping my eye out for good jobs though. I think I would be happy to work another year of full-time work to build up the stash and work on my skills locally before requesting unpaid leave (or quitting) for a year to have a big adventure. If I could secure a permanent part-time gig like I have now that would also be something worth considering. My backup plan if I don’t secure a job or decide that I don’t want one is I can head off into the world in July. That means I need to decide what that might mean. Hopefully my upcoming climbing and biking adventures will provide some inspiration.

On another note I’ve been reading some material on part-time and side businesses. I’d love to make a bit of money on the side from some kind of small enterprise. At this stage it’s all dreaming though as I don’t have anything concrete. Perhaps I’ll post some more thoughts on this another day.

Finances
I bought another $10k of Vanguard ETFs last month split amongst VAS and VGS. That leaves me with about $20k in shares and $115k in cash. I’ve discovered I am highly susceptible to checking the markets multiple times every day. I find myself hoping for another dip so that I can purchase another $10k of index funds. I’m weary of this behaviour and am thinking about just putting $100k into a Vanguard LifeStrategy Fund and DCA fortnightly amounts to remove my emotions from the equation. From my research Vanguard Australia will take on wholesale members with a minimum of $100k, making the MER on their diversified funds 0.37%.

Goals for Q3+4.

Climbing – Complete my first multi-pitch trad climb.
Progression towards this goal is going well although slower than originally expected. I am now the owner of a modest traditional rack including some cams, nuts, hexes and alpine draws which set me back around $500. I managed to get some good sales over Christmas. I have been sport climbing consistently for the past 6 months (including a multi-pitch sport route on my trip to The Grampians) as a precursor to my trad climbing adventures. I have got to know a few experienced trad climbers and over the past few months I have taken every opportunity to learn and practice gear placement and anchor building with them. I have also been seconding some single-pitch routes locally. The final step is for me to lead some single-pitch local routes. I anticipate I will make a trip over to Arapiles in a few months once it cools down a bit and achieve this goal. Woo!

Biking – Complete a through ride of the Mawson Trail (10-16 day, 900km mountain bike trail through the semi-arid/arid Flinders Ranges)
I’m also happy with my progression towards this goal. I decided to delay this trip which I originally planned to do in Oct/Nov last year due to high temperatures and being unprepared. My plan is to now do this trip in March/April this year once the temperature cools down. I have purchased and refurbished an old mountain bike for off-road touring. The bike cost $65 and came with good condition mid-range Shimano Deore components which I have kept. I have spent about $350 in total including the purchase price, a new set of tyres, rear panniers and other bits like new cables, tools etc. I went on a small camping trip with the bike as a test run in December which was a great little adventure – the bike held up well, just need to sort out a few final pieces of gear. The trip was about 80km over 2 days. The 50km of uphill on the first day was brutal on my untrained body but the 30km of downhill the next day was worth all the struggle. I need to do more of these short trips and also some long day rides before my big adventure. At this stage my biggest ride has been 60km; I’d like to clock a century before I go. The Mawson Trail will require a minimum of 60km a day on unsealed tracks.

Fitness – Get back down to 10-12% bodyfat by early February then start a new ‘lean’ bulk till end of June and reassess.
Progress in my calisthenics program is steady. My performance had a dip at the beginning of November due to missing workouts in October and sitting down for 10 days straight with no exercise at my Vipassana retreat. Amazing how quickly you can go downhill. I decided to regress some of my exercises and focus on technique. This has worked well as I have now surpassed my peak at the beginning of October and feel my technique and stability in a lot of the moves has improved substantially. I’m currently experimenting with Intermittent Fasting and a calorie deficit to cut down my bodyfat percentage (I tried to bulk too fast last year). This should increase my pull-up numbers and climbing ability thanks to lifting less weight! Once my bodyfat is down to a more reasonable number I’ll continue on a more conservative slight calorie surplus diet till June and see how I go from there. I also decided to can the running goal for now as I have too many other activities and don’t have enough days to dedicate to it.

Meditation – Meditate for 20 minutes each day
I’ve struggled with this one again. I just can’t seem to make the habit stick! I’ll try again from today aiming for a 20 minute session every day!

Matty
Posts: 78
Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2013 4:47 am

Re: Matty's Journal

Post by Matty »

Time for an update!

Work
Work has been cruisy this year. I have taken several weeks of leave over the last few months and I’m currently one week in to a four-week break. I pretty much have the ideal balance with my work situation at the moment.

Unfortunately my part-time contract is coming to an end June 30. I’ve been applying for jobs over the past month but no luck at this stage. Basically I am looking at three scenarios, I have listed them below in order of preference but each has their own merits.

• Secure a new part-time job and continue to pursue other interest/hobbies (basically continue what I’m doing now)
• Full-time job for one year to boost savings rate (not such a bad option, I will reassess my work endurance after one year and decide if I want to quit or perhaps request unpaid leave)
• Fail to secure any employment (start a business, continue gardening work with father, full-time rock climbing or bike touring)

Let’s see how I go!

Finances
Savings are steady. I’ve been spending a bit of money on climbing and biking gear but nothing excessive (Less than $1000 total). I also tripled my stock holdings over the past few months. This puts me at a rough 40/60 stocks/cash allocation. I’m starting to get more comfortable with a larger portion of my assets in the market but I’m still holding on to a lot of cash until I am sure about what I will be doing for the next few years.

Climbing
I’m now a trad-climber! I have been to Arapiles a couple of times in the last few months. I just got back from a six-day trip on Tuesday where I had the opportunity to participate in a two-day training course to round out my knowledge and learn some self-rescue techniques. Getting to this point has been a big focus for me for a while and I’m very happy to be here. So far I’ve climbed over 800 vertical metres and I love it! Will be heading back ASAP.

As a side-note: Arapiles has a number of semi-permanent residents who spend months there at a time. Camping fees are $35 per week so it’s interesting to think I can pretty much support a full-time climbing lifestyle at 4% withdrawal of my current assets. Perhaps I need to get a van…

Biking
It’s happening! I leave for the northern Flinders Ranges in less than 48 hours! From there I will make the 900km ride back home travelling through national parks, forests, 4wd tracks and country back roads. Here’s hoping that my body and bike are up for the challenge! I expect the ride to take approximately 12-14 days and right now I am feeling… nervous.

Fitness
Losing weight was easy for me. My body fat percentage is down to approx. 12% and I expect that to dip down to 10% by the end of my bike tour. Basically all I did was to fast till noon each day and eat normally after that. My climbing strength has definitely improved with the reduced fat - amazing the difference it makes. Weight training has kind of gone out the window the last few weeks due to training for my bike trip and climbing a lot. I plan to get back into it when I return.

Meditation
Haha… Funny that the hardest habit to develop is one of doing nothing. I will try to do some each day on my bike trip.

Stay tuned for a post-trip update!

Gilberto de Piento
Posts: 1440
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:23 pm

Re: Matty's Journal

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

Sounds like you're living the dream! Way to get after it.

There's a strong tradition of dirtbag van life in the climbing world. Maybe you can be the next Alex Honnold. :)

Matty
Posts: 78
Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2013 4:47 am

Re: Matty's Journal

Post by Matty »

Biking
So I’m back from my bike trip! It took me 14 days of riding to cover a total of 870km. The trip was a success and I had an awesome time. I enjoyed the simplicity of waking up to birdsong, eating breakfast with the sunrise, riding, eating, riding, eating, reading and sleeping. I also really enjoyed being physical and outdoors for an extended period. The experience of life is very different when you’re in direct contact with the weather, terrain and insects of Earth. It’s surprising how much of our “normal” lives we can end up spending sheltered from these things. The exposure isn’t always pleasurable but I found a kind of enjoyment and appreciation of the aliveness of it all.

I’d definitely like to do some more substantial bike touring in the future. It’s fun and if you stealth/free camp like I did most nights, very ERE compatible.

Work
My main focus now that I am back is sorting out my work/non-work situation which will be changing July 1st.

I have had 2 interviews so far but no offers, I have another interview tomorrow and expect there to be a few more openings for me to apply for before the end of June. After some further thinking my first preference is to secure a full-time job in my current city for 1 year + or – 6 months. Here’s my thinking on why this is a good decision:

• My net worth is appoximately $150k and with another year of full-time work I could reach $200k which feels like a significant tipping point. I feel as though if I reach this figure I will be able to continue to increase my wealth over time living a semi-ERE/mini-work lifestyle.
• There is still a lot for me to do and experience living where I am now. In particular, rockclimbing and playing music.
• I’d like to move out of my parents place and live in a share house for a year to see if I like it and to track expenses in a fully independent environment.
• I’ve spent the last year working a leisurely part-time schedule and am not feeling particularly burnt out. I figure I might as well do some hard yards while I’m feeling good!
• If it’s terrible my failsafe is I can quit after 6 months and get a significant tax refund. Or alternatively I can work for longer than one year if it is going well.

Now that I have listed all the reasons why I should get a full-time job again, I will most likely not end up getting one!!! Haha…

My alternative scenario is that I do not secure employment by June 30th. I need to develop a plan of action for this scenario but I really just have a bunch of cool ideas in my head. I’m really not sure how I would go about deciding on what to do out of this list. I’m not short on ideas, just decision making and execution. Here's my ideas/thoughts:

• I have the option of working in my fathers gardening business one day per week for $200 per day.
• I can camp and climb at Arapiles for an estimated 4-6% WR
• I could buy and convert a van into a camper, C40 style.
• There’s plenty of projects to do at my families farm and they would be keen for the help. Building, revegetation, hunting, gardening. I could live there for free in a cheap caravan while helping out and working on my own projects. Estimated WR of 4-6%
• I could head to England to visit family and some friends for a month while setting up a touring bike and then continuing to ride around Europe untill it gets too cold. My concern is what to do in the winter months? Ideas include: keep riding as close to the equator as possible, get seasonal ski related job, catch a plane somewhere warmer, WWOOF/Workaway style volunteering for something fun and to keep expenses close to zero, return to England for a white christmas with family and exploring when the weather is ‘nice’. Estimated WR of 6%
• Long-term climbing trip overseas. A few friends of mine just got back from a climbing trip to Kalymnos in the Greek Islands. Sounds like a great place to stay for awhile. Cheap accommodation and food and 1000s of climbs all accessible by bicycle! Securing some discounted acommodation for 2-3 mounths in the shoulder season could make for an affordable trip. There’s also places like Ton Sai in Thailand. WR of 6-10% if averaged out over a year, hence why I would try to limit this to maybe 3 months and follow it up with several months of frugal living (bike-touring) to even out the WR to something more reasonable.
• Settle down in a nice little town with good surf and work on my skills.
• I could keep applying for jobs while based at home or even from the road. Returning for interviews as necessary. I would be eligible for unemployment benefit (subject to actively seeking employment) after a period of 13 weeks. This is roughly $500 per fortnight.

Matty
Posts: 78
Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2013 4:47 am

Re: Matty's Journal

Post by Matty »

I thought I would provide a brief update:

I didn’t manage to secure another job before my contract ran out at the end of June so for the past few weeks I have been unemployed! I’ve had a few good interviews but no luck sealing the deal at this stage. I have been finding about 5 suitable jobs each week to apply for. Man do I hate the job application process though. While it’s unfortunate that the cash flow has dried up, my expenses are currently <$50 per week due to bartering for food and lodging in exchange for working in my dads gardening business. Social capital!

The change in circumstances is providing me with some new perspectives that I am taking advantage of. My plans for the future are becoming more solidified. My focus in the immediate term is still getting another full-time job. I really want to get to $200-250k, which I can do in 1-1.5 years. I think once I get to that figure I will “retire” from my current job – SMBC style:

http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=2722

At this point I will have achieved Tier-1 ERE:

A 3% WR on $250k will give me approx. $7,500 a year, a modest yet achievable spending level with some creativity/skill/barter. Also, easily supplemented with an additional $7,500 part-time job income to allow a total spending of $15,000 if required. Due to my young age, willingness to work in the future, and concern over relying solely on financial capital for 50+ years, achieving FI at a standard level of spending is not a priority right now. For me, Tier-1 ERE provides me with all the security, freedom and flexibility currently required. I aim to achieve Tier-2 ERE (full FI) by around 40 as opportunities permit.

The beginnings of an extended skill and character building ERE trip have started developing in my mind. The kind of thoughts that keep me lying awake in bed at night due to excitement. I’ll save the details for another post. For now I need to focus on getting another job!

Matty
Posts: 78
Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2013 4:47 am

Re: Matty's Journal

Post by Matty »

From salary-man to working-man
So far I have had no success in securing a full-time job! Jobs are scarce and competition fierce for work I am qualified and capable in. Plus I am unable to muster up much motivation for the dreaded "networking"!

As spring has arrived, gardens have started to grow so I’ve been working with dad a bit more. I have also started working casually for an arborist, pruning and felling big trees and the like. At this stage my role is just working on the ground but there may be some opportunities for me to learn some tree climbing and felling skills. It’s an interesting trade, although somewhat dangerous.

Between these 2 jobs I am working several days a week and am making similar money to what I was making working part-time at my last job. The savings have resumed their growth woo! For now I am happy to continue with this work and am enjoying the exposure to new skills and the working-man lifestyle!

My primary goal is still to secure a full-time job and continue to build the stash. I’m in a reasonably good situation in that I am still saving some money while having the time to look for something higher paying and more stable. Plus the weather is warm and I can climb mid week!

Planning for the future
I have spent some time over the last few months refining a plan for what I want out of the next few years. It’s hard to plan for a future with unknown variables, particularly the job situation. To tackle this issue I am planning for multiple scenarios based on when and if I get a full-time job again. I have 2 primary scenarios, both ending in the same result (Semi-ERE, see below), but on different time frames and with different net worths.

1. If I don’t get a satisfactory full-time job by the end of the year I give up on my career and plan to semi-ERE on the 1st of March 2017. Net worth $200k
2. If I get a satisfactory full-time job I will continue to work and plan to semi-ERE on the 1st of March 2018. Depending on the job quality, I will entertain the idea of applying for extended leave without pay, if I don’t get it, I can quit. Net worth $250k+

Semi-ERE
My basic idea/plan for the beginning of semi-ERE is to spend a couple of months climbing at Kalymnos, Greece, make friends with some European climbers, then get on my bicycle and head towards the UK, meeting up and climbing with said new friends along the way (I’ll take a pair of climbing shoes and harness in a pannier), do some WWOOF/WorkAway/HelpX on interesting projects and with interesting people. Eventually I’ll make it to the UK for the summer, visit and stay with family, check out some of the climbing, maybe look into some seasonal work if the opportunity arises, then get back on the bike and make my way to Taghazout, Morocco for a couple of months of surfing over winter!

That’s a rough outline of the first 12 months. I have a number of ideas for after that but nothing concrete and this post is getting long so I’ll save that for another day.

The Semi-ERE budget
I can bike tour and stay with friends/family for under $100 a week and I can volunteer exchange for free. Setting up base in Kalymnos or Taghazout will cost a fair bit more, perhaps $300 pw. It’s interesting to mess around with multiple living conditions and expenditures within a year. Chucking in a few low or zero expenditure months makes a big difference to the annual spending while still allowing for some luxury. While it’s a simple and obvious concept I have found it helpful to think of expenses like this. For example (based on $250k stash):

Luxury (AirBnB) = -$300 pw
Dirtbag (Tent, couches) = -$100 pw
Volunteer (Woofing etc) = $0 pw

12 months Luxury = -$15,600 pa. (6.2% WR)

6 months Luxury 6 months Dirtbag = -$10,400 (4.1% WR)

5 months Luxury, 5 months Dirtbag, 2 months Volunteer = -$8,666 (3.5% WR)

4 months luxury, 5 months Dirtbag, 3 months Volunteer = -$7366 (2.9% WR)

It gets real interesting when you add in a couple months of seasonal work with positive savings:

Seasonal = $200 savings pw

4 months luxury, 5 months Dirtbag, 3 months Seasonal = -$4766 (1.9% WR)

Those are some pretty low WRs to travel the world on a pretty modest stash. Running these numbers makes me confident in Semi-ERE. I don’t plan on travelling long term and plan to work again in a few years time so sticking to a 3-4% WR isn’t essential to my long term success but it is a nice benchmark to aim for.

Thanks for reading folks! Stay tuned for the following future posts:
- An update on the skills and hobbies I am currently working on
- Job search updates
- More plans for Semi-ERE in the medium term
- Even more plans for Semi-ERE in the longer term

Viktor K
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Re: Matty's Journal

Post by Viktor K »

Hey Matty! I had to come over here and read through your journal after you posted in mine! Thanks for posting as well! There were a couple points I wanted to comment on while reading, but figured it better to read all the way through first. Glad I did too, as your last post is one of my favorites. I really like the idea of saving up a modest stash and doing a combination of what you term luxury living mixed in with some dirtbagging/volunteering/seasonal work. I think that kind of lifestyle is really appealing and sounds a lot better than working full-time for 6-10 years (my current trajectory). If you had $450k in the bank versus the $150-200k, do you think you would consider the same sort of lifestyle? If so, there's no reason not to live a "combination" lifestyle. Especially since you can hit some pretty effective SWRs in a few of those scenarios you proposed.

One of the latest scenarios the GF and I have been throwing around is working for an online company while hitting up some climbing in Thailand. So, if you do take to the world, maybe we'll run into eachother ;)

Matty
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Re: Matty's Journal

Post by Matty »

Hey Viktor. That’s a good question. If I had $450k I think I would do exactly the same thing!

Bike touring, dirtbagging, volunteering and staying with family and friends are all things I would want to do anyway. Fortunately one secondary benefit of these activities is reduced expenses.

So basically I can be ERE for as long as I’m interested in dirtbag living. If I want to go luxury full-time in the future it’s as simple as working 1 or 2 days a week. Any work on top of that is building the stash.

That sounds like a good set up! I have some friends who have said Thailand has been their favourite place to climb! I hope to get there at some point ☺

Viktor K
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Re: Matty's Journal

Post by Viktor K »

It might help to save a little past dirtbag-ERE lifestyle before going full ERE, that way while your dirtbagging it you can use a lower "SWR", and with any luck your assets will grow each year, even though you're withdrawing. I'm not sure if that's exactly how it works, but it is an idea that I've been kicking around lately. Otherwise we run the danger of ending up with enough investments to support that sort of lifestyle, but then if we ever grow tired of it it could mean going back to work again in order to support spending at a higher rate. And excited to hear about Thailand, they have a pretty sweet looking gym in Bangkok too (1 of only 3 I've found online), at least it looks cool on the internet. We'll see how it all works out but I'd say with our current mindsets we have a pretty good chance of making it over there eventually!

Matty
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Re: Matty's Journal

Post by Matty »

Hey guys, time for an update!

Work
I have accepted a 2 year full-time contract starting on the 20th of Feb. It’s quite funny as I had planned to stop looking for work at the end of 2016, this was one of the last jobs I applied for before Christmas.

I’ll be working in a similar industry but new company and my role will have a very different focus. My work will have a significant practical element and I’m looking forward to experiencing something different to my corporate office days. A significant benefit to the new job is that it’s a 25 minute commute instead of an hour.

My base salary is somewhat lower than my peak in the corporate world however I will be participating in afternoon shift and on call work so have the potential to earn at least the same if not more after allowances etc.

Finances
From July last year (when I left my corporate job) to present my net worth increased by $13k. Not bad for an underemployed dirtbag. To get to this figure I kept expenses low and managed to do a bit of casual gardening/laboring work, plus I received some unemployment benefits for a while, as well as investment returns/growth. It would be relatively easy for me to return to a similar lifestyle in the future, growing net worth by $10-20k per year with very minimal work commitments.

I have adjusted my net worth calculation to include taxable assets, Superannuation (“retirement” savings available at 55), HECS (student loan) and my vehicle (which I’ve talked about parting ways with for many years now). Here’s the breakdown:

NET WORTH @ FEB 2017
Taxable Investments $167,164.16
HECS -$14,217.42
Superannuation $29,597.07
Illiquid Assets (vehicle) $10,000.00
NET WORTH $192,543.81

Running some conservative numbers in Excel I should be able to reach a net worth of $250k within one year of working this new job. After my experiences over the last 6 months I basically feel like I’ve solved the money problem in life. I know I could survive (or even grow wealth) on what I’ve got with minimal work commitments. Right now I’m choosing to work full-time for 1 more year. If I’m enjoying my work/lifestyle or if there’s a major market meltdown I might see the contract through for the second year to build the stash further. I’ll reassess how it’s going in 6 months.

Thoughts on “un(der)employment”
During my 7 months of underemployment I experienced some amazing highs but also a few reasonable lows. I am thankful to have had the experience and I believe it has provided some important insights into myself and what retirement may be like. Overall I found that not-working/retirement removes the negative emotional states caused by working but introduces new challenges in itself.

Some of the key challenges I found included:

• Onus placed on the individual to define meaning and structure for life
• Difficulty in finding activity partners with similar free time
• Ongoing requirement to plan and schedule free time productively to avoid boredom/depression
• Laziness – high intrinsic motivation required
• Applying for jobs is sh!t (if you are looking, if retired this wouldn’t apply)

I feel that I met these challenges successfully on many occasions but also understand that it will be important to continue developing the skills and attitudes required for a fulfilling and happy retirement/life.

Climbing
2016 was a good year for my climbing career. I began exploring the world of trad multi-pitching and went on a total of 6 climbing trips. I saw a steady increase in skill and confidence in this area over the year. I also made an effort to explore some lesser known crags around where I live.

One thing I’m particularly excited about with my new job is that it’s 15 minutes walk from the climbing gym I usually go to. I’m going to invest in a membership at the gym and make it my pre/post work hangout. I expect to increase my climbing ability significantly this year through more regular training. As an additional benefit I might make some future climbing trip buddies.

For 2017 I’d like to go on another 6 trips and explore some new destinations I have in mind, with the aim of climbing over 5000 metres for the year. I’d like to end the year at the peak of my climbing abilities, ready for an extended trip in 2018.

Conclusions
I’m happy to be returning to full-time work and looking forward to working in a new environment. For the next year my focus will be on building the stash, expanding my climbing abilities and experiences, as well as a bunch of other goals that I’ve failed to detail at this stage. Perhaps I’ll provide a summary next week once I have gathered my thoughts.

Looking to the medium term I’m still on track for some significant time off from a job in 1-2 years.

Thanks for reading!

Jason
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Re: Matty's Journal

Post by Jason »

You mention trying to enjoy your job. I personally hate my job because I have to talk/listen to so many people which if I had my druthers I would chose not to or at least tell them to STFU.

So, IMHO - ERE (or in my instance, RE) is your job. The place you have to go to receive $ is a function of THAT enjoyable job. All jobs are ultimately toil. That's why they suck and why I am assume why there are sites like this one.

Now with regard to gaming, I will speak anecdotally. I stopped gaming at Duck Hunt which if you never heard of was a game invented approximately 2 years after some ingenious caveman rolled the first wheel. But, I recently invested in a game company whose stock today popped based on earnings. Warren Buffet writes about the Coca Cola accountant who spent years watching their profits soar but failed to invest one dollar of his own money in the stock.

My point is, if you want to game, game. However, you'd be surprised where your interests could help you make money.

Solvent
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Re: Matty's Journal

Post by Solvent »

I think you'll find that superannuation is only available at 60 for anyone not already close to traditional retirement age. By the time you get there, it'll probably be at least 62 and maybe 65.

It's nice to hear you're adapting well to underemployment.

wolf
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Re: Matty's Journal

Post by wolf »

Matty wrote:
Thu Feb 09, 2017 4:33 am
Perhaps I’ll provide a summary next week once I have gathered my thoughts.

Looking to the medium term I’m still on track for some significant time off from a job in 1-2 years.

Thanks for reading!
Any updates Matty?

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