Monthly Expenses (February, 2015, Taipei, Taiwan)

Pink Elephants at Taipei Lantern Festival

Pink Elephants at Taipei Lantern Festival

(I will trickle out 1H2015 Monthly Expense Reports over the coming weeks)

Chinese gift culture is awesome.  Whether it be for a wedding, an anniversary, a birthday, a baby shower, or for Chinese New Year, everybody gets and gives cash.  Just stuff a few bills into a plain red envelope and your gift is ready.  Fortunately the wrapping paper industry hasn’t been able to corrupt the culture via advertising in the same way as the diamond industry.

Chinese New Year is a big gift giving holiday.  Employers will pay a bonus of at least one month’s salary, or even much more if business is good.  People also receive the gift of time; many businesses close for a week and people leave town to visit family.

We stayed in the city, and celebrated by attending the Taipei Lantern Festival, joining and hosting dinner parties, and via the giving of gifts… to our friends and their children, the door staff of our building, and the lady who helps us with house cleaning

Preparation for GCCjr’s imminent arrival also began in earnest this month, with mass purchases of baby necessities.  For the next 18 years, I’ll be reporting our child rearing expenses on a dedicated page, still a work in progres.  As such, GCCjr will have his own expense report section going forward.  Lucky kid

As a result of wild spending on baby stuff, an unexpected bill, and overall large living, our total expenses were embarrassingly high in February.  Total was a new monthly record

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A Simple Health Check Saved My Life

11377235_10156301008640377_2973579202934990238_n“Hello, Winnie?  Yes, this is Dr. Luo.  Your pap smear test results have come back, and we found some abnormal cell growth that needs to be evaluated immediately”

Two weeks ago I received this late night call from my maternity doctor.  As part of my post delivery checkup we did a full health evaluation, and the results showed high grade lesions on my cervix (HSIL)

Do I have cervical cancer?!  Google seemed to think so.  The more I searched, the more panic set in.  I just had a baby, I need to be here to take care of him

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Early Retirement: The Best Idea in the History of Ideas

Early Retirement

Another Terrible Day in Early Retirement

There is great diversity in interests and personal values in the world, and what is great for one person might be terrible for another

So it is no surprise that on occasion we come across people that frown upon our life choices.  In some cases, that frown becomes a snarl

For example, this is one of my all time favorite pieces of hate mail:

….So in 2008 you lost 40% of your wealth when the market crashed, and then you had all this extra cash lying around to invest more in stocks after the crash?….. Also, you saved up your money by living like a bumb (I think they meant bum) in your 20’s to “retire” in your 30’s…..but you only traveled in 2012,’13, and ’14……now that you have a baby you are not welcome to travel and stay at many places. Nobody wants to travel with a toddler. You speak about not paying taxes and scamming for healthcare, the truth is you can’t afford to live in Seattle, your “home”.
I advice you to watch the movie “Jiro dreams of sushi” in it he extrapolates on his statement “the day I am unable to work is a very sad day” you see most people find stability, normalcy, friends, and community through workplace culture, your grand schemes of finding loopholes like a Wall St exec is so fragile. Your setting your child up for psychological issues of a Military family when you don’t have an established home with a church you go to all the time, family you see every holiday, chasing the cheapest meal…….
It’s very possible for people without families and void of responsibility to their family, or simply filled with greed of their own needs, to live an enjoyable lifestyle of travel and retirement. It’s the same question as asking yourself what if you won the lottery? Well I have a toddler I can tell you I would not travel with him, and I love my job and would not retire from it…..I speak English, I want to live in America. Traveling cheap is not as fun as you make it sound.

Where even to begin amongst the false assumptions, inaccuracies, and value judgements?

I didn’t even know we traveled cheap

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Birthing Babies for Fun and Profit

Modern Medicine, Traditional Care

Modern Medicine, Traditional Care

“I think it is time,” Winnie said as she woke me

Adrenaline shot into my body, and I sprang into action like a headless chicken.  Get dressed.  Grab the bag of clothes we had prepared in advance.  Fill a water bottle.  Throw a bag of snacks into the backpack.

OK, we are all set to go to the hospital.  What have I forgotten?  There is something…. Oh, the wife!

We slowly walked the two blocks to the hospital, stopping every few minutes for the contractions to pass

My Mandarin isn’t very good, especially at 4 am, but I made out a few phrases… “…you walked here…?”  “…probably too early…”

After a quick check the nurse sent us home with some clear instructions for when to return

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The Worst Retirement Ever

oil_embargoAfter years of commitment, dedication, and hard work, your early retirement plan has come together nicely

By living well below your means and investing in stocks and bonds, total assets have eclipsed $1 million, 25x your budgeted annual spending of $40k/year (all in 2014 inflation adjusted dollars, of course)

Everything you’ve read says that if you remain flexible, this should be enough to provide a relatively constant standard of living for the next 50 years, a must for somebody retiring in their mid 30s

The last few years at work have been a little stressful, so it will be nice to take time to recharge before diving into your new life’s ambitions… a little travel, learning a new language, writing a novel, communing with nature, creating music and art…  all of the things that were put on hold due to the demands of career

People are a little confused on your last day of work.  “But… what will you do all day?” “You are going to live off of your investments? I could never do that, the stock market is too risky” “How could you save so much, we can’t seem to save anything”

Your coworkers mean well, but their questions remind you of why you felt so compelled to gain freedom from the need to work in the first place.  You walk out the door, a weight lifting off your shoulders for the first time in years
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