Semi-ERE Year 3 - Wanderlust Prevails

Where are you and where are you going?
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Bankai
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Re: Semi-ERE Year 3 - Wanderlust Prevails

Post by Bankai »

Please don't jump on the 'delete my journal' bangwagon - yours is one of the most interesting ones :)

As to numbers - I agree, I think there are 2 main reasons to post them: 1) expenses - to keep yourself accountable in public & 2) NW/income - to track your progress while showing others what's possible (inspiration/motivation). Once to hit your 'number', 2) is no longer relevant as you've completed chapter 1 of the journey. However 1) still matters, especially if chapter 2 is different (like yours - travelling etc.). But I totally get why some would not be comfortable posting numbers at all, especially once they hit 6-figures+. I remember there was a journal using made up units - it still managed to show progress while keeping actual values disguised.

Scott 2
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Re: Semi-ERE Year 3 - Wanderlust Prevails

Post by Scott 2 »

1 in 5 US households is worth half a million dollars or more. I don't think the numbers discussed here, coupled with the enormously anal retentive attitude of most members, makes for a great target. Obscurity is not security. Wealth is easily guessed from other factors, even IRL. People need to take reasonable measures - locked credit, active account monitoring, distinct complex passwords, two factor auth, etc. I think most here do.

If I was a precious metals guy, I suppose I wouldn't advertise holding large amounts. But, honestly, people into physical metals seem to have a prepper bent - a strong affinity for firearms and desire to use them. For that juice to be worth the squeeze, I think you need to be talking far bigger numbers than found here. The dumbasses on youtube, showing off their gold stacks, I do think are making themselves targets.

I am very interested in what you get up to, now that you don't have to work. One of the real short comings of the online retirement community, is that people figure things out, then disappear. Their life is just about to get truly interesting, and *poof*. Maybe it's as simple as tending a backyard garden and doing some woodworking, but that's the good stuff. What does the producer's life become?

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Bankai
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Re: Semi-ERE Year 3 - Wanderlust Prevails

Post by Bankai »

Scott 2 wrote:
Mon Feb 08, 2021 4:23 pm
For that juice to be worth the squeeze, I think you need to be talking far bigger numbers than found here. The dumbasses on youtube, showing off their gold stacks, I do think are making themselves targets.
Like that guy with $24M diamond in his forehead? It's like putting a bounty on your own head...

https://www.standard.co.uk/insider/cele ... 18660.html

Western Red Cedar
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Re: Semi-ERE Year 3 - Wanderlust Prevails

Post by Western Red Cedar »

Just jumping in to say I really, really hope you don't get rid of the journal. I completely understand scrubbing some of the details on finances (I've thought about doing that myself), but there is tons of valuable information here. You have such a cool and inspiring story. It's only going to get more interesting in the future.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: Semi-ERE Year 3 - Wanderlust Prevails

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

@Bankai, I'm not planning on deleting my journal. Too much good content and advice from others! Without the context of my posts, it would be gibberish. I owe this place a lot for the education, inspiration, and motivation to step outside of comfort zone over the years. If this journal is some way to pay it forward, then it's not going anywhere.

RE: the numbers, while I agree with you.....and personally enjoyed sharing the monthly updates, it doesn't feel necessary anymore. Maybe I'll start a new monthly recap that's not so specific on NW numbers, but will share monthly spend and some rough SWR info. I think we're ok without needing public accountability on spending, since that seems to come naturally now, but it might help others.

@Scott, while I don't doubt that's true. I bet if you look at statistics, out of those households worth $500k+, most of that wealth is tied up in a primary residence and other illiquid assets. Definitely think it makes for less of a target, though if I were trying to find a mark, a forum like bogleheads would probably be better, as not only that community much wealthier on the asset side, they're insured up the wazooo. Would like to keep the journal going, but have to think about how much I want to share moving forward. I'm just as curious as you are, wrt where we end up. The more interesting thing imho will be how long this next short stint of accumulation lasts.....moving 1000+ miles south has scratched the wanderlust itch for now, but it surely won't last.

@wrc, thanks for the kind words. Things should be very interesting in the months and years to come, and the plan is to continue sharing.

I think the easiest solution will be to use multiples of trailing twelve month spending (TTM) and hypothetical withdrawal rate (WR) of current portfolio to track progress moving forward. eg;

End of 2016
NW = 6.7X TTM Spending
WR = 14.9%

End of 2017
NW = 10.1X TTM Spending
WR = 9.9%

End of 2018
NW = 13.8X TTM Spending
WR = 7.23%

End of 2019
NW = 21.5X TTM Spending
WR = 4.65%

End of 2020
NW = 48.4X TTM Spending
WR = 2.06%

Feb 1, 2020
NW = 44.2X TTM Spending
WR = 2.26%

For anyone new, the progress above is mainly from decreasing spending drastically over the past 5 years, the spending is going up significantly over the next year, and should normalize somewhere around a 4.5-5% WR on current portfolio, which is why we're in the Semi-ERE mode for now.

ajcoleman22
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Re: Semi-ERE Year 3 - Wanderlust Prevails

Post by ajcoleman22 »

Based on this website (https://dqydj.com/net-worth-percentile- ... ed-states/) $500,000 without home equity puts you in the top 84th Percentile.

Are people worried about being dox'ed? Is that why information is being scrubbed? Has this happened to people recently?

ItsALongStory
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Re: Semi-ERE Year 3 - Wanderlust Prevails

Post by ItsALongStory »

I think the approach of going with multiples and percentages is more of a fair comparison and keeps it less specific for the OP. Otherwise it turns into a race for lower spending/lower WR and this just avoid any churn like that.

Laura Ingalls
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Re: Semi-ERE Year 3 - Wanderlust Prevails

Post by Laura Ingalls »

I haven’t posted any numbers but I have made charts of various types of assets for my own amusement. I like pie charts. I had thought about posting them in my journal as percentages not absolute values.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: Semi-ERE Year 3 - Wanderlust Prevails

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

Minimalism, nomadic life, the future......

While 2020 and now 2021 have gone far from what we had planned, the general lifestyle goals we had, are more or less being accomplished. Our year long trip was supposed to end with us returning to work, and using the lack of roots and geographical ties to try living somewhere new. The bonus so far, has been the ability to both find remote jobs. I never would have dreamed that we could balance working and slow traveling. Spending one to two months per location has some pretty great benefits, as does being able to fit 90% of your possessions in a compact vehicle.

It's pretty wild actually. Right now we have 2 carry on suitcases, 2 hiking backpacks, 2 smaller day packs, and 1 bin which contains all of our crockery, cutlery, bathroom/kitchen accessories, coffee making supplies, and some dry goods. Outside of the car we have a sturdy bike rack and two bicycles.....and that's literally it.

The biggest thing we are currently missing is our camping gear. It couldn't fit, at least not without buying a roof top storage/ski box. Even then, our sleeping bag is a monster, weighing like 20 lbs and taking up the space of a small adult human. Between that, and the car being almost entirely packed with what little things we have, brings me to my second thought. We would greatly improve our resiliency by replacing the vehicle we currently have with something that would allow us to sleep inside in a pinch, while still being able to keep our possessions inside of it. I keep coming back to a van as being the most practical solution here. In good situations, we really need a car mainly to move between short term accommodations, with very little driving once we are at a location. This vehicle then could be used for short side trips, and a hard shelled tent in inclement weather. I also worry about inevitably getting into situations where an AirBnB doesn't work out last minute, and having a place to crash would be sweet. Having our camping gear with us would also provide short term housing solution in many scenarios.

If we were to suddenly lose our jobs, it would make an excellent adventure vehicle.

The problem is, right now with Covid, the price of used cars in general, and even more specifically vans are insane. Ideally we would like to spend <$7,500, with a few $k set aside for maintenance/repairs. Need something reliable for long trips with tight timeframes due to work schedule.

For now our car will do, but need to come up with a plan-B incase this sucker bites the dust.

AxelHeyst
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Re: Semi-ERE Year 3 - Wanderlust Prevails

Post by AxelHeyst »

How do you feel about a lightweight, small trailer? Like a teardrop, or perhaps slightly bigger? Way less of an investment than a van, and it allows you to literally decouple your shelter from your transportation. If the car needs to go in to the shop or totally bites the dust, you can tow the trailer with a rental to a safe camp spot and have your setup pretty much carry on as usual while you figure the car solution out.

Western Red Cedar
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Re: Semi-ERE Year 3 - Wanderlust Prevails

Post by Western Red Cedar »

One of the beautiful things about the lack of a pressing need is you can wait for a while until a solution presents itself. I imagine if you stay in the region for a couple months, without putting to much stress on your car, you might stumble on a great deal for a van or adventure vehicle.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: Semi-ERE Year 3 - Wanderlust Prevails

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

@AxelHeyst, I like the idea for sure, and for boondocking out west it would be a legit setup. Here it's a bit more complicated, as we plan on staying in short term rentals while we work. Parking a trailer in random urban/suburban areas worries me from a theft standpoint, and places like our current housing (gated community) with a HOA might not even allow it. The car we have now would have to be replaced either way, to find something tow worthy. This thing has a ton of deferred maintenance and and no hitch or anything to aid with towing.

The reason I like vans is that it's a single unit, and getting from the operating area to the sleeping area does not require exiting the vehicle. So in urban areas it's stealthy. I keep going back to the lack of parking spots for vehicle + trailer in many places we've traveled to.

Luckily, as WRC points out, we have time. I'm keeping my eyes out for opportunities for unique replacements at a bargain. The right one will manifest itself for sure. When the time is right, we will know.

Work, life, and what's next....

While admittedly being able to work from home and get out of the cold and NY winter has made work more tolerable this year, it's starting to really feel like work again. Being in the southeast, with basically perfect weather, has brought back a sense of missing out on other activities due to a full time work schedule. This is partially BS, because even with the 40 hours of work a week, there is a ton of free time left over with little other responsibilities and lack of commute. So until I can take advantage of the free time outside of working hours, the constraints are largely in my own mind.

Our weekends have been pretty awesome since we got here. Have been able to get out and do more in the past 3 weekends than the previous couple of months up north. Have spent quality outdoors time with family and friends, have gotten to enjoy a taste of normal social life thanks to the abundant outdoor recreation and dining infrastructure. Plenty of MTB, beach, daily sunshine, and working by the pool at least a few hours each weekday.

We've found our next housing, from mid March until mid April. A bungalow that's 20 minutes by bike from one of the nicest beaches in FL.

After that, we're looking at making our way up the coast a bit to the NC mountains for a month or so.

Returning to the feelings about work, it's something I need to keep a close eye on. After being completely burnt out once, I imagine that full blown feeling could return more easily a second time around. This weekend I will reach the first financial milestone at work, hitting the end of my "sign-on bonus" period, and having pay for the rest of the year essentially cut in half. This will not help my motivation to keep going.......which is purely $ driven at this point. Since the markets are looking extremely frothy, and I don't have a great plan B or C right now, will keep going and take it one week at a time. It's good to formulate a plan though........

2Birds1Stone
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Re: Semi-ERE Year 3 - Wanderlust Prevails

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

March 1, 2020
NW = 41.0X TTM Spending
WR = 2.44%
Feb savings rate = 80.5%

Frugalchicos
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Re: Semi-ERE Year 3 - Wanderlust Prevails

Post by Frugalchicos »

Dang, didn't read you for a while and now you are in Florida. Good for you.

You got me thinking about deleting numbers and so on... I might also reassess the info shared online

2Birds1Stone
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Re: Semi-ERE Year 3 - Wanderlust Prevails

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

@Fc, in hindsight, it was a great move. Then again, Ego made a comment few pages back.......we tend to find the silver lining in most situations.

The biggest benefit has been outdoor time. We walked ~130 miles, mountain biked 52 miles, and weight lifted 10 times in February. On top of that, I would say we spend ~30-40 hours per week outside in the fresh air, vs. ~10-15 back up north.

re: The numbers, I just went back and scrubbed the monthly updates with hard $ values. If someone wants to comb through other threads and posts here to find specifics, I'm sure it wouldn't be too hard.....tbh at this point in the journey the exact $ values are almost meaningless.

DW and I always update our combined monthly spending, savings, and investing for the month together. This usually spurs some good conversations about goals, trajectory, and lifestyle design tradeoffs. She's encouraging me to take work day by day but also consider that working another 3 months would increase resilience from a labor law perspective (eligible for various benefits should we lose our jobs unwillingly), as well as adding enough of a bump to the length of employment to take attention away from the gap in the CV. A smaller but not completely insignificant benefit is that my health insurance is ~$450/month cheaper, than being on her overpriced plan. This won't matter if/when we leave the USA for a while. She plans on working for at least another 6-12 months, especially if her employer doesn't try to get her back into a physical office.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: Semi-ERE Year 3 - Wanderlust Prevails

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

An update is in order, especially since today marks a year since we departed on our adventure.

So much has happened in the past 12 months, most of it unplanned, yet here we are making the most of things while looking toward what the near future brings. Our plans beyond June are thwarted by the uncertainties surrounding Covid restrictions on travel to the EU. As soon as things open up and start to normalize we are heading across the pond. For now we will follow spring up north and see where the weather takes us.

Last week was very stressful from a work perspective, and I was day dreaming quite a bit about earlier in 2020 when there was no j-o-b. Between the markets continuing their climb, unusually frontloaded income for the year, and this upcoming stimulus check, we're getting the travel fund built back up. One week at a time. My next work milestone is in 11 weeks, where I vest in UI and FMLA benefit eligibility. That's a nice carrot on a stick.

FL has been amazing. It's been warm and drier than usual. Getting a ton of outdoors time, bike rides, walks, and sunshine. Don't think I'll ever want to spend winter in a cold/dark area again. We're need to start figuring out what area to hit next, AirBnB demand is shooting up with vaccinations.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: Semi-ERE Year 3 - Wanderlust Prevails

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

Musings

It's been quiet here. My forum time dropped off quite a bit in the past few weeks, as the weather has been incredibly conducive to being outside.

We've been busy on the weekends, exploring the surrounding area, visiting with more family in other parts of the state, and trying to take advantage of 70's and 80's in March. Some notable excursions in the past few weeks included a solo 60 mile bike ride on my fatty.....the longest to date. Then 5 days later DW and I did a brewery tour on bicycle followed by lunch and the beach, she pulled off 30 miles without much complaint. The beach is 10 minutes by car and 30 minutes by bike from our cottage. Acclimated to the area well, there is everything we need in walking distance. The area is well connected from north to south by bike paths. Amazing :) Living here without a car and just an e-bike would be very doable, biking with pure leg power when it's 90-105 degrees doesn't sound too fun though.

In two weeks it's moving time, and we have yet to pick a location/state/city/etc.......Either going to extend here for 4 more weeks (but rental market is tight and prices high) or venture up the east coast somewhere halfway between where we hope to end up in May.

Hoping that Portugal opens back up soon, as that would be our first choice in early June, followed by Poland.

Speaking of those two places. We are debating to become home owners. Excited and terrified at the same time. The goal within the next 5 years is to have several bases that we could utilize or leverage based on opportunity. We're thinking of a small flat in Poland where my family/friends are located, and another flat or small dwelling in Portugal. The climate there would be conducive to something "alternative" like a tiny home, thought a flat in a mid sized city could be fantastic too. The third base would likely be somewhere in the USA, but we do not have a clue which part until we spend ample time exploring.

Depending on situation in the EU, we hope to be scouting a specific location in either PL or PT this summer/fall.

This is not a financially optimized decision, carrying costs will be significant, although not crazy if we utilize the spaces most of the year, and/or figure out a simple way to rent it. We have already began looking at the logistics of purchasing and owning residential real estate in both countries.

Stasher
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Re: Semi-ERE Year 3 - Wanderlust Prevails

Post by Stasher »

From fat bikes to housing, spring is getting both the physical and mental wheels spinning for you :D
It is nice to see the digital nomad nature of the return to the work force is allowing you some fresh experiences across the country while being back in the work force. No matter what you do, please look after yourself with the alarming rises of Covid variants which are far to unfriendly in pretty much all places right now.

Yes forums are on the quiet side here and MMM which makes sense as the days are so much nicer and longer allowing for more time spent outdoors for many.

Western Red Cedar
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Re: Semi-ERE Year 3 - Wanderlust Prevails

Post by Western Red Cedar »

Nice to hear about your future plans. The great thing about you both working is that you can afford a slightly higher monthly rental to maintain some flexibility and an optimal location. The trick is not getting too accustomed to the lifestyle though, as I'm sure you are aware.
2Birds1Stone wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 3:35 pm
Depending on situation in the EU, we hope to be scouting a specific location in either PL or PT this summer/fall.

This is not a financially optimized decision, carrying costs will be significant, although not crazy if we utilize the spaces most of the year, and/or figure out a simple way to rent it. We have already began looking at the logistics of purchasing and owning residential real estate in both countries.
I'd suggest prioritizing the first purchase in the location you are most excited about, or that offers the most flexibility (such as through short-term rental or proximity to family). You may rethink owning multiple bases, and realize that one base with some extended slow-travel is plenty.

My parents have owned two properties now for the last 30 years. The rural homestead is only an hour away but it is definitely a lot of work keeping two places going. I have a lot of friends in a similar situation with lake properties. It's great in theory, but they need to spend most of their summer weekends at the lake to justify the additional expense and maintenance. I always have a great time with them, but they tend to forego other opportunities and get locked into a certain kind of lifestyle that revolves around their property ownership.

Giving yourself five years seems reasonable to sort all of this out though. Looking forward to hearing about the upcoming months!

2Birds1Stone
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Re: Semi-ERE Year 3 - Wanderlust Prevails

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

@Stasher, nice to see you finally participating on the ere boards :)

DW and I are definitely blessed to both work completely remotely for the time being. Once that's no longer feasible it will be time to look for the escape hatch again, for now we have some new found motivation to explore and stack some coin for RE purchase. We're still being super careful. The reason we came down this way is the ability to lead a fairly normal outdoor lifestyle, and so far it hasn't disappointed. The infrastructure and service industry is designed to cater to people wanting to be outside. Soon as summer roles in the days will get hoooot though, that's when it's time to dip. Almost our entire social circle should be fully jabbed by end of May.

@WRC, yea the flexibility while one or both of us work is pretty rad. 2020 was an experiment in extremely low consumption. Our combined spending was something like $16.5k for the whole year. We used "social capital" which interestingly enough was brought up by J+G in the ERE Wheaton scale chart thread. Bringing costs down creatively by leveraging community and mutually beneficial arrangements like house/pet sitting, work for stay, etc all become much more feasible when you don't have a schedule to follow and can stay in one area longer, or at least build up that capital first, then return to an area where such arrangements are possible. I guess what I'm getting at is that we know that if work didn't require a certain style of travel/accommodation/connectivity then our costs instantly drop by an order of magnitude. Ditto for being able to leave the country. Right now we're searching for our next spot, and due to "revenge travel" by people who were cooped up for 12 months, AirBnB demand is through the roof. The areas we are looking at are all $2-2.5k/month for something that's located close to outdoor activities without relying on a car + good season/weather + large enough with good internet for two WFH professionals to work out of. That's insane by ERE standards, but it's not like this is money going toward consuming "things" or even "experiences", this is just the cost of flexing the FI muscle and using our resources to make the most of this shitty situation. Then you add $500/month for employer subsidized health, dental, vision insurance and that's an annualized $36k a year on housing and insurance. In the EU we could spend 50% of that, ditto for the USA if we stayed in one spot for 12+ months (with ACA).

The way I'm looking at it, the more expensive months while doing this work+travel thing are going to sting a bit in absolute $$ terms, but despite that we are still adding to the portfolio a bit. The cheaper months have the potential to hit 50% savings rate.

The moment we settle in one area, leave the US, or stop working and can leverage alternative living arrangements (vehicle, woof, car camping etc), our expenses should theoretically drop right back down to ~$30k/yr range without much effort.

Edited to add: Have several thoughts and anecdotal experience regarding second bases but no time to share them right now. Will try to later on today.

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