Semi-ERE Year 3 - Wanderlust Prevails

Where are you and where are you going?
2Birds1Stone
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Re: ERE Year 2 - Someone Call The Internet Retirement Police...

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

Looks like we will be spending the rest of the holidays in isolation.

Work ish update

This is going to be a mostly unorganized rambling about work again...

So far, I don't feel any of the negative emotions that were present when I was desperately looking to leave the workforce in 2019. Due to all of the other life circumstances shaping our lives, the work isn't as much of a constraint, and it does not feel like I'm working a FT job at all. Right now, I have autonomy over ~80-90% of my day. Between internal and customer facing meetings, I spend about 10-12 hours a week. The rest of my time is externally unstructured. I do spend a few hours a day doing self paced product training, and review my teams video conference meeting recordings, but it's entirely on my own time.

I don't have any real deliverables yet, or a compensation plan, quota, etc. So far the stress is basically non-existent. Part of this feeling is definitely tied to being individually at 70x trailing twelve month spend, and really internalizing that I'm working because I want to, rather than need to. The only obstacle I can see on the horizon wrt work is when the weather gets nicer, I really enjoy spending a lot more time outdoors, than a typical hour lunch break allows. Luckily, the days are much longer, so a 2 hour bike ride in the morning or after work is actually doable. Will have to go back to blocking a longer lunch in my calendar once I have my plate fuller with client interactions. If the job ends up being completely stressful/chaotic, I can either check out, or try to find something else.....but having another free summer sounds pretty sweet.

With everything going on, I feel really blessed to be in the situation we are in. My MIL has accepted us offering to pay the utilities, and until we figure out what our next move is, we can stash away a bit more income.
Last edited by 2Birds1Stone on Fri Feb 05, 2021 10:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by anesde »

Sorry to hear about your FIL; hopefully a quick recovery!

Curious what you’ve disclosed to your MIL on finances and future plans? (and/or any other people you have or will stay with)

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

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

@anesde, thanks for your thoughts.

We are careful regarding the mixing of finances and personal relationships. Most of our immediate family members know that we have no debt, have lived below our means for the past 10 years, saved up for a year of travel, plan to redo the entire trip in a few years time, and have other future plans that involve dirtbagging (like thru-hiking), living in a vehicle and exploring NA, slow traveling the globe when it's feasible, etc.

They have no clue as to absolute net worth or exact spending levels. Most of our family members are financially sound but take a much more "live now, worry later" mentality which may in later years necessitate certain options that at the time could have been avoided with better choices. We are not taking the financial burden of other peoples choices, and could see this becoming a point of contention if we were too transparent regarding our own situation. We also don't tell our immediate family members that we plan on "retiring" at an extremely unconventional age. Money in the USA is a very emotional and polarized topic, so while happy to lead by example and help family/friends if asked for it, we don't project our own values/lifestyle on other people.

We actually offered to pay rent before moving in here. MIL didn't want to charge us anything, I basically told her that I would not feel comfortable if we didn't pay for anything we consumed whilst living there....so we have the utilities, and I/we help quite a bit around the house. For her it also provides some companionship that during these times is lacking for most people.
Last edited by 2Birds1Stone on Fri Feb 05, 2021 10:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by LiberateMind »

Sorry about your FIL!
2Birds1Stone wrote:
Tue Dec 08, 2020 12:05 pm
We are not taking the financial burden of other peoples choices, and could see this becoming a point of contention if we were too transparent regarding our own situation.
Wish I had this foresight before disclosing a bit about our networth to our extended family ;) . Lots of hidden expectations and emotional upheavals due to that.

Looks like you pretty much settled down in the work and home.. :D Nice to see you sliding in smoothly after a gap.. keep us posted..

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

Post by CS »

I've told ONE person and that did not go well, despite her being the one with lifetime income from an independent source. Don't do it.

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

Post by Western Red Cedar »

I hope your FIL is doing okay and appreciate your update on the return to the working world. I've found that after long periods of leave I'm typically ready to go back to work. I've also noticed that when there is an end date in mind, or in your case an easy escape hatch, some of the normal work stressors don't emerge. Please continue to keep us updated periodically.

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

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

@LiberateMind, it's an interesting conundrum. At this point we are used to discussing finances without showing our cards, it's a non-issue.

@CS, yup. It definitely impacts people on an emotional level.....and can change relationships permanently.

@WRC, thanks. He is currently on steroids which seem to be helping.

With regards to work......don't get me wrong, if today was May 10th instead of December 10th.....I doubt I would be wanting to spend my day shackled to a laptop. Ditto if we were able to freely travel around SE Asia like we had planned for this winter. I don't *need* to be working just because DW is. For now, I'm taking it one week at a time =) There are some golden handcuffs keeping me here through the end of February. After that it's a crapshoot as to what I do.

Ever since that first taste of freedom in fall of 2017, shifting from a butt in seat office job, to a WFH/travel to client site gig.....I don't think I can ever do the former for longer than a few months. Right now there's just no better alternatives with all of the other constraints, so the money printer will stay on for a bit.

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

Post by Western Red Cedar »

2Birds1Stone wrote:
Thu Dec 10, 2020 9:28 am
Ever since that first taste of freedom in fall of 2017, shifting from a butt in seat office job, to a WFH/travel to client site gig.....I don't think I can ever do the former for longer than a few months. Right now there's just no better alternatives with all of the other constraints, so the money printer will stay on for a bit.
This is why I keep asking about your experience - and appreciate you sharing it. I have a strong inclination that I won't want to go back to a traditional office job after stepping away for an extended period. WFH is a nice perk, but the schedule and the BS is still present in one form or another.

My feelings were different in the past after extended travel, but I wasn't sitting on a pile of cash to fund other adventures.

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

Post by ertyu »

I personally have been out of work for going on close to a year, and would find it very difficult psychologically to return -- even though I likely will try to return in the second part of 2021 (subjective assessment of when corona is likely to allow it).

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

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

@WRC, the schedule is definitely annoying, and no way to fully escape the BS and politics....but here is a sample day (will use today).

7:00- wake up, have coffee with DW, read for 30 minutes
8:00 - check work email, quickly knock out any tasks that came in overnight
8:30 - daily team call
9:30 - 60 minutes of productive work
10:30 - grocery shopping, breakfast
11:30 - 60 minutes of client facing calls/meetings
12:30 - run 5k, shower, eat lunch, BS on forums, peak the market action
2:30 - final two hours of "deep work"
4:30 - last check-in with team, personal time
6:30 - completely turn off email notifications/close laptop, unplug, cook dinner, etc.

I'm seemingly chained to my computer from 8:30 until 4:30 every day. But today was able to squeeze in 3 hours of non-work stuff during the day, that I would be doing on a normal day anyway. From 4:30-~6:30 I'm available if something pops up, but rarely am I doing any work tasks during this time.

Comparing this to a job where you have to get presentable for the office, commute even 30 minutes door to door, physically be at 8-9 hours, commute another 30 minutes back home........sounds delightful.

Comparing this to no job, it might sound like indentured servitude.

Every month of doing this, funds ~2-3 months of travel/not working. But the elephant in the room is the giant FU$ stache that will make this trade of time of money much less appealing once the weather is more conducive to being outside and/or Covid is less of an inhibitor to travel.

@ertyu, I've been reading your journal and posts in other parts of the forum since you joined. Think our situations are quite a bit different, but also very similar. My career has been in sales, and since mid 2017 I was in professional purgatory while flying by the seat of my pants. The big difference to our performance related demise, was that I fully embraced the Office Space mentality, and channeled that to make the most of a wild situation. ERE/FU$ was the saving grace that kept me from losing my mind. It was such a rollercoaster, that I was desperate to step off toward the end, even though I was making a salary ~2X what I do now. After 13 months of not working, it was definitely an adjustment. If it helps, just the interview process sharpened the skills back quite a bit......and by that I mean the ability to BS.....because at the end of the day that's what I feel like we all get paid to do.

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

Post by CS »

I think it is so hard to go back, mostly for the unsaid but still understood expectation that 'we' (the workers) are all prisoners until we are 65, at the earliest. It effects every person's attitude on the job. I know there is lots of talk of slow and semi retirement, but having done that, it just gets more difficult every year. I oft wish old me had gunned through for longer and then just chucked all the credentials I now painstakingly keep up.

Maybe you are sheltered from a lot of that emotional drag by not being in a workplace building. I do hope so for your sake.

Once had a job interview where promising to stay for 5 years was not enough. The interviewer in all seriousness wanted a promise of lifetime service, all while I could barely make it through the day of interviews, lol! (To be fair, it was a rare and sunny beautiful PNW day outside...)

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

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

@CS. I guess I was pretty lucky, almost all of my jobs throughout life have been mostly enjoyable. I worked for and eventually ran an ice cream store from 13-16 years old, delivered pizza 17-18, various random jobs from 19-22 during a failed college attempt, and then from 23-27 I worked in retail management, where aside from having a regional who made sure we met certain standards, I got to be the boss and choose my employees. The pay sucked, but I was on my feet all day, and working a niche that I REALLY enjoyed, getting to speak with customers and help people on a topic that I was quite passionate about. Then I made the shift to knowledge work, and a traditional office environment. Luckily, because it was a good company, technology I was learning/selling was interesting, and my coworkers were good it was bearable for the first few years. Income tripling in a short timespan also eased the pain.......then in the second half 2017 things began to crash and burn. I became jaded, and sick of the politics and bullshit. Watched Office Space a few times for motivation, and unplugged. My career took off after I stopped trying to be a good worker bee. I realized most of the people in my career world were faking it too, and no one really knew what the fuck they were doing.

Coming back to it, I realize most people don't know what the hell they are doing, and just flying by the seat of their pants. I'm callous to much of what used to bother me about the inefficiencies and "busy work" that take up 75% of most employees days. A long winded way of saying that, I think if you mentally consider yourself in the "prisoner" bucket, it starts to wear on you quickly. If you consider yourself a contractor working for the prison, it wears less obviously/quickly, but it still sucks to work in a prison.

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

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

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Last edited by 2Birds1Stone on Fri Feb 05, 2021 10:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

Jin+Guice
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Re: ERE Year 2 - Choose Your Own Adventure - Homeless and Confused Edition

Post by Jin+Guice »

2Birds1Stone wrote:
Sat Oct 31, 2020 3:30 am
Before y'all call me bad names and express your disappointment (*cough* J&G *cough*), hear me out.
Nah dawg, the ease with which you returned to work (highly paid, in your old line of work, during a global pandemic no less) is just another argument for semi-ERE. Contrast your happiness now with your happiness right before you retired.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: ERE Year 2 - Choose Your Own Adventure - Homeless and Confused Edition

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

Jin+Guice wrote:
Wed Dec 16, 2020 9:18 am
Contrast your happiness now with your happiness right before you retired.
I'm going to try to unpack this, and do a bit of a brain dumb.

Introspecting a bit on your question, the first thing I struggled with was putting a time box around "retired". I guess you could say I semi-retired, back in the fall of 2017, at ~14x current living expenses, I made a lot of ballsy moves that resulted in some ridiculously good outcomes. Since then, life has been pretty amazing, all while learning, growing, and changing as a person. I'm actually embracing the idea of sporadic work to keep skills somewhat marketable and hedge against the other pillars of support.

I don't know if it's "happiness" in the traditional sense. But a sense of pleasure derived from knowing that I have complete autonomy over my choices on work/earning money. These periods of non-work over the past 3 years have been very good for perspective. As others, like c_L have pointed out in different threads, after a while you learn what's important to you. For me, the time off feels more special if it's somewhat finite and balanced wrt to structure, meaning, purpose, mental stimulation, etc. Another discovery was that variety is really really good. Time slowed down so much when we were traveling those 7 months. The past 6 weeks have been a blur.

Jin+Guice
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Re: Semi-ERE Year 3 - Wanderlust vs. W-O-R-K

Post by Jin+Guice »

If I could summarize what I've hoped to add to the early retirement conversation it's "Make work part of your life, don't make your life part of work."

This should be obvious, but work is our national (if not global) religion.

Without context that's just some shit people in the suburbs will just put above their toilet though.

Wrt ERE the two things I noticed people repeatedly failing to consider were:

1. Once you embrace extreme frugality, you are free from economic worry*. In our world, resources are abundant. Saving enough money to gain "freedom" from ever having to work again in some distant future is a viable path, but not the only path.

*Or at least the economic worry that the muggles worry about. You port your economic worry to market breakdown and money printing inspired by global pandemics.

2. Work, socialization and structure are all things people enjoy and need to varying degrees. Paid employment is a pretty great way of getting all three of these. The problem is, it's usually done on "their" terms and not your own. Nothing will ever be 100% on your terms. Once "they" lose the power of controlling your economic destiny, it's a lot easier to balance the things paid employment takes with the things it gives and enjoy leisurely and frequent breaks.

So you can have your dream job, or at least a dream job, control your time and be on vacation most of the time. I think your journey from saving to risk taking to more saving to quitting and traveling to more saving is the perfect example of this and is inspirational to all of us.

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

Post by classical_Liberal »

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Last edited by classical_Liberal on Fri Feb 05, 2021 2:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: Semi-ERE Year 3 - Wanderlust vs. W-O-R-K

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

J+G, glad that you got some value out of my ramblings here over the years =D

@c_L, our paths will cross, of this I'm sure. Right now we are still sitting tight for a few more weeks as we knock out stuff like medical appointments, paperwork, document renewals etc. Target is to make some sort of move by end of January. Climate/weather being the primary driver. Bonus if it were less than a days drive from NY, but that ain't happening.

C'est la vie

FIL seems to be mostly out of the woods, after a pretty big struggle for two weeks. DW and I have cancelled all plans to see family during the holiday week(end), and they haven't taken it the best.

Work is moving along nicely, with a quiet finish to the year. Things will pick up after Jan 4th. Looking forward to some more learning and hopefully some commissions $$$.

A huge part of me wants to go back to EU asap, specifically Portugal. From a cost perspective, it would be a wash vs. heading south in the USA. Right now we wouldn't want to be flying anywhere, so going to stick to parts of the country we're willing to drive to.

I have a feeling of ennui with everything that's going on in the world and our lives. A big part of it is the weather/short days.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: Semi-ERE Year 3 - Wanderlust vs. W-O-R-K

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

The shortest day of the year is behind us here in the Northern Hemisphere. Today is a particularly sunny one, which makes all of the snow that's laying around seem extra bright. I can't be certain, but it's lifted my mood a bit.

Today began at 2:45 AM when I woke up, wide awake with the feeling that it wasn't even worth trying to fall back asleep. Still in bed, I was reading AxelHeyst's last few journal posts and started down a rabbit hole after googling "dirtbag lifestyle". These dudes are the og ERE'ers, and in one thread on the topic on reddit, someone posing the question "how long can I dirtbag off of $10k", and was met with "You're not really dirtbagging if you start with $10k".....which really got me thinking. I'm getting soft in my approach to future planning. WRC made a great point recently re: the temptation to play ERE on easy mode.....life is short, the world is big.

I'm slowly starting to figure out some options for next year, that may or may not involve work in some capacity. Nothing concrete, but enough to take advantage of serendipity if it were to strike.

By 5 AM we were already at the (nearly empty) gym. More reading and research online, coffee, breakfast.....and work by 8 AM. Got my last outstanding transaction for 2020 in the bag, and basically no deliverables until January 4th.

Celebrated with a 2 mile run at solar noon.

Have been doing a lot of reflecting on 2020 over the past few days. All things considered, ours was fortunately much better than most. But despite that, I'm left with a feeling of unfinished business. The urge to re-do a modified version of our original itinerary using the lessons learned from the past year would be glorious. Namely to slow down, and pick much fewer places to see, stay longer, and avoid any rigid travel plan. I also think that taking 18 months would be preferable to 12. Especially since we really want to get a taste of two different continents.

Aside from 18 months to do some slow travel, there's a long list of side adventures and alternate paths to take if the whole global situation isn't conducive to long term international travel.

We have some time until we are ready to embark on anything too crazy......and the world is quickly changing.

Western Red Cedar
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Re: Semi-ERE Year 3 - Wanderlust vs. W-O-R-K

Post by Western Red Cedar »

2Birds1Stone wrote:
Tue Dec 22, 2020 11:30 am
Still in bed, I was reading AxelHeyst's last few journal posts and started down a rabbit hole after googling "dirtbag lifestyle". These dudes are the og ERE'ers, and in one thread on the topic on reddit, someone posing the question "how long can I dirtbag off of $10k", and was met with "You're not really dirtbagging if you start with $10k".....which really got me thinking. I'm getting soft in my approach to future planning. WRC made a great point recently re: the temptation to play ERE on easy mode.....life is short, the world is big.
Sometimes I worry that I'm throwing gasoline on your wanderlust fire, but since you've started looking into dirtbagging...

I'd recommend the movie 180 Degrees South. It examines some of the early dirtbaggers but with a focus on travel, sustainability, and adventure. I think it provides some interesting, ERE-relevant insights on the balance between travel and sustainability.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWBz_pxYC0A

I'm currently reading Yvon Chounard's memoir/business philosophy and plan on posting some of my reflections in more detail when I finish it. His writing reminds me of Jacob sometimes and I think his lifestyle is a great model that is consistent with ERE principles.

Valley uprising is another film that looks at the dirtbag lifestyle throughout the last 50 years from the perspective of the Yosemite Valley:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQXWnoipdFE

I saw Dirtbag - The Legend of Fred Beckey a couple years ago at a local film festival. This provides a great insight into a true dirtbag lifestyle. The director and a lot of his climbing buddies were in the audience and shared some great stories. There is a great scene where he is freaking out because he can't find his McDonald's coffee cup. It turns out the driver tossed it, and he was super pissed. He'd been using it for the last year to get free refills on coffee at the golden arches :o

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRfJGmXg4Yg

I'm not a climber, but have done a few summits and non-technical ascents around the Pacific Northwest. I relate a lot to the lifestyle and appreciate the dogged pursuit of a passion.

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