Author Topic: Divergent housing and location goals in ER -- help us become "Yes, and" people  (Read 1751 times)


  • Handlebar Stache
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Barring a total collapse of the economy and assuming that some sort of viable fix to Obamacare is found, my husband and I will FIRE within 4-5 years.  We talk about it quite a bit, but I notice that our discussions focus on the process to get there (the saving and investing, the downshifting of careers).  We're still in pretty ramped up work mode, so it's probably a form of escapism.  I need help on how to have fruitful discussions on our hopes for ER, especially when we might have some divergent goals.  I don't want either of us to feel badgered in coming around to the other's point of view.  I just think we need to have candid conversation about what we want.

Housing is one point of disagreement.  We love our current house (which we built), but dislike the lot it's on.  We agree that there is too much mowing and that we won't be staying here in ER. He's sold on a condo, and I'm not.  Condo pros, as I see them:  lock the door and travel, zero time spent on exterior home maintenance -- especially mowing (which we both dread).  Condo cons, as I see them:  some HOAs can be a real pain, no space for outdoor gardening, lack of privacy...  That's just a partial list. 

I've proposed a couple of times that we try to find a smaller home on a manageable city lot and live in it like a condo.  We could do a lot of xeriscaping, cut down on turf grass, and hire out the stuff (e.g. snow removal) that is difficult for us to do.  (He has rheumatoid arthritis, which is manageable but not curable.)  One of my ER dreams is to have a small, private urban yard where I can xeriscape and keep a kitchen garden.  When I say kitchen garden I mean:  raised beds and gravel paths.  Possible garden shed out back.  A nice patio with a pergola... and maybe even an outside kitchen or brick oven.  I like the idea of having outdoor spaces that are private and where I can putter in my gardens.  (It is one of the things I look forward to in ER and would like to grow and preserve more of our own food.)

For instance (see attached).

I almost feel like we are horse-trading.  There are things we definitely enjoy doing together, but I also want us to have these individual pursuits that we can immerse ourselves in deeply -- otherwise neither of us will be happy.

I understand that this is not his dream, but it is my dream.  I think I'll go nuts if I feel hemmed in where we live.


  • Pencil Stache
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You can make your land down to little or no mowing. My in-laws have a little bit of grass area, but most of their lot they made a beautifully landscaped wooded area. They have lots of trees and around them is plenty of pine straw, pine cones, etc, with stone paths weaving through them. I don't know the size of their lot, but it's very large - well over an acre.

Another possibility is, like you said, paying for help to do things you don't want to do. My in-laws don't mow or weed anything. They have a guy who does that stuff for them. They worked until 65 and are retired now, but they have their yard guy's pay built into their budget and can easily afford it.


  • Senior Mustachian
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It seems you could both have your housing needs met by purchasing the right type of house, putting in the right landscaping and being willing to hire out bigger maintenance. Given your husband's health condition, I would only look at new construction or very durable types of housing like concrete block. If mobility is a future concern for your husband, also evaluate the house based on using assistive devices.

You don't want a wooden frame house built in 1982 with single pane windows and an old roof. I know this because I own one and it is NOT low maintenance ;)