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Once I decided this week to take things easy and not strive to do a perfect diet, I just checked this morning and seem to have shed 5 lbs. Go figure, my body is getting something it needs I guess, plus my stress is dropping but also changing. Getting 10 hours of sleep probably helped a great deal too.

Stuff about work, weight, life, ... )

My challenge this next year is to finally start accepting life as it is, work to be comfortable living in my skin, be the Idealist INFJ I am, and start really enjoying the journey.

Finally, we're looking at getting another cat starting next year. It can't be a black one that looks like our other baby, but I'm shooting for a kitten we can watch grow up again. Probably another girl, and this time indoor only.
tuzemi: (Default)
I just had this thought while driving into work. My post earlier today was about "real life economics" vs. the textbooks, and that basically what works best for me would crash the global economy if everyone else did it. On that same theme, I had a thought flash into my mind that we might be in for a far worse crash in just a few years when the next big wave of Baby Boom retirees actually try to retire. It's not a new thought of course, see Salon's article on pension thefts, but it does have I think a slight new wrinkle.

Imagine that you have been saving some fraction of your salary for 25 years into a 401k or IRA. Now you're retired and make your financial plan. Let's say you put $200 in every month, your company matched at 50%, you got 8% return (which is unrealistically good), and consumer inflation was only 3% (which isn't too far off). After 25 years you have about $300k in there (~$145k in year 0 dollars). Your retirement plan is to pull $25k every year, which should be about $22k in interest and $3k in principal. You can be retired for 20 years and still pass on $220k to your grandkids. Sounds nice and responsible.

When you pull $25k that first year, your principal drop by $10k that year: $7k of value is lost for no good reason. The next year you pull $25k and your principal drops by $15k: $12k is lost for no good reason. The next year you pull $25k and see the principal drop by $35k. Imagine your horror when you realize that your retirement is being held hostage by Wall Street. You're screwed if you cash out all at once, but then if you try to take out regular payments it might be gone anyway. Whatever you do, there is no way to get your $200 per month for 25 years (!) back.

This is the future I see:

  • When the retirees start to actually pull their money from their "funds", they'll see that those funds don't maintain their price ("value") at the rate they were supposed to. They'll have a choice: cash out everything and stick it all in a savings account, or eat through the principal at a rate 2-3x what it was supposed to.

    • When too many people in one 401k/IRA fund cash out, the whole fund is declared insolvent and no one else in that pool gets anything.

    • When most people in the fund take their regular payments, the fund remains solvent but the payments slowly dry up until the retirees get far less than minimum wage, becoming massive financial burdens on their living relatives.

    • Pension funds face the same choice: pay out their beneficiaries at a sharply reduced rate, or go belly up all at once.

  • The return of four generations living under one roof.

  • The elderly suicide rate going up sharply.

  • A rash of people in their 30's and 40's take out 401k loans and then strategically default them in order to clear up their other debts. They pay off their mortgages, cars, and school loans while the money is still "there", since it won't be there to retire on anyway.

  • The government is forced to restrict people's ability to withdraw the funds to preserve the global economy. The law is changed to make a 401k loan visible on credit reports, and unable to be discharged through bankruptcy (yes this makes no real sense, since the creditor for a 401k loan is the same person declaring bankruptcy in the first place).

  • Marx starts laughing from his grave as the American people come to realize (again) that Wall Street has become a machine that systematically destroys money rather than let the small fry get their promised investment returns back.


All it takes for this future to happen is that a 401k/IRA doesn't have a guaranteed price on its principal. Which we already know is true.

Sometimes being INFJ is depressing.

Second post

Jun. 4th, 2011 08:01 pm
tuzemi: (Default)
This one will be short yet take forever to type in on my iPhone. I've spent most of today chatting and hanging out with my wife. We picked up some antique chairs for the new place, had some very good Italian food (but alas it "messed" with us), and now I've got some time to post while doing this week's laundry.

I've been thinking about the differences between writing here vs Facebook vs LinkedIn vs Reddit vs other forums. It feels to me that LiveJournal-style writing is ultimately better for me than the others because it encourages me to get my entire thoughts out rather than short soundbites. Which coincides with the "word magic" that Kiersey associates with NF types. Reddit is great for longer thoughts only for technical matters, instead it feels great for fast zingers. Facebook is only useful for announcements at least for me, which I hear is also Twitter's strength. But right now what I want is full thoughts, even the dreaded "wall of text". (But I'd also like the occasional pic to break things up.)

So what's in store for this journal?

First: I want to get better at opening up. I have kept way too much inside, especially between 2004 and now. I could be so much better at writing, it's a great skill to have and if I could get faster at it I could both do great at work/life and even better unburden my soul.

Second: get happier with my soul. OK not the same "soul" Christians are trying to save but the emotions and feelings that color everything else I do. I am INFJ but also so much more than the profile. I was such an unhealthy INFJ for so long, I even tried to kill myself a couple times and spent years coming back from that. But now I have started building a history of bringing light to dark places both in helping people and in solving difficult technical problems that help society. My wife and I are starting a major new chapter in life and I literally have a job that will contribute in a small way to saving the world.

Third: in the spirit of #2 above journal my forays into Zen meditation, better diet and exercise, focusing on the good parts of life, and working to change myself first before seeking to change others.

Fourth: join the community of others trying to do the same for themselves. For too long I have dismissed such efforts as needless distractions but in truth "those people" who do things like sit still every day or write twenty pages everyday or question the utility of technology or discuss the human condition for hours at a time... those are *my people* and I need to support them.

Well the laundry is almost done so I am out for now...
tuzemi: (Default)
The cat died six months after my last post ("Silenced..."). Not "the" cat, actually one of two cats, but really "the" cat because we had her before we ever got married, and we chose our duplex for her, and even our house partly for her. She hated most people, but dearly loved us and her routine of napping on the bed and chasing grasshoppers in the yard when the weather was nice (which wasn't nearly as often as we had hoped because it was so damn hot). After she died we gave the other one to another home that would be less depressing for her since she was still very young and was so needing/loving to other people.

With the heart forcibly cut out of our cat-family, I finally dusted off the resume and put myself "out there" in search of a new job and a new life. It took some time to get the pipeline of applications rolling, but after a couple months a recruiter called for a company I had never heard of and two months later we're now in a hotel looking for a new home a thousand miles away from the old one.

Along the way I learned that I am an INFJ -- the rarest temperament of all -- and was meant to be a teacher or counselor or priest or poet rather than an engineer. Go figure. But it explains my personal history and my career and gives me a very powerful tool in controlling my future. My life is filled with W's: "word magic", "wanderlust", "writing", "walking", and "wife".

I'm not going back. Ever. No more Red States, no more Slave States, no more holding myself inside a box while trying to help fucking ingrates. We've got enough to do up here trying to save the world.

Tonight we sleep, and tomorrow morning I (we?) hit the hotel gym in a new beginning to things.

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