m741's ERE Journal

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m741
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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by m741 » Mon Nov 03, 2014 11:16 pm

@Legthorn - I don't mind your responses. It's useful to get outside feedback, and it's rare to get such feedback for your own life.

I think I may have misrepresented my team. Or represented it in such a way that it could be misconstrued.

I work on a team of ~25 people. Of these, I would say that there are 7-10 who are really, really good programmers. Much better programmers than I am (but maybe not as *employees,* I'm not sure). There are ~10 who are in roughly the same bracket as I am. And there are ~5 who are more junior than I am, or worse programmers. There's only one person who I think is a legitimately poor programmer, which is a shockingly low number.

As you can see, in my estimation the team is very strong. The problem is less one of a weak team, or a team doing ineffective things, and more one where I haven't so far had a great opportunity, and where opportunities may be rare. But, I have an opportunity now (the timing is poor, but it's something). I'm willing to wait things out through the end of the year, see how this new opportunity shapes up, and then re-evaluate.

That said, I do need to really consider how long I want to stay at the company. Outside of the issue of opportunities on the team, if I have some suspicion that I can learn at a much faster rate on my own then that would simply make more sense. It's just too early to decide definitively.

If I have down time (maybe towards the end of December), I'll definitely start looking at doing some work to automate my job in a way where I can learn a lot.

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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by mds » Sun Nov 23, 2014 12:39 am

Have you considered joining a startup? Opportunities are abound in start-ups. Since you don't exactly have the pressure of starving, you can take your time and find a startup with the technologies that you're interested in. It seems like you're a bit focused on the length of time at the current company as it relates to the programming skills you'll develop. I think that's the wrong way to look at it. You could condense 3 years of programming experience at big co into 3 months at a startup. Also, I wouldn't worry that you don't know X language. You can throw yourself into the deep end and it'll be uncomfortable, but I doubt you'd drown.

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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by Legthorn Brownboat » Mon Nov 24, 2014 12:37 am

By the way, gaps in employment can often be justified with a simple "I got burned out at big G, and decided to try to find myself and start my own businesses." You'll want to tack on life lessons you've learned and how you're now able to properly balance work requirements while taking care of yourself. The story of a high-potential highly motivated individual who find themselves under too much pressure, but later learns to balance and take care of themselves is hardly cliche. 30s is about the right time for that anyways.

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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by Open Space » Thu Nov 27, 2014 11:15 pm

m741 - I discovered your journal a few days ago and have read through most of it as many others have. I'm grateful you have taken the time to share your journey as you learn and make progress toward your goals. I'm inspired to consider starting my own journal. I look forward to your future updates.

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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by m741 » Mon Dec 01, 2014 4:40 pm

November, 2014

Well, I had a huge update written, but lost it due to a computer restart. So this is briefer than I intended. The big thing for me this month was spending two weeks in Italy with the gf. Spending was comparatively profligate, but finances were basically on auto-pilot and it was a good month - mostly due to a very generous market.

Finances

Here's the highlights:
- Net Worth: +24k (mostly market returns)
- Total dividend income now @ $1278/month
- Dividend increase (organic): $7/month from AFL
- Dividend increase (overall): $80/month
- Major purchases: 2k solar city bonds, 10k CAT, 10k FNJHX (NJ tax-free bonds), regular purchases of total world and dividend growth indices
- $500 allocated to LendingClub
- Lending club income doubled since September due to buying loans with unallocated cash in the account

Other:
- First year's worth of equities at the new job vested
- Equities should vest monthly from this point forward
- Will be allocating 2k/month to eco-friendly companies (such as solar power); 500k/month to Lending Club
- Boosting monthly Kiva donations to $200 (currently getting about $600/month from Kiva repayments)

I won't talk about the job, since I don't want to start thinking about it until tomorrow :)

Other

A few priorities this month:

- Getting back on track with Italian studies (lapsed during travel)
- No sugar except for a few days around the holidays
- Agreed with the gf: no restaurants, all home-made food (or supermarket purchased)
- Would like to do some study of art history, as I'm woefully ignorant of this area
- Trying to come up with a sustainable fitness plan
- Writing out/blogging the Italy trip for future reference and for family

Later this month, I'll go through some more things I learned about travel.

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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by m741 » Mon Dec 15, 2014 9:26 am

I've been going through some family stuff here. After my grandfather died, there was a very acrimonious situation between my uncle on one side, and myself and my mother on the other. At the time of her passing, she didn't want to talk to my uncle again. After my mother died, I patched things up with my uncle - he was the only living member of that side of my family. I even saw him for a few days.

Recently an innocuous email exchange with him heated up. He got vicious and aggressive. I've cut ties, as of this morning.

Just wondering - has anyone reading this experienced a similar situation? Or have any pointers? I'm having a lot of difficulty processing this.

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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by Tyler9000 » Mon Dec 15, 2014 2:35 pm

m741 wrote: Just wondering - has anyone reading this experienced a similar situation? Or have any pointers? I'm having a lot of difficulty processing this.
Sorry for the family drama.

Yes, I've dealt with an eerily similar situation. My mom and her sister have always had a hot & cold relationship. When my grandmother passed, a dispute (culminating in a particularly vicious act by my aunt) caused them to stop speaking. Later, a seemingly innocuous email to me quickly escalated into accusations, profanity-laden emails, and threats. The last time I saw her, she made a fool of herself at my brother's wedding (she was not invited to a subsequent family wedding). Nobody really speaks to her anymore. I firmly believe she needs counseling, but of the type family cannot provide.

I don't know what advice to give other than to not feel guilty. Saying your peace and cutting off contact with someone (relative or not) who doesn't deserve it and who makes you unhappy is a perfectly rational and healthy thing to do sometimes. Apologizing in a way that validates their behavior will only make it worse. At the very least, give it space for a while.

(Edited for clarity of the advice)
Last edited by Tyler9000 on Mon Dec 15, 2014 5:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by llorona » Mon Dec 15, 2014 3:06 pm

I hear you. Your uncle was your only remaining familial connection to your mom. Now that the relationship is over, that's one less piece you have of your mother. It has to be immensely disappointing, especially since you made the effort to repair the relationship with him.

My family's situation wasn't exactly the same as yours, but it involved fallout and cutting ties. Two years ago my father found out that his dad wasn't his biological father. This kind of thing happens all the time when people are young. But this happened when my dad was in his seventies, which is much worse. My dad was so pissed that he cut ties immediately.

Family members were of two different mindsets. Some sided with my step-grandfather, believing that he was noble for adopting my father and claiming him as his own. It didn't result in infighting -- people just silently disowned one another and stopped talking. That was really hard to swallow - I valued my extended family, and it took me a long time to come to terms with the fracture.

With regard to pointers, give yourself time to process and go easy on yourself. It's not going to happen overnight. Talk with people you trust, or write it out. Don't let the logical side of your brain tell you what you should or shouldn't be feeling. You might experience emotions that seem strong in comparison to the length of the relationship with your uncle. They're probably tied in with grieving the loss of your mom and everything she represented. Just let yourself feel and don't fight it. The only way out is through.

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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by George the original one » Mon Dec 15, 2014 4:18 pm

Email is not the place to have heated discussions. Too much room for error, so at least phone calls should be used if in-person is not possible.

Not knowing the full situation, it's probably best to go the time-out route. If he initiates another email exchange, call him to either end it or patch it, but make sure it doesn't continue in email.

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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by m741 » Mon Dec 15, 2014 4:52 pm

Thanks, everyone, for the replies.

I agree with email being a poor medium for this. I'm thankful it didn't happen - or escalate on a phone, though. I would have been caught completely off-guard.

If there's some kind of apology forthcoming (which I doubt), then I guess I'll try calling. I agree that having things end with an email is a sad way to go out.

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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by spoonman » Mon Dec 15, 2014 6:48 pm

Sorry to hear about the family static. I've had similar experiences with one uncle, but thankfully we weren't as close.

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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by DutchGirl » Tue Dec 16, 2014 8:01 am

I've been a witness of this happening with my boyfriend and his sister. In that case I must say that both sides were to blame. My sister-in-law for carrying around very old grudges (25+years old ones) and letting them resurface over a small dispute, and my boyfriend for insulting her when he was mad at her (which I found rather unproductive).

But sometimes people also just don't "match", character-wise. That is the case with my boyfriend and his sister, too. It makes communicating difficult.

Perhaps for you, letting it cool down for a few days might help. Good luck.

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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by m741 » Wed Dec 31, 2014 5:44 pm

December, 2014

I'm going to shake things up for this month's update. I've previously treated this update as mostly a summary of financial information. But that's increasingly irrelevant to me, except in the abstract sense. So I'll instead start by describing what I did, projects, feelings, and then end with a financial summary.

What happened

A few things, this month. Our company had a fancy holiday party, which I attended. I celebrated Christmas with my girlfriend's family in Texas, my first time meeting them. There have been about 3 weeks where I haven't really done any work (and really, neither has anyone else).

There isn't a whole lot else to say about the situation with my uncle, because I've stopped talking to him. For me, now, this was the right move. I have no desire to confront the level of vitriol I saw. If there's a silver lining, it's that the confrontation gave me a lot to think about, both in terms of how I live my life, and in terms of the type of life that's been given me. So I'm grateful for that.

Current State of Mind

For some of the reasons listed above, and much else besides, this has been a pensive month for me. Maybe it's natural to feel this way, with Christmas and the New Year to prompt some reflection. I've felt melancholy this month.

To start with, I haven't been able to focus at work. That's outside the holidays. I've not been able to focus for quite a while, and I've not delivered great work. Good enough, people seem happy with what I'm doing. But nothing I'm proud of. I find I have a diminished capacity for sustained concentration, or an aversion to deep thought. Which leaves me wondering whether it's permanent or temporary. I went through a lot these past two years, and it seems plausible to me that the stress has altered my brain in some way. Or maybe I'm just in a prolonged lackadaisical mood.

Another thing I've realized is that my memory is increasingly worse. I have a very difficult time remembering personal things and facts. Much worse than before, which maybe is just the reality of adulthood. I've made a more concentrated effort to store what I've done in freeform blogs and this journal, in part because I realize I'll quickly forget the details. A question that's been on my mind because of this is: what's the value of learning things if I'll just forget them? I have to discount the value of memory and knowledge, and value how I conduct myself more highly.

2015 Goals
I don't want to go into too many pointless details, or get too elaborate. My New Years Resolutions always seem to fall apart. Probably in part because I have more time through December, so these aggressive goals seem reasonable. So, here's the simple goals:

- Work out. Simple: my body, though not 'fat' is definitely out of shape, and I feel so weak and stiff. In a week or two, when I've established that my legs/feet feel healthy, I will sign up for a half-marathon in May. I'm also planning a 10k in March. These should keep me incentivized. I've been to the gym twice this week and feel pretty good.
- Meditate. My mind is so foggy and cloudy. I'd like to work up to 10 minutes of meditation every day. Obviously, not a lot, but I think it'll make a difference in clarity of mind.
- Establish a sane sleep schedule. Something like: in bed at 11, read until 11:30, wake up at 7:30. My schedule is frankly insane now, and highly irregular.
- Be more adventurous. I want to travel more, visit more museums, join more social groups.

I also have some smaller habits to establish: eat vitamins, drink more tea, do pull-ups, use my standing desk at work, and so forth.

2014 In Review
This was a pretty good year for me, overall. It was far and away the busiest in terms of what I did each week. Whether that was studying Italian after work, going to different restaurants and museums, visiting DC, Boston, Texas, and Italy, skydiving, seeing famous people (Jared Diamond, Chris Pratt, Jason Schwartzmann, Jim Gaffigan, Zoe Saldana, George Takei, Vin Diesel, KISS, Cat Stevens, Joan Jett, and many more).

Financially, it was a good year. I made excellent progress with investment, saving, and net worth. It was also a good year for charity. I donated more this year than I ever have in the past.

I can't say I learned a ton this year. I read a lot, but didn't retain much. I didn't do too much personal work. I didn't learn a ton at work. On the other hand, I learned more about relationships. I wrote a reasonable amount, and began to get a more well-rounded perspective on myself.

I stagnated physically. In large part, I believe this was due to lingering injuries from 2013 and re-injuries in early 2014 that made me cautious and stalled my progress. I did get really good at ping-pong (I was competent before, I consider myself a top-level 'casual' player now).

On the whole, 2014 was a good 'normal' year: a year without huge life events like 2013, without extensive travel, moving apartments, changing jobs, etc. Smooth, lots of small things going on, which is fine with me. It was the fastest year in my life, because I was so busy; I wouldn't mind slowing down a bit.

Finances
I'll keep this short. I only increased expected dividend income by $10 this month. In large part, that's due to a rebalance that moved some investments from EHI (10.5% yield) to mutual funds (2.5% yield). I'm happy to have more sane returns. On the other hand, this was a banner month for dividend income, with an astonishing $2290 in dividends (this is the 'high month' in my dividend cycle). In other words, dividends were pretty close to matching my baseline expenses at this point. I'll track expenses in January to establish a new baseline. My net worth increased modestly (by my current standards). The market declined slightly.

In other news, I put $250 in lending club, $1000 in solar city bonds, and bumped monthly Kiva donations to $250. I also finally bit the bullet that I'd been alluding to in other posts, and donated $2k to Flora & Fauna Intl, a conservation fund that seems result-oriented. With company match, that's $4k.

Financial Goals For January and 2015
I've been pretty good with following my financial goals - largely because they've been low-effort, so I'll be specific here.

For January:
- Track finances
- Fill in paperwork for inherited 401ks
- Increase expected monthly dividends by $100
- Re-evaluate stock holdings, look at portfolio balance
- Increase monthly fund investments by $1000

For 2015:
- Hit expected monthly dividends of $1700
- Continue to allocate to more socially-conscious investment options
- Lump-sum donation of $3k ($1k more than this year)
- Eat out & order takeout less often, and cook at home more (with the gf)

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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by Legthorn Brownboat » Sun Jan 04, 2015 12:05 am

m741 wrote:December, 2014
I went through a lot these past two years, and it seems plausible to me that the stress has altered my brain in some way
Yup!
m741 wrote:December, 2014
Another thing I've realized is that my memory is increasingly worse. I have a very difficult time remembering personal things and facts. Much worse than before, which maybe is just the reality of adulthood. I've made a more concentrated effort to store what I've done in freeform blogs and this journal, in part because I realize I'll quickly forget the details. A question that's been on my mind because of this is: what's the value of learning things if I'll just forget them? I have to discount the value of memory and knowledge, and value how I conduct myself more highly.
I definitely feel the same here, though I think I’ve always had it to an extent. I’m able to remember specific details that popped out at me to the astonishment of others, but forget entire segments of my life. Recently I’ve been more social, so I’ve had people bring up things I did or said or that happened and I politely nod, but realistically I have absolutely zero recollection of them. It is a little bit frightening.

I think much of it is that I (unconsciously) filter out experiences into those that are relevant and those that are irrelevant. I can remember relevant details, but forget massive amounts of the irrelevant. I suppose everyone does, but I feel I do so to a dramatically larger extent. I think a little of this is healthy and caters to our personalities. The ability to zone in and achieve flow/focus necessarily means blocking out or missing out on other things. I bet the memory behavior is related.

Something else I’ve found is that emotional well-being can effect memory retention (as it affects all things). If you had to prioritize your resolutions, I would put the ones related to your mental/emotional health at the very top of the list. Now is not a good time to procrastinate them (even though they’re sometimes the easiest ones to do so). The financial stuff will work itself out, and honestly if you’re emotionally healthy, details won’t dramatically affect you.

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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by jacob » Sun Jan 04, 2015 9:53 am

Think of memory as a cup that you start filling. It's full around age 25. If you keep filling it, something else has to go. It may be possible to retain it all by retraining the things you're about to forget, but consider that this strategy comes with an exponential workload. You only have so much mental energy. How much are you going to spend practicing your memory like some flash carding Jeopardy contestant instead of learning new things?

The transition in mindset is somewhat hard because it requires a different attitude. It's similar to minimalism/materialism. A lot of considerations becomes one of "do I really want to burn two years of mental energy on this knowing that I will lose it again in the future once I no longer practice it" similar to "do I really want to add an extra room to my home knowing that I have to clean that too"?

So expect to be forgetting details regularly from now on. Luckily, you only forget useless stuff. That is stuff, you use less. Some things remain! For example, I haven't trained with swords for 3 years now. I can still handle one, but I've forgotten almost all the names of the different katas and details of them. That was about 10k of concise notes completely memorized, now gone. Similarly, I had about 600 papers memorized for my thesis. I could quote name and year of a paper relevant to a statement. Made it really easy to cite and write papers. I forgot it all. But I still remember what my thesis was about. Verily, when I started my quant work, I realized that I had almost forgotten how to do calculus (analytic integration) by hand (after doing it all numerically for so many years).

What you can focus on, however, is wisdom.---That is, knowing what's important and what's not. That's also your transition into higher order work: telling the underlings who get to worry about all the details exactly which details that ought to worry about. Big picture stuff.

Also if you do need to relearn, it usually comes very quickly, so you haven't really forgotten. It's just gone from active memory.

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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by sshawnn » Sun Jan 04, 2015 10:04 am

@m741, to help combat my own such memory loss, I take and collect lots and lots of digital pictures of good moments. Reviewing photos is most always pleasant. Storage is cheap and they are worth a thousand words each. :D

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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by fips » Mon Jan 05, 2015 10:11 am

m741, thanks for the nice roundup of the year. Sounds like you are right on track. Keep up the good work!

And - not wanting to hijack your journal - but just a short question to Jacob on his last post:
jacob wrote:I had about 600 papers memorized for my thesis.
600 papers times 10 pages on average (wild guess) = 6.000 pages in total.
How did you manage to memorize that kind of amount? Have you used a certain techniques? Were you training to do just that (memorizing) or were you just using the papers so often that the memorization came naturally?

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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by jacob » Mon Jan 05, 2015 11:37 am

@fips - 600 papers times 2-5 conclusions from each is some 2000+ factoids which is the equivalent of experiental expert level knowledge for any domain so it's not that remarkable. Ask any professor to give a few journal references for a given question/issue in their domain and they should be able to do so no matter what the question. The main technique is/was reading and understanding the actual papers and putting them into context of what is already known [by me]. For me writing review articles works very well as it requires you to know who to cite. Talking with others [professionally] also requires being able to reference papers at will. However, the actual knowledge, which goes much deeper, does not. This is why I'm purged my mental citation data base whereas I still remember the actual physics.

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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by m741 » Mon Jan 05, 2015 10:00 pm

@Legthorn - Yes, I agree with everything you just said. People are sometimes very insistent that I said or did something, and the first few times it happened I disagreed, but it's happened enough to be a pattern. There's the old programming trope of reading terrible code, looking for the offender, and realizing it's yourself. But that's not something you think about happening with personal discussions, so it's pretty weird.

@jacob - I think that hitting the 'age of forgetting' may be part of it. I like the analogy to keeping a minimalism. And yes, I want to learn or study almost everything I hear about, but I'm just starting to internalize that memory is limited. I'm certainly trying to cultivate wisdom, and also trying to tidy up my habits of thinking and discipline, which I think apply across subjects. One way I think it's possible to get past the memory barrier is to train muscle memory. You may get a little rusty with muscle memory, but are less likely to forget completely.

@sshawnn - I take a lot more pictures on vacations than I used to, and I find that helpful. Now that I have a smart phone, I take occasional pictures on less exception occasions. But it's probably worth making more of an effort to commemorate events and good times.

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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by m741 » Tue Feb 03, 2015 12:01 am

January, 2014

What happened?

I traveled to visit my father for a belated Christmas, bringing the gf along. It was fun... she went sledding for the first time, and we basically did that for half the weekend. I also saw two big concerts that were Christmas presents to each other, and went to a film festival at a very cool location in NYC. Otherwise, it was pretty quiet - we saw friends and hung out at home. I think February will be even more quiet, which suits me just fine right now.

I worked out regularly, missing only 2 workouts during the week. I also decided to do some rock climbing (I have easy access to a bouldering wall). My fingers/forearms are super weak, so it's a real struggle. But I think it's worth developing in an area that doesn't play to my physical strengths.

Work started really slow through the middle of January, then got more interesting. It's pretty interesting overall right now, and my biggest issue is staying focused on work and getting my energy up. Maybe I'm not in the habit of deep thinking anymore.

Finances

My portfolio took a pretty large hit this month, so although my income was very high (bonus and a three-paycheck month), I didn't see as much gain as I expected. That's ok: slow and steady wins the race.

I increased expected monthly dividends by $25, not as much as I hoped. This was because I increased my automatic purchases but made only a single discretionary purchase (VZ). I continue to invest a few hundred in Lending Club and $1k in SolarCity bonds each month. I also made a large donation, $2k. I think I mentioned this before, but it was taken out my paycheck this month.

Finally, I guess the biggest news is that I tracked my finances for the first time since last August. Expenses were about $175 lower this month than my previous baseline. I think that's mostly attributable to few unusual purchases, and eating more at home rather than going out to restaurants. My expenses were $2293, which is rent + $1k.

The other big news is that as of today (2/2) I have sold out vested shares of my company's stock, and will continue to see a small amount vest each month. This amounts to a salary bump; once it's set up to smoothly pay out I'll increase my regular investments and invest a bit more with lending club.

Goals

My goals for February:
- Don't eat refined sugar (cookies, candy, donuts, cake, juice, etc). I'm tracking sugar consumption in a spreadsheet that's shared with my friend. We shame each other if we eat sugar.
- Continue to work out and climb (work out 3x per week, climb 2x per week).
- Find some stocks that look attractively priced and purchase them.
- Do some work and practice on my own (something like writing/photography/programming).

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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by DutchGirl » Sat Feb 07, 2015 5:49 am

Always nice to see one of your updates. I hope you're still on track for the goals you made for February? Good luck!

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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by m741 » Mon Mar 02, 2015 10:41 pm

February, 2015

What happened?

Well, not all that much. February was a month of consolidation for me. No trips, no big events. Spent time with friends, did stuff in NYC. Lounged on weekends. But I've been thinking a lot and building habits.

I'm really taking health more seriously. And I want to continue. I adhered pretty closely to my no-sweets goal and only had sugar 4 times during the month. I want to continue that, but also stop consumption of sucralose and aspartame. Not that I really had a desire to lean on these as crutches: my sugar cravings have been massively reduced.

I'm also eating more salad, more greens, and cooking at home more. I'm trying to drop carb consumption overall, and eat more healthy fats, such as olive oil and eggs. This seems to be in accord with my reading of the rough state of nutrition 'science' right now.

I've also been consistently taking vitamins and, more recently, creatine. And just eating less overall. I feel maybe 15% more alert than I did before, which is great.

My gym habits have not been great. I go to the gym maybe 60% of the time that I should. For climbing... I want to go more, but I've got some sort of strain in one arm near my elbow, so I've been taking it easy and doing lots of pull-ups at home. Better to go slowly than push too hard and have to stop.

The other big thing was that I talked to my accountant this month. This is the second year I've gone to this guy for taxes. As far as I can tell, he knows what he's talking about - I've been impressed. I had been pretty quiet and non-commital about about things last year. I go into great detail about finances online, but it's so different in person :). But I was pretty open and used the 'sabbatical' angle to open the topic: but I think he had some idea what I was considering (ERE). I'm glad we talked, because he had some good ideas, particularly from a tax angle.

The major outcome of this talk was that I'm shifting emphasis from dividends to growth. Not a huge shift, but I've liquidated some of the very high dividend, risky stuff, and slowed investments in dividend-payers. No sense paying taxes on dividends right now. If I really want to move to a dividend strategy in two years, it's not so hard. But capital gains are more tax efficient overall, both currently and in retirement.

Finances

As mentioned above, I sold the riskiest, highest-dividend holding I had. I'm now also holding a mid-cap Vanguard growth fund, and aim to add a large-cap growth fund as well. I also put another slug into GLD. It's gone down a bit since I last bought, but it's one of the few true diversification options, and I'd like to move towards a slightly more volatile permanent portfolio.

Due in part to market recovery, I saw a big boost in net worth this month.

Other than that, not much to report.

Goals

- Return to consistent gym-going, 3-days per week.
- Continue to avoid sweets (along with sucralose and aspartame).
- Invest in large-cap growth fund.

mxlr650
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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by mxlr650 » Tue Mar 03, 2015 7:09 pm

I'm really taking health more seriously. And I want to continue. I adhered pretty closely to my no-sweets goal and only had sugar 4 times during the month. I want to continue that, but also stop consumption of sucralose and aspartame. Not that I really had a desire to lean on these as crutches: my sugar cravings have been massively reduced.
When I quit drinking caffeinated and artificially sweetened beverages last year my cravings for sugar redused drastically. Once your taste buds are retrained/cleansed you'll never go back to drinking them. It took me almost a decade to realize that aspartame/sucralose was bad for me.

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m741
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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by m741 » Wed Apr 01, 2015 7:10 pm

March, 2015

What happened?

It was a pretty quiet month, actually. I didn't do any travel, mostly just relaxed on the weekends and did work - waiting for the winter to end for spring to really begin. The weather is changing here in NYC and I think it'll be warm in a week or two.

I've stopped working out, so I need to start that again. I kept eating mostly healthy and I'm going to be getting stricter with that for April.

I went to the NYC ERE meetup and got to meet some new people, which was fun.

Sorry if this is boring. I expect April to be more exciting!

Job

I've been happier at the job recently. It's busier, which I like as long as I don't have to work longer hours. And I've got more of an opportunity for a leadership role, which I like. It's different than what I was doing before, and overall I think it's a good move for me. I'm finally excited about something. I should have more opportunities in May (or very late April).

Besides that, work's work. My plans here haven't changed so far: January 2017 I'm looking to quit for some serious time off. If things don't change for the better as I expect, then I may consider seeing if I can figure out some partial work arrangement at the start of next year (ie, doing shorter workweeks or something).

Finances

I've continued my switch from a focus on dividend stocks to growth stocks. Basically I've cut my automatic weekly investment in dividend stocks in half, and put that into small- and mid-cap growth stocks. I'm continuing to invest in Lending Club, about $400 each month.

My net worth increased marginally this month, due to another slight decline in the market.

My expected dividends went up slightly this month, but are still below January levels (since I sold off some very high-dividend issuers at that point). I expect this trend to continue, and I'm happy with dividends increasing at this rate each month.

This was the high month in my dividend cycle, with dividend income exceeding $2k, but it's less than 3 months ago.

Some financial goals for April:
- Read some Harry Browne to see if the permanent portfolio seems like a good choice.
- Consider investing more into gold. Right now it's about 4% of my portfolio.
- Continue with investments, but monitor and consider reducing auto-investment as my cash cushion is decreasing (I can only auto-sell vested shares of company stock quarterly).
- Look to sell off the last high-yield fund I hold, about $10k worth of PFF (6% yield).

DutchGirl
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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by DutchGirl » Sat Apr 04, 2015 12:57 am

Nice to read your update, m741. I myself think gold is pretty overrated. It's a metal that can be used in some electronics. That's it. Anyway, just my humble opinion. I would say: stay critical. If you are considering investing in gold, don't just read the people who want you to invest in gold ;-)

I hope you'll have a great spring.

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