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Re: What is enough
Old 05-04-2004, 12:19 PM   #21
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Re: What is enough

"Hmm, I didnt see anything criticizing anyones character flaws in what I said, nor did I make any suggestion that my comment implied any application to anyone other than myself.

Perhaps I was too brief. On the other hand, there appears to be a developing trend around here for people to put words in my mouth and then criticize me for them, or to suggest that I put undesirable words in their mouths when there is no evidence of that having happened. Any way you slice it, I find I'm not really enjoying this place much anymore."

TH,

I am part of a growing group of conspirators to fill your mouth with words so you can be criticized for speaking them? My goodness, do I get a membership card? All joking aside, I wish you more fun here in the future.

You said "people" and "me" in the quote, but you clarify that you meant only reference to yourself and not other folks. Maybe you can see my confusion. Your post seemed pretty plain to me at the time. I read it half a dozen times before I replied and reached the same conclusion each time. I thought you were saying that folks that spend a lot of money did so to "make me feel 'better' about myself and make me look 'better' to other people". That sounds like vanity to me and I would describe that as a character flaw. I suppose that I did inadvertently put words in your mouth. Please, pardon me.

It sounds like your folks are part of a home owners association run amok. That's a shame. Some HOAs can really loose focus. I recently moved into a neighborhood that has a HOA. The biggest commotion so far is the bylaws prohibit in-ground basket ball rims. I suppose this makes it easier to get rid of the hoops when the kids are gone or have other interests. Then all of the neighbors don't have to look at the weather deteriorated net hanging from the old backboard, dunno. They are considering allowing buried cables for low voltage lighting, which is currently prohibited though...

Chris
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Re: What is enough
Old 05-04-2004, 05:27 PM   #22
 
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Re: What is enough

Re. "character flaws", we all have 'em. The big deal with
me is honesty, even if distasteful to the recipient.
Of course I have a major advantage due to my giant size ego and exceptionally thick skin.

John Galt
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Re: What is enough
Old 05-04-2004, 06:11 PM   #23
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Re: What is enough

Quote:
The big deal with
me is honesty, even if distasteful to the recipient.
John, you have a way of expressing strong opinions that always leaves me liking you, even when I disagree. There aren't very many people who can do that.
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Re:  HOAs can't keep up
Old 05-04-2004, 10:44 PM   #24
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Re:  HOAs can't keep up

HOAs seem to be stuck in solving yesterday's problems. Our HOA recently arrived at a determination that buried low-voltage cable was acceptable, but we took our landscape lighting to solar two years ago. No buried wires, LEDs recharge all day and stay on well past midnight, and I haven't sliced a wire with my shovel in months. Two years ago they were $10 each but have probably dropped to $6-8.
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Re: What is enough
Old 05-05-2004, 04:27 AM   #25
 
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Re: What is enough

HOAs are mini-bureaucracies. Not too surprising when
they get squirrely and mired in minutia. Look at your government.

John Galt
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Re: What is enough
Old 05-05-2004, 09:36 AM   #26
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Re: What is enough

Not to hijack the thread, but why stop now?

HOA history is in fact quite interesting. The concept was originally crafted by builders who wanted the condition of sold properties to maintain a level of quality while they finished and sold the remainder of their new construction. Wouldnt do to try to sell brand spanking new homes with the customers driving by yards full of dead cars, 20 year old screen rooms in the driveway, and other sundry ugliness.

Only problem is they were intended to dissolve with the departure of the contractor. However they were taken up and persisted for the "greater good of the community".

Having lived in many and observed others, the people who take up running these boards seem to fall into a narrow set of categories. Busybodies, politician wannabees, an occasional do-gooder, and in the case of retirement communities like my dads, people who used to be in senior corporate management positions or politicians who miss "swinging the hammer".

Homeowners associations are one of the largest lobbies in D.C.; you may notice a portion of your HOA dues going to insurance, master associations, property management, etc...some portion of some or all of those buckets flows upwards to fund lobbying and law creation that protects and supports HOA's. At the federal and state level, quite a bit of legislation has been enacted to make it very hard and very expensive to combat a hostile HOA. The only two times I've seen someone get the upper hand is when the family had a lot of money and garnered embarrassing national press attention, and the couple who were both lawyers who took on the fight as a nearly full time job.

You can throw out the board and replace them, but you have to find someone willing to do the job that isnt as big a potential problem. As with politics, anyone who would do a good job with the community in mind wouldnt ever run for the job. In my dads case, most of the less well to do people are in their 80's, and arent really interested or able to put the time and energy into it. My dad has thought about doing it, but he's golfed with some of the current board members and says he wants to stuff them into the hole by the 5th flag. Working with (or more likely against) them full time might be more than he could stand...

I guess the message here is be verry careful when choosing your ER destination home. HOA's and condo associations can throw a big wrench into your plans with unexpected fees and rules and regs.
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Re: What is enough
Old 05-05-2004, 11:02 AM   #27
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Re: What is enough

Quote:
I guess the message here is be verry careful when choosing your ER destination home. *HOA's and condo associations can throw a big wrench into your plans with unexpected fees and rules and regs.
TH, I feel sorry for yoiur Dad! I hope he finds some OK solution.

Very intersesting historical summary. This was all unknown to me.

I guess Condo Associations and Co-op Boards are mostly cut from the same cloth? Often the people would still be working, and thus wouldn't have as much time to try to ruin one's life. But still, all one needs to do is look at church governing committees to see that it isn't just retired people who enjoy small guage despotism.

I guess for me it had better be either house w/o HOA, or apartment. At least the apartment management has the discipline of keeping the place full.

Mikey
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Re: What is enough
Old 05-05-2004, 11:22 AM   #28
 
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Re: What is enough

Well, I'll throw my thoughts into this one. I was away on fishing trip and I was drafted into our very small (14 units) HOA Board. They figured I had a lot of time because I was retired.

I will give you the other side of the coin. It is a lot like a microcosim of our Federal Government. Most of the folks will not educate themselves enough to know what is going on. All they know is that our Homeowners Fees are too high. When you show them our Budget, their eyes glaze over and shortly they are involved with a conversation with their neighbors.

There are only 2 units that continually complain about monthly fees and These are the very same individuals that demand the most services.

At the present we are not building a reserve up to pay for expenses down the road, like new roofs and outside painting and driveways. The real 'Old' folks would like to pass these costs onto the 'next generation owners and reduce our monthly fees (taxes) today.

Now if this sounds familar. Cut Taxes, increase spending and pass the problem onto the next generation. It's because it is exactly what the federal government is doing. The Feds of course are borrowing money to keep this sham affloat.

This is called Human Nature and reminds me of the guys at the bar that are convinced that we can solve all of the Federal Budget woes by eliminating welfare. Most of them do not have time or interest to look at a simple townhouse Assoc. Budget. But Oh can they Complain!!
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Re: What is enough
Old 05-05-2004, 11:24 AM   #29
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Re: What is enough

At least he can afford the increases. He was a classic Prodigious Accumulator Of Wealth: compulsive saver (big box o' EE bonds, all paying good interest rates, no stocks after buying some in '65 and riding the market down and sideways for 10+ years).

A lot of his friends and neighbors cant afford it. One neighbor in her 80's has had to cut back on her golfing (making other excuses as to why she isnt playing as much) and has begun conspicuously carrying a cheese sandwich with her when she does play, as she cant afford to buy a lunch at the course. Not the way I hope my older years run. A lot more are sitting at home wringing their hands over the prospects of having to move from a home they expected to live in for the rest of their days. Squeezed on one side by monthly fees that have doubled and will likely double again, and on the other side by higher property taxes on any new homes they'd acquire. Perhaps being forced into a rental or to live with their families and lose their independence.

I guess there are more messages. Emotional consumptive disorders affect more than the people that are afflicted with them. In this case an HOA and monthly fees, in others, governments and taxes. Communities need to plan for at least 80-90% of their consituencies, not just the wealthier and more influential and let the rest 'eat cake'.

Someone needs to write a "millionaire country/state/city/community next door" book and send it around...
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Re: What is enough
Old 05-05-2004, 12:11 PM   #30
 
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Re: What is enough

This is for Bob_Smith. On May 4 he opined
that he still liked me even when he didn't agree with my
"strong opinions". Nice compliment, especially since
so many of my opinions are of the "strong" variety.
It is not so effective with some (ex. wife for example),
but some people like it I guess. At least I'm not
boring

Re. HOAs, I have not had much direct experience, but I will now having just bought a condo. Have not been to a meeting as yet and only met one other owner so far.
The monthly fee seemed quite high in relation to the number of units and value of the condos. However,
the common areas look pretty good and the rules and regs do not seem all that draconian. If I kept it rented full time (not my intent) it would cash out okay with the
current HOA dues included. My report at this early stage would be "so far so good".

John Galt
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Re: What is enough
Old 05-05-2004, 02:02 PM   #31
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Re: What is enough

What is this? John Galt, rugged individualist, has left the ranch, bought a condo, and is happy with his home owner's association? No references to Big Brother, even?

Is nothing constant in this world?
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Re: What is enough
Old 05-05-2004, 05:08 PM   #32
 
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Re: What is enough

First, no nothing is constant! Secondly, I have to
live in the world and so I need to accept some
of the same things others take for granted. It's
either that or go find a cave or an island. This would
have appeal accept I'm too old now. Finally, Big Brother
is coming. Only the timing is uncertain. I have never
been more certain of anything in my life.

John Galt
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Re: What is enough
Old 05-05-2004, 07:48 PM   #33
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Re: What is enough

TH's story makes me wonder about all our assumptions about spending in our later years. Going into ER means making assumptions about inflation and spending for the next 50 years or more. Do we have enough of a cushion in our numbers to take a random doubling of homeownwers fees every now and then when we're in our 80s? I wonder how others look at their long run spending with so many unknowns or uncontrollables out there. If you are at a 4% swr, you don't have a lot of room to manouver if something like this goes rocketing up... Should we really be building our budgets around something lower just in case stuff like this comes up in the years ahead?

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Re: What is enough
Old 05-06-2004, 03:31 AM   #34
 
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Re: What is enough

Good point ESRBob! But these things (trying to plan 50 years in advance) are of no concern to me.
First, I will not be here in 50 years. Secondly,
when you get way out there too many variables
can screw up your best laid plans. Third, if I do
live into ripe old age, I can see some of my
non-fixed expenses dropping way off; travel and hobbies, etc. Plus there is always the possibility of an inheritance. The HOA jacking up my fees is not on my
list of worries.

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Re: What is enough
Old 05-06-2004, 12:26 PM   #35
 
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Re: What is enough

Quote:
Do we have enough of a cushion in our numbers to take a random doubling of homeownwers fees every now and then when we're in our 80s? I wonder how others look at their long run spending with so many unknowns or uncontrollables out there.
Actually Assoc. Fees are easier to budget for, than what I just shelled out this morning. I had a dental implant and this mornings fees came to $2,853. We have dental Insurance, but this is considered a 'luxury' item and is not insured at all. Next year, I'll get the top put in for another $1200.

My Assoc Fees are set to rise with inflation, are currently $3600 per year (cheaper than 1 Dental Implant).

Everyone should have some slop in their budget to allow for some unexpected expenses. I also budget heavily for Travel, Eating Out and other Items that could be cut, if need be.
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Re: What is enough
Old 05-06-2004, 12:30 PM   #36
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Re: What is enough

ESRBob -

This is why I avoid "uncontrollable" expenses (yes JG, I know...nothing is really and truly in our control, but we can certainly exert some influence) and pad the heck out of my budget. I think some folks forecast a pretty optimistic budget and hope for the best.

When I budgeted for my needs, I went forward 40 years, forecasting yearly requirements, but also things needed every 10 years or so (like cars some furniture and some major appliances) and 20 years (like water heaters, the rest of the furniture, and a/c compressors), then instead of lumping those as costs spent in those future years, I determined their net present value and that gets set aside as part of my annual "withdrawal" which is actually never spent until needed. Sort of a christmas savings fund.

I also pad every significant budget item by 30%. Just in case.

My core spending - remembering that I have no debt of any kind - is about $16k. Thats got some room to cut, but I live a very nice middle class life on that. In addition, about 8k per year is "stuff", entirely discretionary. About 6k a year is set aside for the "future expenditures" fund for surprises and expected periodic major spend.

But one year into this new place and I've got an extra $400/year assessment...county well water went bad and the hookup to city water gets paid by residents on a 20 year bond.

Then theres the @$^%#^$#$ ticket I got yesterday for running a yellow light. $271. Tried to talk myself out of it but wasnt helped by my dog Ted trying to eat the nice policeman while I was talking to him. @!#^%#^#$&^@%$&^%@&$%&@^$%&#^%@$&!!!!!

Now, if "real" inflation outpaces the CPI by 30% or more, or we get more funny surprises like ALL my bills creeping up due to one disaster or another, then things might get a little tight. Meat, milk and gasoline have certainly spiked, and electricity here in CA is quite a bit more expensive than it was a few years ago...so its possible...
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Re: What is enough
Old 05-07-2004, 03:21 AM   #37
 
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Re: What is enough

I run "back of the envelope" budgets all the time.
Must confess that I do very little "padding" although
I certainly see the logic in that. But, I do have some
fat in my actual expenses and could cut back if necessary. Also, if I live long enough, future events
MAY bail me out. My net worth has dipped a bit over the
past year, which is worrisome. Was the decline avoidable? Mostly not. However, future plans count
on at least maintaining my current net worth, so
further decline would need to be dealt with
aggressively.

John Galt
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Re: What is enough
Old 05-07-2004, 05:51 AM   #38
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Re: What is enough

At the tender young age of 60 with almost eleven years of ER, we're thinking about a new plan for how much is enough - it's what you got:

Retro city: spend div/interest and reinvest cap gains. The distance between that and 4% SWR is the reserve - which will accumulate if not spent year by year. When draw on engineering graph paper in looks 'pretty' as the area under the curve.
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Re: What is enough
Old 05-07-2004, 07:55 AM   #39
 
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Re: What is enough

Hey unclemick.............Re. "How much is enough....
it's what you got!" I like it

John Galt
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Re: What is enough
Old 06-13-2004, 09:53 AM   #40
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Re: What is enough

Quote:
TH's story makes me wonder about all our assumptions about spending in our later years. *Going into ER means making assumptions about inflation and spending for the next 50 years or more. *Do we have enough of a cushion in our numbers to take a random doubling of homeownwers fees every now and then when we're in our 80s? *I wonder how others look at their long run spending with so many unknowns or uncontrollables out there. *If you are at a 4% swr, you don't have a lot of room to manouver if something like this goes rocketing up... *Should we really be building our budgets around something lower just in case stuff like this comes up in the years ahead?
Great! Just as I was beginning to get comfortable that I would outlast my money (from another post) someone else comes along and echoes my underlying worry. Ah well, perhaps it depends on whether you are a defined benefit pensioner with a built in COLA as in an ex-public sector employee, or relying on your own retirement accounts, as in a 401k retiree, then factor in whether you are in a single family home w/o HOA in prop 13 state or living with HOA in a state where prop taxes can drastically rise. IMHO
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