Thinking About Long Term Goals

Brett and I have some firm goals for the next two years, and even have some ideas already for 2023, but this past week we began taking about some longer term goals to get us into and through 2025, when Brett will turn 75 and I will be 73 years old. Most of what we’ve been discussing is based on how we see the next few years unfolding, or would like to see it unfold, and on our staying healthy and active, but at the same time accepting that we may need to or feel like slowing down. Things that are easy for us now might not be so easy in five years, or hold the same appeal. We also think it’s a good idea to have a general picture of where we’d like to be at that point so that other choices going forward feed into that picture.

Based on what we know as well as how we imagine things will be going in the next few years, we have come up with four long-term goals that should get us to where we see ourselves landing 2025. 

  1. Staying healthy and active remains at the top of our list. We currently see no reason to change or cut back our current way of eating or the amount of exercise we get, and will continue to remain vigilant about testing and maintaining the other healthy lifestyle choices we practice. We know however that one’s health can change on a dime, but for now our goal is to keep doing what we’re doing now and stay focused.
  2. Continue to visit Japan every year, make one mainland visit each year to see the girls, one in-state visit, and do one other “big trip” through 2025. Because of the virus, this won’t “officially” go into full effect until 2023 at the earliest, but at that point we can reassess how we feel, see if our budget can handle all this travel, and make changes to or slow down if necessary. However, there are still places we want to visit, or revisit, and we intend to be in Japan at least once a year to stay connected to our grandchildren as long as we can make the trip(s). We want to continue taking an annual “big trip” as long as we can, and feel that in five years we’ll have a good idea of how we’re doing and what we can handle.
  3. Buy a more comfortable car in the next two years. Our current car runs great, gets great gas mileage, and we plan to hold on to it for the next couple of years, but it’s becoming increasingly uncomfortable for both of us as the seats are low and there is no back support – both Brett and I occasionally get backaches after riding around for a while, and it’s not as easy for us to get in and out of as it was in the past. So, we are starting to think now about getting something more comfortable, something efficient, and a car that will see us through for many more years (we hope). This is going to be a major expense for us, and will most likely mean having a (small) car payment again, so a lot of thought and planning will happen before we make a purchase.
  4. Not quite a firm goal yet, but we’re getting there – should we purchase a condo or continue to rent? We’ve decided that owning a house at this stage of our lives is out of the question because we’re not interested in dealing with the maintenance, yard work, etc. that comes along with home ownership. Also, houses on the island are just flat-out too costly and too big an investment for us at this stage of our lives. There are several small (same size as our apartment now) condos around the island though that could work for us, with affordable HOA fees, giving us a permanent home to age in. We’re not in any sort of hurry now, but plan to keep our eyes open to possibilities and will go forward if it feels right in 2025 (or maybe even before). For now we’re content to rent.

These longer-term goals are all rather nebulous for now; and we’re not actively working on any of them or planning anything and don’t see that happening for another couple of years. We like having goals to work toward though. The important point for us now is to get our ideas out there, talk about them, and find out what we agree on and what we don’t, as well as what’s feasible and what isn’t. As always, stay tuned!

21 thoughts on “Thinking About Long Term Goals

  1. I totally understand about the condo. I bought a very small two bedroom, in the college town where two of my four children live. It is on one level, very close to hospital, Aldi, major university, shopping, parks, etc. One of my kids could stay with me if I needed help. It is older, with low cost HOA. I have let my middle kid rent it out to his friends, and he manages it. I was in the middle of closing when Covid hit! I have debated keeping it as rental, but it is an option for me and I am glad.

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    1. One of the things we need to weigh with condo ownership here is do we want to live in a tourist area, with people coming and going all the time but good views and amenities, or would we rather live where residents are more permanent but the area isn’t as pretty and the amenities might not be as nice. Both have advantages and disadvantages.

      I like the idea of having a second bedroom, not just for guests, but for someone to stay if we needed help down the line.

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  2. I admire your ability to plan out your life like you do. It sounds like Kaua’i is now your permanent home. Congratulations, lucky you live Kaua’i!

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    1. We are here to stay! That was up in the air when we left back in 2018, but now we are so glad we returned – it is home. I think the issue before for us was where we lived (Kapaa) and having an awful landlord. We love our location now and we’ve got a gem of a landlord to boot!

      We don’t like to have everything planned out, but we do like to know where we’re going, and have a foundation in place for when we get there. After that, we sort of wing it.

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  3. Just curious about something. I’ve looked into condos in Kauai (just for fun) and saw quite a few that were reasonably priced, but say they are leaseholds. I don’t know a lot about that, but I get the impression it’s not a good thing just from what I’ve read about it. Are all condos there leaseholds? I’m glad you’ve decided to stay in Kauai as your permanent home and I think buying something is a good idea for the reasons you mentioned. It would be nice to have more room for when your family visits and something that feels more permanent. I personally would go with something that’s not in a touristy area, even if the view isn’t as great, because I know how congested it gets there (in normal times) and how annoying tourists can be, lol. But that’s a personal preference

    Like you, I like to have a plan in place for a few years ahead. Even if I don’t follow it to the letter, it gives me a framework/guide to keep me on some kind of track. COVID really messed things up as I was planning to move next year, but it looks like I will have to postpone that due to too much uncertainty at work and I want to wait and see how that all shakes out. If I can continue to work from home post-COVID, it opens up a lot of other possibilities.

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    1. With leaseholds it all depends on who holds the lease. Some condos are not leasehold, but they cost a whole lot more. There are some leaseholds we wouldn’t go near, but others that are long-standing and of good reputation. Having people/vacationers come and go all the time is the biggest negative for staying in Poipu – they can be loud too. It’s something we’re going to have to think about very carefully if or when we decide to go ahead with a condo purchase.

      COVID did really mess things up, but we like having a framework in place for the future, a foundation we can build on later. We’ve been flying by the seat of our pants the past several months, or at least it feels that way, and both of us want to be a little more grounded that we feel now.

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  4. Those are practical goals and similar to ours (with the exception of visiting Japan). We’re not sure how much long haul travel we’ll want to do after Covid, but there are many places in the US that we still want to sell. Our move to this site condo was mainly to downsize (a bit) and get to one level living. We have an extra level with guest room and bath for someone to visit – or I suppose if we need help. So I think that’s a practical goal for you now that you know you want to stay.

    As for the car, my first criteria for a car is a comfortable seat. My back tolerated a ton of rental cars in my work years and it hurt most of the time. I’m also hooked on heated seats, but you won’t need them. 😉 After that, most features are negotiable.

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    1. We have got our fingers crossed now that we’ll be able to do future trips, that costs don’t soar post-COVID. That’s our big worry right now, but we will at least always be able to go to Japan, and there’s still much to explore and learn there.

      We were surprised by how much the seats in our old car bother us now – they didn’t when we used it before. Just getting older, I guess, but really our three top criteria right now are seats that are higher up so it’s easier to get out of the car; lumbar support; and a good MPG. After that, like you say, things are negotiable.

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  5. Heated seats were one of my major criteria in a new car. It’s a decision I have never regretted. Really helps when your back is giving you problems.

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    1. I like the idea and know that they work (we’ve had them before) but definitely don’t need heated seats here! We need seats that are up higher so they’re easier to get out of, and that have some sort of lumbar support.

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  6. I think you would have a huge advantage in purchasing a condo in the next year. I know you are thinking further out, but I think VRBO will drop off and people will just want to unload smaller places. If you wanted a big house, it would be much different.
    My great aunt and uncle lived by the Crouching Lion on North Shore for 50 years. They paid it off, went with natural landscape and traveled until they were in their 80’s. It was Bishop land- so when they died it went back to the estate. I always envied their life off of the beaten path (at that point). They walked to and ate daily at the Inn. I would see having a touch stone condo would be much the same.
    If my husband liked island living at all–I would do the same thing. Instead we are headed to Idaho (his love). Although we will see our kids less and less- technology is getting better and better. It works on many levels for us.
    The car- we are holding out for an electric small truck with some self driving attributes.
    I love goals and ours are growing again.

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    1. This is the big question for us – whether we want to live in a place where there are VRBO listings or not. We’ve stayed in visitor-oriented places here and really didn’t like all the comings and going all that much, not knowing who your neighbors are, the fact that they can sometimes get noisy, etc. The big thing they have going for them is their locations – they’re located in beautiful places, often have beautiful views and great amenities. There’s a 55+ condo in Lihue – they are also leasehold and sell quickly when they come on the market. The complex is located near town, and close to the hospital and medical center. We drove over and looked at it the other day and the setting is very nice. The condos range in size from studios to two-bedroom with ocean views. They have a low turnover, and units sell quickly and at reasonable prices. These are also a possibility, and the leaseholder is very solid. One big factor for us as well is what the VA will approve. Most if not all of the condos in tourist areas are not approved by the VA – too many transients – which means a bit more of a downpayment, etc. Anyway, we love where we are right now and are not in any hurry to move. Things are selling very quickly now, both houses and condos, and at top prices so not sure there’ll be much of a change next year (the house next door sold in two days; the sign went up with ‘pending’ attached).

      I wish we were not located so far from all the kids, but they urged us to return last year and we’re glad to be back. As you say, the technology makes staying in touch easier – we hear from them more frequently than ever.

      I’d love to have an electric car because the distances are so short here, but no where currently to recharge, at least not at the house. Other choices are a small- to mid-size SUV or maybe a Prius, although I think the seats may be too low in those.

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      1. I was going to ask if condos there are very transient. I also was going to mention 55+ communities. I would imagine they would be less transient since only 55+ can live there, but I don’t know for sure how that works. I think I know which condo you are talking about because I’ve been there. When I was there in December last year, my friend and I went to look at it and I agree it’s in a great location. The real estate market is so crazy right now though, but you’re not looking to buy anything now anyway, so it’s good to take your time and gather information.

        I would love to live there, but the distance from family and friends is what stops me (plus my job, lol). I have thought of buying a condo on Kauai and if it turns out I can work from home permanently, I could hang out in the condo during the winter months. Just have to wait until this COVID mess is over.

        I have a small SUV and it’s perfect. I’ve had a couple of them and they’re easier to get in and out of and I like being higher up. You don’t really need 4WD or AWD there so you can save money and get one that is FWD. My current one is FWD and I’ve had no problems in snow, but that’s not a concern for you anyway, lucky you!

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      2. The 55+ condos are located near the hospital in Lihue. Not exactly where we would choose to live, but they’re nice, affordable, and the location is convenient in many ways.

        The distance from our kids is a problem, although with one in Japan, and three back east we are currently sort of centrally located. We love it here though, and see it as a good place for us to age for many reasons. We’ll keep traveling as long as we can, and Hawaii is a destination they all love to visit.

        We’re starting to look at smaller SUVs right now, the ones out on the road at least. One of our neighbors has one, but we’ve already decided that version is not what we want.

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      3. Yep, the condo near the hospital and Walmart is the one we saw. It is a nice location and definitely near everything. Are there any other 55+ condos on Kauai? When I searched online, I couldn’t find any others.

        Your kids are very travel savvy, so even though the girls are all back east, I’m sure they will visit as often as they can. Does YaYu want to stay back east when she graduates or is it too soon to say? You never know, she may decide to come back to Kauai or one of the other islands.

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      4. As far as I know, those are the only 55+ condos on the island.

        YaYu is already planning to go to graduate school, so where she ends up for that will probably have a big effect on where she ends up settling. Of the three girls, she is still the most likely to end up here though, but we’re not counting on it.

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  7. I applaud you two for making plans and setting goals! It’s a great idea and helps give you an idea of where you are and where you want to go! I just love following along on your life journey!

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    1. Our “goal” when we set goals is to set up a firm foundation we can build on later. We’re not really very rigid, but with a good foundation we’ve found things go well most of the time and we can enjoy ourselves more.

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  8. The condo complex we live in here in Arizona has become a huge problem with all the VRBO and Air BnB’s. We are trying to set some limits but it gets harder and harder to limit as more and more owners are renting them out as vacation rentals. Out of 254 units, I would say more than half are rented out. They have been selling like hotcakes since Covid started. I am not sure why that is. The good news is that in the summer when it is a million degrees here, no-one visits and we have the place all to ourselves plus a few other permanent neighbors. In the winter it is another story entirely. It feels like I am living in a hotel. I especially hate it this year because we have no quarantine rules in place so people are coming from all over the place spreading the Covid all over. I am afraid to walk outside with all the people here now. After the holidays it will be much worse. January 1st is the busiest time of year here.

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