Monday, September 13, 2010

Really, On Home Sales

I realized yesterday's post was NOT about home sales at all. So, here we have it:

Eug and I have participated in and co-led a course called "Lazarus at the Gate", a course about "Living simply to give more generously". On the course, I experienced really tangibly that money is a gift. The course (and the conversations!) had a big influence on the choices that led to our paying off our student loan debt very quickly (over $50 000 in about 18 months), and in freeing up Eug to become a freelancer. It also led us to increase the amount we gave away each month, both to our church and to other organizations. Soon after, we made the decision to take our savings out of the stock market, as it's still difficult to find socially responsible stocks (though I'm certainly not critical of those who made other choices, as notably, I eat non-organic meat and drive a gas-guzzling car).

So instead of stocks, we've had money in two properties-- one in Boston and one in Cape Town. The problem has been that the property in Boston, although rented out, is a pretty big financial stretch for us. When the tenant moved out September 1, Eug had the idea of selling and buying a tiny, cheaper property in a good location, and renting it out as a B&B rather than through a traditional lease. So that's what we're doing. For Eug, selling is practically a full time job.

Even as we are choosing a course that should allow us margin, it's incredibly difficult to think about these large sums of money at play in the sale without getting totally stressed. It's been helpful to think of the sale as a journey in itself, in the sense that I don't want our attempts at saving for the future to ruin our lives in the present.

One thing I've experienced first hand over the last year is that if you don't want to think about money at all, money is all you'll think about. Trying to let go of money is really hard, and it's also super difficult to refuse to let finances be the decision maker in family and career choices.

Hey, if you want to talk some more about the Lazarus at the Gate curriculum, or on how we are navigating social responsibility and financial responsibility, let me know! I love talking about this stuff.

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