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I grew up in the Catskill Mountains of upstate NY.  Most of the dairy farms there were a few hundred acres.  They were all family farms and they made a living with smallish herds but they also didn't have mortgages and those cows were pastured 3 seasons and ate hay all winter.  6 acres is enough to make a reasonable income from the excess.  
 
steward
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All we have is growing season... but it has its own problems, like nothing kills off the pest. But year round growing does deal with the yearly spring and fall chores and spreads them out.
 
Fred Morgan
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Location: Northern Zone, Costa Rica - 200 to 300 meters Tropical Humid Rainforest
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Many of our neighbors do fine growing their own and a little pocket change on about 5 or so acres. Those with 40+ tend to just let the cattle roam. Those with less, grow better grass, recycle manure, etc, etc.

I think with permaculture, someone could do just fine with 5 acres or less.
 
                              
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Interesting notion.  What happens if/when you get ill? Or do you essentially rely on the people that are working full time jobs, paying bills/taxes etc to take care of you?
 
Dave Bennett
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Icewalker wrote:
Interesting notion.  What happens if/when you get ill? Or do you essentially rely on the people that are working full time jobs, paying bills/taxes etc to take care of you?


Who are you asking?
 
Fred Morgan
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Icewalker wrote:
Interesting notion.  What happens if/when you get ill? Or do you essentially rely on the people that are working full time jobs, paying bills/taxes etc to take care of you?



What do you do when you insurance benefits run out? If you check it out, many many people go into bankruptcy due to medical expenses after having paid into health insurance all their lives.

Most of the money spent for medical occurs in the last six months of your life. And, it isn't medical treatment that has extended people's lives, but sanitation and pure water, knowledge of nutrition goes a long way too.

The people who live the longest in Costa Rica, for example, are where then have lots of clean air, clean water, and an active life style. Health care is often not that available in these areas.

 
pollinator
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Icewalker,  I think that no matter how well we plan, the average person is going to have some angst in the end.  It is usually an ugly time just like the rest of the animal kingdom.  But the predators usually eat the weak and elderly and humans - in theory - take care of ours till the end.

We can only hope there will be someone around to wipe our front and back end and that maybe we won't be too much of a finacial burden on someone.

Ideally we can die when we take a nap like my grandpa or have tons of money for expensive nursing like my grandmother - but that is not most of us.

We can just try to take care of ourselves and hope for the best.
 
                              
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Jeanine Gurley wrote:
Icewalker,  I think that no matter how well we plan, the average person is going to have some angst in the end.  It is usually an ugly time just like the rest of the animal kingdom.  But the predators usually eat the weak and elderly and humans - in theory - take care of ours till the end.

We can only hope there will be someone around to wipe our front and back end and that maybe we won't be too much of a finacial burden on someone.

Ideally we can die when we take a nap like my grandpa or have tons of money for expensive nursing like my grandmother - but that is not most of us.

We can just try to take care of ourselves and hope for the best.



I couldn't agree more Jeanine - As I stated it's more of a practical question for Paul or Jacob.  Let's say we've put this plan into action lived frugally managed to secure our place in the sunshine and then disaster strikes and we get ill.  How do you bring this into the equation?  For mos of us mere mortals taking out health insurance policies are cost prohibitive.  So is the answer additional savings?  Or relying on the safety net system (medicare/medicaid) to provide health care (while the funds last)?
 
Fred Morgan
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Icewalker wrote:
No one I know lives in Costa Rica ... and most of the folks I know couldn't even afford the flight down there. 


Sorry my question roused the adversarial nature in you.  It was actually mean to be a practical question for folks who weren't trust fund hippies



Not meaning to be adversarial, and I am not a trust fund hippy by any stretch. My kids might be someday though...  

Flights to Costa Rica are as low as 300 dollars at times, it really isn't expensive - and if you stay out of the tourist areas, you can easily stay for 30 dollars, or less per night. My point is that in Costa Rica, health care is a fraction of what it is up there (about 10%) and yet, people live as long, if not longer.

The assumption I am addressing is that one has to live - nope, when your time is up, it is better to go quietly than bankrupt everyone around you - and still die.

But, each person chooses how they want to use their time and money. We choose years ago to do without insurance (small risk, both of us are very healthy) and invest that money into land, etc. It worked very well for us and now, as we are getting older, we can pay out of pocket for whatever we want (which is still nothing extreme).

The reason health care is so expensive is that if you assume you have to care for people up to the time they are dead, almost everyone is going to need it. But, if health care was used primarily for those who's life could be improved (like, for example, if someone gets an infectious disease, or breaks a leg, or curable cancer) - then the bills would be much, much less.
 
Fred Morgan
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Icewalker wrote:
I couldn't agree more Jeanine - As I stated it's more of a practical question for Paul or Jacob.  Let's say we've put this plan into action lived frugally managed to secure our place in the sunshine and then disaster strikes and we get ill.  How do you bring this into the equation?  For mos of us mere mortals taking out health insurance policies are cost prohibitive.  So is the answer additional savings?  Or relying on the safety net system (medicare/medicaid) to provide health care (while the funds last)?



What if a hurricane hits your home? What if a tornado? Flood? Most people don't have insurance for these unlikely events (maybe flood if you are in a flood zone).

How one sells insurance is scaring people into believing low probability events WILL happen. Life is chances, you have to choose which ones you can accept. Sometimes you choose poorly. But, buying insurance is no guarantee either, given twice they have stiffed me for the bill.  The odds of me getting heart disease or cancer in my life time are actually quite low, especially given my family history. Diabetes is another issue, but that is controlled best (if not type one) by diet.

One other thing to consider, I know that my health is my problem, so I eat right, exercise, etc. to protect my health. These are the really important factors.

So far, most of my health care expenses are stitches. 
 
                              
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Fred Morgan wrote:
What if a hurricane hits your home? What if a tornado? Flood? Most people don't have insurance for these unlikely events (maybe flood if you are in a flood zone).

How one sells insurance is scaring people into believing low probability events WILL happen. Life is chances, you have to choose which ones you can accept. Sometimes you choose poorly. But, buying insurance is no guarantee either, given twice they have stiffed me for the bill.  The odds of me getting heart disease or cancer in my life time are actually quite low, especially given my family history. Diabetes is another issue, but that is controlled best (if not type one) by diet.

One other thing to consider, I know that my health is my problem, so I eat right, exercise, etc. to protect my health. These are the really important factors.

So far, most of my health care expenses are stitches. 



But Fred - if a hurricane/twister/flood hits your home you can rebuild.  It's not so easy to rebuild the body because of a major illness or accident. 

The question still remains though - would the strategy be to rely on public health assistance or put some money by in case of ill health?  And yes I agree on the health insurance.  Over the years we've been royally sc%#@ed by the medical business because of being 'out of network' or because the charges were 'above normal and customary' .... 

I like the idea of Costa Rica as one strategy.  Of course in my grandparents time .... before regulation took a hold and created all kinds of barriers to entry for the medical field there were other alternatives available in the US.  She actually had her tonsils taken out by the local horse doctor 
 
Fred Morgan
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The sad truth is doctors can't stop you from dying. Sometimes they put off the evil day, but most of the time, they come in at the end (statistically) and just prolong existence, and I won't call that life.

I have a saying, probably not original with me, "I would prefer to die while living, than be dead while I am alive."

I don't fear death, what I fear is just existing.

Regarding doctors. My wife has been an editor of health books, and so knows a lot about the subject.  We ALWAYS do our homework - and unfortunately, I would say about half the time, the doctors are wrong.

In many ways, it is like doing your taxes. The person who does the best job on your taxes, once you learn how, is yourself. No one else comes close. (this is from the IRS, by the way). It is because you know your situation better than anyone else and if you are willing to put in the time, you will often do a better job.

I started doing our own when the tax preparer forgot we had two children, even though it was on our paperwork.  Since I we had to review it completely to be sure they did it right, why not just do it ourselves?

It is good to go to a doctor to take advantage of their knowledge, expertise, etc. But, your health is your own. The stories I could tell...
 
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Location: Chicago, IL, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 75
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With financial independence, you buy health insurance on the free market instead of getting it subsidized by some corporation as part of a benefits plan.

I pay $95/month for a $4500 deductible plan. I've checked the prices of the same plan as it currently sells for someone who's near Medicare age and it's about twice that. This is not expensive. These are California numbers. In Oregon I can get a $10,000 deductible plan for $50/month.

Job loss is irrelevant, since obviously, I don't need a job to receive dividends from the companies I own. A stock market crash/economic recession may cause some of these companies to cut their dividends, but then you buy another one. It's a lot easier to find a new investment than to find a new job, especially in a recession.

I understand trust fund hippies get their money from their relatives. I worked as an employee for all my money. I just didn't spend very much of it and so I still have most of it to do what I do now.
 
                              
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erejacob wrote:
With financial independence, you buy health insurance on the free market instead of getting it subsidized by some corporation as part of a benefits plan.

I pay $95/month for a $4500 deductible plan. I've checked the prices of the same plan as it currently sells for someone who's near Medicare age and it's about twice that. This is not expensive. These are California numbers. In Oregon I can get a $10,000 deductible plan for $50/month.

Job loss is irrelevant, since obviously, I don't need a job to receive dividends from the companies I own. A stock market crash/economic recession may cause some of these companies to cut their dividends, but then you buy another one. It's a lot easier to find a new investment than to find a new job, especially in a recession.

I understand trust fund hippies get their money from their relatives. I worked as an employee for all my money. I just didn't spend very much of it and so I still have most of it to do what I do now.



Thanks Jacob - that makes sense.  Presumably you set aside the $4500 as a CD or easily redeemable investment?  Seems like a pretty damn good retirement strategy to for a single person.  I mentor a few troubled teens and may reference them to this thread.

Thanks again
 
gardener
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I'm glad someone already mentioned inflation.  It steals the value of the money you do not spend but try to save... so you save some more every year just to stay at the same place.  Don't misunderstand me, I have always been one to save my money, pay as little as possible, pay no interest, pay cash for cars, pay off my credit card every month, get 1% back on my credit card shop on senior discount day,

but when my money is losing value, the question is what to spend it on that will retain some value should the infrastructure fall apart.  I have solar panels and battery back up (I'm on grid and am a net producer).  I think one of the best values is live stock chickens are all I have room for, but I sell the eggs and sell the stewing hens, and people can't get enough.  I grow at least half of the feed, and they are self renewing.  And plants, fruit trees that continue to produce once well started, and annuals like tomatoes.  I sell them at every stage:  seeds, plants, fruit, and then I save the seeds.  There is something about the magic of DNA.  I pay a mortgage on my place, because without the land, how could I do lall these other things?

It really is a puzzle though.
 
pollinator
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I'm in Jenine G's place..I'm investing in fruit and nut trees and perennial plants. My property has been paid for for many years, even after we had our housefire our insurance money covered the new house and our needs for inside.

I am continually planting more fruit and nut trees, sure, maybe they will provide way too much food for us in the future, but when they do I can either give, barter, or if so inclined sell the extra.

We didn't get a huge savings set aside when we were young, as my husband has been mentally and physically disabled from an auto accident head injury since 1985 and we have had to rely on his disability and small pension..but we get by ..frugally yes but we get by.

We also eat alot of wild food and we pay cash for cars, don't buy toys (other than our tractor and snowblower and riding lawnmower, etc.) unless they are able to help us more easily do the work that has to be done around the property.

We haven't gone to a movie or out to dinner in many years..and then maybe once a year.

We much prefer watching the amazing displays around here, like the dragonfly  feeding frenzy the other night..amazing ballet
 
pollinator
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Paul's interview podcast with Jacob from Early Retirement Extreme: http://www.richsoil.com/permaculture/388-podcast-059-early-retirement-extreme/
 
                                                                    
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Location: Nashville, Tennessee, USA
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I am having a math problem with the savings part of this.

If inflation is running at 7% annually as in the USA:
http://www.shadowstats.com/

One's savings will be devalued by half in ten years:
http://www.ecofuture.org/pop/facts/exponential70.html

Not taking into account the 1% interest the bank pays.

Not too keen on the stock market because I don't trust those people.

I don't like gold investments because from 1933 to 1971 it was illegal to own gold bullion in the USA !  I know that sounds crazy but it is true. 

So, I like silver as a store of wealth because of transactional abilities.
 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
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My belief:  land is the best investment, because you can grow food in the future if it gets grim.  And if you have your place, you can get what you need in place, like water and energy systems, and fences, what every you need and can afford for now.  Get the live stock and seed stock that will  produce and reproduce. 

The transportation of goods will also rise in cost, so get what you will need in the future in place. 

Precious metals will also rise and fall in value, but their amount and value will always be finite.  ONce spent they will be gone.

Thekla
 
jacob lund fisker
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Location: Chicago, IL, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 75
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Campy in Nashville, Tennessee, USA wrote:
I am having a math problem with the savings part of this.

If inflation is running at 7% annually as in the USA:
http://www.shadowstats.com/

...



Since Bretton Woods but especially since deficit spending and Reaganomics, we've had a growing credit bubble for 30-40 years. The central bank buys treasuries which increases the total return of bonds. It also sends cash/credit (think of it as 0% bonds) into the system. This lowers bank interest rates since banks are not interest in holding non-interest bearing paper. So it makes its way into the stockmarket. Until recently, the same happened with real estate. Some of this credit spills into the consumer system as well. Then it's called inflation. What matters, however, is that the financial asset inflation outpaces consumer inflation. It has done so, so far.

Since it's a way of levering up, it gets harder to navigate. If there was no credit manipulation, you'd have 0% inflation (from credit) and a 3% real return which seems to be the natural growth rate of population and nature. Instead you have 7% inflation and 10% nominal return. There's more uncertainty there. Imagine 20% nominal return and 17% inflation---in that case, only a small perturbation would kill your 3% spread.

So there's a need to stay on top of things to avoid getting creamed by exponential decays. As an investor, monetary policy makes this harder. You can't sit in cash for sure. You can sit in silver but then you'd need to save your entire life's worth of expenses instead of 33 years of it corresponding to a 3% return rate.

As a hedge against inflation, gold is more useful because it's not a commodity like silver. Silver is more like oil. It's fine to have, but in a recession (with inflation) people are not going to value it UNTIL they actually start bartering with it instead of using it to make electronic switches. Same with oil.

As a general hedge: Few things beat skills, tools, and land. I'd focus on those first which I think most here do. You may be interested in a book called The Alpha Strategy written by John Pugsley in the late 1970s. Great strategy at the time, but he didn't predict that Volcker would raise interest rates to double digits to crush inflation. It was his black swan. Bernanke is probably not going to do this but his replacement might.

Also, the world may move to a commodity based monetary system. The US will not like this. As it exports most of its commodities, that would spell the end of American dominance on the world scene. It's hard to predict how this would play out since the other major industrial countries also import their commodities.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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WOW, thanks, erejacob, for the lesson in modern day "economics".  I'm going to clip it and send it to my daughter, who for now has more money than she spends, and wants to know what to do with the "extra".  The extent of my knowledge was included in the post just prior to yours. 

What you have written might be very useful to her at 25 y.o.

Thekla
 
jacob lund fisker
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Location: Chicago, IL, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 75
urban woodworking
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Whoops! I meant to say that the US IMPORTS most of its commodities. Countries that export commodities are, for example, Canada, Australia, and the Middle East.
 
jacob lund fisker
Posts: 15
Location: Chicago, IL, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 75
urban woodworking
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http://earlyretirementextreme.com/what-permaculture-and-ere-have-in-common.html

Blog post on what the url says.
 
steward
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Location: FL
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My situation:
Take home is 1500 in a slow month, 5-8k in a busy month.
Bills are about 1100 and will rise during busy months with travel/hotels, but I get reimbursed for that.
Both trucks are paid off and running swell.
House in town is wrecked, but paid for.
House in the woods is the only debt I have, about 30k, should have it paid off in a couple of years.

Water and sewer is well and septic.
Electric runs me 150/mo if the AC is blasting all the time.
I have a home phone with internet and a cell phone.  The phone gets me the work, so it's money in the bank.
I do not pay for homeowners insurance, had a bad experience with that wrecked house in town. 
Car insurance is cheap.
I buy food in volume to save money and save on trips to the store.
That 1100/month in bills includes plenty of gas and groceries.
When this place is paid off, 600/month would cover all my bills.
Find time to get the garden developed, cut down the grocery bill.
Hook up one of the woodstoves, savings to be found there.
Hook up the solar hot water (still in town), more savings.

There is no cable/satellite, no giant screen running up the light bill.  I drive little, running errands on my way home from work.  When I go into town, I like to come back with a full truck of supplies.  I dine out when I'm out of town, but I do have a taste for that China Buffet in town now and then.  Sometimes I pick up some ice cream or a bag of chips.  I drink coffee, sun tea, and get into the wine every couple of months.  When the workload is slow, I make pancakes more often, eat a lot of eggs, and grow more stuff in the beds, canning what I can.  When the workload is heavy, well, I do stop in for a meal at the local diner, kinda have to.  I like to have a steak at least once a month, usually chuck (cheap and decent flavor), but sometimes go for a couple of ribeyes.  The freezer is stocked with ground beef/turkey/sausage, plenty of chicken, some bacon, and I think there is some catfish in there.  The fridge...forget it, that thing needs to be cleaned out. 

I've got many years experience in restaurants, I can put out a fine meal with simple ingredients.  I'm especially thankful for that skill and recommend developing it.  A sack of wheat, a little bit of produce, some butter and cheese, a bit of meat and a cast iron skillet...I'll be eating high off the hog. 

When this place is paid off, in a pinch, I could get by on 300/month, but this would not account for property taxes.  There is always property tax, just no way to escape it. 

There are other expenses which are not figured in: clothing, medical, auto repairs, glasses, and all those things I want/need.  More fence, a girlfriend for the bull, garage renovations, repairs for the other house, maybe a trip north to visit family and friends.  I tend to spend without restraint when I take a vacation.  Live it up!

While the money is part of the equation, I have long considered the question: Why do I work?  I've been self employed before-had a cleaning service and a candy company.  Currently I work for the man doing a job which, while I do well at it, really does not hold my interest.  The money is good, the benefits are excellent, and the people are tops.  Nonetheless, I do not control my schedule, and staying there forever surrenders control of my destiny.  I would much rather do my own thing, even if it means I may not bring home the big fat paycheck. 

For the past few years I've been working on making it possible to free myself of the job.  I bought some land a year ago, has a dumpy old trailer, but the housing gets me by for now.  What the place has to offer most is Hope.  With some hard work, some investment, perhaps I'll be able to develop an income from this little place.  Can I grow this place into the mini farm I want, cut my expenses, supplement my needs and earn enough off the sweat of my brow to flush the job? 
 
Suzy Bean
pollinator
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Paul talks to Alexia Allen in this podcast: http://www.richsoil.com/permaculture/453-podcast-084-alexia-allen/

They discuss lots of things, including Alexia's approach to paying her mortgage and living a creative and free life.
 
Suzy Bean
pollinator
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Paul and Jocelyn go over some listener questions in this podcast. They talk about gardening, greenhouses, and starting from scratch doing something you love. podcast
 
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Ken Peavey wrote:For the past few years I've been working on making it possible to free myself of the job.  I bought some land a year ago, has a dumpy old trailer, but the housing gets me by for now.  What the place has to offer most is Hope.  With some hard work, some investment, perhaps I'll be able to develop an income from this little place.  Can I grow this place into the mini farm I want, cut my expenses, supplement my needs and earn enough off the sweat of my brow to flush the job? 



That's sounds like my journey - I'll have gone from working in a 6'x6' office cubicle to working an 80acre spread.
 
gardener
Posts: 1255
Location: Okanogan Highlands, Washington
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Or there's always the 'forced early retirement' option. Get hit by a truck.

Ernie got hit by a car in 2006, a small car but doing about 40 when the speedometer clocked out.
We were already pretty frugal, but some expenses just necessarily increased (like insuring a car since he can't bike everywhere now, and eating meat more often to compensate for anemia and lost bone marrow, and medical bills of course). For several years, we lived in the city where friends and family could help out; at some points I worked 4 part-time jobs to try and find enough hours, while remaining available to drive him to medical appointments during office hours. We also did freelance workshops and sold books, yard work, anything that came along.
We got very very lucky, and about $100,000 of the original $230,000 medical bills were 'disappeared' by lawyer-and-insurance magic; everybody got their cut out of the insurance settlement, and we came out debt-free and didn't have to sue anybody. Ernie also was eligible for VA medical coverage, so that helps with ongoing medication and/or future complications.

We got lucky again, and Ernie's folks invited us to buy in on a rent-to-own basis, in a remote area that turns out to have some amazing people, thriving community of lifelong learners, and beautiful if severe landscapes. They bought unimproved land and kept improving: 3 good wells on 2 different aquifers, electric and phone, a pond, barn, livestock and fruit trees already established despite the cold and altitude. So all we gotta do at this point is pay off the insulated roof we are living under, and the car that broke down getting us here. Should be debt-free again shortly.

We are richer than we deserve, and pretty happy with our lot.

Now that I'm not trying to work for everyone else, I can concentrate on getting the freelance business going, and write/draft more things to publish. I'm feeling like I could have done this sooner. People on the forums have been very supportive as we set up our online store and workshop tour for this summer. Just have to balance how much work I can take on, leaving time for sanity, basic life chores, and make allowances for Ernie's injury and the probability of a further breakdown if we push our limits.

The jobs I had were enjoyable, good, interesting work, like teaching camps and after-school programs, and working in a university lab. I also enjoyed caring for my grandmother, and some office work I did at the same time. Heck, I had a great time doing migrant field work and electronics assembly on my wanderjahr.
I've never had a 'bad' job, though I've had jobs with dull, irritating, or anxious aspects, and some bosses I just couldn't see eye-to-eye with. I don't miss calculating how long a 'short shift' I can work and break even on bus fare/parking/taxes... or clocking back in from a break just as an old friend sits down to lunch alone ... or dancing the dance of office politics. I sometimes miss having clear schedules, expectations, someone else to pay the taxes, and someone I can ask to define my priorities when there is not enough time.
Unfortunately, I do not always agree with myself about decisions let alone with Ernie. And now I am the one who has to deal with it when I am late to work 3 days in a row.

We don't really have a goal of food self-sufficiency; we grow veggies and eggs here, and anything with under-60-days on the seed packet. Momma would have a fit if we tried to eat any of the pets. All of the animals are pets, including the deer and chickens. So we build boats, go fishing, are networking our way to local ranchers for fresh meat. Being able to meet a lot of our own needs with pleasant work, and offer enough of value to never want for food or the occasional $35 for a chiropractor or dinner out, feels pretty good.

Every once in a while I wonder about health insurance, and dental, and those things that used to be such a routine part of my paycheck. I am lucky not to have any major health issues right now, but given my family history, I better practice some very healthy habits if I want that to last.
After 5 years I finally went in for a dental cleaning, paid cash. It seemed like they took about the same amount of time scraping 'plaque' that they did when I was going every 6 months, and said about the same things about the state of my gums. So maybe this not-eating-sugar habit of mine means I can relax about routine dental care, go every once in a while just to remember what I'm missing > , and build up the savings to self-insure for loose fillings or medical emergencies.

I hope to be able to afford health insurance within the next year, or at least an emergency policy and a nest egg for routine care. And by 'afford,' I mean, without sacrificing the other goals of remaining debt-free and building our future.

Anybody else found good solutions to the medical coverage / health care thing?
Anybody been through or living with a serious medical condition, without insurance, and finding it's do-able?

It seems like the state only offers health care for extreme low-income. While we've qualified in the past, I don't want to go there again unless we have to, because the amount of paperwork and the implications. I got hyper-conscious of the income limits; you end up not wanting to 'over-earn' if it will make you ineligible, or ditching 'non-allowed' assets to qualify. That's a nasty game to play, pitting temporary security and insufficient aid against hopes and dreams. I'd take working over welfare any day, as long as I can still be available for my family's daily needs.

I'd love it if there was a program where your premiums scale to your ability to pay. If you have a bad year or even quarter they subsidize you more, but when you have a good year you can stay with the program and pay back in. Not everybody has health insurance; it's certainly more affordable for most to pay as you go, but the risk of a major health catastrophe is real.
Some of the high-risk jobs Ernie used to work, you couldn't get medical insurance. You could insure yourself or your license, against medical expenses and loss of income, with a custom policy from Lloyd's of London, if you felt it was worth it. Guys with families sometimes did. I suspect a lot changes when you are responsible for kids.
 
Suzy Bean
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Paul talks with Josiah Wallingford, who redid the wordpress site for Paul's podcasts, about getting started with his enthusiasm for a more permaculture lifestyle.
Podcast 118 - How to Dive in to Permaculture

They talk about ERE and forming a grub stake.
 
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Erica, I read your reply with interest, thinking that my wife and I are both different, but similar to you and Ernie. We had spent years planning and trying to find a route to leave the typical lifestyle and live a simpler and more natural life. We came to the conclusion that we could continue in the life we had with the security of corporate jobs that provided both security and the liability of indebtedness or make a bold change. We had a mortgage on the house that I had built back in Colorado, but since I was the builder we also had quite a bit of equity in the house. I had been working for a manufacturing company and had a small business on the side for several years, basically working all the time, but with decent income security. We sold our past home and became debt free and moved across the country to where my wife was raised in rural western PA. We were able to trade a mortgage on a home in the mountains for a neglected 20 acre farm with an older farm house. We drive older vehicles and live a simpler lifestyle. As a matter of fact I seem to have more in common with our Amish neighbors than the others here in our area. We moved our small business, machining, foundry, and metal fabricating, with us and kept some of our past business from before. In addition to that I now have about a 2 month back log of work in the shop from the local communities just by word of mouth. Our biggest area of insecurity is the issue of health insurance. So far we have been self insured, but that seems to be a little shaky. We try to keep in shape, dang this homesteading is a lot of work, raise most of our own food, and Kristine is getting accredited in herbal medicine. But things do arise; last week the transmission went out in the car, not an expected or happy occurrence. On the other hand both chest freezers are full and we still have 4 turkeys and 2 hogs that could be butchered, along with the bulk of the food we canned last august. By one standard you could say that I am close to retirement age, but I love what we are doing on hope to continue for many more decades. I can only hope that I will have the strength and health to work at what I love even on the last day of my life many years from now.
 
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I just had to jump in to this thread. I love the idea of early retirement and so forth, but I have to agree with the posters above who said you need to have some form of health coverage.

It's absolutely essential that you have something. A high-deductible catastrophe policy is fine, but it has to be there.

Why? Maybe you'll get lucky and never have anything happen, or maybe you'll have an accident like Erica's husband. Even after your auto or someone else's liability insurance pays, you can easily be left with $100,000 or more of medical bills for even a minor accident. That doesn't just go away. They WILL come after you for it. They will take all the money in your bank account, your homestead, even your car in some states. Montana is the only state in the country that protects homesteads (any house, that's just the term) from being seized to pay for debt. Even if you die because of the accident or illness, do you want your family to lose everything?

My father died suddenly when I was 14. He was working at a job that had a 90-day probation period for health insurance coverage. On day 89, he had an aneurysm. The medical bills for his 10-day stay in ICU amounted to more than half a million dollars. We lost everything -right down to our toys and most of our clothing, because we ended up having to sell everything to raise money for the attorney to file bankruptcy so they would stop garnishing my mother's minimum wage paycheck. The hospital and the doctors ended up with everything.

When the dust settled, we were living in a slum and surviving off mac and cheese.

A high-deductible insurance policy usually isn't that expensive. You (or your family) can pay off a $10k debt if they work hard enough. It's often impossible to pay off $100k or more.
 
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Rebecca Brown wrote:...Montana is the only state in the country that protects homesteads (any house, that's just the term) from being seized to pay for debt.



I don't believe that's true. Florida has a nearly unlimited homestead exemption; foreclosure can only be initiated by the mortgagor or the tax authorities to satisfy debt (unless it's a mechanic's lien for work done on that property). That is reported to be the reason that OJ Simpson moved there after he lost his civil case. Even if the homestead is sold, proceeds can't be attached if their intended use is to buy another homestead.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homestead_exemption_in_Florida
 
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First let me say that this is an awesome thread. I just ordered the book too... I'm hoping to learn some stuff that the school of hard knocks hasn't taught me over the past few years.

After you live through the process of losing your job etc, you see things through new eyes. Here are some of my observations....

Rule #1... Anything you spend your money on is "fluff". Some people are fluffier than others.
Rule #2... You need food and shelter. Everything else is "fluff".

A Job is a wonderful thing... Til ya lose it. If ya stay there long enough YOU WILL LOSE IT. Do yourself a favor... Don't associate "who you are" with your job. Keep your desk clean. You should be able to leave your job permanently in 60 seconds or less.

Health insurance is great. Problem is its expensive as hell. I found out he hard way that you can live without it. I just went through a year without health insurance... I'm still alive. Yes there were times that I wished I had insurance... For times like those there is whiskey.

That 401-k is nice too... Until you lose your job and have to cash it in to survive. That penalty Uncle Sam slaps on you for early withdrawl is a great reminder of how our government wants to eat your soul. I don't recommend cashing in your chips early... It is a painful endeavor.

Home ownership is great... But the road to ownership is a long and arduous path. That mortgage payment can suck the life out of you. So can unforeseen maintenance, insurance, taxes, etc. They have basically turned the dream of ownership into a perversion of what it once was. You were never meant to live a stressful life for the sake of keeping your home.

The concept of owning land is great. I highly recommend it. I also recommend not building a house on it if you can live on less. Put that money in your pocket instead of pissing it away on a mortgage. I have read much about Eco Communities where people build with natural materials. How awesome it must be to build a cozy shelter that doesn't bleed your wallet dry! Unfortunately, where I live they want a building code for everything. I would love to hear how I can get around the building codes if anyone has any ideas.

And lastly... Your money is YOURS. Pay yourself first. Always. Don't make the mistake of living outside of your means. The day WILL come when you need your money. Don't let them catch you with your pants down!
 
Brent Rickenbacker
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One more thing to consider...

You are living your retirement right now! The concept of waiting until you are 65 to start enjoying life is ridiculous. Retirement for a lot of people means sitting around, popping pills and watching Dr. Phil. Hell no. Focus on your health every day so that you never see those days. Enjoy your life now.

A lot of people die before they get to enjoy retirement. My folks both died right before they were about to hit retirement age. They both worked almost up until the time they died.
 
Suzy Bean
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Paul and Josiah talk about frugality and community in this podcast.

They talk about ERE and the tiny house movement.
 
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I'm a sixties child; so the idea of tuning in ,turning off ,and dropping out have a greater meaning for me now than ever before! TUNING IN , that just means being plugged in, it occurs at birth. TURNING ON , means waking up. Necessity being the mother of invention, or reinvention. DROPPING OUT , I no longer wish to participate! Having said that; I am currently tring to establish an exit strategy. One that removes me from a debt based consumer society. Time is money.
 
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Seems like the basic plan is:

1) reduce the things you want from the Corps
Which for most of us -- including me -- means finding new homes for alot of stuff I've been storing but really don't have any interest in continuing to own
It also means getting things from Freecycle or second hand -- a practice I was already involved in before hearing of ERE.
It also means learning how to make some of them yourself. -- my knitting has put a tiny toe into that.
So is the permaculture/edible landscaping stuff I've been doing.
And recently, I have begun dressmaking -- because I'm fed up with the crap they are
selling these days

2) reduce the services you use from the Corps
Which means learn how to repair and maintain the things you own. -- I'm just beginning to put a toe in there.
I'm looking into learning how to maintain my old completely mechanical (ie. no computer at all) sewing machine.

3) have and do only those things that are actively supportive of you.
Which means don't do things like knit endless things that you don't have any need for right now.

It's satisfying to see the closets empty of most of the low-hanging fruit now. I've gone after the low-hanging fruit first -- the things that have been really easy to let go of.

Thanks, Jacob!
Denise
 
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This may be ERS in the making, rather than ERE.

I am 28 and my thought follows my feelings (spiritual; not to be confused with emotional).

In finding my “way”, I had to “deprogram” myself with the aide of internet outlets and my own mental capabilities. Luckily, I had great parenting growing up.

I view the world with money, as a game. I watch politics influence markets and I have insights on how much is owned by whom. You are, most-likely, late to the game.

I was a popular youth in the suburbs and honors architecture state graduate. Thanks to a corporate drafting job in a low-moral city, I saved and learned how to invest; and move back “home” where my family has social roots. With that job went my health insurance. I have healthy genes, healthy habits (now-reformed), and I don’t participate in unhealthy activities (ex. drive minimal/never).

I do not live in fear (my subconscious has confronted it). “Know thy self.”

I’m depending on my own skills. I must keep clean of scenarios that would slow me down. I’ve played with the bad, and know not to return. I know who my enemies are (those who would like to capitalize on my failures). My current view, “what are we without each other.?.”

I think, at least for those who have seen city and suburban life with the automobile and all of it’s passive influences, we have had things hidden from us. I’m trying to call-out the social changes hidden within the life-style changes… (i.e. “friend or acquaintance,” “actions are louder than words,” and “because, period.”)

Currently, I am exploring my options for a moral-healthy food business, civic architecture-tweaking improvement proposals, and bio-integrated new-age urban dwellings while I rent. I will always have my eye on expanding on the food business with a CSA, while I keep social ties with land owners and weekly f-markets (permaculture in the black land prairie of Texas). I am a coordinator at a community garden and take every opportunity to speak with our youth about the power of knowledge resources and clear thinking. I am economically ‘lucky’ to have a retirement village within the town; and the first university of Texas. I figure “what I can dream without selfish intent, can be created in some form with or without the help of others.” Maybe if some prototypes can be produced, its’ successes will be acknowledged and passed on (similar to Paul’s ecology vs. social view).

Fill ins: My parents paid for my secondary education. I do not have a wife or dependents. I have a natural distrust for most establishments. I love permies, so thank you.

“Life is what you make it.” Clean your water and food sources and start creating (opportunities for nature to produce).
 
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most people would think its impossible to live on as little money as i do.
you may all be some of the only people who would actually be impressed by how little money i make and live on =)
its a ridiculously small sum of money that i generate with my craftwork.
i wouldnt really recommend it though!

actually its never been my plan...its just the way things have unfolded. i think i am allergic to jobs. ! no just kidding...but maybe not. its extremely difficult for me to force myself to have a regular job, it may sound kinda dramatic...but seriously it is AGONY for me to be trapped inside somewhere working for peanuts....i watch the clock the whole time and time gets so slow...it takes years for a work day to go by...thats what i remember from that....

i had similar idea as the ideas here...and back when i was younger i worked wage slave jobs...and thinking i could somehow eventually save up enough to go for it...have that savings together. my training in college was in art, since i was very little the only thing i ever wanted to do was make art. and this....even with an expensive (full scholarship) art school college...i was then qualified only to make espresso!!! or well...just saying that i didnt have any experience or education in something more profitable, and was stuck to wage slave style, min wage ish jobs. and it sucked, and was really agony for me.

but yeah...never happened, and then i was just barely making enough to continue to work and rent apartments and whatnot. after being fired from three jobs in a row some ten years ago now i just decided to go for it. without the savings that i always thought i would eventually get...it just seemed it was never gonna happen...so i just made the leap of faith i guess, i felt i had too, and started making my art and going about any way i could think of to sell my art and make a living at it.

again i wouldnt recommend this!!!
but thats just how hard it was for me to try to play the whole game, knowing...well knowing i wouldnt be able to get ahead in that way. i just had to go for it...and went for it in the hardest way. i suppose i dont regret it, my free time and the work i love to do...that i was sort of almost able to kinda pull it off...ahhh well that was my path. i've also done a lot of work trade and odd jobs, and living in communities working for my room and board essentially.....though some of those situ have been ok...some of that hasnt been that great.i spent a LOT of time living and sleeping outside...just squatting wherever...and even quite a bit of time living out of a vehicle (that got really old fast !)....there have been months and months in my life...where i had zero dollars...nothing nada zip. somehow i surivived.


ah well its a pickle...and weirdness..how things are and how to get along with yourself. imo homesteading should be allowed for free...i mean not like i think this will happen unfortunately...but i feel like if someone wants to choose to live this way...build their own place...that there should still be homesteading laws that allow people the option of doing this...instead of play the no way to win game (unless of course you start off with a head start, but then you only dont totally lose- not quite the same as winning !)

yeah...living on 500 dollars a month, believe it or not, sounds like a HUGE amount of money to me.
 
leila hamaya
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maybe the weirdest thing that i learned and realized through all this, is the the world is a place of abundance !
this might not make sense at all...but its true.
not so much about abundance = money though, for sure.....

i live on miracles. sometimes they are a bit slow...but they always come =)
eventually. sometimes not till your totally freeking out !
 
Of course, I found a very beautiful couch. Definitely. And this tiny ad:
Getting ready for the Better World Book kickstarter - February 2019
https://permies.com/t/99513/ready-World-Book-kickstarter-February
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