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Workwayless:
Like you I retired on a bare bones budget. A SWR easily covers all of my current essential expenses. However if I want something outside of the budget, either I have to scrimp somewhere else, do some money-making activity, or do without.


If any of you had to do it over again would you RE on a bare bones budget. I ask because my bare bones budget is $21-22K a year. Although I can live well on that I'm beginning to question if living on bare bones would cause me stress? The reason I want to FIRE is because I want NO STRESS in my life. I think of Intercst and how stress-free his life must be because he has way more money than he knows what to do with.


Leolo
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Although I can live well on that I'm beginning to question if living on bare bones would cause me stress?

Money doesn't buy you happiness, but IMO it can reduce stress. I think there are people out there who will never be happy no matter how much money they have, and those for whom no cash cushion will ever be large enough. When you think about it, what we are shooting for is very ambitious. There is so much that is out of our control, yet the very nature of early retirement is our taking control of our future. A bit frightening in and of itself for us control freaks.

I look forward to the point where our nest egg is significant enough that what we earn is gravy. Given medical issues for DH who has been a type I diabetic since the age of 13, we face more uncertainty than most and will have to minimally wait until retiree health benefits are secure, currently at age 55. Since we are both savers by nature, I suspect that means our cash cushion will be significant at that point. However, we will not keep on working that extra year or two for the (insert your favorite luxury here.) The luxury I'm looking forward to most is spending as much time with him as I'm allowed, something which can't be bought.

InParadise
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Leolo:
If any of you had to do it over again would you RE on a bare bones budget. I ask because my bare bones budget is $21-22K a year. Although I can live well on that I'm beginning to question if living on bare bones would cause me stress? The reason I want to FIRE is because I want NO STRESS in my life. I think of Intercst and how stress-free his life must be because he has way more money than he knows what to do with.


I ponder over this question all the time as well Leolo. I'm in the same boat as you, working hard to achieve ER status with about 7-10 years to go. But I often wonder if I should leave the workforce earlier for a rural, low-cost, low-stress existence.

With my wife and I, I could easily live on 20k per year with some room to spare. However, my current plan is to make 40k per year (the 40k will go up each year per inflation) so that 1/2 of my investments returns provide my living expenses and the other 1/2 for fun, toys and vehicle replacements.

I now have 2 kids in college and a 9 YO so throwing that in the mix makes it a little more complex.

It would be interesting to hear from others that took the bare bones option (like the 20-22k) instead of waiting for the more comfortable one like my current plan entails.

decath
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It would be interesting to hear from others that took the bare bones option (like the 20-22k) instead of waiting for the more comfortable one like my current plan entails.

That would be me. A household of one, I retired on less then I had planned (15-17k vs 25k plus house replacement fund).

So back to Leolo's original question: If had could do it over again would I still RE on a bare bones budget? The answer is a resounding "YES"!

I have been retired for 1.5 years now. I definitely now live a low stress life. Since I've LBMM while I was working and did a good job of projecting my ER spending, there haven't been too many surprises. So I say that one of my success factors is that my overall lifestyle hasn't changed even though I live on a bare bones budget. Perhaps you could try out your bare bones approach while you are still working to see if you really can tolerate it.

When I was working, I made a good wage and had low fixed expenses. Even after savings, I had a lot of discretionary funds. So if I had a problem, I had a tendency to just throw money at it. Now that I live on a bare bones budget, I may not have that option and have to think more creatively. Some might find this stressful—I find it fun.

Another potential stressor is a feeling of loosing control. An example of this is worrying about whether or not entitlement programs like Medicare or SSN will disappear after I'm too old to work. This is how I deal: I am using my belief system to reach a place where I realize that having control is just an illusion. I think this is a healthy place to be. After all as we age we all ultimately reach that realization at some time---so why not learn while we are still young. This doesn't mean I won't do something to deal with the issue—I just don't stress about it.
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If any of you had to do it over again would you RE on a bare bones budget.


Absolutely, yes. I can live without luxury easily.

WWL identified the real problem--what if medicare, social security, etc. go away? What if health care skyrockets in cost? I don't want to be a burden to my family or society because I chose to quit working when I could have continued earning a nice salary. I don't want my choices to spill over on to others. So I might consider some part-time or temporary work for a little extra insurance.

But working had become such an absolute nightmare for me that I had to get out.


I ask because my bare bones budget is $21-22K a year.

I'm in a similar situation. I have a small fixed pension and a small portfolio. It is enough for now and will be better when I downsize my house.

SloanT made an excellent point on the FIRE Wannabees board. He said, I think it is smarter to be daring when you choose to retire (do it early!) and then be conservative with your money after you retire to make sure it lasts.
http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=19432601

As I said in my "Drudge No More" post, it crystallized my thinking about departing. For years I had agonized over having "enough" and I finally realized I would never have "enough."


The reason I want to FIRE is because I want NO STRESS in my life.

Believe me when I tell you this--the occasional doubt about the future is far less stressful than what I was undergoing on the job. I'm about as close to no stress as you can get.

- tmeri
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<<This is how I deal: I am using my belief system to reach a place where I realize that having control is just an illusion. >>


Was this before or after you came to know Art? ;)


VL
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Was this before or after you came to know Art?


Yeah I know my timing is canny given Art's recent posts. However surrending control--whether to higher being or consciousness--is really a central theme throughout most Eastern and Western belief systems. From what I have read about Art's belief in NDEs and Holographic universe, I don't think that he and I share similiar viewpoints. But hey sharing differing viewpoints is what makes life interesting, doesn't it.

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This is how I deal: I am using my belief system to reach a place where I realize that having control is just an illusion.

Then why try? Why work one day more in a job you dislike?... if you quit it will have no impact as you have no control! ... or anything else for that matter, what you do doesn't matter if you have no control... have another drink and be merry!!!

I do appoligize if I missunderstand where you are coming from.

I have trouble understanding a philosophy wherein you give up (or recognize lack of) all control.. why think about beliefs if you have no control?

It seems much more healthy to me to identify what you do and do not control (or influence) and focus your energy on affecting those things that you do have control (or influence) over.

FoolNBlue (Out of control...)
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Then why try? Why work one day more in a job you dislike?... if you quit it will have no impact as you have no control! ... or anything else for that matter, what you do doesn't matter if you have no control... have another drink and be merry!!!


I interpreted it as more of “just going with the flow.” It's a Zen/Buddhist philosophy. It actually sounds like a nice calm relaxing philosophy to me.

Leolo
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I have trouble understanding a philosophy wherein you give up (or recognize lack of) all control.

Not to try to speak for workwayless, but I understood her statement to mean that you can't really control for all the things that can happen, so at some point you have to just quit work and hope that the worst doesn't happen. That presumes, of course, that you've already prepared for all the things you know are pretty likely to happen and have some contingency just in case. Even intercst, with all of his millions, could be bankrupted by things not within his control. No one really has control of everything.

- tmeri
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