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Looking for opinions; what would you do if (long post)
#1
Looking for opinions; what would you do if (long post)
Looking for opinions;  what would you do if…


Looking for opinions;  what would you do given the situation I will describe in terms of potential lifestyle change.
I live in the mountains of the Colorado High Country in an area whose primary attractions are five major ski resorts within about 20 miles.  The summers, however, are equally vibrant attracting visitors year-round.  The tourism of a desirable area have increased property values greatly over the years.  The multi-million dollar homes are astonishing and the gentrification in my neighborhood is amazing.  
 
I recently purchased a fixer-upper house about 7 years ago  (you may have seen images and construction of improvements in another thread.)  I was fortunate enough to buy at a price I could afford and as the old adage goes:  "It ‘aint what you sell it for it’s what you buy it at."  In a short period of time I have conservatively more than doubled the asset equity while aggressively paying down the mortgage note.  I owe about $220K with conservative estimate of real selling price of $600K resulting in a net of capital gains asset of some $380K… but that is on paper only until realized.  I have saved about $300K in retirement assets depending on current market value.
 
I am trying to asses my present situation.  I am soon to be 55, no wife, no kids and the mortgage is my only debt (yes, I subscribe to the Dave Ramsey concept of living as debt-free as possible.)  The house is an asset for retirement or even a reverse mortgage but not available for another 7 years (my understanding is that option is not available to a person until they reach age 62.)
 
I am in a very stressful profession as an architect and the pressure of managing several multi-million dollar project is taking a toll on me.  The physical and mental stress is affecting my quality of life.  I live in a beautiful area but I do not enjoy it as my daily ritual literally  involves only  sleeping, eating, working and basic requirements to merely exist.  I am lucky to have what I acquired but at what cost.  My boss suddenly died this past summer from stress and co-workers and colleagues have expressed concern about me.  “Look what this job did to Ken they say to me.”
 
I really do LOVE where I live!  It is so quiet and peaceful.  There are the winters with which full time residents living at 10,000 feet must deal.  We put up with that to enjoy the wonderful (albeit short) summers.  I have a river running behind my property.  Deer, elk, moose and bear are neighbors of mine.  The views with morning sun cresting from the divide is amazing and when it sets, the colors painted on the opposite mountain peaks are beyond description.  The night skys are without light pollution and the stars, shooting stars and satellites are regular entertainment when sitting outside on a clear night.   I love where I live.
 
I need to keep my job to maintain a comfortable living in order to maintain my house.  But I have assets that at this can only be realized if I sell.  I would love to change my job and there are many jobs available but those would not pay the bills.  I would change jobs to drive a bus in a heartbeat.  There are always openings for shuttle drivers to bring tourists and visitors to our region.  There are other many, what I perceive to be, less stressful jobs available.  Heck, I would love to be a counter person at the local NAPA auto parts store, and I am not belittling that work- it seems like a fun job (I was an automobile mechanic at a Chevy dealer some 30 years ago.)  But I cannot do that at this time at least until I reach the age to entertain the possibility of a reverse mortgage.
 
Here is my question:  I could sell and move to a location where homes and cost-of-living is less.  If there were a place that I could pay cash, living debt-free and then find a subsistence job to buy beer, whiskey, food, entertainment just to pay cost of living then I might move.
 
Where is there such a place that you might move to live a basic no-debt lifestyle?  Florida?  Arizona?  Heck, if I moved to a lower altitude I could most likely ditch the oxygen concentrator that I need nightly where I live now!
 
I would really like to stay where I am at but not sure if I can survive the job.

Thoughts?
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#2
RE: Looking for opinions; what would you do if… (long post)
Wow, what a question. I was a self-employed consultant in California, and made the decision to move to PA about 7 years ago. I don't regret leaving the better weather and spectrum of activities from mountains to coast, but still feel the absence of friends from my former home.

I know where you live...I would love to visit and bring my skis. You are not happy with your job due to stress, but want to stay in the area. Selling your house is not really an option unless you are ready to significantly downsize or move to a less aesthetic and remote property. Even outside Summit County prices are expensive in every direction. It is a year-round vacation. I don't see any way to escape your stressful, but well-compensated job without a big sacrifice in lifestyle and/or location. Have you considered delegating more responsibility to junior employees and removing stress, with the possibility of increasing compensation. The biggest error we make is thinking ourselves indispensable and taking on too much when there may be options to cultivate our talents in younger people that are our future. Been there, done that.
Sleeprider
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#3
RE: Looking for opinions; what would you do if… (long post)
Yowza!!

Do you expect the company to survive you?  If not, does it mean you are irreplaceable?  If they could find someone to carry your can inside of three weeks, you could disappear like your boss did with as much fuss.


There should be a succession plan.  Eventually, your position will have to be filled when you depart, however that departure will manifest itself.  You should have someone lurking at your shoulder much of the day being groomed and educated.  That person can begin to take on more of your more routine, time-consuming, repetitive, less appealing and fulfilling tasks.


If you are broken when they carry you out, what kind of retirement will you enjoy?  If your body wears out, where will you live?  BTW, do you have a will?   Now's a good time.


I'm not being much fun, granted.  If I were you, and if I am a concrete thinker, I would build a decision tree or a matrix and start populating it with givens and druthers.  Weight them so that you have a discrete decision with a value assigned to it when you add up all the columns.  Then, live with the obvious and clearest 'best' option, and begin to give it life.  If nothing else, this will be a goal to reach for, something to give you hope and excitement, and keep you with what Rotter would call a strong 'internal locus of control'. 

Your anxiety and stress are from not having a concrete plan based on sound reasoning.  You're 'winging it' pretty much day-to-day, but your days are numbered and some kind of doom or 'end' is nigh.  You are dreading not having an 'out'.  Build that 'out', but based on a sensible, concrete, articulated, and firm plan that you adopt and, as Ben would say, "...perform without fail what you resolve."  

But you're not finished.  The last thing is to show the most important people in your life that you have done this, why you did it, and that you would like to enlist them as agents, even if just to give you a thumb up.
Serial Tapist
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#4
RE: Looking for opinions; what would you do if… (long post)
Stay where you are. Housing in tourist areas can be expensive. Even if you downsize, chances are you'll be paying more than you are now.

I live in western North Carolina near the Biltmore House. It is a tourist spot as well as retirement community. Great place to live...if you can afford it. Like most tourist/retirement towns, the average income is far less than the average rent. Retirees with money want to buy or rent here. So the prices reflect their willingness to pay much higher than anyone who lives here. Add in higher prices for daily living items, and it gets messy. Luckily we bought a major fixer-upper back in '92. There is no way we could afford even rent in a mobile home park now.

I love where I live. Very liberal area. Plenty of arts and theatre. Weather isn't too bad. No natural disaster issues. Blizzards only happen once in a lifetime. Hurricanes are usually petered out if they come this way. Lots of history here. Cherokee reservation nearby. NC coast is just a few hours drive. Charleston SC is closer, though. Chattanooga, Knoxville, Charlotte. So I wouldn't move even if I could afford to.

Invest in your home. Prepare it for "aging in place". Make lists. Prioritize work. Delegate. Dig into your retirement package. Increase your investments if you have any. And stay right there. You have ELK for neighbors!
PaulaO

Take a deep breath and count to zen.




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#5
RE: Looking for opinions; what would you do if… (long post)
Something occurred to me last night as I thought about this. You are talking about your home like it is an investment and may provide for a part of your retirement. That is only true if you relocate to a much less expensive area, for example Cleveland or Pittsburgh. Even there, a nice house will use all of your current equity. In other words, I hope you have a retirement plan to fall back on that is reasonably well funded and smartly invested. If you are able to move into a principle position in your firm, that can also provide a continuing retirement income on a board of directors or retired consultant. Those options are not available as a bus driver or Walmart greeter.

I think mesentaria and I both are advocating transforming your current position into one of being a manager and mentor rather than carrying the day to day stress and pressure of project management of multi-million dollar projects. You need to manage project managers at this stage of your career and off-load some stress. I think your co-workers and company leaders are already telling you not to kill yourself over this. They need you to be in a good place where you are creative, productive and can create a future for the company by distributing your skills. Is that something you are in a position to make happen? Stress at work infers you don't control your position and workload, or have to worry about job security. If those are not really factors, then you need to change your mind-set and create a better environment for yourself.
Sleeprider
Apnea Board Moderator
www.ApneaBoard.com

____________________________________________
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INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.
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#6
RE: Looking for opinions; what would you do if… (long post)
Ew. Don't retire to Cleveland. That's where the Browns are. Go to Pittsburgh. 'Cause Steelers.
PaulaO

Take a deep breath and count to zen.




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#7
RE: Looking for opinions; what would you do if… (long post)
I really feel poorly equipped to advise how to go about it, but I think minimizing the stress factor is vital. If you can change the stress level on the job by passing duties down or if you change how your duties affect you in some way, possibly by a promotion, then OK there's an answer. If however you can't change the circumstances at hand, more drastic steps like selling, getting a new/different job, and relocating are in order. Stress can kill, so be careful.

And correct, Cleveland is probably out. I'm thinking in 2016, some sports reporter asked Siri on his iPhone where a factory of sadness was. Siri gave directions to the Cleveland Browns stadium.
Dave

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INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEBSITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.
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#8
RE: Looking for opinions; what would you do if… (long post)
Based off your initial post, I'm going in a different direction.  Relocating may trade your work stress for remorse/depression from moving from a location you no doubt love.

Most people get overwhelmed by the big picture and forget to break everything down into individual steps.  I would recommend making a detailed list of your stress causes.  Then further refine this into two lists, "Things I can control" and "Things I can't control". You may wish to list them here.  Someone here a lot smarter than me (very easily achieved) may see a solution that escapes the rest of us.  Things like relegating some of your stressors to a co-worker, intern, or contractor?  Just what will happen if you don't complete a certain task at a specific time, Is the world as we know it going to come to an end?

Finally,  Do you love your profession or is it a means to an end?  What parts do you like and which are the ones that you could do without? Could you alter the stress parameters by becoming self-employed and bidding on projects that you would enjoy?

I look forward in hearing your thoughts.

Good Luck!
Crimson Nape
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INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.
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#9
RE: Looking for opinions; what would you do if (long post)
Thank you everyone for good feedback and yes, even a chuckle.  I am too tired right now to reply but I want to because there is much to chew on in the great comments and observations.  I will add this:  sleep has been a problem because the day does not end for me when I get home.  I am exhausted enough to fall asleep almost right away when I get home because the mental exhaustion affects me physically.   The mind monkeys will wake me in the night and prevent me from returning to slumber.  My doctor prescribed me a sleep aid and it takes very little to get me though the nights.  It is only temporary and I cut a tablet into 1/8ths and take only it 3 or 4 nights a week.  But I have been running at this heightened, amped-up level since July.   I am talking with a counselor about all the dynamics of work.  We were on hiatus over the holidays and I need to reach out to re-appointment again.

In those appointments, we left off on the topic of my boss' death in that there may be some underlying depression of that event.  He was my mentor in that I would have worked under him some 22 years as of next month.  I am so pisssed at him for dying!  I am mad for two reasons:  one is the BS of one particular project where he was running block for me.  He made the design decisions on it and I was brought in to be the "horsepower" to get it done.  Well, he made some bulllshit design decisions of which I now need to deal.  It has fallen on my shoulders to not only "git-er done" but also appease the Project Team on what my boss had up his sleeve.  He was an "outside-the-box" thinker but also had the stone to deal with that to the Contractor, Owner, Building Departments, etc.  Some of it does not always fly and I am the one picking up those pieces now when they fall to the ground.   If it were up to me I would not have made some of the choices he did.  But I now need to deal with the aftermath of those;  the stuff that is coming up would be fully in his court if he were here.  We are looking at 6 digit change orders on some of these and Project Ownership is not very happy.  Colleges are assisting me on a lot of that stuff and have great sport from co-workers on the technical stuff.

The other reason why I am mad at him is that there was so much knowledge that he left on the table that was still yet to learn.  We had our run-ins, but I would give my leaf arm to have him here still.  

It was quite easy to be be stoic when I spoke at his celebration of life that folks were wondering how I "kept it together" to give such a moving oration.  So much so that co-workers have recently mentioned how it is of late that I am letting his death "get to me" when it initially appeared that I was the one who outwardly gave an image passing it off as just another day.  It is perhaps true that it is latent feelings that are clouding my abilities.  But at least the realization (of sadness) is coming to fruition in letting me deal with it.   But I am so mad at him!

Thank you for allowing me dialog on this subject.  I will get more into the specifics of the great comments, but it might be towards the weekend.  Right now I feel as if I can only react to get more off my chest,  but I will address some of the meaningful ideas that were mentioned.  I need to go to bed.

Thanks,
frank.

(oh, and apologies to the Moderator on my first title post,  I am not supposed to put the 3 little period-dots at the end of the sentence in the title heading.  I forgot that rule but cannot seem to edit it now.)
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#10
RE: Looking for opinions; what would you do if(long post)
Allow me to edit the dots for you.  .  . Done! Sleep-well
Crimson Nape
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___________________________________
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INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.
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