GandK's journal, part II

Where are you and where are you going?
GandK
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GandK's journal, part II

Post by GandK » Fri Aug 18, 2017 11:37 am

Things have changed a lot in the last ~10 months, so I'm starting a new journal.

Background, for context: I'm a 43-yo female, married, with blended family. I left the work force (software development) a few years ago. My husband is a self-employed attorney. We have two kids, both boys, who still live at home. The older will finish his high school work in November. The younger just started first grade.

Although our savings rate had put G's retirement date around July 2018 for some time, over the last few months he made some bad investments in our mid- to short-term brokerage account that completely derailed us. Mistakes totaling 6 figures. [Which one of you was asking for ERE failure stories? Well, here you go! The takeaway: most people shouldn't trade stocks.] To say he's been kicking himself would be an understatement. He's been miserable at work for some time; those mistakes meant working a lot longer, and he felt like he failed me to boot.

Meanwhile, I've had two medical problems to deal with: depression and worsening chronic migraines. And unfortunately, those two maladies feed off each other. All my life goals have been derailed; I've either been in too much pain to act, or feeling too worthless to act, or both. Doctors and dietary changes have failed to move the needle very much. Three people I love dying over the course of the winter and losing that large sum of money did not help either. My marriage has sucked. My parenting has sucked. My life has basically sucked.

Then, a windfall.

We found out a few weeks ago that a personal injury case that G expected to be quite small will be worth a lot. At least twice as much as he lost through bad trades. So as soon as that case settles - sometime in the next 6 months, although it could be as soon as 2 months - G will retire. Ahead of our original plan instead of behind it.

You'd think I'd be happy about this, but I feel dissatisfied and guilty, like we're cheating and we don't deserve to retire. I also wonder if stock trading is out of G's system. And what skills I should start developing, if any, in case it isn't and things go sideways again. :?

[Sidenote: all our money is in two pots. We have age 60+ money, and we have pre-60 money. The 60+ money is fine and is plentiful. Our loss, and this upcoming gain, is part of the pre-60 money. So if we do lose money again in this fashion, we'll be eating rice and beans and otherwise shifting until we are 60, but not forever. That said, it will be a cold day in hell before I consent to dipping into the post-60 money early to cover pre-60 losses. SOMEONE will be working, while we're young enough to make that happen.]

Separate from all that, this summer I agreed to live in a travel trailer full time for the first 4 years of our mutual retirement and to home-school our youngest, on the condition that - barring the illness of one or other of our aging parents - we camp/live in places with more congenial weather than Cincinnati's. This decision was the result of multiple trips out west this year where I confirmed what I'd long suspected: drier areas with fewer wild weather swings equals way fewer migraines. I'm a homesteader and an introvert, so picture me with an ESTJ husband and an ENFJ first grader in a 28-ft camper in the desert. I can only say that a less-stressed-out husband, more sunshine and fewer barometric pressure headaches are so important to me right now that I'll do anything.

And now, anything = moving into a travel trailer sometime in the next few months. I admit it: I'm scared. Excited, but scared. The "what ifs" list feels very, very long.

So far, we've decided on Texas as our domicile state due to a combination of no state taxes, ease of road citizenship, and most of all for their lenient homeschooling regulations and extensive homeschooling support system. (We were told going in that pretty much everyone who road-schools their kids chooses to domicile in Texas; I can definitely see why.) We're also now looking for a used Winnebago travel trailer model 2401RG, which we intend to modify to suit our needs. One became available in our area two days ago; we plan to go see it this weekend.

We have not given up on choosing an ideal retirement spot. I think we will buy a condo in paradise eventually, but for the next few years I expect we'll be following the weather.

In short... things are currently crazy. :shock:

1taskaday
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Re: GandK's journal, part II

Post by 1taskaday » Fri Aug 18, 2017 1:33 pm

Welcome back,you were missed.

Sounds like a lot of challenges... all together as is usual in life.

The plan sounds mad but could be fun...

I would only agree if I had real contingencies set up for any part of it that might fail.

Home schooling...I thought you were looking forward to getting a bit of freedom when youngest started school???

See Penelope Trunk blog and The Millionaire Educator blog on home schooling,even the 2 teachers found it difficult. I suppose anything is worth a try as long as you have a fall back plan if it cracks you up.

Best of luck.

slowtraveler
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Re: GandK's journal, part II

Post by slowtraveler » Fri Aug 18, 2017 5:16 pm

It sounds like you've started clawing your way out. That's a lot you've been through. It's good to have you back.

I'm not surprised having the money back didn't "solve"all the feelings, stressors arose on multiple non-financial fronts too. Plus, you need some rest after stressors like that and it sounds like it's been back to back hurricanes.

On investing-I started out like your man with lots of trading (relative to now). I went all in on gas when prices dropped, thinking they'd pop right back up. I gained 20% returns in a day. Then lost more. I was getting more anxious by the day. The rush and validation can be addictive. Then as the price approaches break even, I get out. I slowly realized I could get 5-10% with no work or put in a huge amount of work for a chance at a few % higher in the long run but also chance for loss. I've had 14.9% returns since switching to indexing and I'm still trying to gather the energy to read 10-ks and finance textbooks. I won't let myself pick stocks till I better understand. So I've been working a relatively conservative allocation of 30 us-30 intl-40 wellesley. It's boring but it works.

Have you asked him how he believes the settlement funds should be invested?

Jason
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Re: GandK's journal, part II

Post by Jason » Fri Aug 18, 2017 7:29 pm

RE: Your dissatisfaction and guilty feelings with windfall.

You are currently in Dodge. You are given a chance to get the fuck out of Dodge. But you don't like the nature of the chance that is allowing you the opportunity to get the fuck out of Dodge. So you stay in Dodge, knowing you can get the fuck out of Dodge, but working towards a more fulfilling way to get the fuck out of Dodge than the way that you already have to get the fuck out of Dodge. So now extending your stay in Dodge, you do some shit in Dodge that makes you feel better about getting the fuck out of Dodge that the original way you were given a chance to get the fuck out of Dodge. Once that shit is accomplished in Dodge to get you the fuck out of Dodge, you finally decide to get the fuck out of Dodge at which point you ask yourself why the fuck did I stay in Dodge to find a way to to get the fuck out of Dodge when I already had a chance to get the fuck out of Dodge.

ffj
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Re: GandK's journal, part II

Post by ffj » Sun Aug 20, 2017 9:35 am

I've had one migraine in my life and it was horrible. I couldn't even open my eyes because of the light and the slightest noise sent waves of pain through my body. The only thing that has ever come close to that level of pain involved a dental issue. It absolutely shut me down. And that was one time! I can't imagine having to deal with these on a constant basis.

Take the money and run. Quality of life is everything, and if Texas will help with your situation then it's time to become a Longhorn. I am assuming your husband made that money legitimately so why feel guilty? And I wouldn't feel bad for a situation beyond your control. I seriously doubt anyone chooses to have migraines. Is that even possible?

Good luck and happy travels.

FBeyer
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Re: GandK's journal, part II

Post by FBeyer » Sun Aug 20, 2017 11:57 am

Jason wrote:
Fri Aug 18, 2017 7:29 pm
RE: Your dissatisfaction and guilty feelings with windfall.

You are currently in Dodge. You are given a chance to get the fuck out of Dodge. But you don't like the nature of the chance that is allowing you the opportunity to get the fuck out of Dodge. So you stay in Dodge, knowing you can get the fuck out of Dodge, but working towards a more fulfilling way to get the fuck out of Dodge than the way that you already have to get the fuck out of Dodge. So now extending your stay in Dodge, you do some shit in Dodge that makes you feel better about getting the fuck out of Dodge that the original way you were given a chance to get the fuck out of Dodge. Once that shit is accomplished in Dodge to get you the fuck out of Dodge, you finally decide to get the fuck out of Dodge at which point you ask yourself why the fuck did I stay in Dodge to find a way to to get the fuck out of Dodge when I already had a chance to get the fuck out of Dodge.
I'll add to this post with a quote from Duff of Gun's 'n Roses' fame:
So, what do you think he's trying to say there anyway?

Jason
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Re: GandK's journal, part II

Post by Jason » Sun Aug 20, 2017 12:09 pm

Not to mention, Duff is an appropriate person to quote on ERE. Despite the requisite and predictable heroin/alcohol habit (which in GNR was really just the price of doing business), Duff went to business school and set up an investment company with his brothers and used his rock n roll cash to build up a real estate portfolio. As opposed to Steven Adler, who was forced to go back to his pre Guns and Roses method of making money - blowing old men on Hollywood boulevard.

GandK
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Been awhile

Post by GandK » Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:00 am

We bought and moved into an RV exactly 6 weeks ago, a gently used Coachmen 19CB. (For G, myself and our 8yo) Taking our first actual vacation in it, 2 weeks in Michigan, on Friday. We're all enjoying the RV life more than we thought we would.

G is now semi-retired, winding down existing cases and becoming increasingly selective about new work.

I'm now in my 2nd year of homeschooling my youngest. First year went very smoothly. We both love it.

Still planning become Texas residents once G's work slows to a trickle.

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jennypenny
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Re: GandK's journal, part II

Post by jennypenny » Tue Aug 13, 2019 12:43 pm

I'm glad things are going well K! How are you feeling these days?

GandK
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Re: GandK's journal, part II

Post by GandK » Tue Aug 13, 2019 1:11 pm

jennypenny wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 12:43 pm
I'm glad things are going well K! How are you feeling these days?
I think I'm better? May sound silly, but when I'm depressed I'm always the last to notice that something's wrong. I figured I was becoming well again when I started to take an interest in things other than the people and tasks that were right in front of me.

The last two months I've been loopy, trying to sell and move out of the condo, downsize our remaining possessions by 50% or so, then get all of them to fit in a 21' space. Now we're having fun every day trying to figure out where we stashed them. Spare toilet paper didn't get stored in the microwave in our last home, for instance, so only the one who unpacked it knew where it was... not good in the moment. :lol:

Great to hear from you. Hope you're doing well too. :)

IlliniDave
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Re: GandK's journal, part II

Post by IlliniDave » Tue Aug 13, 2019 1:54 pm

Hey K! Happy to see you reporting in. Sounds like you're well on the way, I'm happy to hear. I'm still all talk and little action, but the day is drawing near where I'll have to do something or risk being an absolute fraud. Hope the trip to Michigan is a great one. Around the same time I'll be wandering northward to Minnesota via Illinois.

Frita
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Re: GandK's journal, part II

Post by Frita » Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:05 pm

Yippee, things are falling into place! Personally, I try not to do any thinking or make decisions while in an emotional state. It is as though my brain is hijacked. Nothing like a funny post from Jason to wake up...

theanimal
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Re: GandK's journal, part II

Post by theanimal » Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:15 pm

Good to have you back! Glad to hear the downsize is going well.

GandK
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Re: GandK's journal, part II

Post by GandK » Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:40 pm

Thanks Dave, Frita and theanimal. Glad to be back.

rube
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Re: GandK's journal, part II

Post by rube » Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:07 pm

Thanks for your update K. I hope you will post more frequent updates in the future. Wish you all the best.

GandK
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Re: GandK's journal, part II

Post by GandK » Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:48 pm

Thanks, rube.

10 things that have surprised me about living the past 6 weeks in an RV:
1. Costco still makes sense. We can no longer store industrial sized packages of paper products, but the RV gas savings alone make our membership still worth it.
2. Costco's "environmentally responsible" liquid dish soap makes a cheap and wonderful shampoo. Random off-the-wall discovery. It's now my favorite.
3. We all want to make our beds in the RV. If we don't, the whole house looks a wreck. (We never bothered in the condo.)
4. Dumping the tanks is nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be. To hear people talk in some of the RV forums, you'd have thought it would scar you for life. For the record: if you're careful, this is totally overblown.
5. There's a reason so many RVers and vandwellers rave about cooking in the Instant Pot. It makes almost any meal and the only thing I need to clean up afterward is the silver inner pot. Water savings alone make this my new best friend.
6. We eat healthier food and waste less of it. We were doing OK before, but now it's a requirement because crap food has more bulky packaging and we're short on pantry space. Also we don't want to spend the gas to make extra grocery trips, so it all gets consumed.
7. People who are not in their 20s give you the "bless your heart" look when you tell them you live in an RV. Even if you tell them you're retired. I've had to tell people not to bring me a charity meal. This embarrasses me and I'm still trying to navigate it. 20-somethings think you're a cool old hippie and ask you questions. :lol:
8. Laundromats have mysteriously not improved since I was in college back in '92. Technology has completely left them behind. Is this because the people who use them tend to be poor?
9. Biggest upside: we're all happier. My kid is happier than ever. He calls his cab-over bunk his "treehouse," all his things are within arm's reach, and the budding engineer in him is enthralled by all the different systems on board. I expect him to eventually become the facilities expert. He's very excited about getting solar installed in October. My husband is happier, too. Kind of a surprise, but my guess is it's because we're having about 50% more sex. I put this down to me being within arm's reach at all times. And I'm scratching my secret tiny house itch.
10. Biggest downside: water. By far. It's a constant, nagging thing. Where to get it, how much we have, when we expect it'll run out. We have outsourced showering to Planet Fitness. Having a Berkey helps, but it cannot solve this problem. This is just our new reality.

7Wannabe5
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Re: GandK's journal, part II

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Wed Aug 14, 2019 12:36 pm

Welcome back! Camper sex is the best*.


*Except for the having to sleep smushed up against the cold wall part.

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jennypenny
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Re: GandK's journal, part II

Post by jennypenny » Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:08 pm

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 12:36 pm
Camper sex is the best
Yeah, but only if you’re alone in the camper. I can’t figure out how the sex is better with an 8yo practically in the same room.

You guys must be a lot quieter than we are. :P

GandK
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Re: GandK's journal, part II

Post by GandK » Wed Aug 14, 2019 2:24 pm

By day, he spends afternoons outside, and by night he sleeps like a rock.

I'm lucky on both counts. :lol:

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Sclass
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Re: GandK's journal, part II

Post by Sclass » Sat Aug 17, 2019 8:25 am

GandK wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:48 pm
2. Costco's "environmentally responsible" liquid dish soap makes a cheap and wonderful shampoo. Random off-the-wall discovery. It's now my favorite.

8. Laundromats have mysteriously not improved since I was in college back in '92. Technology has completely left them behind. Is this because the people who use them tend to be poor?
I’ll have to check out the Costco soap. While it is a compromise between specialized agents, it sure simplifies the cabinet of cleaners to go to one soap. I was told recently I smelled like dish soap. I was actually a bit embarrassed. A friend literally blurted out in public, “no seriously Sclass your clothes, your hair and your car smell like dish soap!” My wife was across the room pretending not to laugh.

I had two neighbors with laundromats and some friends with coin op machines in their rentals. They were really good at fixing them while we hung around. While the machines wear out and break often, they’ve standardized on a set of electromechanical parts that are interchangeable and standardized. My pals kept a big stash of coin activated timers, thermostats, motors, switches etc. that they’d just swap in and out of their machines. It was so mindless we could bs and drink beers at the same time.

The problem with digital controls is any engineer (like me) can design you up a one of a kind printed circuit board with one off code compiled on one of twenty different compilers and it’ll control a wash cycle. And that’s what happens. Instead of multiple machines across multiple brands sharing the same rotary controller knob you get every model from each manufacturer ends up running a different piece of digital hardware. This will be a nightmare when we try to keep our machines running for over a decade which was easily done on old stuff by ordering the standard part and replacing it. If the manufacturer no longer sells the pcb you’re finished unless you want to hack one together. Not what a laundromat operator wants.

Also if I recall my laundromat days the places get really humid and wet. Digital systems hate that kind of environment and need to be specially coated to resist moisture. It’s like this old school wind up 1960s kitchen timer I got from my mom’s outlives the new digital variety 100 fold.

...since you asked. :D

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