If you and Billy started with an expense of $24k 17 years ago, how have you been able to maintain the same standard of living? I ask because of inflation. It seems to me certain expenses had to be adjusted. I know the CPI indexes are based on a basket of goods and services. Have you ever done a backward look at your expenses by category to see if you backed off on spending in certain areas and spent more in other areas throughout retirement
When we first were retired, we bounced all over the map with spending. Some years were $36,000 net spending and other years were $10K. It depended on how much we traveled, how much 'trade' we did, if we owned a vehicle, etc.
We tried to spend about 3%- 3.5% of our net worth, and of course, due to the dotcom bubble, things were looking pretty good sometimes!
In general, we have become very skilled with our spending, and we have made certain choices (see 'Worry-Free Housing: http://retireearlylifestyle.com/a_a_communities.htm
) some would find what we do in the housing category a hardship to their egos.
Also, we only own one vehicle (See Cost of Working: http://www.retireearlylifestyle.com/cost_of_working.htm
and Retire To Simplicity: http://www.retireearlylifestyle.com/...simplicity.htm
We have taken control of our tax burden by selling shares when we need them instead of having income producing vehicles. We know folks who cannot do this, and prefer to have a set amount for income 'so they know where they are.' This amount of income automatically puts you into an income tax bracket that you cannot control.
In general, the areas of high spending in a 'normal' household are Housing, Transport, Taxes and Food
- If you can modify those areas in any way, you save a good deal of money.
Since Billy and I owned a restaurant, we know how to make the most of fresh food. We don't buy packaged products (because you then pay for the packaging) and we enjoy the whole cooking process, including the socializing/teamwork aspect.
Regarding inflation -- As with anything - when a price of something is high, we purchase something comparable that is cheaper. We have not found inflation - so far - to have put the squeeze on us. We are easily entertained and do not have high priced hobbies. When airfare prices are high we stay in a country for longer periods. We don't drive a lot (on average of 1,500 miles per year) so gasoline prices affect us little.
Sure, the categories shift over the years, but the net annual spending amount stays pretty stable. Since we become local anywhere we travel, our expenses are pretty small.
I hope this helps.. If you have more questions, feel free to ask.
Author, The Adventurer's Guide to Early Retirement