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Old 04-08-2015, 11:18 AM   #41
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Thank you both. I will be sure to keep you all updated.

Yes, I did have to walk away from a lot of stock-based comp (some options, some in other forms). Also, I made my management aware of my exit plan about six months ago, at roughly the time when annual grants are issued, and so that meant I did not receive any new grants during the refresh -- effectively locking in a pay cut over time, basically.

As it happens, I left roughly my whole net worth, albeit pretax, on the table. Wouldn't have it any other way. Um, yeah...
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Old 04-08-2015, 11:29 AM   #42
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That was nice of you to let management know 6 months ahead of time. Did they at least give you a little more cash compensation in lieu of the stock grant? Was there any advantage to you in giving them that much notice or did you just feel it was the right thing to do?

Personally, I'm not going to say anything until I'm ready to be shown the door. I feel like a large part of our bonus is just as much about what they think you'll do for them next year as it is what you accomplished last year.


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Old 04-08-2015, 11:51 AM   #43
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That was nice of you to let management know 6 months ahead of time. Did they at least give you a little more cash compensation in lieu of the stock grant? Was there any advantage to you in giving them that much notice or did you just feel it was the right thing to do?

Personally, I'm not going to say anything until I'm ready to be shown the door. I feel like a large part of our bonus is just as much about what they think you'll do for them next year as it is what you accomplished last year.
No, no additional cash really. Stock grants at my company follow a fairly traditional four year vesting period with a one year cliff, so any grant would have had no impact in the coming six months anyway. Moreover, because I still had years of previous grants flowing in, even at the one year point it woudl not have made a gigantic difference. My comp plan had a lot of inertia (for better and worse).

I did sort of get automatic "consideration" in the sense that I stopped taking on new relationships (and the work each would entail) over that period of time. So, by the end, my calendar was much more open and my schedule was quite relaxed.

I reported to the CEO, who is also a personal friend. I'd actually considered leaving a few years back, and he talked me into staying another few years. So it has been an fairly extended period of waffling on my part. And, yes, it was just the right thing to do in my case. I had a high visibility role in our company and held many key relationships with many of our customers. Those needed to be transitioned smoothly for the good of all involved.

But, making a high integrity exit was always non-negotiable for me. I like to sleep at night, and it's a small world anyway. Who knows, maybe I'll be back there next year, begging for my job back.

If I were in your industry with its cut-throat incentive plans, I'm sure I would feel a lot like you describe, needing to protect my earnings by always signaling faithfulness. I'm not surprised at all that the bonus is thought of at least partly as a down payment on future performance. There are times that I wish our plan worked like that, because I think it aligns better with certain roles we have. But I'm going to let somebody else worry about that.
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Old 04-08-2015, 04:51 PM   #44
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congratulations, the camping trip stories will be interesting to see.
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Old 04-08-2015, 09:56 PM   #45
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Great story. Thanks for sharing. That was a fun read.
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Old 04-08-2015, 11:51 PM   #46
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Great to see this - congrats!
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Old 03-19-2016, 07:49 AM   #47
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Hi Symbiotic, how has your first year of retirement been? I hope it was everything you thought it would be and more. Any words of wisdom for those of us looking to take the plunge?


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Old 03-27-2016, 01:43 AM   #48
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Hi Symbiotic, how has your first year of retirement been? I hope it was everything you thought it would be and more. Any words of wisdom for those of us looking to take the plunge?
What great questions, and also a wonderful impetus for getting back to this thread and updating it.

Quick summary: I can't believe it's been a year!

Shortly after I posted above, we took off on an eight-month extended road trip. We visited a lot of family and friends and camped the whole way. We planned our trip to have us home mid-fall, so our daughter could go back to the pre-K class that she loves for the winter months. We are returning for a mini version of our trip this summer, and then the kind of school you can go to jail for not sending your kid to starts in August.

The trip has had several positive effects with respect to ER. First, I think it created a nice, hard separation between work and not work. Most of my time in the last year has been spent making fires and navigating and hanging out with the family, not sitting around at home wondering what to do. There's been no shortage of things to do.

Second, it feels like a natural amount of time to take off if I wanted to back to w*rk. I might, and I've always felt that way. In some sense, it's kind of like an extended sabbatical.

Third, because we broke the trip up into two chunks, I've had a five-month stretch at home where I've been able to work on other things but have NOT really had the chance to consider doing anything "big", including things that look like w*rk. And because we recently moved to this house, we have a long list of significant remodeling projects that I've been able to spend a bunch of time on.

I have picked up a variation on an old hobby, and it looks like it will produce some SE income for 2016. But it is just a game.

I'm rambling, but I'll try to sum things up: emotionally, I feel great and totally at ease just being a slacker still.

Psychologically, I mostly feel great, but I do long for the camaraderie and intensity of business. I loved the kind of social pressure to perform that I had when I was working -- indeed, I think it was one of the things that made me successful, internally "competing" to exceed my peers' expectations. I don't have that at home with any of my solo projects at this point.

Physically, I'm in better shape and eating better. I have total flexibility to control diet now, and I like to cook, and I'm slowly doing better at both.

Financially, we seem to be in the doldrums. Basically nothing has changed, except I understand the ACA a lot better. We're still almost completely in stock, and our WR is about the same, and I basically look at it each day but never take any action. It is boring in a great way.

I'm about 90% sure I'll want to take up some longer-term avocation once we finish our giant road trip and settle into a fairly traditional small-city schoolkid life. I am still constantly pestered by recruiters and friends about other opportunities, which on the one hand is flattering but on the other may not be the way I want to go. I have decided, for the most part, to defer all serious thinking about this subject until later this year. But sleeping in 'til lunch and traipsing around the house in fuzzy slippers for the rest of the day is likely not something you'll find me doing in 2017.

There ya have it. Oh, and one of the very few things I've put on my calendar is a reminder to update this thread in six months' time!
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Old 03-27-2016, 06:43 AM   #49
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Congrats, Symbiotic. I just went back and read your old posts.

First, hope your wife's health is still holding up well.

How did you do the road trip? Preplan it or just go? Via car/suv or camper?

The latter half of your post I found interesting. At our younger ages (I'm 44), the feeling of walking away is nice but I think finding some "purpose" will be important for long term happiness. That can take on many forms and not necessarily mean w*rk. Also, once your child is in school, you will likely need to be anchored somewhere. Perpetual travel would be nice and is technically possible, but few undertake that adventure.

I took a multi-month sabbatical recently and really enjoyed it. But, I also looked forward to re-engaging. I am now PT, for now. I'm thinking 1-2 more years (uh oh...OMY syndrome). Although our assets are outstanding....firecalc gives 100% with $240k+ spending...the peace of mind of a "paycheck" is nice as I ease into ER.

I'm curious as to your car lust - I tend to be the same. What did you splurge on?

Cheers!
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Old 03-27-2016, 06:24 PM   #50
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Symbiotic, thanks for the update. I appreciate you breaking down how you're doing into the psychological, financial and physical aspects. Great to see you're enjoying yourself and looking forward to your next post.


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Old 03-27-2016, 09:24 PM   #51
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First, hope your wife's health is still holding up well.
Thanks, she's doing great. I should've mentioned it!

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How did you do the road trip? Preplan it or just go? Via car/suv or camper?
We actually bought an RV. It is really pretty luxurious, to be honest, but we have multiple dogs and wanted to be sure we could stay out up to a year and not get too cozy.

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The latter half of your post I found interesting. At our younger ages (I'm 44), the feeling of walking away is nice but I think finding some "purpose" will be important for long term happiness. That can take on many forms and not necessarily mean w*rk. Also, once your child is in school, you will likely need to be anchored somewhere. Perpetual travel would be nice and is technically possible, but few undertake that adventure.
I agree. We even met some families that are "perpetual travelers," but they're rare, and they make huge sacrifices in terms of homeschooling (parental time and energy). I also like the idea of our kid getting to grow up with a group of friends. I had that luxury as a child, and I'm still close with my grade school buddies.

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I'm curious as to your car lust - I tend to be the same. What did you splurge on?
I've had a Tesla and a 911. They were both great, but impractical day to day of course. We just got a Golf R when our Subaru finally fell apart, and it's a great sleeper. But about as much as I want to be spending on cars going forward, I think. I hope.
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Old 03-27-2016, 09:26 PM   #52
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Great to see you're enjoying yourself and looking forward to your next post.
You, too. Keep us updated!
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Old 12-07-2017, 01:14 AM   #53
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Well, so much for "6-month updates," eh?! I guess a 20-month update will have to do.

We finished our big road trip, I netted a trifle at my side gig in 2016, and we've ridden the market up since then with our non-home assets basically 100% in equities.

Kiddo is in school, and loves it, but we've decided together that we all like the nomadic life at least as much. So, throwing caution to the wind, we're outfitting a new RV and preparing to spend another few years on the road starting next summer. (We're also preparing for homeschooling, which is a huge roll of the dice... not so much because of the educational burden, but because we don't quite know how any of us will adapt to the mandatory student-teacher relationship.)

I did a little consulting work earlier this year and have signed up some friends who work "for me" now, too, so we've had a total pleasant surprise on the income front for 2017. On the other hand, we've sunk a small fortune into the new RV (and not done yet!) a.k.a. our full-time home for the foreseeable future, so cashflow has felt quite the opposite.

I got very lucky and dropped some funds into cryptocurrency early in the year, so now I have had to educate myself on how to prevent myself from losing my prime numbers and marooning an insane quantity of unrealized gains in the blockchains forever. As soon as we clear the LTCG window next year, I'll reduce our position considerably... no sense in having a third of our net worth in such a volatile "investment," right?

Our forward-looking budget comes in at 2.9% effective WR, which is right where we want to be, however looking back we have been much higher than those numbers this year even leaving out those one-time large RV "capital costs." Part of it has been justified by spending money to create more time (hiring out some work and hiring in some help), but part of it is also just plain profligacy. We will need to rein in the spending in the longer term, or maybe BTC will hit $100k by March and we can just continue to throw caution to the wind.

After a burst of interesting work early in the year, amounting to about eight weeks of travel time, I've been pretty chill the rest of the time. I've done a lot of fun personal projects, but I'm more eager than ever to find something long term to work on with a group of likeminded people. I truly hope that I'll have accomplished something in this area by the next time I post an update here. Please hold me to account then. However, it's just as important to me that I continue to reflect on how fortunate we are. No complaints!
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Old 12-07-2017, 02:15 AM   #54
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Thanks for the update, Symbiotic. Glad to hear everything has gone so well!

I was curious about your RV since an extended road trip is something we may want to do. I believe you had bought one in the past and now you’ve gotten another one. Do they hold their value pretty well? Was it financially better to buy and sell when done with it, or did you buy because it wouldn’t be possible to rent the kind of RV you wanted?

Thanks
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Old 12-07-2017, 02:39 AM   #55
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I was curious about your RV since an extended road trip is something we may want to do. I believe you had bought one in the past and now you’ve gotten another one. Do they hold their value pretty well? Was it financially better to buy and sell when done with it, or did you buy because it wouldn’t be possible to rent the kind of RV you wanted?
We bought new for ~300k and sold ~1.8y later (out of warranty) for 235k. We were only interested in a couple of brands because of quality/resale, and we wanted a bunk model. In those brands, only a few percent are made with bunks, so the pickings were slim in the used department. For that matter, there were only two new ones on the market in model we wanted in the entirety of North America at the time.

The RV market has gone from warm to white hot since then, so we probably did about as well as one could expect on new-rig depreciation. (I'd planned for ~$80k.) There are also now waitlists and long backorders for custom builds from the top manufacturers, and I imagine little to no price concession to be had.

For our new RV, we have had time to shop, we know a lot more about what we want, and we are treating this as an our permanent home for an indeterminate number of years. So, we actually bought an even higher end make, but a 10-year-old used model. I am gutting and replacing much of the interior with new appliances and electronics. I'm a sucker for quality, and the way they build these (just a few dozen a year) is hard to pass up. I am planning for ~30-40k/y depreciation+maintenance on this "new" RV.

No, unfortunately there is no way I'm aware of to secure any RV for a year or multiyear trip in a rental scheme. Most of the rentals are lower-end anyway, so I suspect they'd be tough to live in long term. (Poor insulation, both acoustic and thermal, gets old quickly. Flimsy infrastructure creates lots of maintenance. Small tanks/capacity restrict stay options. These things are just about perfect for a two- or three-week camping adventure, but not an extended trip.)

If you have time and/or don't have to be too choosy, you can find good quality used rigs with solid bones. Many (most) of the higher-end motorhomes are driven gently and taken care of very well. There are lots of motivated sellers as the owners age out of the RVing lifestyle or as the motorhome ends up in an estate and needs to be liquidated. There is a fairly robust online marketplace, although a ton of selling is still facilitated through dealers because of trade-ins and financing considerations.

The plethora of great content on Youtube makes it easy nowadays to get a sense of what it would be like on the road long term. You can find a family that's just like yours and follow them around to get a feel for the lifestyle. The whole thing is pretty fun, plus stuff breaks constantly so the rig always makes for a great antidote to boredom.
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Old 12-07-2017, 03:07 AM   #56
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Wow, great info. Thanks!
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Old 12-07-2017, 06:18 AM   #57
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I got very lucky and dropped some funds into cryptocurrency early in the year, so now I have had to educate myself on how to prevent myself from losing my prime numbers and marooning an insane quantity of unrealized gains in the blockchains forever. As soon as we clear the LTCG window next year, I'll reduce our position considerably... no sense in having a third of our net worth in such a volatile "investment," right?
Congratulations on your investing acumen. I was curious as to your point about the long term capital gain window -- are cryptocurrency gains really treated as capital gains? So I did some research and found out that is indeed the case. Which seems exceedingly odd to me, since normally gains on a foreign currency denominated debt (e.g - CDs denominated in euros or reais or swiss francs, etc.) due to fluctuation in the exchange rate between that currency and the dollar are treated as ordinary income. Weird, but that's our beloved Tax Code.
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Old 12-07-2017, 08:59 AM   #58
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... I was curious as to your point about the long term capital gain window -- are cryptocurrency gains really treated as capital gains? So I did some research and found out that is indeed the case. ...
Thanks for doing it (and posting before I started my curiosity research!)

And, Symbiotic, congratulations and best wishes going forward. I had not read any of your story before. Great thread.
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