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Old 12-08-2012, 07:33 AM
 
1 posts, read 1,397 times
Reputation: 15

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Hi, I've been reading through forums for the last few weeks and have learned a lot. I am a single mom of three kids, 17, 14, 12, and work full time (50 hr/wk) in silicon valley here in california. I make ~50k a year. i work my butt off and try to save as much money for the future as possible. that's not easy in this part of california because it is SO expensive to live here.

long story short, i married into a family of attorneys. biggest mistake a person can make. my ex makes twice what i do, under the table, collects SS disability for depression (ha!) and pays me a few hundred dollars a month in child support (when he feels like it). I'm not here to gripe about my life choices or for pity, i'm here to try to get some information.

We sold our family home after the divorce and ended up selling for the same amount we bought for 10 years earlier. I got about 100k that i put into a CD earning about 0.5% interest. it's been a few years now and i'm still too fearful about investing that money into the stock market. I have a very bad investment history, always buying high and selling low and just don't want any part of it anymore. I do put away retirement income from my pay check every month and i do invest this money into the stupid stock and bond market (what other choices are there?). I no way have enough money to fund my retirement at this point but I am doing the best i can to add to it.

I live in a two bedroom apartment with my three kids and after selling our home i thought, foolishly, that i would buy something smaller after the housing crash when things got cheaper around here. well, they never did get any cheaper around here. i live in one of the most expensive areas of the bay area, a suburb outside of San Francisco, and the price for a 1000 SF house starts at $750K!! I'm stuck here in california now because of my job but I am looking at what I can do now to prepare for the future. I am 50 years old.

My idea is to take that 100k and buy something to retire into one day. It's hard to work every day and come home to a tiny apartment, tired after a hard day at work, and then deal with all the home responsibilities: try to have the energy to be a good mom to my kids, get the homework done, the shopping, the bills, the cooking, the laundry, etc., and not feel hopeless at the end of the day. The kids help out but it's still a LOT of work. I see people here making 4 times as much as me every single day and not working near as hard and taking vacations in Maui and living the good life. I'm not bitter (other than to my ex) but there has got to be something for me to hope for!

How does it sound to anyone here that i buy a home, now, in say, Colorado Springs, for my retirement and for us to move to when the kids finish school. I know the prices have come down quite a bit and interest rates are very low. It could be an investment for the 100k i have sitting in a 0.5% CD. I would have to hire a management company to rent out the house and take care of it until we move there. I have some experience in mgmt co's since I also manage the apartment building I live in (for extra $).

I also worry about what i've read about the water problem in Colorado. Are there problems with living in a tract house and water availability at this time?

Please don't tell me to take my ex to court to get more child support. I've spent over 35K on attorneys to fight his family and i've gotten nowhere. the court system is rigged to work for the person with the most money to buy the best attorney. in my ex's case, it doesn't even cost him any money, it's his family.

thank you so much for any insight you can give me.

sarah
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Old 12-08-2012, 09:26 AM
 
Location: OKLAHOMA
1,783 posts, read 3,597,635 times
Reputation: 939
Does it have to be that area. If you must (which I love too) be in CO try Southern Co like Trinidad or Pueblo it is much cheaper there. For 100 I would look at Trinidad. If States do not matter you can get something pretty nice in some other States. CO is pricer than most. Not as pricee as CA but up there still. Maybe you should try to find a job in a less pricee area and then buy because rentals can but horrible if your not there to watch. I've had some bad experiences when I've rented out our home because we were transferred.
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Old 12-09-2012, 09:29 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,338 posts, read 39,604,894 times
Reputation: 23331
Colo Springs would be my choice, as would Loveland (for front range affordable retirement without the crowds of Denver.)

I would probably try to find a DESIREABLE duplex (single level / low maint, desireable location) that you can rent for positive cash flow,(with a 15 yr loan that will end up being paid off in retirement). Later you can choose to live in one side, or sell / trade for something else. Eventually, you may need space for a caregiver, thus I try to find homes with mulitple living spaces to rent out or use for caregiver.

At least by getting something invested in a real estate market that you intend to live longterm, allows you to be a player in the future. No one really knows how this market will flush out. DO NOT OVERPAY. And be sure your chosen area is desirable to future buyers. I personally would only use a portion of the $100k as a downpayment, and take advantage of the low interest rates. An 'owner finance' is a best scenerio, as they can get a better return than bank, and you get more freedom / less expenses.
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Old 12-10-2012, 09:11 AM
 
Location: Betwixt and Between
463 posts, read 976,687 times
Reputation: 421
Quote:
Originally Posted by StealthRabbit View Post
Colo Springs would be my choice, as would Loveland (for front range affordable retirement without the crowds of Denver.)
+1 for Springs and Loveland. Both good choices. I liked living in Fort Collins as well and it's a college town (if your kids are going to uni). Anywhere along the front range from Ft Collins to Co Springs would be good. Sounds like you may be working for awhile yet so perhaps a successful strategy would be to find a job first and then target that area for housing. I have no idea if we are at/near a bottom in the RE market but if you consider your opportunity cost (.5% in a CD), then buying a house would look good to me. If you choose the foothills, be aware of fire danger and stay out of the forest. Water is a problem, but I think something like this will be inevitable:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/10/sc...line.html?_r=0

Hard to say what kind of job you'll land here but even if you take a pay cut, the lower housing costs will feel like an increase in your standard of living. Colorado is beautiful but you may suffer a little culture shock, esp coming from SF. Good luck
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Old 12-17-2012, 07:50 AM
 
Location: Italia
3 posts, read 3,454 times
Reputation: 15
Hello Sarah, are Marina. I can not give indication about what you wrote because I live in Italy.
I hope that from August to now you have solved your problems.
Unfortunately I can not be of help as you ask.
What I can offer you my friendship.
We are the same age, I'm not married and have no children but I think that in difficult times also a friend of the pen may please, just for a chat, to exchange ideas, opinions, recommendations ... What do you think?

I hope to read you soon and wish you good afternoon (here in Italy there are 4 in the afternoon!)

Hello Marina
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Old 12-17-2012, 09:25 PM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,745,548 times
Reputation: 9129
I take a contrarian view to many of the opinions expressed on these forums. I consider real estate in Colorado to be a poor investment now. I believe there is very good chance that we might see a "dead cat bounce" in the market in the next few months, followed by what I think may be a very long and protracted downturn in the market. I don't think that Colorado will be alone in that regard, but I think Colorado may take a hard thumping because too much of the state's economy is still tied to the F.I.R.E. economy, along with a big over-dependence on government employment (including the military that is the main economic base of Colorado Springs).

There are numerous places in the US that have more moderate real estate costs (either renting or buying) with higher wage scales than what Colorado typically offers. Things may seem very reasonable here compared to ridiculous California, but there are other places that are much better economically.

I live in rural Colorado community that has attracted a lot of retirees from California. A lot of them are pretty disheartened at this point. Specialized medical services are often problematic. If they bought homes in the last 3 to 4 years, their value has dropped well below what they paid for them. If they have to work, even part-time (and these days many of them are finding that they have to), such jobs are nearly non-existent. I suspect many of them feel as "trapped" here as you do in California.

Your main concern right now should be capital preservation--a darned hard thing to accomplish these days. Investing in a relatively illiquid asset like real estate that can have substantial carrying costs and--now--substantial market risk is not a good course of action, in my opinion. That's especially true in a place like Colorado, where, I believe, that real estate prices are still overinflated beyond what the underlying economy is going to be able to support. Of course, there will be plenty of real estate lackeys that will dispute my opinion, but they also have pecuniary interest in spreading the pixie dust that everything is just fine in the real estate market.
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Old 01-27-2013, 07:39 PM
 
17 posts, read 74,472 times
Reputation: 15
Default we have a lot in common

Hi,
I am in my 40's,my husband left me with 3 kids,when we were moving from his country to Canada.He went ahead of us to get situated,met a young Canadian woman,and left us.She controls the shots and doesn't let him even speak to the kids with out her being present.Since he left us behind in his country,I came running to the States since my mother lives here(NYC)but she has be less than accommodating,so I too am looking for a place to call home.My kids are 3 yrs old and twins,both 13 yrs old.It has been so difficult having a toddler as daycare is so expensive around here,I cant pay it, therefore cannot work! I too am very bitter for what my x did,it was never suppose to be like this.I did initially go to Colorado Springs,but my sister lives in the mountains,up the pass as they call it there,but there is so little to do and I was severely depressed.Never the less my sister and I dont talk now,seems when this happens to you,everyone looks at you like a loser when you can't seem to find a solution to the situation.I have had a hard time getting it together,they just don't understand,vry easy for others to criticize,no one know the pain I feel inside.I waited 12 years by his side to get out of his country(visa issues)then he just dumped me and our kids.
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Old 01-27-2013, 08:15 PM
 
20,812 posts, read 38,988,898 times
Reputation: 18999
Quote:
Originally Posted by Godguidemeplease! View Post
Hi,
I am in my 40's,my husband left me with 3 kids,when we were moving from his country to Canada.He went ahead of us to get situated,met a young Canadian woman,and left us.She controls the shots and doesn't let him even speak to the kids with out her being present.Since he left us behind in his country,I came running to the States since my mother lives here(NYC)but she has be less than accommodating,so I too am looking for a place to call home.My kids are 3 yrs old and twins,both 13 yrs old.It has been so difficult having a toddler as daycare is so expensive around here,I cant pay it, therefore cannot work! I too am very bitter for what my x did,it was never suppose to be like this.I did initially go to Colorado Springs,but my sister lives in the mountains,up the pass as they call it there,but there is so little to do and I was severely depressed.Never the less my sister and I dont talk now,seems when this happens to you,everyone looks at you like a loser when you can't seem to find a solution to the situation.I have had a hard time getting it together,they just don't understand,vry easy for others to criticize,no one know the pain I feel inside.I waited 12 years by his side to get out of his country(visa issues)then he just dumped me and our kids.
In Colorado Springs, in D11 (the main city school district) all day kindergarten is free. That may help. Rents here are on the lower side. Might be something here for you. Use padmapper.com to see rentals, but beware of scams on craigslist rentals.
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:56 AM
 
Location: The Berk in Denver, CO USA
13,927 posts, read 20,122,306 times
Reputation: 22519
Default Grammar Nazi Alert

Quote:
Originally Posted by Godguidemeplease! View Post
Hi,
I ...kids.
Paragraphs
Spaces after periods
Coherent sentences

would:
1. improve the readability of your post
2. increase the odds of getting better answers
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