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Old 12-30-2010, 05:18 PM   #161
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bamspd,

Just messing with you a little.

I know it is not all income directly to the vets pocket. My father shut his practice as a surgeon upon turning 65. He wanted to continue work at 1/2 time, however, malpractice insurance, receptionist, office expense, etc. meant he would have little or no take-home.
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Old 12-30-2010, 05:42 PM   #162
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Back on the original question of the OP about living on $20K/yr, I rediscovered a thread where people discussed the budget for $36K/yr.

I will concede that I am not frugal enough for $20K, though I have shared a link earlier about a woman full-time RV'er who is having a great time on that budget, which also includes her medical insurance premium.

But a $36K budget should be more doable by most "spendthrifts" out there. No?

The following thread was a lot of fun back then: Retire on 3k per month thoughts...
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Old 01-17-2011, 05:17 PM   #163
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I just discovered this thread.

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: It depends. It's a lot like asking whether it's possible to swim 4 kilometers. If you don't know how to swim, it's obviously impossible. If you're a beginner for whom swimming a lane is still a struggle, 4k corresponds to the "in your dreams" scenario. If you're an intermediate swimmer with semi-efficient technique, 4k is something you'd have to work up to over a year or two, but it's possible. Many do this for iron man triathlons. If you're an elite level competitive swimmer, 4k is "yeah, sure, it'll take me an hour or so".

Like with swimming there's a skill to spending money. Some do it more efficiently than others. A consumer who spends money every time there is a need and does it in the most convenient way possible knowing no other way is like the swimmer who can barely make a lane. This person will purchase things without considering the price. He will hire people to fix his things for him. He will pay before considering other options. Entertainment = buying stuff or spending money. Doing things = paying others to do them for you. Most people have been "trained" to be like this.

Conversely, if you're resourceful or become that way, you will only rarely pay others to fix things for you, because you know how to fix them yourself. You will know which supermarket offers the most value for the money. You will grow some food yourself. Entertainment is free and mostly revolves around doing and makings things rather than consuming them or "watching them."

So the answer is similar to swimming 4k. It's possible to live well on 20k/year in some intermediate producer/consumer state if you're willing to put in a few years of learning and rearrange your priorities a bit. As a 100% consumer, the answer is no. I know people who blow $20k within 3-4 months on their various payments just to stay afloat. Conversely, $20k would last me about 3 years.

Thinking there are some things that can't be done without money is thinking like a consumer. To give an example. I crew on racing yachts. This means I go sailing once a week (30-35 footers). Total one time cost: $500 in safety gear. The intermediate solution is $3000 in keel boat certificates; a $5000 yacht club membership and $1000 in trendy foul weather pants and jackets. Then add $400 to charter a boat for a day and try to gather 5 of your friends to sail it. The expensive solution is to buy a $100,000 boat on credit, possibly docked on the other side of the country, and pay the ship yard to maintain it.

Life is similar to this.

So the answer depends on which person you want to be.
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Old 01-17-2011, 07:44 PM   #164
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Amen. The dear wife spent $1k+ today to have one of our cats teeth cleaned, which is a recurring expense for all four cats and the dog, despite our brushing their teeth twice a day!..
Cough..sputter...say WHAT ?

Dry food only is a better alternative for domestic pet dental health.
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Old 01-18-2011, 02:52 AM   #165
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To me, the main sacrifices are in housing and cars. If one can change their mindset in those two areas, living on $20K a year isn't that difficult for a single person.
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Old 01-18-2011, 12:04 PM   #166
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Jacob's right again.

There are so many areas in life and spending where people don't even consider all of the options.
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Old 01-18-2011, 05:45 PM   #167
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To me, the main sacrifices are in housing and cars. If one can change their mindset in those two areas, living on $20K a year isn't that difficult for a single person.
I agree completely, if you can keep housing (and directly associated expenses), cars and food under control, you have the basis for keeping expenses reasonable.
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Old 01-18-2011, 09:28 PM   #168
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To me, the main sacrifices are in housing and cars. If one can change their mindset in those two areas, living on $20K a year isn't that difficult for a single person.
Furthermore, and you may be implying this anyway, if you remain childfree you can keep a lid on your expenses. Mine are about $21.5k for a single person without children.
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Old 01-18-2011, 10:19 PM   #169
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I have seen forum members come up with some rather narrow definitions of what they would consider successful retirement. If a forum member admits to having a spouse who works part time, then he/she is not retired. If a member admits that he can pick up part time gigs, then he's not retired. Basically anything short of having a pension and/or a stash and then being able to do nothing but pleasant things for the rest of one's life is derided as not true retirement. This narrow definition is the kind of thinking that ties a lot of people to well-paying but unpleasant or boring jobs because they think to themselves, "I can't quit this job because I have to have a huge stash because I want to never, ever work again and live on 4% of my stash for the next 40+ years." This kind of thinking is actually contrary to financial planning basics because the ability to pick up extra income is a degree of flexibility and a thus plus in retirement planning. It's an option that's not available to the truly disabled for instance.

I don't know about other people, but I got bored after 3 weeks of vacation. I was in a beautiful beach town hanging out with my own beach bunny, drinking beer and eating well-prepared meals on the beach, BSing with friends, doing exciting things such as motorcycle riding, 4 wheeling, dancing, and taking canopy trips. If I had any down time, I read books and posted on this forum. By the last couple of days though, I knew that I had enough because all those things started to dull. Yes, I know. It's amazing what I can be bored with.

Thinking back on the past 40 years, I realized that I have never done anything for close to 40 years straight, not a job, not a particular school, not a place to live, or not even a really demanding hobby. I can't imagine that I'd want to do nothing but ride my bicycle, surf, run, read books for 40+ years straight.

On the flip side, I know that I don't want to mad dash through life working, working, working, saving, saving, saving while not enjoying a moment all in the hope of that magical moment when I hit my number and then doing the exact opposite of working, working, working for the next 40 years. It's like saying I am really sleep deprived, so I'm going to sleep for the next 98 hours. It's not possible, and it is not necessary.

Instead of scaring every poster who shows up with a 1% withdrawal rate or a set of huge expenses, how about we at least allow the possibility that retirement is not some final decision that one makes and sticks with for the rest of one's life? Things change sometimes for the worse and sometimes for the better, but as long as we can do something about it, then preparing a portfolio for 3 consecutive Great Depressions is not really necessary. Heck, if 3 Great Depressions occurred in a row, even if you had held on to that job, saved more, you'd be screwed.
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Old 01-18-2011, 10:31 PM   #170
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I think you may be seeing this through a specialized vision. At a time when it may be hard for young, well trained people to get a good job, a lot of older people who have good jobs, who don't necessarily want to live "extreme retirement", who may have spouses that have much more convential ideas about what constitutes a proper lifestyle are well advised to find out just exactly what situation the person advising him to "go for it" has. Once they cut that cord, it just may stay cut.

No one thinks having a working wife or husband is a moral failing, but it does change the weight to be given to advice about how to retire coming from that person.

Another thing is that you are close to 40 and single with no dependents. This is a different situation altogether from that of an older man or woman with 2 or 3 kids.

Ha
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Old 01-19-2011, 07:35 AM   #171
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Furthermore, and you may be implying this anyway, if you remain childfree you can keep a lid on your expenses. Mine are about $21.5k for a single person without children.
I think being child free is a given assumption for anyone attempting to live on $20K a year. Unless we're talking about someone of low abilities, who is doing the best they can to earn $20K a year.

Considering this is a retirement forum, forcing dependent children to live a reduced lifestyle, just because you don't want to work anymore is irresponsible.

On the other hand, if someone has no dependents, and has a secure lifetime income stream of $20K a year, it's a personal decision that affects no one but themselves. However, there will be critics, especially if the $20K comes from a government pension.
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Old 01-19-2011, 09:04 AM   #172
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Cough..sputter...say WHAT ?

Dry food only is a better alternative for domestic pet dental health.
Unless, like me, you have a cat with a weight problem, in which case you are told by the vet to give him only wet food (less calories). BTW - I have never "overfed" him. I have two cats, and the other cat eats more food, and is at a perfect weight. This cat is just...a fat cat!
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Old 01-19-2011, 11:00 AM   #173
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I take in a stray cat from time to time. Providing food and shelter. But health and dental care is strictly on their own dime.
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Old 01-19-2011, 01:19 PM   #174
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I take in a stray cat from time to time. Providing food and shelter. But health and dental care is strictly on their own dime.
Better duck.

Ha
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Old 01-19-2011, 02:24 PM   #175
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I can't imagine that I'd want to do nothing but ride my bicycle, surf, run, read books for 40+ years straight.
Hey, you gotta be responsible for your own entertainment-- especially if the alternative is looking to the office environment for your social stimulation.

I can't imagine taking on a commitment that would interfere with my enjoyment of cycling, surfing, running, and reading books for the next five or six decades.

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Considering this is a retirement forum, forcing dependent children to live a reduced lifestyle, just because you don't want to work anymore is irresponsible.
I think our responsibility to our dependents is to keep them at a minimum level of safety, shelter, food, and clothing. Basic security, perhaps a half-step ahead of Child Protective Services.

I used to think that we owed our kid(s) a basic college education, but I'm backpedaling even on that. These days I think that's a great way to make sure they launch out of the nest and don't boomerang, so subsidizing a kid's college is purely from my own selfish self-interest.

Anything above that subsistence level develops an attitude of entitlement and perhaps even affluenza. I don't see anything wrong with a reduced lifestyle because the alternative is far more difficult to "cure". I'd rather raise them on the confidence that they have the skill to survive on ramen & thrift stores, rather than leaving them ignorant of those survival tactics.

I also think that teaching a daughter to survive on her own will help her avoid a lifetime of seeking the security of a succession of sugar daddies. That may be my gender bias but it seems far more common with women than men. We have a neighbor's daughter going down that path, and I think I've seen how this movie ends...
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Old 01-19-2011, 07:06 PM   #176
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The OP hasn't responded to any of the requests for more info, but has had the time to make posts in other threads. Not polite imho.

But the thread is a good read anyway.
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Old 01-19-2011, 10:48 PM   #177
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Hey, you gotta be responsible for your own entertainment-- especially if the alternative is looking to the office environment for your social stimulation.

I can't imagine taking on a commitment that would interfere with my enjoyment of cycling, surfing, running, and reading books for the next five or six decades.
I think I was fairly clear that I don't want to work, work, work all the time either. The work environment is boring as well because anything you do and say will be used against you, so you end up saying the blandest and most meaningless things just to seem pleasant. Things like what Haha said about American women would get you hauled down to the basement in 5 minutes. I hold no illusion that the corporate office environment can supply me with 8 hours of interesting things to do much less supply me with 8x5x52x40 days of interesting things to do.

I am still searching for that balance of fun, exercise, and intellectual stimulation. I have yet to find it.

Well, speaking of interference with your fun, didn't you WRITE a book? I'd bet that took quite a bit of time. LOL.
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Old 01-19-2011, 11:55 PM   #178
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Things like what Haha said about American women would get you hauled down to the basement in 5 minutes.
Well, if I remember what you are talking about, it could better be seen as a failing on my part, where at times I am not fully able to submit to the dominance of some of our strong, independent American females.

My failing, not theirs!

Ha
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Old 01-20-2011, 08:52 AM   #179
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You get bored easily then, Buns? Good luck on your quest. Been totally retired for 4 years and hardly ever bored. Biking, skiing, reading, managing our portfolio, extensive travel, bombing around in our convertible in the rockies, workouts, taking care of parents, etc. Loving it.
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Old 01-20-2011, 12:00 PM   #180
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...........
Considering this is a retirement forum, forcing dependent children to live a reduced lifestyle, just because you don't want to work anymore is irresponsible.............
I've gotta comment on this statement. Where I disagree is with the notion that things that you give a child are somehow more important than time. Several of the regular posters here who retired with minor children have done so to deliberately have more time to spend with their kids as they grow up. I can't think of a greater gift.

I don't have any kids, but I was a child. Speaking from my own experience, one of my greatest strengths is an appreciation of how hard work and initiative leads to material comfort and security. I feel that I got that awareness from an upbringing where the essentials were provided, but luxuries like a college education, a car and my own place were my own responsibility.
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