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For those who have retired (or semi-retired and cut back on work income--by choice or otherwise), how is your spending compared to what you expected?
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I spend more than I thought I would (on what?).
I spend about what I expected to.
I spend less than expected (in what areas?).

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33% (1 Vote)



I spend less than expected (in what areas?).
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Rather than doing what people expect people to do in retirement ---- travel, I look into my character and values for things I really want to do and am interested in doing.


My major activity is as a volunteer for the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, a cheap and rewarding activity.

I keep up with message boards like this one and provide advice on a message board for those who have furnaces or gas equipment thaty doesn't work, using knowkledge and experience from my former occupation.

And I go walking or bicycling pretty much every day.

Frugality is a core value of mine and a hobby as well. This morning I stoked up my wood stove instead of turning on the furnace despite freezing temperatures --- because I'm a firebug at heart and it's a hobby.

And gardening the past few years. I make blackberry jam from berries that grow abundantly and wil in Seattle, and make apple cider from untebnded apple trees along street ends and public rights of way.

I COULD spend a lot more money, but I'd be less happy if I did.



Seattle Pioneer
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I retired at age 53. The big surprise to me was the cost of health insurance. Rates depend on your age and rise sharply at age 60.

Every retirement plan should include a contingency account because given time something unexpected will come up. Having resources to deal with the unexpected is a good idea.
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Well, this board appears to be dead.

Can we liven things up a bit?

Our retirement expenses are more than we thought they'd be.
We spend a lot of money on food.
We got a puppy and he eats like a horse.
The cat is old and her teeth bother her so we cook for her.
Some of the things that we were surprised at was the fact that utilities cost less here in our little town in MA than they did on Long Island and Brooklyn. I run the clothes dryer almost every single day and my electric bill runs about the same as what I spent doing laundry in the basement of our apartment building in Brooklyn.
Food is much cheaper, and in some instances, 50% cheaper than the supermarkets in Brooklyn Heights - where everything was a ripoff.
The neighbors are much much nicer here too.
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" where everything was a ripoff."

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Where it cost more to get the blasted groceries in the store.
Where it costs more for the grocer to live?
Where it costs more to hire help?

Most things that we refer to as a "rip-off" have a reason.
Generally, that does not make me feel any better about the situation -
but moving to a lower cost area can make you feel real good.
But feeling good should be good in and off itself.
Don't feel bad about the past.

Howie52
Worrying about sunk costs is just worrying - I'm told it
can cause wrinkles.
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There are still people out there who love the hustle and bustle of the city.

They know it costs more, but think the cost is worth it.

Everyone has to make their choices and make peace with their demons. You can't have it both ways. Or if you figure out how, please let us know. (Finding someone else to pay the bills could be the best solution.)
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Most things that we refer to as a "rip-off" have a reason.



Maybe I should have elaborated when I said "ripoff".
It had nothing to do with any of the things you mentioned.
It had to do with changing the "sell by" labels on the meats, dairy and other things that had a tendency to spoil. I used to have to smell all the perishable food before I would dare to eat it.
As a matter of fact the local stores were cited for those things in the NY Post.
Bad management fosters bad attitudes in the staff and the manager of the local supermarket was a mean nasty man who treated his staff very poorly.
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There are still people out there who love the hustle and bustle of the city.

They know it costs more, but think the cost is worth it.


I loved living in Brooklyn Heights and did so for eight years.
I enjoyed many broadway shows, good restaurants and my favorite thing was to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge. The neighborhood had a lot of famous celebrities living there and it was surreal to see the likes of Paul Giammatti, William Hurt or my best sighting, Bjork!
It is ridiculously expensive to live in that neighborhood and when my husband retired, we moved to a lovely coastal town in MA. If I want the big city, we can go to Boston which is less than an hours drive away.
We have the best of both worlds now. And, the fact that my daughter and two grandkids live close by is a big plus. Beats living in the Big Apple any day.
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Our retirement expenses are more than we thought they'd be.
We spend a lot of money on food.


We also spend more on food than expected. One reason is that I feed extra people more often. Also, as our health becomes more sensitive (I try to avoid gluten and especially lactose, the hubster needs to avoid things that raise blood pressure like caffeine, alcohol, and salt), and I learn more about health (avoiding cheap baked goods with trans fats and commercially raised meat/fish, eating more leafy greens, berries, avocados, nuts & seeds--not cheap). Not to mention developing a taste for things like kombucha, fresh shiitake mushrooms and shellfish (mmm…crabcakes!)--and those prepared vegan salads and noodle bowls at Whole Foods…

I run the clothes dryer almost every single day

Wow, really? I have small machines (not the jumbo washer & dryers often sold these days) and usually do 4 loads a week.

I make an effort to conserve water and electricity via short showers, shortest cycles on dishwasher & washing machine. Unplug stuff. Use as few lights as possible. Water the yard as little as possible. Gradually replacing incandescent lightbulbs. Stopped turning on decorative lighting outdoors.

We've also stopped cable tv and non-cell phones to cut utility bills, and reduced our cell phone plan data limit. However, we added iPad service for the hubster (I already had it for RVing).

We got a puppy and he eats like a horse.
The cat is old and her teeth bother her so we cook for her.


Pets can be expensive, messy, allergenic, and inconvenient, which is why we don't have any. My husband is more accustomed to having pets than I am, and I periodically offer to let him acquire one, but he says he's good without. We go bird-watching and look for ghost crabs on the beach at dusk ;-)

At first we traveled a lot, but not so much lately. With more medical appointments and visits from children/grandchildren, and with my elderly mom's dependence on me to drive her (note to self: make Mom an appointment for a facial so she can use up that gift card-) and sometimes cook for her, it's getting harder to plan on travel.

Since this is the Retire Well *on Less* board, I should note that I think we ought to downsize, but the hubster doesn't want to.
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Since this is the Retire Well *on Less* board, I should note that I think we ought to downsize, but the hubster doesn't want to.


What do you mean by downsizing? The house?

We sold our 850 square foot apartment in Brooklyn Heights for over $600,000. Our little antique townhouse cost half of that but is one and a half times as big.
When we say "downsize" we mean the mortgage payment is now less than half of what it used to be.
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Whatever happened to rent control?
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Whatever happened to rent control?



You got me on that one!

There are a few high rise buildings in Brooklyn Heights that are "Mitchell-Llama" whatever that means.
The buildings are pretty non-descript but they have views to die for.
These buildings originally were meant for artists, teachers, etc.
The rent was relatively cheap. Fast forward a few decades and the neighborhood is one of the most expensive and those apartments which were owned by middle class people can now be sold at market and some are going for over one million dollars.
Go figure.
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We haven't had a mortgage in 13 years, but a debt-free house still isn't free. The bigger it is, the more it costs to heat & cool, pay taxes & insurance on, and maintain (let alone furnish). The bigger it is, the longer it takes to clean, too ;-) And we do that ourselves, although we pay people to take care of the yard.

I'm embarrassed to say that my house is almost twice the size of yours, hence my desire to downsize. Although it actually feels a bit cramped when both kids and grandkids are visiting(!).
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I'm embarrassed to say that my house is almost twice the size of yours, hence my desire to downsize. Although it actually feels a bit cramped when both kids and grandkids are visiting(!).



Don't be embarrassed. We lived in Providence, RI for less than two years and I had a colonial house that was to die for.
We had a third floor that had closets that were as big as New York City bedrooms.
We were just two people but when the kids came, there was plenty of room for them. They had no children at the time.
We ended up actually living in just a few of the rooms in that big house.
We enjoy our little townhouse. It's 315 years old and is actually half of a bigger house. We are surrounded by 16 townhouses that were built nearly 50 years ago. When we moved here two years ago the grandkids were 3 1/2 and 1 1/2 years old. They had a really good time at Grandma and Grandpa's house. My husband made the third floor attic space into a space mostly for the kids. He made them a fort. We put up dry eraser boards so that the two of them could color.
They are now big girls aged 5 1/2 and 3 1/2 and since they are both in school, they rare come here anymore to hang out on our third floor.
They have grown so quickly that the novelty of us living down the block has worn off a bit. But, now that the puppy has stopped nipping, they like to take a walk with their parents down to the dog run to watch our dog and the other dogs play. Life goes on. Kids grow up and move on but we just grow older.
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"Bad management fosters bad attitudes in the staff and the manager of the local supermarket was a mean nasty man who treated his staff very poorly. "

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Some stores are the pits - there was a story about some
Food Lions in North Carolina that had the same situation you
describe. Other Food Lions were clean and well run.
Managers can be pieces of work - and the area where stores are
located can trigger the worst responses from folks.

Howie52
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I retired at 71.

Largest expenses are:

Health Care
Insurance
Housing.

Health care and insurance costs can be very difficult to deal with. In one year we spent more than $10,000 on "Affordable Care Act" insurance for my spouse, who was under 65. Add to that the actual cost of health care including deductibles.

In 2017 the above were about $23,000.

Add to that "Long Term Care" insurance, my Medicare insurance and so on.

Cha-Ching.

Norm
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I didn't realize how much I was spending on teaching materials and supplies for my classroom. I thought I was keeping track for tax purposes, but I really under valued how much I was spending. My clothing expenses basically dropped to socks and underwear.

PF
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I didn't pay health insurance for a long time after I "retired" in 2001, but that changed, I forgot when but it wasn't too awful bad, $200+ per month, compared to ACA now at $832 per month, that was a deal.

I have a few yrs. until Medicare and I dare say, it will cost me dearly.

I'm self insured for Long Term Health Care.....managed my money all these yrs. and it's too late now to be buying nor would it be wise, plus if I did have, there would be escalating premiums with that too.

Everything is paid for and it seems taxes, healthcare, home/yard stuff and food are major costs.
I live pretty simply and not a jet setter. :)

Lucky Dog, member of the Old Maid club
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Voted for spending as expected. That doesn't mean that spending decreased. Medical expenses are going to be high for the three year gap between Cobra and Medicare. More time is spent traveling but expenses are similar because the additional time isn't high cost travel. 2017 taxes will be lower than planned. I had planned on evaluating our situation for 2017 and doing a partial 401K to ROTH 401K conversion but life interferred.
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