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Old 03-27-12, 09:16 AM   #1
Barrettscv 
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Could you live the simple life?

My wife and I are considering early retirement. To do it, we would need to live as simple as possible. Most of the usual luxuries would be eliminated. We would have basics (that not everyone has), including excellent healthcare, internet, quality made-at-home meals, a nice bottle of wine. We should also be able to travel to see our children once a year. We would have a nice home and furnishings.

But shopping and regular car use would be minimalized to absolute necessities. Entertaining would be reduced to having friends over for dinner. Consumerism would come to an end (no more N+1). Recreation would consist of cycling, hiking & swimming when weather permits.

Can Americans adapt to the simple life by choice?
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Old 03-27-12, 09:21 AM   #2
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interesting. I recently retired, and although I am not going bare bones I think hard before I buy things that I would haven't even thought about at all before retirement. (like a new bike). if you try it, you can always get a part time or seasonal job if you think you need a little more income. most people buy too much stuff anyway!!
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Old 03-27-12, 09:35 AM   #3
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I know a guy who quit his high paying tech job and now stocks produce at the Whole Foods. He is happy with the decision. I don't think I'm ready.
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Old 03-27-12, 09:45 AM   #4
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I'm working hard now so I can have that "simple life". It's the rat race we have to adapt to; simple is easy.
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Old 03-27-12, 10:00 AM   #5
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I live a pretty simple life compared to many. I am not, however, 1/2 of a couple. I own every thing that I have meaning house, car, bicycles etc and other than eating out too much and an occasional visit to the casino I keep things pretty simple. The big ticket item is health care and there I am able to use the VA. Seems to me that you could do so quite easily and enjoyably.
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Old 03-27-12, 10:04 AM   #6
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My wife and I made a choice to eliminate debt a few years ago. We survived with 1 car, saw relatives for vacations and the kids had to wear clothes until something was really worn. It was very good for us. We have two cars again, but the newest is a 2006. We saw what was possible if we really tried. We love the Eagles and wanted to go to their concert this year. But tickets start at $200-CHEAP SEATS! Perhaps int he past we would have justified the experience and expense, not now. We don't get a drink or wine with dinner, just frivolous. We have fun with coupon books and building up points on the AMEX and Discover Card. Half of our Christmas shopping was using points from those two cards. And the kids love to shop for their own stuff. Its an adventure, but if you do this as a team you can have fun with it. I also do all banking, small errands, church and a few other things from a bike.
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Old 03-27-12, 11:50 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
My wife and I are considering early retirement. To do it, we would need to live as simple as possible. Most of the usual luxuries would be eliminated. We would have basics (that not everyone has), including excellent healthcare, internet, quality made-at-home meals, a nice bottle of wine. We should also be able to travel to see our children once a year. We would have a nice home and furnishings.

But shopping and regular car use would be minimalized to absolute necessities. Entertaining would be reduced to having friends over for dinner. Consumerism would come to an end (no more N+1). Recreation would consist of cycling, hiking & swimming when weather permits.

Can Americans adapt to the simple life by choice?
With remarkable ease when you disengage from the media outlets that ramp up consumerism as a necessary part of life. There are numerous pockets or communities where such a lifestyle exists side-by-side with the more typical consumer oriented lifestyle. As a member of one of the religious denominations that values simplicity, I have many well-adjusted, happy, Friendly models of such a lifestyle I see on a regular basis.
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Old 03-27-12, 11:52 AM   #8
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Yes.
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Old 03-27-12, 12:00 PM   #9
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Barrettscv,

You might want to try talking with a financial advisor to see if he can help you route your money into something that will work for you. You don't need to be super rich or wealthy to have a financial plan. Many years ago, I had one come and talk to my wife and I and we started off with what little we had in savings. I was told, by that same financial advisor, that the secret for a successful retirement is going into it debt free and that has always been my main goal. By following our financial plan, we have been debt free for almost 10 years. Both my wife and I came from dirt poor families growing up, so we never did get into the habit of spending big money on stuff we really didn't need. The only two things that I have really dumped some money into is my custom show car and now, my cycling addiction.
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Old 03-27-12, 12:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
My wife and I are considering early retirement. To do it, we would need to live as simple as possible. Most of the usual luxuries would be eliminated. We would have basics (that not everyone has), including excellent healthcare, internet, quality made-at-home meals, a nice bottle of wine. We should also be able to travel to see our children once a year. We would have a nice home and furnishings.

But shopping and regular car use would be minimalized to absolute necessities. Entertaining would be reduced to having friends over for dinner. Consumerism would come to an end (no more N+1). Recreation would consist of cycling, hiking & swimming when weather permits.

Can Americans adapt to the simple life by choice?
I hope so because I'm about to find out. I'm making no promises about giving up N+1, but I'll do that, like most things, much more economically.
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Old 03-27-12, 01:40 PM   #11
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Retirement for me is going to be working 3-4 days a week and travelling on the other days. Simple? I don't know. Going "simple" hurts the economy. Gotta cycle those $$ around. I don't know if this is an "American" thing, as I think there is too much of this anti-American thing going on and it bugs me for people to say this stuff.
Reduce gas prices and there is no need for going "simple". I don't see a need for it, really.
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Old 03-27-12, 01:42 PM   #12
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May not be long before we all have to.
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Old 03-27-12, 01:59 PM   #13
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Up to now I'd say yes.

However, two out of the four of my grandchildren (and their parents) will be relocating to Colorado. I hear they don't have indoor plumbing and garage door openers in Colorado, but we will need to go out there to visit anyway. As my wife will not cycle, and I hate driving, I'll have to continue to work to cover the airfare to go out there from time to time.
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Old 03-27-12, 02:37 PM   #14
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With an 11yo at home it's not going to happen for us at this time. Between saving for college, retirement and living our lives we do fine but I wouldn't call it the simple life. There is always a balance between living your life today with planning for the future. While we believe in and do save for the future we also want to enjoy our relative youth (and health) while we still have it. It's a fine line but with a proper plan can be managed just fine. We hope that when our daughter moves out and on that we will be able to travel and have the resources to live a full life after work.
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Old 03-27-12, 02:41 PM   #15
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Just Retired today and pensions will pay just enough for hopefully a few extras but not many. N+1 came a couple of months ago so that puts me up to 6 bikes I ride + a few more I don't.

My concern is not medical as we have a "National Health Service" (That I have paid for all my working life). It is not monthly income as that will just suffice. BUT it is the unexpected such as the boiler going down or house breakages that need repair--That I will worry about. I have some money tied away in savings for that eventuality and I hope that not too many breakages or serious repairs will become necessary before the money depreciates much more.

We have cut overhead expenses by getting a small car instead of two- I intend to run the majority of my errands by bike- and we are looking at Cheaper Holidays and to this end have bought a VW Campavan. We will be cutting back but not drastically.

All we have to pay are the Utility bills each month and Food. Anything left over will be spent "Wisely" I'll spend my kids inheritance before they get their sticky hand on it.
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Old 03-27-12, 02:58 PM   #16
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The ultimate retirement:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYJKd0rkKss

www.DickProenneke.com

He defined what should be retirement and the simple life!
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Old 03-27-12, 04:11 PM   #17
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Do it!
We may all kick the bucket tomorrow; enjoy today . . . we are!!!
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Old 03-27-12, 04:22 PM   #18
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Took early retirement 5 years ago when I turned 50. I think it saved my life as I now have one. I will say that I do live simply and saved my money so I can spend it on bicycles. One thing I can say about retiring is it's not about what you have. It's about who you are.
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Old 03-27-12, 04:34 PM   #19
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I could live simple. My wife will not. Retirement would not be easy. Therefore, I have no plans to retire any time soon. That is why I am trying to stay in good shape. Lots of years of work ahead. Oh, and I am OK with that -- makes the little woman happy.
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Old 03-27-12, 04:39 PM   #20
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Just completing an interesting experiment.

Deposited my March pension cheque in my chequing acct.

Then moved all money in excess of my pension cheque to savings.

Shopped and entertained myself as normal for the month of March. Bought nothing "extra".


The bottom line is I can live on 75% of my pension, except for big ticket items like car insurance, holidays, etc.


I am blessed, and thankful.
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Old 03-27-12, 04:45 PM   #21
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Many of the building blocks to the simple life exist for my wife and I. We are debt-free. Our children are twenty-somethings with stable jobs. We are happiest when living a simple routine around good meals, healthy past-times and being with friends and family.

If I had certain prospects for steady and substantial income, I would continue to build our nest egg. The truth of the matter is that the cost of living, including all the needed conveniences that go into working long hours, are not allowing us to save like we had planned. I've worked hard and done all the professional things that I've wanted to do.

We could cut our costs by 75% by accepting small town life where my wife was born. Fortunately, she has family and property in sea-side Italy. My wife is a cancer survivor, so I want her to enjoy the remaining years in easy comfort. We would come to Chicago for annual check-ups and to visit.

I would have to adjust. I would also look for work. Prospects like teaching English and other jobs based on native-English speaking ability can be found on a part time basis. Even if I was unemployed, our savings and retirement income would be adequate.

Every time I think about it, I think I’m crazy NOT to do it. I would plan and prepare for a year before taking the leap.
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Old 03-27-12, 06:06 PM   #22
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Well, Barrettscv, it's your decision. It does sound like you will be happy if you do it. I know I was. When I was forty, we left the rat-race and moved to the forest. Actually, it was a yurt in the forest with a nice spring and enough room to plant a lovely garden. We placed a small solar array with a battery bank and wired the thing for lights. We would still be there, but my son developed a love of chess and wanted to be around other players. Those were seven wonderful years.

We had already given up television and rarely drove, so the only thing that changed was where we rode our bikes and how often we went for walks. It sounds like you are also already "there". Good luck.
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Old 03-27-12, 06:22 PM   #23
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I'll never be able to retire. In fact, most of the people that I know that have retired worked for the gooberment in some capacity or another. And, they retired between 50 and 55 years of age. Seems odd to me. I work in sales and since nobody is spending much money I have taken a rather large pay cut. Kind of forces you to live simply whether you want to or not. I dropped internet and home phone a couple of months ago and I've never had cable/Dish or anything like that. My cell phone is "pay as you go". And, tomorrow is bringing N-1 for the second time this year.
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Old 03-27-12, 06:33 PM   #24
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A man I worked with before he retired had been to Italy on vacation several times to the region his grandfather was from. He loved it there. The people, the food, the pace of life was very attractive. I ran into him on the bike path late last summer and learned he has now been granted Italian citizenship and is making plans to move. If you make the same move I hope you'll keep a spare room for your Bike Forum friends.
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Old 03-27-12, 06:37 PM   #25
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I have at least 15 years to go before I'd even consider retiring. But, I don't buy the newest item. I get the one that works (and will continue to work for a long time). I have a 125cc motorcycle, 2 $400 bicycles (one almost dead, but she gets ridden till she does!). My wife drives the car, but by choice I do not. I have a bunch of older computers.. all aquired almost free. They do the job fine for me. Consumerism is unessecary for me.
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