Here Are The Actual Dollar Amounts Of My Retirement.

I’m not going to tell you that my current income is 33.6% less than what my pre-retirement income was. That’s what most other financial retirement bloggers do. Unless you know the actual numbers of what their pre-retirement income was, you have learned absolutely nothing. I’m also not going to tell you I saved 5% of my gross income over my working lifetime, or 10% or 20% or 50%. Again, if you don’t know the base-line figure amounts, you know absolutely nothing.

I’m not going to give you percentages of dollar cost averages. I’m going to give you the real, honest-to-goodness, actual dollar amounts DH and I are currently living on. Our figures will include one paid-for primary residence home, one paid-for vacation condo in paradise, two paid-for recent model vehicles (one is a luxury SUV and the other is a fuel-efficient mid-sized car), one recent 2017 RV purchase that carries an interest tax-deductible loan ($140 a month), two paid-for 6s iPhones, one food bill ($350 regardless of where we are residing at present) two bills each of: electricity, internet, cable and security as well as primary homeowner’s insurance, condo insurance, RV insurance, DH health insurance, my Medicare additional insurance policy, heating/air conditioning, sanitation. I even have a category thrown in for misc ($25), haircuts ($8), maintenance on the primary home ($75) and travel ($100 per month which carries over to about $1200 a year). Throw in a $272 a month credit card bill that covers two more zero-interest purchases of all brand new appliances for our primary residence and a brand new Apple iMac computer for me to continue with my photography hobby. Oh yes, toss in another zero-interest $48 a month to cover all the new furniture I purchased for my new condo for the next four years.

We can cover all of the above ($2125 per month) quite adequately and comfortably from our passive income. That’s what it costs us to own two homes and two cars and travel around America in our brand new RV.

I’m not finished yet. I didn’t mention property taxes and HOA fees. Those run us about $933 a month which boils down to $2800 per quarter or $11,200 a year, which we withdraw out of our saving accounts. I rather like paying these bills out of our increasing savings account. Any overflow from our passive income goes into savings, as well as future earnings. DH is always hustling for some extra cash. He likes his work income to cover the annual HOA fees and property taxes. So, in essence, we’re really not touching our savings account at all. I don’t consider property taxes and HOA fees part of our day-to-day living expenses.

view from the top.jpg - 1Granted, if we sold one of our homes we’d have a helluva lot more money in the bank. But neither one of us right now thinks that’s important. What’s the point of having all that money in a bank or invested? Right now, we’re using just about everything we own and enjoying all our assets at the same time. Our annual expenses come to $36,720 and that’s just about right to what DH and I are currently living on. I’ll let you do the math. Our current living expenses comes to around 51% less than what DH and I earned AND lived on before retirement, when both our daughters were living with us at home.

Even if and when you figure that number out, you’ll come to realize DH and I lived on a lot less money together from what one person earns today. Our frugal lifestyle got us through everything. Intact and in my kind of luxury. DH and I have always owned two homes: one primary and one vacation, two cars and two cell phones.  And we’ve gone through a few several RVs over our time. Additionally, every winter we took our annual February vacations in paradise.

When you master the fine art of frugality and you know and respect the value of an ordinary dollar, you can accomplish a lot in life.

Live well and prosper, my friend. Live well and prosper.

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8 thoughts on “Here Are The Actual Dollar Amounts Of My Retirement.

  1. Thanks for the transparency! You have accomplished a lot and are doing a great job at managing what you have to work with. Ouch on the taxes and HOA fees!

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    • Lucy, I have to admit that’s it’s those pesky NY taxes that are the killer. Not Florida or the HOA fees. Once DH is on Medicare, we’ll probably be able to move out of the state. But not now. DH’s healthcare keeps us grounded in NY, for both the doctors and the medical insurance. It is what it is.
      Something to ponder about when one prepares for retirement: healthcare.
      Thanks for you comment.

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    • Hi One Family. That is the key IMHO to a financially successful retirement. I advised my own children to buy a house no later than 35 years old, take out the 30 year mortgage, NEVER ever borrow out the equity and by the time they are 65 they will either have a solid roof over their head or sell and have a nice retirement cash fund. Always keep up the repairs and maintenance on the house. That’s your nest egg, your gold mine, your freedom. Of course, you can take out a 15 year mortgage and buy the home later in life….up to the individual whatever works. It has always been my understanding that the middle classes (me) major route to prosperity was through owning a home. So far, this understanding has served me well.
      Thanks for your comment.

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  2. Hi Cindi, every time you report what your living on it’s a little higher, do you do a yearly inflation figure? I have always done this on my necessities living expenses. Runs between 1.5-2% since my DH passed. We lived on $31,000 before he passed and was still saving quite a bit. I received half his pension and I lived on $15,700 eleven years ago for the basics. Now these necessities run around $18,000. Majority is from increase in health care cost then eating more organic this year and doing the Xfinity triple play. Taxes have actually gone down dramatically. This increase is covered with getting my full widows pension at sixty. I too own my home and car but carry no credit card debt. I usually buy new and keep a car ten years. I track my net worth twice a year and want to see it growing. Where we probably differ the most is I had set up a designated FUN ( financially unnecessary) account for the things that would bring us great joy in our retirement. Each of us listed what those things would be before we retired and then made kind of ground rules to avoid bickering over where this money was used. Now it’s only me deciding how much I want to use for my kids and grandkids enjoyment or spend on myself. This account funds hobbies, gifts, travel, gardens, clothes, books, concerts, plays, holidays, entertaining friends and families and activities with the grandkids, and 529 accounts for them. Oh I stretched this money this year by getting two travel rewards credit cards, so far $820 worth of rewards and it’s still building.
    I am headed this afternoon to pay my local property taxes. I think I told you before I cluster these- the year I itemize on my federal taxes I pay my January bill in December then the next year I take the standard deduction and only pay the July bill. I also cluster my charitable contributions in the year I itemized. This saves about a thousand dollars for me on the two tax years but it does make my two years budgets look very different. Also I do the maintenance for my home out of my basic necessities savings account so it only appears at my year end report.
    Different strokes for different folks but after nineteen years of early retirement this system is still the same I set up pretty much since I was twenty one when I got married and had called it the Goals account instead of the FUN account, but after getting our first home and two kids we started calling it the FUN account. Sincerely, Lara

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    • Hi Lara. We’ve had a few items increase, like food, taxes and now that DH is working, gas for his car. But we have added on expenses such as finally having electricity installed in the barn (DH did ALL of the work, saving us at least $1500 from an electrician. DH’s work always passes inspection). The RV loan, related RV insurance, medical co-pays, drugs, furniture, a computer and soon our cell phone bills will go up when we upgrade to iPhone 7s. Oh and a bump up in our travel expenses.
      I remember when my monthly expenses were only $1500 a month when I first retired back in 2001. Then it went up to $1900. LOL. That’s how retirement goes. Your expenses increase, no matter what and your lifestyle decreases, as you have to start living smaller in order to keep up. My net worth is still in the $700K to $800K realm. It used to be over a million but as I said, prices go up, we do more things, go more places, we make withdrawals and our net worth goes down. Hopefully by the time I pass on, it will be zero.

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  3. We are different in that I am not planning on getting my net worth down to zero because my DH ask that I leave some assets to pass on, and I like to share with my kids and grandkids experiences now. I know you had a big hit on your net worth on the Rhode Island beach house. Hopefully your NY home will keep increasing in value. With the garage having electricity will you rent it out over the winter for some income?
    IMHO, There are so many stages in retirement especially if you retire early, and many avenues you can pursue. These past eleven years have brought a lot of soul searching for me and trying to stay in the present. I realized when I hit sixty that I didn’t need to decrease my lifestyle but could expand my horizons. I like my home warmer, I now hire someone to do my lawn, When I don’t want or can’t do the housework I will get help. Recently high quality and organic food has become very important but I also tried Shop Rite from home and layered multiple savings to stockpile at super cheap prices. These are not luxuries in my opinion just part of recognizing the different needs as we get older. I do not need to go smaller and it isn’t any cheaper to do so if I move closer to my kids. In all honesty I like that we are not on top of each other. I rent a home for a week in Cape Cod every year, shut the door afterwards and no worries. Been to Florida and going to New Mexico this year. Going to go on a sunrise hot air balloon ride. Check one more thing off my bucket list. Doing a European genealogy trip next year to visit the six countries where all of my ancestors came from and also the Pacific Northwest. Studied religions and the Bible in depth for a year. Continue to pursue artistic endeavors. Loved renovating my home this year. Three more projects in the works. I like having my own home and putting my own creativity into my surroundings. Always living below are means and then Living extremely frugal during my kids 14 tuition years created a mindset and thriftier ways then I need to do now, Thank God! Lara

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    • Lara, you certainly have a lot planned. Good for you! I’d like to take an Alaskan cruise one day. I often think about hiring someone to clean my house but so far, so good. I’m still able to do and don’t believe anyone else can clean it as good as I do. We have, however, hired a kid to cut our current lawn. He charges $75 every other week. Not a deal breaker.
      No renters yet in the plan for the barn. But it could be a possibility. Once DH gets all his junk out of it! LOL.

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