When I was 21, my dream was to own a home of my own, preferably in a nice area and a garage. I was in Las Vegas at the time and the garage was not possible but the home was. Cheap affordable living at the time.
When I was 31, my dream was to own a huge house preferably on the lake, as long as it had a garage. I got my wish with the garage and once lived on the lake then later near the lake. At 35 I eventually had the monster 3000 sq ft home with a garage in the burbs. It was my dream home and I had it when I wanted it.
When I was around 41 I began this Usonian journey. Part of it was to economize so we could afford our Usonian dream house on a huge secluded property. We live in a very modest 100 year old home that was rebuilt in the 80s. 2100 square feet and NO garage or shop. It is in an extremely nice area. We both like and would love it were it not for the lack of a shop. Our kids were in high school and now they are going to college this year.
My point of this synopsis is to show our needs and wants change in life and what we think we need now in regards to space and function will certainly not be the case in 10 years, let alone 30 to 40 years into the future. My “Granddad” tried to teach me this before he past a few years ago and I was in McMansion-mode and he told me I should not be working for a house, it did not leave room to raise a family. Didn’t agree with him at the time, but I do now. I sold that McMansion soon after he told me that line.
What brought this up is we are VERY far from attaining this plan we have set forth so far. I was in Princess Auto the other day and I was talking to an old guy that went through the same life I did, but was in his 70s now. He said what you want and need now is not what you will need in the future when you are ready to build.
Our kids will likely be grown up and out the door in a few years. They are practically not around as it is now. A 3 bed plus office is just too much room and more importantly, too much future debt. That may become a 2 bedroom and office/library. It will reduce the square footage by about 350 sq ft. We may go down a bit more but we should end up with a house roughly the size of the one we are in, but with a huge cost-effective shop and decent property.
The other thing we have to keep in mind is maintenance into the future. The guy I was talking to told me he used to own an automotive parts machining company in our city but could barely machine a washer anymore. He said his interests went from machining to living the snow bird lifestyle (Canada in the summer and Florida in the winter). Heck, I dont blame him! It was the worst winter on record here last year. He fishes and plays golf and hangs out in auto parts stores (which my grandfather was doing a lot even into his 90s). He said he still does small wood projects but even that was rare.
The other thing that we don’t know is where we will be generating our income from. My wife’s plant actually suffered a huge loss that cost them 40 million dollars. We do not know if she will be up to the level she was before this accident happened and she may not be working there in the future so our location can again change if we need to.
My own income has lowered and I have been looking for something to fund the property purchase but the job market is BAD in our area. You would think doing work for Google would look good on a resume but in fact it is a black mark on our future. Companies have not hired me because they are afraid they will invest training into me and I will leave to go to Google again. However, I have gone back to doing work for several clients and this is beginning to turn around. I guess I was never meant to work for a company that was not my own ever again.
But alas, this may change in the next few years as well. That is the nature of what I am talking about.
(Just a side note to others along this goal, all it takes is two small incomes to fund this exact dream. As long as you learn about handling debt (or lack there of), this Usonian Home is entirely possible to fund for very little. You may want to read a book called the Automatic Millionaire to see how this is possible).
So anyway, this guy’s point really hit “home” for me. I did not even think my interests and goals and ability to actually have the health to do them are certainly going to change and change again and again. I would have never thought our income level would change.
Our current goal is to break ground sometime in the next three years. We are going to make the budget work one way or the other. Many people are watching how we do this and that is yet another part of growing up…managing the money no matter how little or how much you have to fund your Usonian Dreams…