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Subject:  Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date:  2/18/2007  12:14 PM
Author:  AngelMay Number:  2288 of 116420

My budget spreadsheet shows that I've spent about $22,000 in any given year since 2003, to maintain my mortgage, insurance, taxes, food, vehicle, basic household maintenace, and medical expenses.

I consider this a reasonable estimate of my NEEDS. I suspect I could cut this by about $8,000. It would be tight, but I did it in 2001-2002.

As for what I WANT - like you, I WANT more. But do I HAVE to have it order to 'retire'? No.

In 1997, I put together a 'plan' that included a detailed description of what I considered 'basic needs' and the $$ required to support that lifestyle. I estimated, on top of that, the things I considered 'wants', and the $$ needed to meet those goals.

I estimated that $36,000 would meet my basic needs as well as my minimum 'luxury goals'. To meet ALL my luxury goals would require about $50,000/yr.

CAVEAT - The cost of medical care insurance has increased since then... so my estimate may be a bit outdated. Although, ironically, my job provided 'medical insurance' stipend is today within a few dollars of that in 1997. ($297/mo vs $320/mo)

The retirement calculators NEVER give me the same info that my self-created spreadsheet gives me. I control the 'assumptions' in my spread sheet, therefore I trust my spreadsheet more than the calculators.


Are you sure you have figured in EVERYTHING?
How about replacement costs on your car?
Replacement costs for worn-out tires on your car?
How about replacement costs on your computer?
Vet bills if you have a pet.
On-going expenses like ink for your printer (ink is damned expensive these days).

There is no way that I could live on $30,000 without having to sell my home.

The point is that everyone is different.
What works -- or what HAS worked -- for you, will not necessarily work for your next-door neighbor.

We all have a tendency to think that if *I* did it, anybody can do it -- and that's just not the case.

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