Author Topic: Buying a Second Home  (Read 1204 times)

badassprof

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Buying a Second Home
« on: September 08, 2017, 10:31:15 AM »
Just writing to get some thoughts and opinions on what might be the best way to approach buying a second home.  I should say, at the outset, that it probably isn't the most mustachian thing to do, but it is very important to my spouse and I know we'd get a great deal of enjoyment out of it. We are also not planning to RE, so the thought is it is something we can enjoy during the next 15 years of work.

The places we are looking at right now are in the 350-450 range.  We have enough cash to put 20% down, but we also have about 850,000 in equity in our primary residence, and are wondering if we would be best served to tap that equity, either for a larger down payment or maybe even to pay cash for it.  The big unknown right now in California is whether or not the legislature will pass a law that prevents homeowners from claiming the mortgage deduction on the home. They have tried in the past, and failed.

Anyway, a little more context:

Take home pay (after 401ks maxed, insurance, social security, etc).   $140,000
Rental income (we house hack)                                                         $31,200

Current Expenses Mortgage (owe 650,000). Just appraised at 1,510,000 (but of course that can change. We are close to a large research university, so housing always seems to be at a premium here. the last two years have been insane in the membrane). Our current mortgage payment is 3400, 2600 of which is covered by our tenants
Property Taxes                                                                                 $15,000 (HCOL area, with good schools)

We have no other monthly expenses and keep our overhead low. Currently we are living on one income, and we are saving about 4-5000 a month.

So the questions:

1). Should we put down a larger down payment than 20% (would require tapping into some taxed equities or the house equity)
2) Should we consider drawing down even more equity from the house and pay cash or close to all cash for the house (thus anticipating, perhaps, the legislature's decision to not make tax deductible mortgages on second homes).
3) Should I convince my partner this is the path of folly and, if so, how? He works very hard and I think wants a second home to enjoy on the water with our dogs and families. But I remind him, two homes, twice the maintenance!

Many thanks!

srad

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Re: Buying a Second Home
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2017, 02:18:16 PM »
If you aren't planning on renting out the 2nd home, then its Option 3...  And i love real estate its a huge part of my portfolio.  But for me to buy a "vacation home" i'd need to have Powerball money in the bank account.  Opportunity costs are huge on an extra 2k a month (300k mortgage payment) for something only getting used a few weeks out of the year.  No chance in talking the Mr into renting from VRBO or AirBnB? 

If you are set into buying though, i'd look at which mortgage is best for your.  I've never considered a 2nd home so i don't know if the interest rate would be a tad higher than a primary.  if it is higher, then cashout refinance your primary to pay for this. Otherwise 20% down and 30 year fixed for the second home is what i'd do.

That being said, if i really want something and i am going to enjoy it, i will buy it regardless of MMM community...  You should see my collection of Mountain Bikes!

badassprof

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Re: Buying a Second Home
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2017, 02:28:45 PM »
Thanks, Srad.  Honestly, I could take or leave a second home, but my spouse really wants one. We live in an urban area and are likely to be here for awhile given our jobs.  We don't have kids--I guess this would be that kind of a splurge!  But I worry about use, too. 

SeattleCPA

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Re: Buying a Second Home
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2017, 03:16:02 PM »
Some thoughts (based on personal experience... some good, and some bad)...

1. You might find it useful to turn the cost into a nightly room rate. E.g., if the place costs you (say) $16,000 a year and you spend 40 nights there, you're paying $400 a night. Is that an okay number? Maybe so if that saves you money because you would usually pay $800 a night... or maybe that's lunacy if you'd usually pay $80 a night. BTW a warning: When you calculate the actual nightly cost, you may on that basis alone decide to abandon the idea... usually this accounting shows the math doesn't work.

2. Some people do really  pretty well if they put the property into a vacation rental pool. That might change the economics.

3. There are some really sweet deals available in some areas due to the interplay of the Sec. 280A rule (discussed in a little bit of detail in blog post linked to below) and a seasonal event. E.g., if you buy a second home somewhere close to a popular seasonal event, you might find that a few nights a year of rental income pays for most of your property costs. The Masters golf tournament in Augusta reportedly allows people to earn $25K a week for a couple of weeks (tax free) by renting their homes or second homes to tourists.

https://evergreensmallbusiness.com/vacation-homes-as-small-business-tax-shelters/
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iris lily

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Re: Buying a Second Home
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2017, 09:44:23 PM »
These are random thoughts, at the top of my head since we are considering biying a second house.

We are now retired, and only now do I contemplate buying a second home out of town.

When I was working, the whole idea of a second set of house maintainence chores made me tired. Now, it is more do-able because we have time, but I worry about getting old and infirm and then having to take care of it. We are contemplating a smallish house listed at $81,000 in  a tiny touristy town.

It is not much of a financial risk and we would pay cash, but it will definately be an additional ongoing costs to keep it. I cant imagine renting it out, although sure, it could bring in some cash during certain beer and wine fest weekends, but I dont wish to burden the neighbors with temporary inhabitants, and besides, big groups of drunks would not be good tenants.

I am really looking at this property to set down deep roots, both
literally and figuratively. We want to join the local garden club, walk to the coffee shop, volunteer at the history museum. . These are things we do now in pur neighborhood.

The literal roots: this property has one acre, and that is a LOT of garden space, which is why we like it.It is a unique property in that all of the space is in town.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2017, 02:16:19 AM by iris lily »

SeattleCPA

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Re: Buying a Second Home
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2017, 09:03:32 AM »
Iris Lily makes a good point I"ll echo as a former (and probably future) second home owner.

Even if you can afford and reasonably budget for the "money" cost of the a second home, it's a great idea to also consider if you can afford and reasonably budget for the "time" cost.
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iris lily

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Re: Buying a Second Home
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2017, 09:17:11 AM »
Another thing that has been running through my head this week: contemplating a second home means STOPPING IMMeDIATELY de-cluttering efforts. Because you may need that second widget, that extra doo dad, for the second home.

Not a good thing.

badassprof

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Re: Buying a Second Home
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2017, 01:27:19 PM »
Yes, I agree that these are all good points about time and stuff.  Like I said, I could take it or leave it, but it is something my partner really wants. We'll see if the right place for the right price presents itself. We are, in the end, pretty practical.

waltworks

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Re: Buying a Second Home
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2017, 10:00:31 PM »
It sounds like you could just sell your primary and go on permanent vacation. $1.5 million house and $140k income is a pretty crazy mismatch!

Setting that aside, 2nd homes are always a stupid financial move. I think you know that. It's not twice the maintenance - it's triple or quadruple, because when you get a leak, there might not be anyone around to notice until there's $10k in damage, and you'll basically always have to hire out everything - DIY is no way, no how going to happen. Pay to have someone mow, pay to have someone powerwash (if you're on salt water), pay to have someone walk by every week and get the mail and make sure raccoons or burglars haven't been in, etc.

You'll probably pay (in many resort towns) extra property taxes, you'll have to pay for extra security, you will need another set of furniture and linens and dishes and everything else. All of this adds up fast.

And it's IN ONE PLACE. You can rent a new and different and cool place *every year* for way less than it'll cost to have a 2nd home. And you can pick and choose where that place is.

So basically, it makes no sense financially and it really makes no sense in terms of enjoyment unless the ownership of the 2nd home *in and of itself* is the source of your spouse's happiness. It might be the case that this is a deep seated desire that, while irrational, is very important to him, and then maybe you just have to suck it up and do it.

But I wouldn't. Sounds like a recipe for a lot less total happiness in your life and the lives of your family, all to satisfy (let's be honest) ego.

-W

iris lily

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Re: Buying a Second Home
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2017, 02:12:15 AM »
These are general musings, not something you, OP, Need to necessarily consider or answer.

I like very much Waltorks' ' point about always the same place for vacation. That was yet another reason why, when we were working, I didnt want a second home. i like variety, I like to go to Europe, I like change in scenary. Always going to the same place seemed boring to me.

The drive to get to the second home is a big consideration for me. At this time, the place we are considering is 1.5 hours away. It is in a no crime area, so I would not have to worry about it being vacant, whereas in many areas of second homes, breakins are common.

But I remember my parents' second home and they always looked forward to getting away from the grind there. Even though they had to drive two hours and mow the minute they arrived, they still found the place relaxing. It was near a lake, but not on it. A lake property has all kinds of additional expenses:a dock that has to be maintained, and in cold climates taken in for the winter and put out in the spring. Boats, a big one, small ones, and their maintenance.  If ocean, salt water damage. Sand everywhere. Etc.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2017, 08:02:04 AM by iris lily »

SnackDog

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Re: Buying a Second Home
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2017, 05:54:33 AM »
Two considerations 1) second homes are in general a big financial mistake and 2) you can't afford one.

Read all you can on the internet about vacation homes. They are financial alligators.  You will be lighting $100 bills on fire.  You will be sacrificing a lot to own one - money, retirement, physical labor and emotional stress.  For less money you could afford to have a carefree vacation in the same location as the prospective home many weeks per year.  I know this from my own experience and quite a few others.  You should only consider it once you very, very closely analyze all the financial aspects and can afford it very comfortably.  If you have narrowed down the location, spend at least a year renting there every few months to see what it feels like.

Financially you can afford no more than $250,000 with a 30 year loan.  As a vacation home you will pay a higher interest rate and a higher insurance rate.

A second home is a huge luxury and tremendous indulgence which should only be considered if it is a very small part of your income and net worth.  Most people regret it!

I won't bore you with the sad financials of my own experience except to say we can definitely afford it (bought north of Bay area in 2012) but I still frequently reconsider the whole idea.  Knowing what I do today, I would not do it again.
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Fishindude

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Re: Buying a Second Home
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2017, 07:14:46 AM »
We have two second homes, both about five hours from our home.  One is a very nice lakefront house with all the amenities and also happens to be located about five miles from our kids and grand kids.    It gets used quite a bit all year round, with most heavy use during warm weather open water fishing, swimming and boating season.   With taxes, upkeep, utilities, mowing, snow removal and all of the misc. expenses it costs in the neighborhood of $20K annually just to keep the place going.   The other is a farm and hunting cabin which is a very low maintenance place where we used a metal pole building as the shell, then built a nice cabin in part of it.  I spend lots of time there in the fall hunting, then periodic trips to just play around and loaf , fish, etc.  Wife goes occasionally, but it's more of a guys place.   Due to the way I set this up, maintenance and upkeep are pretty minimal, approx. $4,000 annually.

Bought the lake house for $465K, put $200K down and borrowed the rest on a ten year note.   Pretty quickly got tired of those payments, so we took some cash we were holding and paid the thing off in a couple years.   Did the hunting cabin $200K all cash.   Second homes are just expensive toys, much like boats, airplanes, sports cars, etc.   They are not necessary so there is no way I would borrow a bunch of money for one, and wouldn't use your current house equity for any part of this either.

Having said the above, my next door neighbor at the lake uses his for a rental and gets about $3500 per week rent during busy summer season.  His family uses it quite a bit when it's not rented.  He claims that the rentals are paying the mortgage and all expenses.     If the place is in an attractive rental market, the math works and you don't mind renting to strangers, doing something similar to this would probably work just fine.

Considering the annual upkeep and expenses, I don't think either of our second homes would be considered great investments but they should safely preserve the initial purchase investment and over time hopefully increase in value a bit.   Using and enjoying these places with family and friends is pretty priceless, so if you have the excess savings and disposable income or can leverage the property to pay for itself, go for it.

 

badassprof

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Re: Buying a Second Home
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2017, 08:24:42 PM »
Thanks for your thoughts and sharing your experience, fishindude. If we did this, we wouldn't necessarily buy it with the thought of investment as much as enjoyment. In that way, it is like our home. We've made a tidy amount of equity (at least right now), but that is a bonus. Regardless, we would have bought this home as a place to live. The second home would be a place to enjoy. If we made any money on it, that would be the cherry on top. Not very mustachian, I suppose,  but neither are two dogs :)

waltworks

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Re: Buying a Second Home
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2017, 09:21:14 PM »
Seems that the cherry on top would be *not* buying it, and instead renting cool places anywhere you want every year, all while having that money invested and probably paying for all your entire vacation costs, and then some, forever.

But then you can't tell people at the department meeting about your second home, I suppose.

-W

Jellosalad

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Re: Buying a Second Home
« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2017, 12:23:32 AM »
I am surprised so few mustachians seem willing to rent out their primary, let alone their second homes, when they aren't using them. Air BNB allows you to vet potential guests pretty thoroughly, and with a little planning, you can have a simple routine for stashing the precious irreplaceables before the visitors descend. A well-situated second home in a desirable area can easily earn its mortgage and taxes for you, without much effort on your part: Find a neighbor who will be available for emergencies, and to be nosy with the tenants. Find someone to clean and do laundry on the turnovers. Schmooze the guests a bit online.   I find I actually really enjoy sharing my place with the kind of people who seem to enjoy the place I'm offering. So far, no worse disasters than the cleaners not showing up once (I refunded my incoming guests $200, and they were thrilled.) Does anyone else do this? Am I just weird this way? My parents set the example of renting THEIR vacation home whenever they weren't using it thoughtout my growing up years. I know people with ski condos do it all the time...

waltworks

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Re: Buying a Second Home
« Reply #15 on: September 12, 2017, 07:23:21 AM »
Lots of people rent out vacation properties. The trick is actually making money (or at least not losing it). I live at a ski resort and I watch the parade of people buy ski condos, lose their shirts, and then get their shirts mostly back (the last 5 years or so, anyway) by selling them to the next sucker.

Run the numbers, that's all we're saying.

-W

Jellosalad

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Re: Buying a Second Home
« Reply #16 on: September 12, 2017, 08:28:49 AM »
Well yeah. You don't buy/build a second home and actually hope to make money at it, just to subsidize your enjoyment of same. As a tinkerer, I don't get the same enjoyment out of renting a vacation property as I do in futzing around with my own, customizing a few new things every year, messing up the garden, etc. So now that I rent it out and make all the carrying expenses, mortgage, my travel expenses,  etc, I can feel pretty damn good about the original small outlay, knowing that my daughter will reap that back no problem if she wants to sell it once I'm in the ground. THis seems like it might match the profile of the original poster.

waltworks

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Re: Buying a Second Home
« Reply #17 on: September 12, 2017, 01:40:34 PM »
Yeah, if you like maintaining/working on houses (for free), then having another house is indeed a great idea.

I think that is relatively rare, though.

-W

Jellosalad

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Re: Buying a Second Home
« Reply #18 on: September 12, 2017, 05:36:15 PM »
To each his or her own timesink. Some restore classic cars. Some "waste" their time camping. Many people, myself included, like to waste our time with family, endlessly puttering in a lovely place that we like to call our own. The beauty of being FIRE'd, is the ability to choose how to waste our time most rewardingly.


waltworks

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Re: Buying a Second Home
« Reply #19 on: September 12, 2017, 05:50:05 PM »
We are in violent agreement!

I still contend that the percentage of people who like to paint, fix clogged drains, replace rotting decks, etc is pretty small. But they do exist, of course. For me, a house is just a launching pad to go do stuff. If it keeps the rain off and the critters out (or in, as needed) it's good enough. Time I have to spend fixing it is time I'll never get back.

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badassprof

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Re: Buying a Second Home
« Reply #20 on: September 12, 2017, 06:51:38 PM »

But then you can't tell people at the department meeting about your second home, I suppose.

-W

Walt, we must work at very different institutions: where I'm at, no one would brag about a second home, any more than they would a sports car (or a kid going to an ivy).  But, we might share said homes with friends and colleagues.

badassprof

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Re: Buying a Second Home
« Reply #21 on: September 12, 2017, 07:03:11 PM »
It sounds like you could just sell your primary and go on permanent vacation. $1.5 million house and $140k income is a pretty crazy mismatch!


-W

Walt, the even crazier part of that mismatch is we only pay 800 a month mortgage on that house due to house hacking. Alas, I can't get my partner to think of early retirement, at least not yet. And as someone who had cancer, I confess I'm not ready to jump ship in my late 40s until I have more security that I could buy insurance--at any price--on my own. Silly, but right now I'm working for insurance.

iris lily

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Re: Buying a Second Home
« Reply #22 on: September 13, 2017, 07:44:27 AM »
To each his or her own timesink. Some restore classic cars. Some "waste" their time camping. Many people, myself included, like to waste our time with family, endlessly puttering in a lovely place that we like to call our own. The beauty of being FIRE'd, is the ability to choose how to waste our time most rewardingly.
agreed, some of us do exist!

LiveLean

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Re: Buying a Second Home
« Reply #23 on: September 13, 2017, 08:22:50 AM »
We have a second home/rental property/future FIRE home 850 miles away -- in VA Beach -- that we've owned for three years. Here are the reasons it works and what should be considered:

1. It rents at a premium on a weekly basis from mid-June through mid-September. We don't even try to rent it other than that -- too much aggravation for too little return. We use it for a few weeks ourselves and have a management agency handle the rentals. The agency handles 300 homes in the area.

2. Agency takes 18 percent commission. You have a second set of utility bills, cable/phone/Internet, property insurance, taxes, repairs, etc. And since you're renting it on a weekly basis, you get new renters every week that break somethingmust have something fixed immediately, no matter how trivial (i.e. swimming pool light). Yes, it's a beach house, but renters must have a swimming pool, WI-FI and a TV in every room because, well, who wants to bother walking 100 yards to the beach?

2a. This is a way of saying you will not make much money on this unless you sell. We paid cash for this home, so there's no mortgage. But still, it's a lot of work -- even with a very handy cousin and her husband who live an hour away and drop in when it's empty and fix stuff.

3. It also works for us because I essentially grew up in the area -- my folks owned a second home two blocks away -- so I knew the area very well, searched for homes patiently for six years (folks sold theirs 20 years ago) and bought a foreclosure that's worth 50 percent more than what I paid for it three years ago. It's only 1,300 square feet, perfect for DW and I to spend more time in when kids are grown.

4. This is a biggie: You will spend most of your vacations at this place since, after all, that's why you bought it and it's one way of justifying the expense. Plus, there's always some minor projects you want to either do yourself or be there to see done. Growing up, my family spent a lot of time at our home there; we didn't travel much otherwise. I love the area - otherwise why would I have bought a place 850 miles away? If spouse is not fully on board, forget about it. If you like to travel to other places a lot, forget about it. Our situation works because our 14-year-old is a competitive swimmer and can't get away from swimming for more than a few days. Fortunately, we have a swim club near our second home he can train with. But he often says between swimming and work we're doing on the house he doesn't feel like he's on vacation so much as just living somewhere else a few weeks a year.

Again, it works for us. But the moon and the stars have to align. It doesn't sound like they do for you.

 
« Last Edit: September 13, 2017, 08:25:37 AM by LiveLean »
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Fishindude

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Re: Buying a Second Home
« Reply #24 on: September 13, 2017, 08:40:19 AM »
I still contend that the percentage of people who like to paint, fix clogged drains, replace rotting decks, etc is pretty small. But they do exist, of course. Time I have to spend fixing it is time I'll never get back.

I decided from day one, that if I had to do a bunch of upkeep and work on the place, then I couldn't afford to own it.   My folks had a lake place when we were kids and dad always had a long list of chores for us all to work on every visit which took a lot of the fun out of it.   We pay to have snow removed, lawn cared for, driveway sealed, painting, docks and boat lifts installed / removed, boats stored and cared for, occasional cleaning service, etc.  Have plenty of this stuff to do at home, intend to loaf and enjoy myself when we go to the lake.

badassprof

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Re: Buying a Second Home
« Reply #25 on: September 13, 2017, 08:55:06 AM »
I still contend that the percentage of people who like to paint, fix clogged drains, replace rotting decks, etc is pretty small. But they do exist, of course. Time I have to spend fixing it is time I'll never get back.

I decided from day one, that if I had to do a bunch of upkeep and work on the place, then I couldn't afford to own it.   My folks had a lake place when we were kids and dad always had a long list of chores for us all to work on every visit which took a lot of the fun out of it.   We pay to have snow removed, lawn cared for, driveway sealed, painting, docks and boat lifts installed / removed, boats stored and cared for, occasional cleaning service, etc.  Have plenty of this stuff to do at home, intend to loaf and enjoy myself when we go to the lake.

That would be use too, fishindude.

waltworks

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Re: Buying a Second Home
« Reply #26 on: September 13, 2017, 09:23:08 AM »

Walt, we must work at very different institutions: where I'm at, no one would brag about a second home, any more than they would a sports car (or a kid going to an ivy).  But, we might share said homes with friends and colleagues.

My wife and I were at CU (Colorado) for quite a while before I quit academia in disgust. My wife was a postdoc for a while at the University of Utah before she did the same. In my experience academics are about the same as everyone else - there are enough jealous backstabbing gossips to make things unpleasant sometimes, and of course some really great people as well.

It certainly was not out of place in any of the departments (I was in a lot!) that I was in for people to brag about their second homes (among other things).

-W

badassprof

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Re: Buying a Second Home
« Reply #27 on: September 13, 2017, 09:40:49 AM »

Walt, we must work at very different institutions: where I'm at, no one would brag about a second home, any more than they would a sports car (or a kid going to an ivy).  But, we might share said homes with friends and colleagues.

My wife and I were at CU (Colorado) for quite a while before I quit academia in disgust. My wife was a postdoc for a while at the University of Utah before she did the same. In my experience academics are about the same as everyone else - there are enough jealous backstabbing gossips to make things unpleasant sometimes, and of course some really great people as well.

It certainly was not out of place in any of the departments (I was in a lot!) that I was in for people to brag about their second homes (among other things).

-W

What a pity, Walt, that you had such an experience. No wonder you are bitter about academics; I would be too!  I suppose it is like so many of our jobs, there is some luck of the draw as to where you end up and who you work with.(I turned down what was was supposedly a "plum" job because the department was comprised of people who hadn't gotten tenure elsewhere: the bitterness was palpable)!  I have only been in two departments, and the one that I'm in right now (which I really, truly, love) for 12 years, so I haven't had as much experience as you (although plenty of horror stories from friends and members of my graduate cohort).   I hope that what you are doing now feels satisfying and fulfilling!
« Last Edit: September 13, 2017, 09:43:50 AM by badassprof »

waltworks

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Re: Buying a Second Home
« Reply #28 on: September 13, 2017, 09:57:46 AM »
What a pity, Walt, that you had such an experience. No wonder you are bitter about academics; I would be too!  I suppose it is like so many of our jobs, there is some luck of the draw as to where you end up and who you work with.(I turned down what was was supposedly a "plum" job because the department was comprised of people who hadn't gotten tenure elsewhere: the bitterness was palpable)!  I have only been in two departments, and the one that I'm in right now (which I really, truly, love) for 12 years, so I haven't had as much experience as you (although plenty of horror stories from friends and members of my graduate cohort).   I hope that what you are doing now feels satisfying and fulfilling!

It actually had nothing much to do with the people in either of our cases. It was more about pressure to publish garbage results and the lack of scientific ethics that our modern funding/publishing system has created. I was a statistician and just simply couldn't handle one more request to make things significant when they weren't, all for a meaningless paper that told us nothing much being published where nobody would ever read it. My wife was a biophysicist and had data and projects stolen, pressure put on her to manipulate data and publish work she didn't trust, etc.

So I suppose that it *was* about people, but more people in the aggregate creating a system of bad incentives and then acting as you'd expect within that system.

There was also the fact that we didn't really need the money anymore and that we had some kids we wanted to spend time with.  It was actually pretty satisfying to see people's faces when my wife turned down her NIH funding and told everyone she was walking away.

"But what will you do now?!?"

"Go mountain biking and ski with my kids a lot. Have a nice life."

:)

-W
« Last Edit: September 13, 2017, 12:10:45 PM by waltworks »

badassprof

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Re: Buying a Second Home
« Reply #29 on: September 13, 2017, 10:10:47 AM »
ings significant when they weren't, all for a meaningless paper that told us nothing much being publishing where nobody would ever read it. My wife was a biophysicist and had data and projects stolen, pressure put on her to manipulate data and publish work she didn't trust, etc.

"But what will you do now?!?"

"Go mountain biking and ski with my kids a lot. Have a nice life."

:)

-W

Yeah!  Isn't that fun when that happens? I had a similar response when I turned down that "great" job. In the end, as I tell my students, we have to do what feels right for us, not what others tell us is the right thing to do.  Happy biking and skiing. Hope to join you soon if this insurance stuff can be ironed out.