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Old 12-09-2007, 12:29 PM   #121
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Whoa, I'd love to have expenses down to 30K. Maybe that's something to work on as much as accumulating my nest egg. Being in a high property tax area doesn't help (that's 7K right there). I can do pretty well keeping moderate expenses for dining out and entertainment, but there are still a few budget busters like car expenses and health insurance that I'm not sure how to contain.

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My biggest single expense is beer...followed closely by food.
Now that gives me a goal I can really feel good if I could ever reach it. You are my ER idol.
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Old 12-09-2007, 12:42 PM   #122
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My insurance is $280/month with a $2700 yearly deductible. That's just for me, a single person. My insurance doesn't cover dermatologist visits or treatments which have also been running about $6-700/year as well. I don't expect that Medicare will relieve much of this expense once the country realizes how much it will begin to cost. Much of the Medicare benefit that middle class retires have now will begin to diminish. Hope I'm wrong. But I don't see how the country can pay for it.

For that reason, anyone planning on living on 30K really needs to take a hard look at possible medical expenses, including supplemental health insurance, IMHO.
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Old 12-09-2007, 12:58 PM   #123
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Originally Posted by Helena View Post
Having a "pre-existing set of infrastructure"
should be part of retirement planning.
But the real point is that when discussing how little it takes to live in retirement.....like $30K or less...... it should be mentioned that it's true only if you have a boat load of money to pay for an extensive infrastructure at the beginning, have low cost health coverage and no uncovered health issues, have no dependents unless they bring their own $$$, have a social network that doesn't depend on you having much discretionary spending money, and so on and so forth.......

It does make me wonder..... If living on $30K is so easy, why have we had so much discussion on this board about the fact that the majority of boomers might never be able to retire? SS for a couple is frequently in the $30K range, or even higher if both worked. Yet, the concensus here seems to be that most will never be able to survive in retirement and will be asking "fries with that?" until they die.

It just doesn't seem consistent.
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Old 12-09-2007, 01:47 PM   #124
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But the real point is that when discussing how little it takes to live in retirement.....like $30K or less...... it should be mentioned that it's true only if you have a boat load of money to pay for an extensive infrastructure at the beginning, have low cost health coverage and no uncovered health issues.......

It just doesn't seem consistent.

Not necessarily a boat load. My house cost $95,000 in 1992. I put down the $25,000 I saved in my first two years out of law school earning less than $40,000 a year. Within five years, I paid off the $70,000 mortgage and my school loans......... Then saved for the new roof. Unexpected car accident, great pay out on the collision insurance, ended up with a new Honda, will keep it forever........ Arrived at enough in my nest egg to cover my lifestyle, then saw a great deal on a tiny place in the mountains and bought it....... And yes, I'm still under $30,000 without trying hard.

I agree that things won't always sound consistent here, but that makes sense! We're all dealing with different types of expenses, needs, preferences, and we chime up at different times.
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Old 12-09-2007, 01:48 PM   #125
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My property taxes for 2007: $827.30
(Ohio)
Wow!!! Ours is $4.5K. The house is appraised at $330K.
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Old 12-09-2007, 01:55 PM   #126
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It's all relative. I make 43K per year pre tax but I live on only $1500/month the rest is saved. My borther, 7 years out of college, has never made more than $24,000 in a year. He says if he made my money he'd "live like a king". Seems like most people on here spend my yearly income on just the mortgage and eating out. My parents never made more than 30K year until after I was 18 my dad finaly got a job in the 50K range. So we never knew anything but how to live on under 30K so it doesn't feel like deprivation to us. It almost seems easy. I would have a hard time finding ways to spend $80K per year. Although I wouldn't mind trying!
You are correct - everything is relative. Our sister-in-law was able to put her two kids through college (with government grants and aid) and lives comfortably with only $20K income in Southern California. However, she does not have any savings or health care insurance. She now receives financial support from one of her sons. It's hoped that her son will continue to support her and the government can extend assistance if needed.
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Old 12-09-2007, 02:08 PM   #127
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I'm still under $30,000 without trying hard.

I agree that things won't always sound consistent
Your story exacerbates the inconsistency......

If, as you say, the cost of a supporting infrastructure is very low and easy to have and it requires only $30K or less to live nicely in retirement, why the concern about folks being able to retire? SS alone for a couple is typically in the $30K range.

What's up with that?
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Old 12-09-2007, 02:15 PM   #128
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Your story exacerbates the inconsistency......

If, as you say, the cost of a supporting infrastructure is very low and easy to have and it requires only $30K or less to live nicely in retirement, why the concern about folks being able to retire? SS alone for a couple is typically in the $30K range.
The problem with that is one Social Security payment disappears if the person dies so you are now living on $15,000.
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Old 12-09-2007, 02:16 PM   #129
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Originally Posted by kat View Post
Not necessarily a boat load. My house cost $95,000 in 1992. I put down the $25,000 I saved in my first two years out of law school earning less than $40,000 a year. Within five years, I paid off the $70,000 mortgage and my school loans......... Then saved for the new roof. Unexpected car accident, great pay out on the collision insurance, ended up with a new Honda, will keep it forever........ Arrived at enough in my nest egg to cover my lifestyle, then saw a great deal on a tiny place in the mountains and bought it....... And yes, I'm still under $30,000 without trying hard.

I agree that things won't always sound consistent here, but that makes sense! We're all dealing with different types of expenses, needs, preferences, and we chime up at different times.

My house cost $38,500 in 1978; county appraisal in 2005 was $62,500.
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Old 12-09-2007, 02:17 PM   #130
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My insurance is $280/month with a $2700 yearly deductible. That's just for me, a single person. My insurance doesn't cover dermatologist visits or treatments which have also been running about $6-700/year as well. I don't expect that Medicare will relieve much of this expense once the country realizes how much it will begin to cost. Much of the Medicare benefit that middle class retires have now will begin to diminish. Hope I'm wrong. But I don't see how the country can pay for it.

For that reason, anyone planning on living on 30K really needs to take a hard look at possible medical expenses, including supplemental health insurance, IMHO.
You are right about this. 2007 I paid $93/mo Medicare Premium; $157/mo Medigap,and $20 /mo for the cheapest available drug plan. Next year they will all go up- including Medicare for which I will have to pay a higher than standard premium due to a high income in 2006. I expect this premium to last at least a few years until I have fully disposed of some appreciated stock. I do appear to have a lower deductible than your plan has.

What Medicare does do, at least so far, is assure you of coverage at a price that is not rated upward for your medical condition or age beyond 65.

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Old 12-09-2007, 02:24 PM   #131
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I don't know what medical will cost so I am penciling in $12K for it, I hope it is enough.
I might have a mortgage but it will be a choice. I will buy a different house and if I take a mortgage I will invest the amount I didn't spend. So without a mortgage my retirement budget will be:
Property taxes & ins 4,000
Car expenses 5,000
Food & Misc 5,000
Utilities, phone 5,000
Income tax 2,000
Medical 12,000
Wants 5,000
Total 38,000
I will collect rent from roommate to offset the total of at least 8K so come in right at 30K.
I will get SS of about 12K so need 16K from investments so need to have about 400K invested if I retire at 62 plus 12K for each year I retire earlier. I have 445K now so could retire if I had to. Every year I wait now means I can save 25K and investments are growing so a couple more years I will be living good in retirement and can up the budget.
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Old 12-09-2007, 02:29 PM   #132
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The problem with that is one Social Security payment disappears if the person dies so you are now living on $15,000.
Yeah........ OP was asking about a couple living off of $30K. But many respondents are replying from the viewpoint of a single, an entirely different scenario. I went off and did a little reading on the web....... I think the concept of expenses and income for a single vs a couple confounds the analysis significantly.

On the expense side, I'm thinking $30K for a single and $60K for two people seems quite doable. $30K for two people, much less doable.

On the income side, I agree Moemg, if you're counting on a combined income to support retirement, you better understand what happens to the survivor when the first one dies.

Also, My quick guess that SS payments for two people would be around $30K seems to be high...... at least after I read this on the SS site:

Estimated Average Monthly Social Security Benefits Payable in January 2008:
Before
2.3% COLA

After
2.3% COLA
All Retired Workers
$1,055
$1,079
Aged Couple, Both Receiving Benefits
$1,722
$1,761
Widowed Mother and Two Children
$2,192
$2,243
Aged Widow(er) Alone
$1,017
$1,041
Disabled Worker, Spouse and One or More Children
$1,652
$1,690
All Disabled Workers
$ 981
$1,004
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Old 12-09-2007, 03:09 PM   #133
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Your story exacerbates the inconsistency......

If, as you say, the cost of a supporting infrastructure is very low and easy to have and it requires only $30K or less to live nicely in retirement, why the concern about folks being able to retire? SS alone for a couple is typically in the $30K range.

What's up with that?

Life is like that: people are different. Case in point. I have a friend through volunteer work we both do with crime victims. He spends money freely. Always has food in his hands, new purchases on the seat of his car. And he has faced foreclosure several times, filed bankruptcy once. He'll have a state pension, and as someone pointed out already that's a fine arrangement in NY. But there are many people making similar choices without the pension in the future. I'm 45 with a different life situation, different choices. Both realities can be true. Maybe inconsistency isn't the right word. There are various ways to live and we make different choices.
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Old 12-09-2007, 03:27 PM   #134
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Life is like that: people are different. Case in point. I have a friend through volunteer work we both do with crime victims. He spends money freely. Always has food in his hands, new purchases on the seat of his car. And he has faced foreclosure several times, filed bankruptcy once. He'll have a state pension, and as someone pointed out already that's a fine arrangement in NY. But there are many people making similar choices without the pension in the future. I'm 45 with a different life situation, different choices. Both realities can be true. Maybe inconsistency isn't the right word. There are various ways to live and we make different choices.
You entirely missed my point kat. But, let's just drop it, I pretty much answered my question for myself by doing a little research and concluding that SS payments are, on average, lower than I was assuming and it seems to be singles who are comfortable at the $30K level. OP's post was asking about two people living on $30K, a totally different scenario.
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Old 12-09-2007, 03:31 PM   #135
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I agree! Let's drop it! My point is some people can't/won't live on $30,000 (SS in your quote). We're different.
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Old 12-09-2007, 03:37 PM   #136
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I agree! Let's drop it! My point is some people can't/won't live on $30,000 (SS in your quote). We're different.
OK. But, we're really not so different...... I agree with you that folks should be able to live on $30K EACH given a prepaid infrastructure and no sky high health insurance premiums or other expensive, unique circumstances. Heck, you and I are both doing it!
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Old 12-09-2007, 04:28 PM   #137
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OK. But, we're really not so different...... I agree with you that folks should be able to live on $30K EACH given a prepaid infrastructure and no sky high health insurance premiums or other expensive, unique circumstances. Heck, you and I are both doing it!
Property tax is the same no matter how many people live in the house. Same with some people's telephone, internet, security system, trash, heat, replacing the roof. I never claimed to speak for anyone but myself. I bet some couples live under $30,000, but we don't need to have that discussion!
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Old 12-09-2007, 04:37 PM   #138
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Property tax is the same no matter how many people live in the house. Same with some people's telephone, internet, security system, trash, heat, replacing the roof. I never claimed to speak for anyone but myself. I bet some couples live under $30,000, but we don't need to have that discussion!
No we don't. Neither of us has any experience with it. I'm married living on more than $30K. You're living on less than $30K, but apparently single. Neither of us is in the two people/less than $30K group!
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No Way On 30k
Old 12-09-2007, 04:56 PM   #139
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No Way On 30k

Well I thought I could easily retire on 36K for me and the wife. Then reality set in. 2008 Health Insurance 1642.10 /month. Mortgage 700/ month brings the total to around 28K. Taxes around 4400. Electric and phone around 200/month. This bring the total to around 35k fixed costs. 1000 for everything else just dosen't make it. Our budget for next year is around 69k. Oh well, as they say in the commercial, life comes at you fast.
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Old 12-09-2007, 05:30 PM   #140
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2008 Health Insurance 1642.10 /month.
Wow, that's the worse than Martha's number. Just curious, do you have health problems and have an extremely low deductible?
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