What I Spend

Where are you and where are you going?
Scott 2
Posts: 1419
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

I agree with you on the spending - there has been a drift over the years. I observe it on all retirement / money forums. The strategies work, people obtain wealth, but they want to remain in the community. So the community changes.

My wife talked to my mom about will and estate stuff, but in the other direction. Our will is due for some updates. I'll get to the conversation eventually.


I've put some time and money into making video conferencing an option for when I work remote. I already had a decent webcam, but my lighting was awful. $60 on a ring light, and I'm in pretty good shape. I have a diffuser and a muslin backdrop coming, but that should be it. I'll be $100 all in and I am getting great video from it. I did spend entirely too much time learning about streaming.

I should have done this before gambling on reducing my office trips. It's not quite being there in person, but much much better than only a phone call. I am hoping to foster a more collaborative culture over time, including when everyone is remote. I will lead by example and see what happens.

Scott 2
Posts: 1419
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

My wife and I have been thinking more seriously about our next home. The biggest debate is around whether we are willing to pay the premium for a house with yard vs. a town home. After running the numbers on some sample properties, even after accounting for association dues, financial demand for a comparable house is about 20% higher than a town home. It turns out the efficiencies of sharing land, structure and labor outperforms the general wastefulness of an HOA. Some of this is because I have zero interest in taking care of a home and would hire out work.

The extra cost for a house is doable, but represents around a year and half of additional savings. Geographic region and single story living are priorities. That means available inventory could strongly influence our path. We are not under external pressure to buy, but I am impatient. We do have who appears to be a decent realtor helping us. I was surprised to complete loan pre-approval in a single day.

Money's not the primary consideration here, more what type of lifestyle we'd prefer. I like having the HOA worry about snow removal, exterior maintenance, lawn care, etc. I don't like talking to my neighbors, being told what to do, needing approval to change things, etc. A yard does open opportunities for things like a hot tub, garden, outdoor lifting, foster dogs. It's hard for me to say how all that balances out, even if prices were even.

One of the interesting aspects of this analysis, is finding my current town house is cost optimized for the area. While our association dues are a little high, relatively low taxes balance them out. I'd originally hoped to reduce ongoing living expenses in my next move, but that now seems unrealistic. At best I'll break even.


Real time tracking of spending is going well. I am at $700 for the month so far, well below prior months. I do expect some bigger purchases in the last third of the month, but that will put me on track to the planned budget. Part of this is due to a nasty cold I picked up at the end of September. I haven't been able to lift, which has my appetite way down.

Frita
Posts: 291
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2018 8:43 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Frita »

How interesting that you calculated the townhouse/condo option with the shenanigans of an HOA to be cheaper than a house. We found condo living easy to adjust to after having houses. Going back to a house has been tough for my spouse and me. Even our son is starting to see it.

Good job tracking your expenses. Before you know it, it’ll be Second nature.

Scott 2
Posts: 1419
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

October 2019 Total (Individual) - $1485
Travel - $303.00
Groceries - $286.75
Home Maintenance - $250.00
Work Travel - $206.78
Utilities - $196.67
Restaurants - $160.64
Education - $44.03
Entertainment - $37.97

Work travel resulted in 6 nights away from home. Grocery spend is way down, both because of the travel and because it is being observed.

The passive model overstates my individual spending. Work ate a lot of my normal costs, including cell phone, which can now be expensed.

However, some spousal costs are blended into the groceries, restaurant and travel items. The picture is especially complicated because my wife came with to a work conference in Vegas. For around $1000, she was able to enjoy a fast travel (tours, eating out, etc.) 5 day trip, while staying at the 5 star conference hotel. We'd never budget for this otherwise.

Moving forward, I'm using combined spend for the tracking picture. Past two months data:

October 2019 Total (couple) - 2924
Travel - $777.19
ATM/Cash - $400.00
Groceries - $369.87
Entertainment - $259.50
Home Maintenance - $250.00
Restaurants - $232.34
Work Travel - $206.78
Utilities - $196.67
Automotive - $140.82
Education - $91.03

September 2019 Total (couple) - 2755
Groceries - $686.83
Travel - $559.19
Education - $416.49
Home Maintenance - $339.95
ATM/Cash - $203.00
Restaurants - $181.11
Entertainment - $165.03
Work Travel - $132.36
Utilities - $99.00
Healthcare/Medical - $51.51
Clothing/Shoes - ($79.05)

The couple numbers better reflect October's trip to Vegas. September shows high due to some yoga related travel and training my wife had. All the "exceptional" expenses are work driven (wife teaches yoga), so I am more comfortable with these numbers than might otherwise be expected.

I think November will be closer to $2200, largely depending on if we make any significant black Friday purchases. I am aware if every month has exceptional expenses, they really aren't, making our spend higher than estimated. That feedback is part of the reason to track this aggregated data.

We are watching for available housing in our desired area, but inventory has dried up for winter. In the meantime, my wife is going to arrange a couple foster dogs over the next two months. If it's something we enjoy, it would be a mark in favor of a house with yard. If not, a mark in favor of another townhouse.

Work is going well in general. They keep making it easier to stay employed. This week was a conference learning about something I enjoy, including $200 of free books. The next two months, I have a week off for each holiday. There's a nice holiday party coming. Video conferencing has improved my day to day engagement. My biggest challenge is chilling out and accepting the pace of change is slower than I prefer.

I am still tuning my exit strategy. I have no idea when it will ever be exercised, but having the plan in place makes life easier.

Scott 2
Posts: 1419
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

I have this week off for Thanksgiving. I already made my Black Friday purchase - a $225 specialty barbell. It's a good price on a niche item, so provided I don't ruin it, I can recoup most of that selling. I am back to lifting on a regular schedule, and a new toy will help sustain my enthusiasm. I also ordered a new fitbit band, since mine broke. Tracking my sleep makes me sleep better, and holds me accountable for leaving the phone out of the bedroom.

We continue watching the housing market. My wife and I have a good understanding of our individual priorities. There's a strong preference for the ease of a town home, but we're still planning to give dog fostering a try. If a great house option came up, I think we'd take it. With that said, our place is currently filthy, to the point of pink film in the shower. Cleaning it only requires a text message to the house keeper. I would need to do some growing, to responsibly care for a house and yard.

We'll see my parents this week for Thanksgiving. I'll probably take the finances conversation a little further with them. One thing I've learned from my projections, is their finances are one of my biggest risks - both positive and negative. I think they are doing well enough that we can have a transparent conversation. I'm sure my Mom would be up for it, less sure about my Dad.

I am revisiting the idea of buying time back. I committed to instacart express, intending to eliminate all grocery shopping. I'd gotten back in the brick and mortar stores, to lower my budget tracking numbers. That was probably a mistake. I am still mulling the idea of having some home help visit once a week - food prep, laundry, sheets, light cleaning, etc. It's probably the most rational option while working, especially given my personal priorities and financial position.

I got back into some video games, playing a bunch of Kings Bounty Crosswinds. This is a rebound from work stress, but I've really enjoyed it.


Work has been up and down. Objectively, most would view my past month as a success. We're making progress on new stuff, much of which I am driving. I helped prevent a couple misses from becoming large problems. People are happy with and seem to like me. I think I'm on track to get my annual bonus. I'm learning how the hiring process works. I increased my involvement in the professional community. Achieving the American dream over here.

I can't help but feel it isn't the life I set out to lead. Due to the Vegas conference and other constraints, I ended up travelling 3 times within a month - nine nights sleeping someplace other than my own bed. My last work trip, I was going from 9am on Day 1 through 9pm on Day 3. Day 2 was people for 14 hours straight. I just want to sit in my home and play computer, maybe lift some weights or take a walk.

I knew the schedule was going to be rough setting it up. I have a tendency to discount future suffering and push myself just short of the breaking point. Life is swinging the other direction now, with only 3 nights away from home in the next 6 weeks. I also have 2 weeks off in there. I'm perfectly happy with work that involves sitting at home. so hopefully my perspective rebounds quickly.

As part of the learning about hiring, last week I toggled the recruiters feature on linkedin. I had no idea. It's literally every day with a new option. My company is having a terrible time finding qualified people. No wonder. I'm casually responding remote only, which mostly gets a "not this position, but we'll keep you in mind". I am curious if levels.fyi style comp is available remote. The one option I got, I threw those numbers out as a screening tool. They did not bite, but it's mostly for entertainment, so that's ok.


Automated tracking of household spending and net worth is going so well, I have nothing to say about it. Monthly numbers are trending a little higher than the $2200 I expected. Looking over net worth year to date, the increase is staggering. It's more than my annual salary. I remember being thrilled when my entire net worth was what I've saved in the last 11 months. It's great, but definitely adds to the cognitive dissonance around work and associated spending.

In contrast - the highlight of my yesterday was a $2 whiskey while playing a $10 computer game, which I'm 40 hours into. My wife's peak was figuring out a yoga thing - literally rolling around on the floor. We're not fancy people.

Scott 2
Posts: 1419
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

Today we spent some time walking around target neighborhoods for our next home. We pretty quickly ruled out a couple and confirmed the one I thought was most appealing does well in person.

Tomorrow, we're going to see an option that isn't on the market. It turns out a good realtor will knock on doors and try to convince people to move. As the seller, I'd find it incredibly shady. As the buyer, I have some hope. At the very least, we'll get a chance to talk to someone who has lived in the area for a long time.

We also looked at a couple open lots still available in the same neighborhood. They have great location and views, but I am extremely hesitant to take on the responsibility of new home construction. The time demands and expense are primary concerns. I'm also still not convinced I'd take care of a house sufficiently well, though new construction could delay that problem for some time.

We're also picking up a foster dog for Thanksgiving. I'm happy time off from work is being used to move my lifestyle forward.

Scott 2
Posts: 1419
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

The off market home turns out to be a strong option, with a serious seller. My wife and I are thoroughly considering it. As might be expected, lots of interesting discussion and some mild constructive conflict.

Dog fostering is hard. This one has separation anxiety and is afraid to climb the stairs. The bedrooms are on the 2nd floor. After an hour of coaxing failed, I gave up and carried her. I knew it wasn't the "right" option, but patience was exhausted. We'll see if tonight goes any better.

Scott 2
Posts: 1419
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

November 2019 Total (Couple) - $3,287

Groceries - $997.75
Entertainment - $513.42
ATM/Cash - $303.00
Home Maintenance - $288.93
Restaurants - $259.15
Pets/Pet Care - $252.62
Insurance - $245.12
Healthcare/Medical - $176.93
Education - $92.96
Utilities - $78.39
Automotive - $52.89
Work Travel - $25.99

High Score! More excuses...

This month's exceptional expenses were gym toys, new glasses, 3 months of pet stuff, once a year insurance bill, buying time through instacart / eating out, and restoring food inventory. About $1000 over where I'd hoped to be. I think next month will be lower, maybe $2500, but I clearly have no idea. At least the tracking model is giving real data.

On the other side, net worth is growing fast, up about 15% over the last 11 months. It's tough for me to balance driving expenses down vs. making working as fun and sustainable as possible. Hiring out everything but work might be my optimal strategy.

The quest for new housing is over. We found the mutually agreed upon best option in our market. We visited local parks with the foster dog, arranged the floor plan virtually, outlined needed renovations, calculated expenses, ran commute times, and discussed the expected lifestyle. It would be a win for me, but my wife can't make it work. That makes it a lose. So we are staying put. Much much better than moving to learn it was miserable, but I still have a need for change. It's going to be interesting to see how that pressure releases.

The foster dog goes back today. She finally worked up courage to ascend the stairs this morning, after I carried her (60lbs!) to bed every night. Stupid dog. We got pictures doing stuff like walking in the forest preserve and laying with a toddler. Hopefully they will help sell her, despite the seperation anxiety problem. She's already managed one failed adoption because of it.

Peanut
Posts: 428
Joined: Sat Feb 14, 2015 2:18 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Peanut »

I’m not familiar with the fostering process. The dog is a purebred? Why didn’t you keep her?

Scott 2
Posts: 1419
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

The dog was from our local animal shelter, getting cage rest over Thanksgiving. They provide everything - food, bed, toys, etc. In exchange, we socialize the dog, working on problems. This one had issues with being nervous in the car, pulling on the leash, stairs and separation anxiety. The goal is to make a more adoptable animal. She went back because we aren't equipped to contend with the separation anxiety during normal weeks, and I don't want a permanent dog.

We signed up as a foster home with the animal shelter years ago. More commonly, we help with the spring overflow of kittens. You typically get a mom cat that has just given birth. The kittens can't be adopted until roughly twelve weeks old. So you raise them to that point, with the shelter providing food, litter and medical care. These are usually strays, so they are likely to have upper respiratory, eye infections, and some socialization issues. The mom might need grooming, the kittens supplemental food and spay/nueter, etc.

From my perspective, it's the best way to have pets. You get all the fun and novelty, with no expense, and no long term responsibility. They go back before you get too attached, and it's extremely rare you have the loss of them dying on you.

Contrast that to our 13 year old cat - she gets blood pressure medicine twice a day, mixed into two of her four daily feedings. I have to measure it out using a tiny scale, after crushing the human pill to powder. Figuring that out cost a couple grand, after scares where she fell off a fifteen foot ledge, running from our younger cat. Because they can't get along, she's locked in the bedroom at night, requiring a litter box and messing with my sleep. Because of all this, when we travel, it's an extra $50 per day for a pet sitter. I love the cat, but caring for an aging animal sucks.

Peanut
Posts: 428
Joined: Sat Feb 14, 2015 2:18 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Peanut »

Scott 2 wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 2:36 pm
From my perspective, it's the best way to have pets. You get all the fun and novelty, with no expense, and no long term responsibility. They go back before you get too attached,
Ha for my DH this would take inside of 10"

Thanks for explaining about fostering. Does it usually work for those 'problem' dogs do you think?

Aging pets seem to bring as many treatments as aging people these days. But having lost all our pets before their time, I think I would prefer a gradual journey into that good night for a change.

Scott 2
Posts: 1419
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

My personal experience with dog fostering is limited, but based on what I've seen, I think the problem dogs are often helped. All of the major animal rescue groups have some variation of behavioral rehab.

As a more prominent example, Best Friends rescued the dogs from Michael Vick's fighting ring:

https://bestfriends.org/sanctuary/explo ... ktory-dogs
https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/m ... llery.html

Most shelters have volunteers who specialize in the most difficult cases. As an "advanced" pet owner, they are interesting challenges. Typically the extreme animals are adopted by volunteers, who know what they are getting into, rather than made available to the public.

There are also sanctuaries (like Best Friends) that will take in animals deemed un-adoptable. My wife and I took a volunteer vacation there about 10 years ago. There are a couple thousand animals you can lend a hand with - cats, dogs, rabbits, horses, pigs, birds, etc. It's a fun place.

Scott 2
Posts: 1419
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

It turns out the housing conversation remains open. We met with the realtor for a few hours last weekend. She's convinced a better option will come available than the "optimized" townhouse. I highly doubt it, but it seems the townhouse isn't fully off the table either. I made a list of all the problems I'm ignoring with our current place - it's long. Much worse than my wife previously appreciated. Our prior conversation was impaired, because I tend to compartmentalize rather than complain.


Meanwhile, work is generating a lot of internal dissonance and adding to the uncertainty.


Two weeks ago was worst case scenario. I traveled 3 nights away from home, for 6 hours total of constructive meetings. Half of those I normally do remote, every week. My performance review was scheduled, so I re-arranged my travel to do it in person, only to realize my boss intended a call anyways. The day before, it was cancelled. I went through the trouble of packing food, only to have the hotel fridge freeze it, ruining the produce. During a call I had to take from the hotel, they decided to run fire alarm tests, which I had to sit through on mute. One evening in the hotel, I confirmed changes to medical benefits increase my expenses next year by $3500.

Coming home on Saturday, I was so frustrated I left at 5 in the morning, shorting myself half a night's sleep. Making up for it, once home, I slept my Saturday away. That night I had to start a release at midnight, which ran until 4 in the morning, leading to another night with a couple hours of sleep. Sunday was a total waste because of it.

The entire experience was horrible. It just sucked. No amount of money is worth that life on a regular basis.


This week was the opposite. I managed to average 7+ hours of sleep per night. I didn't have a single work day that went beyond 8 hours. I had great home food every day, including two deliveries of fresh produce. Home life was balanced. Work included an interview and a process improvement meeting that challenged me in new ways as a person, specifically because I was disagreed with. We're having real conflict and learning from it.

I met with a team of senior people about our social responsibility, triggered by concerns I'd raised. I successfully got one process improvement thing delegated to a new team member, who I'll guide through it. I got another improvement idea approved, which will be allocated some of our strongest team members. The company isn't perfect, but people are engaged in getting better.

If not for the residual impact of the week prior, I'd be happy, maybe even thrilled, with my job.


Further confusing things, is my financial position has never been better. It cuts both ways - there's a bunch of money and a great chance that if frugal, I don't need to work anymore. On the other hand, I'm also high earning. Significant increases in net worth are certain every year - life altering amounts of money.


I know my current overall situation with housing and work isn't sustainable. Something has to change, but I don't know what. I have a week off coming up. I don't go back to the office for 6 weeks. The real estate market is nearly frozen due to the holidays. My best strategy in the immediate term is to sit tight, but I am really, really bad at waiting. Paths forward I can see, ordered by appeal:

1. Move to an "optimized" townhouse. Use novelty to sustain work status quo. Use high income to smooth the transition for my wife. Probably lands me in the same state around work in a year or two. But with a lot more money, more experience and a housing situation I like better.

2. Stop this job. Stay put in housing to minimize costs. Spend time on stuff I like. Leisurely address fixable issues in the current house. Use extra free time to minimize negative aspects of others. Serves my truth as a person who figured "I can retire at 55" at 23. Likely I'll find positive ways to spend my time. Also lets me take top advantage of family's healthiest years. Risk of getting bored and ending up back in a worse work situation. Disappoints coworkers, stalls active personal growth. Far more vulnerable to US healthcare expenses craziness.

3. Refuse work travel, gambling on my value. Keep housing stable to support it. Success could mean a sustainable path for years. Failure could lead to option 2. Doesn't leave time or energy for housing fixes, but potentially could hire some out. Not the life I set out to lead, but challenges me to grow against fundamental personality limitations. I'm not sure I value the cost of that suffering.

4. Double down on this job, outsourcing everything but work. Stay put in housing for stability. Negotiate partner track aggressively. Use gains for eventual fancy solutions to housing problems. Become the multi-millionaire business leader I never intended to be. Trade home life, things I have traditionally valued most, for experiences I never imagined or desired.

bigato
Posts: 2348
Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:43 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by bigato »

Option #4 doesn’t sound like you at all. I know that I wouldn’t do it. In the other side, it could as well challenge you in ways you never imagined, leading to learning and personal growth.

classical_Liberal
Posts: 1252
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: What I Spend

Post by classical_Liberal »

The housing question is a big one, particularly if your decision on housing is highly dependant on your decision to continue working. What I mean is, you should ask yourself, Do I need/want to move if I go with option #2 or #3? If the answer is yes, then I would suggest deciding on the housing solution before moving on to the work solution. Because the cost of the housing solution may clarify what you want to do with work and income.

Healthcare. I read about so many people spending through the nose, or predicating their retirement on this. Are you healthy? or do you/family have a bunch of regular medical needs? I know little of you financial situation, but, even with regular medical needs, if spending outflows are anywhere near reasonable, with the ACA intact, it seems to me manufacturing the correct income to get substantial subsidies is just not that hard. Particularly if you're paying an extra $300/mo through work next year anyway. I think this is an obstacle/fear you can rationalize through if you take a hard look at all the options available to you. Some combination of ACA subsidy level income, healthshare, medical tourism if needed, can be very reasonably priced and more robust than a work covered plan.

You're at a crossroad. I know that feeling all to well. I will say, it's hard to clearly look at alternative options from the inside. If you can get a nice break from work sometime in 2020, like long stay-cation time, or a sabbatical, it would probably be helpful.

Edit to add: wrt option 4. I think you have to ask yourself about preferences here. Do you prefer to have food delivered to you, or would you prefer to get it yourself? If you're only having it delivered to maximize free time, so that you can to continue to work, so that you can continue to earn at maximum rate, then there has to be a continued reason that you want to earn at maximum rate. If that reason is "to feel safe", it's not going to go away... ever. If you have legacy, preference, or moral concerns (ie I should earn because I have the opportunity to do X) that's one thing, but you will never feel like you have "enough" when focused on getting more.

ertyu
Posts: 341
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2016 2:31 am

Re: What I Spend

Post by ertyu »

That workweek sounds like hell.

1 or 2 sound best to me as well, so I your order of preference checks out with me :). In your shoes, I'd ask wife which one she prefers and take it from there.

I'd poke into this sentence, too:
Scott 2 wrote:
Sat Dec 14, 2019 12:14 pm
Disappoints coworkers, stalls active personal growth.
If this is something that stops you from taking a path you want:

"disappoints coworkers" can be reframed as "gives others the chance to progress, grow, and take on leadership roles, too." Also, "disappoints coworkers" points to a coupling of job and identity which might be something to poke into once you decide to move on from job.

"stalls active personal growth" - not necessarily. Finding new venues to actively grow might be a refreshing challenge. I am sure that somehow, somewhere you will be able to find people who disagree with you :lol: . If all fails, we and the internet are always here :lol: . A reframing: "active personal growth is broadening the venues where I see possible active personal growth." Or some such. Instead of focusing on this one way to be challenged and grow, focus on finding many different ways?

Just some thoughts, I hope they help.

Scott 2
Posts: 1419
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

I agree Option 4 doesn't sound like me. It's an "easy" traditional path though, one that best serves everyone in my life, but my idealized self. I'd have to permanently change as a person. The outsourcing would be well beyond food delivery or a monthly housekeeper. I might keep that stuff in retirement. In this scenario I'd no longer cook, shop, run laundry, or even schedule service people. My wife would have to manage help. I'd take public speaking training, earn an MBA, network, put in longer hours, hire a stylist, etc. It's likely I could hyper-focus, compartmentalize, and earn well into the 1%. I wouldn't value it, but the opportunity is there.


Re: Housing - The optimized town home is cost comparable to my current place, only 20 minutes away and solves a bunch of problems I have. I like it under any option. However, my wife picks up some problems she doesn't like. The move would eliminate stairs from our main living space, which solves an eventual problem for her. Executing the transition would be easier while working, because I could be financially sloppy about it, including using money to create more upside for my wife. Alternatively - if I'm not working, I have less incentive to push a move. Free time and energy make existing home issues easier.


Re: Healthcare - My wife has a chronic condition that prevents full time work. Her medicine retails at $5k per month, but is covered under my insurance. Starting 2020, that plan no longer counts the drug company's assistance program towards her max out of pocket. Up until now, that program effectively made her medical care free. Even in 2020, cost won't really factor into her healthcare. Off the great corporate insurance? I have no idea how to accurately predict. Cost will change with legislation, corporate assistance programs, the biosimilars market and the state of her condition. It could be a few hundred a month. It could be so expensive that we're forced to compromise on quality of care.


I agree time away from work would add clarity. Our company is growing too fast for it to be a practical option, unfortunately.

Scott 2
Posts: 1419
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

@ertyu - valid points. Our company is growing extremely fast, and I'm in the middle of it. While replaceable, it would cause disruption as they found people to fill the vacant opportunities. We've had a really tough time finding talent in the last couple years. Some of these relationships date back as far as 2004. It's unlikely I'd sustain them post work - which I understand makes the argument both ways.

You're right on the personal growth - I'd find new directions. I'm not the type to sit still. The trade off is I'd be very unlikely to find myself in an inner circle type situation like this again. I no longer have the ambition that got me here. That's part of what contributes to the discontent.

Scott 2
Posts: 1419
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

End of year review at work today. Bonus paid out, hitting a net worth milestone I considered impossible last December. End of year dividends have yet to post, and one more paycheck is coming. Cumulative annual savings will be greater than my full time earnings. That's a strong indicator of financial independence, especially considering this year's car purchase and trips. While I've always understood the compounding math, the number feels like a video game high score. It has not connected to my reality. I was thrilled to save $1 on a $2 cookie yesterday.

I did open the conversation with my boss about travel. My associated inflexibility was the one negative performance review bullet. Towards the end of our discussion, I told him I hate it and feel trapped in the hotel. I described some of my bad week from earlier this month. I asked him to think about solutions and resisted the temptation to offer an ultimatum. He seems much more concerned about the occasional evening working from midnight to 4am, but hopefully I made my priorities clear.

I still don't know what next year brings, but at least if I go zero travel or quit, it will be less of a surprise.

Scott 2
Posts: 1419
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

My wife and I have agreed to pursue path 3 - solve the work travel problem, keep location stable. We're both clear it could lead to path 2 - current job ends. It was not a light decision. Path 2 is especially expensive.

We spent a good portion of the past few days exploring an alternate housing option - 1400 sq. ft. house with .3 acre yard, 10 minute walk to the cheap gym I currently use, better commutes, but in the middle of dense middle class suburbia. The house also needs a lot of work. Within that discussion, we revisited the optimized townhouse idea, as well. Both options failed.

Our reasons for the decision are different. My wife thinks I would be making a mistake, by using housing novelty to ignore my work problem. Moving should be a separate choice. She's open to considering it, but doesn't want my desire to escape as the driver. She also thinks in terms of individual houses and does not like available options.

Meanwhile, I believe we've done a thorough analysis of available housing lifestyles. As a couple, I don't think there's a location more optimized than the current space. The gains I might find from a move, take even more from her. I still need to empty an overflowing bullshit bucket though, so the work travel is my most rational lever.


If peak bullshit regularly reaches 12 out of 10 (max tolerable) today, a move would have gotten me to a 9. But only by going through 15 first. I think fixing work travel can get me to a 7. There's another point or two available, by solving fixable problems with the current townhouse. We're starting on that angle as well.

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