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Old 01-04-2016, 07:59 AM   #101
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There may be many here that advocate thrift but the offense and resentment are, like beauty, in the eyes of the beholder.
Either way, why risk it?
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Old 01-04-2016, 08:43 AM   #102
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Either way, why risk it?
There's nothing wrong with using percentages rather than absolute numbers. I think the majority of posters do not claim any superiority, moral or otherwise. There are many topics that involve choice where some members judge the choices made by others. Diet, family size, and helping others are just a few. We are all humans and this is the internet.
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Old 01-04-2016, 08:48 AM   #103
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There's nothing wrong with using percentages rather than absolute numbers. I think the majority of posters do not claim any superiority, moral or otherwise. There are many topics that involve choice where some members judge the choices made by others. Diet, family size, and helping others are just a few. We are all humans and this is the internet.
Agree. Most posters might not claim superiority but some imply such in the way they respond as you suggest (diet,etc). Maybe I am a little too sensitive on this but I agree percentages usually work better and generally get the point across. Cheers.
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Old 01-04-2016, 08:54 AM   #104
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It's not what you spend, but what you get for the money. And sometimes you can get more or the same for less.

"It's possible to live well whether you are rich or poor. When you are poor, it just costs less" -- Andrew Tobias
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Old 01-04-2016, 08:56 AM   #105
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There's nothing wrong with using percentages rather than absolute numbers. I think the majority of posters do not claim any superiority, moral or otherwise. There are many topics that involve choice where some members judge the choices made by others. Diet, family size, and helping others are just a few. We are all humans and this is the internet.
I do notice that some of our members can tend to be a little judgmental at times. Maybe that is because so many of us are INTJ left handed engineering types. We all know what that "J" stands for.

Anyway, I noticed a lot more of that personally before I retired. Back then I was living on less than $30K and hitting the LBYM really hard, in the final run-up to retirement. Back then people suggested that those of us spending less, were engaging in creative math to come up with our numbers. They seemed (to me) to imply that it was impossible for anyone to live on less than $30K or so, and all that sort of thing. Now that I am spending lots more I guess it sounds less like bragging. Bragging was never my intention but perhaps it came off that way. Probably I should have just given percentages, like MichaelB suggested above.
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Old 01-04-2016, 09:04 AM   #106
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Over the last 5 years our expenses have been between 58k and 62k. This is for family of 4 and excludes mortgage, taxes, and college tuition payments.

When I retire my spending will be a function of our portfolio balance, pension, and SS but will likely be a bit more.
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Old 01-04-2016, 09:18 AM   #107
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It's not what you spend, but what you get for the money. And sometimes you can get more or the same for less.

"It's possible to live well whether you are rich or poor. When you are poor, it just costs less" -- Andrew Tobias
Right, but "living well" is a pretty personal thing. Probably a subject not well suited to an anonymous chat room? I find the posts that don't directly deal with personal tastes, personal idiosyncrasies, etc, are generally the most useful.
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Old 01-04-2016, 09:25 AM   #108
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Right, but "living well" is a pretty personal thing...
Exactly.

People generally find a way to get happy with what they have. If they don't, life will be miserable. I have told a story of how James Clark was not happy when he found out the mast on his huge sailboat was only the 2nd tallest in the world.

I think ER's here who have dropped out of work early know that they are giving up money for something that they value more. Hence, they should not be envious of other posters' possessions.

The above said, I think it is better not to state your expenses if they are out of the ordinary range.
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Old 01-04-2016, 09:32 AM   #109
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Bragging was never my intention but perhaps it came off that way. Probably I should have just given percentages, like MichaelB suggested above.
OK, so here are this year's percentages. To begin with, I choose to not reveal my income tax even as a percentage, so it is not included in any of this. Of the remaining spending, 70% was for "dream house" expenses: selling my old house, buying my new house in cash (minus what I got for the old house in cash), closing costs, repairs buyers wanted done on my old house, renovations of my new abode, and moving.

Of the other 30% of my spending, here are the percentages:


Category %
Miscellaneous 13%
Video gaming ..2%
Groceries ..9%
Restaurant 10%
Gasoline ..2%
Car ..7%
House (maintenance, property tax, etc.)... 21%
Utilities ..9%
Fitness ..3%
Clothes ..1%
Medical 23%

House insurance is under "house", medical insurance/Medicare under "medical", car insurance under "car".
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Old 01-04-2016, 09:34 AM   #110
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Heck, here's how much I spent in 2015: just a couple of grands below the 6-figure mark.

It was of course higher when my children were in college, but by now I thought I would be safely well below that level. Housing costs are higher than I thought, when you have two homes that need maintenance repair and some upgrade.

There!
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Old 01-04-2016, 09:46 AM   #111
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Exactly.

People generally find a way to get happy with what they have. If they don't, life will be miserable. I have told a story of how James Clark was not happy when he found out the mast on his huge sailboat was only the 2nd tallest in the world.

I think ER's here who have dropped out of work early know that they are giving up money for something that they value more. Hence, they should not be envious of other posters' possessions.

The above said, I think it is better not to state your expenses if they are out of the ordinary range.
Agree. Well said.
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Old 01-04-2016, 10:08 AM   #112
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The negatives:
We spent far more than I would have liked. I was told by a retired friend that the first year you spend more. He was right.
Portfolio took a big hit too. Oil, y'know.
Positives:
Coasted on savings from last job for several months.
Secured HELOC, but for half of what we asked for.



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Old 01-04-2016, 10:14 AM   #113
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I personally don't mind people sharing absolute numbers. We come from all walks of life and our spending habits vary greatly. I do have admiration for people who can do with so little, but that doesn't mean I condemn people who spend a lot of money. If I were a neurosurgeon or a big shot lawyer or a CEO of a maga corp in my past life for example, I would most likely have more money in my pocket, and my spending level would be much higher, for sure. I expect that. I would however, expect mindful/smart spending from people who come to this forum. When I say mindful/smart spending, I mean the kind of spending that doesn't get you in debt and the big ticket item purchases were done after a good amount of research, weighting pros and cons, etc. I have some friends who spend big money rather frivolously, and that's OK too, but I don't expect them posting here.
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Old 01-04-2016, 10:15 AM   #114
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My expenses ended up at a 2% WR thanks to great medical insurance while DH continues to work and zero cost activities that keep me happy and busy all day. Overall my portfolio fell by 0.4% so I was able to cover most of my expenses with dividends and cap gains. Of course those cap gains have been wiped out today. I've said it before, I'll say it again .... "although I planned for bad sequence of returns that doesn't mean it's what I wanted !!!".
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Old 01-04-2016, 10:27 AM   #115
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The negatives:
We spent far more than I would have liked. I was told by a retired friend that the first year you spend more. He was right.
Portfolio took a big hit too. Oil, y'know.
Positives:
Coasted on savings from last job for several months.
Secured HELOC, but for half of what we asked for.
As stated earlier, I spent more than expected, but here are the positives.

I helped my daughter and son-in-law with their wedding cost. It was a wonderful event, and our family and friends told us so. It's worth every penny, including the money to purchase a tux that I will rarely use again, which would seem frivolous. And once I made my mind to keep our homes, I need to spend money to maintain and upgrade them for the living pleasure.

Perhaps most importantly, I recover my health to enjoy travel, or just to live. I could have been dead.

And FIRECalc says I could spend even more, but I am not going to push my luck, what with Bogle and Shiller have been sayin'.
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Old 01-04-2016, 10:46 AM   #116
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I've already seized the moral high ground on this thread by pointing out our entire annual spend went to support the needy.

I'm also happy to brag report that while we did exceed our 2015 budget by 9%, our WR was only 4.3% of our initial 2005 starting portfolio, a full 0.5% less than the inflation-adjusted 4.8% we could have withdrawn according to the Trinity Study.
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Old 01-04-2016, 10:59 AM   #117
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I've already seized the moral high ground on this thread by pointing out our entire annual spend went to support the needy.

I'm also happy to brag report that while we did exceed our 2015 budget by 9%, our WR was only 4.3% of our initial 2005 starting portfolio, a full 0.5% less than the inflation-adjusted 4.8% we could have withdrawn according to the Trinity Study.
Braggart! I exceeded my 2014 spending by 322%, if you include the house selling/buying/moving. If you don't, then 16%.

My WR without the house selling/buying/moving expenses would have been 1.7%, but with all included was a whopping 7.8%.

I am figuring that the dream house represents a permanent reduction in my portfolio principal. That's fine with me, because my average WR so far in retirement has been low, and it has gone down further in the past couple of years because I started getting SS. FIRECalc says I will be fine.

Oh, and my entire withdrawal went to support a poor little old unemployed lady surviving in hurricane devastated New Orleans. Well, given that all those adjectives are relative terms.
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Old 01-04-2016, 11:41 AM   #118
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I also admire the folks on this board who are able to live on less than 30k for a single person and less than 50k for a married couple. Our expenses are higher because we live in a high cost of living area and our activities and preferred life style require higher spending. I'm sure there are folks here who spend more than us. So it's a personal preference so long as people are happy and content with their choices.

Our 2015 planned budget was 4.5% WR but we actually under spent by 0.5% so we plan to increase our WR to 5% in 2016.
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Old 01-04-2016, 11:45 AM   #119
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I bought a house this year that is a dream come true for me. It isn't the kind of house that everybody would want. In fact some of our members would probably say "Ewww" if they saw it, because it's small and old (1500 sq ft and built around 1960), but it's just perfect for me and exactly what I have always wanted. I am so glad that I did this.

Hi w2r. You've mentioned your house in a few posts and first big congrats and second am curious what criteria you used -- was it bigger or smaller than before? Location played a big part ? Able to "age" in place with near by amenities?

we have a paid off house that is very very moderate after living in way bigger and more expensive houses for a couple decades ... It Took some adjustment as part of fire and relocation but this size seems to fit us as we look to the future.

With our nest starting to empty soon, and watching our own parents age and then struggle with larger houses and climbing stairs , mobility retrofits, and overall higher maintenance costs, we just don't understand why so many of our peers tend to need or want the "status" of an "upgrade" to bigger house and take on more debt just as the kids grow up and out...

We like the easy cleaning, the single level no stairs and being able to "hear" each other. Not to mention the smaller size prevents too much junk accumulation . And locking it up and not worrying too much if we want to travel for months on end is cool too ...

It's a little tight when the kids are home but we are learning to manage. Having land/space after living in mega cities is awesome too. And those older houses are built to last.

I recall my grandparents raised 2 kids in a 1400 sq foot ranch and a 1 🚙 garage and that was the norm.

Congrats again. No doubt you'll enjoy some of the maintenance aspects of the new place - painting the way you want etc. All very manageable and gratifying uses of retirement time.
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Old 01-04-2016, 11:49 AM   #120
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...I recall my grandparents raised 2 kids in a 1400 sq foot ranch and a 1 �� garage and that was the norm...
They had a 1-car garage? Many homes back then only had a car porch, if they were lucky.
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