Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Final Countdown-My Fixed Income Retirement One Year Later (sort of)

Yes, it's that time again. Time for this non planner to make retirement goals and budget plans for the coming year. For a non planner who doesn't budget in the traditional sense, this is always a fun time for this frugal retiree. I generally simply track my spending. This is especially true considering the events and the movement from the last year.

In the interest of sharing fixed income life, as well as showing the changes my move has wrought, I'll be sharing my final  planned monthly and annual budget in the next week (as well as my personal goals list).  Meanwhile, quite a few people have asked about the end results of my move, both from a financial and non financial perspective. I'll share both the non financial, and budget specifics later. For today though, this is a general picture of the financial ups and downs of my move. I did share a rough budget much earlier in the year, but that was when my housing plan was that condo and patio garden. Changes in plans require changes in finance-on occasion.

Briefly, I moved from a 2600 square foot house in Dallas. This was a single floor house with four bedrooms and two full baths, two living areas and two dining areas. Living in the house were me, and my college student (sometimes). I landed in a 2600 square foot home in Denver with an upstairs with three beds, two baths, a study/dining room, living room, and eat in kitchen. this house also has a fully finished basement with living room, office, bedroom and full bath. Living in this house are myself, another adult in the basement (my sister) and my college student (on occasion). The large eat in kitchen and living room are shared. The rest of the time my sister has the full basement and I have the rest of the upstairs-except when the study is turned to formal dining.  See here on my choice to share a home and how it works for me. Had this living arrangement not worked, I would have purchased the condo above-and still saved money.

So what is the end result ten months late of this more? Put simply, a huge change (to my advantage) in housing costs:

Housing costs in total in Dallas were from fifteen hundred to seventeen hundred dollars monthly. These costs included mortgage, electricity, natural gas, cable and Internet, water and sewer and trash, as well as yard and home maintenance.

Housing costs in Denver are $1040 a month. This includes half a house payment, electricity/gas (together in Colorado), water, waste services, cell phones and cable. The end result is a savings of AT least $500 monthly and probably more.

As to other costs, well, there are a few changes but almost none have changed in terms of the day to day spending.  I do need to exercise indoors at a price of thirty dollars monthly for at least six months yearly. I do need some winter clothing on a one time basis (who wears boots in Texas? Or rather, who wears winter boots in Texas).  College in general is more expensive, meaning I rely on Osher courses and the occasional college courses.  None of these costs add any real change to the budget, especially when compared to the house savings above.

When one looks at monthly living costs, I have come out ahead, in a big way-without changing my lifestyle much at all. Yes, there were costs to get here, and yes, there may be some additional expenses to those above. The bottom line, however, is when it comes to those monthly costs, I am much, much better off.

Certainly there are issues that have not been addressed. I have in fact moved from a non income taxing state to a taxing state. On the other hand, my property taxes in Texas were four thousand dollars (double Denver), my sales tax was nine percent, and my commuting costs were an extra thirty dollars a month-just for routine driving. Colorado has an exemption for much of my income.  Taxes will out for the most part, after all. Because I like swimming out of doors in the heat, I have considered joining a swim club during the summer months at a cost of $150 per year. 

All in all though, I've ended up with an average of five hundred dollars savings a month-and perhaps more. My life style has not been hindered, I am closer to most family, and life is good. In my case, at this time, moving was the right thing to do.

As to where that extra money is going, well, the annual budget is coming soon-as is my take on the emotional, social and lifestyle aspects of my move.  See ya soon!!


  1. Seems as if the move was a good one for you overall. Sometimes I find it hard to compare costs when things keep rising especially in the winter. It seems our energy provider always raises their prices about now. Hope this year they are not allowed to.

    Looking forward to reading about the emotional, social, and lifestyle aspects of your move.

    God bless.

  2. I've been able to budget for things, always tracking my expenses. What has been difficult to budget for is property insurance, which has gone up >45% in the past 4 years. The explanation from the insurance company: a huge fire in a northern AB town. I'm waiting for the fall out from the floods in southern AB.
    Your move has worked out well for you, it seems. By the way, Merry Christmas, Barb.

  3. That's a huge savings and a great idea (sharing living space with another adult). Im glad things worked out so well for you!

    1. Thanks, we are still working things out. But we seem to be doing well

  4. Where the extra money is going to go never seems to be a problem ... it's where it's going to come from that the hard part! But it seems like you've made a good move -- sharing a house is a great idea, one I heartily recommend since I do it myself as well.


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