Friday, February 09, 2018

A Whirlwind of Volatility

I'm not just talking about the stock market these last few days-- I'm talking about the last few months of my life.
You would think I'd have spent more time blogging lately, given that I quit my job and at least in theory have plenty of time on my hands. But the end of 2017 got a little crazy as we had to do a lot of work to put our apartment on the market, and then we sold it so quickly, it was a hustle to get ourselves packed up and moved out by the beginning of January!
I think we had pretty great timing, actually. We hit the market at a point when there weren't a lot of comparable listings in our price range. Within days we had multiple offers and a bidding war, and ended up with an all-cash buyer at above our original asking price. Seeing what's been going on with the tax bill and now the gyrations in the stock market, I'm very glad we weren't trying to sell now or later this spring.
The buyers wanted to close fairly quickly, but luckily we had also managed to find a house in an area that we liked, so we knew we'd have someplace to go-- sort of, anyway. The timing didn't totally work out and we couldn't move in right away, so our stuff (what's left of it after purging and donating and selling a lot) had to go into storage for a little while, but beyond that, the closing on our house went pretty smoothly too, since we were also paying cash. We also had good timing in that during our storage limbo, we decided to get away for a little mini-vacation in January when it got so cold and nasty in the Northeast, and not move into our new house til later in the month when it was better weather. And now we (by which I really mean Sweetie, whose apartment it was) are sitting on a big chunk of cash that we luckily didn't invest right before this stock market correction.

So we are just now settling down to the next phase of this new life, but still feeling a little at sea. Our expenses are going to be so much lower, it's kind of blowing my mind. Our HOA fee is a fraction of the maintenance on the apartment. The car insurance is cheaper, and parking is free. Even joining the local gym, which we did today, is going to be about half what we used to pay in NYC. The local grocery stores tend to have somewhat lower prices than in the city. Our utility bills may end up higher since we have electric baseboard heating. And at some point we may need to get a second car, depending on what we end up doing with ourselves in terms of jobs or other activities. So far, our main activities have been unpacking, exploring the area, and marveling at how beautiful and quiet it is here.
We'll see how it goes. I do miss the urban vibe of being in Brooklyn and going into Manhattan almost daily-- we drove back into the city for the first time the other day and ended up in a neighborhood I didn't know well and I kept thinking how nice it seemed and wondering what it would be like to live there if we someday decide we want and can afford a pied a terre. I kind of miss just watching people on the subway. It's weird to have to drive everywhere. But life also feels very peaceful now, and all the stresses of our former apartment, former jobs, and former expenses have just-- poof! -- gone away.


Anonymous said...

Could you do a post on the calculations that made you comfortable choosing to retire?

T'Pol said...

Wow! Everything happened so fast? I am glad things worked out in your favor anyway. How far are you from NYC? I used to live in Westchester, Hartsdale to be exact. This was way back in early 1990s. I went back a couple of years ago and the whole area looks run down. So sad to see that because it was fairly close to the City and it was a nice area to live. My closest friends live up in Fishkill. They are farther from the City but that area is still very nice in my opinion.

Madame X said...

I'm about 70 miles from the city. It is nice up here but I'm still figuring things out and can't quite believe I'm here!

John said...

Hmm.. Retirement is always a tricky thing especially when you want to save money and do it earlier in life. Would like to know more about the factors that led to that decision. Thanks.