A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Where are you and where are you going?
IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Wed Mar 01, 2017 10:01 am

2017 February Review

February was a pretty good month. Spending was $2,499 for the month (bought some guitar toys and opted to cough up $265 for a new control unit for my garage door since the old one died).

Growth in invested assets was $23,700. I'm a little over 30x anticipated average portfolio withdrawals through age 70.

If I were to ER today and the future mimicked my nominal plan/forecast I'd expect growth of about 2% in my financial assets by my 70th birthday.

Solitude has been the theme. I've substantially lowered my online/social media profile, including here, in 2017 and it's starting to become a habit. I continue to mull over some options for mods to my future plans. "That day" is becoming ever more tangible and it's a little nerve wracking.

Tomorrow is my 30th anniversary with my employer. Dunno if I'm lucky, good, or stupid. You decide.

My NTE walkaway day is currently 822 days off.
Last edited by IlliniDave on Fri Mar 03, 2017 10:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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jennypenny
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by jennypenny » Thu Mar 02, 2017 7:36 am

Happy 30th Anniversary! I think it's cool that you've been with your company for 30 years. It's so unusual now. I know it looks like people are stuck/resigned when they do anything for that long, especially to young people, but I see it more as 'dug in' or planted.

OTOH, 821 days to go ... :D

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Fri Mar 31, 2017 9:12 am

Q1 2017

Okay, still technically a day to go, but I expect nothing too dramatic to occur today.

Spending was about $2,700 for March, not great but not awful. For the quarter I averaged about $2,400/mo which is okay and easily below my retirement planning bogey (though the numbers are not quite apples-to-apples).

Growth in invested assets for the quarter was a little above $70,000 (plus/minus what happens today) which, if I don't give too much back today, will stand as my best quarter since I've been keeping track. My invested assets are a bit over 32x anticipated average portfolio withdrawals through age 70. If I look out to age 80 I'm above 50x.

If I were to ER today and the future mimicked my nominal plan/forecast I'd expect growth of about 1.3% in financial assets by my 70th birthday. That number's a little inconsistent with prior reports as I continue to refine my mega spreadsheet (which usually means correcting errors).

My tentative launch date is 2 years and 2 months from today. A couple years back I made up a schedule/list of to-do's counting back from the day I leave Alabama for good. Once June arrives and I'm inside two years I'll be "on" that schedule.

I'm getting a little intimidated by the prospect of really doing this.

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Thu Apr 27, 2017 2:30 pm

Seems Like it's Always Something

More potential seismic shifts at work. Can't go into much detail, but I will probably have a ready-made "excuse" to hang up the old pocket protector in the next few months. Unfortunately it comes at a time when both the health insurance and tax landscapes are headed for some amount of upheaval.

I was finally able to express in words my reluctance to quit before age 55. I will take a hit in retirement benefits to the tune of approximately $160K fair market value by leaving the day I'm 54 and 364 days old (or sooner) versus waiting until my birthday the next day. With now 30+ years service time, I feel like I've earned the full benefit and that losing it because of age is arbitrary. I probably don't really need the "money". I'm like the Monkey pulling fruit from the jar. In the past I've obfuscated and couched this mostly in terms of financial risk, where more honestly it's possessiveness and a sense of entitlement. However, knowing that doesn't change anything. If I walk away now, 2 years early, I'll feel like I've been duped.

If I'm lucky maybe they'll lay me off. With my service time I'll get the full benefit and then can probably get on with my life in peace.

Igotgoals
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by Igotgoals » Wed May 03, 2017 6:54 am

Hoping this works out in a way that is easy for you to accept. It's tough when you've planned carefully and the rug is pulled out from under you.
Not that this development derails you - you will have a stable retirement - but I understand how you feel about deserving what you were working so long towards.

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Wed May 03, 2017 7:25 am

2017 April Review.

Dull numbers:

I don't have the precise numbers in front of me (I'll update later), but from memory invested asset growth was around $16,500 for the month and spending was a bit under $1,800. The latter is pretty good for me--I wish I could do it consistently. April marked a historic event in that it was the first month on record where actual spending came in below the monthly spending that would correspond to a 3% withdrawal rate.

Had 30 April 2017 been the day I left work for good ...

My invested assets plus anticipated proceeds from downsizing houses were about 33x anticipated average portfolio withdrawals through age 70. Through age 80 I'm above 50x.

If the future mimicked my nominal plan/forecast I'd expect growth of about 3% in financial assets by my 70th birthday.

Short-term Future:

My countdown says the balance of my sentence is 758 days and 9 hours. That simultaneously seems long and short. I'm in mental/emotional gridlock. For now I'm hiding out by immersing myself in the process of figuring out how much/little I should with my house before selling it. I'm starting to lean towards unloading it sooner rather than later even though if I wind up serving the whole remainder of my sentence here, renting for part of it will be a financial net loss. The trade off is that I think getting that chore behind me would alleviate some stress.

I found out this past weekend that there's another grandchild on the way, due in December. I also found out my second-favorite auntie has received a grim/terminal diagnosis. Cancer, of course. Being that she's already got a pacemaker and has been on oxygen the last 6 months or so, she's opting just to let that hand play out without intervention beyond keeping her comfortable. She was a larger-than-life figure in the family my whole life, a capital-E extrovert (most of the family is gregarious to the point of being obnoxious) but she always sorta made a place for her nerdy little introvert nephew. Seeing the end coming for so vivid a person is a blunt reminder of mortality.

Then there's the wrench in the gears at work I alluded to last week. Not much clarity there yet. I'll keep my fingers crossed and hope I can run in front of the oncoming avalanche for a time.

As always, I'm pulled in many directions. It gets tiresome. At some point soon I'll need to check out and do whatever it is I'm supposed to be doing. If I'm honest with myself I recognize that I might not be able to last the 758 days, even if I have the option, and I don't know what to think about that. For my whole life one of my "strengths" has been the ability to slog through the long-haul stuff.
Last edited by IlliniDave on Thu May 04, 2017 6:49 am, edited 3 times in total.

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cmonkey
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by cmonkey » Wed May 03, 2017 7:32 am

Work shifts suck big time. Seems I go through one every 1-2 years as well. I've had 3 different cubicles since starting my current position 3.5 years ago. I'm pretty sure it's the only role that facilities plays - lets just move people around, because we 'are'. The next will be in just over a year with another retirement (if not before). I think my biggest fear is somehow being forced into some change I don't like, such as a change of office building or being forced into traveling a lot. I let my mind run away sometimes. In the end, I'd manage it fine and have the option to say 'NO' as well. See what they do.

halfmoon
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by halfmoon » Wed May 03, 2017 10:01 am

The prospect of losing a loved one is always tough, and on top of your work concerns can be almost overwhelming. I completely understand the mental/emotional gridlock. This is common enough when you're faced with change (fear), and yet you don't have complete control over the terms and timing of that change (frustration). I tend to freeze up when that happens.

For what it's worth, I'd go ahead and sell the house now -- without fixing it up beyond things that will help it pass an inspection and/or easy cosmetic items like replacing the front door or planting flowers. The anticipated net loss from renting should be worth the forward progress and alleviation of stress. Maybe it wouldn't be a net loss anyway, because most real estate markets are pretty hot right now. Who knows if that will continue for 2 more years? You also don't know if the tax code might change in that time regarding the primary residence capital gains exclusion.

As you probably know, realtors will give you a competitive market analysis showing what they think your home will sell for. They can also advise if there's something cosmetic you could/should do to make the home sell quickly. If you were in Seattle, you probably wouldn't need to do a thing besides listing it, but I don't know about your local market. I generally advise getting 3 different agents to submit CMAs. This is assuming you plan to sell through an agent, of course. I know most people here advocate the FSBO approach, but I believe that a good agent provides tangible value.

In any case, your outlook should improve once you know how the work situation will play out. Also: spring is here! :)

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Wed May 03, 2017 11:28 am

cmonkey wrote:
Wed May 03, 2017 7:32 am
Work shifts suck big time. ... I think my biggest fear is somehow being forced into some change I don't like, such as a change of office building or being forced into traveling a lot
Yeah, it's exactly the same kind of thing for me--if I try to stick it out I might end up in all manner of unpleasant places/situations. In the past necessity made me more resilient to such things. I won't say I'm change averse, so long as the change is self-directed.
halfmoon wrote:
Wed May 03, 2017 10:01 am
The prospect of losing a loved one is always tough, and on top of your work concerns can be almost overwhelming.
...
In any case, your outlook should improve once you know how the work situation will play out. Also: spring is here! :)
You're right, the uncertainly makes it worse. It's out of my hands so I shouldn't let myself worry about it.

I've got data points from a pair of realtors, so I guess I should get a third one. I'm leaning in the direction you suggest--selling and getting it over with, but there's much inertia to overcome.

My mom's currently battling Stage 4 cancer since 2014 and one of my sisters was declared in remission from Stage 3 last year, but she's had a slew of non-cancer (but serious) health problems in the aftermath, so the news of my aunt is really just more of the same on my lil' plate. All that about my mom and sister is probably many pages back by now.

For those who were following, btw: They put Mom back on chemo last December, but took her off in March. She responded well, but there's a relatively new drug that got advanced approval she qualified for. Because of the advanced approval it's only supposed to be available as a last resort, but her doctor has been eager to make the switch for some time, so I think there was a little exaggeration of the severity of the side effects from chemo to slip in under the bar. I have a couple second hand data points on the drug and it seems to have efficacy with little in the way of side effects. We're all cautiously optimistic for now. So not all the news is bad!

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Wed May 24, 2017 7:48 am

Sort of a Spam Post

Since Jacob's Law of Journals says I need 500 posts before I qualify ...

My aunt passed away last week--once the cancer showed up she went downhill very quickly. She's the first of my parents' generation in the family to go, so aside from the expected sadness I am wrestling with the value of time again, specifically how many dollars are the next two years and one week worth. Or, to borrow from a recently retired colleague, identifying the moment the company can no longer afford whatever time I have left. May age also incremented earlier in the month, and the larger number each year keeps reminding me that I have decisions to make. My middle of the road calculation says the difference between quitting now and 738 days from now could mean a coupla-three hundred $K less for each of the kids down the road, or the equivalent margin in my own financial position should things get hairy. That's a lot of money in the mind of a kid who grew up on the wrong side of the river in a rust belt town.

Yet barring essentially all forces in the world aligning to subvert my plan, I'm in the "more than enough" zone already. I even pushed hard on my semi-catastrophic scenario calculations (assumed both my employer and the gov't reneged on retirement benefits with moderately higher inflation and significantly lower investment results than I expect). That scenario would drive me to three-quarter rations and leave me broke at 85 if I work two more years, at 80 if I bail this year. I think I talked a little about that in a different thread maybe. It takes that highly implausible scenario (implausible in my view anyway) for me to say I "need" to keep going for a while longer. It seems more likely I'm just too fearful of closing the valve on the money hydrant.

I'm inclined to search the night sky for signs. But the weather around here has been overcast. If there is a sign to be read it's that so far this year the period from mid-April through May has been the coolest and most pleasant weather-wise I can remember here. I can usually count on the late spring heat to remind me of the urgency to flee northward.

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Wed May 31, 2017 7:31 am

2 Years from Today!!!! (May 2017 Update)

Well, that's the plan. Two years. That is, if I don't chicken out. Increasingly I'm finding the whole notion of ER intimidating. I'm running "x more year" parametrics in my head frequently. Not for any concrete reason, just as thought experiments for how it might effect me emotionally. There are many advantages to sailing through midlife solo, but at times it does feel like working with a co-conspirator would have utility.

I'm a planner by nature, and so starting tomorrow I'll begin working off a 2-year list of things to begin the ease-out process. 90% of it is centered on selling my house. Cowardly iDave has created through worry a near insurmountable obstacle out of the disposing of the house. Mindful iDave will have to summon all the mindfulness he can to take it a step at a time. Shedding possessions and sprucing up the house, even selling it, doesn't obligate me, so my hope is I can undertake all of that at face value and without wallowing in dread over an uncertain future.

Dull numbers:

Invested asset growth was $16,700 for the month and spending was $2,254. I'm okay with that spending since it reflects some unplanned expenses due to a death in the family and some auto repair/maintenance; along the sinking of some money into landscaping projects looking ahead toward listing my house in about 21 months.

Had 31 May 2017 been the day I left work for good ...

My invested assets plus anticipated proceeds from downsizing houses were just under 35x anticipated average portfolio withdrawals through age 70. Through age 80 I'm at 49x (I'd been reporting slightly above 50x recently but found a small error in my mega spreadsheet, and I also went to using 77% of estimated SS benefit as my "baseline").

If the future mimicked my nominal plan/forecast I'd expect growth of 6.3% in financial assets by my 70th birthday.

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Sat Jul 01, 2017 6:15 am

Q2 2017 Update

June was not a great month for me.

I'm already a little behind schedule in my home sale preparation activities. I still have over 1.5 years until I intend to list it, so it's nothing urgent yet. Anticipating a slow start is the main reason I put a 2-year setback from my desired earliest sale date into my plan.

I've been a little weak with my spending when it comes to buying guitar toys. That's not entirely a bad thing. Music is a leisure activity I'd identified as a candidate to help keep me engaged once I'm retired. Not great from a systems perspective because the money-making potential is nil (if I decided to try my hand as a busker people might pay me to stop though). But it does have the virtues of being enjoyable and can be a relatively solitary activity. Guitarists, especially those of the midlife, low-skill, financially stable variety, tend to fall prey to Gear Acquisition Syndrome, and apparently I'm no different. To assuage the mild guilt I feel over spending money I don't need to I tell myself I'm just getting all my ducks in a row for retirement. A more honest assessment might be that a part of me is pushing back against my self-imposed constraints. I guess the key is finding a balance. I've been pretty good about shedding/selling off old stuff so the size of my collection is dwindling. I don't get a lot of satisfaction from avoiding the use of money for it's own sake--for me it's more about efficient use of money for longer range goals. From that perspective a couple nice-to-haves aren't so bad. I just hope I'm not on a slippery slope.

I've gotten ahead of my financial projections that are the baseline for my plans, so I'm increasingly thinking of changing things up as far as investing goes. I've actually been trying to do that for some time now by how I direct my new savings, but the recent equity surge has meant I haven't gained any ground. My strategy is not the most popular here, mainly low cost (mostly index) stock and bond mutual funds and a little cash equivalents. So what the change-up would amount to is a moderate step down in equity exposure to tame volatility/shallow risk without exposing myself to deep risk more than is necessary. As I've mentioned in recent threads I don't center my finances around expectations of apocalyptic and black swan events. It's too easy for that fear-based perspective to bleed into other facets of life. I've been down that road and for me it leads to a miserable day-to-day existence.

I continue to struggle a little as time rushes forward to my anticipated separation day. The prospect in some ways seems surreal, in others seems all to real. At times I feel like I'll be "getting away with something". I guess that has its roots in my feeling sorry for the fact that most others my age won't have put themselves in position to exercise the same option, sometimes by choice, sometimes by circumstance. It seems the accusations that my demographic is just lucky and privileged has crept in to undermine what I know to be the long hours of hard work and sacrifices I've made over the last almost 40 years. I suppose I'll always wrestle with that one, and it will probably drive me towards some amount of volunteer work to assuage the feeling of guilt. I still find myself angry that society's shallow, quick-look perception of me drops that turd in my punch bowl. First-world problems for sure.

Happily, it's getting to be time to start making plans for a adventure northwards. I'm looking at taking a month off from work and spending a week back home visiting parents and family, then a couple weeks up in the Northwoods at the cabin, then another week visiting family before returning. It'll be the longest period I've been away from work since the summer of my sophomore year in college. I'm looking at the time frame of mid-September through mid-October. The rationale is that I'll be in the Northwoods at near the fall peak there, then in Illinois for the fall peak there, and return home with a week or so to go before the fall peak. So I'd get to stretch out my favorite time of the year. I think my brother is going to come up to the cabin with me so there may be a little more emphasis on fishing than the last couple trips. Unfortunately my dad won't be coming due to my mom's ongoing cancer treatments and very late summer being a busy season for him with the vineyard.


Dull numbers:

Invested asset growth was $14,200 for the month of June, $47,500 for the quarter, and $204,100 over the prior 12-month period. The latter is the best result I've had since I started keeping good data. Savings contributions were very close to planned and the extra growth was due to investment performance. Spending in June was $3,304. YTD I'm averaging $2,422/mo and since January 2013 I've averaged $3,012 per month. June spending was a little sloppy in that I continue to collect guitar toys. But I also had nearly $500 in vet bills and nearly $500 in home repairs maintenance. The rationalizing part of me calls the guitar toy collecting "preparation for retirement" but as discussed above that's probably not accurate. Home-related expenses are going to be higher than normal over the next 20 or so months as I begin the process of getting it ready for market. I'm trying tocome up with a reasonable way to separate out those costs. Things that are just deferred maintenance I want to be reflected in the spending data I use for future planning but things I do that I wouldn't have done were I not selling I want to keep separate.

Had 30 June 2017 been the day I left work for good ...

My invested assets plus anticipated proceeds from downsizing houses were 35.2x anticipated average portfolio withdrawals through age 70. Through age 80 I'm at 52x.

If the future mimicked my nominal plan/forecast I'd expect growth of 7.7% in financial assets by my 70th birthday.

SustainableHappiness
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by SustainableHappiness » Sat Jul 01, 2017 10:47 am

Hi IlliniDave,

I enjoy reading your journal for it's thoughtfulness about an entirely different life stage from my own and I think you are kicking ass. That being said if you need encouragement "as time rushes forward to my anticipated separation day", based on your numbers and your attitude (from the words you've written), you are going to do great and go now!!

(caveat: I will likely be quitting with only about 13x expenses, albeit with the intention of making money for fun and we have very different risk profiles!!)

SustainableHappiness
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by SustainableHappiness » Sat Jul 01, 2017 10:51 am

PS. If you don't want encouragement, please disregard! :)

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Sun Jul 02, 2017 5:41 am

SustainableHappiness wrote:
Sat Jul 01, 2017 10:51 am
PS. If you don't want encouragement, please disregard! :)
Thanks, SustainableHappiness,

Encouragement certainly is not a bad thing, and I don't mind hearing it or anything people want to say (if I did mind I wouldn't have this journal going). I've seen from your journal that not only are we at different stages of life, but we are taking different approaches. I just don't have the right kind of personality to deal with the responsibilities of a landlord, but for those who do, it can be a great strategy.

I know that the numbers say I could probably go now, but age 55 brings me a step up in retirement bene's that equates to more than a year's salary. That makes it like my employer is saying, "Work two more years and we'll pay you for three." That' hard to turn down even though it probably is not necessary. But it does mitigate one concern: all my planning is based on data collected while I had good health and participated in my employers medical insurance plan. I made estimates of how medical expenses might change going forward with ACA, but if Republicans succeed with their intended overhaul things could change substantially, and not in my favor. I fit the demographic that will be most adversely affected by the Rep. bills: age 55-64 w/o employer sponsored insurance. Waiting a couple years gives me a chance to see how that plays out.

One last note: my multiples are high compared to anticipated average withdrawals, but not so high compared to average expenses. The former likely reflects how things will go, but if my "outside income sources" (SS and a small annuity/pension) disappear, it puts me on a path to eventual depletion. So I don't mind driving my withdrawal-based multiples to what looks like insanely high numbers. As it stands my "standalone" multiples will just about hit 25X when I hit 55 if we don't hit any turmoil in the next 23 months. That it works out that way is completely a coincidence. Even though 25X with no other income is not a great number, I think I can make it work because I have room to reduce spending (medical being the wildcard) and can take on some casual part-time employment, and even sell the cabin. I see the loss of all outside income as a very unlikely event in my horizon, but it is good to know that it wouldn't be a complete disaster for me.

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Fri Jul 07, 2017 6:08 am

Morphing of the Plan

For years now my plan has been to initially to use Illinois as home base for at least the initial segment of ER, with the lil' cabin in Minnesota being a retreat. But the state of Illinois seems to be increasingly dysfunctional, almost a microcosm of the left vs. right stalemate the rest of the country is heading towards. A mostly rural state offset by one large urban area (and a sprinkling of small/medium-sized cities). I haven't looked at the details of the new tax proposals (specifically their effect on 1099R income) and suspect they are only the tip of the iceberg. Luckily I have the option of living in south-central Wisconsin and still being within 20-25 miles of my parents. So I've now officially elevated that to option 1b. Wisconsin is less tax friendly to retirees (right now) than Illinois, but I'm not sure that will persist.

SustainableHappiness
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by SustainableHappiness » Wed Jul 12, 2017 2:49 pm

Amen on the not wanting to deal with being a landlord (slight slumlord in my case). After 2.5 years of it, DW and I have made the same decision and are exiting real estate entirely and moving to a rent only lifestyle.

As long as you are rockin' on, keep on rockin'.

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Thu Jul 20, 2017 8:36 am

Some Figgerin'

As I approach the autumn of my life it's time to start thinking about the harvest. I've spent the last 30 years shoveling assets into a pile and tending it. I've kicked the can down the road in terms of coming up with a way of deploying assets so that they support me rather than me supporting them.

I am intuitively attracted to the strategy known as a Liability Matching Portfolio (LMP). It's beauty is in its simplicity. It's just a matter of determining how much you think you'll need to consume from your portfolio and investing/parking that amount in stable value assets (typically cash and intermediate-term or shorter maturity gov't bonds). The remainder can be invested in about any way that's desired. One thing I will say is that is I had just barely enough to see me through on paper I wouldn't be so keen on this plan. That's because I approach this with awareness of other studied strategies and over-reliance on bonds and cash raise shortfall odds in a lot of scenarios that are reasonable to anticipate. From my accumulation planning I've got a pretty good estimate, somewhat conservative, of what I'll be withdrawing from my assets. It happens that right now I've got 101% of that amount in bonds/cash assuming I stick to my nominal check out date in 2019. Looking at just financial assets I'm sitting at about 68% equities and 32% bonds/cash, meaning there is a good bit of margin. If I were to move my checkout date up to today, I'd have to double my bond/cash holding which would put me at roughly 36% equities and 64% bonds/cash. That's a little more conservative than I like, but still doable in a pinch.

Since I don't have anything driving me out early most of my focus will be on my nominal plan. In 22 months it is possible/likely I'll have even more financial assets than today, so the bonds/cash required for LMP will be an even smaller fraction of my invested assets, maybe 25% if market conditions are muted/benign.

The question then becomes one of what to do with the 75% that's not restricted by LMP. My personal philosophy and ethics lead me to look at handling that money with two potential purposes in mind.

First, from a perspective on the happy path, it is primarily wealth I will be stewarding for my descendants. That's mostly due to emotion and tradition; but if you want a rationale, just take a look at the trend with the US national debt that's been and is being accumulated under "our watch". In a sense, what gets passed on to my kids and grandkids might cover my share of the payback.

Second, the surplus will act as a stout backup for me should things not work out according to my plan. I think of it as an emergency fund containing three remaining lifetimes' expenses.

There's also a likelihood that a small amount could wind up being spent on money-consuming entertainment and leisure activities.

I still don't know exactly how I'll invest the money. The legacy aspect is a tug towards investing with long-term growth in mind, and the giant emergency fund aspect tugs slightly the other way. I suspect I'll end up with a very simple, very middle-of-the-road approach. Even though I like to think things through, I don't like elaborate, high maintenance financial "solutions" (those solutions often wind up being the problem). If I had to pick a strategy today I take the extra 75% and split it 65/35 stocks/bonds, which would put me in the 50/50 range if you raked everything together. Going beyond investments to principal assets, that would put me at about 40/40/20 stocks/bonds/realestate.

The funny (perhaps sad) thing about this is that I sometimes ponder what I would or could do if I eased up on the spending restrictions inherent to my plan in an effort to "enjoy life" a little more. I am unable to come up with a whole lot of ideas for enjoyment I could buy myself. Perhaps my imagination is lacking.

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Tue Aug 01, 2017 7:07 am

July 2017 Update

I continue to fall behind schedule in my home sale preparation activities. The good news is that home prices are starting to rise slightly in my corner of this little corner of Flyover Country. Still, I expect to get less than I paid for it on an inflation-adjusted basis ~20 years later. That's one of the reasons that the home-as-an-investment thing doesn't resonate well with me. Asset, yes, investment, not so much.

I'm starting to have to think through some of the specifics of my transition. I'm planning to finish work on 31 May (2019) so I'm thinking I'll spend the rest of that season primarily at the cabin, so it will be fall of that year before I start thinking about finding a house. My aunt has offered to let me stay with her while I'm house hunting in exchange for me doing all the leaf raking, snow removal, and the like (and expense sharing), so I won't have a ticking clock hanging over my head. The other option, if Mom doesn't make it that long, would be to move in with Dad for a time. that could be more of an intermediate-term arrangement depending on how he adjusts to life on his own. He will be 80 at that point and I suspect no matter where I'm hanging my hat, an amount of my time/attention will be spent looking after him. For the first time I'm also thinking about the option of renting a small apartment versus buying a house. There are downsides to it, but the upside is that my maintenance liability would decrease. The other issue I'm wrestling this is what to do with a house while I'm up in the cabin 4ish months a year. Somehow I'll have to keep the lawn and stuff up, and the place being burgled is a nontrivial concern. With an apartment those issues are lessened.

During August I'm going to shift some of my invested assets around to assume a more conservative posture, something I've been mulling over for a while. I'd call it a rebalance, but that word seems to have a distorted connotation here.

I did something stupid over the weekend. My 17-year-old lawnmower went belly-up on me Saturday and I bought a new one. Then after considering it and talking to a knowledgeable friend I now think I can repair it. So I might have spent $400 (I like good mowers) that I didn't have to. The only positive spin I can put on it is that ultimately I'm going to want two mowers (one at house, one at cabin) and my plan was to hope the old one made it though two more seasons before retiring to light duty at the cabin. If I can get it fixed I'll have two, but will have 1700+ mower-moving-miles instead of 1147.

Every day a new sign appears that seems to point towards the exit.

Tentative good news on the medical insurance front. I don't know if I'd misunderstood/misread some things in the past, if things have changed, or if I misread/misunderstood something last week. But it looks like if I stick it out until I turn 55 I will have the option to continue buying into my employer's health insurance plan (though without the company covering a big chunk of the cost). If I can confirm that it will be a big load off my mind. It's not cheap (around $540/mo this year) but at least I know I have the option and I'm not as exposed to the political winds as I would otherwise be. I had thought before that I'd have to work until age 60 to have that option.


Dull Numbers:

Invested asset growth was $22,900 for the month of July. Savings contributions were slightly below planned and most of the growth was due to investment performance. Spending in June was $4,204, which is the worst it been in a few years on the surface, but $1,700 of that was payment to contractors for early sale prep work on the house and the $400 for the aforementioned mower. Those items aside I was at $2,100 or so for basic living costs.

Had 31 July 2017 been the day I left work for good ...

My invested assets plus anticipated proceeds from downsizing houses were 35.8x anticipated average portfolio withdrawals through age 70. Through age 80 I'm at 51.5x.

If the future mimicked my nominal plan/forecast I'd expect growth of 9.7% in financial assets by my 70th birthday.

halfmoon
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by halfmoon » Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:28 am

IlliniDave wrote:
Tue Aug 01, 2017 7:07 am
I did something stupid over the weekend. My 17-year-old lawnmower went belly-up on me Saturday and I bought a new one. Then after considering it and talking to a knowledgeable friend I now think I can repair it. So I might have spent $400 (I like good mowers) that I didn't have to.
This made me laugh, because we just bought a new riding mower for $2,000 to replace our 15-year-old one! Stupidity comes in degrees. :lol: I never begrudge money spent on good, labor-saving equipment, though. You could always donate the old mower, but it's also nice to have the backup one for when the new one inevitably needs a repair that you can't do yourself and the shop is backed up 3 weeks (always happens when the grass is growing several inches a day). Not very minimalist, I know. :oops:
IlliniDave wrote:
Tue Aug 01, 2017 7:07 am
If I can get it fixed I'll have two, but will have 1700+ mower-moving-miles instead of 1147.
What does this mean? Just curious.

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Tue Aug 01, 2017 9:21 am

halfmoon wrote:
Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:28 am
IlliniDave wrote:
Tue Aug 01, 2017 7:07 am
If I can get it fixed I'll have two, but will have 1700+ mower-moving-miles instead of 1147.
What does this mean? Just curious.
Oh, well, it's really just goofiness. I currently live in Alabama. When I stop working I plan on moving to Illinois for my official residence. I also have a cabin in NE Minnesota. It's 1,147 miles from my place in Alabama to the cabin. The old plan was to move the old mower up to the cabin hence the 1,147 mower-moving-miles, then buy a second one once I'm settled in Illinois (0 mower-moving-miles). Now if I get the old one fixed I have two mowers to move to Illinois (~650 mower-moving-miles each) plus one that I'll have to haul the additional 400 mower-moving-miles to the cabin in Minnesota.

I definitely would agree with you that money spent on decent quality work-reducing machines/equipment is worth it. It's not very ERE, but as time marches on, time commands more of a premium in my hierarchy.

So, even though I've been shedding possessions in anticipation of the move, this isn't the most horrible result. Like you said, having a spare this time of year isn't bad, and there's a good chance that even though it's an expense now, it will wind up being a cost avoidance later.

7Wannabe5
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Tue Aug 01, 2017 11:05 am

Don't feel too bad. I have now failed at my vow to only use a manual rotary mower and/or scythe-like tool at two separate properties. At my current site, my resolve was further weakened by offer of gift of free, brand-new (yet 15 years old) lawnmower my very wealthy friend once won in a raffle and was endlessly storing with no need for use.

My ideal would be to only be responsible for the mowing of one very small, very well-maintained rectangle of lawn, just large enough for badminton, croquet or somersaults simultaneous with tea table, and/or participation in annual activity more akin to festive haying of larger field. One book in my collection, which I do not have at hand, contains a lovely description and engraving detailing the joy to be found in such labor if only done once a year in cool weather with loose sleeves rolled up and sturdy well-sharpened tool in hand. However, until that idyllic day is achieved, I am stuck with conflict between noxious week ordinance, tendency towards heat-induced rosacea, and lumpy.bumpy lawn surface.

I think you are on the right track with veering away from purchase of second residence. In addition to likelihood that mutual benefit may be found by sharing accommodations with older family members, there are also the possibilities/puzzles of sharing accommodations with bed-partner or desire for travel to other locales once free of work obligations to consider. For instance, you might find that staying with your father and using funds you would otherwise direct towards purchase or rental of second quarters for weekend getaways while dating would be preferable, and would also leave you more free to eventually contribute to cost/purchase of housing more conveniently located for future partner depending on her employment or social commitments.

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Gilberto de Piento
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Tue Aug 01, 2017 12:32 pm

When I stop working I plan on moving to Illinois for my official residence. I also have a cabin in NE Minnesota.
Why not split the difference and get one place in Wisconsin? I don't follow it closely but it looks like cheesehead politics might be more to your liking than Illinois or Minnesota (an added bonus).

George the original one
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by George the original one » Tue Aug 01, 2017 10:17 pm

> But it looks like if I stick it out until I turn 55 I will have the option to continue buying into my employer's health insurance plan
> (though without the company covering a big chunk of the cost).

Double check that the coverage is available at your proposed residence. I could have done similar after exiting employment, but the coverage didn't extend to my current residence.

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:09 am

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Tue Aug 01, 2017 11:05 am

... and would also leave you more free to eventually contribute to cost/purchase of housing more conveniently located for future partner depending on her employment or social commitments.
:shock:

:lol:

George_TOO, I mentioned above that south central Wisconsin is an option, but in terms of miles, I want home base to be much closer to my parents in Illinois. An oversimplification of my plan is that I'll spend 5 mos of the year at my place in Minnesota, and the balance near my parents. Having just one place midway between them leaves me without either.

The politics of a state don't weigh much other than how it affects the depth of the state's reach into my pocket. From best to worst, at this moment the order is 1) Illinois, 2) Wisconsin, 3) Minnesota. In terms of politics, Minnesota is as blue as they come (but it's a different shade of blue than the coastal state blue). Illinois is mostly blue although some state offices and much of the geographical territory is red. Wisconsin is historically bluish although they seem to be leaning red at the moment (I suspect it is a temporary condition).

Good call on the health insurance. I'm pretty sure the company has a smattering of employees in the state, so it shouldn't be a dealbreaker. But it is definitely worth checking out.

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