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How low could you go???
Old 10-20-2002, 08:19 PM   #1
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How low could you go???

I have a challenge for everyone. Letís say that you agreed to appear on one of those new reality-based shows. Only instead of dining on bugs or being locked up with some obnoxious people , the object of this game is to live on as small a net worth as possible for one year.
The game rules:


- Assume that for the duration of the game, youíll be single, healthy, with no dependents, portfolio withdrawals will be your only source of income and would need to be 5% or less of your total net worth.

- Creativity counts. You lose points if you choose a lifestyle that would <ahem> necessitate doing without basic human needs.

Thatís it. So, the questions are:

1) How much was your winning portfolio?
2) What was your lifestyle and breakdown of major expenses?

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Re: How low could you go???
Old 10-21-2002, 03:21 AM   #2
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Re: How low could you go???

Interesting plot.

Here's a couple of scenarios from folks I've met:

Shelter: Live in a debt-free boat or RV. Of course this is part of your asset base, but if travel isn't an issue, you can get a comfortable one for $10,000 easily.

Anchor the boat somewhere the weather is nice. No cost for heat and cooling, and your minimal electric costs come from your solar panels. Lots of places like that, and you see lots of boats anchored in those places! Or park the RV someplace for free, which ought to be possible (but I have no experience there).

If you do this near a good sized college, you can find sufficient free entertainment so that cost goes to zero.

Food: $300 a month at the grocery store ought to do it. Learn to enjoy fishing and/or hunting, and cut that way down.

If you want health insurance and chose the boat option, I know some folks that took out "trip" health insurance from a European company, at something like $360 per person for the year. The only catch was they had to be enroute somewhere and be out of the US at least 10 months of the year, so they went to Fiji and back by sailboat.

That puts the annual withdrawal at $3960, requiring a portfolio of $79,200 at 5%, assuming you didn't fish or hunt. Add the value of the shelter, and you're at $89,200.

Or move to Bangladesh. I met a fellow working as a domestic servant who was from there. He was supporting a wife, his parents, and 2-3 servants of his own on the roughly $1000 he was sending home each month.

If these are too high, I think the Unabomber lived on pretty close to nothing, before he was caught, didn't he? And now, he's living with no withdrawals from his portfolio at all!

Dory36


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Re: How low could you go???
Old 10-21-2002, 07:54 AM   #3
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Re: How low could you go???

As the Chicago city dweller here, I propose doing it in the city. I can live in a very nice apaprtment for $300 a month if I get a roomate. No transportation or car necessary here.

I propose $200 a month is enough for groceries for one person if you are smart. Hell where I live, I can go get a coke everynight at one of the local stomps and eat the free happy hour food.

All museums here have free days every week, the lakefront is always free, and several colleges make other free stuff easy.

While not as cheap as the RV/Boat route I get the benefit of all that a large city has to offer. Endless entertainment options, culture. moving flexibility, lots of beautiful women, ok there's the single guy in me coming out. etc. etc.

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Re: How low could you go???
Old 08-17-2004, 02:23 PM   #4
 
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Re: How low could you go???

The Unibomber lived in the mountains on an annual withdrawal of $500, one of the years that he was out. Of course he had his place paid for.
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Re: How low could you go???
Old 08-17-2004, 02:30 PM   #5
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Re: How low could you go???

Quote:
[. . .] if I get a roomate. [. . .]

I propose $200 a month is enough for groceries for one person if you are smart.
Only if your roommate is physically incapable of raiding your fridge, otherwise he'll/she'll eat up your budget in no time flat!
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Re: How low could you go???
Old 08-17-2004, 02:56 PM   #6
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Re: How low could you go???

Quote:
As the Chicago city dweller here, I propose doing it in the city. *I can live in a very nice apaprtment for $300 a month if I get a roomate. *No transportation or car necessary here. <snip> lots of beautiful women, ok there's the single guy in me coming out. etc. etc.
You can find an apartment in Chicago that a beautiful women wouldn't be afraid to come into for $600? How much more for heat and water/sewer?

I have noticed a kind of disturbing thing around here (Seattle). If you pay like $1250 to $1450 or so for a 2 bedroom, you get a place that is outside of the affordability of rougher elements. There are perfectly nice places for $850, but that often also means there will be Section 8 residents, and also immigrants stacked one on top of another. I don't want to sound non-PC, but the 3rd or 4th time your CD/stereo gets pulled out of your car you begin to get a little stressed.

Mikey
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Re: How low could you go???
Old 08-17-2004, 03:24 PM   #7
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Re: How low could you go???

Quote:
I have noticed a kind of disturbing thing around here (Seattle). If you pay like $1250 to $1450 or so for a 2 bedroom, you get a place that is outside of the affordability of rougher elements. There are perfectly nice places for $850, but that often also means there will be Section 8 residents, and also immigrants stacked one on top of another. I don't want to sound non-PC, but the 3rd or 4th time your CD/stereo gets pulled out of your car you begin to get a little stressed.
That's common around here. There tend to be a few tiers of rents, and it doesn't have that much to do with the facilities which are generally similar. It's all about the class of people you share the complex with. I'm not defending it, but that is the way Seattle works (ostentatiously liberal but really very classist when it comes down to it.)

I backed out of renting a place a few years ago when I talked to the resident who lived below. He was a very nice, no doubt hard-working, guy but he shared the one bedroom apartment with three or four other men. That had more to do with my fear of living above a frat house than anything else. Now, if they were all attractive blondes...
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Re: How low could you go???
Old 08-17-2004, 03:44 PM   #8
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Re: How low could you go???

You haven't told me what I win if I do this. If you make it worth my while, I will live for 1 year on $0.00.

Having studied the prehistoric cultures of the southwest for years, I will survive by camping for free on BLM ground in the Sonora desert. I know where the permanent water sources are. I know how to forrage for nuts, berries, etc. I know how to make snares, stone lithic tools and weapons to add rabbit to my diet. And I could grow corn, beans and squash in certain areas where water is available. I would plan on using a tent, but could build jackal structures if I needed to. This could get tricky since BLM would probably take a dim view of this and I believe that they would require me to move camp locations at least once per month.

But, of course, you would have to reward me significantly before I would do this. I would have to see a lot more money than they are paying current participants of these shows before I would even consider getting my tent off the shelf.
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Re: How low could you go???
Old 08-17-2004, 05:06 PM   #9
 
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Re: How low could you go???

Yeah, I could live on practically nothing. Don't want to.
This last weekend we had some house guests, one was
an American Indian. I was amazed how little he knew about catching/dressing wild critters. Guess I just
assumed he would know this stuff. Totally clueless!
Guess he has been assimilated. Too bad!

John Galt
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Re: How low could you go???
Old 08-17-2004, 06:51 PM   #10
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Re: How low could you go???

I have an idea to beat you all. I wouldn't need a portfolio of $0.
All you need to do is carry a concealed handgun in New York City. Plead not guilty; defend yourself and get one year in jail. The state pays for everything. I believe another poster sugested getting arested in Holland.

This question reminds me of the picture of a meiser who is locked in a cage with all his gold. What a waste.

You know - this question is at the hart of the retireing early question. Not how little can you live on but the quality of your early retirement.

Simply put, retire early (and younger to enjoy it longer with less income for a longer time) or work longer (and older with more income for a shorter time). Then the question becomes how much is enough? Again it could be considered finding that balance between love and fear. Love doing what you want to do while holding your fears at bay.

So to compete your challenge and to determine the winner you must add a criteria for the best quality of life.

So the winner would have the following:
1. The smallest beginning portfolio
2. The lowest total expenses
3. The highest quality of life

What do you think of adding the quality aspect.?

It would be nice to have all the money we think we would need when we want to retire early. But for most of us that is not reality. It is a balance between quanity and quality.

Nothing is easy on a retire early board.

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Re: How low could you go???
Old 08-17-2004, 07:09 PM   #11
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Re: How low could you go???

Be a former LA governor - piss off the FEDs thru several trials and get sent to the Federal Hilton er prison for your old age.
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Re: How low could you go???
Old 08-17-2004, 07:27 PM   #12
 
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Re: How low could you go???

Quote:
I was amazed how little he knew about catching/dressing wild critters.
Is this stuff road kill or did you actually bag this yourself?
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Re: How low could you go???
Old 08-17-2004, 07:27 PM   #13
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Re: How low could you go???

Well lets see. If I dropped health care, cable television and internet, slimmed down on electricity usage, and deferred any deferrable capital expenses I could live very close to my current lifestyle for at least several years at a withdrawal of about $8k a year.
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Re: How low could you go???
Old 08-17-2004, 09:50 PM   #14
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Re: How low could you go???

Quote:
I was amazed how little he knew about catching/dressing wild critters.
John, I think that type of self-sufficiency was largely lost with our generation. I was raised on an Iowa farm. My mother had a garden and grew/canned/froze a great deal of our food. One of my earliest memories is of my father and grandfather killing an butchering a hog, with my mother helping to cut roasts and chops and wrap the meat for the freezer. I watched all of this with fascination as a young child. I helped butcher chickens many times and hunted for squirrels and cleaned them. Very few would know how to survive on the land now. Only one generation, and those skills have largely disappeared. I do plan to get into gardening, but the thought of butchering animals has no appeal. I'm completely and totally citified.
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Re: How low could you go???
Old 08-18-2004, 05:19 AM   #15
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Re: How low could you go???

Yeah - it was a big day when I was big enough to go to the outhouse by myself. My Dad had a neighborhood party when we tore down the outhouse to celebrate his completion of the electric well pump and indoor plumbing.

That about sums up my opinion of living off the land.

Five Acres and Independance (da movement) didn't last too long before we joined the consumers of the 1950's. Chickens, garden, fruit trees gradually fell into disuse.

The fact that my Dad grew up in Brooklyn,NY helped accerate the process.

My Finn grandmother on my mother's side had a secret formula for growing earthworms - ??sugar and coffee grounds?? and a few other things.

Could not wait to grow old and get to the city.
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Re: How low could you go???
Old 08-18-2004, 10:20 AM   #16
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Re: How low could you go???

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Only instead of dining on bugs or being locked up with obnoxious people
Well, that eliminates a couple of the most useful skills I learned in the submarine force...

Quote:
So the winner would have the following:
1. The smallest beginning portfolio
2. The lowest total expenses
3. The highest quality of life
Which of the three criteria has the heaviest weighting factor-- QOL? A neighbor is spending his two-week fantasy vacation surfing in Indonesia with the guys. (At least that's the story he used to convince his spouse & kids to stay home.)

I'd be camping near the beach, and hopefully I wouldn't have to count the longboard as an expense. I'll get back to you on the rest of the budget when he returns, but I'm pretty sure groceries would be under $300/mo!
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