Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Where are you and where are you going?
Jason
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Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:37 am

Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by Jason » Sun Sep 17, 2017 3:21 pm

lol@hot tubi. I think I'm going to start using that. "Hey, how you doing." "Oh, man, I am hot tubi." Or "Hey did you see that chick." "Oh, yeah, she is fuckin hot tubi."

Your moms sounds fun. I'm guessing you're more like your father.

j/k

suomalainen
Posts: 398
Joined: Sat Oct 18, 2014 12:49 pm

Re: October Update

Post by suomalainen » Sat Oct 14, 2017 4:01 pm

Assets/Net Worth/Liquid Net Worth

Image

Dividends (PA only)

Image

I think I got $684 in dividends in September, my best month yet. I get a dividend each week for the next several weeks, so that's a nice boost. When I get some more money to invest, one of my criteria is going to be the timing of the dividend payment. The goal would be to have a portfolio that generates at least 1 dividend payment a week. Really just for shits and giggles. My investment philosophy is pretty much using a dartboard anyway (but I like to think of it as selective indexing since I don't trade in and out).

Spending Update
- When I bought my first bow, I told the kids (and myself) that once they could shoot 10-12 arrows and score 80% in 2 of 3 rounds from 20 yards, I'd buy them a new bow. I figured they wouldn't have the interest and patience and determination to stick with it and I was right! I'm not sure if that's an :D or an :cry: , but either way I figured I wouldn't have to buy them anything or if I did, I'd be happy to spend the money.
- After I got hit by the car, my right neck/shoulder/upper back has been messed up. Shooting arrows didn't seem to help, so I took some time off. Then I read about archers having neck/shoulder problems and the obvious suggestion to pull with the left hand as many times as you shoot with the right. So, I started doing that and my right neck/shoulder/upper back feels better and stronger than it has in years!
- Well, I got my 80% from 20 yards with my starter bow, so I bought a longer riser (Samick Polaris) and longer limbs (Samick Journey) to create a longer, better suited bow for my long arms. And I also got bored just pulling empty shots with my left, so I also treated myself to a left-handed bow! :shock: Not a frugal decision by any stretch, but I enjoy the time outside in my backyard. Maybe the kids will even rejoin me from time to time.
- The rest of the spending has re-normalized from the summer increase due to the kids being out of school.

Psych Update

- I continue to focus on trying to be fully present in my life, notwithstanding my past triumphs and defeats or my future goals and challenges. Recently, I got a bit waylaid by conflicting emotions between early retirement and a new house with a lot of land. After some helpful discussion on another thread here (viewtopic.php?f=7&t=9335), it turned out to be another presentation of my same weaknesses. I'm glad I went through the exercise and that I have a record of it here. I hope to continue improving my self-awareness and my decision-making ability and to continue corralling the out-of-control meaning-searcher that is me. "Meaning is deliberately created, not found. Meaning is deliberately created, not found. Meaning is deliberately created, not found." should be my mantra.
- I also wanted to re-highlight this paragraph from last month's update, which has been absolutely incredible for me:
suomalainen wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:11 pm
- I don't particularly enjoy work. But my new focus is this: "I may not value my services very highly, but I value my company's money highly. In a free market, I trade something I value less (my services) for something I value more (money) if the converse is also true. My company values my services more than a certain amount of money, so a trade is made. My purpose at work is to get money and I'm getting it. If I enjoy a day, great! If not, I should focus on what I'm there for - not meaning, not purpose, not happiness, not personal challenge -- money. I can always choose to not make the trade, but every day that I'm there, I am consciously, deliberately making that trade, so at the very least I'm getting what I paid for." This has worked for me when I've done it. I hope it continues. It also feels a little...stark...when I write it like that. Something something nihilism, probably. Anyway. Meaning, purpose, happiness and challenge will need to be found elsewhere.
Lowering my expectations of what I can get out of work has been incredibly psychologically freeing, especially on the days when the corporate bullshit is so thick it makes me want to gauge out my eyes (ears, really) and skullfuck myself. And my skullhole is sore from the fuckings it's taken the last two weeks. Oy vey. Daddy's been in a very bad mood.

At the same time, there are a couple of nuggets of wisdom I've picked up from some journals here that are tempering my expectations of what financial independence could really achieve for me:
halfmoon wrote:
Sat Nov 26, 2016 11:17 am
I see in retrospect that DH and I were oblivious and selfish. DS once told his dad: "This is your dream, not mine." Very true.
C40 wrote:
Sat Jan 07, 2017 1:12 pm
I’ve certainly had some “is this all there really is to life? ughhh” thoughts, but, in a good way, I think.
BRUTE wrote:
Mon May 29, 2017 2:14 pm
given another 6 months, it is possible C40 will completely lose the appreciation for new places, cultures, foods, and so on. this happened to brute eventually, where all places eventually blended together into "airport -> hotel -> airbnb -> supermarket -> repeat for a few weeks or months -> airport". the exotic locals started feeling less exotic. brute started missing "boring" things he'd never missed before - being able to purchase heavy cream at the store, good roads, Amazon.com, the ability to build a longer-term gym with weights..

[edit]

interestingly, brute's strategy for "solving" seems the complete opposite from C40's. first, brute doesn't think lack of appreciation is a problem. it's just hedonic adaptation. brute does not like to take pictures or read about things he did in the past or places he's been to in the past, even if they were positive. brute simply accepted that he'd picked the low-hanging fruit he could attain with this mode of travel for now, and his desires had changed. they might one day come back, and brute still has interest in other modes of travel, like in a van for example.

the realization for brute was this: nothing lasts, but nothing is lost.
-These are further reminders that life happens in the present. I sometimes chafe at my "lack of freedom", and think "Ugh, is this all there is?", which is probably borne from feeling burdened by responsibilities to or for people at every hour of my day (work, kids), so I have no freedom from responsibility. But, I also have to realize that I am currently "free to" enjoy things that others can't enjoy: I'm free to enjoy employment; I'm free to enjoy my children. I may be unemployed some day. I will have an empty nest some day. To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.

Health Update

- I dunno, maybe it was triggered when I read @brute's journal for the first time or maybe by re-reaching my January 1 starting weight of 237 lbs, but either way, I had the oomph to finally get on a more "natural diet". I had my last real carbohydrate meal on September 20th. It was a half-sandwich (turkey cheese melt maybe?) and a bag of chips and a cookie from Panera. I had determined to kick the carbs totally for at least 3 days and the withdrawal for the first 3 days was fucking awful, I'm not gonna lie. But since then, I haven't really craved carbs or sweets that much. Wife even made a batch of cinnamon rolls, of which I would normally have consumed half of the batch, but I had a teaspoon tasting. I actually thought it might taste revolting, but I was pleasantly surprised that it was delicious! But I also had zero desire for more. I find it all very weird.
- The initial plan was to introduce natural carbs (no processed carbs) like fruits and veggies after going through the detox period, but I'm actually kind of worried about cracking open the door to any real amount of sugar. That shit is cocaine! I don't know if I can draw the line between an orange and a cinnamon roll.
- So, I have only had some incidental carbs here and there - breading on a few chicken strips once a week or so, bread crumbs in meatloaf, a tablespoon of ketchup with a burger, some spinach or spring greens pretty much every day, a nibble of this or that. But pretty much no more than 30g on any given day.
- I'm down 14 pounds in 3.5 weeks.
- I don't have blood sugar swings. I can easily skip meals. I rarely feel hungry unless it's been 24 hours between meals. I feel more stable.
- I also feel a bit lethargic when I go running. In fairness, I did get a respiratory illness a week or two after I started the new diet, so we'll see how that balances out. If I start to do longer/more intense sessions, I may need some carbohydrate help.

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BRUTE
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Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by BRUTE » Sat Oct 14, 2017 6:46 pm

while the brain can be completely fueled by fat metabolism on a LCHF diet within 2 days to 2 weeks (=cravings disappear), it can take 3-12 months to completely adapt the rest of the energy consuming tissues in the body, like skeletal muscles. athlete report that performance is lower for 3 months to 6 months at least after switching to a LCHF diet.

so the basic idea is to give it at least 6 months before experimenting with reintroducing carbs. if after 6 months, performance still lacks, targeted or cyclical ketogenic diet (TKD/CKD) are common options.


suomalainen
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November Update

Post by suomalainen » Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:28 pm

Assets/Net Worth/Liquid Net Worth

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Dividends (PA only)

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Other

- Down about 17 pounds over about 8 weeks. Some candy and stuff around/since Halloween. Should be careful I don't slip back into too many carbs.
- Been thinking about work. Way too much corporate bullshit over the last month. Really got me thinking about changing jobs. I could probably go back to my old law firm and make about $75k more (after tax, and that would be pure savings), but in exchange I'd probably have to work many more evenings and weekends. It's tough. The law firm work might be more...satisfying for me, but at the cost of less satisfaction in other parts of life. On the other hand, working at the firm would allow me to save a lot more and faster. But then what? I think my "ere ship" has sailed. ERE with kids at home just isn't going to work for me. Or for us, I guess I should say. I need to just accept that fact and not allow myself to focus too much on this future point in time when I hit "my number". So, if I do that, why not stay at the corporation and be a top performer without too much extra effort (9-6, no weekends) and hit my number around the same time as my youngest graduates high school (assuming I'm not paying for any college for any of the three!)? At the firm, I'd hit my number in 5 years rather than 10. I dunno. I'm not good at making decisions. May be why I'm a lawyer and not a business guy. I guess it boils down to two approaches to this retirement thing: 1) balls to the wall for the greatest amount of money in the shortest amount of time or 2) design a life I wouldn't want to retire from. On the other other hand, I'm kind of a miserable fuck either way*, so why not get paid more?

*Did I mention I was a Finn?

suomalainen
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Decisions decisions

Post by suomalainen » Tue Nov 28, 2017 6:06 pm

Well, it comes to it. I reached out to my old firm with a question about Job A (for which I'm not really qualified)...and I got offered Job B on the spot. After some back and forth since I don't particularly like the typical compensation structure, I was asked to essentially name my price. I gave it and I expect some, but only minimal, pushback. As I've thought about what to do, I'm torn, so I thought I'd do a pro-con list here and see if it helps me organize my thoughts.

Current job - "the easy option"
Pros: Well-paid. Busy at times, but also not busy at times. When it's busy, I can get away with skimming and relying on my experience. I do get cranky, but I still largely go home at 6 pm and don't look at my phone too much after. When it's not busy, I can dive deep into my work and do a very thorough job, which can be satisfying. When it's really slow, I surf the internet and get anxious about all the dumb shit in the world. In either case, plenty of down-time to putter around and/or do nothing on evenings and weekends. Other than the 9-6 (including going to the gym many days) part of it, this is a "life I wouldn't want to retire from".
Cons: 10-15 years in the job to get to my number (assuming we move and I pay for some kids' expenses, be it schooling or illnesses or whatnot). Constricted into the corporate mold for vacation time, etc. It also feels somewhat meaningless and I feel somewhat undervalued.

New job option - "the hard option"
Pros: Very, very well paid. My price includes a more variable compensation structure thereby removing the heavy penalty for under-performing (hours wise), therefore the downside stress is removed or limited (one of the worst parts of the job). Work will be somewhat similar with minor variations. Reach my number in 5-7 years, even with moving and paying for the kids. Would potentially allow me the flexibility to work from different locations, so I could try traveling with the kids during the summer (two weeks off, the rest of the time working remotely). Would potentially allow me the flexibility to just "take it easy" when I don't feel like working hard and to "balls to the wall" when I feel like working hard.
Cons: Would likely need to work 9-8 (I'd try for 7-6) regularly and some nights and weekends for closings. This would/could impact the family, whether due to my not being around as much or stress or whathaveyou. This is the very reason I was desperate to leave the firm in the first place (my reaction/justification for this is that the kids were younger then and I wanted to be home more, plus I had naive assumptions about how much more free time I would have. It's more, but not retired-more). Would have less time to "do nothing".

The "scared" part of me wants the easy option. The "courageous" part of me wants the hard option. A friend of mine used to say "sometimes you gotta look in your pants and see if you have any balls."

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Bankai
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Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by Bankai » Wed Nov 29, 2017 3:17 am

'Easy' is working 5 years. 'Hard' is working 10-15 years.

suomalainen
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Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by suomalainen » Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:09 am

Waking up this morning, the thought occurred to me to frame the question along a Michael Madsen (I think -- EDIT: Mark Manson a la The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck) line - which problem do I want?

Current job: accepting low level anxiety for longer because of 1) the feelings of being undervalued (both substantively and economically) and 2) not being able to maximize earnings even though I want to and 3) knowing I have increasing expenses coming and 4) not having the flexibility to try to live a different kind of life that I've always fantasized about in exchange for A) not having to go through a stressful, scary change and B) more day-to-day flexibility due to a less demanding work environment.

New Job: accepting higher anxiety for shorter because of 1) a more demanding work environment and 2) work impinging on family (and the knock-on effects on my wife's anxiety) in exchange for A) a shorter working window, B) better flexibility to handle anticipated expense increases and C) more flexibility to live out some of my fantasies (living and working in Europe for short periods).

The current job anxiety is the anxiety I've been dealing with for about two years now. My solution to it was to chant to myself "My purpose at work is to get money." And now I have a chance to have a greater purpose (get more money and potentially a new lifestyle). Will I seize it in exchange for the new type of anxiety or will I stay with the safe devil I currently know? I need another night's sleep on this. Everyone I discuss it with seizes on the fear of exchanging the current great "quality of life"/"work-life balance" for a shittier "quality of life"/"work-life balance". That makes me question my inclination, which is to take the new job.

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Fish
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Re: November Update

Post by Fish » Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:37 pm

My thoughts in this post still apply. Applied to my personal situation (which is similar to yours, at least financially), this is my reasoning for always selecting more free time over the money when presented with a choice: My marginal propensity to consume (as income is increased) is zero, and I am content with the level of savings I have achieved, which is about 10 years of expenses. At Wheaton level 2-3 the standard advice is to accumulate 8-10 years of expenses by normal retirement age. Under today's rules, I can still "win the game" while living at a 0% savings rate, or slightly negative even -- all that is needed is to ensure the stash keeps up with my personal cost of living. The point is that money is no longer a scarce resource. And when you are able to convince yourself of this, you are free to make better lifestyle decisions without the constraint to maximize income.

Is there any concrete impact to your life when you hit your number? Even if you hit your number within 5-7 years, you may still decide to work until #3 is out of high school... or out of college... or done with post-graduate studies/age 26 when they can no longer be covered under your health insurance?! Although I fantasize about FI/RE as much as anyone here, due to my personal choices (living a normal life with the usual means and ends, AND having children on top of that) there will be many incentives to keep working for many years to come. :cry: :evil: This motivates the "design a life I wouldn't want to retire from" approach. But if your burnout is projected to occur at a point when you no longer need additional income, either option works...

On the subject of puttering around, it recalls the part in Lin Yu-Tang's book "The Importance of Living" where he tells the story of the housewife who stuffs her apartment full of furniture and finds it difficult to do anything because it is so cramped. The author then makes the observation that it is not the furniture that makes the house livable, but rather the empty space. Furthermore, this observation also extends to life in general, with scheduled activities being the "furniture" and downtime being the "empty space." The puttering might be the thing that keeps you sane.
suomalainen wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:28 pm
On the other other hand, I'm kind of a miserable fuck either way*, so why not get paid more?
But if this is the case then you clearly don't appreciate what you have and a change of scenery might be just what you need. Best of luck with your decision. It's wonderful to have options. 8-)

jennypenny
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Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by jennypenny » Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:45 pm

suomalainen wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:09 am
Waking up this morning, the thought occurred to me to frame the question along a Michael Madsen (I think -- EDIT: Mark Manson a la The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck) line - which problem do I want?
Elizabeth Gilbert frames this as 'Which shit sandwich are you willing to eat?' ... no job is perfect so pick the one with the most palatable downsides (and only you can decide that).

Maybe you're tempted to switch jobs because you like the idea of being busier at work since you're at the peak kid phase? (not judging, just asking)

Now that two of my kids are in college, I'm glad we have the time and money to visit them and make time for them when they are available. If taking the higher paying job means that you might have more flexibility to engage with them when they are high school/college age, then it might be worth it. IMO that transition age is hard and you (the parent) have to work harder at maintaining the relationship.

suomalainen
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Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by suomalainen » Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:01 pm

@Fish. All fair points. The difference is here:
Fish wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:37 pm
this is my reasoning for always selecting more free time over the money when presented with a choice: My marginal propensity to consume (as income is increased) is zero, and I am content with the level of savings I have achieved, which is about 10 years of expenses...you are free to make better lifestyle decisions without the constraint to maximize income.
My marginal propensity to consume is also zero, but I am not content with the level of savings I have achieved, which (if you squint) is 10 years of expenses + a paid-off house. Tax rules and whatnot mean I really only have 3-4 years of expenses in liquid assets. Could I do something different for 3-4 years? Sure. But then what? Perhaps I'm different from other folks here, and not to suggest that I'm NOT a renaissance man, but when I do things other than work, I don't want to think about money. I do my own construction work. Would I do it as a hobby? Sure. Would I do it for money? FUCK NO. (Would I ask myself rhetorical questions and then answer them? Obviously.)
Fish wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:37 pm
Is there any concrete impact to your life when you hit your number?
Does psychology count as being "concrete"? My life is sorta the life I wouldn't want to retire from...except for the 9 hours a day I give to The Man. And I am starting to come around to looking at puttering around as the purpose of life or as the womb of life, I guess, rather than an annoying waste of a boring life. I come across as a pessimist, but you know why that is? Because I'm such a fucking naive optimist that when my life doesn't match my optimism, I am crushed. Hence all the therapy.

Anyway, thanks for your perspective. Always good to be challenged.

@jp
jennypenny wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:45 pm
Maybe you're tempted to switch jobs because you like the idea of being busier at work since you're at the peak kid phase? (not judging, just asking)
I joke about this from time to time, but not really. I hate the constant (and I mean CONSTANT) bickering. I hear it as bickering/fighting, but to them, they're just interacting. They have transitioned from being my babies to being little men. It's been a challenge for me (and them, likely) to figure out this transition. We're moving into a kind of stalemate, which has been intimately non-intimate if that makes any sense. Boys. :roll:

Admittedly, and I sorta feel like a pansy for feeling this way, but I like the idea of being busier because I like the feeling of accomplishing something and being valued by others. At my current job, I only get to feel like I accomplish something occasionally, because everything is over-lawyered. I work on deals with at least 2-3 law firms on them, plus any number of in-house counsel (like me). Only when I catch something that the 15 other lawyers have missed do I feel like I added any value. It's tough to go to work with that psychology. And also at my current job, I have smart clients who appreciate me and see my value...but they can't pay me. This new job is a situation where the 2-3 people who are recruiting me are like fawning over me (it's actually really, really weird), but the difference is that they CAN pay me. Substantially more.

**

And after all that, the update: if they accept my comp proposal, I'm 99% sure I'll be going to the firm. The shit sandwich I want to eat is figuring out for the next 5 years "what do I do with all this money" rather than "what do I do with all this free time"? I've tried the latter for 6 years and if you've gotten a sense of me from these boards, you'd know it's not going that well...

In the end, I think I'd like puttering around more if I didn't have to squeeze it in after 9 hours at someone else's work.

suomalainen
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Re: November Update

Post by suomalainen » Wed Dec 13, 2017 9:55 pm

Fish wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:37 pm
...the level of savings I have achieved, which is about 10 years of expenses. At Wheaton level 2-3 the standard advice is to accumulate 8-10 years of expenses by normal retirement age. Under today's rules, I can still "win the game" while living at a 0% savings rate, or slightly negative even -- all that is needed is to ensure the stash keeps up with my personal cost of living. The point is that money is no longer a scarce resource. And when you are able to convince yourself of this, you are free to make better lifestyle decisions without the constraint to maximize income.
Wait, wait, wait. What are you saying here? I've always thought of working/saving/retiring to occur in this order:
(1) work full time AND save up to a number that generates a 3-4% SWR (call this the "Target"),
(2) quit,
(3) live off income generated by the Target.

Are you suggesting something like this:
(1) work full time AND save up to X% of Target,
(2) work part time to cover expenses until (call it) 65, with no additional saving needed,
(3) X% of Target compounds over the interval of #2 to Target,
(4) live off income generated by the Target?

Mind blown. Please expound. Some questions:

1) I'm 39. Given inflation and everything else that can happen...how do you get any comfort in Target 25 years out? Or is this one of those things where you just adjust in the future if you have to?
2) I'm currently at 42% of Target. Even assuming a 4% return (perhaps I can take comfort in that being a real rather than nominal return?), I get to 1.16x Target by age 65.

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Fish
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Re: November Update

Post by Fish » Thu Dec 14, 2017 2:30 am

suomalainen wrote:
Wed Dec 13, 2017 9:55 pm
Are you suggesting something like this:
(1) work full time AND save up to X% of Target,
(2) work part time to cover expenses until (call it) 65, with no additional saving needed,
(3) X% of Target compounds over the interval of #2 to Target,
(4) live off income generated by the Target?
Even (1) and (2) alone might be enough if the rules of retirement don't change(*), meaning SS and/or pensions can be relied upon to make up the shortfall of only saving 8-10x. ("The safety net is the plan.") I certainly don't suggest setting the bar this low, but even this level of retirement preparedness would still be average or better. You also own your house in full. If this is a reasonable worst case scenario, what is there to fear?

If you add elements (3) and (4) you get @black_son_of_gray's Deliberately coasting to FI concept.

(*) Implicit in this is a pledge to do one's best to keep up with market downturns and rule changes as they occur. But trying to prepare for all possible futures in the usual manner only leads to over-accumulation and more "money as scarce resource" thinking. That index investing forum is full of examples such as sub-2% WRs and unusual obsessions with TIPS and paper I-bonds. Thinking through SHTF situations and being prepared is a good idea. But at some point it becomes futile to solve a "not enough money" problem with "more money" when the real problem is reliance on money.
suomalainen wrote:
Wed Dec 13, 2017 9:55 pm
1) I'm 39. Given inflation and everything else that can happen...how do you get any comfort in Target 25 years out? Or is this one of those things where you just adjust in the future if you have to?
I don't want to say too much here, because I haven't proved the concept yet (still living at 66% SR). But basically it comes down to agency (what Jacob describes as "the attitude that any problem can be fixed, given enough resources in the form of time, effort and determination"). You have to decide what your minimum requirement is for capital accumulation. For me, having enough to fight the last war seems like a good starting point. Coincidentally (or not), it's also how much I happen to have. I'm not done accumulating, but my focus has shifted to improving quality of life. Money is a solved problem.

suomalainen
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Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by suomalainen » Thu Dec 14, 2017 9:39 am

Jason wrote:
Wed Dec 13, 2017 6:57 am
(1) Change at this stage in our lives should be limited to mental adjustments...
(2) Reminding ourselves we are not broke ass and we do not have to scurry around for every last acorn. Not all money is worth chasing.
...
(6) I am going to carry around my little fu in my hand like that Gollum dude in LOTR, stroking it, calling it precious, because I just can't get enough of telling people to go eff themselves;
Fish wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2017 2:30 am
I'm not done accumulating, but my focus has shifted to improving quality of life. Money is a solved problem.
This is great. It really is like a momentous shift in perspective for me. I sorta don't know what to do with it; must give it more time to digest. In the meantime, I had somewhat already come around to @Fish's point of view anyway, and this was a draft post I had already written:

Job Offers and the Long View
I've given a shitton of thought to switching jobs. On the one hand is a more intense, really-high-paying job; on the other is a more flexible (day to day), high-paying job. Two things became clear as my discussions progressed: 1) my wife is a real limitation on my grand life plans; 2) my grand life plans would mean nothing to me without my wife. (The other thing I should mention here is just how chock full of wisdom the discussions in @brute's journal are. Great work everyone, truly.) My grand plans, including switching jobs, would all lose their luster after a few years; my interest wanders and I need a shiny new object every few years. But my wife, for all her annoyances and idiosyncrasies, has not lost her luster after 17 years; she has actually shined brighter with every year. And what she wants is a stable, suburban upbringing for our kids.

What this means in terms of the job is that either job will likely be as engaging/interesting as the other; it's just that one will be more demanding than the other. Since I am whipped and we will be in this area for at least 10 more years until the youngest graduates high school, the option with greater day-to-day flexibility is more appealing to us as a family. So @fish, you were right in the end.* (Edit from draft: @fish and @jason are right in the sense that "money is a solved problem" so I "do not have to scurry around for every last acorn". This morning it feels a little like waking up to lower case "fu money".)

*It also turns out that the two guys I was discussing the position with ran up against institutional inertia and the firm was not able to meet my terms which made the decision fairly easy. And after running the numbers again using the firm's numbers, the firm job did not change my end date sufficiently to be enticing to me (see also discussion of health insurance below).

What this experience may have taught me (if anything), is that I might truly be ready for a change - it's just that this wasn't the right situation for me, and if/when I do find a right situation, I still shouldn't expect too much from the change. It'll just be another step on the journey, and not the destination. (Edit from draft: and it looks like I have way more flexibility than I originally thought on what that change could look like.)
FBeyer wrote:
Tue Nov 08, 2016 5:47 am
Positive Psychology has boiled people's happiness down to three major components: The Sensory, the Engaged, and the Meaningful life.
Sensory: Eating, sex, hiking, good company, concerts, exhibitions etc. These things you get better at by training your ability to appreciate them ie Mindfulness. The primary pitfall of this is Hedonic Adaptation, naturally.
Engaged: Flow, put shortly. Something that really engages you and challenges you at the same time. Something you get good at by repeated practice and by seeking out challenges that are intellectually challenging to you and also fit within your framework of interests.
The Meaningful: Doing something for others while experiencing and appreciating the effect it has. Help someone move ahead in life, do something that reaches beyond you and help your community, for any given of definition of community.
I will say that this is the one thing that continues to stump me. I've been working on the sensory (guitar, hiking, mindfulness) and the meaningful (family), but I'm not really engaged or challenged at work any more. I'm not sure if this is something I can recapture or if this is something I just need to find outside of work. It is hard to compartmentalize your life and only "live" when you're not at work/getting ready for work/decompressing from work (~11 hours a day).

Health Insurance/Care and Risk Management

One consideration about this whole ERE-with-kids-in-the-US thing is medical insurance. I have a friend who retired around the age of 50 with twin girls around the age of 10. This year, his premium for health insurance for his family of 4 on the exchanges was $48,000! I have no idea if that was the cheapest plan, the most expensive plan or somewhere in between, but even directionally it is frightening. That almost leads me to believe that regardless of how much money I have saved, I have to have a job, even for the health insurance alone, until the kids are launched into their own lives (health plans, really). At the same time, as someone on this forum is fond of saying (can't remember who), there's no reason for current-me to worry about this now thinking that future-me is incapable of figuring this out when the time comes. The caveat to that line of thinking is "it's not about you." Planning for / worrying about 5 people is exponentially more fraught than planning for 1. (Edit: So, I still "need" health insurance, so I can't just take any shitty part-time job to "coast to FI", but it did start me thinking about a part-time arrangement with my current employer, maybe in a year or two so I can get closer to a 50% of Target savings.)

jennypenny
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Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by jennypenny » Thu Dec 14, 2017 9:47 am

Hey Fish, wanna start a 'money is a solved problem' thread and expound on what you said? I don't want to clog S's journal, but I have a lot of questions about what you and S mean when you say that.

@S--Health care is the only reason DH is still at his job. With have a minor with serious health issues that would be too stressful to handle without access to an excellent plan. ACA didn't solve that problem either. So he continues to work to have access to that plan and to save up the biggest nest egg possible for when DS needs healthcare and can no longer get it through us.

suomalainen
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Re: December Update

Post by suomalainen » Fri Dec 15, 2017 6:16 pm

Assets/Net Worth/Liquid Net Worth

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I sold the remaining vested options I had in my company within 0.5% of the stock's all-time high. That brought my compensation for the year up to a ridiculously high level. It helps that in the 6 years I've worked for this company, the stock has quintupled. I didn't capture all of those gains, due to the annual timing of my stock awards (and their liquidation), but it certainly helped. In the end, I think you get rich by piling big into one bet and getting lucky; it's also how you get poor, so I diversify - I bought a bunch of dividend stocks with my option proceeds, including some more in stocks that had gone down 15-20%. I think I now have 21 stocks that will pay dividends quarterly (and a few that are on European schedules (annual or semi-annual, I think)). I can't wait to see this graph grow!

Dividends (PA only)

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suomalainen
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From ERE:ing to LIVING

Post by suomalainen » Sun Dec 31, 2017 7:16 pm

2017 Year End Review

Sometimes it's hard to remember things about yourself. Maybe it's the traumatic brain injury, or maybe everyone has the same problem that you live with yourself 24/7 and it's hard to remember exactly when your thought of X morphed into Y. In any event, it's been good to start journaling here, so that it gives me a place to look back on my prior selves and see how I've grown (or regressed, but at least changed in either case).

One thing I do remember is that I really wanted to pay off my debts as soon as possible after I graduated law school in 2006 and it was important to me to have my wife validate that. At the same time, as a full-time mother, she has struggled with asserting her own desires while also feeling that insecurity, I guess, of being totally financially dependent on me. We settled into a truce whereby we would put a certain amount of money aside for saving and paying off debt and the rest would go to consumption. Raises, when I used to get substantial ones, would go to debt, so lifestyle inflation was kept to a minimum. Somewhere along the line around 2010, I had the realization that I could work and save my whole life only to retire and then die the next day (perhaps obvious is the underlying assumption that I don't love working for money). "Fuck that", I thought, so I decided to try to be at peace with my finances and to be patient with the process, knowing that I had selected a good process that would eventually get me to where I wanted to be financially. Things were good. And then I got hit by a car.

After my accident, my anxiety must have spiked or maybe I was always this anxious, I dunno, but in any case, I have fixated on early retirement ever since. That was late June 2014. I read all of MMM and his "The Shocking Simple Math Behind Early Retirement" made things click for me. I also found ERE around that time and started this journal, but disappeared from here shortly thereafter. People's stories in their journals about their progression and successes were both inspiring and frustrating, such that I had to step away, otherwise I would obsess.

But one question always bothered me -- what happens after early retirement? Both MMM and Jacob went back to work! I didn't judge them for it from an "internet retirement police" perspective, but it left a nagging irritation that financial independence was not actually an end. It was an answer begging for a question. So, for the last few months, I've been trying to puzzle out all of this and here have been a few ERE forum guide posts:

1) It started with A Journey of Mindfulness--the remaking of Life in Midstream wherein @illinidave discussed his job and life and family setbacks and dream cabin among other things, which got me thinking about my wants and priorities and how I was living for the future rather than living in the present.

2)
BRUTE wrote:
Sun Nov 06, 2016 11:42 am
brute discovered that complete freedom of location and time can be very boring.
C40 wrote:
Sat Jan 07, 2017 1:12 pm
I’ve been keeping myself busy with travels and friends and various pursuits of leisure. I’ve enjoyed it a lot. I’ve gotten in better shape physically. I’ve been happier. I’ve had less stress. My creative output has increased. I’ve certainly had some “is this all there really is to life? ughhh” thoughts, but, in a good way, I think.
wherein @brute and @c40 confirm my suspicion that my attitude towards financial independence was short-sighted. FI is no panacea; as I was looking at it, it was indeed a chimera - both in the sense of a magical thing as well as in the sense of being a dangerous thing. In other words, I was so focused on this magical future state that I was (am) not only not living in the present, but my future focus was actively destroying my present. It was consuming me. But it's not a bad thing! It's just that it is chimerical for someone in my position (my family, my skills, my desires, etc.) to think that I could live the vanlife of a single 20- or 30-something a la @c40 or @spoonman.

3) Money is a solved problem, discussed initially above in my journal and continued on a separate thread, wherein I realize that I have already arrived at that magical place anyway! Do I have 25x+ expenses saved in invested assets? No. But I'm almost halfway there and I can see to the end of the path, so at this point I have two choices, which crystallized in the form of a job opportunity: should I focus entirely on maximizing my income (to the detriment of everything else) or should I focus on maximizing my happiness? The unstated basis from which that question can reasonably be asked is that one is in a great (but non-FI) financial position.

4) Work, is it so bad? wherein @brute, @seppia, @conwy and others' discussion opened my mind to the idea that work could be a useful (if not 40 hour) part of the "life I wouldn't want to retire from".

5)
trailblazer wrote:
Mon Nov 20, 2017 2:46 pm
For general inspiration in building a daily routine, I like the book Daily Rituals by Mason Currey. He provides short summaries of the daily routines of well known individuals...there is a surprising amount of puttering that takes place.
having read some of that book...well, it's surprising how much of life really is just boring. The non-curated, non-vacation-highlights-posted-to-facebook version of life is just fucking boring. You wake, you do some stuff, you eat, you shit, you groom, you sleep. The only real "problem" in life is to answer the question of what does "you do some stuff" look like?

6)
suomalainen wrote:
Sat Dec 30, 2017 1:54 pm
This thought occurred to me a few days ago also while reading another thread (forget which one), where I think brute made the point that doing anything (scuba diving) for 40 hours a week would get boring. Rather than web-of-goals, my “mindfulness / be present in the moment” project is converging on web-of-pleasant-distractions.
Back in law school in 2005ish, I remember reading something about happiness - it might even have been a positive psychology thing, but anyway I remember stopping what I was reading and saying aloud "WTF?! Depression is just a distraction from being happy and happiness is just a distraction from being depressed?" At the time I was mortified because I thought there had to be more. It just seemed so fucking meaningless because "distractions" are by definition annoyances getting in the way of a more important thing and at that time in my life I just could not accept that the meaning of life was to distract you from boring yourself to death. But to paraphrase @c40...this really is all there is to life. Part of what is helping me to accept that little nugget is watching my parents get old. The highlight of their day is at 7am when they go for a walk with the dog. The rest of their days is puttering around doing basically nothing. AND THEY LOVE IT!

So, to summarize, as @fish put it
Fish wrote:
Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:48 pm
So it seems ERE is now the following?

1. Establish 50%+ savings rate
2. Pay off debt and accumulate FU emergency fund
3. Settle into a comfortable job situation
4. Web-of-pleasant-distractions
5. Live happily after after?
and
Fish wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:11 am
White Coat Investor - Financial Independence Is Not The Holy Grail (December 23, 2016)
White Coat Investor wrote: I would submit that financial security comes before financial independence, and that it is really financial security that adds to your happiness. Once you have maxed that out, your life is not going to get any more happy from financial sources, no matter how much you make, have, or spend. If you want additional happiness, you will have to seek it outside the financial realm. [...]

There is some good news out of all this.
  1. You don’t have to wait until financial independence to be happy.
  2. You can increase your happiness by aligning your actual life with your ideal life as much as possible.
  3. Developing and following a financial plan that is highly likely to lead to financial independence will also make you happier, even before you hit your number.
I think these words are a fitting way to conclude this phase of wondering what the pursuit of FI is exactly about. Now for the hard part, which is the realization that the next steps beyond FU don't follow any particular script or plan. Cutting expenses can't be expected to bring fulfillment or happiness. If I have a problem, I can't blame it on not having enough money, because I have plenty of it. What to do now? Should I make a few small tweaks to optimize this working and family life I already have? Feel emboldened by FU-status and seek even better employment terms (fewer hours, less commute distance, more fulfilling work) or carve out some time for side-quests? Start working on a web-of-pleasant-distractions?

It's completely open-ended. I have no idea what I'm doing now. And there's no "standard solution" anymore. This will be FUN! :lol:
So, what's next?

Basically, I am working on my web-of-pleasant-distractions or my "daily ritual", which looks a bit like this: work (which includes working out and working on work relationships), followed by an evening of family, relaxing (TV or internet or sex or easy books) and/or hobbies (hard books, guitar). Weekends include a bit more hiking or biking or camping or skiing or building or fixing or things of that sort, mostly with the kids, but sometimes without.

The above journey also got me thinking about a "semi-retirement"-type approach wherein I downshift from full-time work (but still more than just cover-the-expenses). Looking at my company's HR page, I have a few options to try to be less full-time:

- Buy 5 days of vacation at my implied daily rate, in addition to my paid time off.
- Apply for unpaid time off, up to 3 months, every two years; requires manager and/or manager's manager's approval. Think sabbatical.
- Apply for a flexible work schedule. I'd need to be at least 70% time (3.5 days/week of 8hr/days) to qualify for benefits (health insurance). This can be a percentage of full time (70-100%) arranged in fewer than 5 8-hour days or 5 less-than-8-hour days or a combination of both, as agreed with the manager.
- Apply for working remotely and/or work from the company's Denver office, potentially combined with the flexible work schedule.

The first one is a no-brainer; the other two would likely encounter significant pushback given my "professional" role and the expectations surrounding being a "professional", but if it's important to me, then I should explore it a bit more to see if it's something I really want and whether this company (or another, like the firm) would be willing to be flexible with me. The fourth will require many discussions with the wife to see if we can't tear her away from her New England roots.

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Fish
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Re: From ERE:ing to LIVING

Post by Fish » Mon Jan 01, 2018 3:57 am

suomalainen wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 7:16 pm
FI is no panacea; as I was looking at it, it was indeed a chimera - both in the sense of a magical thing as well as in the sense of being a dangerous thing. In other words, I was so focused on this magical future state that I was (am) not only not living in the present, but my future focus was actively destroying my present.
There were a lot of good quotes in your post but I relate to this one best. Second place was "Things were good. Then I got hit by a car." and I hope that one never happens to me! :shock:

Following our discussions over the last few months I've gained more respect for what JD Roth calls The Six Stages of Financial Freedom. I kinda pooh-poohed the whole post the first time I encountered it, having punkish thoughts of "I'm going straight to stage 5 (FI)... the previous levels are filler for PF noobs." Now I think JD was right about it all along, that there are very distinct stages.
  • Stage 3: Free Agency - The ability to work and live how and where you want. (Debt-free including mortgage, or enough liquid funds available to pay off all loans if desired)
  • Stage 4: Financial Security - aka "barebones FI" - investment income enough to cover basic needs.
  • Stage 5: Financial Independence - Investment income covers preferred standard of living.
By fixating on the FI milestone and the freedom from work that it promises, I think we quietly achieved the financial aspects of stages 3 and (arguably) 4 without realizing their lifestyle benefits. It was only because stage 5 is so hard to reach with a normal consumer family in tow, that we started questioning the FI goal and independently rediscovered these intermediate stages which other PF-bloggers had already identified and discussed.

Furthermore, I submit that these stages correlate with, but are not caused by, actual net worth levels. That is, these stages are more about mindsets and less about wealth (like the distinction between the lower and upper class). For example, sacrificing one's way to 3% SWR is not "true FI" -- it's level 4 at best because spending urges need to be fought to maintain the FI-status. Similarly, if you have the money to be at level 4 but you never even re-examined your life since surpassing stage 2 wealth, you're still at stage 2. I think that's where we were stuck.
suomalainen wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 7:16 pm
The fourth will require many discussions with the wife to see if we can't tear her away from her New England roots.
My children enjoy a close relationship with their grandparents and extended family; one reason for living where we do is to maximize and cherish such experiences as it is precious and limited. We could cash out our house, move to a lower COL area and take a giant leap towards FI, but it's totally meaningless if we don't spend our time with those we love most. Just a thought as you consider uprooting your family to improve your work situation.

suomalainen
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Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by suomalainen » Mon Jan 01, 2018 10:05 am

The moving to Denver thing would be a lifestyle move not a FI or work move. My parents moved there last year and I love the mountains and the sunshine and western culture. We’ve spent over a decade a few hours from her parents, so we both recognize “I’ve done my time.” Plus, wife has sisters in NM and TX, so we’d be within driving distance of other of her family. I’m not sure how “close” she would characterize the relationship, but she certainly wouldn’t initiate a cross-state move on her own.

The working remote thing is because I don’t really want to work in Denver proper, adding the commute and traffic and hordes of people of a large (and growing) metropolis. Colorado Springs to the south or Fort Collins to the north could be nice, though.

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Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by suomalainen » Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:57 pm

uggggghhhhhhhhhh. Snowstorm so I "worked from home" today while the kids had the day off. Having a bad "parent day" and probably also a "bad parent" day. Sometimes it's really hard to know if you're reacting because you're irritated and it's your problem or because you're worried about them turning into assholes.

I hate this shit.

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