Bankai's Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
bigato
Posts: 2644
Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:43 pm
Location: Brazil

Re: Bankai's Journal - ERE mode:hard

Post by bigato »

Congratulations on your scores!
Interesting thoughts about being elite in a few chosen fields. I'd like to add though that for some of us, like me, it's very easy to fall in the trap of focusing too much in one or two fields too much when choosing to be elite level and consequently failing miserably in important others that end up having no time left for them. For example, failing at developing an interesting social circle because I'm so busy.

User avatar
Bankai
Posts: 816
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2014 5:28 am

Re: Bankai's Journal - ERE mode:hard

Post by Bankai »

True, but the opposite is also often the case. Personally, when trying to focus on more than maybe 2-3 things, I'm usually not making any meaningful progress due to spreading myself too thin. I could name at least 20 things I'd like to do, each taking maybe 1-2 hours a day. However, between work, sleep and maintenance, I have no more than 4 hours left in the day - enough for 2-3 things max.

As far as a social circle - it's too hard to find interesting, compatible people so I just gave up on that. I get all the interaction I need between work, DW & occasional hanging out with friends. From what I read on these boards, I'm not alone in finding this challenging. If you have any 'tips & tricks' on how to meet cool people, I'd like to know.

bigato
Posts: 2644
Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:43 pm
Location: Brazil

Re: Bankai's Journal - ERE mode:hard

Post by bigato »

I am not sure I explained it correctly, because I actually agree with your point. I mean it's better to not be focused on so many things so that you have time left for other stuff. The social circle was just the first example that came to my mind, I didn't mean to pick on that. It could be that you would not be paying enough attention to your finances because you are so busy trying to be an elite triathlete, for example, when you are way past the point where that activity is beneficial to you.

wolf
Posts: 1025
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2017 5:09 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Bankai's Journal - ERE mode:hard

Post by wolf »

Bankai wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:35 am
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).
I haven't thought about that within the same context. I do compare myself "here and there" with one out of the three you described. Each of them supports different aspects, e.g. motivation, benchmarking, being happy, measure progress, etc. One could argue that there are more than one average, e.g. there is also an FIRE average, peer group average, etc. Those are further options. I tend to use comparisons based on 2 and 3, but as I also kind of dislike conformity I compare myself also the (inverted) average. Well, I'm glad you wrote it. Maybe I can use those different kind of comparisons on purpose for specific situations/plans. On the other hand Buddha taught "us" not to compare and that's still a contradiction in my thinking. But he also taught "us" that it all depends of the intention one has. And that may make comparisons, just a thing to fulfill a purpose. Well, my mind wanders. Time to end this post.

User avatar
Bankai
Posts: 816
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2014 5:28 am

Re: Bankai's Journal - ERE mode:hard

Post by Bankai »

@bigato: I agree, focus, attention, motivation etc. are all limited resources and it's not possible (for me at least) to spend them on multiple priorities and still make meaningful progress in all of them. What works for me is maybe 2-3 things at the time on top of full-time job; I could probably do another 2-3 if not working full time.

One way to kind of get around that is to habitualise certain activities. For example, you only need to learn how to eat healthy once, and after that, it's just a daily application of already obtained skill. Exercise can be easily habitualised as well. So does saving & tracking money. Basically, most things where the law of diminishing returns kicks in rather quickly. On the other hand, things with high ceiling, like learning how to invest, require an ongoing time investment.

If one habitualises what's possible to habitualise, the ongoing life energy expenditure is much lower for those activities (i.e. most people don't need to plan how to or motivate themselves to brush their teeth). This then allows more life energy to be directed to 'unhabitualisable' activities, like learning how to invest.

User avatar
Bankai
Posts: 816
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2014 5:28 am

Re: Bankai's Journal - ERE mode:hard

Post by Bankai »

@wolf: it's a tough one to overcome. As Peterson wrote in '12 rules for life', we evolved for hundreds of millions of years as social animals with built-in mechanisms comparing our status to our peers and telling us where we are in the hierarchy. Is disregarding it even possible if so much of this is done subconsciously? I don't know, but it's certainly not easy considering how difficult it is for most people to overcome much easier evolutionary traps like eating fat and sugar.

User avatar
Bankai
Posts: 816
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2014 5:28 am

September update

Post by Bankai »

Finances

Expenses in September were £1,289 or £644 per person (1.1 JAFI* annualised). Excluding the capital part of the mortgage payment, expenses were £1,089 or £544 per person (0.9 JAFI annualised). Other than food and bills, we spent £403 on everything else. Main contributors were (all rounded to the nearest £5):

£185 new smartphone for DW. Interesting how the smartphones we bought 3 years ago (same model) both broke around the same time. Going forward I'll assume 3-year lifespan for cheap smartphones.
£60 hobby
£50 alcohol - this will go down in Oct as I'm doing another month of abstinence
£45 eating out

Finally a more 'normal' month in terms of expenses after above-average spending in the previous six months. I also discovered an error in my formula calculating YTD SR. New figure revised upwards is 72%, which means that reaching 75% for 2019 is still possible!

Septemeber SR – 76% (inc. pension contributions and capital part of the mortgage payment)

YTD SR – 72%

NW - £102.7k

I started tracking another number - how much passive income (@4% WR) would I have per month after paying off the mortgage and bills. Right now it's £52 - enough for cheap food but nothing else really. Assuming I'll be saving as much in future as I do now, the number should go up by ~£7 each month. The narrative around is that this month I work to add frozen berries to my diet indefinitely, next month it will be nuts and seeds, after that protein powder etc. At some point, I'll run out of things to add; once I reach 'this month I work to eat out for the 4th time per month' or some similar nonsense, it will be a good indication that it's time to quit.

* JAFI = £7004

Health

Workouts - 30 out of 31 days

I broke my series of 205 days with no missed workout. Happened on a day when I procrastinated in the morning and decided to do the workout in the evening. However, we had guests on that day and they stayed past midnight, by which time I forgot I've not worked out. Interestingly, I felt more relieved than disappointed, similarly to when I had the first beer after 14 months of abstinence. It looks to me that these things (keeping the series up) can outlive their purpose and once the habit is formed/goal achieved, are more of a hindrance than a help as more mental energy goes towards maintaining the run. Or maybe I'm just rationalising.

Workouts weren't that great either, only 7 lifting sessions, 1 hike, 2 runs and 19 'light' workouts.

Walking – 385k (12.8 per day) vs the target of 300k. The surplus built over summer is so large that I only need 4.7k per day for the rest of the year to reach my goal. With this in mind and to keep things interesting, I'm increasing the walking target to 11k per day for 2019.

8 days since I last time missed a workout.

Other

When I received a job offer for my new position, I asked for a bigger pay rise. The only update I had so far was that it's still with HR. I maintain my resolve to decline the promotion if they don't offer me better terms as the tiny pay rise doesn't justify all the extra work and longer notice period.

I'm reading Seneka (almost) daily - 1 or 2 letters at the time. I should practice more though and not just read.

I also read:

'Five love languages' - interesting read, although the concept can be fit on a single page rather than 200. It's practical and immediately applicable; worth a quick read for anyone interested in improving their relationships.

'The book of five rings' - the parts about actual sword fighting can be disregarded as non-applicable to real life. However, the are plenty of hidden gems and principles which can easily be applied/were historically applied to combat/warfare as well as just life in general. Definitely one to revisit in some time.

Goals for September:

1) Get back to where I was in July strength and weight wise - made progress but still some way to go
2) Continue daily practice and reading of stoicism - reading yes, daily practice no

Goals for October:

1) Work out every day, including 20 days of lifting
2) Read and practice stoicism daily

Image

User avatar
Bankai
Posts: 816
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2014 5:28 am

October update

Post by Bankai »

Finances

Expenses in October were £1,500 or £750 per person (1.29 JAFI annualised). Excluding the capital part of the mortgage payment, expenses were £1,300 or £650 per person (1.09 JAFI annualised). Other than food and bills, we spent £690 on everything else. Main contributors were:

my in-laws' visit - eating out and some gifts
birthday - travel and some eating out
my wife's friend's big birthday - gift, travel, eating out
supplies for my wife's hobby

Accumulation of 'one-offs' continues. Oh well, there'll be more coming - we just bought a dehumidifier (best spent £100 in a long time) and are looking for a new laptop for my wife (likely in £600-£700 range as the last one for £300 proved to be a horrible purchase).

October SR – 71% (inc. pension contributions and capital part of the mortgage payment)

YTD SR – 71%

NW - £105.3k

Monthly passive income (@4% WR) after paying off the mortgage and bills - £61

Health

Workouts - 31 out of 31 days

11 lifting days, 1 run, 1 hike, 18 light workouts. I noticed (unsurprisingly) that increased work-related stress (more details here: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=10893&p=200644#p200644) doesn't make it easier to work out. But working out should ease the stress, so I keep going. It's also difficult to hold on to gains from the previous several months. Oh, well, it would be boring if everything was easy. Plus, I'm not in a hurry and it's not a race.

Walking – 334k this month, 3.7m YTD.

53 days since I last time missed a workout.

Other

First month in a while when I didn't read a single book (in full). I read a fair amount on stoicism though, including Seneka. Currently revisiting 'Subtle art of not giving a fuck'.

Goals for November:

1) workout every day including 12 lifting sessions (I'm only at 6 MTD so it will be a stretch)
2) Continue daily practice and reading of stoicism

Image

User avatar
Alice_AU
Posts: 88
Joined: Fri Aug 09, 2019 2:42 am
Location: Sydney Australia

Re: Bankai's Journal - ERE mode:hard

Post by Alice_AU »

You have a great savings rate Bankai! Do you still consider yourself being in "hardmode" for ERE?

User avatar
Bankai
Posts: 816
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2014 5:28 am

Re: Bankai's Journal

Post by Bankai »

I don't and I haven't for a while. Looking back at when I started my ERE journey almost 7 years ago, that title was somewhat justified. Not as much by my external circumstances, but by my state of mind at the time. I only had £4k in assets to my name (locked for another quarter-century in a pension), I was earning slightly above minimum wage and, most importantly, I didn't believe that I could increase my income in any meaningful way. My wife had no job and was recently diagnosed with depression. I was 30, had no direction and no options, I felt miserable and ERE was a way to escape that misery. I had some limiting beliefs to work through and it took some time, but I overcame them eventually. Accepting responsibility allowed me to eventually get a job that very much aligns with my personality and pays decently on top of that. Now, when I have a decent income, sizeable stash compared with people my age and option to walk away if I feel like it, I find myself enjoying my work as never before. At the same time, I have confidence that ERE is unavoidable and by simply doing what I am doing for another few years, I will happen. I guess money is a solved problem and the more important question now is how long can the job keep me interested and what the next chapter will be about.

User avatar
Bankai
Posts: 816
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2014 5:28 am

November update

Post by Bankai »

Finances

Expenses in November were £1,942 or £971 per person (1.66 JAFI annualised). Excluding the capital part of the mortgage payment, expenses were £1,728 or £864 per person (1.47 JAFI annualised). Other than food and bills, we spent £1,087 (!) on everything else. Main contributors were:

£858 - stuff: a new laptop for my wife, dehumidifier, hair clipper, microwave with grill, plus a bunch of small stuff
the remaining £200 were: eating out (£42), alco (£16), travel (£19), clothes (£60), hobby (£20), cash (£54)

Last several months were not where I wanted them to be in terms of expenses. However, some of them were true 'one-offs' (i.e. I don't expect my in-laws to visit us again anytime soon, probably never) and other won't be repeated for a good few years (some stuff purchases that should last multiple years). Having all this out of the way, I'm actually optimistic our expenses will go down next year. This year we average ~£800 per person per month while our long-term average (6y) is £700 - time to revert to the mean!

November SR – 70% (inc. pension contributions and capital part of the mortgage payment)

YTD SR – 71%. Mathematically it's not possible for us to get up to 75% for the year anymore. Oh well, we will still try to get it as high as we can.

NW - £105k

Monthly passive income (@4% WR) after paying off the mortgage and bills - £58

(no progress m/m as the last update was mid-month and included Nov salary).

Going forward I'll cover 60% of our expenses since I earn more. I will still report figures per person as 50/50 for consistency and because this is still our target split in future but will reflect NW growth including adjustments.

Health

Workouts - 30 out of 30 days

I mostly half-assed workouts this month and only had few good sessions of weigh-lifting.

Lifting - 8; light - 20; hike - 2

I also went for a couple of winter hikes - something I've not done in a good few years. This is how Scottish hills look this time of the year:

Image
Image

Walking – 290k this month, 4m YTD.

66 days since I last time missed a workout.

Other

I again didn't finish a single book this month. I did read some Seneka and started Marcus Aurelius. But, this is below expectations. My aim is to finish the year strongly and hence the target of 5 books for December.

Goals for November:

1) workout every day including 12 lifting sessions - 30/30. 8 lifting days. miss
2) Continue daily practice and reading of stoicism - yes but not daily. fail

Goals for December:

1) 31 workouts, 16 of them lifting
2) 5 books
3) daily reading of stoicism
4) 50 hours reading on investing

Some ambitious goals for this month. I'm done with computer games (until next time) so I'm hopeful this will be a good month.

Image

User avatar
Lemur
Posts: 558
Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2016 1:40 am

Re: September update

Post by Lemur »

Bankai wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 4:35 am

'Five love languages' - interesting read, although the concept can be fit on a single page rather than 200. It's practical and immediately applicable; worth a quick read for anyone interested in improving their relationships.
I remember reading this back in 2012 before marrying my spouse. I also remember comically that my spouse's love language is receiving gifts and I thought how inconvenient that is against my FI pursuits lol. It is also a humble reminder that when I show love to my spouse (acts of service) I'll go 'hard' cleaning the entire house, taking care of our son (the chores like bathing him, clothing him, etc.s), vacuum, doing yard-work, the whole nine yards and my spouses reaction is mostly a dull "that's cool, I guess." Words of Affirmation also has my spouse reacting in a negative way - almost like I'm lying haha. She likes quality time + receiving gifts ; the later I have to remember to do occasionally. IIRC most people like to receive 2 out of the 5 but also subconsciously output 2 of the 5 to their partner.

Sabaka
Posts: 111
Joined: Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:41 am

Re: Bankai's Journal

Post by Sabaka »

Cool update Bankai

Scotland is looking beautiful, lucky to live there! Regarding stoicism, I do not believe it needs to be studied or meditated upon every day in order for it to have a positive impact on your life. Obviously it would be ideal to meditate for 15 minutes every morning, but real life can get in the way. I've found even occasionally going back to it can have big effects.

Have a great Christmas!!

User avatar
Bankai
Posts: 816
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2014 5:28 am

Re: Bankai's Journal

Post by Bankai »

@Lemur: yeah 'gifts' as a love language def seems incompatible with ERE. Great that you made it work regardless :)
I think my wife speaks all 5, but 'words of affirmation' are definitely her main language. Which is great as it's low maintenance. Myself, I'm definitely +2/-2 and like your wife, I'm always suspicious when someone is complimenting me for any reason.

@Sabaka: I tend to agree, it's the testing times that call for stoicism the most. Reminding oneself to keep calm when nothing is happening is kinda pointless.

On another note, I'm contemplating buying a new computer. My current one is almost 9 years old and the parts start to break. So far, I only had to replace the graphic card (3 years ago for £50). However, there are currently 4 issues with it:

- the network adapter doesn't detect my home wifi anymore - the router is in the same place it's always been and all other devices can connect with no issues
- the hard drive got damaged (this is my assumption) a few years back when I restarted PC during windows update - the computer slowed down quite a bit since but I never bothered replacing the drive
- the main fan died a few weeks ago
- the monitor has difficulties if there's too much happening on the screen, ie. some movies or youtube videos with a lot of action

Now, I can probably replace all 4 for maybe £200 if I buy cheap parts, but is it even a good idea? As the whole thing is quite old already, it's just a matter of time until other parts start dying. Should I spend £200 now and hope the thing will last another few years with no new major repairs required or buy a new laptop instead (~£600)? Assuming lifespan of the new laptop of ~5 years, the cost would be 10/month. If I fix my desktop instead, and it lasts for another 3 years (doubt I can squiz more than 12y total from it considering heavy use), that's £5.5 per month. So, for £4.5 I'm getting a faster and more flexible computer. Doesn't seem like a bad idea to me and I'd probably save 2-3 minutes a day on loading windows/opening browser etc. - these time savings add up as well over the years.

Another thing I'm considering is going alcohol-free for good. The last 3 months I drank very little (1 beer a week on average) but looking at alcohol spending over last ~2 years it's about £50 per month. With savings of £3k per month, we'd need £15k less capital or could both quit 5 months earlier and a lot can be done in 5 months. Plus, I already did it for over a year in the past so I know it's not that difficult.

Cheepnis
Posts: 225
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:52 am

Re: Bankai's Journal

Post by Cheepnis »

I'm continually impressed with your exercise consistency. Even back when I was making exercise a priority I maxed out around 5 days per week. Great job!

I too am also rocking an almost 10 year old computer. It's still going somewhat strong, but is definitely not the machine it once was. Even though I only use it for browsing the net and spread-sheeting nowadays I do look forward to the day it dies so I can fully justify getting a new one. The other thing that makes holding off a little easier for me is the internet infrastructure in my part of town is old and the two isp's at my disposal can only offer slow service speeds. When I make that purchase I'm also looking forward to getting a nice credit card bonus my spending level normally precludes.

ertyu
Posts: 761
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2016 2:31 am

Re: Bankai's Journal

Post by ertyu »

Re: computer. I would change the fan, that's a relatively cheap part. Then as a last-ditch attempt, I'd scrub the old machine clean. It could be slow because the hardware is giving up the ghost, but it could also be slow because of malware, the need to defragment (is this still a thing? I might be showing my age here - but then, so does the computer haha), what's set to load at start-up, etc etc.

Re: giving up alcohol - if it won't disrupt your lifestyle that much, do it. Alcohol is like cigarettes: one won't kill you, but 0 is unambiguously better for your health than 1. I'm not a drinker and I might be showing my bias here, though.

guitarplayer
Posts: 48
Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2020 6:43 pm

Re: Bankai's Journal

Post by guitarplayer »

Hi, well done in pursuing ERE! I can relate to many features of your journey. Beautiful Scottish Hills - which one are these? I am curious if your NW is per household or per person?

User avatar
Bankai
Posts: 816
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2014 5:28 am

Re: Bankai's Journal

Post by Bankai »

Thanks! The first one is ascent on Cruach Ardrain and the second is descent from An Stuc. Scottish hills are beautiful indeed, I aim to climb at least a few every year. Nothing better than a day far away from concrete jungle and technology, only silence and no humans within miles. Introvert's heaven.

NW reported here is my own stash; together we have about £150k. Still long way to go but we'll get there.

guitarplayer
Posts: 48
Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2020 6:43 pm

Re: Bankai's Journal

Post by guitarplayer »

Okay so I actually read through your journal back to back now, very impressed with the progress on so many fronts. Well done with it, any equally so with tracking it! Hope DW is doing well.

In some ways I find inspiration in your story, for example in aspiring to get and getting a more meaningful (and better paid) job or in sticking to various plans that you put together.

I started doing intermittent fasting a few weeks ago and since I am around the upper limit of healthy BMI, don't mind losing a few kg. And man, the food tastes so good!

I and my better half are in a somewhat similar situation to you a few years back - relatively high savings rate (65-70%) despite relatively low income (£10.6/h and £9/h). Occasionally we are thinking about switching jobs for better paid ones, but there is a spark missing. Also in Scotland, we live nearby the Pentland Hills now. However I keep an eye on Glasgow for buying a flat (Edinburgh is just so ridiculously overpriced). We have a very cheap living arrangement, but set up LISAs to start collecting £2k/year bonus for a property in the future.

I wonder if the HR got back to you about your salary increase request? Also, curious what did you write your thesis about?

User avatar
Bankai
Posts: 816
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2014 5:28 am

Re: Bankai's Journal

Post by Bankai »

Thanks for reading! I was considering discontinuing this journal for some time now so it's good to see that it's still useful for someone.

re: job - when I came across ERE (Dec 2012) I was working a pretty awful job in a call center and my motivation was to escape from it by saving 25x expenses. It's not the worst motivation in the world but I came to understand that it's better to fix one's life now rather than trying to endure the despair and hope for a better life in 10 years. Most if not all things in life can be changed within a relatively short time and don't require a massive stash.

re: IF - I really enjoyed the 1.5 years I was doing it. I now eat 7 meals a day as I'm actually trying to gain weight - I'm at the midpoint of a healthy BMI range and looking to get to upper range, but once I'm there I intend to go back to IF. My wife still eats this way almost every day, she recently tried to re-introduce breakfasts but it didn't work out. And yeah, no salt/sugar for a couple of weeks changes the taste dramatically!

re: spark - this is actually quite important and it took me a decade to understand this. I spent a decade working shitty jobs before I got into analytics. For most people analyzing data would be boring as hell but I like it for numerous reasons - mainly because it agrees with my personality (highly analytical & introverted). If I was to give myself from 12y ago one piece of advice, it would be to get a job that I like and that challenges me rather than drift aimlessly between jobs that were a bad fit.

re: buying a flat - Glasgow is definitely much more affordable - you can buy a nice 2-bed within walking distance from the city center for £100k. With current mortgage rates, your total housing cost can be as little as £600/m (mortgage, council tax, energy, factor fees, broadband). That's another thing that took me forever to sort - for a decade I was resisting buying because I wanted to keep flexibility. But flexibility has a massive opportunity cost (easily a few hundred £ per month) and you can always sell if you decide to move, especially that transaction costs in the UK are very low compared to the US for example.

re: pay - they did and offered me an increase halfway through between their original offer and my counter-offer. I agreed to it and I'm quite happy I did - it's more interesting and challenging now and I'd probably do it even for the same pay so extra money is just a bonus. Having said that, it was one of the rare occasions where risk: reward ratio for asking was very good, i.e. nothing would happen if they refused (unless I chose to do something i.e. quit) but on the other hand the potential upside was a few £k per year for just a short chat with my manager. I was never good at asking for what I want so I now make a conscious effort to a) ask when I want something & b) be on a constant lookout for these rare low risk/effort: high reward opportunities.

Your current job/housing situation sounds really cool and you seem to be quite happy with it - is there any reason why you think of changing it? Do you have in mind what you'd like to do next? Is it something similar to what you do now or something else entirely?

Post Reply