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Thread: How low can you go?

  1. #1
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    How low can you go?

    Inspired by Tybee's post about taking money out of the stock market, and what is "enough," I'm curious as to what is an annual amount that you feel you would need to get by. I know that differs for everyone, but I've played around with numbers quite a bit, since my financial health was severely sidelined by the recession/MIL's house, etc.

    Can you live on 25k? 35? 50? 75? More? I know it's a personal question and not everyone will want to answer. As for me, I am aiming towards living off of 30k with a paid-off home in a place with low property taxes. Because of the Apocalypse of 2008-2012, that is based on SS. I'll save what I can before I retire at 70+, and we'll be selling our home and downsizing and adding that to the kitty, but I'd like all my savings to be my emergency fund and not spend it down unless I have to.

    Anyone else care to share their retirement bottom line?
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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    Mine will be what I get from Social Security also with any savings for extraordinary expenses.

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    Senior Member rosarugosa's Avatar
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    Catherine: I am thinking about $60,000.

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    Such a great question, Catherine. I guess for starters, do you mean actual money to spend, after taxes and such? So are you looking for an after-tax net income available to handle to spend/save etc. or before tax number?

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    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Last year we spent $61,000 and of that $12,000 was on healthcare premiums. That was pretty luxurious living, buying anything I wanted pretty much, taking several small vacations. But there were no major house renovations, trips to Europe, new cars.

  6. #6
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tybee View Post
    Such a great question, Catherine. I guess for starters, do you mean actual money to spend, after taxes and such? So are you looking for an after-tax net income available to handle to spend/save etc. or before tax number?
    Yes, exactly. After tax. Just what you would need for living expenses plus whatever quality of life stuff you want or need.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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    Ok, thanks, off to ponder!

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    I just totaled up what we are probably spending now, the barebones version of it, and came to about 39000 a year. That is with low property taxes, no mortgage. Some categories could not be cut, like propane and car insurance, although maybe would go down if we went to one car. That is counting only bare bones maintainance for my car only, not my husband's.
    Our pets and travel of family are very expensive, but not sure I want to cut either of those!

    I guess if I lived on my own, in a paid for place, maybe with minimal driving or no car, I might be able go lower. But two thoughts--my social security if I took it at 62 would only be 850 a month, and even if I wait til 66 1/2, it is not enough to live on.

    So are you thinking of two people, two social securities, or budgeting on one?

    Second thought--if you factor in taxes on the house and medical, will 30 be enough? I am thinking I could not do that, although I really, really want to be able to do that. But if you have low house taxes, and you live in Maine, for example, low is like 2400 a year for in the country. My kids pay something like 5-6 in Portland. So if you go car free, you tend to have higher taxes.

    It was easier and cheaper living in SC when we did that because of fuel costs in winter and really low taxes.

    39 k seems like so much, and we try to be frugal. Agh.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Rogar's Avatar
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    I have been comfortable on around 30K-40K a year for a few years. I have health insurance partially covered by a previous employer and home paid off. About half of that income is not taxable. That includes a few thousand dollars in home repairs and upgrades each year, which seems inevitable in my older home. I paid cash for a new car a few years ago and suppose if you spread that expense over the ten or 12 years or so I plan to keep it, the cost would still fit into the 30K-40K annual income figure.

  10. #10
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    I would have to put a serious pencil to it but our monthly expenditures end up being around $1500 a month since we don't have a house or car payment. We only have one car and property taxes here are very low. I am thinking around $28-30K a year at this point. Of course, I am not adding all the home fixup expenditures which are coming out of their own pot of funds.

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