PoorButWealthy's Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
Post Reply
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2017 12:11 pm

PoorButWealthy's Journal

Post by PoorButWealthy » Sun Oct 08, 2017 3:38 pm

Hi all,

I've been enjoying the ERE forum / journals (great stuff!) and I think the time is right to start an ERE journal of my own, so here it goes.

Why journal:

- To share thoughts/ideas, get advice and interact with the ERE community
- It forces me to stay concentrated on my ERE plans
- It might be nice to read these posts in the future and reminisce how life was before ERE / semi-retirement
- I try to do a post at least once a month


- 20-something-year-old guy living in Scandinavia.
- MSc in Economics.
- Working in accounting/finance/consulting for ~5 years.
- Discovered ERE (blog, book, forum etc.) about 2 years ago and have lived very simply/minimalistically/frugally since then. Discovering ERE has been extremely liberating, as it provides a realistic “get out of jail free card” for me... So thanks Jacob, great stuff! I have also enjoyed e.g. MMM, Lacking Ambition, RPF-podcasts etc.
- An aspiring renaissance man, i.e. I have learned and done all kinds of new useful stuff for a while now, stuff that has really taken me out of my comfort zone and provided me plenty of useful and valuable skills and expertise.


- To be ERE / semi-retired in ~3 years. That is, to quit my job not later than in December 2020.
- What ERE / semi-retirement means to me: 20 - 25 years of living expenses saved, that is ~225 000 - 250 000 $, and to do some meaningful/fun/rewarding/useful part time (or volunteer) work here and there.

Net worth ATM:

- Cash 68 000 $, investments (mostly stocks, some bonds) 26 000 $, apartment (market value - debt) 30 000 $ =124 000 $
- So my task is to accumulate additional net worth of ~100 000 - 125 000 $ in ~39 months, i.e. 2600 - 3200 $ / month. Not easy, but doable. Maybe somewhat of a challenge.

Net income / month:

- About 3500 $, sometimes more due to bonuses or / and investment income.
- I'm planning to stay in my current job until my ERE / semi-retirement, which means that the pay-raise potential is quite low during the next three years.

Fixed expenses / month:

- Apartment 120 $: includes everything (water, electricity, heat, trash, taxes, interest etc.) but mortgage payment (470 $), which I count as “apartment net worth”... The apartment is located in a prime location in one of Scandinavia's largest / most expensive cities. I own ~50 % of the apartment and my gf owns the other ~50 %. I think we are going to sell the apartment after my ERE / semi-retirement and move out of the big city to somewhere much, much, quieter and cheaper, were we would rent an apartment/house. I don't really like owning an expensive apartment, because it's essentially a highly leveraged bet on the housing market, but at the moment it's so much cheaper when compared to renting. If we would rent a similar apartment, we would pay ~1200-1300 $ / month, i.e. about the same amount as our mortgage payment + other housing costs ATM.
- Food 250 - 350 $ (including vitamins, supplements etc.): I could cut my food expenses almost in half, but eating very healthy is important for me. I mostly eat really high quality stuff (organic, non-processed foods, plenty of vegetables etc.).
- Transportation 0 - 50 $ (I mostly walk and bike, sometimes public transportation)

Why ERE:

- I have no interest in careerism or consumerism anymore. I used to have, when I was younger, but a lot has changed since then, mostly mentally and spiritually. All I really need nowadays is a very simple and minimalistic lifestyle where (most of the time) I get to decide what I'm going to do and when. Reading, walking, cycling, hanging out with gf, friends & family, working out, investing & asset management, sitting in the park, researching stuff, learning new skills, meditating, relaxing, enjoying the moment etc... That's enough for me! The thought of working 9-to-5 until I'm 65 or 70 seems really, really, weird to me, especially when taking into account the fact that most people have the opportunity to ERE in 5-10 years.

To-do-list when ERE / semi-retired:

- Bike across Norway, Sweden and Finland.
- Live off the grid at least for a while, maybe “vanlife” or a cabin in Northern Norway
- Learn to make a (modest) living in any location with just a laptop and mobile phone
- Write my own “Meditations” (as the Marcus Aurelius book)
- Learn to play the guitar
- Learn rock climbing
- Learn Spanish
- Maybe do a PhD... A strong maybe.
- All kinds of additional stuff

Things that bother me:

- I´m not sure that I have the willpower to work until 2020. I'm already now tempted to jump out of the rat race and start a new life. My current net worth would cover over 10 years of living expenses and sometimes I'm struggling to convince myself that continuing to build up my net worth is the right thing to do. I mean, there's so many exciting things to do and so much to experience, and over 3 years of additional cubicle work sounds horrible...

Best regards,

Posts: 25
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2015 12:00 am

Re: PoorButWealthy's Journal

Post by detect_148 » Sun Oct 08, 2017 8:12 pm

I have similar concerns about continuing to work after significant savings have been accumulated. The opportunity cost of continuing to work grows along with net worth. Thanks for sharing. Welcome.

Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2017 12:11 pm

Re: PoorButWealthy's Journal

Post by PoorButWealthy » Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:42 pm

@detect_148: Yes, you're right, the opportunity cost is growing all the time, which makes it hard sometimes to keep focused on the big picture (i.e. ERE)... What are your strategies/rituals/habits to motivate yourself to continue working?

I think this month is going to be a really good one when it comes to net income and expenses. Net income will be over 4200 $ and total expenses will be in the 600-700 $ range. Net income is jacked up due to a nice one-off investment income. Food costs are a clear issue and they need to be controlled more vigorously. I think food costs of 300 $ / month should be the maximum and ideally they should be under 200 $, maybe something like 150 $.

Posts: 53
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2016 2:01 pm
Location: Oslo (Norway)

Re: PoorButWealthy's Journal

Post by liberty » Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:47 am

Hey PoorButWealthy, I have a feeling very similar to yours. One thing to consider is to move away from Scandinavia to a cheaper place and then retire. I plan to move to Eastern Europe.

You won't achive anything in life by staying in the cubicle, except saving money, but in itself that's not an achievements. Money is just a tool for having fun and play around. Also, it's maybe more risky to stay too long than too short in 9-5? Example: 4% SWR has failed in a few cases, but the worst thing that can happen is that you go back to work for a few years. It's bad, but maybe worth a 12% risk...
PoorButWealthy wrote: pay-raise potential is quite low during the next three years
Although you want to stay in the same job you should maybe apply for other jobs. Then if you get another job offer you can hand in resignation in your current job, and much likely they will give you a better offer if you have done a good job. Then you get a bidding competition between the two companies.

Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2017 12:11 pm

Re: PoorButWealthy's Journal

Post by PoorButWealthy » Wed Nov 01, 2017 3:14 pm

@liberty: You are right, even SWR between 5-7 % should be quite safe, at least according to JL Collins's calculations. Maybe I should reconsider how much I still need to save for my ERE-stash... I'll think about it. Where are you planning to move in Eastern Europe?


Net income: 4700 $
Expenses: 730 $
Savings: 3970 $
Savings rate: 84 %

Career prospects: unchanged
Work-life balance: good
Work-stress levels: low

Nutrition: very good
Exercise: gym 3-5x week
Other: intermittent fasting and LCHF works great

Overall, a great month, net income has never been this high. However, net income was boosted by 1400 $ one-off investment profits, so this months net income will be significantly lower. Total expenses were quite low, but I'm not happy about the 400 $ food expenses I managed to stack up. I think 250 $ is something I try to achieve in the near future.

Site Admin
Posts: 9271
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73

Re: PoorButWealthy's Journal

Post by jacob » Wed Nov 01, 2017 4:56 pm

PoorButWealthy wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 3:14 pm
@liberty: You are right, even SWR between 5-7 % should be quite safe, at least according to JL Collins's calculations.
7% for 50 years on firecalc.com fails in 82.5% of the cases.

That's based on US historical data which did better than any Scandinavian market which would have higher failure rate. Don't make the mistake of applying US 20th century numbers willy-nilly to other countries or other centuries.

The strategy of going back to work at age 65+ or in any case late in the game seems somewhat foolhardy to me. If the plan is to go for optimistic WRs, it's better to have a more defensible strategy e.g. one where spending can be cut in half to bring it down to 3.5% or one were some kind of pension scheme kicks in. If the market is failing to provide, it's likely that finding a job is hard too. Insofar the "plan" is to see such an eventual portfolio failure decades in advance, the problem is that you're now going back realizing that you're only about half-way to the finish line in terms of NW. If the original NW was originally made on a higher career income, making up the rest with a second-career will likely be harder since they tend to pay less.

OTOH, if the plan is to spend retirement in pursuit of other kinds of income from time to time, 7% is fine, ... but then a productive lifestyle is required.

Posts: 53
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2016 2:01 pm
Location: Oslo (Norway)

Re: PoorButWealthy's Journal

Post by liberty » Mon Nov 27, 2017 12:30 pm

@PoorButWealthy 7% is way to high... I use 3 - 3.5%, but I calculate based on expected expenses in Eastern Europe. I will travel around and check out places until I find a cool place. Counties I want to try: Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece.

Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2017 12:11 pm

Re: PoorButWealthy's Journal

Post by PoorButWealthy » Fri Dec 01, 2017 3:13 pm

@Jacob: Thanks for the information and the link to firecalc.com. This was very useful. I'll stick with the 3-4 % SWR! Btw I read your book for the 3rd time in November and it's getting better every time I read it again, what a masterpiece.

@liberty: The coast of Slovenia is beatiful, you should definitely check it out!


Net income: 3560 $
Expenses: 790 $
Savings: 2780 $
Savings rate: 78 %

Career prospects: unchanged
Work-life balance: good
Work-stress levels: very low
Other: thinking about applying for a new job. The boreout I'm experiencing in my present job is getting quite high and I wouldn't mind a little boost in my salary.

Nutrition: excellent
Exercise: gym 3-5x week + running 2x week
Sauna: 5x week + ice cold showers after
Other: intermittent fasting (18:6, all daily calories in 2 big meals) and LCHF still works great. Body fat % is approaching 10 % for the first time ever. I'll never go back to the "standard diet". Thinking about doing Valter Longo's FMD (5-7 days) in the near future. The research on fasting is promising and the concept of autophagy is fascinating.

Books I've read: ERE (the 3rd time), Tribe of Mentors, Tools of Titans (the 2nd time), The Obesity Code, The Power of Now (the 3rd time)
Stuff I've researched a lot: fasting, insulin and its role in fat loss / obesity, sauna and its health effects, cryptocurrencies and blockchain (especially Ethereum), Scandinavian small cap stocks

Overall, a good month. Net income included 200 $ one-off investment profits from an IPO, which would have been ~600 $, if I wouldn't have liquidated my long position way too early. Well, 200 $ is better than nothing.

I took a ~1200 $ long position in Ethereum and I'm going to hold it for a long time. The technology and vision behind Ethereum is impressive and it could be huge in the next 10 years. Or it could be worth zero, but I'm willing to take the risk. Other cryptocurrencies that I might buy (for a very small sum) in the near future: DASH, IOTA, Waves, OMG. A funny story: a friend mined BTC in 2011 and urged me also to start mining. I thought about it for a day but then decided not to, due to the electricity bill it would generate... And remember, in 2011 you could mine a lot of BTC in a day with quite cheap computers. But, then again, who would have guessed that a single BTC would be worth 10k in the future, when it was worth about a dollar in 2011.

Post Reply