Planning For The Future

Planning for the future can be a complicated topic.  It means different things for different people.  It even could mean different things for the same person at different times in their life or in certain circumstances.  Future planning can include events like birthday parties, where to go on vacation, what college to attend, who and when to marry, family size, career aspirations, and ultimately, retirement.  Some people are casual planners and some take planning very seriously and put a lot of time and effort into it.  And, then, there are those who rarely plan for anything and just take things as they come.

I, for one, am a serious planner.  When I need to make a decision or plan for something, I research it to death and think it through to the Nth degree.  That’s not to say that I am indecisive or have difficulty putting a plan together.  Quite the contrary.  I find thinking it through and understanding all the variables helps me come to an informed decision that I am comfortable with and the result is a plan that I can live with and rarely run into a curve ball that I’m not prepared for.

That being said, I have been giving a lot of thought to my future lately – in particular what I want to do in regard to my retirement, which is still a way off, but something I really need to start serious planning for.   I don’t know if it is because of certain things that are going on in my life and my family or if it is just something that most people start to do at my age, but I came to the realization that I needed to start making plans and acting on them – regardless of how far off I think actual retirement may be.  I’ve known for several years that if I couldn’t talk Mom into moving down here, I would eventually move back up to my home town to be near her.  But, lately, it has become so much more than that – an intense feeling that I need to make the move and make it work – a sense of belonging.  It is obvious to me that it is time to set some wheels in motion.  So, the end result has been decided, which is a big load off my mind!  The only part that is still unknown and subject to several factors is the timing – when will the right time to retire be?  Obviously, there are a lot of things that need to be considered and my finances are a huge piece of that!  But, that’s OK – so long as I work towards the end goal and make progress along the way, the timing will work itself out when the time is right.  I just don’t want to get to the point that the timing is right, but I’m not ready and have to push it out until I am ready!  I’d much rather have everything in place and waiting for me!  hahaha

I took a big step in the last few weeks to set some of those wheels in motion.  One big detail needed to be worked out in my mind so that I knew how it fit into the over all plan.  Do I wait and figure out the details of getting a house after I work the timing out or do I start figuring that out sooner rather than later, even if that might mean an unknown duration of maintaining two homes?  The pros and cons are endless and took a lot of soul-searching and deep thought.  So, in keeping with my tendency to research things to death, I decided to do some exploratory work while I was home on vacation the end of April.  I thought it might help if I knew what types of homes were available in the area and what my money might get me – if and when I’m ready.  So, I spent hours looking at realtor.com, trulia.com, and other web sites to see what was listed and the price ranges.  Then, I contacted a high school friend who owns a real estate business in Albion to seek out some advice and gave him a long list of homes I wanted to go see while I was up on vacation.  Even though I told him I wasn’t necessarily ready to consider actually buying anything, yet, he was great and spent a lot of time with me going over all the options.  Between the homes he took me to see and some open houses I popped in on, I probably saw about 20 houses in a few short days!  Intense!  But, I got a real good sense of the market in the area and what I might be able to get in the price range I was thinking was right for me.  What I wasn’t really prepared for was what I would do if I found something I really loved?  It is really early in the plan, so do I jump on it or wait and see if something else comes along further into the plan?

Well, I did fall in love with a house – a very modern home with an amazing kitchen!  So, the torment began — and so did the pros and cons lists!  First, it was above the top end of the price range my calculations said I would be comfortable with, but still within my reach.  Second, I wasn’t really sure I was ready — I was only exploring options with no intention of jumping in with both feet, just yet!  It would be very tight financially for an undetermined duration.  This was a huge decision!  I wasn’t sure I was ready, but I couldn’t stand the thought of passing up this house and the potential of not finding something I’d love as much later on.  So, I thought it through and after much consideration, I got pre-approved and put in an offer.  But, it didn’t work out – just wasn’t in the cards – and I was so disappointed!

But, as fate would have it, the very day I finally decided to just walk away from that option, another house popped up on the web sites that caught my eye.  It was totally different and not like any home that usually grabs me.  But, I couldn’t stop looking at it – the pictures showed an adorable Cape Cod with bright, inviting rooms and what looked like a really good layout and flow from room to room and some really lovely features.  Unfortunately, I was already back in NC, so couldn’t go see it in person.  I asked my brother to go look at it and see if he thought it was something I should see for myself.  He did and called me all excited and recommended I go see it.  So, I booked a flight for a fast weekend trip.  I instantly knew it was the one — the feeling was totally different from the “wow factor” I experienced in the other home — it was more like an “aaahhh, I’m home” feeling!  Instant comfort!  I had already gone through the “should I do it now” struggle, so it was an easy decision, this time.  I could see myself in every corner of the house and imagined the potential for making it my own – I’m already decorating it in my head.  It looks like a lovely cottage and I can’t imagine living anywhere else in my retirement years!  So – I put in an offer and it was accepted!  It was obviously meant to be – for it to be listed the very day I decided the other one just wasn’t in the cards – for me to feel so comfortable and at home in it – for the offer process to go so smoothly – for the “is it the right time” struggle to already be done – for the price to be so much more comfortable – it is the right home at the right time!  Of course, until closing, there are things that could still go wrong and derail it.  If that is the case, I will be crushed, but I’ll just keep looking and know that something else even better will come along………but, I sure hope it doesn’t come to that because this one is perfect!!!  {coy smile}

So — here is the “sale pending” sign in front of my future home (my soon to be second home, until such time as I am ready to retire – however long that may take).  Funny how a simple little sign can put such a huge smile on my face:

One Comment on “Planning For The Future

  1. Wow! I’m so excited for you — can’t wait to see pics of your new home. On the other hand, Sanford will lose an amazing woman when you go!

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