Gus' road to retirement

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Augustus
Posts: 395
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2016 10:15 am

Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by Augustus » Mon May 02, 2016 12:26 pm

April Recap:
A mostly aggravating month.

I did meet my goal of cutting out the night time nanny support, baby is sleeping through the nights most nights in her own room. It varies though, sometimes she scares herself and I've got to wake up and comfort her a couple times a night. This usually leaves me a zombie the next day. So I cut back $1200 in spending there. Also finished off a few smaller projects, giving me a little extra income.

Seeking to balance out the savings with spending, nature gifted me with a nasty infection in my lower back that needed to be lanced and cost me a visit to the ER. I'm scheduled for surgery this month to remove what is likely an ingrown hair. Extremely painful, and will probably more than offset my childcare savings and extra project income when it's all done.

Overall, everything balanced out though, so I was able to save about $9k this month.

Assets:
280k primary house market value, less transaction costs if I sold it
4k - economy car
15k - subaru
90k in equity in a rental property
42k in IRAs (vanguard 500 index)
10k in taxable vanguard funds
60k in cash accounts (i miscounted this last time)
Total:
501k (following suit with the rest of the forum, I am now counting current home valuation minus transaction costs if I sold, I also counted too low on some of my cash accounts last time)

Liabilities:
100k mortgage on rental property

No complaints here. Still intending to keep 60k cash on hand (which I reached this month, yay!) and then pay off the rental property mortgage with the rest. I should be able to pay about 70k of that off this year, and finish it off next year, if, and this is a big if in consulting, I don't lose any income. So the rosy scenario is that I pay off the rental property early next year, the less rosy scenario is that I pay it off late next year after having to scrounge up another client.

I keep flip flopping on what to do after I pay off the rental property. Do I continue to work full time and hammer out a second rental in ~2 years? Or do I cut back to 6 mos a year and take 4 years? I generally feel that it's foolish to turn away cash if it's already coming in, at least until I'm FI, after FI there's no point to it. I have a feeling I will let my clients decide for me. If I lose one, I just wont look for another and will slow down. If I lose them all, I think I will take a break and then go looking again the year after.

I still feel like the markets are overvalued, and would love to see a crash. When that happens I fully intend to snap up another rental property, I just don't know if this is 1 year, 2 years away, or more.

Base Monthly Expenses (not including emergencies):
200 - home ins/taxes
320 - my food/gas/misc, I plan to shave off 20 per week this month
150 - baby food, clothes, diapers, etc
60 - family cell phones
100 - gas (mostly during winter heating, and something I want to optimize with more insulation)
80 - electricity (also needs optimization)
110 - water,sewage,etc - flat rate lowest tier from the city
80 - business class internet, when I work less I'll scale back to a $40/mo plan
55 - car ins
700 - health insurance (thanks obamacare, it was 200/mo 4 years ago pre baby)
1300 - nanny
100 - misc
50 - drs, baby has to go a lot
200 - entertainment - movies/dining/museums/family day trips/etc
Total: 3505

1280 lower than last month, but obviously still too high. When I quit working in 3-5 years, I'll cut childcare to $200 a month for weekend babysitters so that my wife and I can go out, or maybe we'll move closer to relatives and get that for free. My daughter's hearing loss is still unexplained, so I plan to keep the better (more expensive) health care coverage until we have either exhausted all options for figuring out what it is, or we've found some solutions. In a year or two I can probably switch to a cheaper $500/mo plan. After both of those changes I'll be at about 2205/mo, and when I quit I'll try to trim off another 200. These changes are at least 3 years away, and very likely 5 years away, but the math works out and I'll be pretty much FI, though I still plan to work 1-2 mos a year on projects of my choosing and take bitchin vacations and cover any unexpected expenses. I think keeping my skills sharp is a good idea, you never really know what will happen in the future and having options is very valuable.

Health:
I gained 2 lbs this month because I was unable to exercise for 2 weeks after the infection. I gained more than that, but I've been cutting back my calories and I'm able to walk again now, so 2 lbs are all that's left. It does put me back with my goals though. I would like to lose 5 lbs every 2 months until I reach 200 lbs. I'm 6'1" and 221 lbs right now. 200 lbs would be pretty skinny for me, I come from a large bodied farming stock. I was planning to reach 215 by today, and I don't think I can do that by June, but I will try. That would put me at 200 lbs by December.

Health is the foundation of wealth in my opinion, because if you don't have it you don't have anything else. When I started my business I let things get out of hand, ate too much, worked too much, stressed too much, developed prehypertension, and soared to 250 lbs. To counter this I signed up for a bootcamp type workout a few years ago, all calisthenics with light weights. After learning the exercises and format I started doing it at home instead of paying for it. I've been pretty good about sticking to that program 3-4 days a week and my blood pressure is about perfect again. I also bought a treadmill desk which I absolutely recommend for people who do computer work like I do. It was pricey (1500) but I burn about 600-800 calories a day while working now. I picked up the idea from Neal Stephenson's essay "Arsebestos," great read: https://bi.hcpdts.com/reflowable/scroll ... 0062133618

Along these lines I also improved my diet a lot. I had a hipster employee who brought in a green smoothie every day, at first I was repulsed, a spinach smoothie?! Then I was curious, so I gave it a try. Now I'm hooked, this is my usual breakfast in the morning, it makes me feel so refreshed and energetic. I even got a nutribullet blender (I justify this because it saves me time and does a better job than a regular blender, and I use it 7 days a week 1-2 times a day). These are my go to recipes:

Base:
1-2 cups spinach, kale, swiss chard
1 banana (riper the better)
half cup greek yogurt
2 tbsp chia seeds or flax seeds

Tropical Version:
half cup Frozen costco tropical fruits (mango, pineapple, strawberry)
1 cup vanilla almond milk

Berry Version:
1 cup frozen mixed berries (also from costco)

fill with water to top of ingredients. put seeds closest to the blades.

If it sounds gross, try the berry one with a cup of apple juice, it makes it taste like apple sauce. It might be the placebo effect, but I get a huge boost of energy and mental acuity if I have this for breakfast. Other meals don't help as much, something about having it first thing makes it the most effective.

Augustus
Posts: 395
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2016 10:15 am

Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by Augustus » Thu May 12, 2016 11:38 am

I turned 31 this week. I've gotten more focused on health every year since my late 20s. I try to make sure I can handle the same or better workouts than I did on my previous birthday, and that gives me a lot more satisfaction than going out and drinking or having a party, those have pretty much gone away. An author I used to read said he would run one quarter mile lap for every year of his life on his birthday, I think that's an interesting idea. I doubt I'll be able to do 500 pushups on my 50th birthday or anything, but I may experiment with something along those lines. Maybe more reps than usual or something. These days I like to enjoy the simple things to celebrate, favorite meals, treats, etc. I even splurge for a 5 dollar coffee which is usually antithetical to my philosophy.

I'm also a big fan of mindfulness. Every year one of my recurring resolutions is to meditate more and write more. Mindfulness is hard to pin down a description for. There are lots of, in my opinion, frauds related to the practice. The ideas I like best about it are related to the idea that when you are a child things seem boundless and unlimited, you're not full of a bunch of metaphorical junk in the attic type thoughts as you are when you're older. The older you get, it's almost as if you're looking through a window that has a bunch of gunk on it and makes things unclear. Often when you see people or things, you are seeing your past experiences with them, and not what is actually in front of you. This is limiting and inaccurate. Clearing those thoughts and preconceptions out and experiencing what you're seeing right now without them is immensely liberating and satisfying. All the thoughts that can weigh you down are gone for a little while, it feels as if a huge burden is lifted off your shoulders. It's also tricky to do, because we naturally accumulate all of these thoughts, they help us survive, but I think they are also the main source of our unhappiness. A book I really enjoy on the subject that isn't religious or spiritual is "Wherever you go, there you are." It explains things much better than I do.

Financially I'm just ticking off the days until I'm retired. I have been doing this for years now. It seems like I'm waiting out a prison sentence, though in a much nicer prison than usual. I really don't understand how anyone could be happy working for most of their lives. I've been working professionally with computers since I was 15, so 16 years now. This means I've been working, doing variations of the same thing, 5 days a week or more, for more than half of my life.

These days I work less, earning more money has no appeal to me, this baffles friends and family. After a certain point earning more income does not improve your day to day life, and if you have to add more time for working and more stress, it only has a negative impact. I'm always somewhat depressed when a happy client wants to give me more work. I've become an expert at spotting red flags in new clients, things that signify cheapskates, hagglers, hasslers, etc. Most new work I turn down these days. I'd rather be able to quit early around 2 or 3 pm and exercise and read a book instead.

My wife has a friend who is very proud of herself, she is now a director of something or other at a hospital. She wakes up at 5 am to drop her teenage son off at school at 6 am, heads to work, and comes home at 8 or 9 pm. She is proud of this. She says she is doing it to give her family a better way of life. She complains that she missed her sons early years, and so she is trying to make up for that by giving him more now. She just bought a 680,000 dollar house. I ventured a guess that she must have zero energy and lay down all day on the weekends, which my wife confirmed, she literally lays on a couch all weekend. My wife thinks she is somewhat inspirational. I listen to her story like it is a horror story. My parents worked a lot when I was living with them, my dad did very similar hours to this lady, I wonder if her son feels the same way that I did, swearing adamantly that I'd never live that way.

User avatar
Dragline
Posts: 4450
Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:50 am

Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by Dragline » Thu May 12, 2016 12:12 pm

You might like "The Mindful Geek": https://www.amazon.com/Mindful-Geek-Min ... B0155FWYBW

It takes a lot of the woo out of various meditation practices, explains why/how they work and provides practical choices and guidance.

Augustus
Posts: 395
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2016 10:15 am

Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by Augustus » Thu May 12, 2016 4:22 pm

Nice find! You're adding a lot to my list :)

Augustus
Posts: 395
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2016 10:15 am

Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by Augustus » Wed Jun 01, 2016 1:05 pm

Finances
Assets:
280k primary house market value, less transaction costs if I sold it
4k - economy car
15k - subaru
90k in equity in a rental property
42k in IRAs (vanguard 500 index)
10k in taxable vanguard funds
70k in cash accounts
Total:
511k (following suit with the rest of the forum, I am now counting current home valuation minus transaction costs if I sold)

Liabilities:
100k mortgage on rental property

Base Monthly Expenses (not including emergencies):
200 - home ins/taxes
320 - my food/gas/misc
150 - baby food, clothes, diapers, etc
60 - family cell phones
40 - gas (something I want to optimize with more insulation)
80 - electricity (also needs optimization)
110 - water,sewage,etc - flat rate lowest tier from the city
80 - business class internet, when I work less I'll scale back to a $40/mo plan
55 - car ins
700 - health insurance (thanks obamacare, it was 200/mo 4 years ago pre baby)
1300 - nanny
100 - misc
50 - drs, baby has to go a lot
200 - entertainment - movies/dining/museums/family day trips/etc
Total: 3445

I cut out 20/wk and the weather changed lowering gas usage. It's going to get hot soon, so electricity will probably rise. My advice is never ever buy a split level house. They are extremely inefficient all year round. My ideal house would be a townhome or rambler with a basement. Love my basement, it's always much more comfortable than any other room, as long as you seal it to keep the bugs out.

I managed to hit my savings goal through some extra income, despite the extra outlays for surgery. My weight is 4 lbs higher than a few months ago, due to not being able to exercise after the surgery. Aggravating, but not horrible.

Money wise things are fairly constant.

Food:
Last week I set up an indoor container herb garden. This is my second attempt, the first attempt I somehow got a fungus gnat infestation. So I put everything outside and let the gnats die off indoors. Tenacious little things though, they immediately infested again somehow after I filled the containers with newly purchased soil. I had previously tried sprays to kill them but they did nothing and I don't like using pesticides on things I want to cook with. This time I poured boiling water over all the soil before planting, worked like a charm. Everything is sprouting now and no more gnats.

The gardening is prep work for cooking. I used to cook a few times a week, now I always feel like a don't have enough time, and what little time I do have I usually want to relax and unwind with. Young children take a lot of time, who knew? Right now I have snacks like chips, fruits, vegetables, or sandwiches for lunch. But I am getting very bored of this.

I would like to start cooking again but I have a few issues I want to overcome. One, I like cooking really good food, I'm a huge fan of cooks illustrated magazine, but the recipes take a lot of time and often expensive ingredients. Two, I want to cook healthy, but I want it to taste as good as the hearty stuff I used to cook. Three, I need to somehow sneak it in to my already overfull days. Four, I have started a "diet" of my own devising wherein I drink a green smoothie for breakfast and dinner, and have a larger, heartier lunch. Five, I want my meals to be fresh. Six, I don't take long lunch breaks, in fact I rarely take them at all.

My goal this month will be to hit all those marks: healthy, delicious, easy, timely, quick, and fresh. It limits my options a lot. So I found a few slow cooker books from the Americas test kitchen people, they always have great recipes. I will probably also pick up one of their quick meals books. I would like to start a dish off in the morning while I make my coffee, and come back a few hours later to have the finished result. Or, to be able to whip something together in 15 min or less, maybe doing a few minutes of prep work the night before. Big maybe there though. I see a lot of chicken, stir frys, and soups in my future. Due the the emphasis on beans and lentils on these forums, I have decided to give them a go as well. However, like I said, I am a fan of really delicious food, so I'm not sure that's going to work for me.

Summer Vacations:
Earlier this month I was sitting in a hospital bed getting prepped and reading a scifi novel. I love scifi novels. It occurred to me that this is what I used to do in my early teens during summer vacations, that and watch twilight zone marathons. Then it occurred to me that I hadn't had a vacation longer than two weeks in 17 years. That astounded me. I started working when I was 14 doing the usual burger flipping jobs, then at 15 I got my first programming job as part of an internship program at my high school, they hired me 3 weeks later to get more hours. I very much disliked high school, so I worked out a deal with my school where I took some independent study courses from a nearby college in lieu of going to class, so I was able to start going to school 8-12, and then 12-5 work, and full time during the summers. At 17 I went full time independent study and full time work. I also moved out of my parents house, which is apparently legal with parental consent, I had done most of the prep work to be emancipated and when I convinced my parents to go in with me to file the papers, that's what they told us, go figure. I was a funny kid.

I actually had dreams of retiring way back at age 14, I read standard consumer investment books (the power of compounding interest, and using other peoples money [OPM] to make a real estate fortune, etc), and I think I had a target date of 30 to retire. Obviously the standard consumer methods don't work for most people, and they didn't work for me either.

Anyways, 17 years of no vacations longer than 2 weeks. That's amazing to me. I feel like I've lost myself. I think it takes down time, unbounded time, to be in touch with who you really are. I remember days stretching out and being filled with possibility. That is not the case these days, and when I'm really busy weeks and months feel like days used to feel. I'm sure part of this is just natural aging, but my suspicion is that most of it is because I don't have time to be myself, with no outside pressures causing me to react all the time and take away the initiative. Most of the time I am not a conscious, mindful being. Most of the time I am more an assembly line. I set the objectives up, block out time for them, and knock them out as quickly as I can. Over, and over, and over.

It's just downright weird in my opinion, for people to live like this. I think that it is a sign of the times. The times, I think, are sloppy, wasteful, unplanned, reactionary, and more than a little pathetic. Or maybe just a sign of humanity in general, over all time periods. My reasoning is that no one in their right minds would say hey, 2 weeks of time for myself each year, for the next 50 years, eureka! that's it! This way of life obviously came about due to absolutely no foresight or long term planning. I can attest to that personally, because looking back, I did not plan it out either. If I had, I would have saved up a few months expenses and taken 3-6 mos off every time I switched jobs, which occurred every couple of years.

My point is, I miss summer vacations, I feel like I have both been cheated and have cheated myself out of them. I think that it is weird that this has never come about in any culture that I know of. I am aware that some countries give you a month off by law, which is a step in the right direction, but still inadequate in my opinion. In my dream society, you and your close friends all have 2 consecutive months off at the same time, imagine that. Unfortunately, most lives seem like half assed, haphazard, jumbled affairs. It's astounding to me that so much effort has been put in to science, art, literature, technology, etc. But no culture that I'm aware of has ever developed what, in my mind, is a reasonable way of living. Very odd.

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bryan
Posts: 1001
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2014 2:01 am
Location: mostly Bay Area

Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by bryan » Fri Jun 03, 2016 5:09 pm

Augustus wrote: Q1 2016: Computer Architecture by Hennessey & Patterson
One of my favorite textbooks from uni! One of my favorite courses (embedded systems was great too). Have you finished it? Lent my copy to a sort-of-polymath friend years ago and haven't gotten it back yet :/

Augustus
Posts: 395
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2016 10:15 am

Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by Augustus » Mon Jun 06, 2016 9:46 am

@bryan: Yes, I finished earlier this year. It was a great course, the breadth and depth was a little too much towards the end, I had to start speed reading to finish off the last 2 chapters. Not sure when you took the course, but they added 2 new chapters, one on mobile devices, and one on warehouse computing. Both fascinating. The thing that struck me the most is how often the same problems are encountered. Performance wise with the applications I write caching, parallelism, etc come up again and again. Computers are so insanely powerful these days it's easy to get sloppy, but I'd really like to explore parallelism techniques in my coding at some point.

I switched up my schedule a little, I'm doing MIT Physics 1 8.01, and Linkers and Loaders right now. You may like linkers and loaders if you like comp arch.

For anyone who's interested, there's a copy of the physics course on a mirror in iran of all places: mirror.mit-ocw.sbu.ac.ir/courses/physics/8-01sc-physics-i-classical-mechanics-fall-2010/index.htm I guess the professor was a douche bag and was sexually harassing students and they took it down, so the character of the professor is not that great, but his teaching is fantastic, it's sad that he tarnished his career at the end.

Augustus
Posts: 395
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2016 10:15 am

Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by Augustus » Thu Jul 14, 2016 7:19 pm

Finances
Assets:
280k primary house market value, less transaction costs if I sold it
4k - economy car
15k - subaru
90k in equity in a rental property
42k in IRAs (vanguard 500 index)
10k in taxable vanguard funds
89k in cash accounts
Total:
530k (following suit with the rest of the forum, I am now counting current home valuation minus transaction costs if I sold)

Liabilities:
100k mortgage on rental property

Base Monthly Expenses (not including emergencies):
200 - home ins/taxes
300 - my food/gas/misc
150 - baby food, clothes, diapers, etc
60 - family cell phones
40 - gas
80 - electricity
110 - water,sewage,etc - flat rate lowest tier from the city
80 - business class internet
55 - car ins
700 - health insurance
1200 - nanny
100 - misc
50 - drs, baby has to go a lot
200 - entertainment - movies/dining/museums/family day trips/etc
Total: 3325

Retirement Update
By the end of the August, I should reach 100k in savings! This is huge, as I'll be able to pay off the rental property in cash for the first time. I don't plan to because I want to keep a buffer of cash available, but it is a huge milestone for me. I've been talking with my wife, and we've agreed that I'll take a year or two off work around mid next year. I have one client who hired on some new, and very irritating staff, one who likes to play a lot of political games. I am taking them on a month to month basis. The other big client I have now has been awesome, and my hope is that they'll renew their contract at the end of the year. If they do, I plan to pay off the rental immediately in January, and fire the annoying client.

After that, depending on whether the good client wants to renew or not, I'll either finish up in June and have a good buffer of around 60k in cash, or I'll keep working for them and no one else until the contract ends. They're really nice, I'm working with people who know more than I do who I enjoy working with, and the work load is minimal with just a few hours a day.

I'm getting really excited, and I think about it just about every day. With my wife paying in her half of the expenses, my passive income will pay the other half thanks to the paid off rental property. That means I don't have to work anymore!!! My plan is basically to be a stay at home dad, which is eliciting hilarious reactions from neighbors (about 80% stay at home moms in the neighborhood), they're all nice and respectful, but I have fun being an outlier and messing with expectations. I hope I can handle it. I will probably need to budget some money for babysitting, especially on the weekends so we can have a date night/day.

Additionally, I like the idea of doing a dry run on retirement. Seeing how expenses actually pan out, what I end up doing with myself, etc. This should teach me a lot and I can adjust accordingly when I'm ready to quit for good. I have been slowly stocking up on what I consider to be retirement supplies, nothing too expensive, but I have a guitar that I have barely played for the last 7 years, restrung it and got an amp since I think I gave the last one away. I also plan to purchase some cheap dumbbells as improving my fitness is a huge goal of mine in retirement, my goal there is to look good naked haha.

I plan to be a stay at home dad until my daughter is in preschool, then I'll probably go back to work until I have another 1k/mo in passive income. However, I plan to take it much slower this time, I'm thinking that working 6 mos a year for 4-6 years is better than grinding full time for 2-3 years. At that point I'll be fully FI, and any work I do after that would be for vacations or toys. I think it's a good idea to keep my skills sharp, so I want to take about 1 project a year, for maybe 1-2 months a year. It's more an insurance policy than anything, as you never know what can happen.


Base expenses after retirement are projected to be:
200 - home ins/taxes
300 - my food/gas/misc
150 - baby food, clothes, diapers, etc
60 - family cell phones
40 - gas
80 - electricity
110 - water,sewage,etc - flat rate lowest tier from the city
40 - reguar internet
55 - car ins
500 - health insurance (I plan to take advantage of subsidies, and considering my tax burden for the last couple years has been over 50k per year I don't feel bad at all)
100 - misc
50 - drs, baby has to go a lot
200 - entertainment - movies/dining/museums/family day trips/etc
50 - clothes (mostly for wife, I rarely buy clothes)
10 - amazon prime (love the music streaming and tv)
130 - vacations/trips rolling budget - wife made me promise when we moved here she could take a quarterly trip to visit friends in CA
36 - gym membership - they have a really nice olympic pool, I may cancel this if I don't use it enough
Total: 2111


Food
I've been making a big effort to sort out my food budget. After keeping closer tabs on total spending, I found that I was spending about 30 dollars a week on coffee and green smoothies. I've optimized that to 24 dollars a week by doing the following:
-Started buying staples in larger quantities at costco, and optimizing by combining some staples instead of buying premade.
-Started making my own coffee creamer (flavored coffee syrup, sugar, condensed milk, and milk)
-Set up a monthly budget for bulk items to last the month, such as chips, oils, frozen foods and vegetables, etc.

I found some good, easy prep slow cooker recipes. Here's my favorite so far: http://americastestkitchen.tumblr.com/p ... -beef-stew It's delicious.

I also did my first batch of cold brew coffee a few weeks ago, and I LOOOVE IT. I knew I would, because I buy it regularly when I work from coffee shops. The coffee shops don't do it as well as this though, I can't stand when they take hot coffee and just drop some ice in it. Cold brew is a different beast entirely, and the flavor is fantastic as well as being super potent.

I had to work on the economy side of it a bit, as it uses way more coffee beans than drip or espresso. I found that I can get 10oz of beans to last a week if I make a second batch using the grounds from the first immediately after the first batch is finished. It's a little more bitter than the first batch, and I cut the water added in half, but it gives me about 50% more yield. If flavor is paramount, 1 batch is better, but for day to day this works great.
Last edited by Augustus on Fri Jul 15, 2016 12:42 pm, edited 7 times in total.

Augustus
Posts: 395
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2016 10:15 am

Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by Augustus » Fri Jul 15, 2016 11:17 am

Investments
I have neglected equity investments because of my interest in real estate, but now I think I would like to start educating myself more about them. I have an old copy of the intelligent investor that I plan to reread. I don't think I'll ever get too heavily invested in stocks, but I also don't want to be 100% in real estate either, so I'll probably settle for a mix of the two, maybe 70/30 or 60/40. In the past I have used a little fun money, just a couple hundred or so, to see how well I could do at picking my own stocks, and I did poorly. After that I just went with index funds, which did well for me. That said, I am paying more attention to Jacob's warnings about the risks of index funds, here is an interesting graph of the index fund share of the total stock market funds available:
Image

I've always been contrarian, and when it comes to investing I think it is very profitable to be contrarian in the right way. When too many people are buying and bidding up the price, it's time to sell, and when they're all panicking it's time to buy, as long as there isn't a legitimate reason. I think that's why index funds have done so well for me, I don't like to buy when the market is doing well, like right now, but when it crashes I buy a lot. Right now, as I've said a few times, I think everything is overvalued, which is depressing for me. It means I've got to look harder to find good deals, I wouldn't buy real estate right now unless I found a very motivated seller, or a foreclosure. I think the equity markets are suffering from the same problem.

Back to my main point though. I would like to educate myself more on equity investments. There are a few things I don't like about equity investments. One thing I don't like is that they are so irrational. Two prime examples in my mind are facebook and twitter. http://money.cnn.com/2016/03/21/technol ... niversary/ I hope I don't offend anyone, but what kind of idiot would invest in twitter? It's like investing money in a prom queens popularity, what could be more ephemeral? Another thing I don't like about equity investments are that you have so little control over them. If I buy $10,000 in stock, I have no say in the business, and I have no control over performance. I just have to sit and hope that my vote of confidence was correct, and that someone else will buy it for a higher price down the road, or that it will deliver consistent dividends. These two things make the equity investments seem dangerous to me, which they are.

However, it is also obvious that a lot of money can be made, or at least maintained, with them.

Augustus
Posts: 395
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2016 10:15 am

Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by Augustus » Wed Jul 20, 2016 11:33 am

Spouse
It may seem odd, but I feel that my spouse is going to be my hardest challenge with ER. I know that I can scale down, and feel that my projected retirement budget ($2111/mo) is rather luxurious. But now that it's getting closer to being a reality, at least temporarily until my daughter is in preschool and I go back to work, my wife is starting to freak out. Yesterday she told me, very seriously, that she thinks she needs to spend $400 on clothing every month to stay competitive with her coworkers. She also thinks that we need more than $200 per month for entertainment and dining, and that lately she has been eating out at work practically every day.

The above reasoning is odd to me for two reasons, the first being that both of those exceed what we've been spending the entire time we've been together, except for some blips here and there. We may have been wasteful, but never in a $400/mo clothing budget kind of way, clothing budgets have always been around $400-600 per year for her, and far less for me. Although this year I did compromise and gave her a $1200 budget since her body changed after pregnancy. The second reason it's odd to me is that before we married, she was a poor college student living on probably $1000 per month, so we've never had really fancy lifestyles either before or after we met.

Anyways, we talked and compromised yesterday. The clothing budget will stay at $600/yr for her while I'm not working. In all likelihood she'll be earning more in 2 years, and we plan leave her monthly contribution to our bills at the same, so she'll end up with more spending cash to do with as she pleases. The entertainment budget wont go higher, but I have pledged to cook a lot more when I'm not working so that she doesn't feel the need to eat out all the time.

I am really glad that I'll be able to do a dry run of retirement by staying home for 2 years, as I think the experience will be invaluable. I'm optimistic that my budgeting will work, and we wont get hit with too many unexpected expenses. If my numbers work out we'll actually have money leftover, but I have a feeling it will get used up on things like house or car repair. After the two years is up I plan to boost passive income by another thousand per month, which should provide more than we'll ever need, and retire completely, probably another 4-5 years after I go back to work.

Anyone else have a spendthrift spouse? Any ideas?

Augustus
Posts: 395
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2016 10:15 am

Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by Augustus » Mon Aug 15, 2016 10:44 pm

Finances
Assets:
280k primary house market value, less transaction costs if I sold it
4k - economy car
15k - subaru
90k in equity in a rental property
42k in IRAs (vanguard 500 index)
104k in cash accounts
Total:
535k

Liabilities:
100k mortgage on rental property

Base Monthly Expenses (not including emergencies):
200 - home ins/taxes
300 - my food/gas/misc
150 - baby food, clothes, diapers, etc
60 - family cell phones
40 - gas
80 - electricity
110 - water,sewage,etc - flat rate lowest tier from the city
80 - business class internet
55 - car ins
700 - health insurance
1100 - nanny
100 - misc
50 - drs, baby has to go a lot
200 - entertainment - movies/dining/museums/family day trips/etc
Total: 3225

Retirement Test-drive Update
My wife got rear ended (again, [thankfully she's okay]). My income dropped by a lot. I can't remember what else happened, but it was a really stressful last few weeks.

I ended up losing the client that was getting to be such a pain in the ass. They have financial difficulties, and a cluster-F (on their end) of miscommunication occurred that made the whole situation really awkward, nobody told me to stop billing so I billed the same amount as I have for the last couple of years, and it all blew up when they figured out what had happened. I am happy to have them gone, but it does put me 20k short of my end of year goal for 160k in cash savings.

I sold my non retirement stocks that I bought earlier this year, at a 16% gain, and moved that over to my cash accounts to lock it in. By the end of the month I project that I'll have 113k in cash. By the end of the year I should hit 140k. This is less than I had hoped, but I think it's good enough to go ahead with my retirement test drive next year. So next year, unless my good client renews, I'll take the year off and spend it with my daughter. I'll also plan to pay off the rental, which will start giving me a $925 income stream each month, which might drop a little if there's a vacancy.

It has taken a while for me to get used to this mentally. I don't like not hitting my savings goals, and it is going to feel very weird to have my savings rate go to zero, and quite likely negative. I've had a few sleepless nights panicking over it already, but I'm finally starting to feel comfortable with the idea, and how I will relate to the world without having an income. But I think it will be great practice for the real thing. I also think it will be great practice for just being alive. I'm only 31, but I started working when I was 14, so at this point I've spent more years working than I have not working. I am very much looking forward to living up the next year, even though a lot of it, pretty much all of it, will be spent watching an 18 month old. I already know I'm going to have to shake a lot of bad habits, and focus on seizing the day, rather than wasting it away clicking and typing.

We'll see, not there yet, and that good client may renew. But I'm looking forward to embarking on a new phase of the journey. From here on out I don't want anymore long, multi year contracts. I'll be aiming strictly for 6 mos a year or less.

Augustus
Posts: 395
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2016 10:15 am

Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by Augustus » Fri Sep 09, 2016 3:24 pm

Finances
Assets:
280k primary house market value, less transaction costs if I sold it
4k - economy car
10k - subaru
90k in equity in a rental property
42k in IRAs (vanguard 500 index)
115k in cash accounts
Total:
541k

Liabilities:
100k mortgage on rental property

Base Monthly Expenses (not including emergencies):
200 - home ins/taxes
300 - my food/gas/misc
150 - baby food, clothes, diapers, etc
60 - family cell phones
40 - gas
80 - electricity
110 - water,sewage,etc - flat rate lowest tier from the city
80 - business class internet
55 - car ins
700 - health insurance
1100 - nanny
100 - misc
50 - drs, baby has to go a lot
200 - entertainment - movies/dining/museums/family day trips/etc
Total: 3225

Retirement Test-drive Update
Well August was the month from hell. I hope that part is over. I am thinking now that I will sell my house and downsize a bit, the market is crazy high where I live, and a townhouse would mean less yard work for me (and more of my precious time). I should be able to pull about 30k, or 40k on the high end, by doing this, and get some things we've been missing in our current home out of the deal as well. At first I thought I would love having a yard, but now I realize that I have other things that I enjoy much more, and the yard work is just an always looming task that never goes away.

Downsizing has so much upside to it that it makes me happy just thinking about it, by the end of the year, if we downsize and I get 30k out of the deal (tax free too! woohoo!), then we'll easily have enough to pay off the rental and be really comfortable for the next year that I want to take off work.

Augustus
Posts: 395
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2016 10:15 am

Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by Augustus » Mon Sep 19, 2016 11:39 pm

Minor Update
Things have finally calmed down, I hope. We have been house hunting for the last two weeks, with nothing quite hitting the mark. I am hopeful that tomorrow we will see a property worth buying. I saw one today without the wife that nailed everything but the layout, which had rooms that were oddly rectangular instead of nicely square. The downsizing makes a lot of sense in that it will shorten my wife's commute (I told her to find a place close to home, but noooo), increase my cash buffer to a comfortable level, allow me to pay off the rental and boost passive income by 500 per mo, and free up time I'd otherwise spend weeding and mowing the lawn. All that aside, I'll really miss this place, I haven't lived in a place that I looked forward to coming home to in many years. It is making me very picky, which is good, but the positives of moving I think outweigh my emotional attachment.

In other news, I halted my studies when my life started going haywire. I also signed up to finally finish my bachelor's, I have two semesters left with an online school. The degree itself is rather useless, and I know more then the teachers in practically everything software development related, it's cute when I see them saying something that I know is outdated or wrong but I know what they were intending to say and can answer correctly anyways. Who the fuck uses html frames???? But I digress, the point of the bachelor's is a) to jump HR hoops, and b) it's accredited so I can pursue a master's at a brick and mortar for fun when I retire, which was really the whole point all along.

I have been very happy and relaxed lately, I think in large part because I am starting to have FU money. I feel less need to work, and more often than not will turn down work if I feel agitated with a particular job, or if it means I won't have time to workout midday and read a book or some other hobby. I have between 3 and 9 mos before I quit working full time, and instead plan to work 6 mos on and 6 mos off, excepting next year when I plan to take an entire year off, the first vacation longer than two weeks that I've had since I was 15 years old, I smile every time I think about it.

Augustus
Posts: 395
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2016 10:15 am

Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by Augustus » Fri Sep 30, 2016 7:39 pm

Two steps forward, two steps back
The good news is that nothing bad happened this month. The bad news is that my plans were stymied.

The market is not as hot as it was, and my understanding of what houses were selling for (based on list prices of comparable housing) was overly optimistic. I had a realtor come out and let me know what it would sell for, she said around 289k, but estimated 29k in closing costs (seriously?!?!). Downsizing into a newer, nicer on the inside townhome, would cost roughly the same, so I don't see the point as I like this house, and I hate moving, and I have no financial incentive. Sure would have been nice though!

I looked for a few other gigs to increase savings by the end of the year, but turned down one because they were annoying (constantly missing appointments before even signing a contract), and got turned down by another. So no progress there.

All in all, it's a bit aggravating, but who cares? I have plenty of cash reserves to take next year off.

After my wife's two accidents this year, we upgraded my car to another subaru for safety reasons (both rear end collisions, one at ~40mph, both with her at a full stop and the other driver 100% at fault), all the money in the world isn't worth much if I don't have my health. I'm getting way more paranoid about safety, not to the point of not enjoying life, but just being more aware of my surroundings in order to prevent bad things from happening, looking both ways twice, keeping distance from things that can cause grievous bodily injury, making sure to exercise enough, sleeping enough, eating right, etc. I gotta say nothing would piss me off more than getting this close to freedom and having some random occurrence fuck it all up. I guess that means I have a lot to lose at this stage of my life (wife, daughter, money). I even got a life insurance policy a few years back.

Anyways, all the annoyance aside, I keep focusing on the positive. I am super stoked about next year. I don't see anything derailing the plan. Every day I think a bit about what I'm going to do with my time. I've got a whole queue of projects lined up. I really enjoy thinking about what I'll do with my first day, my first week, and my first month of freedom. I'm stockpiling recipes as I plan to be cooking up a storm. I've got a bunch of hobby stuff ready to go. I'll have my stress relief valves lined up (the local fitness center has an awesome olympic pool, and they charge 1 dollar an hour, 2 hr max, for daycare, as much as I love my daughter, getting 2 hrs a day to myself and having a nice swim and soak in the jacuzzi sounds like heaven).

All of which reinforces my mind set: I don't care anymore! Ahahahahaha, I am finally getting some of my life back, suckersss!!!! Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you, you're cool, fuck you, I'm out!

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

Finances
Assets:
260k primary house market value, less transaction costs if I sold it
10k - subaru
10k - subaru
90k in equity in a rental property
42k in IRAs (vanguard 500 index)
112k in cash accounts
Total:
524k

Liabilities:
100k mortgage on rental property

Base Monthly Expenses (not including emergencies):
200 - home ins/taxes
300 - my food/gas/misc
150 - baby food, clothes, diapers, etc
60 - family cell phones
40 - gas
80 - electricity
110 - water,sewage,etc - flat rate lowest tier from the city
80 - business class internet
55 - car ins
700 - health insurance
1100 - nanny
100 - misc
50 - drs, baby has to go a lot
200 - entertainment - movies/dining/museums/family day trips/etc
Total: 3225

Augustus
Posts: 395
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2016 10:15 am

Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by Augustus » Mon Nov 07, 2016 5:48 pm

Not much going on this month. Unexpected medical expenses for wife. I shopped around for insurance plans this year, after crunching numbers and factoring in the rate my family goes to the doctor and the ER, I settled on a $918/mo plan. Obamacare has been pretty much the worst thing that has ever happened to my finances. The current plan we're on went to $1500/mo this year, and dropped the doctors we like. After childcare it is my largest expense and from what I hear it will only go up. I plan to mitigate this in two ways, hopefully I can get all the medical problems cleared out (my wife is having chronic stomach and back problems), if we can get the root cause cured then I wont need a higher cost plan. The second way I plan to mitigate health care costs is to get my income down below the 4x poverty line mark and start using some of those subsidies I have been paying into, seeing as our costs were $200/mo a few years ago, I'd figure on a $600/mo price if I weren't paying for everyone elses healthcare.

I'm going to be short of my original goals, but I should still be at the 120k in cash reserves range by the end of the year. It's not enough of a buffer to make me feel safe paying off the rental, but it is still plenty, I will take next year off unless my good client renews. If they renew I'll just keep riding that gravy train as far as it will go, until I no longer need it.

Finances
Assets:
260k primary house market value, less transaction costs if I sold it
10k - subaru
10k - subaru
90k in equity in a rental property
42k in IRAs (vanguard 500 index)
114k in cash accounts
Total:
526k

Liabilities:
100k mortgage on rental property

Base Monthly Expenses (not including emergencies):
200 - home ins/taxes
300 - my food/gas/misc
150 - baby food, clothes, diapers, etc
60 - family cell phones
40 - gas
80 - electricity
110 - water,sewage,etc - flat rate lowest tier from the city
80 - business class internet
55 - car ins
700 - health insurance
1100 - nanny
100 - misc
50 - drs, baby has to go a lot
200 - entertainment - movies/dining/museums/family day trips/etc
Total: 3225

Augustus
Posts: 395
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2016 10:15 am

Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by Augustus » Thu Dec 01, 2016 7:04 pm

Grinding away.

I've finished off one course for the online bachelors degree, it's a buffet style thing where you can take as many courses as you can fit in. I feel like I'm level grinding in an RPG game, it's boring to the point of tears, but it is kind of useful knowledge at least, and rounds out things I don't already know. This course gets me the Linux+ certification, so now I know more about systems administration on a linux. I've been a casual user for years, so it is fun to poke around behind the curtain and build a stronger foundation of knowledge.

I can't wait until I'm finished with this damn bachelors though, I've been working on it for around 7 years haha. I've got a little over a year left. I hope it actually turns out to be useful, originally I had wanted it so that I could pursue a masters degree for fun. But after having a kid that idea seems kind of far fetched. At this point I've sunk so much money and time into it that I feel it would be best to just finish it, otherwise I've wasted all that time for nothing, the sunk cost fallacy. Ideally the kiddo grows up a bit and I can pursue some classes for fun a few years down the line. There is a good chance I'm throwing money away though :( Which is aggravating.

That's about it for this month I guess. Looking forward to Christmas and having some more time off, until I can start on my year off plan next year. In my down time I often plan out the first day, first week, and first month of my retirement test drive. I really enjoy it. So far the first day looks like this:
7am: cook a huge breakfast of pancakes, bacon, hash browns, toast, orange juice, and espresso.
9am: teach kiddo
10am: gym/drop kiddo off at gym daycare for 2 hrs, swim, then read a chapter of walden
12pm: put kiddo down for bed, read the hobbit
2pm: clean and paint house
4pm: whatever...

Can't wait till that is what my daily life looks like, minus the ridiculously fattening breakfast. But I do plan to cook something fresh 4-5 times a week, just healthier.


Finances
Assets:
260k primary house market value, less transaction costs if I sold it
10k - subaru
10k - subaru
90k in equity in a rental property
42k in IRAs (vanguard 500 index)
117k in cash accounts
Total:
529k

Liabilities:
100k mortgage on rental property

Base Monthly Expenses (not including emergencies):
200 - home ins/taxes
300 - my food/gas/misc
150 - baby food, clothes, diapers, etc
60 - family cell phones
40 - gas
80 - electricity
110 - water,sewage,etc - flat rate lowest tier from the city
80 - business class internet
55 - car ins
700 - health insurance
1100 - nanny
100 - misc
50 - drs, baby has to go a lot
200 - entertainment - movies/dining/museums/family day trips/etc
Total: 3225

Augustus
Posts: 395
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2016 10:15 am

Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by Augustus » Mon Jan 16, 2017 1:18 pm

I've really been enjoying Lin Yu Tang's The Importance of Living, it's starting to rank as one of my favorite books of all time, and I'm probably grand totaling in the high hundreds or over a thousand books read at this point in my life. Some of the paragraphs I like to savor, reading over and over, then sitting and thinking on the idea. This one struck a chord yesterday and this morning:
I can see no other reason for the existence of art and poetry and religion except as they tend to restore in us a freshness of vision and a more emotional glamour and more vital sense of life. For as we grow older in life, our senses become gradually benumbed, our emotions become more callous to suffering and injustice and cruelty, and our vision of life is warped by too much preoccupation with cold, trivial realities. Fortunately, we have a few poets and artists who have not lost that sharpened sensibility, that fine emotional response and that freshness of vision, and whose duties are therefore to be our moral conscience, to hold up a mirror to our blunted vision, to tone up our withered nerves. Art should be a satire and a warning against our paralyzed emotions, our devitalized thinking and our denaturalized living. It teaches us unsophistication in a sophisticated world. It should restore to us health and sanity of living and enable us to recover from the fever and delirium caused by too much mental activity. It should sharpen our senses, re-establish the connection between our reason and our human nature, and assemble the ruined parts of a dislocated life again into a whole, by restoring our original nature. Miserable indeed is a world in which we have knowledge without understanding, criticism without appreciation, beauty without love, truth without passion, righteousness without mercy, and courtesy without a warm heart!
I had a long sleepless thinking session one night, didn't sleep until 4am, brain was just on fire with new ideas bursting to the fore. I decided that I'm going to put personal cultivation first, instead of after I finish work. For years I've been trying to integrate a program of self cultivation, some time for reading heavy books, playing an instrument, creative writing, etc. I used to try to finish my tasks for the day first, then embark on that, but I was always just wanting to veg out after finishing everything. I've started to get up earlier with the goal of carving out 3 hours for myself in the morning before I do any work, 1 hr for meditation and writing as a tool to clarify my thoughts, 1 hr for reading books with big ideas or fun new technical knowledge, and 1 hr for arts such as piano or creative writing. So far I've been loving it. I think that doing these things first is probably the best way to go, as you still have all your energy and creativity in the morning. I've had some awesome mornings at coffee shops writing an entry in a journal, sipping coffee, and reading (I find hand writing vs using a computer to be much more conducive to clarity of thought, it's amazing how much ones style of writing changes on an electronic device versus paper and pen, I very much prefer paper and pen).

Anyways, financially same old same old. Assets are increasing, much slower than last year. I'm down to one client, which is great for my morning sessions as I have a lot more free time, but slows down asset accumulation to around 5-6k/mo in savings. I'm okay with that, I still feel a spike of panic thinking of what would happen if I lost my income, but I'm pretty set on coasting until I have no clients and taking time off. I'm still very bearish on the market, so I'm hoarding cash, I don't know what all the optimism is about in relation to the economy, it still seems very precarious to me. These articles are a pretty common refrain:
http://www.cnbc.com/2016/07/06/foreign- ... homes.html
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-09-3 ... re-chinese

The chinese market in particular seems VERY fragile.
http://www.wsj.com/articles/chinas-late ... 1475860134
http://www.businessinsider.com/china-de ... ort-2016-9

The only thing they have going for them is that the people in government have most of the money, and they'll probably fight tooth and nail to hold on to it. On the flip side of that, they all have a huge incentive to be corrupt and bad with money, which has probably caused most of this in the first place by giving out huge sums of money to bad businesses so that they can line their pockets with kickbacks and part ownership.

Seeing as they are acting like they're fleeing a sinking ship by buying investments out of country instead of in China, and that they are keeping prices high by paying top dollar in places like socal, if the Chinese hit a rough patch and the current demand disappears I am hopeful that I might find some real estate bargains.

Finances
Assets:
260k primary house market value, less transaction costs if I sold it
10k - subaru
10k - subaru
90k in equity in a rental property
42k in IRAs (vanguard 500 index)
127k in cash accounts
Total:
539k

Liabilities:
100k mortgage on rental property

Base Monthly Expenses (not including emergencies):
200 - home ins/taxes
300 - my food/gas/misc
150 - baby food, clothes, diapers, etc
60 - family cell phones
40 - gas
80 - electricity
110 - water,sewage,etc - flat rate lowest tier from the city
80 - business class internet
55 - car ins
700 - health insurance
1100 - nanny
100 - misc
50 - drs, baby has to go a lot
200 - entertainment - movies/dining/museums/family day trips/etc
Total: 3225

Augustus
Posts: 395
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2016 10:15 am

Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by Augustus » Wed Feb 01, 2017 7:36 pm

On track numbers wise, not much to see there.

In other news, I am really hoping for a property market crash, I did a lot of fun research and found tons of proof that the Chinese are driving up property prices in many areas of the US. The most damning evidence of that is in Vancouver, which enacted a foreign transaction tax, and promptly had prices plummet:
Image
The graph is a before and after of home prices and the new tax law.

Lots of the same old story all along the west coast and a lot of the east coast, in many neighborhoods 50%+ of buyers were Chinese. Which is mainly due to the insanely inflated real estate market in china, which entirely the fault of the government, which I also found out makes up to 60% of total price in fees and taxes on each sale of a house in China. As it stands I'll just keep hoarding cash, because I would be so mad if I missed out on a 30% off sale price for real estate, even though I hate having large sums of uninvested money. I've determined that once I hit 150k in cash so I'll use all new funds to pay off the rental property, but I want to keep that 150k on hand as a down payment for my next property, and as a very nice security blanket. It sounds kind of ridiculous while writing it to keep that much cash on hand, but one of my big regrets about the 2008 crash was not having the funds to get in on it, I really don't want that to happen again.

Finances
Assets:
260k primary house market value, less transaction costs if I sold it
10k - subaru
10k - subaru
90k in equity in a rental property
42k in IRAs (vanguard 500 index)
132k in cash accounts
Total:
544k

Liabilities:
100k mortgage on rental property

Base Monthly Expenses (not including emergencies):
200 - home ins/taxes
300 - my food/gas/misc
150 - baby food, clothes, diapers, etc
60 - family cell phones
40 - gas
80 - electricity
110 - water,sewage,etc - flat rate lowest tier from the city
80 - business class internet
55 - car ins
700 - health insurance
1100 - nanny
100 - misc
50 - drs
200 - entertainment - movies/dining/museums/family day trips/etc
Total: 3225

Jason
Posts: 1134
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:37 am

Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by Jason » Wed Feb 01, 2017 7:53 pm

Man, for that nanny fee I hope she flies around like Mary Poppins.

Question: I don't count cars or non-real estate property as assets. I'm guessing our paid off Subaru might be worth 5k and we probably have 30-40K in jewelry but that's not something I include. To me its strictly house and money.

Augustus
Posts: 395
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2016 10:15 am

Re: Gus' road to retirement

Post by Augustus » Thu Feb 02, 2017 2:41 pm

Jason wrote:Man, for that nanny fee I hope she flies around like Mary Poppins.

Question: I don't count cars or non-real estate property as assets. I'm guessing our paid off Subaru might be worth 5k and we probably have 30-40K in jewelry but that's not something I include. To me its strictly house and money.
Yeah, daycare and healthcare are the bane of my early retirement. We found that to keep ourselves sane, and our marriage strong, that at minimum we'll be spending ~500/mo until the kiddo is old enough to be home alone so that we can get a little me time and us time. We don't have family nearby so that's not an option. If you cut those two items back to what they were in 2012 pre baby, my expenses would be 1625/mo. The only good thing in my mind is that the cost will decrease as time goes on, these years are the years the kiddo needs the most care, as she gets older she'll need less and less. I also don't plan to pay for her college or any of that crap. At best she'll get a safe but cheap economy car to be able to get to work. I believe it's important for them to earn what they get as soon as possible, otherwise you don't attach value to money. My parents didn't pay for my education and I turned out better than my friends whose parents did pay.

I include cars because I can sell them and convert them to cash, and I only include the value that I could sell them for after transaction costs. When I am out of the accumulation phase I will probably sell one of them as I wont need to be driving around for business meetings all the time, and could switch to using uber when that is the case. Both cars are paid off. Regardless, they are the smallest asset we have value wise.

Why not convert half the jewelry to cash? That is a lot of jewelry :) My wife and I combined probably have 4-5k in jewelry, 90% of that is her wedding ring.

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