Semi-ERE Experiment - Month 2 - "Limbo A La Mode"

Where are you and where are you going?
Viktor K
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Location: China
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Re: 225 Days Till FI!

Post by Viktor K » Fri Dec 21, 2018 9:35 am

For two people, you’re pretty much at where I’d feel comfortable telling my girlfriend that it was time to go live cheaply around the world for a few years. My spending is about $500 or so per month in an expensive city in China. You’ve got enough to cover you and your SO and still have some left over.

Your assets will likely continue to grow, and there are still ways to earn while abroad. Even online teaching or moonlighting at training centers can cover basic expenses and more somewhere high demand like China.

You can also look at Malaysia, Thailand (slowtraveler’s journal), Vietnam, Indonesia, etc.

Your journal is starting to sound a lot like C40’s did when I was reading it back in 2016. Everything except for his inner dialogue was saying it was time to quit.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: 225 Days Till FI!

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Fri Dec 21, 2018 8:32 pm

The way this market is moving.....I won't be FI any time soon. So best to focus on taking absolute advantage of everything life has to offer in the moment.

slowtraveler
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Re: 225 Days Till FI!

Post by slowtraveler » Fri Dec 21, 2018 9:53 pm

I'm with 2Birds1Stone on the caution. The market crash could mean a big buying opportunity soon and a decreased exposure to sequence of return risk if work continues through a crash. There's a thread somewhere on the forum cautioning against pulling the plug early. I'm below 4% most months and I'd still be nervous quitting completely. Plus, partner is not yet FI, adding some risks to partnered plans if both stop working. It sounds like she wants to keep working and the income is still highly valuable.

Once work becomes optional, working for income can add some joy without the pressure due to its optional nature.

At some point, extra money loses extra utility. Considering all the fear and the numbers still a far cry from a 4% covering both lovers, I'd suck it up and keep on grinding. You're doing great 2Birds1Stone. 15 months and you're free.

suomalainen
Posts: 664
Joined: Sat Oct 18, 2014 12:49 pm

Re: 225 Days Till FI!

Post by suomalainen » Fri Dec 21, 2018 10:35 pm

slowtraveler wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 9:53 pm
15 months and you're free.
Still makes me think of "free to what"? I work and my wife stays home. I tell her she's living the dream because she can do whatever she wants when she wants. She then responds with her list of responsibilities, like the other day she texted "This is the sixth store I'm going to today" (for food or xmas gifts or I dunno what) "still think I'm living the dream?" I replied "You still have to live, but yes, it's a dream." Point being that sometimes it seems like she looks at her work the way I look at mine - even though they're different jobs with different structures, they're still jobs. You'll never be free of the business of life. And you'll adapt to whatever your situation is to find some parts good and some parts bad.

edit: ha, after I posted this, I read this:
jennypenny wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 11:16 am
Of course not. My point is that you'll always have stupid shit to do everyday ... that's life. I've had an ideal ERE-ish life, yet I still had to clean toilets, wash up dirty kids, fix broken things, etc. ERE doesn't magically remove life's drudgery, only hands you the reins to it. Learn how to fit the good stuff into your day around the boring stuff.
Hi five @jp, I'm trying to catch up to you.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: 225 Days Till FI!

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Sat Dec 22, 2018 1:30 am

This doesn't answer your question entirely.......but earlier this year, due to a lot of bullshit and management turnover, I was working mostly remote, and only needing to do on average about 10-20 hours of actual work a week. I timed this around my morning coffee and bad weather.

During that time I was mountain biking twice a week, spending way more time with friends in person, running 6+ miles once or twice a week, hitting the gym 3-4 days a week for weight training, spending a lot more time with my SO, hiking, reading more books, hammocking, cycling 50+ miles most Saturdays, and had a sense of autonomy over my life.....they are no more.

Right now I have a pretty sweet gig. I am a sales exec, with a decent salary, and while my hours have been crazy the past ~4 months, things have been definitely become more reasonable the past 6 weeks or so. I am planning on tracking my work time, including travel for 2019. If I can figure out ways to mitigate hours spent working, and have work become an option (at least individually, if not as a couple), then I think it would improve my entire web of goals.

jennypenny
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Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:20 pm
Location: Stepford USA

Re: 225 Days Till FI!

Post by jennypenny » Sat Dec 22, 2018 7:05 am

suomalainen wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 10:35 pm
Hi five @jp, I'm trying to catch up to you.
It's not easy but life is what it is. Once I remember trying to deal with a demanding client while watching my dog throw up all over the house. When the client was satisfied and the floors were mopped, I had to remind myself that this was the life I wanted. Several times. :lol:

ERE and leanFIRE can do a lot but they can't remove the maintenance aspect of life. I think people drawn to fatFIRE are the ones who want to throw money at the drudgery to remove as much of it as possible. I'd rather learn to deal with it and hold onto my money.

suomalainen
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Joined: Sat Oct 18, 2014 12:49 pm

Re: 225 Days Till FI!

Post by suomalainen » Sat Dec 22, 2018 9:57 am

I will admit, this does sound dreamy:
2Birds1Stone wrote:
Sat Dec 22, 2018 1:30 am
During that time I was mountain biking twice a week, spending way more time with friends in person, running 6+ miles once or twice a week, hitting the gym 3-4 days a week for weight training, spending a lot more time with my SO, hiking, reading more books, hammocking, cycling 50+ miles most Saturdays, and had a sense of autonomy over my life.....they are no more.
To flesh it out, tho, what were the hassles and frustrations you encountered during that same time frame?

2Birds1Stone
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Re: 225 Days Till FI!

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Sat Dec 22, 2018 10:16 am

If I'm going to be completely honest with myself, not much that I can recall.

I was running errands during the least busy times. SO's work schedule mattered very little and we were able to spend her days off work together.

I still had to do stuff like go to the dentist, or deal with a little boredom on a particularly bad stretch of weather (which we didn't have too much of).

But damn, I also did a 3 month summer beach VB league, BBQ'd 3-4 x a week, cooked more in general. I'm beginning to think that a PT work from home job could be a great answer to a very lean FIRE with a longer sabbatical up front to get the travel/wanderlust out of my system. I've just yet to figure out what that job might be with my skill set (salesmanship).

If I think hard on it, I probably had to go in to the office 3-4 x a month on average, and put in a few hours of work from home most weekdays. It provided me enough structure and social interaction (I really liked my coworkers at former job), with enough flexibility that it barely felt like work.

suomalainen
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Re: 225 Days Till FI!

Post by suomalainen » Sat Dec 22, 2018 10:33 am

That sounds amazing. Naturally, having had that time and having had to leave that time, I would obsess about getting back to that exact situation and to keep myself there forever. But there's this:
The mistake we make in putting emphasis on happiness is to forget that life is a process, defined by activity and motion, and to search instead for the one perfect state of being. There can be no such state, since change is the essence of life.

The Big Picture, Sean Carroll, pg 426.
So, I guess I hope you enjoyed that time, just reveled in it, and that you're able to find as much happiness out of your current situation as you can while you work toward some future (unstable) state.

Jin+Guice
Posts: 351
Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2018 8:15 am

Re: 225 Days Till FI!

Post by Jin+Guice » Sat Dec 22, 2018 11:05 am

Damn, I see I missed my opportunity to hound you about quitting your job. Thanks to suo for picking up the reigns. He is much more concise and eloquent than I am.

Am I reading this right? Are you close to having $500,000? That is so much money!!! I realize the market is down this past month so your (paper) savings may have gone down. Remember if you are working part-time you have the option to not draw down on this during downturns. Ideally you have the option to ramp up your earnings relatively quickly if the stock market suddenly goes on sale. Therefore it doesn't necessarily matter what the actual number in your brokerage account is. You only realize this number when you sell. I know you know this, but it's always worth saying out loud again and again.

When I read your recent posts I worry about the immense risk you are taking. Not the risk of leaving full-time employment (where you are making how much more than you actually need per year?) but the risk of burnout and unhappiness. I wish I could tell you how to find part-time employment in your field. Salesmanship is, in my opinion, the most valuable skill (in market terms), but this may only be because I am very bad at it. Still, I'd doubt if even a mediocre salesman couldn't find almost any type of employment they wanted, I just don't know where.

Sadly I'm a bit busy this week, but perhaps I'll have time to review your full financial situation so I can harass you more precisely. Good luck with whatever you decide.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: 225 Days Till FI!

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Sat Dec 22, 2018 11:29 am

suomalainen wrote:
Sat Dec 22, 2018 10:33 am
So, I guess I hope you enjoyed that time, just reveled in it, and that you're able to find as much happiness out of your current situation as you can while you work toward some future (unstable) state.
Thanks, I really appreciate your insight.
Jin+Guice wrote:
Sat Dec 22, 2018 11:05 am
Sadly I'm a bit busy this week, but perhaps I'll have time to review your full financial situation so I can harass you more precisely. Good luck with whatever you decide.
I would welcome your feedback very much. Yes, after this recent drop I'm sitting on just under $400k in liquidable assets. Our household expenses in this very HCOL area are ~$36k/yr all in.

When I was a toddler everyone apparently said I was going to be a lawyer or a salesman.

In unrelated news.....

Short Term Investment Plan

December 26 - Tax Loss harvest the $4,400 loss in Vanguard Brokerage Account
December 31 - Transfer $6,000 into sweep account for 2019 Roth IRA funding
January 1 - Set 401k contribution to 58% of pay.
January 2 - Transfer $6,000 into Traditional IRA
January 3 - Convert $6,000 in TIRA into Roth IRA (100% Stock)
January 11 - Estimated HSA rollover completion
January 14 - Invest $19,000 in Fidelity HSA (100% Stock)
January 15/30th - $6,300 into 401k (100% Stock)
February 15/30th - $6,300 into 401k (100% Stock)
March 15/30th - $6,400 into 401k (100% Stock)
April 15 - Purchase $10,000 in I Bonds Treasury Direct

That will bring me right to the point I referred to in an earlier post......"re-evaluate the job sitch"

2Birds1Stone
Posts: 621
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Re: 225 Days Till FI!

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Sat Dec 22, 2018 11:35 am

classical_Liberal wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 5:54 am
You could easily slow travel for a decade (or half with the SO) without any earnings and still have at least half of your money left. Do you think you want to travel for longer than that? If you decide you do, do you think a decade is long enough to figure out how to do it in other ways?
As humans we tend to be pretty bad at predicting what will make us happy, and even worse at planning for an unknown future.

Had you asked me this question a year ago, I would say yes or no depending on where my head was at. Today however, I know that I've never thru hiked for 6 months, or tried living out of a conversion van long term, so there are things that I have to try before saying yay or nay to.

We definitely want to spend a year backpacking around the world, a year+ exploring the USA/Canada/Alaska via camper/van/etc, and at the very least attempt a thru hike of the AT.

Along any of those, we could discover a million different things that pull us to a specific place, lifestyle, social setting, etc. It's hard to plan past the first choice.....which is the ~1 year sabbatical in 2020 to travel the world. Come back, reassess. Can't think in terms of decades, I actually may have pondered this more deeply as a result of a post you made on this topic. Very likely in your journal.

classical_Liberal
Posts: 841
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: 225 Days Till FI!

Post by classical_Liberal » Sat Dec 22, 2018 7:49 pm

2Birds1Stone wrote:
Sat Dec 22, 2018 11:35 am
As humans we tend to be pretty bad at predicting what will make us happy, and even worse at planning for an unknown future.
Agree with this wholeheartedly, which is why experimentation is so important. Usually it's easier to take things away that are definitely creating unhappiness, then replacing it with something else (think of it as an experimental variable). I certainly don't mean life tasks, like cleaning the toilet or washing the dishes, anyone who lets their life suck due to activities like this lacks maturity, IMO. Because they are just part of life.

I guess I didn't realize how sweet you had it at your last gig. I've been in that place before (although with lower pay) and it's fantastic! Just the right amount of work, exercise, play, travel,drudgery, and socialization in a reasonably autonomous way(ie doing the part you want when you want to) is heaven. Combining these elements purposefully is my end game with ERE. I got there somewhat accidentally before, but didn't realize what i had. @sou is correct though, nothing lasts. So if this is the lifestyle you want after satisfying some wanderlust, I think active means are required to evolve with changing situations to maintain it. Just like anything else though, sacrifice of something else may be required. Maybe something like a high paying job and the the optionality/prestige that comes with it.

Our preference may change over time as well. Someday the pressure, prestige, and optionality of high income may take presidency again (read trailblazers journal). That's OK, because our history has shown, with some time and hard work, we can pretty much pick up these things at will. I think the conflict both you and I are feeling right now is associated with the internal knowledge that it's time to downshift for awhile. For some reason, we don't want to give in. Like a will-power thing, "I can stick it out!. This, in concert, with irrational fear that we are closing the door on something we may never get back.

This is why @sou's point becomes increasingly more important.
suomalainen wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 10:35 pm
"free to what"?

At least to me it does, as I progress in my thinking. A year ago I would have said "to semi-retire, take some sabbatical time to travel". Recently, I realized that really doesn't mean anything. What i really want is to slow travel the natural areas of the US, then do some extended international travel. I want to have a home base to create roots and through that establish the balanced lifestyle discussed above for the time I'm at home. Eventually, as I age (in 30-40 years), I realize I'll probably become more dependent on money. So I need to cover for that eventuality as well. I've already experimented, this is what I want.

Once the "to what" is answered specifically, the question of "how much" is no longer vague. If you're still not sure "to what", then by all means experiment. But make sure you are giving the experimentation the priority it deserves.

The idea that more money is always better is a great way to get moving, but at this stage of the game it may become detrimental. I'm certainly not suggesting you quit tomorrow in the middle of a non-recessionary bear market. This is, of course, an ideal point to lay the groundwork for some real financial progress. However, I do think you need to think about the end-game, or "more is better" will always win the day.

Seppia
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Location: Italy

Re: 225 Days Till FI!

Post by Seppia » Sun Dec 23, 2018 2:02 am

"I can stick it out" was the main reason I stayed too long at my prior job.
We tend to look for change when we feel underpaid, when we hate our boss, or when we are forced to.
I was working for a very decent company, for very decent pay, and they were happy with what I was doing.
I somehow felt it was "wrong" to quit even if I wasn't happy. It wasn't anybody's fault, so my sense of duty* pushed me to stay longer than I needed to.
Lesson learned.

*that's another trait of my character that was of great help in achieving financial success which occasionally backfires. The other one is being naturally prudent/conservative with money.

Jin+Guice
Posts: 351
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Re: 225 Days Till FI!

Post by Jin+Guice » Tue Dec 25, 2018 5:11 pm

I just read your whole journal. It appears you are already FI but are continuing to work because you + your SO aren't FI and you might want more $$ later, but are afraid you won't be able to/ won't want to work a high-paying full-time job.

You state several times that you've drastically decreased your window to FI, but it seems like since starting your journal you are perpetually 12-18 months away from retiring? Am I getting this wrong?

Congratulations on landing and working several high paying jobs and saving so much money. This is truly a monumental feet that deserves high praise!

Also dude, you are fucking free. I can't imagine that you would ever HAVE to work more than a minimum wage part-time job again. I guess you might if you had kids. You seem like you're really concerned about having to go back to work after you quit, but it's hard for me to imagine a scenario where you're back working 50 hours a week.

I can't tell how unhappy you are at work because you go back and forth on this issue (sounds like a criticism but, it isn't meant as one). You are making a fucking ton of money so if you are happy at work 50% of the time or more (and never like, really unhappy) I would be less concerned about you sticking it out another year or two. Is this going to be part of a period of your life you enjoyed or are you just suffering through this now so you can get to 100% enjoyment later? 100% enjoyment is a myth.

I typed out several longer responses but the bottom line is, I think you should be planning your escape on a 1-6 month time frame. Do you need to secure part-time work immediately or do you take a sabbatical now? What asset allocation are you most comfortable with for the sabbatical or part-time work period? What will you do? How does this change if the market loses 80% of its value the day after your last paycheck? These are the questions I think you should be asking yourself. A few more numbers on a page won't make you any more free than you are now, living the life you want to live how you want to live it will. Financial Independence isn't the end, it's the beginning.

2Birds1Stone
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Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2015 11:20 am

Re: 225 Days Till FI!

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Tue Dec 25, 2018 9:45 pm

@J+G, I think I've been pretty consistent with 2020 being a general timeline for test driving the ERE/FIRE life. Originally when I started this thread I thought getting to full FI would take longer, but had an idea that I would be leanFIRE by $450-500k in liquid assets. Starting in spring of 2017 is when I began exploring the idea of a gap year before reaching FI as a household (based on 4%).

At one point I planned on taking 4 months off in 2019 (likely using FMLA) but my employers changed in September of this year and I won't qualify for FMLA by this upcoming summer.

I agree on the freedom. Individually I don't *have* to work another FT non min wage job. Even at an ultra conservative $1k/month draw down, that covers 65-70% of my current lifestyle. I stress the "have" because I fully acknowledge that right now I'm working for the luxury of being able to spend beyond my "needs" in the next chapter, as well as to shorter *our* time to full FI as a household.

You are 100% correct in your observation about my back and forth on job satisfaction and happiness, but looking at it in a big picture sort of way, I'm definitely not unhappy more than 25% of the time. 50-75% of the time I like/love my job. The biggest/only downside is the amount of travel time right now. It leaves little time for "life". So while I'm not miserable, it's not what I want to be doing with majority of my time much longer.

I want to get to some of your other points when I have more time tomorrow.

As well as respond to seppia and c_L, but I have family obligations today =)

Quotes just for my own sanity on my inner voice......
2Birds1Stone wrote:
Wed Mar 30, 2016 10:20 am
I have hopes and dreams of reaching financial independence by age 35. With 6 years to go I have to continue saving 70-75% of my income and continue to avoid lifestyle creep. My SO is recently on board with striving for FI despite her much lower income. She is 4 years younger and I believe has the drive to increase her income while keeping costs relatively flat.
-------------------------

FIRE Projections
Based on my CUSHY total budget my FI # is ~$750k
Based on my Whittled down budget my FI # is ~$460k

I am ~20% of the way to my CUSHY FI #
I am ~32% of the way to my Real FI#

The goal is to stop working full time at the lower # while taking on fun projects and some part time work to bridge the gap.

My Spreadsheets show that I should reach that number ~age 35, 6 years from now.
2Birds1Stone wrote:
Tue Feb 28, 2017 11:33 am
Unless the markets crash by end of business today, I am sitting at 11.6X current annual expenses and 17.4X barebones expenses. Slowly but surely!

62 months till FIRE!
2Birds1Stone wrote:
Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:38 am
recent events have really pushed me to consider a more scaled back FIRE lifestyle, which would allow me to get out of the workforce as soon as possible.

I have been discussing with my SO the possibility of taking a gap year at the beginning of 2020, around March. We will still be a solid 3-5 years away from our original FIRE goal portfolio, but have enough stached to take a year off while we are young..................regardless of how we end up spending out year off, the main point is going to be taking that year and test driving some RE lifestyles.

Look forward to discussing plans and ambitions with you all, I have a feeling the feedback here will be valuable in shaping those decisions as the time draws nearer.
2Birds1Stone wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:14 am
I've spent the better part of the past two weeks doing a long thought experiment on what I would like my next chapter to look like.

Ideally I keep my current job till April 1 of 2020 and take a nice long 6-9 month sabbatical to travel with my fiance, followed by a return to work either full time, part time, or seasonally (depending heavily on market returns and portfolio when the time comes).

There are a few bucket list type adventures that we have the luxury of choosing from for that 2020 adventure........regardless of which option we go with, I think it's going to be a bit hard to adjust back to being two full time career professionals, once that taste of freedom is had..........c'est la vie

Jin+Guice
Posts: 351
Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2018 8:15 am

Re: 278 Days Till FI!

Post by Jin+Guice » Fri Dec 28, 2018 12:08 am

I'm glad to hear you are enjoying your job, from your journal it sounds like you are totally burned out, but perhaps you just post about your job on the job quitting website when you dislike it. Are you excited to be close to quitting?!?!? Also, props for the SS planning, working to hit minimum SS credits. I think SS gets overlooked here a lot because so many are paranoid that it won't exist when we retire.

2Birds1Stone
Posts: 621
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2015 11:20 am

Re: 278 Days Till FI!

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Fri Dec 28, 2018 5:05 am

I started re-reading Dr. Dooms blog from the beginning again. (https://livingafi.com/2014/01/21/how-to ... te-prison/)

It was something I enjoyed reading back in 2014-2016 as he was writing it, but I was too far off myself from really being able to relate with some of his feelings and observations. Have an inkling that it will be very different this time around, much like when I reread the ERE book a year ago.

I'm most definitely starting to get burnt out, but I'm not sure if I would use those exact words, more like really excited at the realization that this planning and execution has delivered, and suffering from a mix of senioritis, and an inner struggle between saying fuck it vs. doing what I know makes logical sense (to me). I had such a great work arrangement from December of 2016 till August of 2017 that pretty much served as a way to recharge the batteries. It also left me knowing what life could be like when I have that much free time, so I'm getting pretty antsy.

The current gig is mentally stimulating, and new enough where I'm learning some pretty interesting things while getting compensated fairly well. When I add up all of the hours working, commuting, staying at hotels, sitting at airports, etc....it doesn't end up being such a good $/hr. There is some promise of commission, and more autonomy over my time as 2019 progresses. I may begin tracking time spent working/other work related time sucks and try to mitigate those hours on a weekly/monthly basis. Last year I was Peter Gibbons, I'm not afraid to switch personas again and pull out the stops to engineer my own demise, when the time is right.

2Birds1Stone
Posts: 621
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2015 11:20 am

Re: 246 Days Till FI!

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Sat Dec 29, 2018 1:43 pm

Morning Weight - 213.0
7 Day Average - 213.5
Training - 7 mile run @ 9:36/mile pace, outside today since the weather is great for time of year

Starting to put together my 2018 annual recap, and it looks like I've been able to out-invest the losses from the market for the year, baring a really bad day on Monday. One more paycheck coming in, and final spending numbers are looking good. I was surprised to see my dividends/interest for the year, which is not something I've previously paid any attention to.

My car has shit the bed on Thursday night. Started producing a rather loud whining noise under acceleration, but only when the clutch is not engaged. Which sounds like it could be power steering pump, alternator, transmission, or pulley bearing. Any way you slice it an expensive repair on this type of vehicle. Ironically I've been toying with the idea of selling the thing in favor of a beater, but hesitate because I travel for work (with clients sometimes).

thegreatvoid

Re: 246 Days Till FI!

Post by thegreatvoid » Sat Dec 29, 2018 2:13 pm

That's so funny . I recentley stumbled upon Dr.Doom's blog myself and got instantly hooked. It rekindled my inner FI flame , that had slowed down after the initial honeymoon -phase and there's nothing better than sitting infront of a computer screen , on a job you hate , day dreaming about the escape with a positive role model.
Wish he was blogging about his post -FI life , but if I was FI , I wouldn't want to spend any time more than necessary infront of a screen .

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