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Old 12-08-2007, 11:44 AM   #81
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Pardon me for not contributing anything new except perhaps an observation from the comments/posts thus far:

It seems like housing and health related expenses are the major factors in reasonably comfortable retirement.

If you either rent or have a property free of mortgage in a fairly low property tax area, you'd be fine if:

Your health care is taken care of prior to age 65 when Medicare takes over.

I know this is somewhat simplistic but not a bad set of conclusions to draw - but I'm sure there will be other/different observations.
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retiring in nyc
Old 12-08-2007, 12:00 PM   #82
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retiring in nyc

i am usually a lurker here but i will give my opinion about certain things
I live in brooklyn ny and work for the city and i plan on retiring very young. i will do this by not working a day past 46 when i can get my pension. .New york state is best retirement system better than federal govt retirement, health plans with no premiums,co insurance and coverage for life. unlike federal service any negative changes have to be negotiated with unions who will never give much back and by law any retirement benefit made available when person came on the job has to be madeavailable in retirement. for example i came on job when retirees get complete med coverage,if that was ever negotiated away,quess what i stil entitled to get it.
also nyc expensive but you can live cheaply. for example clothing and eve nsome food products cheaper than anywhere else because of competition,dont need a car(car is expensive and pain in butt to own)public transportation fair price, great library system, lots free concerts night clubs,etc. even museums are technically free because lots of peole only donate a dolllar for entrance. as for housing yes housing is expensive and if you are young and want a home you will never a fford one,but lots nyers have rent stabilized apts(i pay 550 a month 1 bdroom in best area).flights are also cheaper to foreign destinations being ny is hub.i and my spouse can live on 2200 a month,really.
Then when time to collect pension leave to someplace cheaper but upstate ny is one of the cheapest housing markets in country. yes taxes exxpensive but who cares about paying 2500 yr property tax when you can buy 50000 dollar house are less, morgage would be about 300 month. car insurance for colliision 40 month upstate. also pittsburgh area subberbs houses cheap also.peole get scared off when they hear about high tax rate but reality is houses are so inexpensive that you win. these 50000 house a in mostly caucasion areas and are yes very old buy no difference than the old victorians in long island ,queens and brooklyn. Most pension s are not taxed in ny as well as pa.
another way to save is do what europeans and japanese do,only heat /cool the rooms you are in,its actually a waste to cool /heat the whole house and thats a luxury only americans do and not only wastes energy but you are helping to pollute the environment.
ALso ralize when you retire you dont commute anymore so gas and car expenses go down ,also alot of work related expenses like going starbucks,buying portabe audio/video devices for long commute9i only bought ipod/psp for commute).Basically retirement should be a time to seperate from the Joneses,heck they are working while you are not so why associate with them and keep up with them.it seems like alot of people continue working to keep up there lifestyle but if you think about it alot of your lifestyle spending is work related.so its like you are working so you can make money to work better,lol
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Old 12-08-2007, 12:04 PM   #83
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I don't have a clue how anyone could live on $30K a year unless they are in an extremely low tax area, have virtually no insurance of any type and absolutely no debt - to include house payments. And them I still can't figure it out.

Here's our position - no kids at home, no cc debt, no car debt.


Main Mortgage - $15K
Property Tax - $5K
Homeowners Ins/Homeowners Assoc - $1K
Vacation Home - $5K (incl taxes, ins)
Groceries - $4K
Dining Out - $3K
Auto Repair - $3K
Insurance (Car/life/health/LTC) - $9K
Gasoline -$1K
Clothes - $3K
Heating Oil - $2K
Electricity - $2K
Medical/Dental - $3K
Household - $3K
Cable - 1K
Gifts - $4K
Home Maint - $3K
Misc - $10K
Entertainment - $2K
Travel - $5K
Phone - $1K
Other Utilities - $1K

Total Expenses- $88K

Current annual diversion to savings - $50K

This does not include absolutely confiscatory federal, state and other taxes.

Good thing I am still working. Given that most of our assets are going to be fully taxable when withdrawn, I expect the minimum we can live on without feeling limited is $125K before taxes. We will sell the second home as it is too small to retire into, but downsizing would actually cost money as our home would sell for less than the smaller ones in the areas we would like to live.

I guess I don't see what the point is in living frugally if you have the income to support a better lifestyle. You only get one shot at this - anything you don't do or experience this time around you will never get to do. Luckily I am one of those few people who will receive a full pension adjusted to inflation, which when combined with SS, will result in only having to take a relatively small amount out of savings each year.
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Old 12-08-2007, 12:43 PM   #84
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Here's my expenses for the six months ending 12/3/07:

Kids -15,648.39
Interest Exp -5,178.29
Tax -5,053.10
Food -1,324.18
Utilities -1,058.87
Medical -829.84
Recreation -811.73
Divorce -788
Auto -564.71
Insurance -465.53
House -351.14
Cash -143.15
Gifts Given -114.57
Misc -102.5
MBA -61.47
Pets -49.5
Clothing -23.96
Bank Charge -22.11

Total 32,591.04
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Old 12-08-2007, 12:46 PM   #85
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I guess I don't see what the point is in living frugally if you have the income to support a better lifestyle. You only get one shot at this - anything you don't do or experience this time around you will never get to do.

I feel the same way !
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Old 12-08-2007, 01:03 PM   #86
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I feel the same way !
Well it depends. Some, like myself, basically do not enjoy working for a 'mega corporation' and would rather live a frugal lifestyle in order to retire early and lead a care free life. I do everything I want on a frugal budget and it keeps me from having to go back to work.

But for the ones that have mega portfolio's, I would blow it out too.
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Old 12-08-2007, 01:13 PM   #87
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Maybe he'll chime in again, but its not unusual in these parts to have gas for cooking, and heating oil for heat. So my guess would be his electric/gas is mostly electric bill, plus a tad of natural gas for cooking and maybe hot water. Then the heating oil bill pushing 2k a year.
We actually don't have natural gas to the house, however, we plan to have a line run this summer. Everything is electric, except the oil burner and hot water. It's about $150/mth...the biggest bills are in summer with 3 wall mount ACs going, and the wife home all summer.

Oil will be more next year than it was this year. Our last fill up two weeks ago was $630 for 200 gallons. A few fillups and your approaching $2k fast. Taxes of $9k are actually considered pretty cheap where I am...my neighbor just moved to a larger house a mile away and is paying $28k in property taxes. New construction and 4600 sq ft McMansion would explain it, but the real scary part is he'll be paying close to $50k in property taxes in 10 years the way things are going (mine go up about $600/yr, and his taxes are 3X mine, so his increases should be 3X mine each year).
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Old 12-08-2007, 01:22 PM   #88
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Ha, if you lived in a paid off house in a less expensive part of the country, you would probably spend much less. But living in an apartment in a coastal city makes you happy, and you can afford it, so why not?
True enough, and The Bay Area and NYC are worse yet. But I would really not want to leave here, for many reasons. Right now I am finishishng up my country sausage and eggs, looking out the window at the Space Needle on another glorious day. A son is coming by for coffee a bit later, then I'll walk downtown and buy something for my other son's birthday which is coming up soon. Sometimes I feel like I should pinch myself, so much in my life is so much to my liking.

But if I were established in New Orleans, I think I would have a ball there too. Might not be cheap anyway, because I would be dancing at the Rock-n-Bowl a few nights week, and going to Tipitina's or wherever Kermit Ruffins or Stanton Moore or the Neville Brothers are playing the other nights.

One thing I'll say, you folks from Southern LA can really party! I met a little gal visiting from Baton Rouge last night. She really burned up the dancefloor!

Ha
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Old 12-08-2007, 01:37 PM   #89
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True enough, and The Bay Area and NYC are worse yet. But I would really not want to leave here, for many reasons. Right now I am finishishng up my country sausage and eggs. looking out the window at the Space Needle on another glorious day. A son is coming by for coffee a bit later, then I'll walk downtown and buy something for my other son's birthday which is coming up soon. Sometimes I feel like I should pinch myself, so much in my life is so much to my liking.

But if I were established in New Orleans, I think I would have a ball there too. Might not be cheap anyway, because I would be dancing at the Rock-n-Bowl a few nights week, and going to Tipitina's or wherever Kermit Ruffins or Stanton Moore or the Neville Brothers are playing the other nights.

One thing I'll say, you folks from Southern LA can really party! I met a little gal visiting from Baton Rouge last night. She really burned up the dancefloor!

Ha
Thanks, Ha. New Orleans really DOES have a lot to offer, and I do enjoy living here, so much. It is going to be hard to leave, though I am always up for an adventure.
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Old 12-08-2007, 01:48 PM   #90
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Many folks are specifying that they could survive the $30K budget IF they have a paid off house. So, It sounds like one of the admission fees into the "Do It On $30K Club" is having $150K or more for a house in top notch condition requiring no expensive repairs or updates.

More generally, it sounds like many of the folks saying yes to $30K are assuming they're fully capitalized with paid off house and car in good condition, furniture, appliances, etc.

I suppose it would be a lot tougher if you only had the $30K income without a pre-existing set of infrastructure!
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Old 12-08-2007, 01:50 PM   #91
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I could do $30K with a paid-off house, paid-off kid, and paid-off taxes. Maybe.
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Old 12-08-2007, 02:06 PM   #92
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I could do $30K with a paid-off house, paid-off kid, and paid-off taxes. Maybe.

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Old 12-08-2007, 03:05 PM   #93
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Even after we leave Southern California (July 2008) for the hotter/cheaper climes of Texas, I don't think my wife and I could live on $30k. We live somewhat frugally but nothing like that (our rent is $3k a month now and the note - with taxes - on the new house won't be a lot less)... It's clearly a function of what you get used to and how carefully you want to husband your resources.
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Old 12-08-2007, 03:08 PM   #94
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Originally Posted by restonham View Post
I don't have a clue how anyone could live on $30K a year unless they are in an extremely low tax area, have virtually no insurance of any type and absolutely no debt - to include house payments. And them I still can't figure it out.

Here's our position - no kids at home, no cc debt, no car debt.


Main Mortgage - $15K
Property Tax - $5K
Homeowners Ins/Homeowners Assoc - $1K
Vacation Home - $5K (incl taxes, ins)
Groceries - $4K
Dining Out - $3K
Auto Repair - $3K
Insurance (Car/life/health/LTC) - $9K
Gasoline -$1K
Clothes - $3K
Heating Oil - $2K
Electricity - $2K
Medical/Dental - $3K
Household - $3K
Cable - 1K
Gifts - $4K
Home Maint - $3K
Misc - $10K
Entertainment - $2K
Travel - $5K
Phone - $1K
Other Utilities - $1K

Total Expenses- $88K

Current annual diversion to savings - $50K

This does not include absolutely confiscatory federal, state and other taxes.
Misc - $10K

?

Incomprehensible.
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Old 12-08-2007, 04:10 PM   #95
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Our expenses for 2007 (including estimates for the next 22 days) are/will be $28490.....+/- $1000 in misc pocket change. All taxes, all ins premiums, med expenses, food, travel, utilities, etc, etc, etc, ALL included! Honest injun!

No mortgage, no CC or other debts, no kids, no pets, etc. New roofs last year, new furnace, water heater, major appliances, floor coverings, etc. in the last several years, quality furniture in very good shape. We replaced both cars in the last 2 years (one was 8 years old the other was 9 years old), purchased one new and the other 1 year old....one with 10yr full warranty, the other with 3 years.

My estimate for '08 is about $36000 (+/- $1000) due to some extra travel, and adding on to my workshop. We have 2 pensions coming in totaling about $57K per year (cola'd) The difference gets invested & banked for future needs & wants. Our 2009 expenses should drop back down to around the $30K mark, because of no workshop construction expenses.
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Old 12-08-2007, 04:32 PM   #96
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I don't have a clue how anyone could live on $30K a year unless they are in an extremely low tax area, have virtually no insurance of any type and absolutely no debt - to include house payments. And them I still can't figure it out.
I agree with you. It's amazing how they manage to live under a tight budget. We are debt free (no loans or mortgage). We hardly eat out. We take one vacation a year (less the $4K). We hardly spend much on anything else. Our expenses are in the $50s.
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Old 12-08-2007, 04:45 PM   #97
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For those wanting to live on a 30K income you might like to see what the 30-somethings are doing. Daily Kos: State of the Nation I know there are lots of cheapskate websites as well. But this one despite being focused on younger people seems particularly apt to the ER discussion. Those saving for retirement might get some hints too. Well, some of the scams are too undignified for grownups. Like the freebie hints (example: stop by Jiffy Lube for the free donuts every morning! or "Sneak into the Marriot for the free breakfast then use the hot tub!") But the hints on going without are the same kinds of methods that got me through college and graduate school as a single mother.
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Old 12-08-2007, 05:05 PM   #98
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For those wanting to live on a 30K income you might like to see what the 30-somethings are doing. Daily Kos: State of the Nation I know there are lots of cheapskate websites as well. But this one despite being focused on younger people seems particularly apt to the ER discussion. Those saving for retirement might get some hints too. Well, some of the scams are too undignified for grownups. Like the freebie hints (example: stop by Jiffy Lube for the free donuts every morning! or "Sneak into the Marriot for the free breakfast then use the hot tub!") But the hints on going without are the same kinds of methods that got me through college and graduate school as a single mother.
Good article., and maybe helpful to me since these are also people living in the city in apartments.

I do think I would have to be very highly motivated to stick close to something like this.

Ha
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Old 12-08-2007, 05:25 PM   #99
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I just paid my property tax last week for my median priced home in an fairly upscale suburb of New Orleans (Metairie). It was $451 for the entire year. Last year it was less than that. It was higher before Katrina, but still only around $900 or $1000. It's all in where you live.

I had never heard of property taxes this low so I had to check it out .Louisiana is the cheapest state for property taxes .Nice place to visit but I don't want to live there .Alabama and Arkansas are next .
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Old 12-08-2007, 05:35 PM   #100
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I think that money = time. When you choose to spend money, you are choosing to spend that much more of your life in a cubicle (or whatever), instead of doing other things.

Now, each of us has choices in life.

Some might prefer to work a year longer so that they could afford the good life, trips abroad, and items that others might consider to be unnecessary, and would be living on greater budgets than $30K. I suspect this is more likely to be true for the young dreamers here, who have so much time left and so much to look forward to.

Others would really rather be hung by their fingernails, diced, and fed to livestock for breakfast than to work even one hour longer than they need to work. They might be more willing to retire to a low cost of living area and live a more frugal lifestyle in order to have as much free time in their remaining years as possible.

I have been in the latter category for a long time. Lately, it looks like I may have more money in ER than I had expected, though I must work two more years for my lifetime health benefits. Anyway, right now I am at a loss as to how I would spend much more than I have always spent.

Frank says I will get the hang of this after a while.

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I had never heard of property taxes this low so I had to check it out .Louisiana is the cheapest state for property taxes .Nice place to visit but I don't want to live there .Alabama and Arkansas are next .
Yes, and our state income taxes are moderate, but we have 8.375% sales taxes in the New Orleans area. Luckily, I don't buy much so they don't affect me much.

Wanna buy my home? Low property taxes, nice neighborhood, nice climate (most of the time)... Oh that's right, you don't want to live here, but if anyone else does....
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