Alcoholism

I’ve been researching alcoholism, as it’s been affecting someone I know. Here are my findings.

Lies

Alcoholism is fundamentally based on self-deception – the alcoholic might profess that he will try not to drink, but will at the same time unconsciously keep finding ways to self-sabotage this goal.

Rationalisations keep being made to have a drink, one way or another. Often these rationalisations are bizarre and long-winded. For example, a person might get into frequent arguments with family, only to use the stress from these arguments as a reason to drink, which causes more family arguments – creating a vicious cycle.

The alcoholic convinces himself that he has no choice but to drink, and/or that he can get away with just 1 more drink without causing further harm, despite it having already caused harm in the past. He finds it hard to accept that he will never really have another drink again. Without firm resolution, he eventually slips and relapses.

Lifestyle

Typically alcoholism doesn’t just come and go once – the individual experiences rollercoaster-like phases spanning months and years where he sobers up for some time, only to fall into a bad habit again, until it gets really bad and then he sobers up, but then after some more months goes through it all again. Statistically few bring the rollercoaster to a stop completely – only around 10% of individuals can go 18 months without relapse.

There’s often a Jekyll/Hyde effect at play where after drinking, the individual turns into a different person with his own set of memories, goals, etc. This is why it’s very important not to take that first drink as the “alter ego” can take over and all other previous commitments/promises at that point can go out of the window (and return again only the next morning once sober).

What can also make it difficult for an alcoholic to quit is a lifestyle centred in a large part around drinking. This can make it feel to them as if by attacking alcohol you are attacking them, and they then do whatever it takes, including lying, to defend it.

Truth

The wound is the place where the Light enters you.

Rumi

Alcoholics who make a recovery tend to do it only after first admitting they have a problem. This often comes when one experiences a personal crisis deemed intolerable. What’s considered intolerable varies depending on the individual – for example they might not care if their own health is being destroyed but be woken up when someone else, such their child, gets seriously hurt due to their drinking.

Techniques

Channeling the energy that would be spent acquiring alcohol, or even the energy that would be spent fighting the urge to drink alcohol (which reminds one of the alcohol) can be better spent on other activities which are instead creative, productive and build up to something – such as a side business, making products, gardening, or training for a sports event. This is win-win – you not only shake-off the urge to drink but also add value and/or make yourself and others happy where you otherwise wouldn’t have.

Another technique is to imagine you’ve had the drinks already and are already feeling the drunkenness or misery you might feel after drinking, putting you off actually then acting out the drinking.

Any situation in which an alcoholic relaxes his guard and considers it not all-important that alcohol must be avoided, invites a mini-relapse which inevitably cascades into bigger relapses. The solution here is to commit oneself to not drinking at all, so that the alcohol is automatically avoided to begin with.

Taking that first drink can kick off a chain of events that is difficult to regain control over. Therefore not taking that first drink, and avoiding circumstances where that first drink is made possible is important.

Small victories such as refusing to buy a pack of beer when at the supermarket no matter what, can turn into bigger victories later such as skipping a beer even when under social pressure at a gathering. With practise and repetition, as one’s attitude stabilises, saying “no” becomes increasingly effortless and automatic, and one begins to feel more secure in their ability to cope. One’s worldview gradually shifts to one that values sobriety over intoxication.

A helpful analogy is “defensive driving”, in which the alcoholic can better respond to situations where alcohol may present itself, by already anticipating such temptations and actively avoiding them rather than being passive and more prone to being caught off guard. This is especially helpful in emotional situations (to extend the analogy: when the road is icy), where one is vulnerable to slipping into rationalising having “just 1 more drink”.

Humility

Humility is central to recovery. The recurring theme with an alcoholic is that he thinks he doesn’t have a problem, or does but can in himself manage it, when he never really can. Despite repeat failures he remains in denial about the existence of the problem or his inability to manage it by his own strength.

It’s only when he admits that he is an alcoholic and he needs help beyond himself that the real healing begins.

This is not dissimilar to the kind of “ego death” that sometimes occurs in the life of even non-alcoholics, in response to adverse life events, such as a break-up or loss.

If an alcoholic’s answer to the question “are you an alcoholic?” is yes, that is a good sign. Getting him there however can be challenging.

Rationalisations

These are common traps:

  • Escape – e.g. don’t want to think about a break-up or confront reality.
  • Relaxation – often in response to stressful circumstances.
  • Socialisation – in attempt to feel more at ease, overcome excessive self-consciousness, worries about what others think of them, or simply make up for boredom.
  • Improved self-image – to feel good about oneself when nothing else seems to be working, often as a shortcut to what might otherwise feel unattainable.
  • Romance – alcohol can make it easier to indulge in fantasies, in one’s head if not in real life, to alleviate boredom and instigate excitement and feel alive again.
  • Sensual Pleasure – simply wanting the taste of a cool delicious alcoholic beverage.
  • To-hell-with-it – borne out of frustration with one’s (often self-created) circumstances.
  • Self-control – thinking you’ll be able to control it this time, even though you can’t once started.
  • No-control – believing you can’t control it so why even bother fighting the urge?

Conditioning

An alcoholic is more likely to crave alcohol in a circumstances that allow him to believe it’s acceptable.

  • For example, when Bill is at the bar, he may be more willing to give in to a drink, rather than if he is at home.
    • This means he can reduce the chances of relapsing by not putting himself in a bar to begin with.
  • Conversely, if Bill puts himself in circumstances where it’s definitely not acceptable to drink, such as at work or a church gathering, he reinforces the habit of not drinking.
  • A small amount of alcohol at the beginning is counter-productive as it only whets the appetite for more, which is why “avoid the first drink”, as often recommended at AA meetings, is so effective.
  • Alcohol related cues – such as an ad for beer, can induce an unpleasant state in drinkers or ex-drinkers, which they then feel like they can only relieve by consuming alcohol again.
    • Or more broadly speaking, rather than see alcohol as something putting them into an abnormal state, they feel they need alcohol to be in that normal state to begin with – especially in heavy drinkers.
  • Having hobbies that can be relied upon instead of situations involving alcohol is helpful.
    • Such hobbies can that mitigate boredom and anxiety among other negative factors, and reduce the need for alcohol as an escape.
  • Inner tension (including nervousness, shakiness, irritability) is the most common trigger for drinking.
  • One who is strongly craving alcohol may see the alcohol more as a source of relief from an existing condition rather than as adding additional value to their life.
  • Like other cravings, such as food, the craving for alcohol can gradually be weakened or strengthened over time based on how one decides to deal with it on a case by case basis.
  • The existence of craving doesn’t necessitate alcohol consumption – the individual can still crave yet still choose not to give into that craving. Even a strong persistent craving can be kept at bay, as many times as needed, with a well exercised “no” that breaks the cycle and weaken its grip.

Carl Jung on Alcoholism

I am strongly convinced that the evil principle prevailing in this world leads the unrecognized spiritual need into perdition if it is not counteracted either by real religious insight or by the protective wall of human community. An ordinary man, not protected by an action from above and isolated in society, cannot resist the power of evil, which is called very aptly the Devil. But the use of such words arouses so many mistakes that one can only keep aloof from them as much as possible.

You see, “alcohol” in Latin is spiritus, and you use the same word for the highest religious experience as well as for the most depraving poison. The helpful formula therefore is: spiritus contra spiritum.

Serenity Prayer

This can be helpful for those trying to become sober:

(God) grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things 1 can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

Such an orientation towards life leapfrogs the appeal or need for intoxication.

Metrics

There are a few metrics of interest when it comes to tracking alcohol metrics:

  • Alcohol consumption – whether in terms of real units (e.g. 1 beer a day) or units of alcohol.
  • Alcohol breath test device readings – which are surprisingly under-used, even though the devices are cheaply and easily available.
  • More technical markers such as
    • Blood samples – more specifically CDT test.
      • A key bio marker for historic heavy drinking.
    • Liver enzymes – often detected using a GGT test.

Further Reading

Relevant Medication

Be sure to first get a doctor’s approval for these:

  • Selincro – an extended family member has had success with this drug, to be taken before one has the urge to drink. He adds :”It works on the GABA receptors in the brain and eliminates the reward receptors associated with drinking.”

Saving Data on Mobile

I’m currently building some iOS apps and exploring various options for storing user data. I’ve summarised my findings here.

JSON

JSON is a popular structured representation of data like this:

{"products":[
  { "name":"iPhone 12", "capacity":"64GB" },
  { "name":"iPhone 12 Pro", "capacity":"128GB" },
  { "name":"iPhone 12 Pro Max", "capacity": 128GB" },
]}

Human Readable Data Format

JSON can usually written straight to a file on a the device. Because it’s just text, you can also store JSON in a SQL database as a field. Its simplicity makes it easy to send/receive between devices and its high readability makes it easy to edit and make updates to the data, without requiring any specific knowledge or tools.

Its hierarchical data structure means JSON naturally maps to data structures (objects) used in code.

SQLite

A popular SQL database that lets you perform CRUD (create, read, update, delete) operations on 1 or more tables of data. Relationships can be specified between columns. For example, you could have Customer, Product, and Order tables, and Orders has Customer and Product columns keyed to the customers and products held in their respective tables, storing orders of products by that customer.

Faster Querying, Less Code

SQLite has a major advantage over JSON in that the data is queryable. Instead of writing code to scan the entire list of items as you normally would with JSON files to check each field on each item, in SQLite you can simply do a quick query on the data you want. For example “SELECT all iPhones with capacity of 128GB”. This reduces the amount of code you have to write, as well as being faster, as a SQLite database can use optimised algorithms and indexing to retrieve that data as quickly as possible.

Compared to JSON files, SQLite does however require special tools and APIs to read and make changes to the database – it’s not as simple as editing a file directly as you would with JSON in a text editor.

Another thing to be aware of is that you may still need extra code to map the results of SQL queries to the data structures (objects) you’re using in your app.

Core Data

This is Apple’s out-of-the-box solution for storing data in iOS apps. It enables you to specify an object graph – for example objects representing Customer, Product, and Orders, and the relationships between them, and then run standard CRUD operations on this data set.

One advantage of Core Data over just SQLite is that it can be easier to use, with visual tools (in this case Xcode) enabling a developer create objects and specify options (e.g. whether the field is required) and relationships between objects, without needing to know how to structure a SQL database and do manual queries on it.

Core Data is a higher level of abstraction that still uses a lower level technology like SQLite to do the actual storage and manage underlying tables of data.

The downside of Core Data is that it can add unnecessary abstraction and complexity – if you’re comfortable just working with a SQLite database or JSON file directly to read/write a simple list of data items, then building and maintaining an object graph layer is likely to be overkill.

On the other hand, if you’re going to be creating model objects from your data anyway, then using Core Data can help mitigate unnecessary extra work as these models can be generated from the data scheme automatically.

Lack of Portability

It’s hard to transplant user data stored in Core Data from an iPhone device to an Android device, as Android doesn’t have a Core Data API. The underlying SQLite database is not in a format that’s easy to decipher directly and requires considerable work to translate into another format such as JSON before it can be exported for use elsewhere. It also adds an additional point of failure – for example Apple recently deprecated Core Data iCloud sync which means that developers that chose Core Data for its automatic sync capabilities may no longer be able to rely on sync to work, as well as being stuck with a more complex data stack that’s now harder to migrate elsewhere.

iCloud Drive

On Apple devices, an app can store files (such as JSON files) in the user’s iCloud Drive folder.

This has the advantage of making the file accessible to the user. In the JSON file example above, the user can add another iPhone product themselves (by opening, editing and saving the JSON file in their iCloud Drive, using a text editor). The App using that JSON file can then pick up those changes. The user can also backup/restore the JSON file themselves, and generally has more control of their data.

UserDefaults

This is a simple lightweight dictionary available in iOS apps that lets you store small amounts of user data, such as settings and preferences. UserDefaults is based on XML, and not suitable however for larger sets of data, such as lists of thousands of products or orders. It isn’t easily queryable like a SQLite database, and is slower and takes more memory for large data sets. Nor is the UserDefaults XML file format as easily editable or transferrable as a JSON file.

If the UserDefaults file grows very large with lots of entries (e.g. 1000+ entries or 1MB+ in size), it’s worth remembering that it needs to be destroyed and recreated each time it is updated, which could get slow.

Keychain

Keychain is a dictionary, similar to UserDefaults, and is a system-level service provided by iOS to typically store login/password and other security-sensitive details. When a password is automatically filled-in, this data usually comes from a previously populated keychain.

Unlike UserDefaults, Keychain data isn’t just an XML file that can be opened/changed easily, so is more secure. Data stored in Keychain is stored at the OS level, not inside the app folder, so it can stay on the device even if the app is removed. An app’s keychain data is not accessible from other apps.

CSV

Comma-separated values (CSV) is a popular format for tabular data – for example many online banks will let you download your transactions in CSV format so you can open and edit them in spreadsheet software like Microsoft Excel. CSV is simply a list of comma-separated values such as below:

"iPhone 12", 64GB,
"iPhone 12 Pro", 128GB,
"iPhone 12 Pro Max", 128GB

Each entry is separated by a new line. The downside of CSV is that it’s brittle and lacks keys describing each value (a problem which JSON solves). This means an app that relies on a specific structure in the order of the data could crash if the column order changes, or a new unexpected field is added, and any bugs created can be harder to diagnose because unlike JSON it may not be immediately apparent what’s missing or unexpected in the given data.

CSV may be suitable for some sorts of tabular data that is unlikely to change in format. For data structures that are hierarchical (or may become so) JSON is is clearly a better choice, especially when the JSON maps to a data structure/class that will be represented in code.

Further Reading

Bitcoin is a Scam

Introduction

Later last year (2020) I bought a few bitcoin, that went up in value. A few months later, in January 2021, in a moment’s panic, as the price dropped, I sold them.

I now found myself in a neutral position again to see if it was worth reinvesting what I’d made (and by this time I had done a lot more research). To cut a long story short, yes, but no.

Yes, because for the time being, I expect Bitcoin to continue increasing in value.

No, because Bitcoin has mutated into a monstrous, unethical ponzi scheme that utterly fails to live up to what was described in the original whitepaper. Instead of peer to peer cash-like payments, it is now being used for speculation, as “digital gold”, with holders of Bitcoin egging others on to buy Bitcoin at increasingly ridicolous prices, with little to no regard for those who will be left holding the bag when the music stops.

Tim Bray

The first article online that made me pause for thought was written by Tim Bray, who’s been experimenting with Bitcoin for years and is clearly familiar with the technology.

Here’s the key paragraph in his recent post:

What I see now: Run screaming from Bitcoin · It is completely unambiguously obvious to me that Bitcoin, a brilliant achievement technically, is functioning as a Ponzi scheme, siphoning money from the pockets of rubes and into those of exchange insiders and China-based miners. I’m less alone in this position than I was in some of those others, I think a high proportion of tech insiders know perfectly well that this is a looming financial disaster.

Amy Castor

Tim then references Amy Castor who’s been researching various cases of what seems like fraudulent activity at the very centre of Bitcoin, such as USDT: a token used on exchanges to buy Bitcoin, but which hasn’t properly been audited. For all we know these tokens are being produced out of thin air and then being used to buy Bitcoin, encouraging others to then spend their hard-earned real money in fear of missing out of getting rich.

Crypto Anonymous

Then I found an article by someone clearly wanting to remain anonymous explaining the rate at which Tether (USDT) is being used to buy Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies:

Image for post

There’s a shocking level of reliance on these USD-T tokens, and a strong correlation between their issuance and the price of Bitcoin going up. The issuers have a questionable history, and we don’t even know if their books are clean yet.

David Gerard

Tether (USDT) is the cryptocurrency trading economy’s favourite substitute US dollar. Most Bitcoin trading is against USDT — not against actual money. There’s about 27 billion tethers in circulation.

Patrick Mackenzie

A friend of mine, who works in finance, asked me to explain what Tether was.

Short version: Tether is the internal accounting system for the largest fraud since Madoff.

That said, be sure to read the long version too. Patrick now works at Stripe, and although he probably can’t speak for them, he likely sees the writing on the wall, with his employer planning accordingly. If Stripe too saw Bitcoin as the next big thing, they’d be preparing APIs for it. Instead Stripe publicly dropped support for Bitcoin in 2018.

Decentralisation

That bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are decentralised is just a huge dangerous lie.

  • The source code is controlled by a central committee of developers who control the direction of the project.
    • They’re human and far from perfect, having previously cancelled Gavin Andresen, one of the original co-creators of Bitcoin for naming Craig Wright as the original creator of Bitcoin (“Satoshi Nakamoto”).
    • If only a centralised committee of unaccountable developers can change the protocol that has critical mass at any time, it’s not decentralised. In fact it’s more dangerous than money being in the control of accountable government officials.
  • Bitcoin is in some sense being sold as decentralised (all users are “equal”) in the way communism is/was sold as decentralised (all people are “equal”). Yet we know from history that such abdication of agency never ends well. When everyone pretends no one is in power and everyone is equal, it only sets the stage for some really dangerous characters to take control.
    • This is no defense of the current financial system – it has flaws, but is also well regulated by the government with appointed staff (by those elected by people) who are accountable for the smooth and fair running of the system.
    • With “decentralisation” there is no notion of accountability – how can there be, when every node and user is equal? Who do you go to or appeal to if something goes badly wrong?

The “decentralisation” Bitcoin promises, like communism, is based on a lie that’s impossible – a logical fallacy. Abdication of agency never works, and a consensus based algorithm is no substitute for it.

Even if you on some level buy the decentralised argument, consider this:

Bitcoin vs Fiat

Bitcoin is commonly advertised as a hedge against fiat. Yet, put simply:

Usefulness

The other argument often made is that Bitcoin has no actual use despite all the money flowing into it and other cryptocurrencies. Patrick explains this well:

I don’t hold any position in cryptocurrencies. I continue to believe that they’ve produced substantially no value in the world. I’m not philosophically opposed to shorting them to zero, but the mechanics of doing that are non-trivial.

My intense skepticism of cryptocurrencies is probably the issue on which I am most in disagreement with many close friends, professional acquaintances, and some of the smartest people I know. That is part of the reason why the hobby of peeling back onion layers here is so engrossing: people really, passionately believe that there is something here. I’m intellectually curious. The thing people have told me exists should smash my interest buttons: programmable money! How could I not look!?

I have looked, quite a bit. I have not found a good use case yet, or the revolutionary technology advances that my friends tell me exist, but I have found some frauds.

Institutions

Mark Cuban quips:

By whales, one usually means very wealthy individuals or more often institutions who can buy $millions or even $billions worth of bitcoin, like Square did. Yet:

As of yet, no answers. Meanwhile I’ll assume Bitcoin is not only unethical but impracticle too. Can you imagine Apple or Tesla having an asset that’s expected to go up and down in orders of magnitude through the years on their balance sheet?

Yet according to Bitcoin proponent Michael Saylor, you’re expected to believe this is exactly where things are headed:

The inconsistencies in what’s claimed here just don’t add up. It’s either a stable balance-sheet worthy asset or a strange growing/shrinking cash pile – it can’t possibly be both.

Drag forces

Promoters of Bitcoin often mention how Bitcoin went up approximately by 100x during the last cycle before collapsing at a higher base level, and that this cycle will continue. What they forget to take into account is drag forces: it’s easier to find the first 1% who are attracted to such schemes, but harder to find the next 10%.

To assume Bitcoin will continue to grow a similar amount to that in previous cycles disingenuously assumes there’s no saturation point re: interest in Bitcoin, and people will keep paying ever higher prices. In reality, interest levels off. People won’t buy Bitcoin for $100k as casually they will for $100.

There’s an expectation by some Bitcoin proponents that the wealthy (billionaires, etc) will flock to Bitcoin and this will continue to drive up the price. But imagine you actually are a billionaire – why would you want to participate in a chaotic get-rich scheme in the first place? Instead, it’s some of the poorest, desperate and most vulnerable that are targeted to and impacted by such schemes.

Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)

There’s a reason why Bitcoin proponents often use the phrase “have fun staying poor” when challenged with logic and they have no logical answers. That phrase is not a statement aimed at the rich (who aren’t poor to begin with). Rather it’s designed to intimidate regular folks into buying Bitcoin in fear of missing out.

What’ll likely be be Bitcoin’s undoing is exactly what’s causing the current bubble – fear. Those piling in primarily for “number goes up” (the overwhelmingly majority of buyers) will just as quickly sell when “number goes down”. Bitcoin isn’t a stable store of value, it’s a macro pump and dump scheme.

Summary

Given what Bitcoin has turned into (a modified ponzi scheme), as much as I’d like to make money for investing in the right things, Bitcoin does not seem to me like a right thing. Rather it leaves one in the position of just hoping some greater fools pay an even higher price further down the line for what is otherwise quite literally a useless asset, so that one earns a profit. Isn’t that how Ponzi schemes work?

Lastly, reading this reddit post for me may have been the nail in the coffin:

I put my money into things I believe in and want to profit along side of not at the expense of. There is standard investing, and now there’s “predatory investing” where you profit by taking advantage of others. Generally I avoid the latter situation unless the “other” is someone like an entrenched hedge fund company that is itself, a predator.

Some may take an amoral stance (i.e. considering it neither good nor evil) in buying a token for $10 to sell it for $20 to someone, who hopes to then sell it on for $40, and so on, until the scheme collapses. But imagine Bob, who’s been saving a $50k deposit for his house for years, in a moment of vulnerability decides to get in on this get-rich scheme. Bob has a real job, so isn’t watching the price day and night, so doesn’t pull out in time when the price inevitably crashes, and is left with a fraction of what he put in. And given the scheme is “decentralised” he has no recourse whatsoever – his money – the fruit of years of toil and saving, all gone in a flash, with real consequences.

That’s at least 1 life very negatively impacted by an entire chain of FOMO, that one as a Bitcoin buyer contributes towards enabling. And in reality it won’t be 1 life, it’ll be thousands, potentially millions. No amount of telling oneself this stuff is decentralised can offset that.

Further notes

  • Deltec bank (where USDs backing Tether are supposedly held) deputy CEO interview – checkout the YouTube comments. Note the questionable body language. He was allegedly removed from his company’s website after giving the interview, and then later put back on.
  • The S2F model, which promises about $1mil per coin by mid 2025 (i.e. 25x your money in 4 years). Give there are 21 million coins, this predicts $21 trillion to be stored in Bitcoin by that time. Bitcoin proponents seem to be trying to turn this into a self-fulfilling prophecy, but to do this they have to keep shilling like crazy for it. Just do a Twitter search for Bitcoin and you’ll see what I mean. At some point I suspect they’ll become unbearable.
    • I was unwittingly one of these shills for a few months, getting friends to install Coinbase so they don’t miss out on the gold rush. One of those friends stood his ground and never installed the app. It just never made sense to him and he had ethical reservations, which he told me this article helped articulate. I recently thanked him for standing his ground. He didn’t want anything to do with, in his own words, “dirty money”.
  • Incredibly profitable Bitcoin miners in asia are dumping their Bitcoin at peaks in return for USD. And even then they hold tens of $billions worth of Bitcoin (supposedly soon worth $trillions). This is a huge transfer of wealth taking place at a scale that should have governments worried.
  • Even Reddit’s Wall street bets, famous for the GME Short Squeeze, bans discussion of Bitcoin:
  • The average transaction fee is now over $10 and rising, with actual costs for larger transactions on exchanges costing far more. Much of this fee goes into the pockets of miners, running huge farms of Bitcoin mining hardware, consuming monstrous amounts of power.
  • Jacob Oracle covers the USD-T (Tether) debacle in more detail here.
  • Some great discussion on the environmental and political impact of Bitcoin on Y Combinator forums.
  • The class action complaint papers that detail alleged tether-related fraud.
  • Ray Dalio’s analysis of Bitcoin. Note the following:
    • “it is not protected against cyber risks to my satisfaction”
    • “if it’s successful, the government will try to kill it and they have a lot of power to succeed.”
  • A clear technical explanation of how Bitcoin is a Ponzi scheme by Jorge Stolfi.
  • A comprehensive takedown of Bitcoin by Charles M:
    • “No normal person is “missing” cryptocurrency in their lives. It’s pure techno babble.”
  • Ryan X. Charles’ informative Youtube videos.
  • Amando Abreu discusses the psychology around why many people tend to buy things like Bitcoin.
  • Nassim Nicholas Taleb (who was previously an advocate of Bitcoin) has updated thoughts:

Infinite Runway

Infinite runway is when you have enough in investments to generate revenue that can pay for your lifestyle and pursuits indefinitely.

For example, if you need £16,000 a year to live contently, then all you may need is £200,000 in an investment fund with an average annual return of 8%.

Lately I’ve been giving this some thought. My current living arrangement is such that I can live contently on even £8k a year. My pursuits are almost entirely intellectual, and cost little beyond some equipment and professional subscriptions. I don’t care much for travel.

This means all I need is £100k in an investment fund. Perhaps £200k-£300k if I really wanted to feel safe.

Fiscal freedom I think is an easier goal than we’re led to believe.