Spring a time to plant seeds for your happiness

Well, the Super Bowl is on the Feb.1. It has become a national institution, but I look at it differently since my career has been in real estate. Spring is right around the corner.

The Super Bowl typically signifies the end of the winter in San Diego. I know, winter continues on into the end of March but in San Diego once the Super Bowl is over everyone is starting to eyeball the spring. Oddly enough, March is the biggest selling month of real estate historically in San Diego County.

I have explained to my agents in the past that they need to be prepared. There is a good reason for home sales to spike in March. The biggest reason? Wives can get the husbands off the couch. Typically the wives will start pointing out all the “honey do’s” on their lists. The husbands in turn say, “Forget it. Let’s go get a different house.”

The second reason for the boost is that all W-2s and 1099s used to go out on Feb. 1 (it’s been extended to Feb. 15 now). So, typically the very first tax filers are those who have a refund coming. While sitting in the chair at their H&R Block office the accountant will likely tell their client that they could have received more refund if they owned a home and had interest and property tax deductions. That advice along with a pocket full of cash will usually send many of those first time homebuyers out into the market right away. After all, with FHA financing, a first-time homebuyer only needs a down payment of 3.5 percent of the purchase price.

When the real estate market takes off each year at this time homeowners will likely see a nice boost in their equities as typically there aren’t enough properties on the market for the surge of buyers so simple economics 101 comes into play … too many buyers and too few sellers means increasing demand and thus increasing prices. That means an increase in financial security for you boomers.

I bring all this up because you World War II baby boomers are already at or near the Social Security stage. I’ve written about it before but to reiterate, I eliminated all my debt, scrounged what I could and bought a home free and clear on the ocean on the mainland of Mexico. It is located really close to the best “old-man” surfing spot in this hemisphere called Mantanchen Bay. A 1-foot wave there can be ridden for nearly a half hour with no sections — just a clean little wall and shallow sandy bottom.

When the Bay gets to 5 feet or greater then it seems every surfer within 200 kilometers will be in the water but that’s OK because the crowds don’t even come close to what you’d find at Swami’s here in Encinitas, or Rincon in Ventura County or Malibu in Los Angeles. You take your life in your hands at any of those spots when the surf is running. The crowds are just too large and the competitiveness and anger hangs over the water like a pall.

Again, I bring all this up because I’ve learned how to live on a simple Social Security check and you can too. Once you eliminate debt and have a free and clear home you realize it really doesn’t take that much money to live and enjoy life. I even have a $300 per month golfing budget so I play five or six times a week when in the USA (I live roughly six months here and six months in Mexico. I surf there (bath temperature water) and golf here). I go where the golfing deals are in order to stay within my budget (there are many online booking sites to find those deals).

You Korean War boomers still have a little ways to go before you are eligible for Social Security but before you know it, your time will come as well. Now is the time to start planning. Now is the time to start eliminating all the things in your life that cost you money and don’t have meaning like brand new cars every year or 4,000-square-foot mini-mansions with huge debt and overhead. You don’t even have to fully retire.

I mentioned it in a column a year or two ago. I met a guy golfing who had retired and was about my age. He had more money and net worth than he could possibly spend in the remainder of his life. He had been very successful. He told me he took a job at Home Depot. I gave him one of those cocked-head looks and all he said was, “It makes me happy!”

That’s what we all want: a little security and a little or a lot of happiness. Spring isn’t that far off and now is a good time to start planning for your happiness. With a whole lot of help from above, I found mine and I know you can find yours too!

Joe Moris may be contacted at (760) 500-6755 or by email at   joe@coastalcountry.net

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