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Hi from Northern VA!
Old 10-13-2016, 11:58 AM   #1
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Hi from Northern VA!

Hi, I am from Northern Virginia near Washington DC. My wife, son and I have lived here for the past 17 years. Currently I am CFO of a small software company (which sounds much more glamorous than it is, trust me) where I have been for most of the time that we have lived here. I expect we will sell the company within the next year at which point I plan to "embark on a sabbatical of undetermined duration" during which I pursue personal interests. My wife is a former SAHM who is now back in the labor force, loves her job and plans to keep working a few more years. I am 57 and she is 58.

Our son recently graduated from college and is working for a tech company and is off the payroll.

Our net worth is $3M. Investments $2.5M and a small pension. About a third is after-tax savings with rest is combination of regular and Roth IRA’s, 401k and an HSA. We have a small, very low cost mortgage on the house and no other debts. We do not have access to any retiree health insurance benefits so we will be in the public market once she decides to retire.

We have always lived below our means and are lifelong savers and investors. With my financial background I am definitely a DIY-er when it comes to investing, which means I need to always be learning. We have an eye on downsizing (since it is just the two of us and Riley the Wonder Dog), possibly relocating, figuring out withdrawal strategies and fine-tuning the AA (notice I am already picking up on the tendency to abbreviate everything here).

In the relatively short time I have been reading this board, I am impressed with the diversity of stages of life, geographic locations, viewpoints and that this is not a board that is “only” about early retirement, but a community within which different types of issues are discussed. I have learned a lot here already.
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Old 10-13-2016, 12:15 PM   #2
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Welcome Montecfo from a Southern MD guy.
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Old 10-13-2016, 02:21 PM   #3
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Thanks Bigdawg. I see you are targeting 2018. Are you planning to stay in this area or have you gotten that far yet?
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Old 10-13-2016, 02:32 PM   #4
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Almost exactly the same situation here except no kids and we're a couple of years older. We like the area and will stay here even after we both retire. Actually we could do it now if we wanted but since we both like our jobs and are only doing part time we're still hanging on for another year or so.
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Old 10-13-2016, 02:58 PM   #5
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The real estate market in the D.C. area is price out of sight.

Smith Mountain Lake is sure looking good about now.
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Old 10-13-2016, 03:16 PM   #6
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Almost exactly the same situation here except no kids and we're a couple of years older. We like the area and will stay here even after we both retire. Actually we could do it now if we wanted but since we both like our jobs and are only doing part time we're still hanging on for another year or so.
We like the area also and would probably favor staying. We have family elsewhere but also good airports here.

Seems hard to downsize in this area since real estate prices are as they are. You have to downsize a lot to save much.
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Old 10-13-2016, 03:42 PM   #7
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Welcome! I am also in northern VA; we are in our mid-40s and shooting to retire in about 9 years. We plan to relocate to a lower cost area when we retire; but probably not downsize too much as we live in a 2 bedroom townhouse (with Kodiak, our Wonder Pup).


We love the area too, but want to live on a lake or beachfront (I grew up on Long Island and miss easy access to water). Best of luck to you!
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Old 10-13-2016, 07:06 PM   #8
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Welcome! Sounds like you're well positioned for whatever you decide in the future. Have you been tracking expenses?
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Old 10-14-2016, 06:12 AM   #9
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Welcome to the board. If you have a bit of equity in your NOVA home, relocating and downsizing could put you in the black on the housing side. Nice start to an indefinite "sabbatical."
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Old 10-14-2016, 08:53 AM   #10
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Welcome! I am also in northern VA; we are in our mid-40s and shooting to retire in about 9 years. We plan to relocate to a lower cost area when we retire; but probably not downsize too much as we live in a 2 bedroom townhouse (with Kodiak, our Wonder Pup).


We love the area too, but want to live on a lake or beachfront (I grew up on Long Island and miss easy access to water). Best of luck to you!
Nice to meet some fellow Nova-ites. I like your strategy. We had the same strategy but as it gets closer, we wonder if we would be happy in a more remote area (which is usually where lake communities are). We love beaches (especially Caribbean) but pretty sure we do not want to be on the beach.

So I guess we will move when this area stops working for us. Regards to Kodiak!
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Old 10-14-2016, 08:57 AM   #11
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Welcome! Sounds like you're well positioned for whatever you decide in the future. Have you been tracking expenses?
Katie-

Yes, I have been very focused on expenses. Main things have been planning for higher health care costs, more travel, less work, auto-related costs and college costs.

My preliminary look at withdrawal rates suggests we will be in the 2.5-3.5% range (with pension and SS), but continuing to work and re-work those is a focus.

Thanks.
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Old 10-14-2016, 10:39 AM   #12
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The real estate market in the D.C. area is price out of sight.

Smith Mountain Lake is sure looking good about now.
Been there a time or two, very pretty. Plan to explore that a bit further for sure.

Did you live here at some point?

Also I saw your comment in another thread about the North Georgia Mountains. Love to hear more as I am not that familiar with that are.

Thanks
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Old 10-14-2016, 11:17 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Montecfo View Post
Hi, I am from Northern Virginia near Washington DC. My wife, son and I have lived here for the past 17 years. Currently I am CFO of a small software company (which sounds much more glamorous than it is, trust me) where I have been for most of the time that we have lived here. I expect we will sell the company within the next year at which point I plan to "embark on a sabbatical of undetermined duration" during which I pursue personal interests. My wife is a former SAHM who is now back in the labor force, loves her job and plans to keep working a few more years. I am 57 and she is 58.

Our son recently graduated from college and is working for a tech company and is off the payroll.

Our net worth is $3M. Investments $2.5M and a small pension. About a third is after-tax savings with rest is combination of regular and Roth IRA’s, 401k and an HSA. We have a small, very low cost mortgage on the house and no other debts. We do not have access to any retiree health insurance benefits so we will be in the public market once she decides to retire.

We have always lived below our means and are lifelong savers and investors. With my financial background I am definitely a DIY-er when it comes to investing, which means I need to always be learning. We have an eye on downsizing (since it is just the two of us and Riley the Wonder Dog), possibly relocating, figuring out withdrawal strategies and fine-tuning the AA (notice I am already picking up on the tendency to abbreviate everything here).

In the relatively short time I have been reading this board, I am impressed with the diversity of stages of life, geographic locations, viewpoints and that this is not a board that is “only” about early retirement, but a community within which different types of issues are discussed. I have learned a lot here already.
Welcome to E-R.org from a former (multi-time) NOVAite!

You're absolutely correct about the great advice available on this site; it's benefitted DW and I greatly.

You didn't directly ask for advice but, seemed to be soliciting opinion so, I'll offer some regarding living location and housing. The WV panhandle is a great place if you want to stay "close" to DC but be out of the rat race, live somewhere beautiful, and make your $$$ go farther. I have a buddy who retired there and loves it plus, Walt34 (E-R.org) lives there & can offer advice. We liked Shepherdstown and Berkeley Springs. If you're willing to move a bit further but, remain in the Eastern US, I'd suggest these areas:

- Eastern TN: we particularly like Knoxville but, Chattanooga is also nice. TN is tax friendly and has much better weather than NOVA.
- SC: Super tax friendly state with wonderful beaches or mountains. We like almost everywhere in the Low Country and along the SC beaches, and Greeneville in the mountains is also fantastic.
- AL: Low cost with some great areas on the water (Fresh or Gulf). Outside a few major metro areas, the culture difference might be more of a challenge than the first two suggestions (my opinion).

Regarding housing, DW and I have lived in everything from 850SF to 5,000SF; we're currently living in ~1,250SF, which is more than enough for the two of us plus the world's greatest Corgi. We moved a lot for work so, we upsized, downsized & purged more times than we can count. One lesson we learned from all that was: We are happier with less space & less stuff.

I wish you, your DW & Riley all the best in your upcoming FIRE.
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Old 10-15-2016, 01:39 PM   #14
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Huston55-

thanks. I like your ideas and it seems like we have some exploring to do. I also like the idea of less space and stuff. We are working to reduce stuff. However, the larger challenge seems to be finding a smaller house on larger piece of land. I think we would be pretty happy where we are if the house was smaller. We have a really nice stand of woods which gives us tremendous privacy, even though we live in a highly populated suburb.

I am sure it would be easier to find this elsewhere, maybe in WV as you suggested if we stay in this area. Although i guess we would be picking up a few inches of snow.

In any event, thanks for the interesting ideas. Did you come to stay in the Bay area by choice or way it inertia?
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Old 10-15-2016, 03:57 PM   #15
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Huston55-

thanks. I like your ideas and it seems like we have some exploring to do. I also like the idea of less space and stuff. We are working to reduce stuff. However, the larger challenge seems to be finding a smaller house on larger piece of land. I think we would be pretty happy where we are if the house was smaller. We have a really nice stand of woods which gives us tremendous privacy, even though we live in a highly populated suburb.

I am sure it would be easier to find this elsewhere, maybe in WV as you suggested if we stay in this area. Although i guess we would be picking up a few inches of snow.

In any event, thanks for the interesting ideas. Did you come to stay in the Bay area by choice or wasy it inertia?
DW & I returned to the SF Bay Area because our closest friends are here so, we returned by choice. It's also a wonderful (albeit expensive) area so we made some adjustments to make it possible to live here.

Best of luck with your upcoming move.
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Old 10-15-2016, 04:39 PM   #16
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I am sure it would be easier to find this elsewhere, maybe in WV as you suggested if we stay in this area. Although i guess we would be picking up a few inches of snow.
Actually, not so much. One would think so since we're further west and you hear weather reports of high snowfalls in the mountainous areas. Only if the weather front is split between DC and the panhandle is there a significant difference and then it's usually only an inch or two. And sometimes DC gets more snow than we do, it depends on where the weather is going. The altitude above sea level makes a difference and we're about at the same level, maybe a hundred feet higher, than when we lived near DC.

I carefully monitored weather here and there for a year before we moved and only if there was a heavy weather front moving between was there a temperature difference of more than two or three degrees.

But if you want a house on top of a mountain with gorgeous views, yeah, you're gonna get hammered with snow. And bear in mind that WV is not a wealthy state and there is a noticeable difference in the snow-clearing effort here and there. If you're retired that may or may not matter to you. We just make sure we're not going to need anything for the next few days when snow is forecast.
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Old 10-16-2016, 01:17 PM   #17
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Actually, not so much. One would think so since we're further west and you hear weather reports of high snowfalls in the mountainous areas. Only if the weather front is split between DC and the panhandle is there a significant difference and then it's usually only an inch or two. And sometimes DC gets more snow than we do, it depends on where the weather is going. The altitude above sea level makes a difference and we're about at the same level, maybe a hundred feet higher, than when we lived near DC.

I carefully monitored weather here and there for a year before we moved and only if there was a heavy weather front moving between was there a temperature difference of more than two or three degrees.

But if you want a house on top of a mountain with gorgeous views, yeah, you're gonna get hammered with snow. And bear in mind that WV is not a wealthy state and there is a noticeable difference in the snow-clearing effort here and there. If you're retired that may or may not matter to you. We just make sure we're not going to need anything for the next few days when snow is forecast.
Thanks for that info. Do you get into "town" very often? What about driving distances/time?
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Old 10-17-2016, 04:54 PM   #18
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Thanks for that info. Do you get into "town" very often? What about driving distances/time?
Sure, we were just there today going out to lunch and the ATM. Traffic is so much lighter here that the move was worth it. A few weeks after the move I had to take DW to a Dr. appointment and since at the time I didn't know the back roads around downtown we went through the city. We got out at 5:00 PM on a Friday afternoon so I naturally tensed up for the battle with traffic.

For about a 7-mile trip it took 15 minutes! My thought was that I had died and gone to heaven! Where we used to live that would be at least an hour trip for about the same distance. Now, there is a rush hour, but it usually only lasts from maybe 4:00 PM to 6:30 PM or so and it's only in a few areas where some poor traffic engineering decisions were made, mostly around I-81. If you're not going near there, there practically is no rush hour. In the city itself it is rare to have to sit through a red light for two cycles.

There is a 4-way stop in Shepherdstown that can be an annoying bottleneck at times but normally it isn't an issue. Shepherd University is there so you get the traffic associated with a college town - class start/end times, football games (stay away!) and the like.
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Old 10-21-2016, 11:39 AM   #19
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Walt34-

I appreciate that.

And everyone thinks for the ideas on locations. I welcome them. Probably would not look to move for a year or so, so need to get going looking at places to retire.
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Old 10-25-2016, 12:41 PM   #20
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All the mentions of VA makes me think that we'll want to retire there if we remain in the US.
There are a lot of nice town to move to in N.C. but I'd advise against cities if traffic is a concern to you. Also, in case you like traveling especially internationally, monopoly of American (ex-USAir) is not helpful. This is in Charlotte, maybe Raleigh is better in this case, I don't know.
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