“Rich people live like they’re poor. Poor people live like they’re rich, that’s why they’re poor.” Jeff Yeager, the ultimate cheapskate.
DH and I have almost always lived the low-income lifestyle as our permanent standard of living. The few times we tried to live as rich people we went bust. It’s just a phony lifestyle that unless you have millions Of dollars compounding and making you more millions, it’s almost impossible to keep it up. And why should we? It isn’t until one goes bust that one realizes what exactly is important in life.
Our journey revealed this truth to us (your truth may be different): if you have a roof over your head, a comfy bed to sleep in every night, a hot daily shower, three square meals a day, you’re living very well. I said this out loud at a party last night and there was a woman in the crowd who said she didn’t have those things. So if YOU do, don’t feel so smug. Accomplishing my wishlist nowadays isn’t such an easy thing anymore.
Throw in the financial remnants of the 2008 economic collapse, the high cost of today’s housing market, the ever skyrocketing health care costs, the measly salary increases, the higher grocery costs and you’ll quickly understand how maintaining my wishlist can be considered a challenge today, especially in retirement.
Hubby and I practice what we preach. A few personal economic downturns in our own lives forced us to face our reality and to live always a low income lifestyle. We downsized our housing (from 1800 sq ft to 1000 sq ft in a less expensive area, no mortgage and reduced taxes), cut down our high food costs (from $700 a month to $450), reduced our transportation expenses ( bought used, low mileage vehicles loan free), purchased heavily discounted or second hand clothing, entertainment costs greatly scaled back to mostly free events (switched to streaming TV and eliminated cable altogether), streamlined travel to fewer locations with longer stays ( one month vs one or two weeks keeps lodging costs way down) and lastly no to low consumer debt.
For us, living a low-income lifestyle such as this, prepares us for our eventual full retirement years. Currently we live on approximately $29,000 a year. When we do eventually fully retire in two years, DH’s Social Security will bring our annual net income up to $43,000. As long as we continue to live our low-income lifestyle, we’ll be able to save more, invest wisely and enjoy a long term retirement. There will be no need to make risky investments as a means to play “catch up” because we will already be set in our low cost way.
If you want to label us cheapskates, so be it. We’re not insulted. I prefer to think of ourselves as smart consumers making smart choices. Categorizing us in the company of Jeff Yeager is a compliment. Not derogatory at all. By simplifying our lives we retire happy.
Isn’t that what retirement is all about?