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Home > the plan part III

the plan part III

July 4th, 2014 at 11:05 am

I've talked about LBYM not being easy and it's not. And I've said that we've put certain things on hold because it makes financial sense. What I haven't discussed is the why.

So in 23 months we'll be shaking the dust from our boots of where we live and moving without jobs. If we had a job offer we'd move sooner. It would decrease the uncertainty and make moving palatable.

But why? To buy a house? To gain a king size bed? Nope.

The real underlying reason that Another Reader (yes I'm calling you out) is to be closer to our friends and family. Another Reader are you 3k and 6k miles away from family and friends? Are you not withing driving distance of any family? Have you ever had a child and knocked on a neighbors door at 1 am to watch older child and made it to the hospital with 20 minutes to spare? Have you ever take a cab to the hospital with a sick child so one parent can stay at home with the other in the middle of the night? Have you ever panicked and realized that if anything happened to you, the soonest a family member could get to you is 12 hours maybe?

We live at least 1 connection flight away from either sets of parents. My step-siblings are flights 4 hour flights away, my BIL is 5-6 hours cross country flights away. Grandparents at least 24 hours. That's dropping everything and hopping on the next flight.

I am not selfish, I am talking about the reality of being alone. Of being a SAHM and sick and calling my DH to come home because I'm vomiting and unable to walk my dog and am too dizzy to walk. I worry about my two kids and because I'm sick I can't ASK another mom friend to put herself and her kids at risk of being sick. And YES they've said no they don't want to catch what I or my kids have had.

I've experienced living with family, my BIL lived with us for 4 months during a period of job hunting. It was great to have help and family around. I've got family and friends up and down the West Coast and so does my DH. We'd be a flight away from his parents and mine. Actually my in-laws just visited before the 4th and they said it would be easier if we lived on a direct flight from where they lived, said wistfully not accusing or demanding. Say what you will but I would love to be closer to them and that is the driving desire to move.

The house, bed, etc is all material things that will occur when we move forward with our lives. If we choose to stay put we would buy those things and get a more permanent home. But we've decided that's not the plan. And it's possible we're moving to the SF Bay area even more expensive than where we are, and will be stuck with a townhouse or a more expensive mortgage.

But at the same time we'll have help from our families with our kids. We would have less worries about something happening to us. Our children would know their grandparents intimately and extended family; and if the price is living in an even more expensive COLA so be it. We'll make it work and make sacrifices. I'm NOT willing to make those same sacrifices to live where I LIVE now. There aren't the same benefits to living in a HCOLA for a job. For family? Yes. Just for a job?

I've had a case study on MMM. The advice was MOVE. http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2014/02/23/reader-case-study-going-west-for-early-retirement/

Ideally we'd like to live in Seattle or Portland. My DH's top two choices. I'd prefer San Diego or SF, but finances play a role and that bumps those lower. He missed the seasons when we lived in San Diego. I don't care for seasons but I like the cost of living in Seattle and Portland.

This move might be tough for us financially but I truly believe it'll pay dividends in the long term. My DH agreed to it without a JOB, because he knows companies are fickle. He was laid off from his job where we are 3 months after we moved from San Diego to the East Coast. So companies suck and have no loyalty.

But we decided jointly in April 2014 that we were really going to buckle down and start to save to move. We were going to try and cut expenses more and take the risk. My DH was willing to go June 2015, but I decided that we could afford to sacrifice and endure our situation for 2 years to buffer our financial position.

The few things I want and am saving for, I'm starting to think as little rewards as I wait to settle down permanently. As I wait for the opportunity for us to put down roots and really settle.

But we're ready for life's curveballs. We decided if DH ever lost his job again we'd sell our house and be off in a bloody minute.

So the plan? List house in Spring 2016. Sell it no matter what. Move with job to west coast or move without and hope for the best. Job prospect 1 is post-doc for me. Prospect 2 i am hoping to become an enrolled agent and do taxes as a career change. Prospect 3 for DH take an entry level business position. Prospect 4 take any job.

Fearful? Yes. Trying to accomplish goal? Definitely. Perhaps it is selfish to move. But at the same time nearly 10 years ago we agreed we'd live out west by our families. We decided this move was temporary or we'd have ended our relationship. It was a very deliberate decision and one that we did not take lightly.

And Snafu point about leaving a job you like. What job do you love forever? I have only pointed out the truth to DH. We are stay put for him to like his job for "now"? He's already this year dissatisfied without a promotion. He feels he's been put over. His reason for moving next year? If he doesn't get a promotion he'll be very unhappy. If he's unhappy then he should look for a job where we live? Or should we just move and take the risk? My opinion? Leave. We aren't staying for anything other than him liking his job. And what happens if he doesn't like his next job? We stayed for what?

3 Responses to “the plan part III”

  1. ND CHIC Says:

    Yeah, I would for sure move. I probably would aim for June 2015.

  2. CB in the City Says:

    People who are commenting -- in all cases -- are only seeing the tip of the iceberg. All the situations we describe here are much more complicated and nuanced than we have the time or space to express. So when people jump in with vigorous negative comments, they are overreaching. Try to let it roll off your back.

    If you are unhappy where you live, you should move. I did the same thing myself. I had a job to move to, but I would have moved in any case. I'll just say what I've said before -- build up that emergency fund.

  3. Another Reader Says:

    Funny, I read the comments completely differently. There was a lot of discussion about the merits of Seattle and Portland, and a number of people that said hey, just go for it, without a lot of thought. But then there are these.

    "OP, what it really sounds like is that you have goals that differ from your husband’s. It sounds like (as an outside 3rd party) you would be fine with earning less if you had a little more space and could afford a third child. It sounds like your husband really wants to stay with his 200k job, commuting in the horrific traffic (I’ve lived there), and just stop with 2 children due to financial concerns.

    It’s plausible for you to retire in 3 years with a reasonable safety margin. What’s more important is getting on the same page as your husband and have goals that align, so that you can agree on where to go from here."


    "I hope that the case study OP finds a way to implement the changes in steps (like spending more time in the area they want to move to, having the husband take some stay-cations to be at home more) so there isn’t any resentment if things change too far too fast. Sounds like an exciting plan, but time is on their side if they find it taking 3-5 years to implement."


    "From a financial point of view it sounds like they’re ready to make the necessary move now and hit the “Early Retirement” lifestyle; but I would think that if he really loves his job then that might be a bigger point than anything else. In today’s world you hear most people say they hate their jobs and very few saying they love them so for him the idea of “Retiring” might be more scary than the financial aspect of it. "


    "I completely relate to this conversation! We’re in the DC area too (also in a townhouse, good times!) and we talk constantly about early retirement and what that might entail. Early retirement for me would be awesome – I would come up with a million projects and never be bored. BUT – my husband likes his job and is the kind of personality that needs structure. Since I am the primary earner of the family, lately we have been doing what-if scenarios that involve ME retiring early and DH continuing to work for a while longer, but cutting down to 4 days a week (he already works 3 days a week from home). Also I will note that I would be miserable as a stay at home mom with babies/very little kids, so this could only happen after kids are at least 4-5 years old and more self-sufficient.

    I think that everyone’s plan can evolve in different ways, and for people to be happy, it needs to take into account how different personalities achieve happiness."


    "The real problem here seems to be that currently your husband is happy and you are not. You both should try to do something about that but the proposed plan seems rather drastic and risky. If you feel like an income of $200,000 a year isn’t enough where you currently live, I am not confident you will be happy with an income of $20,000 a year living on the west coast. "


    "I read that and my eyes watered. From what I can get from that, she no longer likes where she lives a small townhome (3 bedroom! 2 1/2 bath!) their commute takes 30 minutes, she wants to have another child. She wants them both to retire. She wants to move to the East coast to the West coast. However husband is happy with number kids have, not unduley bothered by commute, and likes his job. Perhaps couples counseling would be more in order than shopping for houses. I think she thinks the only way to afford or convince hubby to have additional kid, is to move to somewhere lower cost. However, if they moved somewhere on the West coast that he could still usefully commute to as a job, the housing and other prices will not be appreciably lower than where they are already living. If they commit to a place farther out, it may be difficult for him to work. And it also looks like her goals conflict (additional child plus larger detached house plus retire now) while the husband may actually have a more responsible perspective on the situation."


    "I agree. OP’s problem seems more about reconciling certain wants (bigger house, third child) than financial.

    And it seems to me that if OP stays in the current house there is no problem. She’d save enough money for another child, commute would stay at a reasonable half hour. Spouse can keep the job he likes.

    If noise complaints from the neighbors remain an issue perhaps she can touch up the house for better soundproofing? "

    There are two that are right on point.

    If you’re unhappy in your current situation (and it certainly sounds like it), unhappy with your house, and your commute… How do you know you’ll be happy in a bigger house, in a different City (which, like others have already said, are much the same)? As a suggestion, find happiness and contentment with what you have *now*, and then it won’t matter if and when you move.

    Having said that, we moved across the world for a happier lifestyle, and it has certainly improved significantly, so if you’ve done your research and think it’ll improve your situation, by all means! By the way, our new lifestyle includes renting a house (housing too unaffordable to purchase in our city), commuting for an hour for 8 miles (terrible traffic), and my husband recently had to stop working due to various reasons, so we are only saving about 10-20% of our income.

    My plans for early retirement had to be shelved, I would love to own my own house, but I am *happy* and content with what I have. I acknowledge I’m richer than a significant portion of the world, I make a great deal of money – enough to support myself and my husband and save a bit on the side, and we are both healthy. And the hubby is now looking for a job and getting lots of interest – so we might be back on track for early retirement soon. We are both 31 btw.

    So my message is – be happy with what you have already, and any improvement will just be icing on the cake. If you find contentment with your townhouse, you won’t need to become “house poor”."


    "Hi. I remember being a mother of young children (I’m 52 now and have two young adult children 22, 20) – and it’s not an easy job. It’s a huge job. I totally understand the desire to be near family. We never lived near family as we raised our children. We live in a HUGE country, which makes it difficult to share the beauty of your family with your most loved ones. Even at $200k salary – because life is day-to-day – not summer or winter vacations. Life is day-to-day. FaceTime does help, though Smile
    And despite our wage earning power today, women who are the primary caregivers, do seem to bare the burden of the emotional well being of the entire family – and this starts with herself. Happy Wife – Happy Life – is not sexist – it is, what it is. Mother/Wife/Worker/Self can be happy. And it matters when she is.

    What I hear in your case study, and in your comments is this struggle – this conflict. This desire. To me, what I am hearing, is that it is not only a physical desire to move and retire, so much as also a big emotional desire. One that you were promised, but that is taking longer to be. This hurts. It hurts because we love our children and we want them to have all the possible love they can get as they grow up – day-to-day. When we feel isolated from family, it hurts.

    As one, who never got to be near family as we raised our children, I can tell you that there are so many other ways to find that love and community. Even if it is only one other family. Even if you feel so very different from the values of those you are surrounded by in your current community. You can find it, you can make it happen. Anywhere. Because people are really good. This I know. And there is another mom, just like you, right now, looking for you, too. Close by. I found these people everywhere we lived. Every single city. Every single town.

    You know this. It’s not the house. It’s not the schools. It’s not the cars. It’s not the stuff. It never is. Even looking for schools in your next move- is not a big deal – all the important stuff comes from home – no matter how good or bad the schools are. Oh, wait, the school thang, that’s another topic.

    You need to be happy now. In your current reality. On the East Coast. This is where your most important work is, while you save a bit more on your plan, and as you and your DH work out the when and where. Your job, besides doing the SAH thing, is to figure out how to be truly happy now. Right now. Tonight.

    I’m not saying you need to give up your goal – not at all. But to get to your goal – the most important thing is to figure out how to be happy on the way to it.

    A few tips,

    Give up all the ideas or images or comparisons you have built up about the East, that are separating you from your East Coast neighbors – find the things you have in common that you value – and focus on those things. Divisions, created or real, cause conflict. You don’t need anymore conflict.

    Begin a practice of mindfulness and gratitude and learning to be in the present moment. And all that accompanies that: developing stillness, listening, being open and centered. Doing some inner work as a young mom will give you big rewards going forward.

    Marriage and raising a family, is a shared path, – and it’s LONG. It is very, very long. OMG, so long. When you are young, everything seems so immediate – children demand a lot of attention and energy and the focus gets so skewed to their needs and what you want for them and how you should be living and how others are living and how family is living. There are so many comparisons and so many judgments and so many doubts. And there is the future.

    It’s much easier to learn to be aware of your life as it is happening. Instead of living in the future, or dwelling on the past. You can still plan for your future, but you live in the present. You may not have imagined being where you are today. But, learning to be really aware of where you are, will make it easier to make the changes going forward.

    My guess, is that DH has a lot of conflict, too. More than you may know. He may not have imagined his life to be this way either at this point in his life. The two of you could compare notes on what you imagined life to be like at this stage, and where you really are today.

    The key is awareness. It’s a bit deeper than doing spreadsheets, but it’s a useful skill, too. I’m a believer in both – I love my spreadsheets – but I understand the work it takes to be happy and fulfilled comes from more than the numbers."

    That last one is where I'm coming from. You need to live in the present and find ways to be happy today with what you have today.

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