Designing Your Life

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
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VictoriaF
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Designing Your Life

Post by VictoriaF » Fri Apr 07, 2017 8:23 pm

Several months ago I have attended a workshop "Designing Your LIfe" by Stanford professors Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. The main thesis is that design is different from other areas such as engineering, business, or research. In engineering you calculate, in business you optimize, in research you analyze--and in design you build. People make a mistake of pursuing their desired life using calculations, optimization, analysis, and other techniques suitable for other fields. A recommended method is to approach one's life as a design problem and build it from prototype to prototype.

The ideas in "Designing Your LIfe" are very interesting, the approach if unusual, and the promise is high. Earlier I have recommended Bill Burnett's and Dave Evans's book of the same title. A few days ago, Stanford has posted Evans's presentation "Designing the Life You Really Want" http://ecorner.stanford.edu/videos/5075 ... ntire-Talk which covers the key concepts.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

drawpoker
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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by drawpoker » Fri Apr 07, 2017 8:56 pm

I don't get it.

What does this have to do with personal finance?

Guess I am just dense. Or dumb.

Please advise what I should be doing to design my life for optimal financial well-being..... :?: :?:

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VictoriaF
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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by VictoriaF » Fri Apr 07, 2017 9:10 pm

drawpoker wrote:I don't get it.

What does this have to do with personal finance?

Guess I am just dense. Or dumb.

Please advise what I should be doing to design my life for optimal financial well-being..... :?: :?:
It helps answering questions raised in Personal Finance (Not Investing) Forum threads such as:
- How does one determine their "number" and what exactly does it mean?
- Help with college choice
- Priorities
- Wife wants to get into real-estate
- Got my second comma -- what is this anticlimactic feeling?

The discussions listed above were active in the past two days.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

drawpoker
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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by drawpoker » Fri Apr 07, 2017 10:15 pm

Hmmmm.

Soooo, in other words, this thread here "Designing Your LIfe" can only have actual relevance to the forum by re-directing everyone to, er, um, other threads?

Still, not getting it :?:

Just call me Dumb & Dumber, I guess... :wink:

Beensabu
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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by Beensabu » Fri Apr 07, 2017 10:29 pm

drawpoker:

Closing statement:
So you have to decide what risk you're taking and what risks you wanna manage, what risks you wanna enjoy. Design can help you qualify the risk, but not necessarily eliminate it. Risks are never eliminated. They're just managed.
Worth a watch or a transcript read? I appreciated the link.

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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by GraduateStudent » Fri Apr 07, 2017 10:34 pm

Thanks for the link! I've seen a number of posts recently along the lines of "I've finally met X financial target that I spent years calculating/analyzing/planning for, so why do I feel less awesome than expected?" One of the best responses I saw: rather than focus on what you don't want to do (i.e. your job), focus on what you can do (or start to do) with all your new free time earned by proper financial planning. This seems consistent with the idea of designing your life.
Life after grad school is great.

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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by kelvan80 » Sat Apr 08, 2017 7:18 am

DH and I had a discussion a couple years back when I wanted to payoff the mortgage early (still do but we moved to a larger house). His question to me was, what then? Once the mortgage is paid and we're maxing retirement what are our goals. It led to good discussion about what military retirement would look like, volunteering opportunities, more children, debt free living, golf..conversations that shouldn't wait until too late our you've missed the journey. It definitely can't just be about the numbers, but I'm still going to be psyched to see that second comma...

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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by zuma » Sat Apr 08, 2017 8:43 am

The "Design Thinking" ideas in this talk are commonly evangelized and propagated in the startup world, especially in product design, and have recently been adopted in other areas like education as well. This looks like an attempt to bring those ideas into the world of self-help / life-coaching.

There is a lot of jargon to wade through. The basic idea is that the most effective way to solve complex problems is through a creative and iterative approach focused on real human needs. The first step is understanding and clarifying the problem. Then you generate ideas and potential solutions, ideally working with others in order to go beyond your own limited perspective. Then you start testing those ideas in the real world. In the process you refine both the problem to be solved as well as the set of potential solutions. Rinse, repeat.

I haven't read Evans' book. There are probably some worthwhile techniques in there. But I've also had enough exposure to "design thinking" practices to know that there is no magic formula for solving big problems, whether in life or business.

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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by knpstr » Sat Apr 08, 2017 8:52 am

"Lifestyle design" has been a trendy topic since 2007 and the 4 hour work week
Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking. -Marcus Aurelius

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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by qwertyjazz » Sat Apr 08, 2017 9:36 am

Really enjoyed it - thank you
The problem is many to most of the questions on this forum do not have quick feedback - yes you can ask some people or do a couple of hours in a field - but retiring makes it harder to go back to work so what should your number be while you still can work and you do not fully understand the retirement experience - you go to Penn so you do not then get a degree at Vandy etc
Useful to me but not sure how relevant to issues on this board
But potentially life changing so thank you
QJ
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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by Wildebeest » Sat Apr 08, 2017 9:55 am

Thanks for the link.

I enjoyed it greatly.

I especially liked:

"Turns out, the research shows if you want to be happy, the happiness engineers, turns out the best way to be happy
is not getting what you want. It's wanting what you got.
The reversible condition is not conducive to the synthesis of sustainable
happiness, Dan would say. I won't detail you the research, but it shows that when somebody makes a decision and either
themselves concludes or is told it's irreversible, and other people make the exact same decision, like what to buy or what to
take home, and can reverse the decision, even if they don't, those people end up unhappier with the exact same outcome as
these people who got it irreversibly. You're willingness to own your decision and not be distracted by the other possibilities has
a huge impact on the quality of the decision long term. So it turns out, actually, it's harder than you thought.

You don't just have to make a great decision. You have to make a great decision well. A fair decision made well, meaning
energetically implemented, letting go of the options, and moving on, not getting stuck in reviewing regret, a fair decision
implemented well beats a great decision made badly. And that keep your options open thing is actually a disaster as a long
term strategy".


Which would relate to Boglehead investing: "Stay the course", "Set it and forget it" and in my mind makes Index investing with the three fund portfolio is the sure fire way to be happy with your investments.
The Golden Rule: One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.

2015
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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by 2015 » Sat Apr 08, 2017 11:31 am

Wildebeest wrote:Thanks for the link.

I enjoyed it greatly.

I especially liked:

"Turns out, the research shows if you want to be happy, the happiness engineers, turns out the best way to be happy
is not getting what you want. It's wanting what you got
.
The reversible condition is not conducive to the synthesis of sustainable
happiness, Dan would say. I won't detail you the research, but it shows that when somebody makes a decision and either
themselves concludes or is told it's irreversible, and other people make the exact same decision, like what to buy or what to
take home, and can reverse the decision, even if they don't, those people end up unhappier with the exact same outcome as
these people who got it irreversibly. You're willingness to own your decision and not be distracted by the other possibilities has
a huge impact on the quality of the decision long term. So it turns out, actually, it's harder than you thought.

You don't just have to make a great decision. You have to make a great decision well. A fair decision made well, meaning
energetically implemented, letting go of the options, and moving on, not getting stuck in reviewing regret, a fair decision
implemented well beats a great decision made badly. And that keep your options open thing is actually a disaster as a long
term strategy".


Which would relate to Boglehead investing: "Stay the course", "Set it and forget it" and in my mind makes Index investing with the three fund portfolio is the sure fire way to be happy with your investments.
Do you know none other than Werner Erhard said this over 40 years ago? None of this is new. I have noticed with amusement all of the new business books out on happiness and life design, which are really only recycling (really) old themes. Brian Tracy has some of the best stuff anywhere on success, achievement, and overall effectiveness in life, much of it over 30 years old.

I have been engaging in "personal development" since the first Wells Fargo stagecoach crossed the country. After too many decades, I have finally learned that who, what and where I am is as good as it's going to get and that that's perfectly okay. Just as there is much more to life than dancing on the head of a personal finance pin, there is much more to life than gazing at your own naval. As Nike says, just do it (to which I might add, and after you do it, learn the lesson, get over it and move on, whatever your "it" is regardless of however "it" turned out).

Edit: I agree, the best outcomes are almost always characterized by simplicity, be they in investing or elsewhere.

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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by drawpoker » Sat Apr 08, 2017 12:33 pm

2015 wrote:

..... there is much more to life than gazing at your own naval. .....
That's exactly what I have been thinking of saying.

Only I was going to say navel

Not naval. :wink:

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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by VictoriaF » Sat Apr 08, 2017 12:46 pm

Beensabu wrote:Worth a watch or a transcript read? I appreciated the link.
Reading the transcript is faster but watching the video is more effective. I have attended a 4-hour seminar with the speaker and his co-author, where I did some hands-on life design and then participated in group discussions of our respective designs. Then I have purchased the book which made more sense to me after the seminar than it would have before. Yesterday, I have watched the video as a refresher.

As a retiree I find these concepts invaluable. I am financially secure, healthy and in control of my time. I want to live a good life, and the concepts in "Designing Your Life" (DYL) help me to develop right attitudes and actions. For example:
- I have a natural tendency to do analysis, but DYL prompts me to act. And so I am trying many things to see which ones would fit.
- DYL tells you to do rapid prototyping and expect failure. Naturally, I try to avoid failure. But when failure is defined in technical terms with technology analogies, it becomes a different game.
- DYL offers some novel concepts, for example, to design another version of your life, where all you current pursuits would be impossible. For me, playing counterfactuals with my own life has resulted in new ideas for the things to try.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by VictoriaF » Sat Apr 08, 2017 1:01 pm

GraduateStudent wrote:Thanks for the link! I've seen a number of posts recently along the lines of "I've finally met X financial target that I spent years calculating/analyzing/planning for, so why do I feel less awesome than expected?" One of the best responses I saw: rather than focus on what you don't want to do (i.e. your job), focus on what you can do (or start to do) with all your new free time earned by proper financial planning. This seems consistent with the idea of designing your life.
If you are a graduate student, as your Forum name suggests, you may find useful ideas well before you reach your financial target. The Designing Your Life (DYL) seminar is Stanford's most popular course . Undergraduate students want to design their pursuits after college. Graduate students need an approach for continuing their research and identifying alternatives.

Many people want to make a change mid-career. Sometimes, they have long-standing dreams and are not sure when and how to switch.

Retirees have the resources for designing their lives, but many just don't think about it.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by VictoriaF » Sat Apr 08, 2017 1:09 pm

zuma wrote:I haven't read Evans' book. There are probably some worthwhile techniques in there. But I've also had enough exposure to "design thinking" practices to know that there is no magic formula for solving big problems, whether in life or business.
I fully agree that there is no magic formula for solving big problems. But there are some "formulas" for tackling big problems. Designing Your LIfe (DYL) offers several such formulas. For example:
- Don't assume that there is a single best outcome. There are many excellent outcomes.
- Just do it. Create a quick simple prototype of your idea and try it. Expect it to fail. Expect to learn from it.
- A lot of failure is not your fault. You may be doing everything right, but small probabilities show their ugly heads. Stop ruminating about what you should have done differently.

These statements may sound obvious, but much in life is obvious. Sometimes, you need the obvious to be presented in just the right way to take effect.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by VictoriaF » Sat Apr 08, 2017 1:19 pm

qwertyjazz wrote:Really enjoyed it - thank you
The problem is many to most of the questions on this forum do not have quick feedback - yes you can ask some people or do a couple of hours in a field - but retiring makes it harder to go back to work so what should your number be while you still can work and you do not fully understand the retirement experience - you go to Penn so you do not then get a degree at Vandy etc
Useful to me but not sure how relevant to issues on this board
But potentially life changing so thank you
QJ
I think the value of Designing Your Life (DYL) in defining your "number" is in having an outline of what you want to do in retirement and validating it through prototyping. For example, someone who wants to retire from a corporate job to start his own dream business needs a higher number to allow for the business uncertainties. He may do rapid prototyping of business ownership by shadowing a real business owner for a week to validate his dream.

Someone who dreams of traveling in retirement may do a "prototype" by taking a long trip and come to a conclusion that he needs a lower "number," because travel is not as much fun as he had thought.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by Lynette » Sat Apr 08, 2017 1:25 pm

Victoria, thank you for the link. I found it interesting and think that using a formal process could likely be useful but I'm not entirely sure as much of my life has simply happened.

A friend remarked that much of her experience with jobs were simply the result of accident and not a lot of planning. This has certainly been true of my career. For example, when I was laid off in 1993 from one megacorp during the recession, a colleague who sat next to me mentioned that our client (another megacorp) needed someone in an area where I had experience. I was hired, didn't really like the job but needed the money. I spent eons looking for alternatives but in the end decided that I did not want to take a drop in salary that a switch in mid-career would involve. I compensated by concentrating on outside activities that interested me such as learning languages and traveling.

In retirement I've given myself two years to study subjects that interest me before taking on projects that I feel make me useful such as volunteering. I'm too lazy to try a formal process. I've just retired and became tired of being a full time handyman and cleaning lady as I was remodeling my house. I did some tax and financial planning, learned Quicken but decided it wasn't worth my time. I enrolled for classes at a community class in web design and photography (Photoshop) in the summer. I've also hauled out my Spanish grammar books and and am relearning them. Studying languages is one of my great hobbies. Maybe a formal process could be of some value but I'm simply trying out stuff now.

I admire your interest in pursuing new ideas. Thanks for sharing them.

Lynette

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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by VictoriaF » Sat Apr 08, 2017 1:26 pm

2015 wrote:Do you know none other than Werner Erhard said this over 40 years ago? None of this is new. I have noticed with amusement all of the new business books out on happiness and life design, which are really only recycling (really) old themes. Brian Tracy has some of the best stuff anywhere on success, achievement, and overall effectiveness in life, much of it over 30 years old.

I have been engaging in "personal development" since the first Wells Fargo stagecoach crossed the country. After too many decades, I have finally learned that who, what and where I am is as good as it's going to get and that that's perfectly okay. Just as there is much more to life than dancing on the head of a personal finance pin, there is much more to life than gazing at your own naval. As Nike says, just do it (to which I might add, and after you do it, learn the lesson, get over it and move on, whatever your "it" is regardless of however "it" turned out).

Edit: I agree, the best outcomes are almost always characterized by simplicity, be they in investing or elsewhere.
Most modern ideas can be traced back 40 years. And those ideas can be traced to the Enlightenment, and those back to the Greeks. Nevertheless, packaging matters. Some of it is effective, and that's what counts.

Self-help has a bad reputation after numerous naive books emphasizing positive thinking and useless in practice. Clearly, Designing Your Life (DYL) is useful for some but not for everybody. It's useful for me, and thus I recommend it.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by VictoriaF » Sat Apr 08, 2017 1:33 pm

Lynette wrote:Victoria, thank you for the link. I found it interesting and think that using a formal process could likely be useful but I'm not entirely sure as much of my life has simply happened.
...
Maybe a formal process could be of some value but I'm simply trying out stuff now.

Lynette
Lynette,

I think much of you are doing is consistent with DYL, even if you have not been familiar with the framework. You are trying ("prototyping") various wishes and sticking with them long enough to see if they are worth it.

A "formal process" sounds formidable. I was forced to fill out forms when I was attending the live seminar, and that helped me a lot. In the forms you define three alternative paths your life may take, and rate
- the resources to pursue them
- how much you like it
- whether the path is coherent and consistent with your personality.

When you have to fill out these forms in 15-20 minutes, your mind becomes very focused and you learn things about yourself you did not know existed.

Victoria
Last edited by VictoriaF on Sat Apr 08, 2017 1:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by Barefootgirl » Sat Apr 08, 2017 1:35 pm

Yes, thank you for the link.

I like the idea of tools that help give shape and action to dreams & goals, but I have to be very, very careful with this.

So much of my education and career was mapped out towards a goal, that the goal became to un-goal, un-design, to allow free flow...in many ways, to become childlike again...not serious, not goal oriented, in-the-moment so to speak, which I believe in some ways, is closer to human nature.
How many retired people does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Only one, but he takes all day.

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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by techrover » Sat Apr 08, 2017 1:46 pm

Victoria,

Thanks for posting and sharing the link.

I think people mid-career with younger families/kids can learn and avoid a whole range of trial-errors in life by adopting some of the design thinking principle.

Best.

zuma
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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by zuma » Sat Apr 08, 2017 3:01 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
zuma wrote:I haven't read Evans' book. There are probably some worthwhile techniques in there. But I've also had enough exposure to "design thinking" practices to know that there is no magic formula for solving big problems, whether in life or business.
I fully agree that there is no magic formula for solving big problems. But there are some "formulas" for tackling big problems. Designing Your LIfe (DYL) offers several such formulas. For example:
- Don't assume that there is a single best outcome. There are many excellent outcomes.
- Just do it. Create a quick simple prototype of your idea and try it. Expect it to fail. Expect to learn from it.
- A lot of failure is not your fault. You may be doing everything right, but small probabilities show their ugly heads. Stop ruminating about what you should have done differently.

These statements may sound obvious, but much in life is obvious. Sometimes, you need the obvious to be presented in just the right way to take effect.

Victoria
Fair enough. :)

I suppose I'm just a bit jaded from seeing so much "fail early, fail often" hype in my own professional life. In many cases this approach is not a good substitute for rigorous research, planning, and execution. Sometimes "measure twice, cut once" is a better formula. In practice, Design Thinking often results in teams (and individuals) failing again and again, never learning things that are actually relevant to the problem at hand and reduced to hoping that eventually something will work.

But this is just my experience, of course, and I'm glad that you (and others) are finding the ideas helpful.

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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by Good Listener » Sat Apr 08, 2017 6:54 pm

drawpoker wrote:Hmmmm.

Soooo, in other words, this thread here "Designing Your LIfe" can only have actual relevance to the forum by re-directing everyone to, er, um, other threads?

Still, not getting it :?:

Just call me Dumb & Dumber, I guess... :wink:
I wouldn't use the terms that you did for yourself. I don't believe anybody is dumb. If you have been a reader of this forum, Victoria has more wisdom and useful posts than most others combined. Her posts do require others to think on occasion. This is one of them and I am following her leads. And btw, no I am not married to her, have never dated her, have never spoken to her, nor could I pick her out of a lineup.

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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Sat Apr 08, 2017 6:58 pm

2015 wrote:
Wildebeest wrote:Thanks for the link.

I enjoyed it greatly.

I especially liked:

"Turns out, the research shows if you want to be happy, the happiness engineers, turns out the best way to be happy
is not getting what you want. It's wanting what you got
.
The reversible condition is not conducive to the synthesis of sustainable
happiness, Dan would say. I won't detail you the research, but it shows that when somebody makes a decision and either
themselves concludes or is told it's irreversible, and other people make the exact same decision, like what to buy or what to
take home, and can reverse the decision, even if they don't, those people end up unhappier with the exact same outcome as
these people who got it irreversibly. You're willingness to own your decision and not be distracted by the other possibilities has
a huge impact on the quality of the decision long term. So it turns out, actually, it's harder than you thought.

You don't just have to make a great decision. You have to make a great decision well. A fair decision made well, meaning
energetically implemented, letting go of the options, and moving on, not getting stuck in reviewing regret, a fair decision
implemented well beats a great decision made badly. And that keep your options open thing is actually a disaster as a long
term strategy".


Which would relate to Boglehead investing: "Stay the course", "Set it and forget it" and in my mind makes Index investing with the three fund portfolio is the sure fire way to be happy with your investments.
Do you know none other than Werner Erhard said this over 40 years ago? None of this is new. I have noticed with amusement all of the new business books out on happiness and life design, which are really only recycling (really) old themes. Brian Tracy has some of the best stuff anywhere on success, achievement, and overall effectiveness in life, much of it over 30 years old.

I have been engaging in "personal development" since the first Wells Fargo stagecoach crossed the country. After too many decades, I have finally learned that who, what and where I am is as good as it's going to get and that that's perfectly okay. Just as there is much more to life than dancing on the head of a personal finance pin, there is much more to life than gazing at your own naval. As Nike says, just do it (to which I might add, and after you do it, learn the lesson, get over it and move on, whatever your "it" is regardless of however "it" turned out).

Edit: I agree, the best outcomes are almost always characterized by simplicity, be they in investing or elsewhere.
+1 If you don't have what you like, like what you have. Can't get anymore simpler or easier than that.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

btenny
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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by btenny » Sat Apr 08, 2017 7:13 pm

I wonder how these ideas will fit in finding a "retirement path". Many of us here are getting older and are now fully retired and spending our next egg. But with retirement some of us are finding limitations on what we can do so we need to adjust our life path. So maybe these ideas are still useful in old age. Can we find new activities and adventures that fit our old age abilities?

2015
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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by 2015 » Sat Apr 08, 2017 7:26 pm

drawpoker wrote:
2015 wrote:

..... there is much more to life than gazing at your own naval. .....
That's exactly what I have been thinking of saying.

Only I was going to say navel

Not naval. :wink:
You mean to tell me all along I've been gazing at the wrong thing? So that's been the problem. :D

I agree with VictoriaF in retirement the opportunity for lifestyle design is tremendous. Just because I said none of this is new, does not mean I don't continued to invest in the future. In fact, my current project is creating a retirement that will continually reflect a philosophy of "the best is yet to come". We are traditionally taught by society to view aging as a time of loss and decline. Personally, I have been designing this third part of my life (that is, the retirement go-go, slow-go, and no-go years) as a time of gain (in intelligence, personal power, and effectiveness) and increase (in anti-fragility and optionality), based on purposeful attention to diet, exercise, and continual reinvention. My intention is for these last three decades to be the best of my life. In the almost two years since I retired, I've probably read about 400 of the recommended best-selling business books applicable to what I want to achieve. I was inspired to do this based on the continuous learning philosophies of some of the most effective people in the world today, including Charlie Munger and Warren Buffet.

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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by VictoriaF » Sat Apr 08, 2017 8:24 pm

Barefootgirl wrote:Yes, thank you for the link.

I like the idea of tools that help give shape and action to dreams & goals, but I have to be very, very careful with this.

So much of my education and career was mapped out towards a goal, that the goal became to un-goal, un-design, to allow free flow...in many ways, to become childlike again...not serious, not goal oriented, in-the-moment so to speak, which I believe in some ways, is closer to human nature.
You may not want to have highly ambitious goals requiring a lot of focus and effort, but you do consider several paths for your retirement life. You may want to retire for good, or switch to a part-time job, or pursue a very different type of work. You may want to return to the state where you grew up, or move to a new state, or spend most of your time traveling. From reading some of your posts, I have an impression that you are successfully "rapid prototyping" by checking out various locations, participating in various activities, and asking the Bogleheads about their experience with the things you are interested in.

Good luck,
Victoria
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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by VictoriaF » Sat Apr 08, 2017 8:32 pm

Good Listener wrote:And btw, no I am not married to her, have never dated her, have never spoken to her, nor could I pick her out of a lineup.
I have ensured that every Boglehead could pick me out of a lineup: I am the inventor of the Bogleheads Handshake (an index-finger shake).

Victoria
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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by VictoriaF » Sat Apr 08, 2017 8:56 pm

btenny wrote:I wonder how these ideas will fit in finding a "retirement path". Many of us here are getting older and are now fully retired and spending our next egg. But with retirement some of us are finding limitations on what we can do so we need to adjust our life path. So maybe these ideas are still useful in old age. Can we find new activities and adventures that fit our old age abilities?
I think the Designing Your Life ideas are particularly useful after retirement. The main theme of the exercise is to define alternative lives. In the workshop we were designing three types of life:
1. Continue doing what you are doing now.
2. Assume that you cannot do what you are doing now and design a completely different life.
3. Design a life where money and embarrassment are not a problem.

Designing life #2 can be approached is different ways. The alternatives could be positive or negative. Positive alternatives would be of the sort: what else would I like to do with my life. Negative alternatives would be of the sort: what could I do with my life if my current opportunities have closed down. Thus, someone in mid-career could design an alternative life in which he had lost his job. Someone in retirement could design an alternative life in which he had acquired a debilitating disease. Thinking through negative alternatives helps one to appreciate the present gifts and prepare some contingencies.

In the video, Dave Evans has noted a curiosity. When he works with groups he asks people how many lives they'd like to design for themselves.
On page 5 of the transcript, Dave Evans wrote:But let's say the number is, on average, seven or eight. Interestingly, by the way, when I work with a group since we're now going all over the place having talks like this, the older the group gets, the higher the number goes.
You see, the older you get the more alternatives you want to consider for the rest of your life. Is not that wonderful?!

Victoria
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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by VictoriaF » Sat Apr 08, 2017 9:02 pm

2015 wrote:
drawpoker wrote:
2015 wrote: ..... there is much more to life than gazing at your own naval. .....
That's exactly what I have been thinking of saying.

Only I was going to say navel

Not naval. :wink:
You mean to tell me all along I've been gazing at the wrong thing? So that's been the problem. :D
You can design alternative lives of gazing at your own army, your own air force, and your own marines.

Victoria
Last edited by VictoriaF on Sat Apr 08, 2017 9:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by Chant » Sat Apr 08, 2017 9:22 pm

Hi Victoria

Watched the presentation this morning and kept pausing to make some notes. I'm 53, and as I think about my latter half or the "third age" as I've heard it called, I have some important decisions to make with a greater priority on -meaning- and -purpose- than I've allowed in the first half. I would have rather thought of these things years ago. I came from the old school of what one is supposed to do.

As for what this means in the context of finances, we'll I'd say that my finances mean nothing without contentment, happiness, stimulation and purpose. These things are a required compliment to my financial life and not separate from it.

Thanks, again, for the link.

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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by LiveSimple » Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:13 am

Thanks Victoria for the link.

Watched the video, for a while and ordered the book, should be a good $13 investment.

Let me see, what I can learn or observe.

Seems interesting.

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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by 2015 » Sun Apr 09, 2017 11:13 am

VictoriaF wrote:
2015 wrote:
drawpoker wrote:
2015 wrote: ..... there is much more to life than gazing at your own naval. .....
That's exactly what I have been thinking of saying.

Only I was going to say navel

Not naval. :wink:
You mean to tell me all along I've been gazing at the wrong thing? So that's been the problem. :D
You can design alternative lives of gazing at your own army, your own air force, and your own marines.

Victoria
Last time I did that the shrink prescribed way too many pills. :D

This has been a good thread. Too often when focusing on the quantitative side of retirement planning, the qualitative aspect is neglected, or at least given superficial attention (e.g., grandchildren, travel, bucket lists, etc). I have found thorough attention to both aspects to be vitally important. Per Cal Newport's Deep Focus book, in retirement I sacrifice low value adding activities for high value activities that buttress my "wildly important idea" (Newport's concept) of having a qualitatively successful retirement until end of life.

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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by VictoriaF » Sun Apr 09, 2017 11:53 am

2015 wrote:Per Cal Newport's Deep Focus book, in retirement I sacrifice low value adding activities for high value activities that buttress my "wildly important idea" (Newport's concept) of having a qualitatively successful retirement until end of life.
Cheers from a fellow Newport's fan,

Victoria
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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by htdrag11 » Sun Apr 09, 2017 12:34 pm

I posted the following (some edit) on the thread "Career advice on IT" about another one's perspective on a possible future career.

"Here is an interesting talk by Jack Ma from Alibaba at a recent Global Transformation Forum in Malaysia (has a short 2 minutes commercial around the 11 minute mark), about 40 minutes long. You may want to skip the first 10 minutes about his past failure.

He believes the future will be moving from IT to DT, as in Internet Technology to Data Technology. He also emphasizes that education should focus on art and music, as well as sports, very un-Asian. His company has more women than Silicon Valley's despite all the talk on diversity. Over 1/3 of senior management are women.

Full disclosure, less than 1% of my portfolio is in Alibaba.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LH_G7EE ... e=youtu.be "

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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by LadyGeek » Sun Apr 09, 2017 7:01 pm

^^^ Your link is broken, this should work: Jack Ma full speech at Global Transformation Forum 2017

Remember that discussions must be focused on personal finance - retirement planning, behavioral finance, estate planning, etc. While we permit "career guidance" discussions, the focus is helping one improve their net worth or income.

General discussions on industry trends or education stray outside the forum guidelines.
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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by RadAudit » Mon Apr 10, 2017 7:34 am

VictoriaF wrote: I am the inventor of the Bogleheads Handshake (an index-finger shake).
Bogleheads have a secret handshake?
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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by VictoriaF » Mon Apr 10, 2017 8:02 am

RadAudit wrote:
VictoriaF wrote: I am the inventor of the Bogleheads Handshake (an index-finger shake).
Bogleheads have a secret handshake?
Yes! After I came up with the idea, I shook index fingers with Jack Bogle. And this is how I greet many Bogleheads at the annual conferences and local meetings.

Victoria
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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by SGM » Mon Apr 10, 2017 8:10 am

I never knew what I wanted to do until close to graduation from undergraduate school and then I changed my mind many times since. Multiple mid-career changes and reinventions of myself as a younger man I now I find myself in retirement. My retirement reinvention has been more along the artistic side.

A family friend who is a lawyer in the trust department of a local bank found satisfaction in "creating a future" for some of the banks clients. I have seen how she works with some relatives and it is impressive what she has accomplished. She seems to act as a life coach to some of the bank's clients.

Prior to retirement I often talked to retirees about what they did with their free time. Some are annoyed by such questions, but the feedback I have found to be essential.

Victoria is very inspiring as she has lots of energy and tries many new things in retirement. Victoria, I know you need no encouragement, but keep us posted on your research concerning reinvention of self.

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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by VictoriaF » Mon Apr 10, 2017 8:42 am

SGM wrote:Victoria is very inspiring as she has lots of energy and tries many new things in retirement. Victoria, I know you need no encouragement, but keep us posted on your research concerning reinvention of self.
Thank you for kind words, SGM!

Sometimes I think that I am moving too quickly from one passion to another. But watching the Designing Your LIfe video has reminded me:
1) to rapidly prototype
2) to expect failure
3) not to linger on failed "prototypes."

Here is a recent example. A year and a half ago, I started taking Improv classes. It was a lot of fun: playing games, forcing my mind to come up with instantaneous responses, laughing for hours. But after having taken eight classes and having had four public performances, I plateaued. My main problem with Improv is that I am disconnected from much of the modern culture. It's difficult for me to pick up from other actors the themes of popular singers, actors or movies; I don't watch TV or viral videos; and I am not interested in food. I would love to be in improvisation scenes about cyber security, politics, behavioral economics, psychology, personal finance, literature, travel, and Black Swans. But there is little coverage of these topics, even in DC.

To my astonishment, I have discovered that Standup suits me much better than Improv. In Standup I use my own areas of expertise and interests, my own ideas, my own writing, my own delivery, and my own perseverance. This is increasingly rewarding, and with every performance my skill level is improving.

Relating this experience to the Designing Your Life concepts, I have:
- rapidly prototyped Improv,
- failed in it,
- discovered Standup, and
- switched from the Improv life to the Standup life.

Victoria
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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by Lynette » Mon Apr 10, 2017 8:56 am

.....
Last edited by Lynette on Wed Dec 06, 2017 5:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by VictoriaF » Mon Apr 10, 2017 9:10 am

Lynette wrote:Yes, thanks Victoria. I found this article on a 94-year very inspiring:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/07/opin ... r-old.html
A wonderful article. Thank you, Lynette!

We frequently close up our minds to new opportunities because "nobody does it" at our age, our physical condition, or our social circle. And then a single example, such as a 94-year old John Goodenough featured in your article, sparks our own ambitions. One type of alternative lives in Designing Your Life is a life where "money and embarrassment" are not an issue. One should try to invent new batteries, fly to other planets, or do pole dancing in his 80s, 90s, 100s, and 200s. Why not?!

Speaking of role models, as I started reading about the theory of humor, I have discovered that one of the leading authorities on the subject is a fellow immigrant from the USSR. According to the Wikipedia article,
Victor Raskin (born April 17, 1944) is a distinguished professor of linguistics at Purdue University. He is the author of Semantic Mechanisms of Humor and Ontological Semantics and founding editor (now editor-at-large) of Humor, the journal for the International Society for Humor Studies.
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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by RYD » Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:17 am

I must admit as I read this post a saying popped into my mind

Man plans God laughs

RYD

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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by VictoriaF » Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:23 am

RYD wrote:I must admit as I read this post a saying popped into my mind

Man plans God laughs

RYD
Thus, you design many different lives to give God more things to laugh about, and for yourself to have more fun with.

Victoria
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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by bluebolt » Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:54 am

The mistake many on this board make is that they treat FI as an end in itself.
You need to remember that FI is a *means* to an end.
If you are just focused on your number and don't know what the *end* is that you're looking for, you will have a problem when you hit your number.

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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by sabhen » Mon Apr 10, 2017 2:32 pm

Enjoyed listening to the book (free) recording during my flight on American Airlines Inflight Entertainment System. Refreshing and thought provoking book.

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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by Fallible » Mon Apr 10, 2017 6:20 pm

From what I read here, a connection I see to investing might be in setting an asset allocation, i.e., the similarity between designing a life and designing an allocation. In both cases it's about finding oneself and what is right for oneself. An asset allocation, to become a course that one can stay through market crashes, includes knowing personal goals, financial capacity, and one's emotional tolerance for risk, for losing lots of money. Could the "design" course ever be directly applied to AA?
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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by VictoriaF » Mon Apr 10, 2017 7:25 pm

Fallible wrote:From what I read here, a connection I see to investing might be in setting an asset allocation, i.e., the similarity between designing a life and designing an allocation. In both cases it's about finding oneself and what is right for oneself. An asset allocation, to become a course that one can stay through market crashes, includes knowing personal goals, financial capacity, and one's emotional tolerance for risk, for losing lots of money. Could the "design" course ever be directly applied to AA?
Hi Fallible,

In Dave Evans's terminology, Asset Allocation is a business problem. Early in the video, he distinguishes different types of problems:
- in engineering problems all the data are stable, one has to select correct formulas, but once an engineering project is complete it remains stable
- in business problems data are uncertain, and practitioners deal with probabilities and what-if scenarios
- in research problems a scientist comes up with a hypothesis and tests it according to the applicable scientific method
- in design problems a designer is doing, finding problems, re-doing, fixing new problems, and so on.

The future market performance is unknown, but we can try to guess which past patterns are likely to repeat themselves. We decide on Asset Allocation based on our confidence in our predictions, on our aversion to risk, and on the size of our portfolio which may enable us to take less risk. Thus, it's a business problem.

Life design, as a design problem, requires experimenting with one's own life. The connection to the personal finance is in the amount and type of financial resources our alternative life paths may require. Examples:
- if you want to become an entrepreneur, you need greater assets to withstand the fluctuations in your business viability
- if you want to have many children, the expenses are relatively predictable but are higher than for someone with few or no children
- if you want to become an artist, prepare to become a starving artist and take anything more than that as a gift.

In the list above, I have emphasized the financial aspects of the life design. The program Design Your Life includes finances as one criterion; there are several others. You start by thinking what you would like to do and then you get a reality check. Importantly, the reality check is not purely theoretical, i.e., you don't just say "I have enough money to be a starving artist." You also prototype being a starving artist: you try to live a prototype of your desired life and you talk to people who already live this life.

I hope my explanations help, but I strongly recommend to watch the 1-hour video I linked in the OP.

Victoria
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Re: Designing Your Life

Post by 2015 » Mon Apr 10, 2017 8:22 pm

bluebolt wrote:The mistake many on this board make is that they treat FI as an end in itself.
You need to remember that FI is a *means* to an end.
If you are just focused on your number and don't know what the *end* is that you're looking for, you will have a problem when you hit your number.
Nothing could be closer to the truth. In my experience, FI and retirement provides one with unprecedented freedom (which has been likened to early childhood). While retirement has required me to pay attention to finances, rather than spending it encased in a sea of numbers, I'd rather spend it falling into horizons I always wanted but was previously too afraid. Brian Tracy once said that we are surrounded by "oceans of possibilities." My intention is to use this amazing accomplishment of FI to explore them.

VeronicaF, have you read this book: https://www.amazon.com/Improv-Wisdom-Do ... 1400081882. It's awesome, and useful in everyday life.

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