Thank you, well put.
I am going to move in 5 years when I retire and thinking about Alanta or the gulf coast. Is the the cost of Hins tht much lower down there? The housing costs are are good and the people are great. Heck might even have enough leftover to run a 6pac boat.
I am always surprised at how folks in California, NY and some of the larger states manage on $50-60K and raise a family AND prepare for retirement and college for the kids.
Two examples. Using Kentucky as my baseline and my cousin in Santa Maria, CA, both mid 50s married guys.
I have multiple car discount [haha] but even with just two or three cars the 500E only costs me $650 annually for full coverage, 300 deductibles. I can save more if I move the deductibles out to $1000 but the savings are not that much. My cousin pays nearly $1800 for his 500E and he is also mid 50s, clean record, etc
My 3000sqft house in an established neighborhood, which would cost $650-800K in Santa Maria, California [using my cousin's near equal house in a similar neighborhood] is valued at $160K. My annual property tax is under $1000 as is my homeowners insurance. Now back 18 years ago when we bought the house we made a decision to buy a house based on ONE income, not the "our calculations say you can afford to buy $XXX,XXX house". It meant that if one of us wanted or needed to quit work we could still live within budget. It also meant that a 20 year mortgage was paid off in 8 years. It also allowed me to semi retire at 55. Now I pick what contracts I want to do and limit my travel and time away and I focus on my avocation.
Utilities, taxes and nearly every other fixed income is less in the Midwest and South. Rates for car repairs are in the $70-90 range instead of $120-175.
So when folks say that living on $50K is a piece of cake, ask where they live. Some people have a pretty narrow perspective of what it actually costs to live in this country.