Author Topic: Case Study: Stay put, renovate, tear down and rebuild, or move?  (Read 12629 times)


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Re: Case Study: Stay put, renovate, tear down and rebuild, or move?
« Reply #50 on: April 12, 2015, 02:19:00 PM »

I think you were pretty clear in the original post that you are planning to retire early, that you save and invest substantially, and therefore you are a legitimate member of the FIRE-seeking community.  So thanks for posting.  I welcome your post with an open heart.

 You were also pretty clear that you what you want is advice on what to do with your house (stand pat, remodel, move, etc). It sounds from your posts that you feel this decision should be made in the context that the connections with wealthy people obtained by living and entertaining in an expensive manner has a significant positive effect on your kids. 

That basis for the analysis you're seeking is outside the normal scope of this blog because it directly conflicts with the viewpoint of Mr. MM and most of the readers.  You're asking for something that people can't give because they don't believe in it.  I don't think they should attack you, and I think your care for your children is extremely well meant.  Realistically, your decision needs to be made by balancing factors that only you can judge:  How much associational benefit you think they will get vs what you will spend.  That's a judgement call outside the scope of this forum.

My guess re the house is you'll be happiest if you figure out a remodel that you like.  Total guess, though!

That said, I am curious about your extremely strong conviction that socializing with the wealthy is critical to top-level careers.  I haven't gotten business that way, so I don't know.  Is most of your money earned by connections made in such socializing?

I have seen often in life that people do make big hiring decisions via referral from people they trust.  It  looks like both "insiderness" and competence make a difference.  Good luck in giving your children a head start on both.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2015, 02:23:06 PM by BarrettSun »


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Re: Case Study: Stay put, renovate, tear down and rebuild, or move?
« Reply #51 on: April 13, 2015, 04:57:30 PM »
Don't forget, Joe Kennedy came from meager means, had success and essentially set out to make his son president.    That son died trying to fly a top secret heroic mission in WWII.    The next one made it and was assassinated, and the next one...Be careful what you wish for.

Honestly, this isn't coming from a place of jealousy.    I came from a wealthy family that pushed success in the same way you seem to be doing.     Most of the other wealthy people in our neighborhood became philandering drug addicts by the time I was in college.   They were some of the richest, most unhappy people I've ever met.    I wouldn't ever want my children to be around that element.    It was a really dangerous, creepy vibe.   YMMV

I've had the unique experience of existing both in the very wealthy and the very hopeless areas of society within my relatively short lifetime.   The wealthy experience was granted to me by birth, and the hopeless was granted by a misbegotten later youth spent in drug houses in what many people would deem the ghetto.    Remarkably, I've found that the expressions on the faces of both the elite and the forgotten are largely the same.    It's sort of a mixture between blank and angry.    A challenge to "come fuck with me, I will destroy you."    Really though it said "'I'm desperately holding on to what I have and I'm scared to death."     I'm sure we've all seen this expression in ghettos, Native American reservations or developing countries.    Stop and look next time you're in Whole Foods though, the expressions are the same.   

While I find the personal anecdotes interesting and instructive, I don't think they are particularly relevant or accurate. 

The Kennedy's?  Seriously?

I also doubt that "most of the other wealthy people in our neighborhood became philandering drug addicts by the time I was in college," unless you lived in a Hollywood movie.  Most of the affluent communities across the US are comprised of people who are much better than the "average," not just in household income, but in emphasizing family values (i.e. principles most would agree on in the realm of human decency), building community, abiding by the law, prioritizing education and understanding what brings true happiness in life.  The fictionalized stereotype of the average wealthy family and community being dysfunctional and horrible places to live are a myth, and if the experiences you've shared with the not-well-adjusted wealthy are the only ones you've come across then I would conclude that you may not have interacted with very many wealthy people.

We all know individuals who lost everything during the financial crisis just 6-7 years ago.  Buying houses and stocks at inflated levels, coupled with job loss and maybe some health issues or other uncontrollable events caused some people to become 'unlucky'.  They are the exceptions.

And just as their unfortunate experience doesn't make buying a home or investing in stocks bad financial choices for everyone else, neither should exaggerated anecdotes in identifying the exceptions in life (including a political dynasty, knowing a rich person who was a drug addict and unfaithful to his spouse, and comparing the hopelessness of the evil rich to that of the most hopeless and needy in society) be used to categorically determine the worth, happiness and human experience of a group of people who happen to have money.
How are the Kennedy's not a good example of the epistemology that you're trying push?    Excel, know the right people, establish a legacy.    Is that not the same as hobnobbing, private schools and performing at an elite level?

I disagree with your assessment of wealthy communities.    I grew up in a wealthy neighborhood and spent my youth working at some very exclusive country clubs and doing construction for some high end developments.    I can tell you story after story of depravity.     From teenage parties  where rich kids would pay one of their friends ridiculous amounts of money to basically torture him, spreading icy hot on his balls, whipping him with belts etc while everyone stared and laughed.    Later they ordered prostitutes to service the house.     I also attended adult parties at mansions fueled by cocaine and booze where everyone's kids ran wild and the adults took turns with each others wives.    I ended up leaving one when a few multimillionaires tried to get my mom and girlfriend into bed after plying them with shots(separately thank god).

I honestly don't think this is isolated.    I've heard similar stories from other people that grew up in these types of communities.

My wife has a PhD in child psychology and owns a consulting firm, I used to be an airline pilot.    We're not exactly slouches and definitely capitalists.   Still, we choose to send our kids to public schools and not to push very many activities on them for a reason.    There's little to be gained from "tiger momming" and much to be lost with an unhappy childhood.    Just ask my therapist.


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Re: Case Study: Stay put, renovate, tear down and rebuild, or move?
« Reply #52 on: April 13, 2015, 05:53:32 PM »
Quote from: SanDiegoFIRE
We actually don't consume a lot or spend a lot on material things, which is why the housing decision has not been an easy one.

I'm honestly really intrigued. I would love to see a detailed breakdown of exactly how you spend 250k-400k per year. Your posts are very vague with comments of how expensive it is to buy experiences for your kids.

If you had the ability to give your children the resources and opportunities to do whatever they want, but not so much that they would feel like doing nothing, would you?

No. Also, I'm glad my parents didn't have that ability.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2015, 06:07:35 PM by badger1988 »