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Old 12-07-2011, 06:53 PM   #41
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health insurance?

medical expenses not covered by insurance?

Life insurance?
As I mentioned earlier, health insurance was covered by my job until I lost my job in August. I've been meaning to get insurance but have been procrastinating. I may just self-insure. I'm a healthy 32 year old.

As far as life insurance, i'm single with no kids and have no need for it. Although my assets are very small compared to those on this board, they're enough that my parents would still profit from my untimely death therefore no life insurance is needed.
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Old 12-07-2011, 07:05 PM   #42
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health insurance?

medical expenses not covered by insurance?

Health insurance is currently covered by employer. When I ER in 17 months (and counting!) employer will pay $2,700 annually towards premium. I have put money aside in a separate account where I am budgeting another $3,000 annually towards the policy. The account has enough $$ to last me until Medicare kicks in.

Single, no kids. No life insurance.
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Old 12-07-2011, 07:06 PM   #43
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I can't imagine how others manage such low annual expenses...but maybe I'll learn.
Here's a few of my guesses........

1. Not including the value of employer provided services, such as health insurance, as an expense.

2. Convenient amnesia about automobile expenses. No memory of the new tires, alignment and brake job you needed two years ago. Good memory of last year where you got by with only a couple of oil changes.

3. Assuming expensive items such as houses, automobiles, home electronics, etc., are all in place.

4. Not counting the value of entertainment, dinners, etc., provided by others such as a SO.

5. No hobbies or activities that consume much money. For example, we bought a camper and kayaks over the past couple of years. Sounds like cheap entertainment until I add up the expenses of driving, pulling the camper, over 6,000 miles in 2011 plus campground fees, tourist activities, fishing licenses in 5 states, etc. We love it and plan on even more in 2012, but it is a significant budget line item!

I admire everyone who can live wonderfully on very close to zero. But despite never throwing money around (modest home, seldom dine out, older cars, few would guess we're FIRE by our appearance and lifestyle), we just couldn't live the life we want on those extreme low figures.

Just a character flaw I guess........
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Old 12-07-2011, 07:20 PM   #44
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I try to average $7/day or less. I know $3/day is possible while still eating enough calories to maintain weight but it requires cooking which I have no interest in.
$7 sounds reasonable. There are two of us, so that would be $14/day or almost $100/week. That's our budget and we eat well on that. Of course that doesn't include booze......... Or the rare venture out to a pricey restaurant. But, most of the time, $100/wk for food is no problem.
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Old 12-07-2011, 07:22 PM   #45
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Here's a few of my guesses........

1. Not including the value of employer provided services, such as health insurance, as an expense.

2. Convenient amnesia about automobile expenses. No memory of the new tires, alignment and brake job you needed two years ago. Good memory of last year where you got by with only a couple of oil changes.

3. Assuming expensive items such as houses, automobiles, home electronics, etc., are all in place.

4. Not counting the value of entertainment, dinners, etc., provided by others such as a SO.

5. No hobbies or activities that consume much money. For example, we bought a camper and kayaks over the past couple of years. Sounds like cheap entertainment until I add up the expenses of driving, pulling the camper, over 6,000 miles in 2011 plus campground fees, tourist activities, fishing licenses in 5 states, etc. We love it and plan on even more in 2012, but it is a significant budget line item!

I admire everyone who can live wonderfully on very close to zero. But despite never throwing money around (modest home, seldom dine out, older cars, few would guess we're FIRE by our appearance and lifestyle), we just couldn't live the life we want on those extreme low figures.

Just a character flaw I guess........
In the OP, haha specifically says that he omitted "depreciation or sinking fund or pro forma finance charge on the car. Just cash operating exp".

I followed his format.
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Old 12-07-2011, 07:33 PM   #46
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In the OP, haha specifically says that he omitted "depreciation or sinking fund or pro forma finance charge on the car. Just cash operating exp".

I followed his format.
I wasn't pointing at you or anyone else in particular. Just saying that cheap livin' boasting rights are frequently full of apples to oranges comparisons. But there's always something to be gained from inspecting the spending patterns of others while noting where they live and the type of lifestyle they've chosen. But the absolute numbers can seldom be compared to one another in any kind of meaningful way.
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Old 12-07-2011, 07:34 PM   #47
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Here's a few of my guesses........

1. Not including the value of employer provided services, such as health insurance, as an expense.

2. Convenient amnesia about automobile expenses. No memory of the new tires, alignment and brake job you needed two years ago. Good memory of last year where you got by with only a couple of oil changes.

3. Assuming expensive items such as houses, automobiles, home electronics, etc., are all in place.

4. Not counting the value of entertainment, dinners, etc., provided by others such as a SO.

5. No hobbies or activities that consume much money. For example, we bought a camper and kayaks over the past couple of years. Sounds like cheap entertainment until I add up the expenses of driving, pulling the camper, over 6,000 miles in 2011 plus campground fees, tourist activities, fishing licenses in 5 states, etc. We love it and plan on even more in 2012, but it is a significant budget line item!

I admire everyone who can live wonderfully on very close to zero. But despite never throwing money around (modest home, seldom dine out, older cars, few would guess we're FIRE by our appearance and lifestyle), we just couldn't live the life we want on those extreme low figures.

Just a character flaw I guess........

1. If it's automatically taken out of my paycheck (parking, contribution to health insurance) I don't track it as an expense. To me, those are just a reduction of my salary and when I ER I gain nothing (revenue) by eliminating the parking expense. I am fully aware I will incur an additional expense if I obtain a health insurance plan that exceeds the $2700 my employer will be contributing to that efffort.

2. I track everything when it comes to my auto expenses -- tires, inspection, registration, insurance, maintenance. In the annual account I posted above, I included the new tires and oil changes in the discretionary account only because I was too lazy to break each expense out individually.

3. House has been paid off for 7 years years. I had it built for $170,000 to my specification 10 years ago. i.e. I paid it off in 3 years.

Like my special account set aside to fund future health insurance needs, I also have a separate account that will allow me at least 2 replacement of my car, replace all major appliances at least twice, and put two more roofs on the house.

4. I admit to showing up at my parent's house on Saturday and Sunday and raiding their refrigerator.

5. Tons of hobbies. All accounted for in discretionary expenses -- gardening, golf, travel, crafts, skiing (downhill and cross country), photography. When I retire in 17 months, I will be able to fund at least 4 trips (one per season) each year if I choose to do so. Granted, they will be domestic trips that I'm budgeting $2,500 towards each.


I will retire at 55 years of age. Twenty-seven years ago I set out to LBYM when when I turned 25. Between then and now 53 (soon to be 54) I have taken 2 trips per year (domestically and internationally) which by are more than my friends and coworkers; I am fortunately to have a nicer home and newer car. Granted I am on the cheap side when it comes to gifting/donation. I wear the same pair of shoes to work every day and replace them once the water starts leaking in. I own one pair of earrings. When I lose one, I buy the exact same pair so I have an extra. I own one gold necklace.

At the age of 27 I also purchased my first home for $21,000 by paying cash for it. It was a flat owned by my mom and uncles. So I got it at a good price and was able to recoup some expenses by renting the upstairs to my sister.

I will actually have more money to spend once I retire than what I am currently living on. And very much looking forward to it!!

I live in northwestern Pennsylvania; have worked at the same non-profit for 32 years; and my salary has averaged $35,000 over those years. No inheritance or lottery winnings.
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Old 12-07-2011, 07:35 PM   #48
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Sitting here with a stack of receipts I need to enter into the ol' spread sheet. Maybe by year end - if this thread is still active - I'll show you mine.

But, while we're on the subject, how do folks account for things like:

Deferred maintenance and/or replacement on house, cars, electronics, household devices, etc.?

Car depreciation?

Anticipated "big" future expenses (daughter(s)' wedding(s), special trips rather than yearly vacations, "big toys" (boat, RV, plastic surgery))

etc.?

I don't see much accounting for any of these (especially car depreciation which is an unfortunate fact of life). I'll probably estimate with a straight line approach. Two used cars cost a total of $15K. Assume they will last me 7.5 years total before junking them. Thats about $2K/year. Not very precise, but probably accurate enough in the great scheme of things. YMMV
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Old 12-07-2011, 08:18 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by youbet

I wasn't pointing at you or anyone else in particular. Just saying that cheap livin' boasting rights are frequently full of apples to oranges comparisons. But there's always something to be gained from inspecting the spending patterns of others while noting where they live and the type of lifestyle they've chosen. But the absolute numbers can seldom be compared to one another in any kind of meaningful way.
I imagine you are correct. Some people are very thorough in their specific expenses, and budgeting for future expenses. Im not as much. Since Im retired and my monthly cash flow is over a $1000 more than I spend, I put it in my savings and use that stash for the unexpected expenses. I just complain that I didnt save as much that month and move on. If the budget was tighter, I would have to plan a little better.
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Old 12-07-2011, 08:19 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by youbet

Here's a few of my guesses........

1. Not including the value of employer provided services, such as health insurance, as an expense.

2. Convenient amnesia about automobile expenses. No memory of the new tires, alignment and brake job you needed two years ago. Good memory of last year where you got by with only a couple of oil changes.

3. Assuming expensive items such as houses, automobiles, home electronics, etc., are all in place.

4. Not counting the value of entertainment, dinners, etc., provided by others such as a SO.

5. No hobbies or activities that consume much money. For example, we bought a camper and kayaks over the past couple of years. Sounds like cheap entertainment until I add up the expenses of driving, pulling the camper, over 6,000 miles in 2011 plus campground fees, tourist activities, fishing licenses in 5 states, etc. We love it and plan on even more in 2012, but it is a significant budget line item!

I admire everyone who can live wonderfully on very close to zero. But despite never throwing money around (modest home, seldom dine out, older cars, few would guess we're FIRE by our appearance and lifestyle), we just couldn't live the life we want on those extreme low figures.

Just a character flaw I guess........
I'm guilty of #1, we have good health insurance provided by our employer. But we hardly ever use it, being very healthy mid-20 year olds. Health insurance would be fairly cheap for us, as we'd do a high deductible plan and rarely use it. It will be useful when we have kids.

Everything else was accounted for, and 2-5 is wrong, for myself and my post at least.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Koolau

But, while we're on the subject, how do folks account for things like:

Deferred maintenance and/or replacement on house, cars, electronics, household devices, etc.?
I count it when I pay it, and often average over several years (not just a single year).
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Old 12-07-2011, 08:26 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by Koolau
Sitting here with a stack of receipts I need to enter into the ol' spread sheet. Maybe by year end - if this thread is still active - I'll show you mine.

But, while we're on the subject, how do folks account for things like:

Deferred maintenance and/or replacement on house, cars, electronics, household devices, etc.?

Car depreciation?

Anticipated "big" future expenses (daughter(s)' wedding(s), special trips rather than yearly vacations, "big toys" (boat, RV, plastic surgery))

etc.?

I don't see much accounting for any of these (especially car depreciation which is an unfortunate fact of life). I'll probably estimate with a straight line approach. Two used cars cost a total of $15K. Assume they will last me 7.5 years total before junking them. Thats about $2K/year. Not very precise, but probably accurate enough in the great scheme of things. YMMV
A car can be a big dent in the old budget. When I retired thats the main reason I constructed a loose budget to make sure I can afford a car payment. Since it is long in tooth ( 2002, 170,000 miles) I verbally threaten the junk yard to it, so it behaves. In two years my child support and college expenses go away and then I will have plenty of money for a car, so I just keep my savings stash up in case something happens.
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Old 12-07-2011, 08:29 PM   #52
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Your response sounds as though you took my post as being directed at you. Actually, I was answering a question that Midpack put in front of us.

Quote:
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1. If it's automatically taken out of my paycheck (parking, contribution to health insurance) I don't track it as an expense.
Everybody has their own way of cooking their books. In my case, I consider the financial equivalent of any employer provided benefits as part of my "budget" as though I've received and am spending those dollars. For example, I'm FIRE'd but have been receiving subsidized retiree health insurance from MegaCorp since 2006. The number I use in my cost of living estimate is what I pay plus my estimate of what my employer is paying. That works for me. Your way is apparently working for you.
Quote:
2. I track everything when it comes to my auto expenses -- tires, inspection, registration, insurance, maintenance. In the annual account I posted above, I included the new tires and oil changes in the discretionary account only because I was too lazy to break each expense out individually.
Sounds good.
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3. House has been paid off for 7 years years. I had it built for $170,000 to my specification 10 years ago. i.e. I paid it off in 3 years.
Yeah..... our house is long ago paid off too...... This area is one where apples to apples comparisons get tougher. For example, my 37 yr old son would like to FIRE someday too and we've talked about what it takes. He's familar with our spending. But, I always remind him that in order to to have the low housing costs that we do (given the Chicago suburban area), requires a significant investment up front to buy a house.
Quote:

Like my special account set aside to fund future health insurance needs, I also have a separate account that will allow me at least 2 replacement of my car, replace all major appliances at least twice, and put two more roofs on the house.
"Special" funds and accounts are another factor that make apples to apples comparisons difficult. There's nothing wrong with what you're doing if it's working for you. But accounting for the accumulation of funds for major purchases or special needs is an area folks tend to see differently.
Quote:

5. Tons of hobbies. All accounted for in discretionary expenses -- gardening, golf, travel, crafts, skiing (downhill and cross country), photography. When I retire in 17 months, I will be able to fund at least 4 trips (one per season) each year if I choose to do so. Granted, they will be domestic trips that I'm budgeting $2,500 towards each.
As long as your travel and recreational activities meet your own personal life expectations, you're good to go.
Quote:

I will retire at 55 years of age.
Similar to us. DW made it at 55. I dragged it out until 58. Hardly ER for folks on this board. But it's all good as long as things are working for you and your're enjoying your life.
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Old 12-07-2011, 08:35 PM   #53
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Your response sounds as though you took my post as being directed at you. Actually, I was answering a question that Midpack put in front of us.

.

Sorry. Didn't intend for it to come off that way. Just was clarifying why I feel pretty good about where I am, what I've done, and where I hope to be.
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Old 12-07-2011, 08:35 PM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Koolau View Post
But, while we're on the subject, how do folks account for things like:

Deferred maintenance and/or replacement on house, cars, electronics, household devices, etc.?

Car depreciation?

Anticipated "big" future expenses (daughter(s)' wedding(s), special trips rather than yearly vacations, "big toys" (boat, RV, plastic surgery))

etc.?

I don't see much accounting for any of these (especially car depreciation which is an unfortunate fact of life). I'll probably estimate with a straight line approach. Two used cars cost a total of $15K. Assume they will last me 7.5 years total before junking them. Thats about $2K/year. Not very precise, but probably accurate enough in the great scheme of things. YMMV
When I was young and trying to raise a family, I decided the best thing was to pretend that I was financing all these wear prone items, at the rate I could get on savings or CDs, over the estimated life of the item. A simple straight line sinking fund works well too, if after tax interest rates approximate inflation, which of course is a fantasy today.

Now I usually don't bother. With the very low amount that I drive, my car will likely last as long as I wish to drive. My residence address was planned to allow giving this up when I want to. My apartment is simple and will not need much, my only appliances are washer & dryer, refrigerator & range. All of these are new (the range and reefer I am replacing on move-in.)

My HD TV is still pretty new, but if it breaks I can replace it much more cheaply than it originally cost.

I may draw the line on electronics. No smart phone for me, and for stereo etc my son always has something he is tired of long before my old one is broken. He generally replaces my desktop computer for me too. When I did assume that all this stuff had to be replaced, and I had 2 cars and a pickup, the totals were frightening.

Ha
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Old 12-07-2011, 08:44 PM   #55
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Well, I rounded up a tad, but seems higher this year.

Details: Family - 2 adults, 2 kids under six, 1 dog
No mortgage or car payments, but saving for replacements. We can trim expenses in a few areas, but trying to enjoy more as we save a good % from salary, plus rental income.
I list 529 savings as an expense for now, but probably should not.

We're looking at 54 - 55k this year.


Description
Property Tax, Home Insurance - no mortgage 400
Auto, Gas, Insurance, Tabs, Maintenance, Replacement - 2 cars 900
Medical/Dental (out of pocket)/Life Insurance 325
Electric, Gas, Water, Trash 200
Internet, Cable, Cell - 2 phones 200
Food - Grocery 600
Entertainment 300
Vacation Savings 450
Birthdays / Gifts 250
Kids - 529 savings/clothing 800
Misc 125
Total 4550
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Old 12-07-2011, 09:06 PM   #56
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Since I started using Quicken to download transactions from my bank accounts and credit cards, I've got the number, not for 2011, but for the last 12 months right here.

$97,167 for everything except fed and state income taxes and FICA.

Gosh, it's still high, though quite lower than last year, when I bought a used motorhome and a used toad to go with it. Before you cry "spendthrift", let me tell you about some of the bigger line items.

$29K total for gift to my daughter for a down payment for her home, plus college tuition for my younger son.
$9K for healthcare (insurance + out-of-pocket).
$9K utilities (for 2 homes)
$7K for car expenses (fuel+insurance+licensing+repair, no car payments), out of that $2K goes for the MH 6 new tires and miscellaneous maintenance. The fuel cost for the MH is not included in the above $7K, and is counted separately under travel.

It just goes on and on. Somebody pays $300/year on electricity. My main home costs $386 in Aug alone for AC cooling! That's dry heat for you!

It's scary to see my expenses are that high, ever since I started to track it. But then, you can see that how much more money I will have, once my kids become independent.

Considering that we own two homes, and 4 vehicles (including the MH), we actually do not spend that much. I do all my vehicle maintenance, for example.

Another example is that our food cost including eating out is $6K/yr. Compared that to that of FIRED, I think that he must be washing down a lot of foie gras with Dom Perignon :-)
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Old 12-07-2011, 09:17 PM   #57
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This is our monthly budget for 2012, 2 people, of pretty much fixed or routine expenses. A figure for out of the ordinary expenses is not included, as they would be paid out of Vanguard money market. This year we hope not to have those we've had the past three years (a new car, some home remodeling, family wedding, extensive travel).

re taxes $700
elec 60
nat gas 60
water 50
sewer 20
car gas 200
cable 100
car/home 140
ins
health ins 830
garbage 30
cel 100
home phone 50
food 400
misc 100
health club 85

total $2925
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Old 12-07-2011, 09:21 PM   #58
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This is pretty preliminary and I added in my December property tax and car insurance payments to amounts so far this year (or else it would have made no sense). I combined some categories to make this more comparable to others.

CategoryAmountComments
Utilities$386cable tv+internet, cell, landline, electr., etc.
Groceries$189 
Entertainment$344mostly eating out, ~$300
Car$158gas, maintenance, insurance
House$319insurance, maint, upgrades, prop tax, lawn guy
Clothes$36 
Fitness$92 
Misc$601tv, laptops, 2 rms furniture, iPhone, books, gifts, etc.
Medical$276fed retiree insurance, colonoscopy, prescriptions, copays...
Total$2401plus taxes

Notice how big misc is! I'm working on e x p a n d i n g my lifestyle. Amazon is my friend...
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Old 12-07-2011, 09:26 PM   #59
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Another example is that our food cost including eating out is $6K/yr. Compared that to that of FIRED, I think that he must be washing down a lot of foie gras with Dom Perignon :-)
We live only once my friend...
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Old 12-07-2011, 09:29 PM   #60
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We live only once my friend...
So true!
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