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Old 08-26-2019, 09:30 AM
379 posts, read 103,822 times
Reputation: 1014


Originally Posted by LaJollaEast View Post
My husband and I are still 5-7 years from retirement. I don't see a reason we need to keep any detailed spending as we already know how much we are spending each month. I'm an accountant and I keep very good track of the inflows and outflows to our accounts.
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Old 08-26-2019, 10:16 AM
Location: Greenville, SC
4,768 posts, read 3,781,198 times
Reputation: 8878
Yes. I analyzed my budget a couple years before retirement, went over my expenses, and decided what I could eliminate or reduce to control my expenses. I lived under my retirement budget for a couple of years to make new habits - then moved to a less expensive area.
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Old 08-26-2019, 10:19 AM
Location: Chicago area
14,595 posts, read 8,044,724 times
Reputation: 53929
I didn't stress over numbers when I retired at 58. I looked at what we had coming in from the rentals, which that money we never did anything with but invest it. I looked at John's pension which was more than enough to cover all of our expenses, and I quit my job. We sold one rental last year and we still don't need the income from the other rental. I wish I could sell it but our tenant isn't doing too well, and I just can't make him move now. It was supposed to be on the market this year.

You can plan and stress and plan some more, but trust your gut. You'll know when it's time to retire.
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Old 08-26-2019, 10:21 AM
670 posts, read 200,933 times
Reputation: 1671
Yes we live on a budget and I planned everything out before retiring. Fluffy you could have gotten online and enrolled him in Medicare and supplement plans and can still do so. For every year you enroll in Medicare late you pay a penalty for life. I wouldn’t be married to someone with no insurance. It could bankrupt you both.
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Old 08-26-2019, 10:38 AM
1,149 posts, read 553,004 times
Reputation: 1972
Originally Posted by fluffythewondercat View Post
I created a detailed and frequently updated spreadsheet that indicated a comfortable retirement.

Then my spouse blew it all to hell by making unilateral decisions like refusing to rent out our second house — after we’d agreed we would. And withdrawals from the IRAs are a no-no, “because we’d have to pay taxes!”
And starting payments from an annuity, “more taxes!” I don’t know where he thinks the money will come from. Maybe the tax-free money fairy.

He has no Medicare or any kind of health insurance. Could not be bothered to enroll.

Stop the planet, I want to get off.
For me, this would lead to divorce. Good luck.
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Old 08-26-2019, 10:46 AM
68 posts, read 11,964 times
Reputation: 169
We started tracking two years before I went out as I saw the handwriting on the wall in my company. I had always tracked our investments but the expenses were not tracked in any detail. Unless we had to buy an appliance or a major home repair things felt pretty consistent year to year. What I did find when we decided to start to do this was there was a 20% gap between what I thought we spent every year and what my wife thought we did. She thought we lived on a lot less.

I've kept up the tracking in the 3 years since I've been out of the 9-5 racket and the spending has not changed much other than commuting expenses dropped as did the Starbucks bill by a few thousand, while the medical of insurance skyrocketed as there was no longer the company subsidy ( benefits) and we are not 65 yet.

It's not hard to do really and takes very little time of your time. You have a computer and it probably has some sort of spread sheet function so just put the columns you want to track and when the bill comes in key it in. It does show you some interesting patterns and trends. For the past 3 years roughly 45% of cash out flow went to one form or another of taxes, insurance, and out of pocket medical medical/dental expenses.

1/3 of the food bill was linked to eating out. Pizza, Fast food places a few chain casual dining places every month pretty consistently. Utilities/internet/cell phones have been relatively stable over the years, less than inflation in most cases as energy prices have been stable or lower depending on your part of the country. One off event items seem to still average out to be the same dollar annual expenditure level. 1 large tree removal one year vs a new refrigerator the next or a brake job and tires on one of the cars sort of thing.

Vacation and overnight travel in a similar ball park of spending each year.

Last year we were talking about our weight and got into a discussion about junk food. We all define this differently but its the typical stuff. I said we have a lot of it in the house. She disagreed. I have no will power. If it is in the house I eat it, same for soda. I'm not saying you cut it out all together, but I felt we had too much. Watching your diet for some of us is not as easy as we want to think it is.

I decided to break out the grocery bill for 6 months just to see what that showed. I'm retired , time I have
Real food vs junk, salty snacks, ice cream, candy, cakes, soda etc into two buckets. It was a bit surprising how much more expensive junk food is vs real food when you look at your bill. On a price per pound we could be eating steak & lobster. For us 1/4 and at times 1/3 of the bill or more was this sort of thing.

As husbands we are clueless in most supermarkets. It was not our thing all our lives so we don't know the codes. We use a cash back credit card for groceries. I logged the grocery splits at month ends when we check receipt totals to the credit card bill. I once asked why are you buying so much tape its no where near christmas or anyone's birthday.

She started laughing and said "busted".

It turns out the four instances during the month of code 3M PK on the register bills is not the old 3M cellophane tape I was thinking of. It is a small 3 Musketeers mini bite candy bar bag/package

I had never seen them or a single wrapper in the house. You ladies can be devious

Last edited by Kentucky62; 08-26-2019 at 10:56 AM..
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Old 08-26-2019, 10:52 AM
Location: Albuquerque NM
1,689 posts, read 1,557,183 times
Reputation: 3711
I started tracking expenses two years before retirement, got nervous because the budget was a little too tight as there did not seem to be enough extra for my desired retirement travel, relocation costs, etc. so worked another two years before retiring. My spreadsheet helped me make that decision. I think the tighter the budget, the more important it is to track expenses.

My overall expenses and non-discretionary expenses generally remained the same from year to year. While one category, usually unexpected costs such as home repairs or vet bills, would increase in a certain year, those costs would go down the next year only to be replaced by another unexpected cost. After two years of recording expenses, it was obvious that I was not going to be able to live on the smaller retirement income and still travel unless I made some significant changes in lifestyle. I was not willing to do so and instead delayed retirement. Now in retirement with more fat in my income, recording expenses is not as important but I enjoy working with numbers and it makes me feel more in control.

After tracking for six years, I've consolidated some categories - combined cleaning and paper products with groceries, office supplies with household items, etc. because no reason to track a few hundred dollars a year separately. My main interest now is in tracking my travel costs to keep myself from going whole hog wild and to see how medical costs increase over time or if I am eating out too much (more of a health concern than $). I want to continue my spreadsheet at least until after I relocate to a more expensive area. I expect housing to increase but plan to downsize so hopefully utilities, repairs, and upkeep will decrease and offset this. The spreadsheet might also be usefull if there is another great recession and I have to reduce withdrawals from investments and cut expenses somewhere. But eventually I will probably start using bank statement and credit card breakdowns to track or just abandon it altogether.
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Old 08-26-2019, 10:55 AM
1,149 posts, read 553,004 times
Reputation: 1972
Originally Posted by athena53 View Post
Yes- I'm a numbers person, too, so I enjoy it! I like to use graphs and pivot tables. My travel expenditures were kind of crazy this year but when I broke them down by "travel year" I realized that the expenses for travel DURING each year were pretty consistent- it was just that some were funded ahead of tim. In 2019 I funded a trip to Hawaii coming up in a couple of months PLUS most of a trip to the Galapagos in March. 2018 was light by comparison because much of the travel I took in 2018 had been funded in 2017.
I learned the hard way that analyzing and acting on the investment side of the equation often backfired. However, acting on the analysis of the expense side of the equation was mostly harmless. Thus, that’s where I get my numbers “fix”.

Some people just don’t care to know, and that’s fine too.
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Old 08-26-2019, 11:09 AM
7,610 posts, read 8,813,206 times
Reputation: 9837
Not about retirement planning specifically, but tracking my expenditures by using free online tools over the past almost decade: Mint by Intuit, and more recently, Personal Capital. These tools aggregate the transactions and balances of accounts. Mint is my primary tool of choice, the one I've used the longest. It enables me to see how much I'm spending each month, each year, and in what categories, all in one place and without having to log on to separate accounts or update a spreadsheet. It shows other trends as well to see Income, Net Worth, Spend, and some others. Personal Capital is more useful to see the aggregation of my investment accounts.

The value for someone planning their retirement is being able to get a good estimate of current yearly spending needs, as well as a trend of spending over a period of time. Getting a realistic yearly expense budget is an integral part of retirement planning, allowing an easy calculation of total nest egg size needed.
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Old 08-26-2019, 11:38 AM
Location: Albuquerque, NM
1,447 posts, read 2,599,445 times
Reputation: 2595
I'm about ten years away from my planned retirement date. That planned date will have me within 12 months of Medicare eligibility, and within the window of COBRA (or its equivalent in 2029) to tide me over. I haven't run long-term numbers that would include health costs, because I think there is far too much that will happen between now and then regarding those costs.

As a long-term Dave Ramsey follower, I live on a budget now. I'm always tweaking the budget and the spending for maximum efficiency, and continually increasing the amount going toward retirement savings, so I'm keenly aware of where all the money is going.

I think it's true to an extent that "you'll have what you have," but that doesn't mean you shouldn't maximize savings and minimize waste while you can. That's the mode I'm in now. In ten years I should have a decent pension accrued, a target chunk of savings in pretax and Roth accounts, and a paid off house. Add in SS when I'm ready to draw it, and it should be sufficient to weather most storms, even if annual European river cruises may not be on the agenda.
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