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If you had to...?
Old 02-10-2016, 12:01 PM   #1
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If you had to...?

... could you live on $30,000/year? ... on $35,000 including spouse?

Sounds like a simple question, but just to put this into a framework.
1. Let's forget about the health insurance part, if you are paying from your own pocket... or if you have medicare.
2. Assume that your income and your assets do not exist. ie. as if you were living only on that $30K or $35K.
3. Assume that you would be starting fresh... no home, no other income.
4. Assume that you own a 10 year old car, and that you have already made any necessary move to a new location.

Don't read too much into this... like planning for the future, saving for retirement or covering current expenses, such as a mortgage, childrens' education, or existing debt.

Imagine that you would be magically be transported to whatever place you choose, and would receive the money annually.

Would you need more? Or maybe less?
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Old 02-10-2016, 12:03 PM   #2
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can I move back in with my parents?
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Old 02-10-2016, 12:07 PM   #3
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Of course you could
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Old 02-10-2016, 12:11 PM   #4
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I wouldn't be happy about it, but yes I could.
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Old 02-10-2016, 12:17 PM   #5
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If I got $30k per year, and I was living in a space where I did not have to pay for shelter, and medical premiums did not exist, then I could live on $30k/year but as a no-frills budget. Add $10K for travel and other extravagances, and it's a comfortable life.
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Old 02-10-2016, 12:19 PM   #6
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I wouldn't be happy about it, but yes I could.
+1

Is it possible? I think so given your assumptions.
Would I want to do so? Not really.
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Old 02-10-2016, 12:20 PM   #7
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It would be possible... It would limit many options for a solid quality of life, especially in the early years of retirement. Travel would be limited. As you get older, $35K is a larger sum as you do less.

I probably spend less than that now, as I do not have a house payment. Still, it costs ~700+ a month just to have the house. A car that is 10 years old would need to be replaced at some point.

Some foreign countries are cheaper to live, and you would live like a king.
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Old 02-10-2016, 12:24 PM   #8
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I live on less than $35k and it's comfortable for my household of two adults. That takes emergencies ($4k) and one vacation ($5k) a year into account.
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Old 02-10-2016, 12:24 PM   #9
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Although we do own a modest condo townhouse, we drive an 11 year old Honda, and last year took two European/transatlantic cruises on $40,000 Canadian.....currently around $30K US.........so, it'd be a breeze.
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Old 02-10-2016, 12:31 PM   #10
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I can, and I do. Money for emergencies or the occasional new car would have to come from savings in addition to the 35K.
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Old 02-10-2016, 12:36 PM   #11
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My current income tax and property taxes total about $25K.

But as you say "Assume that your income and your assets do not exist...and house".

So there's lots of qualifiers. Yes I could live on that, but I'd have to move to a cheaper part of the country. Rents around here are high ($1.5-$2K/mo is considered mid-range), so there'd be half of that $30K right there.

Of course, if you're at that level there's also lots of...."help" that can make ends meet and I've seen a lot of creativity to that end: 4-5-6 to an apartment, free meals from the restaurant you work at, driving uninsured cars; and, at least locally, EBT cards can be bought for 10 cents on the dollar value.

Can you survive? Yes. Live? Not so much. Again YMMV according to geography.
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Old 02-10-2016, 12:57 PM   #12
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I could, spouse no.
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Old 02-10-2016, 12:59 PM   #13
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Per Month:
Rent + Utilities = $1000
Groceries = $400
Insurance = $35
Fun = $400
Medical Insurance = $200
Phones = $45
Netflix = $12
Gym = $22
Medications = $100
Gas = $40
= $27k/Year

So, sure. The difference could go into an emergency fund for whatever maintenance and repairs and deductibles, new electronics, etc. that would eventually be needed.
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Old 02-10-2016, 01:02 PM   #14
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Of course I could! I spent less than that most years during the accumulation phase, and only started spending more in retirement due to the market boom.

If the market crashes and stays bottomed out for more than five years or so, I plan to cut back once again to about that level. Shouldn't be too tough. But then, don't forget, there's only one person in my household so that would help.
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Old 02-10-2016, 01:30 PM   #15
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Even in SoCal you can find a decent 1bd apt to rent for $1500, that leaves another $15-18k for food, health care costs etc...it's a very basic living (existence) but doable for sure. My target is $50k which is a comfortable living.
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Old 02-10-2016, 01:42 PM   #16
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Sure. We were living on less for the last few years in Mexico, not counting all the flights in and out. Assuming I could nail down a more permanent visa, I could hunker down on the shores of Lake Chapala and have all the social activity with either expats or locals that I could handle.

(secretly hoping this is some sort of Willie Wonka giveaway...)
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Old 02-10-2016, 01:44 PM   #17
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I currently spend about that much for preschool.
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Old 02-10-2016, 01:50 PM   #18
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BTW, The median per capita annual income from 2009-2013 in New Orleans was $26,500.

Orleans Parish QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau

Looks to me like it's perfectly possible for a single person to live on less than $30K.
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Old 02-10-2016, 01:52 PM   #19
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Of course I could! I spent less than that most years during the accumulation phase, and only started spending more in retirement due to the market boom.

If the market crashes and stays bottomed out for more than five years or so, I plan to cut back once again to about that level. Shouldn't be too tough. But then, don't forget, there's only one person in my household so that would help.
12k all time one year low. Most years 18-24k with a fair amount of travel(28 ft tow behind Prowler trailer). 1990's $ so adjust for inflation. Fish camp - Lk Catherine La.

I think I might have to move off grid in Montana today - and redevelop my el cheapo bad attitude.

Life in a Yurt might be fun!

heh heh heh - NO! Old, lazy and Mr Market has been too kind the last 22 years of ER. Besides you can't take it with you.
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Old 02-10-2016, 01:55 PM   #20
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If it's just DH and I... probably - but the medical insurance is the hard part. DH's insurance is over $6k/year just for him with a high deductible plan. (He's *just* shy of medicare age - so at the most expensive age.) So the medical insurance for both of us would be the largest line item.

I agree with dvalley - that even in pricey SoCal you can find a decent 1br for under $1500. We rent a very nice 1 br casita for a little less than that. (Good tenants -it will be more than that when they move on.)

Because of the medical insurance expense... we wouldn't have a lot of fluff/discretionary... No travel, etc.
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