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Old 11-27-2010, 12:38 AM   #21
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If health coverage is included, it could be done without too many uncomfortable tradeoffs. Looking at college towns would be my main focus. Minimum acceptable housing and eating at home is still under $1 000 per month

Work just one day per week or two to three months per year on top of the $20 000 and there would be very little I felt like I was missing out on
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Old 11-27-2010, 08:32 AM   #22
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I would like your opinion as to whether you think there is anywhere in the Northeast USA that a single person could retire early with $20,000 a year gross income (adjusted for inflation) before taxes? This amount would have to cover all living expenses, including mortgage/property taxes/utilities/ or rent and health insurance.

Also, if you don't think this would work, what average amount do you think would be sufficient in a Northeast USA environment? Do you think that $20,000 per year would be sufficient to retire in any part of the USA? If so, where?

I imagine that the answer would depend in large part on the quality of life that the person is seeking. Assume that the person has a simple, frugal lifestyle for the sake of this thread.
Here's someone who will tell you could certainly retire on $20K/yr in an expensive region, he and his wife live in/near San Francisco on much less. He's probably more resourceful than most, but it appears they live better than you might guess. You might want to get a copy (I thought it was a great read) or visit his blog for insights (link below).

You can retire in the Northeast on $20K/yr - if you're willing to live the lifestyle your resourcefullness/abilities/sensibilities would afford. For example, live in a small modest home with roommates, ditch your car for a bicycle and be prepared to go back to work if the plan runs off the rails and you'll be well on your way. IOW, only you can answer..."average amounts" are meaningless.

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Old 11-27-2010, 07:08 PM   #23
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I am single, no kids, and live in the northeast (Long Island, NY, hardly a low-cost area). I am 47 and I retired 2 years ago at 45. My annual expenses are about $22k. I own a car and my co-op apartment outright. I have HI which is costly and rising fast. I don't eat out of dumpsters and enjoy the lifestyle I have had for years. I do volunteer work, have low-cost hobbies, and can eat out whenever I like (but I don't very often). I have a ladyfriend who lives nearby and I have helped her out financially at times. I have high-speed internet access and cable TV and a landline phone (no cell phone, I hate them).

Could I reduce my expenses to $20k if I needed to? Probably. But my dividend income is about $30k so I can more than cover my current expenses. I also have an IRA worth about $300k and a pension awaiting me when I turn 65.

So, yes, it can be done.
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Old 11-27-2010, 08:05 PM   #24
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Sure in any of these towns in Pa. you could do it but would you enjoy living in that area !
Frackville, Pennsylvania - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 11-27-2010, 08:35 PM   #25
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Could I reduce my expenses to $20k if I needed to? Probably. But my dividend income is about $30k so I can more than cover my current expenses. I also have an IRA worth about $300k and a pension awaiting me when I turn 65.

So, yes, it can be done.
Your logic that it could be done by OP escapes me. You're spending more, own your home and are backed up by a FIRE portfolio that generates $30k in dividends alone.

How does that support your assertion that OP, without the home and dividend generating portfolio as back up in case of financial issues, could do it?
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Old 11-27-2010, 09:14 PM   #26
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Your logic that it could be done by OP escapes me. You're spending more, own your home and are backed up by a FIRE portfolio that generates $30k in dividends alone.

How does that support your assertion that OP, without the home and dividend generating portfolio as back up in case of financial issues, could do it?
All I was doing was answering this question by the OP:

"I would like your opinion as to whether you think there is anywhere in the Northeast USA that a single person could retire early with $20,000 a year gross income (adjusted for inflation) before taxes? This amount would have to cover all living expenses, including mortgage/property taxes/utilities/ or rent and health insurance."

If you chose to read a whole lot more into my answer then that is your issue, not mine.
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Old 11-27-2010, 09:26 PM   #27
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All I was doing was answering this question by the OP:

"I would like your opinion as to whether you think there is anywhere in the Northeast USA that a single person could retire early with $20,000 a year gross income (adjusted for inflation) before taxes? This amount would have to cover all living expenses, including mortgage/property taxes/utilities/ or rent and health insurance."

If you chose to read a whole lot more into my answer then that is your issue, not mine.
Perhaps I was reading more into your answer than you meant to imply. It just seemed like you were stating you spend more than $20k annually, don't have to pay rent or mortgage because you own your coop, have significant financial reserves to back you up and will collect a pension later. I just didn't see how that added up to OP living on $20k on an ongoing basis.
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Old 11-27-2010, 10:00 PM   #28
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Regardless of what one's cost of living is, it helps to have a lot of reserves, just in case.

As many here know, I got really interested in the life of RV full-timers, though I have no real interest in leading one (I might have long trips, but that's not the same). So, I stumbled across a blog of a couple who have been doing fine, until the wife had to rush to the hospital, for fear of a heart attack.

It turned out to be...

a heartburn. Her 2-day stay in the hospital cost them plenty, which they did not reveal. I also did not recall reading them say anything about health insurance, or perhaps if they did have it, it came with a high deductible like our $10K/yr.

Anyway, they suddenly had a budget shortfall, and had to spend last summer work-camping to make up that money by working 8 hrs/day at the minimum wage, and only recently finished that job.

They seem a very upbeat couple, and are able to handle the short detour in their life with their outlook intact. I admire people like that, but my gloomy nature would make me swear at myself for not having sufficient funding for such emergencies. Or worse, it might make me angry at my wife for not being able to tell a heartburn from a heart attack. Or my wife might feel guilty.

So, whatever one does, the main issue is "Know thyself".
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Old 11-28-2010, 01:30 AM   #29
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So, whatever one does, the main issue is "Know thyself".
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Old 11-28-2010, 09:54 AM   #30
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The OP isn't the only one who pondered the question:

Marty Nemko: How I Could Live Decently on $20,000 a Year

+1 on the know thyself.
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Old 11-28-2010, 11:26 AM   #31
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You might have a shot in Western Mass. Health Insurance is state mandated and there are subsidized policies for people with low incomes. You could probably rent a place in Springfield area for $600/month., lower if roommate situation. You would need to be mega frugal.
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Old 11-28-2010, 02:38 PM   #32
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Quite possible, especially if the health insurance subsidies actually do kick in as they are slated to in 2014. It would cost less than $800/year+actual costs.

Only major issue left would be housing, you'd either need to either find something in an inexpensive, low tax area of the country for $100k or keep your rent below $800/month.

Lifestyle wise, you would need to have very inexpensive hobbies. Very little travel. You could have an inexpensive car, but you'd need to keep driving it to a minimum, mostly grocery store trips.

Doable anywhere, grad students live on less than $20k in every single city in the country, I know I lived on half that.
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Old 11-29-2010, 05:49 AM   #33
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No not in the Northeast but if you will move west then

Cheapest places to live in America Topeka, KS for under $840 a month
Thanks very much for linking my article. The article is old so not sure how relevant the actual pricing is but I am pretty sure you could still get by cheap in the mid west.

Most of my recent talks and research has been pointing to Texas with Austin being a very vibrant and affordable city to live in.
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Old 11-29-2010, 07:45 AM   #34
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Most of my recent talks and research has been pointing to Texas with Austin being a very vibrant and affordable city to live in.
And there are such beautiful sunrises: http://www.early-retirement.org/foru...ml#post1005617

Who could ask for anything more? Spread the word.
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Old 11-29-2010, 08:20 AM   #35
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Wow that is a beautiful pic! I am in Cairo right now and sunrises tend to be a bit hazed by pollution but I was out in the desert last week and wow, just wow!!!
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Old 11-29-2010, 08:34 AM   #36
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Sheesh. This unbridled enthusiasm needs tempering with the facts:

"Texas is infested with scorpions, rattlesnakes, fire ants, crazy raspberry ants, cockroaches on steroids, killer bees, mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers, tarantulas, brown recluse spiders, love bugs, swarming crickets, copperheads, cottonmouths, rabid skunks, wild hogs, alligators, oppressive heat & humidity, bleak desolate scenery, dirty beaches, polluted air, dust storms, drought, wildfires, water shortages, recurring floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, rednecks, huge piles of flaming mulch, spontaneously combusting playgrounds, roads hot as flowing lava, the stench of natural and unnatural gasses, pirate attacks and amoebic meningitis lurking in area lakes, recurring ebola virus outbreaks, flesh eating bacteria, the highest homeowner insurance rates in the US, unbelievably high property taxes, mandatory death sentences for DUI convictions, polygamous religious sects, and, lest we forget, doesn't look kindly towards Yankees (per Orchidflower)."
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Old 11-29-2010, 09:09 AM   #37
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You might have a shot in Western Mass. Health Insurance is state mandated and there are subsidized policies for people with low incomes.
Sounds like a new topic for a book, "How to Retire Early on the Backs of Taxpayers".
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Old 11-29-2010, 09:19 AM   #38
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Sheesh. This unbridled enthusiasm needs tempering with the facts:
And never a dull moment. What more can one ask for?
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Old 11-29-2010, 09:20 AM   #39
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What more can one ask for?
Colorado.
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Old 11-29-2010, 09:25 AM   #40
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Colorado.
Colorado has none of those things. It is a nice place to visit, though. (Bring your money.)
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