The Post Retirement Living Roller Coaster - Part One
I quit my day job at the end of January 2017. We hit the road mid-March 2017, traveled until September when we returned for doctor appointments and my craft retreat. For our second trip, we set out to get as far as Texas. We made it! However, the weather in Texas was very, very cold, unseasonably so. We decided after Christmas that we wanted to be in warmer weather so we reversed course and set out for Arizona. Alas, on December 30th we were in a collision with a tanker truck and lost everything except our truck, our health and whatever items happened to be in the truck. A few items were recovered by the emergency road crew, but only certain items like ID, cash and medication.
So, we limped home with our tails between our legs and re-grouped. Dealing with insurance when you've lost everything is emotionally challenging, even for people like us who are typically not emotional and don't experience alot of drama. This was way too much drama for us! Because we'd already lost everything we decided to minimize even more, planning for less possessions and a slightly smaller trailer. Hub didn't stop there, nope, he looked at everything that was a complication in our lives. He found one last big complication, our triplex property.
That particular building requires more expensive insurance. It has a dedicated electric meter that runs the shared laundry, basement lights, we think one or two of the hot water tanks, and the shop. We pay all of that every month. We also pay for garbage. The net increase is an average $125 in additional expenses per month. Finally, we have to maintain the grounds because it is shared by all tenants. We pay for the upkeep when we are out of town, yet another expense. The income it generates is not the issue, it is all the extra stuff required to run it. The housing market in the Pacific Northwest was smoking hot during this time so Hub brought up the idea of selling it.
Hub got his wish. We listed the property and soon thereafter accepted a full price offer. The inspection report had some fixes that the buyer wanted to take care of himself so we lowered the price accordingly. We still ended up with well over our minimum price that we set as our goal. With those proceeds we were able to pay off one of the duplexes, drop those extra expenses, responsibilites AND ended up with a slight increase in income. It was a win-win. Of course now our income is dependant on only four units instead of the previous eight. One vacancy will reduce our income by 25%. That thoughts is a little scary, but we have now been living on this income long enough that we know our limits. In fact that was one bit of good news from our first year on the road. We did not realize how cheap it is to live when you have NO debt and NO housing expenses. Even when we have to pay for a camp site, our rates only run us $10 to $15/night. Our primary hobby is playing disc golf which is free. There are enough options that we can avoid any of the pay to play courses.
In a worse case scenario, We have various retirement accounts to draw from. Ideally of course we would refrain from using them at all until we can draw from them without penalty, but we are prepared to pay the 10% should the need arise.
With all those changes final, here we are still in the Pacific Northwest. Hub has some medical stuff to take care of and then we will head out for the summer. We will not go too far so we can easily return for his followup medical appointments in the fall. Our only current stressor is our new trailer which has a broken axle. That of course is another story, and we await the new axle to be shipped here so we can resume life on the road. We are very, very lucky to have parents who have let us hang out with them these last few months and the rent they charge is as awesome a deal as Thousand Trails! In this we feel very fortunate.
I hope that we will get another year of retirement living under our belt before there is anything exciting enough to write about in a post retirement part two article. I can tell you that we do have our sights set on buying property in the south somewhere. My goal is to work on this early next year. We have saved the proceeds from selling our primary residence, and have added to that with the leftover from the sale of the triplex. We are looking at lower cost areas for that property, with low property taxes.