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Old 03-10-2009, 11:35 AM
 
126 posts, read 280,293 times
Reputation: 67

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Quote:
Originally Posted by lh_newbie View Post
Your last 2 posts show you definitely have put a lot of thought into your move. That's definitely a good thing. I would like to point out a couple of items.

* You say you want to build just what you NEED... and previous posts say 3500-4000 sq ft of custom home. I find it very hard to believe that you NEED that much space. It's fine to want - and to some extent - it's fine to get - more than you need, just call it what it is.
* With regard to the statement "Investing alone doesn't make one immune to anything happening right before they are about to cash out/retire". If you wait until just before you retire to diversify out of the stock market... eeks. There are investments other than just stocks, which are what have taken the biggest hit.
* Additionally, if someone were to have invested heavily into their home - like many did in California, Florida and Nevada - thinking they'd cash out and move somewhere less expensive to retire - they also would be in bad shape.

For what it's worth - we don't have any children, but are discussing having one. Our current home would more than allow for us to have a kid - and should something happen to our parents - also allow for a parent to move into the home and still afford us a reasonable amount of privacy as we would have a dedicated bedroom for each (parent, child, wife/myself) along with a formal dining we could use as a second living area - and STILL have a dedicated office (since I work from home often). I still say that our home is definitely more than we need. IMO, in the US, we have a difficult time understanding the difference between wants and needs.

Sorry to rant.

Brian
lh, you're so right about this. My husband and I have had so many conversations about wants vs. needs. I remind him that I grew up in a modest house with a one-car garage and it was more than enough space for our family, our relatives that liked to come over all the time and any sort of party or gathering. We LOVED the house and it was just perfect. He agrees that we don't need something huge, but he has an issue with older homes and tends to like fancier neighborhoods. So we're trying to compromise.

The one thing that astounds me is the ridiculously high property tax here -- on top of some seriously inflated housing prices. I know that many areas are inexpensive but there are a lot of home for more than $400K that make you wonder. We've basically decided to rent for a while because buying feels like throwing money away when you don't have any equity in your home. If we find our dream house and decide to stay for 10 years, then we'll certainly buy. It's just not a good short-term option and we don't know how long we'll stay.

Good for you for doing the smart thing and buying a cheaper house so you can save and invest for the long-term. If only I could have convinced my husband to live in Lake Highlands...
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Old 03-10-2009, 12:33 PM
 
Location: Lake Highlands (Dallas)
2,395 posts, read 5,705,386 times
Reputation: 988
If you're uncertain about how long you'll be here - renting is certainly a very wise choice. Glad you're having some very honest conversations at home. They're very difficult conversations. We live in a wonderful country that affords us a lot of luxuries and it's very good for us to keep perspective with our decisions. When we want something and decide to get it - we should not rationalize it as saying we need it. There's nothing wrong with buying something we want because we want it and can afford it - but we must recognize that we have made that choice.

I'm struggling with one of those wants right now. There's a new Mac Mini that I'd love to buy and use as an entertainment PC for streaming video from the Internet (Hulu and Netflix) along with it being our DVR and DVD player (can do it all with this box - and it's nice and small at only 6.5" square by 2" tall). It's definitely a want and not a need. So I'll sit on the decision for a month to see if it's just an impulse thing or if I still have the desire in a few weeks. And I wonder why my coworkers say I'm a cheap skate. LOL!

Brian
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Old 03-10-2009, 01:40 PM
 
47 posts, read 139,143 times
Reputation: 16
Hi Brian,
I too grew up in a very small home. But just so you know, 3500 sq foot of space for us isn't all "wants" since I work from home and need a relatively large studio space, we want a big family and will very probably have a live in parent.
Of course any kind of home will have a few "wants". After all, one can endlessly question what they really need and wittle down to nothing. But just that proportionally to what we would spend on a home, we would certainly not be throwing everything into a house. In fact the mortgage we hope for will only be 10%-15% of income vs 20/25/30% that's typical.

There are also 5000 and 6000 sq foot homes and even 10,000sq foot homes that one could easily "want". We feel that 3500-4000 is certainly not over the top, and are aiming towards the lower end of that anyway.

I agree that one shouldn't be invested in anything "risky" close to retirement, but I speak from knowing people who lost life savings who weren't in anything risky. They were in other countries. But - nobody is really immune. Who is to know what will be going on 20-30-40 years from now.
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Old 03-10-2009, 02:50 PM
 
Location: Lake Highlands (Dallas)
2,395 posts, read 5,705,386 times
Reputation: 988
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jan08 View Post
Hi Brian,
I too grew up in a very small home. But just so you know, 3500 sq foot of space for us isn't all "wants" since I work from home and need a relatively large studio space, we want a big family and will very probably have a live in parent.
Of course any kind of home will have a few "wants". After all, one can endlessly question what they really need and wittle down to nothing. But just that proportionally to what we would spend on a home, we would certainly not be throwing everything into a house. In fact the mortgage we hope for will only be 10%-15% of income vs 20/25/30% that's typical.

There are also 5000 and 6000 sq foot homes and even 10,000sq foot homes that one could easily "want". We feel that 3500-4000 is certainly not over the top, and are aiming towards the lower end of that anyway.

I agree that one shouldn't be invested in anything "risky" close to retirement, but I speak from knowing people who lost life savings who weren't in anything risky. They were in other countries. But - nobody is really immune. Who is to know what will be going on 20-30-40 years from now.
Very true - I guess technically, we only need bread, water and a roof over our heads. It sounds like you're keeping things well within conservative guidelines. I definitely commend you for that. Mortgage in the 10-15% range? That's very good. You, too, seem to be in the rare group of financial conservatives.

And I totally understand the wants. We remodeled our master bath last year - we certainly didn't need that jacuzzi tub - but my wife loves it and uses it, so it's worth it for her happiness.

Brian
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Old 03-10-2009, 04:03 PM
 
47 posts, read 139,143 times
Reputation: 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by lh_newbie View Post
Very true - I guess technically, we only need bread, water and a roof over our heads. It sounds like you're keeping things well within conservative guidelines. I definitely commend you for that. Mortgage in the 10-15% range? That's very good. You, too, seem to be in the rare group of financial conservatives.
I don't know that they are that rare Many many years ago, I read the book "millionaire next door" - changed my life. I also happen to know quite a few people who are almost fanatically conservative - in fact I learned from some of them that being extreme in the other direction isn't necessarily the best way to live life either. There's gotta be balance to everything.

In any case though, its always awesome to hear of someone who is very smart financially and will definitely reap the benefit one day.
And also good luck to you if you and your wife are discussing having a child. That was by FAR the best and most amazing thing we ever did in life.
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Old 03-10-2009, 05:27 PM
 
Location: North Texas
471 posts, read 1,236,374 times
Reputation: 368
Smile Reality Check!

Quote:
Originally Posted by debtex View Post
$100 a square foot is just not accurate...for truly custom and more than builder-grade fixtures, you're more like $200.
Holy Cow! $200.00 psf is more of an super extreme. I have done homes that built out $200.00; 12' ceilings down, 10' ceilings up, dome ceilings, groin ceilings, hand scraped wood floors through-out, master baths of enormous proportions, tons of custom cabinetry, 16" crown moldings in all rooms, 2,000 sf of patio area with outdoor kitchens, etc.... Maybe if you're building in Preston Hollow, yes.

Back to reality.....

Most homes that are built to a home-buyers plans (custom), build out for less than $100.00 psf living area not including the land and very well appointed. A Custom Builder is a builder that never builds the same home twice. Many of the builders mentioned on this forum are not custom builders. Custom home building in north Texas is still going strong. We're not as busy as we were 3 years ago but we're still accepting jobs. I currently have 4 jobs working all in excess of 4,000sf living area.
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Old 03-10-2009, 10:12 PM
 
126 posts, read 280,293 times
Reputation: 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by lh_newbie View Post
If you're uncertain about how long you'll be here - renting is certainly a very wise choice. Glad you're having some very honest conversations at home. They're very difficult conversations. We live in a wonderful country that affords us a lot of luxuries and it's very good for us to keep perspective with our decisions. When we want something and decide to get it - we should not rationalize it as saying we need it. There's nothing wrong with buying something we want because we want it and can afford it - but we must recognize that we have made that choice.

I'm struggling with one of those wants right now. There's a new Mac Mini that I'd love to buy and use as an entertainment PC for streaming video from the Internet (Hulu and Netflix) along with it being our DVR and DVD player (can do it all with this box - and it's nice and small at only 6.5" square by 2" tall). It's definitely a want and not a need. So I'll sit on the decision for a month to see if it's just an impulse thing or if I still have the desire in a few weeks. And I wonder why my coworkers say I'm a cheap skate. LOL!

Brian
You're better than me. I would be all over that Mac Mini. In fact, I have dreams about some sort of home entertainment system for sports, movies, etc when we finally find a house. My justification boils down to the fact that we've had old TVs forever and rarely spend money on this kind of stuff. Plus, with little ones we rarely get to the movies and sporting events any more. I loooove Hulu and Netflix. You should go for it! I might just add this to my list as well.
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Old 03-11-2009, 08:40 AM
 
14,642 posts, read 27,910,819 times
Reputation: 5110
the best way to describe someone with money management skills and self-restraint is FRUGAL...
when my daughter was in jr high-high school money was tighter for us than now--
we ALWAYS shopped for clothing from the sales rack and the only thing we really spent top money for was good shoes--refuse to buy plastic or shoddy because it is really a waste of money in the long run...
she was so embarassed at times because --unlike moms of some of her friends who just gave them cash or a credit card and turned them loose in the mall--we went together and I supervised what she bought---
now though that she is grown and making/spending her own money--she has told me lots of times that she is now going to the sale rack first and knows that more money does not automatically mean better quality
Living in a small (under 900 sq ft) condo with her husband has a lot to do with cutting back on buying unnecessary items as well...
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Old 03-11-2009, 09:20 AM
 
Location: Lake Highlands (Dallas)
2,395 posts, read 5,705,386 times
Reputation: 988
Quote:
Originally Posted by MSPMom View Post
You're better than me. I would be all over that Mac Mini. In fact, I have dreams about some sort of home entertainment system for sports, movies, etc when we finally find a house. My justification boils down to the fact that we've had old TVs forever and rarely spend money on this kind of stuff. Plus, with little ones we rarely get to the movies and sporting events any more. I loooove Hulu and Netflix. You should go for it! I might just add this to my list as well.
I think the biggest thing holding me back is the current state of the Internet and Paid TV. Let me explain:

In my neighborhood, I can get Time Warner Cable (digital cable or analog cable), Satellite or AT&T U-verse (and of course broadcast TV). I hate to have another set-top box, which is required with digital cable, sat and uverse. The only options to NOT have another box are analog cable and broadcast TV. My wife LOVES to watch Animal Planet, HGTV and Food Network, so broadcast TV is out. I've been hearing that analog cable has it's days limited, so if I go the Mac Mini route with analog cable, there will be a day when I am forced to get another box (and the Mac Mini's DVR functionality is gone) unless some company comes out with a USB-based CableCard digital cable adapter I can use on the Mac Mini. If there were such a card today, my choice would be much easier (I even contacted Elgato, which makes EyeTV for Mac, to ask if they have one on the road map - there's talk of it, but nothing officially on the map). If my wife didn't care about her 3 favorite channels, I might just ditch paid TV completely and just have high speed Internet + broadcast TV + streaming through Hulu/Netflix and call it a day (and save $35/month). Ah, the fine balancing act of wants/needs and finances. LOL!

Now that we're completely off subject, I return you to your regular programming...
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