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Rich Is Relative

Dennis Friedman  |  Oct 18, 2021

THE OTHER DAY, I did something I probably shouldn’t have done. I checked Zillow to see the current estimated value for the condo I sold last year during the COVID-19 pandemic.
I knew real estate prices had gone up quite a bit since I sold in June 2020. But when I looked at Zillow’s price, I was still surprised to see my old home had risen 19% during that short period of time. It’s hard to imagine,

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Betting the House

Michael Flack  |  Oct 7, 2021

ONE THING THAT BILL Gates, Warren Buffett and I have in common is a keen appreciation for the book Business Adventures. Issued in 1969 by The New Yorker business writer John Brooks, this collection of articles is still as interesting, funny and relevant today as it must have been then. The author doesn’t assault the reader with paradigm shifts, rubrics or lessons learned. He simply presents engaging business stories to be enjoyed.

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Renting Problems

John Goodell  |  Oct 5, 2021

I’M REASONABLY certain that Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy has a long-lost section where he details the 10th Ring of Hell: being a landlord. I’ve done so twice and, despite the glorification seen on HGTV and heard on BiggerPockets podcasts, I found no joy in either experience. Selling those properties felt better than I can possibly describe.
Being a remote landlord may be the worst of all worlds. Getting an 8 p.m. phone call to fix a broken toilet is annoying.

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Neighborhood Watch

Michael Flack  |  Oct 3, 2021

I BOUGHT A CONDO a few months back and have spent the past two months moving in. If I’d moved in before I retired, the process would have lasted no more than a month. But as I’m now retired and my time is virtually unlimited, I am merely halfway through the move-in process and type this sitting at a portable camp table.
While the move-in has been slow, it’s lightyears faster than the process of meeting the neighbors.

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Moving Back Home

Dennis Friedman  |  Sep 22, 2021

WHEN MY PARENTS were alive, they would ask me what I was going to do with their home when they passed away. I knew they wanted me to live there. My sister and brother-in-law had no interest in the house. They were planning to move to Tennessee to be close to their son.
I never really gave them an answer on what my plans were. They probably never understood why I wouldn’t jump at the chance to live in a bigger house with more amenities in a safer neighborhood.

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Promising Places?

Dennis Friedman  |  Sep 13, 2021

MY WIFE RAN INTO an old acquaintance at our local grocery store. I asked my wife if she was surprised to see her. “No, but she said she was surprised to see me. I asked why. She said she didn’t think I could afford to live here.”
Maybe that’s what most people would have thought, especially if they saw my wife in the neighborhood parking lot getting out of our 2007 Honda Fit.
It’s become extremely difficult for a middle-class family to own a house in California.

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Altered State

Kyle McIntosh  |  Sep 10, 2021

IN A RECENT POST, I suggested three questions that folks should consider before moving out of California. As a California native who has lived many other places, I appreciate the weather and convenience of living here, and I urged others to think carefully before moving away.
The post generated some great discussion when I shared it on my Facebook page. Based on the comments left by my friends, here are some added considerations and tips for those thinking of leaving California:

Take a test drive.

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Look Before You Leap

Kyle McIntosh  |  Sep 3, 2021

A FEW WEEKS AGO, fellow contributor Dennis Friedman discussed how he’ll remain in California for retirement, despite the lower cost of living elsewhere. Dennis’s post got me thinking about the conversations I hear at my local dog park in Newbury Park, California.
A local realtor regularly talks about the many longtime homeowners who are moving out of state. Within days of listing their home, sellers receive multiple offers above asking price. The sellers then move to places like Arizona,

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New and Improved

Richard Quinn  |  Sep 1, 2021

THE KITCHEN REMODEL is complete. It’s so new that we’re still trying to remember where we put the can opener. Truth be told, we haven’t quite learned how to work all the appliances, either.

Ready or not, our remodeled kitchen was recently put to the test by the visit of two of our children’s families—including five teenagers. There were ongoing warnings like “be careful how you close that drawer” and “don’t put that there,

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Did It Myself—Almost

Kyle McIntosh  |  Aug 25, 2021

OVER THE PAST decade, my wife and I have hired others to handle most home improvement projects. It all came down to a lack of time: We had two young children and demanding jobs in the corporate world. But thanks to my recent switch to teaching, I have more free time, so I decided to tackle a few projects this summer. Here are three things I learned:

Painting is possible. For more than a year,

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Million Dollar Dream

Sanjib Saha  |  Aug 21, 2021

WHEN I TOLD MY WIFE a few years ago that I wanted to retire by age 50, she was supportive from the get-go. The memories of her dad passing away soon after his 52nd birthday played a role in her snap approval. But it took us a while to sort through the full financial implications.
I figured that our lifestyle, including our foreign travels and occasional splurges, would be the same even if my paychecks stopped prematurely.

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Happy to Be Home

Jiab Wasserman  |  Aug 12, 2021

IN THE PAST THREE years, Jim and I have moved five times—three times in Spain and twice in Dallas. We sold almost all our possessions when we moved to Spain, taking just four suitcases and two cats. When we returned to Dallas, we didn’t bring home much more—five suitcases and two cats.
Fortunately, I’ve discovered that I prefer living in a smaller home. I love the design of Spanish houses, which are—on average—just half the size of equivalent U.S.

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Going Nowhere

Dennis Friedman  |  Aug 12, 2021

REAL ESTATE PRICES in California are through the roof. The price of a smaller home in our neighborhood just sold for $80,000 above the list price. Not only is housing expensive for retirees like us, but also the cost of living in California is very high. Gas, food and taxes are a lot higher here than in other places favored by retirees, such as the Sunbelt.
When I was going to school, I was never good at math.

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A Well-Placed Bet

Kristine Hayes  |  Aug 5, 2021

THREE YEARS AGO, I bought a home a few weeks before getting married. The purchase wasn’t so much an investment as a necessity: My new husband and I owned four dogs between us, and we knew we’d have a difficult time finding a rental that would allow that many pets.
I’d lived in the Portland, Oregon, metro area for nearly 30 years and had owned two other homes. I knew which neighborhoods to avoid,

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Hammered Home

Michael Flack  |  Jun 24, 2021

ALMOST 20 YEARS AGO, we renovated our entire Washington, DC, home. The memory is still quite fresh. If you’ve ever renovated a house, you’ll understand.
A home renovation has similarities to personal finance: You can do it yourself (DIY), you can pay someone to do it for you, or you can do something in between. This last approach has worked well for me—both with renovations and financial matters.
Our home consisted of a three-level townhouse.

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