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FIRE just got a big boost
Old 11-27-2007, 06:07 AM   #1
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FIRE just got a big boost

Thanksgiving was good to me. My mother passed away last Tuesday and my brother and I will split around 900-950K. It was really more a happy relief for her (and everyone else) more than anything. She was in final stage Parkinson's with extreme dementia and her quality of life had been truly awful and was only going to get worse (if that was even possible).

I won't touch the money for now, other than to consolidate all the accounts and put it into a diversified set of funds or ETFs, perhaps at Vanguard. If we wanted to move away from the Northern Virginia area we could probably ER right now, but like it here (Fairfax County) even though the cost of living is out of sight.

Larry
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Old 11-27-2007, 01:48 PM   #2
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Sorry to hear about your mother. It's hard, even when you know it is really for the best. Although no two peoples' bereavement is the same, and I don't mean to imply anything like that, my mother passed away at age 97+ around the first of October. Although she was fine through last summer, she had declined mentally and physically a whole lot just at the end. There was no question that it was her time to go. Even though I would not have wished her misery to be continued, I miss her.

Apparently settling an estate is considerably harder and more time consuming than just having the executor write a check. In my mother's case, we expect it to take at least 6 months from the day she passed away. So, if that's the case with your mother's estate then there's another reason to stay in Fairfax County for now, as if you needed one.

The cost of living is indeed high there, but I can see why you like it. I had a job offered to me last week at my agency's headquarters up there, but had to decline due to the cost of living and real estate there. Besides, I am planning to ER in two years, so there's not much point.
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Old 11-27-2007, 02:23 PM   #3
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Sorry to hear about the loss of your mother. Having been through something similar with my grandmother, I understand why it was a happy relief.

As want2retire said, it will take awhile to get a check. It took over a year with my MIL's estate.

My parents retired in Vienna, VA. The only reason that they could afford it is that they bought in 77. It is a very expensive place. DW and I plan on leaving Phoenix when we retire.
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Old 11-27-2007, 02:24 PM   #4
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The cost of living might be high here but remember you get a bigger locality pay adjustment and that really adds to your high-3, whether you're under FERS or CSRS. For me, the ideal is to get transferred to San Francisco or New York for three years, where real estate hasn't really taken that much of a hit, and retire to a low cost area -- the extra kicker for the high-3 adds a lot to your retirement pension. But if you're going to retire in 2 years, making the move up here might be pointless.
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Old 11-27-2007, 05:55 PM   #5
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The cost of living might be high here but remember you get a bigger locality pay adjustment and that really adds to your high-3, whether you're under FERS or CSRS. For me, the ideal is to get transferred to San Francisco or New York for three years, where real estate hasn't really taken that much of a hit, and retire to a low cost area -- the extra kicker for the high-3 adds a lot to your retirement pension. But if you're going to retire in 2 years, making the move up here might be pointless.
Yes, and my FERS pension will just be peanuts either way, unfortunately. I just computed it, and if they give me the same grade and step (they can't offer me a promotion from GS-13 to GS-14), after taxes the locality pay would raise my pension by a whopping $25/month more, approximately. OK, I would probably get some sort of step increase too, but I am still skeptical. Besides, most people with my job function are 13's here, 14's there, so while it is gratifying to have my colleague at HQ inquire as to whether I would be interested, the job is not something I am eager to pursue. As they say on the east coast, "Fuggeddaboudit!"

The big advantage is that they would buy my house from me, so I wouldn't have to deal with that. I'm not sure how long I would have to work to fulfill that obligation. But even dealing with rent for two years in that area would be tough, not to mention dealing with a new job in a new place. I'll just tough it out here and watch the mpney pile up in my bank account.
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Old 11-27-2007, 08:03 PM   #6
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"Ah fuggeddaboudit," a phrase I heard a lot in growing up in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn -- since when did this become appropriated by people outside of New York City? Not sure I'd fuggeddaboutit so quickly here.

It's the normal practice for many agencies to have a field office and headquarter grade differential for people essentially doing the same work, so I wouldn't count against you getting a grade boost within a short period of time. I'd look at the position description for the job they are offering you and determine whether it has career ladder progression up to a 14 (in other words, what is the full performance level for the job they're offering you?) If it dead-ends at the 13 level, then your suspicion might be correct about you're not getting a boost up.

The job relocation benefits for some agencies include moving you to your retirement destination, if they relocated you during your service with the agency. If you're set on 2 years and out, I would fuggeddaboutit, but if you could stretch it out to 3 years, then you'd have relocation benefits in moving to and from the area, a potential grade boost, and locality adjustments.

Rent is high in the area if you want to live within 5 miles of DC, but you'd be surprised at some of the deals you can get around here. And 2-3 years in the DC area, would fly quickly as there are lots of things to do here.
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Old 11-27-2007, 09:11 PM   #7
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Actually we live in Vienna, VA ourselves. Not in the town itself, but within walking distance of Wolf Trap.

As far as settling the estate, the bulk of it was in various financial accounts that I had already gotten registered as Transfer on Death (or beneficiary for the IRAs) so those should be reassigned fairly quickly. Selling the house in Ft Lauderdale will be more of a pain but there was no mortgage and I'll try to price it so it sells in a hopefully timely fashion.

Larry
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Old 11-27-2007, 09:43 PM   #8
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if you could stretch it out to 3 years, then you'd have relocation benefits in moving to and from the area, a potential grade boost, and locality adjustments.
Ah, fuggeddaboudit!!! I am determined to at least try to ER in 2009. The job is 10 years too late because the last thing I want is a job right now.

Vienna is a beautiful town. I got lost in Vienna while driving my rental car around, looking for a grocery store (which I found, and managed to get some healthy food to take to my hotel room). Anyway, Vienna is very nice, though I could never afford to live there now that the prices have gone up.

The house in Ft. Lauderdale might take a while to sell. Thank goodness, my mother had no real estate to dispose of since she was living in a continuous care facility, and sold the house years ago. It took several weeks just to get the death certificates, and nobody even lifts a finger until they get one. They need to do her taxes, pay any debts, and whatever else needs to be done. We are hoping for six months, though the estate lawyer estimates 6 months to a year. It's been two months already.
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Old 11-28-2007, 10:25 AM   #9
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madsquopper - I just wanted to give my condolences as well. Like bssc, I went through this with my grandmother, and I knew it was really for the better for her. We still grieve, of course, but somehow it makes it easier knowing they are better off.
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