March 4, 2020: Ditched the Apartment, moved to the Family Land for covid lockdown
June 17, 2020: I'm about to drop to 8hrs/wk at work
July 27, 2020: Caravanned to the Midwest
August 15, 2020: Megapost on Wheaton Level 5
August 22, 2020: Codependency and ERE
November 14, 2020: Just about to get to friend's land and start building out a shipping container.
February 5, 2021: Book review of Wheaton's Build a better world in your backyard, are high wheaton levels path dependent? and the importance of having stories.
March 9, 2021: Mindset and actions: or, ERE is actually easy AF.
April 14, 2021: Megapost on why ERE attracted me so viscerally
May 5, 2021: I get laid off.
May 18, 2021: Musings about deprioritizing/abandoning FI, dirtbagERE, and stoke.
June 2, 2021: Status report post-surgery and plans for the next few months.
June 23, 2021: A multipage discussion about risk and the philosophy of investing, including Ego's "Security is like heroin" post and Jacob's point that for the ERE'r the goal should be "avoiding portfolio failure".
August 11, 2021: The start of the multi-page discussion about intrinsic motivation, which evolved into the diagram I now keep at the top of my manifesto.
August 31, 2021: August Renaissance Report
September 30, 2021: September Renaissance Report
October 13, 2021: Thoughts on Work Ethic, slacking, wage slavery, AxelERE, etc.
It seems to me that a solid percentage of active journals in this forum were begun a good ways down the path to FIERE (edit: I see I was incorrect about this). This journal is not going to be like that. I'm starting close to ground zero, both in financial terms and in terms of a habituated ERE lifestyle.
This journal will likely be uninteresting to intermediate and advanced ERE'ers, at least to start, as I document my journey out of the most basic errors of consumer thinking.
A summary intro of myself:
- 33yo Western American Male.
- In a delightful relationship with a FIRE-friendly lady. I'll call her DW even though that's technically inaccurate, it's close enough. We're #childfree.
- Sole financial contributor to our household at the moment.
- White collar, decent job, I enjoy my work and have a lot of flexibility.
- I work completely remote, since 2016.
- I lived in the Bay for about 7 years, without any thoughts of FIRE, and so when I left in 2016 I was carrying about $20k in debt.
- I read ERE in 2017 or so, and by mid-2019, my savings were at about $30k, largely due to building and living in Serenity, my converted cargo trailer.
- I never really dove in to and absorbed the ERE philosophy, mostly because I thought "I live in a small metal box, I'm good".
- In the past 9 months my savings completely stagnated, and I realized I've been making dumb decisions with respect to money, lifestyle, freedom, health, etc.
- Income: $6k/mo. Will go up a bit in March, to $130k gross salary.
- Savings: $22k.
- Debt: none
- 401(k): $60k
- Current Estimated Annual Expenses: $46k.
- SR: historically over the past few months, it's been negative. I'm working on my budget and with a smidge of discipline think I ought to be able to get it to 25% while I'm in my current situation.*
*My current situation, is that I'm in a 5 month lease for an apartment at $1,700/mo. That's normal housing cost for a 1bed where we're at. I'm also supporting DW at about $1k/mo, so she doesn't have to work while getting her business off the ground. At the moment I'm the sole financial contributor to our little household.
After the lease is up, we're going nomad again, so housing cost goes to zero. And ideally by about then, DW will be mostly independent of my support. So if I just knock those two expenses off, and assume no other improvements in frugality, my SR goes to 65%+, about $4k/mo. But I'll be targeting a more aggressive SR by then.
I have more to read, absorb, and numbers to crunch to validate these ideas, but the gist of my plan is:
- FIRE in 2027, with a stretch goal of 2025 (maybe 'semi-FIRE in 2025...).
- Heavily invest time in multi-dimensionally valuable skills (dimensions of enjoyment, low/no cost, potential for renumeration, valuable in a post-financial future, etc).
- Solidify my current Wheaton level, and progress methodically.
- Habituate the practices at each Wheaton level as I go, so the skills and way of life becomes automatic, reflective.
I'm locked in to high housing and support expenses for several months. But I can take this time to focus on finding and plugging all the 'leaks' in my system (food, recreation, travel), and replace expensive habits with upskilling hobbies - in other words, with figuring out how to have a fulfilling life at a 'radically' low CoL.
I'm financially illiterate when it comes to investing. I have a very tall stack of books to read. I don't anticipate taking actions on an investment front for some time, until I can bring my knowledge level up to some level of basic competence.
Okay, that's enough for now to get this started. I'll be updating regularly - my next mission is to cut my grocery bill for myself from $600/mo to $250/mo as a low-carb, mostly paleo, high-metabolism active mountain lifestyle individual...
[edited to adopt DW terminology]