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Persistent disruption

It is too hard to figure out how to go rowing in the face of a highly sleep-disruptive schedule. Not rowing leaves me in one of those reflective self-assessment states where I question everything. Is this the kind of life I envisioned? I never did envision anything all that specific, during those times when friends and classmates had dreams of weddings and houses and children.

I am finally reaching a point where I'm not just living month-to-month, at least for a little while, here, which is making me wonder about things like saving up for a house down payment. I'm setting aside a chunk of funds regardless - I just wonder what to do about it.

Last night L calculated that, over the past 8 years, he has spent around $95,000 on rent in Washington, D.C. and out here, which is part of what got me on this train of thought. Living in a space that doesn't entirely satisfy one's needs gets frustrating at times, especially when there's no clear end in sight. On the other hand, I remain aware of how much work it is to own and maintain things, especially houses.

-

More mundane matters:

Yesterday: Got to sleep at around 2:30 am, slept in until 9, had breakfast, and started in on cookout preparations. This included some clean-up under the pluot tree and harvesting more rhubarb. The other rhubarb plant is also starting to look vibrant, so pretty soon we may be in a situation where there's enough excess to think about things like rhubarb wine.

In the meantime, however, I figured I'd make more rhubarb nectar to share with others at the cookout as a nice, non-alcoholic alternative beverage. I chopped up the rhubarb and put it in the blender, along with some sugar and water.

When I started to see smoke coming out of the blender base, I had to cancel that project.

I also cleaned the bathroom, did more laundry, and got more fleas off of the cat. Then sytharin, L, and I biked over to Berkeley Bowl for cookout supplies. Then we were hungry, so we visited a nearby Korean restaurant and I got to try bibimbap for the first time. Delicious.

Quaxing party supplies

Korean food taste adventure

The daily lab duties basically occupied the rest of the day, along with more party preparations.

Comments

( 5 remarks — Remark )
randomdreams
Jul. 17th, 2016 05:01 pm (UTC)
That's a lot of groceries!
I love bibimbap.

Based on our experience, I'm quite unconvinced that owning saves money at _any_ point, no matter how far out you look. In our area calculators say that it takes about 6 years before owning is financially rewarding, but they don't appear to factor in a new roof, having the whole front of the house fall off, and having the sewer system fail with required backhoe work to install a new sewer line.
shellynoir
Jul. 17th, 2016 08:31 pm (UTC)
I think that any "profit" from owning relates to the fact that you are spending twice as much on housing as you want to. If renters would put even 10% of what they spend on rent and insurance and storage into a Vanguard low-fee fund they would end up way, way, way ahead and their health would be better.

Edited at 2016-07-17 08:55 pm (UTC)
annikusrex
Jul. 18th, 2016 01:02 am (UTC)
With respect to roofs and sewers and maintenance-type things, a partial solution is definitely a condo with a well-run association. (Also saves money on heating/cooling.) I think saving up for a down payment is a good idea anyway--it is always good to have more savings than you need even if you don't end up spending it on housing.

So far we are definitely "saving" money since we bought our condo, but that was mostly lucky timing (low interest rates, a hot market, a new transit system). We are spending almost twice what we were spending on a one-bedroom apt., but then again we now have twice the room, so that's not quite a fair comparison. I think it really comes down to a) time you think you will be in the place you buy (this calculation involves jobs and projected space requirements and is fundamentally about transaction costs to buy/sell real estate)--absolute minimum I would say is 6 years, but 10 ideally, b) a very rough comparison of the insurance/interest component of your mortgage payment with what you would pay to rent/insure a similarly sized apt (*not* your current rental, which you have presumably downsized to the minimum, and not the principal payments on your mortgage, which are ideally more like savings).

My sense is: world economic growth is not going to go full throttle any time soon, so Vanguard low-ER funds may not be the answer they were over former decades; meanwhile, the failure to add sufficient housing units in cities that are, for demographic and industry reasons, suddenly desirable, means that purchasing real estate in cities may be a better bet. But you can't take advantage unless the a) and b) calculations above make sense to you. And you live in one of the increasingly desirable urban areas. It definitely doesn't work for everyone.
rebeccmeister
Jul. 18th, 2016 08:54 pm (UTC)
These all sound like sensible analyses of the financial situation.

I've watched a couple of friends have to go through some major ordeals after the housing market collapsed and life plans changed extensively, which are things that cause me to shy away from the thought of buying a house (or condo). And my life circumstances aren't at all settled yet anyway.

So for the time being, I'll just keep on stockpiling what I can. :^)
rebeccmeister
Jul. 18th, 2016 08:57 pm (UTC)
Sounds like people need to retool the calculators! In a similar vein, my parents had to replace their 20-year roof after only 10 years, most likely because the driveway is lined with large evergreens that drop highly acidic needles onto it.

And that doesn't even get into some of the other renovations they've been doing to improve their quality of life in the space.
( 5 remarks — Remark )

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