Elegant's journal

Where are you and where are you going?
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Re: Elegant's journal

Post by elegant » Fri May 22, 2015 5:51 pm

May 2015 Update.

It's now more than 7 months since I ere'd. Time is not slowing down . Surprise surprise.

Although I don't miss my old job in the slightest, I cannot recall doing anything truly significant since retiring.

The biggest news is that I practically moved in to live with my mother. She is 65 and feels lonely having retired herself this year. She strongly encourages me to live here on her expense. We get along just fine -- not to mention the dramatic reduction in my own expenses. Additionally, her house is close to the law school I'm about to start in 5 months.

My own apartment now stands empty. I only visit to water the plants and vacuum the dust. I suppose the logical (and socially responsible) thing to do would be to rent it out as the demand is great. The rent payments alone would cover my expenses by a wide margin, regardless of my FI status.

However ... Something is holding me back I cannot stop feeling that this step would solidify the fact of me moving back in. I'm worried that this is a regression, a step backwards in terms of independence as preached by ERE.

Any advice?

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Re: Elegant's journal

Post by wizards » Fri May 22, 2015 11:27 pm

Nice to hear from you!

Since you will be starting law school (exiting!) in 5 months I would recommend you to get some new perspectives – spend some time seeing the world.

This could be:

Europe – Interrail trip in the summer – if you happen to come by Denmark – feel free to spend some nights at my couch.
Australia – tour the west coast
United Status – road trip

Regarding your apartment – it doesn’t sound like you’re ready to give up the option of moving back. Is a short-term lease an option? (if you’re going traveling this might help fund the expenses).

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Re: Elegant's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Sat May 23, 2015 5:02 am

I like wizards' ideas :-)

Anyway, I hope you find your way, Elegant... Money is not the key issue (anymore), so you have more freedom. You can make more different choices now.

What I'm wondering: perhaps you could sell your current apartment and find one that's a bit closer to your mother's, and closer to law school.

I hope your mother finds her way to. For my mother the adaption to retirement wasn't easy either. But that's now 3 years ago, and I can say that she made it, and found a new way to enjoy her days and to feel (very) useful. She was a teacher and now has students drop by for extra lessons a couple of hours per week (on two different days). That also leaves a few days of the week open to do more fun stuff. I hope your mother adapts too and finds a (very) enjoyable way of living.

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Re: Elegant's journal

Post by elegant » Tue Sep 01, 2015 7:18 pm

So I rented out the apartment for a sum equivalent to 1,000$ per month. With my tiny business venture, my total monthly passive income now stands at 1,500$ per month.

That means that post ERE, I make almost 1/2 of what I made pre-ERE. Even a minimum wage burger flipping job would put me at my pre-ERE income level again.

How cool is that? :D

Anyway, I can live VERY WELL on that income stream alone, without touching my ERE capital. With all property bills out of the way (in Israel it is customary for the tenant to pay them), my expense level is almost ZERO.

Actually, this puts me in the very strange position of almost complete indifference towards my portfolio. I didn't and still don't feel any pain despite the recent market turmoil, even though my net worth shrank quite considerably since June.Does anyone else feel like that? Does this mean I should perhaps increase my exposure to risk (stocks)? I'm currently 50/50 stocks / bonds.

In other news, today I went to the law school pre-introductory class. It was interesting and I loved being back at the campus (I got my B.A in History there). However, the law school felt somewhat like a a lawyer factory.

At 31 I think was the oldest prospective student there. The frantic little ones asked mainly career-related questions. I kinda felt sorry for them but also smiled silently, knowing that my reasons for studying law right now are completely different. Specifically, I want to study law to

1. increase optionality
2. increase wisdom (knowledge+perspective)
3. add some structure to my retirement
4. collect experiences (studying law in singapore sounds interesting)
5. meet new people
6. challenge my degenerating-witcher-3-playing brain a little :P

making money or a career in law is really not why I'm doing this.

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Re: Elegant's journal

Post by henrik » Wed Sep 02, 2015 2:57 am

Studying for the reasons you listed is fun and rewarding. I'm on my second such round already:) Enjoy!

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Re: Elegant's journal

Post by rube » Wed Sep 02, 2015 5:31 am

I was wondering how you were doing. Nice to read your update. Good luck with the study.

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Re: Elegant's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Thu Sep 03, 2015 8:18 am

Nice to hear from you again, Elegant. You may become annoyed by some of your fellow students. You may also be annoyed by some of your professors. Some are only there for the paychecks (both students and professors). But I'm hoping you'll meet some students and some professors who are interested in discussing things with you and in teaching you stuff and in increasing everyone's knowledge. Enjoy!

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Re: Elegant's journal

Post by elegant » Mon Mar 21, 2016 3:20 pm

First semester is behind me. I feel I need to express my thoughts, I'm sorry if this somewhat harsh or inappropriate.

I hate to say it but law school is not as intellectually stimulating as I thought it would be. I now feel it is mostly a waste of time with massive workload. I hardly derive any inspiration and I am completely sure I don't want to be a lawyer.

Actually in terms of workload this is just like career only with zero pay. Thankfully I'm not paying anything (tuition is free), but I'm beginning to have second thoughts whether I should quit (academic ERE? lol).

I was naive wrt meeting new people. Most of my fellow students are 7-10 years younger than I am and I don't feel I have anything in common with their extrovert party seeking behavior and childish attitude. Let alone finding a girlfriend! lol...

It finally came clear to me that my personality is very confrontational in nature and my frustration tolerance is very low. This probably explains why after half a year I'm not on speaking terms with at least 10 different students for various reasons. Thiis sucks, reminds me of my old military days where I would go to my office, close the door, stay there for 8 hours and go home without speaking a single word to anyone.

I realize the problem is ME and the scenes I create in my head.

But that's probably who I am and no matter what social context there will always be some people who will annoy me to the point I wish they would not be around me.

I should probably find a cave somewhere in the Judean desert.

Other than that I still live with my mother, making around 1500$ per month from rent and internet marketing and living on about 500$. This offsets that massive decline in my portfolio value but I'm rather indifferent towards it right now to the point where I could lose it all and not really care.

I suppose I could go on living this forever but I'm starting to wonder whether I'm living post-ERE life "correctly".

FI is not the panacea for all problems.

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Re: Elegant's journal

Post by jacob » Mon Mar 21, 2016 3:29 pm

Long time no see ...

Your experience of returning to college many years later and getting disappointed that it seems to have turned into a party-crowd of drama is not unusual. It was likely always like that ... except it wasn't obvious when one was in one's early 20s. That's not to say that there aren't anyone around who isn't more mature/boring. They're just hiding out though.

FI only ever solved one problem. The need for an earned income.

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Re: Elegant's journal

Post by fips » Mon Mar 21, 2016 3:51 pm

Good to see you back!

I find that age differences matter less the older one becomes (which then should also be true for the younger students around you).
The behavior of your fellow students might be more the result of what many understand as "the freedom to live" once they have "left home" for the first time. I wouldn't worry too much and maybe pick up different student activities besides partying (sports? academic clubs?). That way you can gradually become more social with people you find more mature.

Being FI can help you erase one worry (=income to provide for your needs) and make more time to focus on your studies and other interests.

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Re: Elegant's journal

Post by elegant » Mon Mar 21, 2016 5:12 pm

ugh, re-reading what I wrote I sound extremely bitter and make things worse than what they really are. ;)

@Jacob three years ago you wrote in reply to (similiar) concerns I raised in this very thread:

"Warning: Quitting or retiring won't automatically solve the "existentialist problem". It might actually make it worse."

This is spot on. Looking back, I was on the way to become FI, thinking I'd do "something else" besides work once I get there, but here I am, finding myself in a different, yet similar, institutionalized environment, being told what to do and wehre to be, hating the people, wanting out...

What's going on! How did I get here, back to square 1, despite "completing "my FI journey?

I should probably do something RADICALLY different... but could it be that due to my strong ISTJ personality I'm drawn to such a lifestyle? This is a chicken and egg problem...

@fibs yeah, I'm still struggling to find myself in this place. There are student exchange programs with other law schools, that could be an interesting experience to look forward to.

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Re: Elegant's journal

Post by thrifty++ » Tue Mar 22, 2016 1:40 pm

Awesome that you have achieved FI! Thats something to be happy about.

Maybe you should ditch being at law school. Sounds like its not working for you at all. Its not like you need to be there now. Law school would be a groundswell of very career focussed people. Maybe you should think about hobbies and interests which might bring you towards likeminded people and direct energy towards that. Sounds like law school is a sap on your energy.

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Re: Elegant's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Mon Apr 04, 2016 2:51 pm

Hi Elegant,

I'm by no means qualified in anything psychological or occupational, but as an ISTJ, wouldn't it be time to think about a job that you would a. enjoy doing and b. be good at doing, so that you'll c. know you're contributing something valuable (to something that you think is worth contributing to, whether that's your country or humanity or elephants or the future of space travel or ...) ?

Maybe it's time to go talk to a good study coach / educational coach, or whatever it's called. Spend a few bucks on it; on somebody who'll first run tests on you, to see what kind of jobs you'll like and what kind of jobs you'll be good at (not unimportant!). And who will then give you advice on what direction to go in and how to take steps to get there.

You have a wonderful opportunity to do whatever the *** you want to do. You have a lot of freedom. Use (some of) it!

Personally, I needed the advice by a study coach to not only 'think about' what a job would probably feel like to me, but to also try to experience that job. Do a placement or accompany someone who is doing the job for a few days. I was really surprised by the difference. So for me paying that coach for that advice was very worthwhile.

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Re: Elegant's journal

Post by wolf » Sat Aug 12, 2017 6:40 am

Hi elegant. I just have read your whole journal from the very beginning and I took some notes while reading it.
Your story, experiences and your journal is very insightful. There are some major Lessons Learned there, IMO.
Congratulation to your FIRE-journey and your personal development! I guess, financially speaking, everything is fine.

I am for myself an introvert and have not many social situations. Have you made some more experiences concerning your ISTJ nature?

What have you done with your law school? I have considered myself to study when I will have FIRE'ed. Maybe that is not a good idea anymore.

Thank you for sharing your story! Would really like to read an update from you. Anyway, I hope everything is just fine with you and your mother. Take care!

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Re: Elegant's journal

Post by Jason » Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:44 am

Great blog and congrats.

RE: Accusations of marginalizing life: There is a quote and I couldn't find it so I will paraphrase and wait for the person on the forum who can clean it up and provide proper attribution as there appears to be no category of common knowledge that is not covered here. Which just gave me an idea of ERE Jeopardy which would be intense but people would probably quit when they calculated that they had enough money instead of playing it out and trying to actually fucking win.

"If only men could reside in their own chambers, how much better place the world would be."

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Re: Elegant's journal

Post by SnailMeister4000 » Sat Aug 12, 2017 12:51 pm

@Jason: You are probably referring to Blaise Pascal, who apparently once stated that “All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” I don't want to pretend I knew that by heart. I couldn't resist trying to find the original quote as I had read it myself somewhere sometime.

@Elegant: Thanks for your journal. It was interesting to read. How is it going?

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Re: Elegant's journal

Post by Jason » Sat Aug 12, 2017 1:22 pm

Thank you. I didn't know it was him but I knew it was someone like him. I have a lecture on Blaise Pascal earmarked. Most people know him because of his wager, but if you ever feel good about what you accomplished in life, I would suggest reading Blaise Pascal's biography for comparative purposes. You will feel failure at a deep fucking level. Especially considering that he died at 39 and was one those guys who was always sick.

Actually, he might be an appropriate touchstone for Elegant as expressed in some of his concerns.

Not to mention, who had a cooler fucking name?

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Re: Elegant's journal

Post by elegant » Mon May 21, 2018 6:10 pm

Hi all, it's been awhile. Hope everything is well :)

Thought I'd give a quick update on how things are going, almost five years after I started this journal. Mainly doing this to sort my own thoughts, but would be very happy to hear some insightful comments from you intelligent bunch ;)

- I am now a (rapidly balding) 33 years old dude, quickly phasing out of the "young adult" stage.

- Financially, things have been positive. My net worth, including real estate, has grown to an estimated 868k USD. I'm expecting this to increase even further due to an upcoming medium sized windfall (inheritance). In terms of cash flow, I'm still living with my mother (more on that, soon), which means expenses are low. I trimmed my fixed costs to 500$ per month (mainly insurance, train tickets, food). On average I spend about 600-1200 USD per month. These expenses are completely covered by passive income (rental+internet marketing). I've also taken up some part time work as a research assistant in law school. So I basically keep saving and increasing my net worth even after retirement. As a matter of fact, I haven't touched my portfolio since I ERE'd back in late 2014. Cashflow is king, right?

- Career wise... well, the biggest news is that law school is over in two months (thank goodness). My GPA is very strong (at least it was in L1 and L2, now I'm slacking). I accepted a very lucrative internship offer from one of the country's biggest law firms. So, yes, I'm going to big law! This has to be the mother of all ERE treasons... :twisted: To be honest I'm quite excited about it. And while I fully expect the excitement to wind down after a week or so, I want to keep my options open, and an attorney's license can be seen as a means to that end.

-Family issues. The sad(dest) news is that my nearly 70 years old mother with whom I live has been diagnosed with a degenerative cognitive condition. This has been going for quite a while but took time for me to realize how bad things actually are. They suspect it is a form of dementia (primary progressive aphasia). The degenerative process cannot be reversed or cured. She is still active and independent (cooking, walking, etc) but cognitively she now has trouble communicating and understanding others, while we have trouble understanding her. This will only get worse, and sadly, she becomes more and more dependent on me, owing to the fact I'm the closest human being around. This in turn takes a huge toll on my my mind, spirit and freedom. Anyone who's taken the role of a caregiver (or worse, if it's been forced upon them) will understand. Soon I will start working full time again, which means I won't be home much. I'm torn between moving out to live my life, and fulfilling my filial duties toward my mother who has given me everything and I feel forever in debt to her. I'm not sure how to approach this issue yet - my siblings (who live in another city) and I are considering hiring a professional caregiver in the near future.

- Relationships ...Well, after 8 years of semi-voluntary abstinence, I now have a girlfriend. We've been together for six months. It has been mostly enjoyable and I like her company, especially as she "forces" me to step out of my comfort zone and experience the world outside my little man cave. We hike a lot, eat out a lot, and enjoy life. There are, however, some issues that leave me somewhat restless:

1) It is a semi-long distance relationship - she lives in a different city, and, since we're both quite busy, I can only see her during the weekends, which is not ideal. Again, this is exacerbated by the fact that I'm going back to full time employment.

2) While she understands the basics of saving (we discussed ERE related issues and she seemed intrigued about saving and investing), she doesn't have much to her name (my NW is 200 times larger than hers, and she's ony one year yonger). Also, she's not a spend-o-holic but likes shopping here and there. If we ever get married, I'm going to have to protect what I have with a prenup (Israeli courts are VERY pro-female in divorce related asset division, and divorce rates for secular Jewish couples are almost 50%).

3) The biggest problem... She wants kids. BADLY. Its her life long dream. She's the only sibling who doesn't have them yet. And considering her age (32) she's feeling the pressure. We've had difficult conversations about it. I don't feel the primal urge to become a father. It's almost like she describes a vivid color that I just cannot see. Concretely, I'm extremely worried about the loss of freedom involved. I'm worried about being a crappy dad given my generally negative personna. I'm worried about the randomness involved, given that having a kid is basically a huge gamble. Still, this girl is one of the best things that happened to me in a while. Do I let her go and claim my freedom? Do we stay together, have the baby, and hope that parenthood will "Grow" on me?

Think that's enough for now...

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Re: Elegant's journal

Post by Fish » Tue May 22, 2018 9:32 am

Welcome back elegant :) Congratulations on the biglaw internship, and I offer my sympathies for your mother's condition...
elegant wrote:
Mon May 21, 2018 6:10 pm
Do I let her go and claim my freedom? Do we stay together, have the baby, and hope that parenthood will "Grow" on me?
As the relationship has just started, I don't think you're in the right state of mind to decide, and recommend delaying for at least another year. More urgently, you need to sort out your mother's care situation, and assess your compatibility with GF since you're already contemplating marriage and even baby. Are you familiar with the Secretary Problem? Presuming you will have at least 3 opportunities to get married, the optimal solution is to always reject the first offer(*). I think one has to be of extremely rational mind to outsource a major life decision to mathematics, but there it is for you.

(*) Just in case you're inclined to take me seriously here, I offer these disclaimers: 1) The real-life marriage problem differs in that the candidates cannot be precisely ranked solely on the basis of the "interview"... there will be unknown-unknowns and you have to take the plunge to find out. 2) I argue that marriage is more of a satisficing problem than an optimization problem, and it's probably more satisfying to accept the first suitable candidate rather than spending the next 5-10 years searching for "the one."

For what it's worth... I married at 20 (r=1) and things seemed to turn out all right more than 10 years later. I also have two friends who unsuccessfully attempted r=1 and have the divorce papers to show for it. In my experience it is more common to hear about unhappy marriages than "the one that got away," meaning that the typical person selects a much lower-than-optimal r. :? ... I'm not sure there's a point to be made. What I'm trying to say is that you're on your own here and I sincerely hope that things work out for the best. ;)

Regarding parenthood... like you, I was reluctant. For me, it has been a phenomenal source of personal growth and frustration, in equal parts. It adds meaning and direction to my life. It also severely restricts my personal freedom and I spend hours every day fulfilling duties that I can't escape. My favorite part of being a parent is reading bedtime stories to my kids and putting them to sleep. Sometimes, the stars will align and they will want to play with me, at a moment when I want to play with them, and it's the best. But most of the time, it's not the best, and you have to be willing to accept that.

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Re: Elegant's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Wed May 23, 2018 12:14 am

Hi, Elegant. I'm sorry to learn that your mother has this disease at a relatively early age. As for the professional caregiver - yes, I would do that if I were you. A professional caregiver will give you some relief and some time to do other things with your life, but also a professional caregiver might be able to give better care to your mother than you can (assuming they are any good at their job - do a solid screening, of course!). They might know some tips & tricks to care for your mother, some ways to interact with your mother that you don't know about, some tools to improve her daily life.

As for the parent-thing ... In my opinion, don't do it if you're not 99.5% sure that you want to be a parent (the last 0.5% is for the twinge of doubt that even people who want to be parents sometimes feel when thinking about such a major responsibility, which will shape a huge part of their life). So right at this moment for you, that would be a "no". Sometimes a relationship can't last because one person wants children and the other does not. That is really unfortunate, but if your dreams of the future really can't align, then it's perhaps for the best, even when it sucks.

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