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Old 01-07-2011, 07:19 AM   #221
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I'm single and last year, my total expenses were $36,029 .
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Old 01-07-2011, 10:27 AM   #222
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KSR- Well put. We sometimes lose sight of the fact that LBYM is not a specific dollar amount of spending but rather an amount that is less than one's income or means. Although my spend would seem obscene to most on this board it is below my means. LBYM makes way more sense in the accumulation phase but once you are retired LBYM doesn't make any sense to me except as it relates to a cushion for possibly running out of money.
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Old 01-07-2011, 10:51 AM   #223
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I think some of our personality traits contribute to how much we need to live a satisfying lifestyle. When I calculate what I believe is a SWR and add it to some pt income I still make, I know I could spend considerably more than I do. It's just that there really isn't much else I want. For me, some of the things that contribute to living on a smallish amount are:

- I don't enjoy travel. I do like daytrips or occasionally a few days at the beach, but that's about it. I've done plenty of travel (both business and pleasure) and actually one of the things that thrills me about ER is that nobody can send me travelling against my will any more!

- I'm a minimalist by nature. Costs aside, I just don't like having a lot of "stuff" around me and feel more comfortable with less stuff to deal with. I also hate shopping.

- My hobbies aren't very expensive. I enjoy gardening, knitting, reading, baking. I love going out to lunch with my friends, but really this doesn't add up to all that much.

For some, a happy lifestyle includes more exotic travel, expensive toys, and/or expensive hobbies. If this is what makes someone happy, then it might just require more income to ER. The important thing is to identify what makes you happy and what lifestyle you want to lead before you make the decision to retire.
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KSR- Well put. We sometimes lose sight of the fact that LBYM is not a specific dollar amount of spending but rather an amount that is less than one's income or means. Although my spend would seem obscene to most on this board it is below my means. LBYM makes way more sense in the accumulation phase but once you are retired LBYM doesn't make any sense to me except as it relates to a cushion for possibly running out of money.
I think you are both right. There are only two amounts of money a person can have: enough and not enough. The actual amount can vary a lot depending on a persons wants.
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Old 01-07-2011, 01:40 PM   #224
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KSR- Well put. We sometimes lose sight of the fact that LBYM is not a specific dollar amount of spending but rather an amount that is less than one's income or means. Although my spend would seem obscene to most on this board it is below my means. LBYM makes way more sense in the accumulation phase but once you are retired LBYM doesn't make any sense to me except as it relates to a cushion for possibly running out of money.

Along with KSR, Danmar is saying what I was trying to convey. If I earned $40K and spent $38K, then I'm living below my means and that's what I can afford. If I make $200K and spend $180K, I'm still LBYM. There is no reason for me to spend just $38K and not take advantage of what my earnings can bring me. Why work hard and do well if all you are going to do is pile up the cash. LBYM is the endgame and it's the same no matter what level your earnings are at. If you can't balance your budget, then all you can do is cut spending or earn more.
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Old 01-07-2011, 02:01 PM   #225
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I like the distinction Danmar makes between the accumulation and distribution phases. I think of LBYM as spending far less than one's income in order to save for future use. I don't see spending $38K out of $40K of income as being true LBYM. Consumption just below one's means is something different. In the accumulation phase I might describe it as "maintaining positive cash flow". In the distribution phase I think of it as "sustainable spending".
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Old 01-07-2011, 02:53 PM   #226
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I'm also uncomfortable posting my actual numbers but I was amused to find it was xx,000, even though I put in exact dollars and cents amounts! Actually it was xx,000.02 when I displayed the cents. Slightly under budget, actually well under budget since I only had a mid-level home maintenance expense and no new car or other major purchase. I include an annualized estimate for those in my budget so I can determine if I'm on track. I'll have to find a way to make sure the actuals for those come out correctly.

Oops, I guess I gave a hint that I'm between 10,000 and 99,000. Oh well. I'm impressed by those in the teens. I took a look at what I could pretty easily cut out if I wanted to and I still wouldn't be close to that. But if I had to or really wanted to, I'm sure there's a lot more I could cut.
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Old 01-07-2011, 05:03 PM   #227
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There is no reason for me to spend just $38K and not take advantage of what my earnings can bring me. Why work hard and do well if all you are going to do is pile up the cash.
One of the proposals being discussed is means testing for SS- if enacted this could be the game-changer for all of us who had the audacity foresight to build a portfolio and LBYM...
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Old 01-07-2011, 05:46 PM   #228
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One of the proposals being discussed is means testing for SS-
I've heard this before on this board. Who is discussing this proposal? Please post a link.
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Old 01-07-2011, 05:56 PM   #229
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I think you are both right. There are only two amounts of money a person can have: enough and not enough. The actual amount can vary a lot depending on a persons wants.
I propose a third category that I prefer to be in: more than enough.

That would be really, really nice. And the way to do it for me is to reduce spending, while trying to invest smarter. Of course both actions are tough. Right now, I am still trying to figure out if I have enough.

But I ask myself that if I somehow succeed, would I still want even more money? And the answer I give myself is a resounding YES.

Then, of course the next question I ask myself is why, and what for? Perhaps it is to prove to myself that I am a good investor, AND a frugal spender. But I will be honest and admit that a part of it is also that I have the money hoarding tendency. The conclusion is that I must be Scroogy.

There have been real-life stories about people who leave a big estate to charitable causes when they die. Why did they not give that out while they were still alive? I think they liked to count money like I do.
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Old 01-07-2011, 06:27 PM   #230
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Seeing how other people keeping a tight grip on their spending is good for me, because I tend to be sloppy in record keeping and may simply be not as frugal as I think. That was one of the striking personal discoveries that I made when I first came here. We have always LBYM, hence never needed a budget, and I keep forgetting that when I fully retire I no longer have the same means as when both of us were working.
I can definitely relate to this as I am sloppy in record keeping also. I like your category of more than enough. I think that deep down I am afraid of losing everything and ending up poor again, as I was in my childhood. You would think that would be an incentive to keep better records.
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Old 01-07-2011, 06:33 PM   #231
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I've heard this before on this board. Who is discussing this proposal? Please post a link.
Boehner: Raise Social Security retirement to 70 and means-test benefits -
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Old 01-07-2011, 07:06 PM   #232
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As I explained, we have always been frugal and usually underspend our income. Why bother to track expenses when we always have plenty left over at the end of the month?

But with no more earned income when I fully retire, and with SS being threatened to be means-tested, there goes my goal of "more than enough".

While the idea of "to each according to his needs" justifies the lawmakers' action to reduce budget shortfalls, they further create a disincentive for people to save. Why bother? Spend it all, then the gummint will "give" you more.
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Old 01-07-2011, 09:19 PM   #233
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So this is why he was crying on TV the other day-- licking that third rail must be pretty painful...
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Old 01-08-2011, 04:40 AM   #234
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I also hesitate to disclose my spending levels for the following reasons:

1) my budget is quite atypical. For example, my yearly groceries budget is very low compared to what I have read under this thread. However, I do not hesitate to spend thousands of dollars every year flying across the world to support medical missions and paying for meds;

2) I live alone, whereas I assume (perhaps wrongly) that most people on this site are married or have a partner, so it is more difficult to compare single vs. couple budget;

3) I am sloppy regarding budgeting (do not use any software such as Quicken etc) so it is difficult to keep precise tabs.

Quote:
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I suspect there are some posters who don't want to disclose their spending levels because they are higher (much?) and wouldn't be consistent with the dominant culture of this site.
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Old 01-08-2011, 02:36 PM   #235
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I also hesitate to disclose my spending levels for the following reasons:
You don't need any reasons. Just claim you LBYM and leave it at that
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Old 01-08-2011, 03:59 PM   #236
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Thanks for the link.
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Old 01-09-2011, 02:53 AM   #237
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I'm a single man living in Thailand, though the first 3 months of 2010 were in the Philippines. I own nothing larger than a suitcase. Expenses were $18,000*. Consensus among local expats is 500,000 Baht a year (about $17,000) is the minimum budget for a comfortable life in my chosen town.

I expect next year's spending to be substantially higher because I've been so relaxed I keep putting off traveling. Already have 2 international trips planned, and contemplating a third.

Monthly average spending by category:

312 Rent + Utils
247 Food Out
228 Entertainment
119 Scooter Rent
117 Electronics
101 Misc
74 Food In
70 Visa
41 Transport-Long
37 Medical
35 Resupply
31 US Mailbox and Shipping
23 Laundry
20 Household
19 Transport-In Town
9 Cell phone
0 Travel – Long
___
17,784

* My spreadsheet comparing beginning and ending checking account totals for the year says 17,995.

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There's still a lot of things that I don't see in some of the very low budgets ...
My categories map onto Soupcxan's as follows

Hobbies -> Entertainment
Haircuts, Clothes, Gifts for family/friends -> Misc (It is hard to spend money on clothes when the only time I don't wear shorts, sandals and t-shirts is for visits to government offices.)
Dry cleaning -> N/A
Road tolls -> N/A
Charitable giving/donations -> N/A for now.
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Old 01-09-2011, 11:52 AM   #238
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Awesome ItDontMeanAThing. Your input will be valuable for others contemplating a PT lifestyle.
Is the $37/mo for a health insurance plan or do you pay as you go?
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Old 01-09-2011, 04:46 PM   #239
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I just now saw my wife's spreadsheet totaling our expenses for 2010.

Holy cow! Not counting income taxes, and FICA for my part-time earned income, I am running more than 5% of portfolio. One good thing I am still working part-time, hence did not draw all of that from my stash. The dollar amount, which I will not tell, definitely puts me in the spendthrift camp.

Or is it? If I backed out my kids' college cost and the "one-time" charge for toys, I would be running at 3% of portfolio. Phew! Yep, I can still say that I can retire anytime I want to.
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Old 01-09-2011, 05:05 PM   #240
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Thanks to all who have posted. Also, thanks to those who have included their vital statistics. Some numbers are meaningless unless you know that poster's situation.

Our situation: Husband/wife (59,62), fully retired for 3 years, no mortgage, no car payment, kids gone, living in So Cal (expensive). Former employer is paying part of health insurance premiums.

We spent our exact $61,000 budget as follows:

Travel................................8,000
husband allowance...............7,200
wife allowance....................7,200
household expenditures........6,600
Food.................................6,000
Utilities..............................5,700
Health Insur Premiums..........5,880
Property Taxes...................5,160
Gasoline.............................2,760
house and earthquake insur...1,800
car insurance......................1,320
car maintenance..................1,320
drugs-medicine.......................720
extra medical expenses............840
Christmas expenses.................500
total (I think)......................61,000


FWIW, "husband allowances" pays for things like entertainment. "wife's allowances" pays for things like Coach purses. "Household expenditures" are mainly made up of pillows, sheets, towels, rugs, more pillows, more sheets, more rugs, more towels. I would feel confident that we could hold our own in a world contest of pillow, towels, rugs, and sheets.

Thanks again, reading other people's expenditures can be a real eye-opener.
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