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Old 02-04-2021, 11:22 AM   #201
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The "rent" cost is what makes it virtually impossible to do a real comparison of this subject. If you have a monthly rent or mortgage, you obviously have a hefty chunk of money going out every month on top of what it really takes to live or have fun. But what about if I pay off my mortgage today - would be simple to do. And whether it is paid off today or I inherited the house from my great grandfather, I then would not have any housing costs to post, making it easier to brag about how cheaply I live. This is especially true in high cost areas.

But of course we cannot just ignore the housing costs, because how else can you compare between the dude who chooses to live in a $500/mo shack to someone renting a 4,000 sq ft house? And how else can you actually glean true information about what makes a High Cost area?

Like I said - no comparison of true living costs is actually possible IMHO.
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Old 02-04-2021, 11:25 AM   #202
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Originally Posted by Gumby View Post
MrBig1 may come back to answer for himself, but, in the meantime, I note that VA disability payments are not taxable at all - federal or state. Social security is only federally taxable if 1/2 of your social security + your other taxable income exceeds $32k (MFJ) If their only potentially taxable income is $56k in social security, then 1/2 of that ($28k) is below the threshold for federal taxation. And South Carolina does not tax social security at all.
Thanks Gumby and spot on information. South Carolina doesn't tax Social Security and nobody taxes VA Disability. For the past 4 years I have used the VA for my health care and my wife used the ACA. For her we puchased a Gold plan with a 3k max out of pocket because she has a bunch of health issues. I figured it was money well spent even with the $300 monthly premium. The ACA doesn't count VA Disability payments when figuring your coverage discounts so we got some pretty good reductions in her costs. Neither of us have needed dental work but if needed I intend to simply pay out of pocket. I've looked into Dental Insurance and it looks roughly like a savings plan where the coverage doesn't exceed the premiums.
We will continue to travel as soon as we can get our COVID vaccines. Most of the places we love to be seem to be hot spots. Life is so much better in retirement. I really can't see us having to withdraw from our tIRA until we hit 72 and then I'll just pay the tax and move what's left into my taxable account.
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Old 02-06-2021, 01:50 PM   #203
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There always ways to save. Me for example:

Never purchase new vacuum bags. When it is full, spend a few minutes manually emptying the bag into the trash instead of buying new bags.

Use shoe glue to prolong the life of the shoes.

Save on toilet paper expense with a $20 bidet.

Buy reliable cars used.

I think it all comes down to the mindset about money and how to maximize it's efficiency.
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Old 02-06-2021, 01:57 PM   #204
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There always ways to save. Me for example:

Never purchase new vacuum bags. When it is full, spend a few minutes manually emptying the bag into the trash instead of buying new bags.
What kinds of vacuums still use bags? Mine have had a container that collects it for disposal for decades. Best $50 ever spent (now it would be $85 w/o the always available coupon or sale)
Screenshot_20210206-115609_Chrome.jpegor was that post tongue in cheek?
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Old 02-06-2021, 02:14 PM   #205
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The "rent" cost is what makes it virtually impossible to do a real comparison of this subject. If you have a monthly rent or mortgage, you obviously have a hefty chunk of money going out every month on top of what it really takes to live or have fun. But what about if I pay off my mortgage today - would be simple to do. And whether it is paid off today or I inherited the house from my great grandfather, I then would not have any housing costs to post, making it easier to brag about how cheaply I live. This is especially true in high cost areas.

But of course we cannot just ignore the housing costs, because how else can you compare between the dude who chooses to live in a $500/mo shack to someone renting a 4,000 sq ft house? And how else can you actually glean true information about what makes a High Cost area?

Like I said - no comparison of true living costs is actually possible IMHO.
Whether you own the property or not you still have considerable costs. My annual housing expenses for two homes far exceed the median even though I haven't had a mortgage in decades. Never the less my wife and I live on a median income with enough left over for leisure and travel.
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Old 02-06-2021, 02:26 PM   #206
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$60K?! HA!

When I was in grad school >400 miles from home, I checked my expenses after a year and found that I had spent around $10K over the course of the first year!

Granted, I had no car. Walked everywhere. Carried my groceries home by hand. My apartment was one room of a poorly-insulated old Victorian house; there were businesses in the front of the building. I was in a college town and therefore had plenty to do.

Obviously, most retirees won't WANT to live the way I did. But that goes to show that it's entirely possible to live on $10K, let alone 60.

If you're fairly frugal, $40K is easily do-able. In fact, my parents live on less than $30K right now, and my father is employed full-time!

Of course, the calculation changes if you're living in NYC, LA, etc. But once you retire, if you're living in a HCOL city, that's by choice.
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Old 02-06-2021, 07:35 PM   #207
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I live in SF Bay Area (north side of Mt Diablo) and live on 3120 a month. Quite well actually. House paid off, property tax 3k yr, only travel (pre-pandemic) 3× year and always overseas (Europe, South America, Indonesia, and Australia 2019). But then I'm single
I used to live in Sunnyvale/Mountain View for many years before I moved to Canada. I could get really inexpensive produce from ethnic markets (Mexican, Chinese, etc). They also had some discount supermarkets like Grocery Outlet that sold discontinued items, items that were getting close to expiration dates, or items that came from closed/bankrupt stores or something. If you own your home and if your property tax is low, I can see people there doing fine without spending tons. And you could grab cheap eats at least for lunch if you looked.
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Old 02-06-2021, 08:18 PM   #208
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The threads on "what do you live on" always include housing costs so it's hard to compare. It would be interesting to see what some people spend outside of housing...I'm sure some go pretty low.
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Old 02-07-2021, 05:11 AM   #209
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The threads on "what do you live on" always include housing costs so it's hard to compare. It would be interesting to see what some people spend outside of housing...I'm sure some go pretty low.

Get yourself put in jail , free housing and free medical...cigarettes might be expensive ;-)
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Old 02-07-2021, 08:02 AM   #210
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Well this guy supposedly goes pretty low as in zero.
https://www.becomingminimalist.com/t...-daniel-suelo/
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Old 02-07-2021, 08:48 AM   #211
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Well this guy supposedly goes pretty low as in zero.
https://www.becomingminimalist.com/t...-daniel-suelo/
"he eats wild vegetation, scavenges roadkill, pulls food from dumpsters, and is sometimes fed by friends and strangers. Daniel proudly boasts that he does not take food stamps or government handouts."

Completely unrealistic for 99.9999% of the population. He wouldn't survive without taking food handouts or eating out of dumpsters.
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Old 02-07-2021, 08:52 AM   #212
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think if I had to dumpster jump for food it would have to be behind a bagel store... :-)
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Old 02-07-2021, 08:55 AM   #213
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Well this guy supposedly goes pretty low as in zero.
https://www.becomingminimalist.com/t...-daniel-suelo/
Thanks for that. I found him to be very interesting and thoughtful about what he is doing and why he is doing it.
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Old 02-07-2021, 09:02 AM   #214
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Thanks for that. I found him to be very interesting and thoughtful about what he is doing and why he is dong it.

Your welcome. It was an interesting article. Even though I posted it as a bit of absurd extreme the guy generally seems pretty thoughtful and more power to him.
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How low can you go?
Old 02-07-2021, 09:34 AM   #215
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How low can you go?

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Thanks for that. I found him to be very interesting and thoughtful about what he is doing and why he is dong it.


So did I! I often find people who live so intentionally and on their own terms to be interesting and fascinating. They are often quite intelligent and philosophical. Many of them come from affluence and realize that money doesn’t equal joy and contentment. I know someone with a PhD from one of the world’s top universities who lived for a while on a Kibbutz in Israel and then bought an old farm with a 14th century building in the countryside of Italy to live and farm among rural folks and to save the trees and farm from destruction. This person is by far one of the most grounded, contented and fascinating person I know.
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Old 02-07-2021, 10:00 AM   #216
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So did I! I often find people who live so intentionally and on their own terms to be interesting and fascinating. They are often quite intelligent and philosophical. Many of them come from affluence and realize that money doesn’t equal joy and contentment. I know someone with a PhD from one of the world’s top universities who lived for a while on a Kibbutz in Israel and then bought an old farm with a 14th century building in the countryside of Italy to live and farm among rural folks and to save the trees and farm from destruction. This person is by far one of the most grounded, contented and fascinating person I know.
Gee, I think I saw that movie...
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Old 02-07-2021, 10:34 AM   #217
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So did I! I often find people who live so intentionally and on their own terms to be interesting and fascinating. They are often quite intelligent and philosophical. Many of them come from affluence and realize that money doesn’t equal joy and contentment. I know someone with a PhD from one of the world’s top universities who lived for a while on a Kibbutz in Israel and then bought an old farm with a 14th century building in the countryside of Italy to live and farm among rural folks and to save the trees and farm from destruction. This person is by far one of the most grounded, contented and fascinating person I know.

The life some people choose to live is fascinating to me as well.
There is an old farm abutting my property that has an owner who is about 90.
He no longer lives there but it also abuts the local desirable lake with many million dollar summer homes on it. He inherited the farm from an old bachelor as he was the caretaker on it for many years. He is a long time orphan himself with no known heirs or relatives. The old bachelor also gave him all his land, a couple hundred acres in total with a lot of frontage on the lake. The old farmhouse was decrepit and in fact just got torn down leaving just the old barn. It is right across from the boat landing and contains 19 acres with frontage on a second pond. Probably a million dollar property even without a house on it. SO anyways the old guy has several million dollars worth of property but still lived in either his car or a 1950's vintage camper with no utilities, running water etc on one of the lake lots. He is a real character and can give you the towns history in unbelievable detail just from memory.
He used to rent out the lake lots to the "working " folks and I know it bugged the wealthy lake dwellers to no end. They would camp there and enjoy the lake all summer. He told me that he never sold any of the land because of a vow he made to the original owner and has kept his word forever. He is obviously property poor but never gave in on any attempts by people to get him to sell off any lots so he could live a "better" life. I used to pick him up hitchhiking to the nearby city often.
We had him over for dinner a few times and I swear he wouldn't eat for a week so that he could save himself up and gorge here. One time I watched him eat 3 huge plates of pasta and polish off about 4 brownies and a beer, I couldn't wake him from in front of the wood stove after that.
He is in a nursing home now but formed a trust and convinced the trustee to have all the properties put into conservation easements with the local conservation center. This then means that the old farm (which borders a good chunk of my property will be forever undeveloped. This is incredibly fortunate for DW and I as we love our privacy and the natural world around our property.

We are forever grateful to him for not "selling out." I think of him as a much greater person because of this. I am not sure I could live up to that myself.
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Old 02-07-2021, 12:46 PM   #218
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We are forever grateful to him for not "selling out." I think of him as a much greater person because of this. I am not sure I could live up to that myself.
That was one of the coolest stories I've read in a long time. Thanks for sharing it!
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Old 02-07-2021, 02:25 PM   #219
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The life some people choose to live is fascinating to me as well.
There is an old farm abutting my property that has an owner who is about 90.
He no longer lives there but it also abuts the local desirable lake with many million dollar summer homes on it. He inherited the farm from an old bachelor as he was the caretaker on it for many years. He is a long time orphan himself with no known heirs or relatives. The old bachelor also gave him all his land, a couple hundred acres in total with a lot of frontage on the lake. The old farmhouse was decrepit and in fact just got torn down leaving just the old barn. It is right across from the boat landing and contains 19 acres with frontage on a second pond. Probably a million dollar property even without a house on it. SO anyways the old guy has several million dollars worth of property but still lived in either his car or a 1950's vintage camper with no utilities, running water etc on one of the lake lots. He is a real character and can give you the towns history in unbelievable detail just from memory.
He used to rent out the lake lots to the "working " folks and I know it bugged the wealthy lake dwellers to no end. They would camp there and enjoy the lake all summer. He told me that he never sold any of the land because of a vow he made to the original owner and has kept his word forever. He is obviously property poor but never gave in on any attempts by people to get him to sell off any lots so he could live a "better" life. I used to pick him up hitchhiking to the nearby city often.
We had him over for dinner a few times and I swear he wouldn't eat for a week so that he could save himself up and gorge here. One time I watched him eat 3 huge plates of pasta and polish off about 4 brownies and a beer, I couldn't wake him from in front of the wood stove after that.
He is in a nursing home now but formed a trust and convinced the trustee to have all the properties put into conservation easements with the local conservation center. This then means that the old farm (which borders a good chunk of my property will be forever undeveloped. This is incredibly fortunate for DW and I as we love our privacy and the natural world around our property.

We are forever grateful to him for not "selling out." I think of him as a much greater person because of this. I am not sure I could live up to that myself.


That’s an amazing story and I like the guy already. This is great and no one will profit and it will go to benefit the public. What a smart move!
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Old 02-07-2021, 08:50 PM   #220
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We have about 3K going out monthly. That will of course go up about 1100 for medical through my union when we retire. Everything is paid off.
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