Egg's journal

Where are you and where are you going?
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Egg
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Re: Egg's journal

Post by Egg »

Just checking in for the first time in a while again. Almost a year this time between log ins. I don't write a personal diary or anything, so this is my closest analog to read back as a snapshot of what I've been thinking in the past - even though it's increasingly impossible to find anything ERE about this journal.

Indulging myself in a bit of self reflection on that, I do distantly remember a constant fear of being fired in the early years of my working career - a decade ago - not entirely unfounded, as with the benefit of distance, I now see that I was always temperamentally unsuited to my initial career choice (the military). With that in mind, I see now also that my motivations for ERE were never that 'pure', even when I was hitting consistently solid savings rates (I think I managed 70% average for a good few years, without going back to double check the exact numbers). My initial ERE motivations, however much or little I consciously aakcnowledged it, were coming from a place of insecurity at least in part, which is probably why I never stuck the course. If I'd had a more 'solid' rationale, such as personal sovereignty or environmentalism, I guess I might have done.

However, I'm still left with a positive financial legacy of the time when I was shoothing for ERE (or maybe that should be FIRE) so don't at all regret where these years have taken me. But my life is now pretty average in so many ways - 2 kids, married, own a car, work a 9-5 earning fairly decent money, most of which we spend (mostly on the family tbf). Save approx 25% these days. I'm fairly at peace with that and far more emotionally content with my life than I used to be when I was saving more aggressively. So I don't see us getting back onto the FIRE bandwagon.

The part that I hope we will manage to live up to better is the non-financial aspect of ERE, which I think is what the community has come to emphasize anyway over the years I've been watching this forum. As a family, we could definitely do better in terms of increasing personal resilience and sustainability, and letting cost saving be a byproduct rather than a goal in and of itself. On the other hand, even there I sense we are comparatively not bad compared to most of our immediate acquaintances. For example, our gas and electricity went up from about £35 per month to about £70 with recent inflation - a large jump percentagewise, but minimal in absolute terms. When I speak with colleagues, I hear of people spending several hundred per month (up to £700 per month by one guy I spoke to recently).

Still, I'd be lying if I said that I give more thought to this sort of thing than to bourgois obsessions such as how to afford to move somewhere with good schools etc. Or frankly just keeping up with family life and getting enough sleep. Both kids are still under 3, and take a lot of energy to keep up with relative to my baseline level of energy (naturally quite low?). I guess this might change a little when the elder hits school age.

But anyway, we're all still alive, I'm getting slightly better at software development every week, my wife's stalker has mercifully fucked off out of our lives for now, and all of our mental and physical health seems to be holding up. So I'll consider that at this point in time of this 'snapshot' the headline is: all's well.

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Egg
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Re: Egg's journal

Post by Egg »

I still think about money quite a lot, which is maybe odd considering our spending patterns have drifted inexorably towards the mainstream. I probably already moaned about this somewhere in the journal, but nursery school in the UK is about £14,000 per year for 2 children part time (25 hours per week). Quite a big percentage of my net pay (about £34,000 per year, after tax, student loan repayments, pension contributions etc.). I sometimes think it'd be nice if my wife went back to work to make that more comfortable, but then to get enough hours to allow her to do most jobs i.e. any full-time strict-hours employment would probably cost more than she'd earn.

Amazing as our kids are, in her position I think I'd still work, even at a small loss relative to cost of childcare - but she doesn't seem to share the strong desire for adult interaction and non-child-related problem solving that I'd have it was me playing the stay-at-home parent role. I hope raising kids gets cheaper as they get older, but I don't really know. If they want to do some sport, play an instrument or whatever, then that also doesn't come free. I'm starting to get some offers of contract work between £450-750 per day, which would increase my earnings a lot - roughly double - but I don't really feel experienced enough in the field, and feels like the economy is about to hit a significant rough patch, so maybe something to consider in a few years if the opportunities are still equally abundant.

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Seppia
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Re: Egg's journal

Post by Seppia »

Could your job be done remote?
With £14000 in Italy you pay the yearly fee for both kids at the best university in the country (Università Bocconi) at your level of income.
Bocconi is not LSE but is well ranked worldwide.
In Milan, you can get by with English only no problem.
Nursery here in Como is $230 per month

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Egg
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Re: Egg's journal

Post by Egg »

Seppia wrote:
Sun Aug 21, 2022 4:04 pm
Could your job be done remote?
Thanks, Seppia. To answer your question, for sure yes. Software development exists everywhere, and my job is already almost entirely remote (but only allowed to work from within UK in this particular role for security and tax reasons).

As an EU/UK dual national (wife also EU national), there are definitely countries available with relatively cheap childcare. Economic migration is actually something I've been thinking about. Been considering Poland (my second nationality) where I believe it's pretty cheap and I speak the language (far from perfectly, but good enough for day to day life).

Downsides are primarily:
- UK pays better for software development - about twice the salaries in Poland, and the gap gets wider at the top end of skill/experience, whereas non-childcare cost of living is not 50% cheaper over there.
- Salary : CoL ratio is a similar issue anywhere else in EU (Italy pays quite badly too, I think). UK seems to be as good as anywhere for this.
- Wife (and therefore also kids) are not white, and UK is about as racially tolerant as anywhere I've seen in Europe. Poland...not so much
- We already own a house here in the UK, so there'd be a degree of friction to upping and moving (we'd probably rent at least a coupe of years in any other country to see if it was a good fit)

I guess what you mentioned would be a remote role based in the EU but on a UK salary. I don't know that this is especially common as the tax situation for employers is a bit difficult unless massive company, but I'm sure everything is possible for skilled-enough employees.

I suspect the more likely geo-arbitrage move is to get a London-based remote role and stay living in the North of the UK. From what my friends tell me, they are earning up to about £85k gross (I get £52k gross) with similar skills and experience down there, and that avoids all of the downsides I mentioned above, whilst making a salary difference, even net, of more than our childcare costs.

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Seppia
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Re: Egg's journal

Post by Seppia »

Yes sorry for being unclear. My idea was “keep UK job and salary and move somewhere else”
I should have thought that if it were an option you’d already done it, my bad

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Egg
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Re: Egg's journal

Post by Egg »

Not at all. All suggestions welcome :) Whilst you're right that we'd probably already have moved if my currrent role allowed work from anywhere, it's definitely a possible path next time I change jobs.

guitarplayer
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Re: Egg's journal

Post by guitarplayer »

Egg wrote:
Sun Aug 21, 2022 4:26 pm

Been considering Poland (my second nationality) where I believe it's pretty cheap and I speak the language (far from perfectly, but good enough for day to day life).

Downsides are primarily:
- UK pays better for software development - about twice the salaries in Poland, and the gap gets wider at the top end of skill/experience, whereas non-childcare cost of living is not 50% cheaper over there.
A forum member @zbigi is based in Poland and works as a software developer for over $100k/year for a company based in the US. He has heaps of experience, but could potentially chip in with advice regarding a move a few years down the line.
Egg wrote:
Sun Aug 21, 2022 4:26 pm

I suspect the more likely geo-arbitrage move is to get a London-based remote role and stay living in the North of the UK. From what my friends tell me, they are earning up to about £85k gross (I get £52k gross) with similar skills and experience down there, and that avoids all of the downsides I mentioned above, whilst making a salary difference, even net, of more than our childcare costs.
You gave me this advice implicitly over a year ago and I partially implemented it, opting for a civil service post with equal salary in a lower cost of life location, given a choice of two locations.

zbigi
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Re: Egg's journal

Post by zbigi »

Egg wrote:
Sun Aug 21, 2022 4:26 pm


As an EU/UK dual national (wife also EU national), there are definitely countries available with relatively cheap childcare.
Yep, the state-provided kindergarden is something like $100 per month, and private ones (depending on the level of fanciness) are I believe $200-$300.
Downsides are primarily:
- UK pays better for software development - about twice the salaries in Poland, and the gap gets wider at the top end of skill/experience, whereas non-childcare cost of living is not 50% cheaper over there.
I don't think that's the case. The UK at the top end is paying 700 quid per day for contracts (at that's London only, although sometimes remote is allowed), and many of them are heavily taxed (inside IR35). Whereas in Poland, with equivalent skills, you can get remote work for foreign EU companies for 600 EUR per day, and pay flat 17% taxes. It ends up being pretty comparable.
- Wife (and therefore also kids) are not white, and UK is about as racially tolerant as anywhere I've seen in Europe. Poland...not so much
I've worked with a Tunisian guy who lived in Poland with his wife and kids for 8 years and never complained about it. I don't think it's that big of a problem in large cities. Would be worth of investigating further for sure though.

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Re: Egg's journal

Post by zbigi »

guitarplayer wrote:
Mon Aug 22, 2022 2:04 am
A forum member @zbigi is based in Poland and works as a software developer for over $100k/year for a company based in the US. He has heaps of experience, but could potentially chip in with advice regarding a move a few years down the line.
That is over for a couple months now, the 9 hour time difference combined with 10 years of tech debt they wanted me to help clean up made me quit that job. I decided to avoid West Coast US companies, the time difference is just too large for me. Now I'm contracting for the Germans :) Somewhat unsurprisingly (if one is to believe stereotypes) it's the least messed up company I've worked in yet.

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Egg
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Re: Egg's journal

Post by Egg »

Thanks for some really interesting contributions @guitarplayer and @zbigi.

I defer to your knowledge of the Polish market @zbigi. 600 EUR per day sounds good for sure. I was mostly comparing salaried positions where anything I've read (mostly have to sign up to download a report, or get a quick temperature check from Reddit, but an example here : https://codesubmit.io/blog/software-eng ... y-country/) suggests salaried employees get about half a much in Poland as UK.

I will look into this further as I think I've probably been too dismissive of the level of opportunity in Poland.

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Re: Egg's journal

Post by zbigi »

600 EUR is what you can get working remotely in the EU market. They often require you to be within EU for these contracts, but you can be in any country you want. Polish contracts for seniors typically pay up to 250 EUR per day - that's why I usually don't bother talking to Polish recruiters at all. The market is currently in this weird state where you can make vastly different salaries doing the same work, depending on which country you (remotely) work for. I guess it similar to the US's situation with FAANGS vs non-FAANGS.

Permanent work (as opposed to contracts) in both Poland and UK is for people who prefer far less money for slighly more stability and more relaxed work.

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Egg
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Re: Egg's journal

Post by Egg »

zbigi wrote:
Mon Aug 22, 2022 2:45 pm
.
Permanent work (as opposed to contracts) in both Poland and UK is for people who prefer far less money for slighly more stability and more relaxed work.
Yeah, that's a reasonable comment. Also in the permanent worker category: anyone who's not really a senior yet (I've had the job title, but realistically at ~2YoE there's lots I haven't had the chance to experience yet, even if I'm quite proactive about learning). Companies seem to pretty much want seniors only for contracts, which is fair enough.

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Egg
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Re: Egg's journal

Post by Egg »

Life continues relatively uneventfully for now, which I think is to be appreciated.

Relevantly to the conversation last time I swung round these parts, I just got offered a job which would increase my compensation significantly (hard to say exactly how much because it involves performance related bonus and restricted stock units but let's say around £100k if all is well, of which £80k is the base salary portion). The company is also one with a good reputation for software development, so I'll accept as long as it all comes through (only a verbal offer atm; waiting on contract).

If all goes well, our savings rate will go back to the FIRE range (60%+). I will have to resign from my current role to take it of course, which is a pity, as my current role is very nice in many ways and I'll of course regret if I get laid off due to bad economy or just can't perform in the "higher tier" company. But I figure I can't let such fears hold me back in life. YOLO etc. So hopefully it will all come through, the economy will turn out to be more robust than I fear, and I'll settle in well...

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Re: Egg's journal

Post by Seppia »

To be considered as a potential extra benefit of making the change:

If you ever get laid off due to bad economy/etc, it’s going to be easier to find another job at current salary because you’ll be seen as “more attractive” as you’re coming from higher money and a prestigious company.

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Egg
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Re: Egg's journal

Post by Egg »

Seppia wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2023 3:59 pm
To be considered as a potential extra benefit of making the change:

If you ever get laid off due to bad economy/etc, it’s going to be easier to find another job at current salary because you’ll be seen as “more attractive” as you’re coming from higher money and a prestigious company.
That's likely true, yes. It's not FAANG level prestige but maybe one level down from there. I'd be happy to have the name on my CV, although the fact that I even care about that makes me feel a little grubby

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Re: Egg's journal

Post by Sabaka »

Congrats on the job offer! Well worth it I reckon, as you said, YOLO! As an advocate for team U.K (altho Poland does sound awesome as well), the life premium that can be gained moving further north can be massive, and with goodish train and flight links you are never too far from London if a day in the office is required. Plus there is an advantage to knowing how to operate the bureaucracy of a country, with an impending move to the U.S I am increasingly appreciating the U.Ks relatively modern approach to this...

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Egg
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Re: Egg's journal

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Sabaka wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2023 1:40 pm
Congrats on the job offer! Well worth it I reckon, as you said, YOLO! As an advocate for team U.K (altho Poland does sound awesome as well), the life premium that can be gained moving further north can be massive, and with goodish train and flight links you are never too far from London if a day in the office is required. Plus there is an advantage to knowing how to operate the bureaucracy of a country, with an impending move to the U.S I am increasingly appreciating the U.Ks relatively modern approach to this...
Cheers 😊

I'm already based in the North (of England - admittedly since I see you're in Scotland these days that might not seem very northern!).

Very much agree that being nowhere near London is generally a good thing, though. I like London, but if only bankers and oligarchs can afford decent houses there, I'd be pessimistic about its prospects as a nice place to live. Too bad that most of the highest paid tech jobs are there, but I was pleasantly surprised to get offered the one I just did, considering it's based in the North, so perhaps times are changing?

Ref bureaucracy, I think the UK is almost uniquely good. It doesn't always feel that way, but when you experience continental Europe (mostly Poland in my case) it's a complete bureaucratic throwback. Having said which, I've a massive soft spot for the US, and I'm sure the move will be worth it for you, and that once you've got through said bureaucracy I'm sure you won't regret it.

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Egg
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Re: Egg's journal

Post by Egg »

Incidentally, I just read Jacob's comment that FI usually happens after around 500 posts. My journal is now at around 140. Very unmathematically, that 28% sounds about right for my FIRE progress.

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