SWB's path to financial independence

Where are you and where are you going?
SavingWithBabies
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Re: SWB's path to financial independence

Post by SavingWithBabies » Fri Feb 02, 2018 11:38 pm

Progress: 35.8% ($429,915/1,200,000)
Weight: 220 pounds
Goal weight: 192 (28 pounds to go)
Side business goal: 1 out of 50 schools (3 potential/pending of which 1 looks definite but nothing signed yet)

Contributed 1/2 of the 2017 allowances to Roth IRAs for both my wife and myself. Going to do the rest over another two monthly or so chunks.

As expected, weight loss is slowing as my calorie deficit has decreased as I continue to eat roughly the same amount of food but my body needs less energy so weight loss slows. I'm happy with this pace though and I actually enjoy eating this way now. Never really hungry. Today, skipping dinner because I had a big lunch and breakfast and not really hungry (I ate a snack of some cheese and salami). Having stable blood sugar has made my moods much more stable. I've also realized I'm incompatible with fully caffeinated coffee. I like to drink it too fast and it is clear it shortens my temper. It basically makes me a grouch. I've begun to drink roughly 40-50% caffeinated and rest decaf. I was surprised decaf beans taste good. One more thing I thought was ridiculous at one age but now have come to appreciate.

Investigating possibility of moving to Mexico for a year while continuing to work remote for my current employer. It looks viable from the employer side so far. We are planning on taking a short trip to a couple of places to check it out. We wouldn't move until our lease is up which is a ways away.

SavingWithBabies
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Re: SWB's path to financial independence

Post by SavingWithBabies » Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:38 am

We're thinking about moving to Mexico for a year sometime after our lease is up here. We're going to do an exploratory trip first. Ideally, a sleepy town outside of Puerto Vallarta with wired internet or at least LTE (mobile) data within walking distance of the beach. If we went for it, we'd want to cull our belongings including our second vehicle. In terms of saving money, I wouldn't want to bet we would however I wouldn't be surprised if we do. It's hard to predict but I don't think it would be more expensive (and that second car money would be invested and hopefully growing instead of depreciating).

We would be doing it for these reasons:

* wife can brush up on her Spanish
* experience living coastal near the beaches and ocean (kind of did that in SF Bay Area but, let's be real, not really AT ALL)
* experience another culture in more depth than vacationing
* older son loves being outside and while we do go out in the snow here in Michigan, we don't got out as much as he would like so he would love it (and while we don't hate Winter at all we wouldn't miss it for a while)
* I'd like to learn Spanish
* reset needs versus wants (I don't think we're doing horrible with this -- it's just nice to shake things up every now and then)

We debated Costa Rica in the past but I like the idea of Mexico first because we can bring our older SUV (would put some time/money into extra maintenance including perhaps replacing tires slightly sooner than needed) without unreasonable expenses, flights are less expensive/shorter and it's interesting to both of us.

It seems like a good thing to do roughly now because:

* kids aren't in school yet
* local real estate market is too hot -- don't really want to buy in at these prices
* wife needs to practice Spanish to keep her skills up (she is a Spanish teacher but staying home with the kids for now)
* I already have a remote job
* our parents are all in fairly good health

That is all kind of short term in a way but long term, it would also help these goals along:

* Living more how/where we want to live in terms of our connection to family. This is a nebulous goal but it basically boils down to not feeling guilty we aren't living near our parents. Part of me wants them to see our kids often but I also recognize the two sets of parents are far enough part that this is somewhat unequal. Another part of me doesn't want to arrange my life around our parents lives as I fear regretting putting their needs potentially above our own (after all, at a certain point, they can move too). So this move would help in feeling that out from all sides.
* Learning more about the world.
* Traveling with kids.
* Potentially living in another country long term.
* Not getting stuck.
* I've mulled over building a very large sailing catamaran (~38 feet or 11.5 meters) one day that we could move onto and live aboard (perhaps while sailing around the world or at least some island chains). Perhaps it would make more sense to do this in say Mexico where I might be able to hire some people to help me instead of trying to do it alone and/or have a better place to build (that is close to water)? So I could get a feel for if this might be a realistic potential path. This is a complicated goal as it depends on other goals (like reaching FI and having enough extra to build a boat and deciding to homeschool our kids and becoming proficient at sailing and ...).

ThisDinosaur
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Re: SWB's path to financial independence

Post by ThisDinosaur » Tue Feb 06, 2018 7:17 am

Puerto Vallarta is right by a blue whale breeding ground, so the scenery will be about as epic as it gets in winter.

How much do you expect it to cost to build a seaworthy 38 foot catamaran? How long would that take?

SavingWithBabies
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Re: SWB's path to financial independence

Post by SavingWithBabies » Tue Feb 06, 2018 10:39 am

@ThisDinosaur It would be awesome to see whales!

For the catamaran, costs vary a lot. I think building the hull is very roughly about $20,000 USD. Outfitting it with a mast and rigging it and buying sails and such is probably another $15,000-25,000. Then there is still finishing out the inside (can really vary) and things like propulsion (also can vary, cheap is two small gas outboards), navigation equipment, electrical, generator/solar, watermaker, dinghy, toilet/plumbing, stove, header (if needed), etc. So like building a house, it can really vary and get quite expensive but for many of these things, there are less expensive ways to go (that often take more time).

So let's say very roughly $90,000 USD in the end fully outfitted. It's tempting to look for someone selling an already made boat unless you really want to build a boat or want a new one that you know by heart. The difficult part is while $90,000 is a lot, it might include all the things you need for long distance sailing while a used boat might be missing some/all things (the rough estimate to prepare a normal boat for long distance cruising is 50% of the purchase price). These would include things like larger water tanks and/or a watermaker, appropriate storage, good cooking equipment, etc. And on a purchased boat, if it has these things, some might not work while on a built boat almost all of it should be operational and hopefully working for at least a couple of years (things can wear out faster in saltwater environment particularly without maintenance and care).

In terms of time, it really varies as some people never finish, some are working in difficult climates where the need to stop working 1/2 the year or heat the space (so the epoxy cures), etc. I think if you could focus on it full time and had enough drive to work on it long term, it might take 1.5-2 years for a new builder that is fairly handy and isn't aiming for perfect fit and finish. That would assume doing most of the work yourself but perhaps paying someone to do some of the more complex bits like rigging.

The hardest part of all of this is you build a big hull and it looks like you have a boat. However, it's a bare slate inside. Building out the inside takes as much if not longer than building the whole structure. There are ways to cut that down. For example, if you learn vacuum molding with fiberglass, you can use the same complex shape multiple times in the interior cutting down a lot of weight and time. I suspect with careful planning and maybe 3D printing to help make molds, you could use that vacuum molding approach quite a bit. If you combine that with a willingness to keep things simple and only do say 80% of the interior and leave some for the future, it would get you in the water sooner.

So if we work backwards, it would be good to make a chart of the skills (goals?) to learn and get good or better at. I think it would include:

* working with epoxy and fiberglass
* vacuum molding
* building jigs to use with molding
* making complex shapes out of fiberglass with an inner core of plywood or fancy foam core
* proper hull fastener techniques (don't want holes drilled into core that are not sealed -- else water gets into core)
* repair of damaged structure
* reading plans

It definitely feels like a really big and expensive project to me. But I'm interested in the above things and should probably start trying to learn things as I can and then apply them to a smaller project. Perhaps a dinghy after going through some smaller things.

What I haven't mentioned yet is the designer and plans. I've spent some time reading about options and I'm nearly certain I would go with Richard Woods and one of his designs:

http://www.sailingcatamarans.com/index. ... -over-40ft

The other part I haven't mentioned is, after reading about this quite a bit, I'm fairly certain a well built Woods catamaran is quite good. Both in strength and in performance (speed) for comfort. So building gets you something better than what you might be able to buy if you're shopping on the lower end of 38-40 foot catamarans.

SavingWithBabies
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Re: SWB's path to financial independence

Post by SavingWithBabies » Tue Feb 06, 2018 10:52 am

I forgot one more important detail: apparently, building a boat often leads to divorce. So after reading all these things and mulling them over, my approach is much more tentative. If it looks like it works for me, great. If not, then I'll go another route. I won't force it. If it seems to be working out, I will commit at some point. But it'll have to be in a way that works for my family too and my wife will need to know all the costs and the rough timeline and be optimistic about it.

Also, there is this timeline for knowing if this would even work for us:

- learn to sail
- learn to sail in bad weather
- learn to sail a big boat
- learn if wife is compatible with motion of a boat on ocean for multiple hours/days/weeks (my wife gets motion sickness in some situations)

So there might be a deal breaker right there (motion sickness) that I need to check on before going too far.

Jason
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Re: SWB's path to financial independence

Post by Jason » Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:31 pm

I think the only time a boat is beneficial in a marriage is if you are looking to get rid of your wife, which doesn’t seem to be the case here.

SavingWithBabies
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Re: SWB's path to financial independence

Post by SavingWithBabies » Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:36 pm

Jason wrote:
Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:31 pm
I think the only time a boat is beneficial in a marriage is if you are looking to get rid of your wife, which doesn’t seem to be the case here.
Well the dream is living on the boat while traveling around the world very slowly. I think my wife is sold on this. By slow, I mean potentially staying 6 months in one location (or longer if we can). We'd only be going around the world because in general, it seems to be easier to go in one direction with weather and why not see the world? It would likely require:

* homeschooling our kids
* being financially independent and/or having own business (with partner) working well enough that I can disconnect and reconnect (not be online 24x7)
* taking the bad with the good

That's the goal after the "build a boat goal" but we could skip the whole "build a boat" by doing "buy and outfit an existing boat". I'd only do the build if it made sense in the timeline (ie I wanted to, situation made sense, timeline made sense, had enough money and I was willing to commit to it). To me, it's a bit crazy but it's doable. With software, you know things will really take 2-3x as long as you pessimistically expect them to take. I suspect it's the same with a big project like building a boat.

So this is something I might see doing in 5-7 years when we are financially independent and we have enough extra that it makes sense. It's really an "if the stars align" kind of thing.

The lower budget way to just get out on the water is definitely to go with a very depreciated respected bluewater monohull sailboat. There are some trade offs though that some are probably fine with. The trade offs I see are:

* different motion that likely makes those with existing motion sickness more prone to experiencing it at sea
* feels tighter/less space/darker
* cannot go as shallow as have a deeper keel
* maintenance -- going around the world, fair chance you're going to find out some important aspect of the boat, like perhaps the deck hull connection, has worn out and needs extensive retrofit -- it's not unusual to just replace all of the rigging but there are a lot of wear points and areas that are hard to inspect (although these are typically well known if you buy a boat with a following)

It would be ideal to buy the boat well ahead (as in years) of the anticipated departure so you can use it and get to know what needs fixing. Then you replace all the rigging, outfit it for living aboard, get spare parts, etc.

So the thing to do sooner would be get better at sailing while figuring out if my wife is compatible with a monohull. If not, find out if she is compatible with a catamaran. If not, abandon plans :).

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Re: SWB's path to financial independence

Post by Jason » Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:42 pm

I took a sailing course when I was a kid. I failed it after I rammed some rich asshole's catamaran. And it was around the time I was taking the training wheels off my shit talking so the instructor was constantly beaching me which kind of trained me for the internet. That being said, the only thing worse than sailing is sitting on the beach watching other people sailing. I guess that's kind of why I hate boats and boating authorities.

But enough me. The plan sounds very exciting. And to be honest, a little dangerous. I'm not really sure how one sail's around the world. I know there are sharks and pirates and icebergs and submarines and enemy territories and storms and drunk assholes and fiery space capsules. Plus, watching your spouse hurl her breakfast all over all the place every morning kind of takes the romance out of it. At least for me.

SavingWithBabies
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Re: SWB's path to financial independence

Post by SavingWithBabies » Tue Feb 06, 2018 6:16 pm

Yeah, that hurling would be a downer. I mean, when I say sail around the world, I really do mean because it's generally easier that way -- to follow the trade winds (and avoid hurricane seasons). But I'm not out for any records or anything. It's not a race. Totally happy to take a lifetime doing it although I'd expect roughly 8 years at most.

I think the nicest spot to start is Florida because you can hop down the island chains with only, I think, two overnight sails. Putting some thought into that start to really get a good start without a lot of hurling would be worth it. Even if I had to sail the boat to Florida so that we could come back down.

But I'm writing all this as a guy with a small 17 foot sailboat in his driveway that still has a lot to learn. Thinking about the web of goals has me writing about it now instead of later though just because there are a lot of connections between everything and it is one of the bigger looming goals that requires completing a fair number of other goals and making choices to end up at the beginning of it.

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Re: SWB's path to financial independence

Post by Jason » Wed Feb 07, 2018 5:57 am

Well it sounds exciting and quite adventurous/demanding - physically, psychologically, intellectually, spiritually. I figure your web of goals could make room for a little hurling. When I was in college, I witnessed someone power boot across a room into a bucket held by another individual without the slightest chunk hitting the floor during a raucous kegger. It was like something out of The Matrix. So I'm sure with the brain trust here someone will come up with a "Sailing and Vomiting" algorithm factoring in relevant nautical conditions.

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Re: SWB's path to financial independence

Post by Family father » Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:38 am

Speaking as someone with motion sickness I'll tell you how my algorithm worked:

1- I really loved the idea of surfing: for years longed to have a chance.
2- Finally I could afford it: so I paid a one week starter course
3- First day I got sick
4- Second day I had some motion sickness pills and it didn't work
5- The next days I took the pills, went to the course and got sick (I don't give up easy)
6- After the course, and despite i still would like to surf, I have to admit that sickness takes away all the fun of it.

And that's the story of how I learned to take the road as it comes.. about surfing and sailing.

@SWB Maybe you really should sort (test) if your wife's sickness is a barrier or not before you build a bigger project around the idea..

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Re: SWB's path to financial independence

Post by Jason » Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:00 am

Family father wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:38 am
@SWB Maybe you really should sort (test) if your wife's sickness is a barrier or not before you build a bigger project around the idea..
That's one tact. The other is to just take the Noahic route and tell her "Listen, I spent all this time building this fucking boat, you're getting on." At least SWB's wife won't have the added indignity of having to clean up twin baby dinosaur shit in between puking into the high seas.

SavingWithBabies
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Re: SWB's path to financial independence

Post by SavingWithBabies » Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:48 am

While I appreciate the Noahic route, I'm definitely planning on testing her motion sickness!

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Re: SWB's path to financial independence

Post by Jason » Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:18 am

I guess you'll just need to squeeze in a "DH Puke Frequency" column in your captain's log.

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Re: SWB's path to financial independence

Post by SavingWithBabies » Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:33 am

@Jason Yeah, it's a good idea to track it. Then I can say, look babe, you're puke rate is decreasing over time! If this trend continues, in 3 years you'll be doing great :).

I have read of some people at sea on a long voyage "finding their sea legs" after being green for a bit. I've also read of those, like me, who have had no seasickness occasionally having unexpected spells of it.

The hard part regarding puking is I have probably the worst boat for it right now -- a small light sailboat with a light keel that bounces around a lot and has to go up and down waves instead of cutting through. The opposite end of this would be a big catamaran without any heeling and long enough to cut through most waves (and ideally, if well built, high enough off the water between the two hulls to not have any wave slap). Maybe having the worst boat is for the best though.

The tests will begin this spring :).

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Re: SWB's path to financial independence

Post by Jason » Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:54 am

SavingWithBabies wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:33 am
Then I can say, look babe, you're puke rate is decreasing over time! If this trend continues, in 3 years you'll be doing great :).
LOL

I think there can also be more ways to massage the numbers. Maybe not limit the analysis to frequency, but also to constitution, volume, predicability, sea conditions, time lapse after meal as well as pre-puke and post-puke issues like skin color, emotional state, recovery period etc.

Plus, in line with the "B" in SWB, a "Puking While Sailing" vs. "Puking While Pregnant" side by side analysis which may indicate that the puke increase is incrementally speaking, not that drastic when contextualized in terms of other life conditions. Of course if she is a binge drinker, that could be used as well.

SavingWithBabies
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Re: SWB's path to financial independence

Post by SavingWithBabies » Wed Feb 07, 2018 8:04 pm

Today, I learned one can get a temporary resident visa from the local Mexican consulate if one can either demonstrate a monthly income (ie retirement) or enough funds to be able to support oneself. Interestingly, these amounts vary by consulate in the USA. At least that is what the source said. Our locale one near Detroit requires $12,000 for the later option. One source recommended one family member get that visa and the rest do the tourist visa and convert to resident by having another family already have resident while in country. We need to confirm that is a good approach. I suspect that might be to save the $36 fee per applicant but it didn't really explain why one might want to do that.

Oddly, I received a potential job offer out of the blue that is interesting. It is local and would require me to go to an office which I'm not thrilled about. However, it might have some other good qualities that make up for it. I'm going to learn more sometime within the next week. It would mean pushing off Mexico to some time in the future which both of us are okay with. Although I admit I was already thinking about sitting on the beach and listening to the waves while our eldest child played in the surf.

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Re: SWB's path to financial independence

Post by jacob » Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:54 pm

@SWB - There are several countries with such "retirement" visas: Mexico, Panama, Belize, Malta, Ecuador, Peru, Costa Rica, ... The most normal visa requires a minimum monthly income (like $1500-2000/month) which is ridiculous by ERE standards (but on par with someone on a govermnent pension), but some visas only require you to show a bank statement with a minimum amount (say $100k) to stay yet another year. These are called economic self-sufficient or independent visas. The idea being that as long as you have enough cash you won't be a fiscal burden to the country before/until they kick you out. I wish more countries had that option.

SavingWithBabies
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Re: SWB's path to financial independence

Post by SavingWithBabies » Thu Feb 08, 2018 6:01 pm

@jacob I actually read about this for Costa Rica. I didn't realize Mexico was the same -- that is great to see the other countries on that list. I agree, it would be great if every country would do this (including the USA).

Somehow, I had a disconnect between reading about this in the context of ERE as opposed to the context of just moving for a year. In the end, it's the same thing of course.

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Re: SWB's path to financial independence

Post by SavingWithBabies » Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:41 pm

I had that interview today that I mentioned above. It went well as far as I could tell. However, I'm not sure I want the job. I would get to come in and lead the tech (so roughly a CTO but probably not at that title -- not sure/negotiated yet). It's only two developers right now though and one is leaving. So I suspect I'd be coming in as more of a lead developer who may or may not get to transition up over time (if I wanted to). The tech is older -- not really in my now very hot niche. And I would need to go into the office every day. Upside is probably same salary plus potential bonus. We haven't talked about compensation yet.

So I'm undecided. Here is my breakdown:

Pros:
* more potential cash but might be a maybe if performance-based (don't know yet what performance it is based on)
* some interesting challenges
* have lead engineer or maybe higher title on resume and experience

Cons:
* legacy tech not in my hot area
* lots of work needed to bring it up to speed
* not sure two partners are tech enough or understand software enough to appreciate how much effort is required
* have to go to the office every day
* might put in all this effort and have someone hired in over me down the road
* product early enough that it still needs lot of work but it's an offshoot of a parent with more revenue so doubtful about ownership possibility and/or getting out fair compensation for what I put in

So lot more cons than pros really. Based on that list, seems like a no. But I still think about it. I guess it hinges on compensation. If I can't get what I deem a fair return on investment of time/effort/risk, it is probably better for me to stick with current easier gig and keep cracking on my side project (new job would take up more of my time too).

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Re: SWB's path to financial independence

Post by Family father » Tue Feb 13, 2018 11:22 am

SavingWithBabies wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:41 pm
fair return on investment of time/effort/risk
Just be sure you ponder these correctly: particularly the risk part!

How would affect your plans if you find it was the wrong company, or the wrong job, or if they think you are the wrong guy once you started working there...

One should have strong reasons to switch jobs, and after reading your journal, they are not obvious to me (not a matter of how many pros and cons, but how important they are): you are thinking about taking a risk to trade quality of like (freedom and time (new job + commute)) for an interesting challenge and maybe some more money...

I've done a mistake in changing jobs before because I really wanted to leave my former job (boredom and poor enviroment aversion) in the past... :(

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Re: SWB's path to financial independence

Post by SavingWithBabies » Tue Feb 13, 2018 11:28 am

@Family father I agree 100% and after sleeping on it, this isn't the opportunity for me. The reason I was considering it was getting to lead a team. But the team is so small that it practically doesn't count. The other reason is I'm bored at the day job however that is horrible reason! I would also miss working from home (get time with family, no office politics or other office annoyances). It's fun to interview and be wanted but a strong reason is definitely lacking.

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Re: SWB's path to financial independence

Post by Family father » Tue Feb 13, 2018 11:54 am

;)

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Re: SWB's path to financial independence

Post by fips » Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:02 pm

I used to focus on building career capital, but if you know your specific goal, you can probably find a more narrow path that is more relevant to your aspirations.

From skimming your pros and cons I would say the new offer is not a good personal match (not your hot area, doubt over mid-/long-term support for the company/product etc.). Higher pay can only outweigh so much.

For what it's worth, some science suggests these ingredients make your dream job:
1) Work you’re good at,
2) Work that helps others,
3) Engaging work that lets you enter a state of flow (freedom, variety, clear tasks, feedback),
4) Supportive colleagues,
5) No major negatives like long hours or unfair pay, and
6) A job that fits your personal life.

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Re: SWB's path to financial independence

Post by Jason » Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:08 pm

Now if only handling the remote was a career path.

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