Noedig's Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
Noedig
Posts: 180
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:15 pm

I just turned 50 and thought I was doing well....

Post by Noedig » Sat Jan 31, 2015 7:37 am

...and that everything was going to plan to achieve Escape Velocity of savings income in two years.

Sigh ... nothing disastrous has happened. But I have thought some more, and there is no way of getting around the truth, that I have made assumptions that were way too optimistic, and didn't factor in some big stuff. In retrospect, my plan was the kind of plan that works only when, you mentally squint, look at it from a particular POV, and cultivate a few blind spots. Then, well I could convince myself it would all come out the way I wanted. But no:

-Savings rate: will be nowhere near 1150 GBP a week. More like 800.
-Tax: any pension income is taxable. I hadn't factored that in: doh. Double doh.
-Growth rate of investments: doing well these last few years does not mean the future will deliver similar returns. Stick to 4%
-Kids college. Will have to pay for it unless I want them to start their working lives in debt (don't worry, I won't tell them that upfront).

Plug all that in to the GIMP (Grand Iterative Modelling Plan) and my freedom date is six years, not two. At a minimum. Somewhat of a bummer. Still, better to know than not. And I am resolved - the future will once again be mine!

Dave
Posts: 288
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2014 1:42 pm

Re: Noedig's Journal

Post by Dave » Sun Feb 01, 2015 12:19 pm

Hi Noedig,

I just read through your journal and a post that Jacob made on DutchGirl's journal struck me as relevant:

"@Dg - Seeing things from the other side, I think from the front side tends to see FI as a finishing line to be crossed. From the back side, that line is/will be meaningless. Granted, it's very nice not to have to worry about it anymore. However, practically, in retrospect, there has not been a single year after reaching FI where I have not enough money from some other venue. I have not touched my nest egg so far. That's almost 10 years going. So rather than labor on hard in a less meaningful life (I mean a way of life that's not optimal for happiness), put less emphasis on crossing some finishing life which in my(*) experiences was relatively immaterial to the life I was living anyway. Of course this is much easier when cost-of-living is low (because skills-of-living is high). It's easy to make 5-10k in evenings or weekends on a hobby basis. It's pretty hard to make 20k that way.

In conclusion: Lower expenses and look to cover that with a second income stream. If you can do this consistently, it becomes apparent that FI is just another way of doing it. Not a better one either."

I think many of us in the "accumulation" phase of our financial journey spend far too much time running calculations of required assets, expected returns, expected timeline, etc. We try to quantify and predict everything, as a way to feel we are in control. But it seems to be that this misses part of the message of ERE. As Jacob implied, it's not a race to be finished. When you think about it practically, there is no magical number that signifies you are FI. You're moving down a path that requires less and less wage income as your investment income increases, and the lower your expenses and the more income-producing skills you have, the less relevant the number is.

I can very much relate to your thoughts. Depending on how you plug numbers into your model, the outcome can vary wildly. In my case, am I for sure going to have kids? Will I want to do tax preparation part-time in my 30s? Will I want to own a home in a major US city, or am I willing to move to a cheaper country? These things move the needle a lot on my calculations, but really I think we are doing well if we stick to reducing expenses, gaining skills, and appreciating the journey along the way - in your case enjoying each day with your family!

Noedig
Posts: 180
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:15 pm

The elephant in the room ... is me

Post by Noedig » Thu Apr 09, 2015 10:06 am

I am fifty and fat:- 120kg. It's been creeping up for years, mostly as a result of eating at night.

Easter is a feast, and having feasted, I finally decided to do something about my weight.

Like most things, I have been putting it off until I have more time. Shows I hadn't really thought it through.

Like, what's the point of ERE, if I'm likely to drop off my perch due to heart disease? Particularly as it runs in my family, along with Type2 Diabetes(2).

So, started the diet three days ago. Had my health check/blood test today (GP surgery doing health tests, so took advantage of being off work for a week to get it done as a baseline). Been to the gym. Cycled around town.

Don't wish me luck - I've been a no good greedy chubster and this is my attempt at getting some control back over that part of my life. There are a million reasons to do it, some particular to me, and I may braindump them in another post. Perhaps I am finally fed up of buying bigger and bigger trousers, just to pick one such reason at random.

Change of subject: Just took my first holiday time this year - a week at Easter. Blessed relief. This is what life would be like, if I had more time off.
-spending time with kids without being tired
-spending time with each daughter alone: cycling, or helping my eldest (as today) to file her history/philosophy notes, or just mooching
-cooking
-spending more time on my partner.
The plan is, for time to cease to be in short supply, when my contract ends in September. I will raise my rate by 25% - if I work it's ERE early, and if not I get time at home.

Final change of subject: it's a record high for the investments. On track to E-ish R in four years.

Dave
Posts: 288
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2014 1:42 pm

Re: Noedig's Journal

Post by Dave » Sat Apr 11, 2015 8:47 am

If you don't mind me asking, what is your strategy for weight loss?

Noedig
Posts: 180
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:15 pm

Re: Noedig's Journal

Post by Noedig » Sun Apr 12, 2015 9:54 am

Good question. My tactics:

Having a calorie budget and tracking what I eat: Tap&Track on my iPhone is the App I use. There are many others. It helps that it knows about my country's supermarket products and measures. It does standard stuff to make it easy, like favourite foods, long term goal....

Buying ingredients that are healthy and palatable (is not martyrdom to eat): -soups, green beans, onions & garlic, nice salad stuff, sardines...

Not eating in the evenings or during the night if I wake. Or if I must eat, a carrot.

Going to the gym once a week and doing 800kcals burn on machines. Been doing this for a while. Now will try to use more of a variety of machines as my goal has shifted from cardiovascular maintenance (i.e. not dying of a heart attack like my dad) to using all my muscle groups, to lift my metabolism more.

None of the above will matter if I don't stick to the strategy.

I think, I am just fed up with this being a problem in my life. I don't like being fat. I have sorted out getting to financial ERE - but this will be a fat (!) lot of good if I am Early-Death-Extreme, healthwise. A million other reasons.

I am one week in. So far, OK, I have lost 1.9kg. At the beginning much of that will be fake loss due to fluid etc, but still!.

Dave
Posts: 288
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2014 1:42 pm

Re: Noedig's Journal

Post by Dave » Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:02 pm

I've been there. I went from 195lb -> 255lb -> 185lb (I'm 6'3").

I am a believer that there are a great many ways to lose weight/be healthier. And the majority of them will accomplish the goal (with more or less success), but the single most important factor is consistency.

You nailed it with the "None of the above will matter if I don't stick to the strategy". A poorly programmed fitness and diet program consistently executed will outperform a perfectly designed and inconsistently executed program. So the key becomes finding a way to integrate it into your life in a way that you are happy with and able to stick with. I'm not saying anything new there, but it was how I lost weight. Perhaps what I am saying was that for me the strategy was more important than the tactics. That might just be my use of the words though. I personally don't like setting hyper specific goals, but instead try to stick to the overall goal, most of the time. Progress comes a day at a time.

Hope you've had continued success.

Noedig
Posts: 180
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:15 pm

Re: Noedig's Journal

Post by Noedig » Sat Jul 04, 2015 10:15 pm

Doing OK on the diet, down 8kg ... only like another 30kg to go.

Investments have followed the market down. Had been heavy in cash and also just added my yearly contribution, and so bought stocks recently, hoping to catch the falling knife of the Greece-induced depression in UK/EU markets. But, the rout has continued. Market timing is not my strategy - I'm the very model of a buy-and-hold-forever investor. But, it still rankles when it gets me in the ass like that.

I'm in the endgame to retirement - 85% of the way to my target. Can't wait - am knackered.

Noedig
Posts: 180
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:15 pm

Re: Noedig's Journal

Post by Noedig » Sat Oct 10, 2015 11:05 pm

Reluctant to post with poor news. But honesty is part of the project, so here goes.

The money pot is down due to market movements and I am going to end the year further away from Quitting Time.

On the one hand I take this philosophically. Markets, meh:'It goes up, it goes down"

On the other hand, my work is in an industry that when you leave, you're gone, which means the red ejector button can be hit but once. So it burn, burns that I felt compelled to renew my contract rather than take a break, to compensate, a couple of weeks back.

On the positive side, it's only another six months and will end just before the Easter holidays start, i.e. glorious spring. I'll still be down, but not much.

Otherwise, my weight is back up (rats!) but I feel OK, probably because I have kept cycling. My kids are doing alright, with my youngest on a weekend hike while my eldest elaborately procrastinates on her school assignments. My wife has been run down for a bit, but seems to be perking up - she works part time and is not a major spender, so I have a fellow traveller there for the FI project.

To treat myself for re-enlisting for work in Gringotts, I bought myself some toys: a second hand laptop and couple of radios. Disproportionate joy!

I wish all of you good health, and the moral strength to battle through to the goal: claim back your life!

Noedig
Posts: 180
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:15 pm

Done it. Hallelujah! Now for Mont Ventoux.

Post by Noedig » Sun Apr 10, 2016 12:12 am

The last two weeks:

I arrived at work for the last week of my contract and a rather embarrassed colleague said, 'not sure how to tell you this.. but the HR system is set up to revoke all your access to the building and systems today, not Friday. So today is your last day'. He was a little bemused at my answering grin, and how it spread all over my face. Like, 'Bonus!' I said my goodbyes, got a quick round of applause from my workmates (nice!), plus a few hugs, and left.

Just as well. Before I had even gone, my sister called me to ask if I could collect my mother from hospital as other plans had fallen through (ma had an operation on her spine). I picked her up and brought her home for the next ten days. My ma is now fine - I am so relieved to have had the opportunity to care for her. The timing turned out perfectly.

So that's work completed. Done. I will spend next six months out with my family and meeting some personal goals, then I will take it from there. May do more work, may not, I have not decided - and do not need to decide.

What else have I done? Been to gym a bit, started a diet, bought some tools and IT gear on ebay, tried to help my kids revise (kids: 'do that by staying out of the way, dad') and loafed a whole lot. Oh yes, and I bought a new loafing chair, a knockoff of an Herman Miller Aeron (fancy adjustable reclining chair with headrest that I can just sleep in sooo comfortably). Had to face down wife with over-eager to do list, was the only bummer, but she gets the idea now that I am not wanting to be a tickboxing task rabbit right now.

The money side doesn't quite stack up yet, I am 10% short. But am going to think that over from the vantage point of a free range human, rather from being a workerzoid at the ant farm.

Can't believe it's done.

Next thing: planning my solo cycle trip down through France to Mont Ventoux, which will take about ten days.

thrifty++
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Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 3:46 pm

Re: Noedig's Journal

Post by thrifty++ » Sun Apr 10, 2016 1:09 am

Congratulations! I have just read your journal for the first time. Its hilarious!
Here is to enjoying your well deserved early life transition. And being able to do it in the middle of London too. So jealous.

Noedig
Posts: 180
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:15 pm

Re: Noedig's Journal

Post by Noedig » Sun Apr 10, 2016 12:26 pm

Thanks thrifty. It is just sinking in, that I have time now. And not just time, but also enough means to do what I choose. And not just the means, but still the *desire* to get things done.

A song lyric sums up for me the kind of numb fate I was heading for: is here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJRR3Ltm_sw

'Now it's over, I'm dead, and I haven't done anything that I want. Or, I'm still alive and there's nothing I want to do.'

Not in zombie commuter ant farm corporate slave land any more. I am letting all that go from my identity.

leeholsen
Posts: 327
Joined: Tue Apr 16, 2013 6:38 pm

Re: Noedig's Journal

Post by leeholsen » Mon Apr 11, 2016 2:07 pm

Noedig wrote:Thanks thrifty. It is just sinking in, that I have time now. And not just time, but also enough means to do what I choose. And not just the means, but still the *desire* to get things done.

A song lyric sums up for me the kind of numb fate I was heading for: is here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJRR3Ltm_sw

'Now it's over, I'm dead, and I haven't done anything that I want. Or, I'm still alive and there's nothing I want to do.'

Not in zombie commuter ant farm corporate slave land any more. I am letting all that go from my identity.


a they might be giants reference, thats a first from anyone besides me. if you are having a time trying to figure out what you want to do next, you might check the birdhouse in your soul.

cjm
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun Dec 13, 2015 3:44 pm

Re: Noedig's Journal

Post by cjm » Wed Apr 13, 2016 3:51 am

Congrats Noedig! I've enjoyed reading your journal. Enjoy your cycle tour, please let us know your experiences.

Noedig
Posts: 180
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:15 pm

Re: Noedig's Journal

Post by Noedig » Sun Aug 21, 2016 5:22 pm

Hi All.

Checking in, five months into my break from work.

Re: My Cycle trip to Mont Ventoux- the thing I had promised myself I would do:

I took the bike express (http://www.bike-express.co.uk/) from the UK, a full size tour coach with a trailer just for bicycles.

It went from the edge of London (Gravesend) to Orange in the South of France. The coach was full, with people from the North of England and Barnsley in particular: think "Bradley Wiggins" times twenty and you will understand.

Once there, I cycled up the Gorge De La Nesque first around to the other side of Ventoux. The Gorge is a kind of mini Grand Canyon, which was spectacular and awesome but gruelling and TAKE LOTS OF WATER ANYONE DOING THIS THEMSELVES. I had a lucky moment after my gear train fell apart, as I was able to find all the bits strewn back hundreds of feet, and put them back on before continuing to my resting place, a campsite. I then got rained out that night and for the rest of the trip stayed in Gites and Hostels and Hotels (which is what I should have planned to do anyway). I ate well, with heavy lunches, the Prix Fixe or "Formule", which were great value and truly something to tempt any gourmande, and something light for dinner.

Mont Ventoux was epic. As I was the only cyclist with panniers and a commuter bike (rather than a racer) to go up the mountain that day, it was gratifying to get a round of applause at the top from those already there. They seemed to be almost without exception Dutch, go figure.

I then cycled around Provence for two weeks before taking the Eurostar home from Lyons. Job done.

It was an awesome break, and only the start of five months of sheer joy. I'll tell you something : - I have *loved* being off work. In so many ways (family, seeing friends, cooking, loafing, etc etc) I have enjoyed my time out. I recommend to anyone feeling brainburn from life in the corporate hive. As a bonus, I supported my eldest through her exams and she has done well enough to go where she wants to go. So that is also great.

However, the Brexit uncertainty means I am contemplating a return to Brain Rental for a while: I've an interview this week for something I don't want, and some other feelers out, so its just a matter of time before I am back at work I think.

Now I must say to myself <pirate accent mode ON> "Get back to wark ye miserable lubbardly dog!". I have a job interview on Thursday - mixed feelings about the whole idea but will paste on a professional attitude and regard it as practice.

vexed87
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Location: Yorkshire, UK

Re: Noedig's Journal

Post by vexed87 » Mon Aug 22, 2016 3:54 am

Great journal Noedig, rather jealous of your solo cycling trip, I've always wanted to try something like that. What a way to make the most of your career break.

Noedig
Posts: 180
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:15 pm

Re: Noedig's Journal

Post by Noedig » Wed Oct 26, 2016 7:39 am

Update: end of my seven month break.

Been interviewing on an off for a couple of months, got an offer so will be heading back to work. It's been awesome though.

As I work for banks there is a lengthy onboarding and compliance checking process (essentially to see if I spend my holidays in Syria or suchlike). I will try to make the most of the remaining free time.

Brexit was the propelling decider: made me poorer in world terms and introduced uncertainty and likely diminished prospects for UK. I was going to call time after about six months anyway. As it happens, took me a bit longer to get a role than I thought.

Yet, the sterling crash has made me richer for the portion of my assets held abroad. Funny that.

Just been on 41 mile walk around the Cornish coast from St Ives to Penzance: wonderful experience, recommend for the views, for the pubs & pies, for the health.

Noedig
Posts: 180
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:15 pm

Re: Noedig's Journal

Post by Noedig » Sun Feb 05, 2017 8:06 am

Checking in.

Went back to work. As expected, it was project crunch time from the get go, and long hours. But it's a good team, and the work is well paid.

So back into earning mode I went, or as I put it to myself "bog snorkelling" (a peculiar UK sport involving swimming underwater through muddy ditches for as far as possible - and thus a metaphor for bursts of overwork)

On happy side, savings went through 1m. Yay. Sounds a lot. It is. But.... that forgets my mortgage debt. Also ignores that the only reason savings went up, is that the pound fell about 15 percent i.e. my wealth did not increase, only the number of credit units. Also ignores the multiple future uncertainties from Brexit, Trump, and the fact of having two teenage kids whose employment prospects are as yet uncertain. Still such complaints must sound worthy of the worlds smallest violin.

Currently planning on working 3 years more, then retire at 55. So not particularly ERE. I feel knackered already. As needs must, I will hold it together.

George the original one
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Re: Noedig's Journal

Post by George the original one » Sun Feb 05, 2017 1:57 pm

Noedig wrote:a peculiar UK sport
LOL, I do appreciate the reference, but, really, are there any UK sports that are not peculiar?

calixarene
Posts: 12
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Re: Noedig's Journal

Post by calixarene » Tue Feb 07, 2017 9:46 pm

Hi Noedig,

Hang in there! If the pound recovers before your 3 years are up, does that mean you can retire?

Also, just read through your whole journal and you have a delightful writing style. I have an image of you in my head as an jolly but dignified Briton who says phrases like "old chap" and remains wryly stoic against all obstacles. (80% of that may just be my idea of what British people are like, which mainly derives from murder mysteries and Waugh novels.)

And as a daughter myself, your clear fondness for your daughters is heartwarming.

Noedig
Posts: 180
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:15 pm

Re: Noedig's Journal

Post by Noedig » Fri Feb 10, 2017 9:58 pm

George - "are there any UK sports that are not peculiar?" you ask. Well a sense of the absurd is one of the better national characteristics and a tendency to make a silly game out of anything, is part of that. Football evolved from bands of rival villagers milling around and kicking a pig's bladder, case in point. It's rather hard to find a sport that at root isn't daft and pointless: indeed thereby is the beauty of it all. If I were to think about it at all deeply I would class sport as displays of evolutionary fitness for mating and status, therefore not pointless at all. Hmm. I get to pronounce on sports from the UK because essentially we invented them all, also evolution, so a double win for me in this game I just made: so there. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category: ... in_England

Also, a strengthening pound will actually decrease my savings measured in pounds (where my liabilities are) and increase them in say Euro (where my holidays are). Perhaps a sign from God in that unlikely outcome, to take more continental holidays.

Calixarene - I am indeed fond of the pesky churblings and live in combined fear and hope of their independent and self-sufficient departure. I am also indeed quite jolly as it happens, and see stoicism as one of my defining character traits. So it appears you have me spot on, bang to rights, stone me guv'nor it's a fair cop. I must thank you for being too polite to mention my evident need to lose weight, never far alas from my thoughts though further usually than the nearest bun. Regarding prose style, it reflects my thought processes and is not unrepresentative of the way I speak in somewhat prosy full sentences. But without seeming like a character from Dickens - perhaps it helps that I throw in the occasional salty curse: usually a minced oath of my own devising: favourite of the month is "Bag rats!".

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