Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Where are you and where are you going?
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suomalainen
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Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by suomalainen » Sat Oct 25, 2014 8:32 am

I'm 36; sole income earner being a lawyer with a good job with great clients and a mix of interesting and boring work; DW of 13+ years and 3 kids; too many interests and not enough time; spreadsheet whore.

Approx net worth: 14,000

I got hit by a car this summer while riding my bike and had serious injuries, so I have a personal injury claim against the driver who was clearly at fault. Value is unknown at this time. Whatever we get will reimburse our savings account for the medical payments made and the balance will be used to pay off debt since I’m nervous about making a bulk purchase of securities in these markets. Dollar cost averager here. As to the personal injury claim, I haven’t hired an attorney yet since I’m a lawyer and have a fool for a client, so I’m trying to negotiate with the insurance company myself to see if I can get a reasonable pre-litigation settlement offer without the expense of a contingency fee. We’ll see how it goes.

I save some money and the rest gets spent.

Given the kids, I will be working seemingly forever. So, part of this is an exploration of how to survive the next 20 years.
Last edited by suomalainen on Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Dragline
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Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by Dragline » Sat Oct 25, 2014 11:52 am

Sorry about your accident and good luck dealing with the insurance company. Unfortunately, their strategy is often to attempt to wear the other party down.

I think I would also use that money to pay down debt, or at least a good chunk of it.

Noedig
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Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by Noedig » Sun Oct 26, 2014 1:51 am

Hey, bummer about the bike accident. Agree with the other poster who said they try to wear you down as SOP. Being lawyerless you have alas volunteered for that. Hope you get a decent settlement.

As for the planning - looks like you are on track early. A good start.

suomalainen
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Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by suomalainen » Mon Oct 27, 2014 7:23 pm

Today was a rough day. Maybe I shouldn't have read all of spoonman's journal yesterday. F*cker gave me ERE senioritis something awful today. In any event, I found myself wondering whether spoonie would get bored or some such thing. It didn't sound like he retired "in order to do X" - the thing that he's always wanted to do. It sounded more like he just wanted freedom/options. That sounds like me. And then I remembered that Jacob went back to work "for the challenge" or some such thing, like he either was bored or work at least provided resources or an outlet to do a challenge that he wouldn't have been able to take on on his own. Then my DW chimed in "helpfully" along the lines of "you don't know what you want. It changes every day. You're in love with the idea of it, but when faced with the reality, I don't think it'll be what you think it'll be."

As irritating as she can be when she points out my quirks, I was stuck thinking today what if she's right? I don't have a "thing". I just like everything. Or rather, I like to try everything. But maybe I need something to do every day. Maybe I'd go crazy being around my wife and kids all day. Maybe I'd be happier shifting to like 80% time or taking an occasional sabbatical or similar arrangement rather than working towards a future that I can't even imagine filling right now. That's not to say that I want to divert focus from saving or to start seeking happiness in spending or anything else. Just maybe I need to figure out if there's a "thing" I want to transition to, or a vine I want to swing to which is a metaphor I think Jacob used once. I'd hate to give up my great job only to realize that the goal I was striving for was the wrong goal. Options are great, but the old joke for Yale law grads to "die with your options open" always struck me as ludicrous. Given our financial position, I've got time. #firstworldproblems, amirite?

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GandK
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Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by GandK » Tue Oct 28, 2014 2:44 pm

The word "decision" and the word "scissors" have the same root word: "cis," which is Latin for both "cut" and "kill."

Decisions are freeing when having a lot of options feels like loose ends or unfinished business. It sounds like having life options gives you energy, though. And the more choices you have, the more free you feel. There's nothing wrong with seeking possibility. You don't want to cut (or kill) when doing so would bring stress instead of relieving it.

This sounds like the J/P argument to me. Do you know what your Myers Briggs type is, by any chance?

suomalainen
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Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by suomalainen » Tue Oct 28, 2014 4:58 pm

Did a 90 question true/false test online and came out INTP, but the T was like a 1% preference or something like that. Dunno if that's accurate. Based on the descriptions, I'm pretty "F"ey in a lot of ways; T in others. W/r/t the others, there's no question.

suomalainen
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Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by suomalainen » Tue Apr 21, 2015 7:29 pm

So, it's been awhile. Winter sucked. But, we made some financial progress, so that's good. First off, we paid off one of our student loans and put a big chunk of cash that we were sitting on for a potential move onto another, so there's been nice progress there. Additionally, I was inspired by Spoonman's journal to start charting my dividend progress. I don't know if dividend investing is the smartest thing to do (tax-wise) for a full-time worker such as myself, but I don't know if I'd be comfortable investing in non-dividend stocks until I built up my retirement egg and then sold it all and bought into dividend stocks at the time. I pretty much prefer buying companies and then forgetting about them. And watching the line tick up from 0 to $440 (woohoo!) is pretty cool. Obviously, have a ways to go, but just seeing the progress is gratifying. I'd paste my little graph in here, but I don't have the energy to figure out how.

suomalainen
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Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by suomalainen » Tue Aug 08, 2017 12:14 pm

It's been quite a journey since I last wrote here. So much so that it's difficult to to know where to start.

I think the theme has been that since the accident, my internal life has been thrown topsy turvy in a way that has been very difficult to get a handle on. I started reading IlliniDave's journal today, the "Journey of Mindfulness" title catching my eye. Something he wrote really resonated with me and my struggles -- "I think too much." There's a certain myopia to the thinking and even the thinking about thinking.

When it comes to early retirement (or "freedom", which seems to be what retirement symbolizes for me), it's like navel gazing and picking out each piece of lint as it gathers, or more graphically, picking at a scab to see how it's healing. I don't know that it's healthy. So, the struggle has been, as it seems to have been at least in the early entries for IlliniDave, to learn to live in the moment.

I zoom from "I want to try this" to "I want to try that" and instead of making room for this or that in a small corner of my life, I blow it out of proportion. This or that becomes "I should have built my life around this or that." Like, I get a sense that there's something missing in my current life, and instead of just making room for that on a go-forward basis, I look backward at my life ruefully that I haven't made room for this most important thing that I clearly didn't previously find all that important as I didn't do anything with it then.

I dunno. Too many thoughts. I remember when I was in high school reading in my bed and I thought I was losing my mind because I couldn't remember what I was reading 10 seconds after I had read it. Somehow that spiraled into thinking "I could go crazy if I just chose to." I don't know if that is accurate in any psychological/psychiatrical (is that a word) sense, but as I walked to my office today with my lunch, the thought came to me "I'm feeling miserable. But I could just choose to be happy. There's nothing objectively wrong with anything I'm doing or anything I have. I have a very safe job with colleagues and clients that respect me. It pays very well. It will eventually enable me to retire and try something else. I'm not the janitor or the cafeteria workers who work just as long as I do but don't get paid nearly as much. Yes, my wife and kids sometimes drive me nuts (and are expensive), but I love and mostly enjoy them and they are good kids (no drug problems yet!). I've been working to build and maintain my friendships, which are the strongest they've been in years. I even have a new best friend after knowing him for years and years! I mostly have my health even if I'm a bit pudgy (I wear it well!)."

And yet. and yet. I'm not satisfied. Perhaps I never will be. But what if I could just choose to be satisfied? Could it possibly be that easy?

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Dragline
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Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by Dragline » Tue Aug 08, 2017 2:12 pm

Welcome back -- its been awhile again. As you your last question, you might look into the concepts of bounded rationality and "satisficing", as first coined by Herbert Simon. Here's an article: https://medium.com/homeland-security/un ... 5e787955d6

For a nice modern collection and synthesis of such ideas, I'd recommend "Barking Up the Wrong Tree", a new book by Eric Barker who has a blog of the same name: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01KT104RI/re ... TF8&btkr=1

suomalainen
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Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by suomalainen » Wed Aug 09, 2017 5:05 pm

Thanks for the pointers Dragline, I'll take a look. Way back when I read a book about "satisficing vs maximizing", so not sure if the first is in that similar vein.

It's now been two days of "choosing to be satisfied", and it actually works. I feel much more at peace than in the few weeks prior. I've done this before, but I always seem to backslide. Perhaps this time will be different...

Reading some journals here and thinking about some friends (retired, semi-retired and otherwise), a few thoughts and next steps:
1) Don't make big changes first. Go small scale. Try it out. Rent. Maybe that scratches the itch. Balance, after all, is key; especially for an unbalanced guy like me.
2) There is no "when X, then Y". Or, more specifically, you'll never get to X. And there's nothing stopping you from starting Y right now. Just do it. Stop procrastinating, bitching, pissing, moaning, being scared or whatever else you do. Your life is now and it will only ever be now and it is passing you by.
3) When something does bug you, examine it, decide what to do about it, do that, and then leave it alone. Stop pulling the plant up by the roots to see how they're doing.
4) You once said that you didn't care about being a douchy rich lawyer; you wanted to be interesting. Open your eyes to see that you ARE interesting. You've done some neat things even if many other things are day-to-day sameness. Pursue the things in more earnestness that tickle your fancy the most.
5) At the same time, don't fight against what is. Accept that life requires day-to-day sameness. There are no peaks without valleys. Even when retired, there will be day-to-day chores, whether paid or not. See #2.

suomalainen
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Financial Update

Post by suomalainen » Wed Aug 09, 2017 5:26 pm

And now on to the FI path:

Net Worth:
It's been almost 3 years since I first posted here, and a lot has changed. First, after getting jerked around by the driver's insurance company for 6 months, I hired a lawyer; he sued; we settled 6 months later for much more than the insurance company was offering me; amazing how having a lawyer who is part of the good old boys' network gets results. Together with some bonuses and savings, it was enough to pay off the mortgage and two student loans. Down to ~$60k in debt all in from $410k 3 years ago is...mind-blowing. I have to admit, not having a mortgage feels incredible - and I'm only slightly chagrined that I had to come a hair's breadth from paralysis or death to get it.

Over those 3 years, savings have also remained strong so now I've got a very comfortable start to FI. The only problem is that the vast majority of it is in tax-advantaged accounts, meaning I have 20 years until I can access them. As for liquid investments, those total about $100k now. So, slower than I'd like, but I'm looking at the positive today! I'm hoping to increase that by ~$50k/year, but see upcoming challenges below.

Budget:
Frankly, given the payoffs of debt, I sorta stopped caring, so I have almost no idea how we're doing budget-wise other than to say that it "feels like" it hasn't changed much. I'm still putting the same amount into savings (having rolled debt payments into that amount), so maybe I'm eating into the small cash cushion we have or maybe it's roughly the same? Maybe I'll get back to counting pennies, but for the moment, it's nice to not have to be so darn exacting all the time.

Upcoming challenges:
-We're busting out of our house. Five people in 1400 square feet and one bathroom is...challenging...especially in winter. That said, DW and I can't agree on a house, so worst (best?) case scenario is we stay in our current house (and I can potentially be FI in 5 years if you squint to look past the tax rules). Buying a bigger house for $100k+ more than our current house increases my working time by at least a year for every $50k (property taxes are also a killer).
-Kids are growing older - 8, 10 and 13. I don't know what's coming, but I know it won't be all roses.

A shitty thing to contemplate:
My younger brother-in-law is a drug addict. First opioids and I guess now xanax. Both DW and I would love to be able to help him, and we love that we're in a financial position to be able to help him whereas his parents are not, but...I mean...he's a drug addict! I have a close friend who was an addict. I have another friend whose son was an addict. Addicts are not great people to have in your house! So, we're trying to figure out if we can help him, how we can help him, and under what conditions would we try. I would love, love, love to help this (27 yr old) kid out. But I just don't know. It's not about the impact to FI - what else is money for? - but it's about whether we can help pull him up vs him pulling us down.

jennypenny
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Re: Financial Update

Post by jennypenny » Thu Aug 10, 2017 7:41 am

suomalainen wrote:
Wed Aug 09, 2017 5:26 pm
-We're busting out of our house. Five people in 1400 square feet and one bathroom is...challenging...especially in winter. That said, DW and I can't agree on a house, so worst (best?) case scenario is we stay in our current house (and I can potentially be FI in 5 years if you squint to look past the tax rules). Buying a bigger house for $100k+ more than our current house increases my working time by at least a year for every $50k (property taxes are also a killer).
-Kids are growing older - 8, 10 and 13. I don't know what's coming, but I know it won't be all roses.
If your kids were younger, I could see moving. I don't think it's worth the expense now since in 5 years one of them will already be out of the house for college. Even once they get to high school, they aren't home much except to shower and eat. (My HS kids are gone almost 6-6 every day between school and activities.) You are at the peak of the 'underfoot' stage. It should get better from here. It's probably more cost effective to add a bathroom and maybe finish a basement if you have one.

It's hard to picture right now, but by the time the second child hits HS your house will be quiet most of the day.

IlliniDave
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Re: Financial Update

Post by IlliniDave » Thu Aug 10, 2017 12:26 pm

suomalainen wrote:
Wed Aug 09, 2017 5:26 pm

A shitty thing to contemplate:
My younger brother-in-law is a drug addict. First opioids and I guess now xanax. Both DW and I would love to be able to help him, and we love that we're in a financial position to be able to help him whereas his parents are not, but...I mean...he's a drug addict! I have a close friend who was an addict. I have another friend whose son was an addict. Addicts are not great people to have in your house! So, we're trying to figure out if we can help him, how we can help him, and under what conditions would we try. I would love, love, love to help this (27 yr old) kid out. But I just don't know. It's not about the impact to FI - what else is money for? - but it's about whether we can help pull him up vs him pulling us down.
That's a tough one and that problem has touched my family as well. For the most part, you cannot pull him up. Maybe once he's pulled himself up you could help steady him on his feet a little bit on occasion. It doesn't sound like this is an experience you are unfamiliar with, so you probably know the dangers of well-meaning people becoming enablers.

slowtraveler
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Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by slowtraveler » Thu Aug 10, 2017 12:36 pm

Go to some addict support groups so you can get more perspective. PM me if you need some names.

Jason
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Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by Jason » Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:07 pm

I honestly don't see a happy ending to a story that begins "I want to help my Drug addicted brother in law Out."

You can't save people from themselves. Enjoy your retirement. Pray for him or something of that nature.

suomalainen
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Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by suomalainen » Fri Aug 11, 2017 2:40 pm

Thanks all for the thoughts. I think you're right. I like the way Jason and Dave put it - you can't save them from themselves, but you can help steady their feet on their new path. I'm not prone to enabling, but I am prone to codependency which just confuses everything when you and I can't distinguish what's my shit vs what's your shit. And that ain't helping anyone. I don't need to inject myself into a problem that's not mine (i.e., one over which I have ZERO control to change). It's something I'm trying learn. Boundaries, padawan, boundaries.

Now for a bit more psychobabbling, which is both cause and cure of my present affliction. In addition to the codependency thing noted above, I also lack boundaries in time, thus affirming that I lack boundaries throughout space-time (I am eternal!). Meaning that I spend too much time dwelling on past mistakes or regrets and/or future possibilities/fantasies. Staying present is a "goal" of mine, as is losing weight and eating better and saving for FI, etc. But rather than having hard "goals" for which you START or whatever the acronym is, what this really means is that I need to learn to be a human. As my shrink (yes, I have a shrink) puts it - I need to learn how to live because I was never taught this vital skill growing up. For me, I think it means accepting life as it is, both as in "my life" - past choices, what I like, future plans, all the things that make me "me"; but also as in "life" - a specimen homo sapien on a planet of millions of other species.

The thing with me that I have to remember is that the former is not larger than the latter. In fact, the two overlap much more than I would have guessed. Like IlliniDave (just finished reading his journal and there's a lot of overlap, so I sort of see him as one possible future version of me), I feel most at home alone in the woods. That's where I'm present. Where I'm alive. I don't really know how to live in a family, in society, in a workplace. I can manage, but it's like I'm a functional alcoholic - it's slowly killing me even if I can sorta make it work. So, the exercise, the diet, the present focus is all about becoming more "natural".

And now we come full circle in this rambling post - I'm trying to do things in my roles as husband, father and employee for the benefit of others. I don't really have much of a self-identity. I need to find my boundaries and to make time for myself instead of always thinking how I can make it work for others. The challenge is that, like IlliniDave, I would LOVE a remote off-grid cabin in the woods on a lake - a mökki. I am a Finn after all. But I don't think my wife and kids would love it. And I have a hard time accepting that. Like my dream clashes with my reality and it's like "which one do I let go of?" Every choice has a compromise, but sometimes it just sucks.

Jason
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Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by Jason » Fri Aug 11, 2017 3:16 pm

First off, is your name really Suomalaisen Paivakirja? Damn, how the fuck do you people live with that shit. Your countrymen ever think if they named their kids Mike or Mary or Douchebag Joe Whitaker you wouldn't find yourselves in the perpetual throes of existential crisis? You name a kid Soren Kierkegaard, chances are he's not going to run away to join the fucking circus. I think he's Danish but quite frankly I could give a shit. With those languages, I'm surprised anyone gets laid in the Nordic region. It's like who would want to fuck anyone who talks like that.

Anyways, you are married and have kids. So the brother in law gets thrown out in the trash.

Stop dwelling on your mistakes and learn from them. And if you want a fuckin cabin get a fucking cabin. They'll learn to like it.

suomalainen
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Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by suomalainen » Fri Aug 11, 2017 4:30 pm

Nah. It means "Finn's Journal" (original, I know). My real name would, however, confirm your causality theory between names and perpetual existential crises. Such is my lot in life. It's not a lot, but it's my life.

As to the rest, if only it were that easy. I am, however, trying to move on from perpetual rumination (self-flagellation as you would put it) to just doing the fucking thing that I intellectually know is "correct". There's a chasm between knowledge and experience, and in the good life I am woefully short of the latter.

Jason
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Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by Jason » Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:21 pm

Holy Christ. That is one burdensome language.

Well, all I can say is don't just turn in on yourself and become some drooling solipsistic motherfucker, because that seems to be the direction you are going in. I know being dour is big over there. I once had sex with a Swedish prostitute who didn't speak English but passed me notes like "Don't touch hair during blow job" and she was probably the most beautiful girl I ever was with but damn was she depressed. Eventually she passed me a note with her psychiatrists telephone number. To be quite honest, I took it a bit personally although I did see her point.

I even notice it when I watch Netflix series. There are some really good series coming out of those countries but they are all dark and the language makes it so serious. Do you people even have jokes? It probably takes an hour to get to the punch line and by then everyone is back thinking about their own death.

But seriously, I hope you find your way down the river, Huckleberry Finn.

Noedig
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Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by Noedig » Sat Aug 12, 2017 12:33 am

Well done about being able to cash in the near death experience, glad you got the slingshot orbit instead of straight into the black hole. As a daily cyclist, I do feel the risk of someone's inattention becoming my doom.

Sorry about your Brother in law: you cannot help someone whose problem is themselves. That is my judgement at 52, from knowing very well, people with alcoholism and depression, and having tried to help them. Self destructive behavior reaches out to leach positive energy from those nearby. I am tempted to throw in the usual "But to a Finn, that may seem entirely normal" but sadly it's not a joke.

What is a joke is this: "People used to laugh at me, when I said I would become a comedian". "Well, they're not laughing now."

Sorry. Back to the dilemma. The painful part, as you rightly observe, is in withholding from injecting yourself into a situation where you have no agency, and yet really desiring to help out. Help-at-a-distance is normally monetary - but you know where that would go in this case. So the trick is to find circumstances where you can help without enabling, and do so away from your home. And not do much of that.

Good luck - and congrats on keeping life on track, paying down debt, keeping on with Family Life. You are a smart Finn.

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