Semi-ERE Experiment - Month 5 - Unemployed, Now What?

Where are you and where are you going?
Seppia
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Re: Semi-ERE Experiment - Month 3 - "The Art Of Not Working At Work"

Post by Seppia » Fri Aug 02, 2019 3:15 pm

Addition: I just learned that if you're not EU resident you need an Eurail pass.
It works the same apparently.

And of course don't forget to come to Italy :)

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Ego
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Re: Semi-ERE Experiment - Month 3 - "The Art Of Not Working At Work"

Post by Ego » Fri Aug 02, 2019 3:53 pm

What is the reasoning behind the requirement that you must enter Poland from a non-Schengen country? That's the first time I've heard that one.

I wouldn't change that much currency in advance unless you know of some big change in currency values before hand. Change USD at a change house when you are on the ground, withdraw using an ATM or just buy stuff with your credit card. Last one is the easiest.

Also, if you are entering countries with one-way tickets, some airlines demand that you show onward tickets. They won't let you board if you can't show them a ticket out. The easiest workaround is to download the Flixbus, Megabus or other bus app for you phone and research the cheapest ticket out of the country (or Schengen). With a little research you can usually find one at 10 euros or less. If they demand a ticket, buy it on the spot and then request a refund once you are done with checkin.

Edit: I just checked. Poland is a Schengen country so you've got 90 days in the entire region including your time in Poland.... unless you have a Polish passport.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schengen_Area

Seppia
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Re: Semi-ERE Experiment - Month 3 - "The Art Of Not Working At Work"

Post by Seppia » Fri Aug 02, 2019 4:01 pm

Agree on the currency exchange.
Just get a little cash (like 300€ or so) just in case, then pay credit and withdraw as you need with a debit card (just get one with no foreign transaction fees).

Oh, whenever paying with CC, if they ask you if you want to pay in local currency or in usd/your currency, ALWAYS choose local.
The exchange rate is a rip-off and you’ll save money if you let your credit card company do the conversion (same with PayPal BTW).

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Ego
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Re: Semi-ERE Experiment - Month 3 - "The Art Of Not Working At Work"

Post by Ego » Fri Aug 02, 2019 4:15 pm

The best way to find one-way tickets to a region (rather than specific cities) is google flights. Here's an example of any New York airport to Europe in October....

https://www.google.com/flights/#flt=/m/ ... 2;t:e;tt:o

$132 nonstop to Paris.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: Semi-ERE Experiment - Month 3 - "The Art Of Not Working At Work"

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Fri Aug 02, 2019 4:19 pm

Hi Ego, re: Poland vs. Schengen. It's a little known loophole.

https://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blog ... n-90-days/

Straight from the embassy Website (https://www.msz.gov.pl/en/p/waszyngton_ ... _en_visas/)

"IMPORTANT FOR THE US CITIZENS: Based on an exchange of diplomatic notes between Poland and the USA, since April 15th, 1991 the US citizens are allowed to enter Poland for any 90 days period without visa. The common rule 90 days of stay in 180-day period does not apply in this case. Please note that the common rule is applicable for other Schengen States, and if its a consecutive trip to Poland you must cross the Polish border directly from the third country (non-Schengen State) e.g. direct flights from Chicago, New York, London, Moscow, Kiev etc. Longer stays require Polish National Visa, provide by the Polish Consulates in the USA, or a temporary residence permit, a petition shall be filed in Poland in an appropriate Voivodship Office (Urząd Wojewódzki)."

@Seppia, definitely planning to travel by Bus/Train 99% of the time in Europe and SE Asia, save maybe some super cheap airfare on budget airlines if it's convenient and somewhere we actually want to go.

Italy is on the list, but I hope you are not already living in Asia by then.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: Semi-ERE Experiment - Month 3 - "The Art Of Not Working At Work"

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Fri Aug 02, 2019 4:22 pm

RE: the currency. I've seen 1 USD as low as 2.2 PLN while in Poland, and as high as 4.1 PLN.

Right now for example, it's 3.88 PLN for 1 USD, fairly good exchange from a historical perspective. We will need much more than $1k USD in PLN for 3 months there, but this ensure that we get a pretty good exchange rate locked in for a portion of our funds. If it get's better, sweet, we will benefit on our drip whilst there, if it get's worse, we at least have some $$ converted at the better rate.

I use local Kantor while in Poland, but have family there all year long with access to USD so they can exchange on my behalf, same day with a phone call.

Euro fluctuations I'm less keen on, but was going to analyse historic exchange rates and make a similar call.

anesde
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Re: Semi-ERE Experiment - Month 3 - "The Art Of Not Working At Work"

Post by anesde » Fri Aug 02, 2019 4:56 pm

Hey, I’m a long time lurker and admirer of your journal but haven’t posted before.

I moved from NY (from LI actually, but Nassau not Suffolk) to London about 3 years ago. A few suggestions:

1) Fidelity Cash Management vs Schwab for free and reimbursed ATM withdrawals
I originally tried Schwab but had difficulties bc they tracked IP addresses and blocked me as I was setting up from overseas (despite still using a US address). Perhaps setting up before you go would alleviate that but it left a bad taste in my mouth in any case. T&C’s state you still need to be a US resident so extended travel may trigger it as well. Also they reimburse ATM fees at month end vs Fidelity who do it automatically (next business day). I already had a brokerage, IRA, and Roth IRA with Fidelity so it was easy for me to set up - unsure if it’s more of a hassle if you aren’t an existing customer. In any case I recommend them across the board - no issues accessing anything no matter where in the world I am.

2) Flights on Skyscanner
I spent the first 2 years in London jumping across to various European cities every weekend. I would type in London to “Everywhere” and search about 4-5 weeks out and just pick the cheapest city. I find it to be the best flight aggregator for Europe (and in general)

3) $$ Changing
Echo what Seppia said. CC on local currency is your best bet. I have a Barclays MC with no foreign exchange fee and 2% back on everything. You’re already on top of this but in general the exchange rate is in (relative) USD favour so suggest using this as much as possible. If you do need to change I suggest TransferWise. They link up p2p on the median spot rate with low fees - generally the best option. They also recently allowed US citizens to open ups their “borderless” accounts which allows instantaneous transfers. You can have up to 10K in it which should suffice for your purposes.


Best of luck at work in the meantime. Also - I’m curious what the motivation for changing tact and posting joint numbers and expenses from here on out. I ask bc I’m in a broadly similar situation to yourself - same age, engaged, very similar spending and income. I could FIRE now for just me, but eventually I want kids and if I account for a family’s spending we’re not quite there. Personal choices for sure but part of the reason I’m pushing to keep my nose to the grindstone for a few more years is to then take a step back and be able to raise kids without a stressful job.

slowtraveler
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Re: Semi-ERE Experiment - Month 3 - "The Art Of Not Working At Work"

Post by slowtraveler » Fri Aug 02, 2019 8:33 pm

Sweet workaround. Reminds me of when I figured out the FEIE and all the lights went off to use it immediately. If you need an onward ticket, bestonwardticket.com has worked for me many times. Not using it when I went to Spain cost me a shit ton of money.

In regards to CC, you'll still lose in the exchange, just less. Fidelity or Schwab ATM have the best rates I've heard of anywhere. Plus, they reimburse all atm fees worldwide so it'll save you a ton of stress everywhere. Just tell them you're going to travel and they'll be fine.

Congrats on all the progress. You've now got all this power and freedom, it'll be exciting to see you optimize your happiness with the potential.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: Semi-ERE Experiment - Month 3 - "The Art Of Not Working At Work"

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Sat Aug 03, 2019 5:47 am

Hello anesde, and welcome.

I will check out the Fidelity option as well. I have a tIRA, 401k, and HSA with them. Do have a small Schwabb taxable account too. May be worth having my funds divided across both to spread risk. I've read horror stories where people lost access to their money abroad and it was very stressful.

Thanks for the tip on Skyscanner, I've messed around with it in the past. Time to start seriously looking. Google Flights will only let me search out as far as January 2020 for now.

RE: the exchange w/ Transferwise. Are you saying I can convert funds digitally now, and store them as Euro/PLN for my trip? That would be easier than having a family member physically do it from Poland and give them cash.

RE: The shift of focus to two player mode....I was previously tracking both in my monthly updates. The "me only" numbers are getting kind of boring. I'm currently ~28x trailing 12 month spending, or ~3.54% WR. Savings rate has been steadily in the 75-80% rate for quite some time now, so I feel like that game has been won. I may change this when I start drawing down from my funds without a paycheck, that would certainly be interesting to see.

The combined goals/assets/spending are making a bigger impact on my plans and lifestyle now, since I can't just retire and run off to explore the world while my SO is working for another several years by herself. Figuring out a combined strategy to reduce expenses, and try to move the goal posts forward will be more interesting to write about, and hopefully read. Right now we are pretty frugal for our HCOL area, where median household spending is ~$80-100k/yr, whilst we are at $36k. We would need to save another 8+ years of expenses, or reduce our spending to $25k/yr with current assets in order to be "FI" using traditional 4% rule (which I don't believe works in current CAPE, and 60 year time horizon). So any way you slice it, we need more $$ or significantly less spending than we are currently comfortable chopping down to, a problem to solve as we navigate life together.

Again, I don't want this journal to just focus on getting to a 3% WR and calling it quits. The focus will be much more web of goals, and ERE oriented. This is why geographical arbitrage is so appealing. Life on Long Island might suck at $20-25k/yr household spending, but in Poland or Thailand, it might be very doable, and fun.

@slowtraveler, if there is anything I've learned from you re: optimizing happiness, it's that it's a lot of trial and error. You asked previously what was so inspirin about your journal to me. Well that's a big part of it. It's so focused on optimizing your happiness and lifestyle, vs. just $$'s and ##'s.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: Semi-ERE Experiment - Month 3 - "The Art Of Not Working At Work"

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Sat Aug 03, 2019 5:49 am

Seppia wrote:
Fri Aug 02, 2019 3:09 pm
I would imagine that if you're canned you'll get some sort of severance - that's free money basically.
Remember that situations like these are one of the reasons why we save in the first place.
You're in a great spot, and your natural tendency to be safe will prevent you from going reckless.
No severance. I've been here less than a year.

I could qualify for unemployment insurance, but it's very little ~$1,200/month after taxes for a few months. Enough to cover my expenses though.....so not terrible.

anesde
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Re: Semi-ERE Experiment - Month 3 - "The Art Of Not Working At Work"

Post by anesde » Sat Aug 03, 2019 7:22 am

Re: TransferWise borderless account

https://transferwise.com/gb/borderless/

Click the link to watch the short YouTube video. Revolut is another one - Pros and cons between them here:

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/thepoors ... -best/amp/

TransferWise is likely better as you can set up from US.

I don’t personally use them because they didn’t exist 3 years ago and so I just got a UK account normally. I might end up setting one up though because when I travel outside of the UK I use my US CC and Fidelity Cash Management so I spend US cash from savings/passive income. However I get paid in GBP from my job so would make more sense to have something like TW or Revolut to not draw down the US funds. With the exchange rate so low I don’t really want to transfer GBP to USD to make up the shortfall.

Anyway with your background in sourcing the best CC and accounts I’m sure you’ll do the appropriate research and post a thesis on which one is better and why :)

anesde
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Re: Semi-ERE Experiment - Month 3 - "The Art Of Not Working At Work"

Post by anesde » Sat Aug 03, 2019 7:35 am

Also, re: spreading money around to limit risk.

This is definitely key. I’ve been in situations in Brasil, Vietnam, and Morocco where my primary option didn’t work. I ended up having to get a cash advance from a US CC which cost me $50 but saved me as well. A good spread of AMEX, MC, VISA, and accounts (preferably in different countries) helps to mitigate this. I also always keep options separated (i.e split up my cards between what I keep on myself, what I keep back home, and what I will keep in my lodging whilst traveling) to further mitigate.

Scott 2
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Re: Semi-ERE Experiment - Month 3 - "The Art Of Not Working At Work"

Post by Scott 2 » Sat Aug 03, 2019 10:52 am

I fought against the path for a long time, but two player mode seems required for a long term relationship. Between returns on existing investments and skills learned reaching a single person SWR, sorting resources for two people isn't that much harder. Watching your partner waste decades on something you can resolve in a few years, just doesn't make sense. You're taking the right approach.

I think single people retiring on a bare bones SWR, will eventually end up back at work, for this very reason. A partnership requires leading parallel paths in life.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: Semi-ERE Experiment - Month 3 - "The Art Of Not Working At Work"

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:37 am

Yea, and as The Market has shown this month, retiring on complete barebone WR levels is gut wrenching when you don't have a few other legs to your stool. It's one of my concerns for taking a gap year, but we have made some progress on the plan over the weekend.....I feel good overall. Right now since I've been on easy-mode, was able to save each month what my SO needs 6-10 months to save. It's a no brainer if you plan on living out your life in a way that's not conducive to a FT working partner. Or in many scenarios, even PT working.

@anesde, I plan on it! I should have some time to dive deeper this week. Definitely want to spread my risk out, especially with how crucial having access to $$ is.

Huge Plot Twist

Work - All of the writing is on the wall, and my spidey sense is tingling the hardest it's tingled in my 9 year career. The end is near. I haven't been given any new work since returning from leave. There are more talks happening re: downsizing, as we just missed some big targets from our investors. Myself and one other rep on the team are very likely to get shit canned, and it feels like any day now. This is important for the next two parts.

Weekend - We hosted a BBQ for my side of the family, and it was a nice afternoon/evening with perfect weather, a campfire, and good conversation. Naturally my work situation came up, and I simply explained that I will not worry about it, and just get a PT job to tie me over till next April, when we take off on Epic Adventure. I didn't think too much of it, and the night went on.

Conversation with SO - Yesterday, after SO got out of work, we took a drive down to one of the port towns on the north shore of Long Island, grabbed iced coffee, and took a walk/people watched at a large waterfront park. Out of the blue, SO asks me if I'm very worried about work. I responded by saying "not really", and asking why she suddenly brought it up. She told me that she thought my response to my family was very nonchalant, and I didn't seem at all stressed about it. I explained that if/when it does happen, it will force a change that I've been too chicken-shit to make over the past few months. And it could very well be a blessing in disguise. We could focus on that major list I posted above, I can get some seasonal work in the winter to earn some extra cash if I needed it, and at the end of the day, it won't make or break me, regardless what happens. I then jokingly said that if it happens sooner than later, we could flip-flop SE Asia and Europe legs of the trip, and leave this fall instead of next spring. At first it was in jest, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that there would be absolutely nothing stopping us from doing that, as long as I could sell my car in time and we give landlord enough notice. Not only that, but if I lose my job, the fire hose of money is gone, and unemployment, or PT work would just cover my expenses, but I would essentially be living with a 0% savings rate. Why not just leverage this life event to take the plunge and go vagabond for the next 12 months, coming back to look for some PT work in October 2020, instead of May 2021.

We discussed the pro's (many) and cons (very few) of this idea, and are in complete agreement that this is what we will do if the inevitable happens soon enough.

So yea, if I lose this job in the next ~2 months, we will be looking to leave for SE Asia no later than mid November. If I lose it Nov - March, we stick to the original timeline, but may travel within the USA on the cheap before leaving for Europe.

If no job loss (by some miracle), then we pad the stache for 8 more months while this next recession happens.

Oh yea, we did discuss our one fear, and that is leaving for these 12 months (esp without the additional income), and experiencing another 2008esque scenario, knowing it will be very difficult to find work, and our portfolio would get crushed, and psychologically with no income, it would cause unnecessary stress while traveling.
Last edited by 2Birds1Stone on Mon Aug 05, 2019 3:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.

classical_Liberal
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Re: Semi-ERE Experiment - Month 3 - "The Art Of Not Working At Work"

Post by classical_Liberal » Mon Aug 05, 2019 3:00 pm

2Birds1Stone wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:37 am
We discussed the pro's (many) and cons (very few) of this idea, and are in complete agreement that Oh yea, we did discuss our one fear, and that is leaving for these 12 months (esp without the additional income), and experiencing another 2008esque scenario, knowing it will be very difficult to find work, and our portfolio would get crushed, and psychologically with no income, it would cause unnecessary stress while traveling.
This is what you think now, but you're wrong. You have years in cash, it wouldn't impact your day-to-day at all, only numbers on a spread sheet. All a 2008-like crisis would do is reduce your travel costs, because less people would be traveling.

Congrats on the, hopefully soon, firing!

anesde
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Re: Semi-ERE Experiment - Month 3 - "The Art Of Not Working At Work"

Post by anesde » Mon Aug 05, 2019 5:10 pm

Agree with the optimism of C_L but psychological fears aren’t always rational. In any event I suggest you just don’t look while you’re traveling. Given you’ll have enough cash either way it’s just an unneeded potential stress. I doubt you would want to invest in the early part of your extended travel anyway so no real pros and just potential cons.

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Bankai
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Re: Semi-ERE Experiment - Month 3 - "The Art Of Not Working At Work"

Post by Bankai » Mon Aug 05, 2019 5:22 pm

anesde wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 5:10 pm
just don’t look
Avoidance doesn't strike me as a sound strategy for life.

2B1S - assuming you're not working when recession starts, would you rather be at home to witness it first hand when some of your friends/family are losing jobs and houses and media are spreading doom and gloom, or be far away, enjoy stronger currency and lower prices than you expected and have healthy distance to events at home while being less prone to make fear based decisions about your money?

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Re: Semi-ERE Experiment - Month 3 - "The Art Of Not Working At Work"

Post by jacob » Mon Aug 05, 2019 5:35 pm

Denial is only optimal if the following conditions are fulfilled:
  • The problem is not inherently escalating in nature.
  • There's nothing you can do about it anyway.
Unfortunately, this is not a clearcut answer, because those two conditions would only be fulfilled in the camp that believes that nobody can predict the markets and that markets always go up in the long run ... whereas in the other camp(s), they are not.

classical_Liberal
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Re: Semi-ERE Experiment - Month 3 - "The Art Of Not Working At Work"

Post by classical_Liberal » Mon Aug 05, 2019 5:46 pm

I didn't imply ignore it, just that it won't really matter when you're immersed in travel. The experience of day to day life will be the only thing in the forefront of your minds. Do what you have to do to manage your money, but you'd do that anyway.

anesde
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Re: Semi-ERE Experiment - Month 3 - "The Art Of Not Working At Work"

Post by anesde » Tue Aug 06, 2019 2:09 am

Bankai wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 5:22 pm
Avoidance doesn't strike me as a sound strategy for life.

2B1S - assuming you're not working when recession starts, would you rather be at home to witness it first hand when some of your friends/family are losing jobs and houses and media are spreading doom and gloom, or be far away, enjoy stronger currency and lower prices than you expected and have healthy distance to events at home while being less prone to make fear based decisions about your money?

Not quite what I meant. 2B1S has a strategy and a fear that a downturn may affect his strategy. If that’s a a real fear than he should assess whether his strategy would in fact change in a downturn (I assume not but if so that should be planned for before taking off). If it’s merely a psychological fear than I think changing a strategy because of a downturn means the strategy wasn’t really being suitable to begin with. Hence no reason to stress as he wouldn’t (shouldn’t) be doing anything anyway.

Of course this merely assumes a c. 2008 scenario and not a true the worlds ending scenario. If it’s the former he’ll be better off not stressing whilst traveling and assess when he’s back. If it’s the latter than...well he’s better off living his life whilst the world burns.

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