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

Posted: Tue Aug 07, 2018 9:05 pm
by SavingWithBabies
Congratulations! But I want to suggest a thought about passing on wealth. My paternal grandfather was adopted as a child, grew up relatively poor but did attend college and became a teacher. He married my grandmother. At some point, she came into some money or already had some money and the used that money to build the first house of many that he went on to build. He would do as much as he could, get it almost done and then they would move into the house and sell the prior one. Rinse and repeat a number of times until they no longer had to move in. He never got very big but apparently he saved and invested. He followed the stock market and was curious about investing up until his death. He lived to about 96, spent the last year or so in a room in a senior center, and generally had a good life. He had one child (my father) and adopted his wife's child at some point. He died with a paid off house and a fairly sizable (but well below a million) in investments to pass down.

In contrast, my father was never very good with money. He didn't really optimize for income in his career path as an engineer. I think he would have actually found more happiness doing that as often more money and more respect go hand in hand in that line of work (although I'm sure it varies). He always had his dad to bail him, help him with his downpayment on a house, etc. He never really saved but my parents have been incredibly lucky in that their house (well, the city plot of land -- not so much the house itself) has increased in value at least 10x over the purchase price. So as long as they sell the house, they'll be fine in retirement (combined with the inheritance from my grandfather).

Stepping down another generation, my brother and I are much more fiscally conservative than my father. We grew up knowing what living through a recession was like with a laid off father (and my mom, a school teacher in a private system, bringing in much less but steadily bringing it in). I found ERE and FI. My brother went the government worker and paying off the house early route. That experience we had growing up shaped us into how we are financially today. Maybe it's not all roses - the youngest, my sister, had the very high student loans and then didn't leverage that degree into anything and worked a menial job that didn't require a degree (and continued to work that same job for more than a decade). But 2 out of 3 isn't bad.

My point is financial hardship can lead to good things. By wanting to protect future generations, you risk taking away experiences from them that shape them in positive ways. This is far too much like looking into a crystal ball for me to tell you to do something one way or another. But I do think it is worth thinking about. And it is why I say to you that you should enjoy your retirement. If you have something to pass on to future generations, great, so be it. If not, the world will continue on. I would bet, as I think you are, that in the end, more money is probably for the best but I would also say things could be okay without it.

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

Posted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:02 am
by saving-10-years
First, congratulations.

Second, picking up on this advice from SavingwithBabies
If you have something to pass on to future generations, great, so be it.
From your thoughtful conversations here you will have plenty of value to pass along to future generations that will improve their lives even withouht any/extra money to give. What about the future summers learning to fish and learn about life that you have to offer your grandson and other grandkids? Sizeable periods of downtime at your cabin? I sometimes think of the four years I have been retired and the value these represent in terms of extra security (money) for my son and my 'unprovided for' nephew, niece and their kids. Its a fleeting thought though. For my own son I know that I've been able to 'be there' in ways which have prepared him better for the future than would have been possible when full time working/commuting and being distracted by work all the time. My sister did the hippy route and her kids love that they have so much time and such interesting experiences with her. As long as I can provide a safety net if they need it that will be fine. Enough is enough (I have enough) and extra money is not as valuable to any of us as extra time.

I recall how important the undivided attention of my grandmother was when I was growing up. I want to pass that along. Hope you have some marvellous and memorable times with this little guy.

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

Posted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 3:29 am
by IlliniDave
Thanks for all the well wishes,

I think I need to clarify. I wasn't thinking about bestowing lavish lifestyles on all the little grandkiddies or purchasing them a spot on the fast track to the Ivy League and a reservation in whatever manifests itself as an aristocracy look-alike 30 or 40 years down the road. In that most recent post my thoughts were outgrowths of thinking about SHTF scenarios where all their resourcefulness and wits plus whatever resources I am able to muster (whether I'm still around or not) will be required just to give them a chance to stay alive. I realize it is a low probability event, and I'm not by nature a prepper*, but in the event there is some sort of societal collapse and subsequent anarchy, I have to think through how much my actions will have contributed to it, and even if the answer is "not at all" my nature as a family patriarch (rather than affixing them under my boot heel) compels me to spend some of my idle time thinking about their future well being. A pile of money by itself doesn't necessarily do much good, but a plan paired with resources might.

*I'm sure I've mentioned before that the ballooning government debt incurred under the watch of my generation and the two that bookend it is explicitly part of my motivation to pass on as much of an estate as I can. So these sorts of thoughts are not completely alien to me, it's just that they've taken more of a pessimistic/morbid turn of late in the land of what-if drills.

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

Posted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 8:40 pm
by SavingWithBabies
Ah! I read into it wrong probably based around some things I've been thinking about and talking through with my wife in the recent past. So perhaps I projected a bit of that into my reply above. What you've explained makes a lot of sense and honestly isn't an aspect that I've considered so now I'm going to have to think about that. It also helped me identify why I still wanted to accumulate some money towards my decedents even though I do worry about passing it on in a way that doesn't negatively impact them developing financial responsibility. My grandpa did this by giving each of us about $20,000 USD towards college expenses. He wanted some of his wealth to be passed on directly to his grandchild. This was quite nice and I used half of it when I graduated college to wipe out my loans (I'd already paid most of them off while working and then practically had a free ride at university with grants due to being in STEM and >= 25 years old which meant completely financially independent of my parents). I do agree a plan paired with resources may go a long way and I'm curious what you'll come up with.

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

Posted: Fri Aug 10, 2018 7:33 pm
by Mister Imperceptible

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

Posted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 6:44 am
by IlliniDave
On the keto front I'm down about 9 lbs a month into it, so only a week out from my oil check at the MD I won't make the weight I targeted. That isn't a huge deal as the goal was pretty much arbitrary. I'll probably show up at ~180-181 lbs which at a hair over 6' isn't awful.

Monitoring my BP has revealed some interesting observations. First, it appears to be less tied to body weight than I had assumed prior based on more sporadic data points. It seemed I had an inflection point around 190 lbs, but getting below that didn't cause any drastic changes. Second, my BP seems highly sensitive to the amount of time since my last bout on the rowing machine. I'm confident that if I row moderately hard for 20 minutes the morning of my appointment it'll measure 110-115/65-70, but if I skip a couple days it will be around 120-125/75-80, both sets of numbers are prior to a plus up for "white coat syndrome", which I am susceptible to. Neither set of readings is bad. Third, and maybe most interesting, is that my BP will spike if I get my brain going in it's highest gear. After a long stretch of thinking/working numbers/reading challenging material the systolic number will settle into the mid-80s, upper 80s if coffee is in the mix. I can predict that fairly accurately based on the energized feeling I get in my head. I suppose it might be because of some underpinning of anxiety in that mental stew, although most of the time I don't explicitly feel worry. Maybe the reptile brain assumes that heavy use of mental energy is indicative of the presence of a potential threat. Regardless, I'm confident that any reading in her office high enough to justify a recommendation to start meds would be anomalous and that I can safely ignore it.

Of course I'll be interested in the blood lipid markers as they are reasonable indirect indicators of inflammation and insulin resistance/metabolic disorders. I'm hopeful they will be on par with where they were when I was on the Zone diet-based Crossfit guidelines. I don't have the intense exercise component I did then, which will likely hurt some, but I've also been more diligent avoiding sugar and starchy stuff. After a good bit of reading over the last three weeks the primary marker I will be looking at is my triglyceride/HDL ratio. I may have to fend off her prescription pad if my LDL is up (which happens to some people on keto) but that's a hazard that comes with the territory.

All that may seem off-topic but looking at having to seek out medical insurance in the public or ACA marketplace for the first 10 years of retirement, and just trying to get on a path to maximize the chance of steering clear of expensive chronic diseases (i.e., type 2 diabetes and it's posse of related maladies) is, in my mind, a critical-path concern. One of my bigger "fears" has always been winding up with some form of dementia, and if there's something behind the coining of the term "type 3 diabetes", well, it seems wise to be a little extra cautious when it comes to daring fate wrt insulin.

I'm on a campaign to expunge Jordan Peterson's/the intellectual dark web's terminology from my writing vocabulary. It is increasingly a "trigger" and I have the annoying compulsion of trying to dilute misunderstandings when I see them. Because once triggering starts, most often things boil down to either reference frameworks that have little or no overlap with mine, or even sometimes deliberate misrepresentation, it's easiest to throw in the towel. I already have a scarlet "P" branded on my forehead, so I'll have to wear a cap and pull it down over my face. I'm a little lacking in disagreeableness. My apologies to those I've irritated.

Speaking of Peterson, though, I'm on the cusp of giving up on Maps of Meaning. Although the subject matter interests me far more than his social/political/current events commentary, or even the various IDW conversations he participates in, it's just plain too hard of a read. That's never happened to me before. It's a huge disappointment, but being humbled every now and again is good, I believe. I think some of the lectures when he taught a course based on the material covered in the book at Harvard are out there on Youtube. Maybe I'll try them.

I'm entertaining options of extending my work life significantly to accumulate resources for a bug out option suitable for a medium-to-long-term relocation of up to ten or so people. A requirement is that it is suitable for near self-sufficiency/homesteading (something I really have no desire myself to do) and be located somewhere not a whole lot of people innately want to go. The odds I actually do this are still very small, but before I dismiss the idea I want to think it through. Alaska and N. Canada are the first places that come to mind, though there are pockets in the lower 48 US states that might be suitable. Just winterizing my cabin might be enough for one old dude by himself for a few years, but alas things are not always so simple.

Thanks to those who took the time to link references re game theory. I haven't indulged in them yet, but I definitely will. Much appreciated.

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

Posted: Sat Aug 18, 2018 8:46 am
by IlliniDave
I went in for my lab work yesterday, and they surprised me with a breathing test as well. Starting at age 11 I've been susceptible to occasional, seasonal- and allergy-related asthma (one practical thing that has helped endear me to the Northwoods is that once I get up on the Canadian Shield my allergy symptoms nearly disappear). I only saw the nurse, but the visit was interesting nonetheless. They seem to extrapolate my health and expect me to conform to a certain trajectory--generally they expect a guy my age to progress (regress) along with the bulk of my cohort. Looking around their waiting room I don't blame them. Every other guy but one was somewhere between substantially overweight and obese, and he was probably 15-20 years younger than me. It's not hard to guess the other issues the rest of them might be battling under the hood.

So I went in there when my time came and the first arched eyebrow I got was when I weighed in 18 lbs less than I did last August. That was bad on me for letting things slip last year. It's not an excuse but in hindsight I had a lot that was distracting/stressing me, so taking care of myself slipped down the priority list a little ways. For me nutrition seems to be the key for everything, and when it comes to shitty food, I am an addict. It's a slippery slope if I'm not vigilant.

The second arched eyebrow came with the blood pressure check: 117/72 down from something like 148/96 last year. I didn't remember it being quite so high, but I knew it was up there. She took it twice because she didn't believe the first reading.

The breathing test is something the insurance company imposes as a requisite for covering an albuterol prescription I've kept current for 40+ years just-in-case. The last time I had the test was back in my Crossfit days so I wasn't very optimistic. During the test she made a few encouraging remarks which I took to be token bedside manner-type stuff. When it was done I asked her how much worse it was than last time and she said it was better. That may have just been platitudes, but it could have been the very low carb regimen which always seems to improve my allergy symptoms and I've been more diligent about that than I was as a wannabe Crossfitter. I've also added a gamma-E supplement which is purported to be better as an anti-inflammatory than its alpha cousin. Worst-case I'm probably at least approximately treading water, which is a modest relief for a guy who has a mother and grandmother that died from cancer whose second stop was the lungs, and a grandfather who died of pulmonary fibrosis.

I won't know the blood test results until next Friday when I go back to see the doc. I can poke a little more on the breathing test then too. I suspect the nurse really isn't supposed to say too much. Based on past history with restricted carbs I expect the blood results to be mostly okay, though it is possible that going keto as opposed to LCHP might mean a higher LDL as that happens to some people, and if that's the case she'll be all over it. She's really expecting me to fall off the metabolic syndrome cliff and so far despite having my toes on the edge a couple times I've frustrated her expectations. :D

I feel bad for the nurse. She's a really sweet person and when she first joined the practice about 7 years ago she was quite pretty and well-shaped (I'd guess maybe 30ish at the time) but she's gradually gotten heavier, puffier in the face, etc., especially the last two years (maybe she got married, I didn't think to check for a ring). She seems torn between being happy for me as a patient and mildly pissed that I seem to be able to control things myself, although overall she seems to like me. Part of that is probably my fault. When the doc was trying to talk me into drugs last year while she was in the room I told her (doc) that I could fix it all myself. I wasn't very confident when I said it because the BP was a new thing, and I might have sounded smug/dismissive due to having a lot on my mind and being unwilling to give much thought to my own problems. Basically I pooh-poohed the docs medical advice. It should be obvious this time around due to all the space I've dedicated to the topic here that I'm now much more focused on my health.

I'm also starting to get the sense I'm gravitating towards finding a niche for injecting some overarching "meaning" into my retired life above my internal journey to really be alive and immersed in the present on an ongoing basis. I've been inspired by some material I've found documenting successful rehabilitation of land desertified by human activity. Interestingly, there seems to be two opposite approaches that both have worked. In parts of southern sub-Saharan Africa people have had success through using intense (but carefully controlled) grazing of domesticated livestock to rehabilitate land and improve agriculture at the same time. In other places (China, Middle East, Saharan Africa, and Western US) removal/restriction of domesticated livestock from certain areas with strategic replanting of native vegetation and more thoughtful farming practices have achieved the same results. The changes in hydrology have been most stunning to me. Seeing these arid places develop year-round streams and spring back to life truly moved me. One particular project in Texas where a wealthy guy bought a highly impacted cattle ranch and as a retirement project rehabilitated it into a micro Garden of Eden (insofar as the Texas Climate would allow that) with 11 new springs and a year-round stream/small lake (lake might have been man-made) resonated quite a bit.

Just leaving the land alone in these areas usually doesn't fix things and often conditions will continue to worsen. But intervention does help. One side note is that in parts of Africa something like a billion acres of grassland are burned annually to get rid of the prior season's dead grass (it's presence prevents new grass from growing) which adds substantially to atmospheric composition issues, much more than the animal flatulence would add if intense grazing were used to achieve the same objective, and do so much more effectively as the carbon is absorbed into the soil which improves it greatly. The idea is essentially to mimic the activity of the huge migrating herds of grazers that evolved in the ecosystem prior to being displaced by humans.

I haven't quite figured out how I could fit in such a project/cause given the other plans I've got in motion. I'm not really interested in managing livestock, so that method is out. There's not a lot of need to rehabilitate land up in Superior National Forest because the conservation up there is already pretty good, and the exploitation of natural resources is minimal. Even areas that get logged periodically regrow readily since it's in the timber company's best interest to keep the future in mind, and being in the national forest the forest service is pretty good about keeping shoddy practices in check. In Northern Illinois farmland is still productive meaning it would be expensive to get and hold onto a reasonable tract of land, and desertification isn't occurring yet. Trying to tackle a project further west would be logistically difficult. The cost would be high also. Heading overseas is a nonstarter. I could work 10 extra years and maybe scrape up as much as $1M for the project, but it seems the activity is pretty labor intensive, and I don't know if starting something like that in my mid-60s is realistic. Retiring when I plan to would leave me with a shoestring budget for such an undertaking.

Much yet to learn and think about along those lines.

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

Posted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 9:32 am
by 7Wannabe5
I feel bad for the nurse. She's a really sweet person and when she first joined the practice about 7 years ago she was quite pretty and well-shaped (I'd guess maybe 30ish at the time) but she's gradually gotten heavier, puffier in the face, etc., especially the last two years (maybe she got married, I didn't think to check for a ring).
With slight edit, these two lines would make good beginning for short story.

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

Posted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 10:06 am
by IlliniDave
... But now none of that mattered. Whatever had gnawed the flesh off her left leg from ankle to hip might still be around, and still be hungry. I backed out of the room and headed for the exit ...

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

Posted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 12:15 pm
...where I saw my ex wife getting out of a car with her lawyer. Without pausing to think, I turned on my heels, headed back into the room, and locked the door behind me.

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

Posted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 12:30 pm
by Kriegsspiel
IlliniDave wrote:
Sun Aug 19, 2018 10:06 am
... But now none of that mattered. Whatever had gnawed the flesh off her left leg from ankle to hip might still be around, and still be hungry. I backed out of the room and headed for the exit ...
Unexpected lol, the BEST kind.

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

Posted: Sat Aug 25, 2018 7:18 am
by IlliniDave
Keto: So Maybe Longevity and Alzheimer's Are Not Things I Should Worry About

After very satisfactory changes in weight and BP, my blood test results came back not so good. Specifically my triglycerides were up a bit over 400%!!! That's well into the "high" range and very disappointing/concerning. I expected my LDL might be up a bit, but usually ketogenic eating lowers trigs a lot. It had been 3 years since my last blood work (time flies) and then my trigs then were under 100.

There are several possibilities, most of them rather depressing. In no particular order:

1) This was some sort of an anomalous result. I did fast 11 hours prior to the appointment but had some coffee ~3 hours prior to the test. I had also lost a fair bit of weight on keto in the weeks immediately prior to the test. I'd thought I read somewhere that is was best to wait 3 mos after starting keto before having blood work to allow "fat adaptation" and other fluctuations to stabilize. I rowed moderately hard for 20 minutes ~90 minutes prior to getting blood drawn, so maybe I had a temporary surge of triglycerides in my blood from a spike in fat metabolism due to working out in a fasted state with basically no glycogen available, although I don't know if that is really how it works.

2) Genetic susceptibility. My much younger brother has had some issues with "very high" trigs (mine only rate "high", though closer to very high than just "elevated"), but he consumes a lot more alcohol than I do. It's possible that the susceptibility interacts badly with keto.

3) Possibly combined with 2), since a few years had passed since my last check and my eating wasn't exactly optimal for most of that time, my trigs prior to starting keto may have been much higher (eek) and are on their way down. Prior to getting into Crossfit my trigs had crept barely into the low end of the high range (though significantly below where they were last week), so the potential is there, and in an effort to pinch pennies on my grocery expenses I'd been relying too much on cheap foods like pasta for the last couple of years.

4) If it's not a genetic thing, then there are several underlying conditions that could be going on: metabolic syndrome, kidney problems, pancreatic problems, liver problems, thyroid problems--nothing good. My doc didn't seem too concerned about any of those because the rest of my panel came back normal (though normal isn't necessarily healthy). Her outward lack of concern was jarring because at the time I was thinking about whether the suit I bought earlier this year for my mom's funeral would do for my funeral.

Though I did not stay at a Holiday Inn Express nor play a doctor on TV, my guess is that it's most likely some combination of an amount of genetic susceptibility and metabolic syndrome. She (doc) was very matter-of-fact about the inevitability of my heading down the path of requiring intervention for heart/cardiovascular risk (i.e., statins or similar). I suddenly feel quite mortal. I've accepted her confidence in that as a challenge. I did sort of stump her for a minute. She quoted me a number on my cardiovascular risk, something like 11% that was likely to rise to something like 14%. I said, "Well, at least that probably lowers my risk for cancer or Alzheimer's or something." She thought and thought then said, "Well, not necessarily, why do you say that?" I said, "All the risks have to add up to 100%, right?" :lol:

One interesting thing: when I was approaching this juncture 7 years ago she gave me the generic American Heart Association advice: HCLF. This time she told me to avoid starches and refined carbs and to curb carbs overall. So the conventional advice is finally changing.

About all I can do at this juncture is dial up my lifestyle as much as possible. I've got to go back in 6 mos to get blood work done again. I may try to see about getting an a check in 3 mos, even if I just run to the local doc-in-a-box to get some feedback. I haven't decided for sure but I'll probably gravitate back towards more of LCHP regimen since that's produced much better results for me in the past, even though I fundamentally believe keto is a good protocol.

Of course this muddies the water making ER decisions. On the one hand if my fate is to cancel out someone who will live beyond actuarial life expectancy, that speaks to jumping sooner rather than later. On the other hand, it makes considerations surrounding medical insurance/health care costs vote for a more conservative approach.

Per my usual way of doing things I'll probably get all fastidious about this and make up goals and plans. One thing I know is that I'm going to set my target weight lower, maybe 170 or so versus the 177 I thought would suffice. I also need to ratchet up my physical activity and its intensity. Maybe returning to Crossfit is the answer to that, although it would almost certainly mean a date with my orthopedic doc for shoulder surgery.

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

Posted: Sat Aug 25, 2018 9:03 am
by 7Wannabe5
I would note that some studies indicate that sex twice a week lowers heart attack risk by 50%. However, I will grant you that statins may very well be less expensive.

I just finished reading "Happiness by Design: Change What You Do, Not How You Think" by Paul Dolan. He offers very compelling, based on simple economics combined with behavioral psychology, argument that attempting to trade happiness (mix of pleasurable and purposeful experiences) now for happiness in the future is high risk proposition.

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

Posted: Sat Aug 25, 2018 9:31 am
by IlliniDave
I suspect Mr. Dolan is right, when that's the actual transaction. The two are not mutually exclusive since I am not unhappy now. I'm more selecting one version of happiness over another. In general, high risk might be warranted in pursuit of high reward, but the point is taken. And who knows--if the early stages of dementia rise up and start causing the right small memory lapses, I might wind up with lowered heart disease risk on two fronts!

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

Posted: Sat Aug 25, 2018 11:28 am
by 7Wannabe5
Yes, Dolan does include an interesting graph which demonstrates that human population varies in terms of preference for "pleasure" vs. "purpose" in their happiness mix. About 10% are off the hump and tending towards either pure "purposefulness" or pure "pleasure." For better or worse, the most common balanced mix of activities is paid employment for "purpose" and television viewing for "pleasure."

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

Posted: Sat Aug 25, 2018 4:42 pm
by SavingWithBabies
I had the same problem with triglycerides when I had a blood test for life insurance about 6 weeks into starting keto. A month ago, I had a blood test right at the 11-12 months of keto and everything looks great. Well, my HDL to LDL is still not ideal -- I need more HDL to have a good ratio. I'm trying to eat more fish (fairly easy for me but salmon 1x week doesn't seem to be helping much) and more avacado (easy except my wife likes it in salad and I do not). I probably have to start exercising to make the ratio better.

But the triglycerides will drop after some time on keto. It looks really horrible at first though. From what I read, this is a common problem. I think starting keto makes triglycerides spike. I don't know exactly when things go back to normal but I think I read roughly around 6 months or so on, tests should be good. Fingers crossed things look better at that 6 month test for you.

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

Posted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 8:47 am
by IlliniDave
Thanks SWB for the information. Hopefully when I go back in 6 mos things will be better. I'm also starting to think there's more to the thought that the workout probably contributed to at least some fraction of the high reading. So with that plus still being in the transitional period maybe I'm not so close to death as I thought!

I've had very little success with my HDL. Typically I read about 39. The only variable that seems to matter is high intensity exercise, and even then at the peak of my Crosfitting days I only got to 42-44 or so. One of the things that lured me into trying keto was that there is evidence that it can produce a larger positive HDL influence, although it seems to be a slow process, on the order of 12 mos or more before it becomes substantial.

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

Posted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 11:23 am
by jennypenny
IlliniDave wrote:
Sat Aug 25, 2018 7:18 am
Per my usual way of doing things I'll probably get all fastidious about this and make up goals and plans.
"Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, and a spreadsheet." -- Teddy Roosevelt ;)

I'm only teasing because I always do the same thing.

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

Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2018 5:50 am
by IlliniDave
Brief August 2018 Update

Spending for August was $3,325. Invested assets grew by $27,200. Don't like spending being that high. It was a 3-paycheck month so I had additional spending in the form of extra deductions for benefit expenses and extra contributions to my sinking funds for home and cabin "overhead" expenses. If I account for those and the payment on the new vehicle* I'd be around $2,300 which is okay but not great. I'm getting soft and have been a little more indulgent with the A/C, and efforts to improve my nutrition have sent my food expenses soaring. I'm still putting in gobs of overtime which hides the sloppy spending when it comes to the bottom line.

I happened to notice while plugging some numbers into my mega spreadsheet this morning that in most of my wealth accumulation numbers, including the bottom line, I am ahead of what the plan I laid out for myself several years back called for at the end of 2019 which is where it ends. If I was more confident in my ability to control spending I'd be pretty excited. As it is I'm giving strong consideration to continuing on at work until the end of 2020.

*I'm playing the differential interest game with the 0.9% loan they offered--If Dave Ramsey is standing there at the gate with St. Peter when that day comes, I am screwed. But until then I couldn't say no to squeezing out a coupla-three hundred extra bucks by keeping the money in a MM (currently at 2.1%) for as long as possible.

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

Posted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 9:08 am
by IlliniDave
EOY 2019 Summary

Happy New Year to all!

Well, been a while since I updated this, I see. Starting with the numbers:

Total spending for 2019 was $43,700. That's about $6,500 above 2017 spending. Most of that can be attributed to a new guitar, a new guitar amp, pitching in for Mom's funeral and interment costs, and some home repairs. For ER I'm planning for ~$51,000 annual spending. The 2018 spending growth is bothersome, but still within the bounds of the plan. Reinforces my instinct to plan conservatively.

Invested assets went down $55,400 for Q4 2018 and grew by $82,000 for the year. Both numbers are net of contributions, so for the year invested asset performance was down about $72,000. Unpleasant, but not disastrous (about -7%).

I took a trip back home for Christmas. It was my first trip back since my mom passed. It is true what they say about losses being felt most keenly during the holidays.

Over the last 3-4 months my main non-work activity has been fooling around with guitar/music. Although I got a break for the last ten weeks of '18, I expect to be back working overtime sooner rather than later. If I'm going to be here working anyway, might as well maximize the calendar time dedicated to it. By most standards my day-to-day life would be considered pretty dull. But I'm good with it.

I turn 55 in May which makes me eligible to leave my employer via retirement rather than just quitting. That gives me a bump in retirement bene's. After that it's just a matter of gauging when retirement resources cover anticipated spending needs with enough margin to let me sleep well at night. It's now looking like that might be the end of calendar 2020. Prior I had been looking at a time between 31 May '19 and 31 December '19. The wildcard in that is my dad. So far he's doing okay and having my siblings within 20-25 miles of him seems to be enough to keep track of what's up with him and lend a hand when required (not often). Still having trouble with my dumbass deadbeat nephew sponging off him shamelessly, but I/we can't make him do what we want with his money.

So mostly things are good. Still unrepentant when it comes to bachelorhood. Having that extra degree of freedom helps when making nonstandard long-term plans.