An American Millennial

Where are you and where are you going?
JeanPaul
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by JeanPaul » Tue Mar 05, 2019 5:32 am

Into the Breach is a great little turn-based combat game - some similarities to XCOM, but everything is much quicker, and things are more transparent.

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K » Wed Mar 06, 2019 4:12 am

Yep, played Into the Breach. I beat it once or twice before moving on to something else, but I liked it. I only ever keep 1 or 2 games at a time on my computer.

JeanPaul
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by JeanPaul » Wed Mar 06, 2019 8:16 am

Viktor K wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 4:12 am
Yep, played Into the Breach. I beat it once or twice before moving on to something else, but I liked it. I only ever keep 1 or 2 games at a time on my computer.
Yeah, it's quick, and a bit too easy, but well-constructed.

Salathor
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Salathor » Thu Mar 07, 2019 12:26 pm

Have you played Door Kickers? It's similar, but I liked it more.

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K » Fri Mar 08, 2019 7:29 pm

Into the Breach is probably the type of game I would want to spend my ERE making, if I were to spend my ERE making games.

Door Kickers looks neat, I'm going to give it a try. It has a platformer spin-off as well that looks interesting.

Another good strategy game that I've enjoyed is Battle Brothers. I keep reinstalling that one. It's basically a tactical RPG in a sandbox.

As for non-tactical RPGs that I've enjoyed, I've also played This War of Mine, which I highly recommend (played maybe 20 hours over several playthroughs). It has elements of strategy and base-building, but the atmosphere and story elements are what make it most memorable for me. And I also played a lot of Dead Cells which is a straight-up platformer, a type of game I don't usually enjoy.

The last recent game that I can remember off the top of my head is Nier Automata. Super soundtrack, Square Enix (so good story in addition to soundtrack), action-RPG.

prognastat
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by prognastat » Fri Mar 08, 2019 8:47 pm

These are retro, but I used to love the old Front Mission games. At least the tactical/strategy rpg ones.

I definitely put a decent amount of time into Dead Cells, has a great gameplay loop.

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K » Thu Jun 13, 2019 7:21 pm

June 2019

I've been playing football, progressing on web development, and finishing the school year. I've found some local fields where I can play for 3 hours, 30 yuan on a daily basis. We are in the finals for our faculty tournament, but it's rained out the last 4 weeks. Next week is my last week here. I fly back to the US on June 24th.

I've cancelled D&D since a couple weeks ago to focus. I'm in something called Chingu which is a pair-programming group. My project is with a guy in Japan. I'm learning a ton from this. I was offered a developer job in Shenzhen a month or so ago, but I turned it down. Not the ideal fit for me. I had a good interview for a design studio in Hong Kong, and I scored a take-home project out of it, even though I admitted I didn't know how to do what they wanted. My take home got a needs improvement, but has potential, so they want another project out of me, this time with more direction, and will pay me as a freelancer.

School is done. I have two classes next week that still need to finish their final. Input grades on the 22nd. My plan is to never teach again.

I will fly into LA and stay with family for the first week or two. I want to find a job in Denver. I will either apply remotely from LA, or find a temporary room-share/sublet in Denver and apply locally.

I have about 12 months expenses saved.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:09 pm

Nice to hear from you Viktor, all of your images have disappeared from your posts.

I was under the assumption that you were way beyond the 1X living expenses mark?

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K » Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:18 pm

Ya I noticed that too, probably something with flickr. I've got 18k in assets, -34k in loans.

Scott 2
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Scott 2 » Thu Jun 13, 2019 10:56 pm

Good to see an update! Congrats on getting an offer, even if it's not what you are looking for.

I don't think you are spending much time on the .NET stack, but if you find an interest, I've really enjoyed this book:

https://www.lulu.com/shop/jeffrey-paler ... 77802.html

The author covers what a modern enterprise application architecture looks like, using the azure devops tooling, from design through to production monitoring. He gets through it all in 250 pages and provides a sample project.

I think the broad understanding would be a big help in evaluating potential employers. I've never seen the material in such an accessible format before. I've been dismayed to recognize my current company as 10-15 years behind the curve.

TopHatFox
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by TopHatFox » Fri Jun 14, 2019 10:51 am

Viktor K wrote:
Sun Feb 05, 2017 3:24 am
The world is war

ERE is nothing but a dream for most. Seriously, how quickly can you get ERE? Without the right education, you're looking at many years of sacrifice, followed by many more (but at least you won't have to go to work?). Commitment and actual earning potential make ERE less likely for those without the right education, or at least delay attainment.

Education seriously affects commitment. For example, I didn't even bother to deposit money in my savings this month. On-time deposits only really help my graphs look better. What happens on my graphs makes little impact on my ERE date due to my low earnings. Another example: I stopped smoking weed but spent a lot on alcohol. While I'm thinking about quitting alcohol as well, this too will make little impact. The biggest impact would be time-traveling back to 18 and choosing a different major. If I quit drinking now, I could reach ERE maybe 6-12 months sooner, but that ERE would be an ERE without alcohol/weed. Not that that's such a bad thing, but the point is, without the high earnings, my ERE is going to be more impoverished than many others, so I'm not really that eager to give up more now, just to have less earlier.

I've got a lot of "The world made me this way" mentality. I can't earn much because I don't have the experience/education. Let's face it, if I had a different major, my earning potential would be double/triple, meaning ERE would take half to a third the amount of time. With my degree, ERE even in 6 years seems unattainable, even while I still maintain ridiculous levels of personal spending. Does Jacob even spend this little? My ERE will be slower and worth less than others. You see journals of people with $100k annual income talking about how they can't reach ERE any sooner than my 6 year goal. Man, that must be rough. If I had their income I would be ERE in 2 years, living like a king in China. These factors generate some degree of disillusionment with ERE.

Does education affect ability/willingness to ERE? Absolutely. With the wrong education not only is your income lower, but your actual desire for ERE can also be affected since you're really working towards a pretty crummy retirement, early as it may be. This means that people like me aren't really represented on this site as much because they probably look at this ERE concept and think... Wow, look at all these engineers and their $80k+ incomes. Must be nice! Then they never come back because they would rather go out and blow a paycheck having fun for once, rather than suffer for the next 6-10 years just so they don't have to 9-5 it anymore.

PS: My bank account isn't showing the totals for my spending reports so I'll upload some graphs if it gets fixed.
Hey Viktor K, read through your journal and thought it was cool that you both packed up and started working in China. If anything, your quality of life is better. The piece above is so true. 110% agree that the decision we made at 18 has a massive impact on the next decade. And yet, we were told things like "study what you like and the money will follow." I wish anyone had warned us, but that's the struggle of our generation I suppose. All we can do now is move forward despite our dumb degrees. ^_^

niemand
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by niemand » Fri Jun 14, 2019 9:35 pm

Viktor K wrote:
Sun Feb 05, 2017 3:24 am
The world is war
...
That’s all true and disappointing to realise how the real world works and how the old rules from school don’t apply here anymore. Let’s mourn about that. And then let’s move on.

I think you’re doing well Viktor K. And so do you THF. Although it may not always feel that way.

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K » Fri Jun 14, 2019 9:40 pm

@Scott Thanks man, I'm pretty much full-stack JS at this point. I might dip back into PHP later on if I want to start building a freelance practice, and then, of course, whatever is needed from any new job.

@THF Pretty good little essay by myself. A lot has changed since then. I think taking a break the last few months from this website helped me really appreciate a lot more how beneficial this time in China has been. I've worked <15 hour/week the last 2 years, with 3 months off each year. Definitely was a good decision.

Hopefully job search goes well. I just got a US phone number via Skype. I'm going to start pre-applying to jobs in Denver now. It's going to be a huge change switching back to 40 hour work weeks. But I can easily say I enjoy coding much, much more than teaching, as well as any other job I've done thus far in my life.

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K » Fri Jun 14, 2019 9:50 pm

@niemand Easy to say, but harder to do. Especially with this site's focus on $, monthly charts, and general complaining about 9-5. A message that gets missed a lot is that ERE is just 1 thing, not everything, and not even the most important thing in my life. I do not measure my success by my progress on ERE. Sure, 1 goal of mine is ERE. Plenty of goals are much higher than this.

I think a lot of what I said in that from 2017 is still true.

I also think the idea that "anyone can do this" is also dangerous. Anyone can try is more accurate, I think. And I respect anyone who has made ERE the most important thing in their life, it's great to know what you want and know what's most important. But I think it's important to not obsess.

This forum has helped plant some ideas in my mind which I've slowly watered. Building marketable skills is one that first comes to mind. At the same time, I also think this website is the cause of a lot of unneeded stress and lamenting.

If I look back at when I started my journal, asking myself, "If I died tomorrow, would I be happy with my decisions today?" then, and at many points since I've started this journal, my answer would be "No". Now and certainly over the last year, 2019 especially, the answer is certainly "yes". I lament the poor soul who suffers their way to ERE and then dies the day they quit. Or worse, those that reach ERE and realize it's not an answer to everything.

slowtraveler
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by slowtraveler » Fri Jun 14, 2019 11:34 pm

I see you've made a huge leap forward in your programming skills. Most people who start drop out but you've already developed a marketable skill with some job offers. You should feel damn good about that.

On the conversation, about ERE, I did suffer my way through a good few years but now I have a freedom and opportunity I never would have dreamed of. The few years of sacrifice were worth it for me but you're right that everyone's situation is unique.

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K » Sat Jun 15, 2019 12:00 am

@slowtraveler I've stuck with it, it's been going well. On the idea of living the life you want, today, I wasn't doing that start of 2018. It was okay, but I was playing so many computer games, staying up late, being tired, and not going anywhere with my life. There was no progress. I was stagnated. That experience alone has pushed me a great deal. I don't know if I would have committed as heavily to learning coding if it wasn't for that dissatisfaction.

Which kind of touches on the sacrifice you mentioned, right? Everyone has their own degree of sacrifice that makes sense. I'm not trying to say my life is sacrifice free, but the sacrifices I'm making are a weighed decision. I could still die tomorrow, and be satisfied with the sacrifices I've made. At other points in my life, like when I first started this journal, I couldn't always say the same.

As well, I think if I were to dread my 9-5 (as I did my last one), come home each day tired, and have little time/energy left for my hobbies and things I actually enjoy, then I also wouldn't be able to say, "Okay, if I die tomorrow, I'll still be happy with my choices." And I think that's something the forum needs to embrace more fully. ERE doesn't have to be all or nothing. There's so much more to life than dumping years into a financial goal. Sometimes I think people focus too much on the 9-5 and lack of financial independence as the reason they're not happy. You can be happy and work a 9-5. At least I think you can. Easy to say for me right now having not worked a 9-5 since 2014 (which I was miserable doing).

On another note, I talked to a guy yesterday. He's trying various businesses right now, capitalizing on the ESL teacher free-time in a different way than me. He mentioned his goal as $10,000,000. I don't know why.

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K » Sat Jun 15, 2019 12:17 am

Also @TopHatFox, my quality of life is not 100% better here. I think you could say, instead, that my life is better here than it was in LV. But I'm hoping to make that more of a continuous theme in my life, rather than location dependent. Some things I can't mention now, I'm still in China. But ways my quality of life is worse here than I suspect it will be in a couple weeks, after I'm back in the US:

#1! Air quality. I'm basically a tobacco smoker, that's the equivalent damage to my lungs when I don't wear a mask, or when our cat jumps on the air purifier and clicks the off button.

#2! Food quality. I'm so tired of the food. No food safety. McDonald's has the highest safety rating in my neighborhood. Think about that: your healthiest and (also very important, and basically a non-issue in the US) safest food option is McDonald's. That being said, you can spend like ¥100 for some high quality food, and in downturn there are better options for high quality, safe, delicious dining. You can also cook, but our kitchen is tiny, not full-size (no stove, ovens are uncommon, sink water is dirty) and the produce quality at supermarket is low.

#3 Earning potential. I was considering renting a studio in HK for the work week, and then coming to Shenzhen to see my girlfriend on the weekends, or her coming to HK on the weekends. However, salaries for developer are about half. And for entry level, they're about 1/3-1/4. Add that to the fact that HK is the most expensive city in the world.

Ways it's better:

#1 Safety. You can do things that would be stupid to do in the US here, without worry. E.g. walking home alone at night, regardless your gender.

#2 Work-life. <15 hours, 3 months off/year. Absolutely absurd. However, a lot of my free-time I spend coding. The rest I spend playing football, eating, sleeping, or watching TV shows with my girlfriend. She's not coming back with me by the way.

#3 WeChat. Absolutely amazing. You don't text, you don't call, you don't use your apps. You just use WeChat. Much of this app's functionality is better than all combined equivalent available in the US. Meetup for example. Garbage compared to WeChat groups. Post in one, everyone that's in it will see, because it's the same context as their normal texting conversations. "Hey, where can I play football in Shenzhen?" Boom, several group chat invitations for football groups.

#4 Healthcare. It's a toss up. It's cheap, but doctors don't always speak English. As well, quality can be hit or miss - although that's partially the language barrier.

I'm definitely taking a gamble moving back to the US. But I think it's calculated, and I suspect my happiness will be the same, if not higher. More mentally stimulating work, higher sense of status (for first time ever in my life, I'll feel like a respectable professional), better access to quality food, clean air, speaking English (underrated).

classical_Liberal
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by classical_Liberal » Sat Jun 15, 2019 3:07 am

Viktor K wrote:
Sat Jun 15, 2019 12:00 am
As well, I think if I were to dread my 9-5 (as I did my last one), come home each day tired, and have little time/energy left for my hobbies and things I actually enjoy, then I also wouldn't be able to say, "Okay, if I die tomorrow, I'll still be happy with my choices." And I think that's something the forum needs to embrace more fully. ERE doesn't have to be all or nothing. There's so much more to life than dumping years into a financial goal. Sometimes I think people focus too much on the 9-5 and lack of financial independence as the reason they're not happy. You can be happy and work a 9-5. At least I think you can. Easy to say for me right now having not worked a 9-5 since 2014 (which I was miserable doing).
Jumping into this great conversation, if it's OK.

The thing that attracted me to ERE vs most other ER concepts was the lack of singular focus on the financial. I mean sure, many journals use the core approach of Salary man-->Renaissance man -->FI, doing so through some form of 9-5. Still though, the "how" matters. Here, the "how" is varied and unique. 7WB5 is trying to reach FI with urban permaculture. Theanimal moved to rural Alaska to test himself mentally and physically; he's learned an amazing number of skills in the process that are just beginning to pay off more financially. Gin+Juice up and quit his career, moved to a cheaper area and is heading towards FI with a bunch of part-time lifestyle gigs. Jeanpaul walked away from a great education with a multiple six figure career track to slow travel the world. Slowtraveler used geographic arbitrage to get out of his rut, live his best life, and use LCOL to accelerate financial goals.

I really can't imagine a better place to come if looking for inspiration wrt unique ways to personal financial independence. Our tenancy is to compare to others, but the paths to ERE are so diverse it's really hard to do that here. I wonder if your frustrations of "all or nothing ERE" is related to the wrong types of personal comparisons?

Edit: So rather than feeling poor because you compare yourself to others. Maybe it's simply best to take inspiration for all the amazing "wins" that take place around here. Then use what we learn from the experiences they have so generously shared with us to mold our own perfect route to FI.

bigato
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by bigato » Sat Jun 15, 2019 6:36 am

I should say that focusing on numbers/charts and sacrificing on your way to ERE for the benefit of your future self are two different and separated things and that they are orthogonal. You can be very precise in your tracking and projections and that does not imply in any way that you need to sacrifice. Maybe you are projecting a bit when you make such broad judgements about the forum as a whole. There's a lot of diversity in here.

TopHatFox
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by TopHatFox » Sat Jun 15, 2019 8:22 am

@K, she’s not coming with you? Knowing yourself, how do you think you’ll fair being alone in the US working 9-5 when you’ve been with someone for years working 3 hrs/day? Is there something you’re doing to prepare for the difference?

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