What happens when we move from two big incomes, to one?
It's a pretty giant & stressful topic, as going from a large second income to no second income (immediately) and a reduced second income (mid-long term) is a big lifestyle adjustment. Before I was diagnosed with lupus, I had zero plans or desires to move away from a 100%, hard core career. I'm the person that went right back to work after having both kids, and really never thought seriously about quitting my job.
But, life throws you some pretty substantial curve balls. I don't know what would have happened or how I would have felt without the lupus diagnosis, but I suspect that I would have eventually burned out . . . it would have just taken longer to reach where I'm at now.
To tie it all together, when we moved from Seattle, we had a weekend to find housing. And, we found a pretty incredible area with a very strong school & a great community feel. However, it's insanely expensive. We were reasonably confident that we'd eventually be able to buy, given both of our jobs. However, our neighborhood's property value has drastically outperformed the market (and, this is the Bay Area market, which is crazy high even on its own) since we moved. And, I'm not planning on making the same amount of money. Our lease expires in August of 2017, and our landlords don't have the option to extend - their parents plan to move in. There are no reasonable rental properties in our neighborhood that allow us to stay in the same school district.
We've evaluated all possible options - selling our Seattle house, our vacation house, living extremely frugally, living in a 2 bedroom condo. . . and, no matter how we run the numbers, we just can't make them work. A two bedroom condo in our neighborhood is in the $1.3M range, btw, and only one has gone on the market in the last year.
Either way, we are facing a move out of our current school district when our lease expires. Which, is not a good scenario to have when you have two school aged kids who've already faced (and, not terribly enjoyed) one move.
As a result of this change, we built a decision matrix, and considered all of the following
- Moving to the Oregon coast. The cost of living is insanely cheap (we could pay off our house, keep our Seattle house as an investment, & find one low paying job & be in good shape). However, the schools aren't what we have in mind & it's really small town. I'm pretty comfortable with the small town way of life, but it would be a BIG adjustment for M. ;-)
- Moving to the Portland/Vancouver area. It's closer to my sister/family, but creates other logistical challenges (no existing work network, better job opportunities in Seattle, etc).
- Buying a condo in our current area. A two bedroom condo. While we have a giant, gorgeous house that's half way to paid for in Seattle. Which, is just really pretty crazy. And, said condo would be a minimum of $1.3M, not counting HOA fees.
- Moving to a lower cost of living area that's still within a decent driving distance to M's work. Except, the price of living difference isn't that much (i.e. a house will be around $1.9M vs $2.5M in our neighborhood) - still out of our range. And, it would still require the kids to switch schools.
- Moving to a lower cost of living area that's a long drive to M's work (90 minutes+ each way). In that case, we could get the price down to a more reasonable $1.2M, but the quality of life for M would be pretty terrible. And, again, the kids would need to switch schools.
- Moving back to our house in Seattle. M would find a new job (so, the burden of transition would definitely be on him). The kids would transfer back to their previous schools. We'd be close to our families, but not *super* close. ;-)
After running the matrix & evaluating multiple scenarios, there was a clear winner.
And, we've decided on this:
If nothing else changes (i.e. the housing market, M's job, my work situation, some fundamentally major shift of our stock portfolio, etc), we will move back to our Seattle house at the end of the next school year. We'll begin planning around January of 2017, talk to the kids, etc to give ourselves plenty of time to find jobs, set up the move, work through transition details, etc.
Our lease in our current house ends at the end of August 2017, and our renters will be out of our Seattle house at almost exactly the same time. It's kind of perfect.
Moving isn't easy
Especially when you have kids in school. The reason we landed on moving *back* to Seattle, vs finding somewhere even cheaper, etc is that moving back to our old neighborhood will be easier for the kids than starting over somewhere brand new. And, it will also be easier for us. We have a job network, a friend network, and, let's not forget - we have an actual house already. :-)
Our top choice would be to stay in our existing neighborhood. It was really, really difficult to come to the conclusion that we can't make it work. I'm going to be honest, I have a lot of guilt about the fact that my decision is triggering other life decisions for our family. But, I also believe that this is what's best for everyone in the long term.
That's all for now on the big life changes side of my 40 week plan. I'll keep you all posted on our future/potential move, as we still have a lot of thinking to do on the topic!