This is what I have

Exhibiting FI qualities, by circumstance and design, circa winter 2012.

Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck – Dalai Lama.

******

This is what I have

On a hard floor lifted by air
a sock here, a sock there
and three bananas on a red bag

In the freezer,
frozen noodles and dumplings
a fist of bok choy and two large red onions
and thank god for the frozen gyozas
and eggs and cheese and coffee
and a loaf of bread and oranges, if only someone would peal them I’d eat them.

In a rather large closet (the largest I’ve ever had)
stands a wicked, full length mirror that makes me look real sleek
a bottle of complete multi-vitamins,
more noodles,
three formal shirts, three formal pants,
t-shirts, towels and more socks
an oversized jacket, two sweaters
two tight jeans, and a new yellow corduroy pant I got yesterday to wear this Friday –
and hopefully when I see the girl, whenever that happens, where ever
O’ destiny, please intervene – and make it a lovely girl please – lovely eyes, slender fingers and all
a heart of gold, real friendly and happy to complement my sometimes somber fallings
A pair of boots, three times more expensive than the most expensive I ever bought before I bought it –
my old and faithful tennis shoes, and the converse I never thought I’d wear
one never knows what one may, will,

And the laptop and the iphone that have been the best of friends
my light in the dark –

And of course, the mind that is in two roads,
one in bhakti, devotional surrender,
the other in fighting through it all, no submission.
There’s victory either way
and how wonderful is that
that I have a choice,
that wisdom and experience is a blessing
and my scars only end up looking edgy
and real sexy.

everyday life must do

I made this list a few years ago. Here’s where these stand today:

  1. No podcast at work: I listen all day. They keep me in line with all that’s there, or was, and stirs the mind. I’ll list my favorites on a separate post soon. Some of the FI podcasts I like are here.

  2. Low carb, greens, fibers: I love greens – cooked, not raw. But I need to get better at it. You see, I really, really like meat.

  3. Calculus, Modelling, stir the mind, Betsy is an old programmer for god’s sake: This one’s ongoing. The idea is to stir the mind and to keep learning. I’m keen on becoming better at working with data. I’ve sort of started learning Pandas on Python.

  4. Put phone away at work: This one’s easy. I don’t have any social media apps on my phone. My phone is for podcasts, messaging my wife and talking to my parents.

  5. Read – no more fiction: I’ve read seven books this year. I’ll list them on a separate post. I spend much more time reading online – some FI blogs I follow are here.

  6. Listen to one good song everyday – get inspired: This gets me nostalgic, and I think of all that could’ve happened.

  7. Sing a few times a week, to cleanse the internals: I don’t play the guitar often enough. I’d love to get better. I finger pick.

  8. Run, run, run – sweat it out – feel light, the skin must glow again: I used to be athletic. I haven’t played any sports in two years – partly because we moved to Denver and we had other things to do. I do not have any excuses now. I bought a rowing machine last year that I need to start using. I rowed for a half hour this morning, and will row a half hour everyday.

  9. Smile, thank you, please, everyone, absolutely no bars, but restrain and take it slow and steady: This is inherent. I intend to be good in all ways. I read sometime back that you are what you are at 40. So if you’re a grumpy man at 40, that stays for life. I’m still a few years away, but I’d like to take a happy man forward.

  10. Sleep deep, enough and a little more: I need to work on this. I’m usually in bed by 10, but I watch YouTube on my IPad to sleep. I’m replacing that with podcasts starting today.

  11. talk clearly, cleanly, slowly enough – express, express: I’m a sucker of folks that barely speak, and gifted with silence in return so that they’re heard. Now that’s respect (and power).

  12. a paragraph every night to clean the soul, unburden and go lightly to bed: I should start writing everyday. To think one can (if one ever could) and to actually be able to are different. I need to keep practicing.

  13. finance, other plans, lay it out and patiently move forward: Yes, this one’s done – hense gofi.

And now these:

There’s a lot I want to do.

Get the gruff – but the love handles need to go first.

Write, but my days of melancholy have vanished.

Ditto for my songs.

And Sports.

Be awesome at work – everything seems to be possible.

All to bring out the magic that a mind is. 

“I am a true laborer: I earn that I eat, get that I wear, owe no man hate, envy no man’s happiness, glad of other’s good” – Shakespeare.

Random Quotes

Some random quotes saved as draft many years back. 
  1. Edna O’Brien: I think by nature I am lonely, in that I wouldn’t be a writer if I were not lonely. I think most writers [are], if you read their letters and sometimes read some of their lives. I’m not recommending it, but I know one has to be — to remain writing, not just to start as a writer, to remain faithful to it — one has to live so much of one’s life alone. And reflective. Certain people, I think, are kind of born lonely. I can tell lonely people when I see them, and I’m very often drawn to them, because I feel that they might have some secret to tell me.
  2. A hindu poet on Struggle: For one to see heaven, one must die oneself. 
  3. Einstein: A quiet and modest life brings more joy than a pursuit of success bound with constant unrest.
  4. A BBC Podcast: Inspiration comes from knowledge.
  5. Newspaper article: His thoughts and actions were one.
  6. An aunt: You don’t want to climb a mountain if you’re not going to reach the top.
  7. Ahmet Rasim: The beauty of a landscape resides in its melancholy.
  8. A friend – we must remain true to our values regardless of where society goes.
  9. Nature of Existence: A Chinese guy: Happiness comes from Hard Work.
  10. Kahlin Gibran: The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
  11. T.S Eliott: Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things.
  12. Humboldt: I am more and more convinced that our happiness or unhappiness depends far more on the way we meet the events of life, than on the nature of those events themselves.
  13. HG Wells: I can’t bank on religion. God has no thighs and no life. When one calls to him in the silence of the night he doesn’t turn over and say, “what’s the trouble, Dear?”
  14. Florence Nightingale: To-day I am 30 – the age Christ began his mission. Now no more childish things. No more love. No more marriage. Now Lord let me think only of Thy Will, what Thou willest me to do.
  15. Epicurus’s idea of “the good life“: It is impossible to live a pleasant life without living wisely and honorably and justly, and it is impossible to live wisely and honorably and justly without living pleasantly.
  16. Robertson Davis: A happy childhood has spoiled many a promising life.
  17. A friend: Where does the faith come from, he asked … From events that seem life shattering, but a boon in retrospect
  18. Dalai Lama: Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
  19. Maya Angelou: There is no greater agony then bearing an untold story inside you.
  20. Kahlil Gibran: Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.
  21. Unknown: You’ll waste a lot less time worrying about what others think of you if only you realized how seldom they do.
  22. Albert Camus: To be happy one must not be too concerned with the opinion of others. One should pursue one’s goals single-mindedly, with a quiet confidence, without thinking of others.
  23. Unilever: Humility to create awe
  24. Our Idiot Brother: I like to think that if you put your trust out there; if you really give people the benefit of the doubt, see their best intentions, people will rise to the occasion.
  25. Unknown: Karma is what you turn yourself into. Not what happens to you.

Porto Update – Q2 2018

Our stocks to bonds split stands at an aggressive 81% to 11%. We started an emergency fund (VMMXX) late in the quarter. We will continue building it up until it equals about six months of our expenses. This has also halted our non-retirement investments temporarily. We continue to contribute towards our 401K and should max those by year end. We maxed out our Roth accounts a few months back.

Our expenses continue to be quite high to my liking. About a half of it is our mortgage payment and we also pay a little extra each month. We’d probably be better off funneling those small “extras” towards VTSAX. 

Uber’s not for me

I drove Uber for a few days last year – just for kicks, and quickly realized my time was better spent elsewhere.

I drove for 8 hours, spread across 4 days and made $151. Shockingly, only 3 of the 17 riders tipped.  The tippers included a nice lady from New Mexico, a younger woman from Connecticut, and a young accountant from Ohio. Non tippers included seemingly well to do professionals – two consultants in suits, start up guys, hipsters, and IT consultants.

I’m not sure if Uber makes any sense for drivers who use their personal cars. 

Porto Update – Q1 2018

Asset Allocation, Q1 2018  (as of Apr 18)

The spread between our taxable and tax-adv accounts currently stand at 61% and 39% respectively. Since we will not be accessing our tax-adv accounts until later in life, we are comfortable with this mix at the moment.

Our stocks to bonds split stands at a moderately aggressive 83% to 12%.

We hold a few stocks in our Merrill Lynch Edge account, which we mean to liquidate over time. We recently filed our taxes, and took the opportunity to liquidate some of it to pay our taxes. We’ll probably do the same next year.

We also had replace some appliances (washer, dryer, refrigerator) which were all over 12 years old.

Our 401K accounts hold target dated funds (2040 and 2045) even though we’re looking to “retire” a lot earlier. Since we will not be using it until we’re 60 +, we  figure it’s best to keep it stock heavy. I’ll be 58 in 2040, so this is actually not quite as aggressive. My wife, of course, has decided to always be thirty.

We have a tendency to move spare funds to one of our investment accounts. So our emergency funds are almost zero. Then again, smarter folks have agreed.

Asset Allocation, 2017 – Year End Update

Our allocation was passive (and automated) through the year. We did not max our 401(k) and Roth contributions. But we managed to save all of Mrs. Gofi’s income. We plan to continue living on one income.

We use Personal Capital to track our personal finance. According to Personal Capital, our investments gained 19.46% in 2017 – this is in tandem with the S&P 500 which gained 19.42%. Our stock/bond split currently sits at an aggressive 83% to 12%.

Conversations with Mrs. Gofi

My sisters are visiting us over thanksgiving.
How long are they staying with us?
Three days.
Can they sleep on the floor?

***

I’d like to set aside some money for when I go out with my sisters, she tells me.
That, sexy girl, has to come out of the 2% we’ve allocated for recreation. You can probably go out a few times. Choose wisely.
Can you take them to the Chinese buffet?

***

Would you do this if you had a million dollars?, asked my wife as she came home from work this morning.
Yes I would, I tell her. I’m staring my the spreadsheet.
How about ten million?
Yes, I would.
I’m going to sleep now, you incorrigible boy.