Author Topic: Advice for a difficult conversation?  (Read 6723 times)

hunniebun

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Advice for a difficult conversation?
« on: January 13, 2017, 02:23:36 PM »
About 2 years ago, I was talked into making (what I view) as a huge financial mistake.  My husband and father, convinced me to buy 2 - 80 acre parcels of land just outside a little resort community 45 minutes from our home. I was interested in a tiny house homestead/cabin type place for a week-end escape. Both dh and I grew up in the country and miss it alot and what to give our kids a taste of the country life, so was open to the idea.  The land itself is lovely.  Half is treed, half is former pasture/hay land. There is a pond, lots of wildlife and it is 3 miles to a popular little summer tourist town with great beaches, restaurants, fancy shops etc.  We wanted to make an offer on 1 parcel, but at the last minute, the seller said they would only sell them together.  We should have walked away and kept looking but it seems too 'perfect' to pass up...so we doubled the amount we wanted to spend.

However after making the purchase and buying all the things we need (Tractor, hay mower, quad, gravel access road) we are in the hole far deeper than I ever would have imagined (80 K at 3.5%)...and we don't even have a cabin/tiny house on the property yet.  I have looked at the numbers many ways and it makes our budget way tighter than I feel comfortable with, with no end in sight.  There is also a fair amount to be invested to make it a place that our family could enjoy (water, tiny house, deck). 

In my perfect world, we would just sell the whole thing and be done with it but my father (who owns half of one 80 acre parcel) and my husband both a) love it and spend a lot of time there (since they don't need things...like say a toilet) b) think it is all a wonderful investment (despite the fact that it is 90% financed (2.69%) because 'they don't make more land you know' and c) my dad has built a storage shed and a gun range and a kick-ass tree-house/zip line for the kids that is VERY attached to and d) they are both far more tolerant of debt/risk than I will ever be.

I think a good compromise would be for dh and I sell the 80 acres we own outright and keep the 80 we share with my dad.  We could easily turn it over because it is a popular area.  But would have to 'live' with who ever the neighbours are.  When I have floated the idea before, DH says he's worried about the view and what if they build a mcmansion on it, more traffic, more noise etc.
When I express concerns over the amount of financing, he go to solution is to cash out RRSPs to pay some or all of it off. Which I think is an EVEN bigger mistake since I'd say he is behind the 8 ball on retirement savings anyways.  Or just ride it out for 5-10 years till we can pay it down.

Does anyone have any suggestions of how to approach the conversation. I don't want to give ultimatums, but I also can't go on with the stress/burden of it hanging over me.  We have very busy (and costly) lives as it is and have been making baby steps over the last year to get our spending down...but saving 100$ a month on groceries is a drop in the bucket compared to this sink hole, so it feels pointless sometimes. 

And for general reference, we spent approximately 20 hours there (as a family) in the last year.  DH and my dad use it far more (clearing walking trails, building stuff, cutting trees, cutting hay, building the road etc.) but in terms of family recreation...it is hardly used.

Perspectives of spendy men, with huge F150 trucks, a love for golfing, fishing, camping, quading, smoking and tools are especially welcome...

little_brown_dog

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Re: Advice for a difficult conversation?
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2017, 04:57:51 PM »
Can you subdivide the parcel, and say sell 40 and keep 40? Ideally maybe even saving the land abutting your co-owned parcel, thereby “protecting” or buffering it a bit from the buyers? They might be more open to selling off a chunk of your 80 rather than all of it, esp if you can convince them that this will free up more funds to improve their current haunt (maybe build that little cabin after all).

AMandM

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Re: Advice for a difficult conversation?
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2017, 07:18:35 PM »
I'm a frugal city girl, but I'm related to several truck-driving woods-stomping tool-brandishing fish-hooking men.  Does that count?

This is tough, because the land is clearly a much better deal to them than to you--the benefits to them are greater, and the cost in stress is lower.  Perhaps you could frame it to them in those terms?  "I understand that it's reasonable for you to value this land more highly than I do, but the stress is really hurting me. So I'm asking you to give up part of something you value for the sake of my well-being" [which they presumably also value].  Also, you're only asking them to go back to the original plan, not to give the whole project up entirely.  If buying one parcel was a good idea when you approached the seller, it should still be a good idea now.

Alternatively, is there some way to increase the benefit of the land to you or to reduce the stress, so that keeping it all is attractive?  (If your long-term plan is to move to this land, I would think that having all 160 acres of it would be better than only 80--or 40, if you split the parcel with your father.)  Would spending more time there, so you get more out of it, make it more worth the cost to you?  What if the kids spent time there with dad and grandpa doing the brush-clearing etc., maybe prepping for the tiny house?

You suggest that in 5-10 years you'll be able to pay it down. Would reducing that to 3-6 years reduce your stress?  Is there any feasible way to achieve that, not counting draining your RRSPs?   Can you make any money from the land--renting out the haying, renting pasture, renting camping sites?  Is there any prospect of reducing your household expenditures to the point where the land cost doesn't feel like such a squeeze to you? Or of moving onto teh land soon and getting rid of the costs of your current housing? Perhaps you should post a case study.

I'm sorry I don't have any real advice. Best of luck to you in resolving this.

SKL-HOU

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Re: Advice for a difficult conversation?
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2017, 09:48:18 PM »
Is there possibility to rent to people with rvs, camping, etc?

chasesfish

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Re: Advice for a difficult conversation?
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2017, 10:48:49 PM »
Sell half immediately.  At the grime it sounds like you could barely afford one.

Why exactly do they "need" a quad (four wheeler).  That's just absurd, I'm assuming they already have a car, a tractor, and two working legs.

Other ideas:  Do you own the timber rights?  If so, how long until that can be harvested?  Can you lease the land to other hunters?

Land in itself isn't a terrible investment.  Land not generating enough income to cover the capital you have tied up in it is a bad investment.


K-ice

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Re: Advice for a difficult conversation?
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2017, 12:31:37 AM »
I think their are farm tax implications in keeping 40 acre parcels so check that out if you plan to subdivide.

I know someone who had 43 acres. Sold off 3, was a bit upset they could now see their Neighbours but overall was happy & it was a good financial move.

I would go back to your family with the argument that you only wanted 80 to begin with. You now have 160.  Sell the 40-80 they would miss the least and reduce your stress. The buffer idea above is a good one. Plant some trees on your property line so whatever they build is less noticeable if it ever happens.

Only 20h in the past year is not near enough time. Grab a tent & dig a loo & get out there more.

MayDay

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Re: Advice for a difficult conversation?
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2017, 07:18:48 AM »
We live on a 50 acres farm. Yah we can see the neighbors..... Oh well. We'd need 1000 acres to be sure we'd never see a neighbor!

Even if you had that, one of neighbors is currently annoyed because someone near her built cell phone towers on their land, and she can see it.

That might not be much help.

You can probably sell the 80 acres with a deed restriction on where the house can be built. I don't know how much it costs to set that up, though.

Blatant

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Re: Advice for a difficult conversation?
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2017, 07:43:49 AM »
The OP doesn't mention exactly how much it costs. I may have misread, but $80,000 for 160 acres of land? What's the payment? $400/month?

Sounds like everyone in the family has a blast except the OP. I read it as an awesome family opportunity on an appreciating asset. Good lord ...

Goldielocks

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Re: Advice for a difficult conversation?
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2017, 11:06:51 AM »
Is there possibility to rent to people with rvs, camping, etc?

+1  Create a tiny house community, for which you lease lots to others.

To do this, you need to include water and septic field, ideally, to get the most dollars, but having 15 people share that should be possible.  Have it pay for your tiny home and improvements.   Electricity is also nice, and not too hard to include from a common power service.

The nice thing is that if you lease it, you can kick others off in 5 years and do what you want with the property.

human

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Re: Advice for a difficult conversation?
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2017, 12:07:55 PM »
I'm confused as well by the actual cost is the 80k the improvements and implements only or all in (including land)? Is paying that a huge struggle? What exactly is your income?

Maybe you are approaching this all wrong, why not give all your details, income, savings debt, fire goals and then let people weight in.

This is coming from someone who hopes to buy an acreage somewhere one day though . . .
« Last Edit: January 14, 2017, 12:16:25 PM by human »

Kansas Terri

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Re: Advice for a difficult conversation?
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2017, 10:35:55 PM »
There was a surveying student who bought 80 acres.

She surveyed and split off 5 acre lots, sold half of them which paid off the entire amount owed, and kept the 40 acres as her profit.

If there is a lot of grass you might be able to rent it to someone with cattle.

Dicey

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Re: Advice for a difficult conversation?
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2017, 02:17:37 AM »
I'd advise choosing your battles. Is there something else you can focus on instead?

I agree you should use it more. Get them to build you a shed and drop a composting toilet into it. All set.

JAYSLOL

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Re: Advice for a difficult conversation?
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2017, 03:44:15 AM »
Not sure what advice i can give you on how to have the conversation, but I agree that if you plan to use one parcel of land, but not the other and if the other isn't making you money in some way, at least to cover a portion of the mortgage on it, it makes sense to sell it. 

former player

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Re: Advice for a difficult conversation?
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2017, 05:13:42 AM »
$80k borrowed for 10 years at 3.5% is about $800 a month, right?  Of which you are paying 75% (half of one half is DF's share), so that is $600 or $7.2k a year.  How does that fit into the rest of your family's spending?

Are you getting anything back from the property?  You mention having bought a hay mower.  80 acres of hay at however many tons an acre you get in your part of the world is and at whatever price it is has value.  Even very conservatively, 2 tons an acre at $100 a ton and only 50 acres in production easily covers your borrowing, even taking into account harvesting costs (you can sell it for less to someone else to harvest if you don't want to do it yourselves).

I wonder whether a part of your problem is that this is a "lad's paradise" that takes your father, husband and kids away from you?  In which case, either a change in your attitude (it has 80 acres of woods, who needs a toilet?) or further development of the site to make it comfortable for you could be the way to go.

lhamo

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Re: Advice for a difficult conversation?
« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2017, 11:38:50 AM »
If I understand, the original idea/agreement was that you would put a physical structure (tiny house/cabin) on this land and use it regularly.   Buying both parcels has made that impossible financially.   Thus, one of the parcels needs to be sold.  That will provide you with the funds to build the structure, as originally agreed.

I grew up in a rural area that was suburbanizing.  My parents bought the five acres next to their house.  It provides plenty of buffer from the nearest neighbors.  The idea that you need 160 acres of land to have privacy just boggles my mind.  Even 80 seems excessive. 

Jakejake

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Re: Advice for a difficult conversation?
« Reply #15 on: January 15, 2017, 12:11:13 PM »
1. My father and my husband both love it and spend a lot of time there 
2. There is a fair amount to be invested to make it a place that our family could enjoy. 
3. In my perfect world, we would just sell the whole thing and be done with it.

I snipped your post down to three statements. I'm not going to give you financial advice, in part because I don't know your overall situation, and in part because you didn't ask for that - you asked for advice about how to have a conversation about it. I don't think you are ready for a conversation because it doesn't sound like you are really clear in your own head about the underlying issue.

There's a thing that is giving the majority of your family members a great amount of joy and they spend a lot of time there, and in a "perfect world" you would do away with it completely.

Also, your belief is that it would take a lot of money for the family to enjoy it, but they already are.

hunniebun

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Re: Advice for a difficult conversation?
« Reply #16 on: January 27, 2017, 04:58:03 PM »
1. My father and my husband both love it and spend a lot of time there 
2. There is a fair amount to be invested to make it a place that our family could enjoy. 
3. In my perfect world, we would just sell the whole thing and be done with it.

I snipped your post down to three statements. I'm not going to give you financial advice, in part because I don't know your overall situation, and in part because you didn't ask for that - you asked for advice about how to have a conversation about it. I don't think you are ready for a conversation because it doesn't sound like you are really clear in your own head about the underlying issue.

There's a thing that is giving the majority of your family members a great amount of joy and they spend a lot of time there, and in a "perfect world" you would do away with it completely.

Also, your belief is that it would take a lot of money for the family to enjoy it, but they already are.

Super great points! I am conflicted! LOL!  My father and husband enjoy it - myself and my kids (who are little) can't really in it's current state (no infrastructure, no toilets, no water etc.).  It could be amazing...if we could put a tiny house, rain water collection, composting toilet, fire pit etc.  Which was the original vision. Now that we can't afford to do that, I'd rather not have it at all (because all my disposable income is going to pay for it, but we - meaning me and the kids hardly use it).

Our case study was done by MMM so most of the financial details are in there...things are pretty much status quo, except my pay is less because I work less, which is possible because I have tightened up the spending I can control, and we have added this property to the debt list.  DH is still firmly in the YOLO category with the massive gas guzzling truck with all the toys.  Our expenses are high with mortgage, daycare, kids activities and paying for the property has diverted from our retirement savings, which weren't stellar to begin with. 

We did have a conversation about it and basically, DH wants to keep it all, so there you have it.  We will just continue to pay it down and save slowly so in a few years we can build something on it. Until then, it will go on just being a grown man's paradise. (Detect bitterness here! LOL!). 


lhamo

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Re: Advice for a difficult conversation?
« Reply #17 on: January 27, 2017, 06:34:50 PM »
How old are your kids, what activities are they involved in, and how much do they cost?  I'll note that I am pretty strongly against a lot of activities for kids -- I think it costs too much and adds too much stress to the family life, especially with two working parents.   I respect that other people might feel differently, but if it were ME, I would cut back on kids activities and use some of that money to make the property useful for the whole family.   Installation of an outhouse at a minimum, composting toilet if not too pricey.  And a water source. 

Don't understand why a fire pit has to be costly.

I'm going to be blunt here:  your DH is sounding a bit like a spoiled child.  Yes, maybe he WANTS to keep it all, but he is sacrificing quality time for your whole family to do so.   I really cannot understand why keeping both lots is necessary, when selling one could get both of you everything you want.

hunniebun

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Re: Advice for a difficult conversation?
« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2017, 06:53:18 PM »
Lhamo - My kids are 3 and 7. The 7 year old plays (lives?) hockey and is a goalie. It is truly his complete passion, so it is getting pretty pricey (1700/year), dd does a dance class that is 500$ for the fall/winter.  They both do swimming in summer (300$).  I wouldn't say that we are over scheduled in terms of time (hockey 2-3 times per week, dance is 1). Mostly it is the daycare which runs around 1 k per month.

As for the infrastructure, a fire pit isn't necessarily expensive, I was just listing the things that would make it more usable and fun for everyone and require some cash. Maybe we can make a fire pit for less than 100 bucks...but we don't have 100$, unless we start robbing the rrsps/resp/tfsa savings (which are already low IMO).  I have gotten our variable expenses down as low as I can already so that I can work less hours...so there is no where else to save (actually there is alots of places, but none that dh will agree to, gas, statelite tv etc.).  With all our expenses, we are basically living paycheck to paycheck (but saving still some so not entirely) but that is what it feels like to me.

SOoooo I'd say your assessment that dh is a bit spoiled is accurate.   He has the mind set that he work hard (which he does) and should have everything he wants...it is my mind set that has changed over the years. My tolerance for debt is low and desire for family time is high and I guess that departure has caused friction that is really highlighted in this big ticket item.

tweezers

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Re: Advice for a difficult conversation?
« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2017, 07:26:57 PM »
As for the infrastructure, a fire pit isn't necessarily expensive, I was just listing the things that would make it more usable and fun for everyone and require some cash. Maybe we can make a fire pit for less than 100 bucks...but we don't have 100$, unless we start robbing the rrsps/resp/tfsa savings (which are already low IMO).  I have gotten our variable expenses down as low as I can already so that I can work less hours...so there is no where else to save (actually there is alots of places, but none that dh will agree to, gas, statelite tv etc.).  With all our expenses, we are basically living paycheck to paycheck (but saving still some so not entirely) but that is what it feels like to me.

This jumped out at me because we just deconstructed an old outbuilding to avoid the cost of demo and dumping fees (and keep as much as possible out of the dump).  Anyway, we had a ton of bricks and gave them away for free on craigslist.  Not sure if you have an active craislist or freecycle group in your area, but there may be options there for getting the materials you need for free or cheap.

lhamo

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Re: Advice for a difficult conversation?
« Reply #20 on: January 27, 2017, 07:33:53 PM »
I would start putting your foot down about the necessary improvements to the property that can be done inexpensively, then.  Such as installation of the fire pit (using materials obtained for free, through means suggested above) and putting in at least an outhouse.

I really don't know what else to say about a partner who acts like that.   For all his faults, my DH has never put his own personal desires before our family's financial future and things that will benefit us all.  My sympathies....



ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Advice for a difficult conversation?
« Reply #21 on: January 27, 2017, 07:45:49 PM »
My lot is thirty feet wide, so maybe I Don't Get It, but I don't see how what somebody else did with the other eighty acres could be a problem.

deborah

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Re: Advice for a difficult conversation?
« Reply #22 on: January 27, 2017, 08:22:22 PM »
It appears to me that there are a lot of toys on the land already - storage shed, gun range and a kick-ass tree-house/zip line - that aren't necessary, but the necessary things haven't been built. I would suggest that you have a conversation with them both saying that all this has made it wonderful for everyone else but you, and that the next things they make must be so it is wonderful for you - a firepit, toilet, running water. These would cost less than any of the other things, and would make it far more usable for the whole family, and then it would be used more than 20 days a year. It sounds like you already HAVE the makings of a tiny house - use the tree house as sleeping quarters for the kids, modify the storage shed for the rest.

You say there is no money, but there must be, for the next thing they have planned.

former player

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Re: Advice for a difficult conversation?
« Reply #23 on: January 28, 2017, 02:32:29 AM »
The thing I don't understand is why, on 160 acres with 80 acres of woodland, an "outhouse" is needed.  At most, all you have to do is wander into the woods with a shovel.  In fact, an outhouse would be work and expense and maintenance/cleaning which isn't needed.

Can someone explain?

Anatidae V

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Re: Advice for a difficult conversation?
« Reply #24 on: January 28, 2017, 02:47:09 AM »
The thing I don't understand is why, on 160 acres with 80 acres of woodland, an "outhouse" is needed.  At most, all you have to do is wander into the woods with a shovel.  In fact, an outhouse would be work and expense and maintenance/cleaning which isn't needed.

Can someone explain?
Not knowing what the shrubs on this lot are like, I prefer to not have to wander a long distance in order to have a bit of privacy on a place I intend to be regularly. The lads have gotten the infrastructure they wanted, so the OP had some she'd like too?

former player

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Re: Advice for a difficult conversation?
« Reply #25 on: January 28, 2017, 03:01:52 AM »
The thing I don't understand is why, on 160 acres with 80 acres of woodland, an "outhouse" is needed.  At most, all you have to do is wander into the woods with a shovel.  In fact, an outhouse would be work and expense and maintenance/cleaning which isn't needed.

Can someone explain?
Not knowing what the shrubs on this lot are like, I prefer to not have to wander a long distance in order to have a bit of privacy on a place I intend to be regularly. The lads have gotten the infrastructure they wanted, so the OP had some she'd like too?
I get that, a bit, and it does sound as though OP's husband is neither mustachian nor giving due priority to OP's needs and wishes, but OP's inability to make do for the time being means the family is split up for their recreation time and she is increasingly resentful of the situation.  Unless one or other changes, I can't see that having a happy outcome, and the more OP turns up at the acreage the more likely it is that changes can be made one way or the other.

Anatidae V

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Re: Advice for a difficult conversation?
« Reply #26 on: January 28, 2017, 03:23:49 AM »
The thing I don't understand is why, on 160 acres with 80 acres of woodland, an "outhouse" is needed.  At most, all you have to do is wander into the woods with a shovel.  In fact, an outhouse would be work and expense and maintenance/cleaning which isn't needed.

Can someone explain?
Not knowing what the shrubs on this lot are like, I prefer to not have to wander a long distance in order to have a bit of privacy on a place I intend to be regularly. The lads have gotten the infrastructure they wanted, so the OP had some she'd like too?
I get that, a bit, and it does sound as though OP's husband is neither mustachian nor giving due priority to OP's needs and wishes, but OP's inability to make do for the time being means the family is split up for their recreation time and she is increasingly resentful of the situation.  Unless one or other changes, I can't see that having a happy outcome, and the more OP turns up at the acreage the more likely it is that changes can be made one way or the other.
The outhouse specifically is getting off topic I think, so your point of "making do" - OP, is it possible we could offer some solutions to make it easier for you & the kids to be out there if you told us what you think the must-haves are, given their ages? Are you sharing parenting when out there, or do you end up with the kids the whole time?

For the conversation with your DH, maybe a viewpoint of "if we sell half (or whatever), we'll free up $X for *these specific facilities* that will make it even more fun!" Trying to phrase it in terms he might get...

Villanelle

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Re: Advice for a difficult conversation?
« Reply #27 on: January 28, 2017, 03:54:07 AM »
I think I would tell him that the land as-is seems absolutely 100% unsustainable, and that while you think the solution would be to sell it all, you know those two enjoy it, so you are open to other solutions besides selling it all.  Ask *him* to come up with a proposal that balances your financial situation with his love of the land and activities on it, and then work from there. 

Iplawyer

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Re: Advice for a difficult conversation?
« Reply #28 on: January 29, 2017, 07:23:15 AM »
The thing I don't understand is why, on 160 acres with 80 acres of woodland, an "outhouse" is needed.  At most, all you have to do is wander into the woods with a shovel.  In fact, an outhouse would be work and expense and maintenance/cleaning which isn't needed.

Can someone explain?

If you have a wife - ask here.  If you don't - ask your girlfriend.  If you have neither - your inability to answer this question - or even bring it up - probably has something to do with it.

former player

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Re: Advice for a difficult conversation?
« Reply #29 on: January 29, 2017, 07:28:03 AM »
The thing I don't understand is why, on 160 acres with 80 acres of woodland, an "outhouse" is needed.  At most, all you have to do is wander into the woods with a shovel.  In fact, an outhouse would be work and expense and maintenance/cleaning which isn't needed.

Can someone explain?

If you have a wife - ask here.  If you don't - ask your girlfriend.  If you have neither - your inability to answer this question - or even bring it up - probably has something to do with it.
My supposed inability to answer that question (which was itself largely rhetorical) probably has more to do with the fact that I'm a countrywoman not a townie, rather than my not being aware of what my (imaginary) wife or girlfriend would say.

ChpBstrd

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Re: Advice for a difficult conversation?
« Reply #30 on: January 29, 2017, 07:25:06 PM »
You must be from Arkansas. Everyone here wants a "fantasy farm" where they can perform hard labor on some land every few weeks. My dad does this. I personally don't get it. It would cost me at least $50 just to drive my Corolla back and forth 45 minutes, much less an F-150 (probably $75 round trip). Then, you are pretending to have a career - farmer - that you don't have, going through the motions, losing money the entire way. Why not just get a weekend gig with a landscaping company and get paid for it instead of paying for it?

But I also get that you're in an emotional zone for the two men in your life, who are attached to this hobby and the pricy machinery and mortgage that comes with it. The right thing to do is sell it and the F150's too, and then start saving half your income. However, you can't just do that, because you're triangulated with others.

Perhaps the fun of mowing acres of grass and picking up trespasser's garbage will wear off eventually. Perhaps as you slowly persuade the hubby to adopt Mustachian habits at home and save a good chunk of change, he will realize that a recreation budget that consumes....  what? .... 25% of your income is no way to get financially strong.

Or, they might double down and reveal plans to take out a second loan to build a cabin the family can stay in. I'd primarily focus on avoiding this risk. One solution is to find a broken-down older RV on Craigslist, and haul it to the site. Boom. Instant "tiny house" cabin. Costs about $1000-1500. Then wiring and septic will cost another few thousand, but if you can avoid the $100k romantic log cabin, you'll be dodging another layer of financial disaster. You even get to enjoy the property more as a side benefit.

Many families hold such "assets" for a few years, and then sell when they realize their recreational time costs more per hour than a Swedish massage or a trip to Cancun. Try to hold your ground on additional expenses. It may be the best you can do.