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ER on hold - an update
Old 06-02-2010, 04:25 PM   #1
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ER on hold - an update

As I had explained in this post

ER on hold

We put our ER on hold late last year to work for a while to build up our portfolio.

DW has been working steadily (on contract) since early February and will probably continue to work through the end of the summer - maybe a little later. I have not been as lucky. My first contract petered out a month or so ago, and a new contract that I was expecting fell through. For now, I have decided against looking actively for more work and will wait for DW to finish off her contract.

We have decided to try and sell our home next spring. We will probably move out of NJ, but haven't decided exactly where we will go. If the market is soft next spring, we'll postpone the sale to the following year. We paid off our mortgage earlier this year since we plan to sell soon, and there are no safe investments that would yield more than our mortgage interest.
Last Payment

Our portfolio (adjusted for the mortgage payoff) is 11% below its value on 5/1/08, the day we ER'd. (about 15% below on a real value basis) Our withdrawal rate over the last 12 months is 3.1%, but we've been very conservative in our spending since early 2009. We use 4% of portfolio value at the beginning of the year as our annual withdrawal amount, & are running at about 83% of that amount.

We'll spend a few weeks at a couple of places that are high on our list of ER destinations this year so we can make up our minds.

All in all, we feel good about our situation, but plan to evaluate the "semi" status each year until we feel we have a comfortable margin of error again.

Thanks to the all the information here especially the real-life experiences, I feel prepared for this journey. Thank you all!
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Old 06-02-2010, 05:02 PM   #2
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Any particular locations that you are considering? We will be splitting from Jersey when the time comes simply to escape the very high cost of living and I would be curious to here where you find appealing.
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Old 06-02-2010, 05:45 PM   #3
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Hey Brewer. We should plan (again) to get together and commiserate about the high cost of living in NJ!

We're considering the Denver CO area & the Northwest (Seattle/Portland & locations around there).

They both have good outdoor opportunities (we like hiking & biking), have communities that share our values, and both states seem to be relatively conservative in their finances. One has long winters and the other a lot of rain - so we'll have to see which one wins out.

Our friends & neighbors here in NJ are the biggest attraction to staying. It will take a long time to develop the close friendships we have with our neighbors here. Oh, and the food diversity!
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Old 06-02-2010, 07:16 PM   #4
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We're considering the Denver CO area & the Northwest (Seattle/Portland & locations around there).

both states seem to be relatively conservative in their finances.
Walkinwood
You may want to do a bit more research on Wash and Oregon finances if conservative spending is critical to you. I can not speak to Colorado but I can tell you both WA and Or are having a devil of time finding the money to support all the do-gooder programs their Democratic leaderships have passed in the last several years. So if conservatism implies balanced, fiscally sound spending you may have to relook at WA for sure. WA barely found the money to "pretend" it's fiscal budget is balanced. Last news report suggests the State already has over a 2 BILLION deficit that they have no income to offset and that is after passing a slate of new sin taxes and deciding bottle water should generate some revenue as well.
OTOH, WA has no income tax (probably contributes to its financial wobbliness) while OR just pasted an increase in their income tax rates for their "high" income earners. Brat can probably give you some insight since she just made the move from WA to OR to be closer to kin.
Nevertheless, from what little I know about NJ, almost anyplace will offer an improvement in your cost of living. Good luck on your ER plans.
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Old 06-02-2010, 11:33 PM   #5
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Old 06-03-2010, 01:25 AM   #6
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(Pssst! Bellingham!)
i was in bellingham for a day or so (well fairhaven mostly, next to bellingham)
and it seemed like a nice town. Could you extoll on the virtues of
it vs seattle ?
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Old 06-03-2010, 06:50 AM   #7
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Walkinwood, when you visit Denver I suggest you check out surrounding towns as well. We are close to being sold on Ft. Collins, but depending on your budget and preferences you might be interested in Golden, Boulder, Loveland, or one of the towns in the Foothills around Jefferson County.
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Old 06-03-2010, 07:11 AM   #8
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Walkinwood, when you visit Denver I suggest you check out surrounding towns as well. We are close to being sold on Ft. Collins, but depending on your budget and preferences you might be interested in Golden, Boulder, Loveland, or one of the towns in the Foothills around Jefferson County.
Yeah, I wouldn't care anything about living in Denver itself. Fort Collins would be nice. Not too far from Denver if you have stuff you want to do there. And a University town which usually offers lots to a community.

FtCollins.com
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Old 06-03-2010, 07:15 AM   #9
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Actually, Dawg, we like Denver plenty well and there are some quite nice places to live there that are a fraction of the cost of their NJ equivalent. But we need some distance due to a family situation. What was it George Burns said? "The best thing in the world is a loving, supportive family a thousand miles away."
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Old 06-03-2010, 07:30 AM   #10
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Yeah, I wouldn't care anything about living in Denver itself.
And why is that? What am I missing?

As an aside: This has been a terrible year for weather in Denver (and surround). Yet, just the other day, I said to DW that as far as weather goes we are extremely lucky to live in Denver compared to every other part of the Lower 48. We travel a bit -- over 55,000 miles in the past 18 months -- and spend more time than I would want on The Weather Channel so I am well researched in this area.
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Old 06-03-2010, 07:45 AM   #11
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Walkinwood, when you visit Denver I suggest you check out surrounding towns as well. We are close to being sold on Ft. Collins, but depending on your budget and preferences you might be interested in Golden, Boulder, Loveland, or one of the towns in the Foothills around Jefferson County.
Fort Collins area is really nice.

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Old 06-03-2010, 07:55 AM   #12
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And why is that? What am I missing?

As an aside: This has been a terrible year for weather in Denver (and surround). Yet, just the other day, I said to DW that as far as weather goes we are extremely lucky to live in Denver compared to every other part of the Lower 48. We travel a bit -- over 55,000 miles in the past 18 months -- and spend more time than I would want on The Weather Channel so I am well researched in this area.
I'd avoid it for the sme reason I'd avoid Houston it's a massive, sprawling, crowded city with lots of traffic congestion on their massive highways. In fact the entire corridor from Denver to Colorado Springs seems like a mess.

The communities northweast of Denver, from Longmont to Ft. Collins, including Loveland, seem much nicer.

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Old 06-03-2010, 08:05 AM   #13
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I'd avoid it for the sme reason I'd avoid Houston ... seems like a mess
Oh! I quite liked Houston... DFW, however, drives your point home. I agree, that stretch from D to CSP (on the rare occasions I go there) is THE worst. On the other hand, from D to FC used to be the same but is no longer so torturous... and dangerous, so I hold out hope.
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Old 06-03-2010, 08:23 AM   #14
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But we need some distance due to a family situation. What was it George Burns said? "The best thing in the world is a loving, supportive family a thousand miles away."
Einstein's Theory of Relativity: Time slows down when you're with relatives...

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Oh! I quite liked Houston... DFW, however, drives your point home. I agree, that stretch from D to CSP (on the rare occasions I go there) is THE worst. On the other hand, from D to FC used to be the same but is no longer so torturous... and dangerous, so I hold out hope.
DFW +1

Went to a Ranger game two weeks ago. Drove 20 something miles on the extended toll road with relative ease. But the last two miles took over an hour... What with construction, and Six Flags, The Ballpark, and the Jerry Dome, you pretty much need a hell-of-a-copter to get in and out of there...
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Old 06-03-2010, 09:18 AM   #15
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Thanks for the thoughts on Denver. We are leaning towards the northwest of Denver - Boulder County. We plan to spend 2-3 weeks in the area later this summer and will definitely check out Colorado Springs and Ft. Collins. I've been to both on business - but didn't have the 'could I live here' hat on.
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Old 06-03-2010, 09:48 AM   #16
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Thanks for the thoughts on Denver. We are leaning towards the northwest of Denver - Boulder County. We plan to spend 2-3 weeks in the area later this summer and will definitely check out Colorado Springs and Ft. Collins. I've been to both on business - but didn't have the 'could I live here' hat on.
Just be aware that the closer to the mountains you get the more the weather is... eh... "Rocky Mountain"-like and less like out on the flat. (Of course, too far out on "the flat" is not that desirable either so choose carefully.)
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