Author Topic: Should I move?  (Read 1867 times)

IWanttoBelieve

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Should I move?
« on: August 28, 2016, 05:30:58 AM »
Hi fellow mustachians

since last time, I managed to repay my mortgage and am putting aside more than 50% of my net income as savings. You could say things are therefore ok. I could even consider going FIRE in 10-12 years (still way too long for me).
But.. (here is always one, isn't it?)

I am starting to be worried about my kids' educations. The local secondary school is OK. But that's it, it is just OK, and my kids (still in primary) are currently looking to be highly academic (that could change of course). And I know, through reading lots of statistics from Department of Education, newspapers, blogs and personal experience, that it is difficult to be a very good student in a "OK" school. You can be socially excluded, and teachers may not consider you as a priority. I know MMM considers schools a bit unnecessary, but I don't share that belief, and I do think that a good academic result is always a good back up in case things don't go to plan, and also that not everyone has the self drive and motivation to find what they like, self teach and make it work.

My options seem to be:
1- Selective private school which is currently a no-no: it would cost 20k per year * 7 years * 2 kids. That's more than 11 years of savings!
2- Moving to Oxford to a better secondary catchment area: moving costs (stamp duty, estate agent, removal costs, etc..) would be about 30k+, having to take a mortgage (it's damn expensive) would cost me 20k+ of interest, and moving to a flat would cost me about 27k over 12 year of maintenance costs that I do not have in a flat (share of grounds, elevator, etc..). Let's round that to a total of 80k, which is about 3 years of savings.
3- don't move :p

There are other more complex and niche options which require certain circumstances to align. There is an option 4 also similar to option 2 but without downsizing much but taking a much bigger mortgage and driving total cost to maybe 100-120k

Now, option 2 seems decent at first glance. But it means:
- taking a mortgage. Which means I will have to live again with that constant angst of losing my job and my roof. Which means I will have to return being subservient to my job. For 10-20 years depending on the size of the mortgage!
- It means that I will not be able to steer back my work-life balance in the right direction for another 3 years. And the current 10-12 years was already nearly too much to envision. I currently have about 2 months per year when I am genuinely depressed with very dark thoughts.
- those 80k are not an investment, they just go poof into the void
- I would become even more leveraged to house prices which may go up or down.
- it would mean downsizing significantly, and living in 100sqm all 4 of us. This is more than for many, but would still be a significant downsize and may mean we will no longer have a quiet room for any of us to vent down a bit alone.
- it's not all bad, Oxford would still offer rivers, meadows and forest within a few minutes walk, kids will experience life in a city (and what a beautiful city), we'll have more museum, theatres, restaurants around, friends will likely visit us more often than in our isolated village, schools much better, etc...
- drive to work would be broadly unchanged, faster off-peak, longer during peak.

Therefore looking at the above, I would think that it is the wrong thing to do and a mustachian would not do it. But then, contemplating option 3, I don't want to constantly face the regret that I failed my kids and that they missed their potential because I could not bother to work an extra 3 years.
I feel that whatever choice I make I'll end up feeling miserable...

marty998

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Re: Should I move?
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2016, 05:48:24 AM »
Option 2 sounds pretty good to me.

Yes schools matter, and yes if your kids are bright take it from me you do not want them mixing with the local rag tag bunch. Their teen years will be hell.


- those 80k are not an investment, they just go poof into the void
- I would become even more leveraged to house prices which may go up or down.
- it would mean downsizing significantly, and living in 100sqm all 4 of us. This is more than for many, but would still be a significant downsize and may mean we will no longer have a quiet room for any of us to vent down a bit alone.
- it's not all bad, Oxford would still offer rivers, meadows and forest within a few minutes walk, kids will experience life in a city (and what a beautiful city), we'll have more museum, theatres, restaurants around, friends will likely visit us more often than in our isolated village, schools much better, etc...
- drive to work would be broadly unchanged, faster off-peak, longer during peak.

Therefore looking at the above, I would think that it is the wrong thing to do and a mustachian would not do it. But then, contemplating option 3, I don't want to constantly face the regret that I failed my kids and that they missed their potential because I could not bother to work an extra 3 years.
I feel that whatever choice I make I'll end up feeling miserable...

In order of above points
- I would argue it is an investment. And a good one at that. Education generally has the best ROI of any investment you can think of.
- All investments can go up and down, nothing except cash is safe, and even that is highly debatable
- You can go vent outside in the rivers, meadows and forests.

Are your kids are the sort who would appreciate you making a sacrifice for them? Some don't care, but if they do, then it will be worth it.

dreams_and_discoveries

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Re: Should I move?
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2016, 07:08:01 AM »
Option 3.

Don't believe in private schools; an ok state school will cater for high performers and allow type kids to socialise with kids from a mix of society.

I went to a state comp in a kinda rough town,  got straight A's and teachers certainly gave me enough attention. 

A contraversial opinion coming up - do you really want your kids associating with just the kids of people who send them to private schools? They tend towards entitled, lazier kids who are taught to just buy their way out of any situation. 

For perspective, someone here has a journal which shows the negative affect of private schooling on those who don't want to follow a high achieving academic conventional path - it appears kids are not given options, just considered a failure if you don't conform.

IWanttoBelieve

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Re: Should I move?
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2016, 07:52:32 AM »
Option 3.

Don't believe in private schools; an ok state school will cater for high performers and allow type kids to socialise with kids from a mix of society.

I went to a state comp in a kinda rough town,  got straight A's and teachers certainly gave me enough attention. 

A contraversial opinion coming up - do you really want your kids associating with just the kids of people who send them to private schools? They tend towards entitled, lazier kids who are taught to just buy their way out of any situation. 

For perspective, someone here has a journal which shows the negative affect of private schooling on those who don't want to follow a high achieving academic conventional path - it appears kids are not given options, just considered a failure if you don't conform.

Option 2 is a state school, not a private. Also, it still has mixed abilities (on some average indicators, it has the same performance as school 3). But where in school 3 only 2 kids have a A* grade per class (and only 9 kids have A or more), school 2 has 6 kids with A* and 12 with A or more. It is normal, rather than exotic to be good there.

I'd like them to experience diversity, but I don't want them to feel excluded for being academic. Anecdotes should not substitute statistics, but since you mentioned your experience, in mine I actually reduced my grades on purpose to fit in... Shitty world if you ask, but kids and adults do tend to exclude things that are different, hence having an environment where being "good" at school is seen as normal rather than geeky is better. Not every kid has self motivation and drive to surmount their environment.

Dee18

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Re: Should I move?
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2016, 07:55:09 AM »
This is a big financial decision, so you might want more information.  (Or you may have it and just not have mentioned these details.). Have you visited the secondary school yourself?  Have you checked on what special courses or programs they have for high achieving students?  Are there private after school or summer programs you could use to supplement the public secondary school?  With the private school, are scholarships available?  Would your children qualify?   Have you visited the private school?

I went through public schools all the way through grad school and planned the same for my kids.  I was smart and nerdy, but the high school was large enough that I found plenty of like minded friends.  (My girlfriends from high school are scattered across the US but we get our nerdy selves together every two years now that our own children are grown and we can travel whenever) Despite my public school dedication, I switched my daughter to private school in grade 8 because she was not thriving at public school.  She blossomed at private school. She did not receive any scholarships, so it cost $90,000 for five years, but then she earned a full scholarship to college.  I also realized how superior her education was to mine.  She learned skills in analysis, writing, and even public speaking that I did not develop until college and grad school.  It would have been a tougher financial choice with two. She was sometimes envious of the wealth of others there, as many of the kids lived in huge houses and were given new cars on their 16th birthdays, but we had some good talks about living in debt vs. debt free and about how we are in the top 1% of the world economically.

Best of luck with this decision.

lhamo

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Re: Should I move?
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2016, 02:00:56 PM »
What about academic scholarships to private (aka public in the UK) institutions?

There is no guarantee, of course, but if they are gifted academically they might stand a good chance of getting into the United World College of the Atlantic (full disclosure: I'm an alumna, and a huge fan...)

http://www.atlanticcollege.org/british-students-through-the-national-committee-of-great-britain/

The IB curriculum is very rigorous, and Atlantic College typically has among the strongest IB results globally each year.  There are always many Oxbridge acceptances each year(though admittedly, it may be harder to get into Oxbridge from AC simply because they don't want to accept too many students from one institution), as well as a high percentage of students admitted to other top-tier UK, European, and North American universities.  Highly diverse student body drawn from throughout the world (including many refugee students). 

There may be other options as well.

Personally, I think it is too early for you to be WORRYING about this -- the secondary school in your current area may be very different in a few years time -- but not to early to be researching alternative options, including ones that do not involve moving to Oxford.

IWanttoBelieve

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Re: Should I move?
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2016, 11:32:24 AM »
This is a big financial decision, so you might want more information.  (Or you may have it and just not have mentioned these details.). Have you visited the secondary school yourself?  Have you checked on what special courses or programs they have for high achieving students?  Are there private after school or summer programs you could use to supplement the public secondary school?  With the private school, are scholarships available?  Would your children qualify?   Have you visited the private school?

I went through public schools all the way through grad school and planned the same for my kids.  I was smart and nerdy, but the high school was large enough that I found plenty of like minded friends.  (My girlfriends from high school are scattered across the US but we get our nerdy selves together every two years now that our own children are grown and we can travel whenever) Despite my public school dedication, I switched my daughter to private school in grade 8 because she was not thriving at public school.  She blossomed at private school. She did not receive any scholarships, so it cost $90,000 for five years, but then she earned a full scholarship to college.  I also realized how superior her education was to mine.  She learned skills in analysis, writing, and even public speaking that I did not develop until college and grad school.  It would have been a tougher financial choice with two. She was sometimes envious of the wealth of others there, as many of the kids lived in huge houses and were given new cars on their 16th birthdays, but we had some good talks about living in debt vs. debt free and about how we are in the top 1% of the world economically.

Best of luck with this decision.

Not that interested in Private, even if the selective ones are fantastic (the ones without selection barely compare to state schools). Yes had a look and visisted a few. Scholarships are pathetic (maybe 10%), and bursaries are mean tested, which means zero at my revenue levels. In short, too expensive currently.