Author Topic: Living situation (brainstorm session)  (Read 1102 times)

FiguringItOut

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Living situation (brainstorm session)
« on: October 15, 2018, 02:55:41 PM »
Hi all,

I need some brainstorming about my future living arrangements.  I am not even sure this is too early to be thinking about this or not.

Current situation:
43 y.o.
Live in one of the outer boroughs of NYC - HCOL
Rent 3-bedroom apartment - $2,400/mo
Been living in this apartment since June 2015, and my rent hasn't been increased since then.  I don't anticipate my rent increasing for at least few more years.  Right now, I am well below the market for my area.
2 kids - 14 and 16 y.o., both in high schools (different schools, one is zoned)
kid 1 (16 yo) will be starting college in Sept 2020.  Dead set on going out of state.
kid 2 (14 yo) will be starting college in Sept 2022, plans to stay in NYC - local college, but live on campus or apt share.
I work in NYC and am tied to the City due to my narrow work niche.  Other areas where I may find jobs are Austin, Miami, San Francisco, and possibly Chicago.  None of these other places appeal to me.  My plan is when I'm free to move, move to LCO area eventually and find related part-time job.  It should pay the bills and let my investments grow some more.

Things I need to figure out for myself:
1. When kid 1 goes to college and moves out of state - stay in the apt with kid 2 or move to smaller place?  In 2 year 2 bedroom may not be cheaper than rent I'm paying for 3-bed right now.
2. What do I do when kid 2 also starts college?
3. I am legally responsible to provide both of them with housing (obviously), and they will be coming back on holidays, summer break, etc.  I can't just move to a 1-bed or studio and be there by myself.
4. I need to allow for the possibility that college life is not perfect and one or both of them may return home while figuring out next plan of action. (They are both aware that I will not be enabling adult children, but I don't disregard the possibility of second start.  I believe that I am responsible for them until they are 22 y.o. - ages of 4-yr college graduation.  After that they are on their own, happy to have them visit, but I don't feel I need to always have a bed available and ready for them.)
5. On the other hand, I will be living alone in a 3-bedroom apartment.
6. I need to stay in the City and in my job/field for another 8 years (for both kids to finish 4-yr college plus another 1-2 years) to build up my savings.
7. After that I plan to move away from NYC, but haven't figured out where to yet.
8. Gave some thought to possible AirBnB or room rental once kids are out.  AirBnB will be a no go.  I am in a very residential area.  20 min walk or bus to the subway and then another 25-35 min subway ride to Manhattan.  There are zero AirBnB rentals  in my area.  Room rental is only possible if I can get landlord agree to it, which is not a given and may increase my rent permanently without steady roommate income).
9. When kids are back with me for college holidays, summer breaks, etc they each need their own rooms.  No sharing.  This won't work with full time roommate, but would work with AirBnB.
10.  They can spend some time living with their dad over breaks, etc, but I am their primary parent.  I cannot count on how long they'd be able to stay at their dads, etc, and even if they would want to, beyond occasional weekend visit.


I don't know if I am thinking about these things too early or not.
But it has been on my mind for a while now, and I am stumped with my options.  So I figured I'll through this out to the beehive for some brainstorm.

What do you think I should consider in my decisions?  What I shouldn't?
What do you think I'm missing from the big picture?
What do you suggest I concentrate on for now and what decisions can be put off until later?
What would be your actions in 2-4 years if you were in my situation?

Please note - I am not interest in suggestions on how to change my situation right now.  Until one or both kids are in colleges, I am not moving or changing anything.


ender

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Re: Living situation (brainstorm session)
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2018, 03:30:50 PM »
Quote
What do you suggest I concentrate on for now and what decisions can be put off until later?
What would be your actions in 2-4 years if you were in my situation?

What decision are you trying to make right now?

It feels like any actionable change is so far in the future (2+ years minimum and more likely 4+) that planning a practical change doesn't seem meaningful.

If it was me, I'd basically say "I will worry about this problem on X date" and not think about it until then. All my suggestions would be to reevaluate then, for all you know your landlord may increase rent significantly in the next few years and change any plans completely. But either way you will have a better picture of your future rent situation, your children's college situation, and future career goals.

ixtap

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Re: Living situation (brainstorm session)
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2018, 03:44:29 PM »
It will all depend on rental rates and such when the time comes.

Now, it is different if you dream of moving to a particular LCOL for a specific reason besides saving money. Like, if you wanted to be able to go skiing regularly or you love the country air. If that had been the case, then you are looking for a timeline and a savings goal. But whether or not to move when your kid goes to college in two years? I certainly changed my mind in the last two years of high school, partly because I began to truly understand the costs. Ditto for the kid who insists that they will be living independently 4 years from now. Yeah, kid, how do you plan on funding that? Furthermore, some kids go to the school they set their heart on at a young age and then find out it isn't for them, so perhaps you should not make any decisions until the first one is through their first year of college.

If you do decide to downsize, I am not sure why your kids can't share or crash in the living room for a summer or some other creative solution? Even if they are opposite genders, rooms can be divided up, tents can be used indoors, etc...

nessness

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Re: Living situation (brainstorm session)
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2018, 04:04:48 PM »
I don't really understand why your kids can't room share on breaks from school, but if you're committed to allowing them to stay with you and have their own rooms, I don't see what other option you have than to stay in a 3-bedroom until your oldest is done with college. I mean, I guess you could alternate who stays with you and who stays with their dad, but that seems kinda crappy as they wouldn't get to spend time with each other.

But honestly, I wouldn't even worry about this until your oldest is actually in college, or at least until they've been accepted to and committed to attending a particular school. A lot can change in 2-4 years.

Rosy

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Re: Living situation (brainstorm session)
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2018, 04:35:05 PM »
Wars have been lost and won in 2-4 years:)

Until your first born has made it through the first year of college perhaps even all of college, with #2 also through their first year of college, I wouldn't change a thing.
You have no control over rent and $2400 in a HCOL area for a three bedroom doesn't sound too bad.

Roommate situations can be tricky, but depending on what you can rent it out for - it may well be worth it.
I see no reason why two kids couldn't share one room as a temporary arrangement - at worst, they don't want to share and so one of them has to couch surf while they are home from school. No big deal.

You could wait to rent out until kid#2 is in college. If, say one room rents for $1K that is $12K for four years - so letting $48K or double that $96K slide in favor of having a room available for each kid is in your budget then fine.
College for two will be expensive enough.

All in all you are looking at too many uncertainties and too many years down the road with limited control over the outcome - so I'd say, chill for now. Enjoy that you have two smart kids with a bright future and a job and a life in an HCOL area that you can afford.
If anything I'd spent time on finding grants and scholarships instead:)
 

AMandM

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Re: Living situation (brainstorm session)
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2018, 09:16:40 PM »
I totally understand (near-)adult kids not sharing a room--especially if it's not really a joint room, but rather A gets bumped out of his own room by a roommate and into B's room. We had two college kids sharing for a few months and it was very hard for them. Neither had enough space, the neatnik was oppressed by the strewer's stuff being out while the strewer couldn't find things the neatnik had tidied away, .... Home is home at least till they're out of college.

Also, I hate hate hate moving. So for me, I'd plan not to move at least till the younger is in college, and probably not till both are graduated and/or have had their second start. That way you can move from your 3br into whatever size you want permanently.  I know it feels wasteful to have one person living in a 3-br, but it's not really only one person, it's really three.

If you really want to reduce your housing costs once the kids are in college, I would look into AirBnB again; I agree it doesn't sound like you have a good location for tourists on a jaunt, but it might be appealing to someone coming for work for a short-term stay, or to someone who wants to be near a hospitalized relative, etc. Maybe you could rent out a room to a student who'd be gone during Christmas and summer breaks when your kids are home.

FiguringItOut

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Re: Living situation (brainstorm session)
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2018, 07:58:39 AM »
Thank you all.
Even though you all said to do nothing for now, this has help a lot.
Just typing it all out yesterday cleared my head a little.  And as you all pointed out, it is too early to be planning anything for the time being.

AmandM, you reply resonated with me the most.  Home is home.  Absolutely. 
The rest will fall into place.


mm1970

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Re: Living situation (brainstorm session)
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2018, 01:46:36 PM »
I wouldn't stress about it at all if I were you, honestly.  It's kind of early.

A few thoughts:
- someone asked why they can't share a room, I'd point out that if it's one of each (boy/girl) - no room sharing.  And depending on the personalities, even if same sex - no sharing.

- You could always get a 2BR and take the couch/ sofabed if they are both home...long long in the future.

My parents divorced when I was a teenager.  My brother stayed with dad, I went with mom.

I had a home to go to in the first 2 years of college, drafty trailer or not.  Then my mom remarried and moved to his house that was a 1 bedroom.

On holidays, I slept on a bed in the basement.  Wasn't really a bedroom.
At some point, my brother moved in there.  So he had space to figure his life out, but it wasn't exactly comfortable.  Because in rainy season it would flood some.
(I think this was post military for him, so he was probably 24 or so.  I was older and still in the military at that point).

For visits home during college in the basement?  It was fine.  It wasn't "home", but I'd stopped moving "home" for summers after freshman year.

My husband started talking about the future when kid #1 goes to college, and we can dismantle the bunk beds.  Our boys are 6 years apart.  Um, no. Where's kid #1 going to sleep on holidays?  Not the couch buddy.  We've got a long road of bunk beds.

FiguringItOut

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Re: Living situation (brainstorm session)
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2018, 02:07:57 PM »
I wouldn't stress about it at all if I were you, honestly.  It's kind of early.

A few thoughts:
- someone asked why they can't share a room, I'd point out that if it's one of each (boy/girl) - no room sharing.  And depending on the personalities, even if same sex - no sharing.

- You could always get a 2BR and take the couch/ sofabed if they are both home...long long in the future.

My parents divorced when I was a teenager.  My brother stayed with dad, I went with mom.

I had a home to go to in the first 2 years of college, drafty trailer or not.  Then my mom remarried and moved to his house that was a 1 bedroom.

On holidays, I slept on a bed in the basement.  Wasn't really a bedroom.
At some point, my brother moved in there.  So he had space to figure his life out, but it wasn't exactly comfortable.  Because in rainy season it would flood some.
(I think this was post military for him, so he was probably 24 or so.  I was older and still in the military at that point).

For visits home during college in the basement?  It was fine.  It wasn't "home", but I'd stopped moving "home" for summers after freshman year.

My husband started talking about the future when kid #1 goes to college, and we can dismantle the bunk beds.  Our boys are 6 years apart.  Um, no. Where's kid #1 going to sleep on holidays?  Not the couch buddy.  We've got a long road of bunk beds.

Thank you.

It always surprises me in a shocking way that people here always defer to room sharing, etc, even when in my past posts and this one too I clearly state that my kids do not and will not share a room regardless of genders.

What you describing with the bed in the basement, I can see that work, as there is still some privacy down there.  As far as couch/sofabed in the living room, I can't see that working for more than 1-2 nights maximum.  All three of us, both of my kids and myself have rather large personal bubbles and we need privacy and quite space we each can retrieve to for relaxation and rest.

Regardless, putting this post up helped me a lot to to list things out and compose my thoughts.  I feel like my brain is not trying to resolve this problem *right now* anymore after this exercise.


ender

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Re: Living situation (brainstorm session)
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2018, 02:37:07 PM »
It always surprises me in a shocking way that people here always defer to room sharing, etc, even when in my past posts and this one too I clearly state that my kids do not and will not share a room regardless of genders.

There are a lot of people who have "non-negotiables" in life that when asked to justify, end up being negotiable. Many case studies start this way, large chunks of money in "have to spend on X every month..."  but once people ask press and ask questions about, the OP realizes there are other options.

This may not be the case for your situation but I guess I'm surprised you're surprised people ask questions on that when it's a detail with fairly significant financial implications that you only briefly touched on when you introduced your situation.