linklings, labor day in Florida edition

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My family moved to Florida for the weather. There were other factors, but really, at the end of the day, we wanted to live somewhere warm.  We didn’t get that mental impact until now – when it’s cooling off elsewhere and still summer weather here.  So far, so good… except I still spend too much time indoors in a corporate high-rise.

After our recent attempt to purchase a home fell through, since we couldn’t get on the same page with the sellers, we’ve started looking at houses again. We found two we thought were fantastic, but for different reasons.  One is perfect – total interior remodel, a huge screened in patio which can be closed off and climate controlled, a fenced-in backyard and a nice community less than a mile from the coast, but a bit further away from town.  The second is in a nicer neighborhood, with a huge screened pool and so close to the ocean you can hears waves from beyond the tree – but the house is a mess.  Dog pee stains the carpets and almost every fixture is dirty and dated.

The difference? The second house, in a nice neighborhood, costs so little we could almost pay cash for it (it’s a foreclosure and the bank wants to dump it unrenovated).  The first house is a bit further from town and move-in ready and much more expensive (but compared to New Jersey almost laughably inexpensive).  So we have a big “house-style” decision to make if we want to move on either one.

A few links I liked this past week…

Are You Really a Permanent Employee?:  A post I thoroughly agree with by Kevin from No Debt Plan, guest blogging at Cash Money Life.  He talks about why most people seek “safe employment” as a “permanent employee,” but concludes that – while it not may be for everyone – non-permanent employment (contract work) might be a better idea.

The Truth About Star Wars and the Matrix:  I couldn’t agree more.  What Phantom Menace?

Education Needs to Be Turned on Its Head:  I don’t agree with everything Leo says in this article but it’s a subject I think about a lot.  We’re starting our kids out at a Waldorf preschool before they head off to public schools.  My hope is that Waldorf education will be closer to my ideals about education:  namely, education as an exposure to knowledge and a student’s ability to choose his or her own direction.

Proofread Your Resume:  Almost goes without saying, but I have so often read resumes where people list there acheivments that its amazing.. [wait, do I need to proofreed that sentence?]

Stop Allowing Fear To Guide Financial Decisions:  It always circles back to the scarcity mindset versus the abundance mindset – proactivity versus passivity, goals versus fears, which leads us to…

Your Financial Success Depends on the Clarity of Your Goals:  “I want to be rich” is not a goal. “I want to own a business” is not a goal.  Get specific, because the broader the goal, the more time you’ll waste casting around trying to reach it.

A few more links:

I also starting reading Aliventures, and really liked this post: Reframing Work #1: Ditching Drudgery and the Conventional View of “Work”.  You can download an e-book on the same subject from Aliventures here (opens a PDF).

photo by danperry.com

12 comments

  • Hi Steve,
    I just moved, too, and love the new place. I'm just renting a townhouse, but it's built pretty well — upstairs great room has wonderful view of the valley and the kitchen is spacious with large ceramic tile counter. The deck is good size, too, and I plan to resume gardening. Downstairs are my bedroom, a den, and bathrooms. (There are two, I only use one.) It's built on the hill, and the downstairs is semi basement — which make it a bit cold, but the leasing manager swears there is no mold problem as long as I take reasonable care. I don't like taking care of the house (mowing, etc) so I think I will keep renting for a long time. . .

    Steve, whichever house you choose, my best wishes goes to you. (Screened patio is nice in a warm area like Florida where there are so many bugs. Is it true you are supposed to keep a huge spider called housekeeper to control other bugs down there? ^_^)

    • @Akemi: Hi! Sounds like a great place, and if you're happy with renting I think it'll be good for you. If you have a great view that's a big part of enjoying a place – nothing like waking up to a view to make the day go better.

      I keep a houseslipper called “bug-be-flat” that keeps the bugs under control. But I do try to use the broom and flyswatter to flip “guests” outside when I can… especially the overly-friendly lizards who sneak inside. Time to get reacquainted with nature 🙂

  • I know you didn't ask for advice, but wanted to put in my two cents (totally free to you). Go for the house in the better neighborhood.

    Even though you're going to have to put some money into it, the better neighborhood and location will pay off in the end.

  • I agree with bucksome.

    “Location, location, location.”

    “Buy the cheapest house in the best neighborhod you can afford.”

    I live on the left-coast and got a great deal on a house in an expensive town, back in the nineties. I have had to put a lot of work into it, but it's worth three times what I paid for it an my property taxes are cheap.

    • @Bret, @bucksome: I hear you, although it's still not clear to me that the “good” house is in a 'worse' neighborhood than the “crappy” house (quote crazy…). It's tough weighing one neighborhood against another when they're largely identical – but I agree with you that when one is overwhelmingly better than the other, it's better to go with the good one.

  • Go for the best location! You can always change things about a house, but you can't change the location.

  • Interesting that you don't mention the one factor that we looked for first in buying both the homes we have owned. That is the quality of the schools. The first step for us was to identify the best middle schools and high schools in the county and then get the best deal we could find within the borders served by those schools.

    We have made that this approach makes sense not only for our primary intent (the health, growth and well being of our kids) but also it makes good financial sense since many other families with kids are eager to buy in those same areas for the same reasons.

    • @Weston: Good point, but I just didn't mention the schools since both homes are within the same school district, meaning that's not a factor. We already narrowed our search down to a single district, and haven't even looked at a house outside of that district.

  • guinness416

    Always nice to have a choice! If you go for the finished one, make sure you won't be redecorating soon anyway, for taste or to correct skin deep flip renovation.

    I've found reading zenhabits less interesting or rewarding for me the the further into his own “freedom” he gets. As an ex montessori kid, I'm mildly sympathetic to his beliefs (although would have been nice to see some actual stats to back his opinions up, not to mention some recognition that it ain't possible for everyone) but the constant contempt for the corporate worker in some of these blogs is tiresome. He'd be called on it if he were running down bricklayers or something. ZH sure has quite the amen chorus though.

    • @Guinness416: I agree that there's a certain smug satisfaction that permeates a lot of the anti-corporate-jobs blogs that I read, and it seems to be building during the recession. ZH used to be a must-read for me, but recently the tone has shifted a bit too much into the dreamy “we are all going to work on the web” mode. No we aren't. I like the idea of people taking a bit more control over their work lives than some employees do, true. I would like to do more of it, too. But you're dead-on, though – if you replaced “corporate worker” with “bricklayer” it would sound downright awful.

  • Your article was pretty interesting. Hope you will come up with more interesting ones like this

  • Your article was pretty interesting. Hope you will come up with more interesting ones like this