A pretty common theme whenever Mr. Money Mustache does a "case study" is that, with a little bit of tweaking, people who think otherwise are on track or are already capable of retiring.
I was recently looking at my retirement progress, and was discouraged by what I saw. I'm only 20% of the way toward my goal, but 30% of the way through my career according to my last calculation on Ploutus. That can't be right... I've been actively increasing my income, retirement contributions, and haven't been spending nearly as much as my peers. After thinking on it a bit I realized that compound interest was confusing my natural intuition.
Imagine we have a person with a retirement goal of one million dollars, let's call him Bob. Bob currently has a nest egg of exactly nada, and for this experiment his income and age does not matter. Bob contributes $10,000/year toward his retirement goals. He also lives in a phantasy universe where his portfolio always performs perfectly with 7% annual returns, inflation doesn't exist, and his income/expenses never change.
The blue line shows Bob's portfolio value from his zero starting point to his goal of one million dollars. That's boring, we've all seen charts like that before. What we're really interested in is the red line. This line is exactly $250,000 or twenty-five percent of Bob's goal. What's interesting about this line is that Bob crosses it at year 15, about halfway through his retirement timeline of 30 years.
What this highlights, is that you shouldn't be thinking of your progress in terms of money without also accounting for time and interest. If Bob had gotten discouraged and quit over the fact that after 15 years he was only 25% of the way to his goal, he never would have made it to retirement at year 30.
Firstly, I need to say that I think having a style guide is important. They help ensure that your projects are clean and consistent, and help developers adapt to your code more quickly.
The point that I want to make in this post, is that there is no need for you (or your company) to roll your own. The Internet is already littered with style guides, and there are a lot of reasons to pick one of them instead of creating a new one.
Many public style guides are very well maintained, as well as being very thorough. There are a lot of rules to consider when creating a style guide, and anything that isn't covered will be questioned sooner or later and need to be added. Public style guides have the benefit of covering these for you, while being updated by their community with little to no effort by you. Even better, some tools come pre-configured for the more popular style guides.
The only reason for creating your own style guide can be summed up pretty shortly "But I like tabs not spaces!!". So what? They don't matter. If your code is properly compiled, they won't affect your user. The only thing that really matters is that your code is consistent across your project.
There are other areas of your projects that will affect your users, and could probably use some love. Performance, code abstractions/interfaces, UI pattern libraries. These are the things that deserve your time, not where the comma should be placed in an object literal.
I think that Linkedin is a great idea* for connecting with people that you know professionally. It allows potential employers to gauge a candidate's splash in their previous workplaces, and it gives individuals a way to provide 'proof' of their abilities through endorsements. It almost acts like a product review for Employment.
The problem with Linkedin is that people try to game the system. They add everyone they shake hands with, or even everyone in their company outlook account. They'll also sponsor people without working with them directly. This means that the connections no longer have any value. It's about like having 10,000 Facebook friends. They don't really know these people, and they don't know their abilities either.
I took a new job semi recently, and have been learning a lot about some new to me technologies. Right now a large part of what I do revolves around nodejs. I've pretty much fallen in love with the framework, and plan to update Ploutus to take advantage of it.
One of the perks of moving to nodejs is that I'll be able to move Ploutus away from my shared web hosting account. I'm not 100% sure on how I want to handle the account itself, but I know I haven't used it as much as I thought I would since I started paying for it. Also, being shared hosting it is pretty limited in what technologies it plays well with (older versions of Rails and PHP being the big two).
If I can dump it completely I'd be a happy man.
I've finally found a practical use for Bing! I was browsing one of my favorite forums last week, and saw a thread mentioning a blog that recently disappeared. It seems that the owner of the blog said something in a way that he shouldn't have, and found himself in a lawsuit. As part of the settlement he was required to remove the content in question, as well as clear all cached content from popular search engine and archival websites. He took it to the extreme, and removed all of his content completely, removed it from the way back machine, and even asked Google to clear their cache of it. This made a bunch of people sad pandas because his content was a great financial independence resource.
Bing is actually a pretty good search engine these days. It provides similar results as Google, as well as many similar features. One of the more important ones is cached pages. Apparently Bing didn't make his popularity cut, as his posts were still cached there. In order to preserve my ability to read said content, and for little bit of fun, I wrote the below userscript to scrape Bing's cached content.
The script was a bit more complicated than just searching the DOM for a cached page link. It isn't immediately apparent, but Bing doesn't actually create it's cached page link until the user clicks a drop down arrow. After a bit of fiddling I found that the cached pages always use two query parameters to locate and display cached content, d and w.
A little more searching and I found that these were in the DOM as an attribute on a div tag with the class “sa_cc” for each result in Bing.
After finding that, it was pretty simple to split the string into the prospective query parameters, and print all the cached pages to console.
Once you've got the list, you can store it in a text file and run the below command in linux to pull all of the content down and save it to disk.
I doubt this will see any more love, but here is the GitHub repo for this userscript.
Well, maybe not retire, but I'll certainly be financially independent. This is a new goal that I've had for a while, a little over a year at this point, and it is certainly different from my get sexy goal.
Anyone that shoots for early financial independence or early retirement will have different reasons. You might want to travel the world, be at home with your family more often, or play video games all day instead of working. The simplest answer for most is that they have better things to do with their time, or activities that they find more valuable than work.
I'm not sure what I'll want to do when I reach early retirement, but I'm sure that I'll have a few things in mind that don't include slaving away more than half of my waking life for someone else's profit.
Financial independence is gained by having a source of income other than work that will allow you to live your life without a change in lifestyle. Basically you would need income to match your spending level (not the same as your job's yearly income).
I live a relatively low cost lifestyle, which means that I spend less than 50% of my net take home pay. I'm able to invest the difference in broad index funds, which will compound to the point that they are capable of paying for my lifestyle.
Living below your means is really the only way to build a retirement fund. Having a billion dollar income does you no good if you spend a billion dollars every year. I'll have a future post that details this a bit more with some real world examples, and probably some fun math.
My original goal was to hit financial independence by 42. I had calculated this number based on my spending when I first grew an interest in FI. Since then I've actually been able to reduce my spending further, make some optimizations, and get a pay raise. Rerunning the equations, and I'm now projecting to be FI at age 37.
For my get sexy goal, I used bodybuilding.com a lot. It really helped me with both my diet and my workout, and it helped me to filter out all of the bro science that floats around out there. The best part of the site is the forum, and while like any forum there is a lot of misinformation coming from people that are wrong or just fuzzy on an idea, I would say that there is an equal number of people that are skeptics, and demand studies for proof that something is or isn’t effective.
Outside of looking for advice to help me shape my lifestyle, there are several body transformation threads with before and after pictures. As much as I love this thread, I noticed a deficiency in that on most posts the images are linked to like an attachment. This means that you need to open them in a new tab, and it certainly slows down mindless browsing. I decided to write a userscript (use with greasemonkey or tampermonkey) to let me avoid the hassle of opening these images in a new tab. The result is below.
It’s a pretty simple script that runs only on forum.bodybuilding.com pages. Replaces the inline links to images with their source being set to the href of the original link.
Link to the repo - https://github.com/gdborton/body_building_forum_enhancement
I reached my goal and then some. My lowest weight between now and my previous post was around 179.8 lbs, and my official weight on on the fourth was 184 lbs.
I think the most surprising thing was just how easy it was. I’m almost always hearing people talk about how hard weight loss is, and in my experience, it just isn’t true. I think the problem is that people believe weight loss happens in the gym. Just a tiny bit of research quickly reveals that weight loss happens in the kitchen.
Cardio is often seen as the most crucial part of any weight loss program, and people are often advised to up their cardio time or intensity when they aren’t making progress. While this will help some, consider that each mile an average male runs only burns ~130 Calories. That’s less than a can of Coke, about the same amount in a large banana, or about an egg. I know there are people out there than can enjoyably run mile after mile for hours, but for me (and I would assume most overweight people) running is hell. It is so much easier just to skip the daily Coke with lunch than it is to tack on an extra mile to your work out.
Personally my work out included as little cardio as possible, I lifted heavy 4-5 times a week and ran less than a mile each time. My weight loss primarily came from my caloric deficit.
I'm just barely under 200 lbs now, making me lighter than I have been for about two years. While I know that at least a portion of that loss is probably temporary, I'm really astonished at how easy it has been for me to drop my weight. I've been dieting and working out for about a month and I've lost about 15 lbs.
I think that the most surprising thing is that so far I've only really felt hungry after eating one time. I thought this would be much harder, I'd feel hungry all the time, be irritable and tired; but that just isn't the case. I feel that I have the same amount of energy day to day as before, and even more energy in the gym (I literally jumped for joy when I found I could do an unassisted pull up again last night).
I really think that loads more people would be in better shape if they would take some time to get educated. I'm still eating out several times a week, and doing less than a mile of cardio 5-6 times a week, and I'm still steadily losing weight. I'm even losing about twice as fast as I planned.
I was busy painting my house in preparation for new carpet last week and didn't get to the gym (where I weight myself), so this doesn't reflect my actual weight for the week. There was progress, which you will see next week I assure you.
|Date||Goal weight||Actual Weight||Daily Calorie Goal||Calories||Protein||Carbs||Food Log|
|4/26||209.08||205.5||1,540||753||58.85||114.2||Campbell's Chunky steak and potato soup, 6 oz Chicken breast + bbq, 1 cup cooked rice, 1 banana|
|4/27||208.80||205.5||1,538||850||85.7||48.2||4 scrambled eggs, 8 oz chicken breast, 1 yoplait boston creampie yogurt, 1 banana|
|4/28||208.52||205.5||1,536||2230||80.28||278.77||10" Club from Penn Station, 1 Med Cheesequake Blizzard, 2 bananas|
|4/29||208.25||205.5||1,534||1424||??||??||Mac's Western Skillet, 6 oz Chicken Breast, 1 banana, 1 cup canned corn|
|4/30||207.97||205.5||1,532||2207||70.62||276.05||6 inch Italian + half a cookie from Penn Station, 1 bowl of Spaghetti and meatballs, 1 banana|
|5/1||207.69||205.5||1,529||1220||76.6||148.2||1 crunchwrap supreme from TBell, 8 oz Chicken breast, 1 cup rice, 2 peanut butter blossoms|
|5/2||207.42||205.5||1,527||3036||??||??||1 Western Skillet, 60? oz of cherry coke, 12 desert heat boneless wings from bdubs + ranch, 4 peanut butter blossoms|
I've got a hard time turning down opportunities to go to lunch. Last week I sent out to lunch 4 times, trying but not necessarily succeeding in eating healthy. My normal lunch of soup runs anywhere from 220 Calories to 360 Calories, while just a 6" sub from Penn Station is over 770 Calories. Eating out for lunch really limits what I can have for dinner if I still try to come in under my daily goal.
My other big slip up was last Thursday. I spent the entire day at an Iron Man marathon that lead up to the release of Iron Man 3. That's the first day that I had soda in the entire month that I've been trying to lose weight. The soda fountain didn't have a water tap, and I wasn't going to give the bastards $5 for a bottle of water every movie. Obviously my diet for the day in general was shot, but I'm most upset about the soda as it was roughly 780 Calories that should have been simple to avoid.
This is embarrassingly late, by almost a week. I've got a few things going on at the moment that detracted from my time to put toward this. The most important being that we're painting a good portion of our house, and we needed to get it done before we have carpet installed tomorrow.
Any who, time for some numbers.
Look at that, down another three pounds in just a week. I'm not sure what amount of this weight is water and/or daily fluctuation, but when the scale tells me I lost I'm happy.
|Date||Goal Weight||Actual Weight||Daily Calorie Goal||Calories||Protein||Carbs||Food Log|
|4/19||211.01||208.5||1,554.17||1,113.00||110.85||136.2||Campbell's chunky chicken gumbo, 2 scoops protein powder, 6.0 oz chicken breast, 1 cup cooked rice, 1 banana|
|4/20||210.74||208.8||1,552.16||1566||132.15||122||Fazoli's bowtie alfredo + chicken, 2 scoops protein powder, 2 breadsticks|
|4/21||210.46||208.8||1,550.14||1191||80.99||133.84||6 oz chicken breast, 1 cup cooked rice, 2 servings ravioli, 1 piece garlic bread|
|4/22||210.18||207.8||1,548.12||1170.8||117.7||145||Campbell's Chunky sirloin steak and veggies, 6 oz steak, 1 cup canned corn, 2 scoops protein powder, 1 banana|
|4/23||209.91||208.8||1,546.11||1504||98.59||164.66||Campbell's Chunky sirloin burger, 6 oz hamburger, 1 cup canned corn, 2 scoops protein powder, 1 banana, pepperjack cheese|
|4/24||209.63||206||1,544.09||1205||97.1||163.2||Campbell's Chunky chicken and wild rice, 1 banana, 2 pieces of lasagna, 2 scoops protein powder|
|4/25||209.35||206||1,542.08||2228||137||185||Campbell's Chunky sirloin steak and veggies, Moe's Chicken Club quesadilla, tortilla chips and salsa, 2 scoops protein powder|
This will be moving to its own post, will have it up soon enough.
I did pretty well this weak in that I didn't drink half a bottle of vodka in one night, but I did go out twice. I tried to keep my intake small by ordering smaller items from the menu and avoiding my usually Cherry Coke, but the amount of Calories in even the small dishes is kind of frightening. I makes me wonder how many Calories I was eating before I started watching my intake, if I had to guess I'd put the number around 4-5000.
I've been working on my get sexy goal for a little of a week now, and so far I've made some outstanding progress. I'm going to attempt to do an end of the week rehash on my progress, what I feel I did right, and what I feel I could do better.
There is a tiny bit of weight loss that happened before I started recording my progress, but for the sake of clean data I'm going to ignore it. The three lines represent a linear progression from my starting weight (213.5 lbs) to my goal weight (190 lbs), my current weight, and the weight my Calorie intake says I should be at (based on some quick math I outlined here).
There are several reasons why it appears that I'm ahead of the game. The first is inaccuracy… your body weight can fluctuate day to day and even hour to hour.
Your weight can also drop pretty quickly when you first start working out and dieting. Less food intake at the start doesn't mean that your already a few pounds lighter, but it could mean that you have less food in your stomach waiting to be digested and expelled.
I think that the primary reason that my progress has been faster than expected is that I was very conservative in my estimates, and I didn't account for my calories burned working out. When I calculated my maintenance Calories, I used a sedentary calculation instead of an active one. The only reason I did this was because I really enjoy being ahead of my plan, and might burn out if I were ever behind.
|Date||Goal weight||Actual Weight||Daily Calorie Goal||Calories||Protein||Carbs||Food Log|
|4/11||213.22||211.75||1,570.30||1,219.60||119.40||113.50||8 oz chicken, 1 can Campbell's chunky beef and dumplings, 17 tater tots, 1 Oreo cookie, 2 tootsie rolls, 2 scoops protein powder|
|4/12||212.95||211.25||1,568.28||991.88||89.48||121.50||1 can of sirloin Campbell's chunky, 4.1 oz cooked chicken, 1 can of mandarin oranges, 2 scoops protein powder|
|4/13||212.67||209.88||1,566.27||2,038.00||126.00||32.00||4 eggs, 1 strip turkey bacon, 2 scoops brotein powder, 2 lettuce wrapped turkey burger, 375 ml of Vanilla Smirnoff Vodka|
|4/14||212.39||209.88||1,564.25||1,134.00||46.00||90.00||Double biscuit and gravy, 2 scrambled eggs|
|4/15||212.12||210.50||1,562.24||1,137.30||139.51||122.20||Hearty beef barley Campbell's chunky, 6.3 oz chicken breast (weighed before cooking), 1 cup cooked rice, 3 scoops protein powder|
|4/16||211.84||209.25||1,560.22||1,219.30||150.56||116.20||Campbell's chunky chicken gumbo, 2 scoops protein powder, 8.3 oz chicken (weighed before cooking), 1 cup cooked rice|
|4/17||211.56||208.50||1,558.20||1,234.55||137.18||135.20||Campbell's chunky sirloin burger soup, 6.05 oz chicken breast (weighed before cooking), 1 cup cooked rice, 1 banana, 3 scoops protein powder|
|4/18||211.29||209.00||1,556.19||929.55||109.88||101.20||Campbell's chunky steak and potato soup, 6.05 oz chicken breast, 1 cup cooked rice, 2 scoops protein powder|
For this first week, I tried to ease into my workouts a bit. I tried to be sure that I wasn't going to be overly sore, too much so to go back to the gym. My basic routine was a half mile walk/jog, lifting for two different body groups, and finally a half mile walk/jog cool down.
For my lifting portion, I went everyday except Sunday. Monday was chest/biceps, Tuesday was back/triceps, Wednesday was legs/shoulders, and then started over for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. I tried to get in three different exercises, with three sets each, for each body part.
Next week I plan on starting Max-OT from AST Sports Science, so look for some workout logs next update.
Overall I think I did well. I do think that I need to get more protein, which sadly will need to come from protein powder (anyone that says they like the taste is lying). I should have another post soon on why.
Saturday was the only real time that I faltered from my plan. I went out with some friends, and had planned on having one turkey burger (low carb, from Hardee's, and amazing), and enough calories left over for a few drinks.
I ended up eating two burgers, because drinking my protein shakes on an empty stomach was killing me. Also, I was up super late and ended up downing half the bottle of vodka that I got.
I just posted one of my most recent goals, to get sexy. This post is going to show some of my ideas and math behind my actions. There will be a post somewhere near the end of the week detailing my progress thus far.
The only thing that a person needs to lose weight is a caloric deficit. The bigger your deficit, the faster you'll lose weight. Generally people have no idea how many Calories they are/should be eating. They only have the ball park estimate from the “based on a 2000 Calorie diet,” which doesn't mean anything.
Age, sex, and current weight will all affect your Basal Metabolic Rate (How many Calories you burn each day by just existing, BMR for short). Your level of activity, in addition to your BMR, will determine how many Calories you used each day to maintain you current weight. You can use the Harris-Benedict equation to calculate your maintenance calories. The equation below is the one that I'm using at the time of writing.
= (88.362 + (13.397 x weight in kg) + (4.799 x height in cm) - (5.677 x age in years)) x level of activity = (88.362 + (13.397 x 210.5) + (4.799 x 71 x 2.54) - (5.677 x 24)) x 1.2 = 2516.07
Now you can determine your desired caloric deficit. The rule of thumb is that a pound of fat lost or gained is 3,500 Calories, so to lose a pound a week you should shoot for a 500 Calorie per day deficit. I'm impatient and ambitious, so I am trying to hover slightly lower than 1,500 Calories. This should put me on the track to losing 2 lbs a week, and allow me to overshoot my goal a bit.
I didn't make a New Year's resolution this year, or any other year for that matter. I don't believe in them. I try, like anyone should, to change my behavior when I notice that there is a problem. All changes that happen in your life, happen over time. Waiting until the start of a new year doesn't make attempting that change any easier.
One of my more recent goals is to get sexy. Not fit, not healthy, not even stronger; just sexy… I think that anyone who starts a diet or a fitness regime has that as their ultimate desire. A lot of people won't admit to it, "I need to get in shape", "I want eat healthier, and take care of my body." Bullshit, you don't like the way you look, and you want to change it.
There isn't anything wrong with that, most people are unhappy with their appearance in one way or another. I think it is important to not lie about your goals, especially to yourself. I'm fat, I don't fit the clothes that I would like to anymore, and I couldn't care less about my mile time.
I'm going to change my body to look the way I want it to. I am going to do it with a researched plan. Finally I'm going to record my progress and thoughts here.