Miss FFBF and I have a housing dilemma. You could also view it as an opportunity. Don't worry we didn't buy a Zoo and we're not planning on that (just yet), I'll come onto the picture later.
We had a long chat about what we should do and we couldn't come up with a definitive answer. We're just going to sit on it for now, ponder away and wait for a time when the perfect answer pops into our heads. That's how problem solving works right?!
Yesterday Miss FFBF said "Why don't you write about it on your Blog and see what people think?"
So here I am!
What's the Dilemma?
Miss FBFF owns a house in Cambridgeshire. It was given to her from her mother when her grandad passed away a few years ago. Her grandad lived there most of his life. It's a relatively small bungalow that needs a bit of care and attention. The house is sat in the middle of two other bungalows either side. Miss FFBF's two aunties live either side. The three houses are set in a very big plot of land, with huge gardens. There's even a substantial lake in back. It's in the middle of nowhere, right out in the sticks (which we love!). The house has no mortgage and currently Miss FFBF is paying (with the help of her mum) for the upkeep of the house.
Due to the set up of the house, which I'll discuss in more detail shortly, she's unable to rent it out or sell it.
So, she's paying for a house she doesn't live in and is unable to get any money for it.
Why don't we ditch our house and move there?!
So far the dilemma seems easy to overcome. Sell or rent our current house out and move down there. This is still an option, but it's not so clear cut for me.
The house is set in between the other two houses. Imagine three houses on one plot of land. For example, the one auntie is a keen gardener and she has taken over the garden that sits on Miss FFBF's land. There are no fences separating the three houses. The dogs from either side of the bungalow walk in between the gardens as they wish, and so do the relatives.
It doesn't really feel like a house in it's own right, more like a block or a wing within a bigger house. Now Miss FFBF believes if we lived there, we would have our privacy and her relatives would respect that. I think she's right, they would, but it wouldn't be as private as my home life is currently and I love my house!
The Bungalow is essentially her grandads house and it might always feel that way. It's filled with all of his belongings, and there's a lot of stuff. It's a lovely little place, but it's a bit outdated. I think it might be difficult for it to ever become our house, and if we wanted to make any changes to the house, especially externally, we would need to consult with her relatives. To put things in perspective, her two aunties are in their 60's and they've lived in this plot their entire life. I think they would be accommodating but I imagine it would be difficult for them to adjust to a young couple living in between them and making decisions that would impact their houses. I haven't discussed this before on my Blog, but I HATE impacting on other people. The thought of being an inconvenience is almost a fear for me.
I love my current home. It was built in 2002. It's modern, comfortable, lovable and it's ours. I've had a large say in what it looks and feels like. I'm not sure I'll have that same freedom.
I'm also very happy in my job. I work for a fantastic company, and although I feel like I want a new challenge now and again, I could do a lot worse! If we moved to Cambridge, I would not be able to work in my current role or for the company. This sets it's own challenge too.
I think I would struggle to find another job that's as good and enjoyable as mine.
I sell Outdoor Education Holidays, it's a beautiful thing to sell. The company I work for embrace the fact they're a 'family' company, although they're huge. The directors know everyone by first name and are so down to earth. I have one of the most caring bosses you could ever wish to work for, and I adore my team. The job allows me to work 8.30am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday. There's zero pressure to stay late and I live a 10 minute bike ride away from work. My job allows me a lot of free time (more than most full time jobs), which in turn allows me to write for this Blog and explore other interests. My boss and other people believe I have a lot of potential to succeed within the company if I stay. I would score my current job 9 out of 10. It would become a 10 with a new refreshing challenge and a higher salary.
I don't know this for sure, but If I leave I'm very unlikely to work for such a supportive and caring company, sell a product or service that I love and believe in to this level, allows me (guilt-free) time outside of work, that is a short commute away from where I live, that gives me that much freedom to manage how I want to manage, to be led by such an inspiring and supportive team and make as much money as I do. I'll have to sacrifice something, maybe a few things, perhaps a lot of things - who knows! This may seem pessimistic to some, but I believe I'm just being realistic. If I class my job 9 out of 10, I would put myself in a rare percentage of this country. There's a small chance I'll match or improve my current position, and a larger chance that I'll walk into something I don't like.
I am fearful of leaving my current situation, which is very comfortable and satisfying, to walk into another life that's much cheaper to live, but might not be as enjoyable.
There is of course the chance that I could get a similar job satisfaction in Cambridge which is a more affluent area, earn more money, and have lower expenses. I could be FI in years 3-5 years!
This is my dilemma - Current happiness and satisfaction vs increased disposable income and an early FI date.
Extra details and thoughts
- We're on a 5 yr fixed term mortgage currently, we'd receive some heavy fees for leaving early if we sold it. We haven't researched if it's possible to rent our house out without re mortgaging for a set period whilst we live in Cambridge. That could be an option.
- I know I mentioned this but I need to clarify it. We cannot sell the Bungalow or rent the it out.
- Miss FFBF would love to make this move. She's a nurse so work is much easier to find and she'd happily live with her family. It hinges more on me.
- I'm chasing FI, but I do believe in enjoying the ride. You only live once and I'm not prepared to have a job that I hate to get to FI quicker. I want to at least find one that's 7 or 8 out of 10. I would like spare time to do hobbies and write, and I want to work for a company I believe in and respect. I'm aware that limits my options.
- It would make a brilliant piece for this Blog. I can remember when Dividend Mantra wrote his post on leaving his life in Florida for Michigan. I was totally gripped with this story. I think people would be interested in how I get on? Would that be right?
- I left a previous job after University due to money alone, and I regretted it. I loved the previous company and I didn't want to leave, but I couldn't handle being on £14k a year with a degree. I went to a tough sales job, which I hated, and left within a year to join my current company. I've been here for 8 years now!
- I'm uncomfortable with handouts. I like to earn my keep. It feels like a gift, and although it would take me closer to FI, it would feel like I've cheated (just a little bit). This is just my mentality though, and I'll probably be able to shake it. I wouldn't be 100% comfortable with it though.
- My expenses would reduce from £813 pm to around £450-£500 pm. If I took £500 pm as an example - £125,000 would allow me to be FI on a 4% return. I would have approx £45,000 in my Freedom Fund, and I'd be receiving over £2,000 a year from dividends.
We bought a Zoo
I watched the film 'We bought a zoo' yesterday, after I had been recommended to do so. My initial impression was, that looks awful. I'm a Matt Damon fan, but "come on!". I took their word, and gave it a go, and I have to say I loved it. I'm not going to do a film review don't worry. It's a life affirming film that makes you think about stuff.
There were a couple of quotes and clear message from the film, which I valued and wanted to share:
- 20 seconds of Courage - "You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it." Matt Damon's character
- Why Not? - In response to: "Why did you buy this place" and "Why'd you do it" Matt Damon's character says "Why not."
This type of attitude is firmly in my brain right now. 'Be brave' and 'why not?'.
I'm a cautious person by nature, I like a challenge, but I'm not stupid. Where does our dilemma sit with you guys?
Would this be an easy decision for you, or do you sympathise with my predicament?
I mean this question more than normal when I ask - What do you think?
Labels: Frugal Living, Strategy