The Benefits of Casual Relationships

I’ve been single for a few months now since breaking up. When the relationship ended, it felt like a huge weight was off my shoulders. The mistake I made, I think, was not really understanding myself and thinking that a normal relationship was for me. Now I am starting to think that I should not be in a normal relationship because I don’t want the commitment, the obligation, the expectations, the effort, and the drama. It is better to be in a casual relationship.

Luckily for me, there are a number of websites on the internet that cater to casual relationships. In fact, the internet caters to all sorts of types of intimate relationships. I love internet dating. Using friends or family for dating is horrible because, if things go wrong, your relationship with your friends and family can suffer. Dating someone at work is even worse because, if things go wrong, you will continue to see her again and again.

In fact, I believe that even friendships with colleagues shouldn’t go too far. This is a mistake I have already made. I became good friends with a work colleague, he behaved badly to me, and now I distance myself from him, but he is needy and keeps pursuing me. I am reluctant to be frank with him and tell him to piss off because I don’t want bad blood with anyone I work with. After all, he might be my boss one day.

A website I enjoy using for casual relationships is whatsyourprice.com. The idea behind this site is simple: you offer to pay money to women in order to buy a first date. For example, you see the profile of a girl you think is nice, you offer her $100 for a first date. She can accept, reject, or counter the offer with an offer of her own. What I find is that, when you are willing to pay money to women, suddenly they are very keen to see you.

Different dating websites attract different types of girls. One of the benefits of WYP is that the girls here seem to be interested mainly in casual relationships. Supposedly, girls on a mainstream site like eHarmony are all looking for marriage, so if you are not interested in marriage, it is best to avoid this website.

Some people say that paying women for relationships is a waste of money because girlfriends are free. However, I disagree. With traditional dating, you must engage in the entire courtship ritual, e.g. show interest in her, flirt, talk to her, act witty and confident, dress well, ask her out on a date, touch her appropriately, and then after a few dates there may or may not be sexual intimacy. By the time you reach the third date, you will have spent thousands of dollars on gifts, restaurant bills, clothes, and so forth. If the relationship goes well, these costs don’t disappear. They stay high. If you marry, expect the costs to skyrocket once you start paying for engagement rings, marriage ceremony, mortgage, and children. So whether you go with a girlfriend/wife, sugar baby, escort, or prostitute, you will end up paying the same in the long-run. The difference is the level of honesty. The girlfriend/wife will expect you to waste money on gifts in order to prove your earning potential whereas the escort/prostitute will just send you an invoice. Prostitution and marriage are both mechanisms that facilitate the exchange of money/power and female intimacy. Whereas prostitution is subject to market forces, competition, and efficiency, marriage is subject to high entry/exit costs, vendor lock-in, inflexible contracts, and a reliance on old-world customs and rituals rather than an efficient price mechanism.

For young men out there, I recommend they try seeking casual relationships online. Set a certain budget for “female intimacy,” say, $500 per month and then keep track of how much cash you hand over to the girl. If you are poor and cannot pay much, simply seek out older or bigger girls. The reality is that highly cashed up men tend to seek out thin and young girls, resulting in price bubbles. Older and larger girls are more reasonably priced. Over time, if you save up and invest in income-producing assets, your total income will rise, and your budget for female intimacy should also rise.

One additional point I’d like to emphasise is if you do decide that mainstream dating and marriage is not for you and you end up seeking more “market-based” solutions, I recommend keeping it to yourself. Don’t tell your friends, your family, or even the girl you are in a casual relationship with. Just give her cash and tell her it is to help her with her living expenses. I do not recommend honesty in real life when it comes to paying for female intimacy. Right or wrong, there is too much stigma in this area. If you don’t believe me, read up on the following people: Craig Thompson, Eliot Spitzer, and Tiger Woods.

Thoughts on “Early Retirement Extreme”

I love listening to podcasts when I’m driving, exercising, or stretching. It’s free education and entertainment. A recent podcast I’ve listened to that I feel I need to write about is one on the Survival Podcast featuring Jack Spirko interviewing Jacob Fisker of Early Retirement Extreme.

I have always been fans of both Jack Spirko and Jacob Fisker, so having these two together in a podcast is brilliant. Basically, Spirko is a “modern survivalist” who works to set up a homestead in the country where he can take refuge in if there is ever some disaster scenario. He focuses on self-reliance, independence, frugality, and being prepared. Even if nothing happens, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.

Jacob Fisker of ERE, on the other hand, is different. Whereas Jack Spirko works outside the system (or “off the grid”) in order to free himself from it, ERE is about using the system to your advantage, i.e. applying capitalism to achieve freedom (or as the ERE website sometimes says, taking advantage of “rentier capitalism”).

Fisker’s story is remarkable. He takes retirement to the absolute extreme. Mainstream retirement advice is that you save up 5% or 10% of your income and then over forty years or so, assuming some wildly optimistic rate of return and then harnessing the power of compound interest, you will retire when you are incredibly old and frail with an income that is about $50,000 a year.

ERE, in a nutshell, states that you save up to 85% of your income and then retire within five years. Because you are saving up in five years, compound interest does not matter. What is remarkable about Fisker is that he was able to retire at age 33 after saving 85% of his income with an income of only $25,000. He achieved this by e.g. not having a car and walking to work (walking about five miles back and forth).

Suppose the typical person earns $50,000, and assuming zero taxation (for simplicity), then in five years, assuming you save up 85% and assuming zero rate of return on your savings (again for simplicity), you’d have a little over $200,000 saved up. Assuming a rate of return of 5% on the savings if invested in a mixture of cash, bonds, stocks, REITs, etc, you’d be earning about $10,000 per year or about $800 per month.

Can you live off $800 per month? In a country like Australia or even the United States, I think it’s highly unlikely. Maybe you can buy a place in the country and scrape by, but I’m not too sure.

However, in a country like Thailand, $800 per month is more than enough.

JC of Retire Cheap Asia is a retirement consultant who lives in Thailand. He advises expats from America and other developed countries on how to retire in Thailand. According to him, the minimum amount you need to survive in Thailand is $500 per month. At $500 per month, you live a very rough and bare life. However, if you have $1000 per month, you live a life of luxury. An income of $800 per month achieved through five years of Early Retirement Extreme would afford you a comfortable existence in Thailand (see Retire Cheap Asia Retirement Income Categories). This applies not just to Thailand but other countries like Cambodia, Philippines, and maybe even Belize and many others.

Virtue Fuelled by Sin

According to my phone, it is 34 degrees celcius right now. Now that it’s summer, I’ve been wearing t-shirts a lot, and one of the benefits of wearing the t-shirt is that it accentuates your muscles. I can see it in the mirror when I look at myself, but I am much bigger than I used to be pre-gym. Many other people are also commenting on my better looks. Especially with the girls, if they are not directly verbalising it, I can tell by their behaviour around me that they definitely notice my skyrocketing attractiveness.

For the last few months I have been going to the gym religiously. Whenever I go to the gym, I spend about forty minutes there. I do about five minutes of cardio on the exercise bike, but the rest of the workout involves weight training. I now try to do a bit of stretching afterwards.

Of course, it feels good to be admired by girls, but all this makes me wonder about vanity, sin, and virtue. You see, one of my friends thinks that going to the gym is an act of vanity, and that the only purpose of going to the gym is to look good. According to him, rather than going to the gym, I should play competitive sports like tennis or soccer because it is more social and it is easier to motivate yourself to do something when other people are involved.

I told my friend that I respectfully disagreed. What may work for one person may not work for another. The benefit of the gym is that you have everything you need in one place. When you play tennis or soccer, you are really only getting a cardio workout, which is equivalent to riding on the exercise bike or running on the treadmill at the gym. Tennis might provide some resistance or strength training, but it is mild, probably equivalent to working out with light dumbbells. Sports normally only provide one specific type of workout and that is it. The gym provides everything. You can mix your workout with cardio and strength training, and then with strength training you can increase the intensity easily. You can start with light weights and then as you improve you move to heavier and heavier weights.

Another benefit of the gym is that it is indoors. This means you can go there when it is sunny and not get skin cancer from getting sunburnt. On cold days, you are warm. On wet days, you are dry. Going to the gym, in my opinion, is better than having a home gym, and the reason why is price and convenience. I pay $6 per week to go to the gym, but if I tried to buy all of the machines and weights available at my gym and put them in a room in my house, I’m sure I’d spend more than $1000 (or more), and although in the very long run it may be cheaper to buy your own stuff, do you have the motivation to maintain the machines and fix them when they don’t work? Where I live, it’s not easy to find a spare room, and some of these machines are massive, so how in the world would I move them in there? I’d rather just pay the $6 per week and be done with it.

Another big plus with the gym is that you get a personal trainer (at least mine comes with one). If you do it yourself, you’re on your own, and you don’t know if you are doing it right, which could result in injury. If you have a personal trainer, he or she will watch you and will correct you. The personal trainer will also prescribe for you an exercise program that matches your needs. You don’t have to think too hard. You just do what you’re told.

Now, let’s get back to the vanity argument. Yes, indeed many people go to the gym to look good, but is that really a bad thing? For many people, it seems, vanity is looked down upon but is practised obsessively. Who knows where the roots of vanity phobia come from. Perhaps it is religious. Regardless, society seems to look down upon vanity as sinful but everyone acknowledges good health as virtuous. While working out at the gym satiates the desires of the vain, it also makes you healthy in the long-term. If you burn fat and increase muscle mass, you are not just looking good but you are also improving your health. You don’t need to be a scientist to know that obesity causes heart disease and all sort of other problems.

Furthermore, having muscle increases your metabolism and allows you to burn more fat. Having muscle also slows down sarcopenia and keeps you functioning even when you get old. Old people whose muscles have totally deteriorated need to be kept in a nursing home where other people need to assist them with moving because they do not have the muscles necessary to move themselves. Muscle naturally increases up until the age of thirty after which muscle mass naturally declines, which results in lower metabolism, massive weight gain (especially around the waist), and decreasing strength.

Working out at the gym then is one of those activities that provide you with a virtuous outcome (good health) that is fuelled by sin (vanity). A defining feature of sinful behaviour is that it provides you with much pleasure. Like all animals, we tend to seek out those activities that provide us with pleasure, but many things in life have a tradeoff between reward and pleasure. The more pleasure something gives, the less rewarding it is. For example, eating junk food is gluttonous and pleasurable but bad for your health. However, this tradeoff does not apply to everything, and different people react to different things differently. Many people may hate going to the gym, and they skip it all the time. I know a colleague who has been a member of the same gym I go to for almost half a decade and he has only been there about three times. For me, going to the gym is something that I do because I love it. I know it provides long-term health benefits, and if it also makes me look better, then that is only going to motivate me to be healthier, and there is nothing wrong with that. Sometimes virtue can be fuelled by sin, and this, I think is an ideal situation to be in because virtue fuelled by internal willpower and sacrifice is not as sustainable as virtue fuelled by sin.

After the Breakup

They say that when you break up with a girlfriend, you should not spend time pondering about what might have been. The best treatment is keeping yourself occupied. After my breakup, I am now burying myself into my work, into the gym, and into investing. I’m spending a bit more time with my family and I am focusing on reading books in my spare time so I can learn more. I have shunned social events and holidays and now seek a regimented life filled with ritual and routine. In a way, I feel like all this is a way for me to inflict work upon myself to atone for my sins.

I had a performance discussion with my manager today, and I am really positive about my career. The key, I think, is to never let on to anyone at work that you are lazy. Always give your manager (and all your colleagues) the impression that you are eager and willing to learn, that you are ambitious. I learned this the hard way because I was a little too relaxed in my early years, which obviously does not help you build a good reputation in the workplace. If you present yourself as ambitious and earnest, your employer cannot fault you on anything, and when people think about you when assessing performance, they will remember your energy and hard work. I laid out to my manager my plan, which was to build skill and knowledge both within the team but also outside the team. He seemed impressed with me and had positive things to say.

I was thinking last night that I have more respect, deference, and trust towards my current manager than I do my father. The impression I get from my father is that every piece of advice he gives me is advice to further his own selfish goals. I never get the sense from him that he genuinely cares about me, which is sad, I think because he is my father, and I expected more from him, and it is a huge disappointment to me that he is what he is. When you lose faith in your father, it’s as if you are sceptical of all people and you start to place your trust only in yourself or a very select few.

After going to the gym after work today, I bumped into a female colleague I used to work with. We sat together on the train. It was nice talking to her. Truth is, after my breakup, I do feel lonely now, and working like a horse can wear you down. I’ve been immersing myself in my work and in the gym in order to forget about the breakup, but I’m not sure if I’m doing enough. Today I had lunch by myself. Just before heading off to lunch, I actually did an instant messenger search to see who I could have lunch with, but I couldn’t really find anyone and I suddenly wished I could pay some girl say $20 an hour just to have lunch with me. I have this fantasy, I suppose that I had girls on call and I could just ring them up and be at lunch with them in minutes. I just wish that female intimacy were more commoditized and access to female intimacy could be as simple as a mobile app. The forces of the internet, which have revolutionized news, music, film, and books, have yet to disrupt the old rituals and inefficiencies of traditional dating and marriage.

 

Treating Friends Like Investments

My life is fine at the moment. Trying to build more alpha male behaviour has been successful, I think. It takes practice transforming yourself from a nice guy, but I think I am progressing well.

Yesterday, at work, I attended a team meeting where I was really able to make an important contribution. It feels good to be recognised in a positive way at work, and I find that this is starting to happen a lot. I think the key is to simply be earnest and to keep trying to be as helpful as possible rather than just sit back and expect the manager to hand everything to you. You are in charge of your own life.

I am handling my family and friends well. If I don’t want to do something, I have not been afraid to say no. I can think of three instances where I have just said no when invited to do something. This might not be a big deal to some, but for me it is a big deal.

I have a new approach to friends that is similar to investment portfolio management. Your friends are like an investment portfolio. You invest your money in businesses, bonds, stocks, property, or some other asset. You chop and change based on which asset you think will give you the greatest return. This, I think, should apply to friends. If there is a friend who, after meeting with them, doesn’t make you feel good, then the return from this friend is probably not going to be great, so it is necessary to divest and distance yourself from him and put your time into friends who make you feel good. I suppose the problem with me is that, in the past, I’ve been lazy, and I’ve just spent time with friends who keep seeking me out. Usually those people who seek you out are doing so because they want to use you in some way. Rather than passively accept an invitation to an event, I should really be picky. I should reject those offers that are not appealing for me. I should be able to say no and to tell people that I don’t want to do this or that. Then I need to proactively seek out those events or those people I want to be with.

Fund managers buy good assets and sell bad assets. The same applies with your friends. You put your time into good friends and spend less time with bad friends.

I Hate Weddings

I think weddings are boring, especially wedding receptions. Wedding ceremonies are not as bad because they are short and tolerable. I can just show up, sit down, take a few photos, and leave. But the wedding reception is horrible. It goes on forever. There is too much music and too much dancing.

Some people may argue that I should develop my social skills (and I am doing that at work). But my belief now is that I should not try to do something I don’t want to do. If I don’t want to do something, I won’t do it, and if I want to do something, I will do it. I will defend my way of life, even if I die defending it.

I’ve read a few articles on the internet about how to decline wedding invitations, and they all suggest that I do so in a polite way. I think that given I am an aspiring alpha male, I should just be frank and honest and state that I hate wedding receptions and therefore I will not go. There will be no more avoidance from me. I will just put it out there. Rather than seek to avoid offending people, I will just not care if I offend others. I will seek confrontation.

I think it is important that I follow these two principles: (1) defend to the death your way of life and (2) seek confrontation.

In the past, in my beta male days, I was following other people’s way of life. Other people naturally were trying to lead me along the high-debt high-commitment lifestyle, also known as the Triple Ms: marriage, mortgage, and midgets. I have decided early on in the my life that I want freedom. I want to stay out of debt and build passive income so that I can live off passive income and not have to work if I don’t want to. In order to achieve this, I’ve had to sacrifice the marriage, mortgage, and midgets. Some would say it’s not worth it to sacrifice things so sacred and beautiful, but it is not too much of a sacrifice for me given that I have no appetite for marriage or children. There is something about marriage and children that I intrinsically hate. Maybe it’s the obligations and the enslavement. I think of myself as a commitment phobe by choice. I do not see much of a difference between commitment phobia and debt phobia.

I should be upfront about my way of life, and I should advocate it as better for me. Maybe it is not better for others. Maybe other people love children so much that they are willing to go into massive debt. That’s fine. What others do is their choice. I don’t care. But don’t drag me into it. I need to be upfront about this way of life. I need to tell people that indeed I do focus on work, going to the gym, improving my health, saving money, and building passive income. This is what I do in my spare time. It is important. If you want me to waste my time going to your wedding, I will reject it because I am doing more important things. Instead of being afraid that my way of life will offend others, I need to practice advocating my way of life, and to give me practice in not caring about offending others, I need to seek out confrontation.

Career Planning is Like Walking Through a Foggy Maze

I’d like to talk about career planning. Many times I think back at my career development and think about lessons learned. What I have discovered is that career planning just doesn’t seem to work.

Many people pressure you into defining what you want to do before you go out and do it. The problem with this idea is that it assumes that it is easy to determine what it is that will fulfil you. It is not. Suppose you think you like accounting. There are so many branches of accounting that you can’t possibly know if the branch you eventually fall into will satisfy you. Furthermore, there is so much more that makes up career satisfaction than a broad academic category like “accounting.” You may love cost accounting but when you end up in a job where you hate the people you work with or you hate your manager, you will not be happy.

To complicate matters, although you may think you like accounting, there is no guarantee you will even end up in an accounting role. You may study accounting and specialize in, say, accounting standards, but once you enter the job market you may find that there are no jobs available that suit your stated passion, and you have to settle for something else.

Career planning is like walking through a maze. You know you need to reach your destination and you may know the general direction of your destination, but there are multiple walls or obstacles around you, so much so that long-term planning seems pointless.

So what are we to do when we walk through the foggy maze that is our career? When you walk through a maze, you focus on what is ahead. You focus on the walls around you. You focus on what paths that are available for you right then and there. If you make a wrong turn and reach a dead end, you walk back and learn your lesson.

The same applies with your career. You follow the paths available to you. If the only jobs available are general finance graduate jobs rather than the accounting standards job you were hoping for, it may be better to settle with what is available. Even if you get something you think you want, for whatever reason, you may end up not like it. Even if you end up liking something, circumstances change. Your manager can change. There might be a restructure. The world is not fixed, and planning too much leaves you inflexible and vulnerable to a rapidly changing world.

We need to be flexible and adaptable. We need to be prepared to be the best we can be regardless of the situation presented to us.