Guest Post: Do You Regret Selling Your Condo?

FIRECracker
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During the pandemic, I wrote a post about Clover, my friend and fellow Chautauquan, on why she sold her condo despite immense pressure from her dad to keep it as a good investment. A lot has happened since then and I wanted to catch up with her to see if she still thinks it’s a good decision and what has happened to her and her portfolio since.

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1) You sold your condo in 2018. Then got furloughed in 2020 during the pandemic. Then
your landlord decided to sell and kick you out. Was it scary losing your home and not
having a job? Do you ever regret selling the condo?

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If I said I wasn’t scared, I would be lying. But the beauty of having FU money is that I know I have a huge cushion. However, I still had to manage the anxiety that came with the uncertainty of it all. It allowed me the opportunity to really reflect on my life and I decided to move from Toronto to Vancouver. I am more of a West coast girl at heart. Thankfully, I had enough seniority as a flight attendant, I knew I would get recalled back to flying, but it did make me question if this is something I want to do for the rest of my life.

I was glad I sold my condo! With the furlough, It would have given me so much pressure, to keep paying for the mortgage and all my bills. Since I rented in a shared house instead, the employment insurance payout covered all of my expenses! So I actually didn’t work during that time. That downtime gave me so much space to do my inner work and healing, allowing me to deepen my purpose and uncover what’s no longer serving me and healing my patterns.

The rising interest rate would be another stressor if I kept the condo now. With renting, at least I have the flexibility to move around, and not having to be stuck paying the increased mortgage costs.

2) How are your finances now given the high inflationary environment and the fact that you moved to Vancouver after leaving your rental in Toronto. Does FU money no longer
work in a time of inflation?

I was able to secure a shared place for $650/month in Vancouver during the pandemic, close to the beach! So my expenses remained the same as it was in Toronto. I invested $1000/month since I got recalled back to flying, and my portfolio grew with inflation! I did, however, re-evaluate my values, and want to settle down a bit more and travel less, so I opted for a place to live on my own, just this August. This did dramatically increase my expenses, but I am still able to save a few hundred dollars/month with my $60k/year salary. But I did recognize that my income is way too low, so I am amping up my efforts to build my business on the side.

FU money is really the saving grace. At least it gave me comfort knowing that I have the freedom to relocate, change lifestyle, do what is aligned to me, instead of having to conform to the status quo.

3) Did your parents ever give you shit for selling the condo? What do they think of your
decision to rent instead of owning and of your current financial situation?

I am very fortunate in a way that I don’t have the typical Asian tiger parents. But I was still super scared when I sold my condo and hid it from them. My dad found out from his customer who lived in the same building. My heart stopped when my dad messaged me. My mom joked about why I was still so scared of him when I was a grown adult. But you know, Asian generational trauma.

My dad still insinuates it’s better to settle down, get a place, etc. But he also knows I am such a free spirit and rebel that he doesn’t push. My mom is a free spirit herself, even though she worries about me, she also trusts that I know what I am doing.

4) Do you think financial freedom is achievable if you’re more of the emotional type rather
than the majority STEM, mathy-oriented personality in the FIRE community? Why or
why not?

To be honest, I think it takes an extra few steps for the feelers archetype to achieve FIRE. I remember you saying, the FIRE strategy is simple, but not easy. That’s because it takes discipline, logic, and following the math. That’s the opposite of how feelers are wired. The way content is presented needs to appeal and FEEL good to us. Spreadsheets and math don’t really turn us on, sorry!

I myself, am the feeler archetype. I remember doing your Myer-Briggs personality test and how I am one of the rarest types to be in the FIRE space, an ISFP, because you know, YOLO.

These are the few key steps for feelers like me to be motivated with money, so if you got any loved ones who resonate with this, send them my way:

1) Getting crystal clear on our authentic why and values, will emotionally motivate us to take those consistent actions for our future, instead of purely living in the moment.

2) Understanding our money relationships will reveal the blocks and limiting beliefs that are preventing us from achieving results. Recognizing those sabotaging behaviors will be what moves the needle.

3) Emotional regulation is another big one. Processing those emotions healthily will get us past the analysis paralysis, emotional spending, or panic selling during market corrections. I am currently doing an embodiment coaching certificate to help people get in touch and process their emotions, which it’s a life skill that’s rarely taught.

These few steps will help feelers get ready before they dive into the financial education and strategy which you two are fabulous at teaching.


5) What do you think is the number one thing keep people from becoming financially
Independent?

Shame. As much as I love the financial space. A lot of it is based on “you’re not good enough”. I think that’s precisely how some of us get stuck. The strategy is clear. The steps are laid out. Why aren’t we doing it then? Beating ourselves up might get us to a certain point, but it’s not long lasting.

Shifting from the intention of “I better learn this finance stuff, or else”, to “I love myself so much that I want to take care of my future self” feels completely different, and the results are much more satisfying.

6) Do you think you’ll ever buy a property again?

Never say never. But this is where mathing shit up is the best advice ever! Also along with understanding our values. If my life shifts and I prioritize being grounded, and the math makes sense, I am definitely open to it! But maybe somewhere warm, with ocean views. :p

7) Since you travel so much for work, do you think about geo-graphic arbitrage and
nomadic living as a lifestyle to reduce your expenses?

I definitely have. But the damage and stress to my health is not worth it to me anymore. Also, since the pandemic, I surprised myself with how much I enjoy having a home to come to. A hybrid model, like semi-nomadism, would suit me quite well.

8) Given the size of your impressive portfolio even without a STEM job and the setback of
being furloughed during the pandemic, what has kept you investing all this time?

Being really aware of myself was the motivation that kept me going. I know I wanted to eventually quit flying. I know I wanted to be semi nomadic. I also know my own weaknesses when it comes to money, so setting up automatic payments to invest takes out the willpower I need to invest consistently.

9) What is your number one piece of advice for investing and/or personal finances?

Honor your unique process with money. It’s about understanding and healing the underlying wounds that are preventing you from taking actions. Enjoy the journey, use money, not let it use you.

One of the things readers have written in and told me about is the lack of support and coaching
in the FIRE community tailored to those who are more emotional rather than logical minded.
And I think this is where Clover excels. If you’d like to reach out to Clover for emotional support
or a free coaching session, go to her website here: https://www.authentic-abundance.com/


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9 thoughts on “Guest Post: Do You Regret Selling Your Condo?”

    1. Regardless of whether you rent or own, it would still be an albatross to bear.

      Which is the lesser burden depends on your personal situation and preferences.

      Owning makes more sense if you have more than two in the family, so don’t be surprised if Firecracker puts up a post — in the near future — disclosing that they just bought a house. (Spoiler alert!)

      1. Owning often doesn’t make sense for a family, it just depends on what your goals are. Having kids makes me appreciate all the time that my own parents spent dealing with the costs and time suck of home ownership and being able to spend that time with my kids instead.

      2. In Alberta…, maybe

        Within Ontario…, highly doubtful despite the support system

        The MATH will certainly influence their next move so perhaps local arbitrage and migration to another province with lower COL factors might be a middle ground for our young family to be “semi-nomadic”. I can also see where their first home benefits them seeing they are utilizing HomeExchange as a platform.

        Whatever the decision is, I am extremely happy for them!

        ImmigrantOnFIRE

  1. I know the math works out better to rent and If I rented Id be further ahead but it is nice having a secure base. Its mortgage free but still obviously have costs, but you need to live somewhere.

    Its especially nice to have a home when you get sick. It takes the stress off, having a secure place to hunker down.

  2. I sure am glad that I own a house with a large garden and have my wonderful family with me. My 6 year old daughter practices on our piano in the piano room, she loves to draw and paint and is always exploring our large garden. She gets to plant her own vegetables and harvested potatoes that she grew from seedlings this year. Nothing like having a modern gourmet kitchen and a 65inch TV. No loud neighbours or landlords to deal with. Everything is ours.
    I sure don’t miss the stress and uncertainty of travel and staying in other peoples places.

  3. Owning my home, with an ADU, is just one of the diversified investments I own. My portfolio generates the income for my living expenses and the ADU provides my travel money.

    Over the decades sometimes my portfolio appreciates more than my real estate but recently my ADU rental income has increased dramatically.

    This works for me, but others need to follow their own path of financial independence that meets their needs for; income, risk management, and emotional serenity.

  4. I happen to work the same job at the same company as Clover, so had about the same layoff during Covid. A difference was that I, together with my spouse, bought our first property in 2018. We did it because it was a lifestyle that we wanted and we found that nice two-bedroom rental apartments were starting to get pretty expensive where we lived in the Montreal area.

    I really enjoyed having living space, a backyard, and a pool during the pandemic, especially with my girlfriend working from home. I didn’t know how long I’d be laid off for, so I opted to work different jobs outside of the aviation industry during that time. It was a change of pace which gave me a couple of new experiences and contacts. However, I could have afforded to collect EI and continue my pilot training (which I’d paused in order to reduce expenses during that time). With the benefit of hindsight I think that’s maybe what I should’ve done.

    As it turned out, house prices had a huge runup since we bought and we lucked into renewing into a low mortgage just as rates were rising. Financially I think we’re ahead compared to if we’d stayed renting, even though we replaced the roof during my layoff.

    Unfortunately, with the cost of pilot training my savings rate has been abysmal the last few years, but I’m at least cashflow positive, the equity in our home is increasing, and if all goes well, eventually I’ll be making a much better salary doing something I want to do as a pilot. If nothing else, flying a little Cessna solo is a challenging, invigorating feeling that I feel privileged to get to experience.

    Having happily rented, saved, and travelled a little for the first ten years of my working life, I never considered myself to be under the spell of the Canadian real estate cult. I enjoyed my carefree city apartment days, but owning a house has been pleasant for me so far. That said, everyone has their own path to choose in life.

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