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Old 05-13-2010, 01:42 PM   #121
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Yes I am. Much thanks :-)
Hey! I have stumbled across your blog a time or two myself. I'm planning on a fairly frugal ER at some point in my 30's, though not nearly as austere as yours! Come to think of it, on a per capita basis our spending should be under $7k a year.

You say in your "about you" section that you don't have a driver's license. Are you pumping up your neighbor's car tire with the bicycle pump?

Welcome to the forum!
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Old 05-13-2010, 03:42 PM   #122
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Yes I am. Much thanks :-)
Jacob, it's so nice to see you here. I am a fairly regular reader of your blog and thoroughly enjoy your perspective. Hopefully you'll like it here and stick around.
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Old 05-13-2010, 03:48 PM   #123
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Well, I already had the bicycle pump. Rough annual spending is a little less than $7k.
This is really impressive. I lived on a similar amount for much of the 90's (when I was single) but I had to pay very little for health care. If rising health care costs were a non issue, I would probably retire right now. Having such a low budget, do you worry at all about your ability to absorb future increases in health care costs?
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Old 05-13-2010, 04:17 PM   #124
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Where's the blog?

Jacob I think you can post it in your profile.

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Old 05-13-2010, 04:19 PM   #125
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I don't really want to highjack the thread, so here are the answers to several responses in short.

We have a car (much to my dismay). I don't drive it. My wife considers it to be as vital as oxygen so I pay half of its operating costs. To decrease those costs, I do what I can in terms of maintenance.

Our spending is measured in per capita as well. Together, it's twice that or around 13-14k. These are California east bay numbers. We would like to move north (OR, WA, or New England) and buy a (<$100k) house. This would reduce our budget substantially as half our budget currently goes to rent not to mention the reverse sticker shock would be nice.

Austerity is really about the experience of an activity rather than the retail sticker price. I gain more satisfaction from fixing the tail light than having someone fix it for me. Also I spend 1/4 of the usual amount. The end result is the same: working tail light.

I currently pay $71/month for a HDHP at 34 y/o. At 55 y/o the cost would be $160/month in present dollars. At 75 y/o the cost would be $300. Given that my SWR is under 3% I can easily absorb that. [On a related note I am not at all shy about going to a different country for major operations. I find that dealing with the health care system outside the US is usually much easier since there are fewer middle men and almost no paperwork. E.g. dentistry in the US = 3 pages of questionnaires and 3 pages of waivers, dentistry in Denmark or Switzerland = sign here to the effect that you'll pay the bill. Hopefully the US health care system will get its act together within the next 25 years.]
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Old 05-13-2010, 04:32 PM   #126
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We have a car (much to my dismay). I don't drive it. My wife considers it to be as vital as oxygen so I pay half of its operating costs. To decrease those costs, I do what I can in terms of maintenance.
My wife and I consider a car essential too! 2 while working and raising kids, maybe 1 at some point during ER. It is a very useful transportation device and has a relatively low cost of operation per mile.

Quote:
Our spending is measured in per capita as well. Together, it's twice that or around 13-14k. These are California east bay numbers. We would like to move north (OR, WA, or New England) and buy a (<$100k) house. This would reduce our budget substantially as half our budget currently goes to rent not to mention the reverse sticker shock would be nice.
My $7k per capita would be $6k if the mortgage was paid off completely. We could easily pay it off now by selling a little of our taxable investments, so a mortgage is just a cash flow management tool at this point. But then again I live in a lower cost of living area than Cali.

I spend most of my time keeping the big expenses down. Investment costs and fees, interest expenses, taxes, insurance, housing, utilities, auto/transportation.
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Old 05-13-2010, 04:34 PM   #127
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We have a car (much to my dismay). I don't drive it. My wife considers it to be as vital as oxygen so I pay half of its operating costs.
Who pays the other half?
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Old 05-13-2010, 04:35 PM   #128
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Where's the blog?
I think it is ok for me to post a link to the blog in question.

http://earlyretirementextreme.com

I found it very relevant to the forum's main purpose.
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Old 05-13-2010, 05:20 PM   #129
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Who pays the other half?
His other half...
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Old 05-13-2010, 05:25 PM   #130
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His other half...
Maybe I should discuss a similar arrangement with my other half...
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Old 05-13-2010, 05:53 PM   #131
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Maybe I should discuss a similar arrangement with my other half...
Only if you are ready to lose your other half and be left with (maybe) half...

I suspect Jacob has a long standing agreement with his DW regarding expense sharing...
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Old 05-13-2010, 07:47 PM   #132
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I gain more satisfaction from fixing the tail light than having someone fix it for me.
I did not know about you or your blog prior to this, but just from what you wrote above, you are OK in my book.

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Old 05-14-2010, 06:33 AM   #133
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I suspect Jacob has a long standing agreement with his DW regarding expense sharing...
It's called marriage, no?

I could never understand married couples who purportly maintain separate incomes and expenses. Generally speaking that is not the way the law views the situation, and there is no point needlessly complicating things (unless the two individuals involved have dramatically different spending habits and don't trust each other, in which case they should probably not have married in the first place).
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Old 05-14-2010, 10:02 AM   #134
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...I maintain the car's tire pressure with a bicycle pump which (along with many other similar things) provide free exercise so I don't have to pay $40/month to sit on an exercycle in front of a big window. ...
This reminds me if a study in contrasts when we drove our 1993 Explorer down to PV to leave there. It had never had a flat. In Sonoma, the awoke to find the right rear tire flat. Our friends called their auto association and got the spare mounted, then they directed me to their favorite gagrage to get the tire fixed. Total cost $25 plus 90 minutes of elapsed time.

Then in Mazatlan, the left rear tire had also picked up a nail. The Concierge at the hotel got one of his guys to pump it up then directed me to the nearest llanteria where it was repaired immediately for 50 pesos. Total cost was 100 pesos (about $8) with 30 minutes elapsed time.

The tale of two countries. This was in the fall of 2008 and so far there have been no further tire problems.
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Old 05-14-2010, 10:06 AM   #135
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I think it is ok for me to post a link to the blog in question.

http://earlyretirementextreme.com

I found it very relevant to the forum's main purpose.
I would even suggest that a permanent link be put somewhere as an example of a roadmap to FI.
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Old 05-14-2010, 10:10 AM   #136
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The forum has a spot to do just that: Personal Websites and Blogs - Early-Retirement.org Links Directory
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Old 05-14-2010, 12:41 PM   #137
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It's called marriage, no?

I could never understand married couples who purportly maintain separate incomes and expenses. Generally speaking that is not the way the law views the situation, and there is no point needlessly complicating things (unless the two individuals involved have dramatically different spending habits and don't trust each other, in which case they should probably not have married in the first place).
It's complicated alright but I find that using money to make certain decisions tend to avoid a lot of complications down the road. I would classify it as follows:

1) We have joint expenses we both agree on such as housing, insurance, food, ...
2) We have joint expenses we reluctantly agree on such as the car.
3) We have expenses we do not agree on such as eating out, sports, DVDs, ...

In case (3), rather than trying to argue what's fair based on "to each according to their need" we simply let money do the talking in the sense that each person gets an allowance. Problem solved.

I think it would be very hard for two persons over time to agree on everything. What we do is, then, simply to use money instead of politics. Think of it as a budget. I think the only difference is that we have divided the "fun/misc" budget into his and hers.

An additional "complication" is that I prefer being FI so I have the freedom to work on what I want. My wife prefers to be employed. How do we consolidate that? Well, prior to meeting I was already close to FI whereas wifey was your standard consumer with debt. What we did was to maintain separate savings. We joined the income (including my investment income). This meant that initially I was paying more in than I got out. Now having only my investment income I pay less in. I will probably argue that after we reach parity e.g. our cumulative earnings are the same we should change the deal so she just keeps all her wages. Anyway, being FI already avoids me feeling that I'm dependent on my spouse's income.

I know this has been a source of contention with people claiming I can't be "retired" when my spouse is working. OTOH I don't depend on my spouse working. She does depend on it though. I think it all comes down to individual definitions. If someone wants to call me a house-husband, so be it. As I see it I do fulfill some function in society (got a popular website on the internet which people spend about 1000 hours a week reading). I just don't get paid in the traditional sense. Anyway, we have found something that works for us which I think what marriage is essentially about.
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Old 05-14-2010, 01:06 PM   #138
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Anyway, we have found something that works for us which I think what marriage is essentially about.
No argument from me if it works for the both of you, but as I read the rest of what you posted I'm hearing "I'm FI but my wife isn't". That is one strange arrangement.
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Old 05-14-2010, 01:22 PM   #139
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No argument from me if it works for the both of you, but as I read the rest of what you posted I'm hearing "I'm FI but my wife isn't". That is one strange arrangement.
I see your perspective.

How about thinking about it in the following way. I'm "my own investment manager" and the money is my tool to bring in my part of the income.

A big problem is that the definitions of the words are changing or what words used to imply does not apply any longer. For instance, what does "retired" really mean? It used to be that people had one career and did the same thing their whole life and then stopped. These days people have three or more careers. I'm retired from my first career but I'm not really retired-retired. I could just as easily say then, that I'm not retired. That is in fact what I tell new people I met ... it goes like this.

"What do you do for a living?"
"I'm a writer. Blogs, books, ... "
"Can you really live from that?"
"Not really, but when I was working as a physicist I saved a lot of money which now cover my expenses".

Easy-peasy. It doesn't ruffle people's feathers as using the words "retired", "financially independent", or "independently wealthy". It took me the better part of a year to figure that one out. I'm slow that way.
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Old 05-14-2010, 01:41 PM   #140
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Jacob, how do you split the expense of a dinner out? Say your wife has had a rough week and wants to splurge Friday night and go out for a night on the town and get a taco/burger/filet mignon. With you.
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