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We spent just under $34,000 on health care costs, other insurance and property taxes alone in 2011.

Our private health insurance premiums were $13,000 for both of us, with $1,500 deductibles and 30% co-pays. Plus there are all the services that aren't covered -- dental, chiropractic, naturopathic and acupuncture. I expect the insurance premiums, deductibles and co-pays to go down when I start Medicare at the end of this year and DW a year later.

We're paying much higher property taxes than before I retired but we got rid of the mortgage, so our monthly housing expenses are a lot less. We had only owned our first modest home, near Silicon Valley, for 6½ years, but the increase in equity enabled us to get a much nicer place in the Portland area. That was a case of right place, right time. If only we had gotten into the CA housing market decades before, like Montecito Man did, the equity would have provided for a castle up in OR. And having rich parents, like he does, wouldn't hurt either.;)

So it's obvious that this household isn't going to do it on $34k. We've got to eat, stay warm, drive and take the occasional trip, not to mention the upkeep and repairs that come with a house that's not new.

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