White Belt's Military Journey to FI

Where are you and where are you going?
white belt
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Re: White Belt's Military Journey to FI

Post by white belt »

Alphaville wrote:
Thu May 06, 2021 5:08 pm
great analysis on the rowhouses. plus it can be converted to 3 apartments in high value areas (basement, middle, and top floor which has entrance from back alley). i hope you score a good deal when the time comes.
I've been thinking more about basement apartments.

Nearly every older home in the region I'm looking at has a basement. These generally have 6-7' ceilings and extend ~5 ft underground. Many of them are unfinished and used for storage and utilities (as previously mentioned), while others are finished and used as an additional living room. Some buildings are extensively rehabbed and modify the front/rear windows for egress so that they can meet the building code for bedroom occupancy.

If I think just from a pure energy perspective, a basement has a lot of things going for it. The fact that it is mostly underground means you have stable temperatures year round (I'd estimate in Zone 7 that most summer basement temps never exceed 65 and winter basement temps never go below 55 or 50). You have a naturally quiet environment for sleeping as well. I think with adequate design for passive ventilation, one could live in a basement year-round in the region without the need to spend any money on heating/cooling utilities.

There are challenges of course. You will need adequate ventilation and a way to keep humidity in check. There's also the issue of limited natural light and the fact that culturally most people don't want to live in a basement. Then of course you have the zoning challenges mentioned above. You'd have to figure out where to put cisterns. Basements carry some flood risk, although a lot of that can be mitigated by not living in a flood zone and ensuring you have countermeasures for any sewage backups.

If I go back to my model in my last post, an alternative on a house that has a suitable basement height could be to raise a basement up to code to be able to fit 2 bedrooms and a bathroom. This would involve finishing the basement and modifying the windows to provide egress. Bathroom could be added in the middle space of the building so that each room has 2 windows (ie one room on north side of building, one on south side). I'd keep the plan the same on the ground floor with kitchen and living space. Unsure about what would happen with the 2nd floor. Those would still be very habitable rooms during shoulder seasons, but would likely be very cold in winter without any heating and very hot in summer without any cooling. Then there is the issue of freezing pipes if there is no heating element during winter.

So does this make sense from a practical perspective? Probably not because energy is still so cheap and reliable in most parts of the country. Nevertheless, in a power outage during a heat wave or cold snap, having a basement area for sleeping could be the difference between life and death (especially if we're talking a 100 year heat wave when electricity grid is down). The issue still remains what to do with everything on the 2nd floor and where to put cisterns. I think it would be possible to bury a cistern in the backyard, but that is costly because it requires removing of concrete and is a permanent solution unlike putting plastic cisterns in the basement.

Maybe a compromise is to just outfit the basement as mentioned in my earlier post, but ensure there are appropriate measures to turn the basement into a sleeping shelter during an energy crisis event? So basically, ensure there are no major health risks and that proper ventilation is possible without the need for electricity. Then one just needs a few cots on hand to turn the area into a temporary sleeping shelter during a cold snap or heat wave. Daily activities would still take place on ground floor and roof deck. Pipes freezing are the biggest risk, but with the cisterns still in the basement then this would be survivable. Paired with a PV array on the roof that powers chest freezer and maybe charges electronic devices when sun is shining, one would be pretty resilient at least up to a few weeks in a grid outage scenario. Bigger issue might be security to keep masses away from your stockpile, PV array, water, shelter, but at that point things are turning into a post-apocalyptic movie anyway so likely low probability compared to other outcomes.

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Alphaville
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Re: White Belt's Military Journey to FI

Post by Alphaville »

ah i see

basement apartments are highly profitable... but if you wanna make a bunker, look to the israelis for the best designs.

only difference is climate--theirs is dry.

btw i recall vaguely someone who bought a missile silo to live in it.

then there's this: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/us-news/i ... r-23760294

oh lol check this: https://survivalcondo.com/

more:

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesig ... hotography

in principle bunker apartment could be realized.

then subsoil temp is i think something around 55f? so you could use to thermoregulate... provided hot air doesnt stuff you. you might have to dig deeper? provided you dont run into a sewer tunnel :D (or water main, utilities, etc)

white belt
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Re: White Belt's Military Journey to FI

Post by white belt »

@Alphaville

I was mostly joking in my comments with regards to keeping masses away from my stockpile. A bunker is not my primary design motivation.

My primary motivation is energy efficiency with an eye to creating some kind of scalable retrofit model. In the region, it is quite common for developers to lower the basement floor to 9 feet in order to achieve preferred 8 ft basement ceiling height for zoning laws and tenant desirability. This underpinning is a bit expensive and dangerous (not a thing one DIYs) because rowhomes share foundational walls, but it is profitable because it allows one to finish a basement and increase total living square footage by 25-33%.

One challenge I'm going to run into on my prospective project is determining tradeoffs between passive eco-functionality and resale/mainstream appeal. There is some overlap in this domain, but at some point I'm going to have to make some decisions about how far I want to take things. For example, I could underpin the basement and add 2 bedrooms and a bathroom to it. I could rig up some passive ventilation so that it's unlikely to need any heat in winter or cooling in summer (still need to do more research on this to find out if passive would be sufficient WRT moisture issues). However, that also means people would have to be comfortable living in the house with winter indoor temperatures in the 50s to low 60s.* That means all my tenants would have to be as eco-minded as me.** The same argument applies to other modifications like the gray water piping and masonry heater.

Lowering and finishing the basement does add a lot of living square footage but we are moving into weird territory because then we're talking about a small 2 story rowhome with 4-5 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. So basically it's the same size as a comparable home with a 3rd floor. I'm guessing the 3 story version would fetch more money because people in general pay less for basement rooms. Usually these houses are only zoned for SFH occupancy, so splitting the house into multiple units is not possible. My guess is the most profitable option if I were to decide to leave the house without selling it would be to rent it out by room, but if I'm leaving the house I'm probably going to have to rip out a lot of the systems like the cisterns, gray water stuff, etc.

The other issue is the tradeoff between best practices for super-sealed LEED standards vs passive best practices. I admit there seems to be a lot here and it's hard to sift the wheat from the chaff. You have everything from the woo-woo earthship people to the LEED designers who think that air-sealing a house to the point that it becomes unlivable during a power outage is a smart design principle. It's hard to find a lot that is focused on a true 4 seasons climate vs milder climates on the west coast or southwest.

My ramblings make me think that maybe the best strategy is to retrofit everything in a way that still has market appeal to the masses with some minor tweaking. So I finish the basement with passive ventilation, but factor in that I have a place to connect a modern A/C unit or heater to the system if needed. Plastic cisterns in the basement instead of burying them in the backyard.

Speaking of other crazy ideas, another possibility which has got me thinking is to extend the basement all the way to the back of the property line and then place a patio above it in the backyard. This would give me more below ground living space and potentially allow the rooftop entertainment space could be shifted to the backyard to allow more grow space on the roof. New construction in the region follows a similar structure to maximize living square footage on a lot. This could allow me to add a 3rd bedroom to the basement and potentially an alternate entrance to more easily meet code egress requirement and increase air circulation. Of course shifting bedroom space to the basement brings up the question of what to do with 2nd floor bedroom space. I could just increase the number of occupants in the house, but then we're going to have to dedicate energy to heating and cooling those 2nd floor bedrooms. Systems will also have to be larger to accommodate more people. I'm not so sure I want to live in a commune.

* = I have a feeling that some kind of active heating like woodstove or masonry heater will still be necessary to keep the ground floor hospitable during winter months on cloudy days when I can't benefit from passive solar. Ditto if the 2nd floor bedrooms are occupied during winter months.

** = it seems these people exist in other large cities based on what I've read in some journals on here like J+G's. My hesitation is because I haven't met many of these people in my life yet due to living in more rural areas away from city centers.

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Alphaville
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Re: White Belt's Military Journey to FI

Post by Alphaville »

white belt wrote:
Sun May 09, 2021 2:56 pm
@Alphaville

I was mostly joking in my comments with regards to keeping masses away from my stockpile. A bunker is not my primary design motivation.

My primary motivation is energy efficiency with an eye to creating some kind of scalable retrofit model.
oh! i'll put it in the churner and see what it spits out.

but you still want 3 apts possible yes? or just 2?

--

ps if you wanted to run it a bit like a punk house (or my grandparent's house) then apartment units are irrelevant & bedroom # matters more. punk house model (well not exactly, just similar: commune or co-op or dorm i guess) would allow you to select eco-minded roommies to run the whole machinery of the thing. a bit like a ship, too... scotty in the basement :lol:

white belt
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Re: White Belt's Military Journey to FI

Post by white belt »

Alphaville wrote:
Sun May 09, 2021 5:26 pm
oh! i'll put it in the churner and see what it spits out.

but you still want 3 apts possible yes? or just 2?

--

ps if you wanted to run it a bit like a punk house (or my grandparent's house) then apartment units are irrelevant & bedroom # matters more. punk house model (well not exactly, just similar: commune or co-op or dorm i guess) would allow you to select eco-minded roommies to run the whole machinery of the thing. a bit like a ship, too... scotty in the basement :lol:
I am unsure exactly what I want at the moment but I still have a few years to figure things out. In college I had 6 roommates in a house with 2 kitchens and 7 bedrooms and we got along great (we are all still good friends to this day). However, I'd say my college friends would more fall into the category of yuppie-in-training than punk. I did have some more artsy/punk friends as well, though I never lived in a house with such people.

I've lived in a studio the past year but my new living arrangement is in a house with 2 female roommates and the older landlord who has an apartment in the basement that he occasionally spends time in. Therefore, once I leave full-time employment I'll likely have a good idea of the level of privacy I want. If I want more privacy, then I might look into multi-family housing and live in something like the studio basement apartment while renting out the upper floors. This isn't exactly a co-op model, although I suppose it would still be possible to foster some type of community.

The most ecologically and economically sound arrangement is to have a co-op house like you said. There are many of those in the city with 3-4 floors of living space and 7+ bedrooms. I'm not sure yet if I have the skills and/or patience to live with a bunch of punks/hippies, although I may feel better once I spend more time in those social circles. The problem with being in a STEM-related high paying career field (and also in the military) is that it tends to attract a certain type of person, so nearly everyone I interact with falls on spectrum between yuppie and good ole country boy.

I admit, I am very interested in the idea of a multi-generational household. I'm unsure if my parents would be open to such a thing and it would require some adjustments on their part, but on the other hand I think they would enjoy the socialization.

white belt
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Re: White Belt's Military Journey to FI

Post by white belt »

I've been thinking a lot more about my diet and how I could further tweak it to fit into my web of goals. First off, it's clear that eating high protein and tracking my macronutrients has been hugely beneficial. It's taken the guess work out of nutrition for me and helped me to transform my body. So that habit will be staying regardless with how I modify food composition.

Protein is still the biggest challenge, but also the biggest opportunity. Animal protein is expensive and has a high environmental impact, but some animal protein is necessary to meet my nutrition goals. So therefore I've come up with the following breakdown:

Protein sources
-Breakfast – 3 eggs and ½ cup yogurt
-Lunch – soybeans
-Workout - Whey
-Dinner – meat/fish (5 ounces)
-4th meal – 1.5 cups yogurt

The above is the upper limit of what I want to chance on soy intake. The quantity of soybeans I'd eat for lunch would be something like 2-3 normal servings, which is within range of what has been studied and shown to have no ill health effects. There is some evidence that going super high with soy intake (especially with things like soy protein powder) can start to have some strange effects on the body.

Some of you may look at that and still think it's incredibly high consumption of animal protein, which may be true but keep in mind my constraints require me to eat ~170 grams of protein a day, while sometimes keeping fats and carbs relatively low. There are also limitations on how much fiber the body can take in, which is why I opted for soybeans as my plant protein of choice because they are among the densest. 5 ounces of meat a day puts me at about 50% of the average of meat consumption for the typical American. I plan on making my yogurt at home from milk using Alphaville's instructions, because otherwise eating nearly a gallon of yogurt a week is not very economical. It seems pretty straightforward so it'll be one of the first projects I do at my new location.

The other reason I like this meal plan design is I can scale it to more homestead/labor-intensive/resilient as needed. So right now my eggs might come from the store, but at some point I'd like to transform grains (maybe even "waste" like spent brewer's grains?) into quail eggs at home. Maybe someday I can transform some grains and also all my garden waste to goat's milk. This would make me much less reliable on the industrial food system (yes I still would need at least some grains as input for animal feed, but I theorize that in my lifetime if grains are being rationed in the USA, then we are in some serious shit. At that point I'd probably tweak my system to further reduce animal protein anyway.)

The meat and fish can also be acquired through other sources. Hunting one deer would give me ~50% of my meat/fish for the year, so the other 50% could come from fish I catch or grow in some kind of aquaculture setup. There's also the opportunity of hunting or trapping smaller game that try to eat my crops (squirrels beware), but that is not legal in most jurisdictions at the moment.

Speaking of aquaculture setup, I've been thinking more about that. I posted before about my thoughts of a backyard sized system:

I'd like to do some testing with a small system this summer, likely in one of those 25 or 40 gallon stock tanks from tractor supply or maybe a sawed off 55 gallon drum. My system will focus on minnows because they are omnivorous, fast growing, and widely available. As small fish, it also means I can eat 100% of their weight and get the micronutrient benefits of all those small bones. Initially, I'd like to attempt a low-energy requirement system that maybe goes something like this:
white belt wrote:
Thu Dec 24, 2020 4:24 pm
Since my last post, I have discovered this channel and I think I'm going to try it instead of an indoor system when the weather gets warmer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_x1AJeasYg

The basic idea of the system is that the tank sits outside and sunlight grows algae and duckweed on the surface. Those plants filter the water and absorb nutrients from the fish waste, and the fish in turn eat the algae/duckweed. Mosquitos and other insects put their larvae in the tank and the fish eat those. Rainfall provides the same effect as a water change with a few overflow holes drilled near the top. I can position it next to my vegetable garden bed so the overflow fish poop water can help fertilize my plants. No power required. I'm unsure of the stocking density that such a setup can support and how to balance the fish population with the plant population, but I will experiment (I may have to resort to growing duckweed in a separate tank and feeding it to the fish). The test will be if I can get the minnows to breed without supplemental feeding, although I have faith because of the high protein content of duckweed. Experiments on duckweed as fish feed have only been conducted on larger omnivorous fish like catfish, tilapia, but not on smaller fish who eat traditionally lower on the food chain. Minnows require water temperature above 65 degrees to breed and take about 3 months to reach maturity, so I can probably only get 2 cycles in during warmer months in my area and take the system offline during colder months.
I'm not super smart on fluid dynamics and fishtank design, but I think the system could be further improved by having the new water come in from the top and the old water drain from the bottom. I'd have to set up some kind of siphon or similar system so that the water will only start to drain out when it hits an overflow point (seems possible if I set up a bottom draining system). In the zone 7 regions I am interested in, average monthly rainfall in summer months is 4 inches. Doing some simple math, this would mean in a typical summer month I could replace 18 gallons of water with rainfall just from the surface of the fish tank (not accounting for evaporation losses). Obviously this could be enhanced by piping rainwater from a nearby shed or greenhouse roof. I think in an ideal world I'd also set up some rainwater barrels that would store water in between rains, then empty them into the fish tank in between rains (hard to automate without power). The unknowns are how much fish density I can support with such a system. Things of course get simpler if I just install a solar powered pump and DIY biofilter (I might do this anyway since solar powered versions are readily available).

Dave
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Re: White Belt's Military Journey to FI

Post by Dave »

Hey White Belt. Just wanted to pop in and say I've been enjoying your journal.

Like you, I've been in the process of trying to adjust my relatively high protein diet - at least compared to say WFPB diets - to be more environmentally friendly while also supporting a modest amount of muscle growth. I target 145g of protein per day and get there 50% by plant protein powder (I use NutraKey VPro), 33% by legumes, and the balance through nuts/seeds/potatoes/rice/vegetables. I don't love this solution as I don't like having such a high portion of my protein not be a whole food, nor do I like the plastic containers (although I've emailed the company to suggest using the non-plastic bags as other companies have started using), but it's where I'm at.

Your comment about multi-generational living and your interest in living with your folks struck a chord with me too. My wife and I are about to move back to the Midwest we are going to be living with them indefinitely (assuming it "works"). There will definitely be some adjustments all around, but there are substantial benefits across numerous areas to all (financial, environmental, social, aging with dignity, etc.)

Related to the above, I plan on getting back into hunting and look forward to substituting some of the plant protein powder for venison and to a lesser degree other smaller game like squirrels/rabbits/turkey/doves. Hopefully we are both able to integrate this into our systems.

I look forward to seeing how your journey plays out!

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Re: White Belt's Military Journey to FI

Post by Alphaville »

white belt wrote:
Sun May 16, 2021 1:41 pm
The most ecologically and economically sound arrangement is to have a co-op house like you said. There are many of those in the city with 3-4 floors of living space and 7+ bedrooms. I'm not sure yet if I have the skills and/or patience to live with a bunch of punks/hippies, although I may feel better once I spend more time in those social circles. The problem with being in a STEM-related high paying career field (and also in the military) is that it tends to attract a certain type of person, so nearly everyone I interact with falls on spectrum between yuppie and good ole country boy.
hahah i couldnt live with 7 hippies because cant stand the smell of patchouli, but yeah it takes some skill or maybe just being accustomed to share space with others (eg in dorms, barracks, etc). i think it's easier when one is younger and more malleable, after a certain age people become set in tenir ways, friend groups split into family formations, and not everyone wants co-housing. but it's very possible for unrelated adults to cohabitate, not necessarily punks or hippies. could be congresspersons, eg see the youtube with chuck schumer's capitol hill house.

people just need to have common goals and some sort of "rules". as usual, the biggest problem is social. since you have years, and this is a goal of yours, it's worth studying the issue.
white belt wrote:
Sun May 16, 2021 1:41 pm
I admit, I am very interested in the idea of a multi-generational household. I'm unsure if my parents would be open to such a thing and it would require some adjustments on their part, but on the other hand I think they would enjoy the socialization.
it could be like my grandparents house (one big house, fun) or it could be like everybody loves raymond (adjacent nuclear houses, hell) :lol:

i think maybe with all these possibilities the real key could be the architecture rather than the housing format.

eg finding a way in which one could convert and reconvert the insides with relative ease as time requires. eg start with large group house, then convert to apartments as people move on/want privacy, then reconvert to group house for multigenerational, then apartments again for real rental harvesting, etc... a bit like... how the pompidou center works.... there the pipes are all outside and they move the inside walls where they want. you cant do that in an old house but.... eg if you had common plumbing walls running down all 3 levels you could have a kitchen on one side a bathroom on the other... or a bathroom on each side on the top floor, kitchen in the midle level, basement tbd.... etc. lots of options, as long as it's modular/movable. eh, large office buildings work like that too. eh, decades from now it could even get rezoned to commercial.

of course 3 kitchens would need major electrical upgrades but probably for the best because old wiring is crap.

this is an interesting architectural problem...

white belt
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Re: White Belt's Military Journey to FI

Post by white belt »

Ok here's another crazy idea I've come up with. As mentioned in my previous post, I am interested in somehow fitting aquaculture or aquaponics into my systems. My issue with intensive aquaculture, especially aquaponics, is that it requires constant electricity. However, I think I may have come up with a solution that would allow for running a system without electricity.

To start, I drew some inspiration from a gray water system in RetroSuburbia:

Image

As you can see, you basically have a stepped system so you can gravity feed gray water through a variety of solids and biological filters until eventually using it to water a tree. I envision a similar system, however the open water pond depicted would actually be stock tank with fish (maybe something 300 gallons from tractor supply). Instead of the pond overflowing from the top, it would drain from the bottom to suck up more solids and dirty water into a 2nd shallow tank that is growing duckweed on the surface (potentially I'd add a DIY biofilter prior to the duckweed tank to absorb solids). Duckweed thrive on the high nutrient load of the poopy fish water, then the overflow of the duckweed tank could go to a traditional tree/bush like depicted above.

According to Rainwater Harvesting by Lancaster, a typical household with low flow appliances will still generate something like 300 gallons of gray water a week (from sinks, shower drain, washing machine). This means in a typical week, I'd be accomplishing a 100% water exchange for a 300 gallon fish tank without needing to use any energy. I theorize that this would allow me to stock the tank to something like 1 lb of fish per 6 gallons without having to worry about toxic nitrate levels for the fish. I am most unsure about whether further aeration would be needed. I suspect the gray water traveling through several natural "filters" should be heavily oxygenated. Additionally, the gray water should be pretty clean once solids are removed since at no point is it sitting stagnant (provided only fish friendly materials are going down the drain of course). The duckweed could then be scooped in to the fish tank to feed the fish, so the system in theory is mostly closed loop.

I think if you have the infrastructure, this idea trumps my previous one of using gutters to exchange fresh rainwater in the system during storms, although technically there is no reason I couldn't do both. The idea of the system is that it would exist in the 5-6 warm weather months, which also happens to when a gray water system would be active in my region. Stocking density is tricky to calculate but I'm pretty sure there are commercial aquaculture operations that exchange with pond or river water in a similar way so more research is needed.

white belt
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Re: White Belt's Military Journey to FI

Post by white belt »

A quick update:

I'm getting settled in at my new location and am almost ready to get going on some of my projects. So far the location is very walkable so I do believe I will be selling my car once I take it on one last rode trip and make a repair. I'm hoping to fetch $3k for it which would be pretty good considering I bought it for $4k 5 years and 50k+ miles ago. I still have to inflate my bike tires tomorrow, but the plan is commuting will either be bike or public transit.

I used FB marketplace to buy a popular Ikea chair at 25% of retail and man is it so cool how the internet makes it easier to get pre-owned stuff instead of having to buy new.

So far my roommates and landlord seem fine. I am going to see if the landlord will be ok with me putting a small container aquaponics set up in the backyard to proof of concept my minnow and duckweed idea. I'm thinking I'll use a 40 gallon tuff stuff stock tank, 5 gallon bucket solids and biofilter, 2W airpump, 3 gallon bucket DIY pneumatic ejector pump, and a clear shallow plastic container to grow duckweed. Fish will be Rosy Red minnows from pet store ($.15 each) or regular minnows from bait shop. The plan is to see if I can feed them off of the duckweed and get them to breed over the summer. Then I will try harvesting and eating some of them. If the system works I can scale it bigger in the future. You can read more about my ideas here: viewtopic.php?p=243555#p243555

I'd also like to maybe put in a rain barrel off of one of the gutters, but 55 gallon barrels are strangely expensive here ($40 for used food grade).

Projects on my list:
-cook soybeans (starting with pan frying)
-make yogurt (following Alphaville's instructions)
-fix airbag issue in car
-sell car
-aquaponics setup
-start sweet potato buckets
-start microgreens system (will do in 2 weeks)

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: White Belt's Military Journey to FI

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

Used cars are scarce and prices are way up lately. Be sure to check KBB, etc.

white belt
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Re: White Belt's Military Journey to FI

Post by white belt »

Soybeans have been cooked, yogurt has been made, airbag issue has been fixed in car (I posted those updates in related threads).

I checked my net worth today and I'm rapidly approaching $400k. My asset allocation looks something like this:

38% - Stocks
18% - Commodity Trend Following
17% - Precious Metals
16% - Bonds
12% - Cash
2% - Crypto

I feel a bit of a disconnect between my assets and daily life. I get the concept of FU money in theory, but due to my career field I've never been able to feel it in practice. Money can't buy me freedom at this juncture because I'm contractually obligated to serve for another 3 years. I understand that having financial resources will help me in the future but I just don't feel it now if that makes sense.

It's not right to say that I don't feel rich. I make more and spend less than most of my peers. I live a life of absurd comfort and lavishness, even compared to the life I was living a few years ago. It's more like I haven't really figured out how to transform my financial resources into anything meaningful. I think I would feel it more if I stopped working full time and lived off my savings for a while. I also think I crave access and optionality, which I know is how the upper class utilize their wealth. I'm still figuring it out.

Living in my new location has forced me to confront some of these thoughts for the first time. I have a good friend from college who lives here in a similar socioeconomic bracket (I believe his income is a bit higher than me, but after taxes might be the same). He has the new mustang and the fancy apartment, although I think he is actually somewhat frugal by nature. I think he legitimately is making more money than he ever knew what to do with so he decided to spend it on some things he wanted as a kid. He's come to realize that I have a lot of money saved by doing the simple math of looking at my income and how much I spend on housing and transportation. He asks me what I'm going to do with all that money and the truth is I really don't know. Sure I have ideas of early retirement and pursuing other passions, but I don't exactly know if that will bring me happiness. For almost the past month I've been free of work responsibilities and yet I'm not so sure if I'm content. Certainly less stressed and enjoying my time, but I don't think I've determined exactly what I need to do for some kind of self-actualization.

white belt
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Re: White Belt's Military Journey to FI

Post by white belt »

Alphaville wrote:
Mon Jun 07, 2021 4:00 pm
find out what the generals are playing and get to work on it. golf? :lol:

but yeah, i hear ya, if you're good at something you're good at something.

nevertheless, that's just gonna be a bunch of dudes. dudes at work, dudes at play, dudes all day :P

branch out and maybe take ballroom dancing lessons or something. just a suggestion.
I'm not a fan of golf unless we're talking the mini or putt putt variety. I have a few friends that play golf but it's not really my cup of tea. Too technical and has too high ongoing cost requirement with green fees, country clubs, transportation, etc. I do like the idea of a leisure activity that gets you outdoors in nice weather and gives you a reason to get together with friends/colleagues.

Pretty much every hobby I've ever participated in has been dominated by dudes. In high school I mistakenly thought that playing music would naturally lead to female interest (this was not the reason I picked up the guitar, but it was certainly seen as a nice side effect). I played live a few times, but never got proficient/confident enough to be in a band or anything like that. One doesn't interact with any girls while they are practicing guitar alone in their bedroom and I quickly realized that going to jazz or blues jam sessions is just another male dominated space.

Actually, thinking back to high school brings me to my evolution as a person. I was a nerd in middle and high school. Although I did participate in sports, I wasn't good enough to earn any popularity points from my athletic prowess. I can think back to a period of when I was on the football and basketball team in 7th grade when I believe the social hierarchy was being established and I briefly was allowed into the jock/popular kid circle. I didn't continue with those sports the next year so I was left behind. High school was mostly me focusing on music, so I hung out with the band kids and the more artsy types. I was definitely a bit socially awkward due to extended period of time spent at home with solitary/nerdy hobbies. This was further fed by my natural disposition for introversion, although in my adult years I have since become much more extroverted.

During college I grew socially a lot through lots more interaction. I tried to branch out into some other things like dance and gymnastics, but it just didn't really resonate with me. My lack of passion would show if I was doing an activity just to meet women.

So where am I going with all this? Well, what years in the military did to me (starting in college) is force me to grow a lot as a person. I become much more confident, assertive, dominant, physically strong, mentally strong, and so on. My peers in the Army were much more the jock football captain types than the nerd types I hung out with in high school. I learned how to navigate that world and hold my own.

That brings me to dating life today. I'm in a bit of a weird space in that I'm trying to decide who is my target demographic for dating. Traditionally it has been the more artsy and nerdy girls, so if I go for them I believe my perceived conservatism/Trumpism due to my career is eliminating a lot of them. If I go for the more mainstream jock/popular girls, I'm probably not going to find ones that vibe with my anti-consumer/environmental beliefs. It's further complicated by my preference for traditional female beauty standards. I don't expect a girl to be made up and perfect all the time, but I also find the hippie/permaculture girls who never wear makeup kinda lacking in physical attraction. I also like girls to be somewhat physically fit since I am, but that can be hard to find in the nerd/artsy demographic.

Looking more at my social life, my life has traditionally been all dudes all the time due to male dominated career field within even more dominated male dominated career field (infantry then IT in the military). The twist now is that I currently have two female roommates and there might be a third female roommate that will lease the remaining bedroom. My existing roommates are pleasant, but I get the vibe they are just as or more introverted than me. They are also a few years older than me. They are quiet to live with, but not exactly centers of rich social networks as far as I can tell in the first few weeks (also because the city is majority transplants anyway).

There are recreational co-ed sports leagues so that might be my best bet since I like being active and some competition. Thanks for coming to my TED talk.

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Re: White Belt's Military Journey to FI

Post by Alphaville »

white belt wrote:
Tue Jun 08, 2021 3:37 pm
Thanks for coming to my TED talk.
lmao! that was a good ending.

sounds like an interesting evolution.

i grew up as a nerd too, but then there were girls! and so, ooof, i had to make big efforts. huge! but girls were worth it.

i was painfully shy too-- and i still on occasion get tongue-tied at the sight of a... goddess. yeah... fully dumbstruck, to this day. they know it's the greatest compliment tough :D

anyway, i won't do a ted talk of my own, but yeah... coed sports is a nice place. i'll have to add... try not to get too competitive or become dickish, because that's a frequent nerd fail that loses friends and alienates people. it might go unnoticed within competitive teams who have the need to win, but it can be like a turd in a punch bowl around people who are out to have a good time, or just people with a strong sense of fair play. so keep an eye on the social waves...

pm to follow

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Re: White Belt's Military Journey to FI

Post by white belt »

My time off work has been useful for some reflection.

One thing I'm trying to figure out is where I go next on my life journey. If I had to talk in ERE WL terms, I believe I am somewhere around WL5. My projects over the past year or so have mostly been focused on skill development and building resiliency. Those have largely had a positive impact on my life as they have changed my perspective a bit on where food comes from. These are things like container planting (although not really successful), microgreens, soy processing (still work in progress), and so on. I think once I have figured out how to make my own tempeh and stockpile some more staples, I will have largely optimized my diet to what is possible at the current juncture.

But this brings up the question, how far do I want to go down this path? COVID prompted me to take a closer look at the resiliency of my food and investment portfolio. I was reliant on a constant supply of fresh meats and vegetables to eat. I had everything in stock and bond indexes. I'm still reliant on meat and vegetables, but I have increased my use of grains/legumes because they store more easily than perishables. Microgreens mean I can have a constant source of fresh leafy green vegetables created at home, which is also valuable. In terms of investments, I've restructured my portfolio to something more closely resembling the Permanent Portfolio or Dragon Portfolio.

One thing I also realized as a started to really focus on preparing all of my own food was that I sometimes use meals prepared by others as a way to break up monotony or boredom. This is indicative that I probably need a little more variety in my recipe rotation, so I've added a few new recipes to my list of things to try. I don't know if I will ever eliminate meals eaten at restaurants from budget because they do serve an important social role in the consumer culture that is all around me. My goal, which I've been mostly successful at, is to never eat food prepared by someone else alone.

The next tier of food resiliency, as I see it, would be to move to even more production happening at the household level. This would be things like fruit trees, potatoes/vegetables in the garden, and maybe even livestock (bees, quail, or aquaculture). Those are a bit more labor and resource intensive then the food preparation I've been doing so far which largely consists of combining stockpiled ingredients into meals. I think I will put these more advanced topics on the back burner for at least a few months so I can finish out the previous stage of tasks. I could actually see a universe where my landlord might approve of a quail cage or aquaculture tank on the property if I've sufficiently prepared him for it.

This increased resilience isn't a path to self-actualization, at least I don't think it is. I assume I'm eventually going to get to a level of resilience that I feel comfortable with given my perceived risk, so at that point I'm not quite sure what I would do. In a similar vain, I'm a little worried I might be using ERE or 1 JAFI of expenses as some sort of end rather than a means to an end. The more I read about climate change, the more I feel guilty for having a high consumption lifestyle, yet I'm not entirely sure if I've figured out suitable replacements for that. In my mind, I would like to have a life doing X that also is resilient, low carbon footprint, etc but I'm still trying to figure out what X might be.

I do know from living frugally that I don't need to spend a lot of money to have a baseline level of satisfaction. In a few years when my time in the military is complete there is the very real possibility that I'll have to figure out what (if anything) to do with the $600-700k+ I'll be sitting on. How do I turn money into value in my life? Is it even possible?

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Re: White Belt's Military Journey to FI

Post by Alphaville »

white belt wrote:
Tue Jun 08, 2021 5:45 pm
How do I turn money into value in my life? Is it even possible?
i think the question you're asking is... what should you do with your life?

do you wanna be an eco-farmer? or do you wanna do something else, and then have your quarter acre farm?

and if something else, then what is X?

this is a bit of pop psychology but... why not have a look anyway, start with something, see where it might lead: https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/ca ... ore-values

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Re: White Belt's Military Journey to FI

Post by white belt »

Alphaville wrote:
Tue Jun 08, 2021 7:54 pm
i think the question you're asking is... what should you do with your life?

do you wanna be an eco-farmer? or do you wanna do something else, and then have your quarter acre farm?

and if something else, then what is X?

this is a bit of pop psychology but... why not have a look anyway, start with something, see where it might lead: https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/ca ... ore-values
Well if I look back at patterns in my life, I'm fairly certain the things I enjoy most are pursuing mastery in some subject (learning), solving problems, and tinkering with systems. Obviously these are possible to do in a wide variety of activities. Right now the subjects I pursue outside of work are weightlifting and various new cooking techniques. The system I tinker is my own lifestyle "design".

Earlier in life I had some ideas about doing something I find valuable to society, but I have lost a bit of enthusiasm for that after so many years serving in the military and the cynicism that comes from age and experience. I also had ideas of practicing guitar for many hours a day to become a professional musician.

I don't think I want to be an eco-farmer. Rather I'd like to have a productive urban homestead that I am a part of, but I don't want it to be a full time job. That's where I think something like landlord in previously mentioned urban project might be a viable path that checks some of the blocks. I'm not sure.

There's some risk that I am just filling my time with useless things because they give me the sensation that I am learning or improving a system, rather than being something I actually want to do. This is a hard thing to confront in our consumer society where many people just focus on obligations like job and family so they don't have time or energy to consider such philosophical questions. In some ways I wonder if this problem isn't dissimilar to say a billionaire trying to figure out what to do with their life when they have more money than they know what to do with. I think Jacob talks about at a certain point money is like a water spigot; always there, turn the knob when you need it, stop the flow when you don't.

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Re: White Belt's Military Journey to FI

Post by Alphaville »

white belt wrote:
Tue Jun 08, 2021 10:51 pm
Earlier in life I had some ideas about doing something I find valuable to society, but I have lost a bit of enthusiasm for that after so many years serving in the military and the cynicism that comes from age and experience.
[…]
There's some risk that I am just filling my time with useless things because they give me the sensation that I am learning or improving a system, rather than being something I actually want to do.
if you've lost your ideals it's no wonder you feel like you're killing time with useless pursuits. which, yeah... the ends are not the means. you're developing means without ends.

but if you could put aside the cynicism for a moment, and ask yourself what is it that you find good and valuable in the world--what would be the answer?

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Re: White Belt's Military Journey to FI

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Re your dating dilemma, the best answer would be to try to find somebody(s) who, like you, have advanced in maturation towards inhabiting more than one table in the lunchroom. Equally important would be self-aware differentiation between seeking value vs validation in relationship. That said, you might have to stretch yourself a bit towards being a little more honest and open than the tit-for-tat of, for example, “I want/deserve somebody who is fit because I am fit.” IOW, you might need to more clearly explicate all that you would value about fitness in a partner. For example, can you imagine yourself saying (if this was true for you) something like “It has been my experience that grasping a muscular thigh at the point often triggers a very strong orgasm for me.” or “I enjoy seeing the envious looks on other people’s faces when I am out in public with a female partner who is as fit as me.” or “ I like spending quality time with a partner and many or most of the activities I enjoy require a certain level of fitness.” , a mature, differentiated partner will be better able to hear you and decide if she is willing to ante up that which you value/desire. OTOH, if you don’t know yourself well enough to break it down in this manner, then the process of “shopping” isn’t going to find it for you either.

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Re: White Belt's Military Journey to FI

Post by mountainFrugal »

@7Wannabe5's advice is excellent. Defining "why" will help you get there faster.
Co-ed sports/games are a great place to find a partner that is into fitness. If you have not thought of it, there are "nerdier" sports out there that might get you closer to finding someone that were describing. Examples of sports that I have noticed have a larger proportion of nerds: ultimate frisbee, ultra-distance running/cycling/triathalons, sand volleyball, xc-skiing, and the ultimate nerd sport...orienteering.

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