classical_Liberal's Semi-ERE

Where are you and where are you going?
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Re: classical_Liberal's Journal

Post by classical_Liberal »

Unscheduled Update 12/6/2017

Maybe I’m beating a dead horse, but I performed a thought experiment related to this:
classical_Liberal wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:57 pm
I suppose the best test is; would I pay to do it?
1) If nothing changed about my job, would I pay to do it?

2) If I could perform my core job duties mostly without concern of “politics”, on my schedule, mostly in my way, would I pay to do it?

3) Are there any individual components to my job I would pay to do/experience?

The answer to #1 was an unequivocal “no”.

Two was more complicated. At this moment in time my answer would be “no”. However, had I asked the question eight months ago, after a month long sabbatical and coming off of working the best hospital contract I have experienced to date… The answer would have been “yes”, I really missed it.

Number three; would I pay to have the privilege of listening to the stories of a dying 90 year old man who was stationed in the Pacific circa 1945. Hear how he felt preparing for a mainland invasion, how it actually felt when his CO got up on a vehicle and announced Japan had surrendered after two atomic bombs? Or would I pay to quickly analyze the causes of a deteriorating Blood Pressures or Arterial Blood Gases in a patient, then implement interventions which directly save a life?

Absolutely yes!

This has giving me some hope. Hope that I have not wasted several years of expensive schooling in my 30’s to gain entry into this field (one of many I have tried) and my entire first two years practicing to pay back the debt incurred. Hope that someday I will continue to utilize these skills for more than family or friends.

I need to redouble my ERE efforts from a skill/web-of-goals/spending standpoint. I need to reach a level in which I am comfortable enough to not chase after maximum monetary compensation. With such freedom I can choose to pursue nursing in my way and reap maximum joy. At this level I can spread my efforts and interests into others things I value as well, without concern for compensation. I can have time for personal relationships which are dying due to lack of quality time or lack of time in general (nobody is getting younger). Instead of constantly questioning my ethical beliefs, I can afford to honor them with my heart and soul, less fearful of consequences.

The longer I wait, the more likely it becomes I lose nursing passion due to burn out. Along with it; gone is a stable, recession proof skill, and scalable income source. I fear losing of many of the other things as well for varying reasons. I need to act because inaction on this front can lead to the loss of the things I hold most dear. It’s already happening and that is what lead me here in the first place, whether I knew it at the time or not.

The new daily thought experiment… Are the actions I’m taking today reflecting this urgency?

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Re: classical_Liberal's Journal

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Interesting thought experiment. I would co-sign on your experience from my same/opposite perspective of having recently wandered into teaching as my primary gig. Every day I get at least one small validation of "meaningful" or "making a difference", but I hit burnout on all the other stuff and bother that comes along with the job any week I devote more than 20 hours max to this endeavor. There's also a bit of trade-off in variety vs. community. For instance, this week I was the guest teacher for a kindergarten that I had already covered on several other occasions, so the children all greeted me by name and some ran up and gave me a hug when I walked in the door.

I think teaching young disadvantaged children has a good deal of overlap with practical nursing, since every day I have to decide whether somebody really injured themselves on the playground, direct somebody with running green snot to clean up and thoroughly wash hands, and maybe check a head for lice. In my mind, both of these occupations also share a good deal of overlap with homemaker/gardener vocation, because you might check a head of cabbage for infestation and/or turn it into a pot of soup to nourish the health of a human.

At the other end of the spectrum would be endeavors I've engaged in "just" for money or fun, such as retail arbitrage (moving goods from clearance aisle of retail stores to internet venue), where all I was likely accomplishing was change of eventual landfill location for plastic crap. Obviously, one could go even further down this spectrum and engage in activities that were worse than meaningless, like unto "Glengarry Glen Ross."

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Re: classical_Liberal's Journal

Post by classical_Liberal »

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:57 am
Every day I get at least one small validation of "meaningful" or "making a difference", but I hit burnout on all the other stuff and bother that comes along with the job any week I devote more than 20 hours max to this endeavor. There's also a bit of trade-off in variety vs. community.
Agreed. Lack of variety in daily activities leads to burnout. Some sense of community/contribution and affirmation of these by peers or leadership has the opposite effect.

Working, as you do, for a max of 20 hours per week, probably had other benefits as well. At least it does in my profession. For example, IMO the two key roles of a bedside nurse are 1) Make sure the patient doesn't die/begins to heal and 2) Retain enough compassion and social competence to help the patient and/or family members deal with emotions of what is likely some of the worst day(s) of their lives. A nurse who can effectively combine these two things for a heavy patient load is certainly competent.

The minutia-minded management are often more concerned about whether "charting of 'X' was completed in triplicated software packages to ensure maximum billing efficiency". A full-time nurse who "should be" aware of all new charting policies would be reprimanded for only charting in duplicate, even if core duties are performed well above expectations, for higher than average patient loads. Whereas, a part-time nurse, who picks up a shift so that on-call management doesn't have to come in to work on the floor, is congratulated as a hero; even if that person is only able to perform core functions to a satisfactory level with below average patient loads and forgets to chart item "X" in totality.

I would imagine a similar theme in substitute teaching? Perhaps in many fields where an "expert" is called in to perform a core function(s) well.

Edit: For clarity, It's not the praise I'm looking for, rather to not to be bothered by the completely unimportant. They can employ bean counters who enjoy such things. The praise, instead of criticism, for doing the same great job I always do, except less often & on my schedule, would just be a hilariously tasty desert.
Last edited by classical_Liberal on Sun Dec 10, 2017 9:42 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: classical_Liberal's Journal

Post by SustainableHappiness »

Kiva is great! My extended family opted a number years ago to start donating to Kiva instead of giving each other Christmas presents to create a sort of legacy fund for our family...It has since petered out as family members have passed away, but the idea was good! I also attempted to create something through the business school I attended as well, however the infrastructure to being a charitable legacy fund of MBAs became quickly overwhelming and my lack of desire to work hard was it's downfall...maybe, I'll take a crack at it again some day with renewed vigour.

It's cool to see your money/FI philosophies evolve as time goes on.

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Re: classical_Liberal's Journal

Post by classical_Liberal »

End of year Update 1/2/2018

This has been a good year on several personal levels. First off, I have been able to maintain a relationship with a SO for over six months. This may be laughable to the happily married crowd, but it’s the longest relationship I've had in the past seven years. It’s helped me remember how to compromise on more fundamental levels, sparked a bit of emotional resurgence (I’ve felt emotionally bland for quite a while), and I’ve remembered that a joy shared really is twice the joy. On the same note, I believe I have found at least some ways in which I can motivate the SO (ENFP) to work towards a more reliant and sustainable financial picture

I can’t thank this forum enough for providing some very deep non-financial insight inspiring personal improvement this year, even though I was not a large contributor to most of the relevant discussions.

The discussion(s) on free-will have begun to shift my perspective on the subject. Although I’m not yet sold on determinism (I’m not going to get into my logic now, but readers are “free” :lol: to do so). I have come to realize, I may have much less choice than I previously thought. This has been advantageous, both in forgiving the past and realizing where I should devote energy in the future (ie If I have very little choice in “x”, and “x” is a low impact issue, don’t waste energy on trying to change “x”).

The discussion surrounding money being a solved problem opened my eyes to a great many things. I remain fickle in my positions on this subject, but the foundation continues to grow. Generally, I believe I’m quickly reaching a point of stability from a financial standpoint where there are diminishing personal returns on financial capital gains going forward. This, of course, is coming from a person who reached the age of late 30’s in standard consumer unit thinking. So, reaching even a basic level of financial stability compared to other forumites here is a huge win. Going forward, I'm approaching the perceived problems in my life differently. Things which are deleterious to my happiness, personal meaning (or as @brute would say, pleasant distractions) will be engaged in ways not necessarily related to finances. IOW, soon the finances will allow me to have more time & freedom, I want to be prepared to use it wisely and not rely on this eventuality as a "fix" in itself.

I have read many journals of forumites who have done some significant slow travel. In virtually all of the cases, these people have eventually come to the opinion that travel is good, but enough is enough. The initial personal gains from van-travel, international travel, etc are greatly diminished after a few years maximum. I have never had the time to travel past short term tourist. This is something I have always yearned for, but I now have the knowledge that it will likely not be a long term lifestyle. This has lead my long term thinking towards the possibility of securing low-cost housing as “home-base”, prior to embarking on that part of my life. This plan may, or may not materialize as a great many factors will influence my decision on the topic. In any event, I will now view the slow travel phase of my life as likely temporary vs forever.

Last year I took a month off in March/April. This year I am taking the entire month of February off. I have some road trip adventures planned, including a visit to snowbird mother, So Cal based extended family, some general SW USA traveling, and time off locally with SO. In March I will begin a contract at a hospital which has more tolerable and enjoyable work-load, but a not very attractive location. I do have a few friends living in this small city, the SO will follow with her contract ending a couple weeks after mine, and the COL is moderate to low.

Photo bucket evidently dumped my graphs I posted last year. It was a PITA to post them anyway, so I’ll just lay out the relevant numbers since I graduated from school for my current career in mid-2013. AKA the end result of life reboot #3, which began in 2008. Life Reboot #4 is FI/ERE related and started somewhere in 2014, it remains a work in progress. I promise I'll eventually "get to" the history portion of my journal explaining this craziness in horrific and delightful detail.

Based on last year’s spend rate I have 6.77 years of expenses saved.

Liquid net worth
2013 $-40,000 (e)
2014 $-8,000 (e)
2015 $44,201
2016 $106,670
2017 $182,341

2014 $35,000 (e)
2015 $30,077
2016 $22,115
2017 $26,951

Savings Rate
2014 25% (e)
2015 42.4%
2016 73.8%
2017 73.7%

Approximated spending breakdown @ 2250 mo for 2017

$650 Housing ---2018 goal $550
$100 Utilities/internet/cell --- 2018 goal $100
$150 Work related direct costs --- 2018 goal $100
$200 Gifting/Charity --- 2018 plan is 0, will evaluated towards end of year
$200 Transportation (gas, insurance, maintenance/repairs, vehicle replacement savings) --- 2018 goal $200
$150 Health Care (Insurance and OOP expenses)- - 2018 goal $150
$400 Food and personal care (this has dropped dramatically in last few months from 5-600 to 2-300) --- 2018 goal $250
$250 Travel & Entertainment --- 2018 goal $100
$150 Girlfriend (Travel to see GF and other compromised spending I wouldn’t have made alone) --- 2018 goal $50

Financial notes:
Spending was up year over year. This was due to some giving and expenses related to a SO who did not live in the same town. SO and I will have travel contracts in the same city starting in Feb 2018, so this will be helpful to spending going forward. She would like to take advantage of economy of scale, however, I declined at this time. Basically, I don’t want to ruin a good thing with her and think the best next step is to live close by. If we end up at each other’s homes most nights anyway, I will reconsider at the time of next contract.

Savings rate remained stable because my income increased with spending. My actual number of hours worked decreased year over year, however, at this point hourly income in my field is basically maxed out. I could increase income, but it would require more hours, a management position, or moving to a higher COL geographic region. I’m not interested in any of these options. Actually, I’m likely to go the opposite way in hours worked. Higher COL is a possibility, but it would be done with adventure/slow travel in mind since SR would be a wash.

CAGR of 13.74% in 2017. I’m very pleased with this considering I have nearly 30% of my assets in cash. I made a few individual stock purchases this year, but remain 97% passively invested (taking macroeconomic conditions into consideration for AA).

My goal for 2018 is total spending of 18K. I will have some heavy work related costs early on, this should trail off to near nothing after; as a result, spending for the first quarter will likely be significantly higher than the last three.

Financial Thoughts:
Seeing net worth increases makes me painfully aware that moving up ERE Wheaton levels would make me FI in short order. In fact, at this point it’s a forgone conclusion I will have assets to cover 1 Jacob of spending at 3%WR well before I know how to live at 1 Jacob. In true lack-of-free-will fashion, I’m perplexed at my lack of effort to close the loops. 18K feels like a stretch goal and based on last year’s spending it actually is. I think I’m missing a very critical component/concept to move up to the next level and I can’t put my finger on it. Very frustrating!

I will reread ERE book this year and see if something “clicks”. If anyone has suggestions of other reading that may benefit this process based on my ramblings here, please let me know.

Happy New Year!

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Re: classical_Liberal's Journal

Post by classical_Liberal »

Update 1/22/2018

Life and Such
A little update with some positive news. My work situation is about to greatly improve as I was approved for my next assignment in the city that I want, at the hospital I want, on the unit that I want. This contract will carry me until June guaranteed, probably longer. However, June is great because that will mark my 5th anniversary as a full time employed RN and the Fed’s will happily repay the remaining $2400 outstanding on my only liability, a Perkins loan.

I found a small basement duplex (conversion of a SFH) to sublet for only $510 a month. This is about a $200 housing cost reduction and I get a real backyard (shared with my upstairs neighbor, who I met and she seems very cool) and free on-site laundry. A great housing improvement as I’ve been dealing will a real asshole management company at my current sublet apmt complex.
My GF has also gotten a job in the same city working for the competition in their OR, so we will no longer be long distance for the first time in our 8 month run. I look forward to spending more quality time with her. I continue to “work on” her from an ERE perspective. I laid out my budget restrictions for 2018 and have already declined a couple of activities citing budget (actually I didn’t want to do them anyway, it would have just been a compromise because she wanted to). Surprisingly this has not irritated her in the least. She also recently came back from a trip to Mexico. Her friend got married there, it was her first time outside of the US. Upon arrival she was fully invigorated with plans for travel in our future. The idea of a long-term sabbatical, getting to immerse in other cultures, really hits her ENFP personality. The future sabbatical idea has been the main vector through which I have been introducing ERE ideas into her head and, at present, she’s on fire with the idea so I’m taking advantage. I have some more detailed plans I’ll eventually lay out, but I’ll probably discuss them here to get some of your wise opinions on the subject first. In any event, they would be a year down the road, so no rush. I like to change my mind anyway.

Continuing the good news, I have the entire month of February off. I’ll move to new location, then take a 2-3 week car-camp road trip from arctic Midwest to AZ were I will meet up with a snowbird mother, an old friend, and do some hiking in mountains near Tucson. On the way down or back I may have to hit up Roswell NM and Carlsbad Caverns. I missed them on my last trip to Choco Canyon. I have a vested interest in Roswell due to my conspiracy theory hobby and the fact my grandfather was actually stationed there during the incident. I have many fond memories of him teasing me with, what were very likely exaggerated, details of his experience. I also plan to actually write a journal update with some personal history. The good journals around here seem to provide that history, I've been slightly hesitant for personal reasons and also lazy, but it'll happen next month.

I’ve had many deep thoughts reading through some old threads on this site, along with beginning to reread the ERE book. I can’t express how awesome this forum is as a resource. The results thus far; I have become more ensconced in the idea of a semi-ERE. Keeping my RN license for some scalable income and picking up some other hobby earnings as I see fit. I really believe that once large chunks of time are freed up, I’ll find a very good balance of working to live vs living to work. I’m also the type who really needs some external motivation to be a producer. Not being completely FI can provide that hormesis. I’ll always have the opportunity to crank it up if the winds of change hit.

On that note, my employers HR actually presented a PRN position option for my current job because I had expressed interest. It would entail working only 6 mos of the year, when I choose, at any hospital in their system that has needs. Such an opportunity would provide me assured future work, at known rates, inside of a known system (ie I know where it’s bad and where it’s good). It could be a good jumping off point into my future semi-ERE and I could maintain a 40-50% SR with half the year off. I’m not deciding anything at present though. I’ll ride out the next assignment for as long as possible and decide once it ends, it could last as long as a year. My previously published plans for a semi-ERE this summer may be held off on that basis.

I don’t really want to focus as much on financial capital updates as I have in the past. Mainly because the semi-ERE situation doesn’t really require much capital; so it seems very much less important to me than it did a year ago. I’ll instead focus more on spending outflows this year. That being said, I’ll still try to update financials at least a couple times a year, I think it’s helpful to people who may follow the journal to see how such things shake out. Currently I’m very close to 200K in liquid assets and should hit it by March at the latest. Seems like it’ll be a milestone on paper, but emotionally it isn’t at all. The only interesting fact; It took my entire adult life to get to 100K in November 2016 (over 20 years my net worth levels varied, but never got to 100K). It looks like about 16 months to get to 200K, quite a difference.

Spending wise, January should come in well below goal of $1500. Currently I’m at $1277 with no known additional expenses for the month. After today I’ll work 14 hour shifts for 6 of the next 8 days and I never need to spend during runs like this (work, eat, sleep, work).

February will be well above $1500 with moving expenses and my trip, then hopefully level off again in the $1100-$1300 range, aided by the $200 housing cost reduction.

January expenses:
$695 Housing
$137 Phone, internet, utilities
$44 Gas and car insurance
$124 Health Ins, health care supplements
$143 Food
$4 Personal Care/household items
$130 Entertainment/Fun

Food and personal care/household were low because I’m eating/using my extra since I have to move soon. I’d expect the two categories to total around $250-300 in the future.

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Re: classical_Liberal's Journal

Post by chenda »

Some years ago there was a forum user who spent his whole career as a part time/contract nurse. Worked out very well for him: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1757&hilit=bingeworker

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Re: classical_Liberal's Journal

Post by classical_Liberal »

Thanks for that link. I would have never found that old thread. I have met a few folks like the OP in my nursing career.

His point on taxes is very true, I've run some cocktail napkin numbers myself.

Basically, now I work 11 mos a year (with enough PTO to take 1 of 12 mos off, partially paid). Working 6 of 12 (under proposal by HR) my income would drop to about 40% of current. The 40% is because I would lose the partial paid time off, a 401K match and a few other benefits that have value to me. However, my tax burden would drop by 16K per year! That works out to almost 15% of my current pretax earnings; I still end up ahead on a per hr worked, take-home basis.

The thought experiments I ran up thread showed me I really do enjoy most of my job, particularly if i have more control over when and where I do it. I damn well better, I've tried so many! :lol: Certainly it brings me enough positives to do it 3 or 6 months per year, at least for now. I just think any form of FT work is too much, no way to find a balance.

I was heavily influence by a few threads recently, some have been mentioned. Another I had not mentioned, was started by black_son_of_gray a couple of years ago. In that thread Jacob had pointed out that in a semi-ERE situation hard numbers matter more than percentages. Paraphrasing his comments; In FI, if you have 33X spending, it really doesn't matter too much the level of spending(for FI success). In Semi-ERE, hard spending really matters, it's a lot easier to generate 6-12K per year income than it is to generate 30-35K. I can't argue with that logic. This is why 2018 is a year to concentrate on spending vs capital accumulation. Obviously accumulation will slightly increase with lower spending, but at the point of a 75% savings rate, an additional 10% for one or two years really doesn't matter to the end semi-ERE result. Plus, at the moment, learning ERE lifestyle is very fun for me, I thoroughly enjoy seeing the outflows drop & finding ways to fix problems without money!

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Re: classical_Liberal's Journal

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

How was your trip, the move, life, Gf, ERE learning?

Inquiring minds would like to know. Financial pr0n welcome.

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Re: classical_Liberal's Journal

Post by classical_Liberal »

Update 3/12/2018

Shamed into a post by 2B1S. Time off and road trip were wonderful!

It started in mid-February so I was really looking to get out of the artic Midwest weather. I headed straight south, with a one night stay near Little Rock in the Ozark Mountains. Unfortunately, the time of year made it too cold for more than one night of car camping. It was 40-50’s F during the day and allow me to venture out and take up some of the natural beauty, but at night it got below freezing. The GF had purchased me a little buddy heater for a Xmas gift, which came in handy.

From there I knew I had to get to the gulf coast for some real warmth so I began searching. I quickly realized it was Marti Gras in NOLO, a check of hotel points confirmed a free stay downtown, about 3 blocks from the French Quarter. Off to parades and debauchery for 3 days! I had never been to NOLO and Luxagraf really promotes it on his blog… I have to say I agree with him. A very unique blend of southern hospitality and a libertarian, “who gives a fuck what other people do”, culture was very appealing to me. In February it was cool at night, but nice during the day. Though I can imagine it’s pretty hot and humid in the summer.

The next phase of the journey took me across Texas. I friend of mine was going to meet up with me in New Mexico, so I spent a couple of days crossing the Loan Star. I essentially just Drove through Houston and San Antonio. Large sprawl is all I can tell you. I wanted to hit up Austin, but alas, I only had so much time. Again per Luxagrafs journal I was curious to see the fracking boom in West Texas. I had visited the boom in North Dakota a few years back. Although it was crazy in ND, nothing prepared me to the clusterfuck that is the fracking boom of Western Texas. A major state highway literally has signs telling drivers to choose alternative routes, which I didn’t. In the middle of nowhere it was rush hour 24/7 for heavy equipment, white F150’s, and tanker trucks. The highway had been dissolved to sand in areas. The desert landscape was literally a dust storm making day look like dusk, illuminated only by fires in the background from natural gas burn offs near the drilling sites. Debris and garbage everywhere, it’s one of the worst sites I’ve ever seen. I really felt bad for the small towns in the path of this oil-storm.

Eventually I met with my friend near Carlsbad, NM and we took the opportunity to walk down into the Caverns, Camp a on BLM/ Forest service land near and in the mountains, see the Roswell UFO museum, and go to White Sands. All were enjoyable adventures. Then I headed Westward to Tucson, Arizona to meet up with my Dear mother and Step father who winter in Tucson. I spent several says exploring the Saguaros and Tucson with the Fam. One day up on the mountains myself.

Finally back towards the Midwest where I met with my GF, who had completed her assignment and returned to her family’s home in Des Moines IA. I got to meet her family; they are very welcoming, friendly people. To my surprise the GF had sold her BMW X5 a couple days before I arrived! This was a huge move for her, she liked that car. We had discussed her financial situation many times before. Her taste in luxuries has made me wonder if our long term prospects were poor, and we had discussed a future sabbatical and travel. I never prodded her, but when she asked I had repeatedly told her the best thing she could do was get rid of that money sucking car… and she did… one her own…wow!

From there to my new assignment in a small, isolated town of about 100,000 people in BFE. GF and I are moved, still not living together as I wanted to take this process slow. However she’s now within walking distance and we see each other daily vs the more long-distance 2 hours drive we had before. I’m working in one hospital system in town, and her the other. I‘ve worked here before, the pace and culture of the hospital are much more inviting than my previous 9 month assignment.

I’ll do a first quarter financial update later, but progress continues. My goals continue to evolve from an ERE and financial standpoint. For now, my biggest goal remains to avoid burn-out in nursing. I truly enjoy many aspects and know it’s a great feather to keep in my ERE cap. This assignment is a huge step in the right direction. Secondarily, is this travel and sabbatical time, which now appears to be a strongly held joint goal with the GF of nine months. As stated, her snowball in that direction is gaining momentum, so I need to take some time and see exactly what my financial situation needs to be for a couple of different possibilities on that front. I have a rough sketch, but don’t wanna post anything because I’ve jumped the gun before in this journal before. This time it will be a well-considered, realistic plan. So far any side income trials have been relative failures, but at least I know more of what I don’t want.

Until next time.

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Re: classical_Liberal's Journal

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

Hey there, how did Q1 end up for you? I've moved up my date to June 1, 2019.

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Re: classical_Liberal's Semi-ERE

Post by classical_Liberal »

Update 5/17/2018

Reading through my entries to date, my thought process has very much been a cluster f**k. I’ve been taking many of the correct actions, but I have been running away from my current life, rather than running towards a defined goal. The good news is that much of this has been clarified in recent months. The bad news is that a defined timeline has not been set. I have been holding off writing, hoping to declare some specific’s to hold myself accountable. Recent events have taught me these specifics will likely not fully materialize. I’m very much going to fly by the seat of my pants. That OK though, such things are the spice of life!

What I know:
This journal is relabeled classical_Liberals Semi-ERE. I want to document how a late comer to ERE can save enough FU funds in short order to fly-by the seat of his pants in a more enjoyable life without having to waste too many remaining healthy years to reach full FI.

I have fallen in love with my GF

My greatest financial fear (which is directly related to my experience in the medical field) is growing old to a point where body or mind can no longer provide what I need to survive in relative freedom. I now have sufficient assets to ensure that never happens.

My current work assignment is tolerable. I find it a mix of boring, annoying, but occasionally rewarding and challenging. This is far superior to my last couple of assignments and really is as much as one can ask for in nonself-directed paid employment.

Wild cards
My GF was surprised to find out she will likely not be extended in her current contract due to a management shakeup. This means we may have to live in separate cities again, not ideal as we had planned to move in together this summer.

My contact at acceptable hospital/job is currently through end of August and could be renewed as long as March 2019.

GF is younger and does not have substantial savings, but enjoys her work very much. She has shown an amazing proclivity towards changing her financial habits over the past six months. Frankly, she’s shown me up in many aspects of ERE.

Will GF remain OK with my semi-ERE while she works her ass off to catch up? (see plan below) As of now she’s “super sure” she’s OK with it. As months go by with me having a more laid back lifestyle I fear there may be tension.

The (flexible, known unknowns, not sure how it will play out) Semi ERE Plan:

Phase I
An agreement has been reached in which we will remain in the Midwest for as long as I can extend my current contract. After which I will begin my Semi-ERE and the GF will begin her road to financial security by accepting high paid contracts across the US. We will migrate 3-6 mos at each location. The locations will be her call, based on pay, job desirability, and location desirability.

Initially, I will likely take 6 mos of decompression time, take some shorter roads trips around our location(s) and explore. I will also attempt to move our household up a wheaton level (from 4/5 to 5/6). We have become rather avid hikers and enjoy outdoors, Ill scope out some wicked W/E day hikes for us, scout out potential “home base” areas for future phases of plan, etc. After decompression I will cover my expenses through combinations of occasional travel nurse contracts or local PRN positions (currently not my favorite, but will reevaluate after a break), gaining ground on ERE Wheaton level, and other interesting wage-jobs or business opportunities as desires/serendipity unfolds.

I know, I know. Very nonspecific income generation ideas, but this is how I want it... Freedom to choose. Feel free to criticize. However, I can easily cover all expenses with ½ time $15/hr job or about 3-400 hours of nursing per year. I have had work experience in a variety of fields, I’m very confident I have the ability to fund my expenses with intermittent enjoyable wage work in the near term.

Phase II
We intend to take a two year international slow travel sabbatical. This is the main motivator for my GF to become financially secure and it’s also something I have always wanted to do. I currently have funds for this, GF is likely 2-4 years of Phase I away. She needs to stamp out some minor student loan debt, save enough for old age nest egg, then stash for this sabbatical.

We are both very aware, after reading much on the subject, wanderlust tends to wain after a couple of years. If this occurs, we will move to Phase III. If this lifestyle remains very appealing, we will likely return to US earn additional funds at breakneck speed to allow for a long term ERE slow travel lifestyle.

Phase III
Time to find a “home base”, where we can settle into a more relaxed Semi-ERE lifestyle. Each of us have high paying, recession resistant, high demand for the foreseeable future, medical experience. This can easily be parlayed into part time positions, working 1-2 days a week to cover all expenses while we allow previously saved assets move us to the realm of complete FI. Maybe we’ll do something completely different for income, or maybe our ERE Wheaton level momentum will move us to total FI.

Financials: How is this going to work?

12 month rolling spend rate is now down to $1320 mo. This excludes a one-time, large charitable donation and is also reflective of GF and I maintaining separate households. I anticipate a $200-$300 a month drop once we combine household, but this will likely be partially offset by ACA premiums for my ongoing health insurance. In any event, I don’t like using fake, “what if” numbers, so for now all calculations are based on annual spend of 16K.

I’ve broken my assets into two buckets, both mentally and with tax advantaged accounts. Both will continue to grow for as long as I work at my current location.

Bucket one is my pre-60 semi ERE bucket: Currently at about 5.5 years of expenses. This is my buffer- bucket. I will fund 6 mo decompression and two year slow travel sabbatical from here.

Pretty Pie Chart showing it’s stable value allocation.

Bucket two is my post 60 FI or traditional retirement bucket: Currently at about 7.4 year’s expenses.

Same pretty pie showing the growth allocation of this fund.

I’m adding about 3K per month of income to the pre-60 buffer, and about 2.5K to the post-60 retirement. Quit date still unknown.

I have some breaks points set in the 60+ bucket in case it hasn’t reached certain growth levels at certain ages. I may need to top it off. Again, I’m OK with that as this is Semi-ERE. My assumptions are 4% real annual over 20 years, fairly conservative, but probably not enough for many on here. I’m Ok with that. At current levels this means 16 yrs expenses at 62. 20 years expenses at 67 if I have been lucky enough to stay active and earn my keep until that point. It also assumes complete draw down of my buffer bucket.

Other things going for me at traditional retirement age:

At 67, without additional earned income, I’m eligible for $2000 in SS benefit. Even at 50% payout, with a 25% spending increase for medical, this brings a WR at at 67 to under 3%.
Odds of a high five to low six figure inherence is very high (not going to discuss specifics), but not calculated.

High probability of adding at one more year of expenses to both buckets before execution.

This allows me to sleep at night, I feel debt to future me is paid. Let the Semi-ERE experiment begin!

Fun stuff.

GF and I went on an extended weekend road trip to Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Cost of trip was $80 in gas, $7 for a campsite one night (winter rates still applied), plus food, but we would have had to eat anyway.

Free entrance to park with $80 annual national parks pass, free camping second & third night on nearby national grass land (the free site was much better!)

This park is loaded with wildlife. A few pics from the Day hikes:
Bison are all over this park. Some are very curious and will actually walk towards you in isolated trail areas. This can be a bit disconcerting given their size! We had three of them essentially following use for awhile. They kept their distance at about 20 feet and got skiddish when we stopped and turned towards them. They are shedding their winter coats, this guy totally ignored us.

Wild horses are a bit harder to find and much more jumpy, we had to sneak up on these guys very, very, quietly :D

Badlands landscape is beautiful and makes for great hikes.


Special thanks to @2B1S for continuing to shame me into making posts on this journal!

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Re: classical_Liberal's Semi-ERE

Post by SustainableHappiness »

Really digging the title switch. Based on the enthusiasm you've shown to this approach in various places, it makes sense! I too plan on getting back to journal writing, starting tracking monthly expenses/income again at the end of this month after a long hiatus while we sold our houses.

Also, cool pictures.

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Re: classical_Liberal's Semi-ERE

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

Dang, I'm not trying to "shame" by any means. Just genuine curiosity from someone who is on a similar path and values your contributions here.

I like your plan. And woah, I'm impressed by that spending over the past 12 months. It's where I hope to be in a years time.

Do you count Roth IRA as part of Retirement accounts or After Tax?

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Re: classical_Liberal's Semi-ERE

Post by light_bulb_moment »

Cool pictures. Sounds like you're going to get great value for money on that annual national parks pass :)

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Re: classical_Liberal's Semi-ERE

Post by Seppia »

Seems like a reasonable and well thought out plan.
As with all journals, the outdoors pictures are amonth the things I enjoy the most.
Remember to hit me up if your future slow travels will include Italy, I may be able to help with recommendations :)

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Re: classical_Liberal's Semi-ERE

Post by classical_Liberal »

The fact you jumped off into Semi-ERE before me and have been documenting has been an influence on my decisions. Soo, if I fail it's YOUR fault! :lol:. Kidding aside, the fact you were able to do it with a new kiddo in tow helped me look at my own risk profile. You definitely have more years saved than me, but I have no one dependent on me and really have very little to lose. Thanks for all you have done!

You've actually been a great inspiration and resource given our similar paths and goals. I can't overstate how helpful your continued input has been. Thanks! The comment is partially figure of speech, part jest, but mostly a self-deprecating rip on myself for being so damn lazy and incoherent with my journal writing. Please take no offense!

The spending reductions have come in two areas, housing and food. In the past 5 months I had two spendy double rent months fall off the 12 mo rolling. Because I move so often, I have f-it moments and overlap leases to avoid the hassle of 1 day 500 mile moves. I stopped that practice early last year and just manned-up and did them in one day. Rent in the new city is peanuts, $510 mo for a duplex with a bedroom and a yard! Food/household items/personal care has dropped with some very basic optimization, whereas before I was all convenience. I'm looking forward to see what happens when the GF and I combine household, I think 1K month spending may be within the realm of reality, at least in my current location. Don't be too impressed though. According to this a 16K spend rate in my location is the equivalent to almost 30K in any of the boroughs of NYC. You're still kicking my ass!

As far as your question, I am considering Roth as part of the old-age retirement bucket. Obviously it's the most versatile portion of that bucket, so the contributions can be a back-up of in times of emergency. Preferably though, I'll use it as needed to avoid taxes on IRA/401K withdrawals and SS after 60 if I have some more spendy years. Here's the current distribution:
I'll for sure make another Roth contribution 2019, and if I stay with my current job long enough I'll buy a 12 mo CD for 2020 contribution as well. After that, I'll use the Roth for any additional "top off" contributions or just to sweep any extra earnings into the retirement bucket. I'm hoping not to have enough income going forward (that would mean I worked too much!) for the front end tax break to be worthwhile on the traditional tax deferred. In years of particularly low income (ie 2 year sabbatical) I'll convert as much traditional to Roth as possible. I'm a pessimist on future tax rates, I doubt they'll get much lower than they are currently.

I can't imagine a better "bang for your buck" entertainment expense in the US.

Thanks for the input, and particularly the invite to look you up! It's a high likelihood I'll take you up on the offer. Plus... you will cook me a meal, right?! :D

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Re: classical_Liberal's Semi-ERE

Post by classical_Liberal »

Update 5/22/2018

I put together a simple graph that should be able to show the financial situation history and updates at a glance going forward. The lines will move with 12mo rolling expenses, indicating any substantial spend rate changes. The yellow indicates my expectation of 50% SS, hence it's the minimum growth threshold needed for my 60+ retirement or for a bare-bones 60+ without any SS. Hopefully no other explanation is needed. If it is, let me know, I failed at my task. I may putter around with the goals a bit, but will note if I do so.


I wish I had more detailed asset data to show you, but I just haven't kept track of anything on a monthly basis. Annual has seemed plenty for my purposes and tends to smooth things out anyway.

I was surprised that I didn't have any harsh condemnations regarding the planned execution of less than conservative semi-ERE. It's probability because I just dont have many readers :shock: ! At least the ones I do have all sit at the "cool table". Please though, if anyone has criticisms I really want to read them. I can't think of any better way to make the plan less fragile.

I found out this weekend that the GF did, in fact, get extended until end of August. The story is why i love her. Evidently she was prepping for an operation and the manager of her department came in to tell her they still were unsure of her extension due to the management shakeup. She asked if the director of nursing (DON) was one of the management members who had been pushed out, the manger indicated she was not. The GF stopped what she was doing, walked upstairs to the DON office and provided her a list of other OR travelers who would not be extending due to the indecision. She said she would join that list if not renewed by the end of the day... DON completed paperwork on the spot :lol:

With a guarantee of another three months of work, we can now plan to combine household in June. GF will move into my small duplex apartment. This will be a tough transition for me. I haven't lived with a SO for over seven years. I'm both excited for it and dreading it at the same time, worried it won't work out. No matter what, it should have positive effect on spending in the near term.

We both have about 10 days off in the first week of June before the next contracts start. Plan is a road trip to Yellowstone or Black Hills SD/Devils Tower WY, or maybe both. Actually, we got into an argument tonight about trying to squeeze all that in on on trip(I was not in favor). By argument, it was mainly me being an asshole. No matter which destination (or both), I'll have a few more pictures for the next update. If we go to the Black Hills, I plan to meet up with a travel nurse I met awhile ago who built an off grid home with her husband in SD. They did the whole thing themselves on a shoestring budget over a few years, so with their permission, I'll provide details as it is very applicable to ERE goals.

Until next time.

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: classical_Liberal's Semi-ERE

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

Including Yellowstone with South Dakota destinations will certainly work with good planning but it will change the character of the vacation. If you only have 10 days and like to settle in at some of the places, I'd recommend doing one South Dakota + Devil's Tower vacation and a separate Yellowstone + Tetons vacation. If you like to tick off a lot of destinations and don't mind more driving and logistics combine it all together. It depends on your interests.

Nice pics of Roosevelt. I like the buffalo.

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Re: classical_Liberal's Semi-ERE

Post by Fish »

Hi there CL, great to see you doing well on both the love and financial fronts! Regarding your plan, it's helpful that you've mentally divided it into two buckets which sets a limit to how much you're willing to deplete the portfolio. I expect that the biggest risk is not financial, but rather that the relationship ends before you reach phase 2. If it's very important for you to have that experience together, you might consider moving up the start date by (1) planning for part-time work during the trip, (2) you contributing some funds towards her portion, and/or (3) reducing the duration (maybe do a 3-6 month test run to validate interest, then save up for a multi-year trip if it still interests both of you). Regarding #3, doing a shorter trip might convince you and GF that it is ok to go before she is fully debt-free with nest egg saved. Another suggestion is to slow-travel within the US, selecting contracts based on interest not compensation, while taking the occasional international trip to scratch that itch. Or have GF (and maybe you too?) start looking for nursing jobs abroad and let that determine your destination. You've probably thought of it already, but that is what came to my mind.

Some other thoughts:
  • Supposing you set a goal of covering expenses (i.e. not touching your pre-60 bucket) even with 0% real returns that will put your combined net worth at 13 years when those buckets are combined in old age.
  • Instead of SS as an afterthought, maybe we should be taking it into consideration for AA. The reasoning being, if SS actually does pay out, paper assets likely would have done ok. If we presume the converse is also true, this would imply a high correlation between SS payout and equity/bond returns, meaning there would be some systemic failures that would take out the portfolio AND your safety net. This would suggest that tilting the AA towards hard assets would offer a higher likelihood of success even if the expected return is lower.
  • Until you're fully FI, you're not financially immune from the proverbial "hit by a bus" disaster. But since your footprint is only ~2 jacobs (excellent work btw!) it's likely not going to be catastrophic if you can pull off some side income.
  • When you take a break from nursing, consider part-time freelancing (e.g. odesk) to develop new skills while generating a side income and having fun (maybe?)
I'm excited to see the Deliberately coasting to FI idea put to practice and eagerly await the results of this experiment! :D

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