YAW Journal (Vol. 2: Er-eesti Boogaloo)

Where are you and where are you going?
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YoungAndWise
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YAW Journal (Vol. 2: Er-eesti Boogaloo)

Post by YoungAndWise » Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:25 pm

Eeresti? (ERE in Estonia?)

What is this attempt three at writing this post to start my new journal? Anyone I decided to restart my journal as my old one was getting long in the teeth and honestly i have changed as a person, and so have my end goals.

The situation at is most basic form is that I turned down the contractor job in Austin, as honestly I didn’t want it and did not want to spend my year as contractor a Sword of Damocles on my head with a rent of $1,100 a month, and I got the full ride scholarship alongside living stipend for the first academic for the university I applied to. Alongside with the internship in which I will save about 4,000 USD alongside 1,000 from my awesome neighbor, I think we have wiggle room in my budget if things go fubar. As for specific tactics on saving money and staying under 350 EUR per month from the scholarship? Another journal post or another time

As for specifics reason for not wanting it and taking the Estonian graduate is something I can go into a latter post, but not right now as I want to keep this short and not a thousand words long. Besides this post is just a reboot and going over all general changes in my ERE plan (or more appropriately RE).

So here is how it has changed:

1. Location (aka Settling Down In Place is Much Better Than Dealing With Visas, Permits, and other bullshit every other year)
I am not a seer or a mystic so I can't see into the future, but I honestly don’t see myself moving as much as I imagined I would. I honestly care more about being around a trusted circle of friends, even if they are spread across the continent. Which means yes, there is a high probability of me staying in Estonia after my degree is over on a more or less permanent basis, or at least in the Baltic Sea Region. Because of the Work Placement part of the degree and the general skillset I will gain from the program (Basics of Programming, Project Management, etc.) I believe I can easily be hired after finishing. I am already researching and seeing what companies for future employment so unless a Recession happens between now and then I believe I will be alright. If not, I can get employment in the US or just say fuck it and join the Peace Corp or Americorp because fuck it I will only 24 then so I have a year or two left to spare before I really need to start a career and having compound savings work in my favor.

2. Homesteading Instead of a Digital Nomad (Or how Estonia is really good for ERE in the long run and please keep this a secret.)
Funny thing about Estonia? The Land Value Tax is based on value of land and not on improvements, so I can possibly buy land and improve the cost of it without a rise in Land Value Tax. So the option of pulling a Three Acres and Liberty is much cheaper here than say U.S., especially places where health care won't bankrupt me in a situation, in exchange for higher taxes

3. Length (Or End Date)
For me financial independence end date has been pushed back because of my student loans and lower income levels of Estonia alongside a higher tax rate. So an end date around late 40s to early 50s is realistic. And when I mean "end date" I mean probably just go into maintenance mode and just coast with some consultant work on the side to supplement my income.

Am I saying I am not going to save aggressively? No I am; I am just being realistic because of the situation I will be going and also I am beginning know what I want and willing to spend money on. Which is having a decent desktop computer instead of a shitty laptop.

And also the work I am planning on going into, Urban/Regonal/Rural Planning, is something I might enjoy as career in the long-run as currently I am contacting a guy who does planning for a village that is essentially only a thousand or so people, and I enjoy it somewhat to be honest. Not exactly a lot of money but I rather enjoy an actual work and life balance instead of going through hell while on the road of FI. Less Stress = Better Mental and Physical Health in the long run.

That is three major changes going on with my long-term ERE plan, which seems different from the usual things written by my people around my age who are pursuing FI or RE, mosty wanting to travel the world and the like. However being in Eurasia, travelling the world will be much easier, and cheaper.

Next post I will covering how the hell I am going to be saving money and staying the $350 number while improving my health at the same time, because of Web of Goals and shit.

henrik
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Re: YAW Journal (Vol. 2: Er-eesti Boogaloo)

Post by henrik » Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:23 am

Please carry on and make this my favourite journal.

You are right about the land tax. It is only based on the assessed value of the land multiplied by the rate set by the municipality. Furthermore, the values have not been reassessed since 2001 (they're talking about it now). You also get a break for a portion of the land where it's your primary (registered) residence. AFAIK it's up to 1500 sq m in towns and up to 2 ha in the countryside. My total land tax bill this year was 25€ for three different locations.
As for other taxes, there are various ways of optimising and/or deferring especially if you're working independently and not planning on spending all your income. Yet you'll still pay proportionally more than probably anywhere in the US.

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Viktor K
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Re: YAW Journal (Vol. 2: Er-eesti Boogaloo)

Post by Viktor K » Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:59 am

Being realistic about your ERE date will probably benefit you psychologically. I tend to be quite romantic about when I can ERE.

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YoungAndWise
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Re: YAW Journal (Vol. 2: Er-eesti Boogaloo)

Post by YoungAndWise » Sat Aug 12, 2017 3:10 am

henrik wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:23 am
Please carry on and make this my favourite journal.

You are right about the land tax. It is only based on the assessed value of the land multiplied by the rate set by the municipality. Furthermore, the values have not been reassessed since 2001 (they're talking about it now). You also get a break for a portion of the land where it's your primary (registered) residence. AFAIK it's up to 1500 sq m in towns and up to 2 ha in the countryside. My total land tax bill this year was 25€ for three different locations.
As for other taxes, there are various ways of optimising and/or deferring especially if you're working independently and not planning on spending all your income. Yet you'll still pay proportionally more than probably anywhere in the US.

Holy shit that is a large amount of land tax payment wise.
And probably during the first few years I will working with a company then going independent consultant. And I imagine between the income tax and social tax, I will probably only take only 6/10 or 1/2 my pay home with me. Worth it for having major health catastrophe not bankrupting me, especially when I get older imo. Also from what I heard Estonian schools are getting comparable to Finnish schools in rankings.

henrik
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Re: YAW Journal (Vol. 2: Er-eesti Boogaloo)

Post by henrik » Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:37 am

YoungAndWise wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 3:10 am
I imagine between the income tax and social tax, I will probably only take only 6/10 or 1/2 my pay home with me.
6/10 is about right. Depends, but not too much (taxes are mostly flat). There is a difference between the gross pay in your contract and total expense for the employer, since most of the social stuff is technically paid by the employer and not by you. For practical purposes though, with a monthly gross salary of 1500€, your net would be ca 1200€ and total expense to the employer is ca 2000€ - so 6/10.

What do you get for that? Pension schemes I and II (assuming you'll pay in at least 15 years, cross EU transfers of "time served" apply in certain conditions, currently accessible at 65 for someone your age); tax payer funded education at all levels (does not apply to foreign language programmes); tax payer funded health care (ex-dental) that mostly works (those who complain probably haven't been around much); heavily subsidised public transportation; Trump umbrella :)

SnailMeister4000
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Re: YAW Journal (Vol. 2: Er-eesti Boogaloo)

Post by SnailMeister4000 » Sat Aug 12, 2017 1:31 pm

YoungAndWise wrote:
Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:25 pm
(...) Estonia is really good for ERE in the long run and please keep this a secret (...)
I totally believe you, but the local language is probably filtering out a lot of otherwise potentially interested foreigners, no? I mean, unless you are Finnish, it's probably quite a killer to learn, isn't it?

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YoungAndWise
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Re: YAW Journal (Vol. 2: Er-eesti Boogaloo)

Post by YoungAndWise » Sat Aug 12, 2017 1:58 pm

SnailMeister4000 wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 1:31 pm
YoungAndWise wrote:
Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:25 pm
(...) Estonia is really good for ERE in the long run and please keep this a secret (...)
I totally believe you, but the local language is probably filtering out a lot of otherwise potentially interested foreigners, no? I mean, unless you are Finnish, it's probably quite a killer to learn, isn't it?
Yes Estonian is a killer language to learn, and while majority of the younger population knows Estonian and you can probably go through life without learning it, you will win the hearts of Estonians in general by even learning several simple phrases let alone the language. Also in the the countryside, where it is cheaper to live, you will probably need to learn Estonian.

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YoungAndWise
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Re: YAW Journal (Vol. 2: Er-eesti Boogaloo)

Post by YoungAndWise » Tue Sep 19, 2017 2:45 pm

The First Month

Life is good.

My budget is slowly getting into a steady state.

Travelled to Tallinn a little bit with a friend.

Working on my abstract proposal already

Waistline is shrinking, slowly.

And for the first in a long time

I feel alive.

P.S. I am bottle of Alexander in when I wrote this. But it feels right, none the less.

henrik
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Re: YAW Journal (Vol. 2: Er-eesti Boogaloo)

Post by henrik » Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:07 am

How does it feel at the two month mark now that the light is mostly gone and the novelty worn off?
Are you getting your Alexanders from across the border yet?

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YoungAndWise
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Re: YAW Journal (Vol. 2: Er-eesti Boogaloo)

Post by YoungAndWise » Sat Nov 04, 2017 4:39 am

@henrik:
This will probably answer your question. DId not see your post.

As for Alexanders from across the border? Sadly not. Not enough room in fridge to make the trip to Valka and back worth it price wise. Sadly. :/

Also fucking hell I forgot how fast it dark gets up here. Not an issue per say, just caught off guard.


What the hell is going?

I am half-way through my semester and I have decided to post something more meet to it than a shitty half-assed post with a few lines of text. So, here we go.

Financial Front:
Because of my previous year in the same region, I have not really taken many trips at all during my time here, with most of my money going out and socializing whenever me and the gang. Which means a lot of financial expenses are from eating out. While it is sustainable to do this, to eat out a couple times a week as we go to cheap places which give a lot of food, I could fairly easily chop down the price by eating out less and storing food at my dorm which can frozen; like pork dumplings which I got for a one euros for 1 lb/400 G each. Now I need to find vegetables which can be stored for a while, as honestly I do not each that much.

Beyond food, my main major expenses are rent...and well that is it. This weekend I am taking a trip to the city for a conference but the transportation prices are reimbursed by Uni (which is really fucking awesome), and next month I am taking a trip to Berlin to visit friends, but beyond I am operating at fairly low expenses. Because of that I am kind of sort of kind of hitting a baseline of around 300 euros a month currently. The reason that numbers exist is because money I have left from my stipend from the previous month is about twice my rent and I am going to say I spend around one hundred euros a month on food(?), which is low mainly because I don’t eat as much as the normal person.

Still I could cut out the soda and opt for store-brand fizzy drinks which are about a forth-of-a-cost in comparison to brand name drinks. Also going out and buying breakfast in the form of a couple pastries, while enjoyable, I might consider cutting out or reducing as that habit about one to two euros for about three pastries. At the same time? I really like the food they cook and it is literally down the stairs and next door.

Transportation is mostly foot for around the city. Living in a dorm so close to the city center really helps, for out of city trips public transportation. I kind of want to get a car after I graduate so I can visit local national parks and more off the beaten track destination.

Education:
It feels really fucking awkward being the expert for GIS, with everyone asking me for help. I mean seriously, me? Am I truly the best for ArcGIS among my classmates o_0.

Thought seriously, I enjoy the diverse educational backgrounds everyone has, with some working on their second masters, half the group having already worked a few years and being six years older year me. And with me being the ArcGIS guy who seems to be willing to help, I get called upon to help more often than not with my classmates work.

Python is great and I am glad I am getting to use more often. I am probably going to try and expanded my portfolio of languages from just Python to R, SQL, and other programs a data scientist would use as while being a region planner/urban modeling expert would be awesome, I do have data scientist in Tallinn as a backup plan just in case I can’t find a job within regional planning. As for PhD work? I don’t know. The idea of being tied up in a place for four years, even with the ability to visit other countries for research, kind of scares the shits out of me. Damn you nomadic spirit! Damn you!

Social Life:
Eh? Honestly most of my social life is invested within the small “ka-tet” that has born from our group of ten. It is unwise in a way, because once the program is over the “kat-tet” will probably break-up with each of us going our separate ways, something we all know and acknowledged.


Long-Term Future:
Originally I wanted to stay in Estonia after I graduate, pick up a career and stay. And while I do want to stay here long-term as the potential for improving society is, emotionally I don’t if I can. There is a side of me that still cares about the US, and talking to other people from say Ukraine and other people about the topic, kind of shows my true colors. I don’t know where I will stand on the topic of the USA two years from name.

On Estonia, I like the country, they are competent, probably one of the most competently led countries in Eastern Europe from IMF reports I have read during my spare-time (Yep I am that nerdy.) with some of their issues something they are not alone in facing (population decline). The past couple years have shown people are coming back to Estonia, which has lead to immigrants than emigrants (positive population migration). The major question is immigration which coming from

Conclusion
Life is good. Need to fix some stuff financially. Putting together a portfolio and diversifying my skill set. Don’t travel as much, with my main reasons being to see friends instead of seeing sites. Long-term stay in Estonia is up for debate, as my emotions on US are in a complicated status.

Fuck I am an adult now.

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YoungAndWise
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Re: YAW Journal (Vol. 2: Er-eesti Boogaloo)

Post by YoungAndWise » Mon Dec 11, 2017 12:51 pm

11.12.2017

Lull in the Madness

For the last month or so my life has been hectic, with me running around trying to finish tasks on time, dealing with bullshit class requirements for 3 ECTS, and in general trying to keep my sanity. Beyond that however I have found time to actually relax to write down my post and feeligns again.

Darkness has arrived, and thankfully does not really mess with me emotionally. If anything, it is an annoyance where I go outside and think “This is kind of annoying.” However I do wish there was more snow, certainly lightens the place up at night.

By entire budget for November was blown to hell by unexpected trips to Tallinn which means eating out more often, a lot of us eating out because time was not on our side, and a farewell party to one of the PhD students. Also buying tickets to Berlin which I can longer do because of stupid fucking timetables change.

Yeaaa! /s

Overall my time here has been alright, just going through a rough patch with school, and suffering the downside of being a guinea pig of a new program; the moments where the faculty realize it might be rough for students.

Finally getting to socialize with Estonians...at least to best of my ability of socializing with Estonians.

And lastly, next semester’s work placement is one month and unpaid. Because of this, I am going to try and find part time work, which with the recent rise in minimum wage, means I can maybe earn an extra 200 Euros per month alongside 100 Achievement Stipend, which I hope I get but not counting on.

This month, cutting back on food...And alcohol. Yeah I probably spent as much money on food as on alcohol last month. Bite me, I needed it. Thankfully gone a couple weeks going back to normal intake.

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