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Retire next year at 45?
Old 10-14-2015, 09:12 PM   #1
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Retire next year at 45?

Hi and thanks for reading. First off, this is a great site, and I am looking forward to exploring it further. The forum guidelines say to give as much info as possible on the intro so here goes. I am 44, wife is 34 and we have three healthy beautiful kids ages 6, 4 and 2. We are very family oriented and education and child development is everything to us. We live in a suburb of southwestern CT near NYC and the real estate market has never recovered. We paid 1.7mm for our house in 2010 and we would be lucky to get 1.6 now, netting 1.5 after commission fees. We have great schools but everyone does the commute and has a high stress high expense lifestyle, country clubs, au pairs, etc. we belong to a club too and we would not get our 70k initiation back if we moved. In two years, our 5/1 arm is set to float on our $1mm mortgage. We have $6,950,000 in stocks and bonds, 80% stock 20% bonds with real estate, international, small cap mid cap but primarily large cap dividend stocks. Our portfolio yield is 3.3% or $225,000. We also have $1.1mm saved for our kids college so with 125 k cars and personal assets, our net worth is 8.7 to 8.8mm. What I like about CT are the schools and programs, our high school ranked 330 in the country by U.S. News and we have one of the top swimming programs which has produced Olympic quality swimmers. Our real estate taxes are 32k and we live a comfortable life in CT w 22k for vacations, 3 cars, country club etc on 21k per month. I am at a point where I am sort of burned out on the grind and already working limited hours but the pace and the expenses still go on. I don't want to take a huge hit on the house and eat my country club initiation only 4 years ago, but I am beginning to think seriously of taking a loss on the house and moving to Fort Collins or Portland Oregon area. My wife's family is from Eugene and Portland has good schools but some of the suburbs are expensive there too and the weather stinks in the winter. I am thinking of a $900 k house. I am also thinking about Portland Maine and Burlington VT area but the winters here are so brutal and my wife is not a skier. It's a real dilemma but a good problem to have. Any suggestions appreciated. I also plan to work part time or even start a business to stay busy and meet people as well as earn some extra money. Thanks again for your thoughts.
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Old 10-15-2015, 04:37 AM   #2
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Get your family's lifestyle inflation under control and stop keeping up with the jones' and I think you're all set. You wouldn't want to teach your kids those values anyway .... Portland is a good place. Can easily live there on dividend yield alone. Probably 10k per month with 3 kids easily assuming you sell your house and downsize , pay cash , no mortgage Etc. Winters are tolerable and a lot less cold than the miserably long winters on the east coast too. With 8.7M net worth, it's "interesting" that you are worried about a 100-200k loss on real estate and that's holding you back - i bet your portfolio gains and loses that daily with the market volatility.

I think there's more to it- maybe the loss of something else. You mentioned country club 3 times in your post -- could it be some insecurity around no longer being in that country club environment for you or young wife ?
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Old 10-15-2015, 06:23 AM   #3
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Good points. You are absolutely right that 100 to 200k can be daily volatility. I think 16k per month budget is about where I'd like to end up. In terms of values, the country club thing is a bit of a dilemma because it does open doors for your kids, as it has for me. But I also think the high consumption lifestyle can be unhealthy. It's tough to balance. I like Oregon a lot, the outdoor lifestyle but Portland also seems like it could be somewhat expensive. I'd also like to make a good real estate investment in our home, and real estate has been doing well out there, but don't want to top- tick it. Real estate is in the dumps in VT still. I like the idea of a homestead, not totally off the grid, but lots of land views and productive things like small scale farming chickens etc to teach the kids some responsibility. The other concern I have is moving to an area and standing out as not working with a fairly comfortable lifestyle, ideally I would not like anyone to know where we stand. I have a small business idea that could work in some areas. Finally, would be great to be in a place w great schools and good state colleges.
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Old 10-15-2015, 06:50 AM   #4
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StuckinCT. Sent you a message since we live in Burlington vet and moved here to raise our kids. Happy to share our experience and pros and cons of this area.


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Old 10-15-2015, 06:59 AM   #5
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StuckinCT. Sent you a message since we live in Burlington vet and moved here to raise our kids. Happy to share our experience and pros and cons of this area.


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Why not share them with all of us? Others may be just as interested.
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Old 10-15-2015, 07:52 AM   #6
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Happy to but didn't think others would be interested in the details


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Old 10-15-2015, 08:28 AM   #7
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we moved from Silicon Valley to just outside of Burlington vermont a dozen years ago. We wanted good schools but less academic peer pressure we were seeing already in 1st grade. I had a good position and reputation at megacorp and was allowed to work remotely before this was a big thing.

Vermont has been a great place to raise our three boys. Good schools, small class sizes, involved parents, decent grounded kids. Burlington is an interesting combination of young and hip and more established old timers. Lots of great outdoor activities in the mountains and lakes.

For us the decision to move has been the best alone we've made. It was tough on my wife who gave up a great career.

I retired this spring but Our twin sons have another year and a half in high school. We will sell our lovely but too big home when they are off to college and spend the winters in southern Utah where we can still a enjoy the sun and outdoors without freezing.

The pros of the area
- great schools
- friendly people
- great outdoor activities
- close airport
- Montreal and Boston are easy drives for big city experiences/culture
- family vs career oriented people. People regularly get off work early to go to kids activities
- land is relatively cheap (especially the further from Burlington you are willing to live). You can build if you want - we did.

Cons
- taxes are very high to pay for those great small schools. I think we spend the most per student in nation.
- winters are long and dark. We budget for escape the winter vacation every winter break. If you aren't comfortable doing some outdoor activities in the cold, you can become home bound and isolated but having kids will help break out of that
- everything costs more - heat, electricity, food, labor.
- not a lot of people have. Your level of wealth so could be some "mumbling" around town especially the smaller the town you live in.
- the "rich flatlander" moving to vermont is a known thing here.
- there are a couple of country clubs here but it is pretty rare activity around here
- there is a small employer base but some interesting entrepreneurial activity going on here.
- there really is only one good state school - uvm. It is well regarded but expensive even for in staters.

Good luck in your search. Feel free to reach out if you have questions.



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Old 10-15-2015, 08:33 AM   #8
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ImageUploadedByTapatalk1444915949.843515.jpg. Winter is cold but fall is pretty nice. This is my view from the kitchen this morning


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Old 10-15-2015, 08:52 AM   #9
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Tapatalk- wow, great info on Burlington. You hit on another thing I neglected to mention, the pressure cooker competitiveness. My wife joked that everyone throws money at tennis clinics etc. when going out in the backyard with your son and throwing him a tennis ball probably teaches him as much or more. My daughter and son are best friends with son and daughter of a hedge fund mogul who was written up in Forbes for his $75,000,000 bonus dispute- no exaggeration. He is actually a decent guy but one illuminating fact on family life is that he is divorced but yet his ex wife still lives with him and maintains the home- not trying to be critical but the family values thing around here is somewhat distorted and the kids feel the competitiveness. I'll drop you a note- thanks again.
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Old 10-15-2015, 08:58 AM   #10
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Happy to but didn't think others would be interested in the details
Thanks. Just the opposite - folks here are always interested when the topic is about locations and where to retire.
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Old 10-15-2015, 09:23 AM   #11
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Sounds like the OP bought into the lie and now at 44 is realizing it's nothing but empty promises.

We see this all the time 'round here. New money trying to prove their worth or salve their esteem by getting the biggest house, club membership and the largest BMW they can find, all the while looking out the window for the repo-man. They end up living next to old money who drive a 1987 Volvo, wear 20 year old clothes and don't give a crap about much of anything....least of all burn-out.

As papadad noted, get off the lifestyle treadmill and breathe!
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Old 10-15-2015, 10:14 AM   #12
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Sounds like the OP bought into the lie and now at 44 is realizing it's nothing but empty promises...........As papadad noted, get off the lifestyle treadmill and breathe!
+100 I worked with many that chased the "live as high as you can" life. They always wondered why I didn't do the same. I always wondered if they could really be happy all the time chasing things money could buy. Heck, I would live even more simply if my wife would agree!
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Old 10-15-2015, 10:14 AM   #13
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marko, I used to live in Vero Beach where there is a lot of old money. I love the area but 12 years of private school is just too much for three kids. I know there are some good schools down there, but I want to raise my kids in a younger area. My two pronged retirement idea is to move to an area with good schools and programs to raise the kids, which eventually will be our summer home, and then get a place down south- maybe Vero or Carolinas.
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Old 10-15-2015, 11:10 AM   #14
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Tapatalk- wow, great info on Burlington. You hit on another thing I neglected to mention, the pressure cooker competitiveness. My wife joked that everyone throws money at tennis clinics etc. when going out in the backyard with your son and throwing him a tennis ball probably teaches him as much or more. My daughter and son are best friends with son and daughter of a hedge fund mogul who was written up in Forbes for his $75,000,000 bonus dispute- no exaggeration. He is actually a decent guy but one illuminating fact on family life is that he is divorced but yet his ex wife still lives with him and maintains the home- not trying to be critical but the family values thing around here is somewhat distorted and the kids feel the competitiveness. I'll drop you a note- thanks again.
There is a book I'm reading now about kids from affluent neighborhoods called The Price of Privilege. I wish I would have read it when our kids were younger. I would have moved to a less competitive neighborhood with less Type A familes, less consumption and less overscheduled kids. Also What Happy People Know is another good book about money versus happiness, especially in affluent households as it is written by a director of The Canyon Ranch.

You have enough money to not have to worry about money. If I were in your place I would live where you think you will be happiest and your kids will be happy and learn the best life values. Happiness studies show it tends to feel good to live some place where you can be the Joneses instead of trying to keep up with them. Except for hedge fund manager neighborhoods you would probably be the Joneses most other places you would choose to live.

Added -

Stop Acting Rich is another good book you might find helpful to read. This is the Amazon description -

"It all starts with where you live. Live in a prestige neighborhood and you will spend more on everything from your car to your watch. Real millionaires understand that living in communities where their neighbors have less net worth than they do naturally leads to spending less. It's easier to be rich when keeping up with the Joneses hardly costs anything. Life satisfaction comes not from cruising down the highway in a chunk of your net worth, but from having the financial resources to choose - to spend time with family and friends, to volunteer, to pursue interests."
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Retire next year at 45?
Old 10-15-2015, 12:04 PM   #15
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Retire next year at 45?

I lived in Portland a couple of times over my career and I can say this

It's a great place to raise a family

You can be as high class as you want to be. My former boss was a multi multi millionaire from tech and she drove a beater pickup truck. People there are not pretentious and don't judge you on stuff you have or things you drive. It is costly but no more so than east coast. State income tax is 10 percent but no sales tax so good if you are retired. There is an urban growth boundary which keeps lot sizes small and real estate within the boundary high. Living a little farther out is ok for extra land, but if public school is the plan I would only recommend a couple districts and both are inside the growth boundary. Private schools are very good. There are 3 or 4, expect to pay around 25K per year all in per kid.

The economy is tied to housing (timber) and tech ( Intel is the states largest private employer). Mega caps include Columbia sportswear, freight liner, Nike, Intel , and several large paper product companies.

It's one of the better deals on the left coast - cheaper than Seattle and loads cheaper than NorCal and SoCal .

The diversity is good - the food is great- there are beaches and coastline, mountains, skiing, and rain. Lots of rain.

If we had family up there, it would be where we retired. But no family there so we landed in a college town in the Midwest. Works for us ... But Portland still had a fond place in my heart. People are good there, but difficult to get to know as they are skeptical of outsiders driving prices up ... especially from California!

You'll live happily ever after on 8.7M net worth up there even if the kids eventually go to Stanford.

The lifestyle inflation is scary. Maybe it's an east coast thing - I'm curious what 6 year olds "get" from a country club other than a bunch of bratty entitles "friends" .... And mommies comparing notes on play dates.

As for opening doors - The YMCA can do the same thing...as can (pick your social activity) religious affiliation, scouting, playing sports, and connections through school.

As far as standing out, you do that already with 125k in cars and such. The folks in Oregon wear flannel. Sure, some get their fancy on but I recall taking my wife to a symphony all dressed up and people around us were in sweat shirts... and Birkenstocks. They were very Nice sweatshirts .... When the lights dimmed no one cared!!!

In a phrase....Run,Forrest,run!

I fired at 45 last year. Life is good !
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Old 10-15-2015, 12:14 PM   #16
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You'll have a boatload of money and you don't seem to like a lot about where you live. Move.
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Old 10-15-2015, 02:11 PM   #17
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As you noted, your kids' schooling seems to be paramount, but from my limited perspective on such things, the higher rated school systems come with a sort of built-in set of social pressures.

The car you drive, the clubs you belong to and where you winter all speak to being a 'good parent' as if driving up in a beat up Chevy and the kids wearing last year's sneakers makes you suspect of being capable of raising children.

My SIL is a private school administrator here North of Boston and comments on this (actually she's bought into the "if you can't afford Harvard for them, why are you having children?" sort of thing).

Personally, unless you're willing and able to let the social pressures roll off your back, I don't see how to combine a good school system with your goals.
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Old 10-15-2015, 02:27 PM   #18
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marko, I think social pressures may have something to do with it, but plenty of people around here who have money to burn drive jeeps etc. I think it is more the high stress, high expense fast pace that is inherent to this area. It doesn't make you a bad person or even shallow, its just the nature of the beast my friend. These guys are working just as hard as anyone else to one day say I'm hanging it up- until then it is eat or be eaten- plain and simple. What it really boils down to is where you are. Most of my buddies are still busting their behinds, I don't need to any more so it may be time for me to move on to the next chapter. No need to judge anyone else.
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Old 10-15-2015, 02:39 PM   #19
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marko, I think social pressures may have something to do with it, but plenty of people around here who have money to burn drive jeeps etc. I think it is more the high stress, high expense fast pace that is inherent to this area. It doesn't make you a bad person or even shallow, its just the nature of the beast my friend. These guys are working just as hard as anyone else to one day say I'm hanging it up- until then it is eat or be eaten- plain and simple. What it really boils down to is where you are. Most of my buddies are still busting their behinds, I don't need to any more so it may be time for me to move on to the next chapter. No need to judge anyone else.
Well, then, maybe you hit it on the head right there! Maybe it's just 'inherent in the area'.

I myself was in the high stress, high pay, 80 hour weeks, 200 days a year of international travel for most of my career. But we never had kids so we never ran into the other pressures; we also lived outside of the US for many years which seems to make a big difference in how you view things.

Thinking of that, we have some acquaintances who moved to Singapore (and another to New Zealand) as soon as the kids got to school age as they didn't want to go through the school pressure game. Might consider that.

Good luck!
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Old 10-15-2015, 02:44 PM   #20
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What is the true definition of a good school anyway? Does happiness of the students factor in?

Survey Finds Depression Pervasive in College | News | The Harvard Crimson

"Nearly half of the Harvard College student body felt depressed during the last academic year and almost 10 percent of undergraduates reported that they had considered suicide, according to the results of a survey released by University Health Services (UHS) earlier this month.

The survey results reveal a startling number of undergraduates battling depression at Harvard and cite stress and lack of sleep as the leading factors affecting students’ academic performances."
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