Wednesday, 4 November 2015

The plan

If you read yesterday's post, you'll know why the plans looks as it does.... I apologise for the length (and potential tedium) of this post in advance!

1) Home :- we have agreed that Shropshire is the county for us for multiple reasons - rural and spacious, much less traffic, historic towns, beautiful walks and a sense of community, good value for money in terms of house prices, my brother lives there, centrally placed in UK so easier for the kids to visit when they are spread all over the place. Mr D feels that the look and feel of the house is more important to me, so will defer to my preferences on the whole. We would both like a house big enough to have all of our children back, plus partners/spouses and children in the future (even if it means blow up beds and sleeping bags) and room for frequent visits from friends. This is important to both of us as we both love entertaining. We both want a large kitchen and some kind of real fire or log burner. He would like space for table tennis. I want a barn/workshop for revamping furniture, so the two could overlap. I really want an older house with character - celebrating the imperfect! As I want to grow my own veg and fruit and keep my lovely chickens, I would like at least an acre. Originally I wanted more as I intended on keeping goats and ducks, but I fear I am alone in that, so I will compromise. Mr D can't cope with the idea of eating anything he has 'raised' which puts a spanner in the works rather! But he is happy to help out in the garden and likes the thought of homegrown food. In terms of budget, we are looking at about £350,000 for which I think there are a number of potential properties. Originally we were thinking quite remote, but having discussed it, we are both leaning towards being a little closer to civilisation whilst still retaining views and dog walks on the doorstep. A small holidays one in France is still on the wish list :) 

2) Career and work. I want to prise Mr D out of his highly stressful, long hours job for the sake of his health and our relationship. We came to the conclusion that any form of income generation will have  to be multi pronged, comprising part time supply teaching for him, perhaps a part time shop/admin type job for me and possibly other, smaller income prospects like selling home made produce, letting out rooms, occasional B&B and selling on revamped furniture and craft creations made by me. Whatever happens, our income will fall considerably as Mr D is presently on a good wage and neither of us are anywhere near pension age!  We discussed how our entire lifestyle will have to change in order for this to work, but we are both ready. At least we know that as and when we can start drawing on our pensions pots, it will provide us with a decent amount to live off. 

3) Relationships and family. This topic raised an interesting issue. We agreed that we wanted to make this new step together (well, you never know....). I asked how he felt we would spend our time when the children left home. His response was of shock and panic at the very thought of them leaving, even though, two have already, to all intents and purpose left and a third is on the verge of leaving next autumn. I think the empty nest syndrome may affect him more than me. Personally, I'm looking forward to spending time alone with my husband and making the most of being able to please ourselves. That's not to say I don't love my children and I don't love being a mother, but surely the main point of being a parent is to prepare them for the world at large and then release them into it? We did both agree wholeheartedly that we would love for our children to feel they could come home at any point for visits and that they would want to and we aim to create a home that will provide for this.

4) Friends. On similar lines to the above, we would like our friends to come and visit regularly. We have been fortunate to have made some wonderful and treasured friends along the way already, so we would like them to stay in touch where possible. To make new friends, we will need to go out and socialise. We are both fairly sociable although I love my own company which Mr D does not (as in his own company rather than not enjoying my company!), so he will no doubt be looking to go out more than I would choose. The restrictive factor of disposable income may make a difference there! 

5) Health. We agreed that we will continue to eat well, predominantly vegetarian and home made from scratch. My exercise will come from the garden and dog walking, his will be supplemented with running and joining a tennis club (I'm rubbish at sport, he is an ex PE teacher and very good at most sports). Emotionally, we agreed that we would try to be more aware of one another's moods and try harder to respond appropriately to them. I think this will be easier in our new life. 

6)  Character. When I asked Mr D where he thought his strengths lay, he was unable to tell me! Seriously?! How many times have we sat with students encouraging them to write positive things about themselves in college applications or personal statements! Eventually, we decided that his strengths lay in bringing a lightness and humour to our family life and in striving to maintain links with our friends and the wider family. My strengths lie in driving things forward and seeing that things are completed - a starter/finisher as my Headteacher used to describe me. As a couple, we share the same values, we are both nurturers and balance one another out well if we are working well together. Our weaknesses lie in not always being able/willing to see what the other one might need and not always talking things out rather than stewing. We agreed we need to work on better communication and, on a practical level, keep  trying out basic DIY skills to see just how much we  can do for ourselves (I'm certainly more gung-ho than he  is in this respect!) 

7)  Activities and Hobbies. Mr D would quite like us to join a ballroom dancing class together. We would both like to become part of the local community - volunteering, quiz nights, organising events etc.  He would like to continue with some sport, I'd like to continue with my crafts. Mr D said he would like to start cooking more and I'd want to attend some classes to learn better needlework skills. I'd quite like to start up yoga again - I loved it before but my tutor left and I couldn't warm to the next one. We discussed how I would need Mr D to help more in the garden and around the home to enable us  both to have free time whether that be apart or together. I have always done the lion's  share of all things home related and I'd like to share this more. In terms of saving for something special, we would both love to go back to the Maldives and there are multiple other places both nationally and worldwide we'd love to visit if we are financially able to. 

8) Finances. Now this is the trickier bit. We are fortunate to be in a strong position financially going in to this but we have to decide whether to keep this house, rent it out and buy the new house in shropshire with a small mortgage raised on this one. The rental from this  house would cover the mortgage and pay us a regular income. Or should we sell this, buy a new house in Shropshire as cash buyers and then use the remainder to buy smaller houses to let out in Shropshire making it easier to manage them and building up a small  portfolio. OR do we sell this, buy a new house in Shropshire with the cash and then invest any remaining cash? There are some outstanding factors to play a part  in this, so we will have to wait until the new year before seek professional advice (we can get excellent free advice through Mr D's Union). Meanwhile I'm going to contact some local rental agencies here and get this house valued again so we have all the information to hand.

So there you have it (if you've kept awake to read it!) - the plan in detail. Any thoughts? 


  1. Looks like a good plan, we have a rental property and have been very lucky with tenants to date, there is an option now to rent property to the council they pay you a guaranteed rent and they are responsible for tenants, if our tenant was to move on this is something we would consider, there is nothing worse than having an empty property and having to find the extra mortgage yourself.
    1 acre is nice size and will give you plenty of space for fruit veggies and chickens,
    good luck with it all I look forward to following you on your journey :-)

  2. What a brilliant idea and well thought out plan! We have (compared to yours) a rough sort of plan for the lead up to husband's eventual retirement in 2 or 3 years. I think yours is so fantastic though, that i'm going to think about doing the same thing for us.

  3. Blimey, you are so well organised. I ran through the points you made yesterday with OH, we couldn't answer half of them!! makes me wonder how we've stayed married for 36 years, raised 3 children and done up 4 houses and spent 23 years here! hope your plans go to plan!

  4. Sounds like you definitely need to be near a community with plenty of opportunities. As I said yesterday, we moved to a very active village but all the events have dried up as more and more people move here to buy up new houses but commute long distances to work every day, so the village is empty during the day now. I would like to live in a smallish community but within 5 or 10 minutes of more going on. My husband is the anti social one, but I love company and that's something we definitely need to address once our son leaves home. I'm absolutely with you about children too! x

  5. Interesting couple of posts.
    I guess that it would be a good idea to assess a way forward with any major change.. Retirement being an obvious change. I know of several people who have moved to land after retirement , sometimes to remote areas. If they had done something similar to you they might have made different choices. I believe you are wise to think of being close to others. I am 70 next year and lucky enough to be independent, still able to drive and pretty fit, but so many of my contemporaries are not so lucky and would struggle to live the "quiet" life so many aspire to. ( for "quiet" read "lonely" when widowed and with impaired vision that makes driving impossible)
    I thinkI will see if David will have a go at your plan. it would be interesting to see if we look at our older age the same. I bet we don't!

  6. Sounds like you have the makings of a great plan. I don't know where you live now but if Shropshire is a way away then it may be worth considering how you manage the rental of your current property over the distance and what to do when things go might be easier to manage closer to where you move to? A friend of mine has let out rooms in her house recently through Air BnB she was not expecting to get much from it but it has been so successful and has meant she has earnt enough to pay for the next round of renovations to her house.

    We live in a small village which feels very rural but is five minutes from the motorway and a fifteen minute drive north or south to towns. There is loads going on in our village. I would suggest that having a school in a village seems to make a difference to how much goes on there, strange really but that is what we found when we were looking at villages in our area. The only downside is that our local bus service has been cut dramatically as part of the general countrywide cut backs :(

    I would love to have a property with an acre of land........good luck with your search hope you find the property you want!

  7. Great post and great plans, sounds much like the discussions that are going on here, the bearded one is not keen on goats either!

  8. What an informative post. Its good that you are talking to each other. Decisions are so hard when you only have one input. Like Dawn we have a rental property and also have a great tenant. I have a good relationship with my electrician/gas engineer/plumber who drops round at a moments notice to perform checks etc We bought a new build as they are popular to rent and can be cheaper to insure. Always have the debt on the rental property not the property you live in. Firstly it gives you tax relief. Secondly if anything goes wrong you wont find yourself homeless. Get good landlord insurance and rental agreement. I put a clause in mine about using a tumble drier indoors (must be correctly vented) I've heard horror stories where houses have been reduced to mouldy slime filled places. If you manage it yourself reward good behaviour. Our tenants are brilliant and i get them chocolates and champagne for keeping the place so well (annually) I contributed to an outside socket to help them with mowing the lawn (electric lawnmower/strimmer).

  9. Decisions, decisions! I personally wouldn' t want a mortgage on my new home. It gives peace of mind that it's yours and no-one can take it away. I'm not as adventurous as you - in fact we've lived in the same property for 26 years so I suppose a bit stuck in our ways. When our last offspring finally leaves home we want to move but to something simple and manageable with less garden than we have now. I'd be tempted to bank all your cash and lead a life of luxury!!!

  10. You two have really thought things out. As to having rental property, been there, done that and will never do that again. Unfortunately we found that people who rent think that rent is what they pay after they've had fun with the rest of their money.
    I'd invest the money.

  11. A sound plan and well thought through, especially going into the emotional and housework side!
    Shropshire is beautiful, we moved to shrewsbury 8 years ago but its growing ever bigger and i long to move out a bit more but i'd stay in shropshire :-)
    As to renting, we have friends who are landlords and theyve had a mixed bag of experiences and one has gone to court a couple times, he now uses an estate agent to manage it all. Put me off ever wanting to! Xx

  12. A brilliant thought through plan.

    I agree with Frugal in Essex, if you are having a mortgage have it on the rental property rather than your own house, much safer and financially better.

    You could also consider AirBnB for letting out room in your house when the children are not home and using them, perhaps have one of the kids rooms as an en-suite for this purpose, so guests are not on top of you at all. You can earn a sizable amount through your home completely tax free, as much as having a part time job each year.

    This will be a good resource to look back on in the next couple of years and see how things vary from your initial plan.