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$25,000 to $50,000 79 19.90%
$50,000 to $75,000 111 27.96%
$76,000 to $100,000 96 24.18%
$100,000 to $125,000 57 14.36%
$125,000 to $150,000 17 4.28%
over $150,000 37 9.32%
Voters: 397. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-14-2014, 04:55 PM   #61
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I just don't see how we could realistically plan on needing less than $24K per year for healthcare (insurance and oop) if you would have to depend on ACA for healthcare. Once we hit 65 it would change dramatically. I wish someone could convince me I am wrong. So given that we need $24K for healthcare, we would need more than $100K.
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Old 11-14-2014, 05:31 PM   #62
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Is that for one or two?
These polls frequently leave out what assumption should be made regarding family size which makes the data not-so-good. At our house, we spend close to double what either of us would spend alone. I answered the poll with the amount we spend as a couple and I hope that's correct.
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Old 11-14-2014, 05:51 PM   #63
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I answered for the cost of a family since the kids are still on the our healthcare.
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Old 11-16-2014, 01:59 PM   #64
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I'm budgeting $160K/yr.
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Old 11-16-2014, 02:13 PM   #65
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"Need" is a lot different than what we plan. We could easily be comfortable with $75K/yr, but we're able to spend about $180K/yr as long as we don't go overboard.
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Old 11-16-2014, 02:41 PM   #66
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We are empty nesters with no mortgage, no debt, in a relatively low cost of living area.

DHs pension brings in just under $34,000, after taxes withheld it's closer to $32,000. We are quite comfortable on that. I'm happy with that because it covers all our regular monthly expenses including 1/12th of the property taxes and saving about 13%. I also save 100% of my net part time income. If our needs are met, we enjoy a few wants and we are saving a good sized chunk, I'm quite content.

Savings gets piled up to cover big things that come up. I like having a good sized emergency fund.

We don't have a big desire to travel but an occasional trip to see family or a vacation is easily affordable.
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Old 11-16-2014, 03:05 PM   #67
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$65k for us. I can't figure the folks that can go to europe for 3 months on $3k, but say they increase their budget for travel by $25k.
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Old 11-16-2014, 03:26 PM   #68
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Perhaps I am pessimistic? Planning to withdraw at max $138K per year. Less 20% for taxes (27.6K) leaves $110,400 /12 = $9200 /month. Currently we are both employed spend about $6.6K per month. Down to $4K if need be. I am adding $1K for more fun during retirement and even though we are both currently healthy $1.6K for health insurance premiums, deductibles, prescriptions. $9.2K ($110,400). And thus I am at least OMY
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Old 11-16-2014, 05:15 PM   #69
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I answered $100-125K, based on the OP's description. I was a bit surprised to see only 9% in that category. The reality for us is $80-100K, excluding income taxes. And that's fairly comprehensive, with decent allowances for travel, entertainment, hobbies, and periodic one-shots, like car replacements and home improvements/repairs. We'd like to go a little higher on travel, which is the only reason I rounded up. But we're in that early stage of retirement (53-54) where we want to travel extensively, but are also nervous about spending too much too soon, and potentially screwing up the whole plan.

I'm also surprised and impressed by the large number who answered $25-50K. I sometimes wonder if those numbers are truly comprehensive, especially in the area of periodic one-shots. But more importantly, it always makes me pause to think about our lifestyle and expenses. With the possible exception of our house (which will be downsized at some point), I don't consider our lifestyle to be out of the ordinary at all, and certainly not luxurious. We are seasoned scrimpers on recurring expenses, like cars, TV, phones, utilities, groceries. But, in addition to travel and hobbies, we do enjoy concerts, sporting events, a decent bottle of wine now and then, eating out with friends and family a couple times a week, and helping the kids in small ways. Subtract all that... and the result is not really what I had in mind for retirement.
Our needs are similar to yours $80-90K before taxes. We probably can do it on $65-70k but we really don't want to. We enjoy eating out, a nice bottle of wine every week, attending sporting events and plays every now and then and taking a few trips a year.

Cutting back is doable but it's not what we had in mind for retirement.
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Old 11-16-2014, 07:14 PM   #70
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We are figuring on $9500 a month before taxes. Retiring at end of 2014 so we'll know pretty soon how this works out.


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Old 11-16-2014, 08:26 PM   #71
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Estimating comfortably $60k/year including taxes. House is paid for so property taxes will be our biggest expense - small waterfront home on puget sounds (unless DH loses retirement healthcare). $75k will allow more luxuries.


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Old 11-16-2014, 11:09 PM   #72
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It is hard to come up with a number for us because we don't really know what we will do once DW retires. If we decide to continue renting in or near San Francisco, I think that $125K-150K would be a good target. If we move elsewhere in the US (somewhere in the southeast probably) and purchase a cheap home, $75K-$100K might be sufficient. And if we move back to Europe, $50K-$75K might be plenty comfortable. Right now we are shooting for $120K-$150K in order to keep our options open.
Interesting that moving back to Europe would be $25k cheaper per year than the southeastern USA. I've always considered this to be a relatively cheap COL area, especially compared to Europe.

What are the big cost drivers making Europe significantly more affordable for you?
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Old 11-16-2014, 11:25 PM   #73
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We're temporarily in the top bracket but this includes (i) mortgage on our home - about 7 years to go (ii) two children in school - too many years to go and (iii) university fees for my MFA. Once these are done with the number falls a lot ... unless we increase spending on things like travel.
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Poll: How much income do you need to retire?
Old 11-17-2014, 02:47 AM   #74
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Poll: How much income do you need to retire?

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Originally Posted by ER1970 View Post
Our houses and cars are paid for, but where we are property taxes and living costs are among the highest in the country. Plus health care expenses need to be budgeted in as neither of our current jobs offers retirement health insurance. Our current annual expenses are at mid 200k, with company provided health insurance. When we ER, although we can scale back parts of living expenses, we will have to buy insurance on our own. Plus we'd like to travel... So all in all, I would say we need $200k/yr of income to retire, and that gives us some room to cut back if necessary.
Is no one else curious about this $200+ annual expenses?
Can we see a rough breakdown of this?
What are these expenses of over $16,000 a month?
Country club dues?

To quote the White Coat Investor- ďIf you canít live on $200,000 a year, you have a spending problem, not an earning problem."


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Old 11-17-2014, 05:44 AM   #75
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Originally Posted by urn2bfree View Post
Is no one else curious about this $200+ annual expenses?
Can we see a rough breakdown of this?
What are these expenses of over $16,000 a month?
Country club dues?

To quote the White Quote Investor- ďIf you canít live on $200,000 a year, you have a spending problem, not an earning problem."


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I personally don't see anything wrong with $200K per year. If you have $5MM+ in assets - why not ? A few toys, a few upgrades, a few international vacations, a CC membership - $200K can go very quickly.


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Old 11-17-2014, 06:18 AM   #76
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I personally don't see anything wrong with $200K per year. If you have $5MM+ in assets - why not ? A few toys, a few upgrades, a few international vacations, a CC membership - $200K can go very quickly.
4% WR, that would be seen as the norm wouldn't it (maybe considered a lil' high by today's low interest rate standards however? but still not lunacy)?
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Old 11-17-2014, 06:28 AM   #77
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I personally don't see anything wrong with $200K per year. If you have $5MM+ in assets - why not ? A few toys, a few upgrades, a few international vacations, a CC membership - $200K can go very quickly.


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I am not saying that it is not possible. I am not saying there is anything "wrong" with $200k per year. I will say it seems a bit extravagant for most people.

I am wondering if it is accurate. Could that amount be inflated by erroneously assuming continued higher income taxes that actually should be much lower in retirement? Are there other current expenses that are likely to go down or disappear like tuitions and kids' cellphones and car insurance etc? Are they including money they are saving in this figure? That should not be part of this calculation.


I am looking for a little better breakdown than sort of hand waving, yadda yadda yadda.

Their house and cars are paid for.
We are told property taxes are substantial. Let's say that means Westchester County, NY- the most expensive county property taxes in the nation. Average property tax per year there is around $10,000. Let's go crazy and maybe quadruple that to $40,000. Health insurance? $30,000? We still have $130,000 to spend. Country club? $30,000? Still have $100,000 a year to spend using what I think are already inflated estimates...
We are talking recurring expenses here. I am sure one could spend that much once in a while, but a few toys, upgrades, even expensive vacations are hard to sustain yearly for an entire retirement. These don't explain how they are planning on spending $16,000 every month, every year, for years...
Like I said, mostly I am curious what that kind of spending gets you...



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Old 11-17-2014, 06:39 AM   #78
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Some items I've seen with bigger spenders among friends:
  • A live-in house maid. Even after the kids are gone
  • Rearranging the house interior every year
  • Owning several sports cars, swap them out every six months
  • 300$ bottles of wine several times a month. Invite some friends over and impress them
  • A boat
  • 5 star hotels on your vacation
  • Top of the line luxury clothing, also for your (grand)children
  • Professional gardening services and pool maintenance, optional personal masseur and psychologist
  • Professional chef preparing your meals to deal with your allergies
  • Golf
All of these make me cringe, but it adds up quickly. Many folks have a talent for spending


Compared to any sense of median or normal though, all that is indeed extravagant.

[Edit] Most of these items indeed will drop off once health starts failing. On the other hand I've seen folks (including my grandfather) well in his 80s going on luxury cruises quite often.
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Old 11-17-2014, 07:07 AM   #79
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I am looking for a little better breakdown than sort of hand waving, yadda yadda yadda.
OK, see a theoretical breakout below. A $200K limit is really going to reign in some of the luxuries. A 'problem' for $5MM+ asset folks is that taxes are still a major expense category as you will be depending on your portfolio to throw off 5% or so in capital gains / dividends per year and most of these will be taxed at the higher marginal federal, state + ACA rates. And the tax situation may indeed be even worse if a good percentage of your assets are in non Roth IRA's and you are making RMD's.

All expenses are annualized:

Capital Gains Tax on 5% portfolio appreciation @ $5MM @ 25% $62,500
Real Estate Tax $22,000
Upkeep, $1MM house at 3% per year $30,000
Second home / condo - assoc fees $12,000
Maid @$1500 per month $18,000
Grounds keeper @$1000 per month $12,000
Power @ $500 per month $6,000
Medical @ $3000 per month $36,000
Salon/Massage $5,000
Health Club / Trainer $4,800
Food @ $1200 per month $14,400
Dining Out - Once per week @ $150 $7,800
New Car @ $50,000 every three years $16,667
Upkeep on sailboat/power boat $12,000
Gas / Diesel $5,000
Telephone/Cell $3,500
Internet / Cable $2,500
New laptop & ipad every two years $3,000
Gifts / Charitable $5,000
Clothes / Misc @ $3000 per month $36,000
Three vacations per year, business class tickets + $15000 spend money (each) $72,000


Annual Spend $323,667
Amount Available $200,000

Where do you cut from here ? $200K could almost be consider poor folk ?
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Old 11-17-2014, 07:41 AM   #80
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You really cant figure out how to retire with a cell phone bill of less than $3,500? Come on,


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