Table of Contents
Hi RIP voyeurs,
Welcome to my regular monthly update. I’ll try to make this one short, these days I don’t have time to even catch my breath. Work time, sleep time, travel time, lifelong learning time, family time, theater time, friends time, sport time, blog time, new amazing project time… There are simply not enough hours in a day!
Anyway, September 2018 is gone too. Paternity leave ended, ramp back time ended, I’m back at 100% work regimen. Confusion.
Let’s look at finances and metrics.
More details can be found in my Net Worth spreadsheet (embedded here).
Net worth: EUR 874.8k, +5.8k / CHF 996.2k , +17.6k / USD 1015.8k, +5.9k.
We’re solidifying our millionaire status in USD while waiting for the runner up CHF to cross the finish line, hopefully next month.
This has been an overall “meh” month for our wealth, with a weak CHF and a mediocre portfolio performance.
At least we’re still in the “plus” area. Let’s not forget that we could (and sooner or later we definitely will) go negative some month. When market drops by 20% we’ll experience a negative 6 digits delta.
So, this month is still ok.
Income: 17.8k CHF. September is minor stocks vesting month (7.8k USD gross) and a dividend months. Mrs RIP salary has been zero.
Next two months could be depressing, without special events (stocks, bonuses), and without Mrs RIP salary. Maybe she’ll get some unemployment insurance money in the following months if she actively looks for jobs, which she’s actually doing.
Luckily this dark age is then followed by December, where a waterfall of money is waiting for us.
Expenses: 6356 CHF. We knew September would have been more expensive. We delayed few expenses and decided to try a new approach to public transportation that might save us some money on a yearly basis. It’s ok. October will also probably be another expensive month, but then things should settle down a bit.
Savings: 11484 CHF. Not bad, after all 🙂 Here we can see currencies at play. If we were measuring our wealth in CHF, NW delta would have been greater than savings by 6k. Investments, seen from a Swiss investor, would be evaluated in a good way!
We’re measuring wealth in EUR. In EUR our NW grew by 5.8k, way less than our savings. Which means that investments made us lose money.
So what should I answer if asked “hey, RIP, how did your investment perform last month?”?
Truth is that the CHF is weaker compared to both EUR and USD. From a CHF perspective, any asset owned in EUR or USD grew in value just because EUR and USD grew in value!
So… “it depends”.
Saving rate: 64.4%. Still good, it’s been an expensive month for a SIK (Single Income with Kids) family, and we’re still saving almost 2/3 of our income 🙂
Saving rate for 2018 so far: 72.4%. This is very good. I’ve run a quick back of the envelope calculation and 70% by end of the year is almost guaranteed. Unless I solve my midlife crisis buying a FerraRIP 😀
FI%: 72.90% (+0.48%). A small step, better than nothing.
FI Forecast Date: June 2020 (21 months left, +2 months compared to last month). If our NW grows by less than the average last 12 months, forecasts yell. That’s ok, it’s a small road bump.
FI Coast Date: December 2027 (-1 months). This new metric indicates when our NW will reach 100% FI on its own, assuming a growth rate identical to our SWR (plus inflation). We essentially just coasted this month. It’s sad, but it’s normal in a volatile scenario. It could go way worse.
Current Allowance: Year 30.6k EUR (+205) – Month 2552 EUR (+17) – Day 83.89 EUR (+0.56). This month we generated the equivalent of a netflix and amazon prime subscription forever.
Current Withdrawal Rate: 4.80% (-0.03%). Tiny, tiiiiny steps toward our ideal SWR.
Years of Ideal expenses accumulated: 20.8 (+0.1). Better than nothing.
Success Rate at Current WR, based on cFIREsim, 40 years horizon, 75%/25% split (other options default): 65.74% (+0.00%). In no scenario in recorded history this small reduction of 0.03% in SWR would have been a game changer. Sad.
Swiss FI%: 54.74% (+0.05%). Our NW in CHF went up a lot, but so did our yearly projected expenses so… not a big improvement overall.
Swiss FI Forecast Date: September 2022 (48 months left, +4 compared to last month). Sad, turbo-sad, giga-sadness.
Income streams breakdown:
- Mr RIP base salary (gross): 11152 CHF. It’s the same every month.
- Hooli Stocks Vesting (gross): 7814 USD. March and September are minor stocks vesting months. June and December are major ones.
- VHYD Dividend (gross): 973 USD. Vanguard high Yield Dividend ETFs. Share value is fastidiously going down but the yield is still good.
- IPRP Dividend (gross): 121 EUR. Our REIT fund has a nice yield. Dividends distribution for this fund is asymmetric: there’s a major dividend payout in June, a mid sized one in September and two negligible dividend payouts in December and March.
- Pillar 2 contributions (gross): 2590 CHF. 500 Mandatory portion, 2090 extra mandatory.
- Gift received: 50 EUR. A gift for BabyRIP by a relative in south of Italy.
- Manor gift card: 20 CHF. I used expiring miles from miles&more program on a discounted Manor gift card. We sometimes do shop at Manor, so the gift card is like free money.
The hard life of a multi currency family 🙂
Anyway, these are mainly gross values. We expect to pay taxes on income and deferred taxes on Pillar 2 withdrawals:
- Expected Income Taxes (23%): 4579 CHF.
- Expected Deferred Taxes on Pillar 2 withdrawals (6%): 155 CHF.
On a side note, income related, Mrs RIP (with my support) is going to fight with her former employer to get her last month payed. They’re inventing excuses and delaying this payment. Complaining about overtime hours accounting back in 2016… bad people. Millionaires, probably in the 8 digits NW range, but still assholes toward their most loyal, cheap, flexible and weak employee. Assholes. I’m ready to fight.
Not related to income, but a fun fact. We have (literally) a small piggybank where we used to throw spare change (small coins up to 0.50 CHF and 0.20 EUR). One day during September I tried to throw in few coins and it was full. Decided to open it and… it contained 30 CHF! I brought some coins with me every day and spent them whenever possible/feasible. I won’t forget the face of the cashier at Coop when I paid 12 CHF for a minor grocery shop with small sized coins! 😀
I’m not sure this is a bad month. Yes, somewhat high expenses but we’ve been on vacation for two weeks and there have been planned one-off mid size expenses…
Anyway, here’s our monthly expenses breakdown with some fun facts here and there.
- Housing & Utilities: 1658 CHF. Almost standard. 1250 on rent, only 40 CHF of condo fees (paid the usual 135 CHF but got 95 CHF back from last year final condo fee bill). 170 CHF on utilities, 150 CHF on cleaning lady and some roaming costs for our Italian vacation.
- Travel: 1623 CHF. Two weeks in Italy, out of which 12 Days in Villaggio San Paolo, close to Venice. Trains to/from Italy, Italian highway tolls, gasoline, many dinners out…. We could have optimized this a bit, but that’s ok. It’s been our only “real” summer vacation, and it lasted longer than planned. And it was simply awesome. Regret nothing.
- Health & Sport: 887 CHF. 701 insurance premiums, 80 CHF swimming pool pass card, 57 CHF a pediatricians visit for BabyRIP in Italy, 49 CHF medicines.
- Leisure: 723 CHF. Holy crap, RIP, what the hell happened?? Ok, let’s break it down even further.
- 599 CHF for a new laptop for Mrs RIP. That was a planned purchase. I did some research on mid-tier laptops and found one that I liked: Acer Aspire 3 A315-53. Monitored the MElectronics (Migros Electronics) website for their weekly discounts. Sooner or later our laptop would appear in discount rotation. I also owned some extra-large coupons (a 5x and a 11x cash back) that were going to expire by end of September. Wait wait wait, breathe, be patient, and… boom! Last week of September the laptop got discounted by 40%, from 999 CHF to 599 CHF. Must admit that the claimed pre-offer 999 CHF was a decoy price. On toppreise.ch I found all sellers in Switzerland selling the same laptop between 700 and 900 CHF. Anyway, 599 CHF was a good price for the laptop we bought. On top of that I unleashed the 11x and 5x coupon, along with three 2x coupons. Total 18x. Yeah, I know, the math is weird but I got it. So, just from this purchase we expect 107.82 CHF cash-back in Migros Blue coupons! We also originally planned to replace our 6 years old all-in-one Desktop PC, but it’s still working fine so let’s postpone this purchase to next yearly 11x coupon by Migros (March 2019).
- ~50 CHF on games: a jigsaw puzzle (I love them) and the 11th expansion of one of my favorite board games: Dominion. Expansion is Nocturne. I proudly own all Dominion expansions, which means I’ve spent ~600 CHF on this board game. I’ve been playing it a lot back when I was living in Italy, not that much in last 3-4 years. Regret nothing!
- ~40 CHF on books. I purchased The Philosophy Book, a nice introduction to philosophic concepts and history (that lacks the entire stoicism, disappointing), and last book of one of my favorite thinker of our time: Yuval Noah Harari. The book is called 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. I plan to read in sync with a friend and have some confrontation on the topics. Anyone want to join the RIP reading group? 🙂
- ~30 CHF Mrs RIP stuff that could actually turn into working material. She’s amazing with kids of any age, and she wants to start her own play group, where she tells “animated stories”.
- Groceries: 355 CHF. We’ve been traveling for half month.
- Restaurants and Eating Out: 346 CHF. Back in Switzerland, we indulged in a couple of dinners out, some ice creams, some brunches, and… fondue season demanded a fondue festival with friends! Anyway, we spent more than I’m comfortable with.
- Baby: 260 CHF. Books that she can’t read yet, toys that she can’t use yet, clothes in quantity she won’t be able to wear more than once before they become small… please, can someone stop us?
- Gifts: 254 CHF. So many newborn babies this month, and so many people we wanted to express gratitude to…
- Transport: 213 CHF. Mobility (car sharing) yearly fee of 99 CHF. It’s actually 129, but then you also get 30 CHF driving credits which is equivalent to money. 62 CHF on a single Mobility rent day. Special conditions: rented the car for 10 hours, drove a lot, 5 people including 2 kids. Cool car. I’d have been ok with the default Budget or Standard, but it was Saturday and a long rent. We found only “Combi” cars in the neighboring stations. 47 CHF on local public transportation tickets and 5 CHF for parking. Mrs RIP yearly public transportation pass expired. We thought a bit if it was worth a renewal. It’s ~800 CHF. She’s not working these days, and winter is coming. We’ll experiment with daily passes for a couple of months. Monitoring the situation and evaluating if it’s convenient or not.
- Clothing: 29 CHF. A couple of summer short pants for me.
- Fees: 8 CHF. IB forex and trading fees for my monthly investments (more on this later).
So, several one-off expenses we could have cut. Vacation and laptop alone totaled to more than 2k.
Mr Market Performances
Substandard performance of the market. Well, the US stocks market is still ultra bullish, but the other markets didn’t perform well. It’s the common denominator of year 2018.
It’s been a wild ride this month. During first week NW delta was almost negative. I was close to unbecome a millionaire. Then it recovered. By end of the month NW in CHF reached 999k but then collapsed a bit at 996k.
The monthly planned 5k CHF has been invested on last day of August, as I explained on August Update. So I didn’t plan to invest more.
Once returned to Switzerland (mid September) I noticed we had a shortage of EUR on our EUR denominated bank accounts. The Italian one (Bancoposta) was drained out with only 800 EUR left. The Swiss one (PostFinance) held 1100 EUR. At the beginning of the month we had 3100 EUR on PostFinance, but an Italian friend in Switzerland needed 2k EUR urgently and I helped him. He paid me back in CHF.
We always need EUR. By mid month I decided to activate my slow money maneuvering machine to convert 10k CHF in EUR with almost ZERO fees.
How does the slow money maneuvering machine work?
It’s very simple:
- Wire CHF from my main checking account in CHF to InteractiveBrokers (1 day, zero costs).
- Buy EUR for CHF on the market (instant, ~2 USD trade fee)
- Wait for the money to settle (2-5 working days, zero costs)
- Wire (SEPA) EUR to an EUR denominated checking account, I usually prefer the Italian one (1-2 days, zero costs)
I converted 10k CHF into 8.8k EUR in ~10 days, for a total fee of 2 USD.
Btw, I didn’t send the entire 8.8k EUR to my Italian checking account though. Only 6k.
I invested the 2.8k difference in IPRP (EU REIT). Bought 68 IPRP shares at 41.43 EUR per share (~2820 EUR). Since the purchase was split in 2 parts by IB, I ended up paying the staggering amount of 4.39 EUR trade fees. Which is 0.15%, almost double the usual trade fee (0.07%). That could happen when trading small lots. Sad.
REIT percentage in my portfolio now matches the desired Asset Allocation. What’s out of balance is both bonds and stocks. I will invest in bonds the next ~12k to fix the mismatch, then back to stocks.
But I’m tempted to reduce “low risks bonds” in favor of stocks and invest more of my (and Mrs’) Pillar 3A into stocks. Either Viac or lazily PostFinance Pension45 & Pension75 (and maybe Pension25, just because), since I already own shares (~5.1k CHF) of Pension75. We have 51.5k CHF sitting in our Pillar 3A cash accounts at PostFinance, October is the month we take action.
A minor issue: I fixed once and for all accounting currency for IEML. It’s dollar denominated and if googlefinance API on the spreadsheet returns CHF I automatically translate that to USD.
BabyRIP turned 5 months old this month 🙂
She keeps amazing me. Sleeping all night, smiling and laughing all day, never actually crying. We’re so lucky! So far, the experience has been 100x better than my most optimistic expectations. I won’t bother you with other details.
We also rearranged our apartment to make “room” in the living room for BabyRIP’s playing space. We’re thinking of a Montessori bed for her, close to the floor and not caged. With this new setup I think our small flat can hold another ~2 years, then we’ll have to move out.
It’s not just a matter of money, even though our flat is incredibly cheap according to the housing market of our area, it’s also that we love it. It’s in the middle of a green area, with no cars in sight. We hear birds and donkeys noises. Sun shines on our balcony on every season, and we love the neighbors.
We will try to resist in our cozy nest as much as possible.
Ah, I have a question for you, my dear Swiss readers: I invested some time into finding a reasonable way to start a financial life for my daughter, and I failed. I would like to know if there’s anything available for kids. I’m looking at a bank accounts or other financial tools with some benefits (and limitations) where we can start building a Net Worth for our daughter.
Let’s say it could be a way to help ourselves not buying too many baby craps: “what we don’t spend in things for her, we put into her account!” We’d have a model for the opportunity cost of buying yet another toy: we’d be making her financial future brighter by not spending!
Ideally I’d like to be able to invest in her name, so that her investments would have more decades to compound, but I guess none would offer such a thing. I’m ok with a convenient saving account.
PostFinance only offer crappy saving accounts with interests ranging from 0.05% to 0.5% for kids.
I know I could “pretend it“, keeping a virtual accounting scheme and pretending some shares of our investments belong to her… but it’s a lot of accounting work!
If anyone knows anything better, please shout!
I didn’t post many articles this month, just two: the August monthly update and the return to work after a long paternity leave one. I’ve been in Italy the first half of the month, enjoying beach time, and I’ve been back at work the second half. Time is a scarce resource.
Despite the small publicly visible output, I still accomplished a lot of blog-related achievement:
Physically met so many RIP friends! I never ate alone during my first two weeks back at Hooli. I’ve meet colleagues who know me as Mr RIP and other blog friends who wanted to chat with me. I was more missed at work for my blog activity than for the work related one. That’s awesome! And sad. More awesome though 😀
Received a dozen of deep personal mail, with requests for help / investment recommendation / strategy validation / midlife crisis openness. I’ve happily replied to all of them and started meaningful conversations. I don’t know how good I am in putting myself in others’ shoes, but it’s something I want to get better at. I’m going to run my first Case Study on this blog in October. A reader asked me if I could do so, and I’m more than happy to help. I’m building a small community, and that was sincerely unexpected when I started blogging more than 2 years ago. Now the problem is how to handle this if/when the inflow will become too time consuming 🙂
I’ve been interviewed few times. I’ve worked few days on an interview for an Italian high quality news site The Vision. The article containing my quotes has been viewed by many people and – hard to believe – no haters around.
I’ve also been interviewed for debt.com on the topic “Do you think money/debt lessons are better learned through knowledge or experience?“. The article should appear online soon-ish.
But the longest and toughest interview has been with ESI Money. Yes, I’ll be featured in one of his Millionaire Interviews. I’ve spent few days answering all his questions with enough details. He also dared telling me “Don’t make your answers too short. Do not worry about going too long as there’s no such thing in my book, the more info the better!” You crazy, bro! You tell me this then I write a book! The interview is complete and ready to be published… in December! Yep, he’s a little bit ahead of schedule 🙂
I’ve been working on my European Early Retirement Guide idea and blog post, even thought the post has been published on October 1st. It took me several days to write it, prepare a spreading plan, start a public Trello board, and decide if launching it (and destroying my current life) or delaying until FI, making it my postFI first big goal.
I decided to launch it now. It’s been a terrific week since then.
I collected 10 pages of feedback and ideas from Twitter, Facebook (posted on several groups), reddit (posted on r/eupersonalfinance and r/europefire), PMs on each platform, emails… I’m slowly gathering all the suggestions and taking a look at the external resources that have been suggested.
I’ll wrap everything up and will do a follow up post, before sync brainstorming (skype calls). Feedback received so far is simply amazing: ~100 encouragement, ~40 offers to help at country level, ~10 offers to help on organizational level.
Ok, there will be a follow up soonish, stay tuned.
I’ve rejected paid sponsoring opportunities. Yes, we all bloggers receive those cold email “hey, I have clients who would like to write on your blog… how much do you want for a post?” I usually decline them straight away or tell them a price I know they won’t accept, just to see how they react.
This last two opportunities were actually good quality. And not just individual offers, but laying the foundations for long term partnerships. It took me more than the usual 1.75 nanoseconds to turn them down. Reasonable money, reasonable control over the content… but one thing made me turn the offers down: “article will not be labeled as Sponsored“. Nope. No way.
Ok, maybe I need to widen the scope of this subject a bit.
If you’re following me since the beginning either you’re my mom (hello mom! So sad you don’t speak English!) or you know what to expect from my posts. This blog was born out of my passion and desire to share my personal journey toward FIRE. I’ve written some technical posts, some emotional ones, pseudo-philosophical ones. Most of them are very personal, even without an actual identity attached. I also think I have my own “writing style”, which can be summarized as “holy shit, this guy writes like a third grade student, but it’s somehow fun and captivating! Who am I to judge? Actually J.D. Salinger made a living out of it!”
So it’s hard to make room for anyone else’s writings on my blog. I’ve only run a guest post here, from a very close friend in real life.
Having said that, I’m not totally against people salads. And if someone is willing to pay to be “exposed to my audience”, I’m only honored 🙂
Having said that too, I’m not here to sell myself out! I need to love the content, have control over it, cover a subject I wanted to cover anyway… like a country review on the European Early Retirement Guide 😀 Brace yourself, guest posts for EERG are coming!
Having said that one thing too, I must be transparent to my readers and I must tell that a post is a guest and/or a sponsor post. I’m going even further, I must tell how much I’m getting paid for blog related gigs. I’m in with the ONL manifesto “what FIRE Bloggers owe Readers“.
So… nope, money turned down 🙂
So, observable blogging activity was low, but under the hoods I’ve written a lot 🙂
I have a very long list of topics I want to write about, and this list keeps growing at a faster pace compared to what’s actually been produced. But I’m motivated and I really – really – enjoy the process 🙂
To quote myself:
The blog is not the end goal, like FI is not my end goal. They’re both tools to improve my freedom and explore my passions. I’m system oriented, not goal oriented. I’ll pivot my writing one day. Essays? Books? Novels? Professional financial articles? Philosophy? Fiction? Theater scripts? Who knows!
Creativity, Curiosity, Lifelong Learning
Oooh, my favorite chapter of the monthly update!
I claim to spend 3-5 hours each day on these activities: creativity, curiosity and lifelong learning. Before we go deeper, let’s define how I’m documenting them here:
Curiosity: new material I discover and consume.
Creativity: new things I produce / try out.
Lifelong Learning: more structured way of consuming (what a bad word, need a new one) material and a process to try to retain as much information as possible.
No, wrong. I’m not “trying to retain as much information as possible”, that’s what schools do. And that’s exactly why they suck.
What I’m trying to do is to build a 5-levels hierarchical cache system made of: my memory, my writings, my bookmarks (2 levels here), the internetz:
- Everything is on the internet, or on books (level 5).
- When I find something that I like, after I consumed it (bad word, it’s a bad word) I save it somehow in my uber-complex digital repository made of bookmarks, saved videos on youtube, PDFs, quotes, notes on the margin of the books I read… (level 4).
- If it’s AWESOME material I classify it as AWESOME. I have a way to awesomize resources on every format (level 3).
- If something is so awesome that it’s potentially life changing, I need to write about it in a doc (that I collect on Google Drive or Dropbox) or other writing formats, even physical ones. The process of writing and using my own words makes the resource more likely to stick (level 2).
- Every once in a while I reread my writings. If something is really really important and life changing, it will probably find its way into my main memory (level 1).
Maybe next step is to tattoo things on my body (level 0)! 😀
Ok, what did I learn/create this month?
Books: I tried to read Antifragile, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, but it’s a really hard read. I tried in the wrong period, in the wrong place, with not enough time to give the book the focus it needs. I switched temporarily on Principles, by Ray Dalio. It’s an amazing book! We had a weeklong flirt, but we both knew it was just temporary. I was waiting for “the book”, i.e. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, by Yuval Noah Harari. Ray, don’t worry, I’ll be right back!
Harari is – in my opinion – one of the best thinkers of our time. I loved Sapiens, it’s a book whose pages are scattered thru level 1-4 of my cache system 🙂
I also own Homo Deus, but didn’t read it yet. With Sapiens, Harari analyzed the past. With Homo Deus he showed his vision for the future. With this last one he explains what are the challenges of the present. I’ve watched so many videos of him, and I already know more or less what he’s going to elaborate on many of the 21 lessons. I just started the book, I hope to find time to read it within this month.
About books. I love reading books but I don’t read as much as I would like. I keep adding books to my “to read” list though. I keep buying more books than I could read. And I’m ok with that, I love the concept of Antilibrary. The problem is… to come to terms with my mortality I did some calculation:
Let’s say I live until age 91, another 50 years. That’s an overly optimistic scenario. Let’s say I read a “deep book” a month. It’s 600 books. I have 600 books left. My “to read” list contains more or less 300 books. Probably, during the next 50 years I’ll add the missing 300 books to the list. Probably, I’ll add at least ten times more books!
So… don’t get offended if I won’t read the book you’re going to recommend me 🙂
People I’ve found/consumed:
- Ray Dalio: a billionaire hedge fund manager who wrote an amazing book named Principles, is close to publish a second one on debts at government scale (which is also available in PDF for free on Ray’s website), produced awesome videos (principles, how the economic machine works), made awesome talks (at Google, at TED), released awesome interviews (on economy, on debt crisis)
- James Clear: discovered thru thesimpledollar. Habits, productivity, creativity… as he puts it: “human potential“. Read his Guide to Deliberate Practice, Productivity, Creativity, Creativity process (which I think I unconsciously follow every time), Intermittent Fasting.
- Melting Asphalt: real name Kevin Simler. Intellectual writer. About what? Well, so many things… check out his posts: on Identity, again Identity, Thinking process, Personality, Beliefs, Meaning. He’s a fine thinker and a source of inspiration for me.
- Paul Graham: have you heard about Y Combinator? No? Ok, go away, out of my life! Paul Graham is a Venture Capitalist that created Y Combinator, the startup incubator in Silicon Valley. He will fund your idea (well, probably not). But more than money (who needs it?) he has so many essays on startup, creativity, meaning of life and other things. Makers vs Managers, Life is short, You weren’t meant to have a boss (in AWESOME category), before the startup, how to raise money, the top idea in your mind.
“RIP… you really want to make me believe you don’t want to mention…”
No no no, of course I saw Elon Musk’s announcement of the new BFR and the plan to go to the moon 🙂
It’s hard, it’s hitting hard.
Paternity leave ended mid September, after two weeks of vacation with my family. Which in turns happened after 2 months of staycation in Switzerland. During last two weeks, I’ve spent my time relaxing, reading, writing and playing with my daughter and my wife 🙂
It’s been the best time of my life!
Coming back to work felt wrong. I’m still having hard time realigning to a corporate life after 3 weeks back on my desk. Don’t get me wrong: Hooli is amazing, my colleagues are very kind, my boss is awesome.
It’s me, it’s not you.
I’m burning out.
I think I’m done with my software engineer career.
I loved it, I consumed it, I have been all-in since age 10. Coding has always been my main creative endeavor. It’s not anymore.
Sometimes I blame other passions, including my blog and my FI pursue though.
I’m not passionate in software engineering anymore, but how much of my passion and lack thereof is really mine?
I don’t believe passion is something that just “happens” and then you react. Passion is an effect of action, not vice versa. Having received a Commodore 64 before age 10, and having read the coding manual (in Basic!) made me wanting to try to implement something. I created my first videogame at age 10 I guess. I did something, I liked the outcomes, I felt “competent”, I did more… and that’s how you become passionate!
What if, instead of starting this blog, 2 years ago I had started my own side software project, an app, or a videogame? Would I have loved it? Would I still be devouring C++, algorithms, and software design books today?
Have I really drained out my “coding energy pool”, or simply getting passionate about something else brought me away from it? If the latter is true, maybe I still have decades to go as a software engineer and I could enjoy my well deserved FatFIRE later in life. It’s just a matter of “doing something” in that direction, and passion will come (back). I’m pretty sure I’d still love to code. Coding always meant creativity to me. Coding on your own project means being like a god that brings a small and unique world to life.
Instead, today I’m in a mental state where I can’t take any longer of it, and I might give up my career before reaching my FI number. I keep looking at numbers, drawing hypotheses, having a lot of family conversations. After initial distance, we’re now both considering other’s point of view, and more willing to finding middle grounds. I don’t want to share everything with you now, I promise to do it when time will come 😉
In last 2 months and half I asked myself so many questions, wrote so many documents of possible scenarios, alternative ways of living, places, crazy ideas on how to generate income, potential improvements in each aspect of my current situation (employed, working 100%, not remotely, in Switzerland, with 1 kid), changes that explode in combinatorial fashion. It’s like a strategic game with a lot of variables. I’m just enumerating countermoves available for each move. Getting crazy. Paradox of choice. Analysis Paralysis.
Actually no, we’re not frozen. We’re pruning the tree, selecting a subset of the possible paths, starting to see the light. We’re feeling that our discussions are no more driven by fear, but by growth. We’re trying to operate within the so called (by Jeff Bezos) Regret Minimization Framework: In N years, will we regret doing / not doing X?
It will take time to reach clarity, and some of the analyzed paths are very contingent. It’s a fun ride. Whatever happens, we’re sitting on solid financial and sentimental basis 😉
Health and Sport
“RIP, what does the scale say?”
“Did you run the marathon?”
Uhm… no… but I’ve already told you last month that I weren’t going to…
“Ok, did you work out this month? Did you lose some weight?”
I… I don’t know… I’m scared to weigh myself.
And no, I didn’t do much sport in September. As I said, vacation plus coming back to work…
“Ok, at least did you eat healthy food? Are you on a diet?”
“RIP, holy shit! Your body is your temple! Where is the person who tried vegetarianism for two months? Where is the warrior who ran a half marathon last year? Where is the superman who tried intermittent fasting for three months two years ago?? You’re an experimenter, why is it so hard for you to consistently eat better?”
I know, I know 🙁 I’m compensating bad feelings with eating unhealthy food.
I’m waking up at 6.30 AM, like 2 years ago, to work on my passions. Then at 9.30 I’m evicted and sent into a cubicle. My body bikes from home to work, but my brain opposes resistance. And as a punishment for this, it forces the body to take many breaks, and to eat crappy, unhealthy food, freely available 24/7 at Hooli.
It all comes down to what we’ve already seen: either I relight my fire for software engineering, or I need to make a significant change.
That’s all for September 🙂
“…Welcome to my regular monthly update. I’ll try to make this one short… Hahahaha!”
I have made this longer than usual because I have not had time to make it shorter 🙂