Bankai's Journal - ERE mode:hard

Where are you and where are you going?
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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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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.

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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?).

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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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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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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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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

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...

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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


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


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.


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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