Thanks classical liberal! I appreciate it. I feel like I have just enough saved up. Gives me something to work with. I always think back to that saying “if you need to ask whether 2 million is enough to retire, the answer is probably “no it is not” . . ."
I took this week off - in between a couple major projects so timing made sense.
I quickly slipped back into my “retirement” mode and I liked it. Going through my daily routine more slowly and deliberatively, lots of reading. And now a bit of anxiety as emails start to trickle in for next week.
I’m thinking about floating the idea of working half time. I don’t want to quit. The business is interesting enough, the people are great, and the upside potential is real. I need the random problem solving and social interaction that comes with a job. I’m sharper when working. Over time, I think I can find non-work activities that give me this, but as of now I don’t know what they are. Also, having some sort of ongoing connection to the “real world” is a valuable form of social capital that greatly increases the likelihood of serendipity sending money my way.
When I retired the vision was to have the time and mental space to relax, learn, explore and be open to serendipity. At the moment I don’t think I’m being fully true to that vision. It’s a tough call because the current opportunity is pretty good and potentially lucrative. But it doesn’t justify 100% of my mental space. My primary objective in giving it 100% would be accumulation of more assets, and as noted in the first paragraph, I already feel like I sort of have enough.
I’m ready and willing to throw myself into the right thing 100%, but this feels more like a 50% situation to me. I’m too curious about what might pop up in the other 50% of my time. (And some of this other 50% would simply include things like reading and random exploring, not just “business” activities.)
Financially, I would be okay at 50%. That would cover a fairly comfortable lifestyle (extravagant by ERE terms) and I would still have some degree of upside equity exposure in the business. I would stop contributing more to net worth, though my spending would also go down, especially eating out and traveling costs (I took a short trip during my week off and paid 3 times what I would have if I had more flexibility in regard to timing). And in the long run, I think exposing myself to unrelated opportunities will lead to greater financial gain (albeit in a more lumpy fashion).
The people I’m working with might say no, but I don’t think they will. At least I don’t think they will say no outright - they might propose some other type of arrangement. (It’s questionable whether it is even possible to do the job 50% but I think I can pull it off. Some of our colleagues are pulling off 50% arrangements successfully that I could copy.) I've already floated the idea of taking 6 months off every year or two, and people were open to that as long as I gave sufficient notice.
The other choice would be to bite the bullet and just gut it out the next year or so, then re-evaluate. The only real reason would be to try and accumulate a higher net worth. Every other benefit of the job I can get with a 50% arrangement. Need to think about the right timing to start floating this idea with people.
I am still finding time to read. Books read in July include:
The Narrow Road by Felix Dennis . . . this book has almost reached my list of personal classics. Short and easy to read on the surface, it can be read on several different levels. It’s stated purpose is “How to Get Rich” but it is really about what it means to pick something and focus on it at all costs. It can be read in a fashion that has nothing to do with money, or everything to do with money. Whatever you pursue in life, narrow is the way . . . The author was a billionaire magazine publisher who is fully aware of the trade offs he made. His subsequent death of throat cancer at 69 makes it even more interesting to me.
Value Investing: 3 books “The Acquirer’s Multiple” by Tobias Carlisle, “The Little Book that Beats the Market” by Joel Greenblatt and “You Can Be a Stock Market Genius” . . . also by Greenblatt. Basically all three are about value investing, and have caused me to reconfirm my commitment to this overall approach. It’s a good fit with my personality, seems to work as well as any other approach (though it’s struggled the past several years), and it’s how I have the vast majority of my money allocated.
“Do It Yourself Guide to Investing” by Wes Gray . . . the title is misleading - the approach is anything but “Do It Yourself” - still it’s a great intro into quantitative investing and I’ve read it a couple times now. Essentially a deep value, momentum and trend following approach. Conveniently, the author sells ETF’s that implement his approach (ticker “VMOT”) . . . which I happen to own. He has lots of great research on his site: https://alphaarchitect.com/
“Canticle for Leibowitz” - I've mentioned before. One of the books I read every year. Still trying to write a proper review. It’s so great - I just can’t put my finger yet on why. A post-apocalyptic monastery in the American Southwest desert (on a road from nowhere, leading nowhere) quietly endures for thousands of years, preserving the remnants of civilization.
“Fifth Business” by Robertson Davies - perhaps my all time favorite book. I’ll have to write more about it later. For now, my favorite quote: “'If you don’t hurry up and let life know what you want, life will damned soon show you what you’ll get,' he said one day. But I was not sure I wanted to issue orders to life; I rather liked the Greek notion of allowing Chance to take a formative hand in my affairs. It was in the autumn of 1928 that Chance did so, and lured me from a broad highway to a narrower path."