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FI or bust; FBeyer.

Posted: Wed Nov 18, 2015 7:05 am
by FBeyer
edit Feb 2017: This OP is now more a notepad for some things that I've come across as time has passed. The introduction is still somewhat intact, but the structure of the post is completely out of whack due to the later additions of things to keep in mind for myself.

What to expect from this journal?
As opposed to many others I won't focus nearly as much on how I'm saving money unless I come up with something I feel is extremely clever.

I'm saving enough money that I will inevitably become FI much sooner than my state-mandated retirement so reaching that particular goal is not really of any concern to me, at all! It's going to happen. There is NO stopping me. The thing that does worry me is how to keep my head cool on the way to FI; how to avoid focusing so much on becoming FI that you're not enjoying your journey there. There is no point in filling your life with suffering for 10 years to enjoy the next 40 if you could enjoy the first 15 years and love the next 35. There is no point in becoming FI if you have nothing to retire to, but I also believe it is pointless to fill your life with current worries solely to reap the benefits later. In other words, even if you have something to retire to, there is no point in heaping on things to retire from either.

As a consequence this journal might be much more about how to keep your house in order, how to keep from going insane at work, and how to avoid stressing out about all the day-to-day chores you need to do.

Since I don't already have the answers, the journey will be a WIP, and most of my fuckups along the way will therefore be out in the open for all to see.
Being a Dane, I reckon most of the financial discussion will be focused on taxation and how it relates to investing. The information might come in handy for others at some time.

So: less talk about saving money, more talk about not becoming a loon on the way to FI.

Who is he?
Danish citizen. Male, (as of Dec 2015) 34 years old. He has a 2 year old daughter and a 37 year old GF.

He is a carpenter, has an MsC in Nanotechnology, and is a PhD student in Physics, doing statistics... You read that right. I can build houses, program distributed parallel applications in FORTRAN*, and do multivariate statistics.

He has been diagnosed with ENTJ/ENTP by Meyers Briggs and diagnosed with ugly hair by his peers.

He currently despises Danish politics to the point where he's contemplating starting a fund that will sponsor economists and statisticians to call the politicians on their character assassinations and bullshit, whenever an election is coming up.

He drinks Islay single malts, plays blues on the guitar, likes barbell training and loves board games. He listens to brutal technical death metal, Classical music, complex jazz, blues, good ol' Rock 'n Roll, Hard rock and mellowed out pop-rock (think Bahamas).

Why is he here?
He suddenly got a paying job!** Now, like most people I decided to spend my first paycheck on something completely ridiculous, but when push came to shove I couldn't think of something that I actually wanted to spend all that money on. So far my paychecks from February to November have been spent on 10 bottles of whisky and some board games. The remaining 17000$ are just sitting there, doing nothing really.

The entire journey started when my GF bought Mindfulness by Penman & Williams. Then I bought The Life Changing Magic of Tidying, then Early Retirement Extreme, then The Four Pillars of Investing and then my world came apart.

Since I was 5 years old I've been bored with any single thing I've been doing for more than 3 years. I have an extreme need to learn new things and so I took the 'wrong' way through university, taking interesting courses rather than beelining for industry. I switched major topic during university 3 times. Mesoscopic physics, High-performance computing and now statistics. Now I'm beelining for industry so I can make some money...

When I came across ERE and Mister Money Mustache I really felt like I finally found something I could call home. Something I'd like to work towards without feeling like I'm selling my soul or my life for shit I don't want. It has been a tremendous eye-opener that there really seems to be a way out of the drudgery of 9 to 5 and increasingly specialized work, with the increasing diminishing returns.

What does he want?
Financial Indepence!
Jesus christ would he love to work with whatever strikes his fancy without worrying about money. Currently I'd love to work from home as a consultant from time to time, as well as start a construction company and build stuff from time to time. Construction is absolutely wonderful; so is sitting on your ass doing math :)
To learn about investing, especially in a country as fraught with taxes as Denmark.
He wants to move somewhere cheaper so his GF can join him in FI (she owns the apartment and pays the rent).
A garage! A garage with a deadlift platform and big ass stereo and a drum kit. Fuck cars. Garages are for weightlifting gear and power tools.
I don't play the drums.
He also wants to publish two books.

What is he doing right now?
He's loving the PhD. I'm getting paid to learn new things and the group I work for expects me to come up with crazy ideas; the more ideas, the better.
My work ethic is killing me though. I am an absolute sucker for work efficiency and with a project as open ended as: Have fun, just have some ideas and see if we can put them to good use, means that the sky's the limit. My fickle interests might just benefit a bit from some constraints, but on the other hand constraints put a damper on my will to work.
Maybe I am just an asshat, I'll have to reflect on that...

He's reading Economics Explained by Heilbroner & Thurow, 4 pillars of investing, masonry tips and tricks, working on his PhD, running around the house roaring like a dinosaur when the little one is awake.
He's trying to train himself for a low-information diet.
Trying to learn about long-term investing, looking for a kettlebell training plan, trying to find a statistics mentor, incorporating minimalism into my home, my mind, and my outlook.

The only real thing currently going on towards FI is reading up on stable investments and paying off a 32000$ household debt before summer 2016, meaning no more mortgage and approx 215K$ net worth for my GF.

The Big FI-related Reading List

Currently Reading:
The Intelligent Investor
Your Money or Your Life
A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy
Mindfulness (again)
Count of Monte Cristo
Work Less, Achieve More.

The Education of a Value Investor: My Transformative Quest for Wealth, Wisdom, and Enlightenment
The Little Book that Beats the Market
The Little Book of Valuation: How to Value a Company, Pick a Stock and Profit
Irrational exuberance
Choosing Simplicity - Linda Breen Pierce
How Children Fail - Holt
How Children Learn - Holt
Learning All the Time - John Holt
Home Grown - Ben Hewitt ... 0742516857 ... 340&sr=8-1 (The Personal MBA)
Free Capital: How 12 private investors made millions in the stock market
Negative Interest Rates on Certificates of Deposits in Denmark as of 2016. viewtopic.php?f=3&t=7310&p=108927#p108927
Value Averaging: The Safe and Easy Strategy for Higher Investment Returns
The Millionaire Next Door
Poor Charlie's Almanack
Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy
Economics in One Lesson
(possibly) Security Analysis
Feeling Good
Drama of a Gifted Child - Alice Miller
The investor's manifesto
Boglehead's guide...
Pebbles of Perception
The Lessons of History
The Investor's Manifesto
How to Read; the classic guide to intelligent reading
Common Sense of Mutual Funds
Random Walk Down Wall Street
How Markets Fail
Stock for the Long Run

Fail Safe Investing
The Dhando Investor
All About Asset Allocation
Mindset; the new psychology of success.
Enter The Kettlebell
The Four Pillars of Investing
Life Changing Magic - Kondo
Clutterfree with Kids - Becker
The Joy of Less - Jay (blergh! what a POS book)
The Economy Explained - Heilbroner & Thurow
The intelligent asset allocator
Simplify your life

The BIG TODO list:
Iværksætterkonto (a tax deductible type of savings to establish a company later... can potentially be used for stocks and buying appreciable assets!)
TAXES: lagerbeskatning, kapitalafkast, pension accounts
Cheap brokers/ways to save on investment related fees.
Find out about the economic difference between andele and ejer (two types of apartments in Denmark)
Estimate the cost of organic diet/switching to a 2/7 vegetarian diet.
Legal Tax shelters in DK (43% tax as a minimum is harsh IMO).
Learn to meditate.

Current plans for portfolio:
SNAFU?.. Lots of things still to consider. I'm looking to build a global portfolio derivative with REIT.

June 2016, Current portfolio plan is: 5-way split portfolio in equal portions.
Global Safe, EU/US LCV stocks, global bonds, global high-yield bonds, REIT in the form of flipping fixer uppers... Maybe. Either that or renting it out.

Taxes will most likely determine my actual portfolio, rather than my risk tolerance...
Personal & Active part:
Rental Property...

global safe (0.29)
US value (0.57)
EU value (0.63)

Maj Invest:
Maj Invest - Global High Income (0.66)
Maj Invest - Globale bonds (EU focus) (0.33)
Procrastination is rooted in fear: fear of failure, fear of success, fear of change. These are rooted in developing an attachment to a specific outcome

Re: FI or bust; FBeyer.

Posted: Wed Nov 18, 2015 11:01 am
by Ydobon
Another whisky drinker here (I'm Scottish, it's mandatory) - what is your poison? I'm not a huge fan of the Islay malts, but I do have a couple of Ardbegs and ordered a Lagavulin at a good price last night :)

Having just moved out of a leaky apartment, I feel your pain, heating used to be our 2nd/3rd highest monthly expense!

Welcome :)

Re: FI or bust; FBeyer.

Posted: Thu Nov 19, 2015 7:37 am
by FBeyer
Ydobon wrote:...what is your poison? I'm not a huge fan of the Islay malts...
It really depends on my mood.
It could be Lagavulin, Laphroaig QA, Lismore 18, Monkey Shoulder or Spice Tree on almost any occasion. But I think my order of preference is as written.

I got bit the bug in February 2015, and by November '15 I've sampled: Highland Park 12, Lagavulin 16, Ardbeg 10, Laphroaig 10, Laphroaig QA, Tullamore, Lismore 18, Nikka (black), Monkey shoulder, Talisker Storm, Talisker 10, Maker's Mark, Spice Tree, Glenmorangie , Glenfiddich, Glenkinchie, and one more brand that does peated whiskies although the name escapes me now.
17 brands in 10 months...
Houston? We have a drinking problem!

Re: FI or bust; FBeyer.

Posted: Sun Nov 22, 2015 7:33 am
by FBeyer
The low-information-diet is going okay.
I've changed several passwords to randomized 12 digit alphanumeric phrases so there is no way I'll remember them.
I'm steering away from all sources of news; ditch the free newspaper as soon as it comes in the door without looking at the cover.
I've put a time sensitive block on ERE and Mister Money Mustache as well as and boardgamegeek. Financial independence is murdering my normal efficiency at work. :oops:

When I veer from work now it is clearly with the intent of getting a very specific piece of information. This should not only make me more efficient at work (meaning I can go home sooner) and give me more bang out of my spare time (all 1.5 hours of it every day.)

The set of kettlebells should be delivered on Monday (got Rogue bells 16/20/24 kg)
That should put me solidly back on no-fucking-excuses territory. If I'm not fit for life, it's squarely my own fault now. Fick Ja (as the Germans might phrase it).

GF is slowly warming up the idea of cutting back on savings. Her initial response when I presented FI was to suggest tomato soup once per week. Considering what we're paying in rent and heating, that was absolutely ludicrous. She's gotten round to it and she has started looking for apartment to swap. Most people want larger apartments, we want smaller. That way we get something cheaper and something in better condition than the 105 year old apartment we're living in now and the people we're swapping with get something larger.

My mind is running completely rampant with Financial Independence. I can't concentrate at work. My usual MO is to throw a ton of study time and effort into something to put the boat in the water ASAP, but FI is an inherently slow process compared to what I usually work with. I'm itching. Twitching and clawing to get started with investing and cutting costs. The thing is: I don't have any expenses beyond my share of the food budget. My GF pays for almost everything else (since she is the sole owner of the apartment). Technically my personal savings rate is already something like 80%. Given that I piss away money on games and whisky all the time it will be even better soon.
I don't know what to do to get started, so for now I'll settle with sowing the seed in the family (GF freakin' hates going to work, so that one shouldn't be too hard).

Dreaming of: Learning tile setting and becoming a statistical consultant. That way I can start a small-scale construction company doing carpentry and indoor mason-related work, while sitting on my ass at home doing some math and computer things. I cannot think of anything as satisfying as working with my hands some days and with my mind on others. Making anything close to 6000$ on setting tiles in a large bathroom means that 4 weeks work should put me squarely in I'll-work-whenever-the-fuck-I-feel-like-it territory once my investments are rolling. Consultancy also means that I can work remotely, so I can get sit in the middle of Yosemite and earn money.

Clearing out clutter: A lot of all our non-tools/non-furniture/non-kitchen related stuff will now fit in a single large wardrobe and two large bookshelves. As soon as the GF warms up the decluttering for real, she'll probably throw out a TON of shit we've got stored in the attic. The cleanup has been going on for about 6 months I guess and the apartment is still full of shit that needs to be sold/donated. There are so many pieces of furniture that are still idling around somewhere, taking up space, waiting to be sold, that it's hard to tell just how much shit I've thrown out the last couple of months. I reckon there is some breaking point soon where a lot of it will be suddenly sold and the minimalism we're really living with will set in visually.

And now I need a recommendation from the FI community:
I'm reading The Four Pillars of Investing right now. Loving it, but I am also susceptible to accepting whatever info is thrown at me, since my BS-filter is undeveloped at this stage of personal investing.
Q1: Is there a good sequence of investment books to read if I want to learn about low-volatility low-maintenance portfolios?

I have ordered The Intelligent Asset Allocator from the library. I am especially looking for how to actually build a portfolio when one is starting out. Has this step been replaced with the ubiquitous join-an-index-fund-doofus advice?
Q2: Does TIAA tie in with the Four Pillars, or is there something I really should read beforehand to get a better grip on the book, like The Intelligent Investor and/or Security Analysis, say?
Q3: If the best advice now is to join an index what should I read to understand what index fund/or index funds to choose?

Re: FI or bust; FBeyer.

Posted: Sun Nov 22, 2015 7:36 am
by FBeyer
Also: I'm studying for an exam on Multivariate Statistics. I haven't had a mathematics course in 7.5 years. My brain is mush trying to understand what the fuck is going on. I know in time the concepts will settle, but the beginning of every new scientific concept is taking its toll on me. I often wish I wasn't so driven to learn new things, on the other hand, I'd probably be a pretty boring person if I functioned like that.

Re: FI or bust; FBeyer.

Posted: Mon Nov 23, 2015 6:48 am
by FBeyer
Yesterday my GF found someone close by who wants to swap apartments. Our rent would plummet to levels that a student could afford. With the new expenses her net value (from selling the apartment) would afford 6 years of expenses. So I plugged the new 70% savings rate into
along with the following portfolio
15 Large Cap Value
35 Europe
35 5 year treasury bonds
15 GOLD ( for tax reasons I need something that will fluctuate heavily over time)

And estimated that we could be FIREd in 3.5 to 7.5 years.


I need to calm my nerves, ignore everything ER related for a while and get back to studying stats and investing ASAP. This is getting to me...
I got my 16/20/24 kettlebells delivered this morning by a postman who really appreciated that he didn't have to carry all that to the 3rd floor. Then I went to pick up my copy of The Intelligent Asset Allocator at the library.

I foresee the next couple of weeks are going to be just fine!

Re: FI or bust; FBeyer.

Posted: Thu Nov 26, 2015 7:22 am
by FBeyer
Strike that, the next couple of weeks are getting on my nerves already.

Upwards of 47% tax on investments and index fund fees in the vicinity of 3-5% means that between inflation, fund-manager-approved-theft, and taxes my investments should yield a steady CAGR of 1.6% with a standard deviation of 11%. Now I just need to save 63 years worth of expenses and I'm good to go.

I should have stuck with the low-information diet and just stayed the fuck away from the internet...
Apparently I'm a slow learner. And excitable, but I guess I already knew that.

Re: FI or bust; FBeyer.

Posted: Thu Nov 26, 2015 4:10 pm
by pka222
Ydobon wrote:Another whisky drinker here (I'm Scottish, it's mandatory) - what is your poison? I'm not a huge fan of the Islay malts, but I do have a couple of Ardbegs and ordered a Lagavulin at a good price last night :)

Having just moved out of a leaky apartment, I feel your pain, heating used to be our 2nd/3rd highest monthly expense!

Welcome :)
What is a good price on a Lagavulin.. they are awesome but well over 200USD in my area

Re: FI or bust; FBeyer.

Posted: Mon Nov 30, 2015 8:26 am
by Ydobon
pka222 wrote:What is a good price on a Lagavulin.. they are awesome but well over 200USD in my area
Oh my word! I paid £38 (less than $60) for a bottle of the Lagavulin 16. I've picked up award winning 30 year old single malts for less than that in the UK :o

Re: FI or bust; FBeyer.

Posted: Mon Nov 30, 2015 8:40 am
by FBeyer
Prices just hiked 25% on Lagavulin locally. It's now 71 bucks around here. And I think that's very much on the too costly side.
Drinking Lagavulin at that price would be like refuelling a Hummer. You can almost hear the attending grinning as your pour the liquids.

Re: FI or bust; FBeyer.

Posted: Mon Nov 30, 2015 9:51 am
by fiby41
I guess the addictiveness you are feeling comes from 'gamification' of the FI process... there are well defined numbers to chase, monthly percentages to keep track of, while more long term NW numbers to keep an eye on.

There are milestones, when you cross one, you 'level up', endorphins levels are affected, and you start again from the baseline level in a few weeks.

It is interesting how some processes are easier to gamify into apps, websites, or on a more personal level while others not so... the level of involvement also differs from person to person.

Re: FI or bust; FBeyer.

Posted: Tue Dec 01, 2015 5:32 am
by FBeyer
fiby41 wrote:I guess the addictiveness you are feeling comes from 'gamification' of the FI process...
It is interesting how some processes are easier to gamify into apps, websites, or on a more personal level while others not so...
I think you're right. I guess I DO tend to gamify everything around me.
My study habits are very much about the journey though, but I guess everything else I do is with a clear goal or sense of progression in mind.

Seeing you mention the gamification lets me put a label om my obsession. It actually feels nice. Now I just have to address why I'm turning everything into a competition against myself.

GF really doesn't want to work actively beyond 50, which gives us 11 years to reach FI. She's totally sold on the idea in general, but she is not at mental capacity right now to adopt the DIY mindset, learn about investing and move to a smaller apartment. Seeing the rent-and-heat bill of 14000$ per year was a real eye-opener. She finds almost one new promising apartment every week so we're just crossing our fingers that something really really good comes along. Right now we're trying to ride the wave of people who "dont have room for kid number 2" in their apartment. They're looking for at least 3 bedrooms, we're looking for 2 and a balcony. Fingers crossed...
Now I just have to groom my CV for a data analyst job somewhere and we should be on the fast track!

Damn it I'm gaming it again...

Re: FI or bust; FBeyer.

Posted: Tue Dec 01, 2015 8:27 am
by fiby41
Been at the studying game of chasing numbers (marks) and percentages for 14 years... Still not addicted. Now that is what you call self-restraint! 8-)

Re: FI or bust; FBeyer.

Posted: Sun Dec 06, 2015 7:13 am
by FBeyer
The Three Rules of my Information Diet:
  • Read very little
    Read mostly facts.
    Read things with a specific applicable need in mind.
This means that fucking around on the ERE forums in no-go. This gets batched in directly with using Facebook, youtube/stackexchange/wikipedia safaris.
Ignore the news. Totally.
Throw out the free newspaper as soon as it comes in the door (the postal service won't let us off the recipient list).
Study the long-term effects of political choices, don't get upset that someone got bitten by a dog, or someone got stabbed in a shady neighborhood. Ignore it. In the long run, that is not what matters.

In other words: If I read something it is because I need a specific information to complete a train of thought or complete some project. As soon as the information is acquired, I turn back to what I was doing.

The information diet has actually given me a few hours more to spend every day, but being the optimization 'tard I am, I've just figured out ways to get even more work done in the same time. In other words: my information diet has made me more mentally exhausted because I am not actively zoning out in front of idle media. I can almost feel my brain trying to escape from the mental work load, but it's too daft (read stressed out) to think about tits or monkeys and so my thought patterns goes something like this:
I really should concentrate on calculating these canonical correlation coefficients HEY! HEY! HEY! HEY! HEY! HEY! I THINK I FIGURED OUT WHY THE EIGENVALUES OF IDEMPOTENT MATRICES HAVE TO BE ZERO OR ONE!!!!!!11one1!
The sources of variation in this prediction interval are odd why the hell do they.. HEY! HEY! HEY! HEY! HEY! HEY! I THINK I FIGURED OUT HOW LAGRANGE MULTIPLIERS WORK....

I HAVE decided to visit farnamstreetblog daily though. So far it looks like a really good blog.

Re: FI or bust; FBeyer.

Posted: Sun Dec 06, 2015 8:06 am
by fiby41
Similar to your three rules:

Triple Filter Test ... ilter_test

Re: FI or bust; FBeyer.

Posted: Mon Dec 07, 2015 3:56 am
by FBeyer
A curious thing happens when I'm studying a lot. I want to keep reading...
Most people would fall over from exertion, or idle in front of the tv but my brain actively wants me to continue reading. I get itchy if I'm not reading something during periods of already intense study.

My to-read book list grows by about 4 books per week during exam preparation. Maybe it's the exhilaration of learning new things that make me want to learn even MORE new things. Like how exercise and growing your deadlift makes you want to lift more.

In any case I am happy I feel that way, rather than get burned out. Progress spurs progress.

Either that or it's a case of compounding sublimation...

Re: FI or bust; FBeyer.

Posted: Mon Dec 07, 2015 8:33 am
by fiby41
Are those books by the same author?

Not that it is a bad thing, but compulsively wanting to read all work of an author whose one book you liked could be a sign of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Just sayin'

Re: FI or bust; FBeyer.

Posted: Wed Dec 09, 2015 3:35 am
by FBeyer
No. Given that studying means mathematics or physics it's rare that the author has published more than one book.

It's more along the lines of:
Is heavily studying Multivariate statistics; wants to read Boglehead's, How to Read a Book, Calculus to Analysis, Nudge, Tile Setting, etc etc...

I'll guarantee you I'm not OCD, if anything I'm manic. :)

Re: FI or bust; FBeyer.

Posted: Thu Dec 17, 2015 9:12 am
by FBeyer
ETK has you learn certain stable exercises to get one acquainted with kettlebells. The starting program that gets you used to safety and in basic shape is called program minimum. Stay with it until you are strong enough to clean and press your chosen weight of kettlebell approximately 8 times.
Once you are through program minimum you start the Rite of Passage program.
When you rest between sets, do active recovery, like jumping rope or doing back bends... NO SLUMPING FORWARD THAT IS WHEN YOU HURT YOUR BACK!

Program Minimum:
Practice at least 3 times per week.

Warmup: Approx 10 mins
Wall Squats

Alternate between
12 mins of Swings. Rest when needed.
5 mins of Turkish Get ups. Alternate sides between reps.

Practice, do not work out until you get the hang of the drills.


In ETK a set is called a ladder.
The designation 4 reps means 1 rep, then 2 reps, then 3 reps then 4 reps = 1 set/1 ladder.
Thus, 1 set with 4 reps means a total of 10 repetitions for each hand.

"Rite of Passage; Strength", is comprised of sets of clean and presses.
"Rite of Passage; Conditioning", is comprised of snatches or swings with a randomly generated duration.
Every exercise day contains a strength part and a conditioning part.
Some days are called variety, this is where you learn new stuff. Take it easy and make sure you know what you're doing.
Off days are just that, off days. Do not exercise here.
Choose one day of the week, say Friday, to be the Heavy day and 'anchor' the schedule to friday.

Clean and Press Progression is
3 ladder/3 reps for 1 week
4 ladder/3 reps for 1 week
5 ladder/3 reps for 1 week
5 ladder/4 reps Now add reps slowly. Start adding reps to the first sets. Never train to failure.
5 ladder/5 reps stay with 5/5. Start over with heavier bell.

Rite of Passage

Light Day:
Clean and Press + 2d6 minutes of Snatches approx 50% of total ability.

Have fun. Learn new stuff. Don't get smoked

Medium Day:
Clean and Press + 2d6 minutes of Swings 70--80% of total ability

Have fun. Learn new stuff. Don't get smoked

Relax. Do Nothing!

Heavy Day
Clean and Press + 2d6 minutes of Swings. Balls to the wall, swing all you can fucker!

Relax. Do Nothing!

Graduation from Rite of Passage
10 minutes. Do more than 200 snatches with a 24 kg bell.
Bring a bucket...

Re: FI or bust; FBeyer.

Posted: Thu Dec 17, 2015 10:00 am
by theanimal
Are there any other sites that you visit daily besides farnamstreet?

I'm on a very low information diet now but still find myself consuming more noise than I would like. It may just be due to the nature of the beast, much of the internet is just noise anyways. I have been debating whether or not severely limiting my internet usage (a handful of days a month) would help things. Right now, I average about 2 or so days a week where I use the internet. Though I don't know... I haven't come to a conclusion yet.