RFS' Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
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RFS
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RFS' Journal

Post by RFS » Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:37 pm

If you'd like to read more about my background, here's the introduction post.

GOALS
I recently did the Self-Authoring program by Dr. Jordan Peterson, and holy crap, it is amazing! Here's how it works: There's a past authoring section, a present authoring section, and a future authoring section.
- In the past authoring section, you divide your life into seven epochs. You detail significant experiences from each era, then you analyze how each experience impacted your life.
- In the present authoring section, you identify your faults and virtues. Then you develop strategies for setting your life up in a way that minimizes your faults and maximizes your virtues.
- In the future authoring section, you describe a "heaven" and a "hell" for your life in 3-5 years. It helps you clearly imagine an ideal to strive for, and a monster to run away from.

I paid $15 for the program (they have 2-for-1 deals constantly), and it was completely worthwhile. It forced me to sit down, learn about myself, and envision what I wanted out of life. Best of all, I have way less anxiety about the direction of my life!

That said, here's some of my goals:
- Reach FI through real estate investing.
- Operate a profitable market garden
- Exercise each day
- Write each day
- Read 5 books a month

I'll break these down into 2 sections:
A) FINANCE + RESILIENCE
B) EVERYTHING ELSE

FINANCE AND RESILIENCE
Jacob, Richard Heinberg, John Michael Greer, and Jean Laherrère have got me seriously concerned about peak oil. Originally, I wanted to invest $400k+ in index funds and transition into part-time work that would cover low/as-much-homesteading-as-possible expenses. But the potential end of infinite growth and modernity as we know it has thrown a wrench into this.

I'm still trying to hash this out, but this is what I'm thinking so far:
1. Save $50k and move to a rust belt-type city with good urban fabric.
2. Use an FHA loan to purchase a value-add duplex, triplex, or 4-plex [and preferably a side lot!] in an appreciating neighborhood with 3.5-5% down.
3. Rehab and rent the other unit(s). Tenants eliminate my housing costs.
4. Start a SPIN (small plot intensive farming) operation out of the backyard + side lot. I like Curtis Stone's model. If you leave your social justice ideology at the door and combine sustainable business practices with hustle, it is possible to generate a middle-class income doing this. There are particularly ass-busting entrepreneurs that have started with less than $10k and cash flow quickly (3-6 months.)
5. Recycle the money back into cash reserves, accelerating the mortgage payoff, and/or other investments.
6. You can do 1 FHA loan/year. When I find another good deal, I could repeat the process.

With this setup, I could live extremely inexpensively AND offer goods that people need! Worst case scenario, I think, I'd have to get a job at a local school. I'm roadtripping to do some boots-on-the-ground research in Chattanooga, Cincinnati, Detroit (7Wannabe5, your posts have been super helpful!), Cleveland, and Pittsburgh in April when I have a week off work. All of them, except for Cleveland, show projected population growth and seem to be in the early stages of gentrification.

At my current setup, I could get here in roughly 2 years. I only have one income stream (my job), and I need to change that.

Here's my current financial setup:
Current net worth: $366 (I'm debt-free now!)
Monthly after-tax pay: $2600
Expenses: $400-ish/mo
- $100/mo to cover my rent + utilities, cell phone, food (I dumpster dive a lot of my food :D ), and health insurance. I live with my parents. It's a great deal, and I'm very lucky.
- $198/mo for car insurance (I know, I know. I plan to sell the car and convert to bike + bike trailers when I'm settled.)
- $30/mo for a BiggerPockets (real estate investing resource) membership. Well worth the education, access to the rental calculators, webinar archive, etc.
- $30-$60/mo gas for my Toyota Corolla.
- $30-$60/mo for whey protein. I plan to hunt and process deer to lower protein costs.

EVERYTHING ELSE
Since October, I have been weightlifting at 5:30 AM on MWF. But alas, I need to do cardio into the off days. I joined this forum to help with my writing goal, and I plan to write or reply to 1 post a day. For the five books a month, I block out 90 minutes each day to silently read.

For books this month, I've read "The 12 Week Year" by Brian Moran and "Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman" by Yvon Chouinard. I'm halfway through "The Long Descent" by John Michael Greer, "Extreme Ownership" by Jocko Willink, and "The Art of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo. They're all great books.

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Kriegsspiel
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Re: RFS' Journal

Post by Kriegsspiel » Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:52 pm

Damn bro, we're very similar. I was excited about all the same things as you at one point so it's gonna be fun to see how it all goes for you. I think you're making a good play with any of those cities, they were the ones I considered (excepting Cleveland) when I was picking a place to live; I've lived in Pittsburgh, Cinci, and Detroit.

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FBeyer
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Re: RFS' Journal

Post by FBeyer » Tue Jan 16, 2018 3:50 am

Interesting. I'll be happy to see how it goes. Have fun!

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7Wannabe5
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Re: RFS' Journal

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:11 pm

Sounds like a plan! Your reading list looks interesting. Curtis Stone is a good model for the necessity of adding value to agricultural production. Growing food as a commodity is a losing proposition, unless you can lock in some serious subsidies. Stone makes his top marginal hourly wage through marketing activities, not farming activities. Doing your own up-processing can also work. If you can somehow produce something that is simultaneously "fresh" yet "shelf-stable" you are golden.

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RFS
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Re: RFS' Journal

Post by RFS » Tue Jan 16, 2018 7:07 pm

@Kriegsspiel - Thanks for the words! Dude, that's awesome! What were your impression of each city? (and where do you reside now, if you don't mind me asking? How is it comparatively?)

Pittsburgh and Cincinnati look similar to me, at least on paper. Dense population of around 300k, sprawl-discouraging topography, increase in expected job/population growth, governments trying to attract jobs, affordable housing, etc. I think Pittsburgh is a bit later in the growth stage, though. A shitload of building permits have been pulled recently, and the vacancy is increasing. It may be in phase 3 of the picture below:

Image

Still, real estate is a hyper-local game. While there's neighborhoods within Pittsburgh that still have great potential, Cincinnati as a whole seems a bit earlier on the curve. Even the vocabulary around Pittsburgh suggests an absolute frenzy. Robotics capital of the world. The next Silicon Valley. Holy crap! The city of Pittsburgh should spend their entire advertising budget on commercials in San Francisco with just the words "ROBOTICS" and "TECH STUFF" flashing on the screen next to a picture of someone's $600 rent check and a row of historic buildings repurposed as sandwich stores with tables outside. They'd get all the migration they wanted. Paul Graham wrote a great essay about making Pittsburgh a startup hub.

Detroit looks like it has decent fundamentals as well, and I like that it's not as dense/you're able to get some big lots for a great price. Good soil, climate, and a giant water reservoir nearby as well. But man, those property taxes (and taxes in general there) are ridiculously high! It seems like there's a lot of hassle involved with living out there. Lots of competition in the market gardening space as well. And it seems quite a bit sketchier block-by-block than Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. Am I way off here?

@fbeyer - Thank you for writing! I'm having a great time already.

@7Wannabe5 - Thank you! I read a Pattern Language because you posted about it on here, and it was an awesome read. Care to make any recommendations? As for the Curtis Stone comment, you're right on. It will require an indescribable amount of insanely intense ball-busting work.
Last edited by RFS on Sun Feb 04, 2018 4:56 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: RFS' Journal

Post by jacob » Tue Jan 16, 2018 7:22 pm

THAT graph contains and exemplifies at least two general graphing ideas I've never seen before. Thank you!

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Kriegsspiel
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Re: RFS' Journal

Post by Kriegsspiel » Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:37 pm

RFS wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 7:07 pm
@Kriegsspiel - Thanks for the words! Dude, that's awesome! What were your impression of each city? (and where do you reside now, if you don't mind me asking? How is it comparatively?)
I liked all of them. I live in Detroit currently.
Pittsburgh and Cincinnati look similar to me, at least on paper. Dense population of around 300k, sprawl-discouraging topography, increase in expected job/population growth, governments trying to attract jobs, affordable housing, etc. I think Pittsburgh is a bit later in the growth stage, though. A shitload of building permits have been pulled recently, and the vacancy is increasing.
Pretty much correct, yea.
Real estate is a hyper-local game, though. I'm sure there's neighborhoods within Pittsburgh that still have great potential. Cincinnati as a whole seems a bit earlier on the curve, though. Even the vocabulary around Pittsburgh suggests an absolute frenzy. Robotics capital of the world. The next Silicon Valley. Holy crap! The city of Pittsburgh should spend their entire advertising budget on commercials in San Francisco with just the words "ROBOTICS" and "TECH STUFF. SERIOUSLY, IT'S KIND OF SIMILAR" flashing on the screen next to a picture of someone's $600 rent check and a row of historic buildings, all repurposed as sandwich stores with tables outside. They'd get all the migration they wanted. Paul Graham wrote a great essay about making Pittsburgh a startup hub.
Yes, Pittsburgh is more over-valued than Cinci IMO. Regarding this quote from that Paul Graham article:

"art of that is the buildings themselves. I realized a long time ago, back when I was a poor twenty-something myself, that the best deals were places that had once been rich, and then became poor. If a place has always been rich, it's nice but too expensive. If a place has always been poor, it's cheap but grim. But if a place was once rich and then got poor, you can find palaces for cheap. And that's what's bringing people here. When Pittsburgh was rich, a hundred years ago, the people who lived here built big solid buildings. Not always in the best taste, but definitely solid. So here is another piece of advice for becoming a startup hub: don't destroy the buildings that are bringing people here. When cities are on the way back up, like Pittsburgh is now, developers race to tear down the old buildings. Don't let that happen. Focus on historic preservation. Big real estate development projects are not what's bringing the twenty-somethings here. They're the opposite of the new restaurants and cafes; they subtract personality from the city."

Could be written about either city, but Cincinnati retained far more of it's great architecture than Pittsburgh did. Pittsburgh has a lot of shitty frame houses with decaying siding, whereas Cincinnati has brick houses that would look much better fixed up in non-warzone neighborhoods. Detroit also has a lot of nice looking buildings, but I think they've been abandoned longer than buildings in Cincinnati/Pittsburgh.

For neighborhoods to look at WRT urban farming + affordable property, I'd look at
- Cincinnati- West Price Hill south of Warsaw Ave, Northside, East Walnut Hills/Woodburn.
- Pittsburgh- Garfield*, the north side of the Ohio going out into Beaver County, Millvale, maybe Larimer close to Bakery Square.
- Detroit- anywhere that borders Downtown/Midtown.

*At one point I was looking into buying a bunch of abandoned lots in Garfield near the Healcrest Urban Farm from the Pittsburgh Land Bank to build a small home + urban farm on. Probably still possible.

I think Detroit is the easiest city to get around via bike/live without a car, followed by Cinci. That might just be because of personal circumstances, since in Cinci/Pitt I wanted to get around to different neighborhoods/suburbs, but in Detroit I pretty much stick to Downtown/Midtown/New Center/Corktown/Mexicantown/Eastern Market, which are all connected by bike lanes. And it's flat. Both Cinci and Pittsburgh have hills.
Detroit looks like it has decent fundamentals as well, and I like that it's not as dense/you're able to get some big lots for a great price. Good soil, climate, and a giant water reservoir nearby as well. But man, those property taxes (and taxes in general there) are ridiculously high! It seems like there's a lot of hassle involved with living out there. Lots of competition in the market gardening space as well. And it seems quite a bit sketchier block-by-block than Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. Am I way off here?
I don't deal with Detroit property taxes because I rent a high-rise for $730, but they don't seem that bad, taxes in Pittsburgh are higher (higher property values). Michigan has a higher state flat tax (4.25% vs 3.07%) but, like Ohio, allows deductions/exemptions (under the old tax system), PA taxes gross income regardless of retirement plan contributions from what I can tell. Detroit city tax is 2.4%, vs 3% for Pittsburgh and 2.1% for Cincinnati... I'm not a tax Jedi or anything.

I think there are a lot of restaurants that source from the local urban farms, so maybe if you grow something they don't to fill out the supply chain... Detroit is definitely sketchier than either Pittsburgh or Cinci as a whole. I live by downtown and don't really go out into the neighborhoods, like I said above. There are some sketchier neighborhoods in Cincinnati (Avondale, Evanston, the more western areas of OTR) and Pittsburgh (Homewood, Hill District, Beltzhoover, Knoxville, Mt. Oliver) that you'll probably want to avoid.

7 could probably offer a better opinion about Detroit.

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Re: RFS' Journal

Post by Smashter » Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:35 pm

Have you thought about adding Milwaukee as a stop on RFS's Rust Belt Road Trip?

I'm curious because that's a potential post FI destination for me. It seems like there is a lot of cheap, well-built housing. Plus there's the lake, culture, sports teams, etc. I've been downtown and enjoyed it, and I've heard good things from folks who live there.

Keep in mind that I'm biased because I have friends and family in that area.

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RFS
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Re: RFS' Journal

Post by RFS » Wed Jan 31, 2018 9:24 pm

@Jacob - You're welcome! You have exposed me to so many new ideas, it feels good to return the favor.

@Kriegsspiel - Thank you for such a thoughtful and informative reply. I genuinely appreciate the neighborhood suggestions.

@Smashter- I haven't thought about Milwaukee for this trip, because it's a bit too far out of the way. I think you're spot-on with the Milwaukee observation, though. It looks like an excellent FI destination, and definitely one of the overlooked emerging rust belt cities. Cheap housing, a grid layout perfect for bicycles, increases in population growth, the lake, financially conservative state government, etc.

I'm trying to stay away from the huge metropolises, though. Anytime I'm in a giant (500k+) American city, I usually get a feeling of "holy shit, there's too many organisms furiously trying to get resources here." Everything seems overpriced, it's crowded, there's nearby 16-lane highways blasting your ears with noise pollution, etc. I worked in Stockholm for a little while, though, and I really enjoyed it. Except for the expensiveness. If a giant American metropolis is Mordor, Stockholm is Lothlórien. It was like a grand cathedral with a choir softly singing hymns turned into a city.

Logistically, it's just as much of a pain in the ass to live there. But I do think it's important to consider the built environment's effect on you when choosing a place to live. The only midwestern/rust belt city I've visited is Chicago (if that even counts), which I liked. My experience is limited mainly to the Southeast US, which has the worst urban planning known to mankind. Maybe a bigger city with the right urban fabric wouldn't be so bad after all.

Another thing to think about: As energy supply problems get worse, won't smaller cities be better equipped to weather the changes? Especially places that have distinct rural edges, some relationship with local food production, water transport, etc? It seems like the smaller cities and towns are intrinsically better scaled for future energy realities.

JANUARY REPORT

Net worth: $2900
Expenses: $372
Housing, Food, Health Insurance: $100
Car Insurance: $200
Gas: $30
BiggerPockets Membership: $30
Restaurant: $12
Whey Protein: $0 (I used a gift card.)

Books read:
Let My People Go Surfing: Confessions of a Reluctant Businessman- Yvon Chouinard
The 12 Week Year- Brian Moran
The Long Descent- John Michael Greer
Extreme Ownership- Jocko Willink
The Magic Art of Tidying Up- Marie Kondo
Green Wizardry- John Michael Greer
On Becoming a Person- Carl Rogers

February books:
The Fighter's Mind- Sam Sheridan
Emerging Real Estate Markets- David Lindahl
On Writing Well- William Zinsser
The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius
Shoe Dog- Phil Knight
The Market Gardener- JM Fortier

I'm trying to read these books, but I can't find them at the library and am having trouble finding a deal. If anyone would like to do a book swap, please let me know :mrgreen:
Anything by Joel Salatin
Small, Gritty, and Green: The Promise of America's Smaller Industrial Cities in a Low-Carbon World - Catherine Tumber
Last edited by RFS on Sun Feb 04, 2018 1:35 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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Re: RFS' Journal

Post by sky » Wed Jan 31, 2018 9:48 pm

I have always thought of Detroit as an expensive city, due to taxes and insurance costs. I wanted to live there but was not able to find a job at the time I was looking.

You might want to look at Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, although they both are booming at the moment. For potential upside, Muskegon has Lake Michigan beaches and has the best harbor on the lake. There are many smaller towns around these three that may be better choices. For some reason the economy in west Michigan is booming, which is something we are not used to. There are still cheap small towns which are probably boring but are not too far from the cities with universities and more interesting culture. Up and down Lake Michigan it is expensive within a mile or two of the lake, and becomes somewhat cheap as you move away from the coast. Some of the locals are savages tho.

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Re: RFS' Journal

Post by Kriegsspiel » Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:06 pm

Chattanooga is the only one RFS listed that is a clear winner WRT taxes. Unless TN piles extra school bonds/levies/fire/police shadow fees on top of their property taxes, those are pretty low too. Detroit's auto insurance rates lead me to sell my car a month after I moved here, which is what RFS plans on doing also so it's a moot point. Or did you mean home insurance?

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Re: RFS' Journal

Post by sky » Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:58 am

Yes, I meant car insurance. At the time I was looking to move there (late 1990s), there were very few stores.

About 2 years ago, I bid on a tax sale house in West Village about a block in from Jeff. I bid about 10k, and it went for 75k.

I was shocked, things sure have changed.

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RFS
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Re: RFS' Journal

Post by RFS » Sun Feb 04, 2018 1:45 pm

@Sky - Thank you for the suggestions. I did some research, and there's a variety of things pushing economic growth in Western Michigan. The recent drilling boom (especially in the nearby Marcellus shale) has lowered power prices, its economy is more diversified than Eastern Michigan's, and Gov. Snyder both lowered business taxes and signed a right-to-work law.

Detroit is indeed an expensive city. It also has plenty of pain-in-the-ass regulations/expenses for landlords, cutting into already tight profit margins. The eviction process is one of the most complex in the country. It seems like doing business would be easier in more conservative areas/states like Indiana, Ohio, and Wisconsin. But then again, laws can change dramatically by municipality. Every market has someone kicking ass in it, too.

I spend about 1 hour/day evaluating locations and categorizing the data in a handy OpenOffice spreadsheet. When I narrow down good overall markets, I zero in on submarkets/neighborhoods. Here's the criteria I'm using:
Population
Job creation
Population increase and expected growth
Buildings proposed (permit pulls)
Government planning
Affordability
Absorption rate and vacancy rate
Property taxes
Landlord laws
Growing season/zone
City policy with regard to agriculture
Water
Good urbanism?

What am I missing?

Cities on the list so far (in order of population).
- Greenville, SC
- Columbia, SC
- Chattanooga, TN
- South Bend, IN
- Dayton, OH
- Birmingham, AL
- Fort Wayne, IN
- Toledo, OH
- Cincinnati, OH
- Pittsburgh, PA
- Cleveland, OH
- Detroit, MI

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Kriegsspiel
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Re: RFS' Journal

Post by Kriegsspiel » Fri Feb 09, 2018 12:41 pm

Kriegsspiel wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:06 pm
Chattanooga is the only one RFS listed that is a clear winner WRT taxes. Unless TN piles extra school bonds/levies/fire/police shadow fees on top of their property taxes, those are pretty low too. Detroit's auto insurance rates lead me to sell my car a month after I moved here, which is what RFS plans on doing also so it's a moot point. Or did you mean home insurance?
Make sure you do your research on non-property tax fees:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-are-ci ... 1517913001

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RFS
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Re: RFS' Journal

Post by RFS » Wed Feb 28, 2018 7:22 pm

FEBRUARY REPORT

Net worth: $5,000
Expenses: $545
--
Housing, Food, Health Insurance: $100
Car Insurance: $200
BiggerPockets Membership: $30
Gas: $75
Haircut: $20
Boston: $120
- I went to Boston and was undisciplined. More on this below.

February was tumultuous. I found out it will cost $7k to get my teaching certification. The program I originally signed up for was $2k, but it was canceled this year. Next best option is $5k. They waited to drop information about $2k of extra fees at the orientation. I was also enlightened but simultaneously traumatized by John Taylor Gatto's writings. This guy was a New York state Teacher of The Year that now correctly writes about compulsory schooling being harmful for children.

This is quite the blow, because I actually like my job/don't get a sinking feeling of existential misery in my stomach when I pull up. It fits perfectly with my personality, I like my colleagues, I get along great with most of my students, and I'm competent at the job in general. There's some decent institutional advantages too, IMO. If you get sick, you can miss and not get fired. The work changes. There's plenty of time off. You do have to deal with cell phone-addicted children in a time where books called "The Collapse of Parenting" are coming out, but it isn't bad. Still, I am fundamentally churning out schooled but tragically uneducated children. Part of me wants to keep working the process, but another wants to become a software engineer or something. I'm not sure what I'm going to do.

After that, my Mom took a trip to the ICU. This month's gas bill is so high from driving back and forth from the hospital several times. It has made it tough to focus.

I also noticed a hole in my plan. No lender [that I know of] will be excited to finance my house hack property without steady W2 income. I can't just quit conventional work, find a house hack, and then sell food. Shit! I'm still not sure what to do about this. But I will have to work through it somehow.

In good news, I have a close friend in Boston that I've been trying to visit for quite some time, and I found a great airfare deal that aligned with some time off work. I was able to subsidize the flight with a voucher, too. Boston is such a cool city, man. It's a big college town with a world-class science research industry. There's over 30 colleges in the area, and 25% of the population is under 25. It's also wonderfully designed. The buildings aren't taller than 4-6 stories, the city has awesome green spaces (Boston Commons is beautiful!), and THERE'S NOT MANY CARS! We got around by foot the entire time, and not once did I have to cross or walk alongside a 16-lane highway with no sidewalks. It got me excited about living somewhere walkable.

I did get a taste of that yuppie life, though. I got stupid little drinks a few times at night outings, ate some added sugar, and even paid $18 for a yoga class. Everything was a waste of money, except for that yoga. If you guys don't do yoga, holy crap, you are missing out. It blew my mind. It's so difficult, yet simultaneously so relaxing. People do om chanting at the beginning, too. I'm totally hooked. If you lift weights, it's the perfect exercise for your off days.

BOOKS READ
The Fighter's Mind: Inside The Mental Game- Sam Sheridan
- This book is so bad-ass, I made a separate post for it. Scott 2, I will reply to you soon!

On Writing Well- William Zinsser
- This is a must-read. You will learn more about writing than 2 decades of composition classes.

Shoe Dog- Phil Knight
- It was interesting to read this book after On Writing Well, because Phil Knight follows Zinsser's advice to a T. I'm not sure if he used a ghostwriter, but damn, this book is well written. It's not about Nike. It's about the people that founded Nike, and how they dealt with 15+ years of horrible shit while trying to stay afloat. Every terrible thing you could possibly imagine happened, especially in the early days. Death, betrayal, getting sued for millions, getting fined for millions, banks suddenly closing accounts, financing problems, supply and shipping problems, everything. Yes, I know, they're assholes now. But it is still a fascinating story.

Deep Work- Cal Newport
- One of my favorite books, ever. Please read this. I have already seen noticeable changes in my life.

I'm halfway through Emerging Real Estate Markets, by David Lindahl, and I did not read
The Market Gardener, by JM Fortier because I couldn't find a free copy anywhere. I may buy a personal copy this month.

This month's books:
Emerging Real Estate Markets
Meditations of Marcus Aurelius
Anything You Want- Derek Sivers
Create Your Own Religion- Daniele Bolelli
11 Rings- The Soul of Success
Sex at Dawn- Chris Ryan

@Kriegsspiel- Once again, thank you for the helpful information. I'll be sure to add fees to the list.
Last edited by RFS on Sun Apr 08, 2018 8:04 pm, edited 5 times in total.

EdithKeeler
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Re: RFS' Journal

Post by EdithKeeler » Wed Feb 28, 2018 8:24 pm

Your trip to Boston was economical. I was there in October--stayed at the Parker House and we ate and drank our way across the city. I'm not kidding: we spent $83--PLUS tip--one morning for breakfast. I agree: Boston is a freakin' awesome city. Great place, such energy. Would live there in a heartbeat except it's CRAZY expensive. (They have condominium parking spots: I'm not kidding, some people pay over $50,000 for the privilege of paying $300 a month to park their car. Amazing...).

You might want to look at Memphis. Memphis gets a bad rap, but it's super economical to live here. Our sales tax is high, but property taxes and property costs are low. Our public transportation is terrible, but depending on where you live and go, it's somewhat bikeable. (We have sprawl.... but frankly, if I could work downtown, I wouldn't go beyond downtown much). It's probably not a bad town for a market garden, either. There's a pretty decent restaurant scene here, and a "green fork" movement supporting a "buy and eat local" thing.

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Re: RFS' Journal

Post by jacob » Thu Mar 01, 2018 9:25 am

EdithKeeler wrote:
Wed Feb 28, 2018 8:24 pm
(They have condominium parking spots: I'm not kidding, some people pay over $50,000 for the privilege of paying $300 a month to park their car. Amazing...).
When I was looking to buy a house in Chicago, my search parameters revealed some mysteriously cheap listings in downtown Chicago---similar price range. Further investigation showed they were single parking lots in random apartment buildings. I doubt one is allowed to put in a travel trailer and live in it though :)

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Re: RFS' Journal

Post by Mister Imperceptible » Thu Mar 01, 2018 9:41 pm

The Research Triangle (Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, NC) is severely underrated.

Duke, UNC, NC State. Lots of opportunities there.

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RFS
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Re: RFS' Journal

Post by RFS » Tue Apr 03, 2018 3:10 pm

MARCH UPDATE

Net worth: $7.2k
Expenses: $517 (Lots of hospital driving this month, I bought seeds for a garden, and I had an expensive eye doctor visit.)

My father died a few days ago, unexpectedly. He was an incredible father and community member. Countless people have visited the house to cry and share stories. I have never felt more devastated, but simultaneously blessed that such an incredible person raised me.

I am 23, and I have younger siblings. This may illicit some eye-rolls, but I am writing a thank-you letter to Jordan Peterson soon. I can either become bitter and resentful about this tragedy, or I can act so the responsibility I must carry will better develop my character and provide my life with meaning. His teachings have enabled me to embody the stable masculine energy that my family (and myself) needs.

The good thing is that my father was [relatively] financially responsible. He paid off the house, saved quite a bit of his money, had life insurance, and I think his only debts are $6k in car payments.

BOOKS READ

The Dip, Seth Godin
- Every time I read a Seth Godin book, there's a little piece of information in there that changes how I interact with the world. In Linchpin, it was the chapter on bringing emotional labor to your work. In this book, it was the sentence "It is nearly impossible to over-invest in being the market leader." The Dip is a manifesto on how the all rewards are skewed to the top, and that whatever you decide to do, you should make it your mission to be the best. The competition is only a click away now.

Anything You Want, Derek Sivers
- Wow. I will read this at least once a year.

Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success
- Phil Jackson was born to dogmatic Christian ministers in North Dakota, which spurred a lifelong spiritual journey. This book is actually about what he learned from Native American tribes and Zen Buddhists, and how it helped him win 11 NBA championships. There's information on team-building and dealing with egotistical people that I'd never heard before.

The Way of The Superior Man, David Deida
- This guy writes about the sexual and spiritual relationships between men and women, so thousands of results will pop up if you Google "fuck david deida." But my experience was the complete opposite of "fuck david deida." I had to stop almost every page to write things down, and every sentence had me thinking about my own life experiences. One of the greatest books I have ever read.

Create Your Own Religion, Daniele Bolelli
- A call for true spirituality. I got this book because I got wait-listed by the library for another book, and I've always enjoyed Daniele Bolelli on podcasts I've heard. A good read.

So Good They Can't Ignore You, Cal Newport
- WOW! God, I feel lucky to have read this book now, but I wish I could have read it earlier. So much misery would have been shaved off my life. I love Cal Newport's books partially because they are indescribably true, but also because they take myths that have deeply permeated our minds and absolutely destroy their intellectual credibility. Deep Work exposes the open office, constantly-connected-to-everyone mindset that has infiltrated society as deeply fucked up. So Good They Can't Ignore You does the same for the "follow your passions" meme. It's packed with all types of other valuable information, too. I learned that tentativeness, not boldness, will help me on my own journey.

@EdithKeeler- I really appreciate the suggestion, I hadn't considered Memphis previously. I see it a lot on BiggerPockets and from what I've seen, it's a block-by-block city. But the deals apparently grow on trees out there, and there's tons of big companies moving to the area. It has been poised to explode [like a Denver market explosion] for several decades now, but it just hasn't happened yet. Maybe all the student loan-burdened young people searching for inexpensive cities will come in soon. I'll research it more this month. Thank you!

@MisterImperceptible - Thank you for the suggestion, I appreciate that. Durham is supposed to be an incredible up-and-coming city. I'll research those as well, thanks again!
Last edited by RFS on Sun Apr 08, 2018 7:53 pm, edited 3 times in total.

EdithKeeler
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Re: RFS' Journal

Post by EdithKeeler » Tue Apr 03, 2018 6:56 pm

I’m sorry about your dad. That’s a hard thing. My condolences.

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jennypenny
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Location: Stepford USA

Re: RFS' Journal

Post by jennypenny » Tue Apr 03, 2018 7:24 pm

I'm sorry, too. You and your siblings are awfully young to have to deal with such a sudden tragedy.

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RFS
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Re: RFS' Journal

Post by RFS » Tue May 01, 2018 6:57 pm

APRIL UPDATE
Net Worth: $10.2k
Expenses: $784
Savings Rate: 71% (81% If you include tax returns as income ;) )
Years Saved: 1.57
Avg. Month: $562.25
Avg. Year: $6,747.00

I spent $300 on a 2-year supply of contact lenses. Working out in glasses is a pain in the ass, and this luxury seemed worth the money. I looked into LASIK, but the thought of "adverse effects" is simply too damn terrifying for its consideration. Spending should be back to the $400-$500/mo levels now.

The local grocer installed a light near their dumpster, transforming a bountiful land of organic produce and fruit to somewhere I could get arrested at. They already made a sick ROI on that light, because it lead to me standing in the checkout line days later thinking "I can't believe I'm actually buying shit from here." $80 went to food this month.

I'm on a diet of eggs, sauteed sweet potatoes and kale, cheese, oatmeal, protein powder, and sometimes onions and avocados too if they're on sale. No bread or added sugar. Hot damn, people are not kidding when they say cutting out sugar makes them feel better! I don't have mid-day crashes anymore, and I'm much leaner.

In other news, it has been one month since my father's death. Focusing on the little things seems like the best way to stand tall and enable my family to find strength beside me. Daily discipline in exercising, keeping my room tidy, shaving, drinking enough water, reading, and going to bed/waking up at the same time are keeping me sane. I think that's applicable whether your father dies or not, though. One commonality in a lot of the books I've read this year, from Phil Jackson to Marcus Aurelius, is the power of the process. Great achievements are made up of little baby steps each day. You can control what you do each day, but not the outcome. The process gives you a sense of agency, no matter the situation.

BOOKS READ

The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius
- The personal diary of the most powerful man on Earth, trying to be wiser, more humble, and ultimately bad-ass. Here's 2 bits I liked:

"Your actions and perceptions need to aim: at accomplishing practical ends - at the exercise of thought - at maintaining a confidence founded on understanding. An unobtrusive confidence—hidden in plain sight."

"That to be remembered is worthless. Like fame. Like everything. Indifference to external events. And a commitment to justice in your own acts. Which means: thought and action resulting in the commongood."

Average is Over, Tyler Cowen
- I was initially hesitant to read a book by an economist, because most of them don't think about energy. This is a great book, though. He argues that the economy of the next 20-30 years will look like freestyle chess matches. In these matches, people use computer programs to calculate the outcomes of potential moves. The humans can pick up on things the computers aren't advanced enough to see, though, so they determine what moves to actually make. There will be 2 groups: People who can work with intelligent machines, and those who won't learn how. The benefits will increasingly skew towards the former.

Tiny Beautiful Things, Cheryl Strayed
- I got this book from Ryan Holiday's reading list, where every recommendation has been a home run with me so far. I'll let him do the talking: "Cheryl Strayed, also the author of Wild (Amazon), was the anonymous columnist behind the online column, Dear Sugar and boy, are we better off for it. This is not a random smattering of advice. This book contains some of the most cogent insights on life, pain, loss, love, success, youth that I have ever seen."

The Miracle Morning, Hal Elrod
- Hell yeah.

The 10X Rule, Grant Cardone
- Redundant at times, but it wasn't bad. It's a trip inside the brain of one of the most hardworking humans to ever live. Grant Cardone struggled with going to rehab-levels of addiction and didn't get his life together until he was around 30. If you want to be at the top, you have to outwork everyone else and take massive amounts of action.

@jennypenny &edithkeeler- thank you!

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Smashter
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Re: RFS' Journal

Post by Smashter » Fri May 11, 2018 4:48 pm

Since you seem to be devouring content and you liked that Tyler Cowen book, I recommend you check out his podcast, "Conversations with Tyler." He doesn't always ask the follow-up questions I wish he would ask, but he has a unique style, a very interesting mind, and he gets good guests.

Your discipline and toughness in the face of adversity is inspiring. Keep on keeping on. But one thing I gotta ask... shaving every day?? That seems awful. I had to do that for a job a while back and hated it. Maybe I just needed a more positive mindset?

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