Coronavirus April Journal 2020 Day Update 73 – Mashup Edition

Hi RIP readers,

It’s May 2nd 2020 as I start writing this post, which is:

  • A Coronavirus Journal, Day 76. Btw, I started counting the days since Market top (Feb 19th 2020), so it’s not strictly Covid related, but more “financial impact of the Covid”-related
  • A (quick) April 2020 Financial Update. It’s been a funny and crazy month, the first one as unemployed.
  • The first Unemplyment/StupidiFIRE Update, Day 35.

A lot of things to talk about, take your time.

Let’s start from the numbers!

First: we didn’t make it until the end of the month. Last few days were not covered by our income 🙁

A negative saving rate (though contained), for the first time in my lif…

False! I dug into your docs and you had a negative SR in May 2016 as well!

Oh, well, yeah you’re right. I took a sabbatical month between Hooli Maps and Hooli Shopping to go hike the Italy Coast2Coast. But that was different of course, it was a planned break and I would have returned soon to my desk. Plus I started blogging in July 2016 so it doesn’t count 🙂

This time is different.

There’s no desk to come back to.

This is the new normal, at least for a while.

[Note: I’m accounting for ZERO unemployment money in April and May, even though I’m essentially working at least a 40% job on unemployment duties. If I’ll get some money, cool. Else, less cool but fine]

April 2020 income came thru:

  • Mrs RIP unemployment benefits (that we’ll shut down if I can get unemployment benefits): 2.7k CHF gross. Mrs RIP was the breadwinner in April 🙂
  • Mr RIP last Hooli bonus: 2k CHF gross. Please Hooli, stop sending me money 😀
  • Dividends: 219 USD.
  • Some family gifts for Baby’s second Birthday (both mine and Baby Birthdays this month): 350 EUR. We still need to decide how to account and what to do with monetary gifts for Baby. For now I’m keeping a separate spreadsheet.
  • Migros Blue Coupons: 25 CHF.

Excluding expected income taxes, total income has been 4385 CHF.

While expenses have been 4974 CHF.

Oh, shit RIP… how did you survive last few days of the month? And I’m sorry for your daughter, you had to use her monetary gift to feed her 🙁 Are you going into debts?

Well… not exactly.

In fact this has been the best month on record for our Net Worth Growth!

+63k EUR, which brings NW at a new all time high! And that’s considering April 30th into account, where our portfolio lost more than 10k and USD dropped compared to EUR, our reference currency. On April 30th morning, before market opened, we were close to +80k EUR. I can’t complain though 🙂

That’s weird. I didn’t work in April, didn’t earn a dime, had negative cash flow… and we just experienced the best month on record.

Anyway I don’t feel comfortable again with the magnitude of current daily swings, which even in a lower volatility environment compared to March – my portfolio entered the Dance phase after the Hammer – are now back into the 5 digits due to higher stocks exposure. I’m tuning my risk tolerance, and it seems I’m close to the right spot.

RIP, you’re bragging for something you’re not responsible for, c’mon!

Well, not really. I decided to keep purchasing stocks while the market was falling in February and March, while everyone was screaming and there was blood down the street. I think I deserve some credits.

But I think the real test has not happened yet.

There will probably be a second wave of market fall, maybe it already started at the end of April. During the first crash I was scared but I also felt a lot of adrenaline, like when you get an injury while doing sport. You can keep going, you can postpone the pain for a while, even a -47k day (March 12th).

Now it’s different, I perceive that there’s a scar that’s hurting, and falling again on the same bruise hurts more. I don’t know how I’m going to hold on if a slower descent into market darkness happens. Something like a “normal” bear market driven by current inevitable recession, lasting a couple of years. I don’t know, last time I experienced that with my money it was the dotcom bubble. And I didn’t behave very well. Purchased at the top, sold at the bottom.

Are we already in speculation mode?

Oh right, I forgot to brag about our low expenses 😀

It’s a below 5k month, which is awesome!

I know many readers (not living in Switzerland) can’t comprehend it, but I don’t think we’ll see another #below5k while living in Switzerland anymore (ok, maybe this month as well – May 2020).

Fixed costs in our household are ~4.1k CHF per month: Rent (2.3k), Health Insurance premiums (0.7k), Child Care (0.9k), Utilities (0.2k). This month we didn’t pay for child care (reimbursed by the government, won’t happen again). We spent 700 CHF in groceries and extra 700 CHF in medical bills for a very deep January lungs check after I got a Pneumonia. Doctor didn’t know what the hell I had. This strange lungs infection that seems viral, reduced my breathing capacity, and it was not Asthma. Don’t say it! it was January, before it was cool 🙂

And that’s it for our April expenses. Ok, we lived isolated, but you know what? Even if I didn’t need to validate this hypothesis, we had great time together as a family. Lived in simplicity, spent time together, and saved a lot of money!

We should do this on a regular bas… what?

RIP, quarantine is over, you can do shits now

Maldives I’m comiiiiing aaaaaah I need a car and new clooothes!! Open this f***ing restaurant that I’m hungry!!

Ok.

About expenses again.

Mrs RIP few days ago “Honey, are we really spending so much less during this lockdown? I don’t think my behavior has changed since it all started… On what were we spending more money on before?

Me: “My love, it’s easy: if we’re not exposed to stuff, we don’t buy stuff. If we don’t go shopping, we don’t shop.

Mrs: “I don’t buy things because I hang around things! I go to stores because I want to buy things, and I’m buying things (groceries, some toy for Baby, some basic clothes) even during a quarantine. I don’t understand

Then we sit together and took a look at our previous credit cards statements, and compared them with last one from April.

It used to be 50-80 entries each month before. More frequent visits to grocery stores, transportation tickets, more stuff.

April 2020: 11 entries. We both stared at the CC statement in disbelief. 900 CHF total CC expenses in April, while on an average month before the virus it was 2k. The 900 CHF amount in April could have been 700 (just groceries) if I hadn’t paid Internet and TV bills via CC, because PostFucknance blocked my account in early April. So it would have been 10 entries and 700 CHF total. 5 of these entries have been my guilty trips to a small local market to buy ice creams. I know, I like to live on the edge.

Marketing exists for a reason.

We spend money without being aware of it, by simply being exposed to stuff.

If we remove exposure, we’re all much richer.

Mrs RIP: “wow… that’s undeniable. I’ll try to be more intentional with our money once the world reopens!

RIP…

What?

Mrs RIP never said that, right?

Yeah 🙁

It’s been an amazing April overall, sunny since mid March until April 27th. We spent a lot of time in our neighborhood (alone), witnessed nature in its magnificence: naming all the flowers, monitoring insects and bees activity, playing with mud and water, tracking the blossoming of cherries directly from our balcony!

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We enjoyed a slower life, tried to install some routines with partial success. I’m fighting everyday against my desire to be productive and against the temptations to just fuck around, play, sleep, and binge read/watch things.

I wonder what would have looked like if we hadn’t had a daughter. Or if I were alone.

I’m pretty sure I’d be more productive if I were alone but probably living a life of inferior quality and satisfaction overall. The frustration and lack of focused time I’m facing right now are the thorns of an amazing rose I wouldn’t drop for anything in the world.

A bit of struggle with going to bed early, a bit of struggle with doing sport as well… it seems time is always scarce, even in a slow life like this one we’re living.

Didn’t blog much during April. Some of you have asked directly to me if everything was ok. Yes, everything is ok. I’ve been focusing on several overlapping things:

1) Doing interviews and sending CVs.

I don’t know why I am doing this. Well, on one side it’s for unemployment duties, on the other side it’s fun. And I’ve passed more technical interviews than I was expecting, even if I didn’t put much “care” in doing everything right 🙂

2) Going deep down on Personal Knowledge Management.

I’m reading a lot, extracting notes, putting a lot of material into my temporary PKM solution which is Roam.

Not sure I’ve done the right thing though: Roam is being pretty unstable these days, experiencing data loss, syncing problems, general slowness, and hours-long unavailability blocks.

I love the features, but I’d rather have a standalone offline software solution for my PKM, Productivity Management, Journaling, CRM and more.

Looking into Zettlr, ConnectedText, Obsidian, Tiddywiki and Notebag. Or just drop everything and switch back to Google docs or text files.

3) Reading and learning a lot (and extracting notes in Roam)

I’m digging into rabbit holes miles deep 🙂

These days I’m devouring all the Pmarca (archive of Marc Andreessen old blog posts), and the remaining unread Essays from Paul Graham.

I’m more interested in meta-learning (learning how to learn), productivity, organization, decision making, Tiago Forte’s Building a Second Brain (only the free material, the course it too expensive), Scott Young guides to Memory and Working Memory (this guy is amazing), and so on.

I’m immersed in the meta. Not only meta, though: also re-reading good stuff like all livingafi posts (and sending mails to Doom, into the void), reading all moretothat posts (I love this guy, seriously. Take a look at the last three, they’re talking about me in a timely manner: on writing and wisdom, on self doubt, on taking the leap), Tomas Pueyo posts on Medium about Covid, 3Blue1Brown Lockdown Math videos (guys, the imaginary interest rate one… what a perfect teacher!), Cal Newport posts on The Deep Life concept: do less, do better, know why.

He’s pushing a post a day on this subject. Loved his “Deep Work cabin in an apartment” and guess what… I have a sauna in my studio! Time to pivot 😀 !!

Mr. RIP’s Deep Work cabin. It’s behind this

4) Helping famous influencers 😀

I’ve been contacted by Shy, from Breaking Italy, because several of his followers pointed him toward my post about a crappy sponsorship he took with an investment company.

I’ve met him few times, and also met the guys behind the crappy investment company for a two hours fight (you can find funny notes on my post). It’s not been a nice experience to fight against active fund managers with shitty performances but aggressive marketing techniques, but it’s been an interesting experience overall, and I got to meet and talk to Shy, explaining the benefits of passive investing to him 🙂 – I devoted a full week on this “project”.

5) Thinking about what to do next, on a longer time horizon

I’m fighting with my newfound freedom.

I acknowledge I can’t really “relax”. I’m not FI and I wouldn’t just relax even if I were FI. I want to do something productive.

I’m conflicted between the desire to “take it easy for a while” and the need to jump into a new project or eventually take a new job – but it has to be completely different from what I used to do in last N years.

Why can’t I simply relax for a coupe of months?

Why can’t I just unbox and enjoy Gloomhaven, that’s sitting in my shelf since months?

Why can’t I binge watch all the series I wanted to watch like Stranger Things S03, Westworld, The Good Place, Afterlife, Altered Carbon… (do you spot a pattern?)?

I was actually considering seriously to drop the blog and focus on coding again.

I took some time to list all possible futures (similar coaching exercise I gave to most of my coachees), and all the things I can do with my time.

After reading More To That posts on Self Doubt, and Taking the Leap, plus the amazing post on The Risk Not Taken by Andy Dunn, I decided (on April 29th) to kick off a RIP 2.0 project.

(Of course I’m procrastinating on the official kick-off. Let’s take it easy and leverage my Structured Procrastination)

RIP 2.0 means rethinking my role in this universe, moving away (for a while) from coding and toward writing, blogging, maybe podcasting, probably teaching, maybe public speaking, probably coaching/mentoring, maybe taking a certification (CFA or CFP), maybe managing other people’s money and more.

And maybe coding again, maybe launching my own Personal Finance App, Net Worth tracker, Budgeting software, retirement planner, investment dashboard or whatnot! But not in the short term. In the short term I’d focus on writing and rethinking the structure of the blog.

So far I’ve been only “writing next post”, without a schedule, without clear intention.

Blogging has been instinctive, a way to drop my thoughts, a form of journaling. I’d like to change that, while keeping my unique voice intact. But expect more structure, a greater design behind, some plans.

Although I’ve been through a general lack of time (which is fun to say as an unemployed, almost locked down at home), lack of focus, lack of cash flow, internal struggles on what to do next, April has been one of the best months in my recorded history. I’ve been more calm and “relaxed”, looking forward to the next day and not being stressed by “need to go to work tomorrow”.

I wonder if the work-from-home folks feel relaxed as well to not having to go to work. I mean, it’s just because I don’t have to physically go somewhere or is it because I don’t have a boss and duties? I bet it’s the latter, but maybe it’s the former and I’d be happy with a remote job with flexible schedule.

I won’t ever know. Maybe.

Aaaand we’re 100% “Italian FI” (whatever it means)!

Yeah, formulas are getting broken (-1 months to FI??)

Congrats RIP, you can finally relax for good! I’m sure this time it will stay forever above the line! How is it going in May so far?

Thanks for asking… This was on May 1st -.-

Oh no, Mr Market, you did it again!

Ok, let’s talk about this thing now: Mr Market and my risk tolerance.

As I anticipated above, I’m feeling stressed again by daily swings greater than few months of spending.

I acknowledge that I’m playing my financial endgame here: I’m closing my money game. Few good moves and I’m done with the need of money forever. The problem is that those moves are slow, and being tempted to accelerate the timeline doesn’t help.

What I mean is that it’s easy to be aggressive and enjoy the ride while you’re in your 20s with 30k Net Worth (like mine during my early 30s…), but once you’re moving a million every shackle hurts a lot.

Ok, there’s still a lot of volatility in the markets these days (not like March though), but I can’t expect this not to happen in the future as well. I’m testing my market related stress resistance, and it’s not holding up very well. I think there’s a correlation between my mood and market swings. I don’t want to admit but… it seems to be there, and that’s not good.

Ok, I also suffer from meteoropathy, and just by chance we’ve had amazing sunny weather until April 28th (while the market went up), and then the market bounced and it’s raining since then. It’s the weather? it’s the market? It’s the “stay at home” (we’re not going out much with this weather)? Hard to tell.

To further test my risk appetite and volatility resistance, I’m playing with individual stocks.

I purchased stocks from three companies on April 20th, 10k EUR each. So far I’m up by more than 20% in just two weeks in this mini Value Investor portfolio. This is just a personal experiment. I know you would like to know which stocks I invested in but I won’t share it here. This is mainly a psychological experiment.

I didn’t even put the effort to pick stocks on my own: I listened to many Value Investor friends who are doing a lot of work in terms of analyzing companies, reading balance sheets and so on. I collected their suggestions and purchased stocks which have been recommended by more than one friend. This is not something I’m proud of – even though I’m 20% up in two weeks.

I don’t plan to hold individual stocks for long: I hate 10% daily swings, I’m not comfortable with it. The upward jumps make me smile, but the downward ones take my breath away. This is loss aversion 101. But you need to know your enemy, right? And I didn’t do all the due diligence before buying stocks, I just exploited friends’ knowledge and value investing work.

And I don’t think investing in individual stocks is what would definitely satisfy one’s greed! there’s always something riskier to do. Look at these people on r/wallstreetbets (nicely summarized by user Cortana on MP Forum). These are the kind of damage that chasing higher yields can do to your wealth.

Investing should be boring. And that’s why I’m exposing myself to slightly more than I want to handle, to asses my optimal boredom point. Problem is: if you want to reach FI you gotta accept at least X risk. And my personal appetite seems to not be ok with X. I’m pushing a bit further to see if coming back to X feels ok then.

Anyway, I wrote a deep note in Roam on May 2nd, and I’m going to conclude this post by sharing it almost verbatim. There will be some repetition with what I’ve already said, but hey, this is a corona (not really) – financial – unemployment – personal update mashup, so that’s what you get 🙂

But before that, I want to thank you all for all the encouragement and nice words both for my “bravery” of having quit Hooli (more about that will come soon), and for my work on this blog, which is generally perceived as of good quality. Thank you all! I don’t know why, but the blog is growing even if I didn’t put out much content in April. Another all time high.

 

Here’s my personal “Where I am” note from May 2nd.


I think I’m a bit lost in organization.

I have urgent things to do, but I don’t care. Sometimes I chase urgency, but that’s when I feel empty.

I want to move up.

I want to create, write, blog. I guess. I also want to code. Maybe.

But before writing and blogging, I want to have a blog schedule. I want to know what I’m doing, not just following immediate creativity flow, which is awesome in the short term but it doesn’t give me a sense of accomplishment.

But before having a blog schedule, I want to define the whole Project: RIP 2.0. I mean, the blog should be a component, but not the only output. I want to write a book, write the EERG guide, maybe start a Podcast, maybe a YouTube Channel, probably do some affiliate marketing (I hate it though), probably improve my social media presence, probably find blogging communities, probably offer some Coaching and other financial services, maybe create an online course, maybe take the CFA or the CFP, maybe coming out with my real identity. It’s not just having a blog schedule.

But before that I want to have a PKM system in place. I want to set the ground for a successful long term intellectual working career. Without that I’d be The Chaotic Factory. I want to adopt a better note taking system, build a second brain, use Roam to its full potential (or decide not to). Take the Roam Course by Nat Eliason that I already paid a month ago! Also take the Farnam Street “The Art of Reading” course I paid a year and half ago… Plus there’s a lot of free material around on Roam, PKM and Productivity (like the entire Zettelkasten blog).

Define “MyPARA“, and implement it. Then define my Areas, Projects, Resources and add all the other fields to MyPARA. Candidates: goals, values, principles, icebox and whatever will come out of MyPARA project kick-off.

So I have a hierarchy of intellectual needs to satisfy. I want to start creating content with a purpose and start consuming knowledge with a purpose. More intentionality to sharpen my thinking, build wisdom, and (hopefully) add more value to the world.

But at the same time I have responsibilities and other desires.

I have a family 24/7 around during this Coronavirus “stay at home” time (forced “home office” for me, no Krippe for Baby). One one hand I want to spend time with them, on the other hand it’s becoming too much time. All the time. Carving out few hours of Deep Work each day is hard. I’m able to set aside maybe two or three four-hours block per week. Not enough. And I also want to spend time with my family. Sometimes I overhear Mrs and Baby playing and I can’t help but come out of my studio and play with them. I think in the long term I’d need a place to work which is NOT at home. Or wait until Baby goes to school full-time.

They also need some kind of stability and predictability from me. I can’t show up at random times. Am I up for lunch? Am I interruptible now? If I show up in the living room and disappear randomly five minutes after it’s going to confuse them. But sometimes I’m in the living room with them and I have an idea I want to write down, or a thought that’s being explored in my brain. And Mrs complains “if you’re here with us, I want you to be fully present”. And she’s right. It’s hard to juggle intellectual work and concrete duties.

And don’t get me wrong: I do care about the emotional aspects, being in the “here and now”, hugging, singing songs with Baby, playing all of us together. I can’t live without that. A week-long retreat – if Covid weren’t here – won’t work now. I’d miss them. I want them to be available when I need them.

I care about both immediate things and all the things that are in my brain, essentially creativity and curiosity. Learning and producing. I’d love to spend all my time in those two extremes. The immediate and the intangible. I don’t give a fuck about everything that’s in the middle. Materialism, planning next vacation, buying a piece of furniture. Even clothing. I’ve only maybe 2 pants and 4 socks left. And no pajamas. I have no idea where are my shoes. I don’t care. I want to play with my daughter and study mental model from Farnam Street, biking undert he sun with my family, and read the Elephant in the Brain from Kevin Simler and Bob Hanson. And read Plato, Seneca, and Eliezer Yudkowsky. And also cook a pizza and watch a movie with my wife after having had a 45 minutes run. That’s all I need. Yes, It would be great to get back a larger social life than my immediate family, but I’m not missing the times when we planned to be busy every evening from Wednesday to Sunday, each week. And I don’t miss all the stuff we’re not buying. And I should stop starting sentences with “and”.

So I don’t care about what’s in between immediate and infinite. Except for that thing called Money. Having financial obligations forces me to care about money and investing outcomes. If we were retiring in Italy, I (maybe) wouldn’t care that much. Spending 2-3k per month would be sustainable forever. Problem solved. Forever. But staying in CH means we need to find a way to produce money again, to make it sustainable. Which either put pressure on me to monetize my endeavors (I’m not FIRE, maybe I should admit that I’m just FIE, or that I made a FFLC), or look for another job.

Which is what I’ve done so far. I’m working at another job. The Unemployment job. It’s relatively well paid, on paper. I don’t know yet when and if I’ll get paid, but in the meantime I’m putting the hours in. I’m not sure that’s how I want to fragment my time. Ok, unemployment money buys us more time in CH after my Ravenna plans, but if I’m not working “full immersion” (at least 40 hours per week) toward my long term goals I don’t know if it’s worth doing. It’s just a form of procrastination.

I’m doing interviews, and I’ve passed two of them. Technical interviews. I still rock at coding. I had to play aggressively to NOT pass the final interviews, to NOT get an offer. I don’t want an inferior job compared to Hooli. But social pressure, and a lack of real Free Will, will push me into a new job. Like it always happened. We take the average job among the five we sent our CV. If I hang around companies and “amazing opportunities” long enough, I’ll take a job. It’s a fact. The only way for me to be more intentional is to stop looking for one. But then losing unemployment money. Which is painful now. Even though unemployment money are not here yet.

I know whomever I’d open this though to he or she would kick my ass for many reasons:

  1. I’m being greedy and selfish in taking unemployment money (on paper).
  2. I’m being a coward by still putting money at the center of our plans. I’ve accumulated a lot of it, why still care? To my defense I’m not levitating around money, else I’d still be working at Hooli.
  3. I’m a weak person for not having the will to be intentional. What do you mean by “if I hang around long enough I’ll get a job”? If you don’t want one you won’t get one! And stop taking unemployment money that you don’t need. Greedy parasite!

Intentionality is a struggle. Freedom is a burden. The world around you tries hard to lock you in. And your supposed strongest ally, your brain, is not always playing on your side.

Plus, I’m not doing enough sport. I’m not focusing on my Spaceship Me. Why the hell? I have a lot of time! And my body needs movement, at least some stretching. And my brain needs more calm. I want to meditate. I started it so many times, but you know what? I feel like time for meditation, sport, and sometimes even sleep is wasted time that can be used toward my goals. It’s unhealthy to think like this, I know. It’s Anxiety talking? It’s Stress? It’s Fear? It’s not a positive emotion to think that every single second must not be wasted.

This is also preventing me to fully enjoy Leisure time. I’m not watching a single TV series, or playing a single Videogame or Boardgame. I perceive them as a waste of time, but sometimes I stop and think “I should enjoy time more! I deserve it! Let’s fucking unbox Gloomhaven, it’s been months that’s sitting on my shelf!”

Freedom is hard.


Hope you enjoyed 🙂

Have a nice day!

32 comments

  1. Hi Mr. RIP

    Thanks for the update and interesting to learn about your struggles with being at home all the time.
    I can share my experience with not going to work every day but to work from home. It does not change the feeling on a Sunday night and not during the week, at least for me. I‘m still absorbed by work even after I close my computer. Thoughts linger in my mind for hours and that is the problem, that prevents me from being free and to be focused on what I want.

    Regards from Hooliland,
    Ciocco1985

    1. Great content and inspiring reads as always Mr. RIP – thank you!
      Here I fully agree with Ciocco1985: WFH causes thoughts to linger. I used to commute by bike and make [sometimes long] detours to come home to my family and be present in the moment. Now it’s just not possible.
      However, taking a day off (though still confined at home) to focus on non-work-related projects seems to work for me; of course this not being a sustainable solution long term, I was just experimenting.
      “Improvement“ work in progress, I suppose.

      1. Do you live somewhere where there are “stay at home” orders? Else you can always fake a commute and bike “to work” 🙂

        Of course your detours may not apply now (well, now they do. Almost everywhere in the civilized world you can go and meet your friends and relatives).

        Good luck with your WIP improvements

  2. I sometimes think that the more you learn, the more your mind cannot switch off, and the less you are present and happy. I’ve certainly found that to be the case as I’ve progressed through my programming career. My brain is constantly analysing everything, hungry for knowledge, wanting to trim, optimise, and improve… But it’s never-ending. Or at least it seems that way to me.

    Of course, like you’re doing with the note-taking and organisation, maybe some people can transcend the knowledge canyon and prevent a stack overflow error happening in their brain. Or maybe some people can learn how to ‘switch-off’ through meditation and mindfulness.

    All I know is there seems to be an art of happiness, it needs to be studied and learned like everything else, and although knowledge is a beautiful thing, it can sometimes hinder it.

    Anyway, all I’m trying to say is, take some time dude – unwind – if you jump into another job now, who knows when you’ll have another time for rest? Before you know it your daughter will be older and moving out.

    I know it’s hard when you feel like you need to put your big brain back to work and you want to start your next adventure straight away; but maybe you need to do some forced nothingness, at least whilst you’ve got the chance; maybe you’ll gain some clarity in the unlikeliest of places when all else is gone?

    1. I’m not sure the quest for knowledge and wisdom makes you unhappy.
      well, maybe, but it’s not like you can switch it off by not pursuing it.

      Kids who believe in Santa Claus are happier than those who don’t, but you can’t re-believe in it once you discover it doesn’t exist.

      But I agree that knowledge and the extensive use of your brain (at the cost of your feelings and emotions) can be a threat to happiness, but the same argument above applies here: truth is more than happiness.

      If a surgeon would tell you that if you let him make a surgery on your brain that would connect some neurons and as result you’d be happy every moment of your life, but absent from reality, like in a coma, for the rest of your life, would you allow them to proceed?

      In other words, would you take the Experience Machine (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Experience_machine)?

  3. You know that you can take out all your unemployment money at once if you use it to start your own 1-man company?

    1. If you start your company you can take out your RETIREMENT money.

      If you announce to the unemployment office you want to be a self employed person you can take 3 months (instead of 400 working days, ~20 months) of unemployment money.

  4. You mentioned meta-learning several times already. Am I wrong, or it feels a lot like you are saying “Once i will have a super-duper knowledge management system, i will finally start my big content-creation projects…”?

    If that’s the case, I’d advise you to stop this mindset: start your writing/knowledge/content creation projects, and then refine your knowledge management with the flow. Knowledge management should not be the end goal, but a (good) tool on the side.

    PS: I use Zettlr.

    1. Hi Julianek,

      If it’s the case as you presume then it’s just procrastination and you’re spot on to advise ‘action’. With you on this one fully.

    2. Hi Julian, I’m indeed very interested in meta-learning but I’m not blocked by it. I’m still learning and taking notes.
      I’m building a PKM but I’m not blocked by its completion to learn.
      And I’m not blocked by my future PKM in my creativity endeavors, i.e. I’m still blogging and writing a lot.

      I just think that my learning (and my ability to retain what I learn) would jump to next level if I had a good PKM in place.

      I also think that my creativity can be better funneled if structured. And can be of superior quality if my mental structure is stronger and more organized.

      So what I’m doing is Learn and Create while planning for a “creativity structure” (RIP 2.0), and while implementing a PKM and productivity system.

      1. Happy to hear that! And eager to see what comes of RIP 2.0!

        And regarding your PKM, whatever the solution you use, i would advise to choose a solution compatible with txt files. If you become a writer and your PKM is a very important tool, you don’t want to migrate it every few years ( i can see the pain where people have been migrating from Evernote to Notion to Roam to the next new best productivity tool). That’s why I use Zettlr. Maybe not the most powerful tool, but at least i own the content of my PKM (saved into git AND synchronized in the cloud) and compatible with Zettelkasten method.

        1. I think today I found the right words for what I wanted to express in my post: Your output depends on your input.
          Take a look at this amazing post by David Cain on Raptitude and then this one by Austin Kleon.

          About PKM, I’m still attached to Roam, but I’m also on the lookout. Zettlr seems one of the best alternatives. Other options are Obsidian and Tiddlywiki (or Tiddlyroam or Stroll, which are all based on Tiddlywiki).

          Of course being able to export everything in text/markdown for me is essential as well 🙂

          I’d love to handle PKM, Productivity, and Journaling with a single tool, that’s why I’m a bit reluctant to switch to a personal wiki solution, which is great for PKM only

  5. It’s great that your blog is growing. Sounds like you have some ideas to monitize your blog but you’re stuck in an ethics conundrum? This also echoes in your dilemma about taking unemployment money (hoping that “Greedy parasite!” is a joke rather than a negative self-talk). Actually Sam has a very good idea to take the lump sum unemployment for starting your own business. You’ll earn less of course but it could free up your time and you are fully entitled to it. Not sure if you do charge for coaching service in the future that you can take out unemployment at the same time? It sounds like double income here.

    1. This is something I might consider, but I thought I’d leave this chance as last resort.
      I’m also testing my “Employability” right now, I’m not fully detached from my previous life and career. Once I’ll decide to go all-in with my “entrepreneurial journey” I will of course play the self employment card with RAV and take three months’ money to kick-off my project

  6. Dear Mr. RIP,
    I am a novice ETF investor in CH and follow your blog for quite some time now. I have a question regarding your individual stocks. I also thought about sth like this but I was not sure if I would hold the stocks for more then 6 months to not get into the professional trader category, which I got to know because of your blog. Do you plan to hold them for more than 6 months or does this tax category don’t bother you?
    Thanks for the clarification.

    1. I’m probably not going to hold stocks for 6 months.
      I’m willing to accept the risk of being classified as a pro, but I guess the odds are pretty low.
      Anyway, I’ll prepare the road for a positive outcome in case I’d be classified as a pro: if my “trades” will turn up being successful, and some of my assets will still be in the red (unrealized P&L), I’d sell them (and maybe buy VT) as well to have a negative Realized P&L, maybe a ZERO “Realized + Profits”. If they want to tax me as a pro trader, the only effect will be not getting taxed on dividends 😀
      Of course this will make things worse in the long term, during bull market years, but I assume the pro-investor tag can be removed if I meet the 5 conditions in future.

  7. What? You are free? WTF I missed it!

    Did you wrote an article about that? Anyway, congratulations. You’ve reached my goal 🙂

  8. Hi Mr. RIP,

    A very long but enjoyable post but how about sharing your pizza recipe? 🙂

    All the best for you and your family.

    Regards,
    Luis Sismeiro

    1. Haha you’re asking me too much! That’s more precious than live numbers on my bank accounts 🙂

      Ok, welcome to the first “RIP cuisine” episode!

      Let’s make the dough:
      – 1kg White Flour
      – 25g Yeast
      – 6 Large spoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
      – 1 large spoon of Salt
      – 1 teaspoon of Sugar

      Put circa 800g of flour into a huge bowl
      Take a normal bowl (0.3 liters) and fill it with hot but not boiling water
      Mix in the water 25g yeast and the teaspoon of sugar
      Put the solution into the big bowl with the flour.
      Mix
      Refill the regular bowl with hot water.
      Mix in the water 6 spoons of olive oil and 1 spoon of salt.
      Mix
      Add flour over time until the dough has good consistence and it’s not too dry.
      Note: I always end up adding a lot of flour and going over 1kg total (usually 1.2kg). It’s a bug, but now I see it as a feature 😀

      Prepare the environment for the yeast to grow, I usually do it inside the kitchen oven (switched off):
      put 500ml of hot water into a container, usually I pour it into a slightly-higher-than-normal oven tray
      put a normal (almost flat) oven tray right on top of the one with hot water
      put your bowl containing the dough on top of the tray
      put a dish cloth on top of the bowl with the dough. I bathe it with hot water and then squeeze it.
      Semi-close the oven, leave it a little space for air to flow.

      Leave it there for at least 4 hours, max 7-8 hours.

      If you want to do classical round single-player pizza dough, you can get 6-8 of them.
      I usually make squared oven-tray shaped pizzas, so I carve out 3-4 dough. One would serve 2 people. I usually freeze the rest.

      Now you have an amazing dough, and you’re ready to explore your pizza.
      Come here in 10-15 years, when you “might” be ready to get the recipe for the amazing RIPPizza 😀

      1. Hi RIP, I don’t want to criticize or anything like that, but isn’t 25g a lot of yeast fo 1kg of flour? It’s one full package!
        5-7g would be more than enough, especially if you are not in a hurry and you let it rest for 4 hours or more. Try and you would be surprised with the better taste of your pizza and flour, not covered by yeast.

        1. Uhm… my Yeast blocks are 42 grams, and my original recipe (that I couldn’t find anymore) was 25g for 1kg of flour… But I must admit last time I made the dough maybe I added 30g or more of yeast and bubbles were forming while I was rolling out the pizza. I’ll try reducing yeast amount to 20g and let you know 😉

  9. Hey RIP, congrats on your “new lifestyle” and reaching Italy-FI, although it’s hard to decipher if you actually like/enjoy it or not 😛 I guess “conflicted” would be the right description?

    I fully understand and relate to how you feel. Especially the parts about wanting to be present and happy, but also constantly wanting to be challenged and move forward. It’s a very difficult balance. Unfortunately I don’t think there’s a “quick-fix” solution to your present predicament. You can spend every our of the day trying to accumulate and store knowledge, but wisdom comes with age (or so it appears) 😉

    I think you need to somehow work on being OK with “wasting time”. What you call wasting time, other people call entertainment/enjoyment. As a kid, the best way to learn is through play. We somehow lose that ability as adults. If I could (re)learn any one thing from childhood, it would be the ability to “switch off” my adult brain-parts, and just PLAY; enjoyment in the moment without a goal or a purpose…

    Let me know when you find the answer to that conundrum, because if you do, I would GLADLY pay you alot of € to take that course. If you bundle it with your pizza-baking class, I think you’ll have a winner 😛

    1. Thanks Nick, I’d say that ” “conflicted” would be the right description ” applies to everything in my life, since forever and for ever to come 🙂

      I like your concept of Play, and I loved how More To That put that in perspective of fostering Creativity.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  10. Hello Mr. RIP,

    This is a first time reader writing a comment. I am quite new into FIRE movement, but I have planned to stop thinking about money by 45. Don’t know if I will achieve the goal as forecasted, but sooner or later it will happen. I am also focused in enjoying the ride. I’ve done my little meditation about it and I discovered if I push too much myself reaching the goal, I will became as stressed as when I was working.
    I would suggest to consider all the positive aspects of your current situation:
    – You have a net worth over 1 Mil EUR, if I got it well;
    – You have also a kid and a Mrs. RIP who enjoy your company;
    – Sooner or later the unemployment sum will kick in and you cash flows will benefit;
    – You can code well, so you will never be unemployed (you can always get an average job and enjoy life, you are still in Switzerland btw);
    – You have different projects and ideas to develop, maybe I can feel a bit of your anxiety. You look overwhelmed by your own chances and possibilities, which usually we should see them as an advantage (you can choose);

    Usually comparisons do not help, but my case is quite similar to yours:
    – My net worth is a fourth of yours;
    – I also have a Mrs, crazy enough to live with me;
    – I am waiting unemployment sum to kick in (got laid off in March because I refused to work 55 hrs a week and travel 75% of the time);
    – I am a tax advisor and I believe to be good at it, I can always work as an accountant and accept an average job, if needed;
    – I have a couple of projects in the seeding phase and still working on them on how to proceed (I am a great procrastinator too as well 🙂 );
    Few days ago I discovered myself thinking about my future and I discovered blaming myself, while I was playing and relaxing. Always saying to myself “C’mon man, you should work on your projects, you should make more money! and so on…”
    If I keep doing like this, I will not enjoy my free moments (well deserved considered that I had more than 20 days of paid holidays, accumulated during my last job), I will not be rested while working on my projects, because I blamed myself during the rest phase.
    All of us need to rest and enjoy free moments.
    My two cents are: If you are relaxing, just do it and enjoy. If you are with your family, also do it and enjoy it, If you are working, work and do it well.
    Everything outside this is just a waste of energy. Your time is not wasted if you enjoy the ride, even if you are doing something boring. I believe overthinking (which happens to people have much free time) is just a waste of energy.
    I live in Ticino and I am Italian also like you. If you are worried about your future (with your net worth), I suggest to read this article of Mr. Mustache (money-and-confidence-are-interchangeable).
    In my opinion, you have all the time of the world to reach the goal, to do your projects and/or find a new job (which I strongly advise to use as a last shot).
    Maybe I misunderstood your article or your emotions, if so apologies.
    Hope this comment can help, I am glad I found your blog.
    Take care

    1. Hi Alessio, welcome to my blog 🙂
      … and what a debut! This comment is a goldmine, thank you so much!

      About the first part of your comment, i.e. the “gratitude” section. I’m with you. I know I’m lucky. Well, I built my own luck. I worked hard and built enough good things in my life. Maybe I got some lucky starting hand in terms of “skills”, but at the same time macro-environment (growing up in a shitty neighborhood of Rome) didn’t help, but at the same same time micro environment (family) was supportive and “above average” in my neighborhood.
      Anyway, I’m mentally trying to “step up”. Get rid of the scarcity mindset that’s clogged my mind since teen years and find my place in the abundance territory.

      Now, the problems I face in this stage are different, and so are my expectations. I have “enough” money, and supposedly a lot of free time (totally not true. Definitely not true!) and I’m not ok with just looking backward and saying “ok, I think I have my basic needs covered… and I have a lot of books to read. I should be able survive until I die. Like literally… everyone by definition!”

      Nope. My problem is now “ok, basics are covered. Now how can I build a legacy? I can I impact the world? I’m not ok with just waiting for my death. What’s my mission? What’s the one or two big things I want to accomplish?”

      Maybe I’m self inflicting unnecessary stress, maybe I should just accept everything is meaningless and nobody will give a shit about us in 100 years… but I’m not there yet. That’s 70yo future RIP, I have a log way to go 🙂

      This is me:

      P.S. money and confidence article by MMM is linked at least 3 times in this post 🙂 – EDIT: I thought you commented on my latest post, my apology. Anyway, I read it so many times that I internalized it!
      P.P.S holy shit, you got laid off! I hope things are good by now…

      1. Hello Mr. RIP and thank you for your welcoming reply!
        You are right and I believe I can understand your feelings, my comment was focused only to highlight your bright spot. Please consider every word of mine just as a suggestion of a friend 🙂 .

        I am optimistic by nature, but this did not help me while I was feeding my stash, so I could retire ASAP. My plan was too aggressive and I started burning out. I had a WELL paid job in consultancy, dealing with High Net Worth Individuals and family offices.
        I used to work the whole week and to be abroad (mostly in DUBAI) 75% of the time. Friends and family were great supporting me, but this could not last long.

        You look an high achiever and this is a strenght for sure. I believe I can be one also, but at the same time I realized many years of my life passed me by without even noticing it. So I started downshifting a little and focusing more on living my present, instead of running and sweating for a better future. Since I started school, I have never been unemployed, I never stopped. So, now I feel like I am really lucky being laid off. I would have quit if they did not fire me first. (Thank you for your question, things are great now 🙂 )

        To be fair, I am not sure what are you referring to when you write about legacy.
        If you mean legacy as a “net worth” for your family and children, I have seen many “rich kids” overwhelmed by the pressure of their family net worth. I would let my son/daughter (if and when I had one) to work hard for years like many people, so they could understand the joy of being financially independent.
        If you refer instead to a legacy of knowledge/achievements/charity , I wish you all the best, just keep taking some time for you while doing it.
        Just a brief example of how I got rid of my scarcity mindset. I started my career in Italy, where I was a tax advisor in a small town. One of our customers was below the poverty threshold. They had 2 children and only one parent ran a small store, which was struggling to survive, the other parent unemployed. One day both parents came in our office and told us, “we are having another baby!”.
        Meantime I was getting married and I was super worried about anything (what if I lose my clients?, what if i can’t do it alone?, what if a earthquake destroys our home?), even if everything was going super, I was worried way more than necessary. They were happy, celebrating and I was way more worried than them. I was not enjoying my future wedding for it.
        Since that day, every time my scarcity mindset comes bank, I recall that day and their happines (or recklessiness ? 🙂 ) and turn on again my optimism.
        I am sorry for writing a comment so long. I have already read your new post, but I need some time to study it. 😉
        All the best.

        1. I’m happy for you then, if you’re ok with having been laid off 🙂
          You said you’ve never stopped since you started school.
          I’m not an high achiever as it seems: I’ve actually had quite a few periods of “time off” during my career 🙂
          It seems I “work” better in burst of 150% work for a while, and 0% for another while. Which is not healthy, I agree!

          Anyway, when I say “a legacy” I don’t mean a monetary inheritance. I also believe that one must not spoil their children and have them discover the hard way that life is tough.
          I mean legacy as “an impact”, a way of being remembered, a way to make this temporary appearance on earth somewhat meaningful for as many people as possible.
          I know, it’s a delusion, like any other (don’t say religion, don’t say religion!) belief (good job!) around the meaning of life. But if I let go my desire to leave a trail on this rocky ball rolling around its hot star I know my life becomes much worse.

          I loved your story of the poor family being excited by their n-th kid, but I’m all-in with the fact that they’re being reckless and someone will have to pay for their lack of planning. Be it a relative, the government, society.

          In the end it’s all about one’s ability to self delude. That family told itself that they’d be fine – even though they certainly won’t – and their level of happiness seems to be above what it should have been.
          Same happens for (don’t say anything about religion!) people who believe in one of the ~3k gods around (noooo you ruined everything!!). Studies show how they recover faster from illness and their overall happiness level is higher than the control group. And that’s not because there’s (please, do not make it even worse) an invisible man in the sky that keeps prayer scores, but because if you can’t understand a problem you don’t suffer from it. Or at least you don’t suffer from the anticipation of possible consequences, but only when (or if) the consequences show up.
          If I’m a civil engineer and I see a half broken bridge I will cross it knowing I could die in 10% of cases, and my bridge crossing trip would be extremely uncomfortable. Someone who has no idea about bridges, who can’t judge if it’s broken, would just cross it with a smile on their face and be ok (and live a better life) 90% of the time, and DEAD 10% of the time.
          Ignorance is bliss.
          That applies to money as well.

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