An American Millennial

Where are you and where are you going?
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slowtraveler
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by slowtraveler » Thu Nov 02, 2017 11:31 am

Missed your stories about China. Good to see you back on and crushing it.

Sometimes you have to be tough to earn respect. You did what needed to be done.

It's great that your girlfriend's so on board with ere. She values the same freedom and it's a big world. No need to stay in China or even east Asia if your heart isn't into it.

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Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K » Thu Nov 02, 2017 11:00 pm

@slowtraveler For me, China seems like the best deal at the moment. I'm hoping she can find something she is happy doing as well, or at least get a job that is easier for her! I don't love teaching, but I find it easy enough. We're both committed to at least 2 years, so that should be certain enough, but depending on how we're feeling after that, we may end up somewhere else!

CS
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by CS » Fri Nov 03, 2017 8:30 am

Viktor - that was great! Thanks so much for sharing! Those poor kids - nothing hurts more than disappointing someone you like, so I'm sure they'll be more thoughtful in the future. In the meanwhile, yay for language skills!

Spain does seems like a good place to retire - except they have sort of lost their mind over the Catalonia issue. (My concern is how poorly thought-out their response was - they could have diffused the issue, instead they lit a powder keg). It might be a good place to visit, but perhaps not get into the position you have to stay if things get bad. That being said... even I find it tempting to visit to see what all the excitement is about. There was an article a while back about UK workers moving to Spain to save money and commuting by plane weekly - and still saving money! (This was all pre-Brexnit, though so who knows if this will still be a thing going forward.)

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Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K » Sat Nov 04, 2017 5:39 am

I had them again this week, first time since that discussion we had. They were much better behaved, and still enthusiastic :). My TAs for that class also switched periods (I don't know if it is a permanent thing or not), so I had a more strict TA, which likely also made a difference :P. I still feel bad for that class since our Halloween lesson was the one they messed up which included a 6 minute no-English cartoon, and an additional 5 more minutes of various songs/videos of trick-or-treating!

We have also found the recent events in Spain a little disconcerting. We both studied Spanish in high school and I practiced it a great deal in college. In addition to that, we both have possibly overly romantic feelings towards Latin culture and eagerly want to experience it first hand. As Spain is one of the best places for still earning money teaching English in a Spanish-speaking country, we hope they will figure things out soon!

That being said, my happiness here in China is at an all-time high (and a recent high in general). The only thing I would really change about now is my earnings and the recent pollution levels in Shenzhen. Managing pollution isn't something I can control much, but we can and likely should order some face masks and maybe even an indoor air purifier. As for earnings, given that my classes at the part-time center are both limited and popular, I've had a few parents approach me and lament the fact that I don't teach more hours there, with one even suggesting that her child and two of her child's classmates would even be interested in studying with me outside of the training center. I told them that right now I didn't have enough free-time and am too busy (the only half-lie I've found to end these sort of conversations, funny enough), but maybe I would have more free time in the future. At 200 RMB/student/hour, a couple of these classes/week could greatly increase my earnings. It is something I may explore in the Spring, but certainly not sooner.

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Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K » Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:26 am

My update this month will be a bit delayed as I lost a bank card so can't check my balance. I've a busy next couple of days, so I'll probably be updating over or after the weekend once I can get to the bank (earliest I can is potentially Saturday).

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Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K » Fri Dec 01, 2017 11:24 pm

November in review

Hello all! I was sick for a little more than half of this month. It was miserable and sobering, but fortunately the Chinese doctor at the local hospital made quick work of my sinus infection and now I’m back on my feet. I’m on the long road to the Spring Festival right now, when we plan on jetting over to Japan for some potentially pricey but still ERE-style R&R. I’ve sent my first test chunk of cash home to the US, and also bought some bitcoin and etherium. I’ve also once again realized I need to increase my income! I wish you all the best and hope your own ERE journeys are continuing to inch towards your own pull-the-plug date.


Updates in November
  • Cured a persisting sinus infection with the help of the local Chinese doctor
  • Downloaded several new games
  • Received a nice free dinner from some locals at a fancy restaurant
  • Winged my first private school class to great success
  • Said goodbye to a local who is off to Australia <3
  • Transferred a test amount of money back to the US
  • Learned about Chinese cuisines
  • Finished mapping the demo part of the game
  • Savings rate: 86.85% (see below)

ERE graphs

Image

Food spending was high again, but I ate a lot healthier so I think it is acceptable. There were a couple nice dinners as well included in this. I’m thinking I may want to break down my food spending into restaurants and groceries to get a better idea of where my money is going.

Image

This will be my average spending/month, at least when buffered by a couple private recordings as it was this month. I couldn’t save as much as last month since, as I mentioned, my new monthly income is lower since I have less part-time classes.


Image

As I start to pay off my loan, I suspect this net worth graph will be the best one for maintaining morale. It will continue to rise while my assets graph will be fluctuating rapidly.


Image

I’m soon to send money home and convert most of my cash savings to pay down my student loans, which means my assets will be taking a hit probably in the next update. As you can see, I’ve already sent a test amount of $1000 home which brought up my USD category. In December, you’ll see a new asset category of cryptocurrency as well as a dip from my USD and RMB categories as I start paying down the student loans.


Personal
Cold from October: After 3 weeks with a persistent cold, I finally went to the local hospital. It was very efficient and the walk was less than a mile. Turns out I had a sinus infection, bacterial, and was given some antibiotics, painkillers, cough medicine, and two days off from work. I finally started to feel better after the round of medicine and short reprieve from 55 screaming Chinese kiddos, and I feel back to 100% now. It cost ¥180 and apparently I can get some of that reimbursed by my social insurance.

Game-making: I got a lot done while I was sick, but in the last week or two I’ve spent more time playing games than working on mine. I’m not the best at setting deadlines for myself, but I do still plan to finish it, it is just a matter of when the creative bug bites again. So far I’ve got the script and the maps for the demo finished. Now I need to copy over my battle system from my original project, and set up all the little events for cut scenes and the like.

Travel plans: A friend mentioned he would be traveling to Japan this Spring Festival and that the plane tickets from Hong Kong were cheap. We looked into it, and round-trip airfare will cost <$200/person. A “budget” travel blog suggested $70-$90/day, but I think we’ll do it for less. The budget isn’t as much an influence as our cats, but we’ll probably only stay for a week at most.

Exercise: I haven’t committed to anything yet, and I still would like to. I was going to start running again, but my running shoes from 2012 have started to come apart. A new pair online in the same style would probably end up costing around $100. A gym in the neighborhood would run something like $15/month or maybe a little less, but I’m not too interested in joining

Diet: I felt an urge to improve my diet after being sick, and have been pretty consistent. Mostly I’ve simply avoided the simple carbs and convenient restaurants around here, opting for salads, whole grains, and fruit when preparing food myself, and avoiding the noodles and rice (most of the time) when eating out. As long as I don’t repeat October, I think its a success.

Expat friends: I’ve had some pressure and guilt from the expat friends as I haven’t been out with them for a while now. It doesn’t help that it is almost always a night out drinking downtown, which costs 10-20x more/beer than a beer from the local supermarket and also incurs a taxi fee since a late night means no cheap metro rides home. On top of that, long nights aren’t really my thing anymore since I usually just wallow in self-pity and guilt the next morning.

Beer pong tournament: Related to above, we are thinking of hosting a small beer pong tournament with a cash prize. It would only be a few teams so our apartment is big enough. This would help earn us some quality time with our friends, while still fitting our budget of supermarket beer and no commuting costs. If we win, it could even be seen as an investment.

Tabletop gaming: I found a tabletop WeChat group for Shenzhen, and then shortly after for one even more specifically for my local area of Shenzhen. This only happened this week and I’ve already got a good old D&D group in the works. We’re meeting tomorrow and I won’t have to DM which was never a possibility with my other group of friends since none of them knew the game well enough.

Role models: Several indie game makers have made my inspirational list of successes to look up to. One is the maker of a game called Undertale and another made a game called Stardew Valley. Their skillset is above my own currently, but something that would be more difficult to replicate is their dedication. The latter allegedly spent more than 5 years of a full-time job’s worth of weekly hours to finish his, whereas I lose focus almost as soon as I open the program.

Learning Chinese: I’ve totally abandoned learning Chinese in the past couple months. I think this has to do with not having long metro rides where all my crummy American phone’s data could handle was an offline flashcard app. My Chinese is still miles above the average foreigners, especially from the West, but I can’t help but get helplessly lost after the first minute of conversing with a local.

Professional
Part-time: The twice/week part-time is still going great. It is very easy, and the students are well-behaved. As I may have mentioned before, they’re the same age as my public school, and they’re from there, so I don’t really have to adjust at all. Given how much material my school provides (activity book, flash cards, audio clips, pupil’s book, an interactive DVD, teacher’s book with lesson plans, and a supplementary book of additional worksheets), I gave not preparing a lesson plan a try. It actually went super well, better than my prepared lessons even, so I plan on continuing to forgo the lesson plan for the time being.

Private tutoring: I’m still flirting with the idea of having a few students for a 1 hour or less class out of the apartment, a few times per week. A cautionary friend that I typically don’t agree with much of anything on has mentioned that one of the biggest benefits of teaching through an institution vs. privately is dealing with the parents. Aside from her point, I can’t think of too many downsides. 5-6 students out of the apartment could net at least ¥1000/hour. Financially at least, it is very tempting.

Game-making: One back-of-the-mind incentive to finishing my game is being able to show it to a game studio as an in for a job in the game industry. I would likely need some C++ or other programming courses on top of that to be competitive, but there’s some conflict there because the program I’m using is in JS. Programming is one of the few, marketable “hard skills” that I’m interested in now because of this.

Resume: When interviewing in the past, I always get asked, “So, I noticed your last few jobs you’ve only worked at each for a few months. Why is that?” The implications of the question are obvious, and my own noncommittal work history can be seen in a few other journals here of people around the same age as me. Thankfully, I’m finally satisfied enough with my current position that I know I’ll at least finish the whole year, and maybe even sign up for a second.

Training school: Every now and then we get approached to start a little business with a Chinese friend/colleague. I don’t have much information to go on with regards to the financial upsides to this. The only relevant thing I have to say is that a colleague got approached for joining in a partnership with a training school he has worked at now for about a year, and they’ve offered him something like ¥30,000/month if he accepts (which he doesn’t plan to).

Recording: Recording is the glorious under-qualified job that a well-connected native speaker can hope for while in China. All these schools need native-speaker audio for their English tests and we’re lucky enough to have a friend who’s literal job is fulfilling that demand for native-speaker voice recording. At ¥200-¥300/hour, it is easy money. We usually spend 3-4 hours there, and the pay is per job, so if the recording goes smoothly then we finish early. Right now, we're doing one every other week or so. I don't know how long this will be a consistent source of income, but we do enjoy it now.

Programming: There is a school right down the street from me that teaches programming. The courses take 4 months at 10 hours/day and cost 6500 USD. That price tag and time commitment is ridiculous considering there are free or low subscription cost ways to study programming online. I’ve read C++ is one of the best languages for people interested in the game industry, but the program I’m making my game in uses JS.


Financial
Paychecks: I made ¥2000 from my new part-time, and ¥2000 from two private recordings. The public school paid ¥10350 after housing and bills were taken out.

Savings rate: My savings rate at the top is misleading. What I list is how much I’ve left of what hits my bank account, but we receive a housing allowance, which we never see since it pays our rent. Actually, if you include it, our savings rate is much lower. This month, for example, taxes, wifi, and rent took ¥3650 out of our earnings (each). Our actual salary is ¥11500 + ¥2500 housing. This means, my actual savings rate this month was something like 70%. Taxes we can’t do much about, but if we adopted more affordable housing, we could have a savings rate closer to 80% at our current earning level.

Living costs: Savings rate aside, when you consider I’m living in a perceived low COL country, my spending on living expenses of ~¥4500/month or ~$684 is overwhelming. Part of that has to do with living in a large 2 bedroom apartment, and the other part has to do with being in a 1st tier city.

Progress towards ERE: Let’s assume my target were $250,000. If I continue as is, I’d not reach ERE soon enough for me. I could take on private classes, enroll/study some C++ then go home in search of some programming job, put every waking hour into making a game and hope to make it big, or teach at a new company/school next year that requires more hours but pays something like 2-3x what I earn now. Committing to all five of the above would likely do amazing things for my savings rate, but leave me feeling burnt out.

Transferring money: One difficulty with earning in one country while saving in another is transferring money back home. There are options like bank-to-bank wire transfers, Paypal, and even Bitcoin. The best option I’ve found lately is using something called AliPay. Unfortunately, foreigners can’t use it for sending money abroad, but the locals can, and I’ve sent a test bit of money home now through a friend.

Cryptocurrency: If I took my $6200 liquid in January 2017 I’d be at something like $60000 in Bitcoin today. Thus, I’ve decided when I transfer money to the US, some will go into cryptocurrency while the majority of it goes to the student loans.

Financial goals: I’m interested in designing a sort of personal road map to ERE. Long-term goals could include things like paying off my loans and various passive income milestones, like food for life, food and rent for life, food, rent, and discretionary money for life, etc. These may help me stay motivated if I end up committing to earning more money (and seeing my leisure time decline).

Permanent life insurance: I plan to liquidate this finally because it has not been giving back and I don’t see much value in the actual insurance side of it. I pay roughly $57/month and the pitch is that around the 5-7 year mark it should start earning more than the monthly premium. Unfortunately, my current (3rd year) monthly cash value increases have only increased $8 over the first year monthly cash value increases. As for the insurance side, if all goes according to plan then my dependents won’t need this small policy. As well, I don’t really think anyone deserves a windfall, and I imagine I won’t feel too much guilt one way or the other when I’m dead.


Final thoughts

Final thoughts… November was a bit of a slog, which was expected, and not so bad as far as slogs go. It is the month where nothing happens for a foreign teacher. October starts with a 1 week vacation, but then its a long rest of October, all of November, December, and half way through January before the Spring Festival starts. I’ve heard its all downhill once November ends due to the Christmas holiday and New Years breaking up the monotony. Even given the uneventful nature of the month and my illness for nearly 3 weeks of it, life isn’t bad. My public school is low stress, my part-times are accommodating and easy, and there’s a lot of time for personal growth. The latter is what I really need to start capitalizing on to make the most of my time here. Having an easy life like now and looking back on a month of leisure with little to show for it makes me a bit uncomfortable.

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Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K » Tue Dec 12, 2017 12:34 pm

Mid-December

I’m always changing my money strategy but I’m still always working towards just retiring super early. Like, before 35 would be best but I hope to retire by 32 at the latest. I know it’s only like a few years for me but there’s a lot of inspiration and support on here, so I know I can do it.


Updates in December so far
  • Spent a good bit in one day for a pair of birthdays
  • Learning about a new asset class
  • Started playing a weekly tabletop game with some new people

ERE graphs

Image


Personal
Satisfaction in China: This one guy said we’re “the rare foreigners that actually like China”. I wasn’t, like, “thanks” but it’s definitely interesting

Travel plans: We’ll need to flesh out our plans soon. We found a babysitter for our cats so that helps. This one guy said we should book our first hostel and then wing it from there, but, I don’t know, I’m the type that needs it to be a little more planned, so we will probably look at what we want to do, when, pretty soon. Yes, I still want to be flexible when I get there but it’ll be nice to have a plan. Have you been to Japan?

Exercise: I found a nearby climbing gym by accident, so I’m considering checking it out. But, if it sucks, I’m just going to join the gym that’s, like, right next to my apartment. I’ve got to exercise. I have so much free time and I just sit on my ass all day.

Tabletop gaming: This new group I joined meets Friday at 8:00PM and we play until about midnight. We meet right next to my apartment, so it only costs me a cup of ¥12 coffee and it’s super easy to meet up with them. It’s cheaper than a night out on the town, definitely healthier than a night out on the town… and I like it more.


Professional
Recording: We did one on the 1st, and have one this Friday (the 15th). ¥1000 each time, and we finish before public school gets out. We both get out early on Fridays so we start at, like, 2:00PM usually after the lunch break and then it only takes, like, 2-3 hours.

Programming: I started an online course at Codeacademy. I’m studying JavaScript. A lot of it is familiar so far because I took C++ in high school. I have an hour break at school on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday morning at my school and I was studying during that but the last few breaks the internet has been hella slow so I’ve been studying at home during my lunch break more.


Financial
New asset class: I’ve made like $1200 in the last couple weeks, so.

Permanent life insurance: I didn’t call yet because it’s such a pain to call. I have to call them on VPN of course, so, you know, its hella slow. And sometimes they even hang up on you because of the latency. So you respond but they don’t hear you for like one or two seconds. But I’m getting burned on this and already have been burned like, at least more than 1000 U.S. since I got it.


Final thoughts

Final thoughts… I am pretty happy though. I mean last Sunday was fun with going bowling, drinking Corona Light, playing pool, going to an arcade (¥2 per game), and an all you can eat hotpot with friends, but those sort of things aren’t what make it worthwhile. I just really like the “being an outsider” aspect. And the little (and low stress) work for good pay.

Oh, I got a new metric for my path to retirement. I’ve made some “net worth goals” as I like to call them. Like, the first one is “pay off student loans”. If every month was like this one (so far) then it would take me only 10.63 months. Or if every month is like the last 6 than it will take me 21.26 months.

JeanPaul
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by JeanPaul » Wed Dec 13, 2017 6:22 am

Japan is much cheaper than its reputation, although obviously it's not China. The one thing that is notably expensive is transportation between cities (there are not really cheap bus options, and trains are usually very expensive). I guess drinking in bars and clubs as well, but it seems that's not your thing either. Restaurants are relatively cheap (significantly cheaper than Europe or the US, especially soba places), and you can get good prepared meals in supermarkets (especially when discounted 50% in the evening) for a song. Hotels aren't too bad, unless you refuse to sleep on a futon, at least in the big cities (Osaka is by far the cheapest, then Kyoto, then Tokyo). I spent about 27 Euros/day travelling in Japan with my girlfriend vs about 20-21 in Thailand and Vietnam, although hotel rooms were smaller. Obviously most travellers who move quickly from city to city will spend much more - even just travelling with a third person with somewhat different habits, and a faster pace, raised my own expenses to 31 Euros/day.

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giskard
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by giskard » Sun Dec 17, 2017 1:22 pm

So I know you didn't ask for any advice about programming a whatnot but I want to give you some anyway. Learning JavaScript is a much more marketable skill at an entry level than C++ is. If you decided you wanted to professionally pursue programming, JavaScript would much more quickly lead you to a job as a web developer, in my opinion. There is a lot of work for web developers in general. Or course you would also need to learn CSS and something like Angular or React, but that is pathway to a job as a web dev. If you have the motiviation and drive you can learn enough of this yourself by just trying to build stuff over and over again.

C++ is a bit more niche these days, and the gaming industry is notoriously hard to break into, the pay is comparatively low, and the hours are comparatively long and crushing. C++ is also widely used in things closer to electric engineering (like embedded systems) and you will have more difficulty breaking into that without a related degree from what I have heard.

Anyway, I'm enjoying your journal. You are an adventurous dude!

slowtraveler
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by slowtraveler » Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:44 am

It's cool to finally see you break passed your old ceiling. The y-axis has even changed in scale now to show your progress. Very nice!

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Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K » Tue Dec 19, 2017 11:01 am

@JeanPaul I wouldn't expect it to be so close on a daily budget to the likes of Thailand, so that puts me a bit at ease. I'm sure we'll be able to squeak by on less than the average tourist. Mostly, I want to make sure to eat the food, which I've heard can be cheap enough sticking to 7/11s (will certainly indulge at an above-7/11 level at least once), as well as see some sights. It sounds like the best way to keep the budget low will be by choosing only 2-3 cities instead of trying to see it all.

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Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K » Tue Dec 19, 2017 11:08 am

@giskard Great to hear from you wrt to Javascript. I've heard about video game jobs not being the best bang for the buck, so to speak, but I'd mostly want to join a studio for the hands-on experience more than the salary / work-life balance. Hearing from you that JS is not as niche as maybe C++ may be (plus I'm not looking for an engineering sort of gig later on) is good because JS is the one I wanted to learn more than others because the program my game uses is in JS. So learning JS means I can do more with that program, and accomplish things outside of the box, while also learning a potentially useful programming language for the future. Cheers man

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Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K » Tue Dec 19, 2017 11:10 am

@slowtraveler I didn't even notice that, but thanks for pointing it out. I changed the y-axis since I've been finalizing some net worth goals and $0 is the first one. Given that's the reason for my change, I totally missed that my old top of the graph is below where I'm at now. Feels good!

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Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K » Wed Jan 17, 2018 1:22 pm

Mid-Jan 2018

Happy 2018. Due to my birthday falling early, I have gained an official, entire year of life on this planet.

ERE graphs

Image

My net worth currently. I am getting destroyed in the crypto market and I’m a paycheck behind because my bank account changed. If you add my salary, I’m still up.


Personal
China: One major gripe with life here is the pollution. The last couple months have been exceptionally bad. I don’t know the specific geographical going ons, but with less rain and lower temperatures, we’ve seen an increase in daily AQI. Several days the AQI has even hit “unhealthy” which is disheartening.

Travel plans: We’ve locked up a hostel for our first night in Osaka, Japan. As well, we’ll need to get a hostel for a night in Hong Kong because our flight leaves too early for us to make it from our home to the HK airport. Our cats have a babysitter, and we’re only packing a backpack each. We’ll exchange a bit of RMB for JPY at the airport, and then top up at the ATM in Japan or use credit cards once that runs out. Everything else is up in the air for now.

Exercise: We joined a gym and have been following the 531 workout. I’ve never stuck with a workout routine outside of a sport because measure of progress is something I crave. This workout routine fills that need by telling me what weight to do for which exercise in a given week, with incremental progression.

Spain is calling: We’ve discussed and more or less committed to moving to Spain in 1.5 to (more likely) 2.5 years. At that point, so long as I personally increase my income and the markets continue unabated, we should be able to afford an ERE there. That being said, we would more so want to have assets available so as to float the initial job search period, and then continue to build our wealth.


Professional
Recording: We’ve been doing recordings every week up until the break, which is some nice bonus income to supplement my high level of spending this month and last.

Programming: No progress.

Private class: I want to buy some student books, some kid chairs, and print out some fliers to hopefully get a few 5 1st grade student each classes going at ¥1000 (~$150) per hour at the start of the new semester in February.

Public: Off on holiday for about 6 weeks next Monday. Have fun working you guys that haven’t hit ERE yet ;).

Long-term hobby income: I still want to get back to my game at one point, I’ve just been so busy playing games lately :p. As well, I’ve bounced around the idea of streaming in retirement/the few years leading up to ERE as a potential source of income. This sort of supplementary income would go along way in securing an earlier ERE date. Streaming in particular I could start building before ERE/Spain.


Financial

New asset class: Up from something like $2500 and down to nearly negatives as of now. I hope for a rebound, and, since it was an investment I was willing to lose, I’m fine with waiting and seeing.

Permanent life insurance: Still haven’t called.

High spending: I’ve spent a lot this last few weeks, to the tune of ¥500 or more per week, mostly on food. That’s nearly double my lowest month. This comes from two sources. First, the exercise regime has skyrocketed my appetite. Thus, I need to eat more, which naturally costs more. Second, I don’t have the holy crockpot, or time/energy/will to use our crummy pot and tiny counters to cook. Thus, yuan goes to the restaurant instead of the grocery store, which makes for a sad empty wallet at the end of the week. The crockpot is on the way, and will be heavily utilized post-Japan.

Remittances: Extremely difficult for an expat. One concern with earning some projected $50k next year is the difficulty of sending that money back home to pay down loans.


Final thoughts

Not too much to say today. The next month or two is pretty much wrapped up. I likely won’t be posting an end-of-month update, but I plan to see you all again in the spring. Best of luck guys.

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Re: An American Millennial

Post by jennypenny » Wed Jan 17, 2018 2:08 pm

What do you do to deal with the air pollution? DD is headed there this again summer, but for at least a year this time. She's spent a few months in Shanghai and Harbin but this time will either be in Nanjing or Beijing, so it's more of a concern.

Enjoy the spring festival.

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Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K » Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:27 am

We don't do much of anything. We moved to Shenzhen because the air pollution was allegedly not as bad. Whether that is true or not, allegedly not as bad as the rest of China does not make for healthy pollution levels. Since the AQI has risen, we have considered ordering VOG masks. They're a specific brand of filters that our expat friends bought when they moved to Beijing. I haven't looked up reviews, but according to their site they're good for 3 years. They're a bit expensive, but not so if you price it out over 3 years.

Another investment that wouldn't work for your DD is an indoor air purifier. These are very expensive, and from what I've found, can only really handle about a room worth of square footage.

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Re: An American Millennial

Post by slowtraveler » Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:46 am

Progress is good and you're still crawling out of debt.

Spain suena bien para empezar tu retiro, sería más rico y la cultura es más familiar, el idioma más fácil, entonces pienso que sería más divertido durante tu ganas más dinero y haces tú juego de vídeo.

What part of transferring pay is hard? Are there no banks? Is it all high fee? I've seen cash deposit ATMs and the like. If you could get it into a bank, there are more options.

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Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K » Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:35 pm

The language is definitely easier, considering I haven't legitimately studied Spanish since high school and easily interpreted what you said without needing any sort of translator or Spanish-English dictionary.

As far as transferring, there are a lot of controls here. If I go to the bank, as a foreigner I can only transfer a small amount per day, with an annual cap. I can't use AliPay as a foreigner to transfer money either. Crypto exchanges are banned, so you have to use peer-to-peer which means paying a premium to someone (from what I've seen) and then selling at a loss on a public exchange in another country. Chinese nationals can only help so much. They don't have the same daily limits, but they're also capped as far as how much they can transfer out of the country annually as well. My company boss transferred some cash for me recently, but she is capped at $50,000 USD per year and has more than 100 foreign teachers under her.

I'll search for cash deposit ATMs, because I haven't heard of that option before from other expats here. One other option I've heard people mention is actually tracking down a UnionPay ATM in the US, and that will allow you to withdraw US dollars (converted from your RMB balance) while back home if your Chinese bank card is UnionPay.

An ideal situation where you could go to the bank, fill out the wire transfer form and be done is not available here.

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Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K » Mon Mar 12, 2018 4:32 am

Image

Image

I had a good time in Japan. We ended up using my girlfriend's account for ATM withdrawals there and haven't got a chance to go to the bank, so I don't know how much I owe her yet. After getting back to Shenzhen, had a couple more weeks before school started back up.

Now I'm teaching again and its pretty easy since I found a teacher couple's website here that have good interactive power points for the Shenzhen curriculum so I'm not even planning lessons anymore. I wrote a business plan for private tutoring and quit my part-time teaching gig but then my advertising material got shut down by my contact teacher so that's kind of in limbo right now. The business plan will work for any country really (maybe here, maybe Spain at a later date) but don't want to risk my job trying to advertise.

Had recordings every week so far but not sure when/if that will slow down.

I really need to send some of this cash to my loans. I've almost "doubled" my net worth in that I started here at -$46k and I'm just nearly at -$23k. That's my short term goal.

I've been playing a lot of roleplaying tabletop games and stopped drinking. This works out to be better for my health, wallet, and a nice alternative to my previous social life.

We've been lifting too, 4x/week. Seeing lots of progress and actually enjoy going to the gym since we're in and out pretty fast.

slowtraveler
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by slowtraveler » Mon Mar 12, 2018 11:30 am

Wait, isn't -23 half of -46? ; p

It's cool to see the slope increase so sharply as you move towards 0. It's clear you've cultivated the skills so you're more than halfway there. Momentum is on your side. Interest payments get smaller. Assets begin to move on their own.

If you put a ruler up to the initial slope on your net worth, you'd be at -34 now but you're well passed that. Congrats dude. You're still kicking ass.

Como era vivir en Japon por varato?

Ya me estoy empezando ha enfermar me un pocito de la sanitacion y comida en Tailandia entonces possblamente voy ha vivir en Espana mas pronto y empezar ha oscilar 90 dias entre el Schengen en Europa y 90 afuera, en lo demas de Eurasia. Possible nos enctramos en una playa en Espana.

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