Bankai's Journal - ERE mode:hard

Where are you and where are you going?
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Bankai
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Re: Bankai's Journal - ERE mode:hard

Post by Bankai » Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:56 pm

Thanks, Sabaka!

My current reading list (I always read several things at the time):

- Atomic Habits
- Emotional Intelligence
- 52 Small Changes for the Mind
- How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World (re-reading)
- Homo Deus

Regarding investing, yes, I pick stocks. However, I'm out of the markets since October due to all the Brexit nonsense. I'm looking to start buying stocks again at some point this summer, but I'm in no rush.

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Bankai
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Playing with numbers

Post by Bankai » Sat Jun 15, 2019 6:33 am

As I'm nearing £100k NW number, I run some calculations on possible semi-ERE and full ERE.

Current NW - £95k
Current expenses - £680 pm
Expenses assuming paid off mortgage - £500 pm
NW required to pay off my half of the mortgage - £47k

Semi ERE is actually possible right away. I can pay off my half of the mortgage today if I want. The remaining £48k would generate ~£2k pa (assuming 4% return). My spending level (excl. mortgage) is £500 a month (based on the average for the last 6.5 years). This means I only need £4k pa to cover the shortfall. This translates to ~500h of minimum wage job (@ £8.21/h) - 10h a week or 3 months a year.

So, I could quit my job right away and pick up a random job with one 10h shift per week.

Would I like that? Perhaps, however, I don't have any pressing need for more free time and my job is at least tolerable.

If I stick with it for another year, my NW with grow to ~£125k (22k from new savings & 3k from 4% return; ignoring house appreciation). This would increase invested assets to £75k (again, assuming paid off mortgage) generating £3k pa. The shortfall of £3k could then be covered by 365h of minimum wage job. Conveniently, that's an hour per day. If I could find a remote job for min wage (I'm sure there are plenty), I could actually work only one hour per day and be done with work at 7 am each morning. I think I would like that more than one big shift per week.

What if I worked for two years instead? NW would be £145k, £47k of which in flat equity and £98k generating £4k pa returns. Remaining £2k would now only require ~240h of work, or 1 hour a day M-F with 20 days off. Alternatively, 6 weeks of full-time minimum wage job pa.

What about full ERE?

To cover £500 pm I'd need £150k (@4% return). Additionally, £47k needed for paid off flat, for a total of ~£200k.

This requires about 4 more years of full-time work at current income and spending level and 4% return. Less if I either get a pay rise or achieve more than 4% return (both likely). So what I'm really looking at is about 3-3.5 years more (4 years in worst case scenario of both income and returns stagnating).

How resilient is this plan?

Well, of the £500 pm expenses, £280 are mandatory (bills and food) and £220 are discretionary (clothes, travel, eating out, drinking, gifts, unclassified). This means that in times of trouble I could cut ~40% of my spending without much difficulty. Combined with 10 weeks of minimum wage job to cover remaining £280 pm for a year this would allow for the stash to remain untouched if equities have a bad year.

Additionally, if I work for another 4 years, I'd have a total of 17 years of state pension contributions translating into £5.2k pa income from 68 yo onwards. At 68 I'd only need to cut expenses by £800 pa or have a £20k portfolio to support myself from state pension alone - useful if things go terribly wrong and all investments go down to nil.

Although I'm not planning any radical changes in the near future, it's good to have these options written down in case situation at work deteriorates or I discover my true calling and decide to dedicate all my time to it.

Sabaka
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Re: Bankai's Journal - ERE mode:hard

Post by Sabaka » Sun Jun 16, 2019 2:11 am

Interesting books. Also, well done on being able to read so many at once! For me, anything more than 2 completely different books and they all start to merge in my head :lol:.

Also interesting to see your views on CoastFire or something similar. Perhaps because it is now possibly so close, maybe it is time to start exploring other passions and projects which could potentially supply an income. However, having been keeping up to date with your journal, it seems you're already way advanced in doing this already, but maybe you could ramp it up, eg. generating an income from them?).

niemand
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Re: May update

Post by niemand » Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:41 am

Bankai wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 1:06 pm
I'm up 5kg since I started lifting and it turns out 5kg on someone very skinny is noticeable since people start to comment.
I salute you, sir! 5 kg of muscle on a skinny frame and on a vegan diet is no small feat. Like your journal title aptly states: “mode: hard”.

I really admire your level of commitment. Do you think it is sustainable for you? Will you always be eating, resting and working out the way you currently are?
How much more do you want to pack on?
Any plans when to switch gears from gaining to sustaining?

Also, have you given a thought to flexibility/mobility in your exercise routines? As we age, apart from maintaining muscle, maintaining mobility will be key.

Keep up the good work :)

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Re: Bankai's Journal - ERE mode:hard

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Mon Jun 17, 2019 7:35 am

Stopping by to see if you ran yet another scenario, one where you move back to the motherland? I'm here now.....oh my how cheap it is compared to the USA. Will take more observations on food costs.....but with a paid for flat in a large apartment building, one could seemingly get by on 2k pln/month and live like a king.

I signed up for mobile plan with Play, 25 pln ($7)/month for unlimited talk/text/data. Fast home internet is 40 pln ($11)/month. Maintenance/co-op for apartment is $100/ month including property taxes. With a bicycle I can't imagine spending more than $500/month here. With a spouse or SO, one one could easily do 1 JAFI.

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Bankai
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Re: Bankai's Journal - ERE mode:hard

Post by Bankai » Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:58 pm

@Sabaka - lately I don't focus too much on actually finishing books. I just read until I get bored and move to something else. Sometimes that something else has already been half-read in which case I usually just finish it. What helps not forgetting about half-read books is keeping track of what I'm reading on a spreadsheet.

As far as coasting to ERE or other half-measures, I'm not convinced. Maybe because I'm already in the workforce for ~12 years and I'm partially institutionalised, but I'd rather bite the bullet and quit later but for good. After all, having a boss even one day a week still limits you in many ways. On the other hand, if I could find a way to make money which would give me a serious degree of control of my time, I'd certainly consider it. My current job doesn't offer decent part-time opportunities but while I'm there full time, I don't feel stressed or overworked. So I might as well stay there until something much better materialises.

In the meantime, I'm OK putting in 40h a week, but the scenarios above are a good reminder of what's possible right now/soon if the situation at work deteriorates.

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Bankai
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Re: May update

Post by Bankai » Mon Jun 17, 2019 4:45 pm

Thanks, niemand!

Good questions. Re: commitment. I'm a big fan of James Clear's work. He advocates building strong habits by starting small and changing identity rather than obsessing about goals. I tried many paths to change over the years but his approach seems to work best for me. This is how I broke my sugar addiction - I built 'I'm a person who doesn't eat sugar' identity and now I'm building 'I'm a person who works out every day' identity. I also started really small - I was doing 100 pushups or kettlebell swings every day and only started to scale up once the 'small' workout became habitual. Nowadays I don't really see working out as a sacrifice, it's just what I do. Another tactic which I employ is to make doing things I want to do as easy as possible (eliminating obstacles) - I turned my spare bedroom into a home gym so it takes me seconds to get from bed to my gym and from my gym to the shower; this leaves no place for excuses and allows me to work out whenever I want. Finally, I actually like lifting heavy things. Some people get runner's high, I get barbell high. There's something deeply satisfying in squeezing in these last two reps when the body screams enough. So to sum up, between building identity, having an already strong habit of daily exercise, having a system in place to make working out as frictionless as possible, and actually liking doing it, I think it's sustainable unless something dramatic happens (ie. health emergency).

How much more to pack on? Well, I don't have a set target yet. However, there are some numbers to work with. I'm currently at 74kg which is 1kg below my 'ideal weight' (midpoint of healthy BMI range) at ~10% body fat. My max weight was ~77kg about eight years ago - at that time it was much easier for me to pile on due to still eating dairy and obviously being younger. My genetic potential with my tiny bones and assuming 10% bodyfat is 90kg - I'm extremely unlikely to reach this point, however getting 95% there would put me at 85.5kg which is also the top end of healthy BMI for my height. I definitely want to bypass my previous top and possibly get to 80, at which point I'll re-evaluate what's next. I both don't want to go and I'm unlikely to be able to go above ~85, which means I'll probably stabilise somewhere between 80-85kg. This means another 6-11kg or 6 to 18 months by my estimate.

As far as switching to 'maintenance mode', I'll still work out every day, but doing different things. I can see myself only lifting 3x per week, with the remaining days split between 2 days of running and 2 days of either tennis or martial arts. However, this is still some months ahead, and there's also a possibility that I'll just prefer to keep lifting as I'm now rather than doing anything else.

Flexibility/mobility - I definitely can do better here. Currently, I do ~10 minutes of stretching before my work out, but usually only on the leg and run days. I should expand this to 15-20 minutes and make it everyday thing - this should be fairly straightforward as I just need to link this new habit to an existing one.

It's easy to get set in a routine but your questions got me thinking and re-evaluating these things - thanks!

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Bankai
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Re: Bankai's Journal - ERE mode:hard

Post by Bankai » Tue Jun 18, 2019 3:41 pm

2Birds1Stone wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 7:35 am
Stopping by to see if you ran yet another scenario, one where you move back to the motherland?
I'm typing this reply for the third time because the previous two posts disappeared upon hitting preview button. I just run the numbers and PL looks highly favourable. Comparing Wroclaw which we just visited (tier one city) with Glasgow where we currently live, Wroclaw requires about 40% less capital to retire. The table below is based on my own numbers as well as numbeo.com.

Image
2Birds1Stone wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 7:35 am
With a spouse or SO, one one could easily do 1 JAFI.
Spot on. Wroclaw costs $8900 for a couple with a paid off house (JAFI = $8500).

I'm 75% on the way to retire in Wroclaw but only 46% in Glasgow. I need 17 more months of work for Wroclaw but 58 for Glasgow. That's assuming no pay rise and 0% returns.

Combined, we are 52% there for Wroclaw but only 32% there for Glasgow. We also need another 47 months of work to retire in Wroclaw compared with 107 months in Glasgow. The conclusion is that my wife needs a (much) better-paying job and that retirement for me alone would be possible before next Christmas. How annoying...

Cheepnis
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Re: Bankai's Journal - ERE mode:hard

Post by Cheepnis » Fri Jun 21, 2019 7:35 am

Hi Bankai, I was reading through this page of your journal this morning and serendipitously ran across your mention of your office if residence, which we will be visiting in about a month.

Could I bother you for any suggestions about the best way to see the city or any other good local activities a tourist could partake in?

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Re: Bankai's Journal - ERE mode:hard

Post by Bankai » Mon Jun 24, 2019 3:09 pm

Cheepnis wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 7:35 am
the best way to see the city or any other good local activities a tourist could partake in?
Hi Cheepnis!

How long are you guys going to stay in Scotland & Glasgow? Have you been here before? What types of activities/things to see do you like?

Without knowing any specifics of what you like, my generic list 'to see' would be:

1) Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum - a fantastic museum with all sorts of attractions like some famous paintings (i.e. Rembrandt's Man in Armour), medieval weapons collection, the ancient Egyptian collection, Spitfire etc. There is also organ recital if you time your visit well. Well worth a visit, and it's free like all museums in Scotland.

2) Glasgow Unversity - magnificent Hogwarts-like medieval building with very nice Hunterian Museum inside. It's close to Kelvingrove and there's also a nice park around it.

3) Ashton Lane - nice wee street with plenty of bars and restaurants. Close proximity to the above two attractions makes it a nice spot to rest and eat/drink something.

4) Cathedral & Necropolis- medieval church with surrounding old cementary. Also, the oldest house in Glasgow is just next to it.

5) City centre - second biggest shopping centre in the UK - not very ERE but if you ignore the shops and look up, most of the buildings are from the 18-19 century and look quite nice.

These are the big ones; it's possible to see them all in a single day, but it's a stretch. Additionally, some less obvious choices:

6) Sharmanka - moving figures, but it's better than it sounds.

7) Transport museum

8) Rene Mackintosh walk takes you around the city centre and covers works by Scotland's most famous architect.

Some other tips:

- all museums are free (castles are not considered museums though and usually require you to pay)
- Glasgow is an excellent place to eat out - very good restaurants of all cuisines; just look them up on Trip Advisor
- underground just goes in one circle, you can get from the city centre to the West End where the first 3 on the list are
- you can buy an all-day ticket on the bus (pay contactless) but bare in mind there are few different bus operators - First (pink busses) is the biggest; if you don't like public transport, uber is your best option
- there are plenty more things to do/see, you can look them up on Trip Advisor by categories depending on what you're interested in

Also, it would be a shame not to go to Highlands if you're in Scotland. Balloch is a very nice wee town about 45 minutes by train from Glasgow - you can see Loch Lomond and surrounding mountains from there.

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Re: Bankai's Journal - ERE mode:hard

Post by Cheepnis » Tue Jun 25, 2019 5:34 pm

Wow! Thank you for the very detailed and thorough list. We have not been to Scotland before and we'll be there for 5 full days with half days in either side.

Some part of the highlands is about the only thing I'm adamant about doing and GF is dead set on going to Loch Ness. Hopefully we'll be able to hit Loch Lamond on the way back or something.

The U and Kelvingrove will be high on my list as well because I love waking parks.

Thanks again!

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Re: Bankai's Journal - ERE mode:hard

Post by Bankai » Sun Jun 30, 2019 1:12 pm

No problem and enjoy your trip!

One more thing - if you go to Highlands, you'll need midge repellent else you get eaten alive!

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June update

Post by Bankai » Sun Jun 30, 2019 3:22 pm

Finances

Expenses in June were £1,825 or £913 per person (1.67 JAFI annualised). Excluding the capital part of the mortgage payment, expenses were £1,585 or £792 per person (1.46 JAFI annualised). Other than food and bills, we spent £900 on everything else. Main contributors were:

£282 stuff
£270 recent trip to Poland
£151 clothing
£85 health

Highest expenses since last July when I bought a home gym for £600. It looks pretty bad considering this is the fourth month in a row with substantially higher than usual expenses, and I'm wondering if we went off track for good. OK, let's try to rationalize this month away: stuff was a smartwatch to measure all the cool fitness data. It should hopefully last 5 years or so (just guessing) so the monthly cost is <£4. Also, wireless headphones so I can listen to music while running. Trip to Poland - well, we're back and not drinking/going our anywhere near as often. Don't expect much more expenses here until our next holiday. Clothing - two pairs of good jeans and hiking trousers which should last a long time. Health - dentist, this only happens once a year. I know I'm repeating myself, but this time I really hope to get the expenses down to a reasonable level next month. We'll see how it goes.

June SR - 62% (inc. pension contributions and capital part of the mortgage payment)

YTD SR - 72%

NW - £96.7k

Health

Workouts - 30 out of 30 days.

16 days lifting, 3 days running, 11 days light (abs and/or pushups). I was playing a catch-up game the whole month - the first eight days of the month we were on holiday and I only did light workouts. However, after coming back, I lifted 16 out of 22 days.

Walking - 455k steps vs. the target of 300k. Smartwatch allows for more accurate tracking compared with an app on a smartphone - I'm averaging 2-3k more per day since I started wearing it.

116 - days since I last time missed a workout.

Other

Not much really. Work is steady. Health remains the main focus. Still not much progress on investing front. I don't currently play any computer games which should allow for more time allocated to important things next month.

Goals for June:

1) Work out every day, with 2/3 being lifting days - as above, I did what I could this month and I'm quite happy with the result
2) Read 4 books - read 1 & started 3 more. I currently have way too many books started - I'll try not to start anything new this month and instead finish as many as possible
3) Spend 10 hours a week reading and researching investing - still hasn't happened, but at least I did something - 2 hours this month. Let this be a snowflake that turns into a snowball.

Goals for July:

1) Work out every day, with 2/3 being lifting days
2) Finish 6 books
3) Spend 10 hours a week reading and researching investing

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Bankai
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One year of home gym

Post by Bankai » Sun Jul 28, 2019 5:27 pm

It's now been just over a year since I got a home gym (power rack, bench, Olympic barbell & plates). Since it was a pretty big purchase, both in terms of money (£580) as well as footprint at home (takes ~half of our spare bedroom), I thought I'll give a little update on how it's going.

1) How much have I actually used it?

I lifted weights 189 days out of 377 days since getting the gym (50%).

What did I do the remaining time?

Nothing 37x (9.8%)
ABS 103x (27.3%)
Run 22x (5.8%)
Pushups 22x (5.8%)
Hike 4x (1%)

My plan was to lift 5x per week, but life keeps happening. On the positive note, I'm now 144 days since last time missing workout.

2) Did it pay for itself?

Not yet. If I bought a gym subscription, I'd have spent ~£180 so far. I assume I'd be able to sell the thing for 50% of retail value, so ~£290. Meaning I need to use it for another 7-8 months to not lose money (in theory).

3) How big is the footprint?

We got used to it. All we keep in this room is the gym, deck with PC & chair, and a bunch of stuff in the wardrobe.

4) Was it a good decision?

So far I'm very happy with it. Being able to lift first thing in the morning without having to spend 15 minutes to get to the gym, having all of it for myself, shower a few steps away... benefits are numerous. Having said that, it's only possible while having largely unused room.

5) Have I actually made meaningful progress?

It's hard to say. I have the numbers since I record every workout (sets, reps, weights, additional notes), but there's no way to compare this to how I'd do if I went to the gym instead. Most of the progress I made happened in the last six months since I increased calories and protein intake. The results are:

* weight up 5kg
* benchpress 110% of bodyweight
* 18 chin-ups
* not sure what my max squat is but it's at least 20kg more than a year ago

Some random notes:

Allocating time vs goals.


As much as allocating time might work in some areas, i.e. if you spend an hour a day reading, you'll eventually read quite a lot, I don't think it works very well in lifting. I need specific, measurable and ideally barely achievable goals to progress. Otherwise, I still work out but with no real intensity. If I have a big goal, I'm more motivated and treat it more seriously. On the other hand, if I just work out an hour a day for a year without ever increasing weights, I'd be in the same spot a year from now. So, my big goals for the rest of the year are:
- bench press 90kg (currently max is 80kg)
- weight up another 5kg
These are both very difficult but achievable if I make 100% effort.

Microplates.

I'm considering buying a set of Olympic microplates. As is, I can only add increments of 2.5kg at the time (smallest plates are 1.25). However, prices are quite ridiculous for these small pieces of rubber/iron so I've not decided yet. If anyone is using them, let me know if they are useful.

Cardio.

After all this lifting and while also walking 15-18k steps per day, I have little time and energy to do any cardio. I planned to run 3-4x per week, however, it just doesn't seem possible with my current schedule. I will run twice a week from now on, even if it's just a 3k run.

Ultimate goals.

My ultimate goal size-wise is to reach 95% of my genetic potential with current body fat (10%), which is 86kg. This is 12kg away and considering my current rate of progress and the law of diminishing returns, realistically I need about 2 years to get there.

Strenght-wise I aim at bench-pressing 150% of my body weight and 25 pull-ups. This, again, is likely to take a long time. That's OK since time will pass anyway.

Protein intake.

I hit a plateau in weight about two months ago. I'm therefore increasing my protein intake to ~150g per day. Most of it will come from two protein shakes per day (each is 21g of vegan protein blend, 0.5l of soya milk - 17g & 25g of sunflower/pumpkin seeds - 7g for a total of 45g of protein). The remaining 60 will come from carbs, beans and additional nuts. Lastly...

Hazelnut heaven.

I bought 8kg of hazelnut flavoured vegan protein blend. The taste after all these months of unflavoured pea protein is just amazing. And so much time is saved on not tinkering with the recipe and adding spices just to make the thing drinkable. And all this for an extra £5 per kg... no-brainer!

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July update

Post by Bankai » Wed Jul 31, 2019 6:59 pm

Finances

Expenses in July were £2,068 or £1,034 per person (1.9 JAFI annualised). Excluding the capital part of the mortgage payment, expenses were £1,850 or £925 per person (1.69 JAFI annualised). Other than food and bills, we spent £933 on everything else. Main contributors were:

£140 extra in food - 8kg of vegan protein blend & 500 creatine capsules
£82 alcohol
£327 hobby - the main chunk was Stockopedia subscription, the rest was an upfront cost for wife's crafting hobby
£86 clothes
£192 travel - wife goes to Poland next month to see a specialist doctor. Although healthcare in the UK is 'free', queues to specialists are ridiculous. She's on a waiting list for half a year now and we have no idea how much longer this could take (some people on online forums waited over two years). So, Poland it is since private visit and tests are going to cost 1/10 of what it costs over here.
£172 stuff - a new smartphone and some small expenses. It's almost exactly three years since I bought my first smartphone for ~£130 for a monthly cost of ~£3.6. This one is slightly more expensive but much more powerful. If it serves me for three years, the monthly cost will be £5. I can live with that.
£40 - wife's physiotherapy

I'm getting better and better at rationalising ever-rising expenses since I had a lot of practice over the last five months. This month is the worst since Feb 2018 when we bought a lot of furniture for the flat after just moving in, and fifth worst since I started tracking expenses 5.5 years ago. However, almost all the non-core expenses were one-offs. One might say there are always one-offs, and of course, it's true. I can already see there'll be more in August (wife is likely to spend quite a lot in Poland) and September (if we decide to go on holiday abroad). Can I still hit my target of 75% SR for the year? I think I can, but it will require laser focus going forward - I'd need to hit 80%+ each month going forward to get the average up to 75%.

July SR - 58% (inc. pension contributions and capital part of the mortgage payment)

YTD SR - 70%

NW - £99.3k

Health

Workouts - 31 out of 31 days.

11 days lifting, 4 days running, 12 days light (abs and/or pushups), 4 days hiking. I did a lot of hillwalking this month, which resulted in quite a few light workouts on days right before and after hiking days. I consider hillwalking day a workout since it's usually 15km+ distance and 1000m+ ascent - much better workout for legs than squats or lunges. I also have a bit of a throat infection for the last 10 days or so. Annoying, but insufficient to stop me from working out.

Walking - 559k (18k per day average) steps vs. the target of 310k. The best month since I started tracking three years ago. I'm now over 400k steps ahead of YTD target - a good position to be in as I expect Q4 to be very weak due to poor weather.

148 - days since I last time missed a workout.

Other

I applied for a new role within my company. I'm in my current role for ~2 years and there's not much left to learn. Also, I feel grossly underpaid considering the contributions I made. I make just a bit over national average wage and there's no performance-related bonus. The new role would come with a slight rise in basic pay and, more importantly, would unlock performance-related bonus. If I get it, I'd have a steep learning curve - although a lot of skills I developed are transferable, it's a different team, so I'd expect first few months to be busy and reinvigorating. If I won't get it, I'll start looking elsewhere and also consider quitting and taking a longer break.

Goals for July:

1) Work out every day, with 2/3 being lifting days - first part pass, second fail
2) Finish 6 books - finished two
3) Spend 10 hours a week reading and researching investing - still hasn't happened, only spent 45 minutes this month

Goals for August:

As above.

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Sabaka
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Re: Bankai's Journal - ERE mode:hard

Post by Sabaka » Fri Aug 02, 2019 10:49 am

Good work this month man! I get what you say about rationalising increasing costs, I do the same, however you're still maintaining a really good SR, so it's nothing to beat yourself up about! :) It's really terrible that your wife has been on the waiting list for 6 months to see a specialist, and that you've had to resort to travelling to a different country. When I was working with quite a lot of Eastern Europeans, they often had to do the same. It's really shameful.

Good luck to both of you guys, fingers crossed you get the new position!

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Bankai
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August update

Post by Bankai » Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:44 pm

Finances

Expenses in July were £1,826 or £913 per person (1.68 JAFI annualised). Excluding the capital part of the mortgage payment, expenses were £1,613 or £807 per person (1.46 JAFI annualised). Other than food and bills, we spent £933 on everything else (same as last month!). Main contributors were DW spend in Poland:

£276 Health
£126 Gifts
£95 Clothes – YTD is over £850…
£77 Travel
£75 eating out

On top of another high expenses month, there’s another one coming soon… some of the spending in Poland spilt over into September and DW’s smartphone needed replacing. It now seems highly unlikely that I’ll be able to reach 75% SW for 2019.

August SR – 64% (inc. pension contributions and capital part of the mortgage payment)

YTD SR – 69%

NW - £100.5k – magic barrier broke for the first time ever! 6.5 years ago when I was starting my ERE journey I naively thought it’s possible to retire on £100k in 5 years. Not only did it take me much longer to accumulate £100k but also reality brutally verified dream of only spending £4k pa.

Health

Workouts - 31 out of 31 days.

Only 8 days of lifting, 5 runs, 1 hike & 17 light workouts. My main issue this month was fighting an infection that got me on 2 courses of antibiotics (1st one didn’t help). This took 3 weeks and another couple to recover after antibiotics (still haven’t retested my previous max lifts). With this in mind, my goal for Sep will be just to get back to where I was at the end of July. Oh, did I mention I also lost 2kg because of this?

Walking – 331k (10.7 per day) vs the target of 310k. Things are looking good here.

189 days since I last time missed a workout.

Other

I got a new job within my team and slight pay rise and more importantly access to a better bonus scheme. Once we reduce expenses closer to our long term average, this should allow me to consistently hit 75% SW going forward. I’m not entirely happy with the new position though as I missed a potential opportunity to negotiate even better pay rise and just accepted what they offered me.

Our introductory rate on broadband expired recently and we were hit with £6 or 25% price hike. I called the company threatening to leave and ended up with even cheaper tariff than we had before, saving £170 over the next 18 months. Small win!

I also sold my remaining holding and I’m all cash ahead of (hopefully) the final chapter of the Brexit mess next month.

Inspired by wolf, I checked my mental wellbeing using WEMWBS. The score of 46 (below median) was quite a surprise for me; I knew I’m not doing fantastic, but I didn’t quite realise how bad it is. My self-diagnosis is that DW’s prolonged health issues are starting to wear off my resilience and long-term stress is starting to take a toll on me. To counteract this, I…

Deep dived into stoicism. I read ‘A guide to the good life’ by Irvine, which proved to be a really good introduction. Currently I’m reading Seneca and every day I’m amazed how close to ERE stoicism is and how all the ideas were already discovered by ancients. Consider for example so prevalent on these boards fear of pulling the plug, to which Seneka replies:

From business, however, my dear Lucilius, it is easy to escape, if only you will despise the rewards of business. We are held back and kept from escaping by thoughts like these: “What then? Shall I leave behind me these great prospects? Shall I depart at the very time of harvest? Shall I have no slaves at my side? no retinue for my litter? no crowd in my reception room?” Hence men leave such advantages as these with reluctance; they love the reward of their hardships, but curse the hardships themselves

Goals for August:

1) Work out every day, with 2/3 being lifting days – failed due to illness
2) Finish 6 books – failed, only read one book
3) Spend 10 hours a week reading and researching investing - still hasn't happened

Goals for September:

1) Get back to where I was in July strength and weight wise
2) Continue daily practice and reading of stoicism

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Cheepnis
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Re: Bankai's Journal - ERE mode:hard

Post by Cheepnis » Wed Sep 11, 2019 6:44 pm

Congratulations on hitting that magical 6th digit and the new position!

I read Irvine several months ago and Marcus' Meditations shortly after that. Seneca and Epictetus are on the horizon somewhere, but in the mean time I need to practice my daily practice of stoicism, which I'm not sure exactly how to implement. I think I already leaned stoic in some areas of my life, but I could definitely benefit from some intentional daily practice.

wolf
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Location: Germany

Re: Bankai's Journal - ERE mode:hard

Post by wolf » Wed Sep 11, 2019 11:10 pm

Yeah, congrats on the 6-figure-NW! Now on to the next milestone.
I'm sorry to read about the health issues of your DW and how it affects you.
Most likely stoicism can help you with resilience, overall contentment with life and handling difficult situations. And yes, the text you cited is similar to what is discussed here sometimes: should I stay in a "golden cage" (or wear "golden handcuffs") or should I leave all those benefits behind?. From Daniel Kahneman "Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow" I learned about loss aversion and defence of the status quo. And unluckily for "Human's" that is true and real. Hopefully one can think clearly as an "Econ's" someday.
Nevertheless of your SR in August and of the upcoming months, an YTD SR of 69% is very good! How much % of the population do have an SR like that? So, please keep on going. I suspect you are in front of the middle of the s-curve, where effort and return is highest. What would you say?
I like how you prioritize health in your life. That is also very important to me. With your 31 workouts per month, you are the new benchmark for me now.

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Bankai
Posts: 539
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2014 5:28 am

Re: Bankai's Journal - ERE mode:hard

Post by Bankai » Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:35 am

Thanks, guys!

@Cheepnis: I found the best times to read are first thing in the morning, lunch break and last thing before bed. Each session is a few minutes of reading and a few minutes of contemplation. As far as the actual practice goes, I'm only starting but so far I like doing 'negative visualisation' & 'the view from above' while walking to work. I haven't yet got into a habit of contemplating & summarising at the end of the day my adherence to stoic ideas during the day, but it's next in line. What I find most helpful so far is asking myself throughout the day, whenever a stressful situation arises, the question: 'what problems do I have right now, in this very moment?' Usually, the answer is none.

@wolf: your comment touches on what I've been thinking about lately. Yes, 69% SR is outstanding compared to MOPs. But why should we compare ourselves to throng? One can't be, almost by definition, above average in very many things, but it should be possible to reach the elite level (top 1% or so) in a few selected fields. To do this, comparing to average is counterproductive and stronger reference group is needed to keep motivation up and accurately assess one's progress. Another piece of advice circling around is to only look at oneself and compare yourself to your previous self from yesterday, last year etc. It's a sound piece of advice on the surface, but if you only ever look at yourself, you might conclude that you're making good progress if you add one push up to your max every month. But, it will take you several years to go from 10 to 100 at this pace. If, on the other hand, you consider both what's average (20 pushups in one go?) and what's possible (going from 10 to 100 in what, 2-3 months?), and then decide how much life energy you want to commit to the goal and where you want to land in the spectrum of possibilities (ie. are you happy with average SR or are you aiming at top 1% of population, or better yet, the ERE golden standard of 75%+), you will be able to progress towards your goals much faster. So it seems to me that some mixture of comparing oneself to all of 1) average 2) elite & 3) previous self is really needed to achieve good results (if we understand good results as moving relatively fast towards what's possible in one's circumstances).

A couple of areas where I'd not aim at average, but would instead be tempted to reach 'elite' level:

Health - not even that difficult; 70% of adults are overweight/obese, 30% sedentary (don't even walk), 20% smoke. There's some overlap here, but you're probably only competing with 9% and not 99%. Of whom most are 'accidentally fit' (looking healthier than they are) rather than as a result of lifelong commitment and strong habits.

Money - reaching the top 1% of income is largely outwith one's control. However, the top 1% of NW should be easier and top 1% of SR easier still.

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