Lemur Journal!

Where are you and where are you going?
prognastat
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Re: Lemur Journal!

Post by prognastat » Thu May 09, 2019 7:35 pm

I would say a large part of consumerism doesn't come from the actual present, but rather the near term. The anticipation of the purchase/acquisition leading to the payoff.

This is why there is a certain empty-ness shortly after acquiring something new. The enjoyment came from the lead up, the anticipation and maybe the first moments of use. Much like the child on Christmas, enraptured by opening a present only to put it aside and forget it while moving onto the next wrapped toy.

I wouldn't say this is really being present, but rather a distraction from the present.

mooretrees
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Re: Lemur Journal!

Post by mooretrees » Fri May 10, 2019 10:30 am

I’ve been thinking of this dilemma quite a bit lately too. I want to be out of debt and am anticipating how great that will feel, but that thinking takes me away from my son, and husband and out of the present. I felt I could have written this! I wouldn’t say I have a solution, but I keep turning to my “web of goals.” I figure if I focus of those activities that I want to do and things I want to learn now, then the future thinking will fade away. Of course, it’s not 100% effective, but it is a start. Good luck to you!

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Lemur
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Re: Lemur Journal!

Post by Lemur » Mon May 13, 2019 10:14 am

classical_Liberal wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 4:09 pm
Very nice last post!

You are not alone, I struggle with these exact issues. While there is very much an art to learning to live in the present, I think some of us are more hardwired than others to look towards the future. I've had varying success in my life trying to focus on the present.

I think consumerist YOLO is only a bastardization of true present mindedness. The period in my adult life in which I was most successful in remaining present-minded was also the period where money and consumer pleasures were the most scarce (because I was poor). I don't have an answer for you if you suffer from this, other than abstinence, which would force substitution. Soon enough the reality will reveal itself.

Obviously there are plenty of internals to focus on, but I think there are also plenty of externals as well. I have a hard time focusing on now/the next 24 hours when I see very little joy in the upcoming activities. I really think the key is to begin to take away the activities we know are undermining happiness. Too often we are tempted to analyse and compare. Like, "oh 'X' isn't so bad, there is no reason it should make me miserable, at least I don't have to Y". This may be stoic in a sense, but it is the wrong answer, IMO. If you know "X" is something that consistently brings about unhappiness it needs to be substituted for something else. We all need to look forward to our present and our next 24 hours, without sacrificing next year or decade. The wealth of modern society has afforded us this luxury. If our day-to-day activities are pleasant (based on each individuals perspective), present focus becomes much easier.
Very important point here...we can allocate so much more time toward Self-Actualization which oddly enough can easily be taken for granted if we don't know what to do with it. How many times have I come across a FIRE blog or a post where the author is depressed because he/she doesn't know what to do with their time? That blows my mind! For me the answer is really easy, I just need peace & contentment and a big part of that I believe is just not having an alarm clock! But I can't keep thinking about this one day..reality is I've an alarm clock right now and I've to develop strategies to deal with that (going to bed earlier, etc.). And commuting (find useful podcasts / videos to watch while on the road). All different coping strategies. It also helps that I don't hate my job right now. I remind myself of this so as to not take it for granted.

One useful quadrant I learned while in the military (for coping with stress and being all-around resilient in life) is to make sure you've your big 4 in order:

Physical - Exercise, eat healthy, don't smoke.
Mental - Preparation, stress management, anger management, financial management, letting things go, etc.
Social - Don't be a hermit. Stay in touch with friends and family. Be nice on the internet.
Spiritual - Religion if you've one. If atheist, find other means. I get mine lately from Buddhism talks and studying different philosophy's (stoicism lately).
prognastat wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 7:35 pm
I would say a large part of consumerism doesn't come from the actual present, but rather the near term. The anticipation of the purchase/acquisition leading to the payoff.

This is why there is a certain empty-ness shortly after acquiring something new. The enjoyment came from the lead up, the anticipation and maybe the first moments of use. Much like the child on Christmas, enraptured by opening a present only to put it aside and forget it while moving onto the next wrapped toy.

I wouldn't say this is really being present, but rather a distraction from the present.
True. Gardening is great for this because there is this initial investment, long maintenance of adding soil enrichment and pulling weeds, with the hopes of one day (many months later) of harvesting the fruits/veggies. A great feeling that can be done cheaply.
mooretrees wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 10:30 am
I’ve been thinking of this dilemma quite a bit lately too. I want to be out of debt and am anticipating how great that will feel, but that thinking takes me away from my son, and husband and out of the present. I felt I could have written this! I wouldn’t say I have a solution, but I keep turning to my “web of goals.” I figure if I focus of those activities that I want to do and things I want to learn now, then the future thinking will fade away. Of course, it’s not 100% effective, but it is a start. Good luck to you!
Debt is a prison. Your job is a prison. Relationships can sometimes be prison if you don't like your spouse. A wise man once said a prison is what you deem it to be though. Attitude is key. The only difference between a prison and a sanctuary is you don't want to be in the former but want to be in the latter.

Example - Two people are aggressively paying down their student loans. One is depressed because they don't get to spend their money on other things. They complain about society and the cost of tuition and may regret going to college. The other is simply happy to have a guaranteed return equal to the interest rate of the debt and on a path towards financial independence.

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Lemur
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Re: Lemur Journal!

Post by Lemur » Mon May 13, 2019 3:31 pm

MAP training: combining meditation and aerobic exercise reduces depression and rumination while enhancing synchronized brain activity
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4872427/
https://www.maptrainmybrain.com/map-training

So basically the protocol is

(1) 20 minutes of meditation.
(2) 10 minutes of light walking
(3) 30 minutes of aerobic exercise (60% max heart rate should be reached)

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Lemur
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Re: Lemur Journal!

Post by Lemur » Tue May 14, 2019 7:58 am

So I got up a bit early to meditate. I think I've only ever mediated once before a few years ago...so this morning I did about an hour which surprised even myself because I was pleasantly surprised how quickly the time flew by. I originally did 30 minutes, my alarm went off, and I was suppose to do some cardio as per my last post but I decided to skip that lol because I was enjoying the peacefulness of just sitting there with no obligations and responsibilities so I just did another 30 minutes. The meditation itself was much tougher than I thought it would be...my mind races quite a bit but that is okay. I'm sure with time and practice I will get better.

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Lemur
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Re: Lemur Journal!

Post by Lemur » Wed May 15, 2019 11:39 am

Meditate again. Accidentally fell asleep during this one lol. Again amazed at how quickly and hour zooms by...
On my way to work and lately been listening this guys youtube talks: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ajahn_Brahm

In very insignificant news, I finally convinced my landlord to cut down the two dead trees in my backyard...so now I will be able to cut grass in straight rows as opposed to roundabouts...the small joys in life.

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Lemur
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Re: Lemur Journal!

Post by Lemur » Mon May 20, 2019 9:44 am

Last Friday another investment was made. $1k into the $401k.

Spouse & I are looking into condos to live that will bring my commute down by 33% and give me public transportation options. We found that they're actually affordable if you look hard enough...Now I'm debating whether I should go with a VA loan and do $0.00 or just go with a conventional and put a significant down payment (given that the market is a big high for my tastes, this may be a good time to 'cash out'?) Will have to think this one through.

classical_Liberal
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Re: Lemur Journal!

Post by classical_Liberal » Mon May 20, 2019 8:04 pm

I used to work in mortgages. VA loans are fabulous for someone with with iffy credit and/or very low down payment. However, the VA "funding fee" is a bit excessive. Many vets can get that fee waived (or paid for, I can't remember how it works), for a variety of reasons. Many of which could have occurred if you ever served in active combat zones. If that's you, I would have your banker look into it. Many bankers are not VA experts and will miss this potentially savings for their clients, so beware.

If you can get the funding fee waived, I'd say go VA, no matter what. Otherwise I would only use it if you want to have a very low downpayment, or if credit is an issue.

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Lemur
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Re: Lemur Journal!

Post by Lemur » Tue May 21, 2019 9:28 am

classical_Liberal wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 8:04 pm
I used to work in mortgages. VA loans are fabulous for someone with with iffy credit and/or very low down payment. However, the VA "funding fee" is a bit excessive. Many vets can get that fee waived (or paid for, I can't remember how it works), for a variety of reasons. Many of which could have occurred if you ever served in active combat zones. If that's you, I would have your banker look into it. Many bankers are not VA experts and will miss this potentially savings for their clients, so beware.

If you can get the funding fee waived, I'd say go VA, no matter what. Otherwise I would only use it if you want to have a very low downpayment, or if credit is an issue.
Thanks CL. Well we got pre-approved up to $325k (this amount would represent 3.61x my salary) and we decided to go with the VA loan and put 10% down anyway to cut down on the funding fee a bit. I will have to look into that waiver because I've heard of those exemptions as well. The very likely event of me purchasing a condo is low because I've to get majority vote (my wife).

Anyhow...this morning was stupid. I scrapped a car while parking at work today (gov't building)...so I left a note with my name & contact information :/ Doh . Took pictures too.

Honestly the damage is so little and I wiped the scratches off and I could have gotten away with it really really easily but the downside risk was cameras and worse case imagination where I get hit with a 'hit & run' charge, lose my clearance, lose my job lol. Also conscience, I would hope someone would do the same for me.

So now the scenarios...
(1) Victim freaks out over nothing and wants my insurance information (unlikely)
(2) Victim doesn't want to exchange insurance information and after some small talk I will give him some cash (most likely)
(3) Victim calls/emails/text me saying not to worry about (likely)

I hate losing money over what I deem avoidable mistakes....
Last edited by Lemur on Tue May 21, 2019 11:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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jennypenny
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Re: Lemur Journal!

Post by jennypenny » Tue May 21, 2019 10:16 am

Did you take a picture of the damage?

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Lemur
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Re: Lemur Journal!

Post by Lemur » Tue May 21, 2019 11:00 am

jennypenny wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 10:16 am
Did you take a picture of the damage?
Yep I took pictures of his/her license plate and the scrapes on the side door.

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Lemur
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Re: Lemur Journal!

Post by Lemur » Thu May 23, 2019 12:38 pm

Didn't consider scenario 4...nothing happened. Must of got the note, didn't see the big deal / didn't care, and threw away. On a positive note, I took Friday off and have a four day weekend. Much needed rest!

Spouse and I will be looking at Condos/Townhome this weekend...the whole mortgage process is kinda scary...the savings rate going down is scary...but the possibilities of being within 5 miles to work sounds really great to me too. I could bike to work perhaps??? (Something I've seen in the ERE/FIRE Space for years but never did myself)

I remember earlier in this journal disagreeing with MMM's version of commuting mathematics. I don't like the idea of time = money and by commuting 1 hour I'm somehow losing $50 an hour because I could've 'worked' for that money instead. Reality is I wouldn't be working if I had the extra time anyway.

But considering that it takes me 90 minutes to get to work, I'm losing 3 hours a day to commuting. Over a week that is 15 hours. Over 52 weeks in a year, I'm spending 780 hours stuck in a car. Divided by 24 hours...that is 32.5 days. That is fucking insane!

The time value of money at $25 an hour is $19,500. Divided by 12 that is $1,625 a month. Added on to my current rent ($850) justifies an equivalent rent of $2,475. The condo/townhomes I'm looking into after all is said and done (principal, interest, taxes, insurance, hoa fees, maintenance, etc) will actually be just under $2,000.

The possibilities if my job suddenly gave me 32.5 days of PTO on top of a salary increase of $19,500. I would probably never leave on those terms lol.

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Lemur
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Re: Lemur Journal!

Post by Lemur » Tue May 28, 2019 8:30 am


jacob
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Re: Lemur Journal!

Post by jacob » Tue May 28, 2019 9:49 am

Perhaps, ironically, this is well-known among investment practitioners. Nah, strike that: This is so obvious that it is the foundation of the business model of WS trading companies/divisions. The irony is a couple of big name academics calling it a paradox. Opportunities ("inefficiency" in academic terms) will only be pursued insofar they are profitable, so if your research team costs $400,000/year in salaries, they will only focus on opportunities that can cover the 400k + a profit margin. Lesser stuff will be left alone to smaller operators.

A side-effect of this is that secrecy is extremely high and so information (the secret sauce) doesn't disseminate outside the company (and often not even out of the research group itself) until it is certifiably w/o further possible profit. Even then, the research team might not bother to write their understanding down in a paper or a book for publication. This means that academic understanding tends to be rather naive (they have much less access to data as well) and lag practitioner insights by a good 20-30 years.

Imagine the state of public scientific knowledge if scientific researchers kept their results for themselves and never bothered to publish. That is essentially how it's like in high finance. The funding and resources available to Wall Street is just so much larger than what is available to the Department of Economics at the U.

Most practitioners seem fine with this. It makes it easier for them to make money too insofar most other people (retailers and businesses) believe that Nobel prize winners have it all figured out. The greatest source of inefficiency is someone who is consistently and predictably wrong.

Add: I think it's easier to grok if realizing that information is not the same as understanding. While everybody has access to the same information (okay, again WS has access to more information than retailers and academics, but this is besides the point), not everybody comes to the same understanding at the same time. Those who come to the correct understanding first create alpha. It is this understanding that has value (in proportion to the alpha). What academics refer to as "alpha", practitioners typically call "edge". Interestingly, it is when a significant part of the market persists in having an incorrect understanding, alpha becomes easier. Not only is there less competition, but in order to trade, there has to be someone on the other side. That "someone" will only stick around/be available if they remain they are correct even if they're not. I think this also explains why practitioners as a whole are not overly keen on educating the masses. It's not really in their best interest since trading at the first order is a zero-sum game---it only has social value at the second order in terms of removing inefficiencies (malinvestments).

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Lemur
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Re: Lemur Journal!

Post by Lemur » Fri May 31, 2019 8:20 am

Certainly builds a case for active investing especially when the market is high...On one hand, me as a novice investor does not have the knowledge/data that a big firm will have. It may suit me to have a general understanding of macroeconomic trends and invest in passive funds accordingly. Even with my Master's in Finance Degree I recognize this...education/applicably don't often go hand in hand when it comes to the stock market game. The stock picking game certainly has an emotional aspect...behavioral finance courses were useful though.

On the other hand, I do not have any restrictions either. I can go all-in on a penny stock if I felt it was going to be the next Microsoft, but a wall street fund manager may have to convince his boss, team, and boss's boss...Another advantage I might have is having key insights into niche areas. What they might call "insider-trading" could just be common knowledge to me in my field...

Also this one is off topic but definitely made me feel better about re-allocating from U.S. equity and sticking my money in cash, international funds, and bonds...

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ ... ata%29.png

I'm still baffled by the rhetoric on Reddit that says to keep going all in on VTSAX...its partially a joke but a lot of users in that particular space are 100% equity which I think is a dangerous game right now ...especially with the inverted yield curve at its most negative (spread between the 3 month / 10 year) since 2007.

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Lemur
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Re: Lemur Journal!

Post by Lemur » Mon Jun 03, 2019 1:16 pm

Need to start packing my lunch again for work. Why I fell back into the habit of buying lunch at work (range $7-$11) is beyond me...my prepared meals can cover that price tag for the whole week!

On a positive note, another $1,000 into the investments. This has been routine for a few weeks (months?) now and it couldn't come at a better time now that the market appears to be slowly trending down.

I also did 35 minutes of cardio on my air assault bike this morning. I'm really doing a good job lately of instilling this routine:

(1) 1000mg of EPA for Omega 3 fatty acids (good for brain function so counting this as mental)
(2) 3-4x weekly of aerobic cardio (physical benefits as well as research that shows the mental benefits of exercise)
(3) 1x weekly weight training (physical benefits, some mental benefits)
(4) Continuing to study stoicism, buddhism, and lately listening to some work by Claire Weekes https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claire_Weekes

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Lemur
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Re: Lemur Journal!

Post by Lemur » Tue Jun 04, 2019 9:13 am

Didn't prepare all my lunches but did prepare this morning. In a pinch, it does not take long to mix a can of pinto beans with rice and toss in some salt & oregano. Literally takes 3 minutes or so. No excuses here. Can of beans $0.56, a cup of cooked rice maybe $0.15? I almost never have to cook rice either. My spouse...Asian...there is always rice available in the pot.

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Lemur
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Re: Lemur Journal!

Post by Lemur » Thu Jun 06, 2019 7:42 am

Harvested my first two zucchinis this year. Can't wait for work to be over with today. Friday is a day off spent volunteering at an animal shelter. A lot of landscaping and repainting the building. Should be fun to be out in the sun and doing manual labor for a day.

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Lemur
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Re: Lemur Journal!

Post by Lemur » Thu Jun 06, 2019 10:34 am

My career coach is an absolute professional at feedback. Not many people can give criticism and be completely non-emotional about it. I saw right through the 3 step process though lol:

1.) What you did right (Build)
2.) What you you need to work on (Break)
3.) Praise and moving forward (Build)

Today was a great stress relief after finishing off a client presentation that has been on my mind for 2 weeks now. Being an introvert (with anxiety) in an extrovert corporate world is tough sometimes but I can't say I haven't grown from it and learned more about my capabilities than I thought. One of the good things about anxiety [you can see the optimism shining through, who knew anxiety is a good thing?] is that it makes you over-prepare for some tasks. As long as you can keep your composure (accept, float, let time pass) than you can do far more than you think you can...

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Lemur
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Re: Lemur Journal!

Post by Lemur » Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:09 am

Watching some crash course videos on Economics lately. Spouse and I are going to Toronto this week for a small vacation. First one together...married almost 5 years (not counting honeymooon). Should be fun; however, my backlog at work climbed up and I am planning some long hours before I go. #blog.

Also getting back to eating healthy. I have been doing a lot of stress eating and put on some weight. Up to 186lbs. So I started this year at 196lbs...got to 178 at my lowest, and now back up to 186lbs. I'm sure some of this is 'water weight' and my true weight is around 183-184lbs. Time to tighten the belt again!

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