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Discussion Starter #221
Posting this to remind my future self why I am trekking through COVID-infested airports and cities to move. Moving in the current environment is probably going to be a hassle, and might be dangerous. I'm still going to have to do it.

I mentioned before that I'm running my small business while living in close proximity (same physical building) as family members. I'm getting frequent interruptions and requests for help from seniors; this reduces my income and interrupts my patterns. The worst is when it interrupts technical or planning work, since I have to get into a certain head-space.

The problem is not really the requests for help. The problem is that they are demands for immediate help. One particular senior is the real problem.

This evening I got "in the zone" for getting some work done. I was so happy to tackle the work, but then, the request from a senior came in... could I help them with some home maintenance task. It's something that's been on their to-do list for months, so I know it's not urgent.

I said that I'm busy, and this isn't a good time. I told them that I have certain work patterns, and this is currently my prime time for working, so I really want to work.

But the senior doesn't give a s*** about that! I started getting the aggression... sarcastic comments about how my time is so valuable (actually it is, billable at $200/hr), followed by pouting. This senior has also previously yelled at me and threatened me, also while I was trying to work.

So instead of doing my work, at the optimal time for me, I came to the senior's assistance instead. He totally destroyed my mood, stopped my momentum, and got me out of the zone. Once again, the senior imposed his schedule and demands on me. And there is never any apology such as "sorry you had to stop working to come help me."

I realize that it's similar for people who have children at home; kids are needy, and interrupt you constantly. I sympathize. At least children can be taught better behaviours and will grow out of that behaviour.
 

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Discussion Starter #222
I'd like to share this warning with anyone under age 60:

Beware generous offers or invitations from seniors; they may come with "strings attached". I got into this situation when retired family members, who had spare/unused real estate, offered to let me stay there. I wouldn't pay rent, but would help with occasional things, fix things in the property they can't take care of. Ok, sounded fine, at least for a few months. I don't mind helping out with shopping and fixing things.

It turned out to be a very bad deal for me. The "strings" are the things I described earlier, like not being allowed to work, and being coerced into doing tasks for them whether or not it's convenient for me. On top of it, I'm berated by one of the retirees when I don't do what he wants. This absolutely ruins my mood, productivity, and quality of life.

If I could do it again, I would avoid getting into a situation where someone else has expectations of what I'll do for them, and has leverage over me.
 

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I feel this is sometimes cultural. Not commenting if right or wrong, but we were raised to believe that nothing was free. If someone offered a cottage for a weekend or a week, or to come and stay in Florida....we would never leave them without offering something....usually cash....and could be up to 50% of the fair value of the “rental”. I’ve referred a friend to a lawyer who did some pro-bono estate work. The fired didn’t offer anything....i was a little embarrassed. A bottle of wine would have been a nice gesture. We often have large gatherings at our home in the summer where people stay a night or two. Some will bring a couple bottle bottle of booze, or a case of beer and some meat. Others show up with nothing.

not commenting either way...i find it can be excessive either way sometimes....but you’re correct.....almost nothing is “free”
 

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I'd like to share this warning with anyone under age 60:

Beware generous offers or invitations from seniors; they may come with "strings attached". I got into this situation when retired family members, who had spare/unused real estate, offered to let me stay there. I wouldn't pay rent, but would help with occasional things, fix things in the property they can't take care of. Ok, sounded fine, at least for a few months. I don't mind helping out with shopping and fixing things.

It turned out to be a very bad deal for me. The "strings" are the things I described earlier, like not being allowed to work, and being coerced into doing tasks for them whether or not it's convenient for me. On top of it, I'm berated by one of the retirees when I don't do what he wants. This absolutely ruins my mood, productivity, and quality of life.

If I could do it again, I would avoid getting into a situation where someone else has expectations of what I'll do for them, and has leverage over me.
I thought you were taking a sabbatical for a year or two? Has it been that long already?

I don't think there is much age related. Part of this is about knowing the person on the other end of the deals. I try not to get into any situation where I 'owe' someone. I will do things for other people, but always on my terms. If I am helping someone and they do not like it, I will just stop helping them, the exception of course are my parents since they did raise me, so I will always owe them. I will bend over backwards for people until they start setting unreasonable expectations, when it comes to that, its always them that loses out.

I would have a very heart to heart talk and set some boundaries and expectations. If something cannot be resolved, then you always have the option to move. I always have taken the stance that if someone does or gives me somethings, I am very appreciative, but I am willing to walk away if they try to hold it over my head.

I had an older relative keep mentioning some inheritance. I couldn't care less, they would try to control different family members and get them to do things for them. I always told them that I have no problems doing anything. I don't expect or want anything, so don't try to bribe with this inheritance because I don't need it or want it. Just be appreciative that I a nice person, but don't take advantage of my kindness or try to control me.
 

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Discussion Starter #225
I thought you were taking a sabbatical for a year or two? Has it been that long already?
My intention was to take a sabbatical but I stumbled into a very nice work arrangement, so I've been rolling with that. It could end at any time, anyway. It was a short term commitment.

But it's true that when I quit my job, I was planning on taking lots of time off. In reality, I only took about 2 months to relax, then stumbled into this work. After I work for a while in the current arrangement, I may decide to take more time off.
 

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Discussion Starter #226
@Money172375 those are good points, thanks. You're right, nothing is really free. I guess I just had not visualized what that meant in my arrangement. I figured that my "repayment" was in the occasional assistance I've been providing. But it seems that the other party expected something a little different.

@Plugging Along Maybe as you say, this isn't as age-related as I think. I should mention that all of these people are family members, which changes the dynamics. If they were strangers or non relatives, it's much easier to "walk away" or firmly set boundaries.
 

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Discussion Starter #227
I have a new apartment in downtown Vancouver; just signed the lease. The twist is that even though I'm upgrading to one of the most expensive cities, my rent is now lower than the previous rent I was paying for the last few years.

I hope this means that my overall expenses can stay stable going forward. I'm going to stick to my existing budget; no change in plans.

Even though I have the actual lease now, I find that I keep looking back at the dollar figure every few hours. It's about $250/month = $3,000 a year lower than I expected I would be paying. This is a huge win for my budget!
 

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Glad you found a deal! I had a feeling you'd be able to negotiate a good price if you were patient. There's desperation among landlords right now... this is a harbinger to declines in house prices.
 

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Discussion Starter #229
Glad you found a deal! I had a feeling you'd be able to negotiate a good price if you were patient. There's desperation among landlords right now... this is a harbinger to declines in house prices.
The desperation I saw in the last few days was very surprising. I really wonder if this is a temporary thing, or if rents will stay depressed for a while. Many property managers told me that foreign students left to go back home, leaving many vacant units. There is also a batch of working professionals, some from different countries, who can either work from home (probably in a less expensive suburb), or might want to return back to their home countries and keep working from there.

Thanks to many of you in this thread for the help and advice regarding living in BC.

Looking back at this thread, I'm also pretty happy that within 9 days of my frustration of my current situation, I was able to book flights, get to Vancouver, view places and sign a lease. I think I viewed at least 8 different apartments.
 

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I doubt you would have found a different situation even if you paid your relative market rent. Maybe you just did not feel comfortable putting your foot down. I would have felt comfortable saying I will not answer the phone or the door if you knock while I am working. I work these hours. I will consider helping outside of those hours. If you have an emergency, call 911. If it is not 911 worthy, it is not an emergency.
 

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The desperation I saw in the last few days was very surprising. I really wonder if this is a temporary thing, or if rents will stay depressed for a while. Many property managers told me that foreign students left to go back home, leaving many vacant units. There is also a batch of working professionals, some from different countries, who can either work from home (probably in a less expensive suburb), or might want to return back to their home countries and keep working from there.

Thanks to many of you in this thread for the help and advice regarding living in BC.

Looking back at this thread, I'm also pretty happy that within 9 days of my frustration of my current situation, I was able to book flights, get to Vancouver, view places and sign a lease. I think I viewed at least 8 different apartments.
there a lot of foreign students renting in toronto and vancouver......a lot. The virus will have implications in so many ways that haven’t even been conceived yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #232
there a lot of foreign students renting in toronto and vancouver......a lot. The virus will have implications in so many ways that haven’t even been conceived yet.
I still think we don't have a clue of what these effects could be. I recently had a flight with COVID precautions and I can tell you that very few people will be flying for a long time. In my eyes that means that business travel is not coming back for at least a year or two. By then, people will get used to remote work and I doubt it will bounce back to normal.

As I walk around Vancouver, this makes me think of all the convention centers, huge (expensive) hotels that are going to sit empty. There is normally a ton of international business travel, and it's stopped cold.

Some of these properties, like the fancy clubs near the harbours, probably have monthly rents of over $100 K. Nobody is paying those rents today and I doubt they will pay them a year from now either.

Cities like Vancouver, Toronto, London, Sydney are in for some real trouble.
 

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I live in a town of 10,000 and I just saw the library’s plan to return to “normal”. they believe it will be 1-2 years for that to happen. Shocking in a small town but even we have summer camps, teaching seminars and other functions of 50 people or more. Shared computers, shared copiers....the list goes on and on.

think of casinos, buffet restaurants, theme parks, concerts, sporting events. I saw that they are even worried about the Olympics next year.

i have two kids in high school. I don’t think they will see “normal“ school ever again. Think about shared musical instruments and spit valves. You don’t realize what’s changed until you try doing something you haven’t done since Feb....it’s only then, you release how different it really is.
 

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Discussion Starter #234
I feel bad for kids and teenagers. It's sad that they have to experience these disruptions to some of the most important, interesting, and fun times in life... such as graduating high school and going off to university. When I first entered university it seemed like constant parties and socializing, plus challenging, packed classrooms, etc. There's also all the music clubs, theater clubs, sports, and all kinds of social groups & clubs.

Just as one example, what happens to a teenager who is interested in theater, dance, or the performing arts? These are all group activities. I hope people are still able to practice their art of choice during these formative years... it's critical for a young person who's developing a passion.

I wonder what impact this will all have on this cohort.

As for me, I'm doing my part for the economy. I spent nearly $5000 in the last 4 days (flights, hotel, new leases).
 

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Vancouver real estate prices have been on a relentless rise for a couple of decades, to the detriment of renters, many of whom are temporary residents or workers with meager resources. The rents letting down is kind of a relief for renters. For the landlords, of course, it is different. There are mortgages that have to be paid and other expenses. Maybe the tide is turning a bit.
 

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Commercial rents need to drop by like 75% and residential rents by 25% to reflect new economic conditions. The government's commercial rent subsidy program and, to a lesser degree, CERB, are gifts to commercial and big multi unit landlords, literally rent seekers, that suck money from the economy and provide nothing but time spent in a box.

As someone who's observed economic hardship in my city for several years now, it's frustrating to see businesses that operate effectively and can attract as many customers as is reasonable end up having to close because of "rent disputes".

The landlord provides very little economic value compared to the tenant, and yet expects a huge portion of the revenue generated by the business, as well as cashflow stability and insulation from economic fluctuations. Landlords, especially commercial ones, need a wake up call.
 

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^ Could be solved by a land value tax. Essentially the government captures land rents (at highest and best use) and landlords would collect rents based on improvements (owners capture implies rents). Money is used to reduce income taxes, etc.
 

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Real estate prices and rents in cities like Vancouver and Toronto have been dissociated from economic realities of those places for years now. The only winners are those who bought years ago and are now selling to fund their retirement in cheaper locales.
 

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Discussion Starter #239

I just reached the 1 year anniversary of quitting my day job! I'm attempting to fund my lifestyle less from working, and more from investments.

Looking at the numbers for my last 12 months, my self-employment income is 33K and expenses are 25K so my income currently exceeds expenses. I didn't expect this to happen, but I "stumbled into" some work that I enjoy.

My original idea was to withdraw from my investments to the extent I need to. Because my income is sufficient right now, I have not withdrawn from investments. But for example if my expenses in a year are 38K, and my employment income is only 10K, then I would take withdrawals (dividends + interest + liquidation) totalling 28K.

So far, I've encountered two issues as someone who doesn't have a regular job:

1. I don't have disability insurance (DI) and find I can't qualify for it now. I should have bought non-cancellable DI when I had a regular job.

2. Renting a home became more difficult, without a typical job. Some landlords are concerned when they don't see routine payroll deposits.
 

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On 1., this is a good point. I am working on some side business ideas. If they develop into something sustainable, I will look into such DI prior to leaving my current employment.

The other downside is that you have less 'pension' income due to lack of CPP contributions. That gives you more sequence of return and rate of return risk. You seem to be quite a saver, so maybe not a problem, but something to consider.
 
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