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Old 01-04-2016, 12:09 PM   #121
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2015 was my first full year of ER. Our spending for DH and I was 32K, which after my tiny VA pension comes out to a WR of under 1.2%. Our spending for the previous 8 years ranged between 24K and 28K, but this year we had to pay for 9 months of health insurance through the ACA with no subsidies. We also had a 2 week Europe trip in there.

While in many ways I'd like to loosen the purse strings, it's not so easy. DH retired in January, but then 6 months later an old boss offered him an easy contract job at the ginormous mega corp 2 miles from our house so he signed up for 10 months. He says he is funding a "travel annuity". He was always less anxious about ER than I was so it surprised me. We go back and forth about spending, he'll say we need to increase our spending, but then after I spent $400 on some new clothes (so I wouldn't look homeless) he said we would have to pull out some additional funds for the month. I am assuming we will figure it out as time goes on.
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Old 01-04-2016, 12:32 PM   #122
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I spent $5.91 more than I earned in 2015... Crap, I think I need a new forum, Spenders Anonymous perhaps.


I will admit, no 401k savings this year, I lost my job for four months and it was tough especially having three major purchases and our first child. DH managed to save in her retirement and emergency fund, god bless her.


I have tons of runway for 2016! Plan on saving at least 22% of our entire Gross Incomes this year...planning, I say only because last year didn't go quite as planned.


The good news is that net worth needle moved higher which is important and both our salaries increased at the end of the year.


To put things in perspective we paid $35,754.23 on the mortgage (I made $6k in extra payments last year) we paid $8,292 for our two new vehicle payments and ~$5,000 in medical bills for birth of child and child labor costs.

We did manage to take a few trips (Memphis, San Diego, Vail) that cost us a couple thousand and I got back into my old and forgotten hobby...SKIING which can be a fairly expensive sport. Just getting back into this with gear, equipment and lift tickets cost me a couple thousand.

I will admit if I sacrificed on my quality of life (which we both have agreed to do in 2016) the bite wouldn't be as bad. No more eating out for lunches, no more snacks at the concessions, and definitely ratcheting up the coupons and deals. We will do more stuff than we did I 2016, albeit more free activities geared towards the little one.
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FIRE in 2031 @ 50yrs old (+/- 2yrs) w/ a hypothetical $2.5mil portfolio, 3 appreciated homes worth $1.0mil and rental income to fund my gap years until RMD. Assets will go to an inherited IRA where I plan on watching the investments grow until I die or the trust gets executed.
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Old 01-04-2016, 12:37 PM   #123
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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.
I had several objectives/criteria in mind, and a miracle happened because I found a house that met all my criteria.

1) Within walking distance of F's house: Even better than that, it's next door.

2) In a great, walkable, convenient, quiet, and safer neighborhood than my former house: yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes.

3) Elderly friendly: It's wonderful in this way. The former owner was disabled and elderly, and I think went from here into a nursing home. Her boyfriend was a general contractor and did some wonderful things with the home to make it elderly/disabled friendly - - didn't just stop at grab bars in the big walk-in shower (which are there, well placed and rock solid). There are many other such features, both minor and major, which make the house very easy to live in and will be even more helpful as I grow older. Like your house it is a one story house with no steps other than one and a half steps to get in the door. And, the double French doors in the back (right by the detached garage) already have a concrete ramp instead of that step.

4) Features I longed for: It has lots of these, including a big walk-in shower, huge 2+ car garage with workshop, and (be still my heart!) my very first laundry room ever!

5) Small size: It is 1500 square feet instead of 1600 like my former home. I still don't use all of the rooms, but I like this size much better and most of the houses in this neighborhood are at least twice as big, so this is probably the smallest possible here. It seems smaller than 1500 sf because it has tons of storage which takes up some square footage.

6) Affordable price

7) Easy care yard: This was the only criterion not met, and I have a landscaping crew out there all week this week, taking out plants and making the necessary changes to convert the yard to an easy care yard.

Now, back to 2015 expenses! Sorry to hijack again, but my big expense was my house, so maybe it wasn't that much off topic.
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Old 01-04-2016, 12:52 PM   #124
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I don't really keep a budget (just spend what SWR comes in) and so I guess I kept to it. The DW will spend anything that accumulates so no net savings there. We have 2 kids starting college next Sept so trying to save a bit for that. But if it becomes too much, I'll do like my parents did for me "sorry, you are on your own, we don't have the money"
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Old 01-04-2016, 01:06 PM   #125
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We've never gotten around to making a prospective budget.

But, our "spending for retirement planning" report, which strips out costs that will not be present (or will be radically reduced) after retirement, shows less spending in 2015 than in any of the previous four years.
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Old 01-04-2016, 01:14 PM   #126
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I like the idea of presenting categories and percentages like W2R did. So here are my categories and the tally.

Oops - forgot taxes - Edited to correct for taxes
Category %
vacation and travel 29%
insurance (medical, dental, home, rental, cars, umbrella) ..15%
Groceries ..9%
Medical OOP 7%
Home Repair (includes a major bathroom remodel) ..7%
Education .. 4%
Taxes (Property, federal, state)... 13%
Auto maintenance and gas .. 3%
Entertainment (cable/internet/movies & shows) 2%
Utilities (water, gas, electric, phone) 3%
Dining out 1%
Misc 7%

It shows how different folks are perfectly happy with different allocations. Again using W2R for comparison (please don't feel I'm picking on her) - she likes eating out most days for lunch - so her restaurants category is much higher than mine. But she dislikes travel - and I love travel. Both are very valid choices of how to spend money to be happy.
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Old 01-04-2016, 01:36 PM   #127
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I like the idea of presenting categories and percentages like W2R did. So here are my categories and the tally.

Category %
vacation and travel 31%
insurance (medical, dental, home, rental, cars, umbrella ..16%
Groceries ..10%
Medical OOP 8%
Home Repair (includes a major bathroom remodel) ..8%
Education ..5%
Property Tax... 4%
Auto maintenance and gas .. 3%
Entertainment (cable/internet/movies & shows) 3%
Utilities (water, gas, electric, phone) 4%
Dining out 1%
Misc 7%

It shows how different folks are perfectly happy with different allocations. Again using W2R for comparison (please don't feel I'm picking on her) - she likes eating out most days for lunch - so her restaurants category is much higher than mine. But she dislikes travel - and I love travel. Both are very valid choices of how to spend money to be happy.
Exactly! I'm glad you got the trip of a lifetime this year, too. I'll leave traveling to those of us who enjoy it, because I just don't.

Is your medical insurance cost included in the medical OOP? Oops, I see where it is now. Even so, you did well in medical expenses, especially considering the injuries your kids sustained last year.
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Old 01-04-2016, 01:46 PM   #128
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LOL - it's an even smaller percentage when I add in taxes to my list (see my edited post above to compare.)

I use quicken - but it didn't include my brokerage account - and I'd made tax payments from my brokerage account when I took money out of an inherited IRA. I made extra tax payments on the withdrawal because I wasn't paying tax on the rental income as it came in.
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Old 01-04-2016, 02:09 PM   #129
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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!

That is TMI... You gave yourself away... You have too much money...Us "wealth confiscators" are coming by to pay a visit today.


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Old 01-04-2016, 02:26 PM   #130
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@W2R. Sounds like you really lucked in with the house. Congrats.
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Old 01-04-2016, 02:33 PM   #131
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@W2R. Sounds like you really lucked in with the house. Congrats.
Thanks! Sometimes I just can't believe how lucky I was to find this house. I am very happy with it. I think it was a good way for me to spend money, since I don't have any desire to travel. Like some women (and even some men), I am kind of a homebody and enjoy having a better house to live in.
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Old 01-04-2016, 03:53 PM   #132
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This is the first full year where we have both been retired. We travelled as much as we wanted and still came in 33% under budget.

Life is too good, I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop...
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Old 01-04-2016, 04:00 PM   #133
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Our budget was pretty close to actual. Although I budget a monthly amount for home maintenance, we had a few big ones this year.. replaced the roof, water heater and TV. We were spot on with entertainment, dining and vacations. I did not spend nearly as much as I wanted on a few of my hobbies this year (racing/golf). Instead of spending my weekends on hobbies, I spent them traveling to gymnastics meets to watch my daughter compete (well worth the trade-off). I did not meet my NW goal in 2015, but that was due to a weak market. My investments had a loss of less than 1% this past year, but my investible assets grew by 7%. Which means I saved a lot more than I spent.
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Old 01-04-2016, 04:01 PM   #134
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...huge 2+ car garage with workshop...
Yet, you have only one car.

Watch out. Monitor the Amazon thread. Won't be long now until W2R talks about buying floor jacks, air compressor and pneumatic tools, grinder, welder, bandsaw, drill press, router, etc...
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Old 01-04-2016, 04:03 PM   #135
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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.
Oh come on, there is a contest going on here, where's your competitive spirit?

Myself, I spent -$50,000 last year. I hope to do better next year too! If I live long enough, I may eventually be a billionaire. Though I may have to increase my negative spending to make this mark.

Ha
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Old 01-04-2016, 04:45 PM   #136
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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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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.
Wow. Our spending for 2015 was less than 2013 or 2014. How's that for self-control? Of course, no new roof or new car did help..

As for the moral high ground, that's definitely to be found among my siblings. And if not mine, DW's.
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Old 01-04-2016, 05:10 PM   #137
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I can't believe how many of you have spending below $30k. Really impressive. My DH and I have been spending $60k (combined) each of the last 3 years.
I was just thinking the same thing..we (2-DINCS) have what we always thought was a very "tight" budget, and it comes in north of $60K in real spending.

We LBYM and are not big spenders. We do live in an area where prop taxes alone are > $7K, autos run ~$1K / mo (2 leases on 'reasonable' Chrysler vehicles, insurance and gas), etc.

The $60K # is probably low (it's likely more like $70K - doing penny-level tracking for the first time this year in Quicken) and does not take into account "A"CA health-care that we'll have to pay at around $5-7K in our pre-Medicare years (roughly 6-8, depending on when we RE).

Would be interested in hearing how some of you are doing ~$30K and under. That's crazy. And impressive!

If we could do $30K, we could RE TOMORROW. But we'd need to move, buy beater cars, eat Ramen noodles and learn what in the world this thing with dryer sheets is all about from the sounds of it, also.

PS: The $60K does not include any mortgage costs as we own our house outright (zero mortgage).
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Old 01-04-2016, 05:34 PM   #138
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Yet, you have only one car.

Watch out. Monitor the Amazon thread. Won't be long now until W2R talks about buying floor jacks, air compressor and pneumatic tools, grinder, welder, bandsaw, drill press, router, etc...
Ha ha!!! I seriously doubt it. I think it's great that some women can handle serious tools like that, but I'm not one of them. Well, except a drill press and router, but I have no need to use either. However, Frank has expressed some interest in using the workshop. Also he and I have talked about how he can put his car in my garage during bad storms/hurricanes and such.
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Old 01-04-2016, 05:39 PM   #139
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I say charge him rent for the garage space!!! Ha!

(obviously just kidding.)
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Old 01-04-2016, 05:43 PM   #140
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I'd also be interested to hear how many of you are estimating expenses, vs doing penny by penny ""actuals" tracking in Quicken, Excel or similar tool...

We use Quicken and review "actuals" on Checking, CC and similar accounts and were astounded how much it takes to run the household living quite conservatively. We don't live "fancy" but it's very, very expensive on a yearly basis also.

Note that my RE involves a small cabin in the woods..if I could ever FIND said cabin, I'd buy it tomorrow, sell the house in the suburbs and be done with this whole mess. But, we also want something reasonably nice (large kitchen, patio, fairly current) also..
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