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Old 09-06-2013, 02:21 PM   #41
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I won't get into the details of what you mean by disposable income but France is expensive even for the locals.
Renting, EU country passport for health care, self insure or private insurance, only living there part of the year, and coming from a place even more expensive? My only point was it wouldn't be necessary to work until 80 to live in France for a month in retirement. Sorry I tried to support your post on the subject in a way that did not meet your standards.

There are expats from the US and UK younger than 80 who live in France and seem to make it work.
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Old 09-06-2013, 02:25 PM   #42
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I am a Bernicke model type. I've seen my in-laws and parents follow the pattern of reduced spending as they age. By the time my in-laws were 80 they ate modestly, hit an occasional early bird special, gave to their church and spent most of their time around the house. They hardly ever bought anything. My own parents were dead before 80. If someone thinks they'll need as much money for their lifestyle then as their 50's, they are delusional.
I think many of those later costs are not discretionary, like healthcare and home help. Although certainly reduced travel would be. My mom doesn't travel much any more, but does get to Las Vegas a couple of times a year. That can take care of extra income fast.

To the extent that there may be cost increases late in life that are non-discretionary, saying that "most" people have lower expenses late in life is like saying your SWR is 51% successful. Counting on reducing costs as you age is cutting any safety margin pretty slim in my mind.
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Old 09-06-2013, 02:49 PM   #43
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I did not find France cheap at all and would not think people would choose it for cheap retirement. Perhaps if you live in a car, eat only baguettes and pee in the street.

wait a sec....maybe I did see some retired people there...
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Old 09-06-2013, 02:54 PM   #44
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I saw a House Hunters episode of a former federal employee looking for a home near Cognac, France.

They noted that housing prices had barely moved there compared to a place like Paris for instance.

He found a nice home for $500k, a renovated townhouse building that goes back centuries.

Well one reason why prices aren't going up in that region is that it's a landlocked place which is at least 100 km from any airport that has international (including inter-European) flights.

So hard to draw foreign visitors or even buyers.
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Old 09-06-2013, 04:35 PM   #45
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I think many of those later costs are not discretionary, like healthcare and home help. Although certainly reduced travel would be. My mom doesn't travel much any more, but does get to Las Vegas a couple of times a year. That can take care of extra income fast.

To the extent that there may be cost increases late in life that are non-discretionary, saying that "most" people have lower expenses late in life is like saying your SWR is 51% successful. Counting on reducing costs as you age is cutting any safety margin pretty slim in my mind.
What I think you are missing is that the lower expenses in later old age are pretty much across the board in most categories other than health care. (See the link in my prior post).

Some things that my mother in her late 80's spends less on than she did when she was younger:

Clothes - she doesn't have much need to buy new clothes. She has lots of clothes that aren't worn out. She has fewer occasions to go out. She spends more time at home with casual clothes. She may never have to buy any more clothes for the rest of her life, save for a few undergarments or shoes.

Food - She doesn't dine out as much. She does go sometimes but getting in the car and driving there is more of a chore than she likes. Also, her appetite is less now than it used to be. She doesn't eat as much food.

Housing - House is paid for. She doesn't do much refurnishing or redecorating. She does pay to have repairs made and she has an increased cost for paying for yard work and someone to clean her house, but she spends much less on discretionary household items.

Entertainment - Same as dining out. She doesn't enjoy going out to the movies or many other more entertainment oriented things. She might do a little occasionally but not a lot.

New technology - She saves a lot by not getting into newer technology. No internet, no smartphone (she does have a basic cellphone), no cable TV, etc. She never had these things so she doesn't miss them.

Auto - She still drives, but puts few miles on her car (which is almost 20 years old but still has low mileage). Her fuel cost is much lower than it used to be because she doesn't drive much. Not much cost for repairs or maintenance because she doesn't drive much. Your auto costs just are very much when you don't buy a new car in 20 years....

Yes, her prescription cost is higher than it used to be and she does have medical expenses. However, she is on medicare with a supplement and prescription drug plan so even her medical costs are relatively straightforward. If she needed long term care that would be a high cost, but unless and until she does almost every other category of spending has gone way down.

For most people the spending in virtually every category save health related go down during late old age. Again, I'm know there are exceptions but the data is clear that spending does usually go down.
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Old 09-06-2013, 11:27 PM   #46
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What I think you are missing is that the lower expenses in later old age are pretty much across the board in most categories other than health care. (See the link in my prior post).

Some things that my mother in her late 80's spends less on than she did when she was younger:

Clothes - she doesn't have much need to buy new clothes. She has lots of clothes that aren't worn out. She has fewer occasions to go out. She spends more time at home with casual clothes. She may never have to buy any more clothes for the rest of her life, save for a few undergarments or shoes.

Food - She doesn't dine out as much. She does go sometimes but getting in the car and driving there is more of a chore than she likes. Also, her appetite is less now than it used to be. She doesn't eat as much food.

Housing - House is paid for. She doesn't do much refurnishing or redecorating. She does pay to have repairs made and she has an increased cost for paying for yard work and someone to clean her house, but she spends much less on discretionary household items.

Entertainment - Same as dining out. She doesn't enjoy going out to the movies or many other more entertainment oriented things. She might do a little occasionally but not a lot.

New technology - She saves a lot by not getting into newer technology. No internet, no smartphone (she does have a basic cellphone), no cable TV, etc. She never had these things so she doesn't miss them.

Auto - She still drives, but puts few miles on her car (which is almost 20 years old but still has low mileage). Her fuel cost is much lower than it used to be because she doesn't drive much. Not much cost for repairs or maintenance because she doesn't drive much. Your auto costs just are very much when you don't buy a new car in 20 years....

Yes, her prescription cost is higher than it used to be and she does have medical expenses. However, she is on medicare with a supplement and prescription drug plan so even her medical costs are relatively straightforward. If she needed long term care that would be a high cost, but unless and until she does almost every other category of spending has gone way down.

For most people the spending in virtually every category save health related go down during late old age. Again, I'm know there are exceptions but the data is clear that spending does usually go down.
Again, "most people" is not everyone. Maybe it is you, but none of us can be sure until we get there. Will you take even a 10% chance that because of some disability you'll have to hire someone to run your house, hire cabs all the time to go anywhere, or enter assisted living?

My Mom (85) scrimps a bit to stay on a fixed annuity income and SS and leave her portfolio untouched. Her real income is slowly decreasing. It is adequate as long as nothing extraordinary happens. But she could spend more usefully, she's just self limiting. Without her portfolio I'd be very concerned, since there doesn't appear to be a lot of slack in her budget anymore. She has been eating out almost exclusively now so that she doesn't have to cook. Her car is newer than mine, she still travels (though she boarded as "disabled" for the first time this year).

My 88 year old "uncle" (family friend) just bought a new BMW M3 and gave me a ride in July. I actually wasn't afraid to ride with him, which is impressive. He worked through his 70's to be able to afford several new cars then and now. No perceptibly slower spending there.

But anecdotal evidence and averages aren't really that important. I want to preserve at least the option of having constant real spending. And I'll ensure that my portfolio remains a healthy size for self-insurance of long-term care should that be necessary. I have always planned for a relatively constant lifestyle, both before and after retirement. I saved enough so that I won't be screwing my 80 year old self out of it. He's welcome to it.
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Old 09-07-2013, 01:01 AM   #47
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Again, "most people" is not everyone. Maybe it is you, but none of us can be sure until we get there.

I didn't say it was everyone. I didn't even say it was me. I said it was most people which the data clearly shows that it is. I'm not trying to tell you or anyone else how much to plan for. I consider that a personal matter that depends on the individual. However, it is important that decisions be made based upon correct information.

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Will you take even a 10% chance that because of some disability you'll have to hire someone to run your house, hire cabs all the time to go anywhere, or enter assisted living?
That isn't the point. FWIW, in my own plan I don't plan for steep cuts in spending in later years. I don't need to in order for my current plan to work so I don't. Maybe I will at some point.

However, I do think you are missing my point. I agree that certain costs may indeed go up in later years such as health care and long term care. If I was going to take the time and trouble to project spending in each category for, say, my 80s I would personally look at the individual category to plan. I would plan that some categories would go down (travel, dining out, clothing, etc.) I would plan that some categories would go up (health care, long term care). Maybe I would end up overall spending going down and maybe I wouldn't. Don't know since I haven't actually done it for my 80s. The point is that it is entirely possible that someone can plan for the type of increases you are talking about while also planning for certain expenses decreasing. When this is done for individual person it may result in decreased spending in later life or for increased spending.

FWIW, in my personal experience, I personally have seen that except for the people I've known in their 80s they do indeed spend less than they spent when they are younger. I'm sure there are exceptions, most likely in those that are in a nursing home for an extended period of time. But I have overall seen that for those still living at home they spend less. I tend to believe this data because it is in accord with the data in the table I posted earlier. But, I also know that this isn't true for everyone. I make no projection whatsoever as to what a specific person's expenses will be in later life as this really depends on the individual. And, I really have fine with someone choosing to plan for level spending.
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Old 09-07-2013, 02:31 PM   #48
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I didn't say it was everyone. I didn't even say it was me. I said it was most people which the data clearly shows that it is. I'm not trying to tell you or anyone else how much to plan for. I consider that a personal matter that depends on the individual. However, it is important that decisions be made based upon correct information.



That isn't the point. FWIW, in my own plan I don't plan for steep cuts in spending in later years. I don't need to in order for my current plan to work so I don't. Maybe I will at some point.

However, I do think you are missing my point. I agree that certain costs may indeed go up in later years such as health care and long term care. If I was going to take the time and trouble to project spending in each category for, say, my 80s I would personally look at the individual category to plan. I would plan that some categories would go down (travel, dining out, clothing, etc.) I would plan that some categories would go up (health care, long term care). Maybe I would end up overall spending going down and maybe I wouldn't. Don't know since I haven't actually done it for my 80s. The point is that it is entirely possible that someone can plan for the type of increases you are talking about while also planning for certain expenses decreasing. When this is done for individual person it may result in decreased spending in later life or for increased spending.

FWIW, in my personal experience, I personally have seen that except for the people I've known in their 80s they do indeed spend less than they spent when they are younger. I'm sure there are exceptions, most likely in those that are in a nursing home for an extended period of time. But I have overall seen that for those still living at home they spend less. I tend to believe this data because it is in accord with the data in the table I posted earlier. But, I also know that this isn't true for everyone. I make no projection whatsoever as to what a specific person's expenses will be in later life as this really depends on the individual. And, I really have fine with someone choosing to plan for level spending.
Oh, I know even I may not spend as much in my 80's as my 70's. But I can't budget that with any great certainty. I could need more, I might be fine with less. I just don't know. And I have an extremely detailed current budget. At what age will I stop driving? When will I not want to travel much? Will I need a walker when I'm (only!) 80? When will that new tech that I just have to have start coming into its own?

If you deliberately plan on an extra $20k in travel or other one-time stuff in your 60's and 70's and not your 80's and 90's, I don't see that quite the same as cutting spending in your 80's. Even if it looks the same to an economist. I'm talking about my pre-retirement budget carried into retirement, with the near-term changes that requires.

Just like SWR success has its good and bad scenarios, I'm sure there is quite a distribution of spending scenarios. I don't have a lot of say in which SWR scenario I get. I probably have more control over spending, but I may still feel like moderate traveling or a new car or some new tech thing in my 80's. Or DW or I may need a hire a lot of extra help for stuff we can't do our selves. I don't have that much insight into my future.

I figure by planning for constant real spending I can better handle any problems in my 80's by making some of those normal aging budget cuts in order to help pay for the bad spending scenarios without cutting into the budget items that might hurt a bit more. Maybe it's just safety margin, maybe not.
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Old 09-08-2013, 04:59 PM   #49
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Your post is a "spot on" topic in the back of the minds for so many baby boomers flirting with the - how much is enough question, when we could be living into our 80s and 90's. Man that is a long time to live off of your investments and 401k now matter how much money, and happens with inflation/deflation/health care/energy/terrorism etc...

Whether of value to you or not, my approach has been to think of my cash needs to support myself in retirement on a multiple thread basis, where hopefully one thread is not overly influenced by another thread. Kind of like making sure your investment portfolio is well diversified so while one area gets hammered by something happening in market, but other areas not so much, so average all in and you investments still do OK. Take this to next step. I got my 401k, got my after tax investments, got some rental property that I could live in if necessary, then there is social security, then there is a small pension from where I worked for a number of years, then there is the while not necessary full time, think that I need to keep my big toe enough in the water, so as I know I can earn money by working. The latter I expect to do less and less as I get older. All noted pretty much not impacted by others, so gives me flexibility to react to the "I don't know what I don't know aspect of what next 30-40 years brings to the game. Maybe I am too conservative and rest of people on forum with crucify me - but that's my play.
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Old 09-09-2013, 06:01 AM   #50
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Renting, EU country passport for health care, self insure or private insurance, only living there part of the year, and coming from a place even more expensive? My only point was it wouldn't be necessary to work until 80 to live in France for a month in retirement. Sorry I tried to support your post on the subject in a way that did not meet your standards.

There are expats from the US and UK younger than 80 who live in France and seem to make it work.
I agree it can be done. I know some Europeans. They generally live with less square footage, buy less "stuff," eat out less, may not have a car and, if they do, usually don't have a second family car. Since I mostly meet engineers, they have a decent income by euro standards but they get paid sliglhtly less than their US counterparts or it seems so to me from the ones I met. Their taxes are even more so their disposable income is significantly less.

Most US citizens don't have EU passports but all it takes for the plan to work is money. That was really my point since the article I referenced was from a big financial firm. They were targeting the affluent retiree renting a villa (in season, of course) and living large. They weren't suggesting people rent a small studio apartment on the 3rd floor with no elevator.
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Old 09-09-2013, 06:49 AM   #51
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Oh, I know even I may not spend as much in my 80's as my 70's. But I can't budget that with any great certainty. I could need more, I might be fine with less. I just don't know. And I have an extremely detailed current budget. At what age will I stop driving? When will I not want to travel much? Will I need a walker when I'm (only!) 80? When will that new tech that I just have to have start coming into its own?

If you deliberately plan on an extra $20k in travel or other one-time stuff in your 60's and 70's and not your 80's and 90's, I don't see that quite the same as cutting spending in your 80's. Even if it looks the same to an economist. I'm talking about my pre-retirement budget carried into retirement, with the near-term changes that requires.

Just like SWR success has its good and bad scenarios, I'm sure there is quite a distribution of spending scenarios. I don't have a lot of say in which SWR scenario I get. I probably have more control over spending, but I may still feel like moderate traveling or a new car or some new tech thing in my 80's. Or DW or I may need a hire a lot of extra help for stuff we can't do our selves. I don't have that much insight into my future.

I figure by planning for constant real spending I can better handle any problems in my 80's by making some of those normal aging budget cuts in order to help pay for the bad spending scenarios without cutting into the budget items that might hurt a bit more. Maybe it's just safety margin, maybe not.
It all comes down to your comfort zone. My original comment for using Bernicke was based on a willingness on my part to not live as large at 80 as at 60. If investment returns are good, that won't be necessary if I want to spend at that level. The concern of medical care in old age pretty much precludes significant spending anywhere else. Once my in-laws were "interned," they spent nothing for anything but their care.

Being willing to reduce spending as they age, allows someone to retire with less of a portfolio than someone determined to maintain a constant real dollar spending.

My plan is based on a pretty good base budget that still has a decent amount of discretionary spending. The extra spending in early retirement is intended to let me do additional traveling over and above what I'm doing now. Finally, I am still keeping a significant reserve to self-insure for a reasonable LTC stay.

Of course, I've repeatedly said I'm a congenital OMY-er and have built up a very safe nest egg for a pretty good retirement lifestyle. The people that are pinching every penny in their retirement won't be very sympathetic to my woes.
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Old 09-09-2013, 11:06 AM   #52
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Most US citizens don't have EU passports but all it takes for the plan to work is money. That was really my point since the article I referenced was from a big financial firm. They were targeting the affluent retiree renting a villa (in season, of course) and living large. They weren't suggesting people rent a small studio apartment on the 3rd floor with no elevator.
One of my light bulb moments of the past few years has been that our combined household SS checks compare favorably with the median income in many countries, even first world ones. So really if we are prepared to live like a native we have quite a choice of places to live in retirement, as long as we can get residency permits. I am not sure we will do that. It is just nice to be able to consider that as an option.

Across the OECD better life index, the average household net-adjusted disposable income is 23K USD a year -
http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/topics/income/

Except for Paris and the southern resort areas, housing costs in most parts of France would actually be cheaper for us. I guess it depends on where you live in the U.S. And medical costs are so much lower we could self insure if we needed to.

When we went to the retirement planners at Fidelity, we were given the lines about needing stocks for growth and needing 80% of our full working years gross income by people who weren't retired or probably FI, and apparently not familiar with the concept of living below their means.

My point is that most of the financial advisers at the big investment companies are going to steer people more towards having a higher number, possibly riskier investments and later retirement because they want to make money off the client money. They aren't going to show people how to retire early and have a nice retirement with slow, international travel funded by Social Security and low risk investments with no fees like TIPS and I bonds. For one, they probably don't know themselves how to do that, and two, even if they did, it is not in their best financial interest to do so.
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Old 09-09-2013, 01:35 PM   #53
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Some European countries will issue visas to people who can show significant retirement income/assets.

That would let you stay longer than 90 days at a time but it might make you liable for taxes in those countries, even if you don't buy property there.

And of course, that doesn't even mean they would take you into their health care system.
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Old 09-09-2013, 02:28 PM   #54
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Some European countries will issue visas to people who can show significant retirement income/assets.

That would let you stay longer than 90 days at a time but it might make you liable for taxes in those countries, even if you don't buy property there.

And of course, that doesn't even mean they would take you into their health care system.
Health insurance or private pay is something obviously to check into, as are taxes. But another aspect to consider is that health care costs in other countries, including those with better rated health care systems, are often a fraction of the U.S. costs -

21 graphs that show America’s health-care prices are ludicrous

It has just been a learning experience for us that retirement, even with foreign travel, might not need as a high a number as our retirement advisers, even at the low cost investment companies, have suggested.
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Old 09-09-2013, 02:53 PM   #55
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We always focus on after tax dollars.
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Old 09-10-2013, 08:36 PM   #56
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A good day in the markets, perhaps a reaction to possible diplomacy in Syria or side effect of changing out 3 DOW component stocks, but in any case things are pretty generally up. So my portfolio has reached (for the day at least) the target again.

Maybe the essential take away message is to stop watching daily, as this dipping a toe over the line only to pull back is drawing much too much attention, Maybe also a lesson is to appreciate at this stage of accumulation that a 5% swing means more than a year of expenses swing and just get acclimated to the magnitude of these numbers.
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Old 09-12-2013, 12:35 AM   #57
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A good day in the markets, perhaps a reaction to possible diplomacy in Syria or side effect of changing out 3 DOW component stocks, but in any case things are pretty generally up. So my portfolio has reached (for the day at least) the target again.

Maybe the essential take away message is to stop watching daily, as this dipping a toe over the line only to pull back is drawing much too much attention, Maybe also a lesson is to appreciate at this stage of accumulation that a 5% swing means more than a year of expenses swing and just get acclimated to the magnitude of these numbers.

My experience is that the market almost inevitably takes the number down for at least a few months soon after a benchmark.
Like you, I hit a big benchmark (not the number) a month back. Ironically yesterday we hit 3 round number benchmarks simultanously--my investment portfolio, total investment portfolio, and net worth. Then dw paid off the house today.
20% more and we hit the number.
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Old 09-12-2013, 12:54 AM   #58
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"If a $5,000 cut in year 7 is very do-able for you, I could see spending that extra $5K the first 6 years, and then re-evaluate. If the portfolio is still in good shape, keep spending the original amount."

"I guess this is a hot button for me personally, because I would find it difficult to cut spending. We spend on what seems to be the high side for most here, but that seems to be mostly due to our COL area, and a largish house (so high taxes). We don't take expensive vacations, don't eat out all that much, modest vehicles, no cable, cheap pre-pay cell-phones, etc. So I'm looking for a number that will likely work through the worst of times, w/o cutting."


Travel was a chunk of the spending in the first 10 years and provides significant "slack" although it's more complicated since dw plans to work for at least half of that period. I will have likely have the option of semi-retirement, which would allow semi-retirement earlier. To cut travel by 70% or almost completely, it would not kill us to drive, camp, hike and fish rather than go to Europe or other destinations as we have done the last two years.
SS will be large, combined, almost half the budget once we both qualify and draw, so the main question is making it there without too much portfolio drainage until I qualify. We were about 94% last time I ran it, with a healthy chunk of vacation spending included.
If one is close to the edge or tightly budgeted with little play, then one would be more conservative. It's a tradeoff between time retired and safety margin, which is another "risk" one runs, say if one insists on twice Firecalc 100%, as I have heard and all kind of variations. To each their own. Even 100% is not assured, as we all know.
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