FIRE and a second home

emi guy

Recycles dryer sheets
Feb 21, 2007
I'm not sure if this has been asked before but as an aspiring early retriee, is it unreasonable to expect to be able to early retire AND keep a second (seasonal) home?

My wife and I really enjoy our Summer condo and hope to be able to, one day soon, stay for the entire Summer (after we retire). I'm struggling with "how much is too much" and curious whether others on this board have been able to retire early and maintain two properties. Part of me thinks we could pull the plug earlier if we liquidated everything and stayed close to home while the other half wants to enjoy our new free time to the maximum. Did any of you feel that you worked too long in order to keep some of your "stuff"? Thanks, Cataman
Part of your answer is pure logic. Of course it takes more money to operate and finance 2 homes rather than one.

The rest is pure emotion-how important is it to you?

How much longer would you have to work to afford that second home?

Can you downsize your first home and save some money that way?

Is there any reason you might not want to live in the summer condo year-round?

Sounds like you guys get a lot of enjoyment out of your summer place and want to spend more time there, so divesting it doesn't seem sensible right off the bat. But you have lots of other options.

If retiring earlier means you have to give up what you really want to do when you are retired - I don't think it necessarily makes sense to retire early. But by really looking at your priorities, you might be able to figure out a way to have your cake and eat it too!

I don't think that I would have considered ER without the "stuff" ;)

Whether it is a 2nd home, a new car every three years or membership to the country club....and it is something that you feel that you cannot give simply must factor it into your would seem to me that the real problem arises when the "stuff" comes along AFTER you have RE'd and find that you need to return to the work force to be happy (by acquiring the stuff).....not a happy prospect :eek:
It's about balance. If you want a second home badly enough to pay for it in additional time at work, you should do it. There are other options you might consider. Do you really want to own that condo, or do you want to live for a month in that location? If it's the latter, you might consider whether owning the condo is the most efficient way to accomplish your goal. Or could you find a place to rent for a month that would be more efficient? :confused:

Another advantage of renting for a month is that you can change locations easily in the future if you decide to spend a month somewhere else.

I had an advisor years ago who said the secret to becoming wealthy is the "rule of one":

One house
One wife (no divorces)
One kid
One company
One broker (he added that one jokingly).

Actually not bad advice. The "one company" advice is outdated - that applied back when companies had defined benefit pensions.
The short answer is if you can afford it, why not?

We recently sold our vacation cabin to buy a RV. We felt the cabin was becoming more of a money pit than it was worth to us emotionally. We had no intention of ever living there full time (nasty winters up there and too much work to keep the roads and driveway clear all winter). We are glad we sold it since now the funds going into keep that place, taxes, insurance, electricity, propane, HOA dues, "toy" maintenance, cabin repairs, etc. will more than pay for the RV expenses...even with the higher gas prices.

A second home is just that....a second home and has expenses and maintenance requirements that may exceed your full time home. Again, if you can afford it and want to keep it then who is to say you should get rid of it? If it is keeping you from being FIRE and you want to be there sooner, then perhaps it might be one place to cut some expenses so you can 1)save more each month and 2)lower your monthly expenses so you can ER when you want to.
I have toyed with the idea of a vacation home or condo in Florida. I have talked with people that owned vacation homes and condos. My take was... the second home or condo is very expensive for the short period of time it was used (maybe several months per year). Plus most tried to rent it to help offset some of the cost... however, they needed a service to clean up after renters... that and other costs (buy furniture, insurance, taxes, etc) were fairly expensive plus for condo there is the monthly fee for maintenance.

Not to mention the feelings that one needs to rush down to check out the place if a storm comes along.

I have come to the conclusion that it is less expensive to lease/rent. Even if it was for 2 or 3 months a year for several years. Plus, we will have some flexibility to go elsewhere.
My parents rent a townhouse in FL for 3 months every year, instead of owning a second home. They retired at 57.

There are other options you can explore, and not be "stuck" in one place.
Many of our friends have downsized into a condo or modest home so they could spend 6 months at their cottage. It works for them.

We rent both home and condo in PV so we could afford to retire and travel after my divorce.

Depends on your collective priorities...
Watching my parents experience with their second home was enough to cure me of ever wanting one. Homes are hard enough to take care of when you live there, having to get on a plane just makes it worse.

When they sold the house they figured out that they could have stayed in a Ritz or Four Seasons for every night they spent in their second house.
We developed some water front land the first year I FIRE'd. Justified it by building it as a vacation rental. Also made a deal with DW that if it does not support itself (rental income vs expenses) we'll slaughter it as the hog it is in 2 years.

Year 1 was a bust (so far) ... warmest winter since creation killed the winter ski season. Summer season is booking well but will not carry the whole years expenses. (Consider buying an established rental; breaking into the "business" can be hard(er))

One more year to go. Good news is we've held the land for nearly 5 years ... we all know what real estate - let alone water front land - has done over the last 5 years. There'll be no tears on the way to the bank. :cool:

Point being if you buy smart and treat it as an investment ... you can have your cake and eat it too.
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