Being able to afford to fly in "retirement" Tips & Tricks

Discussion in 'Hangar Flying' started by Wayne, Dec 1, 2017.

Help Support HomeBuiltAirplanes Forum by donating:

  1. Dec 1, 2017 #1

    Wayne

    Wayne

    Wayne

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2013
    Messages:
    402
    Likes Received:
    496
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Gang,
    I'm hoping that this thread is of no relevance to any of you because you planned well and were fortunate through your own efforts and fate to be well set later in life. At 53, and with the twins just now graduated, I'm entering into that part of my life where I look forward and can actually measure the productive decades I have left. I'm not being morbid - just realistic. I don't have enough money to continue the lifestyle the wife and I currently have, and even if I have some epic years of selling, I probably can't earn my way into full independence. At 65 I fully expect to be doing some kind of work, and will have a modest 401k, and whatever social security I get (if it still exists).

    So clearly we are going to cut costs, downsize, and if possible get ourselves in a position where we can build a nice little place that will carry us out for the next 30 years or so. We are cool with that, although it will take work on the expectations front.

    Here are some thoughts I have about keeping flying since I really don't want to lose that:

    1) I'll have the Cruzer done soon and will be able to fly that for many years. Will I have it for the next 20? Possibly. Hangarage and Insurance costs are huge here so that will be $350 for the *shared* hangar plus at least $100 for insurance every month. Maybe I can move the plane to my buddies farm, invest the money into a temp hangar or I could tie it down outside. If not, then I doubt that I can keep the Cruzer here in the Chicago area after 65. At 65 that means an ultralight at the farm or Butt Fan.

    2) Since we want to move South out of Illinois and will be liquidating our current house one plan is to buy a decent chunk of land in Tennessee, Northern Arkansas, or Southern Missouri - or somewhere that some of you guys are hiding out (Pops/Rockiedog). If we did that we could build a small house and hangar where it is less expensive to live while I'm still earning a good living. Built with good materials (30 year roof etc. ) that could be a nice solution. As long as the wife is not too isolated and I'm within an hour of a decent airport. Since I work from home and sell software to a broad client base I can pull that off if I have power and decent internet.

    3) A repeat of a comment above - this is prickly. I could fly while I can afford the monthly $450 plus gas & maintenance, and then give up when I hit 65. That seems like a crappy solution to me. If I can get that $450 cost down, though, it will allow me to save more for retirement.

    4) I could sell the Cruzer which would break Dad & Mine's heart and then put the money away. I really don't want to do that though because I'm living a great life because of the flying - through helping kids with Young Eagles, the girls club, the EAA and HBA.

    5) Make more money. So - I'm fine for now moneywise but am future proofing. I plan to see if I can spin up a sideline business providing "advisory services" to small businesses on how to improve their sales and marketing (I have a lot of experience with this and am actually pretty good at it) and that is a low cost way to trade time for money. I'm talking to one company now as a free proof of concept to see if I can add value and would be happy to do the same for another small business if you want to chat. I have no idea how profitable it will be at this point but maybe that could pay for the flying.

    So what do you think ? I know you are going to talk about reducing costs - remember I have a spouse who is not into flying and will not take kindly to a reduction in her lifestyle in trade for a "hobby"....

    I'm looking forward to hearing from you all :)
     
  2. Dec 1, 2017 #2

    tspear

    tspear

    tspear

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2014
    Messages:
    762
    Likes Received:
    165
    Location:
    Oneida
    If you and your wife can move out of the Chicago area and maintain your current income; I would postulate that any additional savings you can generate will more than offset the loss of appreciation on your home if you sell (assuming everything rises proportionately, a Chicago home starts at a higher point).
    If you have the cash on hand, what is likely a better solution is to purchase/build a new home and move there ASAP and rent out the current home. Then you can wait ten to fifteen years and try time the market to sell near a peak and provide the biggest boost to capital when you are about to lose income.

    As for location, buy my lot and hangar in TN in an airpark. Let me know if interested, I have one of the largest lots in the airpark, and annual costs are very low. Plus TN is considered a good retirement state due to low taxes.

    Otherwise, consider finding someplace cheaper to keep the plane, it may involve a one hour drive to get to the plane, or higher MX costs to maintain it. e.g. In the DC Area I used to keep my Cirrus I had at the time outside since the savings would pay for a new simple paint job in three years. (7,200 a year versus 1,200; a 6K savings pays for a lot of weather damage). Further, with how you described your job, you likely have the flexibility to move the plane if bad weather threatens (e.g. hail).

    Tim
     
    Wayne likes this.
  3. Dec 1, 2017 #3

    TFF

    TFF

    TFF

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2010
    Messages:
    11,131
    Likes Received:
    3,016
    Location:
    Memphis, TN
    First off you don't get rid of the plane. Too silly a question. As for you are willing to live that is up to you. Rockiedog has his own airport and Pops lives on one. Neither are the high end version without knocking what they have. I have a customer who was complaining that his airport getaway house runway was closed for maintenance and he had to fly the Kingair 20 min away and drive. Whaa. The further south you live, the cheaper it gets. Gentrification of Nashville and Atlanta and some others are making it rough in those places, but most places are not bad. I do find one thing, people don't transfer well sometimes. They are a northerner or a southerner or a west coast high or low, and when they are moved out they hate it. When I worked at my old airline, most were wanting to go home. Religion, kind of food, shoes, houses in brick or wood, roads, sentimentality rules more than you think. I say don't move when you are ready to retire, too late then. Most I see do it that don't ever catch up to what they had. Find a place and stay. The airplane is for visiting old friends. We are about the same age. I am watching one friend buy everything he wants for retirement. He has done well so his ticket items are big even if he is buying slightly used stuff. Fishing boat, big big RV, keeping his RV7,but has gotten rid of the other planes, keeping his Harley. In two years he is not going to have his big income. Another closer to our scale is dressing up his little plane with new engine and avionics because he is getting old and at some point will have to step back. He has to fly. He has 30,000 hrs in GA airplanes and helicopters. That means he has rarely spent more than three days not flying somewhere. And not corporate, talking 172s, 182s Bonanzas those kind of planes. He is setting himself up for the end. Both are locked in where they plan to live, 4 min each from the airport.
     
    Wayne likes this.
  4. Dec 1, 2017 #4

    cluttonfred

    cluttonfred

    cluttonfred

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2010
    Messages:
    6,351
    Likes Received:
    2,208
    Location:
    World traveler
    I am not telling you anything you don't know, but it's all about up front costs and then recurring costs. Getting those up front costs -- house, move, airplane, hangar -- out of the way while your income is still high and then reducing the recurring costs means that when your income drops due to retirement you won't feel the pinch. I am in a situation now where I could retire fairly young in just a few years, get a modest pension right away, and then get another job until I hit real retirement age. It would mean a substantial drop in income vs. just staying in my current job until retirement age, but it would open up the opportunity to pursue the kinds of hobbies (including homebuilt airplanes) that my current gypsy lifestyle makes very difficult. We shall see....
     
    Wayne likes this.
  5. Dec 1, 2017 #5

    ToddK

    ToddK

    ToddK

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2016
    Messages:
    160
    Likes Received:
    48
    Location:
    Humble
    Its important to evaluate the tax situation from every angle. A spread sheet is a good idea. Some states tax all your property, cars, houses, airplanes, atvs, all of it. Some just tax your real estate. Some tax your income. I can't speak for other states, but here in Texas the property taxes are going up (due to a rising values, and over eager tax assessors), but at certain age, they are frozen so that people on fixed incomes won't be taxed out of their homes. I suspect many other states do this as well. Also, look at who is running the state. If it is a group of people who are intent on taxing everything as much as they can, giving away free stuff, and running everything... right into the ground, stay away. If they like to keep taxes low and regulations light... and insist that people generally take care of themselves, that is where you want to be. I have been encouraging my mother to work as long as she can. 1.) Its good for the mind and body to have a reason to get up, get dressed and do something productive, and 2.) Inflation is going to eat the crap out of her retirement after a decade or two. I have been trying to persuade the wife, that we should buy some property out in the country and put a metal building on it. Then in a few years finish the inside out as a very nice home. As far as the county would know, it would be an ugly 60K pole barn or whatever, and taxed accordingly. They play their games, we play ours.
     
  6. Dec 1, 2017 #6

    BJC

    BJC

    BJC

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2013
    Messages:
    8,882
    Likes Received:
    5,735
    Location:
    97FL, Florida, USA
    Some random thoughts, not to be considered financial advice.

    I put together a spread sheet where I could manipulate income, retirement age, retirement income, including SS, 401K, IRAs and defined benefits, at various assumed growth rates of cost of living, SS benefits and return on IRAs and 401K. I used that to explore many options before making the decision to retire. Will note that most of my final assumption were correct, with one exception; the on-going costs associated with house maintenance, lawn care, and related miscellaneous cost are higher than I forecasted, although I could lower them if absolutely necessary. The big items, such as cars, have been right on forecast.

    I would also note that, at the time of my retirement decision, many financial advisors were projecting an 8% return on medium risk investments. I used 4%. The outlook today is much better, but be wary of overly optimistic projections, especially if you shift your 401K into lower risks investments, as many retirees do.

    Full SS benefits age for you (if I understand your age) is 67. Research SS to understand actual income, not gross benefits. Health insurance will be a major factor in retirement costs. Try to account for future medications.

    We relocated to Florida upon retirement, and our total state and local taxes were reduced by approximately 67%.

    There are many smaller, less developed residential airparks with economical home styles where total cost of living and flying are much less than what you described as your currect situation.

    Consider carrying only liability insurance on your airplane, especially if you live and fly from your own airpark home.

    My personal assessment was that I was better off working full time until I could afford retirement than I would have been working a part time job. My very good friend who retired, then immediately returned to the same job in a part time capacity, hasn’t made any progress on his HBA project since he retired.

    Again, none of this is intended to be financial advice, since each situation is unique.

    Good luck.


    BJC
     
    wsimpso1 and ToddK like this.
  7. Dec 1, 2017 #7

    Tiger Tim

    Tiger Tim

    Tiger Tim

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2013
    Messages:
    2,776
    Likes Received:
    1,538
    Location:
    Thunder Bay
    Are you involved with much of a community of pilots? If there are any young guys you trust who want to time build you could lease block time on your airplane to them to help defray the fixed costs of ownership. If you ask for $50 an hour dry (which is probably too low, IMO) then just nine hours a month pays for your share of the hangar and insurance. The fringe benefit is that your plane will be exercised more frequently, and they seem to like that.
     
    Wayne likes this.
  8. Dec 1, 2017 #8

    Pops

    Pops

    Pops

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2013
    Messages:
    6,678
    Likes Received:
    5,554
    Location:
    USA.
    Very good advice. A friend of mine that lived in NJ retired and turned his business over to his son and found a piece of land on a private grass runway where 2 other people lives in Tenn. His wife wanted enough land so she could own a horse. They found the perfect place about 40 miles south of Nashville. They love it.
    It takes some looking for what you want , it's out their.

    I looked for two years and even bought a 72 acre farm with a grass strip in Ohio that we really didn't like very much for several reasons. Found this place where I live now and bought 3 acres on the runway 2 days after hearing about it. Sold the Ohio farm. Been here 22 years now. I am looking for some land back away from anything as I can find to build a cabin. Off grid, where it would take a 4 wheel drive to get to it. Last year I found what I wanted and it even had a ridge of about 1500' to land on, but the owners took it off the market :(
     
    Wayne and ToddK like this.
  9. Dec 1, 2017 #9

    slevair

    slevair

    slevair

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2010
    Messages:
    110
    Likes Received:
    41
    Location:
    (6TN5) Pulaski, TN / USA
    South central Tennessee where I live is a wonderful place. The land is reasonable, as are the taxes. They are aviation friendly,(save for a few counties around Nashville), and the weather is great! I have a runway and hangar on my "farm", but there are several small airports in the general area. With the equity from your home and downsizing as empty nesters, your money will go a long way here.
     
    Wayne likes this.
  10. Dec 1, 2017 #10

    Toobuilder

    Toobuilder

    Toobuilder

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2010
    Messages:
    4,287
    Likes Received:
    3,031
    Location:
    Mojave, Ca
    If you intend to persue the aviation "luxury" into retirement AND are willing to relocate, then you simply must consider living on the airport with a hangar in your yard. There are many options to make this happen, but avoiding the tangible and intangible aspects of a rented hangar at a distant airport are huge. After 20 years with my hangar 10 feet from my house and a runway in my front yard, I can honestly say that I'd probably give up flying if I had to drive even 5 miles to access the airplane. There's just no comparison.
     
    Wayne and Rockiedog2 like this.
  11. Dec 1, 2017 #11

    tspear

    tspear

    tspear

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2014
    Messages:
    762
    Likes Received:
    165
    Location:
    Oneida
    lol, I went the other way. I had the hangar, a ten minute walk or two minute ATV ride away from my house in an airpark. Sold that house (still have a lot and the hangar left) and moved back to a congested area where I can take the bus downtown.....
    The plane is now a rental about ten minutes from home.

    Tim
     
  12. Dec 2, 2017 #12

    BBerson

    BBerson

    BBerson

    Well-Known Member HBA Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2007
    Messages:
    11,419
    Likes Received:
    2,094
    Location:
    Port Townsend WA
    A lot on a lake can be cheaper that building a runway, if you like seaplanes. The lot doesn't have to be expensive and right on the lake if you can get a nearby lakeshore tie down. Hundreds of seaplanes outside year round in Alaska. Never seen one in a hangar. Water in summer, skis in winter.
     
    Wayne and Battler Britton like this.
  13. Dec 2, 2017 #13

    Wayne

    Wayne

    Wayne

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2013
    Messages:
    402
    Likes Received:
    496
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Wow - thanks so much for all the good feedback you guys - very to the point and practical. Amazingly the wife is interested in the idea of heading South to somewhere like Tennessee and was looking at places around Chattanooga. We will see where this leads. I appreciate the pointers!
     
  14. Dec 2, 2017 #14

    Victor Bravo

    Victor Bravo

    Victor Bravo

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2014
    Messages:
    5,756
    Likes Received:
    4,621
    Location:
    KWHP, Los Angeles CA, USA
    If you are still in love with the CH-750 when the time comes to retire, then stick with it. You may need to build a small "pole barn" type of cover, or one of those fabric "portable garages", or one of the steel arch "Quonset" type shade covers. While you are working and making money now, make sure the airplane is corrosion proofed, and that you take time to put an eyedropper full of some corrosion proof goop into the rivet heads, etc. A couple of rolls of 3M "Blenderm" surgical tape will do an incredible job of waterproofing and keeping dirt out of the cracks and crevices. Take the time now to build better gap seals and covers for the areas that Zenith leaves open, like under the stabilizer, those ridiculous flaperon slots on the side of the fuselage, etc. So by the time you need to leave the airplane outside it's ready for it.

    Also, remember the CH-750 has what they promote as "folding wings", which as it is now is not nearly as convenient or space-saving as some of the other styles. But... using "pip pins" or quarter-turn fasteners on the CH-750 jury struts, and/or making an assembly rig to move the wings from folded to unfolded... may be easy enough in your situation. Why? Because the Zenair system was likely more for the putpose of being able to say "folding wings !!!" in the brochure than it was for actuallly folding the wings on a daily basis. But if you are moving to a place where there is an airstrip, or keeping the airplane based at a home base airstrip, then you can build some sort of a rig, or stands, or an A-frame contraption that allows you to take the wings and struts off of the 750 and roll it into a small building or container that is smaller and cheaper than a hangar. Extra work, yes. Keeping an airplane you love and cutting out the $300/month hangar rent... may be worth it.

    Another smart thing you can do is start a small savings or shoe box now, for buying a used T-hangar 10 years from now. So by the time you move to TN or wherever you will be able to have a proper hangar with no rent.

    If, on the other hand, when that time comes you might be ready to trade up, down or sideways into a different style of airplane, then have your research done on which types of airplanes will be easier to store and weatherproof. We've had HBA discussions on storing airplanes in 20 or 40 foot shipping containers... that might be a very inexpensive solution if you find an airplane that will fit. If it suits your kind of flying at that later time, the Kolb Mark 3 series of airplanes will fold down incredibly narrow for a 2 seat aircraft. A two car garage will house the airpane and a workbench, leaving room for the wife's car.
     
    Wayne likes this.
  15. Dec 2, 2017 #15

    Topaz

    Topaz

    Topaz

    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2005
    Messages:
    13,436
    Likes Received:
    5,132
    Location:
    Orange County, California
    Starting up a side business is awesome, especially since you're not going to be depending upon it for your basic needs. Do your business to support your flying - gives you a direct incentive to keep at your business, even through the dark times when you don't want to do it anymore, or this week, or even just today. And you will have those times, and your customers won't care that you're semi-retired or in a bad mood that day. They'll expect professional service every day, whether you want to give it or not, "retired" or not. Supporting your "flying habit" with a side business leaves all the "regular" income to keep your wife going in the lifestyle she likes, keeps you motivated to take care of your customers, and can provide enough income for virtually any type of flying you want to do, limited only by your willingness to grow the business.

    Win-win-win.

    Along the same lines, make sure, wherever you move, that you're close enough to a large enough city that you have plenty of small startups bubbling up all the time that might need your services. A big lot out in the middle of nowhere is darned attractive from a retirement standpoint, but kind of a poor choice of places to be counseling small businesses on their marketing. Be close enough to a large city that you still have a "target rich environment" in terms of marketing your service.
     
    Wayne likes this.
  16. Dec 2, 2017 #16

    Little Scrapper

    Little Scrapper

    Little Scrapper

    Well-Known Member HBA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Messages:
    5,245
    Likes Received:
    3,147
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Once again I'll take the road less traveled. Haha.

    Wayne, your only 53. Most fortunes are not made before 50 so you're right on track.

    My advice is to figure out what you want, wrote it down and develop a plan to achieve it.

    I would stay where you're at because you're probably surrounded by people who know you. This is an asset. I would be doing things like buying investments or at least some type of asset that grows. Duplex, 4 family? Whatever.

    Just don't settle. You kinda spelled your future life out but your only 53, man, you are in your prime. Wake up at 4:00 am and sit by yourself and design a life, don't look forward and guess. Design it! There's opportunity everywhere.

    I'm not trying to throw positive thinking at you, I'm not that kinda guy. I do know for a fact that if you decide you want to generate exactly $20,874.32 a month in revenue it's a matter of design. You have to design it. It's difficult of course that's why few engage in it but it right there in front of you. Go grab it.
     
    Wayne, Topaz, mcrae0104 and 1 other person like this.
  17. Dec 2, 2017 #17

    Pops

    Pops

    Pops

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2013
    Messages:
    6,678
    Likes Received:
    5,554
    Location:
    USA.
    You can retire when you get old. My baby boy turned 53 yesterday. My oldest is 56 years old. Like LS said, you are in the prime of life, enjoy. If you like what you are doing, you will never have to work a day in your life because it will not be work. Also you will be good at what you enjoy doing.
     
    Wayne, rdj, Topaz and 1 other person like this.
  18. Dec 2, 2017 #18

    Little Scrapper

    Little Scrapper

    Little Scrapper

    Well-Known Member HBA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Messages:
    5,245
    Likes Received:
    3,147
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Well said Pops.

    I would sit down and think about what you want. Then clearly define it on paper. I personally believe that what you really want from aviation is actually pretty simple and a small goal. This means it's quite achievable, what a fun adventure it is to set goals and accomplish them.

    Let's rock these goals man!!!! If you need motivation I'm only 2 hours from you I think. I'll help you out.
     
    Wayne likes this.
  19. Dec 3, 2017 #19

    Jay Kempf

    Jay Kempf

    Jay Kempf

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2009
    Messages:
    3,531
    Likes Received:
    865
    Location:
    Warren, VT USA
    Lots of wisdom here.

    The customer is always the customer. It's their idiom. People are always expecting their customers to do what THEY want. That is not their motivation.

    One can do business in the middle of nowhere. I certainly do. You have to give up on convenience and efficiency. You have to be clever and find who you will do business with. But once you do you just figure it out. I am focused on having aviation in my life now during and after my retirement (whatever that is) as well as being in a resort town and being outside as much as is possible. Fun is paramount. There is always more to experience. If you get paid for some of it then you win. I have no concept of conventional retirement. There will always be a business of some sort offering products or services in the arenas where I play.
     
    Wayne and Topaz like this.
  20. Dec 3, 2017 #20

    Wayne

    Wayne

    Wayne

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2013
    Messages:
    402
    Likes Received:
    496
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    I have to say that you guys have really produced some good advice - I'm very grateful. Scrapper - I'm up North quite a bit - headed to Neenah on Tuesday as it happens, but might be with my boss :) I am going to work on my little side business in a more focused way because it is apparent that I can accomplish a lot of what I'm asking that way. I need to set some goals up for it too - my initial thought is to have it pay for my flying - that would be a great motivator for sure.

    As far as working in retirement and not be working because I'm doing something I love to do - well, I need to get my A&P then I reckon. In demand skillset and I love working on planes.
     

Share This Page

arrow_white