Author Topic: Case Study--Regretting some choices  (Read 9248 times)

JoeMor

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Case Study--Regretting some choices
« on: April 08, 2015, 05:47:27 PM »
Just looking for some advice, both financial and general life. 

I'm 26, single, and a transplant to Texas from NYC since August 2013.  I worked in Houston for about a year and half, and then got a new job this past February.  I moved from inner-loop Houston to a northern suburb to avoid a 45 min (each way) commute and now get to walk to work.  On paper, everything seemed great.  In practice, the new apartment is dark, loud, and the suburb I now reside in is filled with people decidedly not in the 24-30 year old demographic.  I miss my friends and social life and find myself driving to Houston 3-4 times a week anyway and sleeping on the floor of the condo I own back in Houston.

I am trying to figure out what to do, as I am locked into my lease at the apartment I am renting in the 'burbs, but I dislike my new job greatly and am on the verge of quitting.  I'd like to break my lease (an expensive proposition in Texas as I am apparently on the hook for the remainder of the lease) and move back into Houston and quit my job, but that seems akin to financial and career suicide.  I'd like a month or two off before starting the job search again but my resume is already starting to look "job-hopper"-esque.

So here goes.
 
$100,000 salary, plus 25% bonus at end of year based on performance. 
Equates to ~$6000/month after taxes & health insurance.  I do not contribute to a 401k as my company only matches 1%, and having worked on Wall Street for three years at a hedge fund I greatly distrust most financial companies and their desire to 'manage' my money.

Assets:
$24,000 cash
$21,000 in Vanguard tax free municipal bond fund
$232,000 condo, trying to sell for $265,000.  Bought with cash from bonuses saved up in NYC.  Been up for sale for six weeks, only received lowball bids.
Health (no antidepressants yet), bachelor's degree, master's degree.

Expenses:
No student loans
No credit card debt
Rent/electric/gas/cheapest Internet for suburban apartment - $1620/month, 13 months left on lease.  Cheapest apartment I could find up here.  This is Texas, not NYC!
HOAs on Houston condo - $400/month
Property taxes on Houston condo - $475/month
Leasing a 2014 Mazda6 for $390/month, 16 months left on lease.  I did not start reading MMM until after I moved to Houston and started the lease.  Needless to say I will never lease a car again.
Car insurance $90/month (seems high since I am a good driver with no accidents or tickets in last 5 years).
Gas - $60/month.  So much for walking to work when you're driving to Houston 3-4 times a week, 35 miles each way.
Groceries - $700/month.  I eat a lot and cook a lot.  Hardest part to cut down because cooking is my biggest passion.
Restaurants/Dates - $1000/month.  I know this is an area that needs work.  A lot of work.  I don't know how to defend this.  Dating the wrong women, perhaps.  Or it's just easier to meet up with someone in Houston and have dinner (especially early on) than to convince someone to drive up to my apartment so I can cook for them.
Clothes/books/entertainment - $150/month.  Mostly books.

Grand Total $4800/month
Savings $1200/month, or 25% of take home pay.  Terrible by any Mustachian standards. 

"What's to complain about!?!", I expect many of you will ask.  "This entitled prick has $275,000 and he's 26 and he can't hack his job.  And he spends an ungodly amount on food."

JoJo

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Re: Case Study--Regretting some choices
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2015, 06:20:15 PM »
Have you checked meetup.com for groups near your suburb?  Maybe you can find some nearer friends so you don't need to travel so much.  Any suburb should have some younger people.  You might find some on internet dating too (if not compatible, maybe as friends).

Eric

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Re: Case Study--Regretting some choices
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2015, 06:59:36 PM »
You do spend an ungodly amount on food.  $700/mo should feed a family of 5, easily.  And you spend another $1000 on top of that.  Wow!  Do you really need to eat foie gras topped lobster dipped in truffle butter with a side of filet mignon for every meal?  Maybe mix in some vegetables once in a while.  Have a salad.  Learn to like rice.  At least try to buy something on sale once in a while. 

But that's not the only ungodly amount.  You spend $2500/mo just on housing and that doesn't even include a mortgage payment.  If you hate that apartment, then figure out how to get out of the lease.  You need to read your lease.  Yes, it's the only way.  Just sit down and do it.  This will tell you what your options are.  The best solution is usually to find someone to sublet, but you'll have a better idea after reading it.  Start now, as your housing costs are insane.

If you've read any MMM articles, you probably know that long commutes are a terrible money and life suck.  However at this point, a long commute is almost certainly going to be your best option.  Find some other sucker to take on your lease.  Move back into your condo.  Then start looking for a new job.  And no, you shouldn't quit this one without having another lined up.  You'll find something soon enough.  You can even take a lesser paying job if you could get your spending under control.

Also, as a side note, you need to contribute to your 401k.  You're in the 28% income tax bracket.  Every dollar you contribute reduces your tax bill by $.28.  The match amount is just a nice bonus, but the real advantage is the reduction in taxable income.  Unless you plan on withdrawing $125K/year in retirement (and unless you cut your spending, you might have to) then you're going to come out way ahead just in tax savings.  Plus, contributing to a 401k is absolutely NOT having someone else manage your money.  You can choose all your own investments.  If you're having trouble deciding how, start a thread with the options available to you (including ticker symbol and expense ratio) in the Investor Alley section and we'll help you.

KungfuRabbit

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Re: Case Study--Regretting some choices
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2015, 07:03:42 PM »
On my property tax statement it is spelled out where the money goes, and i pay about $200 / year to support the library in my county.  You are likely paying that twice (for your condo and your apartment), meaning since you are buying books on your own too you are paying a TON of money for books.  Please stop buying books.  Go to the library.  You may be a year behind on the new releases, but who cares. 

JustGettingStarted1980

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Re: Case Study--Regretting some choices
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2015, 07:09:10 PM »
Hi JoeMor, and way to be brave and open up about what's going on in your life.

These are a few things that come to mind from reading your case study:

1. It's not worth it if you hate your job -perhaps the best approach would be to look around downtown Houston as that's where you say you to want to be...and once you find that next job, then begin the process of transitioning your home there too.  Let the company's you're applying to worry about "job-hopping". As far as they know you're simply looking for a "better opportunity with growth potential and a clear path for advancement within the company."

2. In regards to the 275K in assets at age 26, be proud of yourself for your hard work and savings. Most people don't save that in their entire lives.  In addition, that savings has put you in a position where you can quit a job or two to seek out your main goal in life (happiness?) without worrying about how you're going to pay for your next meal or where you're going to sleep that night.

3. Can you sub-let your lease? Even at a loss? This will free up plenty of income for your other pursuits.

4. I'm assuming your Condo is not rented out --> go back and live there again since you seem to like it there and miss it.

5. $1000/month on dating is the most face-punch worthy part of your entire message. What kind of girl are you trying to meet at that $50/plate dinner?  It's good to show you gotta a little cash, but I believe it's better to show that you're a well grounded individual.

Some of the best early dates I ever had with my now wife were the freebies --> grab a couple bikes and do a impromptu tour downtown, drive out to the coast and just hang out on the beach all afternoon, if you think it would be perceived as creepy (it is) to invite a stranger to your home in the suburbs to cook a fantastic meal --> make her a surprise awesome picnic in a (public) park and just enjoy each others company.

6. As for Books ->ever heard of Overdrive? Go to your local library and sign up, then download this APP on your laptop. You can download the classics or the bestsellers with equal ease, all for free. It just takes a little forethought, and I personally can only read one book at a time.

Hope this helps, JGS

Ricky

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Re: Case Study--Regretting some choices
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2015, 07:32:45 PM »
Good info so far - I'll add on:

Job/house: I don't think you necessarily need to find another job first before quitting since it sounds like you're already stressed from having made a few mistakes. I can't understand why you would sign a lease when you're already paying over half that for the house you already own! That's neither here nor there. You need to sublet that puppy, ASAP. Throw it on Airbnb for weekly rentals.

~$125k seems like a lot of money when you aren't used to making that much, but you ARE NOT going to want to work forever and you have already realized that. You want to maximize your savings now so that in 5-10 years you can take a very long sabbatical if you want. You went from the "get rich or die trying" mentality in NYC to "everything's bigger in Texas" so I get it. Ignore the noise, keep your head down, and you'll be fine.

Car insurance: shop around. Check Geico. I'm 25 and drive a pretty new car and only pay about $55/mo for full coverage. Every little  bit helps.

Food: And I felt guilty for sometimes spending $300-400/mo on food! Wow. I can't understand how your grocery bill is that high let alone the restaurant bill. Find a way to tame that, and quick. Buy raw ingredients, not prepackaged crap. If you want to continue to eat out and it's your priority, that's fine, just keep it in check. I couldn't spend that much if I wanted to. Not because I'm cheap, but because I literally don't think I could eat that many times in a month at a restaurant? That's $33 a day at restaurants. I could understand if all your meals were outsourced, but you still manage $700 in groceries!? You knew you were gonna get the most flack for this, so there it is.

401k: What the others said.

Otherwise, you're in good shape. Don't sweat it. Go down $15k on the condo and get rid of it and focus on your career. You'll pay more than that in your monthly expenses on it before long if you don't get aggressive.


slugline

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Re: Case Study--Regretting some choices
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2015, 09:56:35 PM »
As a longtime H-Town area resident, I can make a decent guess at which suburb you're in -- and yeah, the rental rates are inflated right now precisely because of a recent influx of high-earning people just like yourself. That's a high-dollar enclave that isn't representative of most of Texas. That clause about being on-the-hook for the entire term of your lease is also probably a result of the competitive RE market there, because it's not a Texas law.

As un-Mustachian as it sounds, I think you should ditch the over-priced apartment in the boonies whenever it's feasible and resume commuting from your inner Loop lifestyle until you can figure out your next move career-wise.

As others have pointed out, your food costs are rather high. I hope you're entertaining groups several times a month on that budget.

You can try shopping around for better car insurance rates, but your bill is probably high simply because you're a male in your 20s with a leased recent-model car.

Spondulix

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Re: Case Study--Regretting some choices
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2015, 11:21:24 PM »
At 26 most everyone has a resume that looks grasshopper-esque... At 26 no job decision is going to be "financial" or "career" suicide, either (unless you're looking to FIRE at 30, but I'm guessing that's not your plan at a 25% savings rate)

I used to be really, really concerned about my career path and what opportunities I took and how it'd help me get to the next place in my career... ten years later, I have "career success" and I really don't give a sh** anymore! There comes a point where you realize that there will always be another opportunity or another step to climb, but we don't always have to go up it. What are your goals? FIRE? A fulfilling career? I wish I had spent more time thinking about lifestyle (like you questioning now) vs "what will look best for my career."

It sounds like you extremely hard before 26 (in a rough environment). You're in a new state... are you even in the same field?

Mrkineticz

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Re: Case Study--Regretting some choices
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2015, 12:42:35 AM »
Welcome to Houston. Im from Nyc as well and i moved to houston just like you. Ihad to transition from the hustle & bustle to everything is bigger in texas. I am currently 32 and while I was in my mid 20's I remember spending as much as you did going out and boy do i feel it was a waste. Remember to FI you have to do some sacrificing by working on the hamster wheel. Just remember its not forever just for a little bit. Get rid of all those debts you have and either sublet your condo or move back and find someone to take over your lease in the northside. Keep trucking along waking up and finding mmm is just the start!

JoeMor

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Re: Case Study--Regretting some choices
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2015, 10:58:48 AM »
Do you really need to eat foie gras topped lobster dipped in truffle butter with a side of filet mignon for every meal?  Maybe mix in some vegetables once in a while.  Have a salad.  Learn to like rice.  At least try to buy something on sale once in a while. 

But that's not the only ungodly amount.  You spend $2500/mo just on housing and that doesn't even include a mortgage payment.  If you hate that apartment, then figure out how to get out of the lease.  You need to read your lease.  Yes, it's the only way.  Just sit down and do it.  This will tell you what your options are.  The best solution is usually to find someone to sublet, but you'll have a better idea after reading it. 

Thank you Eric.  I have read my lease (I am used to long inane documents) and I am under the obligation to fulfill the contract for the full term.  I am not allowed to sublet.  The only way I can save some $$ ending the lease early is by telling them I am vacating and allowing them to list it again.  If someone signs a new lease for the apartment then I am in the clear but I have to pay for it until then.

Doesn't sound so bad, but the issue is that I could be on the hook for $1600x13 months of rent if the apartment does not get leased.  Considering it's a ground floor rental on the loud as fuck pool courtyard...it could be a while.

Why did I get this apartment if I already owned a condo, many of you would ask?  Thought process was new job--> opportunity to walk to work, cut down driving and stress--> rent new apartment, sell condo-->use cash from condo sale to continue viable path to FIRE (not to mention the extra $875 a month in savings) 

I jumped the gun on getting a new place so early. 

Another thing I am trying to figure out is the "point" of it all.  Obviously, I can cut back the restaurant bills, I don't need to go out and drop $100-150 on dinner seven times a month.   Eating rice and beans would save a hell of a lot of money (I eat these anyway) but I need some kind of release.  I work in power and electricity trading-- go to work, it's dark outside, I come home from work, it's dark outside.  I eat, workout and sleep.  My weekends and the meals I cook are the only things I get to control in my life. I don't go to happy hours, I don't drink.  I don't own a TV. I used to box in college, and I know all about eating chicken and broccoli for eighteen straight meals.  You can trim your life down so it's all meat and bone and no fat, but fat is what gives meat the flavor and taste.  I feel guilty as fuck eating like a fucking Roman emperor--it's also the only thing I look forward to on Fatterday (cheat day).

What's the point of achieving financial independence in 10 years if you go Howard Hughes before then?   How do you all not go crazy on your paths to FI? 








Valhalla

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Re: Case Study--Regretting some choices
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2015, 11:02:24 AM »
Congrats on doing well so far. $100k - $125k per year is nice, but it's not all that much.  I know because I make similar income, but I live in a slightly cheaper area.

Best advice? Save save save like crazy.  If you're unhappy now spending the money will not make you happier.  I know because I've been there.  The best thing to make me happy was money in the bank knowing I could walk away if needed... freedom, or the assurance of freedom, is happiness.

Stick with the job to see if you can make it work.  If you can't, well you've tried and got nothing to lose and start looking for something else.

Good luck.

Noodle

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Re: Case Study--Regretting some choices
« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2015, 11:52:54 AM »
I can see how you are very frustrated right now, but the upside is that you have resources to get yourself disentangled. The 20s are all about trying things. You tried a new place and new job which seemed to have some advantages, and it didn't work out. Maybe it would have been a better idea to do that horrid commute for a few weeks instead of signing a lease right away, but hindsight is 20/20 and now you will know to stay more flexible next time. So I would say, the first thing is to try to let go the regrets! Done is done.

You can go about the next step in two ways:

Plan A

Take the condo off the market and start looking for a new job back in Houston. When you have a new job, move.  Have the management company list your apartment (after all, the worst case scenario is that you...have to pay the rent. Which you already have to do). Also, I wouldn't necessarily rely on the lease as the final word. That language is there for the worst case scenario, but I have often found landlords to be much more flexible in real life than the legal agreement states. The last one let me stay on a month-to-month basis for a few extra months while I finalized a home purchase, as long as I paid the higher rent that a renewal would have required. It's worth asking (very, very nicely)--the worst they can say is what's in the lease. Per the job, as another poster said, let the recruiters at the hiring company worry about whether you are job hopping. The downside of Plan A is that it could be expensive for awhile if you do have to pay that rent after you move back. Call that your tuition in the school of life.

Plan B

Take the condo off the market and commit to changing jobs and moving back to Houston when the lease ends. Start job-hunting at an appropriate time to make that happen. If you don't make it in time, look at your finances and decide then whether it makes more sense to take time off or commute.  In the meantime, look for ways to cover the condo costs, perhaps through a short term rental or AirBNB, or by trimming your monthly spending. Knowing that you are counting down to an exit, try to find everything you can to enjoy about your current job and work on resume building and networking, and enjoy what you can about your current place of residence. (energy industry people get posted to challenging places all the time. You could be in Uzbekistan!) Given the employment expansion up there, there have to be some other younger singles around. Tell your older/married colleagues that you're looking to meet other people your age and ask if they have suggestions. Or open yourself up to socializing with people who aren't just like you. (Old married people have nice houses and can afford to throw parties with really good food and liquor :))  Take another look at the spending and sock away everything you can in preparation.

I suggest considering this, because often, the 2-4 month window is the absolute worst at a new job/location. You've been there long enough that nobody cuts the new guy any slack any more, but you don't really have the institutional knowledge or network to get things done as effectively as more established colleagues. You've been in your place long enough to learn all about the downsides, and to miss your friends, but not long enough to have developed new favorite people and places.  I was in exactly this position with my current job. At ca. four months in, I was constantly stressed, didn't understand what my boss wanted, was feeling let down by some family I thought would be my support network, and hated the weather/location. At four years in, I like the job, have figured out the boss, have learned how to deal with many of the challenges, and would actually miss the people and place if I moved. If you can hold off on a move, it could potentially save quite a bit. But if the job is really unbearable, then it just is, and I would circle back to Plan A.

DO you know why you've had such trouble selling the condo? The Houston market is incredibly hot right now, and I know multiple offers above asking are common.

Good luck--you will have it sorted soon!

Kaspian

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Re: Case Study--Regretting some choices
« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2015, 12:33:03 PM »
Holy macaroni!  I agree with Eric--that food is just crazy.  Are you washing it down with Goldschläger?  (Wait--no, you said you don't drink.)  $150 per trip?! If you could knock out the Kardashian-level restaurants and come down to earth, you'd do well.  Stick that budget at $500 (which is still a megalithic amount of gluttonous food and dining--more than 3 times what most here spend/person), your savings would come up to 50% and that would bring you to respectable Mustachian standards.  You could look others level in the eye and dodge the facepunches.  :)
« Last Edit: April 09, 2015, 12:35:22 PM by Kaspian »

okits

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Re: Case Study--Regretting some choices
« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2015, 01:09:09 PM »
First of all, "Fatterday" - hilarious.

You could try finding someone to take over your lease (I know the mechanism would be you break it and the new person signs a new one for the same unit, but you get what I mean.) The landlord has no motivation to find a new tenant because they can just keep milking you for the $1600/month. You could even offer the new tenant a subsidy (rent my specific unit and I'll cover $150 x 13 months.  Way cheaper than you having to pay the whole thing for the remainder of the term.)

It sounds like your job displaces everything else in your life and that's making you miserable. I have done the dark-when-I-leave-dark-when-I-get-home thing and it sucks.   You need to decide if you want to continue with that, and if so, for how long. You need to socialize more. Can be inexpensive things (walk through an interesting part of town, coffee and chat, work out with a buddy.)

I don't know what your dating goals are or what the local scene is like, so my suggestions may not be applicable (judge for yourself).  First dates are nothing more serious than a coffee. Second dates can be lunch (more budget-friendly).  Third dates or later can include dinner (not necessarily fancy ones) but should be other activities too (shows, museum exhibits, an afternoon volunteering, taking a class.) Even if your date makes a lot less or is a student she should still pay some of the time.  If you're looking for a partner, you don't want a lady simply content to spend only your money. And if you're just looking for casual relationships, well, there are women out there looking for that, too, so those dates shouldn't cost you much after maybe the first one. 

If your choice is FI after ten years of misery or FI after twenty years of reasonably enjoying yourself, I would take the twenty-year option. Frugality isn't about being miserable. 

aceyou

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Re: Case Study--Regretting some choices
« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2015, 01:11:08 PM »
What are the minimum hours that you can put in at your work and still do a respectable job...even if it reduces your earnings a bit? 

I'd suggest moving back to the city because you clearly are happier there, and find a way to work one fewer hour each day, to partially offset the longer commute.  See if that brings your anxiety down and your happiness up.  That will put you around the people you enjoy more often.  Then, axe that food expense, and just be ok with the increased commute right now. 

Tell your landlord you want to get out of the lease, and get that apartment on the market.  best case, you aren't out all that money, worst case, you are paying exactly what you are paying right how. 

And remember that you all the good things in your life (high earning potential, probably a great degree, great financial situation, very high intelligence) are all things that will likely last, whereas the sucky things in your life (living situation, current unhappiness at work) are things that can be altered in a relatively short period of time.  So keep some perspective and understand that on the whole, your life is on a huge uphill trajectory...In a year or two this will all be a blip on the radar:) 

Good luck!!!

JoeMor

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Re: Case Study--Regretting some choices
« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2015, 02:54:52 PM »
What are the minimum hours that you can put in at your work and still do a respectable job...even if it reduces your earnings a bit? 

I'd suggest moving back to the city because you clearly are happier there, and find a way to work one fewer hour each day, to partially offset the longer commute. 

This is part of the problem.  I work 7:30-6:00 or 6:30 every day, once in a while 7+.  Throwing an hour and a half of driving on top of this literally makes my stomach turn.  I could do the long days when I was 22-24 in NYC and making $300,000 a year, but I'm burning out quickly and without the same carrot in my face.  My bosses are hounding me to stay later and I have been "written up" several times for walking at 7:45 in the morning and being "late."  Worst part is, my company routinely has MANY people who show up at 9 and leave at 4 who work in other departments.  Our culture is jeans and casual as fuck, people have beers with lunch regularly.  Lots of people get to work from home except one person: me.  While trying to sell my condo I've had to take 15-20 minute phone calls with my RE agent in the middle of the day, and my bosses have told me I need to cut down on my "personal calls." 

JoeMor

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Re: Case Study--Regretting some choices
« Reply #16 on: April 09, 2015, 03:15:36 PM »
DO you know why you've had such trouble selling the condo? The Houston market is incredibly hot right now, and I know multiple offers above asking are common.

Good luck--you will have it sorted soon!

I'd love to know the answer to this question as well.  I bought it for 232,000 cash in August 2014 and put about 10,000 more into with new lighting, window treatments, paint, and kitchen upgrades.  It's 1,100 sq ft in Montrose/River Oaks and I cannot for the life of me figure out why it's not selling but nearby 800 sq ft condos are selling for 285,000.

I would love to be able to rent it but the HOA limits how many units can be listed for subleasing (30% of the bldg at any given time) and you guessed it, there's a waiting list to sublease my own unit. 

robbyho

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Re: Case Study--Regretting some choices
« Reply #17 on: April 09, 2015, 06:05:06 PM »
DO you know why you've had such trouble selling the condo? The Houston market is incredibly hot right now, and I know multiple offers above asking are common.

Good luck--you will have it sorted soon!

I'd love to know the answer to this question as well.  I bought it for 232,000 cash in August 2014 and put about 10,000 more into with new lighting, window treatments, paint, and kitchen upgrades.  It's 1,100 sq ft in Montrose/River Oaks and I cannot for the life of me figure out why it's not selling but nearby 800 sq ft condos are selling for 285,000.

I would love to be able to rent it but the HOA limits how many units can be listed for subleasing (30% of the bldg at any given time) and you guessed it, there's a waiting list to sublease my own unit.

Your realtor can probably advise best on this, but around here if there is no real action, we'll lower the price every 30 days. Even a modest price drop and an email blast to all the agents and buyers who've viewed it will stir up action. 6 weeks isn't that long though, I think you'll have a buyer soon.

I'm curious though, sounds like you were doing well in NYC, what prompted the move?

LouLou

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Re: Case Study--Regretting some choices
« Reply #18 on: April 09, 2015, 06:20:56 PM »
Many, many leases say that you are on the hook for a full year's rent. Everything thing is negotiable - ask to get let out of the lease. Offer to pay one month rent if they say no.  Tell them to relist if the lease prohibits you from finding a tenant. Find another tenant if you can. The worst that can happen is that they say no! 

I know how you feel - I moved to the suburbs and didn't like it because I was far away from friends and family. The problem won't fix itself!

Eating is also my favorite (only?) hobby. My solution? Cook more. Now I have meals that I can make myself, that are inexpensive, that I love and look forward to.

JoeMor

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Re: Case Study--Regretting some choices
« Reply #19 on: April 10, 2015, 08:37:14 AM »
I'm curious though, sounds like you were doing well in NYC, what prompted the move?

Hedge fund that I was working for took a dirt nap.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Case Study--Regretting some choices
« Reply #20 on: April 10, 2015, 08:39:30 AM »
If you're in The Industry on the upstream side it definitely isn't a good time to quit before you have another job lined up. But The Industry isn't the only industry in town any more so maybe you'll have a fine time finding a job.

JoeMor

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Re: Case Study--Regretting some choices
« Reply #21 on: April 10, 2015, 08:50:08 AM »
If you're in The Industry on the upstream side it definitely isn't a good time to quit before you have another job lined up. But The Industry isn't the only industry in town any more so maybe you'll have a fine time finding a job.

In Texas I work in power trading.  I have worked in midstream assets before though.  Seems to me that midstream is affected to some degree by the slide in oil---anyone in midstream care to comment on this?

wordnerd

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Re: Case Study--Regretting some choices
« Reply #22 on: April 10, 2015, 08:52:52 AM »
What are the minimum hours that you can put in at your work and still do a respectable job...even if it reduces your earnings a bit? 

I'd suggest moving back to the city because you clearly are happier there, and find a way to work one fewer hour each day, to partially offset the longer commute. 

This is part of the problem.  I work 7:30-6:00 or 6:30 every day, once in a while 7+.  Throwing an hour and a half of driving on top of this literally makes my stomach turn.  I could do the long days when I was 22-24 in NYC and making $300,000 a year, but I'm burning out quickly and without the same carrot in my face.  My bosses are hounding me to stay later and I have been "written up" several times for walking at 7:45 in the morning and being "late."  Worst part is, my company routinely has MANY people who show up at 9 and leave at 4 who work in other departments.  Our culture is jeans and casual as fuck, people have beers with lunch regularly.  Lots of people get to work from home except one person: me.  While trying to sell my condo I've had to take 15-20 minute phone calls with my RE agent in the middle of the day, and my bosses have told me I need to cut down on my "personal calls."

It sounds like your job is trying to get rid of you, and you're trying to get rid of it. I would start looking for a new job in earnest in whichever city you really want to be in. I would try to hold onto your current job and paycheck until you have something new lined up, especially given your current spending levels.

wintersun

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Re: Case Study--Regretting some choices
« Reply #23 on: April 10, 2015, 09:01:59 AM »
What Okits said:

Quote
You could try finding someone to take over your lease (I know the mechanism would be you break it and the new person signs a new one for the same unit, but you get what I mean.) The landlord has no motivation to find a new tenant because they can just keep milking you for the $1600/month. You could even offer the new tenant a subsidy (rent my specific unit and I'll cover $150 x 13 months.  Way cheaper than you having to pay the whole thing for the remainder of the term.)

I find that working it really pays off. 

JoeMor

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Re: Case Study--Regretting some choices
« Reply #24 on: April 10, 2015, 10:33:35 AM »
So any advice on the worst case scenario?

Suppose the leasing company is unwilling to work with me, refuses to let me sublet, and basically wants me to pay up the full 13 months remaining?

Also, a secondary question--does a boss threatening to withhold an end of year bonus constitute a threat?  I just had a meeting with one of my bosses and I quote his words "You need to earn your keep here.  You don't want your performance to affect your bonus."

I responded by asking if my work was unsatisfactory or late, to which he said "No, you're doing a great job.  We don't want to micromanage you.  It's just that you are the new guy here and you need to put in the hours and facetime at the office." 

As I said before, I am already working 7:30am to 6:30 most days when 95% of the office works 9-5 (or 4 even).  Am I missing something?  Am I crazy? 

wintersun

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Re: Case Study--Regretting some choices
« Reply #25 on: April 10, 2015, 10:43:58 AM »
It sounds as though new employees are expected to work longer hours.  Are there any other new employees at your level?

JoeMor

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Re: Case Study--Regretting some choices
« Reply #26 on: April 10, 2015, 01:20:28 PM »
It's a very small company, ~30 people.  There are no new employees aside from me, and I'm one of two traders (though I just support the trader).

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Case Study--Regretting some choices
« Reply #27 on: April 10, 2015, 01:59:36 PM »
Whoever you're working for certainly isn't the only game in town. But it sounds like they might be working you hard enough that you barely have time to look for another job.

The Beacon

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Re: Case Study--Regretting some choices
« Reply #28 on: April 12, 2015, 11:50:45 AM »
It's a very small company, ~30 people.  There are no new employees aside from me, and I'm one of two traders (though I just support the trader).

One good thing working for a big company is that everyone there is just a cog that calls a day when it finishes for the day. When you work for a small company, they over use you.  I do not know how easily you can find a new job that has a more laid back environment.  You do not want to work in a place that burns you out quickly, which seems to be the case here. 


It really depends on what your goals are, FIRE or climbing the ladder?  If it is FIRE, the best is to work for a large company where you normally have

1. a laid back/easy environment since they can afford to hire enough people.
2. good pay and benefits

Key is to make the most amount of money with the least amount effort so that you do not burn out quickly.  If I were in your shoes, I 'd get a new job in a heart beat.  It might be easy for me to just say that since I am in IT.
 

I do not suggest that you be overly frugal since you are young and you need to live your life to the fullest extent possible.  Just find the right balance there.

One last advice, you need to invest you money in the stock market. Just because you saw some shady hedge fund practices, it does not mean that Vanguard or Fidelity are bad.  Buy their index funds. I have both. They work, period.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2015, 11:53:10 AM by Sharpy »

JoeMor

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Re: Case Study--Regretting some choices
« Reply #29 on: April 12, 2015, 12:22:18 PM »
One last advice, you need to invest you money in the stock market. Just because you saw some shady hedge fund practices, it does not mean that Vanguard or Fidelity are bad.  Buy their index funds. I have both. They work, period.

I have $21,000 in Vanguard VWAHX and I invest other money with my proprietary hedge fund algorithm.  I believe in a barbell portfolio, low risk muni bonds at one end, and extremely high risk high reward options at the other.   

RunHappy

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Re: Case Study--Regretting some choices
« Reply #30 on: April 12, 2015, 01:05:35 PM »
So any advice on the worst case scenario?

Suppose the leasing company is unwilling to work with me, refuses to let me sublet, and basically wants me to pay up the full 13 months remaining?


I did this a couple of times in the past, due to job move, etc.  What I found is that if you move out, tell them you are vacating and want them to show the place as a available for rent, they typically have no problem with it.  Legally you will be on the hook to cover the lease until it is rented, but the apartment community makes more money by turning an apartment over, getting another security/pet deposit.

One option I have never tried, but only heard about:  You could also try to convert the lease to a month-to-month. you would end up paying more per month, but it would give you the option of leaving earlier.  I would try the first option though.