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Old 02-06-2014, 08:27 AM   #21
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Very interesting suggestion. My mortgage is not that high, although paying London rents and paying my mortgage at the same time would definitely put a crimp in any kind of saving. I think what I'm dreading the most is moving my things into storage after I worked so hard to get my house just the way I want. Did you have family or friends check on your house occasionally, and was your homeowners insurance OK with it?

I had a sister who lived close and would go check on it every once in awhile... at the time I had two cars and she would drive them at least once a week... my mail went to her and she would email me my bills... I paid online..

I did not ask my insurance as I was not supposed to be gone as long as I was..... but when I moved to my new house and still had my old one, they just wrote a different policy that cost me more money...


Remember, the cost of storage when you do your calculations... with me, I did not have a mortgage, so only paid utilities and for someone to mow the lawn... I had negotiated with mega that they pay me a monthly stipend for them....
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Old 02-06-2014, 07:34 PM   #22
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Thanks for all the great replies. This is really helping me get perspective.

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When we moved to the Bay Area for DW's work, we had to decide what to do with our house in the south. We liked the house, it was paid for, and we intended to come back live in it for retirement. I thought of leaving it empty, I looked at hiring a house sitter, and I looked at renting it out. I preferred the house be occupied to keep the critters out and avoid problems going undetected for extended periods of time. And because of the high rents in the Bay Area, I really did not want the house to be a financial burden. So I decided to rent it out. I did not like the idea of having strangers live in our house, but that's the only option that made sense. The house generates a good amount of positive cash flow, which I set aside. It will probably sustain some damage from the tenants and that money will help erase all trace of it when we are ready to move back in.
Good to hear how others handled this situation. I'm researching renting it now.

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I had a sister who lived close and would go check on it every once in awhile... at the time I had two cars and she would drive them at least once a week... my mail went to her and she would email me my bills... I paid online.
Thanks for sharing your experiences. Agree that storage can really add up. Unfortunately, I don't have family in the area to help out, or this would be an ideal solution.

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Financially, the move to this high cost of living area has not been great for us. DW got a raise to compensate for the difference in cost of living, but really it did not. Once the higher rents and taxes are factored in, we are actually much worse off on a cash flow basis. We were FI before the move, so we don't worry too much about it. But it would have set our FIRE plans back many years otherwise.
This is a big concern for me. My FIRE plans require aggressively paying off the house and saving up a generous cash buffer before quitting my job in 2015. Both these goals depend on an aggressive savings rate enabled by a frugal LBYM lifestyle that I wouldn't be able to sustain in London. I'm pretty sure a cheapskate like me is going to be having a heart attack every time I have to pull out my wallet!

As wonderful as London is, not sure it's worth all the hassle and expense of moving and postponing my FIRE goal.
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Old 02-06-2014, 09:15 PM   #23
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I'm pretty sure a cheapskate like me is going to be having a heart attack every time I have to pull out my wallet!

As wonderful as London is, not sure it's worth all the hassle and expense of moving and postponing my FIRE goal.
When we were in London visiting once we met up with a relative who lives a two hour drive away (an hour by train) for the day and that seemed quite doable. His housing costs are nowhere near London prices.

He also often spends the winters in nice warm places like Italy, Spain or Malta on a retiree budget. If we moved there I think we would do something similar - live some place low cost outside the London commute zone, day trips to London, weekends in France or Belgium and winters around the Mediterranean.

Living right in London would be cool, but I think if I didn't have a super high paying job in the city (or was really rich) I'd rather live some place cheaper, 1 - 2+ hours away and have more money leftover for other expenses like travel.
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Old 02-06-2014, 09:29 PM   #24
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Living right in London would be cool, but I think if I didn't have a job in the city (or was super rich) I'd rather live some place cheaper, 1 - 2+ hours away and have more money leftover for other expenses like travel.
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if you can live with it and still retire in a time frame you like, go for it... if you cannot, then retire and rent a place for a few months and get it out of your system on your dime....
I like both your suggestions as lower-stress, lower-cost alternatives. I actually think a smaller town would suit my frugal nature and love of the outdoors better than London in the long-term. Love that the U.K. enables you to travel easily and cheaply to so many places.

I've also considered housesitting or doing house swaps after I retire. I live in Albuquerque and I bet lots of folks overseas would be willing to swap around the time of Balloon Fiesta.
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Old 02-06-2014, 10:20 PM   #25
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I'd take the job and rent the house. Although there are some horror stories out there, I rented mine three separate times to work in Rome (my university has a campus there)--although the duration was only 6 months each. Each time, too, my renters were graduate students. Never had the slightest problem with them, and they had use of the majority of my stuff, including my car. Plus, I made money with the rent. I guess if I were you I'd consult with a management/rental agency to help screen renters and to manage them while you are gone.
If you are in a university or college town, graduate students/post-docs/visiting faculty/newly arrived tenure track professors can all be great tenants to target.

I would do it in a heartbeat, but then I'm not so picky about my stuff.
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Old 02-06-2014, 11:53 PM   #26
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At the time I spent a lot of time in London, it seemed to me that broadly speaking, prices were similar to US NE metro areas - but in GBP rather than USD so in effect at the current exchange rate everything is 50-65% more.

The only notable exception to that general rule seemed to be beer , which was relatively inexpensive considering the quality of the beer. You just needed to get past the fact that it wasn't ice cold.
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Old 02-07-2014, 06:59 AM   #27
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Are you sure that you would enjoy L. as much as it costs if you have to work there?

My alternative would probably be to achieve FI asap from my home base.
2015 is not too far away. In the meantime I would make plans to stay for some months in London / GB / Europe once you have left employment.
You are much more flexible how and where to live if you do not have to commute. Think of housesharing, airb&b, sabbaticalhomes and other affordable housing options. I am sure some of the forum members here (incl. myself) would love to do some housesitting at your home base.

I liked to travel while working. However, I really had to push myself hard to become a tourist after work and on weekends instead of an exhausted vegetable.
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Old 02-07-2014, 08:24 PM   #28
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If you are in a university or college town, graduate students/post-docs/visiting faculty/newly arrived tenure track professors can all be great tenants to target.
I live pretty far from the university, but agree that they would make great tenants. Maybe I can put the word out and advertise to that market.

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I would do it in a heartbeat, but then I'm not so picky about my stuff.
I was never picky about my stuff until I built my first house six years ago and painstakingly filled it with unique furniture, art, and objects from my travels.

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At the time I spent a lot of time in London, it seemed to me that broadly speaking, prices were similar to US NE metro areas - but in GBP rather than USD so in effect at the current exchange rate everything is 50-65% more.
Sounds like I might need to stop converting prices in my head to stay sane if I lived there.

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My alternative would probably be to achieve FI asap from my home base.
2015 is not too far away. In the meantime I would make plans to stay for some months in London / GB / Europe once you have left employment.
You are much more flexible how and where to live if you do not have to commute. Think of housesharing, airb&b, sabbaticalhomes and other affordable housing options. I am sure some of the forum members here (incl. myself) would love to do some housesitting at your home base.
Thanks, appreciate the perspective from someone who's been there. This is the solution I'm leaning towards. And good to know my ER peeps would be interested in housesitting! I'll put the word out once I'm ready.
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Old 02-08-2014, 04:29 PM   #29
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OP (inky) I joined just to reply to your note - I plan on a proper introduction later.

Living and working overseas was the last item on my work bucket list - I FIREd 3 months ago - I was approached by a recruiter recently and am 2 interviews into the process the job is in north Central Europe

Financially - I look at this as a way to put off taking money out as well as a way to sell everything and bank the cash so that when we return - our options will be wide open.

The goal would be to just break even while living abroad

It seems you are still saving - so your situation is different - but if it is on your career bucket list - go for it.
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Old 02-08-2014, 05:10 PM   #30
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OP (inky) I joined just to reply to your note - I plan on a proper introduction later.

Financially - I look at this as a way to put off taking money out as well as a way to sell everything and bank the cash so that when we return - our options will be wide open.

The goal would be to just break even while living abroad

It seems you are still saving - so your situation is different - but if it is on your career bucket list - go for it.
LastOfTheBoomers, thank you so much for joining just to reply to my post! I think you have an excellent point that once you are FI it would free you up a lot. Maybe this is something I can revisit once I'm at that point.

I hope you have a wonderful time in Europe! Please post and let us know how you are doing!
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Old 02-09-2014, 09:41 AM   #31
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Since you're teetering on a decision and could retire next year .... It's up to the London folks to entice you to move. Put a PRICE on it. A simple "back of the envelope" which includes your US housing loss/cost and "incentive" pay-off for the headaches you'll endure getting out there. Drop this number on them ... let them decide if it's worth it.

Then it becomes a no-brainer. Personally, I would not take a financial hit to do this move ... you can visit London as a retiree for a LOT less.
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Old 02-22-2014, 01:03 PM   #32
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Thanks again to everyone who provided their input. It really helped me make this difficult, potentially life-altering decision.

A quick update: After much contemplation I realized my intuition was telling me strongly not to take the job and I declined it. They sweetened the financial deal but since it was a local hire and not an expat assignment it was just not going to be enough. It would've set me back several years in my FIRE goals.

What I was unprepared for was the powerful feelings of sadness I had after turning it down, even though I think it was the right decision. Has anyone else experienced this after making a major life decision, even when you were convinced you were doing the right thing?

I comforted myself with reminders of how great my life here in Albuquerque really is, even with a mostly unfulfilling job, and that soon I'll be completely free and can then do whatever I want.
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Old 02-22-2014, 01:43 PM   #33
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What I was unprepared for was the powerful feelings of sadness I had after turning it down, even though I think it was the right decision. Has anyone else experienced this after making a major life decision, even when you were convinced you were doing the right thing?
It's normal to have regret after making a difficult decision, especially when it is a one time opportunity. Life is a series of choices. Not every opportunity needs to be chosen. In this case, you had a choice between two good opportunities. You have made a good choice based on which one will help you to better achieve your goals.

I have made a lot of choices over the years and I am fortunate to be able to evaluate the results on a fairly dispassionate basis and move on. This is probably due to the fact that I am an INTJ and generally analyze the pros and cons in detail before I decide. If things don't work out, I think, "Yes, I did envisage that possibility, and I knew the risks. What's the best thing to do now?"
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Old 02-22-2014, 02:04 PM   #34
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London is a great city but I would have made the same choice. I'd rather have FIRE several years sooner, too.

Maybe you are sad because you went with the long term approach, while a London move may have provided an exciting change of pace in the short term.
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Old 02-22-2014, 02:21 PM   #35
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It's normal to have regret after making a difficult decision, especially when it is a one time opportunity. Life is a series of choices. Not every opportunity needs to be chosen. In this case, you had a choice between two good opportunities. You have made a good choice based on which one will help you to better achieve your goals.
Thanks, that helps.

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Maybe you are sad because you went with the long term approach, while a London move may have provided an exciting change of pace in the short term.
I think you are exactly right. I've been feeling so bored and stuck that the thought of having to stay put for another 18 months or so was depressing, even if it was the right decision in the long term.

I'm actually feeling better now and putting my energies into planning my transition to ER. I'm also trying to make my present life more rewarding by taking little adventures like weekend trips or trying new restaurants.
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Old 02-22-2014, 07:33 PM   #36
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I'd jump at the opportunity but I've traveled/relocated almost all my life, wouldn't even have to learn a new language, just some new terms/slang. I lived in Germany for 4 years and loved it, though London was my favorite major city in Europe, and I've been to most of them. Sometime foreign assignments are period certain (ie, 3-4 years), but I didn't catch that in the OP. If the offer was period certain, and the money was reasonable, I'd be all over it - though that doesn't make it right for anyone else. Best of luck whatever you decide.

20 years from now, do you think you might regret passing on the chance to return to London for a few years?
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Old 02-22-2014, 07:40 PM   #37
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I did not think London was all that great.
The food SUCKS!!!
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Old 02-22-2014, 09:06 PM   #38
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Old 02-22-2014, 09:25 PM   #39
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I loved London the times I visited. I felt at home, which surprised this native Texan. I would live there part of the year, and hope someday I will. I guess there's a seat for every a&&, and London's one of my favorite seats.
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Old 02-23-2014, 05:19 AM   #40
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I know the feeling of regret after a decision is taken.
What helps: to realize that the same (or even more) feeling of regret would be there if I had taken a different decision.
Proposal: focus on making the most of the 18 month till FI and on planning a great time in UK without work thereafter.
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