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.

PoorButWealthy
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Re: PoorButWealthy's Journal

Post by PoorButWealthy » Thu Dec 27, 2018 6:00 pm

Time for an update :geek:

October
Savings rate of net income: 80%

November
Savings rate of net income: 74%

December
Savings rate of net income: 75%

The monthly savings rates look good, but I'm not really happy with my spending. As always, I'm spending way too much money on food even though I almost always cook my own food (no restaurants) and don't drink alcohol or go out. The problem is that I'm way too hyper sensitive about what I'm willing to eat. Everything "must" be organic / local (vegetables etc.), grass-fed (meat), wild (fish) and high-quality. In a sense, it's good that I optimize my health, but I'm doing it way too inefficiently. Cutting my food bill to half, while maintaining or even increasing the health aspect of my food intake, will be the main objective of 2019. I think this is quite easily achievable and lately I've done a ton of research on how to achieve this. For example, I will heavily cut my meat and fish intake and increase my plant based protein intake. For example, 1kg of high quality wild fish costs about 20-50 euros per kg and 1kg of high quality (local & organic) dried green peas costs 1.5 euros (!!), and they both provide a somewhat similar amount of protein. I'm not really worried about increasing my carb intake, as long as they are high quality complex carbs and I'm staying lean and active (running, working out, fasting etc.). Most of my fat intake comes from avocados, nuts, EVOO, but I will also get a sufficient amount of omega-3 from e.g. fish, fish roe and meat.

Work has been quite rough, long days, tight deadlines, business trips around Europe etc. But on the positive side, there's not much time left on my contract (24-25 months), and soon my ERE / semi-ERE / extended sabbatical will start :)

BR,
PBW

PoorButWealthy
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Re: PoorButWealthy's Journal

Post by PoorButWealthy » Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:19 am

Long time, no see, so it's time for an update. :P

1/2019:
Savings rate of net income: 79%
USD saved: ~3500

2/2019:
Savings rate of net income: 51% (low savings rate because I had to buy a new laptop, which will hopefully last the next 5-10 years)
USD saved: ~2100

3/2019
Savings rate of net income: 79%
USD saved: ~3300

4/2019
Savings rate of net income: 81%
USD saved: ~3400

5/2019
Savings rate of net income: 81%
USD saved: ~3400

6/2019
Savings rate of net income: 85%
USD saved: ~5400

The journey to FI / ERE / Semi-ERE (what have you) is going as planned, I've just been very lazy to write in my journal. I'm learning and researching new stuff, concepts and skills rapidly and my determination for reaching FI and "total independence / freedom" for that matter (i.e. some kind of renaissance man) has never been higher. Shitty and stressful workdays are much easier to conquer nowadays, as I know that I'm approaching FI and that there comes a day, when this grind is over.

Monthly living costs have been quite stable at 700-900 USD, which has been somewhat of a sweet spot for me. This amount of money provides me a very enjoyable existence on a monthly basis. For now, I've given up on trying to slash my food bill, as very high quality food (organic, non-processed, local etc.) is something that I price very highly, due to several reasons (health, longevity etc.).

Monthly earnings have gone up, as I received a 12% pay-raise last month. My salary is now in the top 5% of wage earners in my country, even though I work on average only 40-45 hours a week. This is something that I'm quite happy about, as I'm still quite young (30 years next year) and my relevant work experience is just about 6 years. All this has been achieved by learning and acquiring skills and knowledge that are quite rare and very sought after and then leveraging this in (salary) negotiations. I think I can increase my salary still by ~20% in the coming years, if I take on more responsibility etc. However, I'm not sure if I want to do this, as working only 40-45 hours a week is a true blessing, as there's so much free time after work and on weekends.

At the moment, I've gathered about 190k USD in net worth. I'm not yet totally sure when to quit the rat race, but I think 12/2020 is one possible scenario. Maybe sooner or later. But no matter what, it is very likely that FI will be reality in the coming years. :geek:

bigato
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Re: PoorButWealthy's Journal

Post by bigato » Tue Jul 02, 2019 2:20 pm

Did you do another blood test after the changes? Did your changes fixed your LDL levels?

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Re: PoorButWealthy's Journal

Post by frihet » Wed Jul 03, 2019 6:27 am

Congratulations on your progress. Nice to see how your drive has payed off. Working both ends of the FIREaxis, both savings rate and income. Especially good work since I read you don’t take your career seriously. I know that one all to well myself and it made me less competitive at my work. Luckily it paid well anyhow.

I’m sure you will reach your goal and being that smart and driven and still young I can’t see how it would be any problem to make additional income in retirement.

An idea, just quit myself, but instead of calling it retirement, which I don’ quite have reached according to this forums standards. I reframed it and am taking 3 years off, what happens after that is unknown. Actually instead of being scared of this unknown I find it a bit exiting.

Still reading spiritual books?

PoorButWealthy
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Re: PoorButWealthy's Journal

Post by PoorButWealthy » Thu Jul 04, 2019 4:15 pm

@bigato: I haven't yet done the blood tests, I think I'll wait until I get a free check-up from work. I'm almost certain that my LDL has dropped dramatically and HDL has increased somewhat, given everything I have done (diet, increased exercise, further lifestyle modifications etc.) after the 10/2018 blood tests. I have cut down dramatically saturated fat intake (mostly animal based but also coconut oil) and replaced it with avocados, EVOO, nuts, hemp seeds, fatty fish (mostly Coregonus albula, which is the "Nordic Sardine") etc. Nowadays I eat red meat / organ meat only about twice a month and when I eat it, I try to find the best quality available.

@frihet: Thanks! Yes, it's quite interesting that when one "stops caring" about one's career, i.e. no more identity / attachment to one's career, no pressure / stress to succeed or climb the corporate ladder, no need for the next paycheck etc., great things tend to happen. I think this often described as "office space syndrome". When one stops caring about the aforementioned stuff, it provides the individual the freedom to work somewhat effortlessly, smoothly, stress free etc.This often results in better work quality, concentrating on the big picture / important stuff, being a laid back and well liked person to your colleagues etc. So in a sense, it's no surprise that the "office space syndrome" is a real thing. I have many friends who have described this same phenomenon, i.e. the less you give a fuck the better employee you become and the faster you receive promotions and pay-raises. :lol: Did you experience the same phenomenon?

I really like your approach to take three years off. Something like this might be an option also for me and this is something I've been thinking about. What are your plans during these three years? I reckon you are from Sweden or Norway, given your forum name "frihet"?

I still read "spiritual books", but mostly the same books over and over. These include inter alia: Meditations (M.Aurelius), Total Freedom (Krishnamurti), Out of Your Mind (A.Watts), Be as You are (Ramana Maharshi), The Power of Now & A New Earth (E.Tolle). I also recently stumbled upon a very intriguing (underground) book called "From Onions to Pearls" (S.Nadeen), which has had a large impact on me especially when it comes to concept of "free will" and how "free will" might just be a large illusion. Sam Harris also talks quite often about free will and how it seems to be at least partially just an illusion. Moreover, I will soon start reading Anthony de Mello's "Awarness" and some of Jed McKenna's books.

The reason why I read, contemplate, ponder and "meditate" on a lot this kind of stuff is that I find it extremely important to understand the true nature of my identity / ego / perception / thinking and the illusions and conditionings related to them. I think this is probably the most important thing for me now and it has been for the last 4-5 years. I also think that this will remain the most important thing for me for the rest of my life. Day by day, slowly but surely, past conditioning and identity is erased and a "new person" is emerging. All this feeds into my concept of freedom / independence, which incorporates not just financial freedom, but also psychological / mental freedom, physical freedom (health, strength etc.), intellectual freedom (the ability to learn and understand almost anything so that one is not dependent on "expert opinions") etc. In my opinion, financial freedom is almost useless, if one is not at the same time (at least partially) free in all the other main domains (psychology, health, intellect etc.). I think this is something that many people striving for FI don't really comprehend well enough, i.e. one should strive for total freedom, not just financial freedom. Financial freedom will solve one's financial issues, but it will not solve any other issues.

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Bankai
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Re: PoorButWealthy's Journal

Post by Bankai » Fri Jul 05, 2019 6:51 am

Interesting reading list! Have you read 'How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World'? Curious what impact did it have on your search for maximum freedom.

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