Great Place to Be

by | Jan 1, 2005 | Archives

Here is a letter from a reader that can help you find your great place to be now.

This reader wrote:

"Gary, I may not be a typical reader, but the only reason I live and own real 

estate in an overpriced metropolitan area is that is where the job is. If a

large professional firm existed in Smalltown, USA that needed a Chief Operating

Officer, I'd jump at the chance. With a daughter with three years left in high

school, I'm still three to seven years away from being able to retire to

Smalltown or to Ecuador. So what is suggested for families like us? Sell the

house at the top of the bubble and rent a house? The options are fewer for those

of us that are salaried employees and for whom it doesn't make sense to give up

a good job and start our own business. I enjoy your thought-provoking emails."

Here is my reply:

This may seem a real dilemma, but opportunity is everywhere – see my message of Weds Oct 23. There are several approaches to tap into this. Merri and I changed our whole way of life (and our kids too). We quit running a big firm and took on a much less hectic pace for us and our kids. In fact we have done this twice now, first leaving London and moving to Naples, Florida which was then a sleepy little village. The second time we moved from Naples which had become a big city to this remote farm in North Carolina and our plantation in Ecuador. Our businesses changed, our way of life was turned upside down. This does create some stress but we found each move refreshing. Yet honestly by normal standards we are pretty weird so this approach does not work for everyone. Fortunately our kids have become used to this so they have taken it in their stride.

Second, some people go ahead and buy there dream home in Smalltown USA and use it as a weekend or vacation home or rent it out until they are ready to make the move.

If you feel that your market is at the top, then selling your home and renting in your town might be a good option. Few houses are rented for a decent return so you can probably invest your sales proceeds so they will earn more than you'll pay on rent, especially if you can get a nice long lease. Be sure though to go ahead and buy your other Smalltown real estate (at a lower price) now. For example we sold our house in Naples, Florida for a record price in our area at that time. The buyers plowed about a million into renovation and sold it for two million more than they paid just two years later. I am happy I reinvested our sales proceeds in land that also appreciated nicely! Also if I had been planning to stay in Naples by renting, I might have a tough time finding a rental at a reasonable price.

Other options include commuting (if your dream place is within striking range). Combined with telecommuting this can make sense.

Whatever choice you make, take some small first step. When we know we need to do something, but are not quite sure how or where, the first step will usually lead us. This little beginning locks us into the business evolutionary cycle. The idea leads to enthusiasm. The enthusiasm leads to education. The education leads to action. The action leads to experience and the new experience creates the next idea!

Each of our lives is each so wonderfully unique that there is no one perfect answer. The correct answer is only within the hearts of you, your wife and the kids.

We can create our own universe!