A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Where are you and where are you going?
suomalainen
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by suomalainen » Wed Feb 06, 2019 9:54 pm

IlliniDave wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 8:12 pm
The wood stove is a decent idea, and one I've thought of. Might switch out my freestanding LP fireplace at the cabin. It throws of tons of heat but might be forbidden one day. So might wood stoves for that matter.
Ooh, you could build one of those sideways chimney heater things. I forget what they're called, but I think there was as thread on here where I first learned about them. Best of all, you can build it yourself out of mud and rocks! I think when I first learned about them I watched a youtube video on making one yourself.

Hobbes
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by Hobbes » Wed Feb 06, 2019 11:15 pm

suomalainen wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 9:54 pm
Ooh, you could build one of those sideways chimney heater things. I forget what they're called, but I think there was as thread on here where I first learned about them. Best of all, you can build it yourself out of mud and rocks! I think when I first learned about them I watched a youtube video on making one yourself.
Thinking of a rocket mass heater?

suomalainen
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by suomalainen » Thu Feb 07, 2019 8:04 am

Yes that's it.

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Fri Mar 01, 2019 8:39 am

Spending for February was about $3,190. That's still high but back into the realm of reasonable after several months on the dismaying side. I'm still looking at shoveling money into my house in preparation for selling it, so I expect a number of months this year where spending runs above my estimate for future monthly spending. I thought about using some bookkeeping tricks to segregate those expenses to make my day-to-day numbers look "better", but I'm not very good at fooling myself when it comes to numbers and data. I'm perhaps the Mr Creosote of FatFIRE guys hereabouts (still on the cusp of the destitute over at bogleheads.org), but I've pretty much won the game defined by the rules I made for it, so I just need to own it. It can be a challenge not readily fitting in anywhere.

For the month invested assets were up a little over $29,000. I've fallen behind updating my spreadsheet tab where I estimate withdrawal rate metrics, but back-of-the-envelope I'd be a little under 2.5% if I walked in Monday and quit, about 1.6% if I wait until the end of the year, and a little under 1% if I wait until the end of 2020. Those numbers are predicated on deliberately conservative estimates of SS and retirement annuity and spending more than $1,000/mo above my average for the last 7 years. If I plug in best estimate numbers and grind it out until the end of 2020 I'm looking at 0% withdrawal rate excluding taxes on future RMDs at least out to age 85 or so.

Another bit of good news is that I learned that I will be eligible for my employer's retiree medical insurance plans even if I retire prior to age 60. I don't know how I convinced myself otherwise, but the only thing that happens at 60 is that the company would pay a fraction of the premium versus my having to pay 100%. So as long as I'm older than 55 when I leave the company I have that as an option. For the bare bones plans, comparable to ACA Bronze, the premiums run $500-$550 for single coverage this year. One of them is the same plan I'm in now (not sure if that one will be available in the states I may wind up living in), and the others I don't have the details on, but assuming the lower priced plans have similar OOP limits to the current one I'm in it should cap my exposure at about $18K/year including premiums until I get to medicare age. Company also has retiree group medicare supplement plans but I haven't looked into them much.

I turn 55 in about 70 days which is significant because at that point I am eligible to "retire" by the company's definition and extra bene's kick in (a decent bump in the annuity plus the medical plan eligibility). At that point I'm pretty much on day-by-day status. Aside from accruing a little more annuity credit and the standard deferred annuity math (more $/month the longer you wait to take it), the only other milestone is hitting age 60 at which point the company would pay ~$250/mo towards my healthcare premiums if I choose one of their plans. For the 5 years that would be in effect, it's about $15,000 total and I don't judge it being worth 4-5 more years of employment. By 2020 I'd be at or near a 0% withdrawal rate, so unless what I do at work suddenly becomes my defining life passion, no reason to go beyond the end of 2020. Another bit of work-related trivia is that I'll hit my 32nd service date anniversary tomorrow. I'm a walking anachronism.

From a more personal perspective I'm starting to feel a bit of restlessness. We're looking at another unseasonable blast of cold weather next week (a couple of hard freezes) but here on the edge of the Southeast US, signs of spring are beginning to creep forward. The road to my favorite hiking spots is closed (as are the trails) while they blast away to widen the road. If the project does not complete on schedule I may not get to visit those trails again except as a tourist. I'm still getting a lot of mileage out of the renewal of my music hobby, and a good bit of my recent surge in spending has been caused by my deciding to update my instruments/gear. I'll probably spend another $10K-$15K in that realm over the next 5 years or so. I'm at the age where anything that exercises the brain is arguably beneficial so I don't have a problem with the expense. Still flying solo when it comes to official relationships, and okay with that. But observing my dad as a 79 year-old single guy has me thinking through that aspect of things a little more carefully. So far he's doing fine because his health/physical capacity is above normal for his age. But it's likely over time that he'll increasingly depend on others (which is my reason for moving back home). It's unlikely my kids will be in a position or have a desire to change the course of their lives to look after me if that day comes.

It rained yesterday, just started raining this morning, and Sunday is supposed to be a washout. For the first time in 11 years I'd managed to get myself motivated to get an early jump on all my outdoor spring chores (many of which can be comfortably done through the winter), but I think this makes 13 of the last 15 weekends (or maybe 14 of 16) where it's rained at least one of the days, and there's not much one can do in a quagmire.

ETA: Also worth noting that my journal has hit 500 posts (though not all mine), which is perhaps the most reliable indicator that the end is near. :D

wolf
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by wolf » Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:05 am

Hi Illinidave! Thanks for the update. I appreciate your long posts about the way to FIRE. And congrats to the 500th post in your journal...and your 32 year anniversary. Yeah, you are right. That could be a stable indicator. :-)
One question: Does your employer know about your plans to retire early?

prognastat
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by prognastat » Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:26 am

Congrats on the anniversary, how is the house coming along?

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:29 am

wolf wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:05 am
Hi wolf, the "500 posts" is a metric jacob has observed through the years and has mentioned in the past. My employer is a megaCorp so I think in the deep state sense they don't know my plans, but enough people I work with are aware of my trajectory (I don't hide it) that it's possible someone has ratted me out to the boss. Doesn't much matter. I'm far enough up the pay scale for my position that my salary has flattened, and at most I'll only get one more annual pay raise after the one I just got. If they kick me to the curb now I'm treated as if I've achieved retirement age, and depending on the severance offered I'm liable to sign up if/when they dangle another round of "voluntary" layoffs should it occur in the next 22 months. Unfortunately it's been nearly 20 years since the last time they offered early retirement incentives.

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:36 am

prognastat wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:26 am
Congrats on the anniversary, how is the house coming along?
Slowly. Got some window molding repaired/repainted in January. Still have the kitchen to update which is the single largest expense. The short-term emphasis this spring is to work on curb appeal and get a new exterior paint job. Most of the former I'll probably do myself, but I'll probably hire out the latter. House is two stories and I dislike working up on ladders.

prognastat
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by prognastat » Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:38 am

Interesting, so you're planning on doing the kitchen yourself, but hire out the paint job? Seems like the opposite of what most people do.

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:45 am

prognastat wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:38 am
Interesting, so you're planning on doing the kitchen yourself, but hire out the paint job? Seems like the opposite of what most people do.
No, sorry, I meant redo the landscaping myself and hire out the exterior painting. House is 3 sides brick and most of the siding that needs painting requires working on a ladder. The kitchen I'll hire out, and the interior painting I'll mostly do myself I think. A lot depends on how much overtime I'm working going forward. The longer it persists (and possibly increases) the more I'll just hire out.

prognastat
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by prognastat » Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:47 am

That makes a lot more sense. Hopefully it goes well. Time definitely is a tough one when working OT.

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:02 am

prognastat wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:47 am
That makes a lot more sense. Hopefully it goes well. Time definitely is a tough one when working OT.
Yep, sure is. Losing 8-12 hours/wk of free time adds up. But I get paid for it so when it's long-term it more than offsets the cost in the final accounting, and I get to use more of my vacation time for recreation. That's a lazy FatFIRE way of doing things, I admit. When I get to my next house, which is likely my final residence, I'll probably have a lot more DIY pride. But since I'm ditching this one I seem to be prioritizing lack of disruption over absolute financial efficiency.

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Wed Mar 13, 2019 5:50 am

I'm starting to more seriously consider alternatives to my ER relocation plan. I've baked in moving back to Illinois from the start. I saw it as offering two advantages. First, it is ground zero for anticipated family obligations. Second, it is income tax friendly for retirees. But I listened to the governor pitching his new tax plan and it was disheartening. I don't know yet whether the plan includes a change in taxation for "retirement income" (1099R and SS). The plan is to go from a flat tax to a progressive tax. The progressive tax would lock in a current surtax for everyone of median means and above, and lower taxes slightly for households sub-median means (although part of the math included a dubious assumption that local taxes would decrease as a result of state tax increases). The tax hike would be paired with an increase in state spending, borrowing a large amount of money, and temporarily skipping payments into state-funded pensions. In other words, from my simple-minded way of looking at things, their solution for the mess they are in is to replicate the behavior that got them into the mess in the first place.

The state has the distinction of consistently placing near the top of the list of states that are bleeding population. I thought there might be advantages to going against the flow (mainly in being a cash buyer of a home), but if the income tax advantages go away, I'm not sure I want to share the risk of a state whose financial situation is marching aggressively towards catastrophe.

My other option is Wisconsin where I could be 15-20 miles from my family's center of mass. I'd get hit with income taxes right off the bat, offset a little by somewhat lower property taxes and lower risk of being impacted by a government financial crisis. And if Illinois does start taxing retirement income then I get the latter two advantages without the offsetting cost.

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Wed Mar 13, 2019 8:53 am

What part of Wisconsin would you be considering? Janesville might be a good match for you.

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:38 am

GdP, south of Janesville I think.

SavingWithBabies
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by SavingWithBabies » Wed Mar 13, 2019 3:50 pm

Do you know what you want in terms of rural versus urban? If urban, Monroe can be quite nice although you're going West a ways. Going in that direction takes you off the beaten path and into the rolling hills. US-20 is a nice drive (end up near Freeport and then just a hop and a skip to Monroe).

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Wed Mar 13, 2019 4:13 pm

I like Monroe, but it's a little farther than ideal. Madison is a couple hours away. Beloit is closest to my dad's house, and the rural area west of Beloit (SE of Monroe) is only about 2 miles from his vineyard and not much farther than Beloit to his house. Really, though, I haven't drilled down that far, this is a still a pretty new train of thought.

George the original one
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by George the original one » Wed Mar 13, 2019 5:12 pm

Looking in from the outside, very distant to the reality, I see no advantage to moving to Illinois. They've long been in the fiscal hole and the only moves that have been made so far aggravate the public servant population such that no one wants to take those jobs if they don't have to, thus the few times you need to deal with government will be worse each experience. As the HMS fiscal ship sinks, any tax loopholes will be plugged by the little dutch boy with his fingers and toes, but the ship will still sink and your loopholes have been plugged.

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Fri Mar 15, 2019 7:33 am

Gtoo, all good points. In another thread I stated an opinion that people are not logic machines and that applies to myself, so the list of risks is battling with the emotional pull of family considerations.

Trolling around the intewebs I've been able to determine that the retirement income tax question in the context of the "Illinois Fair Tax" movement is still being disputed. Recently a measure was either proposed or introduced to safeguard exemption for retirement income in response to an activist group lobbying to tax it. It's an interesting dilemma. Retired people as a cohort tend to inject a lot of money into economies with relatively low demand on services. As a group they tend to be a little wealthier (simply because the general trend is for wealth to increase with age), so I guess that makes them a bit of a target. At the same time, retirees are probably among the groups most likely to pull stakes and head to Florida (many do as it is). Emigration is a problem for Illinois.

Along the way I picked up some other information. The "Fair Tax" will put allegedly put Illinois in the top five highest for all the major tax categories and knock them from mid-pack to near the bottom of the rankings of tax friendliest states. It's hard to see what residents get in return beyond the warm feeling of bearing the cost of the abject failings of prior generations.

I'm down to about 54 days until my window opens (it runs from the end of May '19 to EOY '20). Day-to-day I swing between just wanting to pull the plug right away versus being a little more conservative and giving it the rest of the 19 months (mainly to pile up extra cash for a better main residence than what I'd been planning on).


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