Semi-ERE Year 3 - Wanderlust vs. W-O-R-K

Where are you and where are you going?
Western Red Cedar
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Re: ERE Year 2 - Someone Call The Internet Retirement Police...

Post by Western Red Cedar »

Congratulations on your successful transition back to the US. Considering all of the limitations with COVID 19 right now, I think it makes a lot of sense to pick up some paid work. I'm also really interested in the psychological shift of transitioning from freedom and travel to full time work. Please keep us posted periodically how you're feeling on this front.

Based on the rapid decline of your SWR, I suspect you may be in runaway mode sooner rather than later. One thing I've thought about if I return to work after hitting my number (or ever get into runaway mode) is keeping a separate pot of money as capital to invest in projects or entrepreneurial ventures. It can be a little intimidating to use the stash for projects that may yield profit, but may also bust.

classical_Liberal
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Re: ERE Year 2 - Someone Call The Internet Retirement Police...

Post by classical_Liberal »

Congrats on the job! I've only worked 4 of the last 12 months and I'm already feeling the need for a bit of teamwork and structure. If I wasn't traveling this winter I'd seriously be looking at something part time and/or very flexible for fun. I'd be something totally new though. Not interested in repeating anything, been there, done that.

CS
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Re: ERE Year 2 - Someone Call The Internet Retirement Police...

Post by CS »

I'd love to go back to work for a bit (it has been a year this month!) but inside a hospital? No thanks.

This month's email of positions from my professional organization had a huge list of openings - more than I've seen in years. It looks like I'm not the only one not willing to work right now.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: ERE Year 2 - Someone Call The Internet Retirement Police...

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

@WRC, the psychological shift will certainly be something interesting to experience and document. The good thing is that this will allow us to "slow travel" around the USA (pandemic permitting) and try out a few places to live over the next year while working.

I mentioned that I have a beater car loaner right now. It's on it's last legs and there is a very high likelihood that we will be purchasing a vehicle relatively soon (before the end of the year). DW and I discussed what type of vehicles we could see ourselves utilizing the most, what price range, how old, etc.......and we have decided that our absolute best option right now would be a used minivan. With a hitch mount rack or a roof top box it would be ideal for our plans over the next 6-12 months.

The minivans we are looking at are in the 3-6 year old range, and in the $12-18k price range. Most get 28-30 mpg, and have fold flat seating. They would allow us to take all of our minimalist possessions + camping gear + two bikes, and split our time between short term rentals, while using the vehicle for weekend trips and getting around the country. Depreciation shouldn't be a huge hit, and it would give us a taste of "van life".

Right now we are looking at AirBnB's in FL for mid Jan-March, after which the situation with Covid, work, etc will dictate where we go. If we continue to be 100% remote, then maybe Tennessee, SC/NC mountains, etc for a month or two before the summer hear arrives. We could totally see ourselves coming back to NY for a few months in May/June and staying with family, and then in July/August heading north to VT/Maine. Typical AirBnB prices are around $1200-2000/month, and would give us tremendous flexibility on location without having to sign any leases, deal with furniture, utilities, etc.

I'm pretty confident we could enjoy this lifestyle for $3-4k/month, which would still allow us to max our Roth IRA's and contribute a good bit to 401k's. Take home to start will only be ~$6k/month combined.

Sample Monthly Budget;

$1500 housing (Average AirBnB cost)
$500 insurance (health, dental, vision)
$500 transportation (amortized cost of vehicle, insurance, gas, reg, maintenance, etc)
$300 grocery
$100 cell plans, amortized replacement cost of phones
$100 health/hygiene (gym, toiletries, dw haircuts, etc)
$3,000/month for the "needs"

@c_L, this will be a new experience for me for sure. It's got some overlap with what I was used to, but enough "newness" to hopefully hold my interest and learn something in the process. Time will tell!

@CS, yikes! I would not want to work in a medical setting right now under any circumstances.

classical_Liberal
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Re: ERE Year 2 - Someone Call The Internet Retirement Police...

Post by classical_Liberal »

We bought a soft top roof rack carrier for $60 to put on top of our jeep liberty for this trip. Plenty big for all our camping stuff, tent, an inflatable kayak, chairs, with room to spare. That, plus our bikes on the back rack, a couple duffles and a cooler inside. Plenty of room to fold down the seats and sleep in the back now without major rearranging. A mini van would have much more space, and IMO fine for two people to live out of for a season. Gas mileage has suffered a bit with all the stuff we are carrying around, but you don't use jeeps for the milage anyway, :D . It can get us almost anywhere and I'm not sure I'd want to trade it for the extra space a minivan would offer. I certainly wouldn't buy one, but since we already had it... Not sure we need the extra space anymore, this has been much more comfortable than any prior road trip. The roof rack carrier makes all the difference in the world.

I wouldn't buy anything bigger than a minivan, especially if you are gonna stay at hotels and/or airbnb's for part of the time. Totally unnecessary.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: ERE Year 2 - Someone Call The Internet Retirement Police...

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

@c_L, I PM'd you for specifics regarding the roof carrier. We planned on getting a ski box type locking hard roof carrier to store some of the less frequently used items and make space inside for an air mattress when needed.

Since we are starting from scratch on the adventure vehicle, and I've done a LOT of research and spoke with a few folks who have tried a few different types of rigs.....apparently the minivan offers unparalleled versatility. Since most of our travel will be on paved roads, with the occasional forest road thrown in the mix, and no real "off-roading", I don't think we will need 4WD/AWD.

And just to clarify, since we are both going to be working remotely, our AirBnB stays will likely be 28-30 days in a place. That way we are not constantly having to pack/move/unpack etc. It will give us a month to explore an area, decide whether to stay longer, and then move on to the next one. The minivan should provide plenty of space to bring everything we want, remain fairly stealthy if we do need to boondock/urban overnight, while still providing pretty good mileage. If this whole work thing gets old fast, we lose the jobs, quit, etc....then we have the perfect vehicle to camp/live out of for a longer cross country road trip.

Right now the idea of getting somewhere warm, while having a paycheck coming in, being covered by good employer national health insurance plans, and not being tied down to any one location sounds sweet. Let's see if reality will be different =D

2Birds1Stone
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Re: ERE Year 2 - Someone Call The Internet Retirement Police...

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

Well, 180k CV-19 cases on Friday definitely has us questioning our travel plans. Might be hunkering down in place through and past the holidays......what a freakin time to be alive =/

Survived my first week of w-o-r-k....put in 41 hour of actual time in.

Got out on the MTB both yesterday and today. It's a beautiful weekend here in NY.

Combined assets hit an all time $760k high watermark.

I liquidated my rollover IRA into cash.....time will tell how dumb of a move that was.

classical_Liberal
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Re: ERE Year 2 - Someone Call The Internet Retirement Police...

Post by classical_Liberal »

Hummm socially distance outside on a Florida beach, soaking up rays mak’en Vit D, getting plenty of exercise running along side swimming playful devil rays .... or stay inside in a crowded city. Tough decision, but based on my last three weeks I know my preference. 😎 🏖

2Birds1Stone
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Re: ERE Year 2 - Someone Call The Internet Retirement Police...

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

Hahaha, beach does sound nice.....we are not in the city. Eastern Long Island. Lot of beaches, trails, parks, etc.....just COLD and short days.

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Lemur
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Re: ERE Year 2 - Someone Call The Internet Retirement Police...

Post by Lemur »

I liquidated my rollover IRA into cash.....time will tell how dumb of a move that was.
Betting against Jerome Powell. Bold move...let us see how this one plays out :D
Lemur wagers dumb move...but the only known fact is that the future is uncertain.
Besides...can't put a price on mental stability anyhow.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: ERE Year 2 - Someone Call The Internet Retirement Police...

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

Lemur wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 1:36 pm
Betting against Jerome Powell. Bold move...let us see how this one plays out :D
Lemur wagers dumb move...but the only known fact is that the future is uncertain.
Besides...can't put a price on mental stability anyhow.

There is no doubt in my mind that in the medium to long term, monetary policy will allow the house of cards to grow larger.

I had this gut feeling in February, that the market optimism was unfounded and completely insane based on the growing number of CV19 cases globally, and it was only a matter of time before things hit the fan. I only acted on it partially, and moved some funds to cash, while the majority of my portfolio plummeted. The problem was, I didn't have the balls to buy back in on the dip, and ultimately ended up sitting out the drop, and recovery, bringing me back to square one.

I need to figure out a longer term asset allocation that's more conducive to my goals and risk tolerance. I don't have the stomach for an equity heavy portfolio.....but I also don't want to lose my purchasing power by sitting in cash forever. Luckily, we're targeting a low enough WR% that leaves room for error on AA.

Things feel frothy now. The vaccine news could prove me the fool in the short term, but watching the global trend of growing cases, the US holiday season (people will not follow safe social distance practices here in the USA), and winter keeping most of the northern hemisphere indoors......I can't see it ended well before a vaccine becomes widely available.

Between my wife and I, we still have 27-28% of our portfolio in equities......so if things keep running up, we catch a little bit of the upside.

bostonimproper
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Re: ERE Year 2 - Someone Call The Internet Retirement Police...

Post by bostonimproper »

+1 in timing the drop but being too chicken to buy back in at the dip. I decided a few months ago that it didn't make sense to sit on cash, so I'm taking the opposite approach and potentially over-diversifying.

Douglas
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Re: ERE Year 2 - Someone Call The Internet Retirement Police...

Post by Douglas »

things are moving fast 2birds! congrats on the new family working arrangement. It sounds like you have your ducks in a row so I think no matter what happens it will be good. You're a few years ahead of us so it is nice to hear your experiences to give a glimpse of how life could be in a couple years.

I think we have relatively similar paths and goals except I have kidos, and you are way more mobile. We're targeting $1-1.5M in investable assets. I also do weights, run, bike and hope to MTB sooner than later. Signing up for my first triathlons next summer. Squatted 270 lbs a couple weeks ago in my home gym. Got a garmin smart watch 6 months ago and don't think I'll ever go back. How do you plan to lift weights while on the road?

I see you are in the east coast but when the summer comes around you should head up to the Pacific NW. The weather and scenery is perfect and there are tons of MTB trails. The coast is beautiful. We've invested in camping gear + hike and bike and that is how we explore the area,,, staying in an airbnb would be super nice...all sorts of beautiful locations. We're going to invest in a truck at some point. there is a lot of back country + snow plus eventually we want to put a camper on it. We'll see what we do in the end. I agree the used minivan is the best choice considering use, cost, and efficiency. You can upgrade shocks if you want to be a little more versatile.

LiberateMind
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Re: ERE Year 2 - Someone Call The Internet Retirement Police...

Post by LiberateMind »

Hi 2B1S,

Wow!! A year of vacation and then back to work.. Wonderful to see that things are working out superbly.. I am also interested in seeing the psychological shift between the retirement and the back to work form..

Your journey is quiet inspiring, given you haven't accumulated full assets for FI yet, still designing the best of life..

2Birds1Stone
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Re: ERE Year 2 - Someone Call The Internet Retirement Police...

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

@boston, I'll have to search through your posts to see if you posted your investment strategy. If not, could you share it?

@Douglast, thanks mate! Wow, very similar paths! Wife and I played the game on easy mode for 5 years thanks to discovering FIRE/ERE before we ramped up our income initially. The second huge impact was lowering our expenses to 1/3 that of our peers. Life is good! I have many more thoughts about returning to work that I'll try to share.

Really appreciate your comments about the PNW. It's definitely a dream of mine to explore the entire USA (but PNW is high on the list of priority areas). Ideally DW and I would like to do a thru-hike or LASH (long ass section hike) of the PCT. Getting up there with a proper full sus MTB would also check many boxes for me. Wester Red Cedars journal and posts make me realize also, just how badly I want to check that part of the US out.

@LiberateMind, thank you for following along. I would call it much more than a vacation. Until August/Sept it didn't really have a set end date. We were fluid, and for now fill a container that's shaped by work. The psychological impact so far is apparent, but still very new.

My choice to work was in big part influenced by DW wanting to take a crack at a career and my wanderlust would make that very hard to balance if I were 100% free. Individually I am more than FI, even when spending creeps back up to all time high levels if we end up doing short term rentals and paying for convenience/time savings to enjoy the areas we are visiting, I still shouldn't need to spend the equivalent to more than a 4% WR. As a married team, we still have a ways to go. I worked 9 years in a salaryman career type path, having 4 employers. DW is younger, hasn't had the opportunity to figure out what she would like to pursue (even for a short career), and hasn't had time to really experience a significant accumulation phase. She found a career path that she is personally interested in, finds fulfilling, and has very decent earning potential in a relatively short amount of time (<2 years). By me returning to work for even part of the time she is, will greatly reduce our time to reach traditional FI based on a 3% WR. Not to say that we are in any rush, and I foresee many more gap years, multi-year sabbaticals, and other shenanigans before ever potentially reaching that point.

Another part of going back to work was culture/current Covid situation related. I simply can't do many of the things I enjoy, with the people I enjoy being with. So far, based on my initial few weeks, I can probably block my active work into 2-3 solid chunks totaling 6-7 hours per day, from home. This leaves quite a bit of time for other activities and pursuits. It would not be a good look if we were staying with my MIL and DW was going to work while I was doing whatever it is that non-working me would be doing all day/every day. It makes conversations around the holidays much easier when we speak with family and friends.

So far I'm feeling no pressure from work. Subconsciously, I understand that this is literally icing on the cake that was baked between 2010-2019. My boss and team seem like cool people so far, I think I'll learn some new skills, and if I can manage my time/stress (or keep it at bay) well, it might not be a bad shift in gears for a bit.

Financially, it will bankroll whatever next adventure we decide on. Going to be much more fun buying/building an adventure vehicle, or gear for cycling around the world while having some mulah coming in every month. I made sure to negotiate a commission draw for the first 90 days, non-recoverable if I separate from the company for any reason. I can walk away after 3 months with 0 regrets.

Western Red Cedar
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Re: ERE Year 2 - Someone Call The Internet Retirement Police...

Post by Western Red Cedar »

2Birds1Stone wrote:
Tue Nov 24, 2020 2:17 pm
Really appreciate your comments about the PNW. It's definitely a dream of mine to explore the entire USA (but PNW is high on the list of priority areas). Ideally DW and I would like to do a thru-hike or LASH (long ass section hike) of the PCT. Getting up there with a proper full sus MTB would also check many boxes for me. Wester Red Cedars journal and posts make me realize also, just how badly I want to check that part of the US out.
After years of following and learning from your FI journey it's great hear I'm able to repay the favor in a small way. You could spend years exploring the PNW and not get bored. The options grow exponentially when you start expanding your itinerary in neighboring western states. Any particular cities, national parks, or areas of interest besides the PCT?

I would put a plug in for British Columbia as well. There are loads of good boondocking and outdoor adventures awaiting in BC. It also has an international vibe and is a good option if you ever need to be outside of the US for health care reasons.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: ERE Year 2 - Someone Call The Internet Retirement Police...

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

November Financial Update*
*Values will change due to full trading day ahead

Combined Assets
$770,000 (+$38,000)

Combined Spending
November - $827
Trailing Twelve Months - $17,160

Combined Income
$3,722 earned income
~$485 in interest/dividends

Combined Withdrawal Rate
2.23% (Portfolio = 44.9X annual expenses)

Combined Savings Rate - 80%

Musings
Individual November spending = $404, broken down for anyone curious;

$88 Grocery
$38 Transportation (gas)
$167 Entertainment
$23 Health/Hygiene
$88 Gifts

Individually @ $8,477 - TTM Spending, 72X annual expenses, and a 1.40% WR

November was a wild month.......stock market posted some big gains. Even with my limited exposure, got a nice lil bump to the ol' portfolio.

TTM Spending was <1 JAFI......first time in my life.

We both earned our first paycheck, which was artificially higher due to no benefits being taken out, and minimum tax withholding by law since we were out of work most of the year and should fall into 10% marginal Fed tax bracket. As a result, ended up with a sweet 80% savings rate for the month.

Spending was however artificially low. In December we will have the added expenses of, health insurance, vision ins, dental ins, electric/gas/water utilities, car insurance/maintenance, and one additional cell phone plan. The upside, we will both earn two paychecks.

Activity/Health

10 Weightlifting Sessions
10 MTB Rides (~149 miles total)
8.7 miles ran
86 miles walked
210.3 weight 7 day average

Musings/Goals

Being one of those people that needs a little structure/goal setting in order to be consistent and develop better habits...here are a few things I noticed in Nov....I sat entirely way too much, and there were only 2.5 work weeks in the month. My weight shot up (according to 7 day average, so not a random high day) by 3.6 lbs, after going up ~2.5 lbs in October. I'm just over my comfortable winter weight of 210 lbs. So for December, my goal is just to maintain a 7 day average below 210. After things stabilize over the holidays, I will likely make a small effort to drop the 5lbs of weight I gained from a less active lifestyle since returning from Europe. I need more movement, and I have to force myself to move.....so here are some more concrete goals for the month of December....

12 weightlifting sessions
8 MTB rides - 120 miles total
30 miles running
120 miles walking
<210 weight 7 day average

From a dietary standpoint, I would like to stop eating 2 hours before bed, eat more fiber and less meat in my diet, and cut out sweets completely 5 days per week.

From a financial standpoint, I really need to address my asset allocation and come up with something that will require minimum tweaking and I don't FOMO buy/panic sell out of. Right now I'm way too cash heavy and very low exposure to equities.....so far that has not proven to be a good play in 2019-2020.

Scott 2
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Re: ERE Year 2 - Someone Call The Internet Retirement Police...

Post by Scott 2 »

I think this is your wife's first experience with a career income. Any concern over it causing lifestyle inflation? I know when I started working, $50k per year seemed like an unfathomable amount of money to spend. After a few years surrounded by higher earners though...

The grocery spending at your activity levels and weight is especially impressive.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: ERE Year 2 - Someone Call The Internet Retirement Police...

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

@Scott 2, not exactly. She earned 48k and 63k in 2017 and 2016 respectively. She was working an office job there. Over 2015-2019 five year period, av income was $43k/yr.....which is her floor now. W-2 for 2021 should be $45-60k, for 2022 $65-80k and $80-100k in 2023 and beyond...This is if she stayed with this company and followed this specific track. She can make lateral moves instead for lower pay but possibly more fulfilling/in line with her skills if she chooses, or stop working whenever she decides. Right now her excitement and motivation are high, but it's the honeymoon phase =)

I don't want to be the reason she doesn't attempt to realize her potential wrt work/career. So I am going to go with the flow and try to support her decision while making life as enjoyable/fulfilling as possible. The DINK or even SINK income level would put us in a pretty crazy place financially if she stayed in the workforce for 3 full years, for example.

Lifestyle inflation is ok with me in some cases. Our baseline spending will naturally have to go up with the costs of living a normal life in a relatively HCOL and paying market rate for housing for a while. Anything on top of that will have to pass the sniff test, "is this spending aligning with our values, goals, etc". Knowing we can reign it in easily once free to travel again, not a long term issue. The key will be to avoid recurring spending that locks us in/down,

I've written pretty recently about opening the purse strings a bit and seeing how it feels psychologically to spend more and see that WR% go the wrong way for a bit. Will let y'all know =) I'm also curious to see if we've been "missing out" on anything by living below the federal poverty line =D

Grocery spending was indeed low! Stocking up at the very end of the previous month, holidays = lots of leftovers (some of which we received), and being good decomposers (MIL buys way too much food which goes to waste) and using things that are on the cusp of spoiling has lowered our costs dramatically. I can see December playing out similarly.

Need to get that diet in check. Not off to a good start with a toasted bagel w/ cream cheese and 4 scrambled eggs w/ cheese post workout this morning =D

Morning weight 211
7 Day Average - 210.6
Goal 7DA - <210

ETA - since I'm tracking working time.....Nov was 100 hours of productive work.....not bad.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: ERE Year 2 - Someone Call The Internet Retirement Police...

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

Western Red Cedar wrote:
Sun Nov 29, 2020 5:09 pm
Any particular cities, national parks, or areas of interest besides the PCT?

I would put a plug in for British Columbia as well. There are loads of good boondocking and outdoor adventures awaiting in BC. It also has an international vibe and is a good option if you ever need to be outside of the US for health care reasons.
I don't know enough about the PNW to know where to start. Would love to spend a year or three up in that area.......this is one of my biggest drivers to be location independent, whether working or not. Doing short term furnished rentals and exploring a place like PNW or neighboring BC sounds like a dream......or doing the van/car camping thing =)

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