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Old 12-02-2016, 09:36 PM   #81
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Originally Posted by NW-Bound View Post
Posters have reported that other than housing, the rest costs the same, and that if you own your home, there's not much difference.

Well, I know that electricity costs a lot more, and also RE taxes for newcomers due to Prop. 13. What else costs more?
Yes, I agree that the cost of housing is the one big extra cost unless, as you say, one already owns one's own home*, in which case, Prop 13 can make the taxes very affordable if you bought in when prices were much lower. I was basing my answer on the fact that housing (both to buy and rent) in non-coastal areas of CA is much cheaper than in the coastal and large metro areas. They are two very different worlds, for sure. Of course, if you bought your home a while back, you are in good shape.

I'm very aware of how housing costs in the coastal areas of CA have skyrocketed, having bought and sold a few houses in So Cal in the late 1990's/early 2000's.





*Not quite sure why I slipped into the royal vernacular there
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Old 12-02-2016, 09:42 PM   #82
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Just curious what did you have done for 5k?
IIRC, it was 3 root canals (it might have been 2 root canals - I forget) and 5 porcelain crowns. There was a bit of prepping and cleaning in there too.
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Old 12-02-2016, 09:56 PM   #83
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IIRC, it was 3 root canals (it might have been 2 root canals - I forget) and 5 porcelain crowns. There was a bit of prepping and cleaning in there too.
Either you got a great deal or I got screwed. You are saying you got at least 2 root canals and 5 crowns for $5K? I paid $4K for 2 root canals and 2 crowns. I thought SF was supposed to be more expensive than Wisconsin
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Old 12-02-2016, 10:28 PM   #84
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Basic budget is ~ $2500/mo. Haven't really tracked "other" very well. As a w*rker bee, I paid the bills, stashed a big chunk, then spent (or not) the rest. I'll start tracking next year. But my available income allows a pretty good monthly surplus. 2017 will be the first year in FIRE living entirely off the SS, pension, and 4% WR, so we'll see how reality jibes with my planning...
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Old 12-02-2016, 11:55 PM   #85
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Either you got a great deal or I got screwed. You are saying you got at least 2 root canals and 5 crowns for $5K? I paid $4K for 2 root canals and 2 crowns. I thought SF was supposed to be more expensive than Wisconsin
I have a discount plan with Deltacare USA with a "premium" of just $135/year and which covers 2 cleanings per annum. I think it also covers a set of X-Rays. Under this plan, the root canals cost $410 each, and the full porcelain crowns $820 each ($670 for porcelain fused to high noble metal crown + $150 for an upgrade to full porcelain). Looking at those prices, I think it must have been just 2 root canals, which makes sense as I only spent one session with the orthodontist, and I don't think she would have done 3 root canals in one sitting.

Plus my dentist has a great sense of humor, and likes Dr Who We always have good conversation about a variety of subjects, including politics. Sometimes, he even takes his hand out of my mouth for long enough for me to answer

I am hoping that all these crowns last a good amount of time, and that I don't need any more work done for a while. One or two of them were replacements, and the old crowns lasted something like 10 - 15 years which, considering that I am a grinder, is not bad. I'd like the next chunk of play money that I save up to be used for trips, and not for dental work!
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Old 12-03-2016, 06:41 AM   #86
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Hey, that gives people an idea. How about going further, and join a nudist camp? Look at all the money you save. Well, you might have to incur other costs, like bug spray.
Sunscreen. Trust me on that one.
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Old 12-03-2016, 09:40 AM   #87
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If you can afford what you are spending, then great! Pat yourself on the back for a job well done. There is absolutely nothing wrong in spending one's hard earned money, in my opinion anyway. In fact, that's great.

On the other hand, if your numbers seem like more than you want to spend, then you can join me in trying to tighten the belt. I do need to cut back before the next 2008-style recession, for sure. My situation is that I can afford what I am spending now, but I want more leeway just in case the market dips.
I'm at a 2.5% WR so I'm good with the total spend, it's just a mental issue. I took a look at my 4 year average monthly spend and my dog costs $175 per month (special needs), HI is nearly $700 per month, and taxes are $700 per month. Those three account for 25% of my spend. When I do a 4 year average we've also spent $700 / month on "home improvments" (new roof, windows, exterior paint and a hot tub ). I keep very careful track of what I spend, I just thought I was on the low end of the spectrum and this thread proves that I am no where near the low end.
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Old 12-03-2016, 10:00 AM   #88
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Our monthly budget is 5k per month. We have no mortgage or car payments or childcare. I'm pretty adamant that we should be able to live comfortably, but sometimes DW disagrees. What do you all think?
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Old 12-03-2016, 10:40 AM   #89
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I'm at a 2.5% WR so I'm good with the total spend, it's just a mental issue. [...] I keep very careful track of what I spend, I just thought I was on the low end of the spectrum and this thread proves that I am no where near the low end.
I think you are doing just fine. Ultimately it doesn't matter what other people spend; they aren't in our shoes, and we should focus on what we spend as individuals.

Actually I should tell myself this, too. I am at about the same WR as you. But the market is up, I am spending more (even if the % is low), and this concerns me. Probably the fact that we are concerned, indicates that our spending will remain reasonable.

The market always goes down as well as up. It's been so long since the last recession, that I think the wait has been a little unnerving for me. Reminds me of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Pit and the Pendulum", in a way. I want to be prepared for it when it arrives, so that I can just laugh at it and continue enjoying life rather than freaking out.
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Old 12-03-2016, 10:54 AM   #90
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Our monthly budget is 5k per month. We have no mortgage or car payments or childcare. I'm pretty adamant that we should be able to live comfortably, but sometimes DW disagrees. What do you all think?
I think I would have to put a lot of effort into spending that much every month!

I'm a natural saver and I'd be saving up all that excess money to spend on something big, like a home improvement or a really huge safety net for unknown medical expenses.

My sister and BIL probably spend 15K - 20K a month. They travel well and often, are generous, buy a lot of nice stuff and make a lot of monthly debt payments. It's ok, they can easily afford it.

I don't understand keeping all the debt but it works for them.
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Old 12-03-2016, 10:59 AM   #91
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Our monthly budget is 5k per month. We have no mortgage or car payments or childcare. I'm pretty adamant that we should be able to live comfortably, but sometimes DW disagrees. What do you all think?
We cannot tell, not knowing any specifics. But seeing your screenname and where you live, plus your wife's opinion, I have to ask how you set your thermostat.
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Old 12-03-2016, 11:49 AM   #92
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We need $7K per month for the two of us. I guess it's a Southern California thing.
+1 Same here for NJ with two growing kids and one already in College. Tuition is being paid from 529 - but you know other expenses. Kids are expensive. Just paid 4K for five iPhone 7.
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Old 12-03-2016, 12:36 PM   #93
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IIRC, it was 3 root canals (it might have been 2 root canals - I forget) and 5 porcelain crowns. There was a bit of prepping and cleaning in there too.
Thanks Tom.
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Old 12-03-2016, 12:54 PM   #94
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I have tracked expenses for the last 9 years. Over that time it has averaged around 22K Canadian (live in Northern Alberta). House is paid off so that is a big factor.

Now, I don't plan on retiring until I have enough to cover around 50K in after tax expenses since we are planning to slow travel 1-2 months each year and I anticipate housing maintenance costs to be alot more signficant over the next 10-20 years compared to what they have been as my house was built in 1989 and starting to show its age.

Basically I plan for three buckets.

Basic expenses - By and large this is most of the 22K noted above as right now we only have one or two inexpensive vacations per year and are healthy and what little medical costs we have had are covered by benefits.

Non recurring/lumpy - Stuff like auto replacement, major medical (like dental in Canada) and major house repairs. I anticipate this going way up in the 2nd half of my life - approx 8K per year

Discretionary - This is stuff like spending on hobbies (ie new golf clubs), golf dues, gadgets, travel, etc. You can spend $0 if you choose to but I suspect noone here wants to do that. This I anticpate being around $16K per year upon retirement so nearly as much as my base expenses now.

The way I look at it right now i have my base expenses covered ($1Mil invested) and am working for my future hobby epenses now
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Old 12-03-2016, 12:57 PM   #95
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Interesting reading all the replies. There seems to be an average range between $2500 - $7K month. Would you say most of you are living at a similar standard of living/expenses (excluding long term savings you were doing during the accumulation phase) you had while working in your final years, or have you adjusted it up/down?

After reading all these replies I am embarrassed to say my "spending" plans for when I potentially retire in 3 yrs are significantly higher than any numbers thrown out so far. No debt and live where costs are reasonable. I call it a spending plan vs expenses because most will be discretionary. DW and I plan some travel and enjoy some of the finer things in life. We also plan on endulging in some annual family experiences having 4 kids growing with spouses and hopefully grand kids one day. None the less, I admire those of you who are living your dream retirements on significantly less. Different strokes for different folks I suppose.
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Old 12-03-2016, 01:46 PM   #96
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Interesting reading all the replies. There seems to be an average range between $2500 - $7K month. Would you say most of you are living at a similar standard of living/expenses (excluding long term savings you were doing during the accumulation phase) you had while working in your final years, or have you adjusted it up/down?
One condition I put on myself when putting together my ER plan was that I would have no change to my day-to-day lifestyle. I wasn't living extravagantly by any measure, but in retirement I would not have to cut back just to fit into my budget any reduced day-to-day expenses. If I wanted to go out to eat and treat my ladyfriend, I wouldn't have to worry about busting my budget. If I wanted to splurge and spend extra some money now and then, that would be fine, too. I always built into my budget a surplus, or cushion, to cover any small, unforeseen expenses which could arise.
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Old 12-03-2016, 01:48 PM   #97
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Interesting reading all the replies. There seems to be an average range between $2500 - $7K month. Would you say most of you are living at a similar standard of living/expenses (excluding long term savings you were doing during the accumulation phase) you had while working in your final years, or have you adjusted it up/down?
I am spending more in retirement than I did during the accumulation phase, because I don't have to save for retirement any more! I have more or less the same standard of living as I always had, because I'm used to it; but still I am enjoying plenty of extras now that I would not have bought back then. It just comes to a few thousand a year more, during most years.
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Old 12-03-2016, 02:04 PM   #98
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Day to day, my standard of living is about the same it has always been.

Total spending is way up because of travel, nothing else.
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Old 12-03-2016, 02:48 PM   #99
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Day to day, my standard of living is about the same it has always been.

Total spending is way up because of travel, nothing else.
This is our plan and we've worked a bit longer to support it. Will finally have time to travel and intend to catch up on a long list of deferred destinations and experiences.
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Old 12-03-2016, 03:58 PM   #100
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We cannot tell, not knowing any specifics. But seeing your screenname and where you live, plus your wife's opinion, I have to ask how you set your thermostat.
LOL. Both DW and I are from California. When I originally joined this forum, it was in the middle of winter and I was cold, hence the name.

On thermostat, DW wants 72. I think 68 is fine. When the gas utility bill comes in and it says we use 50% more energy than our neighbors, she says she doesn't know why that is happening.

On specifics, it's food, restaurants, utilities, telecom, property taxes, house and car insurance, kid's activities, gas, cable, auto gas, vacation, house maintenance, and mysterious purchases that happen at Target and Walmart. 5k doesn't include anything that's related to savings like 401k, IRA, ESPP.

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I think I would have to put a lot of effort into spending that much every month!
That's what I think! Except that we're foodies.
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