Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

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AlphaLess
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Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by AlphaLess » Sat Oct 13, 2018 8:48 pm

mmmodem wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 7:43 pm
I literally spent the night before my wedding sleeping in the car when her family traveled from southern CA. I still remember my mom scolding me when we visited once and I woke up early to buy her an egg sandwich for breakfast. I told her it was $3.50 and she couldn't believe I wasted that kind of money. She can make the same sandwich for $1. She told me to never buy her a sandwich again, just give her the money, instead.
My advice to you: stop living life for your parents.
Start living life for yourself.
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TropikThunder
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Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by TropikThunder » Sat Oct 13, 2018 8:58 pm

texasdiver wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 1:11 pm
If it were me, I'd look at row houses where you could convert the basement into an AirBnB guest suite and then just block out the dates for when your parents come to visit. As your kids get a bit older, put them to work maintaining the AirBnB. It would be a nice little educational job for a middle school/high school student to learn to be a host. My daughters would probably be into it and I would do it myself if our HOA allowed that sort of thing. Put the earnings into their college funds or something.

The other advantage to this approach is that you will have a ready made studio apartment for when one of the kids boomerangs or can't otherwise afford to live in the area down the road a decade from now. Could be a LOT LOT cheaper than having to help them pay for housing in the NYC area when they are in college or grad school or just starting out.

You have the luxury of being able to really take your time and find the exact right opportunity.
I think this is the best option. As others have noted, your current equity rolled into the row house gives you a $500k morgage, which is quite doable on $320k income. Even not counting the bonus, thats still barely 2x annual income of $240. I love the idea of AirBnB'ing out the basement and reserving it for the parent's use for when they visit. If it's anywhere near your current neighborhood, bonus. The commute (and loss of daddy-daughter time) will kill your husband's spirit I'm afraid. :(

Ron Ronnerson
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Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by Ron Ronnerson » Sat Oct 13, 2018 9:12 pm

Your current situation seems too cramped to me. Four people in a two-bedroom condo seems too tight. Add family visits, and it seems like way too much. Also, your kids are growing older. They will need a quiet place to study and do homework in the years ahead. I think it’s great your parents visit often and get to see their grandkids so much. Don’t put them in a hotel. Like you said, they’d likely visit much less often and that would be a shame. The bond between grandparents and their grandkids is very special. It is priceless.

If the schools are good where you are, I’d stay in your current neighborhood. If they are not, I’d look into moving. I don’t think your husband should sign up for a long, soul-crushing commute for many years to come if it is avoidable. He would hardly ever see his family and, in my opinion, that is no way to live. In fact, if possible, he should consider working less to spend even more time with you and your young children. He will never get these years back and the kids will get older and older. If it means he will make somewhat less money if he were to work less, I’d happily accept that tradeoff. Of course, it may not be possible for him to reduce his hours. If it is, I’d seriously look at that.

Based on your description, your husband seems to have tunnel vision when it comes to paying off the mortgage. What’s the big deal if it takes a few years longer to pay off the house if you can actually live in a home that can accommodate all the people that occupy it? Assuming the schools are good where you currently live, I’d personally stay in your neighborhood and buy a practical home that suits your needs. Life is about balance. Your present self shouldn’t have to be (too) uncomfortable so that your future self can live lavishly. Save a good amount so that you can meet your long-term goals and then spend the rest if it will improve your quality of life. That's my view, anyhow.

peseta
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Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by peseta » Sat Oct 13, 2018 9:25 pm

How about a Murphy bed in the living room for your parents? They even have ones with integrated sofas: https://resourcefurniture.com/product-c ... bed-sofas/

peseta

Nissanzx1
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Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by Nissanzx1 » Sat Oct 13, 2018 9:42 pm

It seems like you are trying to justify a bigger place. Fact is, you don't need a bigger place. I'd be staying right where you are. The parents visit, make due or get them a hotel. You husband is right, mortgage needs to go. Stick with him. You have a good one there.

mnnice
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Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by mnnice » Sat Oct 13, 2018 9:54 pm

kelvan80 wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 3:57 pm
Can you go to a hotel when they come or an air b n b?
Exactly, they are doing you a favor since you get some private time with your spouse. :wink:

We briefly lived in a small house in a tiny town. Both my parents and in-laws stayed in the bed and breakfast down the street. Neither side was income constrained and it was literally a couple doors down. Everyone thought it was fun. Once I paid for for us all to eat breakfast at the Inn. The couple that ran it became friends. Obviously lodging in NYC is more spendy. No Asian cultural norms in play either.

TDCumm16
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Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by TDCumm16 » Sat Oct 13, 2018 10:33 pm

Easy... get out of NYC

Move closer to your parents in midwest. Take your $700k equity and buy a $500k 2500-3500 sqft home in cash with nice large yard and 4 bedrooms in a good school district. Set aside the other $200k to have your kids college funded

No mortgage, college is paid off.., your massive pay cut won’t matter. If your are doing in 350 in NYC I’m sure the two of you could find jobs to net $200k/yr easy. At the point savings just need to build up your retirement

ResearchMed
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Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by ResearchMed » Sat Oct 13, 2018 10:45 pm

I'll take a different approach about the "move to a lower COL area" thinking.

If you really enjoy living in Big Expensive City (it needn't be NYC; there are a handful of others, although nothing quite matches the Big Apple!), then don't cavalierly consider leaving. And it sounds like that is not really on your list of possibilities.

It may be that a lower paying/different job would comfortably suffice elsewhere, perhaps even with a much larger house, and possibly also great schools.
But IF living in NYC is "your thing", I'd think very long and hard about changing that, especially if moving away burns bridges (e.g., that special, unique job that DH now has, etc.).

We both moved (separately) many decades ago to another HCOL area. There were opportunities to move elsewhere, and... in most cases, the pay wouldn't have been significantly less, but the COL certainly would have been!
But "here" is where we are happiest, and each of us has lived in other places, including brief stints overseas.

If you are *happy* living there... that is very precious.

But yes, look for the right 3BR place, even if it's a small one. That extra space and, importantly, separation will make a huge difference with your families visiting. And it sounds like you'd enjoy the somewhat larger space anyway.
Or the suggested place with a garden level apartment, used as an AirBnB (although those can be far more work and less profit than some imagine, and there's always the chance of a bad rental).

See if DH can think ahead with whatever savings/investments are projected with a bit more spent on a mortgage, but make sure he recognizes that the 3BR home will also be worth more in the future than the 2BR home.

Quality of life is critical.
A long, tiring commute, and time missed with children growing up...? Not so good, especially if you both are missing "the city".

RM
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Lieutenant.Columbo
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Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by Lieutenant.Columbo » Sat Oct 13, 2018 11:22 pm

MJS wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 1:53 pm
Invest $200-500 in a 2-hour interior designer consultation. Experts see not-obvious-to-us solutions that could save lots of aggravation and thousands of dollars
peseta wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 9:25 pm
How about a Murphy bed in the living room for your parents?
200%
First thing I thought is, "have OP + DH considered turning their 2B into a 3Bedroom, or into a 2B+wall bed?".

wall bed examples: one, two and three.
Lt. Columbo: Well, what do you know. Here I am talking with some of the smartest people in the world, and I didn't even notice!

harrychan
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Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by harrychan » Sat Oct 13, 2018 11:49 pm

I used the exact same reasoning to buy a brand new SUV with 3rd row seat. I used the justification that had to drive the in laws around and we needed a 7 seater. In the 3 years I owned the SUV, we used the 3rd row exactly 4 times.

Put them in a nearby Airbnb or hotel.
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.

SoAnyway
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Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by SoAnyway » Sun Oct 14, 2018 12:22 am

Paging KlangFool re. the 2 quoted posts below....

In the meantime, OP: Your thread title says it all. I'm not going to get in-between you and your husband; your marital argument is between the two of you. I am simply observing without taking sides, since I've not heard his pov, and you're of course presenting "curated" info in the light most favorable to the outcome you desire.

I "get" the cultural aspects, and I "get" that you're tired of the adaptations dictated by cultural norms. BTDT - It's not easy, but just imagine what your and DH's elders went through so that you could even be in a position to be posting about this issue. Please be grateful.... Bottom line: Putting the parents/in-laws in a hotel or otherwise "signalling" that their visits are any kind of burden on you (even if they are) is off the table.

It sounds like you're happy with the educational situation for your kids in your current locale/neighborhood, so I will assume that's the case and move on. You presented your situation as if there are only 3 options. I would encourage you and your husband to put aside "who wins" based on how you've framed it. Instead, please focus not on the limitations but on the possibilities. Many great suggestions have been made in this thread. I wish you and your family the best. BTW, I agree with Nissanzx1 that "It seems like you are trying to justify a bigger place." If you and your husband drop the need to get what you each want, and instead focus on thinking about ways to make sure the needs (not "wants" - "needs") of your entire family (elders/yourselves/your kids) are addressed, I'm quite confident that the two of you are smart enough to find the right solution. Good luck!
Myamar wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 7:06 am
Long time lurker, first time poster. Curious what some of you would do in our situation--spouse and I want to go two different directions.

We live in a very HCOL area. Real Estate here is about 900/sq ft, give or take depending on building amenities. We live in the NYC area, in an urban walkable neighborhood, in a condo building with parking, but not a "full service building" with doorman, etc. We have two kids, 4 and 7.

So here's the question: We bought a small 2 bedroom condo in 2013, and now we are growing out of it. But we can't agree on our next step. We love our neighborhood and we love being close to my husband's job. We both work full time but he works longer hours so being close to his job means he gets some time at home with our kids that he wouldn't get if we moved to the suburbs and his 25 minute commute turned into a 1 hour, 25 min commute. His job is pretty specialized and doesn't really exist outside of the NYC area--he would have to switch gears entirely and do something else if we moved to another state, which would result in an enormous pay cut (he keeps his eyes open on jobs because we have only lived in the NYC area for 7 years and would be okay with moving somewhere else if the right job/right salary came along--so far it has not).

He takes public transport to work. I drive (because I drive further out to the suburbs), so we have 1 garaged parking space and 1 car.

Here are our housing options:

1)Stay in our 2 bedroom condo. It's worth about $950k now, and we only owe $200k left and my husband is aggressively paying it down (that's his thing--it has to do with his very chaotic childhood. He wants nothing in this world more than to have a paid off house--we've already gone round and round about that). Staying in our 2 bedroom is great financially speaking, because our mortgage is way lower than market rental costs since we refinanced last year. Our mortgage plus HOA plus taxes are only 3.1k. Market rental costs are around 4k for a rental like our unit. The con is, both of our parents live in other places (his parents are in another country, mine are in the midwest), and they are all retired and love to visit. Which means they visit and squeeze into our small space. We are close to our parents and love for them to visit, but we hate that our kids sleep is disrupted because their bedroom is taken over for a week, several times a year. We also have no storage, almost no closet space, a tiny kitchen, the works. BUT--my husband commute is very short for the NYC area, so he gets to do school drop off in the morning, he's always home before bedtime. etc. We don't have to drive--everything is walkable and is feels healthy to walk the kids to school, walk to activities and the supermarket, etc.


2) Move to the suburbs. Taxes in the NJ/NY suburbs of NYC have exorbitant taxes and the ones with good schools are extremely expensive right now. If we sold our condo and bought a 4 bedroom house, it would definitely be in the 900-1 million + range, and would have taxes from anywhere from 20k-30k a year. The houses in the smaller range (say, a 1800 sq ft house that needs some work) would still be in the 700-800k range with taxes around 18-20k, depending on the town. Husband's commute would be much longer (he'd have to leave around 7:15 am and wouldn't be home till around 8pm,) essentially never being home when the kids are awake during the week. We would either live in a smaller, needs work house OR we could buy a bigger nicer house but for a much higher monthly payment than we have now. We would have more space, but less time when Dad and kids are together.

3) stay in our neighborhood and really stretch our house budget and get a bigger condo. A 3 bedroom with parking will be 1.2-1.5 million (HOA plus taxes). Or we could look for a row house where we could rent the finished basement, but the price would be more like 1.7-1.9 million (higher taxes, but no HOA).



Here's a snapshot of our finances.


yearly income: 320k this year. 240k base, 80k bonus last January

Monthly income: 11k, take home. This is after 401k, some small investments, 529, healthcare premiums/contributions

Overall savings/investments. I have 2 pensions from 2 different states (I work in education). My current pension will be vested in 3 years. Husband has about 375k in 401ks and old Roths and regular IRAs. We have about another 75-100k in other investments. We can't do Roth anymore and haven't done IRAs last few years since they aren't tax sheltered. 529s only have about 12k because we just started them last year. We plan to dump another 5-7k in January 2019 when the next bonus comes. If we sold the house today, we'd have about 700k for a downpayment on the next thing. We're down to 1 college loan of 4k balance we are also paying off after January bonus cycle (we throw huge sums into it every year from bonus money).

-current mortgage/HOA/taxes: 3.1k
-Childcare: $1400/month (after school babysitter)
-gas/auto insurance: $250/month
-variable expenses (groceries, clothes, fun, eating out, travel): 2k (bulk of this is travel because our families live far away, and we pay for them to fly to visit us as they are retired and on fixed incomes).
-Classes/activities for kids: $400/month (language class and dance class for 2 girls, soccer for only older kid--classes are very expensive here, it's not like the cheap prices people get in other states).


When we have money left at the end of the month, husband dumps it into an additional house fund or dumps it into vanguard funds. For the past few years, we have paid an additional 30-50k a year into the house through additional monthly payments and a big chunk from bonus money.



Here's the argument: I want to stay in our current neighborhood, buy a 3 bedroom, tweak our finances to make that bigger mortgage work.
Husband wants to either stay in our current 2 bedroom indefinitely (at least till it's paid off, approx 4-5 years from now). Our kids will be teens/pre-teens by then and still sharing a room...OR he wants to move to the suburbs and buy a small house that needs work in the 700-800k range and pay cash. His preference is to always do the most frugal thing. My preference is to find a way to meet our savings goals (we have always maxed our 401 k and invested additional every year and would continue to do so) and still have my husband home to see our kids during the week.

WWYD? I would love input from other people.
Myamar wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 1:53 pm
Other questions people have asked: why do we let our parents stay with us? Well, we are 1st gen Asian immigrants (me as a kid, husband as a teen) with parents who lived in near poverty to save to send us to college. In Asian culture, it’s a grave insult to ask elderly parents to stay somewhere else. On top of that, even in my more Americanized value system it doesn’t seem right to ask our parents to pay—they are all in their 70s on fixed incomes in low COL areas so $1500 usdfor a week in a hotel 3 times a year is not something they could afford. We would have to give up our yearly vacation for us to afford it, or give up paying extra into loans. Between our parents and siblings, we have had 6 visits this year, all from 4-7 days long. I am pretty sure they would stop visiting even if we paid for a hotel—all of our parents are still very frugal and would rather not see us than have us spend a lot of money on them.

As it is, we can only pay for their flights if we tell them they are saving us money on babysitters when they come—which is a lie, because we have to pay our part time nanny the same agreed-on weekly amount whether we use her or not. But it’s part of Asian face-saving culture. We know they want to visit and see our kids, so we say please let us buy you a ticket—you being here is so much cheaper than paying our sitter. And then we pay both.

But to be clear—we don’t mind because our parents worked hard and never spent on themselves to get us where we are today. My mother literally never worked a day in her life till they moved to the US, and my dad could not use his degrees and got a telemarketing job, so my mom got a job working for minimum wage at a supermarket—where she worked for something like $7/hour for 15 years until retirement—purely so she could get SS and not be a burden on us in retirement.

So this type of thing is something we feel we owe our parents.

Hope that makes sense.
Last edited by SoAnyway on Sun Oct 14, 2018 12:54 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Watty
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Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by Watty » Sun Oct 14, 2018 12:30 am

Myamar wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 7:06 am
We are close to our parents and love for them to visit, but we hate that our kids sleep is disrupted because their bedroom is taken over for a week, several times a year.
When the parents are visiting could the kids or your parents sleep in your room and then you and you husband could sleep in the living room on some sort of temporary bed?
Myamar wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 7:06 am
....we have only lived in the NYC area for 7 years...
The last ten years have been very turbulent especially in some industries. One thing to consider is how stable your jobs are and if it is likely for one of you to lose their job.

Even if you keep your jobs the bonus might be cut or eliminated so when looking at other properties I would not include the bonus in deciding if you can afford it or not.

I don't really see an easy solution.

Moving to the suburbs with a long commute would be brutal, and when people say that there commute takes a certain amount of time that is usually the time on a good day, but there will often be days when the commute is not so good or outright horrible.
Myamar wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 7:06 am
We have two kids, 4 and 7.
One thing to also consider is what your situation might look like when your kids are in their 20's or older.

It was a long time ago but when I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, which has always been expensive, was that some of my older coworkers had kids that were still living at home well into their 20's. For them this was not a cultural choice, it was because their kids did not have high paying jobs and could not afford an apartment even with roommates. This was often not a good situation for them.

When they are older and maybe even married and have kids of their own I have a hard time seeing how they might be able to afford to live near you in NYC or in the expensive suburbs of NYC. Moving to a less expensive area might also make things work better when your kids are grown up.
Myamar wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 7:06 am
His job is pretty specialized and doesn't really exist outside of the NYC area--he would have to switch gears entirely and do something else if we moved to another state, which would result in an enormous pay cut (he keeps his eyes open on jobs because we have only lived in the NYC area for 7 years and would be okay with moving somewhere else if the right job/right salary came along--so far it has not).
Saying "he keeps eyes open on jobs" that does not sound very aggressive. It sounds like moving to a lower cost of living area would solve a lot of problems so it might be time for him to look a lot more aggressively when you pension vests in another three years. That way you might be able to move when your oldest kid is 10 and they have time to get established in the new area before they start middle school.

In addition to housing being expensive where you are at I would assume that you are also paying a lot in taxes. If you could find jobs in a lower tax area where you could buy a nice home for $700K I would suspect that your disposable income could go up a lot even if your gross pay is a lot less in some other city.

One thing I would also look at is how much it would cost to rent a three bedroom condo like you are considering for the next three years. It might look like a large number but you would have your home equity invested in something else and compared to paying the mortage on a more expensive condo renting could be competitive.

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unclescrooge
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Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by unclescrooge » Sun Oct 14, 2018 12:43 am

Stay in the same neighborhood, but rent a larger place.

Rent out your house. When the kids move out, you can move back.

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celia
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Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by celia » Sun Oct 14, 2018 3:22 am

I would stay put but look at your condo with a different perspective. I assume you value education as your parents did for you. So you likely want your daughters to do the best they can in school, too. To do that, especially as they reach high school age, they need to have a consistent place to sleep and to study and a place for their clothes. They need to sleep and study in the same place they usually do when you have guests--no moving them elsewhere.

My first idea is to limit guests to times when there isn't any school. That leaves summers, holidays, spring break. This will allow everyone to stay up late, sleep in, go to local activities, change the routines. School won't be impacted.

My second idea is to get a murphy bed for the guests and the girls can sleep in bunk beds with desks and dressers underneath their beds. Google "bunk bed over desk". Some colleges use this setup and put 2 or 3 students in the same dorm room. Sometimes the furniture can be arranged in different configurations which gives your family more flexibility. If your bedroom is larger than theirs, maybe the girls and guests can use the larger bedroom and you move to the smaller room. Or put the murphy bed in the family/living room where it will be folded up much of the time. That might even be better so it doesn't disturb the kids. (Have you ever tried to study while someone was snoring? By high school, the kids will probably stay up later than the adults to finish their schoolwork.)

To help this plan, the four of you should identify what kind of storage you are missing. Some storage areas can store two kinds of things, such as summer vs winter clothes. You could put the out-of-season clothes in storage in the garage. Do you need more kitchen storage for food, cooking utensils (and small appliances), cleaning supplies? Or do you need storage for bathroom supplies? Toys/games/books? Outdoor activities? I like the idea of having a designer come in to give you ideas for this. Also go visit some open houses to see what other people do for storage, especially in your building!

Lastly, keep in mind that things will get more crowded as the girls get older, especially if they have friends over. But in 12 to 15 years, they will start to leave home for college or be on their own. At that time, some of your guests may not be able to travel very much. So some of the crowding will go down at that time.

carguyny
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Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by carguyny » Sun Oct 14, 2018 5:14 am

Not clear you've included NYC taxes in your analysis, they're about $11,800/year for you. Moving to the suburbs is more likely going to cost you a lot less and improve school quality and quality of life. The NYC schools generally aren't very good.

Don't be worried about commute time, I take a train 35 minutes each morning and back and it's very civilized and has become reading time. Very different experience vs the subway when we lived in Manhattan. I would much rather 60 minutes on the MTA vs 15 minutes on the subway. I used to have a 5 minute walk, but now instead of being in the office earlier I'm reading more.

As others have mentioned, $310k/year with kids in NYC is very very tough.

Leemiller
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Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by Leemiller » Sun Oct 14, 2018 8:11 am

Seems to me that there should be more options in the NYC metro area. I would not get a 700-800k fixer upper. We fixed up a house and it is a huge time and money commitment. You are pushing the boundaries of what is affordable for your family with some of these options and I think you will have a very hard during the next downturn when bonuses are impacted. I would try to find a three bedroom in another part of the city or perhaps over the bridge to commute from. Maybe a townhouse.

Are you incomes stable or increasing? Maybe this can also be revisited in a year or two. Maybe you both need to aggressively look for jobs where you can make more to make this work.

staythecourse
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Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by staythecourse » Sun Oct 14, 2018 8:27 am

Don't have an answer (if there is a such thing with this type of question) but some answers to the following questions may help come to some answers...

Did I miss what the plan with the kid's elementary, middle, and high schooleducation will be if you stayed? Public or private. If it is the former how safe and good is it? If it is the former did you add those costs into the financial balance sheet?

What is your long term vision? Do you see yourselves being urbanites in NYC for the next 20 years? Do you see the kids growing up in the city itself through high school?

What are the goals housing long term? Are both of you okay being in a 2 bedroom condo forever? Any interest in being in a house at sometime in the future?

What are your husband's look term job plans? Does he love this niche field he is in and wants to do it forever? Is he just doing it because that is what he has been doing up to this point?

If it was me I would not be interested in raising kids in a shoebox in the city UNLESS you are really taking advantage of the cultural advantages of the city, i.e. going to the museum AT LEAST once per week for example. That, of course, is just me.

Good luck.
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metacritic
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Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by metacritic » Sun Oct 14, 2018 8:46 am

Not sure it's true in NYC. My take -- not based on rigorous analytics -- is that a third bedroom in premium Brooklyn jumped the price by roughly 7 figures over a two bedroom. We moved to a Rivertown based on what we encountered.

OP, have you looked at Queens or other boroughs that might offer a compromise between space, commute time, and cost?


TxAg wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 4:10 pm
You owe $200k on a place worth $950k. Sell and take the $750k and apply it to the larger $1.2M place. That should be feasible on your current income. That keeps the commute similar and you get the extra room.

Dave55
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Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by Dave55 » Sun Oct 14, 2018 8:47 am

Having grown up in a suburb of NYC, lived in NYC for several years, traveled to NYC for decades on business, I would not live in the city or anywhere near it. I was also fortunate to live in many cities and some rural places around the US, and you can get much more for your money housing wise elsewhere, and improve the quality of your life (short commute, low traffic, low crime, friendly people, etc. in many other locations as has been pointed out by others here). However, if you are unable to relocate to another part of the country due to husbands job, then for sure, upsize your housing. Why suffer and be cramped when you can be comfortable in a larger home?

Dave

KlangFool
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Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by KlangFool » Sun Oct 14, 2018 9:13 am

OP,

Some random thoughts:

1) If it is not possible to put the grandparents into the hotel, why don't

A) You and your husband check into a hotel or AirBnB?

B) Or, the whole family plus the grandparent check into an AirBNB?

2) Rent a 3 bedroom condo for 3 more years make a lot more sense too.

<< so $1500 usdfor a week in a hotel 3 times a year is not something they could afford. We would have to give up our yearly vacation for us to afford it, >>

3) But, paying for a bigger mortgage or renting a 3 bedroom condo present the same problem too.

4) Sorry to say this. Somehow, I do not see financially that you are doing well. If your husband loses his job and cannot find an equivalent job in NYC, you definitely have to sell the house and move elsewhere. Under this condition, I would not buy a bigger place.

Yes, I understand that you may want to stay at this location for 3 years to get your pension vested. But, in the long run, financially, your household does not make enough to stay at this location. You are "House Poor" asset wise. And, you are one job loss from forcing to move away from this location.

This is a bigger picture question that you need to answer before you overcommit on a bigger condo. Answer this question first before you go further.

KlangFool

ThatGuy
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Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by ThatGuy » Sun Oct 14, 2018 11:29 am

kelvan80 wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 3:57 pm
Can you go to a hotel when they come or an air b n b?
The logical extension of this is for ALL of you to airbnb when the parents come to visit. It's cheaper to rent a larger space for the small percentage of time you need it than to buy the extra space 100% of the time. And it gets around your parents not wanting to be apart.

Instead of thinking of it as uprooting your life when the 'rents come to visit, think of it as a local vacation :)
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Myamar
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Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by Myamar » Sun Nov 18, 2018 10:38 pm

I meant to come back and post here, but forgot. Thanks for all the comments. Small update: the NYC area is experiencing a cooling of the RE market this winter. Hard to say if it’s because of the rising interest rates, the market instability lately, the SALT tax cap repeal, a combination (most likely)—but houses and condos in the “luxury market” aren’t selling as quickly and are starting to sell for less than ask, which is interesting after a spring/summer season of people bidding way over ask.

Some people asked about schools—I’m fine staying here through grade 8, and then we have various options for HS, (magnet programs, tech programs, etc) but we are public school supporters all the way. Diversity—economic and ethnic—is very important to me. It’s possible that we could stay in this neighborhood until our kids graduate HS.

In the meantime, we’ve been running numbers and different scenarios. I admit, I was surprised that many people commented that we weren’t doing well financially. That was news to me since we both feel very comfortable financially compared to how we grew up. My husband also corrected me on some totals in my initial write up,but I was close. We have more like 345k in 401k (after losing a lot the last 2 weeks), 200k in Roths or IRAs, 100k in regular investments. 75k in emergency cash. We bought for 650 in 2013 and owe 200k now—In 5 years we have paid off 300k (150k initial downpayment) while having 2 kids, me taking maternity leave twice, having a full time nanny, etc. I feel like we are doing alright for people who make what we do.

Stats are similar: Even with the market cool off, if we sold today we’d have about 700k as a down payment on the next house without touching any of our current investments or retirement funds.

Spitballing some ideas: we just saw a small 3 bedroom (it’s actually a 2 bed plus den bevause there’s not a window) for about 1.1mil. The monthly taxes and HOA are actually less than our current building. So we would have a 400k mortgage with a 320k yearly income. Seems pretty reasonable to me. Although we currently owe 200k, so it’s still taking in twice the amount of debt we have now.

We also saw a 1.7 Mil row house with a rentable ground floor unit. Updated, looks like it would easily rent for $150 a night and Airbnb is pretty hot in our area (it isn’t illegal and city council is making no moves to ban it—we don’t have any hotels in our immediate area). Typically, 1.7 mil would be way out of our reach. But renting 25% of the house (1 floor of a 4 story house) means a 25% write off on our tax bill, Any maintenance that affects the downstairs, utilities, etc. And no maintenance fee.

1.7 mil, 25k taxes a year, 700 down= 1 mil mortgage= $7600 a month mortgage (including taxes and insurance), with 3k rental income= $4600/month plus at the end of the year we get to write off 25% of all expenses as rental expenses to defray the rental income.

We are still able to max out 401k and put money in 529s, and after housing related expenses and childcare, we have 5k a month for food, travel, kids classes, clothes. That’s more than enough for us. We spend less than that now. On top of that, we have my husbands bonus each year, whatever that may be.

Right now, we have about 75k cash if we needed it in an emergency. After January, we’ll have about 120k cash to cover mortgage in emergencies without touching retirement or current investments.

We’ve been landlords before and have Airbnb experience (we used to own a second home that we rented out for 5 years before selling 2 years ago to avoid capital gains).

What are we missing? No one really knows whats going to happen to the RE market around here in the next year. I’m predicting prices continue to fall a bit as interests rates rise, as long as the SALT tax cap is still gone. It’s a guessing game basically, trying to time the rising interest rates with the prices potentially coming down a little. Obviously the rental/Airbnb is kind of a crapshoot. We’ve been trough legally evicting a renter before and we took a 3 month hit on the rent during that time, but we were able to write off legal fees and what not at the end of the year. We had the cash to cover the rent/repairs (tenant trashed the house and caused damage to the tune of 15k), but again during tax season that just meant our rental expenses were almost what our income was, so it was a net win for us.

All this to say, we’ve been through nightmare scenarios before, we survived, we have the emergency cash for job loss/illness/rents shenanigans. Are there bases I’m not covering? We’d have to up my husband life insurance to cover house payoff if something happened to him. Any other tips?

We are still weighing options and waiting for just the right thing to come along.

ResearchMed
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Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by ResearchMed » Sun Nov 18, 2018 10:48 pm

It sounds like you would really be relying upon both *regular* rental income AND the fact that the laws won't change about short term rentals in NYC (or in your area).

At least you are familiar with the good/bad/ugly of being a landlord :shock:

I wouldn't rely upon such regular income, to be safe.
And IF you couldn't rent for short term at some future time (far or near future), what might you be able to rent it for by the year?
And... would this interfere with family use of that same space?

This sounds risky, although if it worked out, great.
But as they say, "If monkeys had wings..."

RM
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Myamar
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Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by Myamar » Sun Nov 18, 2018 10:55 pm

Good question. The row house is 5 bedroom, 4 being “our unit”, so we wouldn’t need the basement level at all for visiting family. Basement level is a 1 bedroom w full kitchen/bathroom, access to back yard. Updated in good condition. But it’s a small 1 bedroom, so renting full time might only be 2k a month. I’d rather Airbnb though—more work, but less risk with bad tenants since it’s short term. The nearest hotel goes for about $200-$300 a night, standard hotel room, no kitchen, but slightly trendier neighborhood (were talking like 11 blocks from where we live).

ResearchMed
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Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by ResearchMed » Sun Nov 18, 2018 10:59 pm

Myamar wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 10:55 pm
Good question. The row house is 5 bedroom, 4 being “our unit”, so we wouldn’t need the basement level at all for visiting family. Basement level is a 1 bedroom w full kitchen/bathroom, access to back yard. Updated in good condition. But it’s a small 1 bedroom, so renting full time might only be 2k a month. I’d rather Airbnb though—more work, but less risk with bad tenants since it’s short term. The nearest hotel goes for about $200-$300 a night, standard hotel room, no kitchen, but slightly trendier neighborhood (were talking like 11 blocks from where we live).
Okay, good information added :happy

CAN you afford it if you needed to rent it by the year instead of per night, just to be safe?

And I meant to ask.. about that "tax reduction"... how does that work?
Wouldn't you still have to pay it? And might the tax be more if it isn't owner occupied unit?
(I'm *not* familiar with these laws/regs in NY/NYC.)

Certainly sounds good from the "space" viewpoint!

RM
This signature is a placebo. You are in the control group.

HEDGEFUNDIE
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Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Sun Nov 18, 2018 11:00 pm

Myamar wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 10:38 pm
In the meantime, we’ve been running numbers and different scenarios. I admit, I was surprised that many people commented that we weren’t doing well financially. That was news to me since we both feel very comfortable financially compared to how we grew up. My husband also corrected me on some totals in my initial write up,but I was close. We have more like 345k in 401k (after losing a lot the last 2 weeks), 200k in Roths or IRAs, 100k in regular investments. 75k in emergency cash. We bought for 650 in 2013 and owe 200k now—In 5 years we have paid off 300k (150k initial downpayment) while having 2 kids, me taking maternity leave twice, having a full time nanny, etc. I feel like we are doing alright for people who make what we do.
This is Bogleheads, if you don’t have $1M by age 30 you’re considered behind....
We also saw a 1.7 Mil row house with a rentable ground floor unit. Updated, looks like it would easily rent for $150 a night and Airbnb is pretty hot in our area (it isn’t illegal and city council is making no moves to ban it—we don’t have any hotels in our immediate area). Typically, 1.7 mil would be way out of our reach. But renting 25% of the house (1 floor of a 4 story house) means a 25% write off on our tax bill, Any maintenance that affects the downstairs, utilities, etc. And no maintenance fee.

1.7 mil, 25k taxes a year, 700 down= 1 mil mortgage= $7600 a month mortgage (including taxes and insurance), with 3k rental income= $4600/month plus at the end of the year we get to write off 25% of all expenses as rental expenses to defray the rental income.

We are still able to max out 401k and put money in 529s, and after housing related expenses and childcare, we have 5k a month for food, travel, kids classes, clothes. That’s more than enough for us. We spend less than that now. On top of that, we have my husbands bonus each year, whatever that may be.
Do it. Any chance it’s by LIC for Amazon? If so even better.

helloeveryone
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Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by helloeveryone » Sun Nov 18, 2018 11:04 pm

Myamar wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 7:06 am
Long time lurker, first time poster. Curious what some of you would do in our situation--spouse and I want to go two different directions.

We live in a very HCOL area. Real Estate here is about 900/sq ft, give or take depending on building amenities. We live in the NYC area, in an urban walkable neighborhood, in a condo building with parking, but not a "full service building" with doorman, etc. We have two kids, 4 and 7.

So here's the question: We bought a small 2 bedroom condo in 2013, and now we are growing out of it. But we can't agree on our next step. We love our neighborhood and we love being close to my husband's job. We both work full time but he works longer hours so being close to his job means he gets some time at home with our kids that he wouldn't get if we moved to the suburbs and his 25 minute commute turned into a 1 hour, 25 min commute. His job is pretty specialized and doesn't really exist outside of the NYC area--he would have to switch gears entirely and do something else if we moved to another state, which would result in an enormous pay cut (he keeps his eyes open on jobs because we have only lived in the NYC area for 7 years and would be okay with moving somewhere else if the right job/right salary came along--so far it has not).

He takes public transport to work. I drive (because I drive further out to the suburbs), so we have 1 garaged parking space and 1 car.

Here are our housing options:

1)Stay in our 2 bedroom condo. It's worth about $950k now, and we only owe $200k left and my husband is aggressively paying it down (that's his thing--it has to do with his very chaotic childhood. He wants nothing in this world more than to have a paid off house--we've already gone round and round about that). Staying in our 2 bedroom is great financially speaking, because our mortgage is way lower than market rental costs since we refinanced last year. Our mortgage plus HOA plus taxes are only 3.1k. Market rental costs are around 4k for a rental like our unit. The con is, both of our parents live in other places (his parents are in another country, mine are in the midwest), and they are all retired and love to visit. Which means they visit and squeeze into our small space. We are close to our parents and love for them to visit, but we hate that our kids sleep is disrupted because their bedroom is taken over for a week, several times a year. We also have no storage, almost no closet space, a tiny kitchen, the works. BUT--my husband commute is very short for the NYC area, so he gets to do school drop off in the morning, he's always home before bedtime. etc. We don't have to drive--everything is walkable and is feels healthy to walk the kids to school, walk to activities and the supermarket, etc.


2) Move to the suburbs. Taxes in the NJ/NY suburbs of NYC have exorbitant taxes and the ones with good schools are extremely expensive right now. If we sold our condo and bought a 4 bedroom house, it would definitely be in the 900-1 million + range, and would have taxes from anywhere from 20k-30k a year. The houses in the smaller range (say, a 1800 sq ft house that needs some work) would still be in the 700-800k range with taxes around 18-20k, depending on the town. Husband's commute would be much longer (he'd have to leave around 7:15 am and wouldn't be home till around 8pm,) essentially never being home when the kids are awake during the week. We would either live in a smaller, needs work house OR we could buy a bigger nicer house but for a much higher monthly payment than we have now. We would have more space, but less time when Dad and kids are together.

3) stay in our neighborhood and really stretch our house budget and get a bigger condo. A 3 bedroom with parking will be 1.2-1.5 million (HOA plus taxes). Or we could look for a row house where we could rent the finished basement, but the price would be more like 1.7-1.9 million (higher taxes, but no HOA).



Here's a snapshot of our finances.


yearly income: 320k this year. 240k base, 80k bonus last January

Monthly income: 11k, take home. This is after 401k, some small investments, 529, healthcare premiums/contributions

Overall savings/investments. I have 2 pensions from 2 different states (I work in education). My current pension will be vested in 3 years. Husband has about 375k in 401ks and old Roths and regular IRAs. We have about another 75-100k in other investments. We can't do Roth anymore and haven't done IRAs last few years since they aren't tax sheltered. 529s only have about 12k because we just started them last year. We plan to dump another 5-7k in January 2019 when the next bonus comes. If we sold the house today, we'd have about 700k for a downpayment on the next thing. We're down to 1 college loan of 4k balance we are also paying off after January bonus cycle (we throw huge sums into it every year from bonus money).

-current mortgage/HOA/taxes: 3.1k
-Childcare: $1400/month (after school babysitter)
-gas/auto insurance: $250/month
-variable expenses (groceries, clothes, fun, eating out, travel): 2k (bulk of this is travel because our families live far away, and we pay for them to fly to visit us as they are retired and on fixed incomes).
-Classes/activities for kids: $400/month (language class and dance class for 2 girls, soccer for only older kid--classes are very expensive here, it's not like the cheap prices people get in other states).


When we have money left at the end of the month, husband dumps it into an additional house fund or dumps it into vanguard funds. For the past few years, we have paid an additional 30-50k a year into the house through additional monthly payments and a big chunk from bonus money.



Here's the argument: I want to stay in our current neighborhood, buy a 3 bedroom, tweak our finances to make that bigger mortgage work.
Husband wants to either stay in our current 2 bedroom indefinitely (at least till it's paid off, approx 4-5 years from now). Our kids will be teens/pre-teens by then and still sharing a room...OR he wants to move to the suburbs and buy a small house that needs work in the 700-800k range and pay cash. His preference is to always do the most frugal thing. My preference is to find a way to meet our savings goals (we have always maxed our 401 k and invested additional every year and would continue to do so) and still have my husband home to see our kids during the week.

WWYD? I would love input from other people.
Is option 1 and then help pay or just pay for hotel very close by for when the family visits worth it? That way you stay in existing home, the several times a year you have visitors the children’s sleep is not impacted but the family can still be put up in very close hotel for that week.

Moving away and having your husband commute will have a very significant impact on family QOL. Taking your kids to school is something that you will never be able to make up for and in my mind not worth the trade off of having a bigger space.

finite_difference
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Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by finite_difference » Sun Nov 18, 2018 11:21 pm

1. Get a comfy Murphy bed/sofa bed for the living room, and sleep in it when your parents come over. Your parents get your bed. That way our kids do not get impacted.

2. I think you could also afford to upgrade to a 3BR if it’s only ~30% more than your current apartment.

3. I like the idea of you and your partner getting an AirBNB, lol. You can tell your parents a white lie, like your friend owns tons of AirBnBs and lets you sleep there for almost free. Or he always doesn’t have enough guests and wants someone to help watch one of his places. :mrgreen:
The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. - Thich Nhat Hanh

Sam1
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Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by Sam1 » Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:16 am

I would NOT move to the suburbs. You’re just trading one problem (space) for another (long commute).

Simply get a hotel room for guests when they come to stay. Hotels outside of manhattan are surprisingly inexpensive relatively speaking.

Housing in the boroughs is only going to get more expensive whereas I have my doubts about the burbs. People are less and less willing to sign up for soul sucking commutes and high taxes.

Keep in mind you don’t have to stay in your coop forever. Just try and stay a few more years and save more money. You’ll only have more to throw at a home in the burbs if that’s what you’re still wanting to do.

I can’t stress enough how much it can suck to move somewhere you’re car dependent and have to take a train into manhattan. The train passes are expensive!

Sam1
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Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by Sam1 » Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:19 am

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 11:00 pm
Myamar wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 10:38 pm
In the meantime, we’ve been running numbers and different scenarios. I admit, I was surprised that many people commented that we weren’t doing well financially. That was news to me since we both feel very comfortable financially compared to how we grew up. My husband also corrected me on some totals in my initial write up,but I was close. We have more like 345k in 401k (after losing a lot the last 2 weeks), 200k in Roths or IRAs, 100k in regular investments. 75k in emergency cash. We bought for 650 in 2013 and owe 200k now—In 5 years we have paid off 300k (150k initial downpayment) while having 2 kids, me taking maternity leave twice, having a full time nanny, etc. I feel like we are doing alright for people who make what we do.
This is Bogleheads, if you don’t have $1M by age 30 you’re considered behind....
We also saw a 1.7 Mil row house with a rentable ground floor unit. Updated, looks like it would easily rent for $150 a night and Airbnb is pretty hot in our area (it isn’t illegal and city council is making no moves to ban it—we don’t have any hotels in our immediate area). Typically, 1.7 mil would be way out of our reach. But renting 25% of the house (1 floor of a 4 story house) means a 25% write off on our tax bill, Any maintenance that affects the downstairs, utilities, etc. And no maintenance fee.

1.7 mil, 25k taxes a year, 700 down= 1 mil mortgage= $7600 a month mortgage (including taxes and insurance), with 3k rental income= $4600/month plus at the end of the year we get to write off 25% of all expenses as rental expenses to defray the rental income.

We are still able to max out 401k and put money in 529s, and after housing related expenses and childcare, we have 5k a month for food, travel, kids classes, clothes. That’s more than enough for us. We spend less than that now. On top of that, we have my husbands bonus each year, whatever that may be.
Do it. Any chance it’s by LIC for Amazon? If so even better.
This is the better option.

Don’t discount how expensive a commuting lifestyle can be. I assume you’ll need another car, parking pass at the station and a train pass. This is at least $1k. Invest in real estate instead of transportation.

I strongly dislike how expensive real estate taxes are in the burbs as you never see a return on this money. It’s much better to use this monthly money for your mortgage since at least interest is tax deductible.

Sam1
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Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by Sam1 » Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:22 am

ResearchMed wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 10:48 pm
It sounds like you would really be relying upon both *regular* rental income AND the fact that the laws won't change about short term rentals in NYC (or in your area).

At least you are familiar with the good/bad/ugly of being a landlord :shock:

I wouldn't rely upon such regular income, to be safe.
And IF you couldn't rent for short term at some future time (far or near future), what might you be able to rent it for by the year?
And... would this interfere with family use of that same space?

This sounds risky, although if it worked out, great.
But as they say, "If monkeys had wings..."

RM
Renting a unit in a NYC borough really is NOT risky. Worse case scenario if Airbnb isn’t an option, OP can rent annually. Income requirements and steep security deposits are common in the NY area. OP should just assume worse case scenario of 11 months of rental income each year at the nonairbnb rate (~2k per month)

Ben Mathew
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Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by Ben Mathew » Tue Nov 20, 2018 12:22 am

Myamar wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 7:06 am
We can't do Roth anymore and haven't done IRAs last few years since they aren't tax sheltered.
Not a response to your question, but important to note: You can still contribute to a Roth IRA by the backdoor method. You contribute to a traditional IRA and convert to Roth. It's as good as contributing directly to a Roth IRA.

msk
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Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by msk » Tue Nov 20, 2018 12:55 am

My mantra has always been to "save and invest 30% of after tax income" but building up equity in one's home should be counted as "saving and investing" NOT the interest payments on a mortgage (or buying a new car!). I would just go ahead and get a 3-bedroom place in the same, or an even more convenient neighborhood. So what, if, over the next 5 to 10 years you end up building up equity in your larger home rather than building up your index funds by another 500k. The home may not increase in value as much, but given that it is in NYC, the rise may be even more than the index funds! Once the kids have moved out you can always cash in and retire to a LCOL area; and invest the extra cash in index funds.

Sandi_k
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Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by Sandi_k » Tue Nov 20, 2018 12:56 pm

unclescrooge wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 12:43 am
Stay in the same neighborhood, but rent a larger place.

Rent out your house. When the kids move out, you can move back.
This was my suggestion as well.

Moving up in space is good, but presumably their current condo would rent for significantly more than the current mortgage; this would help subsidize the rent payments on a larger place. Commute is kept short, kids are still in same schools, and disruption is minimized.

Her DH can continue to pay down the mortgage. They can "boomerang" back when the kids move out for college. And it allows the kids more space as they enter adolescence and need more privacy and more sleep.

Sam1
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Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by Sam1 » Tue Nov 20, 2018 1:02 pm

SoAnyway wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 12:22 am
Paging KlangFool re. the 2 quoted posts below....

In the meantime, OP: Your thread title says it all. I'm not going to get in-between you and your husband; your marital argument is between the two of you. I am simply observing without taking sides, since I've not heard his pov, and you're of course presenting "curated" info in the light most favorable to the outcome you desire.

I "get" the cultural aspects, and I "get" that you're tired of the adaptations dictated by cultural norms. BTDT - It's not easy, but just imagine what your and DH's elders went through so that you could even be in a position to be posting about this issue. Please be grateful.... Bottom line: Putting the parents/in-laws in a hotel or otherwise "signalling" that their visits are any kind of burden on you (even if they are) is off the table.

It sounds like you're happy with the educational situation for your kids in your current locale/neighborhood, so I will assume that's the case and move on. You presented your situation as if there are only 3 options. I would encourage you and your husband to put aside "who wins" based on how you've framed it. Instead, please focus not on the limitations but on the possibilities. Many great suggestions have been made in this thread. I wish you and your family the best. BTW, I agree with Nissanzx1 that "It seems like you are trying to justify a bigger place." If you and your husband drop the need to get what you each want, and instead focus on thinking about ways to make sure the needs (not "wants" - "needs") of your entire family (elders/yourselves/your kids) are addressed, I'm quite confident that the two of you are smart enough to find the right solution. Good luck!
Myamar wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 7:06 am
Long time lurker, first time poster. Curious what some of you would do in our situation--spouse and I want to go two different directions.

We live in a very HCOL area. Real Estate here is about 900/sq ft, give or take depending on building amenities. We live in the NYC area, in an urban walkable neighborhood, in a condo building with parking, but not a "full service building" with doorman, etc. We have two kids, 4 and 7.

So here's the question: We bought a small 2 bedroom condo in 2013, and now we are growing out of it. But we can't agree on our next step. We love our neighborhood and we love being close to my husband's job. We both work full time but he works longer hours so being close to his job means he gets some time at home with our kids that he wouldn't get if we moved to the suburbs and his 25 minute commute turned into a 1 hour, 25 min commute. His job is pretty specialized and doesn't really exist outside of the NYC area--he would have to switch gears entirely and do something else if we moved to another state, which would result in an enormous pay cut (he keeps his eyes open on jobs because we have only lived in the NYC area for 7 years and would be okay with moving somewhere else if the right job/right salary came along--so far it has not).

He takes public transport to work. I drive (because I drive further out to the suburbs), so we have 1 garaged parking space and 1 car.

Here are our housing options:

1)Stay in our 2 bedroom condo. It's worth about $950k now, and we only owe $200k left and my husband is aggressively paying it down (that's his thing--it has to do with his very chaotic childhood. He wants nothing in this world more than to have a paid off house--we've already gone round and round about that). Staying in our 2 bedroom is great financially speaking, because our mortgage is way lower than market rental costs since we refinanced last year. Our mortgage plus HOA plus taxes are only 3.1k. Market rental costs are around 4k for a rental like our unit. The con is, both of our parents live in other places (his parents are in another country, mine are in the midwest), and they are all retired and love to visit. Which means they visit and squeeze into our small space. We are close to our parents and love for them to visit, but we hate that our kids sleep is disrupted because their bedroom is taken over for a week, several times a year. We also have no storage, almost no closet space, a tiny kitchen, the works. BUT--my husband commute is very short for the NYC area, so he gets to do school drop off in the morning, he's always home before bedtime. etc. We don't have to drive--everything is walkable and is feels healthy to walk the kids to school, walk to activities and the supermarket, etc.


2) Move to the suburbs. Taxes in the NJ/NY suburbs of NYC have exorbitant taxes and the ones with good schools are extremely expensive right now. If we sold our condo and bought a 4 bedroom house, it would definitely be in the 900-1 million + range, and would have taxes from anywhere from 20k-30k a year. The houses in the smaller range (say, a 1800 sq ft house that needs some work) would still be in the 700-800k range with taxes around 18-20k, depending on the town. Husband's commute would be much longer (he'd have to leave around 7:15 am and wouldn't be home till around 8pm,) essentially never being home when the kids are awake during the week. We would either live in a smaller, needs work house OR we could buy a bigger nicer house but for a much higher monthly payment than we have now. We would have more space, but less time when Dad and kids are together.

3) stay in our neighborhood and really stretch our house budget and get a bigger condo. A 3 bedroom with parking will be 1.2-1.5 million (HOA plus taxes). Or we could look for a row house where we could rent the finished basement, but the price would be more like 1.7-1.9 million (higher taxes, but no HOA).



Here's a snapshot of our finances.


yearly income: 320k this year. 240k base, 80k bonus last January

Monthly income: 11k, take home. This is after 401k, some small investments, 529, healthcare premiums/contributions

Overall savings/investments. I have 2 pensions from 2 different states (I work in education). My current pension will be vested in 3 years. Husband has about 375k in 401ks and old Roths and regular IRAs. We have about another 75-100k in other investments. We can't do Roth anymore and haven't done IRAs last few years since they aren't tax sheltered. 529s only have about 12k because we just started them last year. We plan to dump another 5-7k in January 2019 when the next bonus comes. If we sold the house today, we'd have about 700k for a downpayment on the next thing. We're down to 1 college loan of 4k balance we are also paying off after January bonus cycle (we throw huge sums into it every year from bonus money).

-current mortgage/HOA/taxes: 3.1k
-Childcare: $1400/month (after school babysitter)
-gas/auto insurance: $250/month
-variable expenses (groceries, clothes, fun, eating out, travel): 2k (bulk of this is travel because our families live far away, and we pay for them to fly to visit us as they are retired and on fixed incomes).
-Classes/activities for kids: $400/month (language class and dance class for 2 girls, soccer for only older kid--classes are very expensive here, it's not like the cheap prices people get in other states).


When we have money left at the end of the month, husband dumps it into an additional house fund or dumps it into vanguard funds. For the past few years, we have paid an additional 30-50k a year into the house through additional monthly payments and a big chunk from bonus money.



Here's the argument: I want to stay in our current neighborhood, buy a 3 bedroom, tweak our finances to make that bigger mortgage work.
Husband wants to either stay in our current 2 bedroom indefinitely (at least till it's paid off, approx 4-5 years from now). Our kids will be teens/pre-teens by then and still sharing a room...OR he wants to move to the suburbs and buy a small house that needs work in the 700-800k range and pay cash. His preference is to always do the most frugal thing. My preference is to find a way to meet our savings goals (we have always maxed our 401 k and invested additional every year and would continue to do so) and still have my husband home to see our kids during the week.

WWYD? I would love input from other people.
Myamar wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 1:53 pm
Other questions people have asked: why do we let our parents stay with us? Well, we are 1st gen Asian immigrants (me as a kid, husband as a teen) with parents who lived in near poverty to save to send us to college. In Asian culture, it’s a grave insult to ask elderly parents to stay somewhere else. On top of that, even in my more Americanized value system it doesn’t seem right to ask our parents to pay—they are all in their 70s on fixed incomes in low COL areas so $1500 usdfor a week in a hotel 3 times a year is not something they could afford. We would have to give up our yearly vacation for us to afford it, or give up paying extra into loans. Between our parents and siblings, we have had 6 visits this year, all from 4-7 days long. I am pretty sure they would stop visiting even if we paid for a hotel—all of our parents are still very frugal and would rather not see us than have us spend a lot of money on them.

As it is, we can only pay for their flights if we tell them they are saving us money on babysitters when they come—which is a lie, because we have to pay our part time nanny the same agreed-on weekly amount whether we use her or not. But it’s part of Asian face-saving culture. We know they want to visit and see our kids, so we say please let us buy you a ticket—you being here is so much cheaper than paying our sitter. And then we pay both.

But to be clear—we don’t mind because our parents worked hard and never spent on themselves to get us where we are today. My mother literally never worked a day in her life till they moved to the US, and my dad could not use his degrees and got a telemarketing job, so my mom got a job working for minimum wage at a supermarket—where she worked for something like $7/hour for 15 years until retirement—purely so she could get SS and not be a burden on us in retirement.

So this type of thing is something we feel we owe our parents.

Hope that makes sense.
Putting relatives in a hotel when living in NYC is very common and isn’t the same thing as living in Dallas and having your relatives stay at a hotel. Kind of like how you don’t typically pick up visitors at LaGuardia but you would if you lived in another city where cabs aren’t as commonplace.

Most people who live in HCOL areas where space is a premium and fewer people have cars, understand this.

ResearchMed
Posts: 7635
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 11:25 pm

Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by ResearchMed » Tue Nov 20, 2018 1:07 pm

Sam1 wrote:
Tue Nov 20, 2018 1:02 pm
SoAnyway wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 12:22 am
Paging KlangFool re. the 2 quoted posts below....

In the meantime, OP: Your thread title says it all. I'm not going to get in-between you and your husband; your marital argument is between the two of you. I am simply observing without taking sides, since I've not heard his pov, and you're of course presenting "curated" info in the light most favorable to the outcome you desire.

I "get" the cultural aspects, and I "get" that you're tired of the adaptations dictated by cultural norms. BTDT - It's not easy, but just imagine what your and DH's elders went through so that you could even be in a position to be posting about this issue. Please be grateful.... Bottom line: Putting the parents/in-laws in a hotel or otherwise "signalling" that their visits are any kind of burden on you (even if they are) is off the table.

It sounds like you're happy with the educational situation for your kids in your current locale/neighborhood, so I will assume that's the case and move on. You presented your situation as if there are only 3 options. I would encourage you and your husband to put aside "who wins" based on how you've framed it. Instead, please focus not on the limitations but on the possibilities. Many great suggestions have been made in this thread. I wish you and your family the best. BTW, I agree with Nissanzx1 that "It seems like you are trying to justify a bigger place." If you and your husband drop the need to get what you each want, and instead focus on thinking about ways to make sure the needs (not "wants" - "needs") of your entire family (elders/yourselves/your kids) are addressed, I'm quite confident that the two of you are smart enough to find the right solution. Good luck!
Myamar wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 7:06 am
Long time lurker, first time poster. Curious what some of you would do in our situation--spouse and I want to go two different directions.

We live in a very HCOL area. Real Estate here is about 900/sq ft, give or take depending on building amenities. We live in the NYC area, in an urban walkable neighborhood, in a condo building with parking, but not a "full service building" with doorman, etc. We have two kids, 4 and 7.

So here's the question: We bought a small 2 bedroom condo in 2013, and now we are growing out of it. But we can't agree on our next step. We love our neighborhood and we love being close to my husband's job. We both work full time but he works longer hours so being close to his job means he gets some time at home with our kids that he wouldn't get if we moved to the suburbs and his 25 minute commute turned into a 1 hour, 25 min commute. His job is pretty specialized and doesn't really exist outside of the NYC area--he would have to switch gears entirely and do something else if we moved to another state, which would result in an enormous pay cut (he keeps his eyes open on jobs because we have only lived in the NYC area for 7 years and would be okay with moving somewhere else if the right job/right salary came along--so far it has not).

He takes public transport to work. I drive (because I drive further out to the suburbs), so we have 1 garaged parking space and 1 car.

Here are our housing options:

1)Stay in our 2 bedroom condo. It's worth about $950k now, and we only owe $200k left and my husband is aggressively paying it down (that's his thing--it has to do with his very chaotic childhood. He wants nothing in this world more than to have a paid off house--we've already gone round and round about that). Staying in our 2 bedroom is great financially speaking, because our mortgage is way lower than market rental costs since we refinanced last year. Our mortgage plus HOA plus taxes are only 3.1k. Market rental costs are around 4k for a rental like our unit. The con is, both of our parents live in other places (his parents are in another country, mine are in the midwest), and they are all retired and love to visit. Which means they visit and squeeze into our small space. We are close to our parents and love for them to visit, but we hate that our kids sleep is disrupted because their bedroom is taken over for a week, several times a year. We also have no storage, almost no closet space, a tiny kitchen, the works. BUT--my husband commute is very short for the NYC area, so he gets to do school drop off in the morning, he's always home before bedtime. etc. We don't have to drive--everything is walkable and is feels healthy to walk the kids to school, walk to activities and the supermarket, etc.


2) Move to the suburbs. Taxes in the NJ/NY suburbs of NYC have exorbitant taxes and the ones with good schools are extremely expensive right now. If we sold our condo and bought a 4 bedroom house, it would definitely be in the 900-1 million + range, and would have taxes from anywhere from 20k-30k a year. The houses in the smaller range (say, a 1800 sq ft house that needs some work) would still be in the 700-800k range with taxes around 18-20k, depending on the town. Husband's commute would be much longer (he'd have to leave around 7:15 am and wouldn't be home till around 8pm,) essentially never being home when the kids are awake during the week. We would either live in a smaller, needs work house OR we could buy a bigger nicer house but for a much higher monthly payment than we have now. We would have more space, but less time when Dad and kids are together.

3) stay in our neighborhood and really stretch our house budget and get a bigger condo. A 3 bedroom with parking will be 1.2-1.5 million (HOA plus taxes). Or we could look for a row house where we could rent the finished basement, but the price would be more like 1.7-1.9 million (higher taxes, but no HOA).



Here's a snapshot of our finances.


yearly income: 320k this year. 240k base, 80k bonus last January

Monthly income: 11k, take home. This is after 401k, some small investments, 529, healthcare premiums/contributions

Overall savings/investments. I have 2 pensions from 2 different states (I work in education). My current pension will be vested in 3 years. Husband has about 375k in 401ks and old Roths and regular IRAs. We have about another 75-100k in other investments. We can't do Roth anymore and haven't done IRAs last few years since they aren't tax sheltered. 529s only have about 12k because we just started them last year. We plan to dump another 5-7k in January 2019 when the next bonus comes. If we sold the house today, we'd have about 700k for a downpayment on the next thing. We're down to 1 college loan of 4k balance we are also paying off after January bonus cycle (we throw huge sums into it every year from bonus money).

-current mortgage/HOA/taxes: 3.1k
-Childcare: $1400/month (after school babysitter)
-gas/auto insurance: $250/month
-variable expenses (groceries, clothes, fun, eating out, travel): 2k (bulk of this is travel because our families live far away, and we pay for them to fly to visit us as they are retired and on fixed incomes).
-Classes/activities for kids: $400/month (language class and dance class for 2 girls, soccer for only older kid--classes are very expensive here, it's not like the cheap prices people get in other states).


When we have money left at the end of the month, husband dumps it into an additional house fund or dumps it into vanguard funds. For the past few years, we have paid an additional 30-50k a year into the house through additional monthly payments and a big chunk from bonus money.



Here's the argument: I want to stay in our current neighborhood, buy a 3 bedroom, tweak our finances to make that bigger mortgage work.
Husband wants to either stay in our current 2 bedroom indefinitely (at least till it's paid off, approx 4-5 years from now). Our kids will be teens/pre-teens by then and still sharing a room...OR he wants to move to the suburbs and buy a small house that needs work in the 700-800k range and pay cash. His preference is to always do the most frugal thing. My preference is to find a way to meet our savings goals (we have always maxed our 401 k and invested additional every year and would continue to do so) and still have my husband home to see our kids during the week.

WWYD? I would love input from other people.
Myamar wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 1:53 pm
Other questions people have asked: why do we let our parents stay with us? Well, we are 1st gen Asian immigrants (me as a kid, husband as a teen) with parents who lived in near poverty to save to send us to college. In Asian culture, it’s a grave insult to ask elderly parents to stay somewhere else. On top of that, even in my more Americanized value system it doesn’t seem right to ask our parents to pay—they are all in their 70s on fixed incomes in low COL areas so $1500 usdfor a week in a hotel 3 times a year is not something they could afford. We would have to give up our yearly vacation for us to afford it, or give up paying extra into loans. Between our parents and siblings, we have had 6 visits this year, all from 4-7 days long. I am pretty sure they would stop visiting even if we paid for a hotel—all of our parents are still very frugal and would rather not see us than have us spend a lot of money on them.

As it is, we can only pay for their flights if we tell them they are saving us money on babysitters when they come—which is a lie, because we have to pay our part time nanny the same agreed-on weekly amount whether we use her or not. But it’s part of Asian face-saving culture. We know they want to visit and see our kids, so we say please let us buy you a ticket—you being here is so much cheaper than paying our sitter. And then we pay both.

But to be clear—we don’t mind because our parents worked hard and never spent on themselves to get us where we are today. My mother literally never worked a day in her life till they moved to the US, and my dad could not use his degrees and got a telemarketing job, so my mom got a job working for minimum wage at a supermarket—where she worked for something like $7/hour for 15 years until retirement—purely so she could get SS and not be a burden on us in retirement.

So this type of thing is something we feel we owe our parents.

Hope that makes sense.
Putting relatives in a hotel when living in NYC is very common and isn’t the same thing as living in Dallas and having your relatives stay at a hotel. Kind of like how you don’t typically pick up visitors at LaGuardia but you would if you lived in another city where cabs aren’t as commonplace.

Most people who live in HCOL areas where space is a premium and fewer people have cars, understand this.
You are describing a "NYC cultural convention" ("Putting relatives in a hotel when living in NYC is very common").

OP has family from another country where "culture" is apparently quite different.
It would be nice to be respectful of other's cultural preferences, especially given that they don't interfere with anyone else's preferences.

RM
This signature is a placebo. You are in the control group.

User avatar
HomerJ
Posts: 11935
Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2008 12:50 pm

Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by HomerJ » Tue Nov 20, 2018 1:51 pm

TDCumm16 wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 10:33 pm
Easy... get out of NYC

Move closer to your parents in midwest. Take your $700k equity and buy a $500k 2500-3500 sqft home in cash with nice large yard and 4 bedrooms in a good school district. Set aside the other $200k to have your kids college funded

No mortgage, college is paid off.., your massive pay cut won’t matter. If your are doing in 350 in NYC I’m sure the two of you could find jobs to net $200k/yr easy. At the point savings just need to build up your retirement
This. The financial math totally works. With no mortgage, and much lower property taxes, even a large pay cut in salary wouldn't matter.

Lots of positives, but that's a huge change to your lifestyle. Both of you would have even MORE time with your kids though I bet.
The J stands for Jay

panhead
Posts: 312
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 10:53 am

Re: Visiting Parents

Post by panhead » Tue Nov 20, 2018 1:57 pm

Cycle wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 11:05 am
Dottie57 wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 10:20 am
EyeDee wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 10:13 am
.
Myamar,

If the condo is big enough now except when your parents visit, why not put them up in nice nearby hotel to avoid crowding everyone during their visits. At least until something larger works for you.
+1
+1

Stay in the neighborhood, rule out that miserable commute it wouldn't be sustainable. Time trade-off would be not worth it IMO

Can you rent storage space in the area?

Can you get addicted to minimalism, though I'm sure u already are minimalists, but that might allow u to embrace your current place. Bitman has a nice article on nyt on minimalist kitchen https://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/09/dining/09mini.html

My wife and I have a 2br/1ba 1000 sqft apartment and are planning on raising 2 kids at least until they get larger in size... Probably about the same age as yours... The tipping point.

We have a full basement of storage tho and half a garage... Midwestern city.
+4 or whatever its at now.
This actually seems kind of obvious, and maybe they can pay all or part of the hotel when they visit. Even if they can't, the difference in cost between paying for the occasional hotel room for a week versus upgrading to a larger place in the city is probably a non-comparison.

Sam1
Posts: 179
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2018 7:24 am

Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by Sam1 » Tue Nov 20, 2018 2:14 pm

HomerJ wrote:
Tue Nov 20, 2018 1:51 pm
TDCumm16 wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 10:33 pm
Easy... get out of NYC

Move closer to your parents in midwest. Take your $700k equity and buy a $500k 2500-3500 sqft home in cash with nice large yard and 4 bedrooms in a good school district. Set aside the other $200k to have your kids college funded

No mortgage, college is paid off.., your massive pay cut won’t matter. If your are doing in 350 in NYC I’m sure the two of you could find jobs to net $200k/yr easy. At the point savings just need to build up your retirement
This. The financial math totally works. With no mortgage, and much lower property taxes, even a large pay cut in salary wouldn't matter.

Lots of positives, but that's a huge change to your lifestyle. Both of you would have even MORE time with your kids though I bet.
There are other threads comparing HCOL vs LCOL.

That being said, I doubt OP wants to move. Both spouses have jobs in the NY area and it’s hard to coordinate a move with dual incomes to ONE location in the Midwest.

I doubt OP has relatives in the Midwest and if she does, finding a job in that specific city may be challenging.

Property taxes may not be lower as property taxes in NY boroughs are surprisingly low.

There are so many job opportunities in NY. As long as OP is able to purchase a home (to avoid renting in retirement) and can save plenty of money, there isn’t any reason to move.

Sam1
Posts: 179
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2018 7:24 am

Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by Sam1 » Tue Nov 20, 2018 2:17 pm

ResearchMed wrote:
Tue Nov 20, 2018 1:07 pm
Sam1 wrote:
Tue Nov 20, 2018 1:02 pm
SoAnyway wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 12:22 am
Paging KlangFool re. the 2 quoted posts below....

In the meantime, OP: Your thread title says it all. I'm not going to get in-between you and your husband; your marital argument is between the two of you. I am simply observing without taking sides, since I've not heard his pov, and you're of course presenting "curated" info in the light most favorable to the outcome you desire.

I "get" the cultural aspects, and I "get" that you're tired of the adaptations dictated by cultural norms. BTDT - It's not easy, but just imagine what your and DH's elders went through so that you could even be in a position to be posting about this issue. Please be grateful.... Bottom line: Putting the parents/in-laws in a hotel or otherwise "signalling" that their visits are any kind of burden on you (even if they are) is off the table.

It sounds like you're happy with the educational situation for your kids in your current locale/neighborhood, so I will assume that's the case and move on. You presented your situation as if there are only 3 options. I would encourage you and your husband to put aside "who wins" based on how you've framed it. Instead, please focus not on the limitations but on the possibilities. Many great suggestions have been made in this thread. I wish you and your family the best. BTW, I agree with Nissanzx1 that "It seems like you are trying to justify a bigger place." If you and your husband drop the need to get what you each want, and instead focus on thinking about ways to make sure the needs (not "wants" - "needs") of your entire family (elders/yourselves/your kids) are addressed, I'm quite confident that the two of you are smart enough to find the right solution. Good luck!
Myamar wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 7:06 am
Long time lurker, first time poster. Curious what some of you would do in our situation--spouse and I want to go two different directions.

We live in a very HCOL area. Real Estate here is about 900/sq ft, give or take depending on building amenities. We live in the NYC area, in an urban walkable neighborhood, in a condo building with parking, but not a "full service building" with doorman, etc. We have two kids, 4 and 7.

So here's the question: We bought a small 2 bedroom condo in 2013, and now we are growing out of it. But we can't agree on our next step. We love our neighborhood and we love being close to my husband's job. We both work full time but he works longer hours so being close to his job means he gets some time at home with our kids that he wouldn't get if we moved to the suburbs and his 25 minute commute turned into a 1 hour, 25 min commute. His job is pretty specialized and doesn't really exist outside of the NYC area--he would have to switch gears entirely and do something else if we moved to another state, which would result in an enormous pay cut (he keeps his eyes open on jobs because we have only lived in the NYC area for 7 years and would be okay with moving somewhere else if the right job/right salary came along--so far it has not).

He takes public transport to work. I drive (because I drive further out to the suburbs), so we have 1 garaged parking space and 1 car.

Here are our housing options:

1)Stay in our 2 bedroom condo. It's worth about $950k now, and we only owe $200k left and my husband is aggressively paying it down (that's his thing--it has to do with his very chaotic childhood. He wants nothing in this world more than to have a paid off house--we've already gone round and round about that). Staying in our 2 bedroom is great financially speaking, because our mortgage is way lower than market rental costs since we refinanced last year. Our mortgage plus HOA plus taxes are only 3.1k. Market rental costs are around 4k for a rental like our unit. The con is, both of our parents live in other places (his parents are in another country, mine are in the midwest), and they are all retired and love to visit. Which means they visit and squeeze into our small space. We are close to our parents and love for them to visit, but we hate that our kids sleep is disrupted because their bedroom is taken over for a week, several times a year. We also have no storage, almost no closet space, a tiny kitchen, the works. BUT--my husband commute is very short for the NYC area, so he gets to do school drop off in the morning, he's always home before bedtime. etc. We don't have to drive--everything is walkable and is feels healthy to walk the kids to school, walk to activities and the supermarket, etc.


2) Move to the suburbs. Taxes in the NJ/NY suburbs of NYC have exorbitant taxes and the ones with good schools are extremely expensive right now. If we sold our condo and bought a 4 bedroom house, it would definitely be in the 900-1 million + range, and would have taxes from anywhere from 20k-30k a year. The houses in the smaller range (say, a 1800 sq ft house that needs some work) would still be in the 700-800k range with taxes around 18-20k, depending on the town. Husband's commute would be much longer (he'd have to leave around 7:15 am and wouldn't be home till around 8pm,) essentially never being home when the kids are awake during the week. We would either live in a smaller, needs work house OR we could buy a bigger nicer house but for a much higher monthly payment than we have now. We would have more space, but less time when Dad and kids are together.

3) stay in our neighborhood and really stretch our house budget and get a bigger condo. A 3 bedroom with parking will be 1.2-1.5 million (HOA plus taxes). Or we could look for a row house where we could rent the finished basement, but the price would be more like 1.7-1.9 million (higher taxes, but no HOA).



Here's a snapshot of our finances.


yearly income: 320k this year. 240k base, 80k bonus last January

Monthly income: 11k, take home. This is after 401k, some small investments, 529, healthcare premiums/contributions

Overall savings/investments. I have 2 pensions from 2 different states (I work in education). My current pension will be vested in 3 years. Husband has about 375k in 401ks and old Roths and regular IRAs. We have about another 75-100k in other investments. We can't do Roth anymore and haven't done IRAs last few years since they aren't tax sheltered. 529s only have about 12k because we just started them last year. We plan to dump another 5-7k in January 2019 when the next bonus comes. If we sold the house today, we'd have about 700k for a downpayment on the next thing. We're down to 1 college loan of 4k balance we are also paying off after January bonus cycle (we throw huge sums into it every year from bonus money).

-current mortgage/HOA/taxes: 3.1k
-Childcare: $1400/month (after school babysitter)
-gas/auto insurance: $250/month
-variable expenses (groceries, clothes, fun, eating out, travel): 2k (bulk of this is travel because our families live far away, and we pay for them to fly to visit us as they are retired and on fixed incomes).
-Classes/activities for kids: $400/month (language class and dance class for 2 girls, soccer for only older kid--classes are very expensive here, it's not like the cheap prices people get in other states).


When we have money left at the end of the month, husband dumps it into an additional house fund or dumps it into vanguard funds. For the past few years, we have paid an additional 30-50k a year into the house through additional monthly payments and a big chunk from bonus money.



Here's the argument: I want to stay in our current neighborhood, buy a 3 bedroom, tweak our finances to make that bigger mortgage work.
Husband wants to either stay in our current 2 bedroom indefinitely (at least till it's paid off, approx 4-5 years from now). Our kids will be teens/pre-teens by then and still sharing a room...OR he wants to move to the suburbs and buy a small house that needs work in the 700-800k range and pay cash. His preference is to always do the most frugal thing. My preference is to find a way to meet our savings goals (we have always maxed our 401 k and invested additional every year and would continue to do so) and still have my husband home to see our kids during the week.

WWYD? I would love input from other people.
Myamar wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 1:53 pm
Other questions people have asked: why do we let our parents stay with us? Well, we are 1st gen Asian immigrants (me as a kid, husband as a teen) with parents who lived in near poverty to save to send us to college. In Asian culture, it’s a grave insult to ask elderly parents to stay somewhere else. On top of that, even in my more Americanized value system it doesn’t seem right to ask our parents to pay—they are all in their 70s on fixed incomes in low COL areas so $1500 usdfor a week in a hotel 3 times a year is not something they could afford. We would have to give up our yearly vacation for us to afford it, or give up paying extra into loans. Between our parents and siblings, we have had 6 visits this year, all from 4-7 days long. I am pretty sure they would stop visiting even if we paid for a hotel—all of our parents are still very frugal and would rather not see us than have us spend a lot of money on them.

As it is, we can only pay for their flights if we tell them they are saving us money on babysitters when they come—which is a lie, because we have to pay our part time nanny the same agreed-on weekly amount whether we use her or not. But it’s part of Asian face-saving culture. We know they want to visit and see our kids, so we say please let us buy you a ticket—you being here is so much cheaper than paying our sitter. And then we pay both.

But to be clear—we don’t mind because our parents worked hard and never spent on themselves to get us where we are today. My mother literally never worked a day in her life till they moved to the US, and my dad could not use his degrees and got a telemarketing job, so my mom got a job working for minimum wage at a supermarket—where she worked for something like $7/hour for 15 years until retirement—purely so she could get SS and not be a burden on us in retirement.

So this type of thing is something we feel we owe our parents.

Hope that makes sense.
Putting relatives in a hotel when living in NYC is very common and isn’t the same thing as living in Dallas and having your relatives stay at a hotel. Kind of like how you don’t typically pick up visitors at LaGuardia but you would if you lived in another city where cabs aren’t as commonplace.

Most people who live in HCOL areas where space is a premium and fewer people have cars, understand this.
You are describing a "NYC cultural convention" ("Putting relatives in a hotel when living in NYC is very common").

OP has family from another country where "culture" is apparently quite different.
It would be nice to be respectful of other's cultural preferences, especially given that they don't interfere with anyone else's preferences.

RM
It’s not just NY. It’s many HCOL area where space is at a premium.

My parents are welcome to stay with us. BUT they will be sleeping on a pullout and sharing a bathroom with us. Oh and they will be woken up by our toddler at first morning light. Other alternatives include:

1. Giving us a million dollars so we can buy a place with an extra bedroom and bath
2. Not visiting
3. Accepting a free stay in a hotel for a week

Most REASONABLE people can understand when someone lives in a small home and is unable to host visitors. It doesn’t sound like OP has had conflict over this.

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leeks
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Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by leeks » Tue Nov 20, 2018 2:19 pm

Do not move to the suburbs. Keep prioritizing a short commute.

Move to get more space. Get a fully functional kitchen if it would mean more cooking at home. We recently upgraded to a larger space in our NYC area (similar income) and the better kitchen has been the best part. Although guest space (finished basement that doubles as exercise and workshop space) has been great too - it is so nice to have a grandparent sleeping here so they can get up when kids awake at crack of dawn.

If there are coops in your area, they may be cheaper than condos. Enough of a difference it might be worth the extra hassle.

You can rent parking separately so dont restrict your search to only bldgs with parking.

You could always sell your place now, rent a larger place in your neighborhood to see how much of a difference it makes and buy something later after you are sure you want to commit and you can wait for the right deal or a market slowdown.

Sam1
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Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by Sam1 » Tue Nov 20, 2018 2:20 pm

I think on your income your husband is being unreasonable to expect to not have a mortgage. NY is EXPENSIVE and you don’t make enough money to raise even one child and not have a mortgage without some sort of major sacrifice like living in a cramped, tiny apartment, 4 hours commuting each day, etc. Not worth it for most people.

Does your husband want to retire early? What are his reasons for wanting NO mortgage by living in a property that doesn’t suit your family’s needs?

ResearchMed
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Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by ResearchMed » Tue Nov 20, 2018 2:21 pm

Sam1 wrote:
Tue Nov 20, 2018 2:17 pm
ResearchMed wrote:
Tue Nov 20, 2018 1:07 pm
Sam1 wrote:
Tue Nov 20, 2018 1:02 pm
SoAnyway wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 12:22 am
Paging KlangFool re. the 2 quoted posts below....

In the meantime, OP: Your thread title says it all. I'm not going to get in-between you and your husband; your marital argument is between the two of you. I am simply observing without taking sides, since I've not heard his pov, and you're of course presenting "curated" info in the light most favorable to the outcome you desire.

I "get" the cultural aspects, and I "get" that you're tired of the adaptations dictated by cultural norms. BTDT - It's not easy, but just imagine what your and DH's elders went through so that you could even be in a position to be posting about this issue. Please be grateful.... Bottom line: Putting the parents/in-laws in a hotel or otherwise "signalling" that their visits are any kind of burden on you (even if they are) is off the table.

It sounds like you're happy with the educational situation for your kids in your current locale/neighborhood, so I will assume that's the case and move on. You presented your situation as if there are only 3 options. I would encourage you and your husband to put aside "who wins" based on how you've framed it. Instead, please focus not on the limitations but on the possibilities. Many great suggestions have been made in this thread. I wish you and your family the best. BTW, I agree with Nissanzx1 that "It seems like you are trying to justify a bigger place." If you and your husband drop the need to get what you each want, and instead focus on thinking about ways to make sure the needs (not "wants" - "needs") of your entire family (elders/yourselves/your kids) are addressed, I'm quite confident that the two of you are smart enough to find the right solution. Good luck!
Myamar wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 7:06 am
Long time lurker, first time poster. Curious what some of you would do in our situation--spouse and I want to go two different directions.

We live in a very HCOL area. Real Estate here is about 900/sq ft, give or take depending on building amenities. We live in the NYC area, in an urban walkable neighborhood, in a condo building with parking, but not a "full service building" with doorman, etc. We have two kids, 4 and 7.

So here's the question: We bought a small 2 bedroom condo in 2013, and now we are growing out of it. But we can't agree on our next step. We love our neighborhood and we love being close to my husband's job. We both work full time but he works longer hours so being close to his job means he gets some time at home with our kids that he wouldn't get if we moved to the suburbs and his 25 minute commute turned into a 1 hour, 25 min commute. His job is pretty specialized and doesn't really exist outside of the NYC area--he would have to switch gears entirely and do something else if we moved to another state, which would result in an enormous pay cut (he keeps his eyes open on jobs because we have only lived in the NYC area for 7 years and would be okay with moving somewhere else if the right job/right salary came along--so far it has not).

He takes public transport to work. I drive (because I drive further out to the suburbs), so we have 1 garaged parking space and 1 car.

Here are our housing options:

1)Stay in our 2 bedroom condo. It's worth about $950k now, and we only owe $200k left and my husband is aggressively paying it down (that's his thing--it has to do with his very chaotic childhood. He wants nothing in this world more than to have a paid off house--we've already gone round and round about that). Staying in our 2 bedroom is great financially speaking, because our mortgage is way lower than market rental costs since we refinanced last year. Our mortgage plus HOA plus taxes are only 3.1k. Market rental costs are around 4k for a rental like our unit. The con is, both of our parents live in other places (his parents are in another country, mine are in the midwest), and they are all retired and love to visit. Which means they visit and squeeze into our small space. We are close to our parents and love for them to visit, but we hate that our kids sleep is disrupted because their bedroom is taken over for a week, several times a year. We also have no storage, almost no closet space, a tiny kitchen, the works. BUT--my husband commute is very short for the NYC area, so he gets to do school drop off in the morning, he's always home before bedtime. etc. We don't have to drive--everything is walkable and is feels healthy to walk the kids to school, walk to activities and the supermarket, etc.


2) Move to the suburbs. Taxes in the NJ/NY suburbs of NYC have exorbitant taxes and the ones with good schools are extremely expensive right now. If we sold our condo and bought a 4 bedroom house, it would definitely be in the 900-1 million + range, and would have taxes from anywhere from 20k-30k a year. The houses in the smaller range (say, a 1800 sq ft house that needs some work) would still be in the 700-800k range with taxes around 18-20k, depending on the town. Husband's commute would be much longer (he'd have to leave around 7:15 am and wouldn't be home till around 8pm,) essentially never being home when the kids are awake during the week. We would either live in a smaller, needs work house OR we could buy a bigger nicer house but for a much higher monthly payment than we have now. We would have more space, but less time when Dad and kids are together.

3) stay in our neighborhood and really stretch our house budget and get a bigger condo. A 3 bedroom with parking will be 1.2-1.5 million (HOA plus taxes). Or we could look for a row house where we could rent the finished basement, but the price would be more like 1.7-1.9 million (higher taxes, but no HOA).



Here's a snapshot of our finances.


yearly income: 320k this year. 240k base, 80k bonus last January

Monthly income: 11k, take home. This is after 401k, some small investments, 529, healthcare premiums/contributions

Overall savings/investments. I have 2 pensions from 2 different states (I work in education). My current pension will be vested in 3 years. Husband has about 375k in 401ks and old Roths and regular IRAs. We have about another 75-100k in other investments. We can't do Roth anymore and haven't done IRAs last few years since they aren't tax sheltered. 529s only have about 12k because we just started them last year. We plan to dump another 5-7k in January 2019 when the next bonus comes. If we sold the house today, we'd have about 700k for a downpayment on the next thing. We're down to 1 college loan of 4k balance we are also paying off after January bonus cycle (we throw huge sums into it every year from bonus money).

-current mortgage/HOA/taxes: 3.1k
-Childcare: $1400/month (after school babysitter)
-gas/auto insurance: $250/month
-variable expenses (groceries, clothes, fun, eating out, travel): 2k (bulk of this is travel because our families live far away, and we pay for them to fly to visit us as they are retired and on fixed incomes).
-Classes/activities for kids: $400/month (language class and dance class for 2 girls, soccer for only older kid--classes are very expensive here, it's not like the cheap prices people get in other states).


When we have money left at the end of the month, husband dumps it into an additional house fund or dumps it into vanguard funds. For the past few years, we have paid an additional 30-50k a year into the house through additional monthly payments and a big chunk from bonus money.



Here's the argument: I want to stay in our current neighborhood, buy a 3 bedroom, tweak our finances to make that bigger mortgage work.
Husband wants to either stay in our current 2 bedroom indefinitely (at least till it's paid off, approx 4-5 years from now). Our kids will be teens/pre-teens by then and still sharing a room...OR he wants to move to the suburbs and buy a small house that needs work in the 700-800k range and pay cash. His preference is to always do the most frugal thing. My preference is to find a way to meet our savings goals (we have always maxed our 401 k and invested additional every year and would continue to do so) and still have my husband home to see our kids during the week.

WWYD? I would love input from other people.
Myamar wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 1:53 pm
Other questions people have asked: why do we let our parents stay with us? Well, we are 1st gen Asian immigrants (me as a kid, husband as a teen) with parents who lived in near poverty to save to send us to college. In Asian culture, it’s a grave insult to ask elderly parents to stay somewhere else. On top of that, even in my more Americanized value system it doesn’t seem right to ask our parents to pay—they are all in their 70s on fixed incomes in low COL areas so $1500 usdfor a week in a hotel 3 times a year is not something they could afford. We would have to give up our yearly vacation for us to afford it, or give up paying extra into loans. Between our parents and siblings, we have had 6 visits this year, all from 4-7 days long. I am pretty sure they would stop visiting even if we paid for a hotel—all of our parents are still very frugal and would rather not see us than have us spend a lot of money on them.

As it is, we can only pay for their flights if we tell them they are saving us money on babysitters when they come—which is a lie, because we have to pay our part time nanny the same agreed-on weekly amount whether we use her or not. But it’s part of Asian face-saving culture. We know they want to visit and see our kids, so we say please let us buy you a ticket—you being here is so much cheaper than paying our sitter. And then we pay both.

But to be clear—we don’t mind because our parents worked hard and never spent on themselves to get us where we are today. My mother literally never worked a day in her life till they moved to the US, and my dad could not use his degrees and got a telemarketing job, so my mom got a job working for minimum wage at a supermarket—where she worked for something like $7/hour for 15 years until retirement—purely so she could get SS and not be a burden on us in retirement.

So this type of thing is something we feel we owe our parents.

Hope that makes sense.
Putting relatives in a hotel when living in NYC is very common and isn’t the same thing as living in Dallas and having your relatives stay at a hotel. Kind of like how you don’t typically pick up visitors at LaGuardia but you would if you lived in another city where cabs aren’t as commonplace.

Most people who live in HCOL areas where space is a premium and fewer people have cars, understand this.
You are describing a "NYC cultural convention" ("Putting relatives in a hotel when living in NYC is very common").

OP has family from another country where "culture" is apparently quite different.
It would be nice to be respectful of other's cultural preferences, especially given that they don't interfere with anyone else's preferences.

RM
It’s not just NY. It’s many HCOL area where space is at a premium.

My parents are welcome to stay with us. BUT they will be sleeping on a pullout and sharing a bathroom with us. Oh and they will be woken up by our toddler at first morning light. Other alternatives include:

1. Giving us a million dollars so we can buy a place with an extra bedroom and bath
2. Not visiting
3. Accepting a free stay in a hotel for a week

Most REASONABLE people can understand when someone lives in a small home and is unable to host visitors. It doesn’t sound like OP has had conflict over this.
:confused :confused

From above... one of the posts:
Myamar wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 1:53 pm
Other questions people have asked: why do we let our parents stay with us? Well, we are 1st gen Asian immigrants (me as a kid, husband as a teen) with parents who lived in near poverty to save to send us to college. In Asian culture, it’s a grave insult to ask elderly parents to stay somewhere else. On top of that, even in my more Americanized value system it doesn’t seem right to ask our parents to pay—they are all in their 70s on fixed incomes in low COL areas so $1500 usdfor a week in a hotel 3 times a year is not something they could afford. We would have to give up our yearly vacation for us to afford it, or give up paying extra into loans. Between our parents and siblings, we have had 6 visits this year, all from 4-7 days long. I am pretty sure they would stop visiting even if we paid for a hotel—all of our parents are still very frugal and would rather not see us than have us spend a lot of money on them.

As it is, we can only pay for their flights if we tell them they are saving us money on babysitters when they come—which is a lie, because we have to pay our part time nanny the same agreed-on weekly amount whether we use her or not. But it’s part of Asian face-saving culture. We know they want to visit and see our kids, so we say please let us buy you a ticket—you being here is so much cheaper than paying our sitter. And then we pay both.

But to be clear—we don’t mind because our parents worked hard and never spent on themselves to get us where we are today. My mother literally never worked a day in her life till they moved to the US, and my dad could not use his degrees and got a telemarketing job, so my mom got a job working for minimum wage at a supermarket—where she worked for something like $7/hour for 15 years until retirement—purely so she could get SS and not be a burden on us in retirement.

So this type of thing is something we feel we owe our parents.

Hope that makes sense.
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TSR
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Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by TSR » Tue Nov 20, 2018 2:37 pm

Myamar wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 1:53 pm
Other questions people have asked: why do we let our parents stay with us? Well, we are 1st gen Asian immigrants (me as a kid, husband as a teen) with parents who lived in near poverty to save to send us to college. In Asian culture, it’s a grave insult to ask elderly parents to stay somewhere else. On top of that, even in my more Americanized value system it doesn’t seem right to ask our parents to pay—they are all in their 70s on fixed incomes in low COL areas so $1500 usdfor a week in a hotel 3 times a year is not something they could afford. We would have to give up our yearly vacation for us to afford it, or give up paying extra into loans. Between our parents and siblings, we have had 6 visits this year, all from 4-7 days long. I am pretty sure they would stop visiting even if we paid for a hotel—all of our parents are still very frugal and would rather not see us than have us spend a lot of money on them.

As it is, we can only pay for their flights if we tell them they are saving us money on babysitters when they come—which is a lie, because we have to pay our part time nanny the same agreed-on weekly amount whether we use her or not. But it’s part of Asian face-saving culture. We know they want to visit and see our kids, so we say please let us buy you a ticket—you being here is so much cheaper than paying our sitter. And then we pay both.

But to be clear—we don’t mind because our parents worked hard and never spent on themselves to get us where we are today. My mother literally never worked a day in her life till they moved to the US, and my dad could not use his degrees and got a telemarketing job, so my mom got a job working for minimum wage at a supermarket—where she worked for something like $7/hour for 15 years until retirement—purely so she could get SS and not be a burden on us in retirement.

So this type of thing is something we feel we owe our parents.

Hope that makes sense.
No advice (other than that your husband needs to get more comfortable with debt!), but I just wanted to say that this is really interesting, informative, and exceptionally well written to capture the funny nuances of the situation and the nature of the "face-saving culture." It's always nice to see really clear writing on a message-board!

voodoo72
Posts: 55
Joined: Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:20 pm

Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by voodoo72 » Tue Nov 20, 2018 4:08 pm

Myamar wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 1:53 pm
Other questions people have asked: why do we let our parents stay with us? Well, we are 1st gen Asian immigrants (me as a kid, husband as a teen) with parents who lived in near poverty to save to send us to college. In Asian culture, it’s a grave insult to ask elderly parents to stay somewhere else. On top of that, even in my more Americanized value system it doesn’t seem right to ask our parents to pay—they are all in their 70s on fixed incomes in low COL areas so $1500 usdfor a week in a hotel 3 times a year is not something they could afford. We would have to give up our yearly vacation for us to afford it, or give up paying extra into loans. Between our parents and siblings, we have had 6 visits this year, all from 4-7 days long. I am pretty sure they would stop visiting even if we paid for a hotel—all of our parents are still very frugal and would rather not see us than have us spend a lot of money on them.

As it is, we can only pay for their flights if we tell them they are saving us money on babysitters when they come—which is a lie, because we have to pay our part time nanny the same agreed-on weekly amount whether we use her or not. But it’s part of Asian face-saving culture. We know they want to visit and see our kids, so we say please let us buy you a ticket—you being here is so much cheaper than paying our sitter. And then we pay both.

But to be clear—we don’t mind because our parents worked hard and never spent on themselves to get us where we are today. My mother literally never worked a day in her life till they moved to the US, and my dad could not use his degrees and got a telemarketing job, so my mom got a job working for minimum wage at a supermarket—where she worked for something like $7/hour for 15 years until retirement—purely so she could get SS and not be a burden on us in retirement.

So this type of thing is something we feel we owe our parents.

Hope that makes sense.
Im happy you addressed this, I am not Asian but my parents are from the Carribean, and its the same with us. As a kid we would have lots of amily over at the same time in our tiny 980 Sq foot home ome in Miami with 3 bedrooms and one bathroom and guess what we had great memories. Your kids will be fine if they have to make room for their grandparents. I feel we make our kids soft and bratty, dont kow how to share or compromise with others. I also vote for the 3 bedroom condo, commuting sucks.

fourkids
Posts: 145
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Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by fourkids » Tue Nov 20, 2018 4:56 pm

TDCumm16 wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 10:33 pm
Easy... get out of NYC

Move closer to your parents in midwest. Take your $700k equity and buy a $500k 2500-3500 sqft home in cash with nice large yard and 4 bedrooms in a good school district. Set aside the other $200k to have your kids college funded

No mortgage, college is paid off.., your massive pay cut won’t matter. If your are doing in 350 in NYC I’m sure the two of you could find jobs to net $200k/yr easy. At the point savings just need to build up your retirement
100% agree.
stay put for the next 3 years to vest in your pension.
and then move to the nearest big city to your parents in the Midwest, for a much better quality of life.

Your comments show how much you value family (as do I), and it's wonderful raising children around their grandparents.
I'm sure your husband can find a job that roughly translates to his current job- in Chicago or Indianapolis. Plus the COL is so much less, you can get by on a much lesser salary.

With an extra bedroom and more space, your parents can come stay for a month at a time, or possibly move in with you when they are older.

JGoneRiding
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Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by JGoneRiding » Tue Nov 20, 2018 10:22 pm

runner540 wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 10:49 am
OP, read this thread with your spouse: viewtopic.php?p=4159387#p4159387

It's about another couple in HCOL that is feeling overwhelmed by housing costs AND have brutal commutes. I'd lean toward the 3bed in your current neighborhood. You have ~$700k+ of equity, so a 3 bed with a $500k mortgage on $240k of salary seems doable to me but you'll have to run exact numbers. Is there another category that you can cut down to help your husband rest easier? (or throw all bonus money at the mortgage?)

Maybe you can get a murphy bed set up for your living room so you have more space for guests. (ikea catalog to the rescue)
These would be my thoughts too. Murphy for the grands stay in a walkable area that allows your husband time with your children. That they will remember a yard in the burbs all they will remember is dad was never home

JGoneRiding
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Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by JGoneRiding » Tue Nov 20, 2018 11:27 pm

I have a 376k mortgage on a 130k income (though taxes are cheap) and it really isn't that bad. We don't take fancy vacations but go some where each year. A 500k mortgage on your income won't be a problem at all.

I think if you find a 3 bed where you and your husband are both content that would be ideal.

beehappy
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Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by beehappy » Wed Nov 21, 2018 4:29 am

OP, I'm also from a culture where putting family, especially your parents, in a hotel would be a cardinal sin. So I fully respect your position that hotel is not an option.

If you think you can get the $1.7mil house without a strain on your marriage (given your husband's aversion to debt), and without straining your finances beyond your comfort zone, then do it. I think you're doing well financially, especially given the expense of 2 kids.

But if you want to stay put at your current location, then explore some ways to maximize the space. An interior designer might be worth your while.

But on a personal note, I want to assure you that you're not harming your children in any way by having them share a room or even by having them move around when grandparents visit. People do this ALL OVER THE WORLD and they're not creating maladjusted children. I grew up in another country, in a 1-bedroom house, with 6 siblings, mixed gender. My parents had the bedroom, and the kids all slept on mattresses on the floor in the living room. That meant that every night, we moved all the furniture in the living room to make room for our mattresses, then had to restore the living room in the morning, before any visitor came by, which was often unannounced. When grandparents, aunties, and uncles visited, my parents gave up their bed and slept in the living room with us. That meant everyone had to move around. I went to a boarding school where I shared a room with 50 girls, then from there, to college where I had 2 roommates. I did not have a room to myself until after my 2nd year in college. I only have great memories.

wfrobinette
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Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Post by wfrobinette » Wed Nov 21, 2018 1:00 pm

bdpb wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 10:12 am
Myamar wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 7:06 am
We love our neighborhood and we love being close to my husband's job.

Here's the argument: I want to stay in our current neighborhood, buy a 3 bedroom, tweak our finances to make that bigger mortgage work.
Husband wants to either stay in our current 2 bedroom indefinitely (at least till it's paid off, approx 4-5 years from now). Our kids will be teens/pre-teens by then and still sharing a room...OR he wants to move to the suburbs and buy a small house that needs work in the 700-800k range and pay cash. His preference is to always do the most frugal thing. My preference is to find a way to meet our savings goals (we have always maxed our 401 k and invested additional every year and would continue to do so) and still have my husband home to see our kids during the week.
If the first sentence is true (both the love and we parts) then the quality of life aspect would drive my decision more than the increased costs. I would "stay in our current neighborhood, buy a 3 bedroom, tweak our finances to make that bigger mortgage work". Move to the suburbs in 10 or so years after the kids are more independent or off to college.
Look in Pompton Plains, NJ. You can be in the 500 to 600k range with 10k in taxes.

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