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Re: How much is enough
Old 07-02-2004, 04:09 AM   #21
 
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Re: How much is enough

Let's say you just go without health insurance and get
lucky with your health, and let's say you live where
you can and do go without a car (that alone might
make you healthier). Then, assume you live with friends and/or relatives (shared housing), and that you
enjoy activities that are free or very cheap. Finally,
assume that you only have yourself to worry about
(no pets, no kids, no spouse). Why, you could live on practically nothing.

John Galt
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Re: How much is enough
Old 07-02-2004, 05:18 AM   #22
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Re: How much is enough

Mikey

Yes, I live in Austin. The Northcross neighborhood here has just about everything I need within convenient walking distance.

Austin pros: something of a college/government town, very accepting of nontraditional lifestyles such as ER

Austin cons: high property values/taxes, summer is humid and hot, sudden urban sprawl in recent years, inadequate roadways with congested traffic.

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Re: How much is enough
Old 07-02-2004, 01:33 PM   #23
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Re: How much is enough

Quote:
Hi Fredx,

Very interesting post. If you wouldn't mind, I'd be interested in seeing a breakdown of your annual expenses. I live in a relatively low cost rural area (with 2 kids still at home) and estimate I need around $41,000 based on past expenses and a great deal of number crunching. There's a fair amount of padding in there, however. I'm very interested in getting a feel for how low I could go if the need arose. I have several relatives who lived on very little, yet they were quite happy (most are deceased now).

Regarding detesting the job and doing what it takes to stay ER'd - I couldn't agree more.
Howdy Bob,

A quick breakdown of my expenses would be $114/month health care (low-end PPO plan, plus dental HMO), $173/month condo HOA, $1400/year property tax, $20/month utilities ($4 electric (yes, I conserve!), $16ish phone including LD), $200/month food (I buy mostly organic), $50/month beer (I like beer), and the rest is discretionary. I fritter lots of money away on tasty Thai dinners out, travel, etc. :-)

As I said, my budget allows for up to $1000/month excluding health care and housing, which means about $1400/month including them. But I consistently under-spend that by a few hundred a month.

My income is low enough that I'm able to live below taxable levels. I haven't had to pay state or federal income tax in a few years now. We'll see if that changes after the taxes go back up to compensate for Bush's wars. :-(

I like to work; it's jobs I hate. Therefore, I take on volunteer work that gives me pleasure. I work a lot for a major international environmental non-profit, which flies me to remote parts of the world sometimes for work, so even though I'm not paid, I do get free travel to places like the Amazon and Europe. Likewise, I volunteer at a local art-house movie theatre which shows excellent films which I enjoy. In return for volunteering, I get loads of free movie passes. :-) I'm also a volunteer docent for the National Park Service, showing folks around the Point Bonita lighthouse in the Marin Headlands once a month. That's merely an excuse to go watch the crashing waves and the seals and the raptors for an afternoon, and chat with happy people on vacation.

I live cheaply, but really very richly. I kinda dig it. :-)

Cheers,

- Fred
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Re: How much is enough
Old 07-02-2004, 01:38 PM   #24
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Re: How much is enough

Quote:

Fred, I may be misunderstanding what you wrote. Are you saying that you spend $700-$1000 per month, not including housing, health care and income tax? Or do you mean with those expenses included?
No, that's excluding housing & health care, and I haven't had to pay tax at my income level.

I own my tiny studio condo free-and-clear. Paid cash for it, actually.

Cheers,

- Fred
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Re: How much is enough
Old 07-02-2004, 02:32 PM   #25
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Re: How much is enough

Platy,

Thanks for your location. I spent a few weeks in Austin in the late 70s- a very cool place IMO.

Fred,

Thanks for clarifying. Your life does sound very nice.

Mikey
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Re: How much is enough
Old 07-02-2004, 04:34 PM   #26
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Re: How much is enough

I find $4 electric a month the bargain of the continent. . Quebec with their massive hydroelectric dams still have overhead and minimum charges? Maybe I'm not reading you right? I know CA has much higher rates than ON........and I conserve too, but $4?? :
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Re: How much is enough
Old 07-03-2004, 06:24 AM   #27
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Re: How much is enough

$4 a month? Duh! The only thing remotely close was $5/mo Seattle all electric when I first worked for Boeing in the 60's. In the 90's when I sold my mom's house in SW Washington, people were complaining because the PUD was to go over one cent/kilowatt hour - BPA(Bonneville Power Admin.).
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Re: How much is enough
Old 07-03-2004, 07:50 AM   #28
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Re: How much is enough

Bob Smith:
Amazing that young man could live in the most expensive area in the U. S. on the amount he is reporting.
But I have absolutely no doubt that he is.
Real estate is the driving force for the expenses in the Bay area. (A two bedroom with no garage, 1000 sq feet would set you back at least $500,000. and probably get you bragging rights for the deal you made.
If you wanted to open a restaurant with about 1600 Sq feet you would have to pay a lease of over $5,000 a month. (Can't whip out $4.95 early bird specials at that overhead). When they factor in expensive places to live, this is the main reason for it.
The paradox is it is relatively inexpensive for this young man. (He has a small condo paid for. It, by the way, would be worth a pretty penny).
Utility costs are next to nothing, because air conditioning isn't required in the summer, and it rarely gets cold enough in the winter to worry about heat.
He has no car, and, although it wouldn't be for me, there is a lot to see and do in that beautiful city, if you are young and single.
Now, regarding you and me. Not much we can do pal.
My expenses are slightyly higher than yours, and I live in a relatively inexpensive area of Calif. (Sierra Mountains). I need cars for my transportation to and from fly streams, and the golf course. Not going to remove satellite TV and miss my sports fix.
Our net worth appears about combatable with yours.
(But I have one advantage, oh boy, I get to die before you. (Statistically).
Enjoy your retirement.
Regards, Jarhead











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Re: How much is enough
Old 07-03-2004, 07:57 AM   #29
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Re: How much is enough

Bob Smith:
Amazing that young man could live in the most expensive area in the U. S. on the amount he is reporting.
But I have absolutely no doubt that he is.
Real estate is the driving force for the expenses in the Bay area. (A two bedroom with no garage, 1000 sq feet would set you back at least $500,000. and probably get you bragging rights for the deal you made.
If you wanted to open a restaurant with about 1600 Sq feet you would have to pay a lease of over $5,000 a month. (Can't whip out $4.95 early bird specials at that overhead). When they factor in expensive places to live, this is the main reason for it.
The paradox is it is relatively inexpensive for this young man. (He has a small condo paid for. It, by the way, would be worth a pretty penny).
Utility costs are next to nothing, because air conditioning isn't required in the summer, and it rarely gets cold enough in the winter to worry about heat.
He has no car, and, although it wouldn't be for me, there is a lot to see and do in that beautiful city, if you are young and single.
Now, regarding you and me. Not much we can do pal.
My expenses are slightyly higher than yours, and I live in a relatively inexpensive area of Calif. (Sierra Mountains). I need cars for my transportation to and from fly streams, and the golf course. Not going to remove satellite TV and miss my sports fix.
Our net worth appears about combatable with yours.
(But I have one advantage, oh boy, I get to die before you. (Statistically).
Enjoy your retirement.
Regards, Jarhead











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Re: How much is enough
Old 07-03-2004, 07:59 AM   #30
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Re: How much is enough

I liked my post so much, I added an extra copy
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Re: How much is enough
Old 07-03-2004, 01:28 PM   #31
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Re: How much is enough

Hi Jarhead,

I also need a car, air conditioning, heat in the winter, health insurance for a family, a bigger place to live (with 4 in the family), etc. It all adds up. And there's no way I'm parting with my high speed internet access - that would be one of the last things to go.

My family is visiting this weekend. We have a terrific fireworks display, and this year they changed the location and they'll be setting them off on the river about one block from my house. So I'm going to fire up the grill, visit with family, and we'll watch the fireworks from my yard. It doesn't get any better than this. Hope you have a good one Jarhead.
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Re: How much is enough
Old 07-03-2004, 01:49 PM   #32
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Re: How much is enough

I used to live in Berkeley, across the bay from where the SF poster lives. I can concur that you dont need much environmental control. We used to have what amounted to a small gas burner with no fan on the wall in the living room and fired that up a few times in the winter at night. No matter how hot it is during the day it cools off directly when the sun goes down.

What an expensive area to live in though. Very pretty and a lot to do.

I'd be tempted to sell the place, reap the huge gain from it, and move to somewhere cheaper. But boy would the lifestyle be different. I like the city life, I lived and worked in boston for a while, but it wore me down after a time.
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Urban/rural working/not
Old 07-03-2004, 02:01 PM   #33
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Urban/rural working/not

Working changes how we experience city life or country life.

I went to college in rural Vermont. I didn't own a car, and just put on lots of extra clothes for the half-hour walk between campuses (in the winter), which I made at least twice a day.

I couldn't understand people complaining all the time about the snow. It was lovely, it made for an incredible silence in the woods when we walked on the paths.

Then I graduated, bought a house, got a job. When the snow fell, we had to split lots of wood to try to keep the oil furnace from coming on (couldn't afford much oil). We had to get up extremely early to clear off the car and the truck and the driveway. We had to leave early on snowy days, to drive more slowly and try not to slide off the road. During winter and in mud season, our neighbors who lived at the tops of hills had to own 4-wheel drive vehicles if they ever hoped to get home. Rural life was a lot of WORK when I worked, while it was a delight when I was a student.

I can imagine, similarly, really enjoying a city if I didn't have the hassles of getting to and from work during rush hour, battling others for parking spaces, and suffering in traffic jams. I lived for a short time in Boston (no vehicle) and worked for part of that time. The non-working time was spent finding free things to do (there were many), and taking in the sights. When I worked, I remember being cold (dressed up for work and walking to the subway in freezing cold damp wind). I bicycled to and from work in the nice weather, inhaling quite a huge share of fumes from the automotive commuters.

No surprise to people here, I think. Life enslaved to a 40-hour week is worse no matter where you live it.

Anne, working part-time and grateful even for that
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Re: How much is enough
Old 07-03-2004, 05:33 PM   #34
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Re: How much is enough

Bob Smith:

Regarding fireworks on the river next to your house.
4th. of July celebration in the heartland. Can't get more All-American than that.
The way you described the setting, reminds me of one of my favorite movies. "Picnic", with a young William Holden, and a younger Kim Novac.
Enjoy your day, and as you stated "doesn't get any better than that".
Regards, Jarhead

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Re: How much is enough
Old 07-03-2004, 06:11 PM   #35
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Re: How much is enough

I have to get some fireworks.

My area allows them, as long as they fit certain rules, like they dont leave the ground. Now the good news is the definition of "leave" and "ground" arent very specific...
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Re: How much is enough
Old 07-04-2004, 02:04 AM   #36
 
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Re: How much is enough

The "joy" of fireworks is something I've lost in becoming
an adult. In fact, I kind of just went through the motions when I had little kids, i.e. just went because
it was a "family" thing to do. When I was a kid, every
year my grandad bought a huge box of fireworks
(rockets, roman candles, cherry bombs, etc) and we spent
all day shooting them off over the river (same one we live on now). Anyway, now I neither buy any, nor do I attend any displays. In fact, I kind of resent any noise
thus produced. Bah humbug!

Re. a previous post about Vermont winters, I truly
don't understand (absent special circumstances) why
anyone chooses to live in winter weather like that.
I really hate it, although I will admit I didn't think about
it all that much when I was working. My aversion to
cold weather is probably due more to lots of leisure
time than to aging. For example, one of my favorite states is Michigan. Delightful most of the year, but
the winters are dreadful.

John Galt
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Re: How much is enough
Old 07-04-2004, 02:18 AM   #37
 
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Re: How much is enough

I have not spent much time trying to fund for
replacing major "appliances" as they wear out.
Whenever we need something, we always buy used
and cheap, taking the view that we have so little
invested, if it craps out, we don't care. Come to think of it, I'll bet 75% of all the furnishings in this house were
acquired used.

I do have a plan for vehicle replacement. I own an
almost new motorcycle. I'm hoping that the end of
my "biker" days will correspond with our next
vehicle purchase so that I can use the bike as trade
bait.

BTW, looking back at large unanticipated spending
since ER, most of mine is related to legal problems.

John Galt
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Re: How much is enough
Old 07-04-2004, 09:43 AM   #38
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Re: How much is enough

Happy Independence Day, everybody

Bobbee: Going all the way back to your first post, are you planning ER for one person or for two?

TH: A lot of these posts are about cutting costs in expensive cities or moving to places with a relatively high standard of living for not a whole lot of money.

Had dinner with friends last night who are looking to buy in or around Marysville/Yuba City (north of where I live in Sacramento). These two places have traditionally been the brunt of jokes as being among the worst towns to live in the country (according to Rand McNally's Places Rated guide awhile back). MY SO wants to stay in northern California but Sac is becoming too crowded and the foothills are too pricy. Your take on M'ville/Yuba City? What can I get for around $200K? Thoughts?
Like many posters here, I'd like to be close to a vibrant urban core within walking distance of my little paid-for house. (I can drive up the M'Ville myself but appreciate your input first.)

Thanks.
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Re: How much is enough
Old 07-04-2004, 10:05 AM   #39
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Re: How much is enough

Traveler,

I live in Folsom and know what you mean about getting crowded and expensive.
I just looked up recently sold homes in Woodland, and the lower prices are 255,000 and up to around 400,000.

I couldn't find anything on Yuba city. I looked in the Sac Bee real estate section online. Here is the page with the Woodland homes.

http://ssl.sacbee.com/onboard/homes.html

My house has gone up about 65,000 since I put a 5,000 deposit on it last August so I'm thinking about cashing out of it (after 24 months) and moving to rural Florida and starting ER. Amazing how the prices of home have gone up in this area.

If I find anything on Yuba I'll post it.
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Re: How much is enough
Old 07-04-2004, 10:15 AM   #40
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Re: How much is enough

Thanks KB! I constantly think about cashing out especially when I worry about prices having peaked here. I really like the Gulf Coast of Florida but have second thoughts about moving all the way across the country (having been born and raised in California--siblings are here and 80-year-old mom).

I may take a drive up to Marysville today or tomorrow and will report back on my fact-finding trip.
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