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Coming Back

  • 50+ 
Empty Garage

My Apologies for the delay in posts. As mentioned earlier, 50- and I decided to move our family across the country, from Idaho to northeast Pennsylvania to take advantage of the hot housing market where we were living and the affordable housing market where we are now.

On August 11, two days before closing on the sale of our Idaho home, we started staying in hotel rooms. With everything packed up, we had no place to sleep and no supplies to shower with in our home anymore.

The sale closing went amazingly well. Even though 50- realized just as we pulled up to the title company that she had forgotten her ID back at the hotel, the title agent accepted our digital copies of her drivers license. We were in and out in 15 minutes.

By that evening, our bank account had the largest balance we’ve ever had before at over $300k. Since becoming a financial educator back in 2004 and learning that the FDIC and NCUA have limits on their account guarantees (used to be $100k then raised to $250k in the Great Recession), I had wondered why anyone would have that much money in a bank account earning less than 1% or 2%. Now I knew why, and it was not comforting.

Our Journey XC

The morning the home closed, 50- and our two teenage boys headed south for a weekend visit with my folks and siblings before our crosscountry trip. They got a 6-hour headstart since I had to go to work. I can hopefully say it’s the lasta time I commute to work in a 26′ Penske truck towing a car on a trailer. Where do you park?

After a wonderful but all-to-brief visit with my parents, we hit the road on the 15th of August, with 50- driving the 2005 Lincoln Aviator we had just purchased for a relataively comfortable drive east. We made it to North Platte, Nebraska that night, miraculously reuniting after she drove about an ahour ahead of me to scout out a place to stay, but discovering that Mint Mobile (T-Mobile towers) doesn’t get reception pretty much anywhere on I-80 as soon as you hit the Wyoming-Nebraska state line. Thank heavens with had some cheap walkie-talkies from Wal-Mart.

The next day, we drove all the way to South Bend, Indiana and found a wonderful, two-bedroom suite for cheap at a Marriott Residence Inn. Unfortunately, the next morning, after a family medical visit to the Elkhart, Indiana ER, we had to stay another night in the same area. We needed to rest before continuing. The two-room suite was actually perfect for a live financial webinar I did for a Kansas housing authority that evening.

Although we wanted to make it to the Scranton area the next day, we made it only as far as Mausdale near Mechanicsville PA. The repeated downpours lashed the energy right out of us, so we pull over around 6:00 and found a room just off the freeway, just as the power in the area went out.

Arriving in Pennsylvania

Finally, on Thursday, August 19th, we drove into the Wyoming Valley of NE Pennsylvania and spent the day checking out the areas we had only see on Realtor.com. We quickly realized that the home and neighborhood we thought we had wanted to live in were too far from stores, restaurants, and businesses than we preferred. So we spent the next three days driving all over the area before finding a townhouse in the small town of Eynon (really, just part of Archbald), about 5 miles northeast of Scranton.

After a whirlwind contract submission and acceptance, and having just gone through the refinancing of our previous home back in January that only took two weeks, we had great hopes that we could be in our home within a matter of two weeks.

Not so!

Four weeks later, we finally moved out of the hotel in Dickson City and into our home.

If you’ve never spent that much time in a hotel, you might fancy it a luxury, with housekeeping, free hot chocolate 24/7 (and coffee for those who drink it), free breakfasts, and no utility bills. However, a family of four living out of suitcases is no picnic. I missed the simple things, like…

  • opening our “junk drawer” in the kitchen to get a pen, scissors, or superglue
  • being able to open a hallway closet when looking for bandages or cotton balls
  • having more than three or four shirts to choose from
  • putting laundry in the washer and not having to sit and watch it in a public place

Making things more difficult, we had to get our two boys registered with the school district, which wanted proof of our residency. How do you do that when you have nothing expect a single contract. We all worked together and got it done, but that doesn’t mean homework was easy or our set up ideal.

Moving In

Four days on from the move-in, 50- has done an amazing job organizing kitchen, even though we don’t have any large appliances yet. She ordered a set from Costco a week ago to be delivered next week, but after a visit to Lowe’s, she found another set she really likes that should start arriving in partial shipments within the new day or two. She especially liked the double oven.

When you’re married to a baker, you really miss walking into a home smelling of fresh-based cookies or bread.

But this morning, the Internet company set up our home for high speed Internet service, so I’ll feel a lot more confident using Zoom and other streaming services than I have been, justing using my phone services’ high speed datda service.

Still, as anyone knows who has moved a family before, we will have weeks, months, or possibly years of unpacking and organizing to do, as noted in this photo:

FinCon21

I am currently sitting at Gate 30 in the Dulles Airport outside Washington DC on my way to a four-day FinCon in Austin, Texas. I’ve heard about FinCon (conferences for the independent financial media) since the mid-2010s but have never gone in person. I attended last year’s virtual expo, but it’s not the same.

For me, the real value in attending conferences involves the networking you do. I look forward to the highly rated, informal LobbyCon tomorrow morning and throughout the week. FinCon has organized several fieldtrips for tomorrow evening, and I’ve volunteered to help with at least one of the events while there.

I’m actually attending on behalf of my employer, Money Fit, and hope to connect with a number of potential blog hosts, podcast hosts, and guest posters. I also want to grow our co-branding options with all the classes and calculators I’ve developed over the years.

However, I also expect to make some great connections for the 50+ on FIRE demographics, meeting others with similar interests, and expanding my understanding of how to create and connect our 50+ community as we travel our road to FI.

I have also reserved a video booth for Friday morning to record an interview I hope to do with a new friend and fellow FinCon goer. Please stay tuned!

Once I’m back home with my family, I look forward to resetting my schedule to get up at 5:00, do some writing and some work on this site, and provide the information you want and deserve.

Until then, all the best!

Todd