City Mouse Country Mouse
So a couple of things I learned recently, don’t talk taxes before you go to bed. It makes your wife upset, gives you indigestion, and psychotic dreams. I almost didn’t make it into work today. Since its tax season and I’m a) bent on saving for and buying a country home, but b) have to plan for other things, and c) I’m impulsive, well you can guess I’m a bit cagey. Second big mistake–actually breaking down the various taxes I pay for living in NYC. I know, you say don’t whine, people would kill to be in your place, but let me whine a little. Federal, state, and city tax–I learned more than half my salary goes to taxes! That doesn’t include property taxes because I don’t even own. Makes you wanna beat someone like they stole something! But what are you gonna do?
City Mouse: Move to the country thats what!
Country Mouse: It’s not all that its cracked up to be…New York City’s surrounding counties (Westchester, Rockland, Union, Nassau, etc.) have the top 10 of highest property taxes …in the US. And a number of those counties have seen upwards of 50% increases in property taxes in the last five to ten years alone.
City Mouse: I think I could just as easily be content with 20 acres and an 1 1/2 hr commute as say 900 sq. ft (my apt size) and commuting on the subway (which has also seen unprecedented rate hikes).
Country Mouse: But Brooklyn speaks dozens of languages–knish, kim chi, North Carolina BBQ, food trucks! BAM, McCarren Park, Barneys, and Barnes & Nobles!
City Mouse: Median home prices in NYC according to Trulia are 1.1 mil! Dutchess County, 260K. Dutchess County too far? How about Putnam County? 375K. Doable! My wife being an architect and interior designer, I keep sending her links to modern, minimalist renovated and prefab country homes…wear her down.
Country Mouse: You could be accused of wanting your cake and eating it too…
City Mouse: I’m just afraid like every other mixed professional couple in NY we’re gonna wind up moving to Ft. Greene and blowing a wad on private school and a brownstone. “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”
Country Mouse: But what if I could build something like this right in the city (the one in the middle)…building is cheaper than buying.
City Mouse: …and maybe we’ll have enough left over for a cabin! Then I’d want to look into a company like Form & Forest. F&F are doing award-winning prefab flatpack cabins with a modern aesthetic that are easy to construct. Just need the land, permits and a good contractor.
Country Mouse: I like this one even better.
Third mistake! Obsessing over living in the country vs. living in the city when good is good enough. I’m sure the internal debate will rage on, but I’ve got to let it go somehow. Excise it… until we’re ready to buy, its all just food porn I guess. When the time comes, we’ll make our home wherever our heart is.