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Things haven’t changed much over the past 3 years for me. I’ve been living in my basement and renting out the two individual rooms to save money and pay down my mortgage.  In fact, I’ve been living in my basement longer than I have in the “regular” bedroom in my house.

There’s nothing wrong with my current living or my personal finance situation. I have stable job, good health, my mortgage is right side up with a very good rate.  I can keep chugging along at my day job and paydown the mortgage until it’s paid back, but then what?

I’m looking long term.

After I have this mortgage paid back, I know I’ll feel excited that I’ve paid back a huge chunk of debt, but the excitement will only be short lived.

My life is not going to be more freeing because my debt is paid in full, I’ll still be strapped to a 9 to 5 job.  I think I’m destined for something bigger than working 9 to 5 and paying back a chunk of money.

Warren Buffet summed it up right with this quote:

“Success is really doing what you love and doing it well. It’s as simple as that. Really getting to do what you love to do everyday — that’s really the ultimate luxury…your standard of living is not equal to your cost of living.” It’s a good reminder of what really matters — instead of thinking of the next big purchase, save your bucks and figure out what really makes you happy.”

I’ve been saving up money for something that’s worthwhile and makes me happy.  So that’s where I’m going to spend a good chunk of my savings. To travel.

I like the exploring aspect of traveling and experiencing something new. I think that’s what really entices me about travel.

I’ve taken the keep it short vacations, but the dreaded feeling of returning to work after your vacation is something that EVERYONE hates.  I want to do something about that by not having a regular daytime job to return to.

ACTIONABLE STEPS

Before I take off, I need to get my ducks lined up.  Specifically, I need to:

  • Replace myself with another roommate.  Yes, this means the new roommate will occupy the basement.  I’ll have to create extra language to note that the window is not an egress window in the event of the fire.  If I don’t replace myself with another roommate, I will not able to breakeven with the mortgage cost and all the utilities.  I charge a fixed rate for rent and not breaking even means I’ll be dipping into my savings.
  • Sell my car. I drive one of the most inefficient vehicles in the form of a pick-up truck with an V8 engine.  With gas prices near $4 per gallon selling my truck has been on my list, but with the impending departure, it’s a must do item.  I’m looking for a quick sell so I’ll price it below the “good” rating on the Kelley Blue Book value.
  • Automate the last of my bills.  Most of my bills are on auto pay except for my water and sewer bill mostly because they impose convenience fees for paying via credit card online.  So I hesitated to do this, but now with being abroad, the convenience fee is a small obstacle where I can’t physically write a check.

This is what my “basement” room looks like.

IMG_3605

What do you think, is it something for a prospective roommate?

{ 5 comments }
  • Julieann January 7, 2014, 7:36 pm

    You mentioned you have no window in the basement… What would YOU do in case of fire? I don’t think you will have a problem renting; for how long? short term? long term? When you come back, will you want your room back? Your job back? Just curious as I rent my room out too.

    Reply
    • Mike January 7, 2014, 9:22 pm

      It’s not a full size window, but a nimble and slender person can use it as an egress window. I’m not sure about my job. I’ll eventually want my room back, but would like to travel for at least a year

      Reply
  • Josh January 8, 2014, 3:03 pm

    Mike,

    Just wondering how you will manage your property while you are traveling for extended periods. Will you have one of your roommates act as property manager in exchange for a lower rent, or some sort of arrangement along these lines?

    Reply
    • Mike January 8, 2014, 5:52 pm

      I’ll be away a few months at a time. I won’t be gone an entire year. That being said, I’ve been away for up to 3 weeks on two separate occasion while I had roommates. Both times there were no incidences. So I’m banking on that and finding the right roommate to make it all work.

      Reply
  • Sherry February 20, 2014, 2:46 pm

    Where will you sleep while you are in town? I think that being away for extended periods isn’t as much of a problem when you have more than one tenant. More people to keep an eye on things. Also, I do think the room looks good for a prospective roommate. 🙂

    Reply

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