An American Millennial

Where are you and where are you going?
Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

slowtraveler wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 3:29 am
1) Considering how capable remote work is, would you consider becoming a remote worker to take advantage of the FEIE and pay 0 federal or state taxes while having lower expenses?
It's possible, but it's hard to plan that far in advance. My 5 year goals include kids and maybe a home, and moving abroad is hard enough already with just the two of us and the cats. Also, there are things that are just as important to me as savings, taxes or otherwise, such as playing sports, diet, ease of life, and others. Living abroad also means cycling through friendships, and missing out on a lot of family things, both of which I didn't enjoy much.

One thing I would consider, if remote work continues in the future, would be home ownership in a more affordable place. Home prices where I am now are in the millions of dollars.

slowtraveler wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 3:29 am
2) Considering how remote the work is, would you have been able to get work like this from abroad?
It's hard to say. I think you could, sure, but I got really lucky that I got in front of the right person. Even doing everything "right" so to speak as far as having my resume critiqued dozens of times, SEO'ing my LinkedIn, having a portfolio site, being active on Github, doing projects, writing cover letters, e-mailing HR directly, etc, etc... I think luck still played a huge role. I was expecting up to a year of unemployment. With experience, it would be easier, I'm sure.

Another issue working abroad remotely, I've heard from others, is the time difference, which can be an added stress. Best thing for you to do, in order to really know the answer to your question, is review/update your resume, and start applying to remote jobs.

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

Combined finances with gf

Mister Imperceptible
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Mister Imperceptible »

RIP Viktor K

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

October - November

Image

Image

Finances
Net worth trending upwards.

Combined finances with girlfriend. Working pretty well. This bleeds over a little with personal because the idea is that as a married couple our finances would be combined. Would hate to find out then that combined finances causes problems.

We've always split everything down to the yuan or even the jiao, so to speak. So it's been a relief so far, with little friction here and there.

She has the savings (parents paid college, no student loans to pay the last 5 years we've been together, and lower spending on average than me), and I've got the debt.

We had a big talk which revolved around things such as what different incomes would mean, my student loans, her savings, savings goals, spending habits, etc. Once everything was aired out we pushed forward.

Spending is a little high right now seeing as how we just moved from subtropical to continental climate and winter is coming. As well, living out of suitcases in furnished apartments the last 4 years means there's things we need. We're fine with this. Spending may be higher than average in areas like groceries as well given some new developments around health things, allergies, dietary preferences.

Goal is to keep $30k liquid between us, pay bills (obviously), and the rest to student loans until they're gone, then that surplus starts going to investments. Had a thought to trade the rent for a house payment as a means of diversification (and saving/investing?), but was dissuaded by respected colleague at least with regards to doing so in Chicago, and haven't looked into it since. Still have a couple years before worrying about it so not a concern/on the mind.

Girlfriend got a job first paycheck comes 27th. About $1400 after tax.

Technically, by the way, this means we're positive net worth by some $12k. :lol:

Personal
Diet improved which is good. Lots more produce, plenty of whole grains, maybe a little low on protein.

Hobbies still lots of soccer, but it's done from now until Dec 10th so they can erect the dome for the winter seasons. Which is good because I think I was playing too much and have plenty of bumps, bruises, strains that need to heal.

Would like to get back into D&D at one point as a creative outlet. Have also considered looking into game development again seeing as how programming confidence is rising with professional successes.

Professional
I’ve only been employed 3 months and have already had to pick up and use/build with Vue.js, Vuex, Bulma, Python, Flask, PostgresSql, SQLAlchemy, Docker, AWS and various dependencies I had never heard of before. And now I'm building something from scratch using C#, Azure, and .Net, authenticating with ADB2C, using application users in PowerApps, just got my Vue Router working today...etc.

Three weeks ago the CTO looks across the table in the meeting with everyone, says, "So, my time is better being where people need me instead of going head down and coding. So the new website, you're going to make it. And it has to be done in 10 weeks. What do you think?"

Only had 1 really hard week/few days. Server authentication working for the new website and it was literally...4 days I think of changing the same line of code every 5 mins until it finally worked. That was terrible! Documentation wasn't there and seems like we were the only ones on the internet trying to do this.

That was a couple weeks ago, it's been super fun since. Writing algorithms, doing some CSS stuff (but have to wait for designer's mockups to come back before really nailing stuff down), using Vue, router, Vuex, Bulma, .Net (don't understand at all but somehow bumped my way in the dark to get the API set up), oath/server-to-server authentication. Lots of stuff that I really excel at and enjoy. Pretty much code 38 hours/week.

Summary
Time is flying. Will be more interesting in 6-9 months to see how everything has worked out. Life is completely different from just this summer.

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

cimorene12 wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 7:13 pm
If you decide to go to Canada, the time difference won't be a big deal as long as you're in the same-ish time zone as the company that employs you.
It's true. Still might be something we'll try, but may also just look at LCOL in the US... Actually with this job being remote (apparently I could have stayed in LA, savings an extra $1400/mo on rent in addition to moving expenses), it's an option. We have at least one employee that works from Canada. Healthcare...

Scott 2
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Scott 2 »

Hahaha they are asking so much of you. Startups are way more demanding than enterprise development.

For comparison, developers at my place need to use C#, a JavaScript framework and SQL. We had a guy promoted from help desk to dev two months ago, I think he's finished two or three smaller changes since then. Everyone is happy with him.

Even if the job could be fully remote, your face time may pay off in greater opportunities.

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

cimorene12 wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 11:32 pm
Test drive it with a trip to Canada with your girlfriend where you work remotely and see if it works. Healthcare is a big deal.
Good idea. I'm sure it would work out. The culture is similar enough and they even speak English. This is a long-term goal, but not something that's in the works right now nor 100% certain.
Scott 2 wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 12:27 am
Hahaha they are asking so much of you. Startups are way more demanding than enterprise development.
I'm aware of this, as is my manager who has been quite successful in the tech/development field and is quite candid about these things as well. I'm fine with the extra responsibility with the junior title saving me from serving up disappointment when I do something wrong. I hope though that it will pay off in salary/opportunity sooner than a junior role at a larger company.

I will be disappointed if, in 1 year, the industry sees me the same as all other junior developers with 1 year experience.

slowtraveler
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by slowtraveler »

Everybody's an individual. All the extra skills you've developed will show in how you approach and solve problems, how long it takes to solve a problem, and your stress levels in facing the unknown.

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

  • Built full-stack LMS for our bootcamp in 3 months. It's got about 50 daily users now and I'll be working on it through February before moving on to building a new version of our threat/vulnerability platform that we use to communicate with clients.
  • Used the momentum from finishing the LMS to ask for 5% raise and got that without any negotiation.
  • Company changed 401k plan this year to grandfather all current employees in at 100% vesture. Went from 50% match up on first 1% to 50% match on 6%. So I'm maxing that out now at the new level as well
  • Playing lots of soccer.
  • Averaging around 40 sprint points/week. Only had to crunch once so far when our deadline got moved up 2 weeks because of how much progress we made. Got 73 sprint points that week, but wouldn't want to do it again.
  • Girlfriend's dad flipped car back in December right before Christmas. Was in ICU for about 48 hours and girlfriend flew there not knowing if he was gonna make it. But he did, broke 7 vertebrae and then walked out of the hospital a week later. He takes extremely good care of himself health-wise, which probably helped.
  • Haven't been to the office in a couple weeks. Only problem with this job is the sedentary nature. I don't think I've had a sitting job since I high school, excluding that 6 months or whatever at a call center before I started this journal.
  • Sharing expenses continues to work well. Much easier than tracking pennies. We keep $30k liquid for emergency, the rest is in retirement accounts, an investment account from a few years ago, and then surplus goes to loans. Average/month is:
    • Financial: $3,544.67 58.20%
    • Living: $2,573.33 42.25%
    • Discretionary $645.33 10.60%
  • Personal net worth is Around -$14k. Combined is around $20-30k.
  • Couldn't get logged in to the website several times, but didn't have time to mess around with it anyway.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

Nice to hear that things are going well, Viktor.

How are you liking your new home city?

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

It is pretty good and everything is close. But it is much more expensive than China, and we feel much more anxious going outside at night than we ever did in China.

slowtraveler
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by slowtraveler »

It sounds like you're finally on the fast track to financial independence. I'm proud of how much progress you've made in a few short years. A few more and you'll have tens of years of expenses invested as capital backing you up.

You picked a good time to leave China with the wuhan coronavirus scare spreading now. Maybe not too comfortable going out there at night either.

What makes you feel anxious at night (anything you actually experienced vs just fears) and how difficult was it acclimating to that? I will likely be in Latin America again so it will be a similar adjustment for me soon.

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

Just fears mostly. There's not a lot of people out, it's dark, muggings and assaults reported a couple times per month, seemingly random targets. These things weren't a concern where we were in China. We haven't acclimated to it. It's just something we have to deal with here. It's like the US's version of air pollution. It's part of the package.

TopHatFox
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by TopHatFox »

I'll take slight air pollution over a stab wound + potential eviseration any day. :P Perhaps you could purchase light-weight, stab-proof + small-caliber-proof vest for well-planned evenings out, & carry a self-defense weapon like pepper spray or a taser? Apparently it comes in clothing lol:

https://www.bulletblocker.com/bullet-pr ... thing.html

There also this book for comprehensive physical safety and privacy, but for some reason it's out of stock :(

https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Privacy ... 744&sr=8-3

It's super cool to see your investment in coding paid off. Like a complete 180! I predict your journal could very much look like Giskard's in a few years. What's it like being a full-time programmer: how would you describe your weekly or daily stress levels, how much new information are you learning every day, how has your earning potential and lifestyle changed from when you were using your BA, how do people react to you when you share your job title?

On joining finances, I'd likely never ever do that, but I have seen it have a strong positive effect on religious couples that have agreed to genuinely stay together, live with one another in mind (I think that's what love originally meant or something), and have a strong community to provide emotional, conservative support during tough times.

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

I don't really get stressed about work outside of the one crunch that I mentioned. It was stressful early on, like the first month when I wanted to be as good as I could be, but that was all stress I put on myself. There hasn't been any external stress.

A lot of learning happens on the job. I think there was more than usual since I didn't know our tech stack when I started, and then we changed tech stacks in November. Then there's often a framework or something that you might have to learn to accomplish something. Most of the job is just writing a few lines of code, testing that it works, and slowly solving big complex problems piece by piece. Sometimes I fly through tasks, sometimes I get make new progress and have to ask for help.

Lifestyle outside of work is pretty much the exact same. Just more expensive because Chicago. People don't react in any remarkable way, unless they the off chance they're a programmer, which has happened a couple times.

TopHatFox
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by TopHatFox »

Oh I thought you were living in a shady part of SA or something for some reason, probably scratch the vest idea

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

After finishing this last full-stack app that 40% of company's revenue goes through, got promoted to Full-Stack Web Developer (i.e. dropped 'Junior' title). Feels good, but I don't know if it has any other monetary raise attached to it outside of the raise I asked for back in January. Salary is 66k from that raise. We have quarterly reviews, and my boss is really experienced, very forthcoming, has similar mindset/understands, takes interest in my goals (financial/professional/financial), and champions for his employees. So I like my boss and my company and coworkers, and I'm appreciated, so that's good.

When we talked last about how to get a bigger raise with the company, he said to go get a job offer from another company. So that's the goal. Just as leverage I suppose. But I don't think they can get anywhere north of $90k. But then again, I am/can be fully remote (even though only takes 30mins to get to office by public transpo and all my coworkers are legit), get to build entire applications by myself, and get a lot of prestige/recognition being only 1 of 2 devs.

Chicago too expensive. Girlfriend has 4 days to study for a bootcamp entry test that she's thinking about doing. Would have her finishing a full-stack developer program by late summer and likely employed by end of year at the latest. OR she will go for a masters in Psych to do behavioral therapy.

Outside of expensive, Chicago just kind of boring. No outdoors stuff, lots of indoors things to do and good food though. And I have soccer right now which I'm playing maybe 3-5 hours/week. Would like to start taking some stay-cations to central America for 2-3 weeks at a time, or up to Canada this summer.

Can't complain though. Love the job and the freedom around it. Makes money basically a non-issue outside of saving and paying off my loans. Have paid about $8k in the last 6 months. My girlfriend's emergency fund makes it guilt-free to put most of my remaining pay outside of monthly expenses towards my loans.

The new, rough financial plan is to do hopefully 4-5 years of dev work, with salary increasing up to $130k (is that realistic?) in the final year, then use contract/part-time dev work (i.e. 6 month contract, or work out some sort of 20 hrs/week arrangement) for a few years while my retirement assets (hopefully) grow to ERE level.

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

She'd want to shoot for BCBA, hoping for around $60k+ starting. And then the masters is online for $10k over 2 years. But it's not really my place to tell her what to do.

ertyu
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by ertyu »

A good therapist will earn ok. While therapists are many, good therapists are few. Word of mouth will spread. In addition, being a therapist can be done remotely. You can geoarbitrage. VK+gf have had international experience. It's notoriously hard for expats to be able to access quality mental health care while crap jobs away from "home" often make it all the more necessary.

Loved ones should be built up, inspired, and encouraged to see options.

Scott 2
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Scott 2 »

Congrats on the new title and raise! That's great progress in a little over 6 months.

Leveraging another offer into more money, while staying at the current company, is a dangerous game. Tread carefully there. Leadership has to decide - "Is this guy the future of the company? How much do we invest in him?". A wandering eye after 6 months on the job is a bit of a red flag.

For your girlfriend to be a developer vs. a therapist? Those are very different ends of the spectrum. I'd be surprised if the same person is well suited to both.

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