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Thread: Making big lifestyle upgrades in retirement?

  1. #21
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    When you buy into cohousing, the people and community are the most important thing to check out carefully. They will determine the success of living in the community. The physical plant is pretty unimportant.

    And changes in the group over time can have a positive or disastrous effect on life in the community. Followed the cohousing website and message board for years.

  2. #22
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    It is indeed all ages with diverse residents, but I think technically it's not cohousing. It's a for-profit B-corp owned and directed by the builder. However, once there are enough homes and residents, there will be an HOA that governs things according to the CCRs.

    I know these can be fraught, and I'm not sure how I feel about it. The vision of the place is in line with my own, but personalities are fickle and turnover can result in peace or war overnight.

    There are regular resident meetings/zooms that I might be able to join as a guest. Still waiting to hear back about this.

    SteveinMN, thanks for your careful overview. I know the pandemic has fogged everything, but my current decision is not riding solely on it. I'm just adding it to the other reasons I was already eyeing detached housing.

    Mainly noise. While I've been lucky to have mostly quiet neighbors, occasionally I'm traumatized by loud bangs when people slam doors, drop things, move furniture, or host shindigs. This has been my first experience sharing floors and ceilings, and I'm feeling my tolerance reaching its limits.

    I have tried to practice mindfulness with this -- letting things go -- but am realizing/accepting that I'm not meant to be disturbed! A cottage would not be silent either, but at least any neighbor noises would not rattle the architecture.

    Health expenses -- duly noted. Currently on COBRA too but will switch to ACA in January. Or expanded Medicaid. Amazingly, I would qualify if I can draw down strategically to minimize capital gains.

    Wait a year -- also duly noted. I may or may not do this. I've been thinking about housing for a while, so this is not a whim or a sudden "I can't take it anymore." Just trying to be smart about grabbing a good opportunity vs. making a careless leap. There's no rush, though, so I'm doing my homework.

    Whether I'm "retired" now or not is up to me. I had been working from home for many years and can opt back in if I want (economy willing). So any change in housing would be a change in office too.

  3. #23
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    3 years ago we moved from a heart of downtown high rise 550 sq ft apartment, to a single story 800sq ft house, one mile from downtown. Itís over 100 years old. Our monthly housing/utilities/tax/insurance cost is about 500 less monthly.

    Itís so much quieter. We have nice neighbors but itís good to not share any walls.

  4. #24
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    Quick update. The place looks better after a couple of visits and more research. But there's a snag with getting a loan. Not so easy when you're not earning a steady W-2 income. Lenders don't care about the 4% rule and have their own formulas. Bottom line is I'd have to pay cash. It would be 20% of my egg, plus CGT on the liquidated shares. But without a mortgage, I could get by on a 2% drawdown, say 2.5% for some margin.

    20% of total assets in real estate seems high to me, so at the moment I'm leaning toward the "wait a year" advice above. Or until I decide to go back to work.

  5. #25
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oddball View Post
    Quick update. The place looks better after a couple of visits and more research. But there's a snag with getting a loan. Not so easy when you're not earning a steady W-2 income. Lenders don't care about the 4% rule and have their own formulas. Bottom line is I'd have to pay cash. It would be 20% of my egg, plus CGT on the liquidated shares. But without a mortgage, I could get by on a 2% drawdown, say 2.5% for some margin. 20% of total assets in real estate seems high to me, so at the moment I'm leaning toward the "wait a year" advice above. Or until I decide to go back to work.
    20% in non-income producing real estate, your home is kind of high. You are cautious to look at it that way. Most people would think thatís fine.

  6. #26
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    It would be so cool if you could rent there for a year and see if you liked the communal aspect before buying.

    You can usually get a mortgage if you show a steady withdrawal from the account--like you take a distribution of x per month, they will often accept that. My brother did that.

  7. #27
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    There's a lot to be said for actually owning a home outright.

    And my house probably occupies half of my retirement nut, at least. I haven't figured what SS and my Pension amount to in the mix.

    I'd keep an eye on that property.

  8. #28
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    If this is a builder owned operation, can it be sold?
    As Cicero said, ďGratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.Ē

  9. #29
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    Such an interesting discussion. To anyone under age 60 who is balancing work-life and finances: my experience is that it is very hard to predict what your body and your emotions will do as of age 65 and older. I thought I would work full time until age 70. At age 65 I hit a wall both physically and emotionally and white knuckled another year to retire at age 66. I'm *so glad* that I didn't over-extend financially and that I could pull that plug at 66.

    That said, if you are a person who is sensitive to noise, setting yourself up in a quiet environment might be well worth some sacrifices in other areas.

    Good luck and let us know how you do with this over time.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oddball View Post
    Quick update. The place looks better after a couple of visits and more research. But there's a snag with getting a loan. Not so easy when you're not earning a steady W-2 income. Lenders don't care about the 4% rule and have their own formulas. Bottom line is I'd have to pay cash. It would be 20% of my egg, plus CGT on the liquidated shares. But without a mortgage, I could get by on a 2% drawdown, say 2.5% for some margin.

    20% of total assets in real estate seems high to me, so at the moment I'm leaning toward the "wait a year" advice above. Or until I decide to go back to work.
    We have our primary home and a mountain cabin. 26% of total assets. No debt. From my viewpoint, 20% is fine. However, only you can decide if that feels safe for you.

    I realize you're still young. Keep in mind, many folks over 50 have a very hard time getting hired especially after a gap in employment. I don't know what your work has been nor how your job market looks. I just don't want you to assume you can jump back into a job because you want one.

    You have much to consider as you make decisions for your next life chapter.

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