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Re: In search of a modest lifestyle
Old 01-09-2005, 11:43 AM   #21
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Re: In search of a modest lifestyle

TH, that about sums it up for me too. I'm frugal, but not cheap. With a family of 3, my budget is probably the same as yours, except my wife and I (and my child) like to travel, so we have a decent line item for travel and entertainment.

Even in traveling, I get as much joy in finding the best possible price for airfare, hotel, and car rentals as I do in the vacation itself.

In fact, I find that many of my friends and relatives copy my vacation plans because I do all the work for them. It doesn't always work out for them exactly because of unduplicated specials I find or because I plan so much in advance to lock in great deals.

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Re: In search of a modest lifestyle
Old 01-09-2005, 12:22 PM   #22
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Re: In search of a modest lifestyle

My husband and I retired at 44 and 45 and are just ending our first year of ER.

We planned this for years; 9/11 made it seem even more pressing.

We tried to make the big purchases while we were still working.

We originally thought our budget would be about $27-28K, but ended up spending about $34k.

We have a paid off condo, one paid off car, we're both on high cholesterol meds (buy them over the internet from Canada and save about 40% over U.S. prices), have a $5000 deductible health insurance plan for $193 per month for both.

We don't eat out much but take our moms out for lunch once a month. We've planted two gardens this past year. We like our wine. But our property taxes and common charges on the condo have gone up this year.


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Re: In search of a modest lifestyle
Old 01-09-2005, 07:38 PM   #23
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Re: In search of a modest lifestyle

Anyone out there living a car-free existence?

We have been "Car Free" for over three and a half years. Living in a large international city with safe, clean, efficient and relatively cheap public transport helps enormously, as does being within 30 minutes of our respective offices. We have always transported our daughter (now 11 months) around on public transport and never had any problems.

I have no intention in the short or medium term of going back to car ownership, although I hope for my dream "hobby" car a little later. My wife can't drive anyway, so there is no pressure from her whatsoever on the car issue.
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Re: In search of a modest lifestyle
Old 01-10-2005, 08:13 AM   #24
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Re: In search of a modest lifestyle

I have read a number of posts by those who are retired on modest budgets, say around 45K per year or less (after income taxes).

Obviously this is very doable, but I admit to having trouble demonstrating such a lifestyle...We don't live lavishly at all yet we spend much more than that every year. Even after allowing for cost reductions due to debt elimination, house downsizing etc. there seems to be a financial "ER gap".

I must be missing some potential savings. Maybe it will become easier to spot spending "hot spots" after we finish tracking expenses for a year? Right now it's a bit of a mystery *
Old habits die hard but I guess I'll have to get used to Pinto beans, corn bread and cheap beer Either that or w*rk a little longer...Hmm, actually beans don't sound so bad.
I'm one of those that spend considerably less than 45k per yr ... mostly b/c my after tax income is 1825 per month, deductions include $8 for health/dental ins, & 5k per November for prop tax / insurance / gifts. But I do not think that I live 'modestly' at all. I eat comfortably well, albeit a vegetarian style menu with fish and chicken tossed in to keep the diet healthy. I don't travel extensively, just about 4-5 nice trips per year inc cruises <don't see a purpose in cruising for less than 10 days as it takes so long to get there>. I always have a ocean view, usually a balcony, and stay at 4* hotels when traveling on land <this one will be an adventure as I am staying at a B&B instead of my usual>. My single splurge at home is a gardener as my 1/3 acre lot is more than I care to keep up, I view lunches out every Monday and Weds with Starbucks every Mon & Thurs am as cheap therapy. :P

It is more doable than you think. Track your expenses for a year, you'll find your 'holes.'

2004 expenses posted as reply #52 in: What is the most common ER budget

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Re: In search of a modest lifestyle
Old 01-10-2005, 08:31 AM   #25
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Re: In search of a modest lifestyle

[Just a word of caution here. I recommend you have a good bit of "uninsured/underinsured" insurance coverage. Lots of drivers out there with state minimums. *And plenty more driving with no insurance whatever. Ever try to get blood from a stone or money from a guy without two nickels in his pocket? I now carry 1/2 million for all my vehicles. Used to be $250,000 until I discovered it wasn't hardly enough. I found out the tough way.[/quote]

Could you elaborate on this? Were you sued?

I feel wary about driving now....
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Re: In search of a modest lifestyle
Old 01-10-2005, 09:53 AM   #26
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Re: In search of a modest lifestyle

jj, Rich might have meant that he was injured or suffered property damage from an uninsured motorist or one who carried very low amounts of liability insurance. You buy underinsured/uninsured coverage so you can recover on your own insurance in these situations.

No more lawyer stuff, no more political stuff, so no more CYA

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Re: In search of a modest lifestyle
Old 01-10-2005, 05:28 PM   #27
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Re: In search of a modest lifestyle

Martha_M. is correct. About two years ago I was happily riding along on my lovely BMW bike (+50,000 miles, which I'd put on her myself -- fifth motorcycle -- first accident ). A nice older woman (gender not relevant, just a fact) made a sharp turn in front of me. No chance to stop. Although I was wearing full protective gear (full face helmet, heavy riding clothes, boots, gloves, etc.) the impact to my head destroyed some nerves in my spinal cord. I was real lucky, I could have easily done a Chris Reeve. I've lost most of the use of my left arm. Among other things, that means the commercial pilots license (commercial rating for rotary wing and single engine land, pvt pilot float plane) sitting in my wallet is just for "show and tell." I can still type with both hands, and am right handed, which is a help. But, ever try dressing with only one good arm? It's an adventure. I did have the $250,000 dollar policy, which was a good thing, because the person who hit me had only $100,000 in her policy. Without going into all the detail, had I had the 1/2 million dollar policy, with my work background and what I might have potentially continued to do in the work force I think I would have gotten it all. I urge you folks to at minimum review your auto policies just to see what you have and give serious thought to upping the uninsured/underinsured part of the policy. I assure you, when I woke that morning of the accident such an event was not on my schedule for the day.
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Re: In search of a modest lifestyle
Old 01-10-2005, 06:23 PM   #28
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Re: In search of a modest lifestyle

Yeah, Martha is correct about the "uninsured/underinsured" coverage.
Re. motorcycles, they are dangerous under the best of conditions. I know a couple of guys who quit riding
after having a bad spill, or witnessing one. My main biking buddy had a friend killed on a weekend trip (my buddy still rides at age 68). I have been riding since 1991,
mostly without a helmet. Lots of reasons for this, and
obviously I have thought it over carefully. I always felt
that if I had a serious "incident" I was likely to die anyway, helmet or no helmet. Fortunately, I never had a real scare and
now my biker career is nearing an end with the old
body unscathed. Just lucky I guess.

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Re: In search of a modest lifestyle
Old 01-10-2005, 08:05 PM   #29
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Re: In search of a modest lifestyle

I have an uncle who lost his leg in a really bad motorcycle accident. The doctor told him that if not for his helmet he would be dead.

Losing a limb has slowed him down, but not by much. He still rides his Harley to work everyday and goes to biker rallies. I always thought it was very cool that despite the accident, he wasn't afraid to hop back on the bike and pursue his passion. Fortunately he's been pretty lucky since.
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Re: In search of a modest lifestyle
Old 01-11-2005, 04:34 AM   #30
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Re: In search of a modest lifestyle

Heck, I don't even feel safe in my compact car anymore with all these hulking monstrosities (SUVs) cruising the roads. To me, hopping on a motorcycle would be like going parachuting without the chute!
"There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest have to pee on the electric fence for themselves."

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Re: In search of a modest lifestyle
Old 01-11-2005, 05:29 AM   #31
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Re: In search of a modest lifestyle

Just a quickie about motorcycles. I took it up late in life
and just loved it from the start. Sure it is dangerous, but so is living (in fact just being alive is terminal..........guaranteed). That said, I don't have
the reflexes or stamina that I had 10 years ago. And, not
having a death wish, I recognize that I am taking a much bigger chance now by continuing to ride. I almost
gave it up 2 years ago. This past summer I had 2 excellent weekenders, but I suspect that was it for me.
I really admire guys who keep going into their 60s and 70s. BTW, in case anyone is wondering, I would never
convert to a trike. To me that would be like carrying a
sign "Can you take me to the nearest nursing home?"


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