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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 02-17-08, 02:35 PM   #1
gerv 
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Preparing for the Golden Years

I'm now 54 and for a while I've been thinking about gradually reducing my work week in preparation for the time when I have to knock off working altogether. If I was working a 20 hour week, I'd have more time for reading, bike touring and just watching the grass grow.

Part of the my plan includes:
  • [of course... since this is LCF] use my bicycle for most transportation.
  • put together some housing that is extremely afford.
  • reduce consumption to necessities
  • keep a garden

What have I missed here?
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Old 02-17-08, 03:30 PM   #2
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What have I missed here?
Asking in the 50+ forum?

I'm 51, and that's pretty much the way I've been living for the past several years. No wife or kids, so I only have to earn enough for housing, food and bikes!

I have a half-time job with the city--union benefits include health care--and a very, very part-time business on the side. I dumped the house years ago. It's just too much money to keep up and the taxes keep rising. I have a small apartment in a decent section of the city and I'm walking distance from the Public Market.

Through the winter I take it easy--only cycling five days a week. In-season, I can ride every day. One of my favorites is to ride downtown at lunch time to see all the poor saps stuck in those god-awful 9-5 jobs. I remember when I was like that. I'm so glad I simplified my life.
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Old 02-17-08, 03:34 PM   #3
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How are you fixed for health insurance? AD&D?
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I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.
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Old 02-17-08, 03:42 PM   #4
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Yeah, I came back to emphasize health care. You really, really don't want to have to pay for your own colonoscopy, PSA tests, blood work and so on. And don't forget the heart.

There's a lesson for us older cyclists in Sheldon Brown's passing--that a lifelong cycling enthusiast could still drop dead of a heart attack at only 63. That's reason enough to keep health insurance and regular visits to the cardiologist.
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Old 02-17-08, 03:50 PM   #5
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How are you fixed for health insurance? AD&D?
I don't know if anyone's prepared for health insurance if your job doesn't provide it. Unless we move to a national health care plan, no one's going to be able to afford it once you hit retirement.
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Old 02-17-08, 07:38 PM   #6
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You could consider moving to Canada, or Australia, or New Zealand, or the UK, or Ireland, or pretty much anywhere else in Europe... or even Cuba, come to think of it.
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Old 02-17-08, 07:42 PM   #7
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My 70 yo cousin in Arizona got a combination of solar and wind generators. Her electric is typically less than 6 dollars a month. Definitely on my list of things to get set up before retirement.
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Old 02-18-08, 08:50 AM   #8
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My 70 yo cousin in Arizona got a combination of solar and wind generators. Her electric is typically less than 6 dollars a month. Definitely on my list of things to get set up before retirement.
The advantages to that vary widely. Your typical usage is only part of the equation. The utility may charge a minimum just to be hooked-up to the grid. Here, there are a bunch of fees associated with just having the service, before they even charge for KWH. My most recent bill was around $20 for KWH, and $15 for the privilege of being connected to the grid. Taxes were on top of that.
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Old 02-18-08, 09:28 AM   #9
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The advantages to that vary widely. Your typical usage is only part of the equation. The utility may charge a minimum just to be hooked-up to the grid. Here, there are a bunch of fees associated with just having the service, before they even charge for KWH. My most recent bill was around $20 for KWH, and $15 for the privilege of being connected to the grid. Taxes were on top of that.
Well in addition your solar performance is probably significantly less than my cousin's in AZ. So maybe it only makes really good sense if you are in the sunbelt. For about twice her investment she could have had enough capacity to be off grid. As the price of NG goes up she is considering switching to electric heat and hot water, I think the big savings is that this eliminates a whole set of taxes and connection fees.

She also uses a pre-paid cell phone together with a messaging service (run for seniors I think) so that she doesn't get a monthly phone bill. She told me her total yearly cost for phone service is about the previous monthly charge from the phone company.
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Old 02-18-08, 10:10 AM   #10
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ALL the "utilities" nickel and dime you to death. I was quoted a certain price for my landline telephone, all I wanted was the most basic of service with no long distance service, bundles, packages or what ever. The quoted price was about half the final bill price due to fees, taxes and special charges. All you can do is make the best decision and hope it holds up.

As far as planning a retirement...look at the various locales for the true cost of living. I know that heating costs more in the NE or upper midwest, vs the deep south or the sunbelt. I think the area of NC that I live in is a pretty decent compromise. Weather is fairly temperate and with a bit of planning power and fuel bills can be kept to a reasonable amount.

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Old 02-18-08, 12:03 PM   #11
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One possible answer to the "simple life" is to study how the Amish live without
all the things modern life demands. One needn't go the extreme that the Amish
do but they can teach us all about a life not filled with "wants".
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Originally Posted by krazygluon
Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
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Old 02-20-08, 01:15 PM   #12
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Transmission maintenance. You might have to set up a regular exercise program, for stretching and strengthening the legs to keep away the various aches and pains that might interfere with riding a bike.
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Old 02-20-08, 01:56 PM   #13
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I don't know if anyone's prepared for health insurance if your job doesn't provide it. Unless we move to a national health care plan, no one's going to be able to afford it once you hit retirement.
Thats why we need HSA's. IF your employer spends $500.00 per month on your health care like mine does and you do not use it much like me you could have 250k in 30 years. It also keeps people from going to the doctor for every little thing since they are paying for it as they go rather than just dropping copays. You save for retirement and you should save for your health care. Just the price of a couple of pizza's per month is all it takes to retire wealthy.

The way our system works now we all have employer provided health care and then when we retire we have nothing to show for it.

No one can afford a national health plan. Ask someone who flies to the U.S. for problems their government deems unnecessary.
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Old 02-20-08, 03:06 PM   #14
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I'm now 54 and for a while I've been thinking about gradually reducing my work week in preparation for the time when I have to knock off working altogether.
Why do you have to be "golden years" to do this?

I'm 26 and I'm doing it now.
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Old 02-20-08, 07:33 PM   #15
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Thats why we need HSA's. IF your employer spends $500.00 per month on your health care like mine does and you do not use it much like me you could have 250k in 30 years. It also keeps people from going to the doctor for every little thing since they are paying for it as they go rather than just dropping copays. You save for retirement and you should save for your health care. Just the price of a couple of pizza's per month is all it takes to retire wealthy.

The way our system works now we all have employer provided health care and then when we retire we have nothing to show for it.

No one can afford a national health plan. Ask someone who flies to the U.S. for problems their government deems unnecessary.
This works only if you don't suffer from some illness like heart disease or cancer. I'm not going to be able to save 250K in 30 years and very vew people would have been cleaned out by wall street if they had invested durling the last stock market crash. My HMO after 15 years is barely 35K! At this rate, my mutual fund will be 70K after 30 years of hard work. Most of it was lost and there are plenty of people who are in my shoes. Should I come down with cancer, 70K 30 years from now will not pay the bills. I suspect a heart operation 30 years from today will be a cool 1 million dollars! You better have insurance!
I've stopped investing in mutual funds and started buying US Saving bonds.
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Old 02-20-08, 10:38 PM   #16
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This works only if you don't suffer from some illness like heart disease or cancer. I'm not going to be able to save 250K in 30 years and very vew people would have been cleaned out by wall street if they had invested durling the last stock market crash. My HMO after 15 years is barely 35K! At this rate, my mutual fund will be 70K after 30 years of hard work. Most of it was lost and there are plenty of people who are in my shoes. Should I come down with cancer, 70K 30 years from now will not pay the bills. I suspect a heart operation 30 years from today will be a cool 1 million dollars! You better have insurance!
I've stopped investing in mutual funds and started buying US Saving bonds.
Check the market history.

If your mutual fund is 70k after 30 years you did something really wrong because had you even invested in index funds you would be rich by now if you invested even a few hundred dollars per month. Maybe you were overly invested in one thing or perhaps you never actually saved that much of your money.

You have insurance along with an HSA. In fact I think you have to. So even if you have a 10,000 dollar deductable you would be fine if you had saved your money.
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