What I Spend

Where are you and where are you going?
Scott 2
Posts: 1518
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

December 2019 Total (Couple) - $2,432
Groceries - $839.07
Insurance - $280.27
Home Maintenance - $250.00
Work Travel - $245.67
Entertainment - $222.14
Utilities - $207.72
Restaurants - $204.17
Clothing/Shoes - $83.28
Healthcare/Medical - $64.93
Automotive - $54.61
Education - $33.53
Pets/Pet Care - $5.63


Much better than last month - on track to my estimate. Unusual expenses - insurance, 20lbs of protein, year of online yoga classes, fancy eating, extra work travel. December is a high income month. Between meeting the 401k cap, dividends and year end bonus, at least triple normal. A couple treats slipped in as a result.

I think January will be closer to $2000. Food inventory is high, very little work travel planned and education queues are full. I've also decided to stop ordering restaurant delivery. It escalated to multiple times a week and is not a constructive pattern. The evening online yoga classes will help with this, because they don't work well if my stomach is too full.

The big spending risk, is if I finally take action on more expensive house problems. I suspect I'm too lazy, but the fridge especially is an issue. I am sitting on the kitchen floor multiple times a week, for 5-10 minutes a time, carefully packing/unpacking food to fit. The other option, of putting less in the fridge, is at odds with high produce consumption and bulk food prep. The fridge is also loud and can dominate the sound of our open floor plan. On the other hand, I've been living this way for about 7 years, since I bought the cheapest possible option. I can keep going by default.

There are similar issues with the dishwasher. It all ties in to managing the overall BS in my life. We did re-organize the bathroom to make things easier. My wife is setting up a taller litter box to hopefully help with the tracking issue, this weekend.

I made the mistake of looking at portfolio performance over the last 3 months, relative to the S&P500. Oof. My asset allocation is deliberate and was earmarked for buying a new house. But I missed out having so much cash! I'm not buying in now, so my strategy will stay the course, but it still hurts to look. At some point, I need to improve my asset allocation and investment income tracking, creating a feedback loop. Certainly it will happen whenever I finally FIRE. Before then would be smarter.


There's finally enough couple tracking data to get a quarterly total:

Q4 2019 Total (Couple) - $8,276
Groceries - $2,206.69
Entertainment - $995.06
Home Maintenance - $788.93
ATM/Cash - $703.00
Restaurants - $695.66
Insurance - $525.39
Utilities - $482.78
Work Travel - $478.44
Travel - $376.23
Pets/Pet Care - $258.25
Healthcare/Medical - $241.86
Automotive - $223.32
Education - $217.52
Clothing/Shoes - $83.28

Cutting $2500 from that top line number would be very doable. I guess that is our quarterly consumption of luxury.

Scott 2
Posts: 1518
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

Got my 2020 comp today. I'm not sure what to think. It's a weird thing. Higher pay means larger increases in pay. In absolute terms, the numbers seem unfounded. Yet, I have a rough sense of what a level or two above me is paid. Relative to them, I don't get much at all. I don't even know if my pay is "good".

On the other end, I joined an online book club related to my profession. Participants are from all over the globe. Some make double or triple what I do. Others make half or a third. The quality of contribution appears uncorrelated to geographic region, even though I know compensation is.

In many ways, my professional sophistication is well behind the curve. But, it doesn't determine earnings. I have a title, that corresponds to a level, which produces an industry and location specific salary. The biggest differentiators have little to do with my ability.

Tech claims to be meritocracy, but that's only true in the most immediately local context, if at all. While I've been able to work the system to my benefit, the arbitrary nature makes me a little crazy.

The increase in pay isn't going to make the travel conversation easier. I've requested a meeting with my boss, under the context of my overall 2020 plan. It'll be a few weeks. Faced with the problem, he might take months to find resolution, as well.

In the meantime, I am executing the 2020 plan, which includes aggressive professional development. I've also started paying more attention to the concept of remote-first companies. If the travel thing doesn't resolve well, they might hold interest for me. I like getting paid to be right on the internet.

Scott 2
Posts: 1518
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

Halfway through the month, spend is trending extremely low - $555 as a couple so far. I think we'll land higher than $1100, but it could be a PR.

Net worth changes seem irrational between my raise and the market run up. It makes me want to sell my stocks, even though I know I'm reallocating by pushing automated investments into a heavy cash weighting. Given that I also regret the gains I'm missing out on holding cash, my portfolio probably reflects my risk tolerance.

Work pressure has escalated, due to growth driven personnel changes. I've already pushed back on additional travel requests twice this month. I had to work from 5-8 Monday night. I'm on track to work from midnight to whenever we are done, each of the first two Saturdays in February. It's going to get worse before it gets better.

Option 4 - (double down on career) is probably casually available to me, way sooner than I expected, with far less grinding than I anticipated. It's going to make the travel conversation (effectively declining option 4), that much harder.

While I can't stop thinking about it, I am also not looking forward to the discussion, not at all. I feel like I'm disappointing people, ungrateful, giving up, selfish, etc. So many people spend their career working towards the path I'm prepared to casually disregard, over an activity many people would love to do. I signed up for an extra recurring conference call, in an effort to feel like less of an asshole, when I refuse to come to the office.

It's bleeding into my non working time, for sure.

On the other hand, the online book club has been great fun. There are much better ways to build software than I get to today. I really enjoy learning about it. I binged an audio book Saturday, a paper book Sunday. Reconciling that with my current work experience confuses me further. Unilaterally hating it would be much, much simpler.

Scott 2
Posts: 1518
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

Rather than force a confrontation on travel, I've decided to simply decline what I don't want to do, as it comes up.

I have a strong need to resolve cognitive dissonance, which I romanticize as going through my problems. It can express as turning a minor issue into a significant conflict. Based on my work week, that could be what is happening here.

So, I'm going to relax, say yes to what I want, no to what I don't, and assume everything will be fine. I'll have to fake it for awhile, but it's my best option.

Scott 2
Posts: 1518
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

The shift in mindset has made an immediate impact. I was rebuilding my mental model with all my over-analyzing, but it's now working well.

I'd been struggling with how to approach my work goals for 2020. I was able to bang them out in about 20 minutes this morning. They seem obvious now that my head is clear.

Simplifying finances at home... Rather than carefully tracking transactions that are mine vs. my wife, I an getting her an authorized user credit card. That will encapsulate a bunch of easy to resolve, but annoying, passing of money back and forth. Especially with the automated online budget tracking, it's an obvious change. We probably should have done it earlier.

I'm going to try the audible year subscription, making a habit of some deeper learning. I'll drop my secondary podcasts to support the additional listening time. 12 audio books will be roughly 2 hours a week. Easy.

classical_Liberal
Posts: 1771
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: What I Spend

Post by classical_Liberal »

Scott 2 wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 10:45 pm
I have a strong need to resolve cognitive dissonance, which I romanticize as going through my problems. It can express as turning a minor issue into a significant conflict. Based on my work week, that could be what is happening here.
I'm with you on this. I'm amazed how you were able to just "flip the switch", and a couple of days later feel so much better about it all. That is generally not something I can do. Distract myself for awhile, yes, but to so quickly accept the cognitive dissonance of an issue and let it go, that's impressive.

Scott 2
Posts: 1518
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

That is the upside of my brain needing a systemic model of all things. Once the pieces fit, they fit.

The journal does over-simplify two big factors:

1. Work events since the start of the year are significant. It could be 6-12 months before I can discuss them in a public journal.
2. Dozens of hours of discussion with my wife over the past month. I've been a broken record.

Scott 2
Posts: 1518
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

January 2020 Total (Couple) - $2,191
Groceries - $692.95
Home Maintenance - $471.06
Healthcare/Medical - $383.54
Education - $131.43
Utilities - $129.64
Insurance - $125.00
Entertainment - $77.34
Restaurants - $72.16
Automotive - $59.21
Gifts - $35.05
Pets/Pet Care - $14.54

Lots of unusual expenses this month - $130 on audible, $90 on a smoothie blender, almost $400 on medical, $125 on my wife's yoga teacher insurance. My big indulgence was $180 on a couple bottles of premium whiskey. It goes on sale in January for some reason. I bought it when I decided my work travel issue will be ok.

The blender is only a week in, but so far I'm enjoying the novelty. I have a habit of missing meals while working. If it helps, the cost is easily justified. Restaurant costs are also down more than 50%. It's been a full month without any food delivery, which was my prior solution to busy work days.

Audible is primarily intended for work books, so classed under education. I am finding free entertainment books are available as well. Later this year, I'll get my library card re-activated, so I can use their audio books. I am finding them an efficient source of new ideas - a nice change from the more casual nature of podcasts.

Medical is an early symptom of insurance changes at my employer. The past few years, we've been able to use a drug assistance program to pay my wife's max out of pocket. The plan changed this year, so I'm expecting around $3500 of medical expenses for her. Boo. We're trying to work the system and get that down, but I'm planning for the worst.


Next month will run close to $2200 again. My wife has a couple day trips planned, and my gym membership is up for renewal ($275). Depending on how well the dental insurance works, maybe a few hundred there as well. I am hoping medical bills ($3k) and income taxes ($1-4k???) defer to at least March.

Scott 2
Posts: 1518
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

I got a library card this weekend. I am setup on both Libby (Overdrive) and Hoopla as of today. There is a surprising breadth of audio content. I have a week to listen to Michelle Obama's book. It's like 20 hours. We'll see if I make it. I technically had a card, but it was 6 years expired. I made replacing it higher priority, because I was wasting time on the free audible originals (not good!), despite having book credits. Old habits die hard.


Work travel did come up during my review. I made my intentions and reasons clear. While my boss did not approve, I've been heavily involved in annual planning since then. I think it's going to be fine. I've also managed to snowball a culture shift around video conferencing, with my team literally cleaning out the IT department's supply of cameras. I am surprised how much better conference calls on camera work. It will make the travel shift much easier to sell.

I have mixed feelings about work on my terms. It's too good to walk away from, but I think part of me hoped to be fired. Last weekend, I worked from midnight to 7am on Saturday night. This weekend it was midnight to 5am. We're taking steps to stop the odd hours long term, but they really suck. In an effort to offset the health impact, I abstained from caffeine/alcohol and made yoga a higher priority. I am still running a slight cold.

On the other side, during annual planning, I sold a bunch of positive changes to how we work. I don't know how to do most of it. Learning is going to be very fun, and is something I cannot do without a team at my disposal. If the changes stick, we'll be a much more desirable employer, which will create a positive feedback cycle in coming years.


It seems likely I'll be changing gyms. My current box gym continues to degrade. Most recently, someone marked one of the heavy bags with gang signs. A more affluent box gym opened nearby (turf, platforms, chains, etc.). If that doesn't check out, I'll probably suck it up and pay for a premium gym membership year round ($80/month!). I'd gain ongoing access to swimming, hot tub and sauna. If not for the drive, I'd have already done it.

Scott 2
Posts: 1518
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

I got a deal on the new box gym. After a 35% discount, it was cheaper than my old one. I did pay for 15 months up front. There's always a chance they close and I'm out $275. The owners are new, staff gave up the discount very easily, etc.

I finished Michelle Obama's book. Audio content works really well for me. I've got Jocko's leadership book going now. It's over the top, but ok for a free library read. I can't tolerate his podcast, so this is a nice distillation of the ideas.

I worked the last 3 weekends. This weekend I don't have to work on Saturday or Sunday. It feels like a treat. I don't love that. Looking at my calendar through the year, I'm slated to work 3 holiday weekends. I am trying to change it. Even with travel improved, I remain conflicted about the energy going to work.

Net worth is doing great. The market rebound made an impact. I am sitting on too much cash and at a loss for constructive investments.

Scott 2
Posts: 1518
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

February 2020 Total (Couple) - $1,999
Groceries - $489.87
Entertainment - $452.08
Home Maintenance - $269.71
Restaurants - $227.33
Utilities - $177.79
Clothing/Shoes - $136.80
Healthcare/Medical - $132.89
Automotive - $82.91
Pets/Pet Care - $29.08

Lower than my forecast of $2400. Unusual items - gym membership, trip to the city, dental work, clothes. Eating out is the only thing I'd like to reduce. Dinner at an overpriced local bar was $70.

In expenses not taken - We opted out of a car repair recommended during an oil change. The mechanic claimed the rear passenger strut had entirely leaked out, requiring replacement of both rear struts and an alignment - $1000. Our car is a 2015 CRV with 50,000 miles. Calling the dealer, they seemed to think it really odd and suggested replacing the single strut would be enough. Dealer prices also matched the mechanic prices. Since the car is driving ok, we are waiting for trouble to pursue it further.

So March could bring some car expenses ($500?). I also expect another dentist bill ($250) and home owners insurance ($700). Typical expenses will probably run around $2700. Income taxes ($1-4k, definitely hitting in March) and healthcare (up to $3400, no idea when) remain big unknowns.


The market downturn has been a mixed experience. The last few months of gains made no sense, to my admittedly limited understanding. I liked the big number, but felt confused and annoyed that my roughly 20% cash position missed out. Yet, even now, I don't see aggregate prices I can make sense of. My very naive metric is to look at CAPE, which is still almost double the historical mean. I've read it can be overly pessimistic in today's climate, but even if I discount it, US stock prices still measure as highly overpriced.

While I feel better about the cash position, I am as ignorant as ever. I continue automatically buying in via my 401k, while gradually increasing my post tax cash allocation. I did not like watching my high score drop, but am I fascinated to see what could be the next recession playing out. I obviously need, but am lacking, a strategy to eventually reverse the cash position.


Work has slowed down and been relatively boring. March will be busier.

ertyu
Posts: 1003
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2016 2:31 am

Re: What I Spend

Post by ertyu »

i feel you, i'm waiting for spy @ 150-170 also

Scott 2
Posts: 1518
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

Over the past two weeks, I've done a deep dive on retirement portfolios. 30-40 hours time. Models, blogs, books, forums, spreadsheets, etc.

Some of my realizations:

1. I am not comfortable with a clever portfolio. Something like golden butterfly makes me too nervous.
2. While I can regurgitate facts, I don't understand the available investment classes well. I have almost zero interest in them.
3. Eking out the last bits of return bores me to tears - manual asset allocation, tax lost harvesting, spousal IRA, etc.
4. If I have enough money in retirement that those tax optimizations really matter, I'll have way more than I need anyways.
5. 60% stocks and 40% bonds feels pretty good to me, as someone near 40, likely to retire in the next 1-5 years.
6. When I chose to pay off my house and let my cash position increase, I was avoiding ignorance, with regards to retirement portfolios.
7. Dumping all my pre-tax retirement money into target retirement funds wasn't a terrible choice. Pretty good considering my personality.
8. Letting my cash position build in the market run up wasn't so bad - it kept me near a 60% allocation of stocks. I weighted more heavily into cash relative to bonds, than I might have with a more intentional allocation, but that probably worked out in my favor.
9. I really don't want to think about investments or make significant decisions on a regular basis. I'll always turn it into a big thing and miss out on life as a result.


How does that inform my plan?

1. I need an ongoing automated strategy that reverses my cash position and allocates future earnings
2. I don't feel comfortable making big dramatic movements
3. I'd like to trend towards roughly 60% stocks and 40% bonds.
4. I want conservative investments in my post tax dollars, which I am most likely to spend in the next 5-10 years. Vanguard's conservative growth fund fits - 40% stocks and 60% bonds.
5. I want moderate investments in my roth ira and ira, ear marked for the next 10-20 years. Vanguard's moderate growth fund - 60% stocks, 40% bonds. My HSA doesn't have enough in it to be clever with, so I'll do the same there.
6. Growth investments in my 401k are earmarked for 20+ years. Currently, it's a volatility target based growth fund roughly similar to Vanguard's, but ostensibly more clever. Roughly 75% stocks.
7. On retirement, I'll end up rolling my 401k to an IRA and potentially initiate a roth conversion ladder. I'll re-evaluate asset allocation at that time. 5-10 points either way doesn't seem to hugely matter.


What am I going to do?

1. Continue my existing automated pre-tax investments
2. Move roughly 1% of net worth per month from cash into Vanguard's conservative growth fund.
3. Re-evaluate contribution percentages if I stray 5+ points from 60% stocks, my cash position hits 5%, or I retire

Current Portfolio:
Cash - 24%
Bonds - 20% (International 4% / US 16%)
Stocks - 57% (International 14% / US 43%

Target Portfolio:
Cash - 5%
Bonds - 35%
Stocks - 60%

Scott 2
Posts: 1518
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

Got my automated post tax investment setup. The initial transaction didn't post until last night, so I bought low. I have mixed feelings about going into bonds now. The yield is still better than my performance savings account. Even as I was doing the final investment setup, I found myself changing the frequency from monthly to semi-monthly and upping the amount by 20%. I was also reconsidering bonds entirely. It's best for me to set it and let it go.

My work is highly resilient to current events. The business might even do better than expected. I hadn't been to the office since late January anyways, so social distancing has a minimal impact. Barring total economic collapse, I don't have any financial concerns and could ultimately come out ahead. I am fortunate. I do find it challenging to stay focused on work and get excited about long term process improvements. A week long conference planned for this week was cancelled. I wasn't looking forward to it, so that's a plus in my book.

My wife's yoga teaching, on the other hand, is completely cancelled. Her student base was the highest it's ever been, but as of Thursday, that's now all on hold. It is a big personal disappointment. We were able to get a virtual class out to her students and she's going to do more. That is entirely in hopes of serving people and keeping the relationships for better times. Online yoga classes are not generally lucrative, and there's now a glut of yoga teachers entering the market. Most yoga studios are shut down. I think the location she teaches at will survive, but I expect many to close permanently.

We picked up a pregnant foster cat just before things started shutting down, so there will be kittens in a few weeks. Two weeks ago, I used early Covid-19 news to justify a Nintendo switch. It has been an expensive, but welcome distraction. My lifestyle is otherwise well aligned to staying home. I am primarily missing out on yoga class and going to the gym. I'll need groceries in a couple weeks, but that's about it. The Bay area shelter in place rules match what we've already been doing.

I do have a mild cold, which started about a week ago. While I might typically lift, I have been resting entirely. I don't think this is Covid-19, but I want to be as healthy as possible. Missing sleep has been my biggest problem. I am struggling with excess news consumption and have had a hard time settling down for bed.

Cheepnis
Posts: 248
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:52 am

Re: What I Spend

Post by Cheepnis »

I like your thoughts on investing; many of them resonate over here. Not to downplay the many important decisions that need to be made but it's so easy to fall into a maximizing mindset that I'm OK taking a simpler investing plan even if a deeper knowledge and involvement on my part could increase my returns. I'm definitely closer to the satisficing ideal you describe.

We had the nicest kitty dropped off in our neighborhood a couple weeks ago. She shacked up in the carport. Very humanized and friendly and not into the outdoor thing at all. We took her to the local shelter where she got a clean bill of health other than a kitty-hernia and they put her on the lost pet page. After two weeks if she isn't claimed we'll get a call and probably have the option of adopting her first if we want. I've always been adamant that this will only be a 1 cat apartment, but damn was she the cutest. I fed her once and the next morning on my walk to work she followed me two blocks and I had to turn back as she wouldn't stop. We're best buds.

Scott 2
Posts: 1518
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

Two cats is a good number. They either entertain or terrorize each other. We've had up to 3 permanent, and that is a pain at feeding time.

I listened to the JL Collins book - The Simple Path to Wealth, and that was what finally made up my mind. I don't doubt that others can do better, but man, that is not stress I need in my life.

We're up to double digit confirmed cases of covid-19 in my county. It's happening.

Scott 2
Posts: 1518
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

Invested cash that had built up on my HSA, about $12k into VSMGX. There's a $25 transaction fee because HSA, so I can't DCA. Now seems as good a time as any.

On the very tail end of my cold now. Starting to think about how we'll get food. While it's very unlikely my cold was anything more, I intend on waiting another week or two. Hopefully the panic buying has settled down. Leaning towards a single large physical shop, at store open on a weekday morning.

Still struggling with excess news assumption and going to bed on time. I know my best strategy is head in the sand until I need the outside world, but watching this unfold is gripping.

Scott 2
Posts: 1518
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

March 2020 Total (Couple) - $5093
Taxes - $1,891.00
Groceries - $1,041.33
Entertainment - $751.17
Pets/Pet Care - $299.63
Healthcare/Medical - $293.59
Home Maintenance - $292.38
Utilities - $189.98
Personal Care - $189.00
Restaurants - $120.84
Automotive - $24.50

Oof. Big month. Taxes aren't a real concern. We wait until filing to pay on my wife's earnings. Groceries are higher than usual due to stocking up via instacart, including a 20% tip. That will continue through April. Entertainment expenses were boosted by purchasing a Switch, accessories and games. Worth every penny. They should be much lower in April. We pulled forward a stock up for pet supplies. And paid off the dentist.

I am hoping the personal care charge will be refunded. A small business my wife likes accidentally billed for something she did not buy. I have left it in, because that business now has little earnings. I am not confident they will remain solvent.

Other than a twenty minute drive to run the car, we haven't left the house since mid-March. My wife is at higher risk, so we are being careful. Her yoga teaching is paused indefinitely. My work remains business as usual - a pro of work from home, especially in an industry with inelastic demand. I am struggling with short term thinking, finding very little incentive to spend time on process improvement. I am getting my job done, but not growing.

My forecast for the month (2700) was pretty far off. Even more so, considering the car and insurance expenses I anticipated did not post. I think the $700 insurance expenses will arrive in April. Otherwise things should be relatively quiet. I'll guess $2400 for April spending. Medical expenses could also finally spawn, around $3k.


Having set my investment strategy mid-month, ignoring the market fluctuations has been much easier. Dollar cost averaging my cash position into investments works well for me mentally. My net worth is down less than 10% from peak, owing to continued earning and my "overly conservative" allocations by age. I am braced for a bigger drop when Q1 revenue posts and the exponential Covid-19 curve peaks in the US. I think the market is going to respond strongly. I am also a little nervous about inflation, despite CD rates giving no indication it is a real risk. My strategy accounts for these fears.

I did catch VSMGX at the March low in my HSA, which pleases me.

classical_Liberal
Posts: 1771
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: What I Spend

Post by classical_Liberal »

Scott 2 wrote:
Wed Apr 01, 2020 12:46 pm
I did catch VSMGX at the March low in my HSA, which pleases me.
Even DCA'ing, I pick my days each week/month. It's fun to catch them low in such volatility!

Scott 2
Posts: 1518
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

Catching that low feels even better as things have rebounded. I feel comfortable continuing with the DCA for now, mercifully.

It's been interesting to observe how I am using money to make up for covid-19 fears. Earlier this month, I ordered 1-2 years worth of whisky via instacart, because I was down to maybe 3 months worth. It's one of my pleasures I can still have, and stocking up felt very right, despite the 20% premium spent.

My wife and I do not gift, with the exception of Easter. That is her holiday. I normally spend about $50, by going with her to a store in March, and impulse buying whatever strikes her as Easter. Then the week of Easter, I hide it around the house. That was all dashed, so we ended up doing the Easter impulse shop online. But instead we spent $200, trying to buy back a similar level of positive experience.

Some of this is justified, as getting money into the hands of people who don't have business and need a little work. But a lot of it is my specific reaction to the loss of control. It feels like a way to claw things back. It seems to be working for me mentally. And while I hate to admit, there's a little voice in the back of my head going "stimulus!!!".

The fact that I expect my household to qualify for the stimulus, while many of my coworkers will not, is a good reminder that while I feel wealthy, others are earning much more.


Some on the board have noted feeling more ready to stop work in the face of recent events. My job has never been better, but I am getting a sense of that myself as well. Not that I'm ready to walk out, but the idea of a return to old ways seems incredibly unappealing. I already hated regular large gatherings and travel. Now that I've experienced the alternative, I'm not sure I'll be willing to go back to it, when things resume "normal".

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