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Re: 17 Weeks To ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 3:19 pm
by classical_Liberal
2Birds1Stone wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 9:00 am
A few recent Ted Talks I've watched confirm my bias ;)
I could use some of that! Care to link a couple you found "helpful" in confirmation bias?

Re: 17 Weeks To ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Posted: Sun Feb 24, 2019 9:47 am
by 2Birds1Stone
classical_Liberal wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 3:19 pm
Care to link a couple you found "helpful" in confirmation bias?

There's a few I found recently. Hope you enjoy.

Life Update

Going through a lot of ups and downs lately.

@bankai, I do occasionally supplement with Vit-D, but not as much as I probably should. I'll give it a shot, and buy some more when I go to Aldi after the gym today. The past few weeks have been rough, where I feel like most of my time is still spent at work/thinking about work. I feel like very little of my time is my own. Luckily the days are getting longer and the weather should warm up in another 5-6 weeks. I'm hopeful that this is the last winter I have to live through in the Northeast without a prolonged escape to warmer climates.

Financially we've been kicking ass. February will prove to be another absurdly low spending month (for us), and the market returns have brought me up to over 30x barebone expenses.

Reading "A Man For All Markets" right now, it's a damn interesting book. Still only ~80 pages in, but I'm intrigued and can't wait to finish it.

Training/diet has been going ok. I've gotten a lot stronger in the gym with weights, but my body weight is still range-bound 209-211 90% of the time. Going to make a concerted push with increasing cardio capacity/workouts along with more mindful caloric consumption. I would like to get back under 200lbs by the time MTB season is back in full swing.

Happy Sunday Funday Y'all.

Re: 110 Days To ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Posted: Mon Feb 25, 2019 12:26 pm
by 2Birds1Stone
Morning Weight - 208.2
7 Day Average - 209.6
Training - resting today. Yesterday was a fantastic gym session focused on barbell press, and a fast short run outside, which resulted in an all time PR of 7:05 in the mile.

I've been sleeping like absolute dogshit since my return from the last business trip. It takes me hours to fall asleep, and I wake up constantly tossing and turning, this results in feeling like I'm hung over in the morning, despite consuming no alcohol since Thursday. I recently gave up cannabis, so that may have something to do with it, though the last time I partook, was nearly 10 days ago.

I totally forgot to purchase Vit-D at Aldi yesterday, but did stock up on a LOT of groceries for $40. That place continues to be my favorite for regular grocery shopping. SO is also on a health kick, which makes eating healthier at home a lot easier, and we are less likely to sabotage ourselves with happy hours/meals out.

Getting back in the swing of "normal" work routine was tough this morning, last week was a wash thanks to business travel for internal meetings. Getting more and more restless, but the stronger my finish before leave, the more likely I am to be welcomed back if I chose to want to do so........

Re: 106 Days To ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Posted: Thu Feb 28, 2019 1:22 pm
by 2Birds1Stone
February Financial Recap

*Baring major market shifts by EOD

$118,700 Rollover IRA
$20,500 401k
$113,800 Taxable
$103,810 CD/MM
$60,000 Roth IRA
$12,500 Ag Holdings
$11,100 Vehicle Equity
$20,000 HSA
$9,600 Au Holdings
$470,010 Total Assets (+$19,010)

$550 Rent/Utility
$81 Groceries
$177 Entertainment
$670 Car Insurance (6 months, hopefully last time paying this!)
$50 Health/Hygiene
$23 Misc
$71 Gifts/Charity
$1,622 Total Spending

$1,310 Salary
$8,932 401k
$127 Commission
$2,494 Other
$12,863 Total Income

87% Savings Rate

$17,049 - Actual expenses, last 12 months (currently 27.57X, or 3.63% WR)
$14,400 - Actual bare-bone, last 12 months (currently 32.64X, or 3.06% WR)


Monthly Combined Tracking

$2,276 - Combined Spending
$15,103 - Combined Income

85% Savings Rate

Combined NW = $576,000 (+$24,000)
Combined Spending = $35,500 (based on last 12 months)
Combined WR = 6.17% (16.20 x annual expenses)

Financial Musings

Good month overall. The markets returned some decent gains and we both managed to get our tax refunds. Record low combined spending means our TTM spend is down to $35.5k.......impressive (to me, ha!).

I continue to be leanFI as long as the market doesn't tank too badly. The graph is getting cooler to see as those lines diverge.

Spending in March/April will be VERY high thanks to planned purchase of two international airline tickets, I'm a groomsman in 2 weddings in April and need to rent tuxes for both (non traditional, I own a black tux), and a few other planned expenses that will skew the numbers a bit.

I maxed out my 401k for 2019 with todays paycheck, and I'm officially out of tax advantaged investing space for the year. This was a pretty large carrot on the stick for staying with my current gig. Next one is May 15th, which is only 75 days away. That carrot is a potential commission/bonus payout based on the work I'm doing currently. I think I can make it, as long as the bullshit factor doesn't exceed early February.

Non-Financial Stuff

Ran 30 miles this month (might do one more today to beat January)
Only lost .5lb (better than a gain!)
Weights 15 times! And it shows with strength gains!
58 miles walked
0 miles cycled (need to get on this as weather warms up!)
194 hours worked (YIKES!)

Non financial musings can be summarized by the two conversations I had with my grandparents today. I try to call my grandpa (94) and grandma (90) every two weeks or so. In speaking with grandpa, he's stoked to have us visit this summer. Already planning some shenanigans at the cottage where we spent our summers gardening, biking around, and being typical curious kids. The opportunity to enjoy some time with him while I can is priceless, and I'm dead set on my leave of absence, which if doesn't work out as planned, I'll just quit. After speaking with him, I called grams. Let he know that we are super close to buying tickets and getting everything solidified. When she asked when/how long we are coming for, her voice got excited, and she commended me on placing family/life over work. My dads been a workaholic his entire life, and at 63 he's not letting up. His health is starting to deteriorate, and for as long as I can remember my grandma has been begging him to slow down, take more time, etc. He only visits the motherland ~2 weeks a year, despite easily being able to afford to do longer and more frequent trips. She told me how important it is to put life above work, and how happy she was that I'm not slaving away like my father. It was a sobering conversation, and solidified my sentiments towards the whole exit strategy I'm sharing with you over the coming months/years.

-2b1s, over and out

Re: 106 Days To ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Posted: Thu Feb 28, 2019 2:36 pm
by Seppia
Great read - your conversations with grandparents.
It's crazy how consistently the advice of people approaching the end of their life journey involves "more living": it has been one of the main reasons why I started pursuing ERE

Re: 106 Days To ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Posted: Thu Feb 28, 2019 11:56 pm
by Viktor K
Gave up cannabis? Come on now, maybe you're taking this ERE thing too far.

Re: 103 Days To ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Posted: Sun Mar 03, 2019 11:08 am
by 2Birds1Stone
@Seppia, my grandparents are a huge inspiration in this regard. Unfortunately most people don't realize these things until it's way too late.

@Viktor, the $ saved is just a bonus. I'm trying to focus more on athletic performance. I've also been curious to see how quitting could impact my short term memory. Either I'm losing my mind, or just getting old =p

Morning Weight - 210.0
7 Day Average - 208.6
Training - hitting the gym for squats + deadlifts + run in the afternoon, rested yesterday.

March is off to an expensive start!

Friday we hosted friends, who brought the booze, while we supplied food/snacks. Was a FANTASTIC time :)

Was in NYC yesterday to celebrate moms birthday, future SIL's birthday, and my brothers and her engagement. We went out to a really cool restaurant which was 55 miles from home, and end up costing $70 (we split the check). After dinner went to a cafe and had some tea, cocoa, and coffees, which added another $10, plus a small gift for $10, and gas =P Ultimately a drop in the bucket vs. income. But will make up a large part of discretionary spending for the month.

This morning I stocked up on some groceries at Aldi, and have to do a few loads of laundry after the gym. We're supposed to get hit with some snow, so I'm looking forward to a lazy afternoon of reading and drinking a leftover beer from Friday :)

On our way to NYC yesterday. We stopped at the local REI store, to get SO fitted for hiking shoes/trail runners. Found a pair that fit her, and she's asking for them as a bday gift from her parents. While there we priced out some stuff we would need for our eventual AT thru-hike, and I can't believe how much $$ decent lightweight gear costs. Time to start hunting second hand stuff!

Re: 17 Weeks To ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Posted: Sun Mar 03, 2019 1:57 pm
by giskard
These videos were super good. Thanks.

Re: 101 Days To ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Posted: Tue Mar 05, 2019 11:58 am
by 2Birds1Stone
Glad you enjoyed!

This was a REALLY good video on the Te Araroa trail in New Zealand, by a very creative guy who thru-hiked it last year.

I rarely watch regular TV/Netflix anymore. Been soaking up YouTube content on van/bus conversions into campers, living FT in RV's/Sailboats etc, thru-hiking, bikepacking (this one has intrigued me recently, I just can't get over the danger of cars), etc. This is mainly to get me through these last few winter weeks before we thaw out and I can spend my time outside as much as possible.

Work is getting increasingly difficult to slog through. There's almost no motivation outside of the financial gain right now. Luckily I haven't been traveling much, but "working from home" in the winter is still meh. Plus, I actually miss the social interaction at my old job/office. Lately I see my friends once a week, and during the week I'm either by myself, or with SO. Not having a job would mean being able to travel to warmer climate and avoid the whole winter up here. The company is not making it any easier. Most recently I've been getting dicked around on compensation for some business I'm working on. If I do ultimately get screwed, then there will be 0 guilt in coming back after LoA and retiring in place.

My next and final carrot on a stick is May 15th, where all would be revealed on the situation in previous paragraph. Not withstanding a rage-quitting situation in the shorter term, only a max of 101 days left!

Training has been going incredibly well, most recent highlights....

Squat - 315 x 5
Deadlift - 415 x 5
Benchpress - 265 x 4, 3, 3

Going to keep the weights here and work on volume over the next 3-4 weeks. My joints are telling me to slow down and take some time to adjust to heavier lifting.

Weight loss is still stalled around 209 lbs. Once the weather warms up, I expect activity to go waaaaaay up and this to go down relatively quickly.

Re: 99 Days To ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Posted: Thu Mar 07, 2019 1:24 pm
by 2Birds1Stone
We are now in the double digits!!!

When I pay for my two tux rentals in the coming week, we will be at $3,900 in spending on the Barclay Card\
I would try to get a job for 5 months in 2020, just to max out 401k/Roth IRA/10-12% Fed tax bucket, before embarking on our much longer adventure through Europe/SE Asia for 9-12 months starting ~June 1.

After that, it's too far out to predict, but either back to work for a bit if the markets are in the shitter (or we spend way more than anticipated) or maybe roll right into a thru-hike of the AT in spring of 2021.

Ya, that's what my next ~2 years will look like, more or less.

Morning Weight - 209.0
7 Day Average - 209.2
Training - 1 mile warmup run, squats 315 x 3,3 & deadlift 405 x 5,5.

Quick gym session before work today. working from home, decent workout load (~6 hours). Lent, what I plan on giving up.....and my not so sarcastic answer was 50% of my workload from February. Peter Gibbons is semi-back.

Re: 99 Days To ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Posted: Thu Mar 07, 2019 1:45 pm
by Salathor
Great lifts! I'm the opposite side: 6'2" and trying to get my weight up past 145, where I've been my entire adult life. The last year of (mostly) regular lifting got me up to 158, but winter, several weeks of toxic air related to wildfires, etc., derailed me. Getting back to it now, I hope!

My anticipated goal is similar to yours, business wise: I'd love to get 3-4 months of work a year, maybe with a municipal government, that's enough to fund 401k/457s.

Re: 99 Days To ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Posted: Thu Mar 07, 2019 2:24 pm
by classical_Liberal
Thanks for the links above, I haven't had a chance to watch them yet.

Jesus dude! You are so close!!

Re: 96 Days To ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Posted: Sun Mar 10, 2019 11:42 am
by 2Birds1Stone
Hey Salathor. My younger brother is 6'3" and ~180 pounds. He always struggled keeping weight on, and I was always jealous because I was a chubby kid with severe self image issues (a story for another day). The grass isn't necessarily greener on the other side, and it took a long time to understand that.

Lifting is important, but overall weekly/monthly caloric surplus is what will ultimately get you there. Just like weight loss, going off the plan for a few weeks can undo quite a bit of work. If you did lift consistently for a year, muscle memory should get your strength and lean body mass back to that 158 level relatively quickly compared to the first time getting there. From there it's time to forge into unknown territory. Stop by and let me know how it's going in the next few months!

You're welcome c_L, it's good to document here, because I will likely reread this page in a year or two and re-watch them.


Rainy morning here. I passed out yesterday before 9 PM and woke up at 8 AM this morning. Clocking in a cool 10 hours of sleep, which for me is very rare. I also dreamed, A LOT (though not remembering specifics). SO is working till 2 PM, after which we may go for a run if the rain stops, or hit the gym together if it's still wet. Possibly a trip to the library to grab another movie, or some more reading on the agenda this evening.

After a nice breakfast I hand ground some coffee beans and made a French press full of dark roast coffee, during which I went down a rabbit hole of semi-ERE, sabbatical, and lifestyle design threads on the forums. I'm slowly realizing that my decision on when to pull the plug (or not) is slowly decoupling from my net worth. Financially, it would take a very tragic series of events to reach a failure point even without a job at this point. I'm trying to give myself permission. Logically it's a no-brainer, emotionally much harder to do.

My biggest non fixed spending line item this year will be the two weddings we are attending in April. I regretfully agreed to be a groomsman at both, much to my friends delight. The costs of a wedding are in-fucking-sane. Especially since one of them is a destination wedding 1200 miles away. Never again.

In fucking around with my excel sheets and projection models, I've realized that any projecting past 12 months is now basically useless. So many unknowns lie ahead in the next year, I can only focus on the here and now.

Gym yesterday for upper push. Hit 265 3x4 on bench press, so progress hasn't stalled just yet. I know that I cannot progress in a linear fashion much longer.

Re: 96 Days To ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Posted: Sun Mar 10, 2019 7:13 pm
by MidsizeLebowski
You're in a great spot, agreed that it's more psychological for you at this point and think you're being plenty conservative if you have any notions of engaging in activities that might lead to income in the future (ie willing to work intermittently to benefit when market in the shitter) and foresee yourself continuing to be satisfied with the lifestyle that's led you to your current TTM spend.

Those are great lifts, check out ... ing-guide/ if you're interested in the next steps after linear periodization caps out for you. I have no affiliation with that site, it's just where I send my buddies for the exact info I'd have given them when they ask me to write programs and I have doubts they'll execute what I spend time writing :lol:

I read your journal front to back over a handful of sittings this past month, thanks for being so consistent with it!

Re: 91 Days To ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Posted: Fri Mar 15, 2019 2:58 pm
by 2Birds1Stone
Hey Midsize! Glad you enjoyed the ride, I'm sure my bitching got annoying in the 2018 posts =P

Appreciate that resource! I've actually run specialized programs in the past, like Smolov for squat, and Smolov Jr. for bench/deadlift. Sheiko is another one I enjoyed. I was into PL into early 2016 and at one point has a 335lb paused bench, 600lb deadlift, and 455lb squat @ 210-215lb bodyweight.

Mid Month Update

7 Day Average - 209.6 (no weight lost)
25 miles ran
2 books read
9 lifting sessions
31 miles walked
0 miles cycled

Financially ok month. I have a few big purchases next week related to two weddings I'll be a groomsman in, in April.

In more exciting news, we hit the minimum spend on SO's Barclay Arrival Card ($800 travel credit)

Work has been ok. I managed to work a normal 40 hour week from home this week, which was nice. Next week involves a drive to the DC area, and some other trips into NYC

Re: 91 Days To ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Posted: Fri Mar 15, 2019 3:53 pm
by classical_Liberal
I may be more excited than you are for your jumping off date!

Re: 91 Days To ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Posted: Sat Mar 16, 2019 2:41 am
by Seppia
Yup same here, lots of trepidation :)

Re: 90 Days To ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Posted: Sat Mar 16, 2019 5:04 am
by 2Birds1Stone
Ha! maybe so, as my exuberance has faded a bit over the past month or two.

Several factors that have contributed to that. One, being that I have more agency over my time lately. With the nicer weather just ahead of us, this means I get to enjoy many hobbies and activities in between my work obligations, even mid week. The weather has been more conducive to getting outside lately, and with daylight savings ending, the days have gotten much longer, thus I feel happier and more content naturally.

Reaching barebone FI levels has reduced the stress and anxiety associated with feeling like I need to accumulate more assets. At these levels, $50k in either direction won't change my lifestyle much, if at all. I think the combination of extremely demanding period of work stress/travel in Q4 of last year + the declining markets resulted in feeling like the goalposts kept getting further away. Now that they are right in front of me, there is a calm I can't quite describe in words.

I'm still very excited about this upcoming time off, but I've shifted my focus on trying to live my best life now, even while working these last few months. The discussion in the mini retirements vs. ERE thread is very relevant to me. I've internalized the fact that I can walk away at any moment (even if it's not forever) and be just fine. Now it's about spending my time in a way that aligns with my values and interests. I agree with you, c_L about the on again/off again approach being the best of both worlds, and am becoming less and less interested in part time work. I would rather have full agency of time for a period, and then go back to a more "normal" 40 hr workweek intermittently until I genuinely have enough assets to draw 3% and maintain a lifestyle that sustainable and fulfilling without the need for any future work.

The one thing I have to be honest with myself about pertains to the below. I've mentioned this in a post somewhere in the last few months, but my current TTM spending is somewhat artificially low due to a) no lumpy expenses b) sickness/healthcare costs c) employer subsidized lifestyle (healthcare, travel, eating out on an expense account, etc). Truth be told, I can see myself enjoying a $25-30k/yr lifestyle when I factor in costs like healthcare, travel (not the shoestring budget type), and paying for more "mainstream" experiences in order to not alienate myself from some parts of society that I would still like to participate in. BUT, that's where side hustle/PT work income can make up the difference, so we go back to choosing to trade time for money in order to fund things that align with values/interest.
MidsizeLebowski wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 7:13 pm
foresee yourself continuing to be satisfied with the lifestyle that's led you to your current TTM spend.
Sorry for the rant, with seemingly no real point. Just a brain dump at 5 AM on a Saturday morning. Hope everyone has a good weekend ahead.

Re: 90 Days To ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Posted: Sat Mar 16, 2019 5:18 am
by 2Birds1Stone
One other thing that has quelled my excitement a bit, is the fact that while I am teetering on the edge of ERE as an individual, as a household we still have a ways to go. It's still a constant mental struggle of whether to pull the plug or keep grinding to be able to get to FI as a couple. I've searched the forums (both ERE and others), for discussions, advice, and anecdotal evidence of different approaches to this, and similar situations. My SO's job prospects have not improved much in the past year, and she continues to be underemployed. Without me subsidizing her lifestyle, it would take her a solid 15 years on current trajectory to reach FI, and while still an accomplishment in and of itself to do in your early 40''s not exactly conducive to some of the plans we've dreamed up in the past few years. For me, taking a year or two off work would be no big deal, and mean I would draw down a relatively small portion of my net worth, for her it would be a significant portion of hers. Building those reserves back up for me would take just one year of work at a similar income to what I have now, while it would set her back years with a lower income and resulting savings rate. Sure, I could pay for everything in the time we took off, but then this goes down the whole power dynamic in the relationship, and ultimately creating a huge imbalance that I don't want to amplify over time. I've been extremely supportive of her during the past year and a half, but I'm just not sure how to best help. It's almost like I feel guilty for my own career trajectory and relative success. We've talked about it openly in the past, but the conversations never lead to any real changes in the situation. It's something that's on my mind much more often than I would like, and I don't see any light at the end of this particular tunnel.

*ETA - please don't quote this post, I'm not sure I want to keep it up here in public.

Re: 90 Days To ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Posted: Sat Mar 16, 2019 9:22 am
by Cheepnis
I'm much further off from FI than you, but in a similar situation. My GF doesn't share exactly the same FIRE goals as I do, but this is only her first year of "the grind" after finishing grad school and I think a couple more will get her on board. She is also underpaid and her job provides her much stress. We've had the talk too, she knows my general trajectory and plans, and we're pretty much on a "you do you" agreement at this point. But I'm unsure how tenable that will be when I'm not working (or working very little) and she still is. Or when I want to go slow travel for months and she can't.

Bridges still to cross, so I feel you.