Hristo's FI Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
ertyu
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by ertyu »

Lady sounds annoying enough, I'd give you that :D.

Hristo Botev
Posts: 248
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:42 am

Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

I'm working on a bit of a personal project of reading books from conservative thinkers from the past 200 years or so, to try and distill what I think conservatism looks like for me in 2020. I'm currently reading Charles Murray's Coming Apart, and it's really crazy to see how much as a society the "new upper-class" has sorted itself into a whole new culture--with it's own values, tastes, hobbies, social groups, cities, etc.--in a way that just didn't really exist in the post-war world, when for the most part there just wasn't much difference in values and tastes (or even income) as between the guy managing the factory or whatever and the guy working the factory floor. It's scary, and I just don't see how it's not going to just get worse, with truly two Americas, that don't even recognize each other on a cultural level. And relatedly, it really infuriates me how patronizing policies like universal basic income are: the cognitive elite is effectively saying that a large majority of the population is just too stupid (incompetent, lazy, unfit, simple) to contribute in any sort of meaningful way in our modern world with AI and robots or whatever, so here's $1,000/mo. for you to just go away (and consume, but not produce). There is something very scary underpinning this sort of way of looking at people. This kind of paternalistic thinking seems very similar to me to the paternalism of the "good" southern whites in the Jim Crow South (i.e., the Atticus Finch portrayed in Go Set a Watchman, who was unquestionably racist, but who justified his racism within his own moral value system by telling himself it was his duty to take care of "the Negroes down here," who "are still in their childhood as a people."). This is just an ugly (and arrogant and condescending) way of looking at people, pure and simple. More and more it seems like as a society we are stratifying ourselves less along racial or ethnic lines, which is great, but instead we are now stratifying ourselves along the lines of cognitive abilities; and let's be honest, the vast majority of us are going to end up total losers in the meritocracy game. Just as an example, how rare is it now to hear about an executive or a professional marrying his (or even her) secretary, compared to how common that sort of thing was a generation or two ago? (I'm a product of one such marriage.) On one hand that's great because of #metoo and the unequal power dynamics of those relationships. But on the other hand, I wonder how much of this has to do with the fact that the executive/professional and the secretary just don't even share a common culture anymore.

Hristo Botev
Posts: 248
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:42 am

Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

I had a good revelation yesterday in a chat with DW, as I continue to try to wean myself from a consumption first mindset.

When we moved into the new townhouse it was taken as a given that we would need to add a full bath to the bottom floor, so that our son wouldn't have to come upstairs to use the bathroom, and so that he wouldn't have to share a shower with his sister. Mind you, our last townhouse had 3.5 baths, with a shower in both of the kids' rooms. But the water pressure was bad in our son's shower, and our daughter's shower was just really dreary looking, so the whole family just shared the master bath shower; and it wasn't really much of an inconvenience. After moving in to the new place, we discovered that the shower in our daughter's room is leaking and needs to be repaired. And until that happens (that's on me), the family is again sharing the master shower. Again, not really a problem. Anyway, as we've gotten comfortable in the new place, we've decided that we really only need a half bath in the bottom floor, as it's really not a problem for him to share a shower with his sister.

Yesterday, however, DW was telling me of a Catholic podcast interview she'd listened to with Jeannie Gaffigan, the wife of the comedian Jim Gaffigan. And I remembered that the Gaffigans and their five children live(d) in a 2-bedroom apartment in Manhattan. Well, shoot. How is it that we are just so fancy that our 2 kids each need their own bedroom and their own bathroom? That adds some perspective, and I think we've now realized that our son will survive if he has to climb up a small flight of stairs to get to a bathroom. It's good for him, and when he's an adult he can claim street cred by telling his friends how, when he was a kid, he had a share a shower with his sister, and had to walk upstairs to pee, and had to walk to school.

Also, I have to share a toilet, a sink, and a shower with DW; better to raise the kids with the understanding that a bathroom is just something you have to share.

jacob
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by jacob »

Apparently, the fascination with bathrooms is an American phenomenon.
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archi ... ms/605338/

Hristo Botev
Posts: 248
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:42 am

Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

Wow; crazy to see the anecdotes I've witnessed demonstrated in real numbers like that. Also, I've enjoyed every Bill Bryson book I've read, and I had no idea he'd written a book on the history of the modern house; I've already requested it from my library. (And I suspect you appreciated the reference to "Peak Bathroom" :lol: )

Relatedly, DW got the downsizing bug that ultimately led to her wanting to move into a smaller townhouse closer to the city center by binge watching a marathon of the House Hunters International show (on HGTV, I believe) when were at the beach with her family last summer. She saw that in literally every other country in the world (with the possible exceptions of Australia and Canada, which have somewhat similar cultures and a similar abundance of land), no one blinks an eye at siblings (even of opposite sexes) sharing a room, or an entire family sharing one bathroom. And that show is fascinating because it has all of these American ex-pats walking through these otherwise beautiful, efficient, infinitely comfortable houses and apartments, and complaining about the lack of square footage, bathrooms, kitchen counter space, garages, etc.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

For anti-doxing reasons I'm going to change up this social media post a bit that DW just sent me. But this has to a prank, right?

Hi Neighbors, In the morning I'm going with my 21-year-old to traffic court for TWO tickets on X for rolling stops (both were at a stop sign midway between Y and Z). She got the first one in November and the second one in January. I wasn't in the car and cannot say it didn't happen, but she's a really safe driver who has never received a ticket until this. Has anyone heard of excessive tickets being handed out in that area? Sounds like the equivalent of a speed trap to me. Just looking for information before I accompany her to court.

This must be a meme from The Onion publication. A 21-year-old surely doesn't need to have her parent accompany her to traffic court, right? And certainly the mom realizes that rolling through stop signs (in a very heavy pedestrian area) is not safe, and defeats the traffic-calming effects stop signs provide in residential areas, and that it's in the public interest to enforce stop signs. And since when do we need character witnesses at traffic court? "No, your honor, I wasn't in the car, and I have no first-hand knowledge of what happened, unlike the police officers that actually wrote the tickets. But I can attest to the fact that my daughter is a really safe driver, because, you know, she's my daughter."

OK, this isn't healthy. I'm going to try and get some work done.

Hristo Botev
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Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:42 am

Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

Just realized that DW and I are now 4 years into our intentional FI journey, as it was right around January 2016 when we started tracking things like net worth and savings rates, with a goal of hitting an FI crossover point at some point in the not too distant future. In that time our total net worth has increased from $190K to $650K, and, surprisingly, our savings rate has increased from an average of about 20% to a current average of about 55%, notwithstanding the fact that, a couple years ago, (a) we decided to take our kids out of free public school and send them to Catholic school, and (b) I chose to escape the biglaw world, even though that meant taking about a 50% paycut. We certainly could have made a lot more progress towards FI had I stayed at the biglaw job, and had we decided to keep our kids in public school (and had we gone the rice-and-beans route to early retirement), but I'm happy with the route we've taken and the choices we've made.

Peanut
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Peanut »

Well I wouldn't add a full bathroom so the kids don't have to share but I would do it bc it will increase the value of your home. And if you have overnight guests it will come in handy.

horsewoman
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by horsewoman »

Bathrooms are a funny thing, aren't they? Here in Germany the standard in a family house is a downstairs loo with a sink (the so called guest bathroom) and an upstairs shower/bath/loo family bathroom everyone shares.

I live in a 100 years old farm house where the bathrooms/loos where very obviously parceld in the 50ies in making regular rooms smaller. So our "shower" is a tiny room as a large as a bathtub, plus a few centimeters to get out of the tub... While I totally love our house and prefer it to a newer one I do have "bathroom envy" and regularly contemplate sinking a few thousands into a remodel. I have no cravings to remodel any other room of our crumbling old house, for some reason. Funny, isn't it? What is it with humans and bathrooms?

Hristo Botev
Posts: 248
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:42 am

Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

Emphasize the ability to produce, not the ability to consume. https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archi ... on/576625/

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