White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

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White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

Post by willthrill81 »

Jim had a post on the WCI blog back in June titled "How to Live on $350k in Hawaii." I thought that it was a very good rebuttal to the arguments we've seen of late by those bemoaning the supposed difficulty in living a 'middle-class' lifestyle in VHCOL areas like the Bay area, Seattle, Manhattan, etc.

I'll paraphrase as best I can the ten tips that Jim offered the newly minted doc that asked him the question.

1. Move to a lower cost of living area.
2. Send your kids to the best public school you can.
3. Drive a very inexpensive vehicle or find an even lower cost means of transportation.
4. Don't take vacations and go shopping with money you can't afford to spend.
5. Pay off your student loans.
6. Make a budget and track your spending.
7. Live like an average American, at least for a time.
8. Pay off your credit card balances every month or else don't use them at all.
9. Use tax-advantaged accounts to their fullest potential.
10. Don't spend more than needed on housing.

While I am really not trying to brag, we have done or will do eight of these ten tips ourselves, and the results have literally amazed me. While I'm not a physician, I have been blessed to be able to earn a very respectable income after getting my Ph.D. a decade ago. I could have taken a job at a much higher COL area, but my income would not have kept pace (I am the sole income earner). As such, living in LCOL or MCOL areas made much more sense for us. Until last year, we always drove inexpensive used cars, but then we downsized from two used ones to one new one for not much more money, and we haven't regretted it at all. We like vacations more than most, but we are very mindful of keeping the costs as low as possible (e.g. we took an 8 day trip to WDW earlier this year, stayed at a high-end resort, and the total cost was about $5k). We paid off our student loans within four years of graduation, and we've been working on a budget and tracking our spending for the last eight years. We live in a 1,200 sq. ft., 3/2 home in a nice area, and we paid under 2x our annual income for it; the mortgage should be paid off next spring. In nearly 20 years, we've only had one month where we carried a credit card balance for a month (many years ago). Next year, we hope to be able to max out all of our tax-advantaged accounts, slightly over 50% of our gross income, in addition to doing Roth conversions up to the top of our bracket. As a result of all this, we've gone from having a negative net worth ten years ago to being somewhere (purposefully vague) in the top decile in terms of net worth for families our age.

The only thing we plan to do differently than Jim has recommended is in regards to private school. We are committed to providing our daughter with not only an excellent education but one that is in keeping with our own faith, which defines our entire worldview. As such, sending her to a private school centered around our faith is of great importance to us. If we didn't or couldn't send her to such a private school, we would home-school her (both my wife and I were largely home-schooled), and we still might go down that path.

So our experiences strongly corroborate with Jim's advice. Do yours?
Last edited by willthrill81 on Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k in Hawaii

Post by BillWalters »

I think the whole premise of “how to live on $350k” is absurd and demonstrates a ridiculous and unhealthy world view.
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k in Hawaii

Post by JoMoney »

Hah... From the title I thought it was going to discuss living on a nest-egg of $350k in assets, not live on an annual income of $350k a year :D
The advice is fine, but I would imagine someone needing that advice would be making $50k a year in HI... someone earning $350k should be able to drive better than a $2k beater or a bike (not that there's anything wrong with that if they enjoy doing that)
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k in Hawaii

Post by jebmke »

BillWalters wrote: Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:29 pm I think the whole premise of “how to live on $350k” is absurd and demonstrates a ridiculous and unhealthy world view.
Same here - didn't click through; assumed it was an Onion piece.
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k in Hawaii

Post by willthrill81 »

JoMoney wrote: Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:30 pm Hah... From the title I thought it was going to discuss living on a nest-egg of $350k in assets, not live on an annual income of $350k a year :D
The advice is fine, but I would imagine someone needing that advice would be making $50k a year in HI... someone earning $350k should be able to drive better than a $2k beater or a bike (not that there's anything wrong with that if they enjoy doing that)
I've re-titled the thread to specify annual income rather than portfolio.

Yes, I agree that a $2k beater isn't necessary. You can actually waste a lot of money with that high of an income and still come out pretty well. But the important point is that you still have to make at least some good choices with even that high of an income in order to end up in a reasonably good spot.
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

Post by dbr »

Is this some kind of joke?

Ironically if taken seriously the key and #1 recommendation is don't go to Hawaii. Texas is suggested as an alternative.
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k in Hawaii

Post by willthrill81 »

BillWalters wrote: Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:29 pm I think the whole premise of “how to live on $350k” is absurd and demonstrates a ridiculous and unhealthy world view.
It seems absurd to me as well.

It seems absurd to me that anyone would work with an adviser charging a 2% AUM fee.

It seems absurd to me that someone would buy a home priced at more than five times their annual income.

It seems absurd to me that someone would spend $50k annually on clothing.

Yet people do these things all the time because they don't think that it's absurd. That's why pieces like this one from Jim are needed.
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

Post by willthrill81 »

dbr wrote: Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:36 pm Is this some kind of joke?
It's no joke.

Remember this thread, which was about how hard it was supposed to be to live a middle-class lifestyle in the Bay area with a $350k income?
dbr wrote: Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:36 pmIronically if taken seriously the key and #1 recommendation is don't go to Hawaii. Texas is suggested as an alternative.
If you read the piece, you'd see that the doc was asking Jim how they could improve their situation. In that context, considering living in a different area is perfectly plausible.

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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

Post by deikel »

I think Nr 7 is the key:

7. Live like an average American, at least for a time.


The problem is that our perception of what average is has been drastically altered by outside influence (instagram, facebook, inane TV shows ect) paired with the desire to be anything but average

The 350k income sets you way way above any definition of 'middle class' - if you can't live on that income anywhere, you have issues.... Even Hawaii median income is only around 100k, that title income is 3.5 times over the local family income.....seriously, I like WCI, but sometimes his Dr income sets him a bit off the reality track.
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

Post by dbr »

willthrill81 wrote: Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:44 pm
dbr wrote: Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:36 pm Is this some kind of joke?
It's no joke.

Remember this thread, which was about how hard it was supposed to be to live a middle-class lifestyle in the Bay area with a $350k income?
dbr wrote: Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:36 pmIronically if taken seriously the key and #1 recommendation is don't go to Hawaii. Texas is suggested as an alternative.
If you read the piece, you'd see that the doc was asking Jim how they could improve their situation. In that context, considering living in a different area is perfectly plausible.

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Well, it isn't very hard to want to spend more than you have no matter how much you have.
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

Post by willthrill81 »

dbr wrote: Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:54 pm Well, it isn't very hard to want to spend more than you have no matter how much you have.
Bingo.
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

Post by AZAttorney11 »

So much brain power has been wasted on “how to live a middle class lifestyle on $350,000 in city X” and “can I afford this $2mm home with a stable income of $1.9mm per year” posts. Like another poster above, I thought it was a bit from The Onion.
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

Post by White Coat Investor »

Thanks for reading and discussing. I just wanted to pop in and assure you all that it was not an "Onion" type piece. This was a real doc who sent me a real email which I subsequently anonymized a bit before running the post.

I agree it is ridiculous to have any trouble whatsoever living on $350K anywhere. But it is also a common issue among people making $350K.
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

Post by willthrill81 »

White Coat Investor wrote: Fri Sep 27, 2019 6:22 pm I agree it is ridiculous to have any trouble whatsoever living on $350K anywhere. But it is also a common issue among people making $350K.
A large swath of the American populace would say that it's absurd for anyone to have any trouble living on $100k anywhere, yet we have many here who have claimed to have such difficulty.

One man's 'enough' is another man's 'almost poverty'.
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

Post by BillWalters »

The offensive part for me is the entitlement required to even ask the question. Anyone who just can’t quite seem to figure out how to live on $20k a month after taxes is a profoundly, sadly entitled person.
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

Post by mortfree »

^^^^^^
Try to avoid Rich-shaming here folks.

I spent $0 on vacation this year
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

Post by White Coat Investor »

BillWalters wrote: Fri Sep 27, 2019 6:45 pm The offensive part for me is the entitlement required to even ask the question. Anyone who just can’t quite seem to figure out how to live on $20k a month after taxes is a profoundly, sadly entitled person.
Of course. So how do you help them to become less entitled? That's a large part of what I do. If high earners would just live on the income of an average American for the first 5 years of their career, they'd all be multi-millionaires by mid career. But they're not.
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

Post by snackdog »

$350K is probably average for a GP with a dozen or so years experience.
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

Post by White Coat Investor »

snackdog wrote: Fri Sep 27, 2019 6:51 pm $350K is probably average for a GP with a dozen or so years experience.
It's actually a little high for a GP. The average physician makes $275K these days, but there is a wide range around that number. $80K-$1M with most in the $175-400K range.
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

Post by MishkaWorries »

I think many of these posts on this forum are just humble bragging. They aren't looking for actionable advise.
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

Post by averagedude »

Willthrill, I like how you paraphrased the white coat investors post. I work a blue collar job where just about everyone makes 70k or less. There are several millionaires and a bunch of other folks that have a negative net worth. The divide between these two extreme groups isn't health or luck. It really boils down to the decisions that each of them made in their daily lives. Same opportunity, different outcomes due to the choices that each made.
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

Post by delamer »

People make choices.

The physician in the article chose to have 3 kids and a stay-at-home spouse while carrying $225,000 in student loans. And wants to send the kids to private school.

Jim’s suggestions are very good, as his advice usually is. But the bottom line is that when you make choices, then accept the consequences that go with them. Everyone — with the exception of the top 0.5% of income earners, maybe — has to make tradeoffs with their finances.

We only adopted 4 of his suggestions, but we only had 2 kids, no student loans, and 2 working spouses in jobs with pensions. I know that others will decide differently. But whatever others decide, I think that those of us fortunate enough to be well-educated professionals should “own” our decisions.
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

Post by leeks »

97% of households in Hawaii live on less than $350K. Median household income in Hawaii is about $78K. How is this possibly a question? Why is "middle class" in the original post? Someone with this kind of income is nowhere remotely near middle class.
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

Post by tj »

I lived on less than 10% in that in Hawaii. Not a problem.
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

Post by jucor »

Questions like this are what make me roll my eyes when some on this board and elsewhere bemoan the low renumeration physicians face...

Sure, some might not get paid a lot, but as White Coat Investor said above, the average for a GP is $275k/yr. Specialists make more, on average.
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

Post by JoMoney »

willthrill81 wrote: Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:44 pm...
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

Post by tooluser »

BillWalters wrote: Fri Sep 27, 2019 6:45 pm The offensive part for me is the entitlement required to even ask the question. Anyone who just can’t quite seem to figure out how to live on $20k a month after taxes is a profoundly, sadly entitled person.
Ignorance is a thing. Some people get to where they are by hyperspecializing in one very useful task or mode of thought. Literally nothing enters their mind about personal finance. They have never run the numbers and have no clue. They just want to do what they love or enjoy. Most will work until they die, and not be unhappy about it. I work with some of these people, though they are typically not rich. The more extroverted among them look to copy their peers. If their peers are doing stupid things with their money, they will too.
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

Post by sawhorse »

If you can't figure out by yourself how to live on $350k anywhere, even with a lot of student loans, you're stupid. You might be academically smart, but you're stupid in terms of life skills. I frankly would have a hard time trusting a physician with such a warped view. Not that I would be privy to their finances, but in a theoretical sense. They are completely out of touch with 99% of their patients.

I realize that people might have, say, a gambling addiction. But that's not a problem of not knowing how to live on that money. It's a mental health problem of not being about to practice what you know in theory.

I find the entire letter absurd and offensive, but it particularly irked me when they said, "Hawaii doesn't have any half decent public schools." The entire state has no half decent public schools, really? Or do you mean that you don't want your upper class kids - make no mistake, that's what they are - mingling with kids who are "only" upper middle class?

On second thought, please home school your kids. No teacher, many of which have doctorates, wants to deal with a parent like that who thinks that even a school with a full slate of AP courses is not "half decent".

Don't be surprised if the blog post goes viral. The comments will be comedy gold.
Last edited by sawhorse on Fri Sep 27, 2019 10:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

Post by White Coat Investor »

jucor wrote: Fri Sep 27, 2019 8:13 pm Questions like this are what make me roll my eyes when some on this board and elsewhere bemoan the low renumeration physicians face...

Sure, some might not get paid a lot, but as White Coat Investor said above, the average for a GP is $275k/yr. Specialists make more, on average.
That is not what I said. There are very few GPs in this country. The typical doctor that people call a GP is a family practitioner who completes a 3 year residency rather than the 1 year internship an actual general practitioner would do. The average family practitioner does not make $275K. The average family practitioner makes $231K. The $275K figure is an average for ALL physicians.

https://www.medscape.com/slideshow/2019 ... -6011329#2
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

Post by CryingHawaiian »

WCI,

As a 29 year old male living comfortably living in Honolulu on $62K a year while maxing out Roth IRA and 401k contributions, I say to your reader - Boo freaking hoo.

I wonder if she has actually done anywhere close to due diligence on what it costs to live here or even made an attempt to evaluate her spending habits. The best things on this island are legitimately free and grocery shopping for a family of 4 is more than do-able with economies of scale at Costco/Sam's Club.

Her comment about the public school system while accurate, is offensive coming from a mainland [person --admin LadyGeek] who has never lived here.

Good luck to her.
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

Post by White Coat Investor »

CryingHawaiian wrote: Fri Sep 27, 2019 10:11 pm WCI,

As a 29 year old male living comfortably living in Honolulu on $62K a year while maxing out Roth IRA and 401k contributions, I say to your reader - Boo freaking hoo.

I wonder if she has actually done anywhere close to due diligence on what it costs to live here or even made an attempt to evaluate her spending habits. The best things on this island are legitimately free and grocery shopping for a family of 4 is more than do-able with economies of scale at Costco/Sam's Club.

Her comment about the public school system while accurate, is offensive coming from a mainland [person --admin LadyGeek] who has never lived here.

Good luck to her.
She's been there for years already. This isn't a recent post and it didn't run for months after I wrote it.
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

Post by CryingHawaiian »

White Coat Investor wrote: Fri Sep 27, 2019 10:14 pm
CryingHawaiian wrote: Fri Sep 27, 2019 10:11 pm WCI,

As a 29 year old male living comfortably living in Honolulu on $62K a year while maxing out Roth IRA and 401k contributions, I say to your reader - Boo freaking hoo.

I wonder if she has actually done anywhere close to due diligence on what it costs to live here or even made an attempt to evaluate her spending habits. The best things on this island are legitimately free and grocery shopping for a family of 4 is more than do-able with economies of scale at Costco/Sam's Club.

Her comment about the public school system while accurate, is offensive coming from a mainland [person --admin LadyGeek] who has never lived here.

Good luck to her.
She's been there for years already. This isn't a recent post and it didn't run for months after I wrote it.
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

Post by mnnice »

I am not sure where in Hawaii they were considering moving to but . . .

Average household income on the Big Island is less than the national average. Pretty sure most of the folks could make a go of it on seven times that even with $7 gallon milk.
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

Post by willthrill81 »

averagedude wrote: Fri Sep 27, 2019 7:07 pm Willthrill, I like how you paraphrased the white coat investors post. I work a blue collar job where just about everyone makes 70k or less. There are several millionaires and a bunch of other folks that have a negative net worth. The divide between these two extreme groups isn't health or luck. It really boils down to the decisions that each of them made in their daily lives. Same opportunity, different outcomes due to the choices that each made.
I'm the first one to emphatically say that I have been extremely blessed in my life, and a big one of those was being blessed to make a lot of good decisions (e.g. spouse, career, avoiding risky substances). And I had to work very hard to get where I am. Several young people have seen the lifestyle that our family leads and said that they wished they could have the same. When I've told that I was in college for a total of nine years and what was involved in those nine years, they almost universally say 'wow, I could never do that'. But in most situations, they probably could have done it, but they simply didn't want to, which is totally fine, but it means that now that my 'dues' have largely been paid, we can enjoy the fruits of our prior labors with no shame.
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

Post by willthrill81 »

JoMoney wrote: Fri Sep 27, 2019 8:31 pm
willthrill81 wrote: Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:44 pm...
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That's a new one on me.
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

Post by Katietsu »

If you read the original blog post, you will see that the family that asked the question was living paycheck to paycheck and racking up credit card debt on $100,000 income in a low or medium cost area at the time they wrote their original email. While they seemed to think they were roughing it with clunker cars and cheap vacations, the very first line in the response was "You spend too much money."
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

Post by sawhorse »

willthrill81 wrote: Fri Sep 27, 2019 6:27 pm
White Coat Investor wrote: Fri Sep 27, 2019 6:22 pm I agree it is ridiculous to have any trouble whatsoever living on $350K anywhere. But it is also a common issue among people making $350K.
A large swath of the American populace would say that it's absurd for anyone to have any trouble living on $100k anywhere, yet we have many here who have claimed to have such difficulty.

One man's 'enough' is another man's 'almost poverty'.
And those same people would claim to have difficulty living on $500k. And $1 million. Any amount really.

It's about mindset. People who have difficulty living on $350k have the mindset that they are entitled to a much more comfortable and luxurious life than the average person. They also have the mindset that they actually aren't that rich because they always compare themselves to the tiny percentage of the population that is richer while ignoring the masses that aren't as rich. They have a distorted view of what middle class means.

Then they have the gall to claim that their problem is their income, not what is between their ears.

I find it rather offensive.
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

Post by sawhorse »

deikel wrote: Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:50 pm I think Nr 7 is the key:

7. Live like an average American, at least for a time.


The problem is that our perception of what average is has been drastically altered by outside influence (instagram, facebook, inane TV shows ect) paired with the desire to be anything but average

The 350k income sets you way way above any definition of 'middle class' - if you can't live on that income anywhere, you have issues.... Even Hawaii median income is only around 100k, that title income is 3.5 times over the local family income.....seriously, I like WCI, but sometimes his Dr income sets him a bit off the reality track.
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fposte
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

Post by fposte »

Katietsu wrote: Fri Sep 27, 2019 10:44 pm If you read the original blog post, you will see that the family that asked the question was living paycheck to paycheck and racking up credit card debt on $100,000 income in a low or medium cost area at the time they wrote their original email. While they seemed to think they were roughing it with clunker cars and cheap vacations, the very first line in the response was "You spend too much money."
Yes, whether or not we feel that people making $350k a year should get into a financial hole or not, the fact is they do, and it’s reasonable for WCI to try to prevent that if he wishes. It can be a wryly amusing problem to those of us for whom “live like an average American” would be a pitfall and not a downgrade, but it’s also a reminder of how prevalent the tendency is to scale ourselves only by looking up to those richer than us.
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

Post by jucor »

White Coat Investor wrote: Fri Sep 27, 2019 10:10 pm
jucor wrote: Fri Sep 27, 2019 8:13 pm Questions like this are what make me roll my eyes when some on this board and elsewhere bemoan the low renumeration physicians face...

Sure, some might not get paid a lot, but as White Coat Investor said above, the average for a GP is $275k/yr. Specialists make more, on average.
That is not what I said. There are very few GPs in this country. The typical doctor that people call a GP is a family practitioner who completes a 3 year residency rather than the 1 year internship an actual general practitioner would do. The average family practitioner does not make $275K. The average family practitioner makes $231K. The $275K figure is an average for ALL physicians.

https://www.medscape.com/slideshow/2019 ... -6011329#2
Ok, I apologize for my error. My point still stands.

FWIW, I think your advice to the "poor" Dr. in Hawaii was spot on. To be fair to them, it would seem the $350k/yr was a fairly recent income level achievement, but still...
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

Post by Compound »

tooluser wrote: Fri Sep 27, 2019 8:33 pm
BillWalters wrote: Fri Sep 27, 2019 6:45 pm The offensive part for me is the entitlement required to even ask the question. Anyone who just can’t quite seem to figure out how to live on $20k a month after taxes is a profoundly, sadly entitled person.
Ignorance is a thing. Some people get to where they are by hyperspecializing in one very useful task or mode of thought. Literally nothing enters their mind about personal finance. They have never run the numbers and have no clue. They just want to do what they love or enjoy.
Agreed.

While some here seem offended by this ignorance, I am not. Ignorance applies in so many aspects of our society — we are all bound to have blind spots. When I read the article, my thought was “Wow. This person is really out of touch with how to run a tight financial life. Thank goodness she’s coming to an expert (WCI) for some help.”

I encourage my fellow Bogleheads to remember that plenty of us came to this community to learn more about personal finance to reduce our own ignorance on these matters. I hope more people act like the doc in the article and seek advice on reducing their ignorance of personal finance through trustworthy sources: in fact, I hope that person joins Bogleheads to learn even more!
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

Post by fasteddie911 »

CryingHawaiian wrote: Fri Sep 27, 2019 10:11 pm WCI,

As a 29 year old male living comfortably living in Honolulu on $62K a year while maxing out Roth IRA and 401k contributions, I say to your reader - Boo freaking hoo.

I wonder if she has actually done anywhere close to due diligence on what it costs to live here or even made an attempt to evaluate her spending habits. The best things on this island are legitimately free and grocery shopping for a family of 4 is more than do-able with economies of scale at Costco/Sam's Club.

Her comment about the public school system while accurate, is offensive coming from a mainland [person --admin LadyGeek] who has never lived here.

Good luck to her.
Username checks out :happy. As someone with plenty of friends and family there, I agree with what your wrote and understand your point about the public schools.
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

Post by Sandtrap »

Though many in Hawaii "get by and/or survive" on varying degrees of income from "subsidized low income" to 3 income families, etc. Consider that it is not unusual for a retired couple with "no mortgage" and multiple pensions to "get by" with no extras.
For example: Retired couple. Income: Fed/postal retirement pension, City/Fire retirement pension, SS income, partial military pension, commisary/PX access, own home no debt -- to "get by" with no luxuries on 80-100k/year. This is very common in Hawaii's UHCOL. Also, multi income, multi generations, living in grandpa or mom/dad's house (with additions built on), and all "surviving" and trying to save to buy a condo/home (ave 800-1 mil for a starter on Oahu unless a teardown).
The above examples are from mainstream working class families and neighborhoods.

As for 350k annual income. That would depend on one's lifestyle. There are doctors who are always "broke" making more than that with "spendy" lifestyles.

Some things to consider from a "local".
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

Post by EddyB »

fasteddie911 wrote: Sat Sep 28, 2019 8:38 am
CryingHawaiian wrote: Fri Sep 27, 2019 10:11 pm WCI,

As a 29 year old male living comfortably living in Honolulu on $62K a year while maxing out Roth IRA and 401k contributions, I say to your reader - Boo freaking hoo.

I wonder if she has actually done anywhere close to due diligence on what it costs to live here or even made an attempt to evaluate her spending habits. The best things on this island are legitimately free and grocery shopping for a family of 4 is more than do-able with economies of scale at Costco/Sam's Club.

Her comment about the public school system while accurate, is offensive coming from a mainland [person --admin LadyGeek] who has never lived here.

Good luck to her.
Username checks out :happy. As someone with plenty of friends and family there, I agree with what your wrote and understand your point about the public schools.
I don’t understand CryingHawaiian‘s point about the public schools. First, it turns out the subject of WCI’s letter does live there (if that matters). Second, CryingHawaiian concedes it’s accurate.
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

Post by RadAudit »

If high earners would just live on the income of an average American for the first 5 years of their career, they'd all be multi-millionaires by mid career. But they're not.
Interesting observation, WCI. But wrt availability of health care, thank goodness they still are working.
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

Post by Nowizard »

We follow all the suggestions with the exception of #6. Following the rest over many years, with a slight tendency to not drive the absolute least expensive automobile, has eliminated the need to follow #6, oddly enough.

Tim
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k in Hawaii

Post by Helo80 »

BillWalters wrote: Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:29 pm I think the whole premise of “how to live on $350k” is absurd and demonstrates a ridiculous and unhealthy world view.
That’s one of my complaints of this forum... some very high earners are clueless to how the rest of the world lives...

There is not a city in the world that you cannot survive decently on with $350k USD per year.
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

Post by Helo80 »

averagedude wrote: Fri Sep 27, 2019 7:07 pm Willthrill, I like how you paraphrased the white coat investors post. I work a blue collar job where just about everyone makes 70k or less. There are several millionaires and a bunch of other folks that have a negative net worth. The divide between these two extreme groups isn't health or luck. It really boils down to the decisions that each of them made in their daily lives. Same opportunity, different outcomes due to the choices that each made.
Unfortunately, BH does not cater to this group. Don’t get me wrong, your colleagues, even with a negative net will worth are well to join and won’t be chased out... but when people here start posting their salaries and nest eggs.... it’s very clear what audience this site caters to.

Most on here are great people, and I’m not trying to troll anybody... but, the whole article and this post.... many people don’t have $350k in retirement when they exit the working world. This is a very self selected group here, and I have never liked these types of articles posted here.
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willthrill81
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

Post by willthrill81 »

It saddens me that so many seem to have lost sight of the fact that it's very easy, even natural, for one's 'necessary expenses' to rise to the level of one's income and beyond, almost no matter what that level of income is.

Millions of American households live on a $30k income or less. We personally had a $15k income for four years during grad school. I know what it's like. If these people heard someone say 'I don't know how to live in X on a $75k income' (as many have said on this forum), they would say that that's ludicrous and maybe even offensive.

Deriding someone for merely asking a question is what is truly offensive.

As I said before, one person's 'enough' is another's 'not far from poverty'.
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Re: White Coat Investor: How to Live on $350k (Income) in Hawaii

Post by bampf »

I would also observe that it is stupid easy to fall into the trap of "I make a lot therefore I deserve/need a lot". The whole infrastructure of our society is designed to induce spending/accumulation. Its obvious in retrospect or when you arrive at a certain level of enlightenment, but, you sorta of have to arrive there. Rather then being offended by someone asking for help, I would appreciate that they are starting to become aware that something is not quite right in the matrix.
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