What I Spend

Where are you and where are you going?
7Wannabe5
Posts: 6811
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:03 am

Re: What I Spend

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Well, in a work/group situation there is usually somebody else who wants to have fun. When you are alone with a grouchy old man, not so much.

Alphaville
Posts: 2416
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:50 am
Location: Quarantined

Re: What I Spend

Post by Alphaville »

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Sun Dec 20, 2020 1:31 pm
Well, in a work/group situation there is usually somebody else who wants to have fun. When you are alone with a grouchy old man, not so much.
ah, an accomplice! yes.

anyway im sorry you had to move back there. i read before but kept my mouth shut so as to not salt the wound.

anyway, i have faith in your powers of problem solving and i drink to your future escape 🥂

Cheepnis
Posts: 309
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:52 am

Re: What I Spend

Post by Cheepnis »

Scott 2 wrote:
Sat Dec 19, 2020 11:04 am
- Dinging the "I quit" bell probably closes my career
Why would that be the case? From the way you write about your role at your company it seems that you're a critical asset, and with your amount of experience what would prevent you from acquiring another job in the future? I don't think I can fully grasp just how fast the tech world changes, but certainly your prior career would mean something to a future employer, even if it was for a lower position.

Not only that, if insurance is a primary reason you're still working, and continuing to work for insurance has always been the plan even after being FI, why not go lasso you an easier, lower paying, less stressful, fewer responsibilities job and ride on into the sunset? Quality of life will improv, you won't have to touch the stash, everybody will be medically covered, W's across the board.

Scott 2
Posts: 1684
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

Stahlmann's article sums up my sleep behavior. I did finally go to bed early, on Saturday night.


Health insurance - My wife has a chronic condition. It's not that work is required for healthcare. Rather, we have an established pattern of care, using the current insurer's network. Any change will cause significant hassle. I understand how to navigate it (as well as one can anyways), but that is much harder than maintaining status quo. Moving to an individual plan would be easier than a new employer. At least then, we could screen the plan network for doctors and drugs.


Different employer - Every job has some crap aspects. It's likely a new position recreates my situation at another company. Only, I wouldn't have the decade of organizational relationships, knowledge and reputation. Current circumstances have my appetite to restart extremely low. I hate selling myself to other people.

I have tried playing below my level. It did not go well. I get involved anyways, but without the benefit of authority.

Alphaville
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Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:50 am
Location: Quarantined

Re: What I Spend

Post by Alphaville »

Scott 2 wrote:
Sun Dec 20, 2020 11:49 pm
I have tried playing below my level. It did not go well. I get involved anyways, but without the benefit of authority.
Power + control matter.

so if you could stay at your organization, but remove the bothersome parts of your job-- what would you do?

And if you could work independently, just to pay for the individual health plan, what would you do?

Cheepnis
Posts: 309
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:52 am

Re: What I Spend

Post by Cheepnis »

Different employer - Every job has some crap aspects. It's likely a new position recreates my situation at another company. Only, I wouldn't have the decade of organizational relationships, knowledge and reputation. Current circumstances have my appetite to restart extremely low. I hate selling myself to other people.
I can understand that, all good points. Your descriptions of your quality of life while working really make it sound like something has to give, though.
I have tried playing below my level. It did not go well. I get involved anyways, but without the benefit of authority.
This sounds more like a you problem than an employer problem, which is good because it means it's fixable!

Scott 2
Posts: 1684
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

Alphaville wrote:
Mon Dec 21, 2020 12:27 am
Power + control matter.

so if you could stay at your organization, but remove the bothersome parts of your job-- what would you do?

And if you could work independently, just to pay for the individual health plan, what would you do?
I'd keep: solving new problems, working from home, setting my hours and getting money

I'd remove: someone else sets priorities, too many projects happening in parallel, increasing frequency of manual tasks eating automation gains, organizational process overhead, political overhead, last minute demands for overtime, and work at odd hours

Unfortunately, the latter is much of what employers pay for. My requests for help were an attempt at addressing them, to more closely align my situation with who I am. I have not totally given up, but it is admittedly looking dire.

There is a class of organization that has theoretically solved my problems. I don't know anyone working for one. I am skeptical the grass is greener.
Cheepnis wrote:
Mon Dec 21, 2020 8:29 am
...
This sounds more like a you problem than an employer problem, which is good because it means it's fixable!
If we start that list, it will require a dedicated thread :). I no longer try to change my character traits, at least not for an employer. Instead, I seek situations that fit the person I am. I spent years performing socially at work - pattern matching and running scripts. It is miserable, and why I am so resistant to rebuild at a new company.

Alphaville
Posts: 2416
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:50 am
Location: Quarantined

Re: What I Spend

Post by Alphaville »

Scott 2 wrote:
Mon Dec 21, 2020 2:04 pm

There is a class of organization that has theoretically solved my problems. I don't know anyone working for one. I am skeptical the grass is greener.
like 37 signals/basecamp? something else? what are we talking?

classical_Liberal
Posts: 2128
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: What I Spend

Post by classical_Liberal »

Scott 2 wrote:
Sun Dec 20, 2020 11:49 pm
I have tried playing below my level. It did not go well. I get involved anyways, but without the benefit of authority.
This is a great point. For yourself and others.

Scott 2
Posts: 1684
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

Basecamp... am I that transparent? More generally, high performing devops organizations.

Alphaville
Posts: 2416
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:50 am
Location: Quarantined

Re: What I Spend

Post by Alphaville »

Scott 2 wrote:
Mon Dec 21, 2020 2:30 pm
Basecamp... am I that transparent? More generally, high performing devops organizations.
transparent? no, no idea; i just know about them and their philosophy since forever and they even wrote books about it. i used to be one of their consumers. and 4 day workweeks and not wanting to sell to google but being like a nice neighborhood italian restaurant etc etc always stuck with me.

gotta ask then, if your organization is the problem --why not look for a high performing etc etc? what's the hurdle? you enjoy solving problems, so why no this one?

Scott 2
Posts: 1684
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

I don't have an answer beyond my earlier posts. I have two 3 days weeks for the holidays and will be using the time to reflect.

Alphaville
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Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:50 am
Location: Quarantined

Re: What I Spend

Post by Alphaville »

best wishes dude

it was the solstice this morning so it's officially a new year, by the rules of nature.

Scott 2
Posts: 1684
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

December 2020 Total (Couple) - $2356
Groceries - $1005.87
Healthcare/Medical - $381.81
Home Maintenance - $260.00
Insurance - $255.13
Utilities - $206.45
Home Improvement - $133.87
Entertainment - $100.58
Pets/Pet Care - $12.00

Spend was a bit over my $2k expectation. I wasn't thinking about car insurance and a couple hundred in unplanned medical care. Grocery spending remains high, but about 40% of the cost is delivery - fees, tips, mark ups, etc.

January will be similar, maybe a little higher, since insurance rolls over.

Rolling 12 Month Spend (Couple) - $38,382

Scott 2
Posts: 1684
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

I wanted to break work out into a separate post.

I had strong financial incentive to return through December. I made a good faith effort. However, by every measure I care about (not money or status), it was an utter failure. I really don't know if it is me, my boss, the company or what. But, as ertyu posted, it ultimately doesn't matter.

My contingency plan has been a departure. I explored options to financially maximize the exit path:

1. Doing just enough to get laid off instead of fired.
2. Becoming "by the book" difficult, to negotiate a severance.
3. Using benefits fully, including FSA

I decided against 1 and 2. My coworkers deserve better. I don't need the stress in my life. I want to be done much sooner. Unemployment is a hassle. My reputation is worth more. I did max out benefit elections during open enrollment. We are using them next week. My first eye exam in years. I don't think I'll be able to drain the FSA, but it should at least cover dental memberships for next year.

I have been working on insurance, specifically continuity of my wife's doctors and drugs. That should all be sorted by mid-January. My healthcare and dental, I can afford to play the 60 day span where you buy Cobra retroactively. Less priority there.

So, now it's a question of when to give notice. We are doing start of year planning the first half of the month. I frankly, do not have appetite for it. Going through the motions feels far to disingenuous. I am pondering 1/20 or 2/5 as possible dates, depending on healthcare.


It turns out I don't think of this as retirement. Rather - I can easily afford to do nothing next year. Let's see what happens. Looking at other journals, it is impossible to predict what happens next.

I am going to review 2020 spend, with an eye towards slack in the budget. In our case, giving up employer healthcare is expensive. I expect a period of over-correction to account for that, followed by learning how to spend without stress. I'll also need to learn what non-work cash flows look like. I know they are there, but I haven't been paying close attention.

classical_Liberal
Posts: 2128
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: What I Spend

Post by classical_Liberal »

Congrats on the decision. Another semi-re joins the ranks! It's amazing what just a few months away from madness can do the clear thinking.

I'm glad you decided against the first two options. Although I don't know you personally, I feel from reading your journal you would have regretted screwing the last year with your long term employer just to eek out some extra money. It doesn't "feel" like you, but then again, it may be my bias because I feel the same way. I'd rather do good work I'm proud of, part on amicable terms that make both sides happy.

For what it's worth, I've only worked 4 of the last 18 months. It's been 8 months since I last worked. I'm feeling like it's time to start seeking out some type of truly productive activity at this point. I thought I'd never wanna work again, but I do. I doubt you'll decide to stay on the sidelines forever, hence probably pad the already solid finances in some way. Try not wot worry :D .

Happy New Year!

Scott 2
Posts: 1684
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

I spent the better part of today examining withdrawal strategy. Our situation looks nothing like the ERE model. It is not even close.

With a significant medical condition in the house, low income strategies disintegrate. I think we'll spend $13-19k per year on just health insurance and medical care. ERE pro-tip #1 - don't be sick.

I started looking at last year's spend, for areas to cut. There is maybe $6k of slack before it hurts. I enjoy those luxuries. I need a more deliberate plan, to ensure we do not underspend out of fear. Withdrawal brings more complexity than I realized, driven primarily by interfacing with the government.

I am starting down this path:

https://earlyretirementnow.com/safe-wit ... te-series/

This feels completely different than when I went on leave. There is a steep learning curve, one I could have started much earlier. It raises a large financial stress, which is stacking on my work stress. Clearing the hump is going to be painful.

The part of me that is scared, leans towards a 4 week notice, so benefits extend through February. However, I also feel very done with work. Two more weeks sounds dreadful. But, providing notice might alleviate that. I remain undecided on time frame.

For anyone playing along, I have already ruled out part time work from consideration. I need to remove the rights others have to my schedule, as well as excise work thoughts from my mind. I don't think either is achievable without completely stopping.

classical_Liberal
Posts: 2128
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: What I Spend

Post by classical_Liberal »

I thought this stress may hit you, because it did me almost immediately after I decided to quit my job. I'm not at all sure where you're sitting financially, or if the projected medical costs place you in the "yellow zone" of FI, so to speak.

After reading the whole above reference series, and much other literature on the subject, I decided to keep it simple and flexible. I, like you, have budget "to give", but enjoy those extras. I'd hate to give them up being overly cautious. A simple % of net worth withdrawal (or the similar boglehead Variable Percentage Withdrawal) guarantees you never run out of money, and you don't have to trim unless the investments are performing poorly. Nothing gave me more peace of mind. Your best choice is whatever does that for you though.

The selling points to this... In years to come, if investment performance demands cuts be made, one can deliberately make decisions about whether those extras are worth a little less flexibility in the schedule to earn some income. A person is in a better position to know what is worth doing/not doing during the circumstance, vs trying to predict the "what ifs" years in advance. As my last post alluded, in a year or three, a bit of structure in your life may very well be something you crave anyway, and will happily take something earning a little extra income whether the spreadsheets indicate you need it or not. I do agree with you, for now, complete freedom is probably what you need, but don't project the present decades into the future. Try and think flexibly.

As always, good luck with your deliberation and remember to trust yourself. You put yourself in the fabulous situation to do as you wish, have faith you'll continue to make enough of the "right" choices.

Scott 2
Posts: 1684
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

I appreciate the thoughts.

I'm not sure where I sit financially either. :) That is the source of stress. With CAPE around 34, I think some conventional FIRE investing wisdom fails. Since 60% of my portfolio is in pre-tax accounts, taxes are also a little convoluted. The number is not THE number.

The article series is helping. I am through part 5. I can see my mental framework improving. It is quite possible I come around to a simple strategy, with basic health indicators. Provided my depth of understanding supports it, I am totally ok with that.

I struggle with sticking my thumb in the wind, assuming a 3% SWR and 15% tax rate is always safe, and then blindly spending at that level. I'd much rather check the portfolio every quarter and adjust accordingly.

I also need to work out patterns for managing both asset allocation and location. Thus far, I've basically picked more stocks in the long term, tax advantaged accounts. Less stocks in the short term, less tax advantaged ones. I have no real plan for when money moves or how much. I know roth conversions are critical to my success and time sensitive.


Most of this is solvable post resignation. I am probably fixating on it, because there is also an accumulation of little time sensitive stressors, that I have less control over. Funny, looking at the list, they are all healthcare related:

- One of my health insurers of choice uses a PAPER application. WTF. USPS is not exactly speedy these days.
- USPS is foiling my plan to spend the FSA, because they STILL haven't delivered the card (mailed on 12/22).
- It seems intuitive that dental insurance would be a bad deal, but after seeing my recent statement of benefits, the billed rates are INSANE. So now I have to re-evaluate the dental membership plan. I was going to spend FSA money on it. But maybe insurance contracts ruin the membership option.
- But wait, maybe health insurance will include dental. But does that policy waive the coverage waiting period???

This all adds up to a few thousand dollars either way, but I hate losing money, especially when I feel tricked by the system. I'll be mad for years. The complexity is unbelievable.

2Birds1Stone
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Location: Earth

Re: What I Spend

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

Scott 2 wrote:
Sat Sep 30, 2017 11:30 am
I realized upon hitting FI last year, that if I over consumed, but continued working, I'd still come out way ahead.
This quote is from page 1 of this log, and going back to some of your older posts from 7+ years ago, it looks like you've maintained an incredibly high savings rate for a very long time. I know you're a fairly private person wrt specifics around finances here, but maybe you could share some more concrete numbers with the rest of us for some guidance?

I'm guessing you're around 40 years old, and the net worth has got to be in the two comma club, maybe I'm completely off. ERN's SWR series is excellent. This is another tool that really helps magnify the risk of death vs. running out of money. https://engaging-data.com/will-money-last-retire-early/ I strongly encourage playing around with it, especially adding even reduced SS numbers for yourself and DW.

Even with a fairly conservative portfolio of 50/50, below average SS, and below average market returns over the next 30+ years, a 3% WR should be pretty much bullet proof. If it fails, you will have years or more likely decades to adjust course, and bigger things to worry about as the world collapses. McClung's book, "living off your money" was very good, and ERN does an analysis on the withdrawal strategy in the SWR series. ERN is also very conservative, and even with todays high CAPE, your 3%+ WR is very "safe".

Writing this makes me feel a bit hypocritical, because I was also scared as hell to pull the plug on a decently high paying job, but I have an inkling that you're in a MUCH better financial situation than I was.

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