classical_Liberal's Semi-ERE

Where are you and where are you going?
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Re: classical_Liberal's Journal

Post by classical_Liberal » Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:01 pm

Update 1/22/2018

Life and Such
A little update with some positive news. My work situation is about to greatly improve as I was approved for my next assignment in the city that I want, at the hospital I want, on the unit that I want. This contract will carry me until June guaranteed, probably longer. However, June is great because that will mark my 5th anniversary as a full time employed RN and the Fed’s will happily repay the remaining $2400 outstanding on my only liability, a Perkins loan.

I found a small basement duplex (conversion of a SFH) to sublet for only $510 a month. This is about a $200 housing cost reduction and I get a real backyard (shared with my upstairs neighbor, who I met and she seems very cool) and free on-site laundry. A great housing improvement as I’ve been dealing will a real asshole management company at my current sublet apmt complex.
My GF has also gotten a job in the same city working for the competition in their OR, so we will no longer be long distance for the first time in our 8 month run. I look forward to spending more quality time with her. I continue to “work on” her from an ERE perspective. I laid out my budget restrictions for 2018 and have already declined a couple of activities citing budget (actually I didn’t want to do them anyway, it would have just been a compromise because she wanted to). Surprisingly this has not irritated her in the least. She also recently came back from a trip to Mexico. Her friend got married there, it was her first time outside of the US. Upon arrival she was fully invigorated with plans for travel in our future. The idea of a long-term sabbatical, getting to immerse in other cultures, really hits her ENFP personality. The future sabbatical idea has been the main vector through which I have been introducing ERE ideas into her head and, at present, she’s on fire with the idea so I’m taking advantage. I have some more detailed plans I’ll eventually lay out, but I’ll probably discuss them here to get some of your wise opinions on the subject first. In any event, they would be a year down the road, so no rush. I like to change my mind anyway.

Continuing the good news, I have the entire month of February off. I’ll move to new location, then take a 2-3 week car-camp road trip from arctic Midwest to AZ were I will meet up with a snowbird mother, an old friend, and do some hiking in mountains near Tucson. On the way down or back I may have to hit up Roswell NM and Carlsbad Caverns. I missed them on my last trip to Choco Canyon. I have a vested interest in Roswell due to my conspiracy theory hobby and the fact my grandfather was actually stationed there during the incident. I have many fond memories of him teasing me with, what were very likely exaggerated, details of his experience. I also plan to actually write a journal update with some personal history. The good journals around here seem to provide that history, I've been slightly hesitant for personal reasons and also lazy, but it'll happen next month.

I’ve had many deep thoughts reading through some old threads on this site, along with beginning to reread the ERE book. I can’t express how awesome this forum is as a resource. The results thus far; I have become more ensconced in the idea of a semi-ERE. Keeping my RN license for some scalable income and picking up some other hobby earnings as I see fit. I really believe that once large chunks of time are freed up, I’ll find a very good balance of working to live vs living to work. I’m also the type who really needs some external motivation to be a producer. Not being completely FI can provide that hormesis. I’ll always have the opportunity to crank it up if the winds of change hit.

On that note, my employers HR actually presented a PRN position option for my current job because I had expressed interest. It would entail working only 6 mos of the year, when I choose, at any hospital in their system that has needs. Such an opportunity would provide me assured future work, at known rates, inside of a known system (ie I know where it’s bad and where it’s good). It could be a good jumping off point into my future semi-ERE and I could maintain a 40-50% SR with half the year off. I’m not deciding anything at present though. I’ll ride out the next assignment for as long as possible and decide once it ends, it could last as long as a year. My previously published plans for a semi-ERE this summer may be held off on that basis.

I don’t really want to focus as much on financial capital updates as I have in the past. Mainly because the semi-ERE situation doesn’t really require much capital; so it seems very much less important to me than it did a year ago. I’ll instead focus more on spending outflows this year. That being said, I’ll still try to update financials at least a couple times a year, I think it’s helpful to people who may follow the journal to see how such things shake out. Currently I’m very close to 200K in liquid assets and should hit it by March at the latest. Seems like it’ll be a milestone on paper, but emotionally it isn’t at all. The only interesting fact; It took my entire adult life to get to 100K in November 2016 (over 20 years my net worth levels varied, but never got to 100K). It looks like about 16 months to get to 200K, quite a difference.

Spending wise, January should come in well below goal of $1500. Currently I’m at $1277 with no known additional expenses for the month. After today I’ll work 14 hour shifts for 6 of the next 8 days and I never need to spend during runs like this (work, eat, sleep, work).

February will be well above $1500 with moving expenses and my trip, then hopefully level off again in the $1100-$1300 range, aided by the $200 housing cost reduction.

January expenses:
$695 Housing
$137 Phone, internet, utilities
$44 Gas and car insurance
$124 Health Ins, health care supplements
$143 Food
$4 Personal Care/household items
$130 Entertainment/Fun

Food and personal care/household were low because I’m eating/using my extra since I have to move soon. I’d expect the two categories to total around $250-300 in the future.

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Re: classical_Liberal's Journal

Post by chenda » Tue Jan 23, 2018 6:21 am

Some years ago there was a forum user who spent his whole career as a part time/contract nurse. Worked out very well for him: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1757&hilit=bingeworker

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Re: classical_Liberal's Journal

Post by classical_Liberal » Tue Jan 23, 2018 7:45 am

Thanks for that link. I would have never found that old thread. I have met a few folks like the OP in my nursing career.

His point on taxes is very true, I've run some cocktail napkin numbers myself.

Basically, now I work 11 mos a year (with enough PTO to take 1 of 12 mos off, partially paid). Working 6 of 12 (under proposal by HR) my income would drop to about 40% of current. The 40% is because I would lose the partial paid time off, a 401K match and a few other benefits that have value to me. However, my tax burden would drop by 16K per year! That works out to almost 15% of my current pretax earnings; I still end up ahead on a per hr worked, take-home basis.

The thought experiments I ran up thread showed me I really do enjoy most of my job, particularly if i have more control over when and where I do it. I damn well better, I've tried so many! :lol: Certainly it brings me enough positives to do it 3 or 6 months per year, at least for now. I just think any form of FT work is too much, no way to find a balance.

I was heavily influence by a few threads recently, some have been mentioned. Another I had not mentioned, was started by black_son_of_gray a couple of years ago. In that thread Jacob had pointed out that in a semi-ERE situation hard numbers matter more than percentages. Paraphrasing his comments; In FI, if you have 33X spending, it really doesn't matter too much the level of spending(for FI success). In Semi-ERE, hard spending really matters, it's a lot easier to generate 6-12K per year income than it is to generate 30-35K. I can't argue with that logic. This is why 2018 is a year to concentrate on spending vs capital accumulation. Obviously accumulation will slightly increase with lower spending, but at the point of a 75% savings rate, an additional 10% for one or two years really doesn't matter to the end semi-ERE result. Plus, at the moment, learning ERE lifestyle is very fun for me, I thoroughly enjoy seeing the outflows drop & finding ways to fix problems without money!

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Re: classical_Liberal's Journal

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:32 pm

How was your trip, the move, life, Gf, ERE learning?

Inquiring minds would like to know. Financial pr0n welcome.

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Re: classical_Liberal's Journal

Post by classical_Liberal » Mon Mar 12, 2018 11:02 pm

Update 3/12/2018

Shamed into a post by 2B1S. Time off and road trip were wonderful!

It started in mid-February so I was really looking to get out of the artic Midwest weather. I headed straight south, with a one night stay near Little Rock in the Ozark Mountains. Unfortunately, the time of year made it too cold for more than one night of car camping. It was 40-50’s F during the day and allow me to venture out and take up some of the natural beauty, but at night it got below freezing. The GF had purchased me a little buddy heater for a Xmas gift, which came in handy.

From there I knew I had to get to the gulf coast for some real warmth so I began searching. I quickly realized it was Marti Gras in NOLO, a check of hotel points confirmed a free stay downtown, about 3 blocks from the French Quarter. Off to parades and debauchery for 3 days! I had never been to NOLO and Luxagraf really promotes it on his blog… I have to say I agree with him. A very unique blend of southern hospitality and a libertarian, “who gives a fuck what other people do”, culture was very appealing to me. In February it was cool at night, but nice during the day. Though I can imagine it’s pretty hot and humid in the summer.

The next phase of the journey took me across Texas. I friend of mine was going to meet up with me in New Mexico, so I spent a couple of days crossing the Loan Star. I essentially just Drove through Houston and San Antonio. Large sprawl is all I can tell you. I wanted to hit up Austin, but alas, I only had so much time. Again per Luxagrafs journal I was curious to see the fracking boom in West Texas. I had visited the boom in North Dakota a few years back. Although it was crazy in ND, nothing prepared me to the clusterfuck that is the fracking boom of Western Texas. A major state highway literally has signs telling drivers to choose alternative routes, which I didn’t. In the middle of nowhere it was rush hour 24/7 for heavy equipment, white F150’s, and tanker trucks. The highway had been dissolved to sand in areas. The desert landscape was literally a dust storm making day look like dusk, illuminated only by fires in the background from natural gas burn offs near the drilling sites. Debris and garbage everywhere, it’s one of the worst sites I’ve ever seen. I really felt bad for the small towns in the path of this oil-storm.

Eventually I met with my friend near Carlsbad, NM and we took the opportunity to walk down into the Caverns, Camp a on BLM/ Forest service land near and in the mountains, see the Roswell UFO museum, and go to White Sands. All were enjoyable adventures. Then I headed Westward to Tucson, Arizona to meet up with my Dear mother and Step father who winter in Tucson. I spent several says exploring the Saguaros and Tucson with the Fam. One day up on the mountains myself.

Finally back towards the Midwest where I met with my GF, who had completed her assignment and returned to her family’s home in Des Moines IA. I got to meet her family; they are very welcoming, friendly people. To my surprise the GF had sold her BMW X5 a couple days before I arrived! This was a huge move for her, she liked that car. We had discussed her financial situation many times before. Her taste in luxuries has made me wonder if our long term prospects were poor, and we had discussed a future sabbatical and travel. I never prodded her, but when she asked I had repeatedly told her the best thing she could do was get rid of that money sucking car… and she did… one her own…wow!

From there to my new assignment in a small, isolated town of about 100,000 people in BFE. GF and I are moved, still not living together as I wanted to take this process slow. However she’s now within walking distance and we see each other daily vs the more long-distance 2 hours drive we had before. I’m working in one hospital system in town, and her the other. I‘ve worked here before, the pace and culture of the hospital are much more inviting than my previous 9 month assignment.

I’ll do a first quarter financial update later, but progress continues. My goals continue to evolve from an ERE and financial standpoint. For now, my biggest goal remains to avoid burn-out in nursing. I truly enjoy many aspects and know it’s a great feather to keep in my ERE cap. This assignment is a huge step in the right direction. Secondarily, is this travel and sabbatical time, which now appears to be a strongly held joint goal with the GF of nine months. As stated, her snowball in that direction is gaining momentum, so I need to take some time and see exactly what my financial situation needs to be for a couple of different possibilities on that front. I have a rough sketch, but don’t wanna post anything because I’ve jumped the gun before in this journal before. This time it will be a well-considered, realistic plan. So far any side income trials have been relative failures, but at least I know more of what I don’t want.

Until next time.

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Re: classical_Liberal's Journal

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Thu May 17, 2018 11:43 am

Hey there, how did Q1 end up for you? I've moved up my date to June 1, 2019.

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Re: classical_Liberal's Semi-ERE

Post by classical_Liberal » Thu May 17, 2018 11:21 pm

Update 5/17/2018

Reading through my entries to date, my thought process has very much been a cluster f**k. I’ve been taking many of the correct actions, but I have been running away from my current life, rather than running towards a defined goal. The good news is that much of this has been clarified in recent months. The bad news is that a defined timeline has not been set. I have been holding off writing, hoping to declare some specific’s to hold myself accountable. Recent events have taught me these specifics will likely not fully materialize. I’m very much going to fly by the seat of my pants. That OK though, such things are the spice of life!

What I know:
This journal is relabeled classical_Liberals Semi-ERE. I want to document how a late comer to ERE can save enough FU funds in short order to fly-by the seat of his pants in a more enjoyable life without having to waste too many remaining healthy years to reach full FI.

I have fallen in love with my GF

My greatest financial fear (which is directly related to my experience in the medical field) is growing old to a point where body or mind can no longer provide what I need to survive in relative freedom. I now have sufficient assets to ensure that never happens.

My current work assignment is tolerable. I find it a mix of boring, annoying, but occasionally rewarding and challenging. This is far superior to my last couple of assignments and really is as much as one can ask for in nonself-directed paid employment.

Wild cards
My GF was surprised to find out she will likely not be extended in her current contract due to a management shakeup. This means we may have to live in separate cities again, not ideal as we had planned to move in together this summer.

My contact at acceptable hospital/job is currently through end of August and could be renewed as long as March 2019.

GF is younger and does not have substantial savings, but enjoys her work very much. She has shown an amazing proclivity towards changing her financial habits over the past six months. Frankly, she’s shown me up in many aspects of ERE.

Will GF remain OK with my semi-ERE while she works her ass off to catch up? (see plan below) As of now she’s “super sure” she’s OK with it. As months go by with me having a more laid back lifestyle I fear there may be tension.

The (flexible, known unknowns, not sure how it will play out) Semi ERE Plan:

Phase I
An agreement has been reached in which we will remain in the Midwest for as long as I can extend my current contract. After which I will begin my Semi-ERE and the GF will begin her road to financial security by accepting high paid contracts across the US. We will migrate 3-6 mos at each location. The locations will be her call, based on pay, job desirability, and location desirability.

Initially, I will likely take 6 mos of decompression time, take some shorter roads trips around our location(s) and explore. I will also attempt to move our household up a wheaton level (from 4/5 to 5/6). We have become rather avid hikers and enjoy outdoors, Ill scope out some wicked W/E day hikes for us, scout out potential “home base” areas for future phases of plan, etc. After decompression I will cover my expenses through combinations of occasional travel nurse contracts or local PRN positions (currently not my favorite, but will reevaluate after a break), gaining ground on ERE Wheaton level, and other interesting wage-jobs or business opportunities as desires/serendipity unfolds.

I know, I know. Very nonspecific income generation ideas, but this is how I want it... Freedom to choose. Feel free to criticize. However, I can easily cover all expenses with ½ time $15/hr job or about 3-400 hours of nursing per year. I have had work experience in a variety of fields, I’m very confident I have the ability to fund my expenses with intermittent enjoyable wage work in the near term.

Phase II
We intend to take a two year international slow travel sabbatical. This is the main motivator for my GF to become financially secure and it’s also something I have always wanted to do. I currently have funds for this, GF is likely 2-4 years of Phase I away. She needs to stamp out some minor student loan debt, save enough for old age nest egg, then stash for this sabbatical.

We are both very aware, after reading much on the subject, wanderlust tends to wain after a couple of years. If this occurs, we will move to Phase III. If this lifestyle remains very appealing, we will likely return to US earn additional funds at breakneck speed to allow for a long term ERE slow travel lifestyle.

Phase III
Time to find a “home base”, where we can settle into a more relaxed Semi-ERE lifestyle. Each of us have high paying, recession resistant, high demand for the foreseeable future, medical experience. This can easily be parlayed into part time positions, working 1-2 days a week to cover all expenses while we allow previously saved assets move us to the realm of complete FI. Maybe we’ll do something completely different for income, or maybe our ERE Wheaton level momentum will move us to total FI.

Financials: How is this going to work?

12 month rolling spend rate is now down to $1320 mo. This excludes a one-time, large charitable donation and is also reflective of GF and I maintaining separate households. I anticipate a $200-$300 a month drop once we combine household, but this will likely be partially offset by ACA premiums for my ongoing health insurance. In any event, I don’t like using fake, “what if” numbers, so for now all calculations are based on annual spend of 16K.

I’ve broken my assets into two buckets, both mentally and with tax advantaged accounts. Both will continue to grow for as long as I work at my current location.

Bucket one is my pre-60 semi ERE bucket: Currently at about 5.5 years of expenses. This is my buffer- bucket. I will fund 6 mo decompression and two year slow travel sabbatical from here.

Pretty Pie Chart showing it’s stable value allocation.

Bucket two is my post 60 FI or traditional retirement bucket: Currently at about 7.4 year’s expenses.

Same pretty pie showing the growth allocation of this fund.

I’m adding about 3K per month of income to the pre-60 buffer, and about 2.5K to the post-60 retirement. Quit date still unknown.

I have some breaks points set in the 60+ bucket in case it hasn’t reached certain growth levels at certain ages. I may need to top it off. Again, I’m OK with that as this is Semi-ERE. My assumptions are 4% real annual over 20 years, fairly conservative, but probably not enough for many on here. I’m Ok with that. At current levels this means 16 yrs expenses at 62. 20 years expenses at 67 if I have been lucky enough to stay active and earn my keep until that point. It also assumes complete draw down of my buffer bucket.

Other things going for me at traditional retirement age:

At 67, without additional earned income, I’m eligible for $2000 in SS benefit. Even at 50% payout, with a 25% spending increase for medical, this brings a WR at at 67 to under 3%.
Odds of a high five to low six figure inherence is very high (not going to discuss specifics), but not calculated.

High probability of adding at one more year of expenses to both buckets before execution.

This allows me to sleep at night, I feel debt to future me is paid. Let the Semi-ERE experiment begin!

Fun stuff.

GF and I went on an extended weekend road trip to Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Cost of trip was $80 in gas, $7 for a campsite one night (winter rates still applied), plus food, but we would have had to eat anyway.

Free entrance to park with $80 annual national parks pass, free camping second & third night on nearby national grass land (the free site was much better!)

This park is loaded with wildlife. A few pics from the Day hikes:
Bison are all over this park. Some are very curious and will actually walk towards you in isolated trail areas. This can be a bit disconcerting given their size! We had three of them essentially following use for awhile. They kept their distance at about 20 feet and got skiddish when we stopped and turned towards them. They are shedding their winter coats, this guy totally ignored us.

Wild horses are a bit harder to find and much more jumpy, we had to sneak up on these guys very, very, quietly :D

Badlands landscape is beautiful and makes for great hikes.


Special thanks to @2B1S for continuing to shame me into making posts on this journal!

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Re: classical_Liberal's Semi-ERE

Post by SustainableHappiness » Fri May 18, 2018 8:06 am

Really digging the title switch. Based on the enthusiasm you've shown to this approach in various places, it makes sense! I too plan on getting back to journal writing, starting tracking monthly expenses/income again at the end of this month after a long hiatus while we sold our houses.

Also, cool pictures.

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Re: classical_Liberal's Semi-ERE

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Fri May 18, 2018 8:00 pm

Dang, I'm not trying to "shame" by any means. Just genuine curiosity from someone who is on a similar path and values your contributions here.

I like your plan. And woah, I'm impressed by that spending over the past 12 months. It's where I hope to be in a years time.

Do you count Roth IRA as part of Retirement accounts or After Tax?

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Re: classical_Liberal's Semi-ERE

Post by light_bulb_moment » Sat May 19, 2018 2:12 am

Cool pictures. Sounds like you're going to get great value for money on that annual national parks pass :)

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Re: classical_Liberal's Semi-ERE

Post by Seppia » Sat May 19, 2018 4:22 am

Seems like a reasonable and well thought out plan.
As with all journals, the outdoors pictures are amonth the things I enjoy the most.
Remember to hit me up if your future slow travels will include Italy, I may be able to help with recommendations :)

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Re: classical_Liberal's Semi-ERE

Post by classical_Liberal » Tue May 22, 2018 10:26 pm

The fact you jumped off into Semi-ERE before me and have been documenting has been an influence on my decisions. Soo, if I fail it's YOUR fault! :lol:. Kidding aside, the fact you were able to do it with a new kiddo in tow helped me look at my own risk profile. You definitely have more years saved than me, but I have no one dependent on me and really have very little to lose. Thanks for all you have done!

You've actually been a great inspiration and resource given our similar paths and goals. I can't overstate how helpful your continued input has been. Thanks! The comment is partially figure of speech, part jest, but mostly a self-deprecating rip on myself for being so damn lazy and incoherent with my journal writing. Please take no offense!

The spending reductions have come in two areas, housing and food. In the past 5 months I had two spendy double rent months fall off the 12 mo rolling. Because I move so often, I have f-it moments and overlap leases to avoid the hassle of 1 day 500 mile moves. I stopped that practice early last year and just manned-up and did them in one day. Rent in the new city is peanuts, $510 mo for a duplex with a bedroom and a yard! Food/household items/personal care has dropped with some very basic optimization, whereas before I was all convenience. I'm looking forward to see what happens when the GF and I combine household, I think 1K month spending may be within the realm of reality, at least in my current location. Don't be too impressed though. According to this a 16K spend rate in my location is the equivalent to almost 30K in any of the boroughs of NYC. You're still kicking my ass!

As far as your question, I am considering Roth as part of the old-age retirement bucket. Obviously it's the most versatile portion of that bucket, so the contributions can be a back-up of in times of emergency. Preferably though, I'll use it as needed to avoid taxes on IRA/401K withdrawals and SS after 60 if I have some more spendy years. Here's the current distribution:
I'll for sure make another Roth contribution 2019, and if I stay with my current job long enough I'll buy a 12 mo CD for 2020 contribution as well. After that, I'll use the Roth for any additional "top off" contributions or just to sweep any extra earnings into the retirement bucket. I'm hoping not to have enough income going forward (that would mean I worked too much!) for the front end tax break to be worthwhile on the traditional tax deferred. In years of particularly low income (ie 2 year sabbatical) I'll convert as much traditional to Roth as possible. I'm a pessimist on future tax rates, I doubt they'll get much lower than they are currently.

I can't imagine a better "bang for your buck" entertainment expense in the US.

Thanks for the input, and particularly the invite to look you up! It's a high likelihood I'll take you up on the offer. Plus... you will cook me a meal, right?! :D

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Re: classical_Liberal's Semi-ERE

Post by classical_Liberal » Tue May 22, 2018 11:01 pm

Update 5/22/2018

I put together a simple graph that should be able to show the financial situation history and updates at a glance going forward. The lines will move with 12mo rolling expenses, indicating any substantial spend rate changes. The yellow indicates my expectation of 50% SS, hence it's the minimum growth threshold needed for my 60+ retirement or for a bare-bones 60+ without any SS. Hopefully no other explanation is needed. If it is, let me know, I failed at my task. I may putter around with the goals a bit, but will note if I do so.


I wish I had more detailed asset data to show you, but I just haven't kept track of anything on a monthly basis. Annual has seemed plenty for my purposes and tends to smooth things out anyway.

I was surprised that I didn't have any harsh condemnations regarding the planned execution of less than conservative semi-ERE. It's probability because I just dont have many readers :shock: ! At least the ones I do have all sit at the "cool table". Please though, if anyone has criticisms I really want to read them. I can't think of any better way to make the plan less fragile.

I found out this weekend that the GF did, in fact, get extended until end of August. The story is why i love her. Evidently she was prepping for an operation and the manager of her department came in to tell her they still were unsure of her extension due to the management shakeup. She asked if the director of nursing (DON) was one of the management members who had been pushed out, the manger indicated she was not. The GF stopped what she was doing, walked upstairs to the DON office and provided her a list of other OR travelers who would not be extending due to the indecision. She said she would join that list if not renewed by the end of the day... DON completed paperwork on the spot :lol:

With a guarantee of another three months of work, we can now plan to combine household in June. GF will move into my small duplex apartment. This will be a tough transition for me. I haven't lived with a SO for over seven years. I'm both excited for it and dreading it at the same time, worried it won't work out. No matter what, it should have positive effect on spending in the near term.

We both have about 10 days off in the first week of June before the next contracts start. Plan is a road trip to Yellowstone or Black Hills SD/Devils Tower WY, or maybe both. Actually, we got into an argument tonight about trying to squeeze all that in on on trip(I was not in favor). By argument, it was mainly me being an asshole. No matter which destination (or both), I'll have a few more pictures for the next update. If we go to the Black Hills, I plan to meet up with a travel nurse I met awhile ago who built an off grid home with her husband in SD. They did the whole thing themselves on a shoestring budget over a few years, so with their permission, I'll provide details as it is very applicable to ERE goals.

Until next time.

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Re: classical_Liberal's Semi-ERE

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Wed May 23, 2018 10:10 am

Including Yellowstone with South Dakota destinations will certainly work with good planning but it will change the character of the vacation. If you only have 10 days and like to settle in at some of the places, I'd recommend doing one South Dakota + Devil's Tower vacation and a separate Yellowstone + Tetons vacation. If you like to tick off a lot of destinations and don't mind more driving and logistics combine it all together. It depends on your interests.

Nice pics of Roosevelt. I like the buffalo.

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Re: classical_Liberal's Semi-ERE

Post by Fish » Thu May 24, 2018 2:37 am

Hi there CL, great to see you doing well on both the love and financial fronts! Regarding your plan, it's helpful that you've mentally divided it into two buckets which sets a limit to how much you're willing to deplete the portfolio. I expect that the biggest risk is not financial, but rather that the relationship ends before you reach phase 2. If it's very important for you to have that experience together, you might consider moving up the start date by (1) planning for part-time work during the trip, (2) you contributing some funds towards her portion, and/or (3) reducing the duration (maybe do a 3-6 month test run to validate interest, then save up for a multi-year trip if it still interests both of you). Regarding #3, doing a shorter trip might convince you and GF that it is ok to go before she is fully debt-free with nest egg saved. Another suggestion is to slow-travel within the US, selecting contracts based on interest not compensation, while taking the occasional international trip to scratch that itch. Or have GF (and maybe you too?) start looking for nursing jobs abroad and let that determine your destination. You've probably thought of it already, but that is what came to my mind.

Some other thoughts:
  • Supposing you set a goal of covering expenses (i.e. not touching your pre-60 bucket) even with 0% real returns that will put your combined net worth at 13 years when those buckets are combined in old age.
  • Instead of SS as an afterthought, maybe we should be taking it into consideration for AA. The reasoning being, if SS actually does pay out, paper assets likely would have done ok. If we presume the converse is also true, this would imply a high correlation between SS payout and equity/bond returns, meaning there would be some systemic failures that would take out the portfolio AND your safety net. This would suggest that tilting the AA towards hard assets would offer a higher likelihood of success even if the expected return is lower.
  • Until you're fully FI, you're not financially immune from the proverbial "hit by a bus" disaster. But since your footprint is only ~2 jacobs (excellent work btw!) it's likely not going to be catastrophic if you can pull off some side income.
  • When you take a break from nursing, consider part-time freelancing (e.g. odesk) to develop new skills while generating a side income and having fun (maybe?)
I'm excited to see the Deliberately coasting to FI idea put to practice and eagerly await the results of this experiment! :D

Posts: 313
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: classical_Liberal's Semi-ERE

Post by classical_Liberal » Thu May 24, 2018 11:06 am

@ Gilberto de Piento
I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment of the situation, next time I should probably be less of an ass in how communicate it with the GF. Since Yellowstone/Tetons is further away, we will focus our trip on that area. If time allows we may stop in the Black hills on the way back. Luckily our current work location would allow for shorter trips to the Black Hills area; it's only about 5 car hours away vs 9-10 to Yellowstone. I think having 10 days grouped together is a better fit for the farthest locale.

Good thoughts and advice, as always. I hope all is well with you!!

Regarding the sabbatical time: #1 is possible, but not from paid nursing. It's a huge PITA for foreign licensing and the pay is not worth it anywhere but US and Canada. Although both of us have considered volunteering for an NGO. Doing some good plus getting free transport/lodging for a portion of the trip would definitely be on the table. #2 We have a pretty good thing with separate finances. At my old age (soon to be 42!), I have fears of seeing financial ruin on top of emotional struggles if the relationship should ever turn sour. I've seen this happen to too many men I know as they approach middle age. With too few years to recoup, it's a risk i'm just not willing to take. As I recall there was a recent heated discussion on these boards about the risk men take with marriage and combined finances. I'm just too lazy to look for it at the moment, but the sentiments expressed is where my thinking lies, although if children were in play (they won't be) it would change everything. If we were to break up with separated finances, I'll likely do the sabbatical myself. #3 is great advice! It's something we have considered before. Short, closer to home, trip to test the waters. My biggest concern being we enjoy it too much and have a difficult time returning so quickly. In Phase I, slow traveling the US is part of the plan. The GF really wants to do an East coast run for a year, following the weather with her contracts.

Regarding your other thoughts, these are all possibilities. I absolutely agree that any systemic events leading to a failure of SS will be highly correlated with poor performance in other assets. I'm not really sure how to protect myself from a rapid decline of western society. It seems to me any financial, or even hard assets, could potentially be at risk in the 10-20% chance (purely a guess) modern society sees and abrupt change in the next 40-50 years. I'm not really sure having 20, 30 or 40X spending saved will make much of a difference in those potential events. It seems planning the need for income will likely decrease fragility in a slower decline situation vs resting on laurels (assets). Of course, this is what makes ERE unique in the FIRE world, most ERE'ers plan for some form of an income leg, mine is just more of a necessity. With regards to a total SHTF scenario, I have always thought there are two strategies; hunker down or be mobile. I would choose the latter and hopefully parley the small amount of physical gold and cash I hold with valuable medical skills into a reasonable situation in the new geopolitical environment.

From a medical standpoint, I can easily absorb a 10K bronze plan deductible if hit by a bus. I'll gratefully return to work for awhile after I recover to recoup the costs. I'm more concerned about contracting a more lingering chronic condition. 10K every year is another thing entirely! This would require an entire rework of plans. Generally speaking, an expensive chronic medical condition is also highly correlated with decreased ability to live the lifestyle I enjoy. So if such a thing happens, all bets are off. My best strategy is prevention, semi-ERE is far more conducive to maintaining personal health than FT work. In any event, the odds of being hit by a bus or accelerated Western civilization decline will start pale in comparison of chance for good, old fashion death as the years progress.

There seem to be so many anecdotes of folks who ERE, then end up plugged back into the economy with substantial earnings later. It wouldn't surprise me If I follow that tune with yet another career of some kind down the road. It's happened to me in the past (well before I'd ever even heard of ERE of FIRE), this time I'm just much more financially prepared. The need for a balance between YOLO and strategic planning is obvious. For now, this seems like the best option for me.

Posts: 313
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: classical_Liberal's Semi-ERE

Post by classical_Liberal » Thu May 24, 2018 11:39 am

Tracking Chart Alteration 5/24/2018

I've modified the tracking chart. The band lines actually haven't changed much, but I decided to change the reasons for placement. I'm posting this change right away as I want an apples to apples compassion for easy reference going forward.


1) I've done a ridiculous amount of historical modeling with portfolio charts, Cfiresim, Fircalc and ERN's WR rate alterations for CAPE and inflation adjusted annuities (ie SS). I realize 3%WR is a ERE thing, I also realize I will not get historical average returns. However, I just don't need average returns, all I need is the worst cases historically, plus half my SS to be relatively bullet proof with a 4% rule in my situation. I have changed full FI to 25X and adjusted my SS band to reflect 25X minus 50% SS as well.

2) I have increased my annual spending needs to 20K (from rolling 12 mo of 16K). This change will hold until I actually have 12 mos of rolling spending data post semi-ERE. Even though I've run through expenses with a fine tooth comb, I'm just not going to make assumptions going forward based on a one of my better 12 month periods while i'm still working FT. After I have the first 12mos of rolling data I will adjust the bands to show real post Semi-ERE spending.

3) Lastly, network dropped by 2.5K because i still have a student loan for that amount. It's currently in the final process to be forgiven by the generous US taxpayers for my five years of service as a direct patient care RN. 5.5K of this loan has been forgiven in previous years, so I don't anticipate any hang-ups. I've not previously included this in net worth, but will add it for the time being.

Final chart:
Obviously with the spending increase it's noted I have not reached the minimum for semi-ERE under the new bands. The new minimum amount will be met by plan execution in 3-12 mos.

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