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How much is needed to retire?

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Postby globetrotter » Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:06 am

Rock wrote:
globetrotter wrote:Personally I have never understood the concept of planning to leave the seed corn untouched forever.

Why enrich your banker or financial planner?

You won't live forever.

Spend it, and NOT on healthcare.


Problem with that is if you run out of money before you run out of life. Not every senior citizen wants to have to work for a living.


You could be dead this time tomorrow from a heart attack, stroke or car accident.

Your plan is based upon Fear. Fear that has you working to put money in an account that enriches your financial advisor and not you. Fear that is based upon a society where no one will care for you.
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Postby djfourmoney » Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:22 am

globetrotter wrote:
Rock wrote:
globetrotter wrote:Personally I have never understood the concept of planning to leave the seed corn untouched forever.

Why enrich your banker or financial planner?

You won't live forever.

Spend it, and NOT on healthcare.


Problem with that is if you run out of money before you run out of life. Not every senior citizen wants to have to work for a living.


You could be dead this time tomorrow from a heart attack, stroke or car accident.

Your plan is based upon Fear. Fear that has you working to put money in an account that enriches your financial advisor and not you. Fear that is based upon a society where no one will care for you.


Health Insurance you get cheap when young because when your older its more expensive. But if I end up where I want to be, I won't pay for health insurance directly. Also I want to have children and child birth can cost upwards of $35,000. Add another $7800-10,000 for IVF if I don't end up with somebody under 35. You are expecting me to come out of pocket for these cost?
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Make it so..

Postby Asia Outback » Tue Jan 18, 2011 1:00 am

There are all kinds of ways to define retirement. Does it mean you do nothing at all productive?
Perhaps it just means a time to change your life. 300G may not be enough if that is some piggy bank
you will simply draw from as needed. However, perhaps you are able to live cheaply overseas and
work at something you like- maybe teaching English in China for example. Perhaps you are earning just
enough to cover your expenses, and intend to do that for some time. You can tend that 300G and even grow it-
after all, you are not using it for the everyday cost of living. For me, retirement will mean simply having more options,
enjoying the ability to work at what I want and when I want. Using that approach, you can "retire" much earlier.

By the way, if one has a child overseas, the costs can be extremely different than in the USA. What might cost $40,000 or more in the USA, might cost less than $4000 in another country. I saw that myself, at one of the best hospitals in the southern Philippines, I had a bill of less than $4,000. A doctor I know in the USA told me the same thing would have been 30-40G in the USA. If you want kids, why not get a girl young and healthy enough to have them? It is not hard to do. Just my 2 cents worth...


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Postby Rock » Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:37 am

globetrotter wrote:
Rock wrote:
globetrotter wrote:Personally I have never understood the concept of planning to leave the seed corn untouched forever.

Why enrich your banker or financial planner?

You won't live forever.

Spend it, and NOT on healthcare.


Problem with that is if you run out of money before you run out of life. Not every senior citizen wants to have to work for a living.


You could be dead this time tomorrow from a heart attack, stroke or car accident.

Your plan is based upon Fear. Fear that has you working to put money in an account that enriches your financial advisor and not you. Fear that is based upon a society where no one will care for you.


1. I have no financial adviser, don't you get that? I rarely deal with US institutions. I invest directly with a high weight in emerging market opportunities and I don't just mean equities. When I invest $100 and take out $115 a few months later, which banker am I enriching?

2. If I'm dead tomorrow, there will be no money problems. Nothing will matter. But there is a very good chance that I live to 80 (look at some actuary tables). Life is not free after 60. More likely than not, you will still be alive unless you do yourself in. Life can get a lot more expensive with escalating medical costs. You can be sure that an elderly body and mind deteriorate quickly. Do you think your friends in China will look after you in your old age if you have no money to pay them? Good luck. A significant number of senior citizens take their own lives when the shit hits the fan (they run out of money). Do you really wanna be flippin burgers in your 60s when you can barely stand-up?

3. Sounds like you may have read "The 4 Hour Workweek". If you did, don't get too caught-up in the author's hype. The guy exaggerates big time.
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Postby Rock » Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:13 pm

djfourmoney wrote:Interesting topic -

I would never retire without some other interest and I don't mean some of the stuff Globetrotter listed. There's nothing wrong with those things, I just see them as activities and not hobbies, big difference.

I would never retire just to keep a bunch of low cost prostitutes around. That just sounds ridiculous. Over on ISG I know most of what drives that sort of thinking is they have been burned by divorce and the relationship became sexless long before it finally ended.

So really I don't understand the draw of many of these tiny countries and the desire to find some happy medium between typical Western living and what on the surface looks more affordable elsewhere.

I'm under no grand illusion being an expat.

The top reasons I have for leaving?

Affordable Health Care. Health Care cost too much in the US period, even if your lucky enough for your employer to provide it at a discounted rate or even gives you a full ride. Where I used to work, a majority of the men relied on their wive's health insurance because she had your typical office job.

Sense of community, there isn't much of one in the US and I don't have any grand illusions either especially with other US expats. I've heard all sorts of stories that Americans often keep their bad habits even abroad.

Here's an example -

I have been invited by Americans in the States to drop by the next time one came through, I have twice, just to be sure about this, but the people just didn't remember me or my wife and we were turned away.


I am not looking for an affordable spot on Earth because the standard of living in other places is rising and quickly. You won't be able to stay in your poor country at poor prices for very long as more people get out of poverty locally and start joining the middle class. As mentioned the value of the US dollar is dropping and not at the same exchange rate as it was only a few years ago. They are also saying "real" recovery won't happen until 2014-2015 and nobody knows what that will look like.

I'm not looking for a more affordable standard of living but a BETTER one without breaking the bank. People in America complain about taxes and that they are too high. I'd say that argument is actually hiding another concern, which is that for the money they take, when you need a service or help, you're in an income bracket too high to get help. Which means you're actually in the struggling working poor or lower middle class. I am looking to get more for my tax dollar.

Conservative Investments usually are best for the long term. They only pay at a small rate, but at least they pay and the risk is low.

Can somebody really break down the reasons for being in China, Thailand, etc, etc. instead of South America, Central America, Eastern Europe or Western Europe???

One of the poorest countries in the World is Moldova but you don't see much talk about that. There's a guy on the RU forums that lives in Ukraine and after crunching the numbers and taking his wife's career into account, he felt it was best to live there. I wouldn't call Ukraine expensive to live. Also more people paper over the fact that many poor countries are corrupt beyond belief, doesn't that concern you or are you corrupt yourself and don't mind paying a bit more than the next guy just to get the job done?

I just wonder about some of this stuff.


There are pockets in the world where costs have not risen so much. They tend to be in lower profile places. What I've learned is that the best overall value for money assuming you want a reasonable standard of living can be had in some medium income countries. Even in the US, there are cheap pockets assuming you have your health care covered (eg. former government employees like my mom whose coverage extends to the spouse).

Very poor countries can actually end-up being more expensive if you wanna maintain a decent standard of living. Read what Terrance has written about South Korea vs. Cebu to get an idea. In many dirt poor African countries, you pay a huge premium just for secure accommodations with reliable utilities, at least $2,000 per month for such a 'luxury'. So living cost is high unless you wanna live just like the locals.

I stay in Taipei now where cost of living has hardly budged in last 10 years. You can still live fine here on US$1,000-1,500 per month including health care. Quality of life is high, environment is safe, modern, and clean and general education level is high. Medical care is extremely cheap for all ages with the universal health care system which I've benefited from extensively. Premiums do not increase with age. And if you work, your employer must cover 66% of your monthly premiums. If you wanna live even cheaper, you can go for a T2 or T3 Taiwan city and cut your living monthly living cost down to US$700-1,000.

Smaller towns and rural areas of countries like Thailand and Phils offer some very cheap living options if you don't mind a simple lifestyle. I've heard of guys living on less than US$500 per month. Cost of living won't necessarily rise too quickly there even if middle class does grow somewhat. As people get money, then tend to like moving to the bigger cities. If you prefer Mexico or South America, there are still low cost options there too.

If you don't have confidence in the US$, simply take your US$ savings, open a FX broker account, and diversify as you like. Its virtually free. Or you can open a bank account in places like China, Thailand, or the Philippines and convert to local currency deposits.

Most of western Europe has become very expensive. I'm guessing your gonna need at least US$2,500-3,500 for decent lifestyle in most of those countries. Places which have become popular with US retirees such as Costa Rica and Panama have become a lot more expensive. These days, you might need US$2,000 a month there. If they had remained low profile, you might have been able to live fine on 1/2 to 1/3 of that. When profile with richer people goes-up, costs rise. Find places which are virtually invisible or are incorrectly perceived to be too dangerous or unstable to live in.
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