SustainableHappiness Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
SustainableHappiness
Posts: 251
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:39 pm

Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by SustainableHappiness » Wed Nov 07, 2018 7:39 pm

Week 58 Of the Downshift

Tiiiiimes they are a changin’.

Expenses
We’re burning $1 to 1.5K of cash savings each month under our current arrangement. It’s not ideal, but up until this month our networth was staying positive. Still haven’t received my first actual payment for consulting, got a couple grand that I’m hunting down slowly but surely. The cash burn is unsettling, but I’m determined not to start worrying until we drop below the threshold DW and I have agreed to, and at that burn rate it’ll be 4 to 5 years before that happens. However, in my last post a couple months ago I had money lower and lower on the list, I’d say it’s risen back up as the psychological implications of drawing down have been settling in.

Gigs
Fully set up as a vendor with previously employer, but the hours have been slower than anticipated, on average a couple hours a week (with 1 ten hour week and lots of none). Will probably pick up in December and January. Overall it is still fine work as long as I am not doing it all the time. Also, being a “consultant” has the added benefit of social status in various ways, which has been interesting.
Everything else is on the backburner as two of the courses I am teaching this semester have been much more work than anticipated and Baby SH has been even more fun to hang out with as he’s developing. Still no speaking gigs solidified.

Employment
Here I made a bit of a left turn. I applied for a FT professor position. I did so on the belief that the workload doesn’t increase that much more (i.e. 18 vs 12 teaching hours a week), plus I found out about their deferred leave plan, which lets you take a reduced salary for 2 years (66.66%), or 3 years (75%) and then take the 3rd or 4th year off with the reduced salary still coming in. This idea is very intriguing as it allows me to take regular mini-retirements and still have a guaranteed income coming in… I also found out that paternity leave benefits have a 93% top-up, so if we have a bunch of children popping out all over the place then I can take time off with full salary to help out at home. Combine those things with every summer off and I was sold. I got an interview coming up, we shall see how it goes. DW and I are excited for it, but I guess I can’t be Semi-ER, or ERE or anything if I get it…I’ll just have to keep on doing life in the normal bucket or something. I'll definitely have to stop calling this "The Downshift" This would of course make money no longer an issue as the cash firehose would be back on.

Family
Baby SH is awesome. I’ve also been tracking our kid-related expenses fairly closely, so I look forward to having that as a talking point when people start yammering about how expensive kids are. The biggest expense I see so far, would be the +30% we tacked on to our rental costs because we moved into a place with a backyard (which was very kid motivated). This is very significant, but the actual “keep the kid alive and happy…well, alive” expenses haven’t been dramatic, around a couple thousand for the first year of life. This includes all baby-related purchases (stroller, car seats, etc.). Almost everything second-hand, except the cloth diapers, socks and that car seat (illegal to sell car seats second-hand in Canada).
DW’s business is still growing slowly but surely. She’s still liking it a lot. We’ve also been getting the hang of scheduling each other.

General Health and Wellness
Good good. I am meditating again 30 mins every morning and night after a fairly lengthy few month break over the summer. Still riding my bike ~40k a week to work and back plus we got Baby SH a sweet bike seat and helmet that have been fun and extended our playground range extensively. We are eating well, got into Kefir in our smoothies which has done really nice things for my digestion (I think that’s what helped it). Planning on getting back in to the gym as the winter months set in and outdoor exercising becomes tougher.

Besides the draw-down stuff, emotionally well. Actually excited about the prospect to be a FT professor, I really like teaching and the position would make the whole money thing a non-issue again.

suomalainen
Posts: 733
Joined: Sat Oct 18, 2014 12:49 pm

Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by suomalainen » Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:36 pm

SustainableHappiness wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 7:39 pm
I’ve also been tracking our kid-related expenses fairly closely, so I look forward to having that as a talking point when people start yammering about how expensive kids are.
My standard thought when new parents yammer about other parents: wait ten years or so until the baby becomes a kid or wait for two more kids or both. THEN you'll have something to talk about.

classical_Liberal
Posts: 1067
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by classical_Liberal » Wed Nov 07, 2018 9:11 pm

Congrats on everything going so well @SH!

Don't worry about labels, if you take the FT position, you're still downshifted in my eyes. Few things in life are better than finding flow in a job you enjoy. You get paid for doing what you want, plus get that feeling of contribution to society we all need. If it becomes a PITA and you hang on for golden handcuffs, then you lose the downshift status! :D

What was your wife's gig again? Is she using her RN license for it?

Just curious as I was approached for some potential research work in the medical field, but it's not nursing related. So if I try it out & like it, I may just let my license lapse to avoid continuing education, background checks, fees. etc. Wondering if she has the same conundrum?

SustainableHappiness
Posts: 251
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:39 pm

Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by SustainableHappiness » Wed Nov 07, 2018 9:32 pm

Ah damnit Suomalainen. You caught me in a very short-sighted frame of mind. Thank you for the dose of perspective even though it made me feel like an asshole.

@CL. Thanks! She started a business as a doula (a labour coach). Not currently explicitly using her RN licence, but has potential to turn it into a independent nursing practice in the future. The guidelines for RN licencing are so vague here, she is basically doing what community nurses for at-risk new parents do just without the backing of a Public Health institution, so I think she could back that up if it came down to it. She is still paying all her dues and stuff to stay practicing. Also, I will say, she is a lot more worried about it than I am because no lawyer or the nurses association will give her a straightforward answer (i.e. a yes, that counts).

suomalainen
Posts: 733
Joined: Sat Oct 18, 2014 12:49 pm

Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by suomalainen » Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:23 pm

SustainableHappiness wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 9:32 pm
Ah damnit Suomalainen. You caught me in a very short-sighted frame of mind. Thank you for the dose of perspective even though it made me feel like an asshole.
Nah. You're just on a baby high, which comes standard with baby blinders. I totally get it. I was there once. To wit:
suomalainen wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:58 am
I had my first child at the age of 26 during law school. Those two years with him were amazing. One child (and a fairly easy one at that) is easy! Best dad ever! Then, during my first year of law firm work, we had child #2 at 23 weeks gestation, so 5 months in the hospital (NICU). We had child #3 two years later, with a couple of hospital scares/stays and 5 months of bedrest for the wife. So, things were stressful, to say the least, on the home front. No longer best dad ever.
Enjoy it for as long as it lasts. Once you get hit by the kid cement truck a few hundred times in the coming decade (and you will), you'll have a bit broader perspective.

SustainableHappiness
Posts: 251
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:39 pm

Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by SustainableHappiness » Tue Dec 04, 2018 9:32 pm

Downshift over I guess…No more week counting
8.1% SWR
12.41 Numbers of Years in Hopper
25 Ultimate FI Goal
-702.78 Years to broke on this month's cashflow

Finances
Years in the hopper, and SWR have fluctuated and changed as our expenses have changed (increased) and our investments have fluctuated (50% index, 50% high-interest savings (3% moving between banks to the deals) at the moment). However, my favourite metric is still strong, i.e. that we will take 703 years to go broke using a simple cash out vs current networth calculation. I don't plan on living to 700, so this is good news.

Much better month in terms of finances, with no weird expenses, except Christmas presents for the nieces and nephews. Since our expenses went through a shift, I don’t have a full year of data, but we are sitting at ~35-40K now for a family of 3. Not breaking any records, but we’re happy with our current lifestyle. Can’t imagine spending more, could imagine spending less, but aren’t willing to do so right now. Maybe in the future we’ll set-up a co-housing/duplex/rental situation which would help with the ~40% of that that goes to rent. This is the most likely route to life-cost reduction for us in the future.

Work
I’ll highly likely have an offer to be a full-time professor to help design and teach in a new program within the next couple weeks (3rd interview still to go, but it's basically a handshake from everyone I've talked to and no other candidates left). This is good news in terms of money, because it won’t be an issue at all for as long as the job holds up. This is also good news in terms of making a full-time wage while maintaining a very acceptable work-life structure doing something enjoyable.

I had the opportunity this semester to swap Chana Masalas with one of my Indian students (his was about 3 times spicier than mine!) and have decided I am going to try cooking a exchanging a new food type from one of my students nationalities every semester. It is fun for me, because the flavours and spicing are different and they love the fact I get so interested in their culture. Food is a connector for sure.

Will need to figure out my consulting stuff and either if I want to balance it, or walk away (probably walk away). It was fun to make a silly hourly rate, but it won’t be necessary anymore and it would cut into family time likely.

Health
Typical early Winter/late Fall physical slump when I need to mentally readjust from playing/biking/running outside every day to either bike in freezing weather, or go to the gym. It took 3 weeks of only a day or two a week of rigorous exercise before I am finally kicking myself into a different gear. Went to the gym today and am going to a free community workout with my friend on Saturday at his Crossfit gym. I’ve never done Crossfit and the cost blows my mind, but I am always willing to try free.

Mentally well. 3 weeks off physically also impacted my mindfulness schedule. Stopped with formal practice each day during that time frame, funny how it typically all falls off the rails at once. Not upset about it, but would like to get started again. My question is, “why not tonight?” but I tend to curl up in bed with a book, my wife and son when that question arises and it doesn’t feel like the right thing to worry about.

Read a really eye opening book on introversion, “Quiet” by Susan Caine. I already started applying some insights into my teaching and negotiation styles. I went an entire dinner table conversation without saying anything at my in-laws when there was a pretty serious discussion about gift-giving traditions in the extended family, a topic which typically makes me say, NO! or Just give DS money for his RESP, which causes more grief than it’s worth. It was difficult for me, but I learned from it and DW told me she was proud of me. The traditions also shifted one step further towards my ideal outcome anyways, without me hurting anyone’s feelings, so that’s a win.

Other
Starting to read a fiction book now, as my past 3 books have been two textbooks and a non-fiction. It’s called “The Magicians” by Lev Grossman and came highly recommended. It’s already good, something I can lose myself in, which is fun!

classical_Liberal
Posts: 1067
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by classical_Liberal » Wed Dec 05, 2018 3:29 am

First off..... NOOOOOO! My semi-ERE role model is back to the full-time grind!

More seriously, I can't believe it's been well over a year since you pulled the plug. I guess time flies. Sounds like you fell into a perfect gig for your happiness and lifestyle. One more example how downshifting makes for some really positive end results. Your case was interesting in that you actually increased spending as time went on. Still no troubles.

Can you give a curious mind some info?

Take good, hard, honest look your situation with the professor gig. Do you think you would have taken the full-time job if money were no issue? Or is it just a really good gig because you like it and you can earn?

If it's the second, how much better do you feel your "now" situation is, vs say two years ago. If it's hard quantify, maybe rank both from 0-10.

One last follow up... Since I'll make the assumption life now is better, how much of that is due to the change in attitude/habits from not working FT over the past 14 months? and how much is the situational improvement?

Congrats on everything @SH!

SustainableHappiness
Posts: 251
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:39 pm

Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by SustainableHappiness » Wed Dec 05, 2018 9:02 am

@CL

Might help if I clarify that even though this gig provides a FT salary and is called FT, it is max 18 hours a week of contact time (4-5 classes) and I estimate the rest would be on average about 10-ish hours a week of prep/marking. So still not really a FT grind and more than half the time is still on my terms. So it’s probably only a 25% increase in workload (and less so as I get more efficient) from the 12 hours I am doing now, and I get an office to work in if I need to.

"Do you think you would have taken the full-time job if money were no issue? Or is it just a really good gig because you like it and you can earn?"

My answer is a solid, “it depends”. In my exact current state of affairs with respect to everything else, but money, I would probably only teach 2 classes a semester and that would be enough career and non-family focused stimulation/structure to keep me engaged. However, if I imagine my life pre-kids, or after kids are school age, I could see myself doing it for the fun of it. Some students ask for input on some pretty serious life decisions and I feel like I am making a real impact. This is better than my past career in selling consumer packaged goods (barf!).

However, when taking a good, hard, honest look it is really difficult to separate the fact it makes money from the job itself. So take that answer with a grain of salt.

"If it's the second, how much better do you feel your "now" situation is, vs say two years ago. If it's hard quantify, maybe rank both from 0-10."

Since it is more likely the second, I’d say job-wise I am an 8-9 happiness rank and before I was a 5-7 rank depending on the day. Life-wise ex. jobbing, 2 years ago I didn’t have a kid and I was dealing with 2 high maintenance rental properties, soooo the scales have changed entirely I guess. I am less stressed now than I have been (minus the interview process I just went through), so that’s a win.

"Since I'll make the assumption life now is better, how much of that is due to the change in attitude/habits from not working FT over the past 14 months? and how much is the situational improvement?"

Hard question (actually they are all hard questions).

I’d say taking the 9 months off of parental leave changed everything attitudes/habits. It broke me out of the traditional (heavily MMM influenced) FIRE mental model, it made me realize I don’t want to have zero structure in my days, and therefore rebooted my perspectives on the value of structured work as well as the impact of a bit of $ inflow changing the whole SWR conversation.

Situationally, we’ve added a kid (net positive so far), we sold our houses, I’ve left a job that stressed me out (due to boredom), we moved from a basement apartment to a townhouse with a backyard that is beside a grocery store, library, splashpad and about 5 parks (this change was the cause of increased expenses) and DW has started a small business as well.

Re-reading that second paragraph indicates a significant amount of lifestyle meandering in the last couple years, but I’d still say that the first mental-focused paragraph was the cause of most of those changes. That is, I would have been stressed out making most of those decisions if I hadn’t changed my mental framework up. So probably 70% mental, 30% situational to toss a number on it.

SustainableHappiness
Posts: 251
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:39 pm

Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by SustainableHappiness » Wed Dec 05, 2018 9:07 am

Oh it also comes with 14 weeks of vacation, 2 months every summer 3 weeks at Christmas and 1 week a semester...It's rare to find a job that has 14 weeks of vacation. That's practically semi-retirement, no?

classical_Liberal
Posts: 1067
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by classical_Liberal » Thu Dec 06, 2018 1:54 am

SustainableHappiness wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 9:07 am
Oh it also comes with 14 weeks of vacation, 2 months every summer 3 weeks at Christmas and 1 week a semester...It's rare to find a job that has 14 weeks of vacation. That's practically semi-retirement, no?
Ok... your still in :D . Frankly, the professorship thing has me kind'a jealous. I'm pretty sure I'd enjoy such a job at a community college or similar, as long as I didn't really have any career aspirations. Sadly, I don't have a masters and have zero intention of paying for another degree after two bachelor's.

Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions!

I'm most surprise about the 70/30 mental to situational. It's theoretically telling in that, even if someone just took a sabbatical to get life-style "ducks in a row". Then reentered the work force in a similar, but maybe healthier, capacity, that person would probably get most of the gains you achieved. Sometimes I wonder if that's all I need. If that IS the case, I should have done it a couple of years ago and it certainly makes a very strong argument to semi-ERE ASAP.

SustainableHappiness
Posts: 251
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:39 pm

Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by SustainableHappiness » Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:40 am

Week Whatever

Financial

Didn’t track financials this month outside of checking all accounts a few times and reviewing credit card expenses for errors. We spent a bunch of cash on flights to a wedding on the west coast, as well as setting up an airBnB for another wedding (we have 4 very good friends weddings in May and June). I am also the best man in 2 of them and my wife is a bridesmaid in another and our son is the ringbearer in one too, so it will be busy and there is cost associated with that as well! But that will come as it does.

Work
I got the offer and the job(s)! I added an s because I am developing a brand new sales program for 6 months on a contract and then my FT faculty gig starts up at the end of the summer. Super pumped!

I learned the full extent for pension as professors, its about 12% before 57K per year and 14.6% after, I contribute and the employer fully matches, so without saving anything intentionally I’ll be socking away a 25% savings rate, considering we were already semi-ERE and coasting to FI, this is icing on the cake.

I’ve been a week on the job and so far curriculum development is actually more fun than I anticipated. I have 0 obligation to be in the office unless I have the odd meeting or I am teaching my class (only 1 this semester), so flexibility is fantastic. It also is not a fire fighting job, so I don’t get emails that ruin my day, because it’s just, “here’s your project, develop it”. It is a lot of thinking, envisioning what the students need to know by the end and how you are going to get them there. It’s a job where I find I do as much when I am out walking, or on the bus home because I am running through scenarios and ideas then I jot them down on my planning documents. I’ll be designing 6-8 courses so there is quite a bit of variation as well. Sounds like they also want me to get involved with other initiatives at the college (conferences and an online course for example), but so far nothing crazy. I’ll be busy, but not swamped or stressed besides pressure I apply myself.

This week I sourced textbooks from a billion publishers and that was interesting, looking at textbooks on the same subject and assessing their relative worth. It was a different perspective than as a student, where you just except that the material given is the final word. I was also approached by a publisher to potentially help co-author material. I asked around and I guess this is common practice for professors. You get a decent lump sum for the work and then royalties for as long as the textbook keeps selling (which I guess could be not very much money). I am investigating it and having lunch with the rep to see what they have to say. Might make sense as I am doing the research to build the courses anyways. The cool thing is, the school likes teachers doing this as it build academic cred. Ditto on my consulting stuff. I’m still doing a bit of work for an old employer, but the school supports it as long as it doesn’t take up too much time.

Family
Was able to be home by 4-4:30 each day this week and didn’t have to go into until 9:30-10 after a long breakfast with the famjam. DW and I both agree my being away for longer stretches will be the toughest thing to adjust to. But I’ll definitely be working from home a couple/few days a week as soon as I get through the initial learning curve. So far so good though, we went out to dinner on Friday to celebrate the first week and agreed we were both happy. DW faced a bit of a personal emotional crisis when I went back to work for a couple days in the form of, “what am I doing with my life” as she was at home with our son alone. So we are endeavouring to make sure she does volunteering and her business still to have other things to engage with. Finding that balancing point is going to be interesting.

Christmas
Fantastic holidays, with about a week and a half with various families. Went to a waterpark with about 8 kids under the age of 11 and 9 adults, it was complete madness and chaos, but a ton of fun, definitely tired everyone out. All in all successful and we were glad to come home and restart our routines.

Health
Still lifting 3 days a week in a fairly new routine. Biking has gone down to almost nothing with snow covered roads. Lifting is going well, trying to take it very slowly. I’ve also got a quasi-personal trainer as I may have mentioned because no one shows up for classes in the mornings, so he is there to just show me stuff. And the membership is only $11 a month…sweet.

Still haven’t kicked back into meditation routine. I can’t put my finger on what is holding me back this time. Probably nothing.

Overall
We’re happy. I’m excited to get my first paycheque. It's monthly though, so I'll have to wait.

classical_Liberal
Posts: 1067
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by classical_Liberal » Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:39 am

Everything sounds awesome! The opportunities seem to keep coming, one thing leads to another, to another.
SustainableHappiness wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:40 am
DW faced a bit of a personal emotional crisis when I went back to work for a couple days in the form of, “what am I doing with my life” as she was at home with our son alone.
Hard enough for anyone, but ex-hospital nurse... Man, it can be rough when you're used to going 110% everyday. Obviously, you going back to a version of real, FT work is precipitating the anxiety. Still, given my experience, a big part of it is probably some light PTSD from the old job.

SustainableHappiness
Posts: 251
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:39 pm

Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by SustainableHappiness » Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:04 am

Work
Curriculum development is still good, however it’s become a little more grindy as I am pumping through course content now instead of envisioning the program and its component parts. This is actually much more akin to undergrad work with basic research (especially in the courses with no textbook) and pumping out words and presentations. 2 courses are fully online so you’ve really got to be careful that everything you need students to learn is readily accessible and on the page(s).

However, it’s balanced out by the fact I’m now only required to go into the school 2 days a week for a few hours and since I need to burn through a couple thousand bucks of benefits before my contract flips later in the year, I have scheduled massages once a week at the school too (niiiiiiiice). The biggest challenge is motivation to pump out a minimum of 1000 words or research/teaching a day (my self-imposed scheduling process) before doing anything fun. If I can accomplish this I’ll be ahead of schedule.

Consulting ramped up this month as well, so a couple thousand extra moneees for some interesting training and problem solving work. DW and I have settled into a nice routine with working from home, where typically go to the gym 6-7 am, eat brekky and play for an hour, hammer stuff out until lunch over a good cup of coffee, take an hour-ish for lunch and if I still feel like I need to get things done hammer stuff out for Baby SH’s nap over a good cup of tea, then we play for the afternoon (or shovel snow like today!).

Monees
This year is going to be almost as bad as last year for finances, probably spending around 45K as a family, primarily due to 4 weddings where DW or I are in the wedding parties for 3 and involved in the other. Required 2 suit purchases and a dress purchase ($1000 in clothing, that’s estimated more than I’ve spent in the last 10 years combined!)…Yikes. Plus, one is out west so we’re flying out for a week which is also pricey. How do you deal with this type of external imposed spending? Well because it’s short-term and not worth putting up a stink over + money = non-issue now, we (see: ME) are grinning and bearing it. It’s actually quite the shift to not get anxious over this type of spending. But this shift is welcome, although I’m trying to be cognizant of lifestyle creep (i.e. this is the second year in a row we’ll be travelling for a wedding). Wedding gift $ is also something we choose to do. Others were generous to us and we like to keep the money flowing in an idealistic virtuous cycle if possible.

Toss in 4 bachelor parties, 4 bachelorettes, 4 bridal showers, the $ add up quickly. Luckily, next year we are only slated at 1, maybe 2 friends’ weddings and these things come in cycles and this cycle will be over soon, may as well enjoy it.

Family
We’re pregnant again! Baby SH #2 is on the way for August 2019. We are very excited, and much less anxious about it then the first time around. It’s going to make this busier (and more tired!), but we are ready and in terms of expenses we’ve already got everything a baby through to 1.5 y/o needs, so that’s nice. The fact my job has lined up nicely with it is also good because I subscribe to the philosophy (maybe I heard it on this forum?) that in the first year of a child’s life your goals should be to keep the baby healthy and keep yourselves healthy. Nothing else. So having a concrete job, helps put that side of things on auto-pilot as opposed to drumming up new freelance business and running through teaching contracts.

Overall
Content. The biggest goals are figuring out how DWs business will work in the future (which she’s recently had a blossoming of ideas and confidence about), continuing weight training and keeping my curriculum project on schedule. Oh and we want to put Baby SH in soccer or something…that’d be sweet this summer.

Oh and I read David Foster Wallace's collection of essay called "Consider the Lobster". American politics are crazy! Well, he followed John McCain's race in 2000 and some of the stories are crazy about how the media+politicians+others interact and feed off each other.

Jason
Posts: 2380
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:37 am

Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by Jason » Tue Feb 12, 2019 12:23 pm

I like the essay as a literary form. DFW was great at it as was Christopher Hitchens and I "miss" how they would be addressing things. If you also like the form, I would suggest Marilynne Robinson.

Your social life sounds like a Hugh Grant movie. Do you really need that many friends? I mean not having them saves you real money. Congrats on #2.

SustainableHappiness
Posts: 251
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:39 pm

Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by SustainableHappiness » Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:20 am

Thanks for the recommendation.

Probably more like Animal House before we started popping out chilluns. Or isn't that exactly what Hugh Grant would say?

Maybe I should really start assessing the economic value of all of my relationships and then rating (and ditching...duh) them accordingly, not just friends. I mean I've got 3 siblings, surely that isn't a net positive. Maybe I could do with only 1 brother...

For real though, we do our best to have frugal social interactions, for example hosting dinners vs going out to eat (an easy example), but some things are not worth causing pain about (for example, buying 2 best man suits).

suomalainen
Posts: 733
Joined: Sat Oct 18, 2014 12:49 pm

Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by suomalainen » Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:50 pm

SustainableHappiness wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:04 am
How do you deal with this type of external imposed spending? Well because it’s short-term and not worth putting up a stink over + money = non-issue now, we (see: ME) are grinning and bearing it. It’s actually quite the shift to not get anxious over this type of spending. But this shift is welcome, although I’m trying to be cognizant of lifestyle creep
This is how it starts. Not that it's a bad thing, but I am reminded of the trilemma thread where one of them (maybe even I contributed it?) is: wife, kids, ere or maybe more broadly: family, social life with "normies", ere. I wonder if ere is really self-selecting for Is in that the Es would be more likely to figure that it's "not worth putting up a stink over [the cost of maintaining good friendships] + money = non-issue now"...

Oh and congrats/condolences on #2.

classical_Liberal
Posts: 1067
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by classical_Liberal » Thu Feb 14, 2019 1:18 am

People seem to forget that we get to pick our friends/peer group. It's not a requirement to remain BFF's for life with the entire gang we ran with in college. Sure, it's nice to keep a friend or two from different eras of life, but not most or all.

I'm not criticizing @SH. I think it's great so many people want him to be part of their weddings. I just think we should put as much thought into our peer groups and friendship's as we do other things in life. Because peer group really matters in relative happiness. Even in second order effects, such as who we measure ourselves against.

SustainableHappiness
Posts: 251
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:39 pm

Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by SustainableHappiness » Fri Feb 15, 2019 9:12 am

@suo and c_l, I like the thoughts you are throwing out there. @suo money = non-issue because it is until proven otherwise. This is the approach of abundance that I appreciate and subscribe to now. It may lead to less resilience in our plan because we conserve less capital (keeping in mind we still have ~12 years with NO income before we are broke and will still be saving large portions of our income...that's a healthy margin of error), but IMHO it leads to happiness for our family. It's important to note that this shift from scarcity to abundance moved from the former to the latter, not the other way around after realizing our credit cards broke abundance.

This is an important point because I still know efficiency (scarcity) is important. We still make the big decisions fairly efficiently (housing, transportation, food). Which means even in a year where our spending feels crazy to me, we are still sitting at MMM-level spending. I appreciate your cynicism in the wisdom it provides, however, I will not subscribe to it until life proves me wrong...repeatedly...until my optimism is beaten down into the dirt.

@c_l, your points raise a couple of questions, like:

- What is an acceptable cost of a friendship?
- If a good friend of yours just spent $500 000 or $750 000 or $1 Mil on a house, at what point do you stop hanging out with them? and more importantly, how easy is it to make new strong friends while raising a family?

I starting writing more questions, but they just feel empty. I don't believe that your friends need to be aligned with your financial values. For example, I have multiple friends who I spend time with weekly, who I have never talked about financial independence or personal finance beyond, "we bought our van for cheap". That's because the only result would be pain and/or awkwardness on either end. If they broach the subject with me, then maybe I'll guide them to some non-me resources and they can decide for themselves.

suomalainen
Posts: 733
Joined: Sat Oct 18, 2014 12:49 pm

Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by suomalainen » Fri Feb 15, 2019 10:39 pm

Ha. I wasn't being critical or cynical - just observing that you can't have your cake (money) and eat (spend) it too. I made my choices and ere isn't one of them. It took me a few months/years to accept that fact, but now that it's made, there is peace and satisfaction in that. So I work a corporate gig a few more years in order to afford a (comfortable life with a) family and to be able to travel to see my good friends. There are worse things.

classical_Liberal
Posts: 1067
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: SustainableHappiness Journal

Post by classical_Liberal » Sun Feb 17, 2019 2:26 am

SustainableHappiness wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 9:12 am
I starting writing more questions, but they just feel empty. I don't believe that your friends need to be aligned with your financial values. For example, I have multiple friends who I spend time with weekly, who I have never talked about financial independence or personal finance beyond, "we bought our van for cheap". That's because the only result would be pain and/or awkwardness on either end. If they broach the subject with me, then maybe I'll guide them to some non-me resources and they can decide for themselves.
I absolutely agree. Single dimensional financial questions about friendships is not the way to go. Friendships can be based on a whole host of things, from common interests to deep seeded values. I think there is a range of friendships as well, and the English word "friend" doesn't give this justice. A guy I occasional go hiking with (friendship based on common interest), it every different from the guy I sit down with over drinks or coffee at least once a week and philosophize about the meaning of life, the women in our lives, or maybe just sports.

I guess I'm thinking more in terms of scarcity vs abundance. I think most people approach social relationships the same way as consumerists approach money. In a scarcity mindset. "This person is a friend of mine, and making good friends is hard, so even if we have very little in common anymore I want to maintain this friendship". From an abundance standpoint, someone could look at an old friendship that is no longer as healthy for either of the players and move on, knowing something better is around the corner, or maybe just a period of some mild isolation, which is OK as well.

Like I stated up thread. I think it's important to hold on to some roots, and maintain at least one or two friendships from various eras of life, whenever possible. But to try to maintain them all, when it's clear the friendship is based in the past, rather than the present, wastes a ton of social (and potentially financial) energy. This is only useful from a "networking" standpoint; and looking at life in that way is something I happily left behind a decade ago. I think it's also dangerous in that we tend to view and compare ourselves from those we spend the most time with. I don't want the same (only) comparisons points from 5, 10, or 20 years ago.

I'm not sure if I'm describing my thoughts here very well. I also think this very much depends n a persons temperament.

Post Reply