SustainableHappiness Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
MDFIRE2024
Posts: 370
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2017 5:09 pm
Location: Germany

Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by MDFIRE2024 » Thu Jun 01, 2017 10:26 pm

Interesting journal. I wish you all the best with the paternity leave. Here in Germany it is quite common and the employers know of that.

How do you calculate
... years accumulated in average this month...
I have never seen it before.

SustainableHappiness
Posts: 147
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:39 pm

Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by SustainableHappiness » Fri Jun 02, 2017 9:07 am

Thank you, still a few months until it gets under way, but hopefully I can represent one more data point in Canada pushing towards it being more common!

Years accumulated per month* = Monthly $ Networth Change/Annual Spend $
*Note, this doesn't take into account any growth on the $, but I find it is an easy to calculate and understand metric and at worse it is underestimating.

I use that value instead of a net worth or savings % because, the way I track my expenses at the moment includes rental properties expenses, as they were tied directly into my own living expenses for a couple years (since we lived in 1 unit and breaking it out was not a useful exercise). It also helps me put into perspective that for each month I continue in this job and owning the properties, I earn ~4.5 months of financial freedom which helps cope with The Grind for the time being.

When I do the extra math to calculate a savings % it averages around 75% ish. But this doesn't take into account an accelerated mortgage on the rentals is essentially savings as well...Either way, I feel like we are kicking ass and getting to the exact number lost it's lustre a while ago.

What I am REALLY excited for is the day we sell the rentals and I can actualize the capital gains on the severance process which could be upwards of 2 years of annual spend!

SustainableHappiness
Posts: 147
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:39 pm

Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by SustainableHappiness » Mon Jun 12, 2017 10:35 am

Pregnancy
2 Weeks until DW goes off on an early pregnancy leave and we get our first taste of RE/Semi-RE living (well, one of us does!). She is very excited as she’ll finally be able to have a good sleep (she is currently working nights, which while very pregnant has proved difficult for sleeping patterns) and have 2 months off prior to the baby to (in ERE-speak, which I like) leverage social capital to lounge around various pools, cottages and lakes of friends and family who enjoy spending $$ more than we do (!).

Travel Hacking
Our travel hacking experiment is also almost to fruition, for 0$ in Part 1, I have accumulated 45 000 aeroplan miles via credit card offers over the past 3 months, note I say 0$ versus no effort, because there was a little time spent researching and signing up for cards, plus an additional 3% stress load of having 3 credit cards in my wallet (1 of which have specific places it needs to be used at)…

However, DW is now about 30% done Part 2 of the travel hacking bit (her effort) with all cards received and now she needs to either get to the $1500 3 month spend via natural means or inflate our monthly spend in the 3rd month by purchasing a large gift card (the latter looks more likely than the former) to get the resulting 45 000 points.

As a result we will be able to initiate part 3 of the “The Great Travel Hacking Escapade” and plan a heavily subsidized trip to Hawaii with the baby next winter. It’s beautiful in some ways that the current commercial system allows for these sorts of luxury loopholes for people who are willing to research, pay attention and be patient.

ERE Living
Spent a lot of time at the beach this weekend, and concluded once again that beaches are one of the most ERE-conducive child rearing environments for the best combination of cost, fun and learning (for example, creating clay sculptures while talking about ancient clay pots with my various nieces and nephews). Being near a lake or other body of water is growing higher on my list of wants for our future family living location.

Keep on rockin’.

SustainableHappiness
Posts: 147
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:39 pm

Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by SustainableHappiness » Sat Jul 01, 2017 10:32 am

July 1 Update
Unfortunately I can’t access all my accounts this morning and some rent didn’t come through so I am going to skip the financials, however…what a month!

Semi-Retirement Extreme Phase 1.5 Begins
DW officially began her maternity leave last week a couple months ahead of the due date to take the summer off entirely and relax leading up to the new chill’un. She is bouncing around campsites, cottages and friends pools and of course catching up on sleep after working straight nights for the past 6 months. So far (only 1 week in), the results are great and revitalizing. She has been able to walk to work to “pick me up” and I walk my bike home beside her and we also have the option of grabbing groceries since it’s on the way…Walking is also terrific pregnancy exercise since she is carrying an additional 30 lbs (luckily she has a past as a dancer so her legs are jacked).

It was interesting to watch her emotional states change in the couple weeks leading up to the last day, as she went from excitement, to anxiety, to confusion about what she would do with the summer and what not working would be like, luckily it has turned back to excitement once the last day came and went. I think the real test will be in a couple weeks when her schedule calms down a little and she experiences boredom for a day or two in a row.

Slumlording
1 of 4 sets of tenants officially evicted and their apartment has been ripped out. Fun fact, if you want a job done quickly and you don’t think the kitchen is worth very much, call a charity builder like “Habitat 4 Humanity” and they will send a bunch of retired guys who will do all the work (well, I might add) and haul everything away for you for free.

Had to clean-up, do a little plumbing to move a few lines behind a wall and re-drywall where the cabinetry was. In the process learned a fun new plumbing method called “Sharkbites”, since I have never soldered before I was seeing if there was a painless way to cap copper pipes without getting a torch and after a couple calls to wiser people than I found Sharkbites, which you simply push on to the ends of open copper pipe and it self-seals…It’s even easier that gluing ABS. Cool.

Also had to chase down a rent cheque which is never fun, posting N4 notices and such to families is not cool. However I try to avoid getting too emotional about contractual relationships, but it is still hard for me.

Stuff Attitude
This month I had an interesting experience where my attitude towards stuff hurt the emotions of an in-law who I respect. Essentially, without knowing she has made a baby gift that I viewed as useless space taker upper, I put my foot in my mouth and said, “great…another XX” totally discounting the effort she had put towards the object in question. Made me feel like a fucking idiot and I apologized profusely, and although she forgave me, I know some damage can’t be undone in situations like that without the help of time.

It also made me question the divides I put up based on my disregard for stuff in general. It’s definitely one of the bigger “struggles” between DW and I, as we continue to accumulate stuff given to us by her family (my family is slightly better at not giving stuff, although baby stuff is a different story). The fortunate thing is we currently have a lot of space in our apartment (hence why we often conclude to keep the object at hand until we need less space), but with both of us having dreams of RV-ing eventually I can’t help but think of the slippery slopes that large living quarters provide (even if those quarters are well-priced).

Once again this issue is not a pants-on-fire problem and therefore I feel no need to belabour the point more than a comment or two since the stress isn’t worth it and I love DW 5000% (hyperbole much?) than I don’t love stuff.

Work
Likely made my company a lot of money this month. The President now knows my name and jokes around with me as my name came up in the last Board of Directors meeting as an example of work I’ve done was used as an example of good things that are currently happening (likely since my VP and I get along swimmingly and respect each other).

Mixed feedback from colleagues on me taking 9 months off for pat leave now that it is running through the rumour mill. Some respect it, some can’t understand it, some think I am shooting myself in the foot. However, I am confident with my track record that it is viewed more as “a millennial changing the way things work” i.e. “the new normal”, rather than “a millennial pushing against established structures and shirking work” (even though I reality it is more the latter). Interesting how the exact same actions in a different context would be the death knell for a career (which is likely what the people who are scared for me are scared of). However, maybe the reason why it doesn’t affect me is simply because I am not scared at all and if anything view it as stronger negotiation leverage? Optimism +1, Pessimism still at zero.

SustainableHappiness
Posts: 147
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:39 pm

Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by SustainableHappiness » Thu Aug 03, 2017 2:00 pm

August 3rd Update
9.2% SWR
10.88 Numbers of Years in Hopper
25 Ultimate FI Goal
0.36 Years accumulated per month on average
0.09 Years accumulated this month

Financial
Below average month of accumulation due to:
1) DW hasn’t received a paycheque all month as she is waiting on the first retroactive mat leave payment to come through and governments are slow
2) 1 tenant evicted = $850 less cash flow with minimal decreases in expenses
3) 1 tenant decided to stop paying us. Luckily the relationship is decent and they are a large family who has not gone into “fuck the system” mode and still desires not to go to court and have a permanent blemish on their record and/or garnished wages and/or need to find a new job and move to an unknown address to prevent me from following and yada yada yada yada = $900 less cashflow and no decrease in expenses
Ah well, we (i.e. me who is the more concerned of our dynamic duo with $$$) is trying to spin it as an opportunity to see how the next 9 months will go with minimal cash flow. Still a little sad to see.

Fuck You Money

As my pat leave approaches my fuck you money has gained power in my mind and strengthened my resolve at work to not do shit I don’t want to do. This and the inevitability of the leave occurring has given me symptoms of Stockholm syndrome in that a piece of me now sees coming back to full time work in my current company as a good idea instead of trying something radically different.

Fitness

Haven’t really talked to fitness on here before, but I have gotten into a really nice routine of soccer 2 nights a week alternated with rowing, windsprints/hill training and body weight exercises (pull-ups, push-ups, 1 legged squats)…Although I am not pumping iron like I was in the winter, my chronic injuries (which correlate strongly with the amount of soccer I play) have diminished which makes me very happy. All in all, I feel like I could run 20k, lift couches for a full day or shovel most the driveways in my neighbourhood without feeling that sore the next day…this is fitness success for me.

Work
Apathy and grind are the name of the game. While mentally stable (and content) and filled with a sense that at any time I can change my work situation, the pros of staying for 1 more month greatly outweigh the cons and therefore I continue to enjoy my bike rides to and from, working out at lunch and free coffee.

SustainableHappiness
Posts: 147
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:39 pm

Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by SustainableHappiness » Fri Aug 04, 2017 1:00 pm

Interestingly enough we actually tried the property manager thing for the first year, and although we may have had a bad sample size of 1. The manager still contacted us for all decisions and generally had a larger associated cost with each fix that was required. The useful thing they did was show the unit and get people in quickly, however this cost a full months rent for something that for us really only cost energy.

I fired them as soon as the first contract we had came to a close.

Also, we definitely have a bad taste in our mouths for landlording and have heard different takes on it, although we are probably just more idealistic and less handy than the people we hear positive reviews from.

SustainableHappiness
Posts: 147
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:39 pm

Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by SustainableHappiness » Tue Sep 05, 2017 5:54 pm

Sept 5th Update

9.0% SWR
11.17 Numbers of Years in Hopper
25 Ultimate FI Goal
0.36 Years accumulated per month on average
0.30 Years accumulated this month

A Baby

Holy crow. We’ve got a baby! A 7lb 6oz little bundle of joy (now 8 lb 9 oz after 2 weeks, boy likes to eat, fart and cuddle breasts…insert offside comment here, but like father, like son). He is truly awesome, as in I often stare at him in awe for hours at a time. I don’t really know where to start on this experience, but suffice it to say it’s already having implications for my risk tolerance at the moment as noted in a thread I started on the same topic to see how other ERE’ers have handled babydom.
7WB5 made the great point that DW and baby SH are particularily vulnerable right now (which they are) and that phase will pass and I can foresee my yearning for something more fulfilling and less stable returning, however right now I am content knowing that at the end of a 9 month leave I have a solid career to return to.

Finances, Bureaucratic Nonsense and Renting

Financially it was a good month due to some back payments of rent and EI for DW coming in. Non-paying tenants fully removed from unit with a new seemingly solid bet entering into it. This makes me happy. Fortunately all of the effort to sever the houses also appears to be in its final stages, the city and county have all signed off (after I was forced to pay a $100 clearance letter fee to the county of course…this is as mundane and simple as it sounds, they changed the address on a fucking template and sign it and walk it downstairs for $100), and now all that remains is the professionals wrangling (Lawyer -> Insurance Broker -> Surveyor -> City Clerk) and the selling. Hoping to unlock that equity and be out of the Real Estate game for a while.

Speaking of not owning a home, the place we are renting (basement apt) has sprung a leak! After 2 weeks of investigation the owner has highly likely found a crack in the foundation (only a 17 y/o home!) and is mighty pissed. Definitely a multiple thousand $$$ fix in store, not to mentioned because of the tile in-laid tub that would need to be pulled out and re-installed. Although DW and I are discussing future living situations and home ownership is a possibility, moments like these make me shy away from the idea.

Good News for Semi Retirement

Excellent news occurred when one of my contacts at the community college I teach at who has now been promoted to Chair of Business offered me a part-time day-time teaching role. This would be a ~$50 and hour gig for 3 hours per week vs the current ~$25 that I am paid for teaching night-time courses. Fucking cool and scalable if I am able to continue building my contacts at the school…This has unlocked the potential for working 12-15 hours a week at something I enjoy. Unfortunately they are all 4 month contracts so the risk is still there of not having enough work, but DW and I are both moving away from the idea of “a number” for FIRE, instead just build a lifestyle we want now (which we are slowly but surely) and aim to cover expenses plus some surplus instead. Unfortunately the question is still, when to pull the plug on traditional work?

A 4 year Summary of Income Streams

Also, wanted to capture this here. I posted it on the MMM forum in the main thread I follow on Semi-retirement and thought it’s a decent summary.
Additional income streams went like this; FT Job 4 years ago (Stream 1) -> immediate Rental Property Obsession (Stream 2) -> Equities Fixation (Stream 3) -> Discovered ERE after MMM about 2.5 years ago and decided 1 FT job with no back-up plan seemed non-resilient so worked on the academic path concurrently -> PT night class teaching (Stream 4) -> DW Pregnancy changed all plans -> Parental leave as a semi-ER test -> Soon ditching Stream 2 to beef up Stream 3 since rentals have had too high of a PITA factor attached and the market where the properties are is still mildly hot.

suomalainen
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Joined: Sat Oct 18, 2014 12:49 pm

Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by suomalainen » Tue Sep 05, 2017 10:12 pm

Oh lordy, all those streams and side hustles make me tired just looking at them. I'm not a fan of the full time job, and I get diversification, but man, the short term corporate track followed by a transition to part time hustling is looking more agreeable than long term part-to-full time hustling. Maybe I'm just lazy. But another part of it is having three kids. Congrats on the baby. Enjoy it and all, but they are expensive fuckers so bear that in mind.

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Viktor K
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Location: China

Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by Viktor K » Wed Sep 06, 2017 12:04 am

Welcome baby SH!! :D :D :D

SustainableHappiness
Posts: 147
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Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by SustainableHappiness » Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:54 am

suomalainen wrote:
Tue Sep 05, 2017 10:12 pm
Oh lordy, all those streams and side hustles make me tired just looking at them. I'm not a fan of the full time job, and I get diversification, but man, the short term corporate track followed by a transition to part time hustling is looking more agreeable than long term part-to-full time hustling. Maybe I'm just lazy. But another part of it is having three kids. Congrats on the baby. Enjoy it and all, but they are expensive fuckers so bear that in mind.
Hahaha, just a hunch, but I think most lists encapsulating 4 years of work with a goal to de-specialize would look exhausting. Glad to see another member here going for ERE with a gaggle of children...We're still set on having 4 total, but we'll see how everything progresses, fully realizing that a consequence of 4 expensive fuckers will likely be Dad (me) working some more total hours in my lifetime. However, I've discovered that waking up and working for 3-4 hours hard and being very productive, then using the rest of the day to play and work out is an agreeable schedule for me.
Viktor K wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 12:04 am
Welcome baby SH!! :D :D :D
Woo hoo! Thanks Victor!

suomalainen
Posts: 118
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Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by suomalainen » Wed Sep 06, 2017 9:40 am

SustainableHappiness wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:54 am
Glad to see another member here going for ERE with a gaggle of children...We're still set on having 4 total, but we'll see how everything progresses, fully realizing that a consequence of 4 expensive fuckers will likely be Dad (me) working some more total hours in my lifetime.
Undoubtedly true, just by virtue of the math. For what it's worth, my $.02 is that kids do not equal freedom. They just can't co-exist. The nature of children is that you sacrifice for them...pretty much 100% of yourself. So if you're looking to ERE for "freedom" generally, be sure your expectations w/r/t the kids is realistic. I found your loss of freedom with each child is geometric, not linear, in terms of time amd energy. The normalized financial cost increase is linear-ish and not necessarily 1:1.

Anyway, best of luck! It is a wild, wonderful journey with very, very low points as well as very, very high points. Enjoy the snuggly-buggly stage, my absolute favorite. My kids aren't snuggly anymore. It has to be "wrestling" now (I have 3 boys, 8, 10 and 13).

SustainableHappiness
Posts: 147
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:39 pm

Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by SustainableHappiness » Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:52 am

suomalainen wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 9:40 am
For what it's worth, my $.02 is that kids do not equal freedom. They just can't co-exist. The nature of children is that you sacrifice for them...pretty much 100% of yourself. So if you're looking to ERE for "freedom" generally, be sure your expectations w/r/t the kids is realistic. I found your loss of freedom with each child is geometric, not linear, in terms of time and energy.
You raise a very good point on “freedom” derived from an ERE lifestyle. It’s funny because I still view ERE as freeing. However, it is the distinction I’ve seen on this forum a number of times and really like, “freedom from” vs “freedom to”. Basically reducing my expenses and diversifying my skill set (in my case pursuing high $ per hour work and working less vs going full FIRE) will give me the freedom to be un-free with my family. Kind of funny when worded like that, but like you pointed out, the amount of effort and time that goes into children is immense.

The trick is, I have not (nor have I ever) been trying to avoid effort, just shitty work that doesn’t feel right.

Oh and I can not wait to WRESTLE! Gotta get this kid upping his weight class as soon as possible

SustainableHappiness
Posts: 147
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:39 pm

Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by SustainableHappiness » Tue Oct 03, 2017 1:08 pm

8.6% SWR
11.53 Numbers of Years in Hopper
25 Ultimate FI Goal
0.36 Years accumulated per month on average
0.48 Years accumulated this month

What a kick ass month. I also started my 9 month leave in October. Bring on the free time. Wooo! Interestingly, my employer told me this month they want to move me into a new position when I go back, which sounds quite enticing. It also revealed they have doubts about whether I will be coming back or not…This helps me feel more in a position of strength as well, even though I wasn’t intentionally sending these signals.

Financial
Nailed it, all tenants paying again, back on track. Accumulated over $1k in gift cards from baby stuff, so baby expenses are handled for a long time. This is not taken into account in the net worth, but still pretty friggin great. It’s good this was a good month for accumulation because we’re now entering into unknown income territory.

Family
DW doing great. Baby doing great, started smiling at us intentionally a couple weeks ago. It is the best and most addictive action the baby has done yet. I’ve been sleeping on the couch while I was still working to get full nights sleeps and it’s been working well for us as a unit, as I have energy to do dishes, cook, etc. still and have therefore been able to be a good helper for my wife’s mental status!

Non 9-5 Work
1) I’m doing two classes this semester with one being a new type I hadn’t done before which pays more than twice as much, but is without a doubt more challenging (3x the number of students and undergrads vs mature students), but it will definitely keep me on my toes until January. Overall, my reputation at the school is improving and this will help long run for using this as a scalable income source.

2) I’ve intentionally stumbled into another possible income stream in the form of remote work for a friend. I’ve wanted to learn digital marketing skills for over a year now, but haven’t had the outlet to do it in. Therefore I’ve been pitching to people I’ll do some work for free for mentorship and they can start paying me when I am worth it. Took a couple tries, but looks like it’ll work out. The strategic intent behind this is to create another fully mobile income stream with scalable hours and $$ (yes, there is a pattern here).

Leave
First couple days actually had me feeling quite a bit of anxiety relative to my “normal” daily state I ruminated a little on why, before realizing it is likely just the natural response to a large mental and daily shift like this. I’m thinking I might write on here a little more often while on leave to capture the emotional process of being off. We’ll see, don’t really feel like committing myself to anything right now.

The sweet spot for non 9-5 work (marking, lesson planning, etc.) that I think I like best is the morning over my daily coffee 1-3 hours. Once again will have to toy with different schedules and such until something clicks.

All in all, feeling good about this Semi-ERE change and plan.

classical_Liberal
Posts: 216
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by classical_Liberal » Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:26 pm

Congrats on the healthy babe & mom!

I'm reading with extreme interest. I'm very curious how you will feel (literally, as in emotional state) about this test of Semi-ERE. Given the new family addition, I'm sure the conservative side of your nature will remain at its peak for awhile. If you end up feeling comfortable in a state of an income/outflow balance with the flexible and enjoyable streams you have set up, it's highly likely you'll be cool with it in the future as well. You are my lab rat! :lol:

Does your wife want to continue with nursing in a PRN or reduced FTE position? or does she want to be a SAH parent? I ask as the potential income stream of only a few shifts a month can be anther huge level of anti-fragility to your plan. Given the demand for nursing (in the US, as least), it's almost a forgone conclusion that income is scalable on demand in the foreseeable future.

Keep on rockin'

SustainableHappiness
Posts: 147
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:39 pm

Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by SustainableHappiness » Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:53 am

Thanks CL.

I am also interested in journaling the emotional side a little heavier in the next few months especially because it feels like a crucial time in de-institutionalizing (this was the best word I could think of), because that is what it feels like I am doing (albeit 5 days in). Changing my levels and times of engagement with technology (e.g. I am keeping my phone in a drawer and only checking it in the morning and at night). This change alone actually produce MORE anxious feelings than anticipated since one of the key behaviours to my success at work is instant, clear and concise responses/problem solving. The change in my account balances will also be a feeling I'll need to overcome if I truly want to move past "hard accumulation" to FI. We've been successfully increased our net worth by over $10K a month for a while now via work+rental+investment income, and we're planning on selling our rentals in the near future as well, so the tracker is going to go pretty stagnant potentially!!

I do not know what PRN translates to? But if it means full-time role, the answer is no. She's actually become quite passionate (for over 2 years now) about the idea of leveraging her nursing experience with babies/kids into a sole proprietorship as a Doula (birthing coach)/Registered Nurse. Once again this would provide the scalability we would like + unlike me with anything so far, she has a strong positive feeling towards the actual work involved. But the beauty is, as long as she is still registered with the College and keeps up her skills (which the business would do) she can go back to regular nursing whenever she wanted (since the employment landscape in Canada is similar to what you described in the States). Like you said, anti-fragility is the key to success with our plans, especially since kids are really a known unknown in terms of associated expenses.

Keep on rockin'.

SustainableHappiness
Posts: 147
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:39 pm

Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by SustainableHappiness » Sat Oct 07, 2017 8:17 am

First Week Off
- Ate bacon and eggs for breakfast with DW 4 out of 7 days due to a fantastic sale on bacon (ending up buying 12 packs…) and the fact we could, typically we have bacon and eggs on weekends only
- Progressed digital marketing income stream (still at $0, but gaining exposure and learning rapidly)
- Mildly bitched at surveyors to get me my damn survey to finalize our rentals severance. Still haven’t received.
- Anxious Monday/Tuesday with no reason, likely due to impact of change
- Finished book from library
- Worked out or massaged/yoga 6 days
- Read to baby every night
- Taught both courses and prepped for next week
- Restarted consistent morning routine of mindfulness meditation (5 of 7 days) -> 10-20 minutes of yoga -> read a classic or traditional book of wisdom (currently Tao Te Ching)

Overall state at end of week – Content
Average state throughout – Mediocre/slightly anxious

SustainableHappiness
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Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:39 pm

Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by SustainableHappiness » Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:38 am

Second Week Off

- Ate well, both deliciously and healthily (minus leftover ice cream from thanksgiving!)
- made lots of broth from families chicken carcasses from thanksgiving
- Bought 10 lb of carrots for $2 and pickled about 6 lbs, ate the rest (who knew you could pickle carrots??)
- Exercised 5/7 days
- Morning routine 100% execution 6/7 mornings
- Surveyors still suck, lined up the realtor who will be engaged in selling our houses, she's got possible investors in line...hopefully cha-ching
- taught both courses, prepped, marks, etc.
- move digital marketing learning forward
- spent lots of time reading/walking/sitting with DW and Baby
- played video games yesterday for first time in ~4-5 weeks (was playing 1-2 times a week, resolved to cut back when I went off work)
- started Plato's Euthyphro
- had/will have 3 dinners/hang outs with friends and family this weekend

Overall State now - Content
Average throughout - content with some anxiety (but different) still

The anxiety was actually interesting this week in that it was almost liked now that I have time to think I resurfaced a nagging doubt/thought process that's been in my mind all along, but now I am facing it head on instead of distracting with work+all the things I fit in around work.

I am viewing this as a growth opportunity and funnily enough I was listening to a podcast this week called "Philosophize This" and the topic was Kierkegaard and his focus on boredom, anxiety and despair as fundamental parts of the human condition and they are typically their regardless of the actions we take to avoid them. Granted he is talking about them usually in relation to your spiritual and ethical selves, finite/infinite, and in my case it may be my fear of the finite/infinite (i.e. the turmoil caused by a fear of death AND fear of living forever)...

Anyways, this will be good to reflect on in the future I think.

classical_Liberal
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Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by classical_Liberal » Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:23 am

SustainableHappiness wrote:
Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:38 am
who knew you could pickle carrots??
Not me! Clearly you have too much free time. :D

SustainableHappiness
Posts: 147
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:39 pm

Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by SustainableHappiness » Thu Oct 19, 2017 9:55 am

Ha! Another interesting phenomena I didn't understand until the past few weeks although it's a common retiree refrain, "free time" is relative, because even though my time is unscheduled, only in the first week did I have the feeling of boredom-based anxiety and my list of ideas has become unbound with less schedule (more free time) which eats up the time that was unlocked in the first place just with different (and so far more interesting) focus!

SustainableHappiness
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Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by SustainableHappiness » Sun Oct 22, 2017 9:25 am

Third Week Off

- New workout routine of every other day very high intensity weight training, off day = more biking than just errands, or stretching/yoga, or just the regular nature walks and lazing around!
- Morning routine good
- Made and ate good food (incorporated more red wine than usual in cooking this week as we had a bottle open from the weekend...delicious, particularly with fried onions/mushrooms as a topping for falafal patties)

Biggest thing this week was another business opportunity materializing out of the blue. This time spurred by a tight network contact who was let go from their employer, but has the necessary contacts and know-how as well as positive reputation to start a business in our field. This spurred 3 days of a conversation topic for DW and I on how the semi-RE trial period has gone (only 3 weeks in), what we want as our 3, 5, 10 year goals, etc. My anticipated business timeline would be -> ~50-60K start-up expense, primarily in software licensing fees -> first year lock down 1-2 contracts worth ~$150K at an $80/hr billable rate -> second, third, fourth years scale business via freelance or co-op employees to perform hourly work and skim the profits... It was at this point in building the plan that I realized...fuck, I'll be FI well within 5 years and then what? Just walk away from the business? Put in effort to scale down? Sell my portion?

Essentially I'd be loaning ~60K to the business (with interest) in order to turn my current career into a fully mobile role (currently only work from home 1-2 days a week) with a highly likely ramp up in hours over 2 years to get things moving only to quit after another 3 years...is this worth it??

The conclusion was no, in fact the conclusion branched out to a couple of our income streams to lead to a resounding "NO". We are going to sell our rentals (already planned), I'm going to stop pursuing a structured digital marketing gig, I'm not going to start the business. Instead I am going to leverage positive reputation in current career when I go back to make that job more fulfilling via more work from home days and a different department that will allow me to use some of my new digital marketing knowledge and grow that skill set without taking a pay-cut.

The lost earning/profit potential is made up for through simplicity and knowing I will; have X number of hours every day to spend with my family, and 1 hour a day at lunch to workout for the next 3 years. At that time I'll shift to part-time teaching only and hopefully DWs business will be making some money and then we'll be semi-RE again. These days at home have been beautiful and revealed that a few more years building my corporate resume and skills to solidify our financial foundation for a half-assed 10 hour a week career in academia is worth it.

This feels solid and good decision making, however I have been told that I am "like a fart in a windstorm", so we'll see where the wind blows next.

classical_Liberal
Posts: 216
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by classical_Liberal » Sun Oct 22, 2017 9:17 pm

Your entry brought a memory of reading a book on philanthropy many years ago. I forget the book, but I clearly remember reading that it claimed the most important step for a would be philanthropist is the decision to stop accumulating wealth. I also remember my reaction at the time; somewhere in the realm of, "oh great, so decide half a billion is enough, must be rough!".

As a more mature person, I can now see the importance of that step, no matter level of wealth. Making a decision to NOT buy-in to a potentially very lucrative, but more time consuming and life complicating, income source is a very big deal. Personalty, I have no true sense of "enough" at this point. You apparently do, which is huge!

At the moment, I'm just trying to set up systems that allow me to save and not consume what I don't need as an end in itself. There are worse places to be, no doubt, but I think the above decision shows you're thinking on a higher level. Maybe you've garnered this wisdom because you are running towards something, whereas I'm (at least partially) running away without any clear end game? I just know I want to be more free or independent and am probably more fickle than a "fart in the wind" as to what that means on any given day.

Congrats on becoming mentally free enough to say no.

SustainableHappiness
Posts: 147
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:39 pm

Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by SustainableHappiness » Sat Oct 28, 2017 10:14 am

@classical_liberal
Hahaha! Clearly my typing paints me in a more sound, knowledgeable light than I feel! Thank you though, your point on running to vs running from reminds me of the song "The Weight of Lies" by the Avett Brothers. I think of it whenever I consider running away (physically or mentally) from problems X, Y and Z.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQ5isLBu_To

"The Weight Of Lies"

Disappear from your home town
Go and find the people that you know
Show them all of your good parts
Leave town when the bad ones start to show

Go and wed a woman
A pretty girl that you never met
Make sure she knows you love her well
But don't make any other promises

The weight of lies will bring you down
And follow you to every town 'cause
Nothing happens here that doesn't happen there
So, when you run make sure you run
To something and not away from 'cause
Lies don't need an aeroplane to chase you anywhere

I once heard the worst thing a man can do is draw a hungry crowd
Tell everyone his name, pride, and confidence
But leaving out his doubts
I'm not sure I bought those words
When I was young I knew most everything
These words have never meant as much to anyone
As they now mean to me

The weight of lies will bring you down
And follow you to every town 'cause
Nothing happens here that doesn't happen there
So, when you run make sure you run
To something and not away from 'cause
Lies don't need an aeroplane to chase you down

SustainableHappiness
Posts: 147
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:39 pm

Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by SustainableHappiness » Sat Oct 28, 2017 10:30 am

Fourth Week Off

- Our son, after 2 months of relative baby bliss, decided to stop sleeping for more thank 45 minutes at a time about 4 days ago
- This week went to complete mental chaos, particularly for DW
- Tears and subtle tension were the norm due to rough around the edges fatigue of ~4 hours of sleep a night broken into 1-2 hour chunks...Fatigue lowers awareness, and lowered awareness causes us to forget how connected we are
- Last night was better and normalcy actually returned in the evening last night, persisting through this morning
- only 1 day of the desired routine this week, although we still ate well
- instead of vigorous exercise I subbed out for 2 hours of walking each day with 13 organic lbs strapped to my chest (the best way to help Baby SH sleep), although I did get to play soccer one night as a call up for a friends team which was fun
- got invited and went to a full day networking event (with free lunch) where I may have potentially uncovered 1 or 2 more possible money making ideas (public speaking and a small business development side-hustle)
- Candidly declined a more full-time gig in my digital marketing side-hustle, however the owner liked my work and wants to throw me some more 2 to 3 week long projects while I am on leave...I now need to decide how much I am worth in this field.

Biggest takeaways:
1) Financial independence couldn't have prevented this weeks suffering
2) Public speaking can pay a ridiculous amount if I can garner a good reputation for little work (a mediocre speaker = $2500 for a 4 hour workshop) and my teaching experience is setting me up for this
3) In the past month of having no 9 to 5 job, 4 money-making opportunities have materialized through networking and existing expertise, but I can pick and choose what I do...I UNDERSTAND WHY PEOPLE WHO FIRE GO BACK TO WORK!!!!! Woooohoooooo

SustainableHappiness
Posts: 147
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:39 pm

Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by SustainableHappiness » Thu Nov 02, 2017 10:15 am

November 2nd Update

8.3% SWR
11.98 Numbers of Years in Hopper
25 Ultimate FI Goal
0.36 Years accumulated per month on average
0.33 Years accumulated this month

1st entire month off of work, although I did still get half a paycheque from my day-job in the first week. That being said, we still accumulated 0.33 years of work from this month! Market performance helped, rentals had 0 unforeseen expenses, teaching gigs paid more than anticipated, DWs EI all came in and we got our first baby bonus cheque from the Canadian gov’t…who knew you could get money just for having a baby? Well, I actually did know that, but I been fiddling around with the calculator on the Revenue Agency website and had no idea it could be like $4-5K per kid for lower income earners. Interesting stuff.

Even without the paycheque from my day job we still would’ve accumulated 0.28 years this month…!!!! This semi-RE test is continuing to embolden DW and I’s life strategies.

The House Debacle
Finalized the severance last week with the deeds signed and dated. We now out two houses instead of just 1 illegal property, yay! Haven’t received the legal and surveyor final bills yet, but in total I estimate it cost us:

2000 City/County Severance Application
1200 Survey Work Pt 1
800 Reference Plan and deposit/register from Surveyor Pt 2
2000 Legal Fees est.
0 Illegal Apartment Removal Work (Done by me, and a local construction charity)
2550 This is the missed rents for 3 months (850x3) after we evicted the tenants…could be a couple more months still
8550 Total

We forecasted $10K as a reasonable guideline from knowledgeable friends. So far coming in under budget, presumably because most knowledgeable friends were severing farm land which generally requires some sort of sewer/water hook-up and other expenses like that…granted they wouldn’t have experienced the $2550 income opportunity cost. Either way, it’s worked out roughly as planned, although it’s taken at least 6 months longer than expected.

I want to do a full work up of income vs expenses over the 3 years we owned the houses after we sell them and realize the gains to get an actual ROI % and CAGR. If I had to guess, it’ll be in the ~200% gains on initial investment. Now we just have to sell them!

Income Streams
- - First training month of digital marketing for free done. The client is very happy with the work completed, I gained a butt-load of knowledge and he wants to start throwing me paid projects. Hourly rate of $25 (that was my price given for a 1st year Analyst) was accepted and I get access to all training materials still too! If work is fairly consistent this could be another $5-6K of challenge and fairly invigorating work building a new skill set. I also may explore business development for digital agencies and leverage some of my contacts in a fun and profitable way that helps everyone out.

- Public speaking is a distinct possibility within the next 6 months, I have contacts to get at least 1 session which would probably be worth $500-1000. I need to build a presentation/workshop. This will likely work out to a very low hourly rate for the first one, but it builds reputation as well as being really fun/challenging and the beauty is after all the upfront work, I can use it multiple times.

- Teaching = Easy money… ‘nuff said, could be $10-15K of income for avg of 8-10 hrs a week of work. I’ve decided to not teach at all next semester in order to do a few high engagement things that require weeks of commitment (10 day Vipassana retreat and 2 weeks of staying with DWs grandparents in Florida, and maybe another adventure)

- Toying with the idea of building a highly specialized website in a white space I identified this month…Need to build up motivation, but I feel like I’ve got the skills required for a pet project like this…Actually have two ideas, one really crazy that requires carrying inventory or drop-shipping, one boring.

Life
- Regaining/gaining weight and muscle again after a 6 week hiatus from the gym when Baby SH was born
- Read Platos Apology, Euthyphro, Crito and Phaedo -> Never knew Socrates was a dick until actually reading Plato’s work. Worth it.
- Read Goodbye, Things…revived old tension on topic of throwing stuff out with DW, kinda maybe worth it
- Re-read Tao Te Ching as morning book -> so interesting/good and had some weird cross-over insights while listening to a podcast on Sartre’s Being and Nothingness, worth it.
- Read The Waking Engine -> Cool Sci-fi Fantasy book, worth it.
- Did other stuff (pickled beets, ate pickled carrots, walked 1+ hrs a day outside, got really tired when Baby SH stopped sleeping for more than 40 mins a day for a 3 day period, etc.)

Keep on rockin’.

SustainableHappiness
Posts: 147
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:39 pm

Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by SustainableHappiness » Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:19 am

6th Week Off
Holy crow it’s been 6 weeks! Baby SH is 3 months old! He’s starting to play back with us a little bit and it is really interesting/fun. I for one, love rousing renditions of “Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes”…cl
assic.

Food and Expense Tracking
Yummy cheap food sustained, however we went to a cottage with some friends last weekend and it caused us to eat take out/fast food 3 times. Definitely not the end of the world since I can’t remember the last time we did that, but it was weird thinking about the $60-70 in relation to how little income we are bring in now. It caused a bit of anxious feelings, but again, we can’t remember the last time that happened so I am not worried. In fact…

I’ve stopped tracking expenses entirely for the time being. I actually did this a couple months ago. Sticking to just NW tracking each month. The reason I haven’t reported any expense levels on here is because with the rental houses, our true spending/income/saving is a little muddled as the income is untaxed and blablabla (basically I don’t care since I know we are kicking butt). After we sell the rentals I want to scrap our current sheet and start a new one

Status Anxiety
In term of that cottage adventure I talked about, it was our first time out with a group of friends for an extended period of time since we’ve both been off. Extended meaning long enough to get past the initial small talk conversations into deeper territory. This group of friends was really into the idea of me being off (2 of the couples are familiar with FIRE/MMM and 1 couple just got back from 3 months of WWOOFing) and it actually fired them up (excuse the pun). They also loved my pickled veggies…  So far, I haven’t encountered real resistance to the idea, but I feel like my “parental leave” excuse is much easier to digest than full FIRE.

The Productivity Dragon
Did nothing in terms of income generation this week. The union for the college I teach at is on so I didn’t teach, and digital marketing is in limbo as I wait for responses…I did help out a friend with a couple resume reviews/edits, no income, but I guess this could be classified as work. Oh, and I lined up a few events for the new business development side-hustle.

Unable to work up motivation to start my public speaking workshop powerpoint deck, I have an outline and ideas, but need to set a schedule to complete some more work on it

Work out heavy every other day routine sustained. DW said my back is looking bigger and stronger…Her casual ego boosts are always appreciated to battle any meddling insecurities! Plus, my back as been a focus…although she knows this too, whatever, my wife is amazing.

On another fitness note, I’ve been upping my calorie intake because I wasn’t seeing the results I would’ve liked and have so far gained 5 lbs in a few weeks. This is good! It’s been really tough to eat more than I was though, even though all I’ve really done is add in a really calorie dense smoothie in the afternoon. But hey, I’ll keep doing it for a little while and see what happens and if I simply revert back to my body’s standard weight after the experiment is done.

Other
- Reading Plato’s Thaetetus and a sci-fi/fantasy book from a free library box in my neighbourhood about a slew of famous Victorian England characters

- Walked a billion kms with DW and Baby SH and got Baby SH almost registered for his first swim lessons at a local indoor pool!

Key Takeaway:
This was without a doubt, my least “productive” week so far, I napped almost every day with Baby SH and DW, we spent a bit more money than usual on take-out a la cottage weekend, and I actually play a couple hours of videogames yesterday morning. That being said it was overall a good week, with a solid emotional state able to fend off the “must be productive dragon” with moderate anxiety and very little melancholy.

Keep on rockin'.

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