Saturday, May 7, 2011

There Ain't No Dollar Sign on a Peace of Mind

Sometimes it's tempting. I sell real estate for goodness sakes...I know how good the conditions are for buyers right now! And yet, here we are...renting.

True, we own an "investment" property in Mission Hills we are currently renting out (although it hasn't proven to be such a great "investment" so far, considering we bought in the peak of the market.) But now, with prices and interest rates down so low, it's really, REALLY tempting to get back into the market.

Trouble is, we live in...Coronado! Probably the most expensive place to buy in San Diego. And I love it here! I don't want to move! And let's face it...there isn't a whole lot of inventory in Coronado under the $700k mark for a 3 bedroom dump. Could we buy something here? Sure...and with our commission-only jobs, we'd have a super-high mortgage payment and be stressed out and frazzled, and Ian would be crazed trying to sell boats every month to meet our expenses.

Doesn't sound like much of a life to me.

After all, I'm not a big breadwinner anymore...for now, I'm a mom first, and a real estate agent second...helping my mom (and partner) with marketing and internet stuff from home, roughly 10 hours a week. I also pick up brainless freelance writing gigs (as in brainless, I only take on writing I could do in my sleep). I know I'll get back into the game someday, but for now...well, you get the picture! Motherhood is exhausting enough...and for me, it's more rewarding than any job I've had. (Not to bag on any of my rockstar working mom ladies are amazing and sooooo talented, and boy do I admire your stamina! I mean, not only are these chicks wonderful mommies, but they run entire schools and are vice presidents of banks.)

I digress. If we were smart, we'd probably buy a house inland (OK, I call east of the 5 "inland") and we'd fix it up, let it appreciate over time, and sell, thus accumulating wealth. But then we have to worry about schools (there are great public schools in Coronado) and we'd give up our easy island lifestyle. Just doesn't sound very enticing!

Or, we could buy another investment property with 20%-30% down and rent it out. This would probably make more sense, but then there's that pesky problem of parting with the downpayment.

I don't know. Sometimes I wonder if if we're doing the right thing. We know we won't get rich this way--renting in great neighborhoods, not taking advantage of great buying conditions, and me barely working. 

The thing is...I think we FEEL rich now. We live a rich life. I see dolphins every day, for goodness sakes. We live a relatively stress-free life.  And if money can't buy you freedom, then what is the point of acquiring it? It's like that country song I love, "Chicken Fried." He says "There ain't no dollar sign on a peace of mind...this much I've come to know." And peace of mind doesn't necessarily have anything to do with a big bank account.

Still, sometimes I find myself wondering, are we doing the right thing for our family? Then I'm reminded that yes, we are.

Marley crawls into our bed every morning and snuggles with us as we wake up. I relish not having to haul ass off to work everyday and the privilege of enjoying our quiet mornings. While Ian snored on one side of the bed, I relaxed on the other and Marley was wedged in between us, she smiled, looked at us both and said "Nice family."

That's all I needed to hear. For today :)