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

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

Post by classical_Liberal »

@Bankai
He was preparing in the sense he was saving and planning. But maybe he was not mentally preparing for the day he reached his goals (sorry I-Dave, maybe I'm wrong). I think this is, by far, the biggest issue in the FIRE/ERE world. Too much talk about reaching FI without enough talk about what it means when you get there.

This problem partially exists because most of the OG's of the current movement became FI almost by accident. They did not have to address the change in mindset from accumulation to RE, as soon as they were sick of their careers they just quit. EDIT: Accumulation was a side effect of their lifestyle, not a goal in itself. The second and third generation (if 5-7 years is a generation) of ERE/FI'ers often started the journey already disliking their job or situation. So primary focus has been to accumulated assets/skills to remove that job from their life. Completely different starting point, different focus, leading to different issues when reaching goal. By this point we (2nd,3rd generation) have often developed an unhealthy relationship with our careers/jobs. Too much of our purpose comes from our jobs and/or our accumulation of skills and assets to be free from it.

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

Post by Bankai »

I agree with your point about not spending enough time thinking and planning for 'after'. Most people don't really know themselves due to spending almost all their time working, getting to and back from work, sleeping and maintaining self and surroundings. Maybe it's not the worst option to just quit and figure things out later. After decompressing for a few months, one is likely to start getting interested in new things and itchy to do something useful (however one defines usefulness).

However, regarding your second point, if 2nd/3rd generation starts the journey already disliking their jobs, should they not be less likely to develop an unhealthy relationship with their careers since their goal is to retire (possibly asap) and the job is just a means to an end? Unless it's an addiction to accumulation itself and not meaning obtained from a career that makes it so difficult.

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

Post by classical_Liberal »

Bankai wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 4:50 pm
Unless it's an addiction to accumulation itself and not meaning obtained from a career that makes it so difficult.
Right, this is what I mean. Also, though, because accumulation has taken a primary role in life purpose, the means to accumulation likely has as well. Since most take the full-time job---> RE route, by default the job (as primary source of accumulation) has become ever important. So we don't like it, yet it has become a primary source of our lives as a means-to-end. Very different than liking it----> bored/dislike----> hey, I'm FI, I'll do something else. So I'd gauge our relationship with our jobs similar to an unhealthy, codependant personal relationship. Dislike it, but need it. Even when we don't need it.

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

Post by IlliniDave »

bigato wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 1:32 pm
Yeah, t's way past the point where you should focus on other areas other than hoarding money. Fwiw, i think you are a coward. Please retire and prove me wrong. "Here bigato! Retired before you!"
bigato, I'll be sure to let everyone know! I don't know what your timeline is, and if you beat me to it, good for you! :) Regarding your first sentence, I'll talk about that below.

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

Post by IlliniDave »

Bankai wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 4:10 pm
I don't know, this journal is 5 years old. It seems to me that if 5 years are not enough to mentally prepare for retirement, no amount of time is sufficient. Maybe the issue is elsewhere.
Bankai, I didn't realize I had crossed the 5-year mark. Time flies, eh? But in the 5 years' worth of leavings herein there's a fair bit that I believe lends context to my more recent remarks. I've dedicated a lot of time maybe not so much to prepare mentally, though that's part of it no doubt, but to examine the prospect emotionally (much more important than the mental part) and to think through possibilities and hone in on an arc/lifestyle. I committed a fair chunk of the stash to that planning, and have made efforts to audition the lifestyle I envision in the present (and to adjust based on what I learn about myself). That thread of activity culminated a couple years back with taking several weeks off work for what amounted for a dress rehearsal of retirement. Around that time some IRL challenges arose, most significantly my mom's terminal diagnosis and passing. Now that the anniversary of that day has passed, and some other less significant concerns have resolved themselves, I'm beginning to wake up from a fog and looking to pick up where I left off. That's why I chose the idiom(?) "on the back burner". Most of the ingredients were in the pot, I just had to let it simmer for a while.

I'm pretty sure I've talked about what I mean by "transition period" before. It refers to the first year or so after I leave work. I'll be relocating to another part of the country so there are some mechanics involved. Where I'd left that had me thinking I'd spend the first warm season at my end-of-the-road hideout then as autumn deepened return to civilization and go about the chore of finding my official residence. That would both give time to ensure that I get my current home sold and allow me an interlude in which to take a deep breath, as they say.

Spot on regarding the age thing. Although my current vision is for an exclusively leisure lifestyle, much of it is not what you'd call passive.

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

Post by IlliniDave »

classical_Liberal wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 3:46 pm
This whole situation could be avoided if someone makes a conscious decision earlier in life that profession and/or business ventures are not the most important priority. Hence defines themselves and their success differently.
classical_Liberal, this fits me, arrived at completely independent of any ideas regarding ER. I tried to express the sentiment above, but you stated it better. At one time I was under pressure to "move up" in the corporate pecking order, but I instinctively resisted it. I had a young family at the time and while I found my job reasonably enjoyable, I didn't value the hierarchy of that world enough to pay the price for ascent.

That's one thing that has set me apart from many I encounter in the general FIRE milieu. To me it's a journey to something rather than a running away from something. That subtle difference in frame goes a long way when it comes to slogging through the inevitable less-then-stellar days.

It remains to be seen how mentally prepared for FI I am. In the math sense I've arguably been FI for a couple years now. Granted it might very well be subconscious masking of subconscious pathological mental machinations, but at the top of my thoughts it's a matter of recognizing that getting a toe over the FI line might not represent the optimal move for me. That's aided and abetted by the idea of the previous paragraph. Life is not at all bad. As 7Wannabe5 mentioned above, I have a healthy work-life balance as it is, albeit one I don't consider optimal. To borrow an investing term, I decided that a store of "dry powder" is a good thing because it broadens the palette of options (it's much easier to do things that require little/no money when you have a surplus laying around than it is to do things that require money when you barely have enough). I know that runs against the ERE philosophy. Luckily jacob is very tolerant of me. ;)

That's a good analogy with the bathtub, and at what point it is full/warm enough for a pleasant bath without being excessive is essentially what I've been shooting for. I can't say precisely where it is, but I know it's close.

Regarding spreadsheet goggles, I discussed that in response to Bankai above. Although recently I've kept things rather dry in this journal, there was a time not so long ago that it was otherwise. And if my attitude right now is an indicator, I'll probably drift back to my older "style" for as long as I decide to keep the thread alive.

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

Post by classical_Liberal »

IlliniDave wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 6:58 am
That's one thing that has set me apart from many I encounter in the general FIRE milieu. To me it's a journey to something rather than a running away from something.
Nail on head, it's the journey that matters. I forget that myself way too often. If the journey is no longer enjoyable, it's time to shift course. Otherwise, keep on keep'in on.

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

Post by jennypenny »

Belated Happy Birthday!


Sometimes money accumulation/management (also referred to as money hoarding ;) ) is more of an avocation than an obsession. I think as long as you're not neglecting other areas, pursuing greater financial resources can be seen as indulging in a hobby or practicing skills that you enjoying using/perfecting instead of viewing it as greed or fear.

^^That's a good spin, don't you think? :D

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

Post by IlliniDave »

jennypenny wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 6:30 pm
...
^^That's a good spin, don't you think? :D
Thanks for the birthday wishes! Yes, excellent spin. I tell myself that more than anything it's having finally hit the steeper-sloped region of the curve. Nineteen more months projects to make a huge difference to my financial future. I'm not sure what motive/characteristic is best applied to the instinct to make hay while the sun shines. Likely it's a blend of several.

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

Post by SavingWithBabies »

I find your view on FI interesting. I've been rushing to get to it by trying to get a better handle on our expenses (and reducing them) and maintaining and/or increasing income (and savings). But I also realized at a certain point nothing actually happens when I get to that FI number except the mental aspect of knowing all my choices have financial backing. But I already have that at 50% of goal -- I'm not done and I still feel a little fire on my toes (which I like) but I and my family should be able to survive anything* financially at this point. Maybe it's a different feeling at 100% of goal? Was it for you or because of your interests and directions, there wasn't a focus on that line (because it wouldn't change anything)?

And happy birthday :).

[*] Well, perhaps more precisely, the vast majority of things. I'm sure there are some things that could wipe us out but even at 100% of goal that would be true too.

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

Post by IlliniDave »

SavingWithBabies,

I haven't had an absolute goal/number, so there hasn't been a line to cross in that sense. The closest was probably my recent passing into a higher tier of my employer's retirement structure. I've had a number of milestones along the way, and passing each one feels a little better than the previous, mostly because each successive one implies a broader set of options and/or a little extra margin.

I guess you could say that I'm falling victim to lifestyle creep. Initially my goal was to be able to survive long-term job loss. That morphed into an intent to fully retire early. Next came the addition of the cabin, then some fretting over what future medical expenses could potentially be. Once I had that better covered I started examining pros/cons between a minimally adequate home and one that might more comfortably suit an aging soon-to-be-old dude. In parallel with those I've considered adding a small tract of undeveloped land to the portfolio, and made a budget for acquisition of a few toys for my intended leisure pursuits (things like a canoe/kayak, suitable trekking/camping gear, maybe a small aluminum boat/motor, some guitar toys, etc.). Admittedly there is a danger in the creep getting out of hand and bolstering endless one-more-year justifications.

My downfall is arguably compulsive planning. Whenever I gauge where I'm at, the next thing that usually happens is that I start thinking, "Okay, what's the next step, what more can I do?" or, "Is there another shoe that could drop, and if so, where will it fall?"

But there is an ascending feeling that underlies the process of moving along the continuum. As the risks/things I look to cover/acquire get increasingly unlikely/optional, lack thereof becomes increasingly unimportant.

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

Post by inchicago »

I've also put my ERE as a set of milestones. I agree with you that it is very easy to keep adding yet another thing to it as I have done but for me, I like working towards a goal. It keeps me motivated.

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

Post by IlliniDave »

2019 May Summary

Spending for the month was $3,005. On the one hand, May ranks as my best month YTD for spending, but on the other it still sucks. As far as investing: he who lives by the Trump, dies by the Trump. Down $26,700 for the month which makes me only about $700 to the good for Q2 2019. If I account for contribution my return has been negative for Q2. I'm too lazy to do the math though.

Otherwise things are okay. We went from a very soggy late winter/spring to parched at the moment. Hasn't rained at all for 2.5 weeks and it's been hot--maybe 10 of those days have exceeded 90F. Figures, given it's the year I decide to give my landscaping a makeover. Might get some the latter half of the week. Fingers crossed.

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

Post by IlliniDave »

Q2 2019 Check-in

Still don't have all my spending tallied for June. Just being lazy I guess, nothing extraordinary about the month.

For the quarter invested assets were up about 60K, and net worth increased around 193K for the 12-month stretch ending 30 June.

I should be winding down on a major project at work in about a month. I've decided it will be my last burning-the-candle-from-both-ends-for-months-at-a-time effort. The way it looks the opportunity for one of those might not arise again in a timeframe meaningful to me, so the decision may be moot. I have a couple last promises to keep which will take me part way into next year. There's still part of me that wants to try to finish off calendar 2020, makes some nice things work out with the numbers. But each day it seems increasingly likely I'll not be able to do that.

Once the big project winds down I've got my sights set northward. I'm looking at taking about 3 weeks off, most of it will probably be spent visiting family, but I do have to get up to the cabin. Seems that I was the victim of some unusual frost heave last winter that wreaked havoc on my tiny front porch. I don't understand how all that works, but I had a local contractor who specializes in that sort of foundation work for cabin-like structures look at it, and I've got to get up to meet him. Per his recommendation, looks like all the piers could use upgrading--something I sorta knew already plus I've wanted to raise the structure enough to put insulated skirting all the way around anyway. With luck I'll still have a day or three get into the park to fish, or at least out on my lake (most of it's in the park anyway), and maybe get a day hike in on the NF trails nearby.

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

Post by Campitor »

IlliniDave wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 9:05 am
Seems that I was the victim of some unusual frost heave last winter that wreaked havoc on my tiny front porch. I don't understand how all that works, but I had a local contractor who specializes in that sort of foundation work for cabin-like structures look at it...
What probably happened was the winter was colder than usual or the water table was very high when winter came. Even if you go below the frost line, if the pier's surface isn't smooth then the frost can catch the imperfections in the piers and push them up. To help with that, a sonotube and a bell footing is a good option. The bell footing will greatly prevent lift while the sonotube's smooth sides prevents ice from getting a grip on the concrete. It's a more expensive build (you have to dig out a bigger circumference to accommodate the bell) but it's a very good way of preventing frost heave. Video for reference: https://youtu.be/I-Hf-x_IXP8

Another option, if the deck is small, is having a floating deck in front of the cabin which can be adjusted as it shifts around. What's the frost line in you area? Where I live it's 36" - you have to dig down 4 feet to get below the frost line. In Minnesota the frost line is 6 feet. Good luck with the footing repairs.

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

Post by IlliniDave »

Campitor, thanks for the suggestions. The porch-related problem I'm having seems to stem from the fact the cabin itself floats, but the little "porch" was added on with a corner post that's sunk into the ground. The guy I talked to said to anchor posts would require digging down at least 8 feet, which where I'm located would probably take me to bedrock (four feet probably would). Right now I have 6X6 timber posts sitting on concrete blocks that sit on the ground, but some of the concrete blocks have been moving. The contractor wants to put beds of crushed stone under the post locations, then put a pad of pressure treated lumber above the stone, then use concrete blocks to make posts (columns) for the cabin to sit on (similar for the porch column). He says the advantage he's found in that arrangement is when the inevitable shifting does occur over the years, it's a pretty easy setup to adjust/maintain along with it being the most cost-effective. At the other extreme he said he could move the cabin, put in a "proper" foundation, then move the cabin back, but that's pretty pricey. Some of what we'll be talking about will be any in between options.

I'll check out the video. On my list of things is to spend a little time researching the general topic before going up to meet with him. That will make a nice entry point.

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

Post by Campitor »

IlliniDave wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 10:19 am
... then put a pad of pressure treated lumber above the stone, then use concrete blocks to make posts (columns) for the cabin to sit on (similar for the porch column). He says the advantage he's found in that arrangement is when the inevitable shifting does occur over the years, it's a pretty easy setup to adjust/maintain along with it being the most cost-effective...
I can see why he wants to use a pressure treated pad that the concrete blocks will sit on- he can jack up the porch and layer in additional pressure treated "shims" as needed to level the structure. My only concern with this approach is that the pressure treated wood pad. Pressure treated wood is still wood - it soaks up moisture. If the pressure treated wood frequently gets wet and then freezes, it will disintegrate quickly.

There are adjustable pier base products out there than require no shimming - you can adjust the level as needed like this one: https://www.strongtie.com/miscellaneous ... uctDetails. Make sure to click on the "Image & Video Gallery" button and then click the "installation" button to view the various setups that are possible - I think this product will serve your purpose and make leveling more of DIY affair or at least cut down on the subsequent leveling costs if you elect to use a contractor for the adjustments.

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

Post by IlliniDave »

Campitor wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 11:51 am
I can see why he wants to use a pressure treated pad that the concrete blocks will sit on- he can jack up the porch and layer in additional pressure treated "shims" as needed to level the structure. My only concern with this approach is that the pressure treated wood pad. Pressure treated wood is still wood - it soaks up moisture. If the pressure treated wood frequently gets wet and then freezes, it will disintegrate quickly.
The pads/concrete blocks I think he mainly intends for the main structure, as I've discussed with him raising the cabin another 18" or so above it's present height from the ground. The porch is very small, not much more than a covered stoop so I'm guessing there are any number of simpler solutions if it were the only concern. In general it stays fairly dry under the cabin but you are right that should the pads get repeatedly exposed to water (especially prior to my getting the skirting up)--winter especially with blowing snow. My concern with more more elegant solutions is that I'm not sure what I've got to anchor to (in, actually). The ground where the cabin sits is slightly inclined and beneath is likely to be all manner of things from shallow bedrock to ginormous boulders and such. I think you're in the Northeast IIRC, so maybe the best nearby analog is what you might come across on a lake shore up in Maine. But I'll bring these ideas up with the contractor. Sometimes I think they tend to gravitate to the cheapest options just because that's what most people want to pay. I'm a little more forward looking than many even though it's "just a seasonal cabin".

Thanks!

ETA, the floor beam leveler might be useful in a spot or two where I suspect the floor may be sagging a little, but it's hard for me to know what might be sagging versus heaving. Like I mentioned, this is not an area of competence for me.

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

Post by Campitor »

If there's a shallow large bedrock shelf under the porch, here in New England we drill into the bedrock/granite and epoxy rebar into the hole; we slide a sonotube over it and fill it in with concrete - viola - frost heave footing problem solved. The right type of epoxy needs to be used - it has to have the adhesive strength and properties to bond to the stone. And the hole needs to be cleaned out before inserting the epoxy; several shots of compressed air does the trick.

Sorry for butting into your journal. I just wanted to mention these options so you can pick/research the solution that makes sense to you, fits your budget, and gives you good bang to the buck. Good luck!

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

Post by IlliniDave »

Campitor wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:20 am
If there's a shallow large bedrock shelf under the porch, here in New England we drill into the bedrock/granite and epoxy rebar into the hole; we slide a sonotube over it and fill it in with concrete - viola - frost heave footing problem solved. The right type of epoxy needs to be used - it has to have the adhesive strength and properties to bond to the stone. And the hole needs to be cleaned out before inserting the epoxy; several shots of compressed air does the trick.

Sorry for butting into your journal. I just wanted to mention these options so you can pick/research the solution that makes sense to you, fits your budget, and gives you good bang to the buck. Good luck!
Thanks, I think under the porch is mostly imported material, it's under the main structure I'm not sure of, and I suspect it might not be consistent. I'll discuss all these ideas with the contractor. Thanks for "butting in". :)

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