The life and times of ... distracted_at_work

Where are you and where are you going?
suomalainen
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Re: The life and times of ... distracted_at_work

Post by suomalainen » Fri Sep 01, 2017 11:57 am

Best advice I have ever heard in my entire life: "There is always another bus." Applies equally to beautiful women and investments, so no need to chase any particular ones. Also, as to the former, you could also go with "There's a lid for every pot." Be yourself and find a woman you like who also likes you. If one particular specimen doesn't like you, no big deal...there's always another bus!

Also, randomly, I recently read a speed-dating study that indicated a difference in the genders in terms of how each gender graded the connection they felt with the opposite gender: for men, they "felt a connection" more with women they found physically attractive; for women, they "felt a connection" more with men who listened to them.

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distracted_at_work
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Re: The life and times of ... distracted_at_work

Post by distracted_at_work » Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:28 pm

Long stretch since my last journal post on the forums due to a couple reasons. One of which being I post at work and we have been busy. The other due to not a lot of changes taking place in the last month or so. Had a dumb moment last week which prompted me to come here and reflect.

Not doing fun things and trying to stay the course

This would be the toughest early retirement demon after all the big ones are out of the way, no? One of my favorite bands (Arcade Fire) was in town last week and I didn't go because tickets were $100. It was a straight money saving decision. I sat at home, worked out and ate tofu curry instead. After hearing glowing reviews of the concert from friends I knew I made a mistake. It's not an isolated thing. I say no to other things and it is starting to bug me. Such as:

-Avalanche Training ($150+) / Touring Skis & Boots ($1000+)
-Mountain Biking ($2000+)
-Non-Discounted Day Ski Trips ($130/day min)
-Hockey Teams ($800)
-Trips to Asia or Europe ($1200 plane ride)

Then I come here to try to remember the goal. The ultimate goal being freedom. Total and complete freedom. I don't want to join the middle class. But it is seriously hard. I feel like I'm wasting my best years sitting in an office with 3 weeks vacation while I have other friends gallivanting the world or living the carefree ski bum life. This is the only time that I would be physically capable of completing many of these things I want to do. The part that makes no sense is I even love my job! It's fun! I flew in a private plane drinking Grey Goose in the sky less than a month ago for work! On a macro level, things are about as perfect as they ever have been. Yet I have something gnawing on my soul that I can't even explain. Is it the fuckery that is social media influencing my brain? Is it a lack of challenge? Lack of adventure? Probably a mix of things. Argh. Should have just gone to the concert.

Regular ERE update

Have more beer than I know what to do with as my homebrewing keeps getting away from me. The beer keeps getting better and better but I'm trying to stay healthy so I can't possibly keep up with drinking it all. In the meantime I'm soon to surpass $100K in the brokerage account which is nice. I passed $100K net worth awhile ago but it didn't seem notable as I'm not going to sell my car etc. My stock picks are doing o.k. I'm wayyyyyyyy too heavily invested into PEY.TO due to averaging down. I'm convinced Western Canada has to stop giving away natural gas for free and this stock will be the first to turn. Seriously, in October, natural gas has been at a negative price more days than positive... Companies need to pay people to take it away... I'm back to taking books out of the library after a break to play through a shiny new video game bought courtesy of a bad hangover one rainy Saturday morning. I'm at 100+ hours into Divinity: Original Sin 2 for the gamers out there. I went and camped at the base of Canada's highest mountain in September and climbed along some glaciers. Did 90 km hiking in four days. I've thought about making a separate post showing how far these glaciers have receded since the spot was first marked in 1911. Very cool. Literally cool too as it was rainy and snowy for 4 days in Rocky Mountain back country. Can't imagine what hiking up there would have been like without modern mountaineering gear. Back to saving 65% of income regularly (last 2 months being any indication) and looking into taking another vacation to Nicaragua in the spring. Cheapest airfare available for the best vacation payoff I can find. Only thing holding me back is doing a repeat trip when there is so much more out there I haven't done.

Hope that wall of text doesn't hurt the brain too bad. I really need a journal template.

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bryan
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Re: The life and times of ... distracted_at_work

Post by bryan » Tue Oct 17, 2017 2:01 pm

distracted_at_work wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:28 pm
Not doing fun things and trying to stay the course

This would be the toughest early retirement demon after all the big ones are out of the way, no? One of my favorite bands (Arcade Fire) was in town last week and I didn't go because tickets were $100. It was a straight money saving decision. I sat at home, worked out and ate tofu curry instead. After hearing glowing reviews of the concert from friends I knew I made a mistake. It's not an isolated thing. I say no to other things and it is starting to bug me. Such as:

-Avalanche Training ($150+) / Touring Skis & Boots ($1000+)
-Mountain Biking ($2000+)
-Non-Discounted Day Ski Trips ($130/day min)
-Hockey Teams ($800)
-Trips to Asia or Europe ($1200 plane ride)

...
Yet I have something gnawing on my soul that I can't even explain. Is it the fuckery that is social media influencing my brain? Is it a lack of challenge? Lack of adventure? Probably a mix of things. Argh. Should have just gone to the concert.
I avoid super expensive concerts mostly because I refuse to pay to go to large venues. Anything bigger than 500 is questionable.. sometimes it's okay to double that (e.g. Fillmore) if the venue is GA standing room and not anticipated to sell out (or I feel like planting myself in a good spot, despite the crowd.). That means, unless I go to an affordable festival, I won't get to see the most popular of the music I like. I tend to try to discover new music since seeing a live show with a small crowd (songkick is good for tracking touring bands) is a more reliable experience, unless the musicians are truly masterful.

I rationalize it like I'd rather pay ~$10 to see a young band than $50+ to see a popular band that may end up not being great live or have a bad venue experience. Plus if you catch an up-and-coming star it's a nice memory/story (saw Gary Clark Jr. in a bar just as he was beginning to get really popular.. during the show I thought to myself that this must be what it was like to see The Rolling Stones or Jimmy Hendrix in a bar).

That being said, I've heard Arcade Fire is one of the best bands you'll ever see live..

What makes mountain biking so expensive?

Why not go ahead and budget for entertainment? Just have a think about doing it frugally. Maybe design your life with them in mind if you are passionate about them. i.e. don't need to spend money on them or have someone else pay for you (e.g. work for a European company for free flights to Europe occasionally). Personally, I never sweated bar/restaurant bills, concert tickets, etc. since I wasn't paying rent while in the van. Though that was never an excuse to have a mediocre meal/experience.. (I'd rather eat yogurt, granola, and a banana from the corner store... or have a nice cold pint.. or wait a few hours.. than waste money).

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distracted_at_work
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Re: The life and times of ... distracted_at_work

Post by distracted_at_work » Tue Oct 17, 2017 4:44 pm

@Bryan.

Solid advice, thanks. I'll check out songkick. Seeing good bands at small venues is one of my favorite budget things to do. With the mountain biking I figure I'm buying a bike for $1500 minimum, more realistically $2K, and then adding in the cost of accessories, road trips, car attachments, gasoline and whatever else. I went out for beers with a buddy last weekend who rode a mountain bike worth more than my car :o

I do have a rough budget that includes my current entertainment expenses. Adding in the sports that require a few grand up front or tickets to expensive concerts throw it into serious wack. If I did have two hobbies/sports that I'd go deep into it would have to be biking and skiing. Hmmm.

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bryan
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Re: The life and times of ... distracted_at_work

Post by bryan » Tue Oct 17, 2017 6:09 pm

OK, I figured it would be the bike cost. I'm always very surprised by the cost for bikes (before I knew better, I bought a road bike new). I guess my tip to people buying bikes would be to try to get used (easier for road bikes).

Yeah, mountain biking (summer) and skiing (winter) sounds like good sports for Canadians or Coloradans :P

slowtraveler
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Re: The life and times of ... distracted_at_work

Post by slowtraveler » Wed Oct 18, 2017 5:26 am

Congrats on feeling happier now. I know of a few people who have kick-ass roommates and this makes the home a nice community but I have loved living on my own.

I have also been massively spendy and not ere style spending lately but I love this forum and its focus.

Dude, those entertainment costs are way bloated. You can score plane tickets for half that. Same with mountain biking. All this takes some knowledge though.

A $100 concert isn't that expensive. It's not roast marshmallows over volcano cheap but it's reasonable.

Can you set a budget? If you earn $50/hr post tax, it is 2 hours of work for the concert. 2 of those a month wouldn't break the bank. Good bikes can be found on Craigslist. I'm asking, which are the most important to you? They all sound cool but I have a feeling 1 or 2 of those activities are meaningful while the others are cool but not calling you quite as much.

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distracted_at_work
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Re: The life and times of ... distracted_at_work

Post by distracted_at_work » Wed Oct 18, 2017 12:25 pm

Thanks @Felipe. The forum can't be beat for helping refocus after a few spendy weeks. You are right, those are the lazy-premium costs.

I scored my $1000 road bike for $280 so I'm sure I can repeat with a mountain bike and skis with some research. Thinking about it...I often tell my friends that I'm happiest on a bike or on skis. I really should pony up for those two. Big up front investment with relatively cheap ongoing as neither biking nor ski touring are gated behind tickets.

(Ski touring being x-country up a mountain and downhill ski down. Need specific convertible boots/bindings along with other gear)

I can share my budget if you want. It roughly plans for 2K a month which after essentials (rent,food,internet, insurance) leaves me with $300 in discretionary spending. I don't detail everything other than checking my credit card every few days with mint and I'm usually over in discretionary.

I just did my hourly post-tax since starting the new job (surprised it took 5 months to calculate) but I'm at $37/hr including no benefits or bonuses. I'm through probation so I'll have a sense of my bonus next quarter.

slowtraveler
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Re: The life and times of ... distracted_at_work

Post by slowtraveler » Wed Oct 18, 2017 9:40 pm

I honestly think you're doing fine. Share what feels comfortable but feel free not to share what you don't want to as well. Your journal after all.

Saving over 50% is the minimum and even the spendy ones here rarely fall below that. Few here who stick around here won't be ere in a decade or so.

In the middle class, we are outliers. Saving 50-70% off retail like in your example.

SustainableHappiness
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Re: The life and times of ... distracted_at_work

Post by SustainableHappiness » Thu Oct 19, 2017 9:52 am

@Distracted
Hello! For a second time reading through a journal entry of yours I see feelings I had a few years ago, particularly in your concert example. In my experience, I had always measured experiences/things in terms of the value they delivered to me in term of an emotional win. However after reading and bringing MMM and ERE to the forefront of my mind, and particularly the concept of FI and FIs contrast (working at a emotionally mediocre job forever...this is a false dichotomy, but bear with me), I found my perception of value changed and I started viewing them in terms of a quasi-categorical imperative (if everyone did this every time they had to make this decision what would the world look like?)

Quantitatively this came out as $100 monthly = $1200 in passive income to support = 1200*25 = $30K to support. $30k = 1/3 or 4 months of saving. Although it didn't entirely remove my concert desires, it made me go to bar shows (bryan mentioned above) for $20 to see a bunch of up and comers which was still very satisfying for me and still socializing + gave hipster validation (i'd be lying to say this wasn't a side feeling whether it is a good thing or not) to know that we were supporting an up and coming band (The Arkells for example were from a city near me and my friends and I have seen at least 10 times for <$30 or free in the past 5 years).

Now I go even less often, maybe once every 3 months and these shows are even more special and big concerts $ cost to value have lost their appeal almost entirely. It's like what started out as sacrifice has turned into habit/life a la ERE.

Anyways, for what it's worth, sounds like you are kicking ass. Hopefully this helps in some way!

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distracted_at_work
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Re: The life and times of ... distracted_at_work

Post by distracted_at_work » Thu Oct 19, 2017 2:35 pm

Hey Sustainable! Thanks for the feedback, always love hearing from you. Congratulations on the baby by the way! Glad to read that it went well.

Hipster validation is very real and nothing to be ashamed of :lol: It becomes bad when you seek something out for being hipster instead of it being fun on its own. In the terms of cost of fun things, I very much do consider my expenses in terms of the investment required to sustain them. The thing with the big concerts is that it's a type of expense that starts as a one-off but becomes something that could be justified every month.. if that makes sense. At least for me! With that all said I still should have made an exception for Arcade Fire ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Love The Arkells by the way! Probably seen them 4 times. Beer gardens at university or what not. The Alberta equivalent to them would be The Dudes. Check them out if they ever go east. I've seen them at least 6+ times for cheap or free. Blew my ears out at a $10 show of theirs in Fernie in August... that was when we were staying in the hobo village hammocks a couple journal posts ago.

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distracted_at_work
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Re: The life and times of ... distracted_at_work

Post by distracted_at_work » Wed Nov 08, 2017 12:17 pm

Having a slow morning so I thought I'd come and talk into the void a bit.

One of my best friends just bought a $70K Audi with financing to celebrate getting out of debt... He put off telling me because he knew I'd flame him over it and he was right, ha. We have friendly debates often regarding work, savings, investments, etc. He wants to maximize income (which he is doing amazing at to be fair) to increase consumption. I'm not really interested in working 6 to 6 and then going home to study my job so I can ultimately finance toys but props to him.

It's snowed like mad with 15 cm down that's going to stick around I think. I read we had a 43 degree Celsius swing over the course of five days. Winter is both exciting, due to sports, and depressing, due to lack of sunlight. I am the ultimate weekend warrior in the Winter. Leave the office early Friday and home late Sunday night. My plan to not pay for hockey leagues is working as people get injured and I get on teams for free. Lots of ski trips coming up this Winter; free with my second job as a tour guide! Need to get through the doldrums of November before the real fun begins.

Learning about Zen Buddhism and liking it. Empathy was always my weakest trait and it is helping. Started reading a completely random book picked up wandering around a library. Will be looking for further recommendations.

Had a friend from University, who I haven't kept in touch with, quit his stable engineering job to be a tour guide in Peru. Ever time I walk to work, in -20 or lower, I get pangs of envy. Dam you social media! Also Skyped this week with my good friend who quit her accounting job at 33 (with fairly little savings) to go be a dive instructor in rural Bali. She's looking a hundred times healthier and happier since she made that change a year ago. More inspiration for me.

Generally getting sick of the political correct climate we live in. I'm about ready to delete all social media to be rid of it. On some days, including this forum. If the tech developers of the world could figure out an app to get all my friends onto that would have the Facebook Events functionality, that would be super. That's all I need.

Edited to remove personal. Reformatted too.
Last edited by distracted_at_work on Tue Nov 14, 2017 2:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

SustainableHappiness
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Re: The life and times of ... distracted_at_work

Post by SustainableHappiness » Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:37 am

A thought on Facebook. Here`s how I turned it from a net negative to a net positive influence:

- Changed settings so I only got emails from Groups/Events I am a part of, or Messenger groups I am a part of
- Only entered Facebook via those emails, NEVER just to check (this is the most important point probably)
- NEVER went to the main feed page (this was the time and stimulation sucker) as it is a net negative/useless

Did this like 5 years ago, since then I still use Facebook functionality a lot since I have groups/events/messenger with friends and famjam that I like talking to and organizing things with. But I experience none of the Social Media mental drain. I never go on Facebook. I am using Facebook for X reason.

Result = Net Positive

Still trying to decide if I should make a similar policy for this forum, as I check it about once a day, just for fun at the moment.

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distracted_at_work
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Re: The life and times of ... distracted_at_work

Post by distracted_at_work » Wed Dec 06, 2017 1:07 pm

Lots to come and talk about today.

Financials

Looking like I'm going to photo finish on a 65% savings rate this year. It would seem the increase in income offset the cost of doubling my rent.

I'll do full calculations in the New Year but I'm expecting my portfolio to be up EXCEPT for one loser that I had been buying on the slide. That's my first >50% loss on a stock. Does not feel great but what to do but hold. I severely underestimated how hard it would be to get the excess of natural gas out of Alberta.

Regarding the rest of the portfolio... WTF do I do with ETFs up +15% on the year? My U.S and Developed International are big winners this year and it feels wrong letting those gains ride this far into a bull market but that is the whole point of passive investing no?

Signed up for a cryptocurrency website. My extensive research showed that QuadrigaCX is the best option right now for Canadians. The fees are still totally outrageous but it might be fun to throw a little bit of money at it. I'm debating whether to have a % gain I'd bail at or a 5-year hold commitment. I would go in with $2K and "spend" it like I was walking into a casino. Reading about wallets and blockchain and the future of FX etc has been really interesting for me the last couple weeks.

Getting that 4% RRSP matching from the company is so so nice. It adds up surprisingly quickly.

100K in brokerage accounts well before I turn 25. Fuck ya. I can't tell anyone in "real" life so here is my fist pumping brag. Sorry.

Consumption

Got my yearly insane shopping done on Cyber Monday. The most ridiculous purchases being a $480 sleeping bag that weights 1 lb., a couple of Chance The Rapper hats costing $140 after importing/conversion. The sleeping bag I plan on having forever though. No more 100 KM treks with the Canadian Tire 10lb. special. The 1 hat was a gift and I also wanted one... can't justify a $70 hat. Telling everyone this is my penance.

Slowly looking for a pair of used touring skis. Signing up for avalanche safety training for January. RIP $1K.

Re-Reading ERE

I'm re-reading the ERE book which may become a yearly tradition for me around consumption time (Christmas/Black Friday). I would rate the flexibility of my life pretty high right now so I think I'm doing well since my last read through. When I say flexibility I mean the different sources of income or options I have available to me should I lose my main income source (job). Specifically I could go all-in on the ski/mountain guiding, work at a brewery from connections I made last spring, continue to work as a Petroleum Engineer, start day trading ( :lol: ).. etc.

I'm failing in a few things like gardening, carpentry, welding and advanced bicycle maintenance. Lots of physical skills I'd like learn. I have no space to do these projects. I'm lazily blaming my apartment. There will be time for these things down the road.

I have noticed I've backed off the really intense desire to not spend money and I think I'm happier for it? For example, I'm was not nearly as worried about buying my friends a round of drinks last weekend. I'm also much more likely to go do a fun one night trip out to the mountains on the weekends than I was last year or join my amigos for a day of skiing where I don't have a 50% discount.

Fitness

Have struggled keeping up with 15-40 minute yoga or kettle-bell sessions. Fortunately these are supplemented now by ski trips or pick-up hockey games on weekends. It's tough to do things when you walk to and fro work in the dark. I just want to relax when I get home.
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In general... I'm much much much happier than I was around this time last year. Things are good.
Last edited by distracted_at_work on Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:11 am, edited 3 times in total.

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distracted_at_work
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Re: The life and times of ... distracted_at_work

Post by distracted_at_work » Wed Dec 06, 2017 1:11 pm

Quick photo dump.

I forgot to mention that I tested Pabst for gluten and it was under 20 PPM. Had to confirm this blog's results: http://www.lowgluten.org/
Image

Free ski trips are the best ski trips!
Image

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distracted_at_work
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Re: The life and times of ... distracted_at_work

Post by distracted_at_work » Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:07 am

Really quick update from mobile in a ski town bar .. Long story short I drove my car into a snowbank and burned the clutch out in my attempts to get out. $1500+ hotel, taxi and tow later... I might get home. Thankfully don't need an emergency fund when you save 65% per month.

Fell in love with a girl from the other side of the country this weekend so that's great. Life is wild.

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distracted_at_work
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Re: The life and times of ... distracted_at_work

Post by distracted_at_work » Thu Jan 04, 2018 11:49 am

2017 Financials

Some important notes reading this chart and the year:

-I take my net worth Jan 1st 2017 and Jan 1st 2018, look at my net income for the year and figure out expenses from the difference. According to this method I saved 70% of my income this year!? Holy cow that's insane. To get monthly numbers I look at what was put into my investment accounts that month.

-Big change from how I did this last year is that since I changed brokerages, I have no great way to track my investment returns. I know what my
individual returns on specific investments are but not a YTD summary and I am quite simply too lazy to calculate myself.

-Thank god I index 70% outside of Canada.

-I don't include my tax return which will be in the ballpark of $3K.

-I took 6 weeks off this year due to double dipping vacation in 2 different companies and 1 week of unemployment.

-I quite simply am astounded that I lowered my expenses this year from $25.5K to $18K. I absolutely forgot I started out the year with a broken leg (can't spend money if you can't walk) and lived in an extremely cheap rental situation for 2 months. My largest expenses, other than rent/car/food, were Nicaragua, skiing (booze/gear) and my new emergency clutch (this could be a ski trip expense).

-This only includes cash and stock.

-This chart is probably wrong by some $$ amount on every single bar of varying intensity. Honestly, tracking this shit is hard. I don't know how people do it monthly but I respect the hell out of you if you do.


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My journal is an absolute mess. I want to start a new one this year but writing and following a template. Is this considered taboo?

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TheRedHare
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Re: The life and times of ... distracted_at_work

Post by TheRedHare » Fri Mar 02, 2018 9:25 am

Good to hear you're doing well man, keep up the solid work!

I think the template idea is definitely worth it...I need to do this myself. But it makes going back and looking at your stats much easier.

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