As promised, here is a bit of c_L history. This particular story takes place in my mid-20’s, a few years after the turn of the millennium. At the time I was in banking, not the WSP type of stuff, although I was working towards and admiring that type of lifestyle. I was more so the type of banker your friends refer you to at the local branch when it’s time to buy a house or start a Roth. Still, I thought I was on a path to Gordon Gekko. I was making pretty good money, working hard and playing hard. Full on consumer with a timeshare in Mexico, a townhome on water in an upscale suburb, brand new car, etc.
My townhome complex was a series of duplexes, so I shared a common wall. The next-door neighbor was a single, professional mom. Since my biggest priority at the time was to look successful to my friends, I purchased an expensive sound system with full-on wall placed subs and speakers. Without going into too much detail, this system ended up pissing off my neighbor, rightfully so. The situation devolved into her calling the police on noise complaints every time I used it to capacity. I tended to use it to capacity when I had been drinking too much … and I drank a lot back then. Partially because it was socially acceptable in a sales field in my 20’s and partially a deep depression was setting in due to the lifestyle I chose. Eventually the cops had enough with the calls and gave me a ticket.
The ticket had a court date on a Monday, a couple months in the future, so I essentially forgot about the situation. The weekend before my forgotten day in court, I went on a spur of the moment trip to Vegas with my brother and a couple of friends and returned on the Red-eye Sunday night. I slept well past the court appearance time and went to work, where on my calendar I noticed the appointment in court… opps. Well, I called the courthouse and they rescheduled me for the following week. Evidently, my very pissed off neighbor had actually been there to talk to the city attorney about what a PITA I was. Anyway, at court the following week the city attorney said he wanted me to serve four weekends in jail and pay a $500 fine (due to the convo with my neighbor and the fact I blew off the first date).
WTF!? For a noise ticket? Jail didn’t scare me, I had spent a few weeks in country lock-ups before (haha, see how I drew you in for another story). For now, let’s just say, trust me, suburban county jails are nothing to be scared of. I was more pissed this city attorney thought he could railroad me out of my play time for a month! I told him to shove it, pleaded not guilty and planned on hiring an attorney to take it to trial.
I went back to work for the day. Later in the afternoon I was talking on the phone to my best friend’s brother, who was a real estate attorney. We were discussing a reverse mortgage to pay off a tax lien for one of his clients, since I was still fuming, I told him about my court earlier in the day. He just laughed his ass off. Then, he said he’d take care of it and call me back in a bit. Literally five minutes later I got a call back. “Talked to the judge’s clerk about your case. If you go in this afternoon and pay a $50 fine, it’s done.” What? $500 and four weekends in jail to a $50 fine in 5 minutes?. “No problem, you owe me a beer though.”
At first, a sense of pride well up in me. “That’s right, people like me can’t be bothered with this petty legal crap anymore”, I thought. This was the reason I did what I did, why I wanted to be a WSP. Then, for the first time since probably my teens, I regained a small sense of emotional guilt. I thought about what would have happened if I didn’t have connections or money. How a fine, plus having to pay to be in jail, could really hurt someone, possibly putting them into a really negative spiral. I got pissed again, this time though, I was pissed at how the system was obviously rigged, and pissed at myself for being such an ass-hat to my neighbor. What I was trying to become, a successful player in the system who was immune to its bullshit, and what I really was, someone who just wanted to opt out of the system that controlled him, were two very different things. I began to realize that gaining the status I felt I needed for the former created a personality change that was destroying the later.
I eventually made peace with my neighbor. Just sucked it up and knocked on her door one day and apologized. From that conversation I learned she had been working for some time to earn enough to move from a lower income area into a better area for her child (ie school districts etc). The noise was a reminder of the BS she had to put up with from her former neighborhood and hence had an aversion to it . Interesting how she was simply trying, in her own way, to do the same thing I was. She wanted to “win” at life, change her family’s status and I was upsetting her vision of what she had thought she accomplished.
In a way, I feel like I should point out all of the important realizations from this event. How they changed my thinking and eventually changed my life[*]. I think, though, I’ll just leave it to the intelligent readers of my journal to form their own conclusions. Sufficed to say, the series of events marked a point in which I began to shift my thinking. I went from trying to succeed in a predetermined script, to questioning the script itself.
*I’m relatively quick to learn, but generally VERY slow to adopt change. This is a blessing and a curse.
Life & Such:
Contract is about to end. I can’t say I’m sad about it, although I will miss a select few people. New assignment will begin the week of March 17th, still not really looking forward to it, as the hospital sucked last time I worked there. For now, I’m more focused on moving, cleaning the old place, and getting ready for a 2-3 week road trip with the GF. After which we should have a good chunk of days to settle in at the new place and get some routines going before we start our respective jobs. The new apartment is very walkable to the local downtown, river, several parks, library, work, and grocery store. It’s an improvement on my last few places, very similar to the place I wrote about back in early 2017. Thanks to the great location, I’m looking forward to my time not spent at work this spring/summer.
The road trip should provide me with an opportunity to post a few good photos in my next update. It’s been a long while since the last set of pics. That’s telling wrt how little I’ve gotten a chance to do things I enjoy. Winter in the Midwest is a bit of a curse for outdoorsy people who don’t enjoy the bitter cold. We’re not talking Chicago or New England cold here, that would be a heat wave. I’m certainly not as extreme as theanimal in that regard. To entertain myself indoors, I purchased a play station 3 and a few games from a coworker for $50. My last console game system was a PS2, so it’d been awhile and a two generation old system was an upgrade. I then proceeded to give up most of my December and January to a Skyrim. That game is pretty amazing! I know all of you current gamers might think it’s dated, but holy shit, what an expansive world! At least I managed to bore of it after about 200 hours of game play. The console and games will likely go to the thrift store when we move.
Cohabitation with the GF has been really good. She’s been so gracious in adapting to my peculiarities and need for alone time that I almost feel bad. As if I’m not doing enough changing myself, but she claims utter happiness with everything. I’m pretty good at reading people too, she seems to act like her proclamations. She continues to move on her own financial situation with impressive vigor. Although her weakness is travel. Since I had to work over Christmas she took a pricey trip to visit a friend in Seattle, then home to her parents place. She ended up taking a later flight due to overbooking and got comped $1500! WTF? Lucky girl! Hopefully all is not too good to be true on the relationship front.
All of this talk in other threads regarding social security had me going through my SS earnings history. It was very interesting. I’ve had two major careers, banking, and then nursing. Each has lasted about 7 years. Interspersed in the remaining 10 years of my adult life have been a couple years of zero income (a couple of f-you moment, poorly planned sabbaticals) and many years of “lifestyle gigs” in the others. The other gigs generally coincided with years I was in college or experimenting with entry level positions in other potential career-type jobs. In any event, during those times work was never a primary focus.
The earnings basically break down to a little over 500K (inflation adjusted) with each of the careers and another 200K for the rest. What does all this mean? ... Well, it got me thinking… To make semi-ERE viable in the current financial situation (assets and spending), I either need to find one more interesting career to try out, or do another run with lifestyle gigs for a decade or so after this post nursing sabbatical. The one caveat being, I will likely not earn as much with a third career because: a) I spent a year or two too long in the previous fields being somewhat miserable and those last years were the most lucrative. b) The next career would not focus on money, nor would my primary goal be to maximize pay scale for that particular field.
So I think either way, I would end up about even on the income front with both choices. Not too bad a place to be, particularly when I look back at each scenario in my past. Either eagerly starting a new field with interest and/or having enjoyable lifestyle gigs on the backburner of life.
On to the chart:
I reached my minimum number very easily with the market bounce. It was extremely anticlimactic. At least when I paid off my last debt I felt pretty fucking good about it for a few days. This… well… it changed nothing. What a waste of what should have been a rather seminal life event. I really need to man-up and pull the trigger semi-ERE. I still feel like I’ve missed something important though. Maybe I’m craving some form of mental preparedness that will never happen? Who knows. At least the new job should be sucky enough to help push me over the edge.
According to historical simulation I would be FI in 100% of scenarios with $10,770
of annual spending. Up quite a bit since last reported thanks to the increase in 50% of SS for 2018 earnings and one less year to fund until death. At least the first is a good thing.
As always, thanks for reading and any comments.