PoorButWealthy's Journal

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

Post by classical_Liberal » Tue Sep 04, 2018 7:49 pm

Playing devils advocate.

The media focus on easy mode FIRE could have some positive benefits. There seems to be a couple derivations of us ("easy-moders"). Those who really dislike chosen field because it doesn't offer the non financial rewards anticipated or lacks sufficient diversity to avoid pure hell of repeating bullshit job activities ad nauseam. Also those who really dont mind duties of employment, but find the expectations of high earning jobs to completly eradicate any form of diversity in other realms of life (ie 80 hrs a weeks doing work related tasks).

If we assume capitalism is somewhat efficient and those earning 100k or more actually deserve high compensation due to skill/work ethic, etc. Then completely losing a percentage of these skilled workers to early retirement can pose a legitimate threat to the profit motives of the employers. As more high income earners realize they simply don't need all that income, perhaps employers will begin to offer jobs that these folks find more interesting and sustainable at lower wages. Ex Half-time engineers who have the opportunity to switch project teams annually. Or adding additional jobs that absorb some of the activities high skill employees find obtrusive, with corresponding wage decrease for less time commitment. The end effect being more better jobs for some, lower wage more engaging jobs for others, and better overall income distribution.

Of course this is all predicated on a critical mass of skill workers who are willing to drop out of the work force, and i highly doubt we're near that number. If this is indeed peak-FIRE, it's not likely to be enough people to make a difference.


Edit to add: I highly doubt any social backlash towards "Easy-mode" FIRE folks will impact anyone here. At least anyone here near an ERE Wheaton level. Given the lifestyle options most of us prefer, the lower wage working class folks tend to see us as "one of them", from a outward looking lifestyle standpoint. IOW, even a $15hr worker can understand how it's possible for someone like C40 to live in a Van with very little income, I doubt they assume he has a half million in assets.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: PoorButWealthy's Journal

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Wed Sep 05, 2018 6:35 am

You bring up some good points. Based on my anecdotal observations in the working world, many of the highly compensated employees are grossly overpaid and don't actually produce enough to warrant such high incomes. Hell, I myself have nearly tripled my base salary in commissioned sales over a 3 1/2 year period! I'm just good at selling, myself especially.

My income is a secret in the real world, my family and friends wouldn't even be able to wrap their head around it. Many are in healthcare related professions, or have masters degrees with serious debt in late 20's early 30's and make half. Averaging ~$19k/yr in spend means I blend right in, and no one suspects I'm 2-3 years away from being able to retire @ 33-34 y/o.

I found out about FIRE/ERE before pursuing a high paying career. The career was the quickest path I could figure out at the time to get me to where I wanted to go. Not everyone has the social capital and environment to do so, but it's still easy mode.

PoorButWealthy
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Re: PoorButWealthy's Journal

Post by PoorButWealthy » Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:54 pm

jacob wrote:
Tue Sep 04, 2018 6:22 pm
I agree. The developing media narrative that increasingly associates FIRE with those who do it with 100k+ engineering salaries and the benefit of a 10 year bull market (I did note that I was not invited to this article nor do I see other FIRE people there in the normal salary range) is somewhat destructive to FIRE itself and FIRE's reputation in society at large.

Basically, the media is increasingly only covering people who FIRE in "easy-mode".

I mean how can this not generate a certain resentment/exclusively in the other half. Defining leanFIRE as spending <50k/household (close to the median) and referring to spending in the 40% percentile as "extreme frugality" is somewhat insulting (oblivious privilege?) to the other half of the population for whom this is normal and who can never retire because they're earning/spending normally. Shopping at Costco is NOT extreme! Many people don't earn enough to FIRE on a Costco diet and some can't even afford to live on it.

I'm not surprised this [easy-mode media-focus] is happening and I do see it as an indication of peak-FIRE. We're simply seeing the last-marginal buyers ... people who did or wanted to do the minimum and signing up easy-mode got easier and easier.
Yes, I have similar thoughts. This kind of coverage totally alienates most ordinary low/middle income readers from the concept of FIRE / ERE / FI, which is a shame. There is nothing inspirational or impressive in that somebody saves 50% of their 150-300k annual income and retires in a 10 year time period, while cotemporally riding an aggressive bull market. I mean, one of the greatest and most liberating things about FIRE / ERE is that most middle income households can quite easily achieve it, if they just put their minds on it.
You bring up some good points. Based on my anecdotal observations in the working world, many of the highly compensated employees are grossly overpaid and don't actually produce enough to warrant such high incomes. Hell, I myself have nearly tripled my base salary in commissioned sales over a 3 1/2 year period! I'm just good at selling, myself especially.
I do agree with this. I work with highly ranked people and many of them are way overpaid. Most of these kind of overpaid people are skilled at playing workplace politics, but quite subpar when it comes to almost anything else.

Edit: typos

PoorButWealthy
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Re: PoorButWealthy's Journal

Post by PoorButWealthy » Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:59 pm

classical_Liberal wrote:
Tue Sep 04, 2018 7:49 pm
Playing devils advocate.

The media focus on easy mode FIRE could have some positive benefits. There seems to be a couple derivations of us ("easy-moders"). Those who really dislike chosen field because it doesn't offer the non financial rewards anticipated or lacks sufficient diversity to avoid pure hell of repeating bullshit job activities ad nauseam. Also those who really dont mind duties of employment, but find the expectations of high earning jobs to completly eradicate any form of diversity in other realms of life (ie 80 hrs a weeks doing work related tasks).

If we assume capitalism is somewhat efficient and those earning 100k or more actually deserve high compensation due to skill/work ethic, etc. Then completely losing a percentage of these skilled workers to early retirement can pose a legitimate threat to the profit motives of the employers. As more high income earners realize they simply don't need all that income, perhaps employers will begin to offer jobs that these folks find more interesting and sustainable at lower wages. Ex Half-time engineers who have the opportunity to switch project teams annually. Or adding additional jobs that absorb some of the activities high skill employees find obtrusive, with corresponding wage decrease for less time commitment. The end effect being more better jobs for some, lower wage more engaging jobs for others, and better overall income distribution.

Of course this is all predicated on a critical mass of skill workers who are willing to drop out of the work force, and i highly doubt we're near that number. If this is indeed peak-FIRE, it's not likely to be enough people to make a difference.


Edit to add: I highly doubt any social backlash towards "Easy-mode" FIRE folks will impact anyone here. At least anyone here near an ERE Wheaton level. Given the lifestyle options most of us prefer, the lower wage working class folks tend to see us as "one of them", from a outward looking lifestyle standpoint. IOW, even a $15hr worker can understand how it's possible for someone like C40 to live in a Van with very little income, I doubt they assume he has a half million in assets.
These are some interesting thoughts. But I also agree with you on that we are not even close to the critical mass of highly skilled workers who are willing to drop out of the work force and thus this "easy-mode FIRE" probably won't make almost any difference when considering the big picture. :(

PoorButWealthy
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Re: PoorButWealthy's Journal

Post by PoorButWealthy » Fri Oct 05, 2018 3:40 pm

September
Savings rate of net income: 82%

In ERE-terms, an OK month. Net income was about 4500 USD and expenses about 780 USD. Expenses were divided as follows: food 50 %, other expenses 24 %, housing 25 % and transportation 1 %. There were about 150 USD of non-recurring expenses during the month, mainly related to housing and some medical expenses. Overall, housing expenses are extremely low, as the mortgage interest is almost zero (thanks to ECB, 12-month Euribor is at -0,16% at the moment) and as other fixed monthly expenses of my apartment (heating, water, trashes, everything) are very limited, as the apartment building (i.e. "housing company") owns a commercial real estate that generates about 150k USD of cash flow annually, which covers most of the apartment building's expenses.

I managed to cut annual fixed costs by about 100 USD by negotiating a better deal with my electricity provider. My electricity bill is now absurdly cheap and I wonder if the electricity company makes any money with my contract. I tried to do the same thing with my mobile phone plan, but couldn't find a cheaper one with similar features as the one I have now, which costs about 20 USD per month (unlimited fast 4G mobile data and loads of calls and text messages).

Work has been pretty rough lately, long weekdays and working on weekends. Moreover, I think I'm affected by Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), as days are getting darker and colder here in Scandinavia. But, then again, ERE / FI / FIRE / Semi-ERE / "whatever you wanna call it" is again one step closer. There's 27-28 months to go, then I'm out of the rat race (hopefully...), yay! :geek:

BR,
PoorButWealthy

prognastat
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Re: PoorButWealthy's Journal

Post by prognastat » Fri Oct 05, 2018 5:04 pm

Congrats on negotiating down on your fixed costs and the 82% savings rate.

PoorButWealthy
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Re: PoorButWealthy's Journal

Post by PoorButWealthy » Sat Oct 06, 2018 2:31 pm

@prognastat: Thank you. I read your journal and everything seems to be going well in ERE-terms for you. Do you have a goal / time span / deadline in which you aspire to be FIRE/ERE?

prognastat
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Re: PoorButWealthy's Journal

Post by prognastat » Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:19 pm

Thanks, plenty room for improvement left, but it's going to be a few months before I have the flexibility to implement more improvements. As for plan I'm aiming to reach 4% SWR in about 3-4 years and hoping to then transition to jobs that will teach me skills I want to learn at the cost of lower income while coasting to 3.5% SWR in another 1-2 years.

This of course depends heavily on how my investments perform in that timespan.

So to reach complete FIRE between 4-6 years.

PoorButWealthy
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Re: PoorButWealthy's Journal

Post by PoorButWealthy » Fri Oct 12, 2018 3:16 pm

@prognastat: That sounds good!

For quite some time I've been somewhat obsessed with optimizing my health. I've been doing low-carb high-fat (LCHF) and intermittent fasting (IF) for about a year. Also, I work out 3-5x per week (cross-fit, running, gym etc.) and do 3-5x sauna + ice showers per week. I've lost about 10 kilos (mostly fat) of bodyweight and my waist circumference has decreased about 15 centimeters and is now about 70 centimeters. That is, the LCHF + IF regime has worked wonders, at least on the surface level.. Before I started the LCHF + IF regime, I had somewhat of a "bodybuilder" body type with some fat, but now my body type is more like 200-400m sprinter.

However, I did some extensive blood work this week and was shocked to see that my LDL cholesterol had skyrocketed when compared to the last reading, which was taken a couple of years ago. It had increased almost 100%, that is from a normal level to a horrible level. The positive thing was that almost all other blood markers had improved and were on optimal levels. Also, my HDL is high and triglycerides are very low.

I did some research and it seems like there is a subset of people (called "lean mass hyper-responders") who's LDL (and LDL particle number!! This is the important part!) reacts horribly to a LCHF diet, especially if one consumes a high amount of saturated fats. Interestingly, Peter Attia (a world class doctor in the field of longevity) discusses this phenomenon on his newest podcast episode (https://peterattiamd.com/davefeldmantranscript/).

So, I have now added some additional carbohydrates (mainly lentils and vegetables) into my diet and swapped most of the saturated fats into high quality olive oil, nuts and avocados. I'll test my LDL again after a couple of months and hopefully it has dropped significantly.

So, the lesson of the story is that although LCHF works wonders in losing weight, it can have some ugly side effects, which cannot be observed without doing some blood work. So, if one is on a LCHF diet, one should probably test one's blood lipids to ensure that one is not a "lean mass hyper-responder". And before one argues that "LDL has no significance if one has high HDL and low triglycerides", please go and listen to the podcast I linked to earlier. If one has a high LDL, one has probably also a high LDL particle number, which is never a good thing...
Last edited by PoorButWealthy on Sat Oct 13, 2018 1:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

SavingWithBabies
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Re: PoorButWealthy's Journal

Post by SavingWithBabies » Fri Oct 12, 2018 3:29 pm

Do you mind if I ask how long you have been doing LCHF before the blood test? I don't doubt what you've discovered (and I'm going to go read about it) but I had the misfortune to need to do a blood test for life insurance about 6-8 weeks into starting a low carb diet (perhaps very similar to your LCHF). My numbers didn't look so good and I posted on another forum about it and it turned out to be a common problem and it took maybe 6-8 months for most people to have good numbers (but the sample size was small and this is of course anecdotal). I did have a blood test later (past 6-8 months form start of diet) and things looked very good except my HDL was a bit low so not perfect. My LDL didn't spike though for either test so I'll go read about what you found.

PoorButWealthy
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Re: PoorButWealthy's Journal

Post by PoorButWealthy » Fri Oct 12, 2018 3:47 pm

@SavingWithBabies: I've been doing LCHF for about a year and did the blood testing this week. If your LDL didn't spike for either test then I think you don't have anything to worry about, assuming that your LDL level is somewhat normal.

My LDL was about 110 mg/dl before I started the LCHF + IF regimen and about 220 mg/dl this week :shock:

prognastat
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Re: PoorButWealthy's Journal

Post by prognastat » Fri Oct 12, 2018 5:13 pm

Congrats on the progress in health. That's something I've been focused on too. Probably my second highest priority over the past 10 months after my finances.

It sounds like we've been doing similar stuff. I switched to a keto+IF diet starting this year, adding in workouts and sauna later on and managed to lose quite some weight too. I had a decent bit to go when I started though lol. Hope the LDL comes down on your next blood test. Haven't done any blood tests myself yet.

PoorButWealthy
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Re: PoorButWealthy's Journal

Post by PoorButWealthy » Sat Oct 13, 2018 1:48 pm

@prognastat: Good to hear! What kind of fats do you consume on keto? A mixture of saturated fats and MUFA?

Btw, have you tried taking an ice cold shower immediately after coming out of the sauna? You should try it, it is very relaxing :geek:

prognastat
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Re: PoorButWealthy's Journal

Post by prognastat » Mon Oct 15, 2018 1:55 pm

The largest staples in my diet are probably: eggs, peanuts, cheese, sausage, ground beef, chicken, pork, avocado, sour cream, romaine, and broccoli.

I actually work out then go in to the sauna and then finish off with a cold shower. Feels great, though the showers at my work gym don't get very cold just kind of cool unfortunately.

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