Author Topic: eight month update from Bolshewik Artizan...  (Read 5641 times)

Bolshevik Artizan

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eight month update from Bolshewik Artizan...
« on: August 04, 2016, 05:19:55 PM »
Some of you may remember I took the plunge in January. A brief summary - I was 45 when I resigned my job, now 46 (obv), near 5 year old son, wife just turned 40 and still working. Arguably, as I've said before, I'm just a stay-at-home Dad ... of which more very soon...

If I had to sum up the experience in a few sentences, it would go like this: as things have turned out, I couldn't not have FIRED: as soon as we got to our dream location (Gulf Islands of BC), the day-care we had arranged for our son fell through so I found myself doing full time child care for the first six months. Then our rental turned out to have dry and wet rot and a lovely rat population, so it was all hands on deck to find our dream home rather more quickly than I'd expected.

We bought our dream home - and in many ways, it surpasses our dreams - in April. 1.5 acres with a hobby cabin, cherry trees and blackberry bushes, forest and lawns. Views of the Pacific Ocean and Rockies; the works. It still needed renos, though, and the small matter of our belongings arriving, admin for new arrivals in a new province (US), etc etc - all meant that I was actually busier until July this year than I had been in my $200K+ job - but a different kind of busy; a real busy - trapping vermin, chopping wood, lifting boxes, playing with my boy. Still a shock to the system, though, as I'd imagined getting further into my writing career (see below) than I have been able to.

And for those of you who followed my post about my switch from copywriting to "real" writing, well, my news there is that my next book will be out in Spring 2018, and I am writing book reviews (paid gig) for the local newspaper, and hoping to pick up assignments from two other media outlets. I've also done a very little (<$5000) consulting as a copywriter over the last six months, which basically paid for a lavish (in Mustachian terms) 40th birthday for my wife.

It's only now, 8 months in, that I am beginning to have those experiences to savour - this afternoon I lay out in the sunshine on our front lawn with our puppy and read a book. Yesterday I took Andy (our puppy) for a 45 minute hike in the woods with not another soul around. Today also I made jam, blackberry liqueur, and started a rumtopf (German spiced rum and fruit) that will mature in the depths of the Canadian winter.

Finally, and tellingly - yesterday I also made a trip in to Vancouver to seek out more freelance work after my son goes to "big school" in mid-September. and you know what? I really don't know how keen I am on it. As the days pass and I see the value in cooking our own meals, baking our own bread, making our own booze, bringing our son up ourselves, hacking around with renos, electronic repairs, etc... I don't know. I always planned to go back to work and stressed this in my earlier, pre-fire posts, but now I honestly feel I'm happier as a low-paid freelance writer dude than writing corporate stuff.

Anyway, just wanted to share. Please also share your updates, I enjoy reading them.

EDITED TO ADD: If I could do one thing differently, it would be to have less money in retirement funds and more in liquid investments. We have $900K in retirement funds that we *could* call on if we absolutely had to, and/but "only" $300K in liquid investments, which doesn't really yield enough to meet our expenses. Again, I'm really more of a stay-at-home Dad as wife is still working and earning well, but I still put myself in the post-FIRE bracket because of my career change, however illegitimate this may be. BA

Financial.Velociraptor

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Re: eight month update from Bolshewik Artizan...
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2016, 07:24:47 PM »
Wonderful story!

Do you have access to something like the US rule 72(t) to withdraw from tax advantaged accounts penalty free?

Bolshevik Artizan

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Re: eight month update from Bolshewik Artizan...
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2016, 07:55:28 PM »
Wonderful story!

Do you have access to something like the US rule 72(t) to withdraw from tax advantaged accounts penalty free?

Yes we can do that up here but at the moment, thank God, there's no need and unless we have to I'll just leave them sitting pretty... thanks for the kind words!

BA

pyyj

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Re: eight month update from Bolshewik Artizan...
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2016, 07:38:01 AM »
If I could do one thing differently, it would be to have less money in retirement funds and more in liquid investments.

There's nothing special about RRSPs that means you can only use them in retirement. I had a friend in my university years who took a year off school to work, stuck most of his work income into the RRSP to defer taxes, then withdrew only what he needed the following year when he was back in school, neatly spreading one year's income over two years for tax purposes. He was 22. You can withdraw RRSP funds whenever you like, just know that the withdrawal will be treated as regular income for that tax year, so only withdraw when you're in a low (or no) earning year.

Sounds like you've a great situation! I'm of a similar age and hope to make a similar change (full-time to extreme part-time piece work) in the next year too. I spent three months doing cooking/cleaning/kids/projects this spring and the bug has bitten hard.

Slee_stack

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Re: eight month update from Bolshewik Artizan...
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2016, 01:44:21 PM »
We have the same ratio (and very similar amounts and similar age!) of retirement deferred funds to after tax savings.  Your post has me thinking about this ratio.

Unfortunately, there is not too much we can do to change that ratio since we desperately need the tax breaks from our 401ks to cut our overall tax rate.

Bolshevik Artizan

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Re: eight month update from Bolshewik Artizan...
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2016, 03:12:13 PM »
If I could do one thing differently, it would be to have less money in retirement funds and more in liquid investments.

Sounds like you've a great situation! I'm of a similar age and hope to make a similar change (full-time to extreme part-time piece work) in the next year too. I spent three months doing cooking/cleaning/kids/projects this spring and the bug has bitten hard.

Thanks - you'll enjoy it, I'll bet, and feel much healthier. Point duly acknowledged about RRSPs; for as long as we don't "need" the money, it'll stay there. Good luck and please post when you've made the move!

Bolshevik Artizan

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Re: eight month update from Bolshewik Artizan...
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2016, 03:14:53 PM »
We have the same ratio (and very similar amounts and similar age!) of retirement deferred funds to after tax savings.  Your post has me thinking about this ratio.


Same up here and in the UK - the tax breaks for making retirement savings are so juicy (less so now in the UK) that that's the temptation. I'd still argue, if only psychologically, that the retirement savings feel less liquid than cash/investments. Anyway, the point is that the money is there, and it's quite a cushion even if all you were seekng to do is cut your working commitments. BA

Eurotexan

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Re: eight month update from Bolshewik Artizan...
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2016, 08:37:39 AM »
Thanks for sharing! Sounds wonderful. Reading the stories about post FIRE days on these forums keep me motivated to stay on track. Still 6 years to go but I am dedicated to the cause.

Congratulations!

Bolshevik Artizan

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Re: eight month update from Bolshewik Artizan...
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2016, 02:11:10 PM »
Thanks for sharing! Sounds wonderful. Reading the stories about post FIRE days on these forums keep me motivated to stay on track. Still 6 years to go but I am dedicated to the cause.

Congratulations!

Thanks TexasBrit - I'll probably get a three-day a week gig or up my consulting in Sept/Oct once the little guy is at "big school", but it will never be the full-on suit and tie, you have two weeks to fire your team or I'll fire you environment I used to work in. Financial security is nice, but like everything else it isn't the be-all and end-all by itself. I've loved it so far, though! BA

Basenji

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Re: eight month update from Bolshewik Artizan...
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2016, 05:39:20 PM »
I love love love FIRE stories of walks with puppies and making jam. More please...

Bolshevik Artizan

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Re: eight month update from Bolshewik Artizan...
« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2016, 07:33:41 PM »
I love love love FIRE stories of walks with puppies and making jam. More please...

Thank you and my pleasure - today we baked bread and made cherry and blueberry jam (both fruits in one) and I had a long three-way cuddle with my son and our dog! It was a sunny day and I also chopped up four rounds of wood from a tree I felled last week. Now we're having a glass of wine, put the boy to bed then we'll eat some of the ragu with pasta and freeze the rest (tres mustachian!) - OK, better stop there ... BA

aperture

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Re: eight month update from Bolshewik Artizan...
« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2016, 08:12:16 PM »
Congratulations Bolshevik Artizan! And thanks so much for bringing your 8-month rehash back to share. It sounds like you have found quite the idyll - I wish you all the best. -Ap.

Bolshevik Artizan

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Re: eight month update from Bolshewik Artizan...
« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2016, 07:27:58 AM »
Congratulations Bolshevik Artizan! And thanks so much for bringing your 8-month rehash back to share. It sounds like you have found quite the idyll - I wish you all the best. -Ap.

Thanks very much! As I say elsewhere, actually it's been a lot of hard work and very challenging, but in a totally different and more rewarding and real way to "where are those TPS reports?" etc.... thank you also for your good wishes, which I offer to you as well. Cheers - BA

okits

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Re: eight month update from Bolshewik Artizan...
« Reply #13 on: August 17, 2016, 06:32:39 PM »
If I could do one thing differently, it would be to have less money in retirement funds and more in liquid investments.

Sounds like you've a great situation! I'm of a similar age and hope to make a similar change (full-time to extreme part-time piece work) in the next year too. I spent three months doing cooking/cleaning/kids/projects this spring and the bug has bitten hard.

Thanks - you'll enjoy it, I'll bet, and feel much healthier. Point duly acknowledged about RRSPs; for as long as we don't "need" the money, it'll stay there. Good luck and please post when you've made the move!

Way to go, BA!  Is it too much to ask for some pictures of the fruit trees/bushes and mountain/water views?  :)

For the RRSPs, consider withdrawing a little each year you aren't earning much (at least up to the basic personal exemption or top of the first tax bracket).  Even if you don't need it to spend on living expenses, deregistering those investments at a low/zero tax rate is a good idea.  You'll pay less tax, overall, pulling out $20k a year for 30 years than you would $60k a year for 10 years (as an example).

Bolshevik Artizan

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Re: eight month update from Bolshewik Artizan...
« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2016, 05:23:35 PM »


Way to go, BA!  Is it too much to ask for some pictures of the fruit trees/bushes and mountain/water views?  :)

For the RRSPs, consider withdrawing a little each year you aren't earning much (at least up to the basic personal exemption or top of the first tax bracket).  Even if you don't need it to spend on living expenses, deregistering those investments at a low/zero tax rate is a good idea.  You'll pay less tax, overall, pulling out $20k a year for 30 years than you would $60k a year for 10 years (as an example).
[/quote]

Good tip on the RRSPs should it ever become necessary, thank you. We will definitely keep that in mind. And -- just for you -- here's one of my son and the dog taken a few weeks ago. BA

katsiki

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Re: eight month update from Bolshewik Artizan...
« Reply #15 on: August 18, 2016, 06:56:44 PM »
Great stories - congrats!  Cute kid and puppy.

Bolshevik Artizan

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Re: eight month update from Bolshewik Artizan...
« Reply #16 on: August 19, 2016, 01:30:48 PM »


 it sounds like you may be gravitating in that direction.  Like for me I want to spend more time writing, but I want to write what I want to write, and who cares if I get paid or not...   In his bombastic but entertaining book "Antifragile" Taleb said something that struck me.  He said he only writes things that excite him.  If he's writing a section of a book and he finds it boring he assumes everyone else will too and stops.  Maybe that's an unrealistic way to think about writing, but I'm kinda taking that up as my mantra...

I completely agree, and in fact think it's the only way to create anything worthwhile and remarkable. I want to contribute to our household, so I'll do some writing for money, and manage our portfolio on the side, but most of what I'm doing I have to believe matters. If you don't, no-one else will. Taleb is great, though the sentiment is one that's been expressed through the ages: the poet WH Auden, for instance, told his students not to bother writing on if they got bored because if they were bored, everyone else would be when reading their stuff. I won a writing prize in Scotland and spent a day with Ian Rankin, who said to me that if the writing wasn't working on a particular day, to walk away and come back another day.

I have applied for gigs as a Creative Writing Professor but some parts of that give me the chills, not least the idea of having to go on churning stuff out just to meet the University's "research assessment criteria" ... brrrr... thanks for your reply. BA

okits

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Re: eight month update from Bolshewik Artizan...
« Reply #17 on: August 19, 2016, 10:22:17 PM »
And -- just for you -- here's one of my son and the dog taken a few weeks ago. BA

Your son's expression says it all - that is one cute dog!

FIREby35

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Re: eight month update from Bolshewik Artizan...
« Reply #18 on: August 20, 2016, 08:05:03 AM »
Congratulations! I love reading these as I inch toward my FIRE goals. I'm oh so close to joining you. Congrats again.

Bolshevik Artizan

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Re: eight month update from Bolshewik Artizan...
« Reply #19 on: August 20, 2016, 09:07:52 PM »
And -- just for you -- here's one of my son and the dog taken a few weeks ago. BA

Your son's expression says it all - that is one cute dog!

Thank you Okits - good luck as you move towards this! BA

Bolshevik Artizan

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Re: eight month update from Bolshewik Artizan...
« Reply #20 on: August 22, 2016, 09:24:22 AM »
Great stories - congrats!  Cute kid and puppy.

Thank you! BA

Bolshevik Artizan

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Re: eight month update from Bolshewik Artizan...
« Reply #21 on: August 22, 2016, 09:25:20 AM »
I love love love FIRE stories of walks with puppies and making jam. More please...
Ditto! Congrats on your 8 months of FIRE. It just gets better and better and better as time goes on.

Thanks very much - I will look out for your posts. BA