My literal retirement scoreboard and the search for a new obsession in life

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unemployable
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Re: My literal retirement scoreboard

Post by unemployable »

June scoreboard. Net worth is back up with the stock market but because I'm tilted to international I'm some six grand behind my May figure despite the US markets finishing at all-time highs. I've been waiting for international markets to "turn around" for several years, but now I'm very close to accepting that the US's outperformance is due to structural differences between our markets and theirs -- we have all the tech companies, all the innovation, a humongous prosperous local market, a mobile and flexible workforce and one of the more libertarian socioeconomic systems in the developed world. I hate to throw in the towel here, the way guys like Julian Robertson packed up shop at the height of the 1999-2000 tech bubble, but I will be continuing to slice away at the "international" wedge of my pie chart where opportunities present themselves.

I figure I've cost myself some $50-70k sticking so damned much in international over the last decade or so, without enjoying any kind of diversification benefit. A lot more house I could buy, for sure, but an order of magnitude less than the worst financial mistake I've made.

Nothing else new. The snow hasn't finished melting and in fact I woke up to a dusting on the 23rd. The upstairs people are still annoying. I might send an actual resume out tomorrow, that's new.

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classical_Liberal
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Re: My literal retirement scoreboard

Post by classical_Liberal »

unemployable wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 6:03 pm
I might send an actual resume out tomorrow, that's new.
whaaat? someone who ERE'ed years ago feels like doing some paid work... I never :o

Good luck

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Re: My literal retirement scoreboard

Post by unemployable »

classical_Liberal wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 11:35 pm
whaaat? someone who ERE'ed years ago feels like doing some paid work... I never :o
Would be my second one this year! Back when I had a future, getting interviews was never the problem.

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Re: My literal retirement scoreboard

Post by unemployable »

I was out on a hiking trip a couple days ago and was thinking I had had enough. This was a 16-mile hike which I made into more like 20 miles when I missed a turn and followed the wrong trail for more than an hour. Correcting this error used up a lot of energy and made it more arduous to summit that it otherwise would have. I did summit... then one of my boots started to fall apart on the way down, then because I had been out longer than planned I got stormed on. Then that night the zipper on my sleeping bag broke. Then I woke up the next morning, started the car and the tire-pressure indicator lit up... some 10 miles from the nearest village and 60 miles from the nearest garage. Luckily it was just the spare. But I was in no position to do another hike.

How much is enough? We've discussed it here in terms of money, but what about accomplishing personal goals? Haven't I climbed enough mountains? Haven't I fulfilled the purpose of moving out here several times over? Can't I come up with other things I want to do, or at least other places with mountains I want to live?

I made the four-hour drive home to find a notice posted on my door that my rent is going up. Nothing I can't afford in terms of total net worth, and I'd be going from paying about 40% under market to 20% under. But more than enough to make other places a much better relative value. I'm still figuring this out but I see very little chance this will be my permanent residence at the end of the year. I can shave off some $300-400/month living somewhere else versus my current housing cost and in my budget that's a pretty big deal.

As it is now I don't have much cushion versus a 4% withdrawal rate. I got it down to 3% by subletting and living with Mom in the winter, but I don't want this to be a crutch or a permanent arrangement. I have seriously looked at buying property somewhere, but I feel absolutely no sense of urgency as they aren't hot markets and I would rather spend a few years hopping around renting a couple years at a time. So now that neither my mind nor my car are going 100 miles an hour, this is the plan I'm gravitating towards.

I could always start looking for jobs again. But I'd have to somehow overcome the wall I ran up against and that led me to ERE: I'm absolutely horrible at interviews. Since quitting my last real job in 2010 I've failed at least seven interviews in which I made it to the finalist stage. If you count phone interviews it's closer to 20 -- several involved multiple interviews and video conferences, indicating I got pretty far in. In some cases I had no competition. One or two can be explained away, but that many is all on me. If I'm so goddammed smart I should be able to figure out what I'm doing wrong and stop doing it. Or maybe just find something where they just ask me math questions. That was my easiest interview ever, and the guy who ran it I still consider a friend.

Regarding the noise from upstairs, I discovered one can complain directly to AirBnB about noisy guests. This forces the host to act. I made two noise complaints about different guests in close succession, and although I never heard from the host directly, it has gotten a lot quieter. So, there's my protip for the month -- complain as soon as possible, preferably while the annoying guest is still staying there, and don't confront the guest at all. Although it's funny how it's not such a priority in my life anymore. But certainly a learning experience. As in, do a background check on what's above you when choosing a place to live.

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Re: My literal retirement scoreboard

Post by unemployable »

Starting with this scoreboard, for net worth I'll be using the average of the beginning and the end of the month. This usually only makes a few basis points of difference on the withdrawal rate, but I'm not comfortable using a first-of-the-month number after a significantly down month. Which August was. Partly because my discretionary stock portfolio does nothing but sink deeper into the shitter, but also because international stocks do the same. They go down as much as US stocks do but only come back like a third as much. Some of this is due to the dollar appreciating, but when the US sneezes, Germany gets AIDS.

I talked to my landlord about the noise (he rents this place to me through a management company, which employs a laziness I often use to my advantage) and he seems to be in my corner about stricter rules regarding AirBnBs. For now I have no increase in rent so I'll be staying here for awhile longer. This is not a permanent solution however; basically I simply bought myself some time. I did go on a fact-finding mission to other parts of Colorado this month but nothing jumped out at me as the next place I want to live. Playing the long game for now. I was planning out a couple months of living out of my car while I explore the West, but that's off the table for now. Some day.

At least it was an exciting month in a life that had gotten depressingly boring.

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2Birds1Stone
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Re: My literal retirement scoreboard

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

Why is the car dwelling off the table?

I'm taking more interest in your journal as I'm jumping off with a similar asset level, and also worry about future employability after a longer hiatus.

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Re: My literal retirement scoreboard

Post by unemployable »

2Birds1Stone wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 5:09 pm
Why is the car dwelling off the table?
It's strictly not. I am planning some shorter car trips throughout September within Colorado. I want to save the longer ones for when I'm not also paying for a house I won't be sleeping in. The original plan was to car-dwell at least through September, followed by a vaguely-specified period of looking for a new place to live and/or spending part of the winter in the East.

I've been doing a fair amount of decluttering in the last couple weeks, on top of what I did last year. I should be able to fit all my possessions, except my car, into about 40% of a 5x5 storage locker. Got rid of a lot of dress shirts and suits; people on the other side tell me they don't wear suits much anymore at all.
I'm taking more interest in your journal as I'm jumping off with a similar asset level, and also worry about future employability after a longer hiatus.
For the most part I gave up on trying to resume my old "career". When I place my hand on a hot burner 20 straight times I'm very reluctant to do it a 21st time. I may yet have a future doing odd jobs closer to minimum wage. Also I haven't needed the money. My motivation now, such as it is, comes at least as much from boredom as from wanting more money. I'm close to 10% off my all-time high net worth and that rather bothers me.

But I focus the most on my housing cost, and have looked at various ways of reducing it, traditional and non-traditional. Car-dwelling an example of the latter, mom-dwelling the former.

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Re: My literal retirement scoreboard

Post by unemployable »

I went on a hiking trip a couple weeks ago and went the wrong way again. This time I read the map wrong, turned off the trail in the wrong place and didn't realize my mistake until I was on the wrong summit. Which was one I had done a few years ago from a different direction.

And with that, I am coming to realize on this perfectly bluebird day in the middle of fall foliage season, on which in previous years I would feel guilty staying inside posting on the internet, that I have gotten out of the Colorado mountains all I will ever need to get out of them. There are always more outings I can go on here and hundreds more mountains I can climb, but my 425th 13,000-plus foot peak will not provide me with much more marginal utility than my 424th did. I'd just be checking another box off a list. Isn't that the behavior I find so unenlightened in others? The whole "go to college, get job, work hard, get promoted, marry, buy house, fill house with shit, breed, be stuck in job because you have all this shit to pay for, raise kids so they can repeat the same stuff as you" list, I mean. I call it the "life treadmill" and see it with most friends and relatives around my age. We do all this work... just so our kids can, so that their kids can? What the actual fuck, as they say on Reddit, is the exit strategy? That's one reason why I hit Ctrl-Alt-Del on my life nine years ago and moved out here. You know why I'm not climbing Lizard Head? Because I'm not obligated to. (OK, it's also the hardest 13er. Point stands.)

I'm not scheming and screaming to get out of here like I did with Chicago, but the mountains are calling, and I must go somewhere else. I keep reminding myself: Living here was never, ever meant to be permanent.

Those of you who stalk my presence here (hah!) will have observed me frequently posting about real estate in recent months. Looking back this was simply part of the deliberation. It started a couple months ago in an attempt to knock a couple hundred bucks off my monthly housing cost. But soon I understood I was aiming too low. Why not be as cheap as possible? Why not reduce it to zero? Everyone else is making money AirBnBing; why not me? Are there risks I'm only beginning to appreciate, or are approaching the wrong way?

So within a few months, if the bottom doesn't fall out of the stock market, I plan to start looking at houses/condos with the intent of paying in cash. From what I see, I can get all the space I need, at initial and ongoing costs I can comfortably afford, and most importantly in a place I would be thrilled to live. Wanted to live, even. Like here, it's in a touristy area, where people take vacations to get away from the city, which again raises the question of why not live there all the time if it's so nice. If I wanted I would be able to rent out the place for days, weeks or seasons at a time while I travel elsewhere. This could include a whole summer, while I travel back out here and beyond, hopefully rejuvenated, refocused and less concerned about staying under 4%.

And yeah, "buy house" is on that life treadmill, but not the way I'd be doing it.

Scoreboard to come tomorrow after the numbers for September come in.

Mister Imperceptible
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Re: My literal retirement scoreboard

Post by Mister Imperceptible »

You’ve been at this investing game longer than I have, but don’t you see asset values correcting?

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Although as an AirBnB host I think some wayward woman would fall madly in love with you and your sense of humor.

classical_Liberal
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Re: My literal retirement scoreboard

Post by classical_Liberal »

Congrats on finally making a decision! I agree with @MI though, wrt to prices in general. Although, as previously discussed, there are still values out there, even in nice places. It seems to me the big advantage to purchasing now is low leverage rates, why not take advantage of that and finance a chunk of the purchase?

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Re: My literal retirement scoreboard

Post by unemployable »

The places I'm looking at are trading where they were 15-20 years ago. It's incorrect to say they "haven't moved" over that time, as they bubbled with everything else, then collapsed, and have inched back since but nowhere near at the rate the rest of the US has. I suspect boomers have been liquidating their second homes (or their first homes, as they die), and millennials have been slow to take them up, although I believe millennials should hit second-home-buying stage within the next few years. Also these are more rural properties, far from big cities and corporate jobs, which have lagged nationwide.

That said, they can be rented out cash-flow positive, and as mentioned that is part of my strategy. I would enjoy more flexibility to live there when I wanted and monetize the place when I didn't.

Something else I forgot to mention. I've been working on improving my social network, the kind involving actually meeting and talking to and hanging out with people. Turns out one neighbor wants to take off for a month next summer, and he's offered me to cat sit his place for free, or he might even pay me. So there you go, social networking leads to free housing and activities (playing with cats) I'd pay to do. And I've put feelers out with others; I know one woman who lives in a retirement community in Arizona and you know those people take all kinds of trips and need people to care for Smokey and Bella. I always feel slimy "networking" for actual jobs, but completely comfortable asking about this kind of thing.
Mister Imperceptible wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 7:30 pm
Although as an AirBnB host I think some wayward woman would fall madly in love with you and your sense of humor.
My experience is that chases most of them away, although that is somewhat the intent. It would have to be some sort of sugar momma arrangement as I'm unable to model sex as a currency, although I presume concepts such as "safe withdrawal rate" would still have relevance. BTW, my high school crush's birthday is today. Last I heard, she lives in... Chicago.
Last edited by unemployable on Mon Sep 30, 2019 8:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Mister Imperceptible
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Re: My literal retirement scoreboard

Post by Mister Imperceptible »

You only need to withdraw safely if breeding is so objectionable to you.

My high school crush fell off a cliff, died on impact.

7Wannabe5
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Re: My literal retirement scoreboard

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

You might want to give "Lake Success" a read before heading out on road trip as finance bro in search of early love.

Jason
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Re: My literal retirement scoreboard

Post by Jason »

Mister Imperceptible wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 8:52 pm
My high school crush
fell off a cliff,
died on impact.
Poetry

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Re: My literal retirement scoreboard

Post by unemployable »

Scoreboard.

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Re: My literal retirement scoreboard and the search for a new obsession in life

Post by unemployable »

I'm bored. I need a new thing in life to obsess over. My current lifestyle has run its course. A few weeks ago I took a three-day roadtrip around the mountains during the heart of foliage season and found it reinvigorating, but for the most part I've gotten out of living here all I'm going to get. I don't want to give up the place until I firmly decide on a next step, though. I've discussed some options here, but nothing stands out as being particularly compelling or urgent.

For November I'll have a sublet/moveout, a housesit and a couple errands to occupy me, then it's down to my winter home on the Gulf Coast.

Some fruits of networking have paid off, however. I have a couple other potential housesits and got a callback from a rental I asked about a few months ago, but for which the landlord eventually told me the existing tenant decided to stay. Well he's moving out now, and the landlord offered it to me instead. This would've been in Utah at a greatly reduced rent (practically a housesit as they would use the house a few days a month), but after looking at the place on Google and discussing the terms with them I probably won't take it. But... physical social networking. It has benefits and it's as simple as asking, "if you know someone who [scenario I could help them with and could benefit from], let me know".

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nomadscientist
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Re: My literal retirement scoreboard and the search for a new obsession in life

Post by nomadscientist »

I enjoy this log, and would be interested to hear how unemployable has done in the past months.

classical_Liberal
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Re: My literal retirement scoreboard and the search for a new obsession in life

Post by classical_Liberal »

+1
He had mentioned awhile back wanting to get away from the forum. He didn't really say why, but I kind-of just assumed he was either on a break or done with it. I'd love to get an update if @unemployable is still lurking around sometimes!

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