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Can I afford landscaping?
Old 03-16-2021, 10:54 AM   #1
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Can I afford landscaping?

Last day of work was 4 days ago and I am already struggling with spending in retirement. My plan was always pretty simple: 100% Probability of Success (Ps) with $25k / year of discretionary spending. We far exceeded that and we now have $400k more than we need for 100% Ps. Ok, great. Let's just keep that as an insurance policy for unknown unknowns. Let's get through year 1 hunkered down and prepared for battle.

Well, DW is getting estimates for putting in landscaping, including a kick butt fire pit area. Estimates are coming in @ $35k. We'll see what the final tally is because she is getting all the bells and whistles in the estimates.

My difficulty comes in deciding whether we can afford it. And I cannot for the life of me come up with an answer. We have exceeded our goal of 100% Ps. Current VPW calculation puts us @ $50k year for discretionary spending. We are ok with sticking to $25k / year, but BAM!, here we are on day 4 looking at spending $35k on landscaping.

Please help!
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Old 03-16-2021, 10:58 AM   #2
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^ And you had no way to see this coming and bake it into your spending plan prior to retiring? Scary.
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Old 03-16-2021, 11:02 AM   #3
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^ And you had no way to see this coming and bake it into your spending plan prior to retiring? Scary.
What's your point?
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Old 03-16-2021, 11:03 AM   #4
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Now that you have a bunch of spare time, you can do most of the landscape work yourself. At least until you get too old to do it. It's fun in moderation.
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Old 03-16-2021, 11:10 AM   #5
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Do it. Life is short. Might as well enjoy what you worked for.

Don't feel bad...when our refrigerator started leaking, the oven stopped working, and we discovered a slab leak under our kitchen, we blew $140k on a 3 room remodel including the kitchen. That was 4 years ago and was the best thing we ever did. Don't miss the money at all.
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Old 03-16-2021, 11:16 AM   #6
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What's your point?
No point, just an observation.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
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Old 03-16-2021, 11:23 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corn18 View Post
Last day of work was 4 days ago and I am already struggling with spending in retirement. My plan was always pretty simple: 100% Probability of Success (Ps) with $25k / year of discretionary spending. We far exceeded that and we now have $400k more than we need for 100% Ps. Ok, great. Let's just keep that as an insurance policy for unknown unknowns. Let's get through year 1 hunkered down and prepared for battle.

Well, DW is getting estimates for putting in landscaping, including a kick butt fire pit area. Estimates are coming in @ $35k. We'll see what the final tally is because she is getting all the bells and whistles in the estimates.

My difficulty comes in deciding whether we can afford it. And I cannot for the life of me come up with an answer. We have exceeded our goal of 100% Ps. Current VPW calculation puts us @ $50k year for discretionary spending. We are ok with sticking to $25k / year, but BAM!, here we are on day 4 looking at spending $35k on landscaping.

Please help!
Not sure what you need help with, since you can easily afford this. Sounds more like you're just observing/complaining that this one expense is coming so soon after retirement.

Over 2 years you have $50k of discretionary money. That still leaves you with $15k after this expense, and that's all your discretionary money for the next 2 years. DW and you just have to be onboard with that reality. Or you and DW have to sharpen your pencils and find ways to trim back the $35k expense. Do some of the work yourself, scale back plans, do it in phases over several years, etc.
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Old 03-16-2021, 11:23 AM   #8
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This should not even be a thing. You're talking about landscaping that's going to last you 15 years or more. if it helps you to sleep at night just do that and amortize it out in your head now you're talking 2300.
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Old 03-16-2021, 11:27 AM   #9
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just say DW no more clothes for YOU !!!! ;-)
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Old 03-16-2021, 11:31 AM   #10
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Considering how many detailed questions and threads you've made in the past few weeks leading up to retirement, it is odd that this one big expense is a surprise and wasn't on your radar.

That said, if you have the discretionary budget and are on board with the actual project, it should fit right in. And if you reran Firecalc starting with -35k it should come in no different if you've planned well.
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Old 03-16-2021, 11:38 AM   #11
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Well, sure you can and you should go ahead and do the project. Like Ronstar said, take on a new challenge and do all that you can on the project yourself.

If concerned about if you can you will or might need to cut back somewhere else to feel comfortable to do the project.
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Old 03-16-2021, 11:42 AM   #12
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Hopefully, you won't get hit with a $40 K dental bill like I did when all the old work in my mouth started falling apart.

I did all my landscaping myself and saved bunches. The dental work I couldn't do myself! LOL
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Old 03-16-2021, 11:43 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
^ And you had no way to see this coming and bake it into your spending plan prior to retiring? Scary.
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Originally Posted by RetiredAt55.5 View Post
Not sure what you need help with, since you can easily afford this. Sounds more like you're just observing/complaining that this one expense is coming so soon after retirement.

Over 2 years you have $50k of discretionary money. That still leaves you with $15k after this expense, and that's all your discretionary money for the next 2 years. DW and you just have to be onboard with that reality. Or you and DW have to sharpen your pencils and find ways to trim back the $35k expense. Do some of the work yourself, scale back plans, do it in phases over several years, etc.
I knew she wanted to do some landscaping, but not $35k of it. I guess I am just trying to adjust to spending rather than saving. My severance was a lot larger than I planned and covers this expense easily (as pointed out by DW). There will be more unplanned spending, I'm sure.
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Old 03-16-2021, 11:48 AM   #14
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That unemployment money that you're not going to file for would pay a good portion of this expense.... Just saying
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Old 03-16-2021, 11:56 AM   #15
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I'm with the "do it" crowd, but will observe that we humans tend to spend easily obtained money more easily than the money that was accumulated with more effort. Your unexpected bonus amount was easily obtained but every dollar has the same value as the money you have painstakingly saved.

So I suggest forgetting about the bonus money as a special category, then getting the details of the landscaping quotations and evaluating each one for is-it-worth-the-money? and for unimportant bells and whistles. That is just good financial management. (She is getting two competing quotes, right?)
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Old 03-16-2021, 12:03 PM   #16
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^ And you had no way to see this coming and bake it into your spending plan prior to retiring? Scary.
+1

Immediately after buying my Dream Home I spent a lot on landscaping, regrading, bringing in new dirt, sodding, and redoing the concrete. While I was viewing it for the first time, before I even made an offer on it, I was estimating the cost of re-landscaping and adding that to my offer amount, in my head, so I knew what I was getting into. I just cannot imagine ignoring this cost and thinking, "hey, whatever, it's all good". But then probably you have more money than I do.
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My severance was a lot larger than I planned and covers this expense easily
Well, there you go! You can afford landscaping if that is what you want to use that severance compensation on.
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Old 03-16-2021, 12:05 PM   #17
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I'm with the "do it" crowd, but will observe that we humans tend to spend easily obtained money more easily than the money that was accumulated with more effort. Your unexpected bonus amount was easily obtained but every dollar has the same value as the money you have painstakingly saved.

So I suggest forgetting about the bonus money as a special category, then getting the details of the landscaping quotations and evaluating each one for is-it-worth-the-money? and for unimportant bells and whistles. That is just good financial management. (She is getting two competing quotes, right?)
Three quotes. Have the one for $35k so far. Maybe the other two will be less.
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Old 03-16-2021, 12:06 PM   #18
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Corn - I don't know how big your place is, but $35K doesn't go very far in landscaping, especially hardscaping, these days. Labor costs are killer. I was quoted $300 an hour just to have people dig up some dead trees that weren't even all that tall. I ended up cutting down the trees myself and just paying to have the stumps ground out.

It's either do it and pay the freight; live without the bells and whistles; or be like the old couple in that dumb ad on TV:
He: We planned carefully for our retirement, but

She: we quickly realized we needed to do something to supplement our income.

Sorry I can't be more help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by corn18 View Post
Last day of work was 4 days ago and I am already struggling with spending in retirement. My plan was always pretty simple: 100% Probability of Success (Ps) with $25k / year of discretionary spending. We far exceeded that and we now have $400k more than we need for 100% Ps. Ok, great. Let's just keep that as an insurance policy for unknown unknowns. Let's get through year 1 hunkered down and prepared for battle.

Well, DW is getting estimates for putting in landscaping, including a kick butt fire pit area. Estimates are coming in @ $35k. We'll see what the final tally is because she is getting all the bells and whistles in the estimates.

My difficulty comes in deciding whether we can afford it. And I cannot for the life of me come up with an answer. We have exceeded our goal of 100% Ps. Current VPW calculation puts us @ $50k year for discretionary spending. We are ok with sticking to $25k / year, but BAM!, here we are on day 4 looking at spending $35k on landscaping.

Please help!
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Old 03-16-2021, 12:19 PM   #19
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Corn - I don't know how big your place is, but $35K doesn't go very far in landscaping, especially hardscaping, these days. Labor costs are killer. I was quoted $300 an hour just to have people dig up some dead trees that weren't even all that tall. I ended up cutting down the trees myself and just paying to have the stumps ground out.

It's either do it and pay the freight; live without the bells and whistles; or be like the old couple in that dumb ad on TV:
He: We planned carefully for our requirement, but

She: we quickly realized we needed to do something to supplement our income.

Sorry I can't be more help.
They are doing quite a bit including lighting, gas fire pit and hardscaping. I think it's way cool and we would use it a lot.
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Old 03-16-2021, 12:20 PM   #20
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I knew she wanted to do some landscaping, but not $35k of it. I guess I am just trying to adjust to spending rather than saving. My severance was a lot larger than I planned and covers this expense easily (as pointed out by DW). There will be more unplanned spending, I'm sure.

I would focus on 2 things, 1) are you planning on spending enough time at that house that you will enjoy the new landscaping and 2) (although for some in retirement, including me, this isn't the end all/be-all criteria for anything) will the investment improve the value of your home by that same amount roughly.

And lastly, I'll add, "new landscaping" often mean "new landscaping maintenance"... beware.

Good luck and congrats on the recent "win" of retiring....
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