Lightfruit55's Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
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lightfruit55
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Lightfruit55's Journal

Post by lightfruit55 » Wed Feb 22, 2017 10:09 am

Hi everyone! After lurking in this forum for more than 3 years, I’ve finally decided to step out of the shadows and share my ERE journey in this journal.

Please feel free to comment. If I need any face-punching, please feel free to punch away as hard as you want to!

About me

27/F and living in Singapore

How I got into ERE

I started working immediately after graduating from university. Unfortunately (or, in hindsight, fortunately?), my first job entailed a sociopathic manager and long hours. Within the first month, I developed mild depression and experienced my first existential crisis. What's the purpose of life? Why should we strive for a career? Why should we work hard? Why should we climb the corporate ladder? How can people put themselves through this crap for most parts of their lives? If people can do it, why can't I?

Anyway, long story short, I concluded that the 9-6 grind sucks and that I should escape from it as soon as practicable. My obsessive search for an out led me to discover ERE. ERE concepts espoused on Jacob’s blog and book immediately reasonated with me and I began my ERE journey. I’ve not looked back since.

(By the way, I quit that crappy first job less than 2 months in, and have since worked at 2 other (less) crappy places. I’ve not had a positive job experience so far. I suspect it’s because I’ve conditioned myself to detest full-time employment. Work is an issue which I’m struggling with. More about my work status in subsequent posts.)

Present Financial Status

Liquid net worth (cash and short-term investments) (“LNW”): approx. 6.5x annual expenses

Illiquid net worth (social security savings and endowment plans) (“INW”): approx. 4x annual expenses

Life

Apart from work, I’m pretty happy with my life. I am reasonably fit (active in some capacity everyday) and eat well. I also practise yoga and meditate almost daily. I have wonderful relationships, though I wish I have more friends. I also wish I have more time and energy to indulge in more adventure and sports.

My Semi-ERE Goal

Ideally, I wish to semi-ERE* when I’m 30** at the following figures:

LNW=12x annual expenses

INW=7x annual expenses

*By semi-ERE, I mean retire from full-time employment, and work part-time going forward. Basically, at the semi-ERE figures above, I think I will feel secure enough to take a sabbatical and explore what I want to do for work in life going forward.

**I can probably semi-ERE when I’m 30 (in about 3 years) if I continue whatever it is I’m doing now. But the problem is that my present work situation is such a soul-sucking drag. I don’t hate it (as much as I hate my first job) but I don’t like it either. It also doesn’t help that my job is pretty dead-end with little prospects.


I’ll stop here in my first post. As mentioned, I will share more about my work situation in subsequent post(s).

Thanks for reading!

Jason
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Re: Lightfruit55's Journal

Post by Jason » Wed Feb 22, 2017 12:08 pm

If you can semi-retire at 30, my suggestion is to ride out the three years. You will still be young enough to do what you want. That's not a punch, just a casual observation.

I don't know what Singapore is like except that they cane your ass for sticking gum under the desk. Combining capitalism with totalitarianesque regimes always creates some interesting paradoxes i.e. "I got a great job in Singapore but now I'm faced with the death penalty because a military officer saw me get a hard-on in public." I don't see myself traveling there.

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Chris
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Re: Lightfruit55's Journal

Post by Chris » Wed Feb 22, 2017 7:15 pm

Hey LF,

Welcome, and congratulations on learning to quit a job early. It's a valuable skill.

From what you've described, you haven't had a work experience that you've liked so far. I'm assuming your expectation for part-time work is better... but why is that? Would you be working in a different field?

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bryan
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Re: Lightfruit55's Journal

Post by bryan » Wed Feb 22, 2017 8:39 pm

Welcome!

Well, was reading along and was like, "heck yeah, you're right! I'm going to semi-retire/sabbatical this year! Game Over, I win!" and then I read @Jason's comment and was like "Crap. Guess maybe I'll put in another couple years." We'll see..

Following.

Jason
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Re: Lightfruit55's Journal

Post by Jason » Wed Feb 22, 2017 9:18 pm

Well, I'm older than most of the people here so I have a different perspective. If you want to break up your working life and walk the earth, that's fine. Just stay off my front yard.

My feeling is that work just sucks, so if you can get out of it when your still young, I would do it as work only gets worse as you get older.

lightfruit55
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Re: Lightfruit55's Journal

Post by lightfruit55 » Fri Feb 24, 2017 11:58 pm

@Jason: Not to worry, Singapore is public-hard on-friendly, so long as you keep it to yourself. So long as one doesn't seek to kill, rape, do drugs or engage in hate speech, he or she will be fine in Singapore.

@Chris: "I'm assuming your expectation for part-time work is better... but why is that? Would you be working in a different field?" As to what kind of part-time work I would like to do, that's a fair question which I unfortunately don't quite have the answer to. I honestly don't know what I want to do in life and for work (having had most parts of my life and career directed by well-meaning parents...) so I suppose I would like the opportunity to "explore". I know this reeks of "eat pray love"-esque romanticism, so I'm trying to balance that with some rationality (i.e. reasonable amount of savings). As to why part-time work, I would like more time and energy to engage in crafts, hobbies and relationships... which full-time work robs me off.

MDFIRE2024
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Re: Lightfruit55's Journal

Post by MDFIRE2024 » Sat Feb 25, 2017 4:38 am

Welcome.

I like to read about people's stories from all over the world. Your story is inspiring and I wish you the best to achieve your goals.

How is life in Singapur? Do you like it? I once travelled to it and I was impressed by the safe and clean city environment.

I expect that it is very expensive to live in a big city like Singapur. What's your saving rate by the way?

Jason
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Re: Lightfruit55's Journal

Post by Jason » Sat Feb 25, 2017 6:56 am

[quote="lightfruit55"]@Jason: Not to worry, Singapore is public-hard on-friendly, so long as you keep it to yourself. So long as one doesn't seek to kill, rape, do drugs or engage in hate speech, he or she will be fine in Singapore.

I happen to be reading Francis Fukuyama's Political Order and Political Decay and came upon this passage:

"In the end, however, the Rechsstaat never amount to the kind of constitutional constraint on executive power that the English achieved during their Glorious Revolution or that the Americans were to enshrine in their constitution. It was, however good enough as a means of guaranteeing modern property rights and facilitated Germany's economic growth and rapid industrialization in the second half of the 19th century. As such, it became the model for liberal autocracy everywhere. Contemporary Singapore is sometimes compared to nineteenth-century Germany for just this reason.

I here what your saying but based upon this comparison, shit can change quickly.

I'd at least cover it with a state friendly newspaper.

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fuyu
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Re: Lightfruit55's Journal

Post by fuyu » Sat Feb 25, 2017 10:40 am

Jason wrote:Well, I'm older than most of the people here so I have a different perspective. If you want to break up your working life and walk the earth, that's fine. Just stay off my front yard.

My feeling is that work just sucks, so if you can get out of it when your still young, I would do it as work only gets worse as you get older.
Sorry if this is a stupid question. Why does work get worse as you get older? I thought it would get easier as I get better at it and gain more autonomy or at least stay the same. I'm only basing this on my parents and their siblings. They didn't seem to dislike their jobs (although most of them retired in their 50's and either do consulting work, volunteer, and/or have hobbies that take up most of their time).

Jason
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Re: Lightfruit55's Journal

Post by Jason » Sat Feb 25, 2017 11:04 am

fuyu wrote:
Jason wrote:Well, I'm older than most of the people here so I have a different perspective. If you want to break up your working life and walk the earth, that's fine. Just stay off my front yard.

My feeling is that work just sucks, so if you can get out of it when your still young, I would do it as work only gets worse as you get older.
Sorry if this is a stupid question. Why does work get worse as you get older? I thought it would get easier as I get better at it and gain more autonomy or at least stay the same. I'm only basing this on my parents and their siblings. They didn't seem to dislike their jobs (although most of them retired in their 50's and either do consulting work, volunteer, and/or have hobbies that take up most of their time).
Obviously its only my opinion. But to me its the passing of time - do I really want to engage in these type of discussions/activities anymore? Its mind numbing.

I'm a loner so maybe that's it too. Its also that my real interests lay elsewhere.

George the original one
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Re: Lightfruit55's Journal

Post by George the original one » Sat Feb 25, 2017 11:25 am

lightfruit55 wrote:Present Financial Status

Liquid net worth (cash and short-term investments) (“LNW”): approx. 6.5x annual expenses
This is enough stash to give you the leverage to shop around for the least-sucky work (or possibly even work that is fantastic). All you have to do is find it. Be open-minded in searching, that is the ideal position may be a combination of factors rather than just monetary, one that facilitates the transition to semi-retirement you are ultimately seeking.

I didn't see you mention a life partner or the possibility of children. Are you planning on either?

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fuyu
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Re: Lightfruit55's Journal

Post by fuyu » Sun Feb 26, 2017 10:28 am

lightfruit55 wrote:What's the purpose of life? Why should we strive for a career? Why should we work hard? Why should we climb the corporate ladder? How can people put themselves through this crap for most parts of their lives? If people can do it, why can't I?
I feel this way too. I don't understand what motivates other people to want to get promoted. Is it to get a raise? They enjoy managing other people? What they think is more interesting work? The prestige of the job title?

Hankaroundtheworld
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Re: Lightfruit55's Journal

Post by Hankaroundtheworld » Sun Feb 26, 2017 4:31 pm

Congrats with start of Blog. ERE in Singapore, a nice challenge! It is a competitive environment (and starts when you are young at school, parents encourage). At least that was my impression of living for 4 years in Singapore. I was impressed by Singapore, especially how they learned to compete with the world, but it has its drawbacks (like it is the most expensive hub in the world), and it puts pressure on people. So, impressive how you find your own unique ERE route thru this. All the strength in finding your balance in life.

lightfruit55
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Re: Lightfruit55's Journal

Post by lightfruit55 » Thu Mar 02, 2017 11:24 am

Thanks for all your comments. Will reply in future post(s).

WORK UPDATE

***WARNING - MILLENNIAL WHINING (MAYBE?) UP AHEAD***


I recently turned down two job offers. For some reason, I had no difficulties securing them (couldn't even be bothered to prepare for the interviews). They each promised ~20% pay raise. I applied for new jobs because I know that I have no future in my current workplace i.e. pay is lower than market rate for my experience and not learning much at all. I need to leave this place soon while I'm still marketable or else I will really be stuck there (i.e. decreases my optionality, therefore increasing my fragility).

I rejected the offers because notwithstanding the pay raise (thus faster track to FIRE), they entailed significantly longer working hours, which I guess is expected if one wants to REALLY earn and learn. (Being in one of the more brutal professions, the hours can get insanely long.) The thought of working long hours make me retch (and I guess the pay raise and gaining of relevant experience are not sufficient sweeteners). I can't tell if I'm fearful of hard work or if I just don't see the point of hard work. I suppose it's a mixture of both. (FYI, I've never had to really work hard for anything in school or other aspects of life... always managed to skate by with my "principle of least effort". I've always been the unmotivated, lazy but thankfully above-average underachiever.)

So, I'm reaching out to you wise people for your sound advice and/or face-punching (go ahead)... how do you come to terms with working hard when the aim of FIRE is so that one doesn't HAVE TO work hard?
fuyu wrote:
lightfruit55 wrote:What's the purpose of life? Why should we strive for a career? Why should we work hard? Why should we climb the corporate ladder? How can people put themselves through this crap for most parts of their lives? If people can do it, why can't I?
I feel this way too. I don't understand what motivates other people to want to get promoted. Is it to get a raise? They enjoy managing other people? What they think is more interesting work? The prestige of the job title?
I don't know the answers myself. The only reason for my "career" is FIRE. Once I FIRE, I will most likely work for fun... meet new people, learn some stuff at my own pace, not give crap about office politics... break when I want to.

taemoo
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Re: Lightfruit55's Journal

Post by taemoo » Thu Mar 02, 2017 11:31 pm

lightfruit55 wrote: ... how do you come to terms with working hard when the aim of FIRE is so that one doesn't HAVE TO work hard?
I don't view the aim of FIRE as not having to work hard. My aim is to not HAVE TO have a job that pays. I still plan to give my full effort and work hard on the activists I pursue, it just will be more fun and fulfilling than the job I have now.

lightfruit55
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1Q 2017 Update

Post by lightfruit55 » Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:04 am

Time for a 1Q 2017 update.

Finances

Decided to share approximate figures to present a clearer picture of my ERE journey. As always, I appreciate any thoughts on how I can do better.

Assets

Liquid networth: S$169k
(About S$14k invested – just started indexing(*) this year. The rest are parked in high-interest accounts, averaging 2% p.a.)

Illiquid networth: S$110k
(S$55k can be utilised at any time for buying a house. The rest can only be accessed from traditional retirement age in the form of monthly payouts.)

(*)I have chosen to index because I have no time and energy after work to “study” individual stocks.

Basic Monthly Expenses(**)

Parental allowance: S$1.25k

Income taxes: S$150

Personal living expenses (health insurance, food, public transport, mobile, sundries, gift money, some fun money, etc) – S$800

(**)excluding travel

As you can see, the main reason for my high monthly expenses is parental allowance. However, they provide me with lodging and have brought so much love and happiness in my life that I feel happy and proud to be able to give back to them in the form of allowance. In any case, I believe that the amount would be reduced when I move out.

I don’t think that I would like to reduce my personal living expenses even further. I still lead a college student lifestyle. My wants are not fancy (e.g. the occassional restaurant meals and sweet treats) and it makes me happy to indulge in them from time to time.

Going Forward

While I really desire to FIRE, I don’t know how much I would want to FIRE with at this stage. In any case, FIRE seems pretty distant (i.e. not within the next 5 years at least).

The more immediate goal is have sufficient financial security so that I can take a sabbatical (3-6 months) and feel secure enough to transition to a more enjoyable job or several enjoyable jobs. If I’m going to be working for at least the next few years, I want work to fun and not soul-sucking. As of now, I think I’ll be pretty comfortable taking the sabbatical with S$325,000 in liquid networth… but that seems like a long way to go… maybe I should shift the goal post forward…

Thanks for reading!

lightfruit55
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Re: Lightfruit55's Journal

Post by lightfruit55 » Thu Jun 22, 2017 10:11 am

After much hemming and hawing, I've finally decided to commit to a concrete semi-FIRE goal, that being:

- liquid networth of 400k [~45% progress attained]

- paid-off share of house or 100k of housing fund [~58% progress attained]

- illiquid retirement savings of 100k [~55% progress attained]

While I've been on this FIRE journey for some years now, I've never ever "fixed" a concrete FIRE/semi-FIRE goal. I've always been squirrelling money away for a vague FIRE dream... it felt never-ending. I still don't have a concrete FIRE goal, but I am pretty happy to have finally decided on and commit to this semi-FIRE goal. It makes the journey seem finite... and will hopefully motivate me to/at work also... because an end is in sight!!!

Thanks for reading!

MDFIRE2024
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Re: Lightfruit55's Journal

Post by MDFIRE2024 » Thu Jun 22, 2017 11:44 am

If I did count correctly you have already reached >50% of your semi-FIRE goal. Gratulations! Your story and journey is fascinating. What do you mean by semi-FIRE?
I am 34yo and thinking about taking a part-time job when I haven enough FI-money. Work does satisfy some of my needs and it is pretty good at the moment. Therefore I dont think that I will retire when I am FI, but I have to be happy with my work.
Do you want to move out some day? Is housing expensive in Singapore?

lightfruit55
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Re: Lightfruit55's Journal

Post by lightfruit55 » Sat Jun 24, 2017 11:22 pm

@MDFIRE2024 haven't crossed the halfway mark for my liquid networth goal. I intend to work part-time when I am semi-FIRE. Yes, housing is expensive in Singapore - but I intend to buy my own place, eventually... How about in Germany where you are from? Do you buy or rent? What's your long-term housing plan?

MDFIRE2024
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Re: Lightfruit55's Journal

Post by MDFIRE2024 » Mon Jul 10, 2017 1:19 am

lightfruit55 wrote:
Sat Jun 24, 2017 11:22 pm
@MDFIRE2024 haven't crossed the halfway mark for my liquid networth goal. I intend to work part-time when I am semi-FIRE. Yes, housing is expensive in Singapore - but I intend to buy my own place, eventually... How about in Germany where you are from? Do you buy or rent? What's your long-term housing plan?
Luckily I had the chance to buy an appartement a few years ago. Nowadays, housing prices are increasing heavily. I feel so happy, that I have a place to live, where I feel secure. Some of my values in life is independence and freedom. Therefore I really enjoy to have my own appartement and that I don't have to rent. My long-term housing plan? At the moment I am quite satisfied with my current housing status. I am totally flexible. My place to live is not too large or too small. I am single at the moment, but if that changes, I guess I have to think about housing plan. My own appartement is a good basis in my life. I feel secure and it gives me stability. On top of that, I have to work some few more years in order to achieve my FIRE-goals. So there is no need to change something in the status quo.

lightfruit55
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September 2017 Update

Post by lightfruit55 » Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:11 pm

Been a while since my last update. Posting to maintain focus, and my eye on the Semi-FIRE prize.

Semi-FIRE Financial Goals: Progress Level

- liquid networth of 400k [~191k; 47.75% of goal attained]

- paid-off share of house or 100k of housing fund [~61k; 61% of goal attained]

- illiquid retirement savings of 100k [~58k; 58% of goal attained]


How to stop making fear-based decisions

I have just quit my current job and will be joining a new organisation in an unfamiliar role after serving my notice. While I will be getting a decent pay increase, I have to admit that I applied for and accepted the new job out of fear.

I fear being stuck in my current role; I fear career sustainability in my current role; I fear that if I don’t make the career transition now, that the boat would have sailed forever (irrational, on hindsight).

Out of fear, I accepted the new job, the first offer to come my way, without much deliberation. As a result, I have missed out on other possibly-better opportunities that knocked on my door thereafter.

I don’t know a whole lot about my new job, and I don’t know if it will be a good career fit for me. I also cannot seem to shake away my catastrophic thinking that I would suck at my new job (have always felt like a corporate fraud) and that my FI-ERE dream will be derailed for good.

I feel so annoyed with myself. I know, rationally, that I have a decent FU stash, no debt or any major expense, and that I can afford to not make fear-based decisions and take risks (maybe even a short career break!). But with money matters, my irrational fears unseat all rational thoughts.

Anyway, what has been done is done. I am determined to be mindful of such fear-based thinking and decision-making in the future. If you have any advice for me in this regard, I would be grateful.

As always, thanks for reading.

MDFIRE2024
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Re: September 2017 Update

Post by MDFIRE2024 » Tue Sep 12, 2017 2:19 am

lightfruit55 wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:11 pm
I know, rationally, that I have a decent FU stash, no debt or any major expense, and that I can afford to not make fear-based decisions and take risks (maybe even a short career break!). But with money matters, my irrational fears unseat all rational thoughts.
Great progress lightfruit55! You are roughly >50% at your SemiFIRE.

What you wrote is so true. Having FU stash means that you can make tough decisions with upward possibilities. But I also know that risking something is not great. Fear-based decisions, they are difficult to handle because emotions are as strong as rational thoughts. Thx for your journal.

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Eureka
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Re: Lightfruit55's Journal

Post by Eureka » Tue Sep 12, 2017 8:55 am

That is exciting, lightfruit, congratulations with the new job! It is wise to put yourself in new situations every now and then.

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