Author Topic: Looking for feedback on a "no retirement" retirement strategy  (Read 8281 times)

Padonak

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 772
Re: Looking for feedback on a "no retirement" retirement strategy
« Reply #100 on: August 14, 2020, 12:54:31 PM »
You are one layoff away from a disaster.

Valens

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 33
Re: Looking for feedback on a "no retirement" retirement strategy
« Reply #101 on: August 14, 2020, 01:33:59 PM »
Well, you could always change your expenses. They're not set in stone. Case in point: As a couple, we earn substantially less than you, save more than you, and also travel to about five or six countries a year, and do four or five weekend getaways on top of that. There's no such thing as fixed expenses. If you axe everything from your spending that you don't care about, you can funnel tons of money into what you do care about, and also save like crazy and retire early.

Honestly, as far as quality of life goes, your sounds pretty bad by my standards. Having to work indefinitely and only getting to travel 2 weeks a year or less sounds like my personal hell. In terms of sacrifice, I don't think there's a much bigger sacrifice a person can make than working 40+ years when there's so much fun stuff you could be doing instead, unless you absolutely love your job.

I'd love to hear more about your expense cutting strategy. My expenses tally ~$4000/month.

maisymouser

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 343
  • Age: 29
  • Location: NC
Re: Looking for feedback on a "no retirement" retirement strategy
« Reply #102 on: August 14, 2020, 01:42:17 PM »
Well, you could always change your expenses. They're not set in stone. Case in point: As a couple, we earn substantially less than you, save more than you, and also travel to about five or six countries a year, and do four or five weekend getaways on top of that. There's no such thing as fixed expenses. If you axe everything from your spending that you don't care about, you can funnel tons of money into what you do care about, and also save like crazy and retire early.

Honestly, as far as quality of life goes, your sounds pretty bad by my standards. Having to work indefinitely and only getting to travel 2 weeks a year or less sounds like my personal hell. In terms of sacrifice, I don't think there's a much bigger sacrifice a person can make than working 40+ years when there's so much fun stuff you could be doing instead, unless you absolutely love your job.

I'd love to hear more about your expense cutting strategy. My expenses tally ~$4000/month.

Y'oughta post in the Case Studies section of the forum. My thought after reading this thread is that maybe you should move outside of the HCOL city you're in.

Kudos for 1) hanging in there through this discussion- we tend to be a very passionate crew about these subjects, 2) actually starting to read the links posted (they're all excellent), and 3) paying off your debt!

As others have mentioned, it certainly is possible to change the expense:earning ratio. Many discussions have been had on this forum to find the "optimal" ratio of those two things for a given person. But more importantly, I wanted to echo @Malcat- it sounds like you have a more serious issue than finances here, and that's how to make yourself happy. I don't mean that in a condescending or patronizing way, but I think you'd get more bang-for-your-buck (no pun intended) by orienting yourself better in that domain.

Zikoris

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4041
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Vancouver, BC
  • Vancouverstachian
Re: Looking for feedback on a "no retirement" retirement strategy
« Reply #103 on: August 14, 2020, 01:43:29 PM »
Well, you could always change your expenses. They're not set in stone. Case in point: As a couple, we earn substantially less than you, save more than you, and also travel to about five or six countries a year, and do four or five weekend getaways on top of that. There's no such thing as fixed expenses. If you axe everything from your spending that you don't care about, you can funnel tons of money into what you do care about, and also save like crazy and retire early.

Honestly, as far as quality of life goes, your sounds pretty bad by my standards. Having to work indefinitely and only getting to travel 2 weeks a year or less sounds like my personal hell. In terms of sacrifice, I don't think there's a much bigger sacrifice a person can make than working 40+ years when there's so much fun stuff you could be doing instead, unless you absolutely love your job.

I'd love to hear more about your expense cutting strategy. My expenses tally ~$4000/month.

That's about double what we spend, except we support two people versus one. What's the breakdown?

mozar

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3462
Re: Looking for feedback on a "no retirement" retirement strategy
« Reply #104 on: August 14, 2020, 01:44:05 PM »
Try doing a case study. If you want to save 50k a year and pay 21k a year a rent, surely on a salary of 130k a year you can spend 4800 a year on dinners out (100 a meal per week) and a $2k vacation a year. That's 78k. My Canadian tax calculator says you should be taking home 90k a year.

Nobody is telling you not to spend money on things that make you happy.

Have you thought about where you would like to be in 10 years? You know how you were saying that if you had saved a lot of money ten years ago then it would have been worth it?
10 years from now you'll be kicking yourself for not saving more money when it was easier. 48 years old is still plenty of time to recover from a risky venture if that's what you want to do.

I am 37 now. When I started saving 5 years ago I could have said to myself "self, I will only save 200k in 5 years. So I'm not going to bother." I am sure glad I didn't tell myself that! Today I would much rather have 200k than less that, or zero.

kei te pai

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 447
Re: Looking for feedback on a "no retirement" retirement strategy
« Reply #105 on: August 14, 2020, 01:51:18 PM »
If you stay around here, you may discover this is a forum about "how to live a good life" rather than finances. What are your hopes and dreams, your values, pleasures and sorrows? And how does effective management of  your time , intelligence, energy and emotion enable a fulfilling life.

Malcat

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6313
Re: Looking for feedback on a "no retirement" retirement strategy
« Reply #106 on: August 14, 2020, 01:55:04 PM »
You really only have two choices here if you want to continue on in the life you are leading: either learn to live happily on the amount of money you are making, or make more money.

It doesn't sound like you're particularly sold on being able to be happy living a frugal life, at least not in the way you are living now, so the alternative of figuring out how to make more money might be a better way to go.

Either way, you don't sound very happy with your life or it's trajectory, so it's time to start actively looking at ways to significantly change it. I would really start thinking outside the box and looking at what you actually need in order to be happy, because this obviously isn't it.

I don't necessarily have a problem with the amount I make. It's more an issue of time, age and opportunity cost. If I was 20, then 10 years and 780k looks more attractive. I can put that money into something, have some left over and have lots of time to build up savings again. But if I save up 780k over 10 years now, and then put it towards something, I won't have time to rebuild savings. If whatever I invest that money into loses money then I'm screwed.

That literally translates to you not making enough money to support the kind of spend you would like and the retirement timeline you would like.

However you slice it, your income, expenses, and timeline to retirement aren't working for you. Something has to change in order for you to feel like you aren't wasting away your time and energy.

That's no way to live, and I see no rational reason to do so.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2020, 01:56:48 PM by Malcat »

Valens

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 33
Re: Looking for feedback on a "no retirement" retirement strategy
« Reply #107 on: August 14, 2020, 02:17:50 PM »
That's about double what we spend, except we support two people versus one. What's the breakdown?

Rent: 1800
Car: 865
Groceries: 600
Internet: 120
Cell phone: 145
Insurance: 220
Gym: 65
Gas: 50
Apple Music: 10
Amazon Prime: 10
Grooming: 100

Of those I could get rid of Amazon Prime and reduce grooming by 40%. But I don't think $50/month will make a material difference.

StashingAway

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 538
Re: Looking for feedback on a "no retirement" retirement strategy
« Reply #108 on: August 14, 2020, 02:27:13 PM »
You really only have two choices here if you want to continue on in the life you are leading: either learn to live happily on the amount of money you are making, or make more money.

It doesn't sound like you're particularly sold on being able to be happy living a frugal life, at least not in the way you are living now, so the alternative of figuring out how to make more money might be a better way to go.

Either way, you don't sound very happy with your life or it's trajectory, so it's time to start actively looking at ways to significantly change it. I would really start thinking outside the box and looking at what you actually need in order to be happy, because this obviously isn't it.

I don't necessarily have a problem with the amount I make. It's more an issue of time, age and opportunity cost. If I was 20, then 10 years and 780k looks more attractive. I can put that money into something, have some left over and have lots of time to build up savings again. But if I save up 780k over 10 years now, and then put it towards something, I won't have time to rebuild savings. If whatever I invest that money into loses money then I'm screwed.

That literally translates to you not making enough money to support the kind of spend you would like and the retirement timeline you would like.

However you slice it, your income, expenses, and timeline to retirement aren't working for you. Something has to change in order for you to feel like you aren't wasting away your time and energy.

That's no way to live, and I see no rational reason to do so.

Very much stuck in the rat race, so to speak. Doing everything "right" but still looking down the pipeline at nothing exciting.

Valens: I second the idea of posting in the "case studies". Maximizing your $ is quite fun in some scenarios, at least once you gamify it.
I also second the idea of trying to delve into the mental rut. Perhaps psychologist isn't out of the picture just to have someone help you find some more meaning. I have been in the "what's the point" mental state with stable career and good friends and it really throws off more than you think. When you have no goal to look forward to or serenity with the present then spending money feels like the best answer to hold you over.

Humans as creatures aren't actually very good at predicting our own happiness. For a podcast, I like to recommend "the happiness lab" to get some of the science on it. The first season gave me some great insight on things I previously hadn't put much into. Volunteering, for instance, almost universally has a huge return on overall contentment for people. Toss in some readings on Stoicism that influenced MMM and you have a recipe for a very different lifestyle full of serenity without having to distract your way through it. Then all that $ you are saving is for stability of your current state of living rather than some far off goal.

It's much less risky than working every day hoping it will get better. Methinks you know this, which is the scratch you were trying to itch by the original post.



StashingAway

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 538
Re: Looking for feedback on a "no retirement" retirement strategy
« Reply #109 on: August 14, 2020, 02:30:59 PM »
That's about double what we spend, except we support two people versus one. What's the breakdown?

Rent: 1800
Car: 865
Groceries: 600
Internet: 120
Cell phone: 145
Insurance: 220
Gym: 65
Gas: 50
Apple Music: 10
Amazon Prime: 10
Grooming: 100

Of those I could get rid of Amazon Prime and reduce grooming by 40%. But I don't think $50/month will make a material difference.

May want to do a separate post in the "case studies" forum; that way you have a separate thread to reference.

FYI, that car payment is throwing yourself to the wolves! I'll save further comments for the separate thread!

Zikoris

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4041
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Vancouver, BC
  • Vancouverstachian
Re: Looking for feedback on a "no retirement" retirement strategy
« Reply #110 on: August 14, 2020, 02:36:14 PM »
That's about double what we spend, except we support two people versus one. What's the breakdown?

Rent: 1800
Car: 865
Groceries: 600
Internet: 120
Cell phone: 145
Insurance: 220
Gym: 65
Gas: 50
Apple Music: 10
Amazon Prime: 10
Grooming: 100

Of those I could get rid of Amazon Prime and reduce grooming by 40%. But I don't think $50/month will make a material difference.

Interesting that the $50/month expense would be the one you'd look at when you have over $1000 in car expenses, eat three people's worth of food, and also pay a shitload of rent. Those would be the obvious things to work on.

I thought you liked to go out to restaurants with friends every week? Does that fit into groceries?

Here's our averages from 2019 for comparison, for two people.

$846 - Rent + insurance on a cheap studio apartment in a walkable area close to work
$814 - Travel, we went to Vietnam, Japan, Vegas, New York, plus weekend getaways
$323 - Food, 80% groceries
$96 - Bills, two phones plus internet
$329 - Misc spending, mostly entertainment/hobbies, cat stuff, and dental work, plus a little bit of public transit and personal care

Total = $2,408, for a lifestyle that's totally in line with us.

Have you ever thought about not necessarily reducing your spending, but just shifting it around so more of it went towards stuff you really like, and less went towards stuff you're less crazy about? Like, if you could rent a place a few hundred cheaper, and funnel that saved money into some pretty epic trips instead? At least you'd get to do the stuff you want to do, even if you're working until old age.

Valens

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 33
Re: Looking for feedback on a "no retirement" retirement strategy
« Reply #111 on: August 14, 2020, 02:40:16 PM »
Very much stuck in the rat race, so to speak. Doing everything "right" but still looking down the pipeline at nothing exciting.

Valens: I second the idea of posting in the "case studies". Maximizing your $ is quite fun in some scenarios, at least once you gamify it.
I also second the idea of trying to delve into the mental rut. Perhaps psychologist isn't out of the picture just to have someone help you find some more meaning. I have been in the "what's the point" mental state with stable career and good friends and it really throws off more than you think. When you have no goal to look forward to or serenity with the present then spending money feels like the best answer to hold you over.

Humans as creatures aren't actually very good at predicting our own happiness. For a podcast, I like to recommend "the happiness lab" to get some of the science on it. The first season gave me some great insight on things I previously hadn't put much into. Volunteering, for instance, almost universally has a huge return on overall contentment for people. Toss in some readings on Stoicism that influenced MMM and you have a recipe for a very different lifestyle full of serenity without having to distract your way through it. Then all that $ you are saving is for stability of your current state of living rather than some far off goal.

It's much less risky than working every day hoping it will get better. Methinks you know this, which is the scratch you were trying to itch by the original post.

I'll take a look at the case studies section. As for happiness, I've been trying to figure out what would make me happy for years. Right before covid hit I decided to just try doing things even if they didn't seem interesting. Unfortunately that got cut short. However one thing I did try was volunteering. I had high hopes for it being a fulfilling experience, but I didn't enjoy it. My girlfriend (who came with me), loved it but I didn't get anything out of it. I thought I'd get some kind of emotional high out of helping people out but I felt nothing. I do feel good when helping out a friend, so the only thing I could figure is I need to know the people I'm helping?

Anyway, figuring out happiness still eludes me. The only thing I can think of is location. The problem with where I live now is, although convenient, it's boring. There's no local dive bar or coffee shop to be a regular in, no sidewalk patio to sit and people watch on. I like to be surrounded by people in a downtown environment. Kinda vague, but it's the best I got at the moment.

mozar

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3462
Re: Looking for feedback on a "no retirement" retirement strategy
« Reply #112 on: August 14, 2020, 03:07:20 PM »
Oh my god that car! It sounds like you know what will make you happy. Say you got rid of the car and spent a few hundred more on an apartment in a walkable area, you would still come out way ahead. And be happier.

I don't enjoy volunteering either honestly. It's still a good thing to find out though, whether or not you enjoy it.

maisymouser

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 343
  • Age: 29
  • Location: NC
Re: Looking for feedback on a "no retirement" retirement strategy
« Reply #113 on: August 14, 2020, 03:23:41 PM »
That's about double what we spend, except we support two people versus one. What's the breakdown?

Rent: 1800
Car: 865
Groceries: 600
Internet: 120
Cell phone: 145
Insurance: 220
Gym: 65
Gas: 50
Apple Music: 10
Amazon Prime: 10
Grooming: 100

Of those I could get rid of Amazon Prime and reduce grooming by 40%. But I don't think $50/month will make a material difference.

To me the items bolded above scream TO BE CUT BY 70-100%. I'll let others tackle the car, but that's obviously your biggest money suck machine.

Our family of three spent <$300/month on groceries pre-pandemic and we're up to ~$400/month now, and that's adding additional meals we didn't cook before plus more meat than usual (one of our vices). There are some great threads here and entire websites dedicated to enjoying healthy yet frugal food.

Internet may or may not be within your realm of control but seems absurdly high to me, especially considering you live in a city. There has GOT to be a better option- is there a lower speed that would satisfy your need to stream video/music and respond to email, etc? We don't get more than 45 Mbps and it works just fine for our household. Another idea is to negotiate a lower per-month bill with your ISP? I have an annual chat with customer service and it saves me $10/month, or $120/year. Takes about 10 minutes. Not a bad hourly rate.

Cell phone- that's outrageous. You have got to find a better plan and/or provider than that. Period. See forums on this topic for ideas.

Gym- you can buy a *really* nice set of weights if you put money into that. There are also plenty of free outdoor workout options. It's my understanding that this is one of your hobbies, so if you feel like you need to keep it, I guess that's OK, but find a way to negotiate that lower. Most gyms will offer a discount if you ask and/or decide to look elsewhere. IMHO if I was the kind to pay for a gym, I'd cap it at a solid $40/month.

And finally, grooming.... Yikes yikes yikes yikes. Yikes. What in lawd's name do you spend that much money on for your body? If it's anything cleansing related I have two words: BAR SOAP. If it's hair (more probable)... I understand guys like to get their hair cut more frequently than ladies like me but holy shit that's just way too much money. Many of us here just get a nice buzzer for like $30 and have their SO's help via a once-a-month buzz/trim. You are spending $1000 (ok, whatever that is in canadian $) a year on literally something that either grows back or can be cleaned with soap.

$1000 saved a year is a week-long getaway (or several if you're frugal about it).
$100/month is equal to something like $18,000 if you contributed that into an index fund and let it grow for ten years.
$100/month is enough to feed eight starving kids / buy six malaria nets / choose-your-own-impoverished-nation-analogy.

To me, it just seems like the epitome of consumer culture to spend that kind of money without much thought and care on something so frivolous as making a body look/smell/feel marginally different. Please do consider doing something that will benefit either yourself or others to a greater extent either now or in the future. Maybe I'm missing something but this one *really* blew my mind.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2020, 03:27:53 PM by maisymouser »

StashingAway

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 538
Re: Looking for feedback on a "no retirement" retirement strategy
« Reply #114 on: August 14, 2020, 03:24:41 PM »
I'll take a look at the case studies section. As for happiness, I've been trying to figure out what would make me happy for years. Right before covid hit I decided to just try doing things even if they didn't seem interesting. Unfortunately that got cut short. However one thing I did try was volunteering. I had high hopes for it being a fulfilling experience, but I didn't enjoy it. My girlfriend (who came with me), loved it but I didn't get anything out of it. I thought I'd get some kind of emotional high out of helping people out but I felt nothing. I do feel good when helping out a friend, so the only thing I could figure is I need to know the people I'm helping?

While this gets more into philosophy, you probably won't get lasting luck chasing a happy high. It's not really sustainable (and desirable, really). The goalpost is more attainable if you can be content and find life meaningful.I was using the volunteering thing a bit of an example; it's not that there is a proscribed way for any one person to act. It's varies from person to person (so I hate to tell you what to do). You seem to be yearning to find community in a local scene that you cannot in your current living situation. You may find more luck selling the expensive car, buying an econobox (or no car at all) and spending the $800 a month toward a location that achieves that goal? Maybe have a 2 year and a 5 year plan for where you want to be.

Zikoris

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4041
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Vancouver, BC
  • Vancouverstachian
Re: Looking for feedback on a "no retirement" retirement strategy
« Reply #115 on: August 14, 2020, 03:42:21 PM »
Happiness is obviously unique to the individual. For me, there are three parts to living a happy life.

1. Absence of things that lead to unhappiness. I don't like commuting, so I plan to be able to walk to work. I ax sucky people from my life. Working weird hours or having toxic coworkers or whatever sucks. I basically just cut out the stuff I don't like from my life.

2. Big happiness boosters. The stuff I love doing the most. Epic travel. Pursuing my hobbies and interests. Quality time with family and friends. Basically, while I don't do this stuff every day, I make sure it happens frequently enough.

3. Day to day stuff. I have a project I call "Four Things a Day", where I shoot to do small things every day in four areas that are important to me. I have a notebook and write them down every day. It keeps my priorities right in front of my face on a daily basis, and has been absolutely invaluable. I've been doing this project for over a year now, and it is really amazing - I totally recommend it. Right now these four things are:
  • FIRE - Anything that moves me closer to retirement. Going to work counts. Doing a bunch of meal prep on the weekend counts. Finding a way to save money on something counts. Figuring out how to fix something rather than spend money counts.
  • Health - Generally exercise, but doing physio also counts if I need it, or going to the dentist, or whatever. Anything related to maintaining or improving my health.
  • Learning - Normally online language courses (Duolingo). Project work counts if I'm doing something new, like following a sewing tutorial or working on a new cooking technique. I did some beginner HTML classes as well. I'd count watching a documentary as well, though I rarely do.
  • Home - I like to live in a clean and minimalist home, so this one is on my list to make sure chores don't pile up. I also count things here that are involved with keeping the household running smoothly and efficiently.

So that's my personal formula for happiness.

MrThatsDifferent

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2088
Re: Looking for feedback on a "no retirement" retirement strategy
« Reply #116 on: August 14, 2020, 04:13:07 PM »
Geez, where to start?
1. That car payment is outrageous, you wonít have that forever (you may want to rethink doing something like that again)
2. I think your food is high because youíre a bodybuilder (not sure it will always be that high)
3. As you now know, a large part of the siteís philosophy is around managing your expenses and consumer tendencies in a reasonable way so you get to live, enjoy life, while setting yourself up for freedom on your terms as quickly as possible. If your goal is to work until retirement age, keep doing what youíre doing. If you want to retire before or just want to feel more financially secure, change.
4. Your issues though seem to be beyond money, youíre bored with life. A good job, too,city, girlfriend, great health and body arenít enough for you right now. You want more but have no idea what more you want or how to get it.
5. My solution? Shake shit up. The world is insane right now, and might be for 5 more years, thatís good, thereís time. So hereís what you do: reduce your expenses, save as much as you can and then quit your job and move overseas. Go to Thailand or South America or wander through Europe. Visit the town Schwarzenegger was born in. Whatever. Get yourself out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. You want adventure? Live an adventurous life. Thereís plenty of remote work you can do to sustain yourself. Youíll be fine and worst case, return to Canada and find some boring job and keep working until retirement like you were going to. Or, open yourself up to world changing in ways you could never expect.
6. Thereís only so much we can help you with. Reduce your expenses, your stache will cover more. Thereís little value in writing posts where you feel defeated and powerless when you have ever at fingertips to create whatever life you want. Youíre smart enough and clever enough to figure this out, so put in the work and reap what you sow.

Valens

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 33

MilesTeg

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1324
Re: Looking for feedback on a "no retirement" retirement strategy
« Reply #118 on: August 14, 2020, 04:45:33 PM »
I clicked on this thread thinking I would find a like minded FI but not particularly in to RE enthusiast.

Instead I found a completely antithetical concept being pushed. Or rather, the same concept most people employ (living paycheck to paycheck) either from being unwise or being hard up.

I hate to pile on, but $130k (even in fake canadian dollars) is a lot of money -- plenty to have very nice things and still work toward FI.

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6913
Re: Looking for feedback on a "no retirement" retirement strategy
« Reply #119 on: August 14, 2020, 04:58:50 PM »
Because of the virus my adult son moved in and for 3 of us are spending between 550-600 on groceries.