# cost of living ?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Mathematics!, Jun 27, 2013.

1. ### Mathematics! Thread Starter Senior Member

Jul 21, 2008
1,022
4
I am figuring out places I can particularly afford to move to and the different jobs that will support the cost of my living. But my wildcard factor is I wanted to figure out after all the expenses have been totaled up i.e rent , food , gas , retirement funds ,...etc. How much percent would you need in edition for fun and just to be able to do the activities you want to do when you want to do them/buy the things you want to buy ... without effecting/cutting into your rent,food,gas , retirement funds/savings account.

I just want your opinion about it... I know different people will have different opinions on the subject...

The analogy would be when your laying down floor you always want to get around 15 or 20% more then you needed when you calculated the square footage of the room. Just for a buffer for mistakes or other things.

I would imagine this depends on a lot of factors but what is the average range for people to set aside for money after they calculated there raw expenses for living ?

For example the cost of living in the most expensive places in the US for 2013 polls is
Manhattan, New York with
avg rent \$3,902 per month
avg gas \$3.967 per gallon = \$4125.68 per year if filling up every week.
avg food differs for people in many ways but I eat a **** load so let call it X
avg retirement /savings you should set aside per year lets call it Y
avg fun factor call it W which is the toys,pets,vacations ,movies ,concerts,things you want to buy or save up for buying...etc

if you total this you get \$50949.68 + X + Y + W

I want to know what your W is on average for most people basically more of a range min, max and average. I know this will vary a lot by how you sample it i.e everybody including rich , or all the average incomes ,..or something different. But still want your thoughts on the subject and what works for you.

Note X factor is easy enough to figure out based on your bank statement / keeping track of what you spend on food per week , month, year...etc

Note Y factor may not be a factor for some but not to interested in that and not willing to post that info anyway that is more private anyway.

So the equation is this for living in the most costly places in the US in 2013ish era
\$50949.68 + X + Y + W
plus maybe other factors like transportation , insurance , dependents
call that factor T , I , D so really the more precise equation is
\$50949.68 + X + Y + W + T + I + D

Though right at the moment I am only interested in what people think of W?
Or another words what yours and there opinion of W should be percentage wise per year. Or was for you if you are older and more experienced in these things...

2. ### Mathematics! Thread Starter Senior Member

Jul 21, 2008
1,022
4
I understand mostly all factors are up for negotiation / change though I would like to figure this out for this particular example or at least be very good/accurate/fast in figuring this stuff out. I.E knowing my personal expenses better in different locations.

W factor along with my lack of research into T , I . Will be the key to full knowing how low I am willing to go or push myself as well as my range.

Then I will compare it with what I am worth to what I think I am worth.
Ofcourse I think I am worth crap at times and infinity at others so I will have to go with just what a typical person in the job force i.e HR or companies see me as worth then compare it to my equations. Hopeful there is no problems the 2 should relatively be the same with in reason and that will be the range that I compute /generally go by when moving to different places for jobs/the cost/range I would demand. ( obviously exceptions can be made but it gives a good baseline)

3. ### LDC3 Active Member

Apr 27, 2013
920
160
My W amount would be on the low side since I am paying off my debt as fast as I can. It is about \$500 / year (maybe more).
I think your expectations for a \$3900 apartment is a little unreasonable since your income would need to be at least \$3900 x 12 x 2 = \$94000. Uncle Sam wants his 1/3 share, leaving you a little more than \$15000 for all your expenses.

4. ### Mathematics! Thread Starter Senior Member

Jul 21, 2008
1,022
4
Those costs where based on the raw value not factoring in taxes.
With taxes that is a whole new story and I don't know yet how to compute that... Where is the 1/3 from thought you have to look at one of those tax bracket charts and reverse compute to get the total value.
Is one 1/3 some sort of standard or good average approximation to uses in general.
And how are you getting 1/3 I only see that your taking 1/2 of the \$94000

5. ### LDC3 Active Member

Apr 27, 2013
920
160
It was just a guess; my tax bracket is at 28%.
\$94000 * 2/3 - \$3900 * 12 = \$15600.

6. ### Mathematics! Thread Starter Senior Member

Jul 21, 2008
1,022
4
Ok I will have to consider taxes as well I understand that.
Thanks for that forgot about that for a second.

But still curious on average what people's W factor is or what the average is for the US including the rich and poor , and then just the average income maker in the US.
For both those 2 statistical samples.

Thanks

7. ### LDC3 Active Member

Apr 27, 2013
920
160
Here is the IRS tax form for estimating your tax (especially for self employment). It has the short tax tables for 2013 on page 7.

8. ### Mathematics! Thread Starter Senior Member

Jul 21, 2008
1,022
4
Great now I need people to post there W factor if they have that and location they live in. if possible
I understand some have more control over this then others based on the location , culture ,....etc in certain cases I would imagine there doesn't need a W factor at all but I am more getting at is what you save on the side per year to do your fun activities or buy your fun stuff.
Thank you

9. ### dthx Member

May 2, 2013
194
14
I had permanent residence in Texas mostly.
No state income tax but high propery taxes.
So I bought my self a big houseboat and lived on it in a Marina on the coast.
There are also live aboard places on some of the Lakes in Texas...or for that matter...other lakes in the USA.
So....no property tax.....(no property tax on boats)....they do have sales tax.
No state income Tax
Slip fee is about 4.50 per foot PER month.
My boat was 55 ft. long....
Electricity and water is included..
Black water pump out is 35.00 per month....they come to your slip in a barge...
cable and internet is also 35.oo per month..
Parking is free...
Insurance on my boat was 400 per year.
Houston was 30 minutes away ....lots of jobs...
lots of things to do...
I was able to pack away a LOT of money ....
Did that for 15 years ....was able to retire.
Waking up on the water is awesome....lots of great people are liveaboards...
Anyway...that's my 2 cents....

10. ### GopherT AAC Fanatic!

Nov 23, 2012
6,309
4,030

When I was in college, I was broke but spent a huge fraction of my income on beer at bars and fast food (calling that "eating out" or "entertainment" is questionable - probably just lazy or inexperienced with money). Maybe \$1.5k per year and 25% of income.

When I got married, we continued to eat out and enjoy life. Here "W" Was about \$15k per year but still 25% of income.

Once we had kids, sent them to pre-school or day-care and took them to all of their entertaining activities, we spent almost nothing for ourselves on entertainment.

Now they are moving out and we are starting to entertain and travel more. It is still a small fraction of our income. Now, 25 years of marriage, we spend about \$10k per year or less. and I won't tell you what percentage that is.

Entertainment is different now. We may spend \$40 on a pair of lobsters that we eat at home, I don't count that as entertainment. We may buy a new computer but, since it replaces a dead computer and a computer is now a necessity, I don't count that either. I live in a bigger, nicer house that I grew up in but I don't count the extra I spent for this house as part of "W". It all improves my life and makes life fun but i don't count it as "W". The less time you waste on budgeting and worrying about money, the more time you have for your family and hobbies and sleep.

In summary, stop trying to live by your "W". Just plan your life wisely and all will fall into place.
a) live reasonably close to work. Long commutes kill lives or waste precious time in a life. I have been able keep my own commute under 20 minutes. Under 6 minutes for he last 10 years.
b) buy good houses that don't require you to waste time and money on repairs. Buy in areas that are good values in decent school districts. Make sure the school districts have well managed debt. Good schools are a key to home values and good quality of life.
c) make sure your mortgage, student loans, property tax, state & local income tax total less than 35% of your income. That is, don't live too large for your income!
d) make your wife and kids more important than your job. They will still never feel more important but come home at a reasonable hour. Divorce is very expensive - I haven't experienced it directly but I learn from other people's mistakes.
e) don't spend too much on cars - they are transportation, not hobbies, not investments and get used up quickly if your commute is long (see (a) above).
F) read to your kids every night, build projects with them and treat them like they are twice the age everyone else thinks they are. Kids are much smarter and able than most people give them credit. This investment has paid off the most. No therapy expenses so far and most of what I saved for their college is now in my retirement account because of the academic scholarships they won. They will get some of those dollars eventually!

Cheers!

Last edited: Jul 9, 2013
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