No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Where are you and where are you going?
sky
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No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by sky » Sun Jul 26, 2015 6:43 am

I am 54 years old today.
I started working at a full time professional job 19 years ago.
I am financially independent if I control my expenses.
I have some expense challenges, some are out of my control.
I am working but soon to quit my job, perhaps in December.
My financial basis is a current pension, future pensions and a bit over $200k in cash investments.
I plan to work on some type of project after I retire, don't know what yet.

My goals:

Walk one hour every day.
Don't eat food that is bad for me.
Go on weekend backpacking trips twice by the end of the year.
Go on a bicycle overnight tour by the end of the year.
ER by the end of the year
Winter visit to Arizona

My challenges:

My partner (wife) has big expenditure plans, an RV, house improvements
Long term failure to meet monthly budget goals
Escaping my employment is a political act, need to carefully script reasons I am leaving
It is hard for me not to talk publicly about problems at work but I need to keep quiet for one year

Strategies:

My successful ER depends on my ability to negotiate low cost alternatives to my wife's demands
Option: Split the budget, each partner pays half of basic costs, both must agree on improvements
I need to plan ahead better for things I want to do
I need to assert my recreational plans
Just Do It

Our expense level is currently $3,300, after retirement perhaps $4,000 (two people)
Need a new car soon, health insurance and will need to pay tax on pension and withdrawals.

thrifty++
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by thrifty++ » Tue Jul 28, 2015 4:07 am

Sounds like you are in a great position to look at ERE Sky. I look forward to watching you progress towards bringing it all together over the next year.

sky
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by sky » Tue Jul 28, 2015 5:17 am

Thanks

I don't qualify for the extreme "E", just ER at this point.

Hankaroundtheworld
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by Hankaroundtheworld » Tue Jul 28, 2015 7:58 am

Age does not matter, I will be at ER at end of year as well (then I will be 50), freedom is important, enjoy the time while you are still healthy and explore the full potential that is inside yourself.

Interesting challenge to negotiate with your wife about the ER lifestyle and related investments :-). A RV is a nice idea, and there are many good ideas on this forum (and other forums) to do this cost efficiently.

Is your long-term budget 4000 USD per Month, or do you have a buffer? That might help to cover for unexpected costs

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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by jennypenny » Tue Jul 28, 2015 8:37 am

Happy Belated Birthday Sky!

I'm 49. There are a lot of us in that age group here. We still count, even though we look as old as dirt to all the youngsters on the forum. The "E" stands for easy-does-it with us. :D

You've got to come to terms with DW if you're going to retire and find any peace. You're partners, so her goals are as important as yours. You have to find a way to satisfy both of your needs. Have you tried counseling? I'm not a touchy-feely person, but I've gotten a lot out of counseling. A good counselor will teach you how to communicate with each other clearly and without hurt feelings.

sky
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by sky » Tue Jul 28, 2015 6:20 pm

I think we are on the same path, there is just a lot of discussion happening along the way.

I am somewhat torn here, I would love to disclose more info and get advice but at the same time don't want to go into detail out of respect for my partner.

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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by jennypenny » Tue Jul 28, 2015 8:19 pm

I totally understand, sky. I posted a question last year after DH dug in his heals about something. He saw it and was angry with me for "putting our business out there." I ended up pulling the thread.

I'm glad you and your partner are working things out wrt retirement.

ffj
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by ffj » Tue Jul 28, 2015 8:41 pm

"I need to assert my recreational plans"

Something that works for me is to tell my wife on such and such date I will be doing X. I don't ask if it is o.k. or ask if that will work for her, because if you do that than guess what? The trick is to give enough lead time to figure out details and to let her wrap her mind around it. Obviously if it terrible timing then I'll change my plans for that particular day, but will often just do it the next week or the week prior.

You might try that for your backpacking and cycling trips. Pick some dates and stick to it. It's o.k. for other people to have to make minor adjustments to accommodate some of your goals.

sky
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by sky » Wed Jul 29, 2015 7:45 pm

I started saving toward ER around 2000, maybe a bit earlier. I wrote a webpage a few years later, the type of webpage where you do a lot of research and sort of write the manual for yourself. I was not an expert when I wrote this.

http://www.cruisenews.net/independence/

jacob
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by jacob » Thu Jul 30, 2015 9:52 am

I remember that page from many years ago. I thought it was very good!

sky
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by sky » Thu Jul 30, 2015 7:51 pm

Hankaroundtheworld wrote:Age does not matter, I will be at ER at end of year as well (then I will be 50), freedom is important, enjoy the time while you are still healthy and explore the full potential that is inside yourself.

Interesting challenge to negotiate with your wife about the ER lifestyle and related investments :-). A RV is a nice idea, and there are many good ideas on this forum (and other forums) to do this cost efficiently.

Is your long-term budget 4000 USD per Month, or do you have a buffer? That might help to cover for unexpected costs
We currently have $3,300 coming in from paychecks, and of that $500 is set aside for things like auto repair, house maintenance or medical bills. There is some additional revenue, such as a tax refund of about $2,000. So our current buffer is $500 per month. We do usually spend this, if not for repairs, then for travel.

Some other buffers might be a part time job, spending less (shocking, I know), reducing the number of vehicle or or delaying purchases. In 72 months the next pension kicks in and we will have about the same revenue from pensions that we have now.

sky
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by sky » Fri Jul 31, 2015 4:42 pm

In my first month of FI, my main focus has been to work toward becoming fit enough to do things I want to do. Even though I walked and biked to work, I was not fit and am overweight. I now am walking extra miles every day, generally between 5 and 8 miles total. I started out by walking one hour a day every other day, plus walking to work. I was given a fitbit for my birthday, so now I have an electronic device to help measure and motivate me for walking. After four weeks of walking at least 4 miles a day, I feel much better, and am starting to get into good enough shape to do more strenuous exercise.

For so many years, my main focus was on money. Now, I want to be active enough to do interesting things and this is my top priority.

Walking is cheap, get a pair of $100 shoes and walk 1,000 miles. 10 cents a mile. 40 to 80 cents a day. Hmm thats not as cheap as I thought. But the health benefits are priceless.

sky
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by sky » Sun Aug 02, 2015 4:09 am

jennypenny wrote:Have you tried counseling? I'm not a touchy-feely person, but I've gotten a lot out of counseling.
My wife and I are foreigners and feel somewhat alien to the accepted values and social norms here. Here being on the edge of Chicagoland.

It would be difficult to find a counselor who we could trust, or who would understand us.

sky
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by sky » Sun Aug 09, 2015 12:14 pm

Walking

I am continuing to walk daily, generally between 5 and 10 miles a day. Usually I do one big day and then one easy day to recover and try to avoid injury, but I may step it up to bigger days all the time soon. I am getting better and better at walking longer distances without discomfort, so far my best is 6 miles nonstop. I used to have foot pain, friction rashes and sore, tired legs, but things are getting better all the time. I have new shoes, Moab Ventilators, they are good so far. I can't get my heart rate up high enough for good exercise while walking. I may start running in September. Or maybe biking. I need to find hills.

Staff spinning

This is a just for fun thing which has been occupying my time. I made a 1.5” diameter staff, six feet long, cut out of 2x4 fir. I have been learning how to spin it. I have the basic spin down. It is tricky, you can spin it one half turn before switching hands, that is easy mode. But the right way to do it is to get a full 360 spin before switching hands, which is more difficult. I dropped the staff on my foot once, which delayed my walking exercise for a few days. I don't think there are any broken bones. I have fantasies of carrying a staff while hiking and warding off dogs and chipmunks with fearsome spinning skills. It is good exercise for the arms.

RV negotiation

My wife and I looked at an RV for sale. The poor salesman had to deal with hundreds of questions, an absurdly low first offer from me, and complaints about numerous minor issues about the rig from my wife. We made an excellent negotiating team. After several hours of suffering our onslought of questions, we agreed that the rig was not right for us and we were not going to be able to meet on a price so we left. In our post battle conversations, we discussed how difficult it is to find the right RV and how expensive they are, and that led to me saying “I have no interest in buying an RV”. Actually I am interested, just not interested in the expensive ones that my wife wants. She is horrified by the cheapo craigslist RV's that I send her emails of. I am trying to lower the flames of RV obsession because I am just tired of it. I dream of boondocking in Southern Arizona during the winter. I am hoping to just throw a bed in the back of our Caravan and camp somewhere in the desert for a month. We are talking about doing this and looking for an RV in Arizona. At least that gives me some time before I have to start thinking about an RV again, I am tired of Rvs.

My mantra: “I have no interest in buying an RV”.

Current obsession

Trying to get backpacking gear together for a few fall outings. Trying to figure out what to eat on the trail. Trying to learn how to plan a hike and resupply methods to allow for through hiking. I don't see backpacking as my whole life or filling all of my time, it is just a skill I am trying to learn at the moment so it is my focus. I have a number of interests but this is a priority at the moment. I wonder if this is just an another act of escapism due to my being trapped in my job. Will I spend a lot of time backpacking? I don't know but I do think it is a good idea to have a complete set of backpacking gear, tested out with the experience to use it. I haven't spent more than $1,000 this year and most of what I bought will last for years. The new hiking shoes are already being put to use and are making my walking habit much more comfortable. I just received delivery of the Osprey Aether 70 pack and am organizing gear. I have almost everything needed, in fact I have too much. The base weight (no food, water or fuel) is 29 lbs, I would like to get it down to 24 lbs. That weight does include cold weather clothing which are not needed now but would be for a through hike. I will be going through everything and trying to eliminate unneeded items first, then start looking for low weight replacements.

No desire for things

I don't have a lot of desire to acquire things at the moment, other than to complete my gear list. My focus has shifted to activity. I don't know if it is completely true that I don't have a desire to acquire, because I would like a new phone and would like to upgrade one of my bikes to make it a tourer. I would like an inflatable boat. I would like a camper van. I may just move on to some new obsession and some new need to acquire things. The hope is that I will start actually using the things I have and focus on activity instead of acquisition. Because I think with activity, one starts to realize that less is often more and one begins to shed those things that are unnecessary. Right now my focus is on walking which costs sweat and food afterwards.

Work

Work is getting much more difficult due to my own mindset. I'm not sure how much longer I can hold out. I want to leave at a time without controversy to preserve my reputation. I hope this fall will be without any drama.

Time wasters

I watch some video from various YouTube vloggers, backpackers, vandwellers, gardeners. Not reading anything of note. Not building anything. I was working on a simple proa design to build as a model but it has been too hot to do anything in the garage.

Auto

I am really getting annoyed by driver behavior and by cars in general. There is too much traffic, people drive like idiots, its noisy, the cars take up space and they stink. I am tired of people taking chances with my life so they can go faster. You would think that the solution is to go car free, but I get most annoyed when walking, when I am most vulnerable. The answer is to get in a car and drive to insulate yourself from the stupidity with a metal cage around you. I wish there were a place to go where there were no cars and everyone walked and biked. Mackinac Island, maybe.

Budget

Currently we are in a budget where my wife buys things we need and I have to come up with a way to pay the bills. I would like to switch to her managing the account and her paying the bills and I get to decide how much I will contribute to the monthly expenses. I am concerned about the mortgage tied to the home equity account. Currently we have no debt but either of us could pull out 50k from the equity at a moments notice. I would hate to see that happen and am thinking about getting rid of the equity account. It is nice to have a source of emergency cash, but we have 10k in savings that is available for emergencies. I don't have a plan to get from point a to point b but I am thinking the time to act is coming up soon. My inner conflict is that I don't want to give up control of the finances/bill paying.

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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by jacob » Sun Aug 09, 2015 2:40 pm

RVs are the land-equivalent of boats. "Holes" you pour money into. The more techmology, the most stuff that can break. Simpler is better. I think the only worthwhile strategy is to get an old one and run it into the ground.

Mackinac RE is superexpensive (I looked, similar reasons). Even a condo is 200k. I feel you on the "roadrage" though. Some commuters (in this area) used to drive me nuts being completely inconsiderate/oblivious, zombiying on their cells or trying to make a red light. I decided it's not worth fighting it. If I see some dumbass, I just hang back and let someone else crash into them. Standing on the rules of the road is just not worth it.

DW and I have the same budget arrangement. I'm not sure it's the smart one given that I'm the extreme one with the most frugal skills. Specifically, if I provide the money and the target, she sometimes stresses out about meeting it. That's not ideal. It would be better the other way around. Let the hardcore person be in charge of spending.

sky
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by sky » Sun Aug 09, 2015 4:46 pm

I'm looking at Beaver Island now

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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by sky » Sun Aug 09, 2015 6:09 pm

Whoops, forget Beaver, a friend of mine just told me:

If you're looking for a peaceful community and a quiet life, BI sucks donkey balls. The people are awful - the community is dominated by bullies and thugs that ostracize and vandalize people they don't like until they leave. People they don't like include anyone who has any opinion contrary to their own. They have nothing to do all winter, so they drink, be obnoxious, and pick fights. If you interact with the community, you will get sucked into it, whether you want to or not.

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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by sky » Wed Aug 26, 2015 5:01 pm

The Most Difficult Question

What are you going to do when you retire?

The Most Dangerous Things

The Lazyboy Chair, the Computer Screen and Alcohol.

Theory on Packing Clothes for Backpacking

This theory applies to long distance hiking where most of one's time is spent in the wilderness, with a trip to towns along the way every few days to resupply.

Imagine the coldest weather you might experience. Put on clothes which are adequate for this weather. Throw a pair of socks, underwear and some soccer shorts in your pack. Disrobe, putting all your clothes into the pack. That is all you need. For me, in Michigan in September/October, the temperatures could go down to about 40F, plus or minus 5F. I would wear socks, underwear, polypropelyne longjohn top and bottom, tee shirt, long pants, long sleeve shirt, down vest, rain anorak, ballcap, fleece gloves, shoes and wool cap. So these clothes plus an extra pair of socks, underwear and soccer shorts is my packing list for clothes for a long distance hike.

Overnight Experience Testing Sleep System

I did an backpacking overnight, walking two miles from my home to a small rustic campground. I wore a pack of about 30 lbs, although I don't have a good scale so that number may not be accurate. That weight includes 2 liters of water. I want to reduce the weight by several pounds, at least. My back was tired after just 2 miles in, an overnight, and 2 miles back home. I may do some walking with a pack for training.

The night went well. I bedded down from 10pm to 6am. I slept soundly two times for about a half hour each, and rested semi-awake for the rest of the night. This is pretty good for the first night of camping. The sleeping system worked OK. My tent (Eureka Spitfire) is just large enough, although my feet rub against the mosquito netting, which will probably break eventually. The synthetic quilt was plenty warm on the 60F evening, I laid on top of it most of the night and only pulled it over me in the cool early morning. I used two stuff sacks with clothes as a pillow, and would like to get a better pillow. The Neoair inflatable pad is very comfortable, but a bit sticky against the skin.

One idea to reduce weight is to get a mosquito screen and use a tarp tent rather than the tent that I have. Another is to reduce the amount of clothes, at least in good weather. I need to go through my additional items in the ditty bag and reduce things there. On short trips I could switch to one of my lighter backpacks.

The good news is that I have a complete system assembled. I could walk out the door, load up with a few days of food at the grocery store and be reasonably comfortable in the wilderness for a few days. With some physical conditioning, I could walk from resupply to resupply along a trail. Now it is a matter of optimizing the system and reducing weight, which will take time and experience.

The Season

This time of year I take my dreaming about an off-grid homestead, wilderness hiking and solar powered nomadic wandering and hide away in an air conditioned room without the heat, sweat, stickiness, bugs, tourists and bad drivers. The Season is almost over.

Exercise

Still keeping up with walking almost every day. Walking two miles with a 30 pound pack was tiring, and I was sore the next day. I need to add some bodyweight exercise to my routine.

Goals

Starting in September, pushups, situps, squats every day.
Go on another overnight camping trip at the end of the month.

Work

Very bad mental attitude towards work. I am sure it is showing. I am getting a lot of work done but with a sarcastic, negative, angry attitude thinking about what has been done to me here and how I am treated. Not good, I want to leave smiling.

Market

Lots of interesting things happening. Most of the causes seem to be from outside the US. Will the foreigners take down the US market? My savings are down, but I am still paying into my plan so I like low prices, but only for a short time.

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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by jacob » Wed Aug 26, 2015 5:16 pm

sky wrote:I slept soundly two times for about a half hour each, and rested semi-awake for the rest of the night. This is pretty good for the first night of camping.
Are you a regular coffee drinker? I am and I find that it helps to detox in the week before camping. Also get up early the day before starting and don't go to bed early. Also ear plugs.

The biggest difference for me though is the "mattress" or pad. The older I get the more willing I am to "splurge" in this department. I've ordered a cowboy bedroll from DW's sewery to keep my blankets, etc. more contained. Totally worth it to me.

sky
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by sky » Wed Aug 26, 2015 5:57 pm

I think it is sensory overload that causes staying awake. Earplugs are a good idea.

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