Gus' road to retirement

Where are you and where are you going?
suomalainen
Posts: 418
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Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by suomalainen » Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:46 pm

Augustus wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 3:20 pm
I realized that I could stop obsessing over accumulation right now, it felt like a tremendous stress had been removed from me. It's hard to enjoy life when you feel like you're behind.
...
I am trying to come to terms with what my change of plans means to me.
...
I then proceeded to have ZERO interest in these things I had bought, i.e. video games, books, plans for adventures, plans for what I'd do on my first day/week/month with no work, etc when I was actually not working. They were a fantasy I had concocted while working, that did not apply in the mental state I entered when I stopped working.
...
If I went too far in either direction, i.e. i became too focused on productivity or enrichment, or I became a couch bound lazy ass, I started to get depressed.
I feel each of these quotes. My reach had far exceeded my grasp and my fantasy crumbled, so figuring out what to replace it with is what I'm grappling with now myself. Best of luck in drafting this new chapter in your life's story.

Augustus
Posts: 507
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Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by Augustus » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:38 pm

I finally ran some numbers, if I'm willing to average 6 months per year until 2032, or I guess less for longer, I hit my goals. It does get easier as time goes on though, because more and more expenses are covered each year since I'll be able to invest them and get a return, and because every time I hit 100k or so I can plow that into a rental and get about 400-500/mo, at least if my last 2 rentals are any indication. On the other hand, if I just power through at my current amount of work for 5 more years, I hit the same goal, 3 rentals each turning out 1k/mo.

The more I think about the less sure I am. 3 months per year is one thing. Am I willing to commit myself to 6 most per year for the next 15 years? From a different angle, since I'm planning to work a little each year anyways, will I want to work 6 mos per year? Or will it be less? If I'll want to work 6 mos per year when I hit FI, then it's stupid to keep working full years. If I won't want to work 6 mos per year when I'm FI, then it's stupid not to finish in 5 years.

Then there's the nature of my work. The good paying contracts usually start with 12 mos or less contracted and get extended for a few years. I haven't tried finding fixed length contracts and rejecting extensions before. I'm somewhat confident that I could, but it's not a certainty. I'm not sure if it would burn bridges.

Those are the profitable gigs, the less profitable gigs are out there and shorter, but you're doing more unpaid work finding them, and you're making less per month, like half. They're more flexible hours wise though, and much shorter, 1-3 mos usually.

The profitable gigs are the way to go in my opinion, you make double per month with less time spent marketing, but the question remains, how hard are they to keep finding and exiting after the original end date comes up. Most of the people doing these hop from project to project and work year round. I've started working through subcontracting firms since I have to do even less marketing as they do all that for you. In the past I did the marketing myself, but it's definitely not semi retirement friendly IMO because after putting your name out there, if you want to stop taking work, it undoes all the marketing work. I want to enter and exit the workforce as I please.

My half baked plan revolves around having 3-5 subcontracting firms on speed dial at any given time, pinging them to see what's available when I want to work, and making it clear that I'm looking for fixed length projects, one per year. It's a given that they probably won't like me dictating unusual terms, but I think they won't really care as long as I do good work and I finish out contracts, which is why it would get weird if I turn down extensions... Thus the need to find multiple firms and probably replace a few each year. It won't be as easy as if I were to just accept new projects and extensions and work year round.

So, bearing all the above in mind... I guess it really all comes back to me. Will I be happy or unhappy working 6 mos per year. If I get FI and find I'm happier working 6 mos per year, I can probably make it work using the half baked plan above. If I'm less happy working 6 mos per year, it's probably better to finish out hardcore accumulation then use a modified version of half baked plan where I do one contract every other year, or look for strictly short term 3-6 mos only.

Right now... I'm leaning towards a passive solution. My current contract goes to November, if it ends and they have more work right after I'll probably take it. If it keeps going past that it'll be up to my whims. If it's still going after 5 years it would be completely pointless to accept more long term work. I'll at least make it clear I'm taking 2-3 mos off between each gig. If it does not keep going, then I'll probably take a longer amount of time off, and look again in a year.

I'm kind of hoping the problem resolves itself. If the current gig goes 2-3 years, I feel like it's assured that I never have to try very hard again. My passive income at that point would be around 2200-2600 per month. My FI target is 3k/mo passive income. 5 years means it's pretty much pointless to work other than for fun money, which I like, completely discretional, if I want to buy a toy or go on a big trip, I can, if I don't, I don't work.

The 2-3 years scenario sounds appealing to me, since it's middle of the road, but I can't tell if I'm one more year syndroming myself, or if going half time now is just prolonging the pain, my situation is different because I'm not all stocks, I own my rentals directly, so it doesn't grow the same way, the rentals aren't going to have a baby rental, but I am making a profit and can invest those... Enacting the plan at the end of my current contract is appealing, but the idea of work not being discretionary makes me queasy. If I go just a few years longer... my passive income goes up, making it even easier to save when I work half time. If I go half time now, more of it gets eaten up my expenses that aren't offset by passive income, but honestly it would probably work out fine. Given my track record, I'm probably going to always earn more than I need. But who knows, there could be an inflection point where that's no longer true because I value my free time more than earning money.

I'll have to mull it more. I could also do a longer test drive. I'm REALLY curious how much I'll want to work after Fi. That's the critical factor in my decision. It would be downright stupid to overshoot the accumulation goals if I find that I LIKE working an average of 6 mos per year, a waste of my most precious commodity: Time. But I won't know the answer until I'm really taking a lot of time off, years probably.

Mister Imperceptible
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Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by Mister Imperceptible » Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:28 am

Well, you’ve said again and again that you want to dry run retirement. I’m going to play devil’s advocate and say that eating into the principal of your FI egg might conflict with your web of goals, and you’ll waste a lot of time trying to find new gigs as you move in and out of being employed. I was reading ffj’s journal and it struck me that he took a 4-day gig and realized even that was too long for him. He’s working blue collar jobs and he has to be there physically, while you work from home, but I don’t know how comfortable I would be with the idea that employment will be so easy to find. If we have some dreadful financial calamity a la the Great Depression, your employment gaps could really work against you and you might be forced to take non-remote work. That would make you really unhappy.

I’m relatively new here so I’m still figuring it all out, but I’m inclined to lean toward racing to FI as soon as possible, THEN taking your foot off the gas. But that’s easy for me to say, I have no children or plans to live in uber-expensive California, so that date might seem farther away for you. I would just hesitate to think you’ll always have access to such a high income.

Augustus
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Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by Augustus » Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:39 pm

Mister Imperceptible wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:28 am
The recession thing is a good point, the easy high paying gigs would probably thin out in a recession. It'll be easier to accumulate at a faster rate now, than whenever the economy starts contracting. I'm less worried about not finding any work, I actually started contracting during the last recession because it was easier to find contract work than it was to find w2 work, so it may work out that in a recession it would be easier to find work again, when people are looking to control costs they often use contractors instead of hiring full time workers. But I was looking for a different kind of work then, if there's a flood of labor into the market, it might be harder to land the really high paying contract work that I like, and that high paying contract work would probably shrink since it's more expensive. I could always go back to directly contracting with small businesses, which is where I started, but it implies I'd need to be marketing myself again which is unpaid and time consuming, it's still better than working in someone elses office IMO. I'm also not worried about employment gaps, because I always have a few tiny clients, I'm never actually fully unemployed, I'm just contracting..1 hour a month :) But no one has to know it's only 1 hour a month, thus there are no visible gaps.

One really attractive aspect to working another 2-3 years before taking my foot off the gas is that my kid will be in public school by then. In California I'm going to be paying out 1500/mo just for daycare alone until she's in public school. After my kid is in public school my expenses that aren't covered by passive income drop to like 500 per month provided that I keep working the next 2-3 years. That seems like an ideal time to stop working so hard, it's also totally possible that when I stop working I shave off the 500/mo in expenses and am FI immediately, during my last test drive I shaved off a lot of expenses since I had time to devote to it. One problem I'm seeing right now is that my expenses are about to double by moving to California, so my burn rate is going to be high until the public school phase starts. I didn't look at the trend my expenses are going to be doing until I started running numbers, these next 2-3 years are going to be the most expensive of my life presumably until I get sick in old age as far base monthly expenses go.

If I go 2-3 more years, my expenses drop, and I'd be only 140k away from FI, that's much safer/easier. My FI numbers are high because I'm supporting 2 other people with my FI money, in 15 years I'll only be supporting 2 people. The chances of me not accumulating another 140k in the next 15 years are slim in my opinion.

We'll see, if I get a contract extension I'll probably take it. If I don't, I'll probably take 6 mos to a year off :) I think I just discovered the meaning of 1 more year syndrome.

Mister Imperceptible
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Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by Mister Imperceptible » Mon Apr 16, 2018 1:01 pm

I think also that your wife will continue to come up with creative reasons to keep you working. My grandmother just pressured my grandfather into buying a wood pellet stove they couldn’t afford. “I have to keep him working” she said with wide eyes and a sweet tone, her feet in bunny slippers toasting by the fire, as my grandfather continues to lurch forward like a mule.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-tRdBsnX4N4

Augustus
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Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by Augustus » Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:20 pm

Yeah that could be a possibility. She's been supportive of my frugal retire early dreams and says it's fine if I stop working. That said, when I took time off last year, and the rubber hit the road, she got very anxious. After it didn't end in catastrophe she felt better. I think I'll have to ease it in. But it's not as if she can exactly stop me... As long as we don't start going negative, I don't think she'll mind. The proof is in the pudding.

We keep separate checking accounts, she deposits half the bills into the joint account, the rest of her money is hers to do with as she pleases, but its understood that the joint account is off limits except for bills and medical, it's not for discretionary spending. This has worked well for us.

suomalainen
Posts: 418
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Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by suomalainen » Tue Apr 17, 2018 6:03 pm

Mister Imperceptible wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 1:01 pm
she said with wide eyes and a sweet tone, her feet in bunny slippers toasting by the fire, as my grandfather continues to lurch forward like a mule.
I feel like this sometimes too (as the grandfather, not the grandmother). It's infuriating but at the same time...it's what I signed up for. Fuck.

@augustus - I like the separate account approach. Not workable for us, I guess, but it seems ideal.

Mister Imperceptible
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Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by Mister Imperceptible » Tue Apr 17, 2018 6:08 pm

I’m sorry Suomalainen.

Someone at work told me a few months back that the joint accounts get drained quickly when the woman decides to leave. As in, not long after the final argument, poof, all the money gone within an hour. The same fellow was selling his house. “Will you be putting the proceeds of the sale towards buying another house?” I asked.

“I’m buying a divorce,” he replied.

I’m really sorry to be the resident cynical asshole here. I don’t know if it’s why I’m single, or vice-versa.

suomalainen
Posts: 418
Joined: Sat Oct 18, 2014 12:49 pm

Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by suomalainen » Tue Apr 17, 2018 6:11 pm

Ha, I thought I was the resident cynical asshole here.

- Married cynical asshole.

PS. Shout out to @jason? I don't want to usurp his title or anything.

Mister Imperceptible
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Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by Mister Imperceptible » Tue Apr 17, 2018 6:14 pm

Jason is a huge douchebag, not an asshole.

Augustus
Posts: 507
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Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by Augustus » Tue Apr 17, 2018 6:47 pm

Riggerjack said something to the effect that some people are human anchors, and if you're dragging one around your life will suck. That really stuck with me. On the other hand, some people are not human anchors. There is probably a continuum of human anchor vs human engine, and we all fall on it at different places.

I could easily live the single bachelor life, but I'm not, so it's silly to think about it. It doesn't accomplish anything and wastes brain cpu cycles. So I just tend to kill those processes when I catch them. In computing there's the term zombie process, daydreaming about various alternate lives is basically a zombie process, it consumes CPU and doesn't do anything and doesn't end until you kill it.

I was thinking this morning about would I do it all again. I mean you can never really know what it's like until you have wife/kid. It sucks in some ways, but part of the joy is that it is so hard to do well? There's a bunch of programming in you that never executes until you have wife/kid, at least for me. It's annoying and it never ends sometimes, but god damn does it feel good sometimes too.

Re: separate accounts, money is just money, I can always make more money. If you're miserable, you should hit that head on and get out of the relationship, IMO. There are worse things in life than being broke and single. Even if I lost 50% of my shit, I'd still be in spitting distance of retirement. It would honestly be easier at that point. Maybe, I guess that depends on the judge and the alimoney payments, one good reason to lower your income and have your wife work :)

Separate accounts decreased our conflicts, that's why it works well for us. I watch virtually every transaction, so I was constantly asking her about stuff. When she split off we were both happier. Maybe you should just become a nag Finn :) we had also had several fraudulent charges, so it was ostensibly in the name of fraud protection.

suomalainen
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Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by suomalainen » Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:16 pm

I like the idea of zombie processes. I'll tuck that behind my ear for use when I get stuck in one. Been doing better lately, but certainly am perhaps more ruminant than human at times.
Augustus wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 6:47 pm
maybe you should just become a nag Finn :)
Been there, done that. For me, it's about the zombie processes. Identify the battles that I know I'll lose anyway and just move on. Before I get back into the battles of changing my wife, I'm first (now) focusing on changing my life within the bounds of marriage. We'll see how it shakes out.

Anyway, enjoying your journal.

Augustus
Posts: 507
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2016 10:15 am

Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by Augustus » Thu May 10, 2018 10:29 pm

Turned 33. Finances on autopilot. Move prep is as expensive as expected, I figured I'd lose 2 months savings, which seems on track so far. Sitting at roughly 585k right now. Hopefully down another pound in weight.

Mostly I'm trying to figure out how to live the best life I can before throwing off the yoke in 3 years. In 3 years I aim to save another 180k, we'll see how that goes. I'm lazier than I was before, before I'd have thought that goal was no sweat. I need to get back in the saddle though and pay more attention to detail though. It's totally doable if I try. Then, I pull the plug! I'd be sitting around 2200 passive income, kid would be in school, wife would chip in half of bills, and I think I'd have a 500/mo shortfall which I can cover with my 3-6 mos of work plan.

Anyways, I keep having a recurring resolution to meditate each morning and ponder "how can I best live my life today?" And come up with 3 things to do. I'll make damn sure I do that tomorrow am. Every time I've maintained that discipline I've felt much better for it. It's too easy to let work and chores take over. The best part of my time off was the deliberateness of each day. I could hold large ideas in my head that I cannot possibly hold while working.

wolf
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Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by wolf » Fri May 11, 2018 1:31 am

Happy Birthday Augustus! I'd like the idea of meditating each morning. For some weeks now, I have been doing this irregularly.
What are the 3 things you came up today?

Augustus
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Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by Augustus » Fri May 11, 2018 11:04 am

@wolf Thanks! I try to keep them simple. Today I want to really sit and enjoy a cup of coffee for example. Instead of multi tasking and not paying attention. I love the old NES megaman series, so I want to enjoy playing one of those today. I also want to learn something new, I picked up a few AI programming books, planning to read a chapter.

Simple joys, but purposeful and deliberate. I tend to multitask too much, and I don't sit and enjoy the moments enough. If you're not fully experiencing your moments, and you're living in your daydreams and worries in your head while missing what's happening outside your head, you might as well just go back to bed, because you're in dreamland, not the real world.

Mister Imperceptible
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Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by Mister Imperceptible » Fri May 11, 2018 1:47 pm

The beauty and simplicity of 8-bit music.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qNmSh6bd2xs

SavingWithBabies
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Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by SavingWithBabies » Fri May 18, 2018 2:07 pm

I was going to post this in the other thread where working on the beach was mentioned but I realized it was off topic. So I came to ask you here :).

Can you actually work from the beach? Like how do you see the screen in the glare? Or do you have some kind of beach cabana thing that pops up? Or are we not talking literally the beach? Because I'd like to literally work from the beach. My ideal would be a beach house right on the beach but that is prime real estate usually. I'm going to shoot for this in Mexico but have wife and two kids so lots of juggling to make it happen (not a permanent thing, just a couple of weeks/months and see how it goes). Have to balance good internet with easy access to beach.
Last edited by SavingWithBabies on Fri May 18, 2018 3:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Fri May 18, 2018 2:25 pm

I plan on working from a beach hut in Bali/Laos at some point.

You can get something to cover the screen from above so it doesn't get hit with direct sunlight. It also helps to have a laptop that doesn't have a glossy screen. I work outside in my hammock in the sun pretty regularly.

Augustus
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Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by Augustus » Fri May 18, 2018 2:54 pm

A hotspot for internet and some shade is all you need. I don't like tethering because I have to answer calls and I can't tether and talk at the same time with my republic wireless phone. I prefer the verizon prepaid hotspots, it's $50/mo for 5GB at the lowest tier, but they have the best coverage, and coverage can get spotty when you're really mobile. I tried the walmart hotspot and a karma, but I kept having crappy connections at the worst possible times during conference calls, etc and it made me look bad to my clients. Verizon has been perfect, people generally don't know that I'm not at my house/office.

I usually park a few feet from the sand, do meetings in my car and use the cars power with an inverter to charge my laptop/hotspot/phone, and then I go the sand to do actual work. I suppose you could use a tent, but I usually just find a tree or hill or lifeguard tower. Even without shade, sometimes the glare isn't too bad, you'd have to do a trial run. I would recommend having a car if you have to do meetings, background noise gets really bad sometimes. In a car no one can tell.

Buy lots of compressed air though, dust will clog up your laptop if you work outside, and you'll have to blow it out a lot. I blow mine out every couple of weeks. Otherwise the heat will cause the laptop to die a lot faster.

I also usually still work from home. Driving sucks and is generally a waste of time.

SavingWithBabies
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Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by SavingWithBabies » Wed May 23, 2018 5:34 pm

Okay, I think I could see how this would work for me. Screen cover isn't enough for me. I'd need some solid shade. I'm thinking maybe beach veranda would be perfect if I could find a spot by the beach in Mexico that wasn't too populated but still had okay internet (even if cellular). Have to go on a short term vacation to scope out if such a place exists.

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