In a continual drive to make life easier, I decided to finally shutter some accounts and attempt to converge on a simpler banking process. I was using 6 different institutions for checking and savings, 4 different credit cards and 5 debits cards and it was all a mixture of pounds and dollars. The spreadsheet was daunting (and still is). Over the next few months I hope to pare this down a bit more and rationalize things as much as possible. I actually think it was hurting my credit score a bit because when I applied for a car loan in Jan the score came back surprisingly low. Didn't prevent me from getting a decent rate and it'll be paid off today, but it was an eye opener.
This new place just keeps on getting better and better. The latest doings have included ripping down the rest of the kitchen ceiling and cleaning out the other half of the garage to make way for more self-awarded trophies with wheels. The demolition in one of the upstairs bathrooms will commence shortly. One real constraint is that I can only throw away a certain amount of waste materials each week as part of normal trash collection so taking out all the drop ceilings at once, for example, just isn't feasible, though it'd do me a great deal of good. I hate the Eagles' music and drop ceilings.
It seems it's going to take a bit longer to get one of these other units fixed up and into a rent-able state; an income stream that won't likely happen until April or May. Not wanting to half-ass it too
much, instead I'll putter around and become susceptible to lots of indecision and planning. This is where the fallacy of overvaluing cost of repairs and undervaluing the foregone income comes to play. The upside is that the final product will be absolutely to spec.
The markets have been on an absolute rip, which would normally lead me to be fairly distrustful, but then I readthis article summing up 2016
and, despite the overwhelming pessimism, he's got some great points. The stuff about ZIRP and NIRP and how we may be moving to a cashless system in the name of fighting a new 'war on...' seems to be the trend. Maybe we're already so entrenched in using digits instead of hard currency and things like the derivatives markets are so large that it's already too late. I don't understand how holding gold is a great AA or even a hedge. Unless you've got a safe and the means to protect it of course but if it came to that (aka, WTSHTF) wouldn't things like non-perishable food and water be more valuable?
The other side of the numbers is that I had a decently low-spend January, coming in at 4.5% SWR. Re-classifying the principal on the mortgage as an 'investment' rather than putting it down to my 'rent' category definitely made a big difference, though it would have still been in the 4% realm.
There seems to be a lack of consensus as to how SWR is figured in this community, so permit me to explain how I do mine. Obviously, I sum up expenses over the month and multiply by 12 to give a yearly spend figure. The question is what to use as the denominator. Now, I just look at my invested assets (IA) rather than total assets or net worth. The major difference for me is that IA doesn't include the values of property owned, even if it's a rental property and not just a primary residence (even though my primary residence is rent earning). As a percent of net worth, which is really just IA + property value + cash on hand, my SWR is 2.7%.
If I were reading this journal, I'd probably be thinking -- 'Wtf, Dude, why are you still working?' I read other people's journals and I see how they're counting down to the point when they can cut loose with admirable enthusiasm. Lots of fire in bellies.
Truth is, I'm shit-scared that something will happen and I'd have to admit I was wrong to leave work so early and I'd have to go back to a job and earn money. Going back after leaving is a lot harder because I'd no longer have the cushy job I've carefully engineered. So, I've decided to bear with it for a bit and determining the exit point is proving to be harder and harder as time goes on. There's just no burning platform. Yes, I'd definitely like to have a lot more free time to pursue romance, leisurely reading, train BJJ, play guitar and most likely spend loads of energy working on this old house and my cars (particularly the electric Opel project I've barely started). However, whenever I get serious about planning those things out, I realize just how much money that will take (mostly on the house and car side of things) and it gets scary. Also, I like to travel and I haven't worked out a budget that would allow me to travel as I do currently and still be _safely_ retired. Basically, I don't know if I trust myself enough to operate on a budget and when you add in the volatility of markets and uncertainty of returns or catastrophe, I get worried. As a very risk averse person, I'm certainly being overcautious here. My hard stop is that I will not be 40 and still working so that gives me 2.5 years more of asset accumulation. By that point I hope to have a moving average SWR of <3% with a mountain of dry powder on reserve.