Kiwiz's outlet

Where are you and where are you going?
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kiwiz
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2020 5:31 pm

Kiwiz's outlet

Post by kiwiz »

I get itchy feet on an approximately 6-month basis, resulting in planning for a career change, big move etc., but for the last 3 or so years these itchy feet moments have all involved planning for ERE in some form or another.

A bit about me:

- 23 years old
- Live in a MCOL city (Auckland) in New Zealand
- Have a long term partner (DGF) who is on board with early retirement and will someday probably be DW
- Working for 1.5 years at a 9-5 at a stable government job with decent training opportunities, no expectation to work more than 40 hours a week
- STEM degree
- Current savings rate - 30-80% depending on month, first few months of working 30% while accumulating necessities (professional wardrobe, some furniture, etc.)
- NZD35,000 in an interest free student loan
- Will be the sole inheritor of one parent's equity (~NZD400,000) at some point in the next 20 years

Working 40 hours a week does not agree with me as it directly conflicts with my ADHD and INTJ motivations to build a wide variety of skills in frantic but short bursts, interspersed with periods of complete idleness.

So here's the current plan:

PHASE 1 (3-5 years max)
- Objective: Accumulation
- Work to accumulate at least NZD200,000 in non-retirement accounts (currently NZD15k in index fund due to a lack of knowledge in this area)
- Savings rate between 60-80% each month
- DGF will finish studying (PhD)
- Spend 6 hours a day at work working, 1 hour on skill acquisition (not work related) and 1 hour on social stuff
- Minimise work-related time and expenses
- Maintain a base level of physical fitness

PHASE 2 (5-10 years)
- Objective: Decompression/enjoyment
- Spend no capital overall - somewhere along the lines of SemiERE, wwoof/workaway situations, casual work etc. to let interest compound
- Savings rate between 0-50% each month
- Build practical skills (Permaculture, frugal living, housebuilding, anything I want) through private study, work, volunteering
- Figure out where I want to be based in the future geographically
- If DGF needs to move for Postdoc/work etc, follow her
- Build social capital outside of the professional world

PHASE 3 - (?)
- Objective: Building
- Buy land somewhere (DGF is unwilling to retire without owning land)
- Build a permaculture homestead?
- Children?
- Put skills to use
- Savings rate: hopefully irrelevant

Current net worth:
NZD-11,441

kiwiz
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2020 5:31 pm

Re: Kiwiz's outlet

Post by kiwiz »

Well we are back to 'level 2' lockdown on Thursday here in NZ... which pretty much means life back to normal while trying to keep distance from strangers and recording who we come in to contact with. COVID-19 cases have been under 5 per day for the past week+, so people are chomping at the bit to get back to shopping and dining and all those other things.

I am very grateful that we haven't had more deaths and cases, and that the outbreak in NZ has been so minimal - mostly due to the quick and aggressive action on behalf of the government - but I am quite honestly bitterly disappointed at the prospect of having to go to the office 3-5 days a week, and start organising a social calendar again. In particular, I have one mildly irritating friend who has been entirely alone for 6 weeks (due to their own reluctance to take quick action at the start of the lockdown period) who is now pestering me about hanging out. They are a good friend most of the time, but can be quite needy when me and DGF are the only ones in their life who they can see (due to the rest of our mutual friend group having left Auckland for the lockdown.) I have also become quite reclusive over the past 2 months, so it will be interesting to see how I adjust to much higher levels of interaction.

kiwiz
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2020 5:31 pm

Re: Kiwiz's outlet

Post by kiwiz »

Got 12 weeks of free gym membership today which is a plus as I know one of the yoga teachers there - I'm hoping to use it to learn how to do some things that I'm too scared to try alone in my house with very hard floors i.e. handstands, headstands

Also got in to a very uncomfortable situation with a semi-religious group I'm in. It's quite new age and I should have expected that it draws some quacks. I am the youngest in the group of 8 by 30-40 years. One of the group leaders has become quite aggressively anti-vaccination and anti-lockdown, including trying to pursue legal action against our government over the lockdown. She has previously peddled some dubious materials that could have potential. She is also a big part of several circles I run in, and is fairly close with some people I have a lot of respect for, so it's quite an interesting situation.

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

Re: Kiwiz's outlet

Post by AxelHeyst »

Hi Kiwiz, I like your plan! Excited to follow it.

That sounds like a tough situation. I find it extremely uncomfortable to be in the vicinity of people who hold strong certain beliefs in that way, as I'm immediately suspicious of their ability to think critically (because if you are able to think critically, you're going to have an appreciation for how complex, nuanced, and difficult to fully understand the world truly is, and thus you're going to have more compassion or softness for different ways of viewing the world...) The closer I am to people like that, the more concerned I am they'll drag me in to trouble I want no part of, so I avoid them like, well, the plague, to be topical. I find aggressive certainty repulsive in almost all forms.

I'm curious what factors led to the Phase 1 accumulation target? i.e. is that a carefully constructed number or a "first draft" guess at this point?

RoamingFrancis
Posts: 139
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2019 11:43 am

Re: Kiwiz's outlet

Post by RoamingFrancis »

Hi Kiwiz, good luck with your plan!

To follow up on what AxelHeyst said, I think one of the most challenging things in life is knowing whether you're actually thinking critically, or if you're just deeply influenced by people who call themselves critical thinkers. Am I truly a freethinker, or am I just mimicking other freethinkers? At this point I have the urge to quote Feynman - "The first rule is not to fool yourself, and you're the easiest person to fool."

But look what I did there! I just quoted a critical thinker! Maybe this is evidence that I'm just parroting people I consider to be smarter, and am not really thinking!

That aside though, good luck with the interpersonal conflict. I get a lot of social, psychological, and spiritual nourishment from meditation groups, so I can relate on some level.

Nick1990s
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Mar 29, 2020 7:47 pm

Re: Kiwiz's outlet

Post by Nick1990s »

Kia ora Kiwi
Warming to see other kiwis on the path, here even!
All I hear about Aucks thats ERE related, from down here in Welly, is high cost of living.
mind you its also what I hear here too.

kiwiz
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2020 5:31 pm

Re: Kiwiz's outlet

Post by kiwiz »

Our group met as usual last night (via video). It seems the group leader has realised her views would be unpalatable to the group and essentially refused to discuss anything she's been doing in the past few weeks (except taking a moment to peddle her $100/month life coaching group) - I am getting more apprehensive about staying the more I think about it, but I think I would miss the wisdom/life advice/camaraderie of several of the other group members. I'm hoping once she's allowed out of the house a bit more she will quieten down a bit and I can go back to existing in the same circles as her but not really interacting.

Unfortunately work stress has been increasing over the past week due to a new hire in our team, who is my responsibility work-wise. She unfortunately seems to be vastly underqualified for the work we do, and it's now up to me to bring her to a level where she can work independently... I'm very much hoping it's just an issue with communication, and that once we're in the office she will pick things up much quicker. My work stress has previously been a 0, so I guess I have nothing to moan about.

In better news, Loud Flatmate won't be returning for another week or so but is still paying full rent. And I can return to the gym from today!

@AxelHeyst
$200k is absolutely arbitrary - I figure it's something I can worry more about once I get closer to that number. I have learnt that if I set a very specific goal at the beginning of things, I tend to fret more about the specifics of the goal than the actual execution of getting anywhere.

@RoamingFrancis
In my experience the people who have the most certainty that they are thinking critically are the absolute worst at thinking critically, but people who are fairly sure they are (but have some doubts) are very good at it. There's probably a name for this. I think also there's a point where you can become so invested in trying not to follow others that you turn right back around and continue to be plain wrong.
Thank you for your luck though - my participation in this group is very confusing to my close friends, so their reactions is always 'just quit.'

@Nick
Kia ora! To be honest I've found the cost of living to be alright if you avoid the city centre - I think Aucklanders just like to complain :lol: and as I grew up in one of the North Island Bays, I wouldn't trade being able to walk down the street and not see half my high school for anything

kiwiz
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2020 5:31 pm

Re: Kiwiz's outlet

Post by kiwiz »

I have been having lots of thoughts about the intersection of various movements/lifestyle choices lately - hard to sum up in text form, but interesting nonetheless. I know much of this has been covered before by others, but given it's novel to me I might still write about it.

Zero Waste, frugality, permaculture, FIRE, ERE, simple living/voluntary simplicity, prepping, homesteading, anti-fragility, historical practice/historical recreationism, environmentalism, communal living, degrowth, anti-consumerism, slow living, mending... there are enough points of commonality in the web of all of these things that there seems to be some kind of underlying structure here.

It's interesting that some things that I know to intersect with these are never discussed in the FIRE world (at least not in my lurking experience). For example - historical practice of the mundane (i.e. not war recreationism) is very aligned with zero waste and environmentalism, but because it's a distinct subculture ideas don't seem to pass between the zero waste space and the historical practice space very easily. It's a shame - to my mind there is a lot of wisdom in historical practice that could really benefit other groups.

I have seem similar things in the past in Productivity (as a movement/hobby) - there has been a huge group of dedicants to the morning routine and productivity system amongst older, lower middle class white women in North America largely due to the output of FlyLady. She has been preaching the same things as the importance of habit and routine as other productivity gurus since the early 90s (with a much larger focus on declutter and cleaning), but I think the overwhelmingly Mid-Western Married White Woman feeling of the entire system means that information will not readily pass between the two groups.

Anyway, just a thought. I think a web of lifestyles/movements would be helpful to me.

jacob
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Re: Kiwiz's outlet

Post by jacob »

All roads lead to Rome. I find that the various philosophies tend to reflect the temperaments of their respective voices (whoever is making noise about it for a given decade) and followers to a very high degree. (People are often oblivious to this.) For example, ERE puts a strong strategy on personal competence, strategy, and systems design and very little on community believing that it all starts with the individual. (Those who know me well would not be at all surprised that this is pretty much a reflection of my temperament: INTJ type 5.) Zero-wasters are very much aesthetically driven INF* types and as such they emphasize their own strengths while downplaying their weaknesses. I had the pleasure of talking with Vicki Robin a few weeks ago. She's an ENFP type 7w8 (you can see this is in the value-based language of YMOYL and the suggestion to use the financial freedom to work to improve the world) Post YMOYL she has been very active in community development believing this to be the answer to dealing with 21st century problems which is also in full accordance with the underlying temperament. Permaculture has progressive/collective values as one of its cornerstones dating back to Bill Mollison and therefore many in that community eschews dealing with the financial system (which they see as rent extraction) while being perfectly fine charging each other for courses and pdfs that others would give away for free. (Wages good. Interest bad.) And so on ...

Overall, I think that it's great that there are so many different blind men interpreting the same elephant because humans are so different (at least for Kegan 4 or below) that any particular perspective can be outright indigestible/unacceptable/incomprehensible to another and vice versa. For example, those of us who do FIRE for environmental/anti-consumerist reasons tend to chafe at the FatFIRE crowd that has taken over the FIRE message as far as the media is concerned ... but [we] need to realize that getting a $250k/year spender to FIRE on $100k/year is more effective than converting five $50k/yr people to $25k/year in the overall scheme of things.

I don't know if it's possible to phrase a universal framework---one that's the distilled truth of all of the above in a way that would be appealing to almost everybody while avoiding being shallow. As far as I'm concerned this truth exists at the meta-level in the form of all the different voices when taken together. You're not going to find it in an easily digestible super-system. Instead the super-system is the system of all the individual movements understood together. As such it's helpful to see what the other systems are offering and look at the similarities (intersections) between the systems rather than the differences. To push the elephant metaphor: Talk to enough different people and you have a pretty good idea of what the elephant is like. However, that is the only way to know the elephant. There's no way to communicate what the elephant is without having a lot of blind men each communicating it back to their own blind tribe of followers.

RoamingFrancis
Posts: 139
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2019 11:43 am

Re: Kiwiz's outlet

Post by RoamingFrancis »

The Dunning-Kruger effect refers to the phenomenon where amateurs overestimate their ability at a given skill, while experts tend to underestimate their ability. Likely because when you know a lot, you can more clearly see what you don't know. It's not exactly the same as your point, but it's similar.

EDIT: I recently read a good essay; one of its points was that if you have reached a conclusion that you would be embarrassed to admit in front of a group of your peers, this would be good evidence you have thought critically, the reason being that your thinking lies outside your standard cultural narrative.

kiwiz
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2020 5:31 pm

Re: Kiwiz's outlet

Post by kiwiz »

I have fallen down another rabbit hole this weekend - the 'zettelkasten'.

It is an interesting concept of note organisation that proposes to actually improve the quality of the system with number of notes added, instead of becoming hopelessly bloated.

A lot of the authors who have used it/written about it are very convinced that detailed note taking is completely essential, if not just to academia but to everything (i.e. they believe that it improves memory, critical thought, knowledge to such an extent that it is useless not to have a notetaking system). I don't think I believe this. I have found notetaking valuable while doing it, but have never really found much use for notes 'after the fact' - they seem to help more from an absorption standpoint while listening or reading than as reference material. The important stuff seems to stick anyway.

That being said, I'm going to try it for a month or so - maybe there will be benefits after all.

Would be interesting to hear from others who have tried this.

kiwiz
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2020 5:31 pm

Re: Kiwiz's outlet

Post by kiwiz »

I am slowly realising how lucky I am to keep finding compatible flatmates. I currently live with DGF and Loud Flatmate and Quiet Flatmate, and despite the fact that I struggled working from home (with them both at home), now that they have returned to work I very much enjoy their company again.

Loud flatmate is the oldest, but went through law school and had a very sheltered religious upbringing, so is the least emotionally mature. I think we have been pretty good for them - we seem to be the first stable flat they have been in since leaving home, and they actually seem to be growing up a bit. Quiet flatmate I have lived with for 5 years total, and we have very compatible (introverted, clean but not petty about it) ways of living.

I guess if you can find the right people, living with others doesn't really have to feel like a compromise to save money - I think they actually greatly improve my life. I imagine there will be plenty of time to live alone with DGF or alone later in life, so I still don't really understand the rush that many of my work friends are in to hurry up and live alone.

I've also discovered I'm pretty employable - I looked at available analyst roles in AKL for the first time in a while, and I'd be suitable for a good handful of them. I'm guessing it would be a pay increase, but given my current working conditions are so good (and the data is very interesting and for the public good) I would not be able to justify moving until I had to.

In exciting news: with my latest pay, net worth is above $-10k for the first time ever in my adult life, hovering around $-9k for now. Feels like progress!

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