Two Years and Counting

9 thoughts on “Two Years and Counting”

  1. “Keeping liquid, flexible, light, and mobile has its advantages.”


    Here’s a question: I know that you eschew debt, but I also know that you own property (that post How to Ride the Slide is one of your absolute best).

    How do you balance keeping liquid and flexible with sinking a bunch of money into a property? (Granted, your property earns you income, but I’m assuming that you own your primary residence as well.)

    There’s not a single answer to this, as far as I am aware, but I’d like to know how you make decisions like that. Granted, this is only tangentially related to your post, but reading it brought that question to mind.

    Keep up the good work!

    1. My thoughts keep shifting over time. I simply don’t know what the future may bring. So I’m like a squirrel burying nuts everywhere. Having a mortgage free house in the country with a productive garden and super solid tenants is a good Plan B for one set of scenarios. But as the recent fires in Santa Rosa demonstrated, it’s no guaranty.

      Owning a place in San Francisco so close to good jobs, high rents, and all sorts of opportunities seems great now, but that can all change rather quickly. Equity becomes liability in ten seconds in an earthquake.

      A year or so ago I sold my other properties. The money has been parked in short term treasury bills awaiting whatever comes next. I expect a market correction at some point and I’d like to buy back in at a discount – someplace far enough from this region to not be affected by the same natural forces. But that comes with its own complications.

      But that financial calculation could go pear shaped. “You can’t time the market.” The Feds et al could keep equities artificially levitated for longer than I expect – while my savings is eroded by inflation. Who knows…

      At the moment I’m toying with a new hobby – a vehicle of some kind that could be lived in during a transitional period. Blog posts to come.

      1. Vetting the idea of a vehicle you could live in is a good next step. My wife and I have two Chrysler Town & Country minivans. These are very versatile, have a tone of cubic space, Stow-N-Go provides even more storage areas and they can typically tow a small trailer (for hauling and/or extra sleeping space. Plus, Chrysler made about 1.1 million just between 2007-2017 and they are everywhere. Since so many were produced just for the last generation (07-17) parts and knowledgeable repairmen are everywhere. Lastly, if treated and serviced appropriately, they can last 10+ years and 130,000+ miles.

        1. The mini van concept works for all the reasons you describe, but you can’t stand up in them and they have so many windows that it’s pretty obvious if you try and sleep in one.

          At the moment I’m considering a high top Sprinter or Promaster type van. I’d love a utility vehicle for hauling bulky heavy items that won’t fit in my current hatchback, and can accommodate a tiny house arrangement with a proper bed, kitchenette, and porta-potty.

          The alternative would be a tow-behind camper that’s small and light enough to be pulled by a four cylinder vehicle. Lots of trade offs at different price points. We’ll see.

          1. Cool. Sprinter or Promaster work vans (no side or rear door windows) are an even better option. I forgot about them.

      2. Interesting. My wife and I have discussed purchasing a rental property, but the timing would be terrible right now. However, I’m slowly coming to grips with the fact that there is no “safe” asset, only different types of risk that suit different types of people.

        Regarding vehicle living:

        I recall reading about a guy who lived in a box truck in the Bay Area. It turns out that he has a blog: I’ve not read the blog, but perhaps it will be of interest.

  2. I’m doing a kitchen remodel and we discovered major plumbing and dry rot problems that need to be resolved before we can even start the remodel. Goodbye emergency fund. No kitchen for a month. No showers until we plug the leak. Now I got a camping stove, a fridge in my living room and a family to feed. It’s a minor inconvenience compared to a fire, but has me thinking about my weak preps…

    A second fridge, second stove, generator… but most importantly lots of cold hard cash. Cash has a way of flying out the window during an emergency. Not only for the emergency itself, but side effects like eating out more often, hotel bills, etc.

  3. Johnny,

    I feel you. These thoughts also cross my mind from time to time. I strive to be portable and have my life be not too enmeshed in anything that could burn to the ground one day, but I also recognize the human need to put down roots somehow. When my wife and I moved into a small village and started raising kids, I (for the first time) made a concerted effort to establish good relationships with the neighbors and to network with whoever I met.

    So I invested in people. We did a fair bit of upgrading to the house and property too but they could disappear tomorrow and I wouldn’t be devastated. I admire the way you squirrel away things like food, water, generators; that’s just plain ol’ smart. But in the end people are the only thing worth rushing back into the fire to save.

  4. Cheers. You are 100% right – I also have good insurance, a big water tank, and stored food, but there is no security. We may be the last generation to experience old age as a quasi-entitlement, so I guess we shouldn’t complain too much. Old age will be tougher for those members of the next generation who live long enough to experience it.

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