Author Topic: Moving, with kids, to FIRE  (Read 1830 times)

Arbitrage

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Moving, with kids, to FIRE
« on: May 24, 2018, 12:57:09 PM »
I know there have been other discussions on this topic, but this one is mine.

Having recently become a FIRE convert (rather than FIRkind-ofE), it has become clear to me that leaving our HCOLA (coastal SoCal) needs to be part of the plan. 

Not leaving SoCal would probably push out our FIRE date (right now I'm aiming for 4 years or so, age 44) by 5 years.  Even aside from the expense, I'm not particularly in love with the place, what with the traffic/overcrowding/pollution, and haven't ever seen it as my desired retirement destination.  Right now, the area I'm targeting to move to is Ashland, OR.  We have no family or friends in the area, but are seriously considering it for a number of reasons (climate, outdoors, schools, culture, etc). 

Here are the issues:
1. Leaving friends - we have a few very close friends who live about an hour away from us.  They're understandably not thrilled with this idea.  This would probably be the hardest part for us as well.  We do have some other friends as well that we'd be leaving behind, but it's really the close ones we'd miss. 

2. Leaving family - As far as family, our roots are actually in the midwest, but I do have some relatives in the area whom we see occasionally.  My Mother-in-Law also lives nearby; she moved to SoCal to be near us/the grandkids.  Whether or not she would be willing to move again is up in the air.  I'm not counting on it, but it's possible.

3. Uprooting the kids - unfortunate, but kids generally recover.  I'm aiming to have them settled in the new area before the older one gets to middle school. 

4. Logistical - Sell the house before the move?  Before FIRE?  Carry two houses for a short time?  Rent first?  I do want to take a couple of vacations up there to make sure we enjoy it, having never actually visited before.  Of course, Ashland itself isn't what's driving these issues; we'll face them wherever we decide to move.

Anyone have advice and/or experience on any of these issues?  Anything else to consider?  I know that people definitely caution against the loss of social circles when moving to retire.  However, I don't see a great way around it in our situation, while still being able to live somewhere I'd really enjoy.  I do think that Ashland is a single-day driveable distance from SoCal, at least for me (11 hours or so), and I could definitely be on board with driving down to stay with friends for a week or two 1-2 times per year.  Not the same as seeing your friends several times a month, I recognize.

Cassie

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Re: Moving, with kids, to FIRE
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2018, 01:53:16 PM »
I would visit a few times to try and get a feel for the community and people. We have moved for jobs a few times and as a liberal democrat I fit in better on the West Coast then I did when we lived in Kansas. I would look at COL and what type of things there are to do to see if itís a match.

mozar

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Re: Moving, with kids, to FIRE
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2018, 11:37:08 PM »
You would be giving up a lot. I would consider all other options first like downsizing, moving somewhere cheaper but nearby, living with MIL etc.

FireHiker

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Re: Moving, with kids, to FIRE
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2018, 05:08:29 PM »
We are in a very similar boat: So Cal, can FIRE in approx 5-7 years if we move, at which point the younger kids will be 11 and 13 (if 5 years). My oldest is 17 and finishing up his junior year of high school; I am committed to staying in place for 5 years because we LOVE our elementary school and need both jobs to cash flow 4 years of college for the oldest.

We do not love So Cal, and have our hearts set on retiring in Durango, CO. It is not LCOL, but it is L(er enough)COL that we could make it work. We absolutely love Durango; it is a perfect fit for us in nearly every way and I look up real estate there daily...

We have complications with my husband's family being local here, and I would feel bad moving from my MIL but, eh, all of his sisters moved away at some point while they had kids at home still. If we re-locate with kids we will do it before the middle one goes to high school. If he starts high school here and we haven't moved then we'll commit to the 6 years to get them both through school here, but I can't imagine being able to FIRE in place here.

So, I get your quandary and don't have an answer yet. We have 5-6 years to figure it out. In the meantime I am researching the crap out of everything that interests me in Durango, and we plan to vacation there multiple times in different seasons (have only been in the summer). I have some friends locally but after my closest friend died last year from cancer I have felt a little adrift that way. There are enough like-minded people in Durango with similar interests that I think I could find a new "tribe" there. We really liked Ashland when we passed through there on a previous vacation as well; best of luck with your decision.

nessness

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Re: Moving, with kids, to FIRE
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2018, 09:10:59 AM »
Do you telework? I'm surprised "getting a new job" isn't on your list of concerns.

I would probably recommend renting for a year or so before buying. We recently moved and sold our house and bought a new one immediately, which has more or less worked out for us, but it was very stressful, and while I love our neighborhood, in hindsight I wish we'd picked somewhere closer to my job (Google maps significantly underestimated my commute time). And we also had the benefit of being pretty familiar with the city we were moving to, which it sounds like you don't.

Arbitrage

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Re: Moving, with kids, to FIRE
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2018, 11:31:02 AM »
Thanks for the responses. 

It's definitely a lot to think about, and would be a pretty major upheaval.  It's pretty hard to think about staying put if it means at least 3 extra years (probably more realistic than 5 if we're working at it) of the rat race.  I'm getting tired of it.  However, it's worth thinking about whether a downshift in place might be an option.

I remember spending a day in Durango in my youth.  Very cool town.  DW isn't a big fan of snow, so places like that are out for us!

As far as getting a new job in the new place - I don't plan to work, at least not for a while.  The point would be to do this in order to enable FIRE.  I do have interest in picking up more coding skills, and possibly using that to eventually do some part-time/contract work, preferably on a telework basis. 

fuzzy math

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Re: Moving, with kids, to FIRE
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2018, 07:42:22 AM »
Ashland is cool from the bit I know of it(it's also on my maybe FIRE list) but you will be in a bubble culturally. Medford will be your big city (Costco, hospital/medical care etc) and culturally/politically they are very different. I hope you do it and report back on how Ashland is for the rest of us considering it :D

Also that whole area is a big truck stop for I5. I have never lived in a truck stop town, but from what I can tell of them whenever I stop I feel vaguely skeeved out.

TassieFI

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Re: Moving, with kids, to FIRE
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2018, 02:52:06 AM »
Eight years ago my husband and I decided to pack up our 11 year old daughter and 10 year old dog in order to relocate from western Canada to Australia facing much of the same issues as you are.  Our family all lived reasonably close by, our daughter was happy at school, we were going to an area of Australia where we didnít know anyone, and my husband gave up a very well paying job all so that we could have a better quality of life and try something different.  Our thinking was that if things didnít work out where we decided move to then hey we can try somewhere else. 

Iíd say in our experience after having done a few international moves as a family that itís important to have a plan and be flexible.  Also involve your whole family (kids as well highlighting what an adventure it would be to try something new).  Make sure you have money set aside in case things donít work in your new location, as there is nothing worse than feeling ďstuckĒ somewhere because you canít afford to move.  Give yourself a minimum of a year to settle into a new location as you may experience a lot of potential ups and downs as a family settling into a new location.

With regards to friends, the great thing about having kids in school is that you will meet a lot of potential friends through your kids being in school, especially if you have the time to be involved with parent groups. 

I guess what itís always boiled down to for us (as to whether to move or stay) is what would be your biggest source of regret? Trying something new and it not working out or not trying at all?  It sounds like you arenít overly thrilled where you currently are, so for me Iíd totally go for trying something new!  All the other stuff will work itself out...

All the best :-)

All the best on what you decide!

Arbitrage

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Re: Moving, with kids, to FIRE
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2018, 05:50:41 AM »
Eight years ago my husband and I decided to pack up our 11 year old daughter and 10 year old dog in order to relocate from western Canada to Australia facing much of the same issues as you are.  Our family all lived reasonably close by, our daughter was happy at school, we were going to an area of Australia where we didnít know anyone, and my husband gave up a very well paying job all so that we could have a better quality of life and try something different.  Our thinking was that if things didnít work out where we decided move to then hey we can try somewhere else. 

Iíd say in our experience after having done a few international moves as a family that itís important to have a plan and be flexible.  Also involve your whole family (kids as well highlighting what an adventure it would be to try something new).  Make sure you have money set aside in case things donít work in your new location, as there is nothing worse than feeling ďstuckĒ somewhere because you canít afford to move.  Give yourself a minimum of a year to settle into a new location as you may experience a lot of potential ups and downs as a family settling into a new location.

With regards to friends, the great thing about having kids in school is that you will meet a lot of potential friends through your kids being in school, especially if you have the time to be involved with parent groups. 

I guess what itís always boiled down to for us (as to whether to move or stay) is what would be your biggest source of regret? Trying something new and it not working out or not trying at all?  It sounds like you arenít overly thrilled where you currently are, so for me Iíd totally go for trying something new!  All the other stuff will work itself out...

All the best :-)

All the best on what you decide!

Thanks for the perspective, and moving countries is a bigger leap than we're contemplating!  Glad to hear it's worked out.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Moving, with kids, to FIRE
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2018, 07:02:02 AM »
I would not buy a house while you still own your current house. Owning 2 houses will cost a lot of stress.
Maybe you could rent a place the first year in Ashland, while renting out your current house in SoCal? And then find out whether you like it or whether you want to return.

Have you thought about other options to FIRE faster while living in a HCOL place? Could you start working FT or PT?
Are there other cheaper places to live that are closer to your friends and MIL? Can you save a lot on your spending? Can you share a house with MIL?

StarBright

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Re: Moving, with kids, to FIRE
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2018, 08:28:33 AM »
We haven't done this but my SIL's family did (Moving from San Diego to Texas for better work/life balance in LCOL area).

They seem to like Texas and they didn't like the rat raciness of SD county. They've been in TX for a couple of years and their biggest issue is lack of a support system -BUT - they lived down the street from my in-laws and a few miles away from other siblings, and aunts and uncles. They really underestimated how much they relied on that built in family network.

But also- don't take for granted the cheap(er)/but still quality colleges of the UC system if college is a priority for your kids. My SIL is seriously talking about sending her kids back to CA to stay with their grandma and grandpa their senior years to establish residency for in-state tuition at the UCs. This seems silly to me because one of the main reasons they moved to Texas was because they didn't like the school systems where they were. But it is a consideration.

When it came to selling their house - it took like 3 days on red fin. I'm not sure where you are, but my understanding is that the real estate market is still absolutely bonkers in desirable locations. If you know you are never coming back to CA then I'd just sell. If there is a possibility that you might come back - definitely hold on to the house because you might never be able to get back in.

FWIW - I have a few friends who grew up in Ashland and they moved to SoCal :) But then again, that was to find work during the recession. It would probably be a lovely area to retire to. It really is a super charming little town.

Also FWIW - DH and I now live in the Midwest, SoCal is not for us. If you have family in the midwest is that an option for you? There are areas that are just as charming as Ashland (if not the same climate) that might put you closer to a support network.

Arbitrage

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Re: Moving, with kids, to FIRE
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2018, 10:38:42 AM »
I would not buy a house while you still own your current house. Owning 2 houses will cost a lot of stress.
Maybe you could rent a place the first year in Ashland, while renting out your current house in SoCal? And then find out whether you like it or whether you want to return.

Have you thought about other options to FIRE faster while living in a HCOL place? Could you start working FT or PT?
Are there other cheaper places to live that are closer to your friends and MIL? Can you save a lot on your spending? Can you share a house with MIL?

There are some other places to live that might be closer, but we're pretty climate-constrained.  My son is heat-intolerant due to a medical/genetic condition, and my DW has a strong preference to avoid places with significant snow/ice.  That doesn't leave much, aside from very expensive places (like where we live now). 

Saving a lot on our spending is theoretically an option, but would require more buy-in from DW than I currently have.  Our biggest offenders right now (not counting mortgage and child care, which should disappear during FIRE) are groceries and gifts, and she's not willing to make deep cuts to those.  I'm trimming around the edges only. 

Living with MIL - not sure if all involved would survive.  Still, it might happen eventually if health forces the situation.

Arbitrage

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Re: Moving, with kids, to FIRE
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2018, 10:41:47 AM »
We haven't done this but my SIL's family did (Moving from San Diego to Texas for better work/life balance in LCOL area).

They seem to like Texas and they didn't like the rat raciness of SD county. They've been in TX for a couple of years and their biggest issue is lack of a support system -BUT - they lived down the street from my in-laws and a few miles away from other siblings, and aunts and uncles. They really underestimated how much they relied on that built in family network.

But also- don't take for granted the cheap(er)/but still quality colleges of the UC system if college is a priority for your kids. My SIL is seriously talking about sending her kids back to CA to stay with their grandma and grandpa their senior years to establish residency for in-state tuition at the UCs. This seems silly to me because one of the main reasons they moved to Texas was because they didn't like the school systems where they were. But it is a consideration.

When it came to selling their house - it took like 3 days on red fin. I'm not sure where you are, but my understanding is that the real estate market is still absolutely bonkers in desirable locations. If you know you are never coming back to CA then I'd just sell. If there is a possibility that you might come back - definitely hold on to the house because you might never be able to get back in.

FWIW - I have a few friends who grew up in Ashland and they moved to SoCal :) But then again, that was to find work during the recession. It would probably be a lovely area to retire to. It really is a super charming little town.

Also FWIW - DH and I now live in the Midwest, SoCal is not for us. If you have family in the midwest is that an option for you? There are areas that are just as charming as Ashland (if not the same climate) that might put you closer to a support network.

Loss of potential in-state tuition to UC schools is definitely on my list of concerns.  On balance, it's not worth it to stay in CA for that, but it's certainly a significant benefit to living in this expensive state. 

I'd be ok with relocating to the midwest, but DW has pretty much nixed that.  Her idea of retirement does not involve that level of snow/ice.

Arbitrage

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Re: Moving, with kids, to FIRE
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2018, 08:19:57 AM »
Took a short vacation, with friends, to Bend, OR.  Bend was one of the first places I focused on in my internet search for FIRE freedom.  At the time I started this thread, I'd sort of moved off of Bend onto Ashland, due to better weather for DW (though slightly worse weather for my heat-sensitive son) and more cultural activities for MIL, should she choose to join us.

After that trip, I just can't see staying and being happy in Los Angeles.  Bend was amazing (and is right back on the list).  A vacation isn't the same as living someplace, and I know the winters up there are long and cold, but...man, I really need to grow that stash, and quickly!  Also need to keep convincing DW to FIRE.  She doesn't really like her job, and really doesn't like the pace of her life, but also has a lot of fear of the unknown.  ER and moving away is a lot of unknown.

Hoping to take a family trip up to Ashland in a couple of months.