Officially retired - our 3rd chapter of life

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-24-1997
Officially retired - our 3rd chapter of life
9
Sat, 08-23-2014 - 5:27pm

To start I have not read any of the posts below - will do asap.  As for my 1 yr. real estate stint - I basically quit.  I spent the year learning everything and the way it is today, both buyers and sellers can do everything themselves - no real estate agent needed.  The MLS and internet have pretty much taken everything away from agents so starting out it's more difficult and challenging than in previous years.  On the sellers side, you can pay an agent whatever the MLS fee is in your area and put your own listing online or if you choose, you can do it yourself online.  Sellers can do their own open houses & marketing for much less than an agent's commission fee.  As for buyers, they have no respect for agents and despite broker agreements that buyers sign, the buyers totally ignore them.  So buyers feel free to use multiple agents as they please.  Bottom line - the only people staying in business are mortgage brokers, appraisers, home inspectors & attorneys - not real estate agents  Mortgage brokers refuse to underwrite loans without an appraisal & home inspection so that's a guaranteed income.  Attorneys review the contracts and in this day & age, nobody will sign conracts without an attorney review.  As for real estate agents bringing together a buyer & seller - the internet does that now.  Agents are tripping over each other just to get a slice of the pie - that's how tough it is.  And at 60 yrs., I'm supposed to spend my time in a dog eat dog world of agents clamoring over each other to get 1 listing?  Please, I've worked all my life - I don't need this.

Since dh David retired from teaching this June, I pretty much called it quits and retired with him.  We've taken 2 short trips this summer and I've been spending time deep cleaning my house - had way too much clutter.  It's spotlessly clean now.  Also while sitting at the computer working in real estate, I've gained about 20 lbs.  Previously, working in retail for 13 yrs., I was walking a lot on the sales floor so that was my exercise.  Sitting at a computer all day is a fat gaining system that I can't afford to have.  So it's back to the treadmill.  What killed me is I was forced to buy clothes in size 16 which I never did before..

Next, as for living near New York City, well we may have to say adios in the near future.  Bottom line - my father in law is 93 & my Mom is 90 so we're staying here until at least my father in law passes.  He lives alone and at 93, he's doing OK.  He's about 60% deaf, goes shopping by himself, reads books, cooks meals & can function for the most part.  We talk to him & visit him several times a week.  Also we took him on a vacation to Delaware (he loves the horses).  As for my Mom, she lives with my sister so at least she has company but she is independent and able to do everything herself.  Please, please let David & I inherit their genes.  Both of our other parents died young, so we want to inherit the longevity parents genes.  Also my Mom is starting to go deaf but not as bad as my father in law - yet.

David & I reviewed our finances and financially we're OK.  The issue is the VERY high cost of living near New York City - housing, taxes, gas, entertainment, etc.  If you're working - you're income can always go up.  If you're retired on a fixed income - it's a whole different scenario.  So I've taken some closer looks at Nebraska, Florida, Oregon or Washington, Virginia & Colorado.  I've already been thru the sticker shock phase looking at how much cheaper it is to live anywhere outside the New York City area.  Gee whiz - just looking at property taxes alone had my mouth gaping open.  As a real estate agent I'm trying to show a simple 3 bedroom house with 1 bath that needs upgrades & located in a medocre neighborhood for $450,000. with property taxes of $12,000./yr..  By the way a nice 3 bedroom with 2 baths that's already upgraded & in a better neighborhood?  Try $800,000. with taxes of $18,000.   Obviously, we could sell our 1 bedroom co-op for $225,000. with HOA monthly fees of $1,100. and live somewhere else for much much less.

Kathy

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Sun, 08-24-2014 - 12:48am

The kids and grandkids were over today, and the issue of moving came up here.  Nobody wants us to move.  Everyone loves the house, us included, and since both kids are going to be in their condo/townhome for the forseeable future, having the big deck and yard here is great for the grandkids.   Realistically, as we age, the size of the house, along with the utilities on a house this size, and the taxes, will make this unsustainable for us.  However, as long as we can afford it, we will stay.  But even when the time comes, we won't move far.   We'll find a smaller single family house, on a smaller lot, iwith cheaper taxes, within 30 mins of where we are now.   All our friends and family are here.  We've had the same doctors and attended the same church for years.  We won't give that up.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-24-1997
Sun, 08-24-2014 - 7:29am

Sabr - Truth is David & I don't want to leave NYC either - our doctors & friends are here, both kids & living parents are nearby (our son recently moved from Conn. to NY).  David has been applying for temporary leave & substitute teaching jobs at suburban schools - but no offers. Most NYC suburban schools are very selective in hiring.  Also David doesn't want to drive more than 15 min. from home so he's restrictng his job search.  Reality is we're financially OK to live in NY but our lifestyle will be restricted i.e. we have money to pay the bills but travel, culture, theater, etc. will be severely restricted.  Outside of NYC, a $67,000. net income goes a lot farther.  The $67,000. includes full health insurance for David & Social Security, but I will have to pay separately for my coverage.. Currently, David is still collecting regular salary until Oct. 1st., then the pension kicks in.  As I said in my previous post, we are staying in NY until my father in law passes.  This will give us plenty of time to assess our finances in retirement and see how restrictive living here is in retirement.  Both of us don't want to move, but if we want to travel & enjoy life, we will move.  So I have plenty of time to do research, travel to these states and take a deep look at what living there is really like.  We're looking at places with low income taxes, property taxes, low or no sales taxes, low housing costs, low insurance costs & within 30 min. to a large city that offers arts, concerts, culture, etc. oh and it must have parks to walk and relax in.  As for weather, it's not a major factor - we've lived in NYC area our entire lives and we're so used to freezing temps, ice & snow, hot & humid summers, thunderstorms, nor'easters, a rare hurricane, etc.  We've never experienced tornadoes, fires, mudslides or earthquakes.  During our trip this summer to upstate NY, housing is cheaper but not as cheap as many other states in the U.S.

Kathy

Avatar for suzyk2118
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-1997
Sun, 08-24-2014 - 8:31am

STL fits that bill - lots of culture, sports, reasonable housing (and unreasonable - a bit high where we are) - obviously areas you don't want to be in but the majority is extremely safe....but be ready for hot, sticky summers! And ice in winter that makes it impossible to drove on unless you have 4wd (driving in Chicago in winter was much easier even with way more snow).

Avatar for nora_mcl
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-30-2011
Sun, 08-24-2014 - 12:18pm

I think we entered our "3rd Chapter of life" last April-though neither one of us had earned an income for many  years before then! Now we are the process of downsizing-& moving into a house that is smaller, in a town that is smaller & definitely with much less property. The reality of downsizing was made clear when Mike measured out rooms & then we had to figure out what would fit in them. But-with just the 2 of us (+ 2 dogs + 3 cats)-we need less. And we will make it work-we have to...contracts are signed!

Unlike you, Sabr, we are doing what is best for us. We are closer to 2 of our children-further from the other one. But all 3 have lived independently for so long-it is almost a 'moot-point'. We are moving for us-where we want to live out our time. We can walk almost everywhere-it is a very small community. And while I hate leaving friends behind, it is something we've done all our lives right up until we moved here. It is easier to stay in touch now with the internet than it has ever been. Our doctor has a medical summary ready for us to take with us, we can get a new dentist easily. The house we bought has been empty for awhile-& the neighbours have phoned us (here)to welcome us the neighbourhood-so I'm thinking new friends won't be hard to make.

When we were there last month-I was horrified to see all downtown parking is parallel parking!! I did that enough to get my licence 45yrs ago-have avoided it since. Mike said ''You'll get used to it". I said-"No, I'll walk!" The downtown is small-but there are a couple malls & larger cities aren't far away. Taxes will be less (we pay for the luxury of having waterfront here)-we don't have a mortgage now, we won't have one there. And while I've ordered plants to put in before Winter(73 of them)-I'm already trying to figure out where to put in a vegetable garden & bigger flower beds!

Even while we cared for Adam, with no regrets for that time of course, we'd discuss where we'd go "someday". Now that day has come-time for us. Others have to take over care/chauffeuring of my mother (she had 6 kids-I'm not an 'only' by any means)-Mike & I need to make use of what time is left for ourselves. Or that is how we look at it.

Nora

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2009
Sun, 08-24-2014 - 12:51pm

Kathy, I know a couple  that live within sight of the US/Canada border, on the NY side. The house cost was ridiculously cheap; they have a great house on a very large lot.. for 120K.  The same house, on a much smaller lot, would cost about $300K here. They like the small town they live in and have adjusted after living in large cities.

For entertainment, they are only 1 hr away across the border from two cities and  two hours from Montreal on 4-lane highways. And you cannot beat Montreal for entertainment. They are also near other NY towns on the border. People cross the border both ways there frequently for shopping, entertainment and just to go out for dinner. It is also a very pretty area. We were there in early August for an annual summer festival that straddled both sides of the border.

The only problem I think for a couple like you and your husband is that winters are more severe here. (Kathy, I don't consider the weather you have in the NY City area as severe. It is rather moderate, compared to our winter.) Before you pick an area to move, investigate the actual weather there. NY City's climate is moderated by its proximity to the Atlantic. In-land areas do not have that moderating effect.

We have no plans to move from this house.  This house is on a good size lot; a typical two-car garage house. Taxes are not that high.  We are not moving any time soon because, guite honestly, we have it good here. This house has triple in value since we bought it 15 years ago.  We would have to spend a lot of money to get anything similar. And the house is walkiing distance to stores and  to a transit hub station for trips downtown. And it is 10 minute drive to DH's office. He has no plans to retire for at least 6 years and then after that, I can see him working part-time.

What we are seeing here is young couples taking over their parents' houses. One of my neighbors, married daughter and family moved in with mom after dad died. The house is more than large enough for a family of 5. They renovated the house to give the young couple their own ensuite and the kids a good size bathroom. Two other neighbors, the parents moved out to a smaller condo and the young couple moved in and pay their parents rent.

So, we will stay here.Maybe one of my kids will take it over in the years to come.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-24-1997
Sun, 08-24-2014 - 3:35pm

Suzy, Nora & Mom_iteadrinker - Suzy, I have St. Louis on my list (would live in the suburbs - not the city).  Hot humid summers don't bother us - NYC has it too.  As for driving on ice - I hate it.  Depending on the town & NYC boroughs, some communities get cleaned quickily while others nearby have icy streets for days until it makes the headline news.  Then the city takes action.  Suzy, quick question - how is medical care in STL - I would need easy access to doctors.

 I know the area along the NY Canada border - there's no way I'm moving there.  Too rural, 2 hrs. to Montreal, even the towns along NY & Vermont is rural.  Only Burlington, VT is a city and it's small at that.  I would prefer St. Louis over Burlington.  And there's the long cold winters - forget it.  

As for parallel parking - I had to laugh at that one.  Here in NY - most street parking is parallel parking. 

Kathy

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Sun, 08-24-2014 - 4:08pm

Nora, even tho it helps our kids to watch the grandkids, it not just for them.  We are getting back just as much as we give.  The other day, I had Bree out in the wading pool when Ed came home.  Since he was there to watch her, I took the hose out to the garden to set up the sprinkler.  I heard her shrieking with laughter, and turned around to see my 6'4" husband crouched in the pool, while she poured buckets of water on his head.  She knows when Ed's car is coming up the road, and as soon as he parks, she's plastered to the door saying, "It's POPPA!!!" 

Whenever we try to work on something, she's right there.  She lays on the floor next to us, tries to take the vac or mop and do it herself, or climb on a chair to see.  We made pizza from scratch yesterday, and we had three bowls of dough to punch down.  Lolo & I each took one, but before Rae could get the last one, Bree had her fist in it.  If either of us go toward the door, or the baby gate, she's right behind us saying, "Wait for ME!"

Starting Monday, Layla is going to a Montessori daycare/school because she's just such a handfull.  Besides being colicky, she's cutting teeth.  And she's a GIANT.  She's 4 months old, 18 pounds, and 26 inches.  Even her head circumference is in the 95th percentile.  When I'm alone with her, I move her around the house in an umbrella stroller!!   But even tho she gives me a migrane, and a herniated disc, I love being with her.  She's starting to recognize me, and she smiles.  Bree was on the floor with her the other day during tummy time, trying to show her how to crawl.  It's the fun of having kids, without the stress.

Marie, I agree that you can find a more affordable home without having to move a day away from civilization, or to another state.  And I know far too many people who did move, and were back within a few years, because the reality of moving halfway across the country is VERY different than the dream.

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Sun, 08-24-2014 - 5:08pm

Kathy it sounds like you will stay busy in retirement. Nice that you have gotten a couple of little vacations this summer.

I notice that California is not on your list of potential states, its right up there with NY in terms of expensive. We hope to stay in our current home until "the end", hopefully it will not become too much for us to handle. Our property taxes are based on the purchase price (we bought in 1995), while they increase slightly each year due to voter approved bonds etc, they are still very low compared to what many must pay. But maintaining an old house (built in the 1920s) can get expensive. So, we'll see.

As for retirement, not for a few years for us. I'm practically "retired", I work PT for my dh and mostly can set my own schedule. Dh is 61 so still has a while before Social Security would kick in, but truthfully I think he needs the mental stimulation of his work, and I think he would get bored with many hours to fill. He has hobbies and interests but some of them are physical and his body is starting to complain of overuse so he will have to be careful. I tell him that when he turns 65 he can try to work part-time.

How are your kids doing? You mentioned your son, is he living in NYC? Where is your dd and what is she doing? Whatever happened to the bf & grad school?

Avatar for suzyk2118
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-1997
Sun, 08-24-2014 - 7:26pm

We have incredible doctors in STL - there's Washington University (huge medical school/campus/research institution) and Barnes hospital (dh works for both).  And many, many other hospitals with great care.  (and not much parallel parking here!)