Thursday, July 5, 2012

Long Term Plans-Or, What I Want....

Awhile back, I wrote about re-positioning myself in semi retirement. I knew that some changes needed to be made, but I was not sure what they were. I certainly don't have a problem with making changes, life is fluid after all. Even in retirement, we get to make changes, change priorities, change lifestyles.

Although I talked in that post about downsizing and other options, much of what I wrote there was 'stream of conciousness" stuff.  I need to do some more seriously thinking and get a really good grip on exactly what I wanted.  While I still don't know exactly what I want, I am much closer to have a really good grip in that area. Getting there required sitting down with pen and paper and setting priorities as well as looking at the future.  As I said before, I'm not necessarily doing anything today or tomorrow, but my thoughts are more "jelled" if you will.

When it comes to my house, I still think its a good idea to sell.. Unlike many retirees (including many  readers of this blog) my house is not paid off or close-I have been here five years. While I did put down a hefty down payment, I'm looking at mortage payments for quite some time. Also, I am not a do it yourselfer when it comes to repairs. I could learn some things, but some things are out of my area of expertise.some things are physically impossible. For example, my knee will never allow me to climb a ladder again-even into my attic. This means that I must pay for most of the improvement and mainentance done in my home. My husband was the do it yourself guy. We lived in a 1940s brownstown duplex for many years. I've done the fixer upper thing-from top to bottom.

I still dont know what I would do after that, which means I would probably rent a smaller house or condo locally while I made that decison. Moving from 2600 square feet with two livng rooms, two dining rooms, four bedrooms and two bathrooms would both cut my costs and free up energy and time for other things.

This could mean I may never buy again. I may rent long term, banking what I get from my downpayment. I may buy again, but if not it's not a deal breaker or a requirement in terms of lifestyle, as long as I find a decent long term rental. I realize many retirees, even today consider their house their retirement. I am more interested now in freedom.

As for the things I do want, I have not made a "five year plan" or anything close. but I do have some specific wants (even needs), that would be more reachable with downsizing, and the frugality that I practice.

  • I want to seriously establish my quilting business.  I still want to work when I choose, vacation when I choose and sit on the patio with that mimosa. On the other hand, I would prefer to take my quilting from an "income stream" to something a little bit more. It would still be a seasonal, when I feel like it thing. But in order to make big custom projects and make more bucks with a little effort, I need to invest in some machinery and other items.
  • I want to increase my major road trip travel to a minimum of four times a year for a week or so. I love travel, have put some major limits on travel in the last year, and want to loosen up-like now! I need to be able to visit my daughter in the Cayman islands, even travel back to Germany at some point.
  • I want to be able to travel and see my family in denver whenever I get the urge. I have not thought about living there, but it may be a long term option, although it would also increase my pain level.
  • I want to be able to make some major volunteer committmens, even volunteer travel committments (like chaperoning the youth group to Hondurs for three weeks) without worrying about money.
  • Finally, if I want to sit for three days and do............nothing, I want to be able to do that. without feeling like I HAVE to do something-right now.
Obviously, this is a journey that I am still on, a process if you will.  I'm still in the working stages of this journey.  But I know that life is meant to be lived, and I need to do more living.  In my case, I can expend all my financial and phsycal energies into this abode, or I can find a smaller abode and expand the other parts of my life. It seems I'm choosing the latter.


  1. Downsizing sounds like the best option for you and will allow you to do more of the things you want to. Go for it!

  2. I hear ya about home maintenance. At some point the space and the charm begin to seem less important, and the comfort and convenience more important.

    I, myself, am always surprised when I hear retired people talk about wanting to do a lot of traveling. But then I hate to fly; don't like to drive; and I'm not big on hotels, motels, B&Bs or rentals either. But that's me; it seems I'm in the minority.

    Anyway, the important thing is that you're figuring out what YOU want to do. And that's the BEST thing about retirement.

  3. I encourage you to look at someplace in a 55+ community. It would be a major downsize- but you could do well with two bedrooms. The problem with renting is the landlord can choose to sell at any time- or raise the rent.
    My suggestion is that
    if you don't buy now- put your nest egg into a safe place and do not spend it. Although I do not know you at all in real life, I have heard your pain of going through all of your insurance money. Don't finish it off. You have a long way to go- probably 30 years!
    One of my close friends went from large house to renting. After 25 years she ended life in a small apartment. It was difficult to watch.

  4. If I didn't have hubby I would for sure be downsizing. I couldn't keep up with this place on my own!!

  5. Janette. at this point I dont even know where I want to live, and am not willing to even consider buying again until that is true. Add that to the fact that my credit sucks, I will have 40 grand in cash and a monthly income of 2600 dollars and it would seem that buying, at least immediately, would be out of the question. Now, if my income increases through my business, that could be a different scenario eventually.

    right now I need 3 bedrooms, because one rrom needs to be a studio-my level of sewing is not done in my bedroom or at the kitchen table, so that affects things. What I do not need is two dining rooms and two living rooms, that is for sure!! I however need my own "yard".

  6. Sightings, I know everyone has their own level of comfort when it comes to travel. I dont fly any more (except when going to the cayman islands, or over open water to germany). but I do enjoy driving and road trips.

  7. Hello, I have a suggestion. Instead of selling the property, why not rent it out? You can still downsize the way you want, rent a condo what have you, and still a paycheck will come to you every month doing nothing! Who knows if you are able to save some more or if you got more savings, you can invest in real estate. Just my two cents. Thanks!

    Darwin Feldman
    How to Retire Plan

  8. Darn! I am always saying the wrong thing- sorry.
    Sounds like you have a plan.

  9. I'm curious -- what is it about denver that would "increase your pain?"

  10. after buying my townhome I've often dreamed of renting :-( but then I checked out rent and my mortgage, insurance, taxes and monthly HOA were cheaper than rent for half the space. I also have 2 large dogs and plan to always have at last one dog - I'm limited to 2 in my townhome and would honestly like a place with some yard. I hve in my head what I'd like but dont' know how to find it! guess a realtor would know-I'd like an open floor plan, one story, large master and either another large br or 2 smaller bedrooms - don't want a huge kitchen and dont' really need a dining room -would like a nearly park/walking trail and a covered patio - not too much's fun to dream and like you I haven't done anything house-wise because I don't have a definite goal in mind.
    it's fun reading your thoughts - it helps me think through things too!Susanna

  11. Janette, you are not wrong by any sense of the word. eventually a senior place may be right for me. The problem is just that I dont know where I want to settle yet, so I feel that I should spend some time renting first.

    Hopefully by then I will have enough good credit to at least have that as an option.

  12. Janette, you are not wrong by any sense of the word. eventually a senior place may be right for me. The problem is just that I dont know where I want to settle yet, so I feel that I should spend some time renting first.

    Hopefully by then I will have enough good credit to at least have that as an option.

  13. Susan I have severe arthritis in one knee as well as permanent nerve damage from a fall. The cold weather will exacerbate that (and does) immesurablt

  14. Barb, I probably need to know more of your story before saying this but here goes; have you ever considered a boarder? Maybe offer to trade a room for work. Just saying.

    Sounds like you are still up in the air regarding the future but at least you are giving it some serious consideration. If you think about it long enough it will eventually come together. Best wishes.

  15. It is interesting reading of other's plan for their future in retirement. What follows is not disagreement--just my take on MY plans. I cannot imagine having a mortgage (or credit card debt)when I retire, but then that explains why I WON'T be retiring until I'm 69, God and the job market willing. Rent would scare me to death--I can't even contemplate condo fees, much less rent. OTOH, I very much want to travel, and flying is the only way to get to the parts of the world I want to see. (Road trips are in my future as well.) My idea about volunteering would require me to find a locality and live there, but I'm also seriously considering renting out my house and living in other places for a few months at a time. (My sister and her husband spent 3 months in Rome, with just such a plan in mind--they wound up deciding NOT to live there permanently even though they had a great time.)

  16. Grace, i appreciate your input. Please remember first that I am sixty and have been unemployed for six years. I believe thatthe chances of my working until 70 are non existant, even if I WANTED to (which I absoutely do nto-earn some income here and there, yes, work, there is no way.....).

    Rent does not scrate me per se. Lots of people rent all their lives. Its doubtful tht I would get a condo.

  17. Suzanne, I have considered a boarder and ruled it out. This is one of those things that many of my readers disagree with. I still have a college student and home, annd frankly a boarder will have absolutely no privacy with this house--I sew in my studio into the night, I have two very active nosy dogs, and they wouldhave to share a bathroom.

    I have to also say that I have heard so very many horror stories about renters that I am very gun shy

  18. I have some clients in the retirement villages and they all have regrets,it is not cheap to live there.


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