Fox's Journey: Out of the Burrow

Where are you and where are you going?
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TopHatFox
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Fox's Journey: Out of the Burrow

Post by TopHatFox » Sun Jan 25, 2015 6:34 pm

Financial Goals:

1.Try my best to achieve Financial Independence--accumulate 500k, use 0-4% SWR--by 10 years from today: January 2025

Jan 2015 Status:

1. Age 20, currently in 2nd year 2nd semester of college majoring in Geology
2. $15,769 in savings, in credit union saving's account
3. Opened an account with Vanguard; will fill Roth IRA's for 2014 & 2015 with VTSAX

------------------------------------------

Some Life Goals:

1. Build a 20'x20' home for myself with my partner(s)
2. Live off the land and off the grid in main home
3. Travel the world via bicycle, sail, foot, & motor
4. Read as many books as enjoyable
5. Find a way to integrate my life with other people
Last edited by TopHatFox on Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:23 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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C40
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Re: Zalo's Journey

Post by C40 » Mon Jan 26, 2015 7:40 pm

Great job clarifying your goals so early in life. I'm looking forward to hearing about your journey! :)

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m741
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Re: Zalo's Journey

Post by m741 » Mon Jan 26, 2015 8:27 pm

Do you currently work or intern anywhere?

What do you mean by 'integrate my life with other people'? (The rest of your goals are roughly in line with what I hope to achieve, so I'm curious about this).

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Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Zalo's Journey

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Tue Jan 27, 2015 11:33 am

Good to see a journal from you. It's great you are thinking about these things at an early age. I wish I would have done the same. I think you are way ahead of the curve.

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Re: Zalo's Journey

Post by bradley » Tue Jan 27, 2015 12:21 pm

Thanks for sharing! I look forward to reading more. Just wondering, how you'd come up with 500k as your retirement "number"?
Last edited by bradley on Tue Jan 27, 2015 2:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Zalo's Journey

Post by TopHatFox » Tue Jan 27, 2015 2:38 pm

m741 wrote:Do you currently work or intern anywhere?

What do you mean by 'integrate my life with other people'? (The rest of your goals are roughly in line with what I hope to achieve, so I'm curious about this).
I'm employed by my college as a library assistant, I usually do internships during the summer and make a few thousand, and use a few thousand less than the stipends my college provides for housing & food.

I want to feel connected with a community of people instead of only doing things I like on my own or with a handful people. This will likely mean writing a blog or book to document my adventures.
bradley wrote:Thanks for sharing! I look forward to reading more. Just wondering, how you'd come up with 500k as your retirement "number"?
It's something to aim for that's within reason and flexible. Currently I have 5k a year of expenses using a small apartment + roommates + bicycle travel + vegan unprocessed diet + some travel, which is 1% of 500k. With much more travel, living with my partner with no second roommate, and buying more organic and luxurious food prior to gardening plans, I am currently assuming my expenses might double or triple to 10-15k, 2%-3% of 500k. Since I might rely on my portfolio for life, I don't think I'd like to pull 4%, or 20k, of 500k often. I might be aiming to over-save as my portfolio grows over the decades, but as of now I don't mind over-saving; I'll have more money to be philanthropic with if that's the case, or as a buffer. (:

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Re: Zalo's Journey

Post by TopHatFox » Sat Feb 28, 2015 7:59 pm

Today I decided I want to pursue lucrative internships/jobs for expedient ERE, while doing other things I like on the side. This is compared to pursuing what I like predominantly, with a small side income.

I also decided I don't really like the social justice work many liberal arts students my age tend to flock to--the pay is tiny, the work hours are excessively long, there are endless meetings, the work can often go home with you, and the results tend to be too abstract for me. I'd rather do work, for example, with a solar power or wind power farm, or an engineering or science position. At least with these potential career paths I'd get paid much more, and I could more likely physically see and touch the things I'd be working on.

I'm also looking into van living and tiny house construction in order to make the difference between my future income and living expenses as large as possible. The possibility for a nomad and minimalist lifestyle also appeal to me.

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Re: Zalo's Journey

Post by Dragline » Sat Feb 28, 2015 10:11 pm

Zalo wrote:
I also decided I don't really like the social justice work many liberal arts students my age tend to flock to--the pay is tiny, the work hours are excessively long, there are endless meetings, the work can often go home with you, and the results tend to be too abstract for me. I'd rather do work, for example, with a solar power or wind power farm, or an engineering or science position. At least with these potential career paths I'd get paid much more, and I could more likely physically see and touch the things I'd be working on.

.
This is huge progress. Figuring out what you don't like is the best method for getting to something you do like.

Just being able to say "that's a great thing for others, but it's not for me" moves you down the path and gives permission to seek the next thing. It is the exact opposite of the mindset of "this is important stuff that I think is valuable, so I should be doing this and something is wrong with me if I don't actually like doing this." Oh, and by the way, meetings suck, especially if they are indeterminate.

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Re: Zalo's Journey

Post by TopHatFox » Sat Apr 25, 2015 1:31 am

I was offered a job at my college's library.

12 weeks * 5 days a week * 7 hours a week * $10.50/hour Pay = $4410 Income for the Summer

- $225 Subsidized on-campus housing ($75/month with subleased apartment fee and sharing rent with my partner) - $250 food ($100/month) = $475 Expenses for the Summer

----------------------------------------------

So, I'd be trading three months where I could go on a long term canoe/kayac adventure--or long term cycling adventure--to sit at a desk? Seems like a sore trade. The money would obviously be nice to save, but the opportunity cost of having an adventurous time is also huge. I could always do a bit of both though--being a evening & weekend warrior in other words.

I wonder if I'll have the energy to find meaning outside of the 40 hours I'd be working at the library, or during. Maybe I can read there, watch videos, etc. I imagine that'd get boring really quickly without real life experience, though. Still, maybe it is the wise and powerful person that can turn mundane experiences into insightful ones, or at least tolerable ones. I think this relates back to my work more v. adventure more topics I've written about before.

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Re: Zalo's Journey

Post by Dave » Sat Apr 25, 2015 9:11 am

Zalo wrote:I wonder if I'll have the energy to find meaning outside of the 40 hours I'd be working at the library, or during. Maybe I can read there, watch videos, etc. I imagine that'd get boring really quickly without real life experience, though. Still, maybe it is the wise and powerful person that can turn mundane experiences into insightful ones, or at least tolerable ones. I think this relates back to my work more v. adventure more topics I've written about before.
Ah, my own favorite ERE struggle :D. It's hard to know if you would be able to turn the mundane experiences into insightful and enjoyable ones. Perhaps I enjoy masochism ;), but I am trying to do this myself right now. I have a belief that it can be delusional to think that tomorrow will be better "if I could just be doing that instead of this", but it is much harder to implement than it is to theorize about. For us ERE'rs, I think there is a tendency to chase our own tails with experiences, education and adventure (as opposed to fancy cars, job titles and suits), and I think this is something to consider.

Have you ever had a job like the library position for an extended period of time? It might be educational in its own way, albeit not as exciting as the adventure.

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Re: Zalo's Journey

Post by sky » Sat Apr 25, 2015 10:14 am

If you want to reach $500k in 10 years, you need to start saving.

I like your set of goals.

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Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Zalo's Journey

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Sat Apr 25, 2015 10:25 am

So, I'd be trading three months where I could go on a long term canoe/kayac adventure--or long term cycling adventure--to sit at a desk? Seems like a sore trade.
If you think you want to have a three month kayak or cycling adventure at some point in your life do it now. It won't get any easier.

It doesn't sound like you need the $4000 and in a few years when you have a full time job $4000 won't mean so much. For the most part a library job won't help you to get a full time job in your field later since it isn't really relevant. Start up your blog and do a great job of documenting your adventure - now there's no hole in your resume. You can calculate how that $4000 impacts your ERE plans.

I've never met anyone that said "I regret the winter when I worked on the ski patrol" or "I wish I wouldn't have hiked the Appalachian Trail." There's nothing wrong with working in a library for the summer but if you want to have an adventure now is a damn good time. Going hiking on the weekend isn't going to be the same thing. Good luck with your decision.

(I'm writing as a person who, for the most part, has only done the predictable things. Hopefully someone will respond who has been more adventurous.)

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Re: Zalo's Journey

Post by theanimal » Sat Apr 25, 2015 2:12 pm

I'd have to agree with GdP. $4,500 isn't a great sum in the grand scheme of your journey. A long trip is much, much different than going out every weekend.

As you know, I face similar issues in my own life. It's certainly a tough decision, though I don't think you can go too wrong either way.

Do you have to work the whole 12 weeks? What if you did both, working 6 weeks and doing a long trip during the other 6?

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Re: Zalo's Journey

Post by Dave » Sat Apr 25, 2015 2:41 pm

$4,500 is not a great sum in the grand scheme of your life, but accumulating wealth is the sum of many actions, compounded over time. I don't think that one trip is going to derail the goal, but is it really going to just be one trip? I've found there is always something exciting going on that I could partake in. Whether I should or not depends on what my overall goal is.

I'm playing devil's advocate here. I think taking such a trip would be great for self development, but this is where you have to decide if your goal is to reach $500,0000 in 10 years or to accumulate experiences. Both are worthy goals, but it seems to me that they are in conflict. Unless Zalo can somehow monetize his trip :-D.

But as theanimal said, you really can't go too wrong either way.

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Re: Zalo's Journey

Post by Egg » Sat Apr 25, 2015 3:50 pm

I have to agree with the above that imo it's better to have an adventure now if you can. As long as you don't "plan" to do something big and then not actually do it, that is. You know what you're like but I've heard a lot of "adventure" style plans which have ended up with people mostly just mooching around instead because people didn't get their shit together.

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Re: Zalo's Journey

Post by Dragline » Sat Apr 25, 2015 5:43 pm

I did a library gig in school -- one of the easiest jobs I ever had and plenty of time to read or work on other things. But it wasn't a summer thing, it was part time during the year.

I think I would probably do it and then a more compressed trip before school started -- which I would plan while working at the library. If you were going to pursue that blog idea, working at the library could be ideal.

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Re: Zalo's Journey

Post by TopHatFox » Sun Apr 26, 2015 9:27 pm

I think I might do the library gig, maybe combine it with another on campus job to make 40 hours. Then maybe work at the bike shop on the evenings or weekends if I can land a job there. I will try my best to make my time at the library a worthwhile one. At least I have the year to look forward to after.

In Fall of 2015, I will be performing research and travelling abroad via sailboat through a program called SEA Semester, if accepted. I will also be sailing and travelling throughout the US through a program called Williams Mystic in the Spring of 2016.

I'll lose the 6k I'd gain from off-campus and off-meal plan stipends by studying abroad for next school, year--but these programs are free via Financial Aid, could lead to great job connections, and sound like incredibly growthful experiences. I also can't invest more than 5.5k a year without upsetting the Roth IRA loophole in the FAFSA & CSS Profile.

Another lucrative alternative could be to just stay at Amherst and do the Summer Job, so I could both reep the stipends and summer wages. This would amount to a 11k addition to my nest egg at age 21, as opposed to a 4-5k addition. Doesn't seem fiscally worth it to me longterm, though, since studying away at these organizations could lead to potential jobs once I graduate.

-------------------------------------------

I've also decided that I'd like to research and build a tiny house as a fourth year thesis, hopefully I can get that approved. As an addition to my life goals, I'd also like to build a community around a tiny house homestead, while going on long term expeditions and sharing my experiences with others--like Eustice Conway: http://www.offgridquest.com/aa

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Re: Zalo's Journey

Post by TopHatFox » Wed Jul 08, 2015 2:44 pm

Decided to try van living, likely when I return from studying abroad in New Zealand and throughout the US for a year via SEA Semester & Williams Mystic. Insulating & putting tiles & wood sheets on a van looks useful, like this person-- http://yhoo.it/1J4Z3tA -- then setting up the bed horizontally and a ice box, pantry, and countertop seems efficient, like this person -- http://yhoo.it/1Rl6Ayg. I'd likely skip the table. Of course, I could just make due with whatever I find on Craigslist and not put much money into the venture.

Speaking of income, I'm currently working on increasing my income potential by working more, producing more, and developing value in myself via training, education, & certifications. I'll be up to 20k in net worth by mid-August. Onward. :)

I have also changed my mind on tiny houses. I think they're a lot less useful than a van or RV while offering similar benefits, and are appealing to many simply simply because they're "cute." If I do end up building a house, I think I really would prefer an efficient 20'x20' space, or maybe slightly larger, to be able to store a few months worth of bulk goods and tools I use to run a little homestead. An optional storage shed would possibly be added if I choose to store Alpha Strategy type goods. Of course, this hypothetical home might end up a rental if I do ever end up buying or building it, as I'm really enjoying learning and practicing longer hikes, canoeing, cycling, and in a few months, sailing!

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Re: Zalo's Journey

Post by TopHatFox » Sun Nov 08, 2015 1:42 am

Today I was introduced to Ray Jardine's website and his chronology:

http://www.rayjardine.com/adventures/Ch ... /index.htm

And some pictures on the right side of this page: http://www.rayjardine.com/

He has dedicated most of his 70 years of life to long term adventuring and inventing, doing feats such as rowing across the Atalantic, free skydiving over 2500 times, sailing around the world, kayaking through ice waters in Antarctica, climbing high level technical climbs throughout the world, thru kiing to the south pole, thru hiking the AT and PCT several times each, building his own kayaks, tarps, and backpacks, buying and rebuilding three fixer-upper homes, written several books, and much more.

I have decided that I'd like to continue in Jardine's footsteps as a life long adventurer, builder, and sharer of experiences. I am considering creating a business of speech giving, book selling, website producing, and more based on adventures I could set out to do now (possibly starting with taking time off in New Zealand), but I am reminded of the opportunity cost of accumulating for financial independence at an early age, and I am scared that once on the path of long term adventuring, I will be unlikely that I will finish college or hold a 40 hr/week job for long. Hm.

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Re: Zalo's Journey

Post by Matty » Tue Nov 10, 2015 9:29 pm

Wow, that was a great read! I agree that sounds like an ideal life!

It seems Ray spent at least 3 years in the corporate world after college and kept working seasonally for the next 9 or so years, exhausting his savings each year. Looks like things turned around once he started to make some money from his invention of Friends + books, other products. So it took him awhile to start making enough money to both support his lifestyle and (I’m assuming) build his wealth.

A few good years of working and saving prior could set you up nicely so you aren’t as reliant on your business/writing taking off or getting a seasonal job each year because your bank balance is down to single digits. Instead you could leisurely add to your wealth between adventures while letting compounding do the majority of the work. You could save $100-200k pretty quickly with a reasonable job and your frugal habits. Save $200k in your 20s, stash it away and earn a 4% real return and you’ll have $500k of today's dollars in 20 years and still be FI/retired in yours 40s before 95% of people.

This also eliminates some of the risk associated with trying to live off investments only for 50+ years (30-80).

I have similar aspirations to you and that’s basically my plan at this stage. But it’s just one of many good strategies on here.

Ps. A foray in the Rat Race for a few years could also be considered an adventure in itself. Plenty of mental (boredom, stress, getting up early) and physical (back/neck aches from sitting to much) challenges to overcome, big insights into how different cultures (middle class) live their lives. Haha, kind of a joke but mainly serious.

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Re: Zalo's Journey

Post by relentlessaction » Wed Nov 11, 2015 3:32 am

Great news Zalo! I like the planning. You will most definitely have a great head-start being so young. I wish I thought of all this sooner TBH.

IMO which might be a suggestion for yourself is now with the internet. There are ton's of ways to make money online as well as blogging and/or even tech based jobs that don't necessarily require a degree. You could also freelance online for extra money online, learn a programming language or similar. It's worth it since most of those options can be completed without any capital and even then you do still have a bit of savings.

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Re: Zalo's Journey

Post by TopHatFox » Fri Jan 08, 2016 5:43 pm

Woopdie do, it looks like I"ll be applying to ten to twenty (as much as I can) business, consulting, investing, etc. jobs over the next two to three weeks. Honestly, I read about personal finance, investing, and even insurance for fun--I might as well capitalize on it.

I have no friggin' clue how I'm going to translate an internship on cycling and climate justice, a study abroad experience on maritime studies and sailing, a work experience mentoring engineering college students, and a work experience in outdoor leadership, into business/investing spaces.

One idea is to tie job ad words in the descriptions of the experiences in the resume. For instance, in SEA Semester I developed extraordinary discipline and a strong work ethic, in Climate Summer I developed clear communication skills in a small work environment, in my time with Adventure In Adventure Out I learned about leading team building workshops and persevering through a positive attitude, and through MOSTEC I learned about presenting difficult concepts simply and applying statistics to prove a point.

Thoughts? If anything, doing a summer internship in a business environment might let me know if this is something that's viable for a few years. I might have to go shopping for more nice clothes too. :roll:

----------------------------

In related news, in addition to social justice jobs, I now realize that I don't like science jobs. I get bored in the tiny details and think it's so irrelevant to my life. I also don't like the entertainment or journalism industries; interns are usually treated poorly, the work is fun so pay is low, and there's lots of influence from higher-ups in what is creatively produced.

I do like engineering and trade positions though, especially trades--they're so relatable, relevant, and concrete. Outdoor education work is fun too, though definitely as a supplement since it doesn't pay anything and is emotionally and physically exhausting. Academic administration in colleges is good too. I like the open communication available in colleges, and the ability to create systems that help students. Pay is okay, too.

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Re: Zalo's Journey

Post by BRUTE » Sat Jan 09, 2016 12:15 am

Zalo wrote:One idea is to tie job ad words in the descriptions of the experiences in the resume. For instance, in SEA Semester I developed extraordinary discipline and a strong work ethic, in Climate Summer I developed clear communication skills in a small work environment, in my time with Adventure In Adventure Out I learned about leading team building workshops and persevering through a positive attitude, and through MOSTEC I learned about presenting difficult concepts simply and applying statistics to prove a point.
perfect. zalo just has to reframe everything this way.

"unemployed" -> "looking for new challenges"
"bored" -> "underchallenged"
"tourism" -> "learn about other cultures"
"drank beer and hooked up with locals" -> "leadership"
"sailed a boat" -> "high performance under extreme pressure"

zalo must not forget that hiring managers are humans, too. while zalo must not break any of their rules and still provide value to the company, hiring managers are interested in interesting humans. an interesting and qualified zalo might get their attention over a qualified but boring competitor.

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Re: Zalo's Journey

Post by Kriegsspiel » Sat Jan 09, 2016 9:14 am

Have you considered becoming a deckhand? Looks like you have related experiences and liked them, it's not an office job, doesn't require nice clothes, your COL is zero while you're on board the boat, then you get long stretches of down time to take a canoe trip, or whatever. Unless something unexpectedly awesomer happens, my next job is as a deckhand.

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Re: Zalo's Journey

Post by TopHatFox » Sun Jan 10, 2016 12:43 pm

@Kriegsspiel, I am aware of deckhand positions, and no I am not considering them at the moment--perhaps after FI. They do not pay much at all and come at a huge time opportunity cost in the early accumulation phase. This is the time for me to strategically position myself for a wealthy and freedom-ful lifetime. A high income in an industry I like for a few years is critical for this move. After or near FI, I will then have the monetary freedom to develop other qualities of my life, such as long-term travelling and adventure.

------------------------------

I've been researching the resume/cover letter, interview process, and other career preparation literature. I must admit, this is kind of fun! I't's like going to battle (for profit, and ultimately my life goals)! Preparing the right equipment (clothes), weapons (resume, CL, silver tongue), support (LinkedIn, Connections), mind set (positive, determined), skills (quantitative, qualitative, concrete), and experience (internships, summer jobs).

This whole process reminds of the Cubicle Quest game. :D

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