Author Topic: Designing a new life in a new location - Melbourne (Aus)  (Read 3683 times)

Trouble

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Designing a new life in a new location - Melbourne (Aus)
« on: July 16, 2015, 06:40:48 AM »
Hubby and I are in the fortunate position of being able to move to a new location (to Melbourne from Darwin) and start from scratch with designing our new life. We know some of the stuff we want and think we know the area we want to live in but I'd really love some advice on what specifics to think about before we move.
I really love how MMM really thought out his area for maximum happy living, and that's what I'm hoping to achieve with this move.

Details:
- 2 adults (31 & 32), 2 children (baby and 4yo) and a large-ish dog
- Both will be starting from scratch with jobs he wants to start his own business (which is why we chose Melbourne that's where all the raw product is shipped to) and I will be starting up my own party plan business again (feel free to face punch, but I like the lifestyle it affords while being able to stay at home with the kids).
- We want to design a lifestyle that is completely bikeable to school, library, supermarket, playgroups and train station so as to minimise car usage
- Ideally we would like to stay in the same school zone so our son won't have to move
- We want to be able to purchase a home within 3 years so we can stop and really make a home to suit our needs we want aquaponics, a veggie garden, fruit trees and chickens
- I want us to be financially independent as soon as possible but I don't want that to come at the detriment of spending time with kids now (oh what I wish I had have known when I was 19 years old!)
- We will most likely have one more child

Questions:
1. Rating bikeability?
2. Rating schools?
3. Choosing an area with low rates? The area we think we want to live in (Werribee or Hillside) are growth areas, how do you find out things like rates for certain areas?
4. What things should I be questioning to find out the best location? I really have no idea having never had to make a conscious decision about this before.

Thanks for reading, any advice or more questions are appreciated :)

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Designing a new life in a new location - Melbourne (Aus)
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2015, 07:38:49 AM »
If you're wanting to have chickens and fruit trees and that, you might have trouble with the new suburbs. Most of the new subdivisions have big houses on tiny blocks, so there's not much yard.

If you're not commuting to inner Melbourne every day, it might even be worth looking a bit further out to somewhere semi-regional (like Bacchus Marsh if you're keen on the west). Not really a Mustachian option if you're commuting though.

I believe the Walkscore website works for Australia (for walking only). Of course price is going to be a factor as well. Spending mega bucks on a house means FI's going to take longer.

Perhaps come and have a look around various areas and see what you like the most.

Trouble

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Re: Designing a new life in a new location - Melbourne (Aus)
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2015, 05:06:46 PM »
Thanks for the reply alsoknownasdean.

We went for a visit in May so that's why we settled on hillside and Werribee, rent seems low which is a bonus when we have no confirmed income to start with. Werribee is taking the lead due to being an older more established suburb (so bigger block sizes, smaller houses etc).

We checked out Bacchus Marsh but it's way too hilly and I can see myself using that as a perfect "must use the car" excuse. It's a beautiful area though.

Thanks for the tip on walkscore, I'll check it out!

john c

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Re: Designing a new life in a new location - Melbourne (Aus)
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2015, 06:37:31 PM »
How long are you planning for the ramp-up phase of your businesses?  How long will it take to reach break-even?  How long until you earn a living wage?  What source of income are you planning to use to live on until your businesses break even?

Trouble

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Re: Designing a new life in a new location - Melbourne (Aus)
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2015, 12:50:45 AM »
Hi john,
Great questions!
We have 45 weeks of hubby's income coming in before there is a big level of uncertainty, he's getting medically discharged from the military. There *could* be ongoing money after that, but I don't want to plan for it as apparently it can be a fight to get.
We also have about 2-3 years of living expenses saved up we can use if absolutely needed but I'd much prefer to use that to be FI or purchase a house.
There should also be a payout from the military "sorry we stuffed your back and you now live in chronic pain" but how much that would be is anyone's guess. Probably more than $20k and less than $80k.

Ramp up phase for mine? Should be able to get us a (just) liveable income by 12 months with fairly negligible startup costs. It should continue to increase for as long as I work at it.

Ramp up phase for hubby? Dunno. He's building a party-plan with beer company. He has been working on the admin/website/staff training side while still employed so it should (fingers crossed) be ready to go once we arrive in Melbourne. Unfortunately I can't get in his ear too much on it as he's the one who has run a successful business (restaurant) before and I haven't..
I have asked him about the "at what point do we stop and accept it doesn't work" point, but can't recall a decision being made on that.

cashball

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Re: Designing a new life in a new location - Melbourne (Aus)
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2015, 01:01:22 AM »
If you're not worried about proximity to Melbourne, maybe look at Ballarat or some of the areas out to the southeast?

Plenty of areas that are nice and flat (for easy riding) and lower cost to rent/buy housing. Cable and NBN fibre internet too if that's your thing - could be useful if you're running businesses from home (eg: posting pics and videos doesn't take all night)

I guess you need to balance that with business opportunities for the both of you though - places like Werribee don't really feel like a separate town/city, while Ballarat and Bacchus Marsh do. Might limit your potential market depending on what you're offering?

Wife and I have been looking hard at Ballarat because housing is so much cheaper (and on bigger blocks) and I do software development from home so I can work from anywhere with a solid internet connection. We'd read good things about some of the schools there too but no kids yet. Driving around there it seemed ideal for bikes because it was nice and flat and didn't have insane Melbourne traffic.

One good thing about Werribee: it's roughly halfway between Melbourne and Geelong so there's a huge potential market within an hour's drive. I think Ballarat falls inside that radius too, which would give you the state's three main cities to serve.

Sparkie

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Re: Designing a new life in a new location - Melbourne (Aus)
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2015, 09:29:13 PM »
Have a look around the Dandenong Ranges. Cheap housing, village/country atmosphere, chickens etc considered normal, mainline train station in Belgrave, good schools, not too hilly for bikes once you're up here, etc

I've been here for a couple of years and love it. There's a real community vibe which I suspect may be lacking in the newer suburbs?

deborah

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Re: Designing a new life in a new location - Melbourne (Aus)
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2015, 03:20:16 AM »
The east to north of Melbourne were where most of the market gardens used to be - Dandenong Ranges, Arthur's Creek, Warrendyte, Kinglake - and the further west and south you go, the less rainfall there is, and the less fertile it is. It is no wonder that the water catchments are all in the east and north. It also gets warmer in the west - the Dandenongs are bitterly cold.

However, these are all places which are more prone to fire - especially the Dandenongs.

The west hasn't historically grown as fast as the east, so it is closer to the city. However, it is the "disadvantaged west" and has always had fewer good schools, most of the industry, and very little in the way of tertiary education. My parents were both involved in education. Things may be changing, but education availability in the west would need to have had a lot of upgrading to be anything like that in the east.

Werribee is certainly a sweet spot in the west, and it might be better than the rest of the west - but it is still hotter and less fertile.

Having grown up in the Belgrave area, I am surprised that anyone would call it "reasonably flat", but it definitely is quite a nice area, and the train line is quite good. The Dandenongs are also more embracing of alternate lifestyle things like aquaponics (although it has a lot of frosts and the fish might freeze).

The north is possibly the best from an educational perspective, as La Trobe University is there.

By the way Dandenong (the suburb) is nowhere near the Dandenongs (Dandenong Ranges, Mount Dandenong).

Ozstache

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Re: Designing a new life in a new location - Melbourne (Aus)
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2015, 04:54:44 AM »
Will hubby have served long enough to eligible for the Defence subsidised home loan? If so, he can get a certificate valid for 12 months after discharge that would get him the subsidised home loan if you buy a house within 12 months of getting out. I acknowledge that you are talking of 3 years delay in buying, not 1, but it is worth about $5000 tax-free in your pocket a year on the max home loan on the top tier. See http://www.dhoas.gov.au/subsidy-certificates.html for more info.

Also, make sure both of you get along to a transition seminar, where they'll tell you about the above and many other entitlements you should exercise before/after he gets out.

BTW, I am ex-military and went through the transition process 18 months ago, so if you have any questions on the process let me know.

Trouble

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Re: Designing a new life in a new location - Melbourne (Aus)
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2015, 05:35:47 AM »
Thanks for the recommendations Deborah, Sparkle and Cashball.
Dandenong looks lovely but talking to hubby he's of a 'hell no' opinion :(
Ballarat is too far out for what we want.

Sparkle, the 'community vibe' is why we chose Werribee over Hillside (newer suburb), it is older and the council seems to be quite proactive with helping new businesses get established.

Ozstache - yep, we could get the DHOAS loan. The 3 year timeline is within it (as far as I checked out briefly). I believe you have to get the certificate within 2 years of discharge and the certificate is valid for 12 months from that date. I won't be taking my brief research as gospel though and will be getting a definite answer within the timeline so I don't *just* miss out. Hubby will be on the top tier (yay!) Thanks for the reminder on the transition seminar, I really need to get along to one of those - he has already been to one or two.
How have you found the mental side of getting out and transitioning to civilian life? Any tips on supporting him and maybe what went through your head in the first 12 months 'on the other side'? He's been in for almost 15 years.

Ozstache

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Re: Designing a new life in a new location - Melbourne (Aus)
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2015, 05:15:24 PM »
Ozstache - yep, we could get the DHOAS loan. The 3 year timeline is within it (as far as I checked out briefly). I believe you have to get the certificate within 2 years of discharge and the certificate is valid for 12 months from that date. I won't be taking my brief research as gospel though and will be getting a definite answer within the timeline so I don't *just* miss out. Hubby will be on the top tier (yay!) Thanks for the reminder on the transition seminar, I really need to get along to one of those - he has already been to one or two.
How have you found the mental side of getting out and transitioning to civilian life? Any tips on supporting him and maybe what went through your head in the first 12 months 'on the other side'? He's been in for almost 15 years.
I wasn't aware that you had up to 2 years to apply for the DHOAS certificate, as I already had the loan when I got out hence didn't need to check the specifics for eligibility, so you are good for potentially up to 3 years. This link confirms it: http://www.dhoas.gov.au/separation-medicaldeath-surviving-partners.html (second dot point). Good pickup!

Re mental side of transitioning, I had completed 30 years service and had also joined when I was 16 years old, so I was quite institutionalised with the military side of life. In my favour, I was Air Force, which is generally considered to be the most civilian-like of the three services, so that helped minimise the transitional delta. I was also fortunate to score a fully funded Master's degree from Defence for when I got out, so I had a year of study to help me transition to transitioning. The ability for me to apply and be approved for this course came from information I received at a transition seminar, so as I said these seminars are definitely worth the effort to attend and potentially pick up on one of these gems (a $20K gem in my case!).

One of the biggest helps for my wife and I in addition to the standard transition seminar was for both of us to go to a free VVCS stepping out seminar, which dealt specifically with the emotional side of transition. Yes, it was a bit touchy-feely but in being so it was helpful in uncovering actual and potential emotional issues in transferring and be able to discuss them with your partner and (only if you wanted to) other participants experiencing similar issues and/or a trained counselor there. In my view, this will be be one of the best ways for you to find out ways to support him through transition, not to mention for him to understand any issues you may identify. See http://www.vvcs.gov.au/Services/GroupPrograms/stepping-out.htm.

Re my first 12 month transition experience, as I said above most of that was done with me studying for my Master's so I was largely occupied. Nonetheless I studied mostly from home, so there was that whole getting used to me being home all the time. The first three months of that were a little trying, as my wife was quite set in her ways with how she did housework and did not really want my "help" initially. It took some time, but she eventually realised that I was going to be around home a lot more for the forseeable future and with her working (casual hours) and me not it would be appropriate for me to take on some housework. Fast forward to now and I do a reasonable share of housework. Other than this, my transition to ER was quite smooth and I find I can count the number of days I miss working on no hands!
« Last Edit: July 20, 2015, 05:37:53 PM by Ozstache »