The Path to Freedom

Where are you and where are you going?
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Re: The Path to Freedom

Post by Eureka » Sun Jul 03, 2016 2:57 pm

@detect_148, please don't feel bad about not having a daily ashtanga practice. I find it much more valuable to appreciate the days when I practice than to feel bad about the days when I do not practice.

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Re: The Path to Freedom

Post by detect_148 » Mon Aug 01, 2016 7:49 pm

@naomi Those are Italian honey bees. They definitely sting, but overall they're very docile.

Update August 2016
Total Liquid Assets: $75,737.00
Total Net Worth: $162,396.40
Total Annual Spending: $19,333.00
Progress Towards ERE: 15.67%
Projected FI: 4.5

Thoughts: I'm trying some new things with the bees to help improve honey yields and I now have enough wax to start dabbling around with wax processing and making candles. My boss has been talking with me about a possible promotion involving a relocation to a much lower cost of living area (Bay Area --> North Las Vegas) which would likely occur within the next year by the sounds of it. I've been thinking about whether or not to put myself out there for the job, but I haven't clearly expressed interest yet. I think it would be a move that would certainly help me reach ERE sooner as I would have a higher salary, lower taxes, and a lower cost of living in general. However, I do enjoy where I live now and my lifestyle in the Bay Area (climbing gym near work, nice weather, world class hiking, etc.). The thought of living elsewhere also makes me think about getting on the real estate band wagon as the current sale price for a home in North Las Vegas is about $180K which I see as being much more reasonable. At this point I see that as more of a barrier to ERE than anything else, but I haven't really made an effort to dig into the details or do any serious thinking about it.

Achievements: I feel like I'm just now getting out of the depression that hit me after my dad passed away. I'm spending a lot more time outside the house, visiting friends, and putting myself out there in general.

Challenges: Time management. I'd really like to do more yoga, especially during the week.

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Re: The Path to Freedom

Post by flip711 » Tue Aug 02, 2016 8:49 am

detect_148 wrote:climbing gym near work
I wouldn't be so quick to write of LV, from a climbers perspective. Red Rock Canyon has some amazing trad and sport climbing, sprinkled with a little bit of bouldering. The crag's name eludes me, but when it gets too hot, you can drive an hour up to Mt. Something-or-another and get some refugee from the heat through elevation. You're still 3 hours away from the East Sierra, which gives you great access to Tuolumne, and Owen River Gorge in general. Also, since you're in the middle of the country, you're much closer to Utah desert (crack climbing for days at Indian Creek anyone?), climbing in Colorado, etc.

There's a great Mountain Project thread going on about relocating to LV, and there's lots of good information being passed around. From a climber's perspective, you're not giving much up relocating to LV, rather, opening a whole new world of doors for desert and alpine climbing in the Sierra. I'm currently in the Bay Area, and am a touchstone member. If you're ever looking to get out a swap some leads, I'd be game to climb.

Lastly, I am real sorry to hear about your dad. I hope you and your family are coping well in these tough times.


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Re: The Path to Freedom

Post by Did » Tue Aug 02, 2016 10:07 am

I was so sorry to hear about your dad, although we do not know each other. My condolences.

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Re: The Path to Freedom

Post by detect_148 » Sun Sep 04, 2016 10:15 pm

Update September 2016

Total Liquid: $78,753
Net Worth: $169,617
Annual Expenses: $18,119
Progress Towards ERE: 17.39%
Time Remaining: 4.5 years

@Flip Thank you for the climbing tips near Vegas. It sounds like there are some places out there to explore whether I move or not.

Overall great month. Low spending, lots of socializing and working out at the gym. Visited home back in Michigan and pulled 5.5 lbs of honey off one of the hives at my mom's house. All of hives had a great season. The honey is mostly dandelion and clover.

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Re: The Path to Freedom

Post by detect_148 » Sun Sep 04, 2016 10:17 pm

@Did Thank you as well. I appreciate your kindness.

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Re: The Path to Freedom

Post by detect_148 » Sat Oct 01, 2016 11:31 am

Update October 2016

Total Liquid: $79980.68
Net Worth: $173363.21
Annual Expenses: $19632.72
Progress Towards ERE: 35.32%
Time Remaining: 4 years

Thoughts: I have finally internalized my understanding of the Roth conversion ladder which I see as an ideal strategy for accessing my pretax funds after retirement. This is going to be my strategy going forward so that I can try to avoid as much income tax as possible. Furthermore, I've hit the spreadsheets and tweaked my analysis again. I'm looking at about 4 more years of working at my current pace, but between now and then I'm going to push for another job change and relocation to further compress that. I will now count my progress as a basis of total net worth rather than liquidity.

Overall this month was expensive because I paid for two flights, but this will allow me to visit with some good friends and get out and travel.

Success: I learned a few new recipes this month and started making some new products from my beehive. I'm finalizing a propolis intinction which I'll be able to use as a pseudo antibiotic and I processed some wax which I make candles out of.

Challenges: I've been climbing so much that I've been neglecting my cardio. I went biking with my cousin and he stomped me in terms of pace on uphill riding. Need to work on that.

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Re: The Path to Freedom

Post by detect_148 » Mon Jul 10, 2017 9:16 pm

I am very glad to be able to write this post right now. I have been absent for some time because I had trouble logging into my account (I am terrible with technology).

Since my most recent update late last year, there have been no major changes in my work situation, lifestyle, living situation, etc. I have just been enjoying myself as much as possible and continuing to work on hobbies and enjoy life. I have been doing a lot more reading and am currently working on a book about the history of the French Revolution. Most recent read was a book called "Autobiography of a Yogi". I'm finding religion/spirituality to be an important component of my ERE experience as it supplements all other practical reasons for rejecting a materialistic lifestyle.

Financially and in terms of my lifestyle, I have made some noteworthy steps towards FI. My income is now quite a bit higher due to a raise + title change without any change in job responsibility. I am slowly compressing my monthly spending and even managed (emotionally) to sell off my previously cherished set of golf clubs. Of course, I am still saving and investing as much as I can and have been helped by good market returns. I now have enough set aside that I would feel comfortable retiring to a country with a lower cost of living. I would like to spend time traveling abroad in India, Africa, and South America after retirement. However, I am currently happy with my life's circumstances and am feeling encouraged by the pace of my forward progress. For this reason, I intend to continue with the ERE path until I feel confident in my ability to afford retirement at home in the United States should that be my intent in the future.

These are the latest numerics:

Total Liquid Investments/Cash: $121,457.24

Total Net Worth (including retirement accounts): $259,913.94

Annual Expenses: $19,637.00

Progress Towards ERE: 52.94%

Time Remaining to FI: 2 years 6 months

Current goals are a continued focus on fitness/health and interpersonal relationships and developing my beekeeping hobby/obsession/potential future income stream. I'm now up to three hives and the honey is becoming bountiful.


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Re: The Path to Freedom

Post by Jason » Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:39 am

One of my customer's is a European Fancy Food importer who recently expanded their product line to include natural honey. There has been a spike in natural honey sales because of its health benefits. Most store stocked honey is processed by the multi-national agro sucrose pushers. Bottle that shit up.

And now, in honor of your entrepreneurial endeavors, a brief time out to listen to my favorite song and reminisce of driving around tony Connecticut with my rich girlfriend calling me a stupid asshole after I spilled all our cocaine on her father's floor mats:

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Re: The Path to Freedom

Post by onewayfamily » Sun Aug 20, 2017 2:48 pm

Amazing progress mate!

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Re: The Path to Freedom

Post by detect_148 » Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:44 pm

Update: October 2017

Thanks Jason and onewayfamily for the comments. I have had countless folks ask to buy my honey. People at work that I had never met before approached me to buy honey after hearing through word of mouth that I am a beekeeper. So this spring, I definitely do plan to bottle it up and sell it and give the people what they want.

Things are going pretty well here. I just got back from a week long desert/mountain camping trip in southern California and had a great time. The desert ecosystem was fascinating with the tarantulas, coyotes, sage, Joshua trees, landscape, striking night skies, and abandoned homesteads lining the highway. Metal detecting proved fruitless due to high iron content in the soil that kept tripping me up. I thought to myself whether or not I could move to the desert for retirement. I think it would be incredibly peaceful, have a much lower cost of living, and provide an interesting change of pace, but the amenities that I enjoy in the Bay Area are certainly lacking (weather, extensive library network, ocean, social networks, etc.). Work has been busy, but is not stressing me out too much. I have been busy preparing my bees for winter, doing final mite treatments before they start becoming more dormant. I'm also experimenting with solar wax bleaching and plan to make a batch of candles for the fall and holiday season as gifts. Also cashing in airline miles for gift cards to use as Christmas gifts for family. So many cheap ways to give!

In the financial world, I am continuing to save and reduce consumer expenses gradually. I have also improved my forecasting spreadsheet which I found had some errors and also added healthcare spending which has not been a part of my reported expenses up to now. This is mostly due to laziness from the relative inaccessibility of the information. In any case, I'm going to monitor healthcare expenses because it will help me hold myself accountable for unnecessary doctor visits and will also provide motivation to ditch my thieving dentist that also finds BS excuses to charge me for services that aren't covered by my insurance. Something I want to start learning about is Obamacare, healthcare systems, etc. so I can understand how to manage health insurance/health care spending in retirement.

Finances are pretty much on autopilot right now. The big challenge for me is to continue to have patience and focus on finding enjoyment in spite of the fact that I spend most of my days slaving away in the corporate world. I've thought about going into semiretirement early via a career change it something more fun (candle making / something bee related), but I have resolved to think that its a better idea to keep these as hobbies and stick with the high income job until I reach a 4% SWR.

Total Liquid Investments: $132,893.18

Net Worth: $289,181.37

Annual Expenses: $20,402.16

Progress Towards ERE: 56.70%

Time Remaining: 2 years 3 months

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Re: The Path to Freedom

Post by detect_148 » Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:56 pm

Hello people,

So here is the current situation. Work has been a drag lately between long, stressful hours and several management changes that have dissolved my political alliances and changed the demands of my job. I've recently been informed that I will be demoted pending the hire of a person to fill my position. There is no change to my job title or compensation, just adding a layer of management above me that will absorb some of my responsibilities.

I could continue to grind it out and reach FI after about 18 - 20 months, which isn't very long in the scheme of things, but I am burnt out and it has become hard to keep going. I could leave, take some time off, pursue other things. I have plenty of financial security in place to do so, but if I need to come back to the corporate world, I anticipate that it will be hard for a number of reasons. I don't really want to be in that situation.

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Re: The Path to Freedom

Post by halfmoon » Sun Dec 10, 2017 10:13 pm

detect_148 wrote:
Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:56 pm
I've recently been informed that I will be demoted pending the hire of a person to fill my position. There is no change to my job title or compensation, just adding a layer of management above me that will absorb some of my responsibilities.
If you'd rather be retired than pursue your career, how is getting the same pay for less responsibility a bad thing? It sounds as though you could cruise through the next 20 months, save like crazy, and leave in a pretty good position.

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Re: The Path to Freedom

Post by detect_148 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 1:01 am

Thanks Half moon, I was thinking the same thing myself at first. Unfortunately, they haven't found anyone to fill the job yet so my situation hasn't improved much. I'm now leaning in the direction of just looking for a new job and a fresh start. Every workplace has it's issues, but I've had enough for awhile of the cutthroat politics and toxic workplace culture. Thankfully I have the financial security to step away from it and I'm grateful to this community for that.

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Re: The Path to Freedom

Post by detect_148 » Mon May 07, 2018 11:40 pm

Long time without an update now. Lots of changes. I was able to work out a very favorable job transfer. Same company, same salary, much less stress. I'll also be relocating out of the Bay Area to the east coast to an area with an astronomically lower cost of living in comparison. To the extent that I could pay cash for a house if I wanted to for the first time in my life. I will really miss living in the Bay Area. Sure, folks like to complain about the traffic and the cost of living, but I feel like I really had my lifestyle hacked. I lived close to work with very little traffic. I rented a room from a nice family and I got along with the other tenants extremely well. I made a lot of great friends here and had a lot of memorable life experiences. The hiking and outdoors experiences were unforgettable.

My quality of life should improve on many fronts after I move due to how demanding work has become. I'll have time to exercise frequently again, pursue beekeeping more seriously, and really focus on my personal life. It will be a nice way to transition towards ERE as I anticipate that I am approximately one year away from being financially independent. At the moment I have around 18 - 19 years expenses and feel no necessity to push towards lower than a 4% withdrawal rate.

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Re: The Path to Freedom

Post by detect_148 » Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:08 pm

Hello Folks,

I hope you all are well this evening. Time for an update from my end. I have now been living in the southeast for roundabout two month's time. My new living arrangements worked out quite nice. I rent a spacious room in a home near downtown with three other roommates. Unfortunately, I'm a little further from work than I used to be, but I can walk to the required amenities including the library, grocery store, tennis courts, and a large urban park. I am happy with the location. I've done some hiking in some of the surrounding forests, but have a great deal more of the local scenic destinations to explore. My focus since the move has been acclimating to my new habitat and job. My work has been astonishingly agreeable by comparison to my last employment situation. I am in a low pressure work environment and position. The culture is much more low stress, slow paced, and go with the flow. In addition, the hours are more predictable, consistent, and notably less than previously.

As a result of these changes and also having more free time, my health has improved tremendously. I enrolled in a local gym and have been doing some weightlifting, but mostly rowing on the Concept 2. I alternate between doing 90 minute workouts and 10k distance workouts. My best 10k pace is just above 2:07/500m. I am normally very active, but had not been so in the first half of 2018 and it is great to be getting back into it.

My diet has also gone through some interesting changes. Though I am not currently bee-right, I have put a lot of work into gardening in the backyard. I have cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, carrots, chives, kale (albeit sad and bug ridden), and basil. I hope to subsist, in part, off my harvest later in the summer and also share with the roommates and friends. I have also developed a budding interest in mycology spurred by the great abundance in boletus and chantrelles in this area. I have been gathering an average of 2 pounds per week of chantrelles for the past five weeks and subsisting off of them as a primary part of my diet. The fact that they are tantalizing and pull in around $40/pound in the local market makes it all the sweeter. I aspire to get better at finding and identifying edible boletus and hopefully morels in the spring as well. The only drawback to this new interest is that I can no longer enjoy the scenic views and forested canopies on my hikes. Rather, my eyes are glued compulsively to the forest floor, scouring constantly for my next prize. If anyone out there shares this interest and can offer any tips on foraging, I am all ears. I'd especially like to get better at tree identification so I can target specific mychorizal hosts.

Financially things are shaping up quite well. My net worth is right around 20 years of expenses and I'm feeling as though I've reached the home stretch. Barring any surprises I may be able to declare myself financially independent by early 2019, but I will need to dig into details at that point like healthcare costs and how to finance any immediate plans/life changes after leaving my job. Still, I may just try and hold out a year longer so I don't have to pay back my relocation expenses to my employer which are not anything to write off.

I hope you are all finding enjoyment and fulfillment in your experiences.

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Re: The Path to Freedom

Post by SavingWithBabies » Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:21 am

Congratulations on the move and the positive changes in your work-life balance. It is interesting that the same company has much different work-life balances at different offices. But maybe local culture overrides the bigger? In any case, that sounds wonderful and foraging for mushrooms sounds like a lot of fun.

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