Sunday, July 13, 2014

Guidance and Direction

Much has been happening in the intervening period here at Pilgrim's Rest.  Our previous thoughts on how to proceed and what kind of assets we will have in the future are modified by the kind and hopefully sound advice of our Estate and Trust attorney, as well as developments related to getting the residence listed for sale.

Our humble abode was put up for sale July 3.  On Sunday, July 6, a real estate agent notified me that she wanted to show the house to a prospective buyer.  That buyer put in a bid, which turned out not to be competing with any other concurrent bids - believe me, we had showings and interest from others in that time - and my real estate agent advised me that this would be a good offer to accept.  So we did, and the residence is now in a somewhat shortened escrow period to hold their feet to the fire so to speak and get the transaction done.  Pricing was very competitive to allow for a quick sale, and not drag out the process to get the highest dollar for the place, and residences for sale nearby in the neighborhood start at $20,000 more and higher for the same floorplan or similar.  So the buyers ultimately got a great deal from their perspective at a price point that may not be seen in this area for a very long time, if ever.   

This means that we have a lifetime of stuff to get rid of. . . fairly quickly!  It won't be following us to Ecuador, and there won't be room for it in our rented condo there either.  Storage there would be pointless, as would storage here.  We're done with "stuff. . . "  No need to hold on so tightly to things that we don't use or have no need of using anymore.  So time to let go of these things that aren't photographs, memories, important papers, and clothing (limited amount, of course).  Time to be free to serve God without the encumbrance of "stuff."  Besides, we need to travel light as we fly to Ecuador for our time living there as expats.  I read of one situation where a family of four traveled with 15 suitcases by air to Ecuador.  We are just a couple, and will have to manage with less, no doubt. 

It is a kind of death to self, and is a sobering event.  Think of it as a "Living Estate Sale," and you get the drift.  Your life's belongings, paraded before anyone who comes in for the advertised sale, offered for far less money than what it originally cost in the beginning, in most cases. . . if you can find the item for sale anymore!  In some cases, you can't. 

A free ad was placed, and the response was underwhelming - both times.  We had signs and the help of two older girls from our church the second time, and despite their sign waving, we netted a pittance. . . we just don't live in prime garage sale territory here in the exurbs of Southern California.  The garage sale kinda folks, people our age and a bit older, often have moved out of the area and out of state already, further diminishing our potential pool of buyers.  So off to nonprofit groups the stuff will go, as well as to a church we know that takes in good furniture for those who can appreciate it.  Beyond that, it will have to hit the scrap heap. . . sobering thought when you think about it. 

On what to do with the proceeds of the sale of the residence here, our beloved "Pilgrim's Rest". . . the advice our Estate and Trust attorney gave us, due in part to our age, our lack of savings over the years and generally lower income, and where we plan to be living, since we're going to be outside the United States, led him to for multiple reasons to advise investing the bulk of the funds in an annuity that can be stepped up in terms of the interest rate as is possible.  That way, with a guaranteed income, and possibility for increased interest rate, we can plan what our income can be with a more sure certainty, as well as set some future goals for what those monies could be used for in a future "rainy day" to come.  We may not have much in terms of finances to invest, but we need to invest wisely and as our attorney reminded us, the long distance expense of dealing with a property manager and paying them every month, paying for repairs, and taking the risk of having the rental unit occupied generating income is too high, even when added to the possibility of selling for more than the unit was paid for - not an absolute certainty or given, and something that takes more risk and resources than we have to bear.  So out with the whole idea of owning a rental property to invest in.  An annuity would be a better path for us.

Now our time can be focused on getting these belongings out to where they belong. . . and getting our papers and belongings we do take in order.  Dealing with the escrow company and process as well. . . and where to live short term as we will still need time - that precious commodity that we can never get back - to get our Visas from the Ecuadorian Consulate in Beverly Hills.  We haven't forgotten, and perhaps this way of getting it all finalized is the better way, as we can thus focus on one aspect of the moving process one item at a time.  It feels daunting, with all the stuff to move out of the house, but good.  Our muscles will tell the tale later, no doubt!

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