By Laura Gao • 5 min read
April 2023

a working doc

most numbers are 1 sig dig

there is >50% chance i made a core oversight

basic needs

  • rent: 1k-2.5k a month probably closer to 2k-2.5 atm (if i wanna group house). say 2k for ev. -> 24k
  • food (cooking): hm farmers markets in chinatown are great, can probs eat healthily at $40/week. (buy lots of fruit and noodles and rice and bok choy and tofu, can eat less meat i wanna be pseudo-vegetarian anyway.) this wont actually happen unless im aiming for this, by default id go to the food basics near my house that my roomates go to and it'll be up to $100/week. let's say ev $70. -> approx $3500 (flagging this feels like an overestimae)
  • transportation (local): in toronto it's 150/month (cad) for transit. idk about other cities. nyc is 127. bart is 165. boston is $90. london is £94.90. i'll leave some room for jesus and call it 150 -> 1800
  • clothes: idrk but guessing max $30/month -> 360

non basic needs that would bring me joy enough that i wouldnt feel financially secure till i can comfortably afford these

  • food (going out): i dont wanna be stingy socially as a general rule bc that shit creates resentment. i dont wanna be stingy on tips bc i care abt cooperating in PD. each time going out w friends for a meal ranges from $15 (chinatown) to $40 (italian pasta). usually like $20-25. going out once a week seems like maximally reasonable. going out once every 2 weeks probably wont create like resentment. also bbt which can be like $10 each run. so maybe let's count like $60/month -> $720. hmm this number is calibrated in canadian dollars. so i'll say 500 annually as a straight conversion of usd, but intuiion says it'll be more like 600
  • transportation (travel): my ideal lifestyle would be moving to a new city every few weeks or every few months. every ttim ei ttraveled in the past i exceeded expectations so i have high priors on how much id spend. let's say like idk anywhere from 4 to 10 flights a year, average flight being like 400 for cross NA and 150 for same-region-of-na and like 800 for cross continent. i call big flights the 400s and 800s, let's say sure 4 to 10 big flights or sth. let's call it 4000 then leave some room for like ubering or wtv costs so 5000. [can omit this and just live in boston or bangalore or sf for a year w like 2 round trips home, this would be 1.5k then.]
  • gifts: bc of some law of power and feelings, i dont wanna be stingy on gifts. other people are one of the things most spending money on. yk how warm it feels to feel taken care of. so let's say idk anywhere from 3-10 friends and like ev 40 on each gift for like1.5 gifts a year. -> 420
  • patreon: rn i support 1 creator 2 usd/month. i have at least 5 id support. lowest tier might be more than thatt. 15-30/month on patreon. let's say 25. -> 300
  • wtv monthly subscriptions: spotify premium, auible, amazon prime, wework (?), i wanna have freedom to get shit that improves my quality of life. wework is too expensive so id omit. the others are currenly like 25/month. give me room to double that -> 300-600
  • wtv donations: i want freedom to support causes i believe in. ideally wren climate thing id offsett at least my own carbon (like $40/month). + some otther stuff (charity water?) up to $40/month i guess. 80 -> 960
  • mistakes: $40 uber to the wrong location, $100 taxi to ewr bc nj train didnt run at 2am. more mistakes will happen. $500-1k/year
  • the whatever fund bc i probably undercounted. one time purchases like a chair. random painings or aesheics hings i find beauiful i should have freedom to buy. $500-1k/year.

so far it costs 39k/year to raise a laura. we can say 40k. for more "whatever fund bc i probably forgot sth" and bc i am confident abt this to 1 sig dig.

(tbh i think the "whatever fund bc i probably forgott sth" should be like 3-5k lol)

(i probably won't gap if my burn rate is 40k/year on current assets. (for reference my current net worth is like 56k, 54.5k of it is currently nonliquid.) which means i need to get job to at least break even, or live in india or sth)

not crucial but part of my ideal medium-term (ex. if i gap for more than a year) lifestyle

  • spontaneous shi idk: $160 to visit mit for one day, $110 to niagara falls for one day. $1-2k/year
  • projects/buy hardware/tech upgrades idk: $1-2k/year seems reasonable but like up to discretion can use atlas money comfortably
  • invest: everything else but ideally like 5k/year or sth for retirement into index funds bc compound interest
  • savings: i wanna have like 1 year of runway liquid-ish at all times ideally (rn more like 3-6 months is good but in the long term when i can afford, have 1-2 years)

leave a msg for laura

i respect your emotional rawness. keep introspecting, maybe a little less inspirational quote posting...

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