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Old 07-04-2010, 04:33 PM   #1
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Interesting article from Scott Burns. How to survive on $15,000 a year - Registered Investment Advisor

I would say the proposition is that it is easier for 4 people to live on $60K than one on $15K. So simple but not often thought about in our culture where everyone wants their 'own' space and stuff. Maybe there is a reason my MIL's senior residence has some of the structure (physically & Socially) as a college dorm.
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Old 07-04-2010, 05:34 PM   #2
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I've heard that referred to in the southeast as "Social Security boarding houses".
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Old 07-05-2010, 12:51 AM   #3
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It's a good idea. I've asked my kids to stay at home to reap these type of benefits.
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Old 07-05-2010, 04:34 AM   #4
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For many elderly trying to survive in the early 1900's... the good old days were not so good. Americans were less affluent and even if they made a living when they were young, they were often facing dire poverty unless they had children that could/would take them in and support them.

Social Security and Elderly Poverty


The roommate idea is difficult for elderly folks that are still independent. Mainly because of personality and lifestyle issues. It is one thing to live with family members... something else to try to identify a stranger to live with... and make it work out.

Not surprising I suppose that $15k is about what someone would earn working full-time at minimum wage today.

There are safety net (welfare) programs... food stamps, section 8 housing, etc.
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Old 07-05-2010, 07:15 AM   #5
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It's a good idea. I've asked my kids to stay at home to reap these type of benefits.
My niece graduated from college not long ago and she lives with her mother. It only makes sense, both will have lower expenses by living together and it's like they have a big house to themselves. Both are nurses and work different shifts. Rarely see each other.
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Old 07-05-2010, 07:41 AM   #6
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"Economy of scale" applies to personal living too....

I've always been interested in "Fractional Ownership" - seems to me a small group of people could economically jointly owns a set of "retirement assets" - beach house, mountain cabin, RV, boat, etc. If each person had a 1/10th share, they'd get plenty of use/access at a fraction of the "total cost of individual ownership".

Yes you can plain old "rent" something - but the costs of renting is high for more than a couple weeks/times. My understanding is houseboats out West often have fractional ownership agreements.

Need something like something like "Net Jets" for retirement toys...
NetJets: Fractional Jet Ownership - Corporate Aircraft & Private Jet Aircraft
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Old 07-05-2010, 08:01 AM   #7
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I wonder why the idea that SS was never intended to be the sole support income source is rarely mentioned any more, if at all - savings and retirement plans were to be part of the equation.
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Old 07-05-2010, 09:21 AM   #8
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I wonder why the idea that SS was never intended to be the sole support income source is rarely mentioned any more, if at all - savings and retirement plans were to be part of the equation.
I see this as one of the biggest issues, and as you say, rarely mentioned.

I'd like to see some structured education system for all employees. Maybe a PSA-type little insert with your check each month - " Did you know.....". Maybe a 5-10 minute 'class' as part of your first week on the job, with a test that you must pass to assure you actually understand the basics (not a hard test, one that everyone could pass if they paid attention).

Enough to show that SS is only going to cover X,Y Z for a few typical scenarios, and how much you might need to save each month to cover the rest at age 65. I bet a large % of the working population does not 'get that'.

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Old 07-05-2010, 10:26 AM   #9
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I agree! I think younger employees definitely need to have the financial facts of life pointed out to them, in strong terms as soon as possible. Since employees spend most of their waking time at work, work is the logical venue for imparting this knowledge.

My employer has been sponsoring "financial planning" and "prepare for retirement" seminars for years. I attended one, 15 years ago, that made a great impression. I wished it had been available earlier!

The human resources people talked about how our pensions likely would not be enough to cover all our retirement needs and wants, and pointed out that for newer employees whose plan (unlike mine) does include SS, there was a long gap between retirement eligibility and SS eligibility. Then the financial planners (from local firms) talked about mutual funds, dollar cost averaging, how to project future investment earnings and inflation, and some basic tax stuff. This was the first time I heard that some states have tax incentives for retired people. I had always known about "pay yourself first," but not about the other things.

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I see this as one of the biggest issues, and as you say, rarely mentioned.

I'd like to see some structured education system for all employees. Maybe a PSA-type little insert with your check each month - " Did you know.....". Maybe a 5-10 minute 'class' as part of your first week on the job, with a test that you must pass to assure you actually understand the basics (not a hard test, one that everyone could pass if they paid attention).

Enough to show that SS is only going to cover X,Y Z for a few typical scenarios, and how much you might need to save each month to cover the rest at age 65. I bet a large % of the working population does not 'get that'.

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Old 07-05-2010, 10:51 AM   #10
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I think sharing resources makes sense (And I think we will see more of it in the future). Unfortunately, few people are willing to give it a try. Both my mom and MIL incessantly complain about living in large homes (too much cleaning/upkeep required, too expensive to maintain, etc...). Since they are unwilling to move and downsize, I thought they could share their resources with other people. They each have enough room to accommodate up to 2 roommates (they both have older friends who are in similarly precarious financial situations and who could also benefit from resource sharing). They both feel lonely, so the roommates idea could also help with that. Yet, they think it's crazy. They would rather keep their large home and whine all day long rather than do anything about it.
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Old 07-05-2010, 11:04 AM   #11
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I think sharing resources makes sense (And I think we will see more of it in the future). Unfortunately, few people are willing to give it a try. Both my mom and MIL incessantly complain about living in large homes (too much cleaning/upkeep required, too expensive to maintain, etc...). Since they are unwilling to move and downsize, I thought they could share their resources with other people. They each have enough room to accommodate up to 2 roommates (they both have older friends who are in similarly precarious financial situations and who could also benefit from resource sharing). They both feel lonely, so the roommates idea could also help with that. Yet, they think it's crazy. They would rather keep their large home and whine all day long rather than do anything about it.

That is too bad because I know several people in Florida who do this and it works out great especially for the widows . They have someone to do things with and also help out if one gets sick .
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Old 07-05-2010, 11:42 AM   #12
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That is too bad because I know several people in Florida who do this and it works out great especially for the widows . They have someone to do things with and also help out if one gets sick .
If we are all going to end up like the Golden Girls, then I get to be Sophia.
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Old 07-05-2010, 12:38 PM   #13
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If we are all going to end up like the Golden Girls, then I get to be Sophia.

I have friends in their 50's, one contemplating a roommate, the other forced to be a roommate by finances. It's a big adjustment. My high school buddies and I were speculating about forming an aging hippie commune if some of our partners leave us when we're old. Of course by high school standards we are already there!
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Old 07-05-2010, 12:46 PM   #14
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I can just see it. One member's allergic to tie-dye, another grouses that the music is too loud, another has to have haircuts and manicures all the time, everyone's overdosing on Lipitor and beta-blockers, and nobody really wants to have sex!

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an aging hippie commune !
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Old 07-05-2010, 12:46 PM   #15
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If we are all going to end up like the Golden Girls, then I get to be Sophia.
...I love Sophia!

I'd like to think I could do well with roommates, but I'm not sure I'd be very happy with that situation.
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Old 07-05-2010, 01:45 PM   #16
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I grew up in a blue collar town and knew people on my street who rented rooms to boarders. The widower next door rented his upstairs to a single lady who worked the third shift in the steel mill. She had kitchen privileges and her own bath. The widow down the street rented rooms and provided meals to two elderly retired men. You could walk and catch a bus to most places so you did not need a car. Or you could ask one of your neighbors for a lift somewhere....people were mostly friendly and knew their long time neighbors. I don't know anyone my age (55) who lives with someone else for economy's sake. We have joked around the office lunch table about a Golden Girls-type living arrangement when we retire. I think I could share space with a couple of my friends if I had my own bedroom. I suppose to live on $15,000 a year is do-able if you are thrifty and have access to a health plan. Add able to do home repairs and fix your own car, like to garden and can, and you might be good to go. Or better yet get rid of the car and move to a subsidized apartment(my property taxes are killer), and you could most certainly make it if you were of the mindset to do so.
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Old 07-05-2010, 01:51 PM   #17
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Or better yet get rid of the car and move to a subsidized apartment(my property taxes are killer), and you could most certainly make it if you were of the mindset to do so.
If you qualify, this is a good strategy IMO. Just get an age qualified as well as means qualified building, and it can be quite nice. Plenty people around to hang out with, but you have your own apartment too.

I would be worried about an all ages building with a lot of Section 8 or similar tenants.

Ha
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Old 07-05-2010, 02:02 PM   #18
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That is too bad because I know several people in Florida who do this and it works out great especially for the widows . They have someone to do things with and also help out if one gets sick .
I agree, they are missing an opportunity. I understand, having roommates is not easy. Personally, I would downsize to a shoe-box size apartment before considering the possibility of having a roommate. But if my mom and MIL want to hang on to their large homes, then I think that they're gonna have to to think outside the box.
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Old 07-05-2010, 02:06 PM   #19
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If we are all going to end up like the Golden Girls, then I get to be Sophia.
I would definitely be Rose.
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Old 07-05-2010, 02:23 PM   #20
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I think I could do OK on 15K if I sold my home and bought a trailer and a pickup to tow it with. New England in the summer FL in the winter.
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