Author Topic: Sold TV to a neighbor 1 year ago, never looked back.  (Read 1478 times)

JCross

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Sold TV to a neighbor 1 year ago, never looked back.
« on: August 12, 2017, 10:28:08 PM »
It all started a few years ago when I moved out of a shared home that I rented with roommates to a one bedroom apartment by myself. I stopped sharing the bill for an obnoxious cable TV and internet package which was around $175 between three people. While my shared portion of the rent was very inexpensive, I was having a hard time paying my portions of inflated utility bills that came from my other roommates' far less frugal living habits.

Eventually I moved out and realized that TV had a very diminished role in my life. I began to evaluate what place it had, if any in my daily life. I would alternate from watching antenna TV and playing an Xbox to keeping my TV out of sight in a closet. I hated looking at it when it was not in use. Time and time again I would read that there is an inverse relationship between TV size, and net worth. I discovered MMM somewhere along the way and became completely fascinated by the FI lifestyle and community. I began to read the stories of people who had decided to ditch TV altogether and their experiences. The real kicker came when I read about a person who performed interviews with people on their deathbeds. The deepest commonalities among the interviewees was that they all had wished they had spent more time with their friends and family, building relationships, traveling, and reading more books. None had wished they had played more video games, or watched more TV. And from there I decided that ultimately I would eliminate TV from my home.

I moved out of my one bedroom to a studio apartment, and sold my 42" plasma TV to my old neighbor for $50.

Initially I sought a life of purposeful entertainment, in place of mindless TV watching and Xbox playing. It has taken time to adjust, but the benefits are endless. Here are just a few that stand out:

1. The perception of having more time: it has been completely amazing how much my life has seemed to slow down since I have stopped spending idle hours in front of the boob tube. More time is spent on things that actually matter.

2. I want less things: the bombardment of commercial advertising has come to a screeching halt, and as a result material goods are less meaningful to me.

3. Weight loss: 20 lbs of body fat, nothing more to say here.

4. Portfolio management: I designed a process to manage my 401K, Roth IRA, HSA, Brokerage account, savings, and checking accounts into one overall portfolio. This resulted in a complete release of the anxiety I felt managing everything separately and wondering if it was effective or not. My new financial management system is more tax efficient, fool proof, and free. And no I don't have any formal training in finance. The information is out there for the taking. This is perhaps my greatest achievement in my journey to FI.

Ultimately what I have discovered is that TV is a lot easier to live without than to live with. 

Mr Griz

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Re: Sold TV to a neighbor 1 year ago, never looked back.
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2017, 07:03:27 AM »
I have lots of activities/hobbies. Sometimes I get asked how I have time for all that. My answer "I don't watch TV."

WhiteTrashCash

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Re: Sold TV to a neighbor 1 year ago, never looked back.
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2017, 07:33:07 AM »
I noticed the impact of advertising too after I eliminated it. I still have TV, but only an antenna with a DVR to skip the commercials and Netflix which is commercial-free. My spending dropped by approx. $300 a month. Incredible.

YYK

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Re: Sold TV to a neighbor 1 year ago, never looked back.
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2017, 02:05:30 PM »
Nice! I haven't had a TV since I moved out of my parents' place four years ago. Even then I only used it for playing video games.
When I visit my parents, I'm tempted sometimes to see if there's anything worthwhile on TV just to kill time, but everything on is such garbage that it's not even useful as a time killer.

JCross

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Re: Sold TV to a neighbor 1 year ago, never looked back.
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2017, 07:18:21 PM »
@Mr. Griz

I'm sure it just blows peoples' minds. What sorts of hobbies do you do? I'm especially interested in how Mustachians implement production oriented hobbies into their live's in place of idle things like T.V. watching. (I'm very interested in leather-working.)

@WhiteTrashCash

Read your journal, love what you have done. Thanks for dropping by. Some TV does still enrich, and I'm a huge fan of Mike Rowe with dirty Jobs. If you haven't, check out his podcast called "the way I heard it." He also has an initiative called MikeRoweWorks, which encourages people to get back into the trades, which hits home with me, since I am in one.

@YYK

I watch TV when I visit my parents too! I actually am guilty of "visiting" them when one of my favorite local sports teams is playing in a very high stakes/important game like the playoffs (which rarely happens because I'm from MN.) The Mustachian in me only visits the stadiums for the life experience, and only in the nosebleeds where tickets are around $10 a pop.


markbike528CBX

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Re: Sold TV to a neighbor 1 year ago, never looked back.
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2017, 07:35:59 PM »
Grew up without TV.
 Definitely agree with OP, on time perception.

Could see, and sometimes hear " what planet are you from" or " are you Amish" reactions to my lack of data on the latest hit show.

Didn't miss any decent 70's crap, now on reruns, crap 70s less likely to be rerun.

Now? wasting time is forum time ( no insult intended to the reader).

mxt0133

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Re: Sold TV to a neighbor 1 year ago, never looked back.
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2017, 10:35:57 PM »
We didn't have a TV for the past 6 years just before my oldest was born.  However, my SIL couldn't stand that we didn't have one and bought us one a few months ago the only reason we kept is was because it was small enough, 32'',  to put in the corner of our living room and is a SMART TV so we watch Netflix on it.

I don't ever see myself every buying one and hooking up Cablt TV to it.  I have seen the OLEDs and they are pretty nice but I would get it as a monitor before I would get it as a TV.

GenXbiker

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Re: Sold TV to a neighbor 1 year ago, never looked back.
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2017, 11:12:18 PM »
TV can be low cost entertainment with an antenna and free streaming.  You could exercise while watching rather than just sitting on the couch glued to the tube.  I have an elliptical, exercise bike, mag trainer, treadmill, and other equipment I will use when watching TV.  Or instead of exercise, you could multi-task rather than letting TV alone eat up your time.

Advertising never had an effect on me - I've always been frugal.  Of course, if paying attention, I skip through commercials with the HTPC.  I don't watch anything "live."  Even with sports, I'll time shift enough to allow skipping commercials, time outs, half time, etc.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2017, 12:07:47 AM by GenXbiker »

YogiKitti

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Re: Sold TV to a neighbor 1 year ago, never looked back.
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2017, 01:35:51 PM »
While I like the idea of not having a tv, having a tv show or movie to watch with friends or my husband is an easy way to spend time together.

We don't pay for cable, so that saves money, but the cost of the TV, speakers, and TV stand add up. I also hate having the living room oriented around the tv instead of the view outside. In my dream home we would have a projector or something where the TV is hidden unless you want to watch it.


Fudge102

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Re: Sold TV to a neighbor 1 year ago, never looked back.
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2017, 03:09:10 PM »
4. Portfolio management: I designed a process to manage my 401K, Roth IRA, HSA, Brokerage account, savings, and checking accounts into one overall portfolio. This resulted in a complete release of the anxiety I felt managing everything separately and wondering if it was effective or not. My new financial management system is more tax efficient, fool proof, and free. And no I don't have any formal training in finance. The information is out there for the taking. This is perhaps my greatest achievement in my journey to FI.


I would love to hear more about this.  What did you do?  How many accounts were spread out and what did you find were the best way to combine them?  And what exactly did you see as the outcome in those advantages you mentioned?

JCross

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Re: Sold TV to a neighbor 1 year ago, never looked back.
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2017, 06:19:45 PM »
4. Portfolio management: I designed a process to manage my 401K, Roth IRA, HSA, Brokerage account, savings, and checking accounts into one overall portfolio. This resulted in a complete release of the anxiety I felt managing everything separately and wondering if it was effective or not. My new financial management system is more tax efficient, fool proof, and free. And no I don't have any formal training in finance. The information is out there for the taking. This is perhaps my greatest achievement in my journey to FI.


I would love to hear more about this.  What did you do?  How many accounts were spread out and what did you find were the best way to combine them?  And what exactly did you see as the outcome in those advantages you mentioned?

Accounts included:
-401k which contains esop shares, cash in the form of employer discretionary money, and my own investments
-Roth IRA (which until recently was held in two different accounts
-individual brokerage account (taxable)
-savings account
-HSA account

The first step is to define your desired risk level. Many overestimate this, so keep that in mind. I found a ton of useful information from the bogleheads community. Like how holding your emergency cash fund in your 401k can offer better tax advantages.

After you define your desired risk level, you add up all the balances through every single account you hold, and then work towards defining what asset class these investments are. This is where being an index fund investor becomes a huge advantage. I chose to go with Schwab even though vanguard is a popular choice, Schwab has many similar investments and offers these investments with $1 minimums and lower or equal expense ratios. I use the fundamental indexes because they are geared towards value investing. The index more accurately tracks the financial health of companies rather than stock prices. The reason I chose this route is because if you are purchasing an index that tracks a market based on stock prices or market cap, you are still always buying into overpriced investments.

Once you have categorized your investments, you must work towards having the right amount of money or % of your overall portfolio in the correct asset class. For the sake of easy math lets use a 100k total account balance.

45% US stocks= $45000
15% US small cap = $15000
15% Bonds = $15000
5% cash = $5000
10% FX developed nations stocks = $10000
10% emerging markets stocks = $10000

Then you must compare whether what you currently hold matches your desired holdings, this is the most intensive part of the process. You must buy/sell (buying is best) your way to reach the desired asset levels.

Then you must decide how often you are going to rebalance or invest. Based on lots of reading of financial literature I landed on a strategy called "opportunistic rebalancing." This strategy does not rebalance based on a date, but rather on the status of your portfolio. This next part gets a little complicated. I invest every two weeks on average. But I will always looks at the overall portfolio, and decide which investment to make based on how far off the particular asset class is from my desired level. Part of this strategy indicates a relalancing "threshold" where I will not take any action to rebalance the portfolio unless an asset has gone beyond the desired range, and then I will bring the asset class back into the desired range. Ex:

US Stock desired level 45%
desired threshold range of 10% = 41.5%-49.5%
rebalancing range of 20% = 36% - 54%

I choose what to invest in based on what asset classes fall below the desired range, and invest in those assets with my bi monthly investments. If a particular asset falls outside of the desired range and now resides in the rebalancing range, then I would take action to bring it back into the desired range. What this essentially does is limit how often you sell investments. You are usually buying into the lowest price  and most undervalued investment you own. You limit needless tinkering with the portfolio, and keep wholesale portfolio rebalancing events to a minimum, since you are constantly boosting up the assets on the low end of the range with your frequent investments.

This rebalancing strategy increases your upside and chance of investing in a certain asset class at the most opportune time for you. It ensures you will not miss a chance to sell off bits of an overpriced asset, and increases the chances that you are investing your money in undervalued/underpriced assets. One of the main goals of this rebalancing strategy is to never actually have to rebalance your portfolio at all, but to maintain its health and desired levels via your frequent contributions. (Easily achievable barring any catastrophic events in the markets.)

The next step is to make sure your asset classes are in the most tax efficient account you can hold them in. There is plenty of info out there on this, but again bogelheads is most likely your best resource. For instance: bonds and cash are tax inefficient investments and are best held in tax deferred and tax advantaged accounts. International investments can provide a foreign tax credit, and are best held in a taxable brokerage account. Read this: https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Tax-efficient_fund_placement
**side note: it is best not to move around your investments if they currently fall is a less tax efficient place, but rather put your future investments in the most tax efficient place.

I use a couple different excel spreadsheets to help me easily identify which assets should be purchased, sold, or left alone.

Once you have done the legwork you are practically on autopilot, or you can hire a fiduciary to implement your strategy. Simply plug your numbers in every time you invest and decide where to invest, if rebalancing that requires selling is needed then simply take the correct action that is defined by your long term strategy.

Desired outcomes of this project:
*to invest in the most tax efficient way possible
*to create a holistic approach to the overall portfolio which is the best way to maintain your desired risk level
*to have complete control over how my money is invested
*to limit trading costs, and completely eliminate paying anyone else to manage my money
*reduce anxiety
*reduce fees

The outcome is that I can manage my portfolio in a simple yet very effective manner. What most people pay thousands of dollars to someone else over a lifetime of investing to do for them, I let the spreadsheets do it for me. Eliminating outside influences and sticking to a plan is a great way to ensure success.

I created this strategy alone but let my CFA friend look it over. He was fascinated, and got on board with it to implement this strategy on his own. We are working together to improve it over time. Our goal is to create an easy to follow process for investors to manage their own portfolios. We are working towards putting this information into ebook form that will be circulated possibly for free (donations accepted.) We are also working to come up with a way for excel to actively pull our account balances so that it becomes less of an active process and more automatic.

I'm a tradesperson in the AV industry without any formal financial training so use this advice at your own risk. But if you are more interested shoot me a PM and I would be glad to steer you in the right direction.

« Last Edit: August 15, 2017, 09:11:07 PM by JCross »

JCross

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Re: Sold TV to a neighbor 1 year ago, never looked back.
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2017, 06:29:15 PM »
It helps to write your strategy down, so you can refer to it when emotions flare, and they will.

Here is my strategy in PDF form, and a flowchart. The excel portion of my strategy is my proprietary information and its not polished enough to circulate. Eventually though it will be.

Enjoy:

drudgep

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Re: Sold TV to a neighbor 1 year ago, never looked back.
« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2017, 02:02:59 PM »
I noticed the impact of advertising too after I eliminated it. I still have TV, but only an antenna with a DVR to skip the commercials and Netflix which is commercial-free. My spending dropped by approx. $300 a month. Incredible.

How do you use a DVR with an HD Antenna? Excuse my ignorance.

GenXbiker

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Re: Sold TV to a neighbor 1 year ago, never looked back.
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2017, 06:54:11 PM »
I noticed the impact of advertising too after I eliminated it. I still have TV, but only an antenna with a DVR to skip the commercials and Netflix which is commercial-free. My spending dropped by approx. $300 a month. Incredible.

How do you use a DVR with an HD Antenna? Excuse my ignorance.

I mentioned this earlier also - using an antenna and skipping commercials.  In my case, I have what I call an HTPC (home theater PC), which I built and installed some DVR / PVR software that I've been using for maybe 12 years.  It downloads TV schedules and has 2 tuner cards that attach to my antenna so that I can record two things at once.

drudgep

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Re: Sold TV to a neighbor 1 year ago, never looked back.
« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2017, 08:26:42 PM »
Thanks, GenXbiker! Sorry didn't see your comment above... do you need to build another PC to be able to do this? Do you have any quick links or anywhere that taught you more about this?

I am googling, but I have never built a pc or anything :)

GenXbiker

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Re: Sold TV to a neighbor 1 year ago, never looked back.
« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2017, 06:11:45 AM »
Thanks, GenXbiker! Sorry didn't see your comment above... do you need to build another PC to be able to do this? Do you have any quick links or anywhere that taught you more about this?

I am googling, but I have never built a pc or anything :)

You don't need to build a PC, but you would have to install a tuner card or use an external USB based tuner.  For a while, I was using a second-hand Dell with a single PCI capture card.  Now, I'm back to a custom built dedicated HTPC, and I use a PCI and a PCIe capture card.

I'm using SageTV.  I bought the commercial product many years ago which included free TV listings until last month.  It's now available open source, but you have to pay a subscription to a third party TV listings provider if you want them.
https://forums.sagetv.com/forums/

Here's a list of other computer based DVR sofware:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_DVR_software_packages

yuka

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Re: Sold TV to a neighbor 1 year ago, never looked back.
« Reply #16 on: August 21, 2017, 09:32:14 AM »
Posting to follow.

Getting rid of the TV is an aspiration of mine, but I'm not sure when it'll be realistic. We have a 60-inch TV at our main apartment, and a 30-ish inch TV at our other one. I'm hoping that when we next move (and consolidate to a single apartment) I'll be able to convince my wife to jettison the big TV and then we can perhaps keep the small one in a closet, to be brought out for particular reasons.