Security vs. Freedom

I haven’t blogged in a while. Life has gotten in the way of my thought process. I try not to force writing, if I don’t have to. I would rather blog when I feel inspired to, not because I think I have to. Anyway, there has been a lot on our plate lately.

Not only are Ethan and I working full time plus second and third jobs to save money, we are planning a wedding, a 9 month trip, and our future together. Needless to say, we have been a little overwhelmed with life. We both have a tendency to bite off more than we can chew though and we are just going to have to work through this time so we can swallow and enjoy life again.

The biggest thing on our minds right now is whether we should sell his condo or rent it out while we are traveling. We have made our pros and cons list and talked endlessly about this, but every time we end up with great reasons on either side. Selling the condo means complete freedom. We could pay off all of our credit card and student loan debt, invest some in our retirement, and save the rest for a future home. We would also have more freedom while traveling. We wouldn’t have to worry about tenants paying rent on time. We wouldn’t need to shell out money from abroad if something breaks in the home and needs fixing, and we generally wouldn’t have anything lingering on our minds. We would have nothing tying us to anywhere, so we could be free to travel as long as we want and possibly move somewhere else after. Freedom is very appealing. We can jump out that airplane and know there is nothing holding us back.

On the other hand, we could hire a rental management company to take care of the stress of managing the condo and tenants. We wouldn’t have to move all of our stuff out of the place. We would have a place to live when we return to Portland, which provides a sense of security. Ethan also loves the place, because of its sentimental value to him. He and his family put a lot of work into this place and it was his first home. It is hard to let go of something like that. We also don’t know if the market is going to continue to rise or if it will fall eventually. Right now it has more than doubled in value from when he bought it and that is great, but it could keep going up in value. On the other hand, maybe it will start to go down and we need to get out while it is high. This is something we aren’t sure of.

The downside to selling is we will have no where to live if we choose to return to Portland. The condo is in a great area that is now very expensive to live in, so owning in this area would give us a leg up and provide us with a nice neighborhood. If we sell and the market does continue to go up, we could find ourselves losing out on a lot more money. We will have to working on selling the home and packing up everything while also planning our wedding and getting married. We will have to get a storage unit for all of our stuff while we are away. We will lose that sense of stability and the sentimental value in the place.

The downside to renting is that we won’t feel free. We will have to worry about what sort of people live in our place and whether our stuff is okay. There are several things that need to be fixed, so we will need to fix them now before we rent out the place and that will cost money we don’t have. If anything else breaks while we are gone, we will have to pull from our travel fund to pay for it. We don’t want to live in the place much longer after we have our first child, because it is too small to raise a family and the setup is unsafe for a crawling baby. If we decide to not stay in Portland we will have to sell it when we return. We will not be able to pay off all of our debt before we go, and will have to be paying bills from the road cutting into our travel fund.

These are all things that we have thought about thoroughly. Both sides of the coin have benefits and deficits for us. We simply can’t decide if we want freedom or security. What would you do? Weigh in if you have an opinion on the topic or you have also gone through a similar thing before traveling for an extended period of time.

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