Thursday, March 5, 2009

It's All Relative

There is a new spreadsheet in our lives courtesy of D.

It is designed to put into perspective, how much time and money is spent at each property during retirement and highlights where we will be location wise.

D included the mythical Newfoundland property as well. The spreadsheet assumes mortgage free status.

Here's what I've learned so far:
  • our main house costs the most to run (no surprise there)
  • 4 months a year will be spend out west
  • 7 months a year spend at the main house and cottage
  • 1 month out east
  • the ski condo costs 50% of our main house to run
  • the cottage is the cheapest to run, coming in at 17% of main house
  • the mythical Nfld property and cottage costs together come to 94% of the ski condo
  • our yearly trip to France costs 80% of what it would be to run the cottage and Nfld
  • Nfld house would cost almost double the cottage to run
I didn't realize how "economical" the cottage was to run each year. That was the first big surprise. Second was the France trip and how it related to the properties.

Mentally, I compare trips to trips and felt we were paying a reasonable price for it. We thought we were doing well there as renting an apartment is way cheaper than staying at hotels.

I realize that the airfare makes up a large part of the costs too. Similar idea with the ski condo and Nfld -- the airfare, seasons passes, condo fees form a significant percentage of yearly costs.

When I think of running a property, I usually focus mainly on utilities, property tax, maintenance.

What I found interesting in this study was that when we colour coded the months spent in each location, you really are able to visually measure the "value" of each property/trip in terms of:
  • time spent there
  • cost
  • how much retirement savings to have each year to support this type of lifestyle?
  • and most importantly, does this make sense and do we want this?
This is a really worthwhile way to look at things. It helped me see whether my life priorities was worth the financial and time outlay.


  1. I love spreadsheets because they reveal our situation so clearly, don't they? Great work on D's part here.

  2. Has seeing the information laid out this way changed any of your retirement goals? Are you still hoping to purchase a property in Newfoundland?

  3. I love how many properties you have/will have, it's like vacation in your own home. I've never thought of a second home. Our retirement dream is a little offbeat, sell it all and buy a 50' sailboat and do a circumnavigation. Hope the ocean is still alive at that point :(

  4. I thought you would find this article interesting. It is about the Newfoundland real estate market:

  5. Hi Daphne!

    Yes, this particular one really opened my eyes to the difference between being able to afford something vs. does it make sense in a big picture way?

    Hi Money Minder!

    Thanks for the article link. I've been tracking real estate prices out east for the last 3 year so I can relate to what they are saying. It is also part of what is driving me -- to "get in" before it becomes too high.

    I am still going to head out there and hopefully see some places.

    With the boom in St. John's, I can "sort of" understand why my inquiries aren't front and center. They probably have way bigger clients than me. But I still believe in good customer service.

    I'll know gut wise once I get there whether I am willing to move mountain and earth to fulfill this dream. I am still letting all the spreadsheet info swim in my head.

    Hi Miss M!

    Thank you! I have friends who have done just that. They have sailed across the Atlantic a few times in their sailboat too. In the winters, they teach sailing in the BVI. Pretty cool life for them and ahead for you!

    So which one of you is the stronger skipper?