Midsize Lebowski would love it if you'd come and give him notes on Semi-ERE

Where are you and where are you going?
classical_Liberal
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Re: Midsize Lebowski would love it if you'd come and give him notes on Semi-ERE

Post by classical_Liberal »

You seem to be doing OK on housing (for CA) and good on transportation, given the gas was really an entertainment expense. I'm not sure if you mentioned exploring other, more alternative, housing options given that you are choosing to reside in a very HCOL area? Any "outside the box" solutions should be considered if you are going to stay there, IMO. Groceries are high, but I can't say much here because I'm pretty bad with this as well. Still, though, probably lots of low hanging fruit (pun!) available for improvement there if you want to pursue it.

The capital investment in the (used) bike will provide significantly more value, well worth it! The fact you waited to purchase on the much more inefficient, but better priced, used market shows good progression from consumer thinking. FYI, you spent more in clothing last month than I spend in a year (probably two), is there a used, or buy it for life new, market for those items?
MidsizeLebowski wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 5:29 pm
Having two completely independent but well diversified income streams would help me sleep better at night- though truth be told I sleep pretty damn well, those years of redlining it as a consumer living on credit have made the current lifestyle feel like absolute and total security for better or for worse.
A very related and pertinent comment from the Semi-ERE master in my journal.
Jin+Guice wrote:
Sun Nov 25, 2018 6:26 pm
Haha, in this way ERE is a curse. When your reference group is people who are drowning in debt and working six figure jobs just to pay the interest on their next credit card payment, you think you're a fucking financial genius when you have a few grand in the bank and quit your job with no prospects. When your reference group is a dude who literally wrote (part of) a book on peak oil and retired in his 30s from a post-grad job, all of the sudden anyone with less than a few hundred grand is irresponsible and probably going to die.
Congrats on a years worth of savings!!!

MidsizeLebowski
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Re: Midsize Lebowski would love it if you'd come and give him notes on Semi-ERE

Post by MidsizeLebowski »

classical_Liberal wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 6:29 pm
You seem to be doing OK on housing (for CA) and good on transportation, given the gas was really an entertainment expense. I'm not sure if you mentioned exploring other, more alternative, housing options given that you are choosing to reside in a very HCOL area? Any "outside the box" solutions should be considered if you are going to stay there, IMO. Groceries are high, but I can't say much here because I'm pretty bad with this as well. Still, though, probably lots of low hanging fruit (pun!) available for improvement there if you want to pursue it.

The capital investment in the (used) bike will provide significantly more value, well worth it! The fact you waited to purchase on the much more inefficient, but better priced, used market shows good progression from consumer thinking. FYI, you spent more in clothing last month than I spend in a year (probably two), is there a used, or buy it for life new, market for those items?


A very related and pertinent comment from the Semi-ERE master in my journal.


Congrats on a years worth of savings!!!
Housing is fair, we're currently in a 1-bedroom and I think we could drop down to a studio and lower this about $100/person per month. Having dogs has limited the housing supply significantly but could still be done. Food was very high, typically it's around $200 - this month I bought $275 worth of rice, beans, years supply of spices that really inflated things.

I had the same thought on clothing expenses, I haven't bought anything for non-work use but $20 underwear/socks since I can remember - 5 years or longer. For work I purchase the highest quality athletic shoes I can find but they break down in 6 months or so- unfortunately my job involves hundreds of squats/lunges/jumps each day and 10-14 miles/day as well, it really rips footwear up.

classical_Liberal
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Re: Midsize Lebowski would love it if you'd come and give him notes on Semi-ERE

Post by classical_Liberal »

MidsizeLebowski wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 6:41 pm
Housing is fair, we're currently in a 1-bedroom and I think we could drop down to a studio and lower this about $100/person per month.
I was thinking more of a difference in kind vs downsizing. The disadvantage of CA is ridiculously high housing costs, the advantage (also the reason for such high housing costs) is the great weather. Which opens up tons of options not available to people choosing to live in other climates.
MidsizeLebowski wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 6:41 pm
For work I purchase the highest quality athletic shoes I can find but they break down in 6 months or so
Maybe this is an example of high quality and high price not being synonymous. ie not worth the money to buy high end.

Just thought experiment suggestions meant to help. I'm by no means cirtical. My personal spending is pretty high for this place and I live in middle to lower COL areas.

MidsizeLebowski
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Re: Midsize Lebowski would love it if you'd come and give him notes on Semi-ERE

Post by MidsizeLebowski »

classical_Liberal wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 7:00 pm
I was thinking more of a difference in kind vs downsizing. The disadvantage of CA is ridiculously high housing costs, the advantage (also the reason for such high housing costs) is the great weather. Which opens up tons of options not available to people choosing to live in other climates.
Got it. Yes we are looking into RV living/tiny homes etc. Rents at RV parks seem to come in around 1000/month, which would probably even out over a couple years while increasing monthly cashflow in the interim. Finding private land is another option as well which may have more flexibility in pricing, exchanges for property maintenance etc., this is definitely being considered!

Appreciate your input, I referred a friend who's also in nursing to your journal recently. They've taken a similar trajectory to you with the differing career phases, etc. and have said they found reading your posts helpful so thank you for sharing!

classical_Liberal
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Re: Midsize Lebowski would love it if you'd come and give him notes on Semi-ERE

Post by classical_Liberal »

MidsizeLebowski wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 7:12 pm
Appreciate your input, I referred a friend who's also in nursing to your journal recently. They've taken a similar trajectory to you with the differing career phases, etc. and have said they found reading your posts helpful so thank you for sharing!
Awesome! Tell them to comment. There are so few nurses who opt for ERE lifestyle, I'd love to hear from another. Sometimes I feel like an A-hole for having burnt out so quickly on what could be a highly lucrative PT, lifestyle, ERE gig. I'm really hoping some time off will cure me of it, so I can keep nursing in my bag of tricks. Talking to others and learning their experiences is really helpful in that regard.

MidsizeLebowski
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Re: Midsize Lebowski would love it if you'd come and give him notes on Semi-ERE

Post by MidsizeLebowski »

classical_Liberal wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 7:29 pm
Awesome! Tell them to comment. There are so few nurses who opt for ERE lifestyle, I'd love to hear from another.
Will do, he just started reading this site and a few journals I recommended after a few conversations we had regarding ER, I'll definitely encourage joining the forums!

Speaking of which, I've been reminded why I started posting here after CL's question regarding housing! DG and I rekindled our investigation into RV/mobile home living and found a number of locations less than 2 miles from work for her. She works about 40 minutes from where we live currently in a oceanfront town we'd both love to live in. Our current location is 10 miles from the ocean and has no hiking trails within 10 miles, as these are our two favorite activities it's growing ever more apparent that we're really living here for the sole reason it's close to my workplace! There is a train station less than 2 miles from the prospective locations which stops off 200 yards from my work. It would be a 90 minute ride roundtrip which I'd probably do 4x week for 1-2 years while still in the heavy accumulation phase before dropping back to 2x week for the lighter accumulation phase/semi-ere.

We've lived with roommates before and feel as though it really reduced the intimacy of our relationship/relaxation of quiet days at home so that's not being entertained.

With the RV park living our housing cost would be essentially halved as our current rent is $1650+utilities and spaces w/utilities included appear to go for $800-1000. Long term we would like to live in a tiny home so it's likely we'll skip the cheap RV bare-bones approach and simply buy a tiny home we plan to live in for the next 20+ years.

This should permanently reduce living expenses and pending laws on tiny homes/accessory dwelling units in our area open up the potential of sub $200/month housing I'd earlier identified as a goal. Options would be to live in the tiny home on a property with an existing structure we rent out or to purchase an AG zoned parcel with a small hobby orchard/farm that allows for "agricultural laborer housing" which skirts a number of the regulations regarding RV dwelling on private property.

Even should we only do it for 2-3 years while she finishes getting out of student loan debt and accumulating an initial 50-75k to get her on the track to ER; the depreciation of tiny homes makes them a better option for us than an RV and the savings vs renting an equivalent apt would support the idea even considering opportunity cost of not investing the tiny house fund in the market for the same period of time.

On the other hand I also have a client who has hinted at offering an exchange of training he and his wife for the guest house they're currently building. He's one of my favorite clients/a great individual I trust and enjoy working with but I'm hesitant to blur the line between client and landlord. Perhaps this hesitation will dissipate, time will tell, it's a non-factor for the next year anyway!

Our lease ends in May, I'd like to extend it 6 months so that I can put away another year+ of living expenses and be at 2 x annual expenses (more than that once housing cost reduced).

A bit rambling, perhaps too much coffee, perhaps too much excitement at what seems like an exceptional number of possibilities. Very excited for DG to be out of debt so we can have even further expanded options, she's 1 year away, 6 months ahead of schedule! As always, thank you for reading.
Last edited by MidsizeLebowski on Mon Dec 23, 2019 3:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.

classical_Liberal
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Re: Midsize Lebowski would love it if you'd come and give him notes on Semi-ERE

Post by classical_Liberal »

I investigated RV living pretty extensively awhile back. A short to midterm option may be an airstream. They last forever and hold value well. If someone were motivated, they could purchase one from the 80's or earlier that has some interior neglect. The shells are indestructible, so with sweat equity and some $ in the interior, it could be rehabbed, then lived in for a few years, and potentially sold for more than original purchase price afterwards.

Jin+Guice
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Re: Midsize Lebowski would love it if you'd come and give him notes on Semi-ERE

Post by Jin+Guice »

What's up, glad there is another semi-ERE person here. It's a lot easier to wrap your head around semi-ERE when you're starting from 0. How many hours a week are you currently working as a trainer?

MidsizeLebowski
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Re: Midsize Lebowski would love it if you'd come and give him notes on Semi-ERE

Post by MidsizeLebowski »

A typical week is every morning 6AM-12pm with about an hr in there total of non-training time where I do back end work/do ERE-type planning and then MWF I also work evenings 3pm-7pm. For semi-ere I'd probably condense everything to two full days either M/W or T/TH.

MidsizeLebowski
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Re: Midsize Lebowski would love it if you'd come and give him notes on Semi-ERE

Post by MidsizeLebowski »

February 2019 Review:

Net Income:$4397 ($150 from new microgreens client)
Spending:$2012
Savings: $2385
Savings Rate: 54.2%

Assets:

SEP IRA: 12714
Brokerage: 1126
Cash: 2850
Auto: 6400 (book value)

Net worth: 16,690 ( $23,090 including auto)


FI Ratios

Actual Expenses / Assets : 1739 * 12 / 23,090 : WR @ 90.38 %

Bare-Bones Expenses/Assets: 905 * 12 / 23,090 : WR @ 47.03%

Semi ERE Ratio: (1739-600) * 12 / 23,090 : WR @ 59.2%

Bare Bones Semi-ERE: (905) - Part time income (600) = 305*12 / 23,090 : WR @ 15.85 %

Pretty typical month, girlfriend won a 3 night hotel stay in San Diego through contest at work, that added a bit to entertainment & picked up new eyeglasses otherwise on par for expected expenses. Good to get the savings rate back up to a more reasonable 54%, still plenty of room to improve here at rather obvious points without declines in quality of life.

Debating what I want to do with incoming cash right now in terms of percentage in brokerage vs ira, what I allocate to income-producing experiments etc. Will think on this further, please share your thoughts, experiences, and like, opinions, man.
Last edited by MidsizeLebowski on Mon Dec 23, 2019 3:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

classical_Liberal
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Re: Midsize Lebowski would love it if you'd come and give him notes on Semi-ERE

Post by classical_Liberal »

Good work at getting the SR back up! The San Diego weekend sounds fun.

For semi ERE I really like the bucket approach. Separate investments for "old age retirement" and for funding semi-ERE period of life. It's up to you to decide how much FU $ you need for Semi-ERE to work.

I find this helpful because I can use different investment strategies for each bucket, one focused on longer term gains, the other on portfolio stability/income. Also, since there is a bucket specifically for "old age", there are hard stops in place wrt any principle drawdown. This helps me sleep at night; I can not touch old age retirement funds before being full-FI or a certain age.

MidsizeLebowski
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Re: Midsize Lebowski would love it if you'd come and give him notes on Semi-ERE

Post by MidsizeLebowski »

Thanks CL! I'm inclined to do the same with the buckets approach, most likely using my SEP-IRA as my old-age fund - I'll work to get that funded to a projected future value of 4% WR not factoring in social security.

For FU/semi-ERE funding I'll look to fund roughly 5-10x annual living expenses, good to think about. Thanks for your thoughts!

MidsizeLebowski
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Re: Midsize Lebowski would love it if you'd come and give him notes on Semi-ERE

Post by MidsizeLebowski »

Been a great month for work, bringing home about $6800 post expenses (tax). Starting to feel a little stir-crazy with the punch it in punch it out lifestyle of a full time client load though.

Came to some interesting realizations recently that have been tempting me to turn to semi-ere sooner rather than later. The first is that within 6 months I'll be at a point that just by maxing out an HSA every year with 5% growth between now and 65 would meet my WR goals not including social security.

The 2nd is that living a somewhat lavish ERE lifestyle @ ~20k/year annual spend ($9900 on housing) and being active in pursuing expertise in my field has bought me quite a good deal of flexibility in terms of options for work. I could pursue many paths that more than meet my annual expense and still save 30-50%.

At this point with current work I could drop down to 2 days/week and still max out an HSA and IRA while meeting all living expenses as a beach bum renting ocean block in the town adjacent. I'd dispose of the car and take the train to work every day. Not a bad lifestyle. I could theoretically do that until typical retirement age.

In those 5 free days a week I'd probably more heavily pursue some side-income producing hobbies that are decoupled from my time like expanding the microgreens operation building more flexibility/security along the way.

As a safety net type proposition I may pursue PT Aide licensure which would cost roughly 6k initially and then $350 biannually going forward. Physical Therapy Aides are always in demand and yield a very ho-hum life of 9-5 work for ~50k. I'd consider doing this for a year or two at a time in a semi-ere style of work 1-2 years, travel/move to a new area of the country and not work for 6 months, pick back up accumulating for a year or two, etc.

Having slack in the system in the form of a year's living expenses and counting has made for a lot more strand's in ol' duder's head. Spending the weekend out in nature with DG and the dogs gave a great bit of clarity.

classical_Liberal
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Re: Midsize Lebowski would love it if you'd come and give him notes on Semi-ERE

Post by classical_Liberal »

Congrats on the great income!

Time away always brings a different view. It's amazing how we become acculturated into the salaryman lifestyle. It just becomes the norm until you get away from it for awhile, then realize how unhealthy it can be.

Those of us who can cut back on work and create more agency in our lives without sacrificing some long sought after career trajectory have a big advantage. Since humans are particularly shitty at predicting what will make them happy, we can choose to experiment. If someone is able to find a very content balance and still maintain a decent savings rate ("decent" being a personalized definition based on circumstances and risk tolerance), I'd say go for it.

OTOH, if after making the changes and reducing income, one isn't more content, perhaps the problem lies elsewhere and it's best to keep on going full steam ahead. In the meantime, experimenting with other things. Many folks have described finding contentment taking this route int their journals.

In any event, you are beginning to feel the power of "FU" money, and that's a good thing. It's a double edged sword though. The more you get the more power you have, while at the same time accumulating more than you actually need to live your preferred lifestyle can become an addiction in-itself. Every dollar you save now is worth a lot more than one you save 20 years from now... so there's that. Plus, I wouldn't presume the ability to max out IRA or HSA for the next 30+ years either, life throws too many curveballs to make those assumptions, like counting your eggs before they're hatched.

MidsizeLebowski
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Re: Midsize Lebowski would love it if you'd come and give him notes on Semi-ERE

Post by MidsizeLebowski »

Thanks for your thoughts here and over the past few posts CL! What I'm currently leaning towards is the middle road approach- continuing to work full time for another ~2 years before dropping down to 75% time around age 30 for as long as it remains fulfilling. During this time period I'll continue pursuing small side-businesses with the intention of meeting my living expenses via those pursuits to provide greater tensegrity.

Then I'll likely drop to 50% time with personal training which should be enough to max out pre-tax accounts and meet living expenses.

As you mentioned it seems more than foolhardy to expect circumstances to be predictable in several decades so I'll certainly build a significant buffer of capital in addition to the diversity of income streams prior to going part-time.

Fortunately I'm well versed in what makes me happy due to a life-experience that ranged from extreme extroversion and hedonism(age 18-25) to introversion and ERE-congruent values (26-current). Perhaps some tales in the future!

I'm comfortable saying that happiness looks firmly like a few close relationships, some form of contribution to humanity/the planet, a touch of personal growth, outdoor time daily, a balance of free and scheduled time, productive hobbies like gardening, reading, sex, swimming, biking, hiking.

Should be easy enough to maintain with the semi-ere approach!

May the Dude Abide.

MidsizeLebowski
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Re: Midsize Lebowski would love it if you'd come and give him notes on Semi-ERE

Post by MidsizeLebowski »

A brief April 2019 update:

Financial:

Savings Rate of 68% from a net income of $6692, picked up income both in primary work and side-project.

Current annual expenses: x 1.08
Bare-bones annual expenses: x 1.4

Semi-FI ratios:
Current annual expenses less $800 part time income: x 2.16
BBAE less $800 part time income: x 4.3

Foreseeable changes in future include the terms of my lease at training facility being renegotiated so will see what that shakes out too.

Personal:

Lease at apartment goes to month to month as of May 15, rent will remain the same so an increase in flexibility with no increase in cost, a pleasant surprise. Still looking to reduce living expense/ enact a more homeotelic solution for housing as rent is currently ~50% monthly expenses and still involves a good deal of car travel for DG.

Overall very typical month, investments are starting to add a day's worth of earned income during positive fluctuations, which doesn't hold a great deal of significance given how early in accumulation I/we are but is still exciting to see. If I can maintain the current income/savings rate our position as a household should be much stronger within the next 3-6 months and an entire world apart by 1 year.

Good month socially and with DG. We've strengthened relationships with some friends who are interested in ER/alternative approaches to life and that has made for a nice change from being "the maniacs up in the bell-tower tapping away at our spreadsheets" as we'd joked regarding the reactions from old social groups/friendships we're letting dissipate based on differences in values/life outlook.

Beautiful spring here, wildflowers everywhere and return to flow for a number of rivers that have been dormant during the drought years. Even a few steelhead sightings! Been hiking and riding frequently. Overall great month- sometimes you get the "bar" as they say.
Last edited by MidsizeLebowski on Mon Dec 23, 2019 3:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

MidsizeLebowski
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Re: Midsize Lebowski would love it if you'd come and give him notes on Semi-ERE

Post by MidsizeLebowski »

Early update this month due to some upcoming life changes...

Maintained net income at $6836, a slight increase in fact. Savings rate down a bit to 61% as I underestimated taxes at the beginning of last year and ended up owing a little over $1k at the tax deadline.

As for the changes:

Going to be experimenting in Semi-ERE a bit early it would appear.

DGF was offered a position making 20% increase and has decided to accept. She currently works in gorgeous resort town 40 miles north of our current location. We've discussed living here for several years and have decided to do so. She's currently paying down student loan debt and is about 30k away (she saves in tax advantaged accounts so net worth is in fact much closer to the starting line), with a move to walking/biking distance to work at the new pay rate she should be able to be debt-free within 1 year putting us in a much more free position as a unit each having a 2-3x expenses and no debt at about a year from the move.

I'm going to move to 3 days/week commuting to current town/occupation via train at a cost of 150/month. I'll likely lose a small amount of income initially but should still be at a >=30% savings rate all things considered prior to any side income. I'm looking forward to using the 4 days per week to pursue additional income streams with more energy/creativity and to taking my most creative/energetic time back (early AM's). Considered additional income streams include ecological/edible landscaping, landscaping, organic farming, horticulture, etc. I enjoy dirt, what can I say! I'll likely expand the side-project micro-greens operation as a starting point.

My goal is to be able to meet expenses independently with each income source - 3 would be considered ideal.

I had some initial hesitation at reducing current income but realistically I think this puts our relationship on firmer ground- I'd love to see DGF out of debt and experiencing the freedom that accompanies this.

I've had some reservations of "irresponsibly" reducing income at age 28 with a mere 1.5x expenses (lots of wants vs needs in these expenses-including location) but truth be told I'm much more risk tolerant than much of the ERE community and don't see a 30% savings rate with plans to pursue further income and increase said savings rate as all that irresponsible. I believe diversification of careers beyond a single one in a luxury field as personal trainer likely lowers risk in the long term, particularly if getting into a needs-supplying path like organic ag.

I'd appreciate any feedback. As always, thank you for reading!
Last edited by MidsizeLebowski on Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Cheepnis
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Re: Midsize Lebowski would love it if you'd come and give him notes on Semi-ERE

Post by Cheepnis »

Truth be told a 30% savings rate is kick ass! I thinking trading a high SR number in exchange for time to cultivate your skills and side hustle ambitions will work out favorably in the long run.

Will you be able to grow year round?

MidsizeLebowski
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Re: Midsize Lebowski would love it if you'd come and give him notes on Semi-ERE

Post by MidsizeLebowski »

Thanks for your thoughts Cheepnis! 30% is child's play amongst our fellow forumites, but I suppose it'll do! I will - we're in southern/coastal California so certainly a year-round season here.
Cheepnis wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 6:00 pm
Truth be told a 30% savings rate is kick ass! I thinking trading a high SR number in exchange for time to cultivate your skills and side hustle ambitions will work out favorably in the long run.

Will you be able to grow year round?

classical_Liberal
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Re: Midsize Lebowski would love it if you'd come and give him notes on Semi-ERE

Post by classical_Liberal »

Pros:
I think the idea of helping SO help herself is fantastic! I've actually taken a similar approach with my GF recently (she's much younger and has SL debt too). It avoids the pitfalls of resentment related to her spending/lifestyle that could occur if you just outright paid for her loans yourself.

The earlier in life you find a balance in work/income to spending the better. Doubly so if you can have independent sources of covering the outflows. Triply so if you enjoy the activities that cover the outflows.

Remember outflows are generally easier to reduce than increasing inflows. Particularly in the realm of small businesses/self employment. Don't be afraid to consider time intensive activities that cut spending as a "part-time job", now that you will have more time.

Cons:
Your energy level and desire to put up with employment of any kind will also vastly change over time. Generally 20-30's is the best "career/business building" time, because health and energy level for this type of thing really do tend to decline with age.

Your risk tolerance will likely vastly change as you move from 28 to 38 to 48. 1.5 yrs may not seem like much in a decade, so be sure to maintain a goal positive savings rate at any cost, even if that means sucking it up for FT work if other side hustles fail to produce income/reduce expenses. A head start really matters!

Overall, flexibility is the key to success in a plan like this. If you are too rigid and focus on one or two aspects that are failing for too long, you may end up back on the FT salaryman bandwagon. But that wouldn't be the end of the world anyway. Better to have given it your best.

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