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View Poll Results: How much do you live on?
20-30K per year 37 13.03%
30-40K per year 52 18.31%
40-60K per year 78 27.46%
60-80K per year 48 16.90%
> 80K per year 69 24.30%
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Old 11-15-2010, 09:48 AM   #81
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The plan I have is to either replace major items just before before retirement.
I used to think of appliances and furniture as "major items", but Craigslist has hammered a lot of that down to low three figures.

The only "major" items on our list today are roofs and vehicles. Perhaps a total overhaul of our familyroom after our pet bunny goes to his great reward.

And possibly a standup paddleboard, although I may wait out that craze before joining in.
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Old 11-15-2010, 12:40 PM   #82
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I guess I'm right around $55K or so. I have a lot of fluff in my spending and don't really track it. That may seem like a lot, but here in the North East things are pretty expensive.
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Old 11-15-2010, 01:10 PM   #83
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At about $32 this year for me and DW. House paid for.
Not working and paying our own health insurance.

Free to canoe
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Old 11-15-2010, 01:12 PM   #84
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At about $32 this year for me and DW. House paid for.
Not working and paying our own health insurance.

Free to canoe
Amazing. Tell us how the two of you live on less than 9 cents a day, please!
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Old 11-15-2010, 02:34 PM   #85
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Amazing. Tell us how the two of you live on less than 9 cents a day, please!
I was living on less than that. DW pays the bills and I freeload. Problem is that she cut down my daily quota of pints at the pub from 3 to 2. So now I have to dig in the back of my sock drawer for $3.50/day to cover the third pint.

BTW, it's getting tough to find Guinness pints for less than $4.00 around here. I'm convinced that the dang gov't bean counters don't know what they're doing when they calculate inflation numbers!
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Old 11-15-2010, 03:08 PM   #86
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At about $32 this year for me and DW. House paid for.
Not working and paying our own health insurance.

Free to canoe
I assume that was a typo and you meant $32K. I am impressed that two people can live on that amount! You are very thrifty.
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Old 11-15-2010, 03:12 PM   #87
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I'm embarrassed to say that it appears to be about $72,000, including all taxes and everything. At least, that was my wife and my gross IRS income in 2009, and I know we didn't save anything, so I guess we must have spent it. Compared to what the rest of you report, it seems like a lot.
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Old 11-15-2010, 03:55 PM   #88
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I'm always curious (Read: Envious) of the $32-60K annual amounts for families, especially when we're spending $20K just on health insurance alone.
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Old 11-15-2010, 04:37 PM   #89
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$54K approx. That includes private health Ins we pay ourselves of $500 per month and the $ applied toward the deductible which is $7k. We have been very fortunate and have not hit the deductible yet and certainly hope not to. It also includes Real Estate taxes on both homes as well as Ins. Federal taxes are included also although they are very little as there are four of us and we are very tax efficient in our investments. Most investments are in Tax deferred accounts or are in tax free bonds. TN does not have an income tax exactly. We do pay a small percentage of investment income in a Income like Tax but they do not call it an income tax.

Vacations are included in that amount also. 36 days out West this year in the RV over 6K miles and no nights boondocking, all paid sites. One week at Disney and one at the beach, plus several weekend trips. We do not eat out much and so that area averages less than $150 per month. DW is an incredible cook! A good steak dinner here is about $10 each so it is very reasonable to eat out also.

Also included are sinking funds for all appliances, vehicles, boats, etc as well as any scheduled maintenance I cannot do.


Both houses are fully paid for and the kids college funds are fully loaded so we do not have any payments/debts or required savings expenses. TN has a Lottery and the funds are provided for college expenses to residents. It amounts to half the cost of state tuition.

We live in a college town in TN with a population of over 100,000 so a small town by some standards. Overall cost of living here is much less than the West coast or the North East.
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Old 11-15-2010, 08:45 PM   #90
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I voted 20-30 and actually in 08 and 09 was under 20K however that would not be sustainable as I had no large home or auto repairs that year. My mortgage and car is paid off and I'm single with no kids
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Old 11-15-2010, 08:52 PM   #91
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I'm always curious (Read: Envious) of the $32-60K annual amounts for families, especially when we're spending $20K just on health insurance alone.
Health insurance costs are so variable. For example as a federal retiree, I am only paying ~ $2K in health insurance this year.

Probably health insurance should not be included in this type of poll (and I think it was not meant to be included in this one).
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Old 11-17-2010, 01:19 PM   #92
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Right. I'm in the process of signing up for health insurance for 2011. Our annual premium will be $15,000 for a policy with a $15,000 deductible and a $20,000 out-of-pocket limit.

I can predict about $8,000 of expenses if neither of us has anything unusual, so our medical care costs will be somewhere between $23,000 and $35,000.

The total of our other spending (excluding charity and income taxes) is about $35,000.
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Old 11-17-2010, 01:35 PM   #93
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I can predict about $8,000 of expenses if neither of us has anything unusual, so our medical care costs will be somewhere between $23,000 and $35,000.
Wow! I did not realize costs could be this high for medical spending before medicare! Certainly hope these costs get drastically reduced in 2014 or sooner... This is pretty ridiculous... With costs like these, how can people say that 1M is a high enough amount to ER on? Just medical costs would give you ~3% withdrawal rate...

Perhaps the theory is if you get sick, you start looking for work?? (i.e. if the sickness is not fatal but requiring this kind of expenses)
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Old 11-17-2010, 02:29 PM   #94
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For us, the order of expenses is taxes, location and lifestyle. We pay about 30% of what I earn (DW is retired) on federal, state, SS, RE and sales taxes. That will go down after I retire, but nearly all our nest egg is in tax sheltered accounts and will be withdrawn as ordinary income. Nothing we can do about that now. Conversion to Roth is prohibitively expensive. Also, while not a tax, maxing 401K is money we can't spend now.

Location may change from very high cost area to medium cost area, that remains to be seen. Biggest difference would be in housing as we would move from a nearly paid off mortgage to no mortgage .

Finally lifestyle - lots of expenses would go down - work clothes, car expenses, etc., while travel costs would go up. Plus we would have to be a lot more frugal as overall income would drop by about 50% before taxes. About 25% after taxes.

I would like to move from current location to a much, much smaller town in a low cost area, preferably with no state income tax, but it ain't gonna happen .
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Old 11-17-2010, 03:33 PM   #95
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By coincidence, I happened to be planning a "fairly frugal" and very detailed retirement budget for my wife and I today, and it came to almost exactly $40K inclusive of all taxes and health insurance. This includes a small, paid-off house in what is surely one of the cheaper places in the U.S. (Winslow, AZ). When I hear what other people pay for real estate taxes, utilities, auto insurance and health insurance -- amounts that sound astronomical to me -- it's pretty obvious that these are so variable as to make any comparison difficult. Since I know pretty much to the penny what my government pension and SS will be, the $40K budget would leave us with about $27K in additional income. I could see travel and unanticipated expenses putting a pretty good dent in that, so perhaps $50K-$60K would be more realistic. All of which is kind of moot since we plan to move to Belarus a couple of years after I retire, but plans can always change and I wanted at least some idea of what our expenses would be here. We've been living on $108K with no attempt to be frugal and seem to me to waste astounding amounts of money, so I can't imagine that a retirement in the $50K-$60K range wouldn't be tolerable.
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Old 11-17-2010, 08:20 PM   #96
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Well, OK, I'll chime in.

Yes, we could probably live on $35K/year. We don't want to and don't have to so we don't. Does that make us bad people?
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Old 11-17-2010, 09:25 PM   #97
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Wow! I did not realize costs could be this high for medical spending before medicare! Certainly hope these costs get drastically reduced in 2014 or sooner... This is pretty ridiculous

Well, nothing in the current health bill will reduce the cost of health insurance.
My family without any major health problems (thankfully) spend $20,000 per year for HSA coverage plus another $5,000 for medications. I can only imagine what this will be once they no longer allow companies to underwrite risks in 2014
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Old 11-17-2010, 10:43 PM   #98
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Well, OK, I'll chime in.

Yes, we could probably live on $35K/year. We don't want to and don't have to so we don't. Does that make us bad people?
Not at all!

I have said that I believe spending by individuals is the best way to redistribute wealth. If your spending creates work for others, it is even better than charity in that the people providing goods and services to you do not feel indebted to you.

So, do not spend it all in one place. Spread it around.
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Old 11-18-2010, 09:07 AM   #99
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Well, nothing in the current health bill will reduce the cost of health insurance. My family without any major health problems (thankfully) spend $20,000 per year for HSA coverage plus another $5,000 for medications. I can only imagine what this will be once they no longer allow companies to underwrite risks in 2014
Wow - I thought HSAs were supposed to save people money. That sounds like a humongous amount just for coverage .
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Old 11-18-2010, 10:05 AM   #100
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Wow! I did not realize costs could be this high for medical spending before medicare! Certainly hope these costs get drastically reduced in 2014 or sooner... This is pretty ridiculous... With costs like these, how can people say that 1M is a high enough amount to ER on? Just medical costs would give you ~3% withdrawal rate...

Perhaps the theory is if you get sick, you start looking for work?? (i.e. if the sickness is not fatal but requiring this kind of expenses)
Googling on "average health expenditures by age" I got a number of $7,800 for people 55-64 in 2004. Increase that to 2010, and note that we're in the higher end of the range (62 and 63) and $11,500 seems like a good estimate. That means individual insurance+out of pocket should average $23,000 for a couple like us.

Our idea was to retire at 59 and stay on the company active-employee group plan until 65. I figured that plan would get somewhat less attractive as time went on. As luck would have it, the company canceled health insurance for retirees in 2008 (remember 2008?) just a few months after my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer.

She's through treatments now and looking healthy, but we're in a high risk pool so our costs are higher than average.
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