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A few words on 'Inexpensive place to live'
Old 01-21-2016, 08:27 AM   #1
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A few words on 'Inexpensive place to live'

People thinking of retiring to somewhere other than where they currently live, often ask a question such as 'where is an inexpensive place to retire to?'

That sounds fine at first blush but is it? What does 'inexpensive' mean to you? Whatever it is, it may not mean the same thing to me. You may mean a place where you can live at the level of comfort you want, for $50k per year. Someone else may mean at $20k per year and someone else again may mean at $150k per year. The word inexpensive varies by individual.

That being the case, it makes far more sense for people to provide specific budget requirements and just what their number has to include or not include. For example, a trip 'home' once a year can add a couple of thousand for flights to the total. Medical insurance can vary greatly depending on which country you are talking about. When you look at sites comparing cost of living, they do not necessarily include all the things you will need to include in your budget or at a level you consider a necessity.

Just as the person asking should be specific, so should those answering. Telling someone 'X is inexpensive' is not useful if you do not know what they consider inexpensive, regardless of how inexpensive you consider it to be. Any question using words like 'inexpensive', 'best', 'most', 'least', etc. shoud be answered with the request that they define what the word means to them.

One of the biggest problems in determining if a place is inexpensive for you or not, is your personal needs. Again, looking at cost of living comparison websites may not be reliable. They compare the cost of living of the average resident who already lives there. The cost of living for someone who is used to living on rice will not be the same as the cost of living for someone who arrives and wants to live on steak.

Someone may live on $6k per year in country X but that does not mean you will be happy living on $6k per year in that country. You may for example insist on a flush toilet which they don't insist on. So a far better question to ask is how much will it cost to live the way I live now in terms of food, amenities, etc.? Don't try to compare your cost to anyone else's cost. What it costs others is irrelevant, it is what it will cost you that matters.
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Old 01-21-2016, 08:38 AM   #2
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Oldpro, why don't you go first. What is "inexpensive" to you? Spending less than exactly how much, and getting what for that amount?
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Old 01-21-2016, 08:53 AM   #3
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What budget makes sense to me is of no relevance whatsoever to anyone else W2R, so I don't see why you would want to know the answer to that unless I was asking for advice on 'an inexpensive place to live'.

My post is intended to help those who want to ask about the cost of living somewhere and those who want to answer the person asking.
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Old 01-21-2016, 08:59 AM   #4
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What budget makes sense to me is of no relevance whatsoever to anyone else W2R, so I don't see why you would want to know the answer to that unless I was asking for advice on 'an inexpensive place to live'.

My post is intended to help those who want to ask about the cost of living somewhere and those who want to answer the person asking.
Well, then extending your logic, what budget might be specified by any of the rest of our members in response to your post, is of no relevance whatsoever to anyone else, either.
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Old 01-21-2016, 09:26 AM   #5
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Well, then extending your logic, what budget might be specified by any of the rest of our members in response to your post, is of no relevance whatsoever to anyone else, either.
Umm, yes W2R, that is correct. What anyone considers inexpensive is of no relevance to someone asking 'where is an inexpensive place to retire to'. All that matters is what the person asking considers inexpensive.

Where in that are you getting confused? I did not ask for people to share their budgets.
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Old 01-21-2016, 09:30 AM   #6
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Ah, Dale Carnegie alive and well.

I like pancakes. And bacon.
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Old 01-21-2016, 09:35 AM   #7
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I believe the issue is defining a minimum acceptable standard of living. Mine includes home ownership in a safe community, reliable utilities, clean water, a quality food supply including fresh vegetables, meats and fish, personal security, a democratic society and a clean environment.
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Old 01-21-2016, 09:55 AM   #8
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People thinking of retiring to somewhere other than where they currently live, often ask a question such as 'where is an inexpensive place to retire to?'

That sounds fine at first blush but is it? What does 'inexpensive' mean to you? Whatever it is, it may not mean the same thing to me. You may mean a place where you can live at the level of comfort you want, for $50k per year. Someone else may mean at $20k per year and someone else again may mean at $150k per year. The word inexpensive varies by individual.

That being the case, it makes far more sense for people to provide specific budget requirements and just what their number has to include or not include. For example, a trip 'home' once a year can add a couple of thousand for flights to the total. Medical insurance can vary greatly depending on which country you are talking about. When you look at sites comparing cost of living, they do not necessarily include all the things you will need to include in your budget or at a level you consider a necessity.

Just as the person asking should be specific, so should those answering. Telling someone 'X is inexpensive' is not useful if you do not know what they consider inexpensive, regardless of how inexpensive you consider it to be. Any question using words like 'inexpensive', 'best', 'most', 'least', etc. shoud be answered with the request that they define what the word means to them.

One of the biggest problems in determining if a place is inexpensive for you or not, is your personal needs. Again, looking at cost of living comparison websites may not be reliable. They compare the cost of living of the average resident who already lives there. The cost of living for someone who is used to living on rice will not be the same as the cost of living for someone who arrives and wants to live on steak.

Someone may live on $6k per year in country X but that does not mean you will be happy living on $6k per year in that country. You may for example insist on a flush toilet which they don't insist on. So a far better question to ask is how much will it cost to live the way I live now in terms of food, amenities, etc.? Don't try to compare your cost to anyone else's cost. What it costs others is irrelevant, it is what it will cost you that matters.
This very recent thread Choosing new warm, lower cost-of-living, place to move has 98 responses to it and was interesting and enjoyable to me to read even though I won't be moving. There are many threads here like it. Sometimes--most times--posters just want to start a brainstorming conversations. I don't think any of the posts to that thread or the OP there were comparing their costs or other criteria to other people's.

I believe there are many tools to help you refine the results of a mathematical approach to the question, where you input what you got and want and the calculator spits out suggestions. No freewheeling suggestions involved. Perhaps that kind of tool would be helpful to you?
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Old 01-21-2016, 10:02 AM   #9
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I often refer to the 'flush toilet test' Meadbh. By that I mean there are certain things one person considers essential that another person may or may not consider essential.

But what any individual considers essential was not the point I was trying and thought I did, make. My point was that those asking need to define what they mean and those answering need to not assume they know what the person means.

I have read quite a few comments on other threads where someone writes, 'X is an inexpensive place to live', assuming what they consider inexpensive is applicable to everyone else as well.
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Old 01-21-2016, 10:04 AM   #10
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Ah, Dale Carnegie alive and well.

I like pancakes. And bacon.
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Old 01-21-2016, 10:05 AM   #11
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Bestwifeever, did you get the impression I was trying to ask for advice on where an inexpensive place to live is? If so, I have miscommunicated my intended message. I am not asking for advice. I am suggesting people who DO want to ask about an inexpensive place to live, define what inexpensive means to them and that people who answer such a question not assume they know what the person asking means by inexpensive.
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Old 01-21-2016, 10:08 AM   #12
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Yes, I did think you were asking that--were you just feeling the need to teach all the rest of us instead?
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Old 01-21-2016, 10:09 AM   #13
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FWIW, I thought OP made valid points, consistent with other ER Forum advice (e.g. "We can't tell you if you can retire just based on how much money you have - we need some notion of your expenses.")

People may be reacting to the overt and implied "shoulds" and "should nots" in the OP. It almost sounds as if OP is setting boundaries to what people can discuss in the topic of where to retire. I doubt that was OP's intent, but that is how it sounds (a bit).

Just a $.02 (inexpensive) contribution.

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Old 01-21-2016, 10:23 AM   #14
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Ah, Dale Carnegie alive and well.

I like pancakes. And bacon.
Oh, good!
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File Type: jpg bacon.jpg (28.9 KB, 367 views)
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Old 01-21-2016, 10:37 AM   #15
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Yes, I did think you were asking that--were you just feeling the need to teach all the rest of us instead?
No, I did not feel the 'need to teach'. I did feel the need to suggest that those asking define what they meant and those answering not assume they know what someone asking means by inexpensive.

I saw a reason to offer a suggestion based on posts such as the one by misshathaway you linked, on which members did indeed make statements like, 'x is inexpensive(or expensive) without having asked misshathaway or her having volunteered, just what kind of budget she had to work with.

Amethyst, thank you for your response. Your 2 cents is more than I would pay for a few of the other comments so far. I made a simple suggestion that is intended to be of benefit to those asking and those answering and what I get is people apparently 'reading in' things that I never wrote.

This is real simple. People who want to ask, 'where is an inexpensive place to retire', should define what they mean by inexpensive. People who respond to such a question should make sure BEFORE answering that they know what the person asking means by inexpensive.

If a forum is a place to ask for and give advice, it does not necessarily follow that you must first wait for someone to ask for advice before offering some advice. Strange as it may seem to some, you can actually offer advice of a general nature that will help someone when it comes time for them to ask a specific question or to answer one.
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Old 01-21-2016, 10:38 AM   #16
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One of the reasons I LOVE this forum is that, on the whole, no one tells other people how to phrase their questions. And no one tells others how to answer either. That combo leads to some wonderful digressions and answers to questions you didn't even know you had.

In that spirit, post away!
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Old 01-21-2016, 10:44 AM   #17
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That being the case, it makes far more sense for people to provide specific budget requirements and just what their number has to include or not include.
Be specific sounds like reasonable advice. If someone asked for opinions on how to do just about anything in nonspecific detail, wouldn't one of the first questions in response be asking for more detail? Someone asks me about a first motorcycle, I'm going to ask a bunch of questions about what they're hoping to get out of it to help steer them in the right direction.

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Oh, good!
I just had chicken and waffles for the first time the other day; I bet bunnies and pancakes would be pretty good too!
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Old 01-21-2016, 10:46 AM   #18
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People thinking of retiring to somewhere other than where they currently live, often ask a question such as 'where is an inexpensive place to retire to?'

That sounds fine at first blush but is it? What does 'inexpensive' mean to you? Whatever it is, it may not mean the same thing to me. You may mean a place where you can live at the level of comfort you want, for $50k per year. Someone else may mean at $20k per year and someone else again may mean at $150k per year. The word inexpensive varies by individual.

That being the case, it makes far more sense for people to provide specific budget requirements and just what their number has to include or not include. For example, a trip 'home' once a year can add a couple of thousand for flights to the total. Medical insurance can vary greatly depending on which country you are talking about. When you look at sites comparing cost of living, they do not necessarily include all the things you will need to include in your budget or at a level you consider a necessity.

Just as the person asking should be specific, so should those answering. Telling someone 'X is inexpensive' is not useful if you do not know what they consider inexpensive, regardless of how inexpensive you consider it to be. Any question using words like 'inexpensive', 'best', 'most', 'least', etc. shoud be answered with the request that they define what the word means to them.

One of the biggest problems in determining if a place is inexpensive for you or not, is your personal needs. Again, looking at cost of living comparison websites may not be reliable. They compare the cost of living of the average resident who already lives there. The cost of living for someone who is used to living on rice will not be the same as the cost of living for someone who arrives and wants to live on steak.

Someone may live on $6k per year in country X but that does not mean you will be happy living on $6k per year in that country. You may for example insist on a flush toilet which they don't insist on. So a far better question to ask is how much will it cost to live the way I live now in terms of food, amenities, etc.? Don't try to compare your cost to anyone else's cost. What it costs others is irrelevant, it is what it will cost you that matters.
Like all your posts, this one is to the point, very useful, and clearly expressed.

I also do not see why is might matter what you consider inexpensive, or even if you ever give thought to costs.

Sometimes I read these "Where should I move, should I retire, how much money do I need, do I prefer chocolate or vanilla? posts and I wonder does this person expect useful answers?

From reading some of the responses above, I think many people must be looking for what we once called bull sessions. These are intended to use up time, provide some sort of entertainment to some participants, but not to be used.

Ha
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Old 01-21-2016, 10:59 AM   #19
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Be specific sounds like reasonable advice. If someone asked for opinions on how to do just about anything in nonspecific detail, wouldn't one of the first questions in response be asking for more detail? Someone asks me about a first motorcycle, I'm going to ask a bunch of questions about what they're hoping to get out of it to help steer them in the right direction.



I just had chicken and waffles for the first time the other day; I bet bunnies and pancakes would be pretty good too!
That kind of response would definitely be helpful--you probably could point out motorcyclish things to consider that hadn't occurred to them. The person asking a question like that probably isn't going to have searched for a thread that will suggest to him or her how to ask a question. "Those little Vespas are cool but they're not really motorcycles" might be a good response too, which leads to a conversation. I fell right off the last motorized two-wheeled vehicle I tried to ride, btw, not even as big as a Vespa, and I'm not too good on non-motorized two-wheelers either
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Old 01-21-2016, 11:30 AM   #20
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