Planning for the Future

It’s going to be a crazy year.  I just had to get this off my chest.  Here is a list of things we’re trying to do in the next few months:

1.  Plan our wedding

  • We both agreed on a nice, but small wedding with immediate family and closest friends.  Except we want to celebrate with friends and both families too, which means planning 3-4 events, rather than just one.  We are able to save a lot, however, with this approach.

2.  Move

  • We’re going to be moving in together in a few months and it’s going to be tough find a place that meets all our requirements — first and foremost price.  Rent has been skyrocketing here.  I want to be in a position to ditch one of the cars, so the new place has to be within biking/public transportation distance.  If we took the easy way, we could pay for a 1BR in a prime building — I found a place within striking distance of work for $2,500/mo. in rent.  That’s twice what I pay now, and $800/mo. over our agreed-upon budget.

3.  Financial Planning

  • We’ve done a lot of the initial planning, including having a fairly detailed discussion about how to merge our finances.  But we still have to finalize our premarital agreement.  I prepared a draft with a lot of input from her, but we still need to retain independent counsel.  We also have to execute on our financial plan, which will take a lot of time.

4.  Plan our honeymoon

  • We’ve done a lot of the initial planning, but there’s a lot more to do.  We’re currently trying to accrue almost 200K frequent flier miles.  We’ve also set a tentative itinerary.  There’s a lot of uncertainty in my schedule, which doesn’t help.

5.  Work

  • Work has been getting painful lately.  I have four — yes four! — back-to-back trials coming up.  We’re not talking about the average state court trial here — these are massively complex litigation matters.  Even without all the extracurricular activities above, it would still be difficult for anyone to handle this much work.  These trials are seriously interfering with wedding and honeymoon plans and might cause some delays.

Meanwhile, I’m still daydreaming about life beyond the law.  One of my contemporaries just took an extended leave of absence to travel the world.  I was seriously jealous when I heard the news, but I know that’s not the path for me at this point in time.  I’m still grasping at financial independence which feels like a lifetime away.  Once the current obstacles are overcome, then I think I will start to feel better about everything.  I will also be past my massive caseload so things will start to settle down.

One of the things I’ve thought about is embracing a location-independent lifestyle.  The problem here is that I would need to discover what I love and turn it into an online business.  I’ve thought about trading (don’t have the stomach for that risk), software development (would need serious re-training), SEO (sounds a little dry, unless it’s optimizing my own website), but none of them sounds like something I could throw myself into.  Maybe I could do some legal freelancing.  I dunno.

I’ve also been thinking about where to settle down once we’re financially independent.  Thankfully, she’s on board to move.  We would prefer to stay in the U.S., but the country is so big and diverse.  Here are some of my requirements:

  1. Lower cost of living — I guess anywhere except for NYC is less expensive than here
  2. Diverse or open-minded population; don’t want to feel like an outsider due to either of our skin colors
  3. Decent weather
  4. Not too difficult to travel; we want to be able to visit family easily

Beyond these requirements, it would be nice to have:

  1. Not too much religion
  2. Friendly people
  3. Active population
  4. More young families than retirees
  5. Smart people

The places on our radar include:

  1. Austin, TX and surrounding areas — does not seem very diverse (but seems open minded), also hot in the summer
  2. Seattle, WA — housing prices seem high, it rains a lot, and I’ve heard about the Seattle “freeze” phenomenon where people are not very friendly to outsiders
  3. Raleigh, NC — we admittedly don’t know too much about NC
  4. Boulder, CO — does not seem that diverse; Chinese friend encountered racial issues growing up there; otherwise seems to meet the other requirements
  5. Baltimore/Washington area — too expensive, but otherwise fits the bill

Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions?

Thanks for listening.  Have a great holiday week!

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