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Old 03-20-2012, 02:09 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Major Tom View Post
You may have a point. Perhaps I was overdoing it with the comment about the blog, but I was thinking that, at least in this forum, we're a bit under-represented at the low income level of the scale.I'm interested because I'd like to know how you'll be doing in a year, 5 and 10 years down the road. Jacob blogged about living on a low budget but because of his style of presentation, I felt that he treated his lifestyle as an academic exercise rather than something he was really comfortable doing over the long term. It wasn't a great surprise when he announced he was going back to work at a well-paid job. In other words, I'm rooting for you to achieve your goals as stated in your original post and am interested to follow your progress.
I was a little sad when I read that Jacob went back to work, but I also admire the freedom one can have once you have FI and CHOOSE to work rather than HAVE to in order to remain solvent. My sibling is the perfect example. He works for a fortune 500 company back east and there are now rumors going around that his department is going to be cut. He has no savings, no prospects and if he really loses his job he will have to move back in with our parents - He's 40 years old. He is literally a slave to his job. I thank you for the support of my plans. My ultimate dream, of course, is to live like the Man in a Hole []Man lives in a hole in the ground on 5 k per year | Kevinsmicrohomestead Blog. Just look at that lifestyle and freedom. Talk about an endless summer. Winters in Maui. Summers in Oregon or on the road on a bike. All on $5000 a year. Now that is my hero. ;-) I will consider starting a blog on my chosen lifestyle to document my progress. If I do decide to do it I will forward the addy to you. Thanks again for the support. why1942
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Old 03-20-2012, 05:10 PM   #22
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Check out this group of people: full time vandwellers. Owner of the site has been living a mobile lifestyle for 26 years.

Cheaprvliving.com


Read the articles and check the forum. Talk to people who live the lifestyle to see if it might suit you.
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Old 03-20-2012, 08:46 PM   #23
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Check out this group of people: full time vandwellers. Owner of the site has been living a mobile lifestyle for 26 years.

Cheaprvliving.com


Read the articles and check the forum. Talk to people who live the lifestyle to see if it might suit you.
Hey Seraphim.

I know this site very well. I lived in my van for several months when my wife and I split up. Although the concept itself is I think a great one, in application I had difficulty with it. One big problem was finding a place to park that eluded the watchful eye of "normal" people. I broke several "no, no" rules for vandwellers while doing it so, in retrospect, it was my own fault. The police rousted me twice and that was enough for me. Once I was parked on an empty street back in a neighborhood (that I wasn't familiar with) and someone had called the cops on me, thinking I was some crack head. The second time I was parked just outside of town on the side of a highway and got rousted by a bored state police who had nothing better to do. Both were very courteous to me, but by then I was pretty sure I needed a different plan.

Living in the Pacific Northwest, it is rather foolish of me not to take advantage of the wide open spaces of public land available for "camping" for free. I also had difficulty with the intellectual idea that stealth parking in the city limits is technically illegal. The cops really didn't care as long as I wasn't causing trouble and not using drugs - both let me stay where I was for the rest of the night.

But, I've pretty much decided that in this region, a truck and camper allows for the best of both worlds. I can travel virtually anywhere for "work" if I need/want to get a job and just find a campground and pay a monthly fee (average $300 including utilities). I've had a truck/camper before and really liked it. I actually enjoy the close quarters environment (having everything in arms reach).

With this set up I can also utilize more "legitimate" free camping alternatives, such as Walmarts and the like. I've mapped it out on Google maps and I can travel a 200 mile circuit each month, just using the free parking options (casinos, walmarts, museums, etc) and never pay rent and keep my gas bill around $100 or less (even at $5+ a gallon). But, I would really like to cut this down if I could, which is why I keep my options open for land or small house - I would really like to get myself off oil if possible (or at least reduce it significantly).

But, with the vast tracks of timberland, I think it would really be living in paradise if I didn't have to work. Add a firewatch job and heck, I'm being paid to live in paradise. So, I guess I'm opting for the daniel boone version of vandwelling.

why1942
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Old 03-20-2012, 09:16 PM   #24
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Let me take a stab at a better use of two funds. Use of a relative strength strategy trading two ETFs (SPY/IEF). The strategy is simple, mechanical and methodical with no need for forecasting, personal judgment or quantitative data other than past price performance. The strategy calls for buying the biggest exchange traded fund gainer over a given look back period (i.e, one month, three months, etc.). At the end of each month you compare the month's performance of both funds and buy the better performing fund if the current closing price exceeds a 10 month moving average of closing prices. If the price of the best performing fund does not exceed the 10 month moving average then sell the fund currently being held and go to cash (SHY could be used for holding cash). Had you done this every month going back to 2006 you would have had a CAGR of 136%, which averages to 14.9% per year with a maximum daily draw down of 8.5% with less than half of the volatility of the S&P 500. In addition, you would have gained over 17% during the crash of 2008 and outperformed the benchmark in four of the past six years.
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Old 03-20-2012, 09:34 PM   #25
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Let me take a stab at a better use of two funds. Use of a relative strength strategy trading two ETFs (SPY/IEF). The strategy is simple, mechanical and methodical with no need for forecasting, personal judgment or quantitative data other than past price performance. The strategy calls for buying the biggest exchange traded fund gainer over a given look back period (i.e, one month, three months, etc.). At the end of each month you compare the month's performance of both funds and buy the better performing fund if the current closing price exceeds a 10 month moving average of closing prices. If the price of the best performing fund does not exceed the 10 month moving average then sell the fund currently being held and go to cash (SHY could be used for holding cash). Had you done this every month going back to 2006 you would have had a CAGR of 136%, which averages to 14.9% per year with a maximum daily draw down of 8.5% with less than half of the volatility of the S&P 500. In addition, you would have gained over 17% during the crash of 2008 and outperformed the benchmark in four of the past six years.
Erm yes, welcome to the board Alpha Seek. Would this be your introductory post?
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Old 03-21-2012, 05:19 AM   #26
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IMO before cutting it that close be very, very sure you can keep expenses low. Though the VA might cover medical costs, what about if you get laid up for a few months recovering from something? Do you have someone who can bring you food, check in on you, etc. or will you have to pay for such services?
Agreed... Please remember if your investments aren't outpacing inflation (which should be the bare minimum) your essentially just saving and investing to go backwards... =( Not to sound rude at all ya know.. just sayin...
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Old 03-21-2012, 06:54 AM   #27
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I like your plan and think setting this as a goal is a great idea. 8 years gives you plenty of time to refine your plan and goals while living your life the way you want now. I agree with obgyn65 that your numbers may be low but you can adjust the numbers and how long you work as you go.

As a concrete suggestion I would say open up a Roth IRA with Vanguard as soon as you can and use it for some of your savings. You are in a very low tax bracket now and this will allow you to keep it that way when you retire. Something like Vanguard Target Retirement Fund 2020 would give you growth and get more conservative as you approach your retirement date. You could always switch to 2025 if you wanted to work awhile longer.

In my mind, working toward your goal will put you in the position where you then have the option to work or not as you choose. Working a little longer doing what you want may seem perfectly fine to you at that point and would just help give you more of a cushion in your spending. Taking the steps your are taking now will give you options that other 45 year olds can only dream about.

Jackson
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Old 03-21-2012, 01:30 PM   #28
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why1942
Congratulations. I think you have a grounded approach, and that you are open-minded enough to adapt to changing conditions as necessary. Best of luck to you.

Have you investigated Perpetual Traveler sites? I notice that even the most diehard eventually set down roots. Maybe in your case, it will just be a favorite forest!
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Yep, Yep - Well Maybe
Old 03-22-2012, 04:16 PM   #29
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Yep, Yep - Well Maybe

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why1942
Have you investigated Perpetual Traveler sites? I notice that even the most diehard eventually set down roots. Maybe in your case, it will just be a favorite forest!
Hey Kcowan,

I'm not much for traveling. In my "younger" days I lived for short periods in Texas and back east, spent two years in Europe, got to see Pisa, Paris and a few other places I can't pronounce. I loved German Bavaria and the Alps, but it just reminded me of the PNW. I have also done a few cross country trips in the last several years and have seem most of the US (except for the deep south). I guess I'm just not all that impressed. I prefer consistency, dependability, and reliability to experiencing new and fascinating things. Give me a Super Walmart or my favorite grocery or pizza chain and I'm happy like a kid at Christmas.

Weather is also a key factor for me, which is why my considerations for buying real estate in the mid-west have grown cold. There may be cheap housing in Nebraska and Texas but I just don't care all that much for tornadoes and lots of snow (in the mid west for snow, not Texas).

I have a favorite 100 square mile area not far from where I currently live. It has the best ratio of pizza stores, grocery chains and super walmarts situated in towns under 20,000, all adjacent to large tracks of public/private forest land that is heaven on earth. It does rain (but I like that) and is often overcast, but the winters are quite mild (no snow) and summers are cool and refreshing (rarely in the 90's). For me it is heaven. As I've mapped it (and actually experienced much of it first hand) I could live out there indefinitely (and legally) with weekly trips to town for supplies on $100/month for gas @ $5/gallon. If the price of gas goes over that, I can always extend my stays to two week stops and just double up on my food supplies so I'm only going into town twice a month.

why1942
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Old 03-22-2012, 04:32 PM   #30
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I like your plan and think setting this as a goal is a great idea. 8 years gives you plenty of time to refine your plan and goals while living your life the way you want now....As a concrete suggestion I would say open up a Roth IRA....In my mind, working toward your goal will put you in the position where you then have the option to work or not as you choose. Working a little longer doing what you want may seem perfectly fine to you at that point and would just help give you more of a cushion in your spending. Taking the steps your are taking now will give you options that other 45 year olds can only dream about.
Hey Jackson. I completely agree here. Oh. Already have a Roth and plan to max it out starting next year (maybe this year, depending). I need to first get my student loans paid off. I've killed $22k so far and have less than $11k to go. I'm paying just shy of 7% on it, so I want to pay it off as quickly as possible. Once that is done with I'll be debt free.

Then I plan to each year max out my Roth, then my 401k and then build savings. Once I'm finished with my self-employ gig I will be converting my 401k to an IRA and then plan to do systematic conversions into my Roth until all the money in my 401k is switched. This way my entire nest egg can be pulled out tax free in the future (unless they change the rules, but I'm hoping if I live below the poverty line this will help in that regard no matter who is running the ship - a national sales tax would kill me, though). My goal is to do conversions "while" I'm retire so I can use the full benefit of the zero percent tax bracket each year (if it's still around). Then I would basically get all my tax deferred money converted to tax free money without paying a cent in taxes (as I understand it anyway). I know there is a 5 year seasoning period for the Roth, then additional 5 year seasoning periods for each conversion, but this would be fine if I was working (firewatch) and/or living on the treasury interest.

I think what I really like most about your response is that by taking these steps now, when I turn 45 I will be much better off than I would have if I just worked and spent during those 9 years. I love having options - the more I can have the better. This was the main reason I chose to go into the military at 17 - it was the only option I had that kept all my other options open. Looking back on it, it was the best decision I could have made and I'm still reaping the benefits from those 4 years.

Options are a person's best friend in the end. ;-)
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