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View Poll Results: Survivor after-tax spending as a Percent of Combined after tax spending
100 9 14.06%
95 2 3.13%
90 7 10.94%
85 5 7.81%
80 11 17.19%
75 17 26.56%
70 7 10.94%
65 3 4.69%
60 1 1.56%
55 1 1.56%
50 1 1.56%
Voters: 64. You may not vote on this poll

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Poll: Survivor Spending
Old 03-23-2014, 04:13 PM   #1
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Poll: Survivor Spending

This isn't about the TV show.

I'm assuming that one of us will die before the other. When that happens, the survivor will spend less than we had spent together.

So the poll question is (survivor's annual spending) as a percent of (spending when we're both alive).

Please use after-tax spending, because taxes can be erratic and very sensitive to individual circumstances like the sources of income.

I picked 65%. I looked at our actual spending history and kept 100% of what we spent on housing - Taxes, Utilities, Maintenance, Insurance, and Repairs. I'd like the survivor to have the option of staying in this house. I also kept 100% of what we spend on kids and grandkids Christmas and birthday gifts.

Everything else I set at 50% of our current spending. I'm pretty comfortable with that for Food, Medical, Clothes, Entertainment, and Miscellaneous. I could have used a higher number for Cars and Travel, but I'm more-or-less assuming my wife will be the survivor, and she has less desire to travel than I do. So I stuck with 50% for those two items.

I also used 50% for Charitable contributions.
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Old 03-23-2014, 06:21 PM   #2
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Auto costs (insurance, registration, fuel, maintenance) will decrease (but less than 50%), with one car instead of two.

Medical, cell phone, food costs are halved.

Hobby and travel costs are lowered, but the percentage depends on your individual history.

Income taxes increase, with state taxes very variable.

I don't see many other areas where significant differences will occur.
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Old 03-23-2014, 07:23 PM   #3
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I'm guessing DW would spend 75% of current income but perhaps less. Auto costs would drop by more than half. A Honda Accord is cheaper to own than a full-size GMC pickup truck. And of course she will have little use for a motorcycle.
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Old 03-23-2014, 07:55 PM   #4
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Everyone - - don't forget that after your demise, your widowed spouse will have to pay to have someone do a lot of the things that you do around the house. Somebody in your house probably fixes things, mows, changes the oil, paints, cooks, does the laundry, cleans house, and so on. If you do any of these things or others, then after your death these might become additional expenses for your spouse.

Also, he/she will of course be devastated by losing you, and will need cheering up. So don't be too stingy.
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Old 03-23-2014, 08:00 PM   #5
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I didn't do any math... have always just used 75%. Sort of assumed about half of our expenses can be divided between the two of us... including things like food, clothing, transportation, entertainment and travel.
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Old 03-23-2014, 08:00 PM   #6
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Hmm... I need a new category in the poll: "Have not figured that out yet".

However, I suspect that the expenses would go down significantly. My wife would not need nor be able to maintain 2 homes, nor so many cars and the motorhome, etc... Frugal as I am, I still spend more on toys than she does. I think she will have more money than what she knows what to do with. I hope she will not get seduced by some hairy guy with hairy legs* who's after the money.

* If you would not know what's that about if you have not seen another concurrent thread.
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Old 03-23-2014, 08:09 PM   #7
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Also, he/she will of course be devastated by losing you, and will need cheering up. So don't be too stingy.
Well, I did tell her I expected her to wear black for a year before she started partying with the pool boy on the life insurance money.

She was not amused.

Now whether that's because she'd miss me or because she'd have to wait for a year before the party started I'm not sure....

BTW, on that topic here's a video about a makover:

MAKEOVER - Tropfest Australia 22 2013 Second Prize (TSI "CHANGE") - YouTube
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Old 03-23-2014, 11:53 PM   #8
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Auto costs (insurance, registration, fuel, maintenance) will decrease (but less than 50%), with one car instead of two.

Medical, cell phone, food costs are halved.

Hobby and travel costs are lowered, but the percentage depends on your individual history.

Income taxes increase, with state taxes very variable.

I don't see many other areas where significant differences will occur.
I avoided income taxes because I know there is a wide variation in opinion and circumstance.

In my case, I'd expect that spending would go down by 1/3 and income would go down by 1/3. When I worked through the fraction of SS that would be taxable, I got a lower number, so taxable income would go down by more than 1/3. Taxes weren't a big deal.

But I know that other people are looking at other situations.
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Old 03-24-2014, 04:55 AM   #9
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Not much to add to the above. I voted 75%. My calculations come out to 71% if vacation spending is included,and 78% with vacations excluded, hence my 75% vote. But, since I plan to live to 100 my calculations are probably for naught!
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Old 03-24-2014, 05:24 AM   #10
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With all the leeches on her side of the family...the poll only goes up to 100%...I"m guessing it'll go higher than current spending!
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Old 03-24-2014, 07:09 AM   #11
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I suspect ours would stay quite high. The only thing that would likely bring it down is that, if either of us dies, the other would probably sell the weekend house. That would drop expenses significantly. The problem is that DW likes having the house available to the kids/grandkids so she might hang in there with it.
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Old 03-24-2014, 07:36 AM   #12
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I have used 100% in all my planning. I figure that is the safest assumption and will leave the bereaved spouse with a welcome financial buffer. I suspect income taxes will go up. So effectively the net will be more like 85%.
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Old 03-24-2014, 10:56 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by braumeister View Post
Auto costs (insurance, registration, fuel, maintenance) will decrease (but less than 50%), with one car instead of two.

Medical, cell phone, food costs are halved.

Hobby and travel costs are lowered, but the percentage depends on your individual history.

Income taxes increase, with state taxes very variable.

I don't see many other areas where significant differences will occur.
I actually took our 2014 budget and adjusted various items to reflect one person. For many things, like food, I assumed 75% rather than 50%. Of course, property taxes, house maintenance, etc would be unchanged. One less car, etc. The total (excluding taxes and mortgage payments) would be ~75%.

I didn't bother to do two versions (me passing vs DW passing) though I'm sure she would probably get rid of more "toys" than I would.

Given 25% lower expenses if DW was to pass before me, would it be gauche for me to go out and buy that little yellow blazing two-seater for myself (that she won't go along with) after an appropriate mourning period?
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Old 03-24-2014, 12:04 PM   #14
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Hmm... I need a new category in the poll: "Have not figured that out yet".
Good point. I should have included that option.
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Old 03-24-2014, 12:10 PM   #15
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With all the leeches on her side of the family...the poll only goes up to 100%...I"m guessing it'll go higher than current spending!
I feel your pain.

I'm sure my wife will be looking to give it away. I figure I'll plan for "reasonable, with a cushion" for her. Maybe she'll be more careful when she is the only one responsible.
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Old 03-24-2014, 04:15 PM   #16
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Given 25% lower expenses if DW was to pass before me, would it be gauche for me to go out and buy that little yellow blazing two-seater for myself (that she won't go along with) after an appropriate mourning period?
No, it wouldn't be gauche, but I would suggest that more than two days is "appropriate".
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Old 03-24-2014, 05:36 PM   #17
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So I can't drive it to the memorial service?
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Old 03-24-2014, 06:10 PM   #18
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...
Medical, cell phone, food costs are halved.
....
So my kids keep telling me its so much cheaper for us all to be on one cell phone plan. How would one phone be only half of a two phone plan. (Well to be truthful, I am paying the whole freight for all three of us, so I think individual plan may be quite a bit more from the kids perspective. )

Car insurance for one is more than twice a family plan for two.

I think food costs for one is more than half the cost of food for two when you consider the waste and smaller packaging costs when buying and preparing for one. I like to have milk around mostly for cooking, but I throw out more than I use even if I buy it by the quart which is not a lot cheaper than a gallon.
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Old 03-24-2014, 06:21 PM   #19
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No, it wouldn't be gauche, but I would suggest that more than two days is "appropriate".
It was about 6 months for me. But that was just the first of the toys. Like that other current thread, a guy has to have something to do by himself!
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Old 03-24-2014, 06:58 PM   #20
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So I can't drive it to the memorial service?
Just get dropped off a few streets away and let the girlfriend drive it around until the service is over...
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