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Old 12-05-2011, 07:39 AM
 
Location: Virginia
18,717 posts, read 26,975,889 times
Reputation: 42863

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cattknap View Post
If I was on a limited, frugal income, I would not live in So. California.
Sadly, I have to agree. Maybe some parts of southern California would work for a frugal person, but the only part I'm interested in would be the beach cities. I lived near the beach there for 20+ years and loved it. I'd love to retire there but it's not even remotely possible with our budget.
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Old 12-05-2011, 08:31 AM
 
Location: Oxygen Ln. AZ
9,321 posts, read 16,614,729 times
Reputation: 5692
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boompa View Post
The Scary part of spending down is whether or not MediCare will be allowed to exist and how the states are changing it. Once you are spent down you are destitute
I think Medicare will change for the younger generations. I hope we are able to at least have half the services my 96 year old mom receives now. I don't think the politicians will want to kill this goose as too many of us have paid into the program for a lifetime now. We may not be able to have a free scooter every time the battery needs changing, and I have seen examples of that in the nursing home she frequents, but maybe check ups and cheap drugs would make me happy. I agree with you regarding spending down.
Keeping on topic.....I would love to retire on the west coast with an ocean view...but not this lifetime, maybe next go around.
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Old 12-05-2011, 03:31 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,801,685 times
Reputation: 32309
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cattknap View Post
For some retirees living in California, especially So. California would be an extreme hardship.

"Especially the Bay Area" would be perhaps more accurate. The Bay Area is the most expensive place to live in California in a general sense, and by that I mean to exclude small exclusive areas such as San Marino, which could be as expensive as the Bay Area.

If I was on a limited, frugal income, I would not live in So. California.
I would not either. That was never the point.
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Old 12-05-2011, 10:51 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,801,685 times
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Default Living on a "limited, frugal" income - it's all relative

I got to thinking more about Cattknap's phrase "a limited, frugal income". We both agreed that on such an income, we wouldn't choose to live in California. But then even that conclusion depends on what we have in mind by that phrase, because it is relative. I have a sense of what Cattknap has in mind, and if I am reading his/her comments correctly, that would be a limited income in the sense of someone living on mostly Social Security with some other small enhancements.

But what got me to reconsidering was that I do, in fact, live quite well in California on a limited income. It is quite limited compared to someone who grosses $100,000 per year. I had a low-paying job; when I retired from full-time work six years ago I was grossing $60,000 a year (that's right - grossing!) and living very comfortably in a safe neighborhood (though not an exclusive one) in southern California.

To help build on this matter of perspective, I offer the following. I had a protracted discussion in the Financial Forum within the past six months with a guy who lives in Irvine (Orange County, just south of Los Angeles County) who claimed that one needs to gross about $250,000 a year to be considered middle class. I claimed that his concept was quite a distortion and that he was very spoiled. To me, $250,000 a year is wildly rich but he kept insisting it was just middle class. I suppose he just looked around him at his neighbors with their BMW and Mercedes automobiles and figured that was just "normal", just "getting by" because everyone he knew lived like that. I told him he had a skewed perspective. We never came to agreement.

Isn't that the trouble with these sorts of discussions in public forums? We are so often talking past each other because we haven't defined our terms.
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Old 12-06-2011, 06:52 AM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 19,040,770 times
Reputation: 15649
Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
Isn't that the trouble with these sorts of discussions in public forums? We are so often talking past each other because we haven't defined our terms.
Exactly. You have put your finger on how much of various discussions are, frankly, a waste of time. And that is the problem I have with "studies" that have negligible (poorly defined) factors that are playing into the results. The media are largely at fault for feeding us this nonstop nonsense about financial levels of retirement and "places" to retire not to mention the (pardon me, Californians) Hollywood version of a silver (not grey)-haired couple holding hands staring at a sunset from the porch of their half-million-dollar retirement condo. I would bet that I, on a very limited budget, could find a way to live just about anywhere in the U.S., even California. But then I, unlike so many others, am not in need of a 2,000-3,000 sq ft pad to be happy. There are many ways to live, if one is creative and flexible, and can escape the media and common information out there.

Before we ask a question like what is affordable, let's take a minute to define for the sake of our specific discussion, what affordable means, at least to the poster. What does that mean by way of cost for a home, both with and without a mortgage (and define the $ mortgage). What does it mean in terms of transportation and other cost factors?

My sister lives with her DH in San Clemente on apparently "modest" pension (cannot define that, as I only know what she tells me). I have always assumed I could not afford to live in such a place, until I googled some realtor sites and saw some condos. Now these, which would be affordable for low-income me, may not be in the "preferred" parts of SC, but I'd be living in that location at any rate. By the way, I'm paying the same in property taxes on my modest house here as she is paying on her lovely upscale house out there. Go figure.
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Old 12-06-2011, 08:04 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,801,685 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post
My sister lives with her DH in San Clemente on apparently "modest" pension (cannot define that, as I only know what she tells me). I have always assumed I could not afford to live in such a place, until I googled some realtor sites and saw some condos. Now these, which would be affordable for low-income me, may not be in the "preferred" parts of SC, but I'd be living in that location at any rate. By the way, I'm paying the same in property taxes on my modest house here as she is paying on her lovely upscale house out there. Go figure.
I keep saying that while California is a high-tax state in general, the property taxes here are relatively reasonable. The following are the taxes which make Calif. a high-tax state:
1. sales tax
2. state income tax
3. various fees such as car registration

By the way, for what it's worth, San Clemente is indeed an upscale location. It's a small town, about five exits worth on the freeway, and is right on the ocean. That latter fact alone tends to make for high property values.
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Old 12-06-2011, 08:16 PM
 
Location: Cody, WY
9,608 posts, read 10,986,189 times
Reputation: 19303
Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
By the way, for what it's worth, San Clemente is indeed an upscale location. It's a small town, about five exits worth on the freeway, and is right on the ocean. That latter fact alone tends to make for high property values.
That's Dick Nixon's town.
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Old 12-06-2011, 09:15 PM
 
Location: California Mountains
1,448 posts, read 2,596,134 times
Reputation: 2334
Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
I got to thinking more about Cattknap's phrase "a limited, frugal income". We both agreed that on such an income, we wouldn't choose to live in California. But then even that conclusion depends on what we have in mind by that phrase, because it is relative. I have a sense of what Cattknap has in mind, and if I am reading his/her comments correctly, that would be a limited income in the sense of someone living on mostly Social Security with some other small enhancements.

But what got me to reconsidering was that I do, in fact, live quite well in California on a limited income. It is quite limited compared to someone who grosses $100,000 per year. I had a low-paying job; when I retired from full-time work six years ago I was grossing $60,000 a year (that's right - grossing!) and living very comfortably in a safe neighborhood (though not an exclusive one) in southern California.

Here are three examples of people who made it in Southern CA on small income:

Up until we were married and combined our incomes, my husband lived in Laguna Beach in his three-bedroom home, alone except in the summer when his daughter came home from college. Asides from his mortgage and living expenses, he paid 60% of all expenses incurred by his daughter (full college tuition in Boston U including one year student exchange in Madrid, books, meals, housing, sorority, clothing, etc.). He made $43,000 gross. Granted, this was 14 years ago, but even so, $43,000 was not a great deal of money back then.

Same scenario as above for me, except I lived in Irvine, and I supported my daughter who was at USC on half scholarship and my son in community college in Santa Monica. I did not own a home, but rented a two-bedroom apartment (so the kids have a room when they come home in the weekends.) I earned exactly the same salary as my husband (we worked for the same employer.)

Present day, my sister is living in Anaheim, in a very small gated community, a rare one with only 9 detached family homes. She bought her house and her car in cash, but she still has to pay HOA, property tax, cell phone, utilities, car insurance, and the every day expenses. Her total income is $850 in SS. She has Medicare.

My husband and I did not feel as if we were poor back then. In fact, we thought we were doing very well, since we traveled (separately) internationally every year (and I don't mean Mexico or Canada.)

My sister does not feel she is poor either. She leads a very active social life -- she is a published author, not that she made any money from her books, but she's well known, well respected, and well demanded in her community, so she is out and about every weekend.

So it is possible to live comfortably in Southern CA on limited income. At least the three of us did it.

Edit to add: My husband and I will move back to CA in six months. We will live in Sonoma County on my husband's small pension and his not-worth-the-paper-it's-printed-on SS (I have yet to earn the right to SS.) In spite of the "limited, frugal income", there's not a doubt we will make it. We've lived on much less in Europe (due to the weak exchange), slightly less in a coastal town in CT, in Charleston (SC), and now on the water in FL, we will be fine in CA wine country.

Last edited by Ol' Wanderer; 12-06-2011 at 10:15 PM..
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Old 12-07-2011, 06:14 AM
 
Location: Virginia
18,717 posts, read 26,975,889 times
Reputation: 42863
Where will you be planning to live in Sonoma where you can find an inexpensive rent? Or, do you already own property in Sonoma? Are you planning to be living in your car (or a trailer)? Please share details as to how you will pull this off.

I agree that it was once very possible to live in southern California and not make much money. I did it all throughout the 80s and 90s. But now the rents and the price of real estate are so high that it doesn't seem doable. If there's a way, please share it because I'd love to do the same.
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Old 12-07-2011, 06:38 AM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 19,040,770 times
Reputation: 15649
Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy in Wyoming View Post
That's Dick Nixon's town.
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