Gilberto de Piento's Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Gilberto de Piento's Journal

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

wolf wrote:
Sun Dec 06, 2020 12:25 pm
Thanks for your openness of sharing your thoughts and feelings. Why do you think you "have mostly wasted the last 10 - 15 years" ? I think the same sometimes, too. If I think about the last 10 to 15 years in my life, I am not really sure, if everything was good. And I'll fantasize, if I could have done anything different, which would have lead to a better life today. But the past is the past. And I'm almost content with all as how I live today. Brooding too much about the past isn't gonna help you in the present. I wanted you to know that you are not alone with such feelings. I could relate to those points as well
Thanks wolf. I think I've made a lot of bad decisions and haven't done as well for myself and others as I could have. Some of it is unrealistic fantasizing but most of my criticisms are reasonable. A lot of the problem has been choosing inaction over action. Sticking with the safe choice that doesn't require change when doing something new would have been better (even if the new thing hadn't paid off). Counting on things to somehow get better in the future even though I am not making that happen. Being too patient and waiting for the perfect opportunity to come along. Doing things for other people rather than myself. Not being an advocate for myself or putting myself first. You mention that you're almost content - I am happy with some things, close with some other things, but with a few things I am very disappointed.

For example, I have been at the same job for longer than I've been on these forums. It isn't very hard, it is very reliable, and it pays the bills but I never liked it in the first place and I should have moved on a long time ago. I tried a few times but I had a hard time finding something better when I looked at all the factors and when I did find other jobs to apply for I didn't get hired. It isn't just a matter of needing to take a class or something. Given what I have to work with I am stuck unless I get on another track.

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Gilberto de Piento's Journal

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

Ego wrote:
Sun Dec 06, 2020 12:37 pm
Are you inherently risk averse or are you consciously so? Could it be that the risk aversion is the underlying cause of the other stuff?

I ask because I am consciously more risk averse than Mrs. Ego and find that I feel most alive when she's convinced me to take a risk.
I'm not sure I totally understand the first question because I'm not sure what the difference is between inherently and consciously is in this context. I would say that I very much avoid risks that I can't control. I'm trying to think of an example but I am not coming up with anything. I'm sure that risk aversion is a strong contributor to many of my problems. I get in a safe position and then, even though I can see the possible advantages to making a move, I wait and become restless and criticize myself but don't do anything. Maybe risk taking is something I could practice? Anyone remember Tim Ferriss' story about laying down at a nightclub?

I also have a problem where I don't want to hurt other people so I avoid possible conflict rather than "tearing the band aid off." At least once it has caused a lot more pain in the long run than it would have had I just been open about the problems. In part, this is risk avoidance too.

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Gilberto de Piento's Journal

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Sun Dec 06, 2020 3:58 pm
This might seem a bit off the wall, but I’ve been struggling with some similar issues, and I found that some step by step examples of how to apply systems analysis to even very personal problems really helped me gain some clarity. The book in which I found this advice was “Learn to Think in Systems” by Albert Rutherford.
My library doesn't have this one but I will see if they can get it. Thanks!

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Gilberto de Piento's Journal

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

sky wrote:
Sun Dec 06, 2020 5:24 pm
Read a fictional novel. Watch a movie. Walk a mile. Organize and clean a desktop, tabletop, shelf, etc.
Thank you for the suggestions. I am unfortunately very familiar with a lot of the coping advice for depression. I think the thing I am recently relearning for the 10th time is that although I am a longtime depression sufferer I am not depressed when I am doing the things I want to do. I get depressed when I am trapped. The list you mentioned are all good ideas (in fact I walked and later did [cardio activity] after posting and it helped a lot) but I think I need to solve my problems and learn to accept the things that can't be changed rather than continuing to use coping strategies to deal with the symptoms that result.

ertyu
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Re: Gilberto de Piento's Journal

Post by ertyu »

2c from another depressed fuck. May or may not be applicable to you and your situation, etcetera.

So, I am getting close to a year since I've stopped working. I am no longer feeling actively miserable due to having to do a job I hate on a daily basis. I do, however, still find "activation" difficult. This is chemical. Has to do with how much dopamine you do or don't have. If you have too little, you will not find yourself spontaneously wanting to read a novel, watch a movie, or walk a mile. You might be able to make a rational argument why doing these things might benefit you, but still find yourself not overcoming the barrier between inaction and action. What overcomes the barrier is dopamine, and you can't criticize yourself into producing dopamine. You can't criticize or force yourself into becoming the person that automatically does the things that make rational sense. You can, however, criticize yourself into being even more miserable than you need to be.

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Dream of Freedom
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Re: Gilberto de Piento's Journal

Post by Dream of Freedom »

ertyu wrote:
Mon Dec 07, 2020 1:59 pm
Has to do with how much dopamine you do or don't have. If you have too little, you will not find yourself spontaneously wanting to read a novel, watch a movie, or walk a mile. You might be able to make a rational argument why doing these things might benefit you, but still find yourself not overcoming the barrier between inaction and action. What overcomes the barrier is dopamine, and you can't criticize yourself into producing dopamine. You can't criticize or force yourself into becoming the person that automatically does the things that make rational sense. You can, however, criticize yourself into being even more miserable than you need to be.
If you suspect that your dopamine level is low have you tried supplementing with N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine? Tyrosine is a protein that is a precursor to dopamine. It's normally in things like eggs and chicken breast.

ertyu
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Re: Gilberto de Piento's Journal

Post by ertyu »

Dream of Freedom wrote:
Mon Dec 07, 2020 3:06 pm
If you suspect that your dopamine level is low have you tried supplementing with N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine? Tyrosine is a protein that is a precursor to dopamine. It's normally in things like eggs and chicken breast.
Thanks DoF, worth trying.

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Alphaville
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Re: Gilberto de Piento's Journal

Post by Alphaville »

you might also want to look into bupropion, which deals with depression as a norepinephrine & dopamine reuptake inhibitor, unlike the better known ssris (serotonin etc). of course you'll need a prescribing physician for this, and regular visits.

if lacking proper healthcare, the old standard coffee+cigarettes might work in a pinch, but side effects of smokes are obviously significant. but this is how people used to cope back in the day.

cocoa as well: https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/chocol ... -3660.html which lol bad for climate but... everything is tradeoffs.

ertyu
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Re: Gilberto de Piento's Journal

Post by ertyu »

Cocoa you say. So there is method to the madness when brain decides it's a grand idea to get 5 of the half-size chocolate bars that have gone on sale.

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Alphaville
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Re: Gilberto de Piento's Journal

Post by Alphaville »

hah yes. the sugar is not required and might mess with your dopamine circuits actually though. eg see https://phys.org/news/2020-06-high-suga ... ering.html

i take hot cocoa in the morning with just 1/2 tsp sugar in a short cup. spot of cream also reduces sharp taste without further sweetening,

buying a chocolate bar otoh might disappoint/backfire, especially american style chocolate with low cocoa and high sugar.

basuragomi
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Re: Gilberto de Piento's Journal

Post by basuragomi »

Maybe it will help to know that other primates also experience mid-life depression/crises - it is likely your perception of things will get better with time, even if nothing else changes.

LiberateMind
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Re: Gilberto de Piento's Journal

Post by LiberateMind »

Try a Vipassana meditation course, it helped to come out of negative feelings. Let me know if you want to know more about that.

What helped me to overcome regret is finding silver lining in the situations which I usually regret. Or another way is to think your past as dead and in another life time and you are born anew this day.. Takes a bit of stretch in imagination.. :) But it does help to re-evaluate things with beginner perspective. Read in a robin sharma book I think, Every experience comes to teach us something, until we learn the lesson the experience will repeat in our life.

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Gilberto de Piento's Journal

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

LiberateMind wrote:
Wed Dec 09, 2020 12:05 pm
Try a Vipassana meditation course, it helped to come out of negative feelings. Let me know if you want to know more about that.

What helped me to overcome regret is finding silver lining in the situations which I usually regret. Or another way is to think your past as dead and in another life time and you are born anew this day.. Takes a bit of stretch in imagination.. :) But it does help to re-evaluate things with beginner perspective. Read in a robin sharma book I think, Every experience comes to teach us something, until we learn the lesson the experience will repeat in our life.
I've tried some basic meditation a couple of times. The type where you try not to think about anything for x number of minutes. It did help me to be less distractible. I will look into the Vipassana, thanks!

Your point "until we learn the lesson the experience will repeat in our life" really hits home. With some things it seems I need to make the same mistake a couple of times. Unfortunately with big life choices you sometimes can't try again, time has run out.
Last edited by Gilberto de Piento on Mon Dec 14, 2020 9:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Gilberto de Piento's Journal

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

Good news, I set a goal to automatically save $30,000 this year and I've met one component of it. The "automatically" part is important because while I have saved that much in prior years it has been haphazard and stressful with large amounts of cash piling up and then trying to decide when to invest it and in what. This year I set my non-taxable accounts to save to the limit as usual $19,500 and set Vanguard to automatically withdraw enough each month to save an additional $10,500. Last week my last Vanguard withdrawal went through so I have met half of my goal. The non-taxable account part is still in progress but hopefully will be done soon.

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Gilberto de Piento's Journal

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

I bought a new phone. An automatic OS update slowed it way down a year ago. I'm done fighting it. I used it for 2.25 years for $220 so $8 per month.

Sometimes I do way too much agonizing about buying depreciating assets when the old whatever isn't totally broken. I'm going to put an appointment in my calendar that two years from now I have permission to buy a new phone without debating it. I'd like to set up a similar pattern with my car. Every two years get a newer car. It's like automatic investing in reverse so I don't have to spend mental energy on it. Just something I'm thinking about.
Last edited by Gilberto de Piento on Tue Dec 15, 2020 12:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: Gilberto de Piento's Journal

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

Erm, if you buy the right phone/car, their useful life should be MUCH longer than 24 months. With something like a car I would be especially hesitant to replace on a regular schedule because something "newer" is associated with "better".

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Gilberto de Piento's Journal

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

2Birds1Stone wrote:
Tue Dec 15, 2020 10:36 am
Erm, if you buy the right phone/car, their useful life should be MUCH longer than 24 months. With something like a car I would be especially hesitant to replace on a regular schedule because something "newer" is associated with "better".
What is your method for selecting the right phone/car? I've owned three smartphones. The first one was very low end ($70) and lasted about a year. The second and third phones were mid range (about $250) and one lasted about two years before it was slow enough to be annoying to use and the other lasted one year before the OS update tanked it. I kept using the second phone for two years after it was bad and the third phone for one.

My three cars as an adult I bought with around 10 years and 60,000 miles on each. I kept them for many years with mixed results. My complaint is that they start off ok but that mileage seems to be where a lot of maintenance is needed and when they get up on miles they aren't or don't feel reliable enough for long distance travel. They are cheap to buy but they aren't that cheap to operate. Two of the three eventually suffered serious engine problems, though one I fixed and another was able to limp along.

I'm wondering if getting something much newer with much lower miles, say spending $12,000 instead of $6,000 and then swapping on a more frequent interval would have higher up front costs but save money/time/hassle and result in lower operating expenses and more reliability, and having it occur "automatically" would allow me to just switch cars without agonizing over it for years first.

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Gilberto de Piento's Journal

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

December 2020

The big news is that, due to the increase in the market, I now have more than $400,000 in FIRE assets! :D Stocks along with everything else feel like they are inflated right now so it may be temporary.

This month I had relatively high spending due to having to replace my phone, paying the remainder of my annual property tax, and Christmas gifts. The old phone had slowed down to the point that, for example, I couldn't hang up when a conversation was over. If the other person didn't hang up we were in for 30 seconds of awkward waiting for my phone to respond to input so I could hang up. It sucks that these things don't last longer - this one failed due to the manufacturer pushing an OS update that the phone couldn't handle for some reason. I bought a different brand this time. This purchase was driven by my new thinking on replacing things that are driving me crazy sooner rather than later even when I don't want to spend the money. Spending money to reduce stress and be more efficient can be a good trade off.

My property tax was also a big expense this month. I've been spreading property tax across the year by estimating that it would be $2400 or $200 a month. In December I received the actual bill so this month's number reflects the difference between the estimated annual amount and the actual annual amount. I'm going to increase the estimate so that it is closer to the actual amount next year.

I'm going to sit down and create 2021 goals soon. I have done an annual goal setting process for many years. Most years it didn't go anywhere but in 2020 it got better because I laid out more steps and achieved them one by one. This year I hope to make it even more of a "goal achieving" process by including more detail to the steps and by creating a process to follow each day rather than just working on the steps when I get time. I did something like this in 2020 and it worked well but I think it can be better. I kind of bristle at things like this but I may try The One Thing process rather than trying to invent my own: http://the1thing.com/freeresources/TheO ... etting.pdf. Without a process I know from experience that I won't take any steps on some of the goals.

Expenses
Auto Insurance 28.87
Bills & Utilities 134.57
Business Services 88.15 (websites renewed, etc.)
Charity 21
Entertainment 7.91
Gas & Fuel 64.32 (holiday travel)
Gift 256.92 (Christmas)
Groceries 287.24
Gym 46.95
Home Improvement 69.2 (working on house)
Mobile Phone 247.93 (replaced phone, bought cheap case)
Mortgage & Rent 790.73
Restaurants 53.97 (ordered food a few times for holidays)
Taxes 730.49 (annual property taxes were due)
Total -FI 2828.21

Income
Paycheck 4502.56
Amazon 17.99
Checking 2.56
457b 1500
Total +FI 6023.11

Savings 3194.9
Savings wo 457b 1694.9

% Spent 47%
% Saved 53%

SWR 8.4%
SWR with Internet Income 8.3%

Years Remaining 15.8
Years Remaining with Interest 6


If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door.
Milton Berle

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Gilberto de Piento
Posts: 1630
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:23 pm

Re: Gilberto de Piento's Journal

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

January 2021
Spending was up some this month due to spending on the car, a donation to a political campaign, and gifts. Thankfully the $600 stimulus check helped to offset this so the savings rate wasn't bad.

Expenses
Alcohol & Bars 14.65
Auto & Transport 224.69 (annual license renewal and a new battery)
Auto Insurance 28.87
Bills & Utilities 149.18 (up a little due to winter)
Business Services 118.98 (paid someone for a task, not sure if the overall project was a good investment or not, hard to quantify)
Charity 85.35 (donated to political campaign and Wikipedia)
Entertainment 14.91 (streaming TV has increased due to quarantine)
Fast Food 8.43
Gas & Fuel 26.35
Gift 100.11
Groceries 248.31
Gym 46.95
Health & Fitness 61.98 (bought a box of N95 masks in case things get worse with the new covid variants)
Home Improvement 73.86 (working on the house)
Mortgage & Rent 790.73
Shopping 7.5
Taxes 200 (annual property taxes broken out by month)
Total -FI 2,200.83

Income
Paycheck 2625.74
Amazon 16.63
Checking 2.60
457b 1500
Taxes 600 (stimulus from federal government)
Total +FI 4744.97

Savings 2544.14
Savings wo 457b 1044.14

% Spent 46.4%
% Saved 53.6%

SWR 6.4%
SWR with Internet Income 6.4%

Years Remaining 5.9
Years Remaining with Interest 3


Keep grinding.
Mark Cuban

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Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Gilberto de Piento's Journal

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

Goal Setting

I've been working through a process (http://the1thing.com/freeresources/TheO ... etting.pdf) to try to set goals. The system I am using has you set "someday," five year, and one year goals. It's part of The ONE Thing book which I like.

Very early on in this journal I set and met some short term financial goals and this process has rekindled my interest in posting a public goal here in my journal. I'm still working through the process of setting all my goals (it's been a struggle) but I think I've hit on a couple of financial goals that I'd like to run by y'all.

I am setting two goals:
1. Be financially independent as defined by having my 12 month rolling expenses covered by 4% withdrawal rate applied to my FIRE investments (when the yellow line is above the blue line in the chart below) in four years, by 2/1/2025.
2. Quit my "career" job in five years, by 2/1/2026.


I think these are good goals for a few reasons:
1. They appear to meet SMART goal criteria (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound).
2. Based on this chart, assuming the trend holds, I will meet the 4% rule in about four years, around 2/1/2025. That gives me one year to create a buffer and gain trust in my financial situation before I quit my job.
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Factors to consider:
1. I will still need health care which may be an additional expense to add to my current expenses.
2. My current mortgage will only be half-way paid off. Worse, I'd really like to get a better house so the mortgage might reset back to 15 (or even 30) years.
3. I'd like to continue working and earning money. I just want to be able to work when I want to on tasks that I am more interested in and have the freedom to take off longer periods of time. I actually like being productive and might be lost without projects to work on. I would most likely keep working in some capacity: part time/short term in my current field, as a contractor in my current field, as an employee doing something not in my current field, or start some sort of "business" that makes money.

A couple of obvious ways this can go wrong:
1. The 4% withdrawal rate trend line shown in the chart is based on the last seven years of the market, which in my opinion was better than average. The increase in the market could slow down or it could even drop. For example, think of all the people who had to put off retirement due to their investments losing value in the great recession.
2. The rolling 12 month expenses line is based on my current lifestyle. It's hard to tell what the future holds. Spending increases could be forced on me or I could make a decision to spend more.

The next steps for me are to set intermediate goals, which I think are just going to be "don't lose my job," "keep putting money in the market," "hope the market does well," and "don't spend more than I do now."

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