Axel Heyst's Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
classical_Liberal
Posts: 1187
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by classical_Liberal »

Ha! My GF is an ENFP too! I've found her personality to be very ERE compatible given the right circumstances.
RoamingFrancis wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:45 pm
It is entirely possible that agriculture offered a temporary solution to a crisis but set off a whole chain of other negative consequences.
Systems thinking! I like it!...but still disagree because it came about in different geographic regions, with differing cultural circumstances, at different times, over and over again. It seems more like a natural evolution of humanity than a randomly tried solution for specific circumstances.

AxelHeyst
Posts: 33
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:55 pm
Location: The Mountains, USA

Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by AxelHeyst »

@RoamingFrancis yes I've read the book, and I think you've got it basically right. I agree, we've got to remember we've got a certain amount of hindsight to compare civ vs. pre-civ that the people doing it didn't. It's not like the people who "invented" civ had anything like ancient Greece in mind when they started to domesticate wheat, or whatever it was they were doing. It was just a series of solutions to problems they had in the real world (solutions made possible by a stabilizing climate, I believe), that they iterated over generations and generations, which became the solution we now call 'civilization'. No one at the time would have recognized the changes, because they happened so slowly. The contrast would have been between civilizing peoples and non-civilizing peoples (that 'contrast' was a relationship mostly of agriculturalists forcing non-civ people to become civ people by force and doing other horrible things to them, which is a practice that was consistently done until.... like, last Tuesday).

The argument of the book, and of many others, is that agriculture (/civilization) was the biggest mistake we made (social dominance, disease, slavery, large-scale war, etc), but we couldn't unmake it. It's like we saw a hole and went "ah good! we're being chased by a tiger. We'll jump in to this hole real quick." And that worked to save us from the tiger, but then we looked around and went "....well, shit. We're in this hole now. Forever. Let's drag any other folks who wander by down into the hole with us so we have company."

That's how the anti-civ folks paint the picture, at least. It leaves out all the cool stuff we've worked up because of civilization, like advanced art and science and stuff. :)

AxelHeyst
Posts: 33
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Location: The Mountains, USA

Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by AxelHeyst »

classical_Liberal wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:45 pm
Systems thinking! I like it!...but still disagree because it came about in different geographic regions, with differing cultural circumstances, at different times, over and over again. It seems more like a natural evolution of humanity than a randomly tried solution for specific circumstances.
There's an argument that agriculture was independently developed due to favorable global climactic conditions (stable climate, etc). Climate was pretty all over the place for the first 40k of years after humans migrated out of Africa (to say nothing of the almost 200k years humans were biologically modern before then). And then bam, they all start inventing agriculture at the same time right when the comparatively stable Holocene kicked off. Coincidence? These folks think not:
https://www.intechopen.com/books/climat ... griculture

I had no intention to turn my journal in to a discussion of the relative merits of civilization vs. pre-agricultural societies in relation to motivation and vision for the broad-scale impact of ERE philosophy on the future post-apocalyptic world! I welcome it, though I am going to start posting some budget numbers or contentious investment strategies or something soon to get this shebang back on point. :D

RoamingFrancis
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2019 11:43 am

Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by RoamingFrancis »

AxelHeyst wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:03 pm
It leaves out all the cool stuff we've worked up because of civilization, like advanced art and science and stuff. :)
I'm hesitant to agree in regards to art. Civilization certainly opened the door for new mediums of art, architecture, etc, but hunter-gatherers could easily practice complex art in the form of singing, dancing, weaving, even painting. The problem is that a lot of materials which could tell us a lot about their culture aren't necessarily preserved well.

Although if your point is that civilization allows specialization in one or another field, then yeah, no question about it.

AxelHeyst
Posts: 33
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:55 pm
Location: The Mountains, USA

Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by AxelHeyst »

@RoamingFrancis - yes I agree with you, art was a bad example of something civ has that h/g didn't. My main point was indeed the specialization that civilization allows.

Everything I've read indicates that h/g 'worked' like 4 hours or less a day to meet their shelter and caloric needs, the rest of the time they faffed off hanging out, practicing complex art as you said, playing with their kids, dancing around the campfire, practicing skills like being so tuned in to the earth they could navigate vast distances without maps... they sound like the OG's of ERE to me!

RoamingFrancis
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Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by RoamingFrancis »

Agreed, haha

AxelHeyst
Posts: 33
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Location: The Mountains, USA

Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by AxelHeyst »

I've spent most of the last couple weeks poring over old threads and journals, and reflecting on my own situation. A couple of the gold mines:

viewtopic.php?f=21&t=9398&start=20
This thread helped me understand forum dynamics and expectations better, in particular jacob's point about intermediate folks helping noobs, so experts don't have to (and because experts are so far above noobs it can be almost impossible). It helped me think more critically about what I'm replying to / how I can contribute here, and potential actions to avoid as a new person still working on his first $100k.
  • Share expert knowledge (instead of personal opinion).
  • DAFS - don't ask anyone to hand-hold through beginner knowledge, seek it out thyself
  • If confident about expertise/value on a subject, post. For now that probably just means sharing thoughts on western-state vandwelling.
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=7870
This thread helped me think more deeply about my goals and strategy with respect to what's my desired buffer? What's my desired post-FIRE income? Do I want to not have to work again ever, or am I excited by the idea of putting together diverse income streams because I have a smaller nut?
"what's your number?" This thread also helped me understand the distinction between ERE and E-ER.

This quote in that thread tied the ERE/E-ER concept together for me:
fish wrote:"E-ER is freedom through investments, ERE is freedom through skill. Period. What they have in common is low expenses. For someone with an ERE mindset, the function of investment income is to provide enough confidence to start relying entirely on the skills that got him to FI. Whereas if the E-ER practitioner were to be separated from his investments, he would have no choice but to get a job. That’s the difference."
I also read the yields and flows thread several times. Most of it is going over my head, although I can tell it's important. It's saved so I'll return to it often.

--
Thoughts on my approach to ERE
I noted that a pattern that many high-earners seem to follow is to aim for a more E-ER approach rather than ERE approach; that is, they tend to aim for higher incomes ($15k-25k) and larger buffers (30-45x), relying more on security due to financial assets as opposed to security due to skills/Renaissance Lifestyle. I'd be interested if this perceived trend is actually true, or just seems so from my read.

My aim is the multidimensionality of diverse skills, and so my financial FIRE target will be lean. Exact numbers TBD. I stated in my first post that my aim is to attain Wheaton 8+, which I know I barely understand if at all sitting here at Wheaton 3 if I'm being generous, but I stand by it.

Jacob spoke of his arriving at 1 Jacob (~$8,500/yr in today's moneys) from a global sufficiency perspective. If everyone lived off 1 Jacob, everyone would have enough. That is enough of a moral principle to motivate me to attain that level of cost of living as well.

I also highly, highly value freedom, and multi-dimensional skills seem to obviously support that aim. While I'm a complete noob to investing and markets, I have a low confidence in the continued growth of the market over the course of the rest of my life, so I plan on not planning on it. I think it likely that in a few decades, just about everyone will be living a de-financialized lifestyle regardless of what their portfolio was in 2020. My aim is to beat the rush [hat tip to John Michael Greer]. (I recognize that I'm straying in to "personal opinion" rather than "expert knowledge" territory here, but this is my journal and it's relevant to how I'm designing my system. Also: no one has expert knowledge on the DJIA performance circa 2040-2075)
7wannabe5 wrote:"Much of the discussion on this forum focuses on seeking simple answer to "how much buffer?" rather than "How to achieve diverse and independent and complex?" this makes sense if you believe that circumstances will only change within a given (known unknown) range. It doesn't make sense if you believe that you don't know what in the hell might happen in the future."

In short, my strategy is to wisely use money in such a way as to decouple my wants/needs nexus from money as much and as quickly as possible.
I have a ways to go.

--

Thoughts on financial performance for January to date
I didn't dig in to ERE until about January 10. I immediately cut out eating out and a number of other expenses. Still, I'd already dropped a few hundred dollars on some 'discretionary' budget items, and some other big purchases like really expensive firewood for our un-insulated apartment. I'm going to come in at about $5k this month. That's ~7 jacobs. I debated even posting this because frankly it's embarrassing.

I started tracking every expense that both DW and I make. I'll continue the practice until we've habituated spending at levels I'm comfortable with.

My monthly burn is going to remain high until a) we move out of this $1,800/mo apt in May and b) DW gets her business running at ~$1k/mo. But, there are other categories I can work on in the meantime.

Food. Our January grocery bill will be about $700 for both of us. We try to avoid excessive carbs, and DW can't digest legumes or beans, and avoids wheat and rice as much as possible. We eat local/organic/hippie food for ethical reasons. This makes getting the food budget down tricky, but I'm determined to eat for $450 for both of us in February, and to keep pushing it down from there. Long term plans include hunting, foraging, gardening, etc. Short term plans include reducing quantity of meat, me eating more legumes/beans/carbs, and finding cheaper sources of bulk staples.

I've taken over cooking this month. For the first time in my life, I'm motivated to figure out how to cook tasty food, because I'm motivated to get the cost down and I know DW will mutiny if we eat boring food every day (and I refuse to feed her lentils if we're going to be in the same general area after the meal...). A revelation I had a couple days ago was that I can cook lentils food for myself, and more interesting stuff for her, as a way of balancing the expense. I eat more calories anyways.

Discretionary. I spent about a grand this month on "fun" stuff. Some of it was trips occurring in the future, some of it was mopping up gear I needed for snowboarding, some of it was just stupid crap before I ran back in to ERE. I don't want to talk about it. I'm aiming for $400 next month.

I found, and plugged, a bunch of small leaks. Old website domains I don't use anymore, subscriptions to software I don't really need, a couple magazines, some Patreon artists.

AxelHeyst
Posts: 33
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:55 pm
Location: The Mountains, USA

Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by AxelHeyst »

Do any past or present forumites who started out as high-earners/high spenders, and got down to the neighborhood of 1 jacob, come to mind?

bostonimproper
Posts: 87
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2018 11:45 am

Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by bostonimproper »

mathiverse's recent thread might be relevant: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=11094

mathiverse
Posts: 58
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2019 8:40 pm

Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by mathiverse »

Hi AxelHeyst,

I've been following along your journal and wanted to say hi. I'm looking forward to seeing how you go through the Wheaton levels and lower your expenses.

AxelHeyst
Posts: 33
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:55 pm
Location: The Mountains, USA

Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by AxelHeyst »

Hi mathiverse, I just now read through your journal and am looking forward to following your journey as well. :)

I think it was in your journal that I found Herbert Derp's threads on MMM. It made me think about "easing in" vs. "ass-kick into the deep end of the pool" approaches.

When I'm with a SO, I tend to favor the "easing in" approach out of a desire to not rock the boat too much/freak them out. I'm a "nice guy" to a fault, a trait I've been working on for years. When I'm single, I'll just go straight for the extreme end of the spectrum because I rather enjoy it.

I happen to be with a keeper at the moment, so I have no intention of being single any time soon. I need to reflect on my "easing in" approach, why that is in my personality, and seriously consider being more rapidly aggressive with my spending (as sole earner at the moment, "my" spending is the same thing as "our" spending).

An analogy to climbing, is that every once in a while you should try to climb a route that is way harder than you can actually do. When you go back to stuff at your actual limit, it'll seem easier than it did before and you'll probably crush it.

So maybe setting a goal of February food budget = $200 for both of us (coming off of January = $700), and then $300 seems luxurious for March by comparison. Instead of going 500, 450, 400, 350, 300...

“A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week” — George Patton

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