Dave's Journal - documenting the path to FI

Where are you and where are you going?
FBeyer
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Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 3:25 am

Re: Dave's Journal - documenting the path to FI

Post by FBeyer » Sat Jun 18, 2016 1:07 pm

Dave wrote:... So why was I feeling this anxiety to do something productive? I am quite literally doing exactly what I need to do to achieve my goals, and barring unexpected circumstances, I will achieve them. The progress in inexorable...
It's funny. The very first post of my Journal states that becoming FI is actually not a matter of 'if' for me. I'm getting there, fast, just being who I already am.

But still, I have the urge to spur progress on.

I can't shake the need to Always Do More. There is something about having kids that totally changed my leisure time wiring. After having my daughter I cannot sit still and relax anymore. If I'm not programming, reading, studying or actively doing something social/exercise I feel like I'm totally wasting my time.

I've yet to find the mental trigger that puts a lid on that need for More. Time to pick up regular meditation again I guess.

Dave
Posts: 293
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2014 1:42 pm

Re: Dave's Journal - documenting the path to FI

Post by Dave » Wed Sep 28, 2016 7:41 am

Fall 2016 Update

Several months have passed since my last entry, but generally speaking not much has changed.

Financially, DW and I continue to hack away at her school loans. Progress has been swift, and I expect them to be paid off in less than a year. Our expense structure is the same as before, or perhaps slightly better as we have been eating better (IE eating out less).

I learned there are a lot of small tasks to be done when you get married! Name change and all of the associated document updates, combining accounts (we are "old fashioned"), updated estate planning, etc. Just recently, we have finished all of this work with the exception of estate planning. I am reading a book on estate planning right now, and I have drafted our wills, general power of attorney documents, and medical power of attorney documents. After I finish this book and do a bit more research, we will finalize these documents and all of it will be done.

Perhaps the biggest change to our lives has been a shifting towards a more plant-based diet. After following several of the nutrition threads here on the forums, discussing with Ego, and researching the subject, I have decided the combination of 1) the balance of evidence and 2) the risk/reward structure of eating a primarily plant based diet is favorable to the alternatives. It is not important for me to have absolute certainty in this area, but it seems to me there is a strong case for the healthy benefits of a plant based diet, even ignoring financial, moral, or environmental considerations. And, the risk of following a plant based diet (note I use the phrase plant based to refer to a diet heavy in whole plant foods, so I'm not talking about vegan dogs and other laboratory foods) seems minor to me.

Given that we were already eating a diet relatively heavy in plant foods, this is not a radical shift for us. It is more a tilting of the proportions. For us, this has not meant a 100% abolishment of animal products. What it means is we don't cook using animal products for ourselves, but we will eat them when they are served to us. We will generally try to avoid them when we can in these situations, but occasionally this is not possible. So far, it has been successful and I will say that the hardest part is, as seems common, the social component. What seems to work here for us is to not focus on saying that we only eat plant foods, but instead to say we believe we should be eating more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Most people have a hard time disagreeing with that.

Other than that, life has been pretty good to us in Chicago. The weather has finally turned up here, and I am very much enjoying the cool autumn air. Onward to a beautiful October.

Dave
Posts: 293
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2014 1:42 pm

Re: Dave's Journal - documenting the path to FI

Post by Dave » Sat Apr 06, 2019 1:46 am

Spring 2019 Update

It's been a little while since I've posted. In light of some of the recent threads discussing lurkers not being involved enough, including the return of one of my favorites (Ego!), I decided to involve myself a little bit more.

Financial Review

A lot has actually changed since my last post. The relatively short version is...I left my job as a fund accountant at the end of 2016 to focus on managing my investments full-time. Since then, I'd say a plurality (and perhaps a majority much of the time) of my time has been spent studying stock investing, doing stock research, and managing my portfolio.

This was a little bit unorthodox in even the ERE world, as I was not at 25x expenses. But, I was at a point where I thought a relatively normal year of investing returns would support my expenses. This has proven to be the case. Since DW continued full-time work up until the end of 2018, we meaningfully increased the size of our portfolio as a result of additional contributions + gains. I should also clarify that I very much enjoy investing and I wanted to make a real go of being a skilled stock investor who could add meaningful alpha. I recognized that even if I earned a meaningful level of excess returns in these first few years, they would not exceed what I would have made as a CPA. But, at the same time, my thoughts were if I proved to be skilled, adding several % per annum would result in massive differences in wealth long-term. That was the idea, and continues to be the idea to this day.

Additionally, I did believe (and was right) that I could support myself at that level, and that I could pursue other interests during my free time. I have done so, including a small paid gig for a while in writing investment reports, helping my dad and my father-in-law with numerous projects at home, helping friends with all sorts of financial planning, and more.

So far, I deem my decision a success, as I have added alpha to the process. I'm not going to go into a lot of specifics of my financial situation for reasons discussed before, but let's say I am satisfied with how things are going.

For the record, so that one would not think me unaware, I am cognizant of the market's level. As a bottom-up stock picker I basically spend my days researching businesses, determining their intrinsic value, buying when price is far below value, and holding until price approaches value or opportunity cost drives me to reallocate to something cheaper. Therefore, I don't spend a lot of time thinking about "the market" and its potential to crash, as that wouldn't bother me so much. I hold some cash, but more relevantly I believe the intrinsic value of my investments are far above the current price, so whatever price the market is showing on any given day has no bearing on me. If the market tanks and the quoted value of my holdings tank, this would not bother me any more than a private owner of a business who is not looking to sell getting offers to sell way below what they perceive their business is worth. In fact, I would welcome a downturn as I do have some cash and we have external cash flow, and I would always be happy to shift my portfolio to cheaper stocks. But, the big picture is that I don't really worry too much about what the overall market does as I own shares of individual businesses and those businesses will determine my results, not "the market".

Nonfinancial Review

Some other big changes have occurred for DW and me. We moved to Honolulu in mid-January 2019. While it is meaningfully more expensive here, we wanted to do a bit of traveling and exploring before we settled down and start a family. So we're here. It's been fun, as we both enjoy outdoor activities. We have done a ton of hiking, swimming, we're getting into snorkeling and surfing, and more. It's been a lot of fun.

One interesting note was that we have really gotten into calisthenics training at a local outdoor workout park. They have dip bars, pull-up bars, and other assorted calisthenics equipment. In the tough Chiberian winter working out outside would have required...a lot of grit. Here, people would be there in January in flip-flops and shirtless. I took to calisthenics quickly and I've truly enjoyed learning a new style of training in some depth, outdoors. The fact that it is totally free and is more skill-based rather than paying based (i.e. pay to rent weights) are other great factors. The ocean and mountain views, birds, and sunshine are all nice, too!

I've stuck with my meditating, although I have not made a lot of progress. Since moving here we have cleaned up our diets quite a bit and I'm probably in the best shape I have ever been in. I turned 30 back in January, so this was a nice realization that although I'm no longer in my 20s, I'm physically better than ever!

As I mentioned above, DW left her job and took work as an independent contractor pharmacist for a health organization. The work is extremely flexible and she's working the hours of her own choice, at a reduced level. We aren't shooting to save a lot of money in 2019, but just strive to break even and hopefully continue to grow our portfolio rather than dip into it.

Life is pretty good on our front, and I continue to be grateful to the ERE community for their role in helping me get to this point.

Thanks, all.

classical_Liberal
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Re: Dave's Journal - documenting the path to FI

Post by classical_Liberal » Sat Apr 06, 2019 2:18 am

Greetings, I read your journal, very cool!

Sounds like the last 2-3 years you have been Semi-ERE, that peaks my interest as there is a subset of folks on here looking to follow your path. IOW save up a sum and then change focus from hard core accumulation to skill/relationship building, etc. I wonder if you'd like to elaborate on your life at all the past few years?

Not looking for anything financial, rather the emotional and mental states you may have gone through switching from a hard core accumulation mindset. Why you decided to move to a HCOL, but better lifestyle area, stuff like that. Personally, I'm also very curious how it worked with your wife, considering it sounds like she kept working full time at first. I'm in a similar situation with my SO.

Congrats on the big 3-0! Honestly, that's really where life begins 8-)

Dave
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Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2014 1:42 pm

Re: Dave's Journal - documenting the path to FI

Post by Dave » Fri Apr 12, 2019 5:11 pm

Thanks CL.

It's probably fair to say I'm semi-ERE. I sort of fall in a weird space because I wanted to "work" at being an investor but also have time for other activities. But still, I have approached my investing like that of a portfolio manager, so I'm not sure it's accurate that I'm FI in the way that many folks who live off retirement income do. I spend a lot of time doing investment research. So, on the one hand you could say that I have a "job" that is me trying to create (above-market) financial value from my financial capital. But, it's still true that I don't "work" for anyone. And I rather enjoy it. Call it what you will.

The motivation for this focus on investing bubbled up years ago, in the last part of college actually. I read Ben Graham's The Intelligent Investor in my last year of college and sort of took to the idea of value investing. Over time as I learned more and got to a point where I was comfortable holding meaningful positions in individual companies. And then, the last piece clicked for me when I was reading the ERE book and looking at some of the graphs/charts/tables. It became really clear to me that if you could do just a few percentage points better (than other options, what you otherwise would do, etc.), the implications are huge in terms of how much you need and where you will end up.

It's taken as sort of doctrine in FIRE communities that something like 3% or 4% is a reasonable withdrawal rate depending on your age and other variables like interest rates or market CAPE levels and so on. I actually have thoughts on all of that, but I don't want to go into that here. But let's just say that if an average person shoots for a 3% withdrawal rate, but I think I can earn 3% excess annual returns, the math changes in dramatic ways. One way of thinking about that would be instead of needing 33x expenses you need 17x (this isn't entirely accurate, but is close enough). There are problems with this regarding drawdowns and volatility, but needing 33x rather than 17x is a huge difference. I would not advocate trying to FIRE on 17x expenses, but it just illustrates how much having excess returns changes things. In other words, in the FIRE community we tend to focus on the level of expenses and how reducing them is the key variable to change in driving early retirement, and accept returns as a fixed thing. In the short-run in getting to early retirement this is definitely true. But, in reading ERE years ago, it struck me that working really hard on increasing ROR could actually pay off in just as large, in not larger, ways, way down the road. This is likely to be increasingly more valuable if we enter a long period of sideways markets or market declines.

This all aligns well with the somewhat surprising idea that beating the market by even a few percentage points over a long time results in massive differences. Simple example: $250,000 growth at 5% for 40 years results in $1,760,000, $250,000 growth at 8% over 40 years results in $5,431,000. 3% annual return over 40 years results in an outcome with a factor of 3 difference.

That’s a long rambling response to something you didn’t directly ask about, but it does provide some background on why I’m doing what I’m doing. “Active” investing is not a topic much talked about here on ERE, so I wanted to go into a little detail on my thoughts on all of that.

Sure, I can elaborate a bit. My life has been quite nice the last few years. I never enjoyed being an accountant that much. I thought I was pretty good at it, but it didn’t fit with the life I overall wanted. So, getting away from the office life has been nice. Studying things that are interesting to me has been nice, doing other projects and activities I’m interested in has been nice. These things have added to my life. Being home more has improved the quality of DW and my’s household situation, as I’m around to do more chores, shopping, cooking, etc. We eat better, exercise more, and are more organized as a result of all this. I’ve actually been more social in this time, as I’ve had more time to meet people, either for coffee or lunch during the day, or at night (since I have more energy). All in all, I have enjoyed my life in all of the sorts of predictable ways you can imagine. The shift from being an employee to “self-employed” as my own “portfolio manager” has been great. I’m self-motivated and don’t enjoy meetings, needless reports, and all the fun baggage that comes with normal work, so that has been great. As an equity investor my “income” is very sporadic (and actually I don’t think about even something like 1 year results as super meaningful), which is very very different than before, but I think temperamentally I’m suited for it. For example, in the last 10 trading sessions, in April, I’m up more I spent in 2018. I’ve watched this level wealth “evaporate” in days before, and expect it to do so again routinely. So it’s a roller coaster. But that very level of volatility is a key contributor to what allows me to achieve above-market returns, and I’m happy to embrace it and not get too attached the idea of being up or down a certain amount.

On the other hand, I’d say my biggest struggle has been social. This was not a surprise, as many have talked about these issues. But I’ve had a hard time explaining my life situation to other people. I’ve heard other people in similar situations say this but they either think I am some financial genius or a total bum living off my wife, where I don’t think either is accurate. While an awful lot of people don’t really seem to ask much about how your life is going, some do, and some find my situation very perplexing. I also believe it has made it harder to relate to some of my friends (and them to me, more importantly), as our finances are in very different situations.

Sort of related to that, at times I have felt like I am not doing enough with my life. I think this is a socially conditioned response in me that often follows after I talk to someone who doesn’t really get or approve of what I’m doing with my life. That can be tough and has been a challenge a few times. While I am not working at a company that is saving the world (or more likely, making widgets), I do try to be useful to people in my life and make a difference on a more local scale. I actually never felt my work as an accountant was especially meaningful in the big scheme of things, and that most jobs aren’t. So while I have these feelings, I have come to see that most of it is just socially conditioned in that it does not feel good to be an outsider, even if you think those you are outside of don’t represent the best way to go about things.

We decided to move to Hawaii because we really liked it here when we came for our honeymoon and a subsequent trip. We both love nature and aquatic activities. We wanted to do something a little more adventurous as our 20s were basically college->work->frugal and we wanted to experience a bit more of the world before returning to the Midwest and a more normal lifestyle. Hawaii is a way to do a lot of those things in a culture that we really, really like.

Yeah, DW kept working full time until this year. A lot of people actually ask me that. The assumption is she has to be jealous, resentful, or something. I talked to her a lot about me doing this beforehand and she was supportive, and she has been supportive throughout this time. I’ve asked her periodically if she’s still OK with it. And she’s always been fine. The thing to remember is that she can (and basically did) walk away from her job at any time. We have a very large financial cushion, and even if she just works part time that covers our cash outflows without need of touching the portfolio. I’ve told her for years that if she ever wanted to leave, do something else, or go part-time, do it and we’ll figure it out financially. Our at-home life has been better with me around more, and ultimately if I prove to be a skilled investor for the long-term then it will financially pay off much better than me being an accountant. And if anything changed where I needed to do a traditional job again, I totally would. That was the idea, and still is. So she’s good with it.

Thanks! 30 is supposed to be a big one, and celebrating mine in Hawaii was fun. I do feel like I am at the beginning in a lot of ways!

Dave
Posts: 293
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2014 1:42 pm

Fishboning a Car Purchase

Post by Dave » Sat Nov 09, 2019 4:06 pm

2019 has been going well so far. I’ll do a full update in a few months, but this post is actually posing a specific question to the hive mind of the forum.

Due to a couple of factors – my wife accepting an in-person job with an hour commute each way that recently went full-time and my personal desire to do a broader range of activities in my life - we are considering buying a car. If we bought this car, I would drive for Uber/Lyft on a part-time basis to recoup our expenses and earn a little bit of money.

I put together some pros and cons:

Pros:

-I would make money. Due to fixed costs, the amount of pay would be variable with the amount of hours I worked. I estimate that on an after-tax basis, I’d need to work 8-10 hours per week to break even. In the range of hours I’m likely to work, I will be making just a little above minimum wage, perhaps more if my hours are closer to 15-20/week.

-I would get out of the apartment, something I am always wanting to do, and develop my social skills. I have always been a little shy and wanted to develop my social skills for a long time. I believe driving for Lyft/Uber would be a way to practice this. This is a major benefit for me. I don’t want to oversell this, I know a lot of rides won’t do much here. But in general I expect this would help me develop.

-Driving would force me to decouple my identity further from being a “financial professional”. For a long time I’ve wanted to move more towards the Renaissance ideal, but truthfully even since leaving my accounting career I am still mostly a financial person. Doing this would help me get more out of that mindset and help me realize how many opportunities are out there, and along the way help me develop some humbleness as I do something I’m not already great at and where I am in service to others. Basically, I'd get out of my comfort zone.

-Save my wife ~1 hour each workday on her commute. Of course, I would be losing that hour, but since I have more free time than her, this is a good trade.

-Explore the island more often/in more detail. To date, we’ve taken the bus/occasionally rented a car, but having a car would meaningfully improve our ability to get out and explore things, which I’d really enjoy.

-Get to know this city and its people better. I enjoy this sort of thing, and this would be a nice benefit.

-Allow me to drive our guests around the island/allow our guests to use our car to save themselves money when visiting.

Cons:

-The biggest con is that I don’t know definitively how much I’d like this. I have driven a lot of our guests around the island and enjoyed that, and I generally enjoy driving. But I don’t have direct rideshare experience, and I can’t think of a way to do it on a trial basis. It’s possible that if I don’t like this, I would introduce some hours of annoyance into my life, or we’d be stuck paying the incremental cash flow for the car.

-Risk of lower pay/hour if various problems arise with the car. I tried to be conservative in my modeling, but I don’t know for sure how it shakes out. Honestly though, our cash flow is very positive, so even if the entire incremental costs stayed and I didn’t drive at all, we could easily swing it financially.

-Time spent dealing with car issues. Not having had a car for a long time, I’ve enjoyed not having the various tasks associated with car ownership. That will come up.

-It’s possible it could interfere with my investing, either personal or my work. I don’t think this is a problem due to my current excess time and the flexible nature of all my investment work and driving, but it’s possible.


All in all, to me it seems like a net positive. Basically, I see an opportunity for me to develop a bit personally, try a new type of work, make some money, and finance a car which saves my wife time and allows us to have more fun. It moves me forward (a little bit) along several dimensions that I value, and the downsides seem minimal and manageable in the worst-case scenarios (that I strongly dislike it and the financial outcome is worse than expected).

So my question to you all is what do you think of this? Do you think I am missing anything? Do you see this as a net positive? Does this seem like a move towards the Renaissance ideal?

Thanks for any thoughts you can share!

bigato
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Re: Dave's Journal - documenting the path to FI

Post by bigato » Sat Nov 09, 2019 7:40 pm

What you are missing is that you can do a week of trial on this very easily. Just rent a car and ride it for uber. That should be enough to know if you want to commit to it. Or two weeks. Or a month. People rent cars to ride for uber, but in your case you don't even need to break even. Just think of it as the price you'll pay to try it beforehand and be sure whether you want this on a long term.

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Ego
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Re: Dave's Journal - documenting the path to FI

Post by Ego » Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:01 am


bigato
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Re: Dave's Journal - documenting the path to FI

Post by bigato » Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:07 am

By the way, after posting this I thought that the fact that you didn't think of this solution, which is somewhat obvious given that you had even rented cars in the past, makes me a bit suspicious that maybe you are being more influenced by your emotions in this decision than you are realizing. One more reason to have a serious trial before commiting.

SavingWithBabies
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Re: Dave's Journal - documenting the path to FI

Post by SavingWithBabies » Sun Nov 10, 2019 5:36 pm

Apparently, Uber has the renting built in too via Hertz if you're worried (as I would be without more research) about liability of just renting from any car rental place and using it for rideshare:

https://www.hertz.com/rentacar/misc/ind ... g_page.jsp

I like the renting idea to try it out. If you like it, you might compare the cost of buying a good used local vehicle with importing one from the mainland (more hassle but might be worth it). A friend of mine that lived there seemed to think local used vehicles were on the more expensive end but I don't know how that compares with shipping one over.

Dave
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Re: Dave's Journal - documenting the path to FI

Post by Dave » Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:09 am

Thanks for the responses, all.

@Bigato - That is a good suggestion, and I appreciate your additional comment about the potential for emotional influence. Your recommendation to rent through Uber (or Lyft, since they offer this too) is a good suggestion for testing out driving for a rideshare company.

However, I actually didn't miss that option in my research - I did think about it. I had ruled it out and didn't about it here because parking is very expensive on a nightly basis where I live, to the tune of $30+/night (or a few bucks less if I'm willing to hoof it a bit). So, even just two weeks of testing this would run to a 2-week parking amount of ~$420, in addition to ~$360 of rental costs. Of course, there would fares that would offset a good portion of this, depending on how many hours I end up driving. I can't be sure, but I could see it being a net cost of ~$450 to test this for 2 weeks, if I'm conservative on revenue and aggressive on cost assumptions. This is a pretty rough estimate - I'm obviously not factoring in everything.

On the one hand this doesn't seem like so much to invest to test a big decision, as you suggested, especially if driving for Uber/Lyft were sole/primary reason I was getting a car. On the other hand, as I said, driving for Uber/Lyft is just one part of this decision in addition to the other factors. Even in a worst-case scenario that I find over a period of time I don't really enjoy it, it is only a couple hours a week to break-even and the "worst case outcome" cost of us absorbing some extra cost for a year to improve our quality of life isn't especially high for a fairly short period of time.

Still, I do want to think about what you said and consider if I'm letting my emotions warp my decision making process and perhaps I internally dismissed renting from Uber/Lyft too quickly. This is a viable option, it's just not especially cheap to do so.

@SWB - Interesting, I didn't know Hertz would do this, just that Uber and Lyft would. I'll check this out, too. I have talked to a number of people who have shipped vehicles to Hawaii and have a sense of this, but it's worth doing some more research beyond a few personal stories to gauge whether that makes more sense.

Thanks everyone. I have things to think about.

bigato
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Re: Dave's Journal - documenting the path to FI

Post by bigato » Mon Nov 11, 2019 4:03 am

I don't understand. How are parking costs any different when you are renting vs when you are buying?

Dave
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Re: Dave's Journal - documenting the path to FI

Post by Dave » Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:00 pm

@Bigato

I live in a very densely populated tourist area with very limited parking where daily/overnight rates are much higher than buying a monthly parking pass. For example, the parking in the building I live in costs $35/day if you park overnight, but $200/month if you are able to get a monthly pass. The problem being the wait list is around 2 years for a spot here. While a 2 year wait list is not typical of all buildings, it is true that parking is difficult to come by here.

So the incremental cost of parking the car during this trial period relative to if I owned a car comes to the tune of ~$23/day more.

My point, though, was that when I looked at how much it would cost to rent the car from Uber/Lyft and also considered the extremely high cost of overnight parking, the net cash outflow flow from even just a two week experiment was substantial relative to what I considered the whole package of benefits/cost/risk in even a worst-case outcome. That's why I had written it off and didn't mention it in my original post. Still, as you pointed out, I am considering if I'm mentally over-weighting the other factors (saving my wife time, having the car to more easily explore on the weekends, etc.) because these are emotionally attractive to me. I think I might be pretty excited about the part of exploring more on the weekends and perhaps that is a distortion. But the piece of saving my wife time is substantial (her getting back 5 hours a week off a full-time work schedule), and this is obviously the biggest benefit to her. I don't really think I'm overrating that at all.

I have to say though, that what I am internally experiencing is the opposite of what you said: I think the logic of us buying a car seems quite sound to me for this period of our life (for all the reasons I listed in my original post, not just for the specific benefits tied to me driving for Uber/Lyft), but emotionally I am resisting it. I haven't had a car since 2014 (and my wife about the same) and on the net have greatly benefited from not having one. Getting a car sort of feels like capitulating on some level. But logically I think it makes sense for us - remember even in the worst case scenario if I don't drive at all for Uber/Lyft, my wife's incremental income from this work change that was the catalyst for analyzing this decision meaningfully exceeds what the cost of owning a car will be.

I was talking to my dad about it and I told him my reluctance and he laughed at me, pointing out the decisions I make somewhat regularly with investments are for much greater sums of money than buying a car in cash. True, but if I'm honest I think some part of my identity has become tied to not owning a car, and that's the piece of me that's fighting this decision the hardest.

Yes, we can make it work without one. Is it worth it, though? Is sticking to our current situation (status quo bias?) worth giving up the increased time, experiences, and opportunities we'd have? That's the question I'm trying to answer.

bigato
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Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:43 pm

Re: Dave's Journal - documenting the path to FI

Post by bigato » Mon Nov 11, 2019 4:27 pm

Ok, so the first step in any of the paths is getting a parking space rented on a monthly basis, right? Because you don't want to pay overnight prices in any case. You'll have time to think about it a lot while you wait in line for the parking space.

Frita
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Re: Dave's Journal - documenting the path to FI

Post by Frita » Mon Nov 11, 2019 8:25 pm

How is your wife covering her commute now? For comparison’s sake, what are the pros and cons of that situation versus a personal car?

SavingWithBabies
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Re: Dave's Journal - documenting the path to FI

Post by SavingWithBabies » Tue Nov 12, 2019 2:01 pm

Have you looked for parking within near walking distance? Seems like you could find something that way more immediately, do the rental and try it out and then decide what way to go based on the outcome. It's more time on your part but it seems like you're okay with that anyway, right? I searched for "parking spot" on your local craigslist and at least one comes up for sub $200 (although some one time key expense). Not that many though so maybe it's not close enough to work but... Another place to look is Facebook Marketplace (seems like a lot of people have moved over there).

My apologies if you've already gone this route and found it's not viable.

Dave
Posts: 293
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2014 1:42 pm

Re: Dave's Journal - documenting the path to FI

Post by Dave » Tue Nov 12, 2019 7:00 pm

@Bigato - It is true it would be cheaper to go that route, since ~7 days it breaks even between $200/month and $30/day. If it were easy to just go find a 1 month agreement reasonably close, that would be better, yes. In talking/meeting with people on Craigslist to feel this out, a good portion of the people are interested in agreeing to a term longer than this, but I'll dig more. It's also not proving that easy to find a spot that is reasonably close - there are not a lot of spots here, at least with my search process to date. Haha yeah, I mean I'm not going to use the option at my building for sure...I'd be surprised if I'm here in 2 years!

@Frita - My wife's current setup is a ~20 minute walk to the bus stop, a ~30 minute ride, and a ~10 minute buffer to get there early, each way. So ~2 hours round trip, via bus. This hasn't been altogether bad, as she's been able to do a lot of continuing education, call friends/family back home, etc. on the bus. The cost is $70/month for a bus pass, and this has carryover to our weekend bus trips and saves us a little money there. Compared to a car which obviously is much more expensive than $840/year bus pass. But, as a reminder, my wife is a pharmacist and recently went from 20->40 hours at a traditional job with regular pharmacist pay, so even with $0 of Uber/Lyft income if the analysis was just looking at buying a car for her new setup (which pays more per hour than what she was doing most of the year), it is meaningfully cash flow positive.

So on her side of the decision, the pros of getting car are saving ~5 hours a week of commute and turning another 5 hours into into a ride with me in the car rather than the bus, so basically she is getting back a fair portion of her free time on a full-time job schedule. This may seem trivial, but we are not here in Hawaii just to work and save, so we value our free time higher than we have in the past and likely will in the future given the unique opportunities we have here. On the con side, the incremental cash outflow if I don't drive is obviously meaningful relative to our current budget, but not nearly enough to prevent us from still saving a decent amount. She (and me, for some of the days) will miss out on 40 minutes of walking/day. And she will likely not be doing any continuing education in the car with me, but we can still call family/friends in the car. For what it's worth, she is strongly in favor of getting a car.

@SWB - The simple answer is yes, I have. I've been meeting with some people and talking to many recently to try to get a sense of this, but as I said in the earlier part of this post I'm not finding tons of options within a reasonable walk. Agreed on a rental basis that I'd be okay doing a bit more walking, so my net is a bit wider for a parking spot for a rental arrangement than it would be for a permanent setup. I'm certainly not afraid of a little walking - just this morning I did a 5 mile loop walk to get work out, get groceries at a few locations, and deliver some to my in-laws. I'd guess I'm in the 99th percentile of US citizens in terms of walking ;) . And that's not going to change after I get a car, the car will just be used for commute, Uber/Lyft, and weekend treks around the island.

Good tip on Facebook Marketplace. I haven't had Facebook in something like a decade, so I'll have to use my wife's. You're the 3rd or 4th person to tell me to look at that in the last year for various things, I guess I didn't realize it had enough network effects to reach critical mass/usefulness. Always behind the tech curve :lol: .

It may not be as clear to everyone as I meant it to be in my original post on the subject, but this decision isn't just about me driving to make $...it's part of a broader analysis of our life/web of goals, of which includes my wife's commute/lifestyle, in addition to other factors that I listed. So while driving for Uber/Lyft is the piece with the most uncertainty, it is the only piece that we don't have a good grip on how we feel about it. Maybe I wasn't clear that even if I don't like it, I think it would be good for me to do this for a while and grow as a person in an area that I've long felt like I need some work, so I don't see me disliking it for a 2 week period as being indicative that I should not go ahead and practice these skills for a prolonged period of time, even if it means ~10 hours a week until the car was cash-flow neutral. I'm just trying to frame this broadly from our overall lifestyle more and I know ERE'rs are good at analyzing lifestyle changes and how they affect a person's life beyond a single variable. Not that I don't appreciate the tips and suggestions on testing the rental - I definitely do, and this has made me go deeper here and test some of my assumptions/thoughts more, which has been valuable.

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