ERE Year 2 - Choose Your Own Adventure - Geoarbitrage and Nomadic Lifestyle Edition

Where are you and where are you going?
2Birds1Stone
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Re: 55 Days To Semi-ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

I hope so, Seppia. Wish I got to know ya before you left NYC.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: 54 Days To Semi-ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

I just submitted for some PTO next month. Going to take a full week off.

Starting to make some plans to visit friends and family who I've otherwise not had the bandwidth to visit. One of my best friends is in Syracuse, so I'm planning to take a road trip up to see him for a few days, and stop along in Binghamton to see another long time friend for the day. I also have a friend down in FL who would like to get together, if I can score some cheap flights to Tampa it's going to be something else to shoot for, maybe for 3-4 days.

In other news, I'm trying to determine how to approach these next ~4+ months financially. Heavily considering turning this break into a test drive of ERE life. Meaning I would try to live off of a reasonable % of my assets. Considering something around 3%, and forcing myself to barter, side hustle, and learn skills to fill the gaps if my wants outpace my available income.

3% of current assets gives me ~$14,400/yr or $1,200/month to work with........I think that's pretty reasonable.......and maybe if I can stick to that, and find some $$ in other ways, it will encourage me to NOT go back to work. Thoughts?
Last edited by 2Birds1Stone on Thu Aug 22, 2019 8:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Ego
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Re: 54 Days To Semi-ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Post by Ego »

2Birds1Stone wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 8:55 am
3% of current assets gives me ~$14,400/yr or $1,200/month to work with........I think that's pretty reasonable.......and maybe if I can stick to that, and find some $$ in other ways, it will encourage me to NOT go back to work. Thoughts?
The largest expenses will be sleeping, eating (drinking) and moving. What are your plans for those? Apologies if you mentioned this before. I didn't see it.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: 54 Days To Semi-ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

Ego wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 11:10 am
What are your plans for those?
Currently rent a small 1 bedroom apartment at below market rate in a HCOL area, splitting the cost with my SO. It includes all utilities and WiFi. We cook 90% of our meals and average $200-250/month in groceries. While my car is not as expensive to keep as the new ones my peers are driving, it's far from cheap (11 year old sports luxury car that guzzles premium fuel). I would definitely consider selling it and buying a cheap van/minivan to build out into an adventure vehicle.

$550 - Rent/Utility
$125 - Groceries
$120 - Car Insurance
$100 - Gas
$55 - maintenance, registration, repairs, etc

So ~$950/month for the big three, if I kept this car. This also assumes driving 500-600 miles a month, which is pretty average for me. If I weren't working, and made it a point to walk and bicycle more. I would spend less in gas, and if I switched to a cheap van/minivan, Liability only insurance would run ~$60/month vs. current $120.

If I went NO car. I'm down to $675/month for food/shelter, plus whatever costs I incur from public transport, rideshare, and contributing to gas/insurance for partial use of my SO's vehicle.

My other costs would be a cheap gym membership $25/month, a $30-40/month cell phone plan, and whatever costs are associated with ACA plan + the typical dental/medical costs incurred throughout the year.

$1,200/month all in would definitely be a little tight vs. what I'm used to, but for comparisons sake, I spent just under $18k total last year, and that included $1,200 in vehicle depreciation.

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Ego
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Re: 54 Days To Semi-ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Post by Ego »

Ah, I misunderstood. I thought you were wondering if it would be sufficient for your time in Europe.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: 54 Days To Semi-ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

Parents own an apartment in the city we're from. A very walkable city. No rent, and very little on transport.

Seppia
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Re: 54 Days To Semi-ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Post by Seppia »

If you have the ability to move to Europe, the cost of living will drop substantially unless you pick a few unlucky cities (Paris and London + the Nordic capitals + almost anywhere in Switzerland).
Just for your reference, with $1200 per month in southern Italy or southern France (not Montecarlo) you'll be living a middle class lifestyle.
You would probably be "rich" by central/ Eastern European standards
Most cities you can realistically go car free without much hassle

You may want to keep in mind that taxation on capital is usually higher in Europe*, but healthcare is usually free or almost free.
This is a bit of an oversimplification so check by country
*ie: in Italy dividends and capital gains are taxed 26%, plus there is a yearly 0.2% tax on financial assets. In France there is a 0.something Tobin tax and dividends + capital gains are taxed 30%)

classical_Liberal
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Re: 54 Days To Semi-ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Post by classical_Liberal »

2Birds1Stone wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 8:55 am
Thoughts?
Yes, you should do that :D

Edit: Or at least meet in the middle. Find a lower stress, pay, & less time consuming job upon return. This will help you transition mentally, not just towards living off assets, but to get your mind unhinged from unhealthy employment. After my last period of time off, then returning to work, it has become so evident to me that hard-core, career, FT work is very unhealthy. This makes our attitude towards work so shitty that we want to be done with it ASAP. It also creates a "normal" of self inflicted abuse that work make us accustomed to. The thing is, for most people, a more healthy relationship with work is life enhancing. Something you enjoy doing and will want to continue later.

On this note, ask your SO to make note of your behaviors, attitude and such after this time off vs when you are working. You may find a close, but outside, view of how it impacts your life helpful in making decisions. You may also find she is very supportive of a more relaxed 2B1S, and would prefer that + coasting to coupled FI vs this all out shit-storm, onslaught approach you've had in mind.

suomalainen
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Re: 54 Days To Semi-ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Post by suomalainen »

classical_Liberal wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 4:31 pm
After my last period of time off, then returning to work, it has become so evident to me that hard-core, career, FT work is very unhealthy. This makes our attitude towards work so shitty that we want to be done with it ASAP. It also creates a "normal" of self inflicted abuse that work make us accustomed to. The thing is, for most people, a more healthy relationship with work is life enhancing. Something you enjoy doing and will want to continue later.
Yes, something like "work hard, play hard". The former seems to cause the latter. I don't know if it's possible to break that relationship. Another way to phrase it is "money doesn't buy you happiness, but it makes misery bearable."

classical_Liberal
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Re: 54 Days To Semi-ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Post by classical_Liberal »

@sou
Maybe bipolar would be a better example. In my current line of work its clustered shifts. I will work maybe 6 of 7 days, 14 hrs. Then be rewarded with 4-5 days off. In sales it's generally a seasonal or month end type thing. In engineering maybe it's the big product deadline.

In any case there is a cycle of "holy shit, I'm so busy and have time for nothing but work!" This becomes the normal. Exhaustion sets in, bad sleep, bad eating, poor exercise, loss of friend and family time, etc. All that seems to matter is work, its "normal". Then the run of shifts (or product deadline, or sale quota period) comes to an end. A huge sense of accomplishment and the resulting down time feels great! However, slowly but surely the next run of shifts (or deadline or sales quota) approaches and that familiar sense of dread sets in, you know whats coming. At first it's ok, working hard towards a goal, but soon enough... that familiar exhaustion.

It seems to me, if we are willing lower the highs a bit, then the lows would naturally reduce or go away completely. If we focus on a brief hard work, or more mellow levels of sustained work, we can still be challenged and get that sense of accomplishment. While at the same time earning enough to live. Then we avoid the dread and exhaustion which accompany the other phases. For me, those are the parts that make me want to retire and say goodbye forever. It becomes an all or nothing false dichotomy, one in which both all and nothing are unfulfilling.

Edit: All of this assumes that one somewhat enjoys the underlying activities and gets a "thrill of the kill" from the tough parts of work. If that's not the case, then it's just sustained misery and living for the "Weekend". I've been there before too, but not for long.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: 54 Days To Semi-ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

@Ego, gotcha! It would be tough in Europe if I were traveling around for 3 months. If it were for life in Poland, then I think I could live very comfortably on that amount, especially if I stayed in the city where my family is from.

@Seppia, I don't think we will move there permanently. Though the option is always there if things sour in the US or elsewhere. There is still so much for us to do/see here in the USA, we haven't even scratched the surface. Most of USA is also very cheap outside of large cities/coasts. Using USA as a tax domicile is also advantageous, as well can pay almost no taxes if we live/draw down $30-35k/yr as a couple. Could divide our time between USA, Europe, and if we enjoy it next year...SE Asia. As some point we would like to visit and explore South/Central America too.

I guess it's safe to say we have to see a lot of the world before we pick a permanent place to live.

@c_L, i just have NO CLUE what that work would look like. But as you previously said, it's hard to figure that out when you're working/mentally bound by a full time career type job. I just have to grow a pair.....you also pointed out that someone who got to $500k in assets once, should be able to do it again. I think about what would happen if I suddenly woke up knowing everything about FIRE/ERE/career etc I do now, but with $0, or a blank slate.....how would I build myself back up. It would take some crazy circumstances not to be able to get another entry level B2B sales job and work my way up in a matter of 2-3 years, saving 50-70% in the process. The best part of Jacobs formula with extremely high savings rates, is that anyone can go from $0 to ERE'd in <5 years if they are aggressive and crafty enough.

It's obvious that I need to expand my web of goals, at this point $500k vs $600k or even $700k in assets will not really change anything in my day to day life. If I can execute a plan where I'm drawing less than 3% of my investable assets, the portfolio should end up in run away mode even with modest side income and returns. I think the only way I would go back to the type of career I have now, is if we entered a multi year bear market, and I could throw ridiculous money towards investments during a 50%+ downturn. Hell, just my CD ladder alone can support a $1,200/month spending level for seven fucking years.

@suo, I've definitely identified many negative aspects of career type work when it comes to health (primarily mental), but also physical. I was much healthier even when working in retail management (putting in 40 hours, 5 minutes from home). I wasn't sitting at a desk, traveling, nor taking ANY work home with me. When I was off the clock, my mind was my own. The income sucked (~$45k/yr) but looking back, I had it pretty darn good.

Looking back on the career trajectory I've had, I lucked out for a college dropout.....at least from a financial standpoint. 4.5 years of this grind, has taken it's toll on me. I'm really glad I actually deflated my lifestyle a bit while increasing income substantially. Everything points to having won the game, at least for now.....why the fuck can't I just be happy about that?

suomalainen
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Re: 54 Days To Semi-ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Post by suomalainen »

2Birds1Stone wrote:
Mon Apr 22, 2019 7:12 am
I lucked out for a college dropout.....at least from a financial standpoint.
Are you really @dropoutretire!?!?!?!?!!? LOLZ!!!!!!!!!! You did it, man!!!!!!!!! Showed all them fancy college pukes that they did it wrong!!!!! LOLZ!!!!
2Birds1Stone wrote:
Mon Apr 22, 2019 7:12 am
Everything points to having won the game, at least for now.....why the fuck can't I just be happy about that?
That's not a thing to be happy about. You haven't won anything. You've purchased a tool. Buying a new hammer brings you happiness for 2 seconds. USING the hammer if it's a thing you love will you bring you happiness while you are using it. But just staring at the stupid hammer will only give you a high the first few seconds. You still have to live. You're just living differently. Stop expecting it to be magical. It's just life. More happiness/contentment may come as you live your new life enabled by your new tool (investment/savings accounts).

2Birds1Stone
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Re: 49 Days To Semi-ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

I don't think I understand your first comment, second comment makes sense. Staring at my investment spreadsheet doesn't necessarily make me any happier, but using that to make choices which bring happiness is the desired end result. Getting damn close now.

My PTO for May got approved, so I'll have 9 days off in a row to play around outside as much as possible. April was insanity.

Just got back from a 4 day business trip, high stress, high stakes...and I feel like shit after the lack of sleep, living out of hotels/airports, and crappy food and alcohol. Going to a recital dinner and have my final tux fitting tonight, and another wedding I'm in tomorrow....followed by Birthday dinner on Sunday for SO. Next week I'm going to try to take it as easy as possible, as I'm traveling for work the following two weeks.
Last edited by 2Birds1Stone on Thu Aug 22, 2019 8:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

suomalainen
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Re: 47 Days To Semi-ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Post by suomalainen »

It was just a joke about @dropoutretire who shows up now and again to use too many exclamation points and to plug his facebook page. Anyway, the point was to say congrats and to encourage you to use this newfound tool to define a joyful life. Good luck, my friend.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: 46 Days To Semi-ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

Ah, that makes sense. Thank you, sir!

I'm emphasizing lifestyle design and using money in ways that will bring joy, or improve my quality of life, relationships, etc in a meaningful way.

This past weekend was a great example. It was expensive (relatively to what I spend on my "fun category") month, with two weddings, both in which I was a groomsman and had to pay $200-250 for a tux rental(x2), as well as fly to one which was a destination wedding. Despite the high cost, I am ecstatic that we did it, and I wouldn't want to give up that experience to save $1,000 or whatever it would have been. Having the nest egg in the background takes any anxiety about dropping some money once in a while on experiences like this out of the picture. I've previously toyed with the idea of loosening the purse strings while I still have a healthy income, and I don't think I'll hold back for the the right reasons.

Working from home today as planned. A little beat up as I took a spill MTBing on Sunday. Nothing too terrible, and was able to hit the gym for a light pressing session. Mainly bruised/gashed my quad. Sitting outside listening to song birds and soaking up the sun reminds me that this job doesn't always suck, and sometimes I get paid $60/hr to have a pretty relaxing day :)

Morning Weight - 210.0 - not a good weekend of diet
7 Day Average - 209.0
Training - Light upper push w/ weights. Possibly a slow easy jog with SO this afternoon, if my leg feels up to it.

Stock values are getting crazy again, which makes me glad that I have a lot of slack in my financial system. Right now sitting at 34 x barebone expenses, or just under 3% WR. Could bring that down to ~1% by working 2 days a week for minimum wage here. Baring a market crash this afternoon or tomorrow, I'll be at 28 x actual trailing 12 month expenses, or 3.57% actual WR. The same min wage job 2 days a week would bring me down to 1.5% WR based on actual expenses.

Coming back down to reality, $14-18k annual spending is not something I want to HAVE to stick to for life. It also only covers my part of our combined expenses. This is why Semi-ERE is definitely the right answer for us. Starting to get VERY excited at the realization that we are going to be leveraging this FU$ in just 46 short days!

Jin+Guice
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Re: 46 Days To Semi-ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Post by Jin+Guice »

Just dropping by with my usual plug for quitting your job.

I think once you aren't working you'll find that 14-18k (this is for 1 person, right?) is actually a high level of spending if you are employing any non-FIRE ERE skills.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: 45 Days To Semi-ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

I'm bored this morning, so I am posting my monthly recap 7 hours early.....with the caveat that it's subject to change if markets shift by more than 1% =P

April Financial Recap

*Baring major market shifts by Afternoon

Assets
$124,000 Rollover IRA
$21,500 401k
$218,200 Taxable
$15,500 Savings
$61,800 Roth IRA
$12,000 Ag Holdings
$10,900 Vehicle Equity
$21,200 HSA
$9,400 Au Holdings
$494,500 Total Assets (+$16,400)

Spending
$550 Rent/Utility
$100 Groceries
$92 Entertainment
$359 Travel
$20 Health
$209 Misc
$269 Gifts/Charity
$1,599 Total Spending

Income
$7,375 Salary
$522 Other
$7,897 Total Income

80% Savings Rate

$17,630 - Actual expenses, last 12 months (currently 28.04X, or 3.57% WR)
$14,400 - Actual bare-bone, last 12 months (currently 34.33X, or 2.91% WR)


Monthly Combined Tracking

$3,204 - Combined Spending
$10,097 - Combined Income

68% Savings Rate

Combined NW = $604,500 (+$18,300)
Combined Spending = $35,800 (based on last 12 months)
Combined WR = 5.93% (16.88 x annual expenses)

Financial Musings

With stock market returning to all time highs, plus the money I piled in over the past 4 months, it feels like some serious progress has been made YTD. My asset allocation is right where I want it for the time being, at ~61% stocks/35% fixed income/4% precious metals. Spending has dropped significantly, year over year. The result is a 3.57% actual spending vs. portfolio value, which feels good considering I’ll be giving up my income shortly. Shifting my mindset from accumulating to spending assets is going to take some time.

April was a spendy month, with two expensive weddings, travel, and some other misc expenses popping up. May should be less spending for both SO and I. It will also my my last full month with a normal paycheck, for quite some time (possibly indefinitely?). As you can see above, cash is sitting at $15.5k, which gives me just under 13 months of expenses at my semi-FIRE experiment levels. This should grow to ~18 months by the time I actually have no more income.

Other than that, chugging along. Combined finances have also improved. Spending actually up a bit over last month, but down significantly YoY. It’s cool to see nearly 17 years of combined actual expenses, only 8 more to go there :)


Non-Financial Stuff

50 Miles Ran (+25%)
12 times weight training (-20%)
64.5 Miles MTB (+220%)
105 Miles Walked (+50%)
190 Hours Worked (+40%)
3 lbs lost

I was on track to lose more weight than that, but 2 weddings, all of the holidays, and a lot of work travel threw me off of my plan. I have no one to blame but myself. Losing 3 lbs with such a hectic month is still a success. A previous me would have gained 5. I owe it largely to how active I’ve managed to get in April, with most activities way up. May will be a little tough in this department, as I’m healing from my bike crash, and weather is looking terrible for the first week.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: 46 Days To Semi-ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

Jin+Guice wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 12:49 pm
Just dropping by with my usual plug for quitting your job.
Soon you won't have anything to plug.

The $14-18k is just for me, and I agree it's a nice amount of money as long as you stretch the utility of each dollar. I can see myself enjoying life at these spending levels for quite some time, but I wouldn't want to be locked into it. I know I'm not locked into it, and even min wage job can bring that up to 2X without too much effort. I plan on practicing living off of a 3% WR when I return from EU later this summer. Which in theory should have my portfolio growing in the background. I've decided not to commit to any sort of career type job upon my return, so as c_L would say.......I'm actually doing this Semi-ERE thing :)

We are continuing to research and plan next years big adventure, and the more we talk, the greater likelihood that we end up spending more time than our initially planned 9 months. We might just go until we run out of funds (earmarked for the adventure).

It's one thing to quit work and explore alternate activities in a familiar place.....it will be a whole different beast to sell everything, get rid of cars, and give up our home to live out of backpacks for an indefinite period of time....and THAT's the adventure I'm looking forward to the most!
Last edited by 2Birds1Stone on Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: 42 Days To Semi-ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

Morning Weight - 209.0
7 Day Average - 210.5
Training - Rest Today

Continuing to experiment with intermittent fasting and liking the results. Did a 20 hour fast yesterday, which has been the longest on this stretch of IF. Felt good all day, including a weight training session in the morning, 4 mile run at lunch, and 5 mile bike ride to store in the afternoon, before breaking fast around 4:30 PM.

My goal is to get to ~200 lbs by the time I leave for Poland, and 10.5 lbs in 6 weeks is doable......as long as I don't pig out on work trips.

Speaking of work trips.....two more to go! One is 3 full days, the other 4. I won't miss these (at least I don't think I will). Really looking forward to having 9 days off at the end of the month. It will be the longest vacation in quite some time.....

CS
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Re: 42 Days To Semi-ERE - Backpacking, Thru-Hiking, Van-Living & Shenanigans!

Post by CS »

2B1S -
This journal is so inspiring! I'm excited for you. It's helping me get re-excited about my own stuff.

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