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Old 12-03-2016, 04:07 PM   #101
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I woke up this morning, and the temperature was 66F inside the home. The heat pump has not been turned on in heating mode. And I slept with a desk fan blowing on my face. It drove my wife crazy.

Anyway, the generic list that you show applies to all of us. But a bit more or less of everything, and you can be talking about $4K/month or $10K/month.

I think I can live fine on $5K/month. I currently spend more, just because I think I can afford it. Note the word "think". When the next recession hits, my thinking will change, and I will cut back.
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Old 12-03-2016, 04:43 PM   #102
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Family of 4, a bit over 12k per month, no mortgage, after tax.
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Old 12-03-2016, 05:28 PM   #103
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We spend a lot more on travel, health care and going out then we did when working f.t. We were tired after work and just wanted to rest. Now that all has changed)
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Old 12-03-2016, 05:32 PM   #104
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We are at $1600 but we are simple people in the Midwest.
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Old 12-03-2016, 11:31 PM   #105
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Around $7K per month. Could probably make do on $5K a month but have the $$ and don't feel like having to budget.
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Old 12-03-2016, 11:43 PM   #106
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Been retired now for almost 3.5 years. Averaged $5700/month during that time with 3 teenagers still at home. First will leave for college next fall, so expect a big change coming next year.
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Old 12-04-2016, 06:07 AM   #107
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I am at $2700 a month. It is rising because I add to the portfolio every month. I spend only about half of the $2700 each month. Since May of this year it has risen $100 a month.
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Old 12-04-2016, 06:48 AM   #108
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We do things a bit differently. We allocate $15,000 per month into our checking account for spending, keeping an extra $5,000 cushion for those rare months we may go over. We have three homes, one being a rental, so there are always expenses for those. With DW just receiving her last paycheck, we go on Cobra this month, so healthcare expenses rise significantly. In the past we've rarely gone over our spending allocation, so it'll be interesting to see how things change. We also give to our church and charities, which keep our expenses higher, but don't plan on changing that. Traveling is the one thing that sometimes blows us over our allocation, but we don't worry since most months we're well below it.
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Old 12-04-2016, 07:59 AM   #109
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Regarding California COL: other than housing costs to live in a coastal area, I can't think of anything here that is inherently more expensive than the rest of the country, other than the price of gasoline. And at just a dollar more per gallon that's not going to dent the budget much more than an additional $10-$50 per month. So, once the house is paid off, you're pretty set here it would seem.

Onto our numbers: We average $10,000 a month, exactly as budgeted, however only $4,000 of that figure is for necessities (groceries, gas, auto and home maintenance, utilities, taxes, medical, other insurance, cell, internet). The remainder is discretionary (travel, home improvements, entertainment, hobbies, eating out, accruals for large purchases such as new autos). One of our peace-of-mind contingencies is knowing we could cut back our spending drastically and immediately in the event of a financial catastrophe, without having to move or make any other significant changes. As a result, I watch the necessities portion of our budget very, very carefully to keep our baseline spending as lean as possible, even while not doing same, or at least not to the same degree, for the items we've deemed discretionary.

Prior to ER'ing we did not track our itemized spending, only ourbottom line spending. In ER we do track our itemized spend, and as a result I feel we live much, much better in ER than we did during our w**king years even while spending just a bit less. We are much more conscious about everything we do, and I think we enjoy everything more as a result. Many of our favorite activities are very inexpensive - hiking, biking, kayaking. Our biggest spend categories are travel, particularly if we are international, and home improvements. Currently we are in the process of putting hardwood in throughout most of our home, plus re-doing all of our landscaping to better accommodate California's never-ending drought situation.
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Old 12-04-2016, 08:49 AM   #110
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Regarding California COL: other than housing costs to live in a coastal area, I can't think of anything here that is inherently more expensive than the rest of the country, other than the price of gasoline. And at just a dollar more per gallon that's not going to dent the budget much more than an additional $10-$50 per month. So, once the house is paid off, you're pretty set here it would seem.
What about Income taxes, Property Taxes and Healthcare Cost?

In MA at least 2 of the above are low. (Healthcare Cost and Income Taxes). So even with payed off house one is facing huge property taxes. In CA it is facing also highest State income taxes in USA and one of the highest Health Care costs . I wonder how much costs Earthquake insurance.
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Old 12-04-2016, 09:18 AM   #111
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What about Income taxes, Property Taxes and Healthcare Cost?

In MA at least 2 of the above are low. (Healthcare Cost and Income Taxes). So even with payed off house one is facing huge property taxes. In CA it is facing also highest State income taxes in USA and one of the highest Health Care costs . I wonder how much costs Earth Quake insurance.
I can't begin to speak for the rest of the country, meaning I don't know if we are relatively low or high, but our medical expenses here are currently running just under $1,000 a month for two people, Bronze level Kaiser plan, but non-exchange policy in that we don't qualify for any subsidies.

Earthquake policies vary depending on value/deductible, of course, with ours costing approx $1,500 per year. Interestingly, or not, depending, only 10% of Californians currently carry earthquake insurance. We don't, however, need flood insurance, so perhaps an even $$ offset?

Property taxes are 1% of assessed value at time of purchase, then a max of 2% of tax bill (not property value!) going forward. We are at $5,500 per year currently, increasing at a rate of @$110 a year.

Can't speak to Income tax in that I would imagine it would vary widely depending on sources of ER funding. Ours is currently coming from parked cash, for example, so it's quite low.

And all of the above is included in the $4,000 monthly base-line run rate I quoted in my OP.

EDIT: It was pointed out that clearly we have taxable income or we'd qualify for subsidies. Oh bugger, this is why I try and avoid discussing the technical aspects of finance! Yes, we do, but my DH takes care of the details and just gives me the taxable amount for budget tracking purposes. So to my original point, clearly I can't speak to the Income tax side of our state!
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Old 12-04-2016, 09:22 AM   #112
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Originally Posted by eta2020 View Post
What about Income taxes, Property Taxes and Healthcare Cost?

In MA at least 2 of the above are low. (Healthcare Cost and Income Taxes). So even with payed off house one is facing huge property taxes. In CA it is facing also highest State income taxes in USA and one of the highest Health Care costs . I wonder how much costs Earthquake insurance.
Yep, there are a few more sneaky costs of living in CA such as very high gas taxes, highest Cap Gains tax, the need for flood or earthquake insurance (both in my case), high local sales taxes, high auto insurance costs near large cities. We love where we live but it is likely to only get more expensive as time goes by.

And to answer the question, my family is at approx $8,600 per month which includes one last child in college.
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Old 12-04-2016, 09:35 AM   #113
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I'm in the Los Angeles, CA area with family of 4 (2 kids under age 10), with a paid off 3 bedroom condo, a reasonable hour commute to work. My currently month spend ranges from $5,000 to 6,000 while working. We have room to trim the spend, live well below our income.

Besides real estate cost (purchase and taxes), most things are a little bit more expensive than my experience in the Midwest. Only items I think are less are the fresh local seasonal fruits and vegetable. Other things, once in awhile you might find a deal, but you have to look for it. While working I don't have much time to search for the deal which can be viewed as a job... reduce out of pocket $, but increase amount of time spent.

During a recent leisure trip to the Midwest, I noticed the following:
Gas - 50 - 60 cents cheaper per gallon (Costco to Costco)
Car rental - $20 cheaper per day
Restaurant taxes - 1 - 2% cheaper
Food - casual meals maybe $1 - 3 dollars cheaper per entree
State Parks - parking/hiking, still free
Weather - minor heat wave, temperatures were the same, but anticipating snow soon.

When I resided in MN (2013), I believe my typcial monthly spend was about $4000, so I'm spending maybe $12 - 20k more per year while in CA. It's a personal choice that we're ok with.

Overall in my opinion, CA is more expensive, but my job income is at least 30 - 40% more, but that was with a job change and promotion.

Each person's situation is unique, property taxes and Prop 13 does not help me much as I purchased recently. If you bought 10 - 20 years ago, you are sitting pretty with much lower taxes.
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Old 12-04-2016, 09:51 AM   #114
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State income tax in CA is very high. I pay almost 10% (at the top bracket, maybe a bit less blended).

Property taxes are 1%, which is reasonable, but because homes cost so much, the actual bill is quite high.

Gas cost more because of the taxes, but unless you drive constantly, it's probably not significant.

I live in coastal Orange County, where the temperatures are very moderate. My electric bill averages $120/month, gas $25, water $30. So my utilities are probably lower than parts of the country that deal with more extreme temperatures.

We buy almost everything at Costco, Trader Joe's or Amazon, so we are probably no higher than any other parts of the country for food and household items.
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Old 12-04-2016, 10:09 AM   #115
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Well it may be worth to fork extra few thousand dollars for place with great weather, walkable neighborhood, highly educated workforce, access to Ocean and Mountains, nice historic neighborhood, good quality healthcare etc etc.

It is also about what you get for your money
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Old 12-04-2016, 10:18 AM   #116
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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.
Don't worry. Folks with higher spending tend not to share the specifics. There have been some anonymous polls over the years that capture a broader range.

Our standard of living has improved considerably over the years since retiring. While working we worked a lot and didn't have much time to spend money, and didn't buy into the "America Dream" of newer cars, bigger house, etc. and no kids.
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Old 12-04-2016, 10:46 AM   #117
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What about Income taxes, Property Taxes and Healthcare Cost?

In MA at least 2 of the above are low. (Healthcare Cost and Income Taxes). So even with payed off house one is facing huge property taxes. In CA it is facing also highest State income taxes in USA and one of the highest Health Care costs . I wonder how much costs Earthquake insurance.
Property taxes - .36% for us because of Prop 13, $165 a month for premium for the two of us with tax credits, Medicare before too long now. State income taxes are offset by low property taxes and we self insure for earthquakes.
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Old 12-04-2016, 11:34 AM   #118
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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. .
We also get those annoying letters from gas and electric companies.

Nobody in our neighborhood has a 26' x 26' garage/workshop that houses a winery and carpenter shop.

We pay for every kw and therm we use.
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Old 12-04-2016, 12:07 PM   #119
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We buy almost everything at Costco, Trader Joe's or Amazon, so we are probably no higher than any other parts of the country for food and household items.
We're the same in the Bay Area except substitute Grocery Outlet for Amazon. I started to do the food stamp challenge just for a little hobby project, and realized we could actually eat pretty healthy on a food stamp budget in our area. I spent $234 on groceries last month for two plus a house guest for one week. We get organic meat from Costco and buy extra for a chest freezer. For fish, a mix of organic and nonorganic produce, organic eggs, yogurt, beans, rice and most everything else, I shop at Grocery Outlet and stockpile the best deals, so we spend around 60% less than the local Safeway prices for the same types and brands of food. (Edited to correct grocery bill.)
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Old 12-04-2016, 12:48 PM   #120
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In CA it is facing also highest State income taxes in USA and one of the highest Health Care costs .
CA has the highest top state income tax but I, and millions of others, would pay less in CA. I pay higher state taxes in WI than I would in CA. In CA I would pay between 1-4% in income tax. In WI I pay between 4-6.27%.
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