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well, the question is a bit wrong. First, it asks what you get by on. Then the first answer is "I could be happy with".....

Getting by and being happy are not the same!

When I was doing extensive retirement planning before I retired (using some on line calculators no longer around), I ran scenario after scenario of what could happen - from interest rates of 2% to 10%, to stock market returns of 2% real to 8% real (above inflation), etc.

I had three living scenarios...all involved staying in my current 4 bedroom house (paid for)......

1) Absolute min budget. Eat at home 95% of the time. One car and drive it till the wheels fell off. Almost no travel other than one trip a year at holiday time back east. No cable, no newspapers, no magazines, cheapie cellphone, no new ham radio stuff. Internet but cheapie. (there were dial ups back then)..... That was in 1999 about $30,000 and it covered basic housing costs, utilities, taxes, health coverage ($500 a year back then), dental exams, etc.

2) Mid level budget - have money to eat out several times a week, lots of travel by car, newspaper, magazines, cable TV, cellphone/data plan, maybe international trip every now and then Lots of hobby equipment (ham radio stuff), etc....... $45-55K

3) More than that..... $>55K...... all the fun I wanted, whenever I wanted, wherever I wanted.....ham radio goodies, etc.

and it turned out that at that time, even with a 1968 type date retirement (the worst case year to retire)........ I was in case #3 barring some even worse calamity.

But I ran all the scenarios and budgets just to see.

If I sold my house and second car, moved to a lower cost of living place, I could probably get by on $25,000 a year but it would not be so fun. SS and one pension provide that.

Of course, now the RMD kicks me well above case #3 plus......then I add on investment income.

Can't complain too much. Life is good. Still kicking at going on 73.

when I got out of college, I lived on $9,280 a year salary and saved 1/3rd of that paying off car and student loan.....but that was a while back.....

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