Author Topic: Options, Options; what would you advise?  (Read 3216 times)

Thinkum

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Options, Options; what would you advise?
« on: August 11, 2015, 01:35:01 PM »
Greetings all! I have a bit of a quandary and would love the input of some like-minded people. I am facing an endless crossroads in life and wonder what I/we, should do.

Background:
Both me and SO are from SoCA and moved to Dallas in mid 2013. I took a job with my company that was over here, it was a step towards building a career of sorts. Then late last year we bought a house after renting a little over a year. In February of this year we both quit our jobs to travel, visit family, and get married. Then a month later she got an email from an old co-worker about a good job opportunity and took it. We were able to do some traveling, but not nearly as much as I had planned. I got a PT job, but then quit it since it was not really worth the trouble.

Finances:
....

Complaint:
The newness of Dallas and Texas has worn off. Now we're wondering if we really want to live here or not. To be blunt, there is nothing holding us here, no family, no friends, and we're not really fond of the landscape either. Then of course there is the religious element that is everywhere. Public transportation outside of downtown is utter rubbish. There is a huge obsession with smoked meat and all sorts of nasty fried food. Then of course the whole "Tex-Mex", this never really made me go yum. Property taxes are high, insurance is high, weather can be all sorts of extremes, and oh, the soil is this hard clay and when it gets really dry it cracks. Well when it cracks and moves, so do all the homes sitting on top, so there are always foundation issues. So we're thinking of moving to another state.

Quandary:

1. Should we stay here?
COL is cheap, plenty of jobs, fairly central for travel within the states.

2. Should we both FT until full FI and then decide?
 
3. If we were to move, which would you recommend?
Back to SoCA to rent, Portland to rent, or Florida to rent? Any other suggestions are welcome. We would love to be near both mountains and sea. We were also looking at NC, but not sure though since it's also in the south.

I also question having a house. It's nice to finally have a place with no shared walls, no stairs, a garage, a garden of our own, a quiet neighborhood and also close to everything. We can walk to a major supermarket, and lots of other shops for stuff. Also within a 5 mile radius or less we have any store we ever need. So that is what makes this hard.

Sorry this was so long, but I can never talk about this stuff with people I know. I need some other critical thinkers input.

Thanks!

« Last Edit: August 20, 2016, 01:40:06 PM by Thinkum »

AZDude

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Re: Options, Options; what would you advise?
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2015, 01:39:28 PM »
In your situation, it would make sense to not worry too much about things and just move to (wherever) since there is nothing holding back from picking up and leaving again. Assuming that the spouse is on board with this plan. Try out a few cities and see which you like the best.

Thinkum

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Re: Options, Options; what would you advise?
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2015, 01:41:58 PM »
That is exactly what we have been pondering. We are tentatively planning on her quitting either after a full year or even sooner. Then to take short trips to different cities to see how they fit. The only reason CA is on the board is because our family is there and some of them are getting older. Plus, we sort of miss our old neighborhood. Thanks for your reply!

acroy

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Re: Options, Options; what would you advise?
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2015, 01:48:55 PM »
I'd say Yes to options #1 and #2. Stay in DFW, take advantage of the opportunities throwing themselves at you, and get set for life.

You'll then be in an interesting position. What are you going to live for? It's easy to want to 'get the most out of life' - travel, experiences, career, etc etc. But those are selfish and narrow. What are you putting into the world? How is it a better place because you're here? You'll have to find something worthwhile to do. Nice problem to have. Good luck! :)

Lucky Girl

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Re: Options, Options; what would you advise?
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2015, 01:53:42 PM »
OP, its a bit hard to understand your goals but it seems like you are interested in FI, but also want a nice place to live.  I'm originally from TX, so I'll try not to be offended by your pot-shots at smoked meat.  I miss a good brisket!

I think what you are looking for is the perfect situation, but I think you know it doesn't exist.  TX has lots of drawbacks, and because it does you also get a low COL.  SoCal and Portland are lovely, but high COL comes with it.  Florida must be on your list because you just haven't ever been there?  The only think going for it is the beach.

I think you need to determine what your specific goals are, and what you are willing to compromise on in the short term.  Also, what are your job opportunities in each location?  Options:

1.  Stay put, get a job, and FIRE in 7 years or less, at which point you can go wherever you want.
2.  Move to SoCal/Portland, rent and deal with close neighbors, get a job, FIRE in 7 years (or longer due to HCOL?) and then you can either stay or go.  The food in Portland is top notch, but I've dined at some crazy high-end restaurants there.  Can be expensive.

I've lived a lot of places, so I have come to learn that the grass is always greener.  Sometimes it can be a good idea to just stay put and get to know a place, especially if the COL is low.  Have you explored the hill country at all? 

Mother Fussbudget

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Re: Options, Options; what would you advise?
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2015, 02:00:48 PM »
You'll then be in an interesting position. What are you going to live for? It's easy to want to 'get the most out of life' - travel, experiences, career, etc etc. But those are selfish and narrow. What are you putting into the world? How is it a better place because you're here? You'll have to find something worthwhile to do. Nice problem to have. Good luck! :)
+1! 

There are many options...
It sounds like you're already on-board with this advice, but essentially it's:  Follow Your JOY / Follow Your Happiness. 

If you decide to relocate, will you convert your Dallas house into a rental property to generate a regular income stream
If you're thinking this way, post a question on the MMM landlording forum asking if anyone knows a good Dallas PM (Property Management) firm.

If part of your $600K was generating regular income (via rental properties, or mortgage notes - instead of being completely at the whim of the stock market), you might find you're already closer to FI than you might think.

Thinkum

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Re: Options, Options; what would you advise?
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2015, 02:28:08 PM »
Wow! Thanks for all the replies everyone!

Acroy: I have volunteered in the past and will again, it's always something I'm interested and compelled to do. Other than that, I have discovered I like having a garden and growing food and herbs. Thank you.

Lucky Girl: No offense intended, we indeed like to eat smoked meat. There are plenty of places that offer non-smoked meat, it's just surprising how often it's found on menus. I am definitely conscious of the fact that it's only been 2 years in a new state and less than a full year in our house. I am not overly fond of FL, we've been to Miami and the Keys. It's just that my SO loves the beach, so it's more her want than mine. I am more interested in CO, but being landlocked is odd. We have been to Palestine to the east and Cap Rock State Park in the west. We have not yet traveled south to Houston, Austin, or San Antonio. I appreciate your input!

Mother Fussbudget: I am definitely more concerned with following our happiness than more money and being eh. We have considered renting out our home, especially since it is paid off and in a really nice neighborhood. We can get at least $2500/month for it, which is fantastic! After all costs, I conservatively have put the annual cash flow at $20/k annually not counting any tax advantages we would capture. I have also considered investing in local RE instead of the stock market, but am not sure. I run spreadsheets and there are a lot of places where it makes sense. It's just the idea of being a landlord, even if a PM is concerned. I probably sound like a complainy pants, lol! I thank you for your input!

Mother Fussbudget

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Re: Options, Options; what would you advise?
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2015, 03:00:12 PM »
I have also considered investing in local RE instead of the stock market, but am not sure. I run spreadsheets and there are a lot of places where it makes sense. It's just the idea of being a landlord, even if a PM is concerned. I probably sound like a complainy pants, lol! I thank you for your input!
You could start by reading some of the book recommendations in the Real Estate and Landlording forum

And buying mortgage notes is as hands-off as it gets in real estate - buying seller financed mortgage notes with the property as the collateral.  But it's not something to do without research, as not all notes are created equal.  The home owner lives in, pays taxes on, and maintains the property (their home).  The property is the collateral on the note, and the mortgage check goes to YOU as the note holder.  Texan JW Warr @ AmericanNoteWarehouse.com has a good set of video tutorials covering the topic of mortgage notes.  They also sell notes (many places do)...  I'm leaning toward purchasing a note(s) from FCIexchange.com.  I'm only interested in mortgage notes that are:  performing, 1st position mortgages with owners with at least 20% equity.

Gondolin

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Re: Options, Options; what would you advise?
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2015, 03:19:15 PM »
If you plan on working beyond the sustenance level (whatever is necessary to cover annual expenses), don't neglect the effect of state income tax on your ability to save.

Florida and TX enjoy that sweet, sweet 0% rate. Oregon and California will be 4-9.3% depending on income level. Personally, I would stick with TX or FL until you are FI and don't need significant earned income. Then move back to the West Coast if the spirit moves you.


Late_Bloomer

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Re: Options, Options; what would you advise?
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2015, 04:22:37 PM »
I live in the DFW area as well, and yes, you are quite right about the whole foundation issue. If I had known this was how it was before moving here, I would of seriously considered picking a different location. One of the main reasons to move here was LCOL. Just as a side note to reinforce this...We've been in our home for 2 1/2 years and already have cracked foundation/cracked walls/pillar issues. As well as busted pipes which are under the concrete slab. I don't advise buying a house in Texas. Anyway, I'm just going to stick it out until we FIRE. We'll have our home paid off and we'll then just sell it. It cost us 137k but I'm hoping it will be worth as much or more in 14 years. I'm sure we can get 100k out of it at least. So in our case, we'll be moving, probably NW united states and buy another home for what our current one sells for and call it a wash. the states not that bad otherwise. Nice climate, central US location, LCOL, good job market. It might be worth it since you are already here, but if you haven't been here long, it may be better to leave.

Thinkum

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Re: Options, Options; what would you advise?
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2015, 05:18:17 PM »

You could start by reading some of the book recommendations in the Real Estate and Landlording forum

And buying mortgage notes is as hands-off as it gets in real estate - buying seller financed mortgage notes with the property as the collateral.  But it's not something to do without research, as not all notes are created equal.  The home owner lives in, pays taxes on, and maintains the property (their home).  The property is the collateral on the note, and the mortgage check goes to YOU as the note holder.  Texan JW Warr @ AmericanNoteWarehouse.com has a good set of video tutorials covering the topic of mortgage notes.  They also sell notes (many places do)...  I'm leaning toward purchasing a note(s) from FCIexchange.com.  I'm only interested in mortgage notes that are:  performing, 1st position mortgages with owners with at least 20% equity.

This is something I've read up on and lightly considered previously. Not sure I like it though, but thanks for the suggestion.


Thinkum

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Re: Options, Options; what would you advise?
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2015, 05:22:03 PM »
If you plan on working beyond the sustenance level (whatever is necessary to cover annual expenses), don't neglect the effect of state income tax on your ability to save.

Florida and TX enjoy that sweet, sweet 0% rate. Oregon and California will be 4-9.3% depending on income level. Personally, I would stick with TX or FL until you are FI and don't need significant earned income. Then move back to the West Coast if the spirit moves you.

Funny you should mention this as I just today created a total tax liability spreadsheet for the areas we've considered living in. State income tax, property tax, and sales tax were the considerations. Oregon, Portland in particular, is actually a lot less taxing than I thought it would be at 9.87%, Dallas is 10.06% for comparison. Florida was the lowest at 7.97%. Thanks for the input though.

Thinkum

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Re: Options, Options; what would you advise?
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2015, 05:30:57 PM »
I live in the DFW area as well, and yes, you are quite right about the whole foundation issue. If I had known this was how it was before moving here, I would of seriously considered picking a different location. One of the main reasons to move here was LCOL. Just as a side note to reinforce this...We've been in our home for 2 1/2 years and already have cracked foundation/cracked walls/pillar issues. As well as busted pipes which are under the concrete slab. I don't advise buying a house in Texas. Anyway, I'm just going to stick it out until we FIRE. We'll have our home paid off and we'll then just sell it. It cost us 137k but I'm hoping it will be worth as much or more in 14 years. I'm sure we can get 100k out of it at least. So in our case, we'll be moving, probably NW united states and buy another home for what our current one sells for and call it a wash. the states not that bad otherwise. Nice climate, central US location, LCOL, good job market. It might be worth it since you are already here, but if you haven't been here long, it may be better to leave.

Before we bought the house I had a structural engineer check the place out. Luckily our house was not bad and only had some mild settling. He recommended using a soaker hose to keep the area around the slab from cracking. You're right about the perks of the area though, which is why I'm torn. Thanks for your input, especially being in TX yourself!