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Old 07-02-2008, 12:20 AM   #21
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My mom retired on less than 1400 euros per month in one of the most expensive city in the world. She pays almost no income taxes (her income is too low). She owns her condo outright and her condo fees of 250 euros a month cover maintenance and heating (No A/C needed where she lives). Her biggest expense is food because she likes to eat only organic food so she spends about 400 euros a month on food (she rarely eats out by choice). She pays 40 euros per months for unlimited phone + high speed internet + cable TV. She pays another 30 euros per month for her cell phone. Health insurance premiums amount to 200 euros per months ("Medicare" premiums + supplemental insurance; together they cover 100% of her medical & dental expenses). Car and home insurance: 60 euros per month. Gas is about 60 euros now that she is retired. Electric is 30 euros, water is 30 euros. Total about 1100 euros. The rest pays for car repairs, property taxes, gifts and other miscellaneous. Like many retirees in Europe she bought a brand new car right before retirement (credit is almost impossible to obtain once you retire) and expect it to last until she can't drive anymore. She does little driving anyways because she likes to walk a lot. Her condo was also completely renovated before retiring to ensure she wouldn't have to do anymore upgrades anytime soon. Sure she is not living the high life, but she has no dream of expensive cars, foreign travel, or flat screen TVs and she enjoys her current, simple lifestyle.
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Old 07-02-2008, 03:48 AM   #22
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My parents are retired, and while they have money in the bank (CDs mainly) they do not touch it or the interest it earns. They live on their SS and even though Dad has a couple of small pensions, the total from the pensions or even a little more goes into savings each year. They probably earn as much in interest on their CDs as SS pays them, but they are loath to touch their money lest they need it in a pinch in the future. They are happy and healthy living off of the size of income that SS provides. It can be done, but you have to be happy with a simple lifestyle. We probably couldn't do it. DW's tastes are a bit on the high side and I want to travel in an RV or travel trailer. If we dumped the McMansion for a smaller place in a more reasonable area, we could get by with much less, but the way I calculate it, property tax and insurance, plus heath insurance alone would much more than eat away the amount of SS income my folks have...
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Old 07-02-2008, 04:16 AM   #23
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SS is more of a base on which to help out with retirement... By itself, it would be very difficult.

I could probably exist on that amount of money. But my lifestyle would be substantially lower...

If one has a nest egg for emergency funds (and other large infrequent expenses) and a paid off home... they might get by ok on that income stream for normal monthly expenses.

But...

If one was renting and had no other funds (saved)... it would be a big change. Internet, phone, and cable TV would cost around 10+% of that amount. Rent, Utilities, etc... would not take long to use that amount of money up.
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Old 07-02-2008, 07:29 PM   #24
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It can be done, but you have to be happy with a simple lifestyle. We probably couldn't do it.
Our PILs attempt the same type of lifestyle by endlessly fretting over their expenses with everyone they meet.

One example that sticks in my mind was the announcement that their electric bill had gone up over 5% that month. When the tirade about "those bahstids at the utility" finally wound down, it turned out that the bill had gone from $40/month to $42/month.

The old joke about how many Jewish grandmothers it takes to change a burned-out lightbulb? That's my MIL.
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Old 07-03-2008, 09:03 AM   #25
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My mother is in her 80's and has been living on only SS for 20 years. In the beginning it was no problem, she had always lived a frugal lifestyle having grown up during the Depression. She had a paid for home in a double-wide senior community in Florida and was terribly happy. It all started falling apart about 10 years ago and 3 years ago she had to move in with me. She gets $780 a month and with no expenses now she is living happily.
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Old 07-03-2008, 09:17 AM   #26
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My mother is in her 80's and has been living on only SS for 20 years. In the beginning it was no problem, she had always lived a frugal lifestyle having grown up during the Depression. She had a paid for home in a double-wide senior community in Florida and was terribly happy. It all started falling apart about 10 years ago and 3 years ago she had to move in with me. She gets $780 a month and with no expenses now she is living happily.
What changed? Health expenses...?
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Old 07-03-2008, 12:47 PM   #27
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Aaron what happened was her senior community was sold to a conglomerate and they promptly raised lot rents by $150 a month. Then they began charging for the water bill which had been free before. Then the hurricanes hit and that was the final blow.
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