RFS' Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
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Re: RFS' Journal

Post by jennypenny »

I'm sorry, too. You and your siblings are awfully young to have to deal with such a sudden tragedy.

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Re: RFS' Journal

Post by RFS »

Net Worth: $10.2k
Expenses: $784
Savings Rate: 71% (81% If you include tax returns as income ;) )
Years Saved: 1.57
Avg. Month: $562.25
Avg. Year: $6,747.00

I spent $300 on a 2-year supply of contact lenses. Working out in glasses is a pain in the ass, and this luxury seemed worth the money. I looked into LASIK, but the thought of "adverse effects" is simply too damn terrifying for its consideration. Spending should be back to the $400-$500/mo levels now.

The local grocer installed a light near their dumpster, transforming a bountiful land of organic produce and fruit to somewhere I could get arrested at. They already made a sick ROI on that light, because it lead to me standing in the checkout line days later thinking "I can't believe I'm actually buying shit from here." $80 went to food this month.

I'm on a diet of eggs, sauteed sweet potatoes and kale, cheese, oatmeal, protein powder, and sometimes onions and avocados too if they're on sale. No bread or added sugar. Hot damn, people are not kidding when they say cutting out sugar makes them feel better! I don't have mid-day crashes anymore, and I'm much leaner.

In other news, it has been one month since my father's death. Focusing on the little things seems like the best way to stand tall and enable my family to find strength beside me. Daily discipline in exercising, keeping my room tidy, shaving, drinking enough water, reading, and going to bed/waking up at the same time are keeping me sane. I think that's applicable whether your father dies or not, though. One commonality in a lot of the books I've read this year, from Phil Jackson to Marcus Aurelius, is the power of the process. Great achievements are made up of little baby steps each day. You can control what you do each day, but not the outcome. The process gives you a sense of agency, no matter the situation.


The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius
- The personal diary of the most powerful man on Earth, trying to be wiser, more humble, and ultimately bad-ass. Here's 2 bits I liked:

"Your actions and perceptions need to aim: at accomplishing practical ends - at the exercise of thought - at maintaining a confidence founded on understanding. An unobtrusive confidence—hidden in plain sight."

"That to be remembered is worthless. Like fame. Like everything. Indifference to external events. And a commitment to justice in your own acts. Which means: thought and action resulting in the commongood."

Average is Over, Tyler Cowen
- I was initially hesitant to read a book by an economist, because most of them don't think about energy. This is a great book, though. He argues that the economy of the next 20-30 years will look like freestyle chess matches. In these matches, people use computer programs to calculate the outcomes of potential moves. The humans can pick up on things the computers aren't advanced enough to see, though, so they determine what moves to actually make. There will be 2 groups: People who can work with intelligent machines, and those who won't learn how. The benefits will increasingly skew towards the former.

Tiny Beautiful Things, Cheryl Strayed
- I got this book from Ryan Holiday's reading list, where every recommendation has been a home run with me so far. I'll let him do the talking: "Cheryl Strayed, also the author of Wild (Amazon), was the anonymous columnist behind the online column, Dear Sugar and boy, are we better off for it. This is not a random smattering of advice. This book contains some of the most cogent insights on life, pain, loss, love, success, youth that I have ever seen."

The Miracle Morning, Hal Elrod
- Hell yeah.

The 10X Rule, Grant Cardone
- Redundant at times, but it wasn't bad. It's a trip inside the brain of one of the most hardworking humans to ever live. Grant Cardone struggled with going to rehab-levels of addiction and didn't get his life together until he was around 30. If you want to be at the top, you have to outwork everyone else and take massive amounts of action.

@jennypenny &edithkeeler- thank you!

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Re: RFS' Journal

Post by Smashter »

Since you seem to be devouring content and you liked that Tyler Cowen book, I recommend you check out his podcast, "Conversations with Tyler." He doesn't always ask the follow-up questions I wish he would ask, but he has a unique style, a very interesting mind, and he gets good guests.

Your discipline and toughness in the face of adversity is inspiring. Keep on keeping on. But one thing I gotta ask... shaving every day?? That seems awful. I had to do that for a job a while back and hated it. Maybe I just needed a more positive mindset?

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Re: RFS' Journal

Post by RFS »

Years Saved: 1.9
Avg. Month Expenses: $530
Avg. Year Expenses: $6,452


1. Places
- I've been obsessing over where to move recently. As Johnny from Granola Shotgun would say, America has an archipelago of West Berlins ranging from the great lakes down to the southern midwest. There's a high demand for walkable communities with good urban fabric, and these places offer them at great prices. Cincinnati is emerging as a frontrunner in the search. It has some good things going for it:
- Projected population and job growth
- Diversified economy
- Good price-to-rent ratios
- 300k people [big enough that major corporations will come, but not too big]
- Nobody says "what a great choice!" [this marks the death of an emerging market]

2. Exercise & Nutrition
- My relatively basic diet has forced me to learn the importance of the spice game. Not only does it make your food delicious, but changing up the spices practically turns it into a different meal. I'm mainly using cayenne pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and an assortment of other peppers.

I just started with another exercise program, but I used Ice Cream Fitness to build a good base. Highly recommended. It was hard to bench and squat more than 135 lbs when I started, but I can do 225 and 375 lbs. now!


12 Rules for Life, Jordan Peterson
- An incredible book. For those who haven't read it, check out the overture. I think Jordan Peterson is one of the most important intellectuals in today's ravaged-by-postmodernism world.

The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg
- See this MMM post.

Mastery, Robert Greene
- An incredibly well-written exploration of what makes people like Leonardo Da Vinci, Darwin, Freddie Roach, Mozart, and other badasses achieve mastery in their field.

War, Sebastian Junger
- I thought Restrepo, the documentary about a US platoon stationed in Afghanistan's mega-dangerous Korrengal valley, was fascinating. So I read the book. Which is also great.

Tribe, Sebastian Junger
- A nice reminder that modern society, for all its caveats, is deeply fucked up.

The Big Short, Michael Lewis
- Scion Capital is born after Joel Greenblatt reads a medical student's investing blog and loans him $100m to start a hedge fund. Michael Burry, the student turned manager, sees in 2003 that multitudes of AAA-rated mortgage bonds are, in fact, comprised mainly of adjustable-rate loans given to people with rock-bottom FICO scores. He gets Wall Street banks to create products that allow him to short the bonds. 2 other fund managers saw what was happening and bet against the housing bubble, too. The story explains the 2008 crash through the lens of these investors.

I was in middle school when the 2008 crisis hit, and I vividly remember the general feeling of misery and swaths of abandoned sub divisions, but it blew my mind to see just how criminal the whole thing was.

@Smashter - Thank you for the recommendation and the words, sir. I appreciate that, and I'll definitely check it out. As for the shaving, I heard on the Russian-Chechen war Jocko Podcast that the Russian brigades began their descent into chaos when they stopped shaving [according to one of the Russian commanders.] It's a nice daily discipline to get your day going. Although Jules Verne's legendary beard has inspired me to try my hand at beard-growing, so I am no longer shaving :P
Last edited by RFS on Fri Feb 18, 2022 3:35 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: RFS' Journal

Post by Kriegsspiel »

I think Cincinnati would be a great choice (I ended up buying a house in the Pittsburgh metro).

Will PM you a book recommendation.

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Re: RFS' Journal

Post by RFS »


Net worth: $31k (I got a $10k inheritance)
Avg. monthly spend: $676
Years saved: 3.86

I read Set for Life and Shop Class As Soulcraft recently, which got me me thinking about optimizing my journey to FI.

For those of you who don't know these books, Set for Life is for someone no assets who wants financial freedom in 5-10 years. It's by Scott Trench, a true FI badass. He started working as a financial analyst after graduation, and he wound up getting an operations/sales position at BiggerPockets. He tripled his income and essentially house hacked his way to FI. I think he has 8 units that net him $3.2k/mo. You can read all about his investment philosophy and portfolio numbers here. SFL covers 3 stages:

1. Save 1 year of expenses.
2. House hack and scale income.
- If your goal is early financial freedom, staying in the job with a promotion every 2 years becomes the bigger risk than taking advantage of an opportunity that could scale your income. Often, the price of opportunities like this is lower base pay. This could be entrepreneurship, joining a startup, something like that.
3. Asset generation
- Here, you just build on your investments until you're at FI.

I already had a plan like this for stage 2, but the book inspired me to consider synergizing this step with real estate investing. Then I read Shop Class as Soulcraft and Jered Sturm's article about how a shortage of skilled trade workers will affect the economy.

This got me thinking: What if I went for a trade? It could be synergistic with real estate investing, away from the odd psychic landscape of white collar work, and I could leverage it to cover my expenses when I reach FI.

Some ideas floating around:

1. Find a good residential contractor and work for low pay as a remodel apprentice. Learn the trade, then build my own business.
- In America, this is a largely unregulated field. If you took a poll, I bet many Americans have either been screwed by a contractor, know someone who was screwed by a contractor, consider finding a contractor that won't screw them to be very difficult, or all of the above. If you did good business, I think you could get going rather quickly.
2. Plumber or electrician apprenticeship.
- I'm not sure about this. It would take about 5 years, and the pay is low starting off. Although, maybe I'm not thinking long-term enough.
3. Work at a real-estate related startup, become a real estate agent, or do something in sales.
- I have a good bit of career capital in sales already. Although it was weird communicating with people solely through phone/email, and not in-person. I think that kind of sucks the soul out of you. This would have to incorporate leaving an office and not staring at a screen all day.

Why We Sleep, Matthew Walker.
- The most mind-blowing health book I have ever read. He did a great podcast with Joe Rogan.
When Breath Becomes Air, Paul Kalanithi
The Primal Connection, Mark Sisson
Grit, Angela Duckworth
Flash Boys, Michael Lewis
The Blind Side, Michael Lewis (I am just enamored by how ridiculously good his writing is.)
Retire Early With Real Estate, Chad Carson
#AskGaryVee, Gary Vaynerchuk.
- I knew little about Gary V prior to reading this book, and I was worried about wasting my time with a book that had a hashtag in the title. However, this man's knowledge of the modern economy and the future marketing is incredible. A lot of the book is about the importance of becoming a media company, which I had not thought about before.
Last edited by RFS on Fri Feb 18, 2022 3:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: RFS' Journal

Post by Kriegsspiel »

Mike (Lacking Ambition) executed your idea. He was a lineman who retired after he bought a few properties. Linemen can make six figures with all the overtime they put in. Did you decide on a city?

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Re: RFS' Journal

Post by RFS »

Here are the numbers for my first ERE-year, 2018.
Expenses: $8.5k
Avg. Savings Rate: 75%
Years Saved: 4.14
Net Worth: $35.5k (started at $0 this year.)

2018 was good! Even though my dad passed, I think it was the best year so far. I know that sounds ridiculous, but I attribute it mainly to focusing on having a good day and setting the bar appropriately low enough to do it.

This started to click for me after listening to Jordan Peterson's Personality & Its Transformations class last year. It's about personality's biological underpinnings and how it's a lens people see the world through, but he often talks about his clinical psychology practice. A huge part of his clinical work is helping the patients fix the small things that bother them on a daily basis, no matter how trivial, incrementally. Because the truth is that the dull, mundane parts of daily life actually comprise most of your life. If there's negative emotion embedded in the way your partner greets you when you get home, your physical space, your physique, etc, you should do something about it. It replaces a constant source of negative emotion with something life-enriching.

This strategy stuck with me because it seemed like a realistic way to improve life. I spent some time thinking about what bothered me on a daily basis, and my personal health and physique kept coming up. I did not exercise the entire time I was at university, except for walking, and my muscles atrophied down to spindly levels. I looked like one of those bohemian restaurant waiters that bitch about capitalism. Plus, I was experiencing the general feeling of shittiness that comes with not exercising. Since I am 24 and in what feels like a competitive dating market (people in their 20s), my brain perceived looking and feeling like shit as especially problematic and responded accordingly. I was carrying around a ton of negative emotion subconsciously.

To start fixing this problem, I knew I needed to just start lifting weights. I looked up Jocko Willink's recommendations for a strength training program and found Starting Strength. Maybe it was just the feeling of elation from having actually done something, maybe it was the post-exercise euphoria, or maybe it was both, but I was hooked from that first workout. This one habit ignited a slew of other good habits- yoga, healthy eating, and sleeping enough. It was like my first keystone habit, for those of you that have read The Power of Habit.

I think these habits have been huge for ERE, as they make you mentally sharper, more confident, and raise testosterone levels, all of which are assets to the web-of-goals approach.

Most importantly, this taught me that I need to narrow my focus in life. This is hard for me because I am high in openness as a personality trait, and I want to do a million different things. Still, I can either be pulled in a million different directions and make no progress in anything, or I can choose to be focused at the expense of choice and actually do something meaningful. The latter is obviously superior. I need to re-visit my self authoring program and develop a more specific vision that ruthlessly excludes almost everything :twisted:

My main goal for 2019 is to reach the trifecta of house hacking, going car-less, and hunting and processing all venison myself. If I achieved all of these things, I think my monthly housing cost, transportation cost, and food costs would be close to $0.

@Kriegsspiel, to answer your question about cities, I am thinking of sending work applications to a few different cities- Louisville, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and possibly Detroit. This way, I broaden my chances of being able to go on an adventure! While I enjoy living with my family, it feels time to move on.

Louisville is my top choice. It has a plethora of good schools I can work at, and it is one of the least-sprawling US cities I have ever seen. The economy is diversified, it has great bones, it's incredibly affordable, and the government is business friendly. I think it's a great value for the money. Plus, the other factor is that my family wants to relocate, too. This is great for me, because I have a good relationship with them, and I would like for my future kids to have that support network while growing up. I had a set of grandparents that chose to move several states away when I was a kid, and despite their efforts to make up for the distance, it just couldn't replace proximity. My Mom and siblings have mentioned that they would happily relocate there.

I have been thinking a lot about Detroit recently, too. Well, to clarify, the 7.2 miles that is being heavily developed. Detroit is simply too big for the entire city to "come back." But, pockets of it seem to have extraordinary opportunity. Big lots that could grow lots of vegetables, unbelievable price-to-rent ratios, code enforcers often looking the other way on things, lots of water nearby, and businesses moving to the area. I think you can do more there with less money than any other city in the US. Perhaps it's one of the biggest opportunities for someone my age, especially an ERE person. Except, my mom and siblings are 100% not down with this location. It's cold as shit, extremely sketchy, and if my siblings didn't want to home school their future kids, they'd have to move out to the suburbs or pay for a private school. Which are all completely valid criticisms.


The Everything Bubble, by David Stockman, which should actually be renamed to "We're All Fucked." Stockman makes a clear case that the fed created a bubble in treasuries to inflate the economy after 2008. Since prices for everything are connected to treasuries, if there's a bubble in treasuries, every asset class is in a bubble. There were many parts of this book that made me say "jesus christ" aloud, like learning that the fed lowered the fund rate to .25%, and how the countries that have already experienced this crisis (lovingly referred to by the international community as the PIIGS- Portal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain) implemented things like negative interest rates, asset seizures, holding taxes, etc.

Prosper! by Chris Martenson.
- This book attempts to answer the question "What should you do, considering that we're all fucked?" It made me wonder if I am a huge dumbass for even wanting to move to a city with hundreds of thousands of people. I think Chris Martenson is one of the best things to happen to the doomer world, because he explains our energy, environmental, and economic predicaments with the candor of a former Pfizer VP from Connecticut. If we had to send one person to the RNC or DNC to explain the unsustainable nature of modern life, they would be booed off stage, but Chris Martenson would make it the longest (1.5-3 mins) before being booed off stage.

Small, Gritty, and Green, by Catherine Tumber.
- This explains how the smaller Rust Belt cities (Syracuse, Akron, Rochester, Muncie, etc) are best equipped to make what we need in a low-carbon economy. It's an academia project that was turned into a book, so beware of unbelievably wordy passages and editors that clearly give 0 fucks about being concise. Plus, half the book is footnotes. Honestly, it should have been a long-form article. Catherine, if you're reading this, I don't blame you for wanting to make some cash.

Total Recall, Arnold Schwarzenegger
- I couldn't put this book down. Anyone who says "I want to be a world bodybuilding champion and be in the movies" at age 14, then moves to the US with no money, no connections, and no English, then actually does it, has something to teach everyone. It's a great business book, too. He house hacked and started bodybuilding-related side hustles, which gave him the FU-cashflows.

Can't Hurt Me
, David Goggins
- This guy's life story is almost as incredulous as Arnold Schwarzenegger's. He was 300+ lb when he decided to become a Navy SEAL, so he lost 100 lbs. in 3 months and went to BUDs. He also had to teach himself to read during this time, so he could pass the ASVAB. He got discharged the first time because he broke a bone. He comes back a second time, gets through Hell Week, and in the closing weeks broke another bone and was discharged. The Navy told him he could come back one more time, but he would have to start from Day 1. He came back and pushed through another injury to became a SEAL. Then he ran a 100 mile race on 3 days notice with no training or experience, which spawned a career in ultra races.

1. Why We Sleep
2. Deep Work & So Good They Can't Ignore You
3. The Primal Blueprint
4. The Magic Art of Tidying Up
5. Total Recall
Last edited by RFS on Fri Feb 18, 2022 3:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: RFS' Journal

Post by Smashter »

Great update! I'm really impressed by your fortitude in the face of tragedy. I'm reading a few different ancient stoic authors right now, and it sounds like you are pretty close to embodying their ideal virtues.

I implemented a modified starting strength regime and I am really enjoying it. For anyone else interested, there are good youtube videos explaining proper deadlift and squat form with Mark Rippetoe, the guru of Starting Strength. I played D1 sports and yet never had anyone really take the time to teach me proper form. It's a game changer.

I also really want to read Can't Hurt Me, I've heard Goggins on Joe Rogan's podcast and he is so inspiring.

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Re: RFS' Journal

Post by cmonkey »

Great financial progress! With numbers like that you'll be FI by 30.

I'd love to start harvesting venison myself, looking forward to your updates.

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Re: RFS' Journal

Post by blackbird »

Hello RFS,

Your last update was great. Very positive and proactive. On venison, have you been following the Chronic Wasting Disease / misfolded protein / prion situation? It seems like this past year saw an explosion (anecdotally speaking) as I noticed outbreaks from Wyoming to Alabama. Because it is suspected that this is transmissible from eating affected meat (hence the required destruction of game in several states) I have worried a bit about my own area since deer hunting and venison are a big part of local activities. Might be worth looking into if you have not yet caught up on it.

Keep up the good work!

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Re: RFS' Journal

Post by prognastat »

Glad to hear despite some bad life events happening you've managed to make it through stronger and are working on improving yourself and your situation.

Keep up the good work in 2019!

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Re: RFS' Journal

Post by RFS »


Net Worth: $37k ($200 BTC, the rest cash)
Expenses: $527
Savings Rate: 80%
Years Saved: 5.86 @ 6.3k/yr, 4.6 @ 8k/yr
Avg. Month: $527
Avg. Year: $6.3k

The best way to describe this month was "emotionally volatile." I am adjusting, or will be adjusting, to some big changes. It has been less than a year since my father died, so there's that. I'm also planning to find work somewhere entirely new, move there this summer, build up a social network, house hack, and ultimately have a prosperous ERE life.

This is on top of getting up at 4:15 AM to lift weights, teaching for 6 hours*, coaching a sport after school, rushing home to complete lesson plans/grading, eating, working on assignments for my teaching certificate program, then going to bed by 8:15 pm to sleep enough. I feel like the average "middle class" person Jacob talks about in the beginning of the ERE book. Life is whizzing by while every moment is seemingly dedicated to work. I don't even think about things like washing clothes or connecting with friends/loved ones until weekends. If I were a plane, I am pretty sure my instruments would read something like "CHANGE COURSE IMMEDIATELY; BURNOUT MOUNTAIN IMMINENT."

As much as the responses from the best trades for ERE thread were awesome, throwing "switch careers and make a plan for it" into the mix seemed to stretch me a bit too much. For a few days, it felt like I was trapped in a cloud of anxiety. I would wake up in the middle of the night with a mixture of racing thoughts about the trades, other career changes, and how these would change my plans and fit into my goals. Swirled in with jumbled thoughts about work.

One night, a couple of minutes before I was going to bed, I went to tell my mom goodnight. She could immediately tell that something was fucked up, and she asked me what was going on. When I started to think about everything, I could feel tears welling up in my eyes. The tears of feeling overwhelmed and somewhat lost in your early 20s. I sat down and started to cry. It was horrible.

She told me that I'm still adjusting to a big life change in my father's death. And that since I am adding moving to a new city, where I know 0 people and will be getting my feet on the ground there, that I should not take on too much on at one time. She suggested I go and teach, as it's something I am skilled in and will provide me with stability and a middle-class income while I am there, and branch out from there. Because, at the end of the day, I am on nobody's timeline but my own. I think she is right- it made me feel much better to just hear that.

In light of that, I may heed her advice for now. But still, I sometimes feel psychically disconnected from teaching because of John Taylor Gatto. I think work that's aligned with your ideals is a good way to reduce problems that will eat away at your core.

I think I had it right when I first started my journal, listing one of my goals as operating a profitable market garden. I can't think of much else that is as connected to my values than that. Although, something tells me my income should be more synergistic with real estate investing. Any of the residential construction trades would be good for that, but I currently have 2 main problems with those trades: it takes a long-ass time (5 years) to get through the apprenticeship, in which the first few years are at low wages (although, perhaps I am not thinking long term enough about that), and we're also at the beginning of the everything bubble bursting. It would truly suck to be laid off during an apprenticeship, as that seems like a scenario in which you are screwed.

I have read a bit of Dan Perry's Handyman Startup blog, and I like the blend of synergistic real estate investing skills and low barriers to entry that route requires. The autonomy of self-employment is nice, too.

Skills people have paid me for so far:
- Writing
- Sales
- Teaching
- Building Websites

I need to do less thinking, and take action on something. When you have savings built up and feel like life could be greatly optimized by something else, staying where you are is a bigger risk than taking a chance on something.



This workout is absolutely torturous! It's awesome. Me and my workout partner have modified it a bit:
2-Leg Extensions (3 x 8-12)
Ab Roller (3 x 12)
2-Leg Curls (3 x 8-12)
Power Clean -> Press -> Overhead Squat (3 sets of 5. You get the power clean, then the press, then do 5 overhead squats.)

Bench Press
Bent Over Rows 3 x 6
Incline Curls 3 x 8
Lat Pulldowns 3 x 10-12
Dips 3 x 10-12
Pull-Ups 3 x 10-12
Ronnie Colemans (2 sets of side raises: 12 @ 15 lbs, 10 @ 20 lbs, 8 @ 30 lbs.)

Wednesday: Rest Day

Deadlift (instead of cleans)
Box Jumps 3 x 6
1-Leg Extensions 3 x 12
1- Leg Curls 3 x 12
Romanian Deadlifts 3 x 6
Something to torture the abs

Bench Press (6 sets of 6 at 80% of max.)
Inverted Rows 3 x 10
Incline Curls 3 x 8
Tricep Extensions 3 x 8
V Bar Lat Pulldowns 3 x 10-12
Straight Bar Curls 3 x 10
Skull Crushers 3 x 6-8

Current Maxes:
Bench: 255 Lbs.
Squat: 385 Lbs
Dead lift: Unknown (I am working off a 355 max currently.)

When I started lifting in October 2017, I weighed about 145 pounds. I weigh 170 lbs. now, and I'm 5'8. I don't think my frame is supposed to get much bigger than this. Plus, the amount of eating this requires is starting to become a bit of a nuisance. Perhaps I will modify my routine to become more athletic, and build a physique that is less like a bodybuilder's and more like an MMA fighter's.

@Blackbird- Thank you for the heads up! I had heard a little about it, but I thought it was contained mainly in the upper midwest. Shit! I'll have to do more research and get back to you.

@Smashter- I appreciate that, man! Thanks for those videos, too. They are indeed super helpful. I was doing my squats too wide, and it caused pain in one of my knees from a muscle imbalance that developed. Good form is essential. I hope you get around to reading some Goggins! I think about him often when at the gym, or doing anything that sucks.

@Prognastat and @Cmonkey- thank you both! I really appreciate the comments.


Reclaiming Conversation, Sherry Turkle.
- I spend most of the day with teenagers, and this has lead to a fascination with 2 modern things:
1. How treating children as adults turns them exactly into the opposite of adults (emotionally fragile assholes that cannot have meaningful relationships with anyone because their parents see them as a peer, and not as a child that has to be taught how to orient themselves in the world.) See Leonard Sax for more on this.
2. Their relationship to their smartphones. I understand that I see this in the context of school, where they face tasks completely irrelevant to their problems and see their phone as an escape mechanism. But I also live with my sister, who is a teenager with a smart phone. Reclaiming Conversation is an MIT professor, who has studied how relationships are changed by technology for 3 decades, sharing a lot of stories that demonstrate how much smartphones are fucking with humans. It has helped me understand my sister, and my students, much better.

Gen Z is the first generation of kids that are growing up with access to smartphones from birth. Well, maybe not from birth, but let's say as early as 7-9 years old. This means they do not experience solitude (loneliness is a problem that is solved by "connecting" with others on your phone) and communicate with other humans primarily through a screen. This ultimately means they do not become fluent with the nuances of tone, body language, facial expressions, and silence in real-time/in-person conversations, do not let their minds wander or reflect on their lives much, and cannot focus on anything for more than a few seconds. I think the average millennial is also shitty at these tasks, but gen z is on a whole new level.

The other day, my mom and sister got into an argument on the way home from school. My mother told me she got so infuriated that she stopped the argument in the car, and waited until she got home to text my sister her thoughts, so "she wouldn't cut me off and could see my words." It made me deeply sad to hear that. "How is she going to learn to work through arguments with other people?" I asked. "She doesn't intuitively know how to do that. We have to teach her." I got a blank stare in response. Based on the book, the same thing goes on in many families and workplaces. It is, in a way, a manifestation of the religion of progress. We are turning to technology to solve all of our problems, but it is only creating something worse.

What's terrifying to me is that this is just one domain of problem brought up by mobile technology. Or, more specifically, people irresponsibly using it. Several of my students tell me they will come home from school, take a nap from about 4-5 pm to 8-9 pm, then stay awake until 3-4 am while looking at their phones. Every day. Almost every single student listed "sleep" as one of their top 3 favorite activities on a questionnaire I had them answer. If you went back to any time in human history and asked children what their favorite activity is, do you think any of them would say sleep?

Mate, Tucker Max & Dr. Geoffrey Miller
- I realize that Tucker Max wrote all those terrible books in the 2000s, but he went to psychotherapy for several years and has had quite the transformation. This is not a BS pick up-artist manifesto. It's about what women have evolved to select for in mates. I think it would even be helpful for men in relationships.

Living with The Monks: What Turning off My Phone Taught Me About Happiness, Gratitude, and Focus- Jesse Itzler
- I impulsively ordered this from the library while waiting for another book, and I'm glad I did. Jesse Itzler is crazy in a good way. He founded NetJets (later bought by Warren Buffet) with no experience and money, and his wife is Jessica Blakely, who founded Spanx. There's a monastery in upstate New York that he went to live at for a little over a month, and he wrote about his experiences. I thought it was fascinating. It's not a meditating all day while om chanting kind of monastery. In fact, the monks have several income streams. One of them is training and selling German Shepherds (these dogs are so well-behaved, they have a multiple-year waiting list and have sold several books and DVDs on dog training.) There were some great thoughts on business, in addition to focus and presence.

The Thank You Economy, Gary Vaynerchuk
- Anybody that is an entrepreneur, or interested in entrepreneurship, needs to read this. It changed how I see branding and business in general. His thesis is that social media has made it impossible for any company to act like assholes to their customers without any repercussions. On the flip side, this technology enables businesses who love their customers to be handsomely rewarded. Businesses of the future must treat their customers like the businesses of small towns in the early 20th century (always giving a shit and trying to create close connections).

* In teaching, you deliver lessons for all but 2 hours in an 8-hour day. 1 hour is your "planning period," which is usually booked up with meetings. You get a 52-minute lunch, but it's actually 26 minutes because you have some sort of professional duty for one half. All the planning and grading must be done outside of work.
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Re: RFS' Journal

Post by RFS »

Net worth: $41k (all cash except for $300 bitcoin)
March Expenses: $576
Savings Rate: 79%
Avg. month: $524
Avg. year: $6.5k
Years Saved: 4.8 ($8.5k/yr spending)

Cimorene, thank you for your comment. It lead to a lot of reflection about gratitude. You are completely right about teaching- even though the overarching system is completely evil, teaching itself is often incredibly rewarding. It's impossible to deny that a good teacher doesn't make a huge impact on kid's lives and well-being. Last year, a student transferred to my class with both a shitload of disciplinary infractions and test results indicating that he was several years behind. I worked hard to meet him where he was, respect his culture, and show that I genuinely cared about his success. He invited me to his sister's Quinceañera later that semester and sends me emails with subject titles like "HOW ARE YOU MR. RFS??" Where else does that happen? Many interactions at my previous job in a coworking space consisted of walking past people, acting like they didn't exist.

Plus, teaching isn't bad to have on the ERE toolbelt. Almost everywhere on Earth, there is an abundance of full and part-time opportunities.

This week marked the 1 year anniversary of my father's death. I was folding clothes yesterday when I was hit, out of nowhere, with thoughts about the finality of my father's death. The fact that I will never see him, hug him, share a meal with him, laugh with him, cry with him, or even be in the same room as him, for as long as I live, hit me like a freight train. My entire body started to tighten up, like the beginning of a panic attack, and I sat down and sobbed into a shirt.

This happens about once every 3-4 months, which helps me think my subconscious is still processing some traumatic shit. Losing your father also affects everyone within your family, too. Every day, I think about my mom, who is now a widow in her 50s. And my brother and sisters, who are growing up as teens without a father. Before his death, I did not do a particularly good job of considering my family in life planning. I was focused on the visions of an ERE future of house hacking, riding a bicycle everywhere, and living the "below 1 JAFI life" somewhere. But now, I also feel responsible for my family. Or, at least, helping maintain my family's position as a tightly-knit social unit.

If I were to move to Louisville, which is an environment well-suited for the ERE tasks, it would take several years before my whole family could get out there (mainly due to the fact my state has this thing called the HOPE Scholarship, which pays for 90%+ of your college tuition if you maintain a B average.) Even then, I consider it highly possible that opinions on moving could change. My family has stayed in the same place for several years, so there is a lot of social capital where we live now. Every time I think about moving, I am excited by the possibilities, but a part of me feels guilty for leaving my family in this time.

In light of this, I've been thinking a lot about my ideal ERE life, and how I can execute it without a nagging feeling of familial abandonment that plagues my visions of moving to the rust belt. Atlanta is about an hour away from where I live, and it has boomed big-time since the early 2000s. Numerous Fortune 500 companies across many industries are headquartered here, and the population growth projections are insane. I immediately discounted it as a good location for executing a house-hacking, bicycle-riding ERE lifestyle because of high real estate prices and the sprawling nature of the city, but 2 things have made me re-think this: One of the city's main infrastructure projects is the Beltline, a bike path that loops through the city and connects 45 neighborhoods. Of course, millennials think this is the coolest thing ever, and previously sketchy neighborhoods east of midtown/downtown, where sections are completed, have exploded in last few years. The Beltline is slated to come through some west side neighborhoods, like West End, Pittsburgh, and Oakland City. These areas have properties that could be affordably bought + rehabbed, and they are already starting to show signs of gentrification.

The problem is that these neighborhoods are pretty damn sketchy. Definitely C-D class areas. It would be difficult to both remodel or change tenants without somebody messing with the property. I think these areas will change, especially Pittsburgh, as it's right below downtown Atlanta, the Beltline path is going through it, it's 2 miles from a MARTA station (Atlanta's rail system), and has the Pittsburgh Yards coming (a big entrepreneurial co-working space.) However, I think a gigantic recession is coming in the near future. I can't help but think any buy-and-hold investments, especially in real estate, should be predicated on making sense as a cash-flowing investment TODAY. Investing there requires a lot of hoping.

I could also do the suburbs of Atlanta, but reading Granola Shotgun and Strong Towns has me thinking the suburbs won't be a good long-term play. Plus, it is really damn hard to get around out there without a car. I could also do Athens, where the University of Georgia is, but it's a college town with an economy completely dependent on that university. On the topic of long-term plays, I often find myself thinking if any plan that doesn't involve moving to some rural community and becoming as self-sufficient as possible is ridiculous and for lunatics. Our society is facing unprecedented economic, environmental, and energy problems that are beginning to end the perception of limitless economic growth. If the 21st century will not look like the 20th century at all, how can you best position yourself?

One of the books I've been reading is Detroit City is The Place to Be, by Mark Binelli. It's his account of responses to these issues in Detroit, as they're decades ahead of everybody else. He's a phenomenal writer, so I'll let him do the talking:
Rather than relitigate the sins of the past, I hoped to discover something new about the city- specifically, what happens to a once great place after it has been used and discarded? Who sticks around and tries to make things work again? And what sorts of newcomers are drawn to the place for similar reasons? These questions seemed particularly pertinent now that Detroit was no longer such a freakish outlier. Cities in Florida and California, in the Rust Belt and the Sun Belt, in England and the Mediterranean and who knew where next, they'd all been woken up to the same problems that have been pummeling Detroit for decades, but not limited to structural bankruptcy, unsustainable city services and public obligations, chronic unemployment, vacant and increasingly worthless real estate, and the disappearance of a workable tax base. Left unchecked, Detroit levels of crime, political instability, and blight would certainly follow. I wanted to think about how Detroiters struggled mightily to solve these problems- historically, yes, but more importantly right now.

... Land speculators made the scene, too, as the new mayor, former Detroit Pistons basketball star Dave Bing, began to publicly acknowledge the need for the city to both shrink and radically reinvent itself, a pledge that urban theorists, who long regarded Detroit as the unsolvable math problem of their field, found tantalizing. And so they came, too, along with the Scandinavian academics, the neopastoral agriculturalists, the deep-pocketed philanthropic organizations and the free-market ideologues and the fringe-left utopians- they all came. For the most realistic of these pioneers, which is how many of the newcomers self identified, Detroit might very well be the city of tomorrow, but of a wholly different city sort than described above. They'd come to see the place as a blank slate, so debased and forgotten, it could be remade. The irony was almost too perfect. Detroit, having done more than any other city to promote the sprawl and suburbanization that had so despoiled the past century, could now
become a model city for the new century, with bike paths and urban farms and grass-roots sustainability nudging aside planned obsolescence.

That sounds incredibly interesting, challenging, and also terrifying, too. I think it'd be a neat place to try the ERE life, but I'm having trouble reconciling those feelings with my responsibility to my family.

Early Retirement Extreme (Re-Read)
The Defining Decade, Meg Jay
The Everything Bubble (RR), Graham Summers
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, Mark Manson

* If you're interested in this kind of thing, Andres Duany also gave a neat talk at the Michigan Municipal League about why Detroit "is the coolest city on Earth," and how urban planners there have to communicate to the world that what is happening in the city can't be measured conventionally.
Last edited by RFS on Fri Feb 18, 2022 3:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: RFS' Journal

Post by Smashter »

That decision on where to live sounds tough. I would trust your instincts to stay close to family.

I faced a similar-ish situation once, though it was by no means as severe as a parent dying.

My parents went through a horrendous divorce that rocked our whole family a few years ago. It was as bitter and intense and acrimonious as it gets. My little sister, who is 8 years younger than me, was a sophomore in college and preparing to come home for the summer while all this was happening.

She did not want to go live with my mom, who was staying in our childhood home, because my mom was very mentally unstable at this time. I made plans to rent a bigger apartment and have her stay with me and my girlfriend. My sister and I are very close, so it would have been tough but also pretty fun.

I ultimately I decided against it. I was in the planning phases of a cross country move that was entirely based on living a more MMM/ERE friendly lifestyle. I chose to go forward with my plans, and my sister stayed with an aunt instead.

My aunt is great, but my sister still had a super rough time through the whole process and has since developed some anxiety and drug dependency issues. I don't know what impact I could have had by staying, but it couldn't have hurt to have me nearby. I feel like I abandoned her, and even staying an extra year or two could have made a difference.

When I bring this up to her she is always like, "I don't blame you for leaving, don't beat yourself up!" but it still gnaws at me sometimes.

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Re: RFS' Journal

Post by RFS »

Net Worth: $63k
2019 Spending: $9.4k ($783/mo avg.)
- I spent about $1k more than last year, because I bought some nice clothes from Bluffworks and Wool&Prince.

I like having less, higher-quality items of clothing. It's nice to have durable clothes that fit, look good, match with everything, dress up or down, and rarely need to be washed or ironed. I was also in a wedding this summer, and boy was that expensive! When all was said and done, between the bachelor party & wedding accommodations, gas/fuel, and groomsmen suit rental, I probably spent over $500. It was fun as hell though, no regrets.

I'm spending more money on food these days, too (around $150/mo.) I have been feeling guilty, but damn, my diet is LUXURIOUS. Thanks to Aldi, I eat all kinds of organic vegetables, eggs, leafy greens, fruit, and fish, seasoned with things like cinnamon. I'm even drinking fancy protein shakes and Kombucha. This shit makes me feel like a Roman Emperor! I'm pumped to get my own place and start a garden one of these days, so I can grow some food to sell and offset costs. But for now, with overall spending so low, I'm not too concerned about where it's at.

One 2019 goal was to hunt and process venison myself, for more organic lean protein, and I did not achieve it. One sucky thing about work is that competence gets rewarded with larger workloads each year. I was also subconsciously worried about raising my expenses by getting quality hunting gear, but I see now how ridiculous that is. I'll have to make it a priority this season.

My portfolio is 20% cash, 80% bonds. Most of the my bond holding is SHV, a short-term treasury bond ETF. I got it through Betterment, which is stupid because I'm paying a fee for no tax loss harvesting, the main benefit of using Betterment. Since almost everything is overvalued right now, I'm not sure what to do with my money. Sometimes I think "fuck it, you have low expenses and will be always making money doing something. That FI money is actually just a pile of FU money with a large backstop. Put it in a VTSAX/blended stock&bond portfolio and start making some returns on your money." We don't seem too far away from a recession, though (but I could be wrong, we could just be in permanent QE adrenale hits forever.)

In other money news, a big windfall has come up: I'm about to receive a $90k inheritance. This will make my net worth around $150k. Gin + Juice & classical_liberal's journals influenced my thoughts on semi-ERE vs. full FI, so I think I will keep working full-time, mainly to purchase a property using an FHA loan and house hack it. I'm not sure how many times I want to do this before transitioning into part-time work/interesting projects, but I think the semi-ERE strategy is the optimal way.

I find myself daydreaming about some kind of adventure, though (ranging from teaching at a school in Asia to working for a residential contractor to learn about construction), so I'm honestly not sure. I know I'd like to have a family one day, too, so I gotta be intentional about what I'm doing today. I'm probably going to move to Atlanta, though, so I can be close to my family and house hack (Smashter and cimorene, thank you both for your thoughtful comments :) )

Habitually, I've been working a lot on meditation, which has been surprisingly useful. I got motivated to start it after listening to Sean O'Malley & Tim Welch's podcast (Sean O'Malley is a UFC fighter, and Tim Welch is his coach. They're super into living healthy, good habits, training the mind, etc.) I only meditate for 5-10 minutes each day, but it is helping me stay present and separate myself from my emotions in situations where it helps to be mindful and objective. It's also super challenging to just sit there and help your brain disconnect from the thoughts, but I can tell I'm getting better!

For exercise, I went from weightlifting 4-6 times/week (I was on a PPL split) to compounds-only, full-body lifts 3x/week. On the off days, I either run or do yoga. My body feels way better since I started incorporating the cardiovascular training, and the energy you get after an intense full-body workout is awesome.


Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes to Those Who Create It, Charlamagne Tha God(*)
Cashflow Quadrant, Robert Kiyosaki
The Power of Broke, Daymond John
Digital Minimalism, Cal Newport(*)
- This book made me think differently about solitude (It's not time by yourself, it's time where the only thoughts you engage with are your own.)
What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, Raymond Carver
Bitcoin Billionaires (*)
Once Upon a Time in Russia (*)
- Both are written by Ben Mezrich, who is an incredible storyteller. All of these books should be turned into movies. Bitcoin Billionaires is a bit better, though.
The Uninhabitable Earth, David Wallace-Wells
- fuck.
Straight Flush, Ben Mezrich
Bored and Brilliant(*)
Detroit: An American Autopsy(*)
- Charlie LeDuff's writing is excellent.
Steal Like an Artist
The Common Sense Book of Investing
10 Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now(*)
The Collapse of Parenting, Leonard Sax
Get a Real Career, Defy a Bewildering Economy, Charles Hugh Smith(*)
Can't Hurt Me (RR), David Goggins,
Survival+, Charles Hugh Smith
The House Hacking Strategy, Craig Curelop

The Second Mountain, David Brooks
Range, David Epstein
- Both of these books are incredible. My brain is sore from reading them (they both challenge deeply held ideals in our society.)
Last edited by RFS on Fri May 08, 2020 9:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: RFS' Journal

Post by RFS »

Net Worth: $67k
Spending: $1.4k (I had to replace all 4 tires on my car, and I got hit with tickets for speeding and driving with an expired tag. This came out to more than $600 :( )

One interesting thing about going from a negative net worth to a decent financial position is realizing that it doesn't make you happy. It's nice to have FU money, but I can't deny: There were days in the negative net worth period where I felt better than I have recently. Even though my external circumstances are way better now (money in the bank, physically healthier, mentally healthier.)

I think it's because humans are not designed to care about achievements for long. Instead, what we really give a shit about is progress towards goals. This is an empowering realization, because you can put your focus where it counts- the routines and habits that make up each day. When I focus on that, I feel way happier. But it's a different kind of happiness- like a "I'm going to bed at night with a sense of peace & good conscience" happiness.

I only have morning habits so far, but I would like to build up a better overall routine that encompasses the entire day (like Winston Churchhill). Here are my morning habits:
- Shot of apple cider vinegar & 24 oz. of water upon waking up
- Read The Daily Stoic entry for that day (I really like those entries being the first thought into my brain.)
- Write down 3 things I'm grateful for, 2 things I need to improve on, and 1 thing that would make today great.
- Exercise (either weightlifting, running, or yoga)

I've been doing that consistently, and damn, it has been a huge help in making me feel properly emotionally regulated! I know that I need a night routine, though, and a way to integrate a daily routine into my workday.

Stillness Is The Key, Ryan Holiday
- This may be my favorite book. This is what he means by stillness (These are paragraphs I took from the intro:)
The idea of stilness is not some soft New Age nonsense or the domain of monks and sages, but in fact desperately neccesary to all of us, whether we're running a hedge fund or palying in a Super Bowl, pioneering research in a new field or raising a family. It is an attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence, for every kind of person.

Stillness is what aims the archer's arrow. It inspires new ideas. It sharpens perspective and illumninates connections. It slows the ball down so that we might hit it. It generates a vision, helps us resist the passions of the mob, makes space for gratitude and wonder. Stillness allows us to persevere. To succeed. It is the key that unlocks the insights of a genius, and allows us regular folks to understand them.

...... It is the key:

To thinking clearly.
To seeing the whole chessboard.
To making tough decisions.
To managing our emotions.
To identifying the right goals.
To handling high-pressure situations.
To maintaining relationships.
To building good habits.
To being productive.
To feeling fulfilled.
To capturing moments of laughter and joy.

... Sure, there is a certin ineffableness to what we're talking about, to articulating the stillness that the poet Rainer Maria Rilke described as "full, complete" where "all the random and approximate were muted."

"Although we speak of attaining the dao," Lao Tzu once said, "there is really nothing to obtain. Or to borrow a master's reply to a student who asked where me might find Zen: "You are seeking for an ox while you are yourself on it."

You have tasted stillness before. You have felt it in your soul. And you want more of it. You need more of it. Which is why the aim of this book is simply to show how to uncover and draw upon the stillness we already possess. It's about the cultivation of and the connection to that powerful force given to us at birth, the one that has atrophied in our modern, busy lives. This book is an attempt to answer the pressing question of our time: If the quiet moments are the best moments, and if so many wise, virtuous people have sung their praises, why are they so rare?
It's split into 3 parts: Mind, Body, and Spirit. Each part has 9 sections, which detail 1 practice for developing stillness within your life. For example:
Part 1: The Domain of The Mind
- Become Present
- Limit Your Inputs
- Empty The Mind
- Slow Down, Think Deeply
- Start Journaling
- Cultivate Silence
- Seek Wisdom
- Find Confidence, Avoid Ego
- Let Go

Each section starts with a story about a person (Churchhill, Dorothy Day, Marcus Aurelius, JFK, Anne Frank, Tiger Woods, Buddha, Da Vinci, Socrates, Sadaharu Oh, Rosanne Cash, etc) that either harnessed the power of stillness or did not. Then he weaves into a discussion about strategically reducing the disturbances and perturbations that make stillness impossible.

I've been busy coaching and haven't had much time to read, but even if this was the only book I read all year, it still would have been an amazing year of reading.

Currently working through:
- Now Is The Way, Corey Allen.
- Tools of The Titans, Tim Ferriss.
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Re: RFS' Journal

Post by RFS »

Net Worth: $69k
- $40k is in short term t-bonds, about $20k is in cash, and I bought $5k of equities in late March at around 25% off. I'm thinking about dollar cost averaging, but I may just wait for stocks to get somewhere near the bottom (no idea where this is, but I think somewhere between 50%-75% off) and then plow my money in. Crypto holdings worth about $1.5k right now.
Q1 Spending: $2.9k (averages out to $966/mo <- There were 2 out-of-the-ordinary car expenses in February. Without those, spending is around $700/mo.)

Wearing a suit and dropping off your resume at the front desk still works! Even though there were no postings at the time, I got a teaching job for next school year from this. I found a room for $550/month, and I'll be able to bike to work. Atlanta seemed like the unsolvable math problem of car-free living to me earlier, so I'm pretty excited. I'll be moving there this summer!

The next step is house hacking. Specifically house hacking along the BeltLine, since it is such a phenomenal amenity in the quest for a walkable and bikable lifestyle. I can only afford transitional neighborhoods along the south and southwestern corridor, though, which makes me think buying right now would be foolish. You could see the correction starting at the end of 2019, but then COVID started. One of the greatest real estate investors I've ever known looked me in the eye last week and said "RFS, don't buy anything right now. The economy is about to take a shit."

Speaking of house hacking, Craig Curelop's book gave me some new ideas. I used to want a small multifamily property, but now I'm considering buying a single family home and renting it out by the bedroom. Atlanta is becoming pretty damn pricey, and I'm seeing shockingly low supply and high demand for affordable housing. Renting a room is cheaper for tenants than an entire unit, I can collect more in gross rents, and there's more buyers for SFHs if I sell. It's definitely more management intensive, but landlords like Ryan Deasy are executing this strategy well (this guy has such excellent systems that he self-manages his rentals from a different state.)

Apart from that, I'm just chilling in quarantine. This has only reinforced the idea that feeling good is all about developing healthy routines, and having the discipline to stick to them each day. Naval Ravikant said it best: "A fit body, a calm mind, and a house full of love- these things cannot be bought. They must be earned." It's true! I've been focusing a lot on the mornings to prime myself for the rest of the day, and I've added a few items to the morning routine since last month. Here's what it looks like now (this is in light of quarantine, where I'm working remotely and have a lot more time.)

- Shot of apple cider vinegar & a big glass of water
- Read The Daily Stoic entry for that day
- Write down an affirmation. I have been writing the line "I will stick to my routines and habits today, so I have the space to be present and be my best self." Then I'll journal about anything I'm thinking about.
- Exercise. As a side note, I do not have access to a weightroom any longer, so I have been going to only bodyweight exercises. I'm doing a push/pull/legs split this week. I'll put some of my workouts at the end of this post.
- Pour a bucket of ice water over my head
- Meditate

I downloaded Sam Harris' Waking Up app after hearing about it on Tim Welch/Sean O'Malley's podcast, and it's been helping me a lot with meditation. I liked it so much that I got the paid version ($9/month), but I don't know how long I will keep it for. There's 50 introductory guided meditation sessions on the app, and I feel like I'll be good to go on my own after I knock those out. Practicing mindfulness has helped me become less lived by my emotions. For example, I was having an argument the other day with my brother. I could feel anger swelling up inside of me, but instead of being consumed by the emotion and saying something that would haunt me later, I noticed the emotion and acted from there. It's worth practicing for 10 minutes each day.

Tools of The Titans, Tim Ferriss.
- I am getting this as a coffee table book. It's wonderful.
Now Is The Way, Corey Allen.
- This book made me realize that I was living in the momentum of anticipation, and not where all the good stuff is at: the present!

1 mile run
Wide grip pushups: 8, 10, 12, 15
Incline wide grip pushups: 8, 10, 12, 15
Narrow Grip pushups: 8, 10, 12, 15
Diamond pushups: 8, 10, 12, 15
Chair dips: 8, 10, 12, 15
Dips w/ elevated legs: 8, 10, 12, 15
Archer pushups: 8, 10, 12, 15
Flutter kicks: 2 sets @ 60 seconds
Plank: 2 sets @ 60 seconds

1 mile run
Pull-Ups: 4 x 8, 10, 12, 15
Chin-Ups: 4 x 8, 10, 12, 15
DB Rows (depends on how much weight you have, but I have a set of 20 lb. dumbbells and am doing 4 sets of 35, with an increase of 5 each set.)
Wide Stance 2 Arm DB Row 4 x 20 (increase of 5 each set)
DB Shrugs 4 x 40 (increase of 5 each set)
21s (2 sets)

2 mile run
Body squats while holding dumbbell 5 sets, 1 minute each.
DB Lunges 5 sets, 1 minute each.
Romanian Deadlifts 4 x 6-8
Bicycle crunch 2 sets, 1 minute
Russian twists 2 sets, 1 minute
Last edited by RFS on Mon May 18, 2020 7:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: RFS' Journal

Post by RFS »

Spending: $707
Income: $4.2k (including stimulus)
Savings Rate: 83%
Net Worth: $73k (about $5k in stocks, $25k cash, and the rest in short term t-bonds.)

With COVID throwing a spinning head kick to the economy, I have thought a lot about house hacking recently. The neighborhood that I'm moving to, Pittsburgh, has great long term prospects. It's 1 mile from downtown and a MARTA station. The Beltline will cut through the neighborhood by the end of 2020, right behind a new co-working/maker's space opening soon. It's bordered by Adair Park to the left and Summerhill on the right, which are excellent neighborhoods.

The downside is that it's in the earlier stages of transition. It's not a warzone, but the quality varies by the block. You can be on a stretch with great looking homes and lawns, then turn a corner and see boarded up houses and trash everywhere. It's a historical neighborhood with many shotgun-style homes, so the average lot is smaller than most other neighborhoods in the city, too.

Prices jumped quite a bit 2 years ago, but now nobody seems to agree on what anything should cost. By the end of 2019, an abundance of ridiculously priced houses ($320k for 1400 sq. 3/2's with an unimpressive remodel) saw price reductions after sitting on the market for 180+ days. Since the lockdowns started, prices have been all over the place. A couple of weeks ago, there was a 1200 sq. 3/2 SFH built in 2006 that needed a little bit of TLC listed at $138k. It sold quickly. Some more luxurious and bigger properties have been coming on for $200-$220k, and others have been listed anywhere from $300k to $500k (lol.)

The neighborhood next to it, Adair Park, is much nicer than Pittsburgh. A road called Metropolitan Parkway splits the two neighborhoods, and the change is instantly noticeable when you cross over. The houses all look cared for, there's little to no trash, and the lawns and sidewalks are kept up. You also pay significantly more for this change, as most homes start at $300k there (although a few smaller houses that need work have come on the market for less than $200k.) I really like the neighborhood right below Adair Park, Capitol View. It's not nearly as pricey as Adair Park, but almost as nice, and the lot sizes are much bigger than Pittsburgh's.

The nicest of them all, West End, is too damn pricey, but this has been the bubble years, and the bubble was popped by the most calamitous economic event in the last 100 years. Between AirBnB and the sheer amount of people who have lost their jobs, how low will prices go when the forebearance period ends and foreclosures start hitting the market? It seems that the dust is still in the air from all of this, and that it would be foolish to buy anything right now. Plus, I don't feel that my employment situation is stable (I know it's never truly stable, but less stable than usual.) I'm optimistic because I'm a teacher, but this will be my first year in a new district. Each system here has to trim their budget by 15%, and in education, layoffs usually go by seniority and not performance. Nobody even knows how to do K-12 education in the fall.

Sometimes I feel bearish on metropolises in general. Several companies just discovered they can do business without paying for expensive offices. If less white-collar people are commuting to a downtown core on a daily basis, it will have a ripple effect on service jobs that support them.

The good thing is that Atlanta has an extremely diversified economy, no competing cities in the region, and is projected to see a huge population increase over the next 10 years. Still, if a ridiculous amount of work becomes remote, people may eschew large metropolises and seek affordable mid-sized cities. In light of this, I suppose the wise thing to do is to keep it simple: don't buy anything unless it's in the strike zone, keep ample cash reserves, and don't get into a position where you won't survive if SHTF.


The 4 Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz
- This is a book about 4 tenets passed down from Toltecs culture. They are:
1. Be impeccable with your word
2. Don't take anything personally
3. Never make assumptions
4. Always do your best.

I think much differently about these ideas now, especially #1 and #3. This book is frequently recommended by top CEOs, athletes, artists, etc, for a reason!

A Fighter's Heart, Sam Sheridan
- Sam Sheridan wound up traveling all over the world to immerse himself in martial arts- he heads to Thailand to learn Muy Thai, Brazil to roll Jiu Jitsu, Iowa to train at a top MMA gym, Oakland to box with Andre Ward, and even a Tai Chi gym and Buddhist monastery for a little while. He is an excellent writer, and while the book sometimes drags a little bit, I really liked the section about Andre Ward. It was written in the early 2000s, when he was an up-and-coming pro boxer, and I was impressed by his clarity and discipline at such a young age. His trainer, Virgil Hunter, is a serious badass too.

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Re: RFS' Journal

Post by Egg »

Hey RFS,

Just popping in to say hi. I take your point about the economic fallout of COVID-19, but I always marvel at the low cost of real estate in the US (as I'm sure many others from developed Western countries do). We live in a comparably sized city to Atlanta here in the UK and $320k would still be considered cheap for a 1400sq ft 3-bed (which would be really big for here) in anything other than the shittiest neighbourhoods.

I guess we're all trying to do a bit of crystal-ball peering right now, but I'll go on the record as guessing that COVID-19 won't depress house prices all that much or all that long here in the UK. In Atlanta, I've no idea - I guess the government has less interest in keeping them artifically pumped up than we Brits traditionally do - but some similar pressures will surely exist from low interest rates...?

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