Semi-ERE Experiment - Month 1 - "The Transition"

Where are you and where are you going?
2Birds1Stone
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Re: 65 Days To ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Wed Apr 10, 2019 1:35 pm

Howdy, trailblazer. I really appreciate your input.

I'll start with this, since it sets the tone for the rest of the post. My most sincere intentions are somewhere between option b) and c), I do think that there are some valid reasons to return here and see things out till next June. The culture has to improve, they will lose too many good people and have to get their shit together, or else it will be an easy choice for any competent colleagues of mine. I have to be employed there in August to receive commission on any Q2 business I close, and September to get my first chunk of vested equity. Beyond that, I can play it by ear and decide if jumping ship to another company makes sense for 6-8 months, or some other PT arrangement until we are ready to take that round the world trip next June.

In the event that I am successful lining up a job with another company, perhaps something lower stress and workload (wfh), and can negotiate a start date after my return from Europe. I will cut the chord cleanly with current company and not need FMLA. The FMLA is to ensure I have guaranteed employement when I return. I want that option, as mentally it will let me decouple from the system for a while without worry as to what's happening with the markets, or dealing with going from accumulation to a 3-4% draw-down immediately upon returning.

Rage quit is a last option. And honesty up front really takes away any power I have in this situation. My FMLA reason is extremely valid, and no one can fault me for taking it, if my intention is in fact to return to work, which it is. Upon returning, if things don't get drastically better, I will have the power and leverage to make moves that I otherwise would not be able to returning unemployed.

I plan on doing the right thing, only if my hand is forced, will I have to look out for what's best for my family and I.

classical_Liberal
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Re: 65 Days To ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Post by classical_Liberal » Thu Apr 11, 2019 1:37 am

I guess I didn't realize you were so dead set on returning after the European sabbatical. That being the case, I very much agree with @trailblazer. I think if you don't deal with your employment situation beforehand, it'll be a big thorn in your side while you are supposed to be relaxing and definitely when you return. Upon return you will have less leverage because management will no doubt be irritated with the fact you took the time off. I used to work in sales and very much understand the "on 24/7" aspect of the job. That will not work in your favor, even while on leave.

When thinking about money, like missing out on 7K or Q2 commissions. I suggest you think differently. Not earning 7K is very different than spending 7K. You are mid-30's and make more than six figures, whenever you decide to fully ERE you are sacrificing multiple millions of earnings during your life. Such things shouldn't matter so much to you, if they do, it's always gonna be a problem. Remember, money is like tap water. If this work situation is like running to a well 20 miles away to get some clean water, when it's virtually unlimited from the tap, maybe you should rethink the situation?

2Birds1Stone
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Re: 65 Days To ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Thu Apr 11, 2019 4:43 am

Totally understand what you're saying, c_L

At the same time, I've already come to terms that to go from FI as an individual to FI as a couple, I/we would need to work an additional 3 years at current income/spending levels. And while $7k isn't much compared to my NW or income, it takes my SO somewhere between 6-7 months to save that amount. My thought process is, if I'm going to be location bound anyway, and if after 10 weeks I don't love the freedom so much that I just turn the leave permanent, I would have the option to go back to this income for an additional 9 months. This would put us much closer to being able to RE together (I could save/invest an additional 2 years of combined expenses in this time, right now we are 16x)

I'm not sure which thorn is worse on leave. The knowledge that I will be back in the work force when it's over (potentially, the option to not is always there), or full blown quitting beforehand and having that nagging feeling that I will need to figure things out for 9 months while I wait for my SO till next June and we take off for a year of world travel.

I'm clearly still afraid of letting go of a paycheck for now. I also wonder how I would feel over the summer if the market corrected 20%+ again after I had quit, vs knowing I can jump back in and dump money in for 9 months (or quit if it sucks at that point, and I've tasted freedom).

The 10 weeks was intended to be a genuine leave to spend time with grandparents who are close to end of life, and to experiment with not working for nearly 2.5 months. 9-12 months in Europe and SE Asia was always planned for start of summer in 2020. I'm sorry I've let you all down by being a pussy, for now.

TopHatFox
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Re: 65 Days To ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Post by TopHatFox » Thu Apr 11, 2019 9:16 am

Psssssssst, so was it worth it to save half a million before heading out on the road of adventure?

Or, if you could it again, would you go at it earlier?

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: 65 Days To ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Thu Apr 11, 2019 10:47 am

I'm sorry I've let you all down by being a pussy, for now.
Do what you need or want to do. There's no need to apologize or worry about what people here think.

classical_Liberal
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Re: 65 Days To ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Post by classical_Liberal » Fri Apr 12, 2019 1:13 am

+1 to what Gilberto de Piento wrote. You are the one that has to be happy and comfortable with your plans. I was just offer my 2-cents as a, somewhat, objective observer of the situation.

No matter what happens, I think having the time off this summer will give you a chance to clear your mind. After the time off, you may feel some excitement about returning to work. If that's the case, then problem solved. Work until your fed up again. My biggest point is that pretty much everyone who RE's young ends up working, or making money in another way again. Usually in pretty short order. So even though you are looking at your FI as a couple now, 16X spending, or whatever it is, is still a metric shit-ton of money given that more income down the road is all but assured. Because you will actually WANT to be doing something. Don't put too much pressure on yourself to do it in a way you don't want to now.

Personally, I look at it as, I either have to get into some new, interesting career at some point for 2-4 years, or I have to get into some type of lifestyle side gig for 10 or so years to make my numbers work. So I either have 16-18 of the next 20 years to fill in totality, or 10 years, plus a boatload of extra time in the other 10. I have tentative plans/dreams to fulfill for maybe 10% of that time. It's kind of overwhelming to think about it that way! Then I still have all the time a traditional early RE'er would have. I mean Jesus, how am I gonn'a fill all that time without making some money here or there?

CS
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Re: 65 Days To ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Post by CS » Fri Apr 12, 2019 7:54 am

I've found that I do miss working after about six to nine months. It is a much different animal when you know it is short term. I don't think (if you're like me) you'll hate going back again for a short stint to pick up more money.

I'm even considering keeping the old day job credentials currents, even if I made enough cash as a writer (which what I'm doing for fun and money). This means working one gig a year to do this. I'm extremely lucky in that this means working one to three months.

And yes, the whole FI stash is still there. I'm just not too keen to start pulling down on it yet. Psychologically that is a tough nut.

My experience has been that the most terrifying part is right before leaving a permanent job. And then you (the proverbial you) don't work for a few weeks... and the world doesn't explode... and you're not on the streets dying of hunger.

Jin+Guice
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Re: 65 Days To ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Post by Jin+Guice » Fri Apr 12, 2019 8:32 am

A pre-mature congrats on being RE. Did you hit your number yet or you hit it in 65 days?

I'll say what I always say. I think you should quit. If you're truly 65 days away from hitting your number then maybe tough it out for those 65 days, because hitting large long term goals is important, and you're only 2 months away. If sticking it out for 65 days is going to be so tough, why in the fuck would you go back?

There will always be a reason to earn more money. Kicking the can down the road is not a good idea. You sound really burned out. Most people are way more burned out than they think they are. Why not take an extra 3 months off when you get back just to see what happens? Experiencing freedom in your day to day life is much different than experiencing it on a day to day trip. If you are FI who cares about how much money you make per hour? The point is that you aren't required to trade your time for money anymore, so why is it still your primary metric? I'm not saying don't consider it at all, but don't put so much emphasis on it, put more emphasis on free time, low stress and enjoyment of the work/ workplace.

It's my opinion that you shouldn't be responsible for getting enough money so that your SO is also FI. I get that you are very serious about this relationship and it seems like you basically consider her your wife. I applaud you for taking into account the fact that she will be resentful if you are at home not working or off traveling the world while she is stuck in a job she doesn't seem to like. I don't think you're doing her any favors by doing her work for her though. I don't see how this won't build resentment on your end over time. Would she be more suited for a sabbatical style semi-ERE than you?

The deal I have with my girlfriend is just "I got you." My situation is not the same as yours, but this is how we resolve our different ideas about money and investments. The point is, if one of us loses our jobs and actually can't afford to pay rent or get food, the other person would cover it, while the jobless one gets their shit together. We both understand how unpleasant this would be for both of us and that if the jobless participant became seen as a mooch, they would be out the door. Would something like this work or help? You could also volunteer to pay for more than 50% of a trip that is really important to you to take. Again, I think this would build resentment over time, but if you don't think it would, it'd be better to pay for individual things that someone's entire retirement.

Anyway, you know my mantra. To me, you're so obviously burned out and need to take time off. I'm usually encouraging people with 5-10 years saved (in actuality this is a fucking shit ton) to do this, but in your case you're actually fucking FI. Pull that fucking trigger! Believe that you will be able to find the work you need later and probably end up doing something for money again anyway at some point in the next 60 years.

prognastat
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Re: 65 Days To ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Post by prognastat » Fri Apr 12, 2019 11:00 am

@J+G
I definitely tend to lean more towards your position on FI and relationships. I do think there can be some grey area though. Generally if your partner is just as invested in FIRE and cutting costs as you are and simply isn't able to achieve it as quickly as you are either because you just make a ridiculous amount of money or they for understandable reasons struggle to make a decent amount themselves slowing their progress I don't see anything wrong in helping them. If however your partner is either uninterested/far less interested in FIRE and isn't really wanting to put in the work either on the cutting spending or increasing income side of things then the story changes a little as this definitely can lead to resentment. If you are in the situation where you can't come to an agreement on your financial goals the only way to make it through that in my opinion would be to have separate finances and for both parties to accept that the other side has other goals and lifestyle and learn to be ok with that.

TopHatFox
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Re: 65 Days To ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Post by TopHatFox » Fri Apr 12, 2019 11:48 am

I dunno, you have 500K, that's a shit ton. You aren't getting any younger either, and I'm sure you can find a way to make at least a few thousand a year doing whatever. After a lot of thought, I think the main point of money is just to live the kinda lifestyle you want. If you are doing that, you're successful.

Maybe pay a professional financial planner like Joshua Sheats for what he suggests? He seems to have a strong family lean and has read just about every FI book out there, not to mention interviewed a ton of people from all ranges of net worth and lifestyles.

wheatstate
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Re: 65 Days To ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Post by wheatstate » Fri Apr 12, 2019 1:19 pm

From your apology on your job choice and summer plans...
Congrats on an awesome journey. You are doing a great job laying out options and coming up with a winning plan.

I think your FMLA plan is great to supporting your grandparents, traveling with GF and creating space for you, while also vesting for Q2.
Sabbaticals are rarely planned in the American corporate career path. After some time this summer, I am sure it will be clear what you want to do. Taking the summer sabbatical will create a break from working full time "forever" to going back temporary for 1 month to 1 year. We can do and handle a lot if we know it is temporary.

Thanks for sharing. Good luck with travels. TGIF.

Kriegsspiel
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Re: 65 Days To ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Post by Kriegsspiel » Fri Apr 12, 2019 1:43 pm

TopHatFox wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 11:48 am
Maybe pay a professional financial planner like Joshua Sheats for what he suggests? He seems to have a strong family lean and has read just about every FI book out there, not to mention interviewed a ton of people from all ranges of net worth and lifestyles.
:lol: His marketing works really well on you.

trailblazer
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Re: 65 Days To ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Post by trailblazer » Fri Apr 12, 2019 1:43 pm

wheatstate wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 1:19 pm
Sabbaticals are rarely planned in the American corporate career path.
Fully agree and it's a shame.

My concern in this case is that the sabbatical is not planned from the perspective of the employer. If in an FU situation, then may as well go for the leave. But I think it is at best a risky move if a longer-term employment/relationship is still being contemplated. It's potentially screws up a lot of immediate goals that fellow employees/supervisors are working toward. So I'd advocate as much advance notice/mutual dialogue as possible, especially since the future cash flow is not really needed. Even if shown the door, at least the quitting event was clean. (Who knows, maybe the leave will help the employer as they can keep 2Birds on the books and avoid making a difficult cut, or maybe the employer will naturally come around to the idea that a leave makes sense in this situation. But good to give them a mutual voice in reaching the decision.)

Nothing is owed to the employer, and the leave is a legal right. That said, there are leaves and then there are leaves. It is easy to imagine different family scenarios where any employer would say "dear god that's terrible take whatever time you need." While the desire to help grandparents is totally legitimate and understandable, I'm not sure this particular fact pattern will get as much natural sympathy to help smooth the way.

I'm very impressed with 2Birds achievement and he puts me to shame with his FI achievements at such a young age. No matter what he decides, I think taking the time off is going to be excellent. But in my gut, the end-game of springing a mandatory leave demand on the employer feels messy at best.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: 62 Days To ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Sat Apr 13, 2019 7:58 pm

@THF, to answer your first question......yes it was. It's too early to tell how the whole transition to living off assets vs. accumulating them will go for me, both mentally, as well as logistically. The $500k mark will be quite the milestone (if I get there at some point before taking off to be a nomad next June). Regarding your second post, I'm not really interested in working with a CFP. Plus, Josh would probably have me tithing a small fortune to his church ;)

@Gilberto, I'm not necessarily worried what people will think, I actually really appreciate the different perspectives and thoughts on this subject. At the end of the day I'll do what I feel is best for my family and I.

@CS, that terrifying point is right now for me.....this is all starting to feel real to me.

J+G, thanks on the congrats. I am not even sure what my "number" really is.....I crossed the point where 4% of my assets > 12 months of spending a few months ago. One large purchase, or a pull back in the markets could cause my to drift back the other way......and at the end of the day, even @Jacob recommends a WR closer to 3%.......I'm not too worried about hitting a specific number right now. More about cash flow and controlling expenses at this point. I basically do consider her my wife...we've been coupled and living together for 8.5 years, and got engaged in 2017. I got a lot of great advice from yourself and others on this topic last page of this journal.....I agree with your approach, pay for one off experiences etc, but don't just work 2-3 more years to fund her ERE. She's definitely on board, and very much into this whole thing, happens to have below average income, while I have above average income. Semi ERE is going to be a necessity for her, at least for the next few years :)

@prognastat, I'm really lucky that she's on board with this lifestyle and efforts in most areas of our life.

Thanks, @wheatstate. I truly believe these 10 weeks will be very telling.

@trailblazer, I totally get where you're coming from. In some ways I agree with your assessment, though my current situation at work is such that I feel 0 guilt executing the plan. The company I work for, has notoriously poor treatment of employees. Management cracks the whip and shits on people publicly when things are not to their liking. We've also doubled in size since I got hired 9 months ago, and hiring at that continued pace. My exit from the team I'm on will not effect them negatively in a significant way. Everything I am doing is documented for someone to pick up where I left off with minimal disruption. I'm certainly not looking for any sympathy from them. I will not even share the details of the FMLA with my immediate management. I'll deal directly with HR, the insurance company for state PFL, and anyone who *needs* to know.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: 61 Days To ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Sun Apr 14, 2019 1:33 pm

The past few days breezed by. The wedding was great, albeit expensive. Florida is amazing this time of year.

One great thing about van life will be the ability to follow the seasons and even local weather to your advantage. This morning I hit the gym for some weight lifting, came home, loaded the car, and headed to a local MTB trail. Put in a solid 14.5 miles on mostly black diamond difficulty trails. Burned 1500 calories....feeling it now ;)

MTB gives me a lot of time to think, since even in a group ride you're not really able to carry a conversation. I was thinking about the financial specifics of the next year, and how I'll manage my buckets of funds to minimize taxes, maximize cashflow, and still manage to sleep at night based on my risk appetite. Much like c_L I have mentally been using a bucket approach, but over the past year I've actually been investing and allocating the money in a way with makes it less likely for me to deviate from my plan. Until two months ago, 99% of my investments were locked up in either retirement accounts, equities in taxable accounts, physical bullion, and CD's. I had no short term cash reserves, by design. wolf made a very timely post about how he's thinking about his cashflows, and how the transition from accumulation and drawing down has to be tested mentally before putting it into practice.

Over the past two months I've been building that short term bucket. These are the funds that I will allow myself to spend on this portion of my financial journey. Separating these funds and earmarking them for the next X amount of time should alleviate any stress about the rest of the portfolio, and lack of steady income. End of March I had $9,200 to play with (~6 months expenses), the next two months should bring that number up to ~$20-24K (~14-16 months), all I would need/like to earn during that time would be to fund the following 9-12 months of world travel (another $18k or so). That would bring us to early 2021, without touching my 401k, Roth IRA, Rollover IRA, HSA, Taxable Brokerage, Bullion, or CD principal.

I'm starting to feel better about this whole situation.

classical_Liberal
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Re: 61 Days To ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Post by classical_Liberal » Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:48 pm

It's not only van life that lets you enjoy the best seasons in the best areas. Pairing down possessions and furniture enough to fit into an adventure vehicle, plus maybe small trailer, and you can pretty much move at will with very little cost (both time and money). Experience has taught me shorter term leases are harder to find, but always available. Although I haven't taken advantage of this yet, but my frequent moving for work has serendipitously set up a situation like this. The GF and I have talked about having multiple home base cities, where we could maintain social/potential work related connections and move with the seasons.

Kriegsspiel
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Re: 60 Days To Semi-ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Post by Kriegsspiel » Mon Apr 15, 2019 11:06 am

I had the same idea as c_L wrt having multiple home bases, like a casual 5 Flags set up. One idea was to buy duplexes in a few different places and leaving one of the units vacant with some basic furniture/cooking stuff in it, with the occupied unit keeping it outlay-neutral. I think of it as an EREish approach to vacation homes. Or at least an EREish approach that doesn't involve AirBNB. In a similar vein, you could make like Tynan and pool resources with some friends/family to buy a "timeshare" type place, which would probably be cheaper and more fun, if you had the right people.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: 60 Days To Semi-ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:50 pm

I like that idea too, though for us home base in an area (say FL) could be the couch or guest room of one of our many friends or family members in the area. It's amazing how welcome extended stay guests can be when they pitch in doing chores, cooking some delicious meals for their hosts, and don't mooch. At this point in our lives, we're also very open to more primitive housing arrangements, like extended car camping around the country, as well as several thru hikes of trail systems in the south, ditto for mountain biking :)

You can also snowbird to SE Asia very inexpensively when you don't have the carrying costs of domicile property. I don't think I would enjoy being a landlord though. Right now my ERE budget is going to be ~$1,200/month gross. So ample to cover basics in many places, and I'll fund my hobbies and play money with some sort of part time or entrepreneurial efforts.

Morning Weight - 209
7 Day Average - 210.1
Training - upper push weight training, 4 mile run outside in 34:00

Run was more difficult than usual due to sore legs from MTB ride yesterday.

We're halfway through the month and I'm behind on my mileage goal for running.

So far this month

20 miles ran
41.5 miles mountain biked
55 miles walked
8 weight training sessions
108 hours worked (including commuting time)

Spending the night in NYC tomorrow for work. Should be a good two days. Going to pack running sneakers and run in Central Park on Wednesday morning. I also have breakfast plans with a hiring manager whose offer I turned down last year, and he reached out through a mutual contact that he's still interested in hiring me, but now at a new company he went to work for back in December.....can't hurt to talk :)

ajcoleman22
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Re: 60 Days To Semi-ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Post by ajcoleman22 » Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:47 pm

Good luck with that meeting!

2Birds1Stone
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Re: 55 Days To Semi-ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Sat Apr 20, 2019 10:59 am

Thanks, aj. We had coffee, he invited me back to show the office and meet some of his team. I shared all of my gripes with current situation (work life balance, 50%+ travel, poor culture, etc) and he's convinced I would be happy over there. No current open head count, but he's confident something will open up by the time I return from my travels. Oh yea, I was open about being gone for 6 weeks till end of July at least.

I'm down to 208 lb morning weight and 208.6 lb 7 day average. Training has been going well, and I'm on pace to run more miles in a month than I have in a long time, 45-50. Got a MTB ride in yesterday before work, ran outside in the sun, and got a lift in. This weekend we have 3 different family gatherings for the holidays. Since we celebrate both Passover and Easter, it makes for a busy weekend!

I purchased a used Osprey Aura 50 hiking backpack for my fiance, off of a gentlemen on whiteblaze.net. It arrived today and I gave it to her as an early birthday gift. It was a hit, and the size is perfect. Looks brand new and I saved $100 off buying new. She will use this for our Europe/SE Asia adventure next year, as well as our future AT Thru-hike.

The $500 Capital One Savor credit hit our account today. Between that and the Barclay Arrival + card, that's $1400 in CC credits toward our flights to Europe this summer. Will have to do something similar next year =)

Happy Saturday, y'all.

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