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Archive for May, 2015

road trip part duex

May 31st, 2015 at 07:57 pm

Okay newly update road trip itinerary. We've been working on refining our plans. We agreed to cut out eastern canada. My DH has promised we'll come back and do a 1-2 week vacation out this way. So we are just heading west.

We are split now between going to Sesame Place, yes now we've potentially added PA. Then Hershey Park for a day then cleveland.

Now if we skip Sesame Place we are going to do Niagara Falls which we've done quite a few times but my DH loves the area. Then we'll cut through Sarnia and head to Lansing, MI. Lansing, MI is where we'll meet up in either case.

Because from there we are heading to Mackinaw Island and the upper peninsula. We plan on doing a day at Mackinaw and then a day at Picture Rocks national park. Then heading to Green Bay and then potentially Minneapolis.

Then Sioux falls and the rest of our journey will be to Mt Rushmore, Yellowstone, then depending on timing either Boise, ID or Missoula, MT? Give a shout about either place.

We may also detour depending on our timing and being sick of the car to Glacier National Park. Again this is all happening on the fly and I'm trying to iron it out. We'll figure it out after this weekend and then get a trip tik from AAA.

I am so excited. Looking at the map and dreaming of where we are going is almost as thrilling as doing it. Someone once said part of the thrill of traveling is the dreaming you do while traveling.

Our timeline is tightening up and the insanity of neighbors

May 31st, 2015 at 07:39 pm

Our timeline is tightening up for the sale. We picked a contractor and he'll start Wednesday if the weather cooperates. The project in theory should take a week. However that is just work, not including the permitting, the inspection for the city, the inspection in the middle (after supports are put up) by the engineer, and the ending inspection/stamp certificate by the engineer. So I'm guessing solidly another week. This of course is all contingent on our weather cooperating since we're having a mini monsoon right now for the next few days.

If this works out we could in theory be done by June 17th with plenty of time to close by July 7th. We in theory are hoping to leave and start driving out west July 7th. Then we are hoping to arrive at our destination July 27th/28th.

Then we'll find a place by the 1st of August. Now we realize we may not be able to move in so the plan is I'll head to Hawaii with the kid and DH has to come back to give notice and work another 2 weeks at least. At which point he'll either fly or drive back. We will be back by the end of August in time for school to start.

The insanity of our neighbors? They said since they are selling they didn't want the responsibility of the association checking account. They wanted us to turn it over to our buyers and not offer it to the other owners of unit A. I said that would be tough due to social etiquette. But more so are they sure they want to relinquish control and trust people they've never met?

My stomach is still in knots over everything. This is not an easy process getting out of this "business partnership" we bought into 10 years ago. I'm glad we did because we learned a very good lesson. Never again are we buying in a 3 unit condo, never. We will buy in a large complex with a management company but never again.

I hope everything goes smoothly.

It's starting to hit

May 29th, 2015 at 09:59 am

The reality of our move I think is starting to hit all of us. Until now I feel like we've been just worrying and thinking and focusing on everything else. Now we are getting down to the wire and the focus is on us. Not the house, not school, not plans, but us.

How are getting where we are going? Are we buying a used minivan or renting one ($1500)? What route are we taking?

For my DH he's counting down the days. He can't take his job anymore and dreads all the days. For me it's the worry about when will we actually move.

But today my DK1 said she's sad about moving. That it's hit that we're not just leaving and going on vacation to come back. We are leaving the area.

I felt it last weekend weirdly as I drove home from Costco and shopping. I felt sad that we were leaving behind our routine, our friends, our neighbors. I adore our neighbors.

They came over for cake last night and had a moment of sadness as we realized it was the last weeknight birthday celebration. It's not always been easy but sharing a wall with people for 9 years changes you. You know them well. And they are moving on as well to a new house, new friends, new life.

It was bittersweet. I believe that I'll stay in touch with many of the friends i've made here. With social media it's easier than ever. But the idea that we are moving on and so far makes it sad.

But the excitement of the new challenges ahead and the journey there are helping. But for now I'll focus on getting the journey started.

After all we can't change the past but we can alter our futures.

Bad financial decisions

May 28th, 2015 at 07:58 pm

There is no other way to put it than sometimes good people make bad financial decisions. Had a bbq at my place for memorial day and a few friends over.

Ms C is a school teacher who bought a new house recently for $430k. Her dream home and it's lovely. Needs easily $200k in renovations but they got into a great town. However before they move in they have to rip out the electrical since it's Nobbin 2 and redo the entire place before it burns down. Should cost at least $10kish. They are closing on June 9th to buy and selling their current home June 12th if everything goes to plan. They however to buy the new house had to borrow from her husband 401k for the down payment and said they'll pay it back after they sell their other place. Plus afterwards they'll have money and be able to live again. This house will be able to fit in their budget again and they couldn't afford to close sooner since they can't afford to have a mortgage payment before August.

Writing that paragraph made me cringe. By the same token Ms A is at it again. Though her mother is kicking her out at the end of June from her pretty much rent free apartment, and she hasn't found a place to live, she went with her family away for memorial day weekend. Spending as she put it a fortune on a hotel at the last minute at an extremely expensive tourist area. They needed to get away from the stress of their life. They needed to bond. Sure it all went the CC but she said it was "needed".

Again writing that previous paragraph was tough. I know what can I say? We are throwing away all our income and moving on a whim. And we're living off savings as of right now. But at the same time we aren't borrowing money we don't have and we aren't borrowing in hopes of making it.

We are spending what we save. But perhaps it's just a hair different. Who knows. But there are a lot of bad financial decisions out there. And it's certainly hard for me to button my lip and not say "don't borrow against your 401k or charge stuff on a CC".

Home sale update #2

May 27th, 2015 at 10:30 am

So last friday I got the plans from my engineer about the repair to our foundation. We've spent so far on engineering $2125 as a condo. $1500 for these plans and $625 for investigation and initial estimate.

I submitted the plans to 4 different contractors and only 1 got back to me so far. He got back to me yesterday with a quote for $2500. Great deal. Plus he can start next week.

I am going to call and follow up today with the others but if they can't get their act together to get me an estimate I don't know why I should bother, except to appease my neighbors.

I think that we are getting a deal. The only thing I asked of him was to add on a bundle of repairing some stairs.

I have to admit I'm stressed out over the timing of this repair since we still have to have it permitted and inspected by the city. And we need the engineer come out and stamp it. I have until July 7th to finish everything and I feel like every day counts.

If it comes in at what the contractor estimated I think I'll be out around $2k instead of the $15k cash we offered our buyers. But at the same time I had to deal with negotiating and finding all these repair guys and dealing with my neighbors who are lovely but it's hard timing and just making everyone happy or at least compromised.

My hair I swear is turning more and more white with the stress and anxiety. I can't wait for this to be underway and done. Then maybe I can focus more on packing. Until then I feel like we haven't a real home sale and it's hard to pack up.

We aren't leaving until we sign the papers selling our house. IF it means staying and flying at the last minute that's what we are doing.

What are you going to do?

May 22nd, 2015 at 06:39 pm

I've been asked that question a lot lately. Along with are you afraid? Absolutely I am TERRIFIED. I'd have to be insane to not be afraid and crazy not to be worried.

Fact we are moving literally cross country with a "semi" mapped out plan. Fact we are moving without a job. Fact we do not know where we are going to live. Fact we are giving up a lot of income and gambling on finding a job. Fact we will be without income September 2015. Fact we have enough saved in cash for 3 years without a job at current burn rate.

Guess - we are guessing that we can rent for less money than we are currently paying in our mortgage (high likelyhood). Guess - DH will land a job in April 2016, so we will be 8 months without an income. Guess - that I may find work. Guess we will be without health insurance but will be able to buy some. Guess that our burn rate will be close to what we spend now. Guess that we will get a large tax refund because we've been overpaying this year at our normal rate something like $10-15k potentially. Yeah we didn't know we were moving so we've just been giving them an interest free loan.

My thoughts are if I manage to even land a minimum wage part-time job like starbucks then perhaps we can minimize the drain on our savings. If we aren't working and see the money going away we may also minimize expenses. We can also focus on lowering our spending.

But the bottom line and truth is we aren't doing this because it makes sense financially. We are doing this because we want to do it. We are moving because long term this is something that will make us happier both lifestyle and career wise. This move will bring us closer to family and friends. This will allow DH to try a new field. And he's moving pretty much home and I'm just much closer.

Even if we take a paycut we are doing it before we get settled with buying our "final" home. Before we got used to the big income and needing it.

It's a hard truth to digest and most people think we are nuts. BUT sometimes life isn't about $ but rather living life. At the end of the day we still have to live our life at a level each of us can be satisfied.

I'm not sure but I think this move could derail us financially for a few years. BUT I believe that overall good financial habits will right the ship and we'll still be able to retire when we choose. And we'll still be able to afford a lifestyle we enjoy.

So we have no plan and will be hemorrhaging money but it's life. And for the record I am afraid.

Teacher Gifts at the end of the Year

May 22nd, 2015 at 04:33 am

Okay so I'm again stuck with teacher gifts. I always try to buy gift cards and something thoughtful. This year I'm doing Bed Bath and Beyond for one whose getting married $50 since she's registered there I figure she'll appreciate it ($25 thank you and $25 wedding congratulations).

Two of the main teachers DK1 has had for 3 years of preschool I'm doing $25 to BBB and $25 to Home Goods. Then $25 for each of the other teachers to Home Goods. Strangely enough the two main teachers just bought homes this year, and two of the other teachers are moving into new apartments. So I decided to follow the trend and give them gift cards to places that they can decorate their homes.

Final teacher has way more money than me, is moving, and can afford anything. I figure a gift card to California Pizza Kitchen since she mentioned her kids love it.

But I'm stuck on thoughtful. I did orchids two years ago and last year I did potted cactus. Now what? What is a home gift people use that's not expensive around $10 ideas?

Staying the retirement course

May 21st, 2015 at 11:36 am

This is the third time I am trying to do this post. I keep losing it. Retirement savings isn't about amounts, but it helps to save more. What does help is staying the course. CCF mentioned savings, we've had a few good years but staying the course helped the most. This is our retirements savings 12/31/....

2005 - $6457 - only my IRA since DH wasn't eligible until now

2006 - $34,782 - $8k IRA, $15k 401k, $2947 401k match = $2378

2007 - $67,785 - $8k IRA, $15.5k 401k, $6079 401k match = $3424

2008 - $74,245 - $10k IRA, $15.5k 401k, $6172 401k match = -$25,212 (big loss)

2009 - $117,055 - $10k IRA, $16.5k 401k, $6951 401k match = $9359

2010 - $196,368 - $10k IRA, $16.5k 401k, $7438 401k match = $45375

2011 - $232,524 - $10k IRA, $16.5k 401k, $7385 401k match = $2271

2012 - $302,841 - $10k ira, $17k 401k, $8318 401k match = $35,009

2013 - $443,762 - $11k IRA, $17.5k 401k, $8099 401 match = $104,322 (best year ever)

2014 -$514,544 - $11k IRA, $17.5k 401k, $8967 401k match = $33315

2015 - YTD $577,571

Our contributions have been $94,493 IRA and $147,500 401k = $241,993/514544 = 41.89% contributed. The matches have contributed $62356/514,544 = 12% of retirement. So our "contributions" in all have been $304,349/514,544 = 59.15% and we've "gained" about 40% of our money from returns. I think that number will start to skew soon towards returns. Also the match is the only thing that kept us positive for MANY years. Even without it though we would have kept on investing aggressively and I think having the first few years our money go down made us able to buy more.

I suspect that having the market tank when we started investing was better for us. Now if we can "retire" and pull out when the market is going up and hitting a peak we'd probably have "Ideally timed" the market.

There has been a few good years but in the beginning honestly it was pretty flat. My contributions and that was it. I would say it would have been easy to stop contributing and say what a waste. But staying the course was harder and more worth it.


And MM - If we contribute nothing for another 15 years and "retire" at 50 with an average of 6% returns we'd have $1.4M. With our current investment amounts we'll have $2.2M. I think we should be set to not save more, but we probably will.

Home sale update

May 18th, 2015 at 06:17 pm

We signed our purchase and sale and are solidly underway on selling. We have a 5% deposit and are getting work started tomorrow on the foundation. Cross your fingers. we have 7 weeks left for this to all pan out. But now it's harder for them to run away from us....

More calculations on Moving Part 3

May 18th, 2015 at 06:16 pm

After test driving the minivan, it wasn't bad and I liked the roominess. But pricing out the shipping it is $1350 for Sonata and $1500 for the subaru. At that price I'm really not sure it's worth shipping the Sonata worth maybe $6500. And the subaru it is, but perhaps to save $1500 it's worth just driving that and deciding if we need a second car when we get there.

Further calculations on moving. Of course we do what we do because we're OCD crazy researchers trying to figure out the cost of our stuff. So my DH calculated the cubic feet of each pod and the cost to move each pod. As well as calculating ABF Uhaul the linear foot cost and the size per cubic foot for that linear foot. A linear foot is actually 1 x 8 x 9 for the truck but we have to decrease the walls. We also got the interior dimensions of the pods we were considering.

We have a complex excel spreadsheet and it works out to Door to Door Pods are $3.72 per cubic foot to move (223 cubic feet) , Packrat/Pods is $6.05 per cubic foot (1024 cubic ft), ABF Upack is $9.95 per cubic feet for first 5' minimum but then goes to $2.13 per cubic feet (we used 16 linear ft). But we obviously have at lest 5 linear feet so really our cost will be $2.13 per cubic feet.

Further thoughts are that using movers even transporters like Budget Van Lines is hiring is $5800 = $6.76 per cubic foot or $5.13 per cubic foot doing it ourselves. Now this is doing their suggested 6000 lbs and approximately 857 cubic ft. So using movers isn't necessarily more expensive than doing it ourselves.

Of course without selling single more piece of furniture we are at approximately with our storage and measurements 857 cubic feet. But we both know that is going down since we are selling more stuff off.

But the question still lies what the most economical way for us to move and what is worth moving?

So we have to further balance out the cost per cubic foot which we did to all our furniture since we could measure it. And we have that on a spreadsheet and we are currently evaluating costs. Most stuff is worth more than $2.13 per cubic feet. However we are between a rock and hard place.

If we move and our stuff doesn't fit in our rental what do we do? And we are definitely moving into a rental before buying so we have to move again. So is it worth purging to buy new stuff we may decide to purge in 1 year when we move into a home we buy?

These are questions hard to put a price tag on. Hope I haven't bored you and made you question the price of moving stuff.

Shipping or selling a car

May 14th, 2015 at 10:32 am

So I've mentioned the plan has been to drive our 2010 Subaru Outback cross country and ship our 2006 Hyundai Sonata. We started discussing other options and one that's come up is selling it where we are and buying a second used car when we arrive.

It will cost $1k to ship. So I've been thinking what about us selling the 2006 Sonata for $6500 and buying a used minivan for around the same price instead?

And we drive that cross country and perhaps keep it for a bit and then sell it? The plan has always been to keep the sonata 3-5 years and it's been 3 years exactly. Then replace it with something else after we decide about more children or what we need.

Would this make sense?

Moving Part 2: PODs

May 13th, 2015 at 10:16 am

Okay checking again nearby places and seeing what it will cost I found I could rent Penske Truck for $2400 for 11 days. I estimate with 3k miles and unfortunately 10 mpg according to Penske website @ $2.50/gallon we are looking at $750 for the gas at a minimum. Add in hotels at $50/night and minimum if DH drove with someone else, at least 4 nights so $200 + food/drinks and plane ticket for someone else ($300 one way). We are looking at a ridiculous $3700 to move our stuff ourselves in a truck, but we do get to keep everything. There will be no purging.

Also with driving ourselves we will not have a place to live when we get there. We will have to either unload it at a family or friend's house (not wanting to do this) or storage. Since my DH won't rent a place without seeing it. Another option is for him to fly out in June for around $500 RT and find us a place. But that adds to the cost of self-moving.

Now I researched a lot of different pods. Packrat and PODS (name brand) are each $6215 and $6596 respectively for 8x8x16L one huge pod. ABF U pack would be for 3 pods $8837.

Best rates goes with Uhaul and Door to Door (DTD). Uhaul 1 pod is $2217, 2 pods $2868, 3 pods is $3815. These pods are smaller 7x5x8L but we've measured out stuff and we can easily do 2 pods if we throw out the couch and if we keep the couch we can do 3 pods. Ubox charges $144/month to store for an extra 30 days per pod.

DTD is what I've reserved so far just in case. It is 1 pod $1831, 2 pods $2809, and 3 pods $3640, 4 pods is $5950. It is not equivalent per pod as you can see because it appears there is a pick up and drop off cost whether you have one or two or three. The jump in cost for 4 pods I am pretty sure is because it goes on a separate trailer that holds three at a time. It will be only $59/month per pod to store for 30 days. This will give us flexibility to find a place and unpack.

ABF U Pack where they sell by linear foot the truck space is 17" linear = $5226, 12" = 4456, and 5" minimum is $3400 with $154 per linear foot add on. Again I think this is less efficient but I have to call and figure out what the dimensions are.

Right now we are leaning towards 2-3 DTD pods and shipping one car and road tripping for the month. The lack of a mortgage payment will pay for the move. Then driving will be a vacation.

Right now shipping a car is $1k it appears but we aren't sure it's worth shipping. My DH wants a new car when we move but I think waiting a year, settling in, figuring out what we need is more prudent. Yes while his car 2006 Sonata is probably worth $6k and $1k to ship I think it's still the right move for us right now. We are moving without a job and what if we don't need a 2nd car? Or what if we do? Too many factors.

Do you think we should ship our car? Next up calling full service movers. Perhaps they are going to charge us less.

The plot thickens

May 12th, 2015 at 07:45 pm

So what happened now? Our attached neighbors are buying a new place. They haven't listed their identical unit yet but they will. What'd they buy? Lol well only a $1.749 million dollar single family home two miles from our current house in the same town.

What can I say? Way out of our price range. Gorgeous and perfect. But good thing we are leaving the area since it's obviously too expensive for us. Good luck for them. And I assume they are listing as soon as we sell. And I know why they have been so cooperative.

Negotiations settled

May 12th, 2015 at 06:58 am

We are moving onto the next step in our home sale process...signing the purchase and sale. Easy? no. But we finished negotiations yesterday at 5 pm and then had to negotiate with our neighbors.

We are doing the repair #1 with a range of $5-10k. We are doing it for less money out of our pocket than if they had taken the cash we offered $15k. We were willing to go up to $20k. Yes that's right we were going to throw a ton of money at the problem and they wouldn't bite. They didn't walk away but they instead they said less money and you deal with the headache. And my head does ache thinking about doing my construction project in the next 8 weeks.

We then negotiated with our neighbors about starting IMMEDIATELY as in yesterday. I already sent an email hiring the structural engineer to draw up the plans. I'm hoping they are done next week so I can bid out the project around memorial day and start the work projecting the 1st of June. That will give us a month to do the week, which is estimated at 1 week (I am guessing 2 weeks) and having the bank come out to reassess the repair and give the mortgage a final stamp of approval. Unfortunately this may impact their ability to get a mortgage which will in turn potentially snag our home sale.

Again I'm working as fast as I can. I have contractors coming out this week to look and see if they'll do the work, give an estimate off a report, I've explained about the building plans being worked on, and see what their time frames are and estimate on time to do project.

Talked to my lawyer this morning and he was in disbelief we negotiated with our neighbors in less than 24 hrs to start and pay for a large repair. How did we do it?

Well Neighbor A has an identical unit and is our direct comp. They plan on selling next year and this will tie up their sale and if we put it back on the market and dump it for say $679k they'd get that next year. It was in their best interest for us to not lose our buyers and to keep our comp extremely high. They are hoping to get our $720k pushed higher and next year they may hit $729 or $739k. Who knows. They know which way the bread is buttered.

Neighbor B only holds a 20% equity share in the property because it's a smaller unit. They are in financial difficulties and Neighbor A was calling to see if they could afford it because they agreed. They said yes, but that's not the whole story and we told neighbors A the truth.

The truth is we are giving Neighbor B a 0% personal loan. We are fronting the cash at most $2400 for them to be able to afford the foundation work. We decided privately that we can afford to eat $2400 to sell our home. Right now they are into us for around $1100 anyway because we've paid for association work (painting the house $4k) and other stuff $625 (hiring engineer) out of our own pocket. And our other neighbors owe us something like $2200.

The association owes us and both neighbors agree. Yes we are seriously throwing around money left and right this home sale. The association will need to settle up with us.

But what else can be done? Only thing I can say is thank god we have a ton of cash right now on hand. Thankfully my DH just stashed a lot of cash around $200k for us to move without jobs. We don't need to touch retirement and investment accounts. And while we were debating investing some of this $200k we've been revisiting whether or not we should keep 3 years of expenses in cash.

Right now who knows what our future holds.