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December 14, 2016


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Ah, it's nice to be young and naive when it comes to retirement. Only someone as young as your guest author could have written a laughable post such as this. Try to be 60 years old, or better yet, 50 or 40 and live in 325 square feet. Your author didn't mention what her rent was in NYC but having two daughters myself who live and work in Manhattan, I know what her rent is. It's in the thousands. And your blog post guest is building no equity. Hope her money is invested in this new Trump stock market.
NYC has been flooded with such a huge increase in homelessness due to the high rents, mediocre salaries and high cost of just about everything. Buy foods at ethnic groceries? Even the illegal immigrants have to pay high rents and grease the palms of many of the health inspectors. I bought a pound of pine nuts at a Asian grocer and paid $27. And that was 2 years ago. Both my daughters had to move out of NYC after DeBlasio was elected mayor. Within 6 months after his election my daughters would find men urinating on the side of their high-end rent buildings, shitting in the corner sewers and taking "baths" in the city's plentiful fountains. One daughter ran away to Brooklyn and bought a total fixer upper, in a very questionable neighborhood for $600,000. Drive by shootings optional. The other one moved up to the tippy top of Manhattan in a neighborhood that used to be over run by drug lords till Guiliani mopped it up. Guess what? Guiliani ain't the mayor anymore.
$450 for 2 people eating groceries a month? $4 coffees? Finding low cost root beer bars so she and her friends can meet because her apartment is so small? $857 for a ticket to see a Broadway show? BTW, did she ever see Hamilton? Traffic unable to move because DeBlasio over approved all those triple million dollar condo construction projects? Take a walk in Central Park now and run the risk of either being raped, robbed, mugged or whatever? No thanks.
Luckily my daughters grew up. As I did many years ago and left that highest taxed state in America. No thanks. Most of Manhattan is built up around tourists (who don't know any better) and yougin's (who don't know any better).
Sorry to be so Debbie Downer on NYC but as a woman who was born, educated and raised there, I now avoid it like the plague.
How many times can you walk across The Brooklyn Bridge? How many times can you go to the same ole run down, boring museums? How many times can you go to some hip coffee joint and count the cockroaches crawling on the walls? Or better yet, inside your own apartment? Everybody has cockroaches in NYC. And bed bugs. All of which can be found at those high end thrift shops. My kids have two girlfriends who had to walk out of their NYC apartments, leaving ALL their clothes and belongings behind because their apts were infested with bed bugs. They all live upstate NY now and travel in just for their jobs.
Sorry, Syd. I just couldn't keep my mouth shut on this post. It's preposterous IMHO. NYC may be a great place to visit (really?) but I'd think four times before moving there, let alone retiring there. Especially if you are over the age of 50 and have gray hair. Older people have now become the target of many of the younger, transient residents. There is NO respect for the older generation in NYC. You are now a target with a guaranteed Social Security check. Watch the local news. Happens many, many times each and every single day. A senior citizen is beaten (sometimes brutally) and robbed. You can see it all from the comfort of your home thanks to security video tapes. Not armed police men/women.....which is another horrible topic in NYC.....but I digress........
The city is a terrorist target. You have to contend with armed militia and drug sniffing dogs all.day.and.night.long. Is this any way to live? I hope not.


Interesting ideas- and just shows you can do whatever works for you. It is all about compromise. I totally agree with the author's take on "you can have 2 of the 3- but not all 3 when it comes to housing.

Good to hear from you Syd!!


Thanks for article. Diatribe by Ranting Cindi was amusing, too.


I found that perspective interesting since my early retirement goal was precisely the opposite: to live out in the boondocks where it is peaceful and quiet. I'm a lifelong Westerner — Boulder CO is the farthest east I've ever lived but I'm originally from Hawai'i (fifth generation Hawaiian born). I visited NYC on a six week trip around the country at age 17 and my impression of the place was of filth — the sidewalks were black! — noise, and congestion. What a nightmarish place to live! Boston was much the same. Some years later when I was pondering where I would be willing to ply my trade as a molecular biologist, one of the places that was absolutely off my list was NYC; no amount of money could make it worth living there!

After years of living in cities and suburbia my early retirement goal was to move to the rural mountains and enjoy scenic vistas with wildlife as neighbors and get away from crowds and noise and pollution. Eighteen years later I am still content with my decision. I have no interest in nightlife or restaurants — I'd rather save money by cooking for myself and I don't drink. I don't visit coffee bars since I don't like coffee — just tea for me, thanks. I do visit my local library since I am a longtime trustee of the Library District and had a key role in the construction of the current building; our award-winning small town library is something of a community center. I take long walks on the myriad of trails here and pursue my botany hobby. I visit the many national parks, monuments and state parks in the area (Arches NP is my favorite). But for just getting outdoors in the wilderness I don't even need to leave my neighborhood!

I'll leave the city living to those who enjoy that sort of thing. Different strokes for different folks!


"But me? I adore big city living." Folks this was in the second paragraph. She didn't say it was for everybody just her. Also way to treat a "guest" poster.

JP I enjoyed your post and giant kudos to you for being able to retire at an amazingly young age! Glad you are enjoying your life in the Big Apple.

Your New Fan

Wow - retired at 28! And in NYC. Very impressive!

I LOL'd at Cindi's post. Mostly because I would not be a fan of NYC at all (also prefer nature, peace, and quiet), however, I know it's not always like those negative points mentioned either and there are many things I would love being a night owl and loving good food and good restaurants that are open all hours of the night. And the shopping! I could learn to love shopping in NYC.

I especially enjoyed the info. on her living arrangements and would love to hear more about tiny space living. We are planning on building a tiny cottage on some lake front property soon and I would love to learn more with various tips and ideas on how to utilize small spaces better and ways to be off the grid along with solar ideas.

Peace of Mind

Hey Syd - How do I change my name over here. Please use small words as I'm not very computer savvy. ;)

Peace of Mind

Never mind, Syd. That was easy to do.

Tom Sightings

Interesting point of view from someone who's gotta be the first millennial to retire in America!

Still the Lucky Few

I too am amazed at hearing about a Millennial retiring—but life is long, and I'd suggest that she will be looking for something 'work wise' before too long. Although some automation experts are predicting that everyone will be 'retired' someday! I certainly hope not, since work has it's own reward. As for NYC, I think it's a fascinating city—to visit.

Diane C

You sound more like Cindi the Cynic than Debbie Downer. As infrequently as Sydney posts, I'm happy to see anything from her, even a guest post. To be screamed at by you is not likely to increase her desire to post more frequently, if at all.

Please note the article is called "How to Retire in a High (COLA) , not "How to Retire in NYC". There are good lessons to be gleaned from this post, but your perspective keeps you from seeing that, which is in fact, quite sad. Pouring out your bitter syrup on someone else's blog is not particularly helpful and even less appropriate. No one owes you a perfect life, least of all New York City.

Back to you, dear Sydney. Thanks for a new post. It seemed like a lovely little holiday gift from you to me, and I am grateful for it. One of my volunteer activities is to usher at our Regional Theater. This week, it was a free performance of "A Christmas Carol" for school kids. With that experience in mind, I'll say please don't let Scrooge's humbuggery get you down. There is hope for redemption for every one of us.

Happy (Retired) Holidays!


Nice to hear from you Syd happy holidays. One night I dreamed I lived in NYC I woke up screaming and crying and then I knew it was a bad dream and went back to sleep. I guess it's a country mouse thing. Here in south Jersey NYC is coming to me. Cindi your not wrong. At 64 don't tell me I'll see 90 78 will be fine then it's time to flush this toilet and be outa here. The God who looks out for Seabees I a wait you.


Well said Diane C! Always a pleasure to hear from Syd!!


Thanks for this post and very happy to discover The Money Habit. JP has a *lot* of sensible advice for any age audience but really great for those on the younger side.


As a previous poster pointed out this is an article on how to retire in a high cost of living area, rather than living in NYC. I think we all realize that living in NYC or any other city might not be everyone's cup of tea. But what jumped out to me was, retired at 28? I thought that's amazing. Thinking about it and visiting her web site blog, I've come to the conclusion that it doesn't pass the “smell test”. Retiring at 28 or just in between jobs and blogging for a living, amassing 2 million by the time she became 28. Hmmm...where did that come from? Oh well maybe she won the lottery. Without some hard numbers, I'm a bit skeptical of this author.


Gosh Sid, long time, no read! Good to "see" you.
JP- your ideas of living in a small space does interest me. We are planning on living in no more than 500 sq feet when we find our final place. (The "real" final place will be 2 ft square :) ) We have been thinking of a few ways to make it work.
A Murphy bed, that will fold with a motor- beds take up so much space. When up, the bed will host some of our art collection (meaning we have to figure out how to hang it without glass). I adore those all in one washer/driers that we had in Hong Kong. My Roomba can live in the closet with the washer. Vinegar is my friend- no extra cleaning stuff. No dressers- just wire drawers in the closet (and those skinny hangers). A convection oven, two burner stove and a well made fridge would be necessary. No need for lots of counter space or cabinets. Entertaining would be in a rented place. Have you seen those cute drawer dishwashers? Fold up table (my grandmother had one) with two chairs that could be "easy" chairs or dining chairs. TV/computer monitor in the wall- extra tables are a pain and easy to trip over. I do require enough space for a raised garden. I don't think I can give up my tomatoes or herbs.
We have decided there will be no dog and no bulky suitcases. If we need/want to travel, a backpack and packing squares will do it all. If we need more, we can buy it there. We will visit our kids' dogs :)
Right now we live in about 800 sq ft of a 3200 sq ft house (full basement). The transition should be rather smooth in about ten years, but we are open to more ideas. Hope we can sell this place when we are ready to go! Your generations seems to be "go small or go home!"

JP at TheMoneyHabit

Thanks guys for the wonderful feedback! And yes, I totally agree there are different strokes for different folks.

I actually didn't think I'd like big city living and while in college I bet my best friend a trip to Europe that I would have no occasion to ever visit NYC in the next two decades of my life. Within a week I had an interview at the firm I ended up working for and have lived here ever since. We're going to Europe when we turn 50. I hope the Euro/Dollar exchange rate is good when I'm forced to pony up.

Happy Holidays all! And thank you again to Sydney for the opportunity to share some thoughts on her corner of the internet!


So great to hear from you, Syd! I've missed you!!
Thank you for an interesting and provocative guest post, JP!
Wishing you both a very happy and healthy holiday season.


I love this post! It just reminds me that there are so many choices in life. And we can often have what we want if we are flexible. For years I thought I'd want to move to a smaller, uncomplicated city where I could still drive until I was 90. But as I neared retirement, I realized I love my city (Denver). There are just so many things to do. I live in the burbs where it's pretty quiet and there is much to enjoy here. Close parks; I can walk to shopping; I can ride my bike for errands. But the city with all it's activity is a short light rail trip away. And so much is low-cost or free. We've taken advantage of many cheap happy hours that suffice as dinner after a day at a museum. We've even been to a McDonalds that had live entertainment. The vibrancy of the city is something I enjoy. And I'm always glad to return to the greenery of the burbs.

I'm so amazed with the whole community of young retirees. It seems to be a growing trend and I truly admire how much these people save and how frugal they are. While there are things (like healthcare) that are more expensive for people as we age, I think there is much we can learn from their lifestyle. Thank you JP. I will be making a trip to TheMoneyHabit.

Syd, it was so good to hear from you. I just retired in January and you have truly been my mentor in this process! I have missed you.


JP, thanks for sharing. I'm a little envious (in a good way!) and I love NYC. We got to see Hamilton when we visited last May, was worth of every penny we paid for the tickets!

I'm curious about the rest of the equation. You mention that you share the space with a dog and someone else, but you don't say whether that person provides any support, works themself, splits the rent, etc. Also, perhaps you have no plans for kids? That changes things when you have extra expenses, need more space, have to save for college, etc. How do those two things play into your equation of being retired right now and in the future?

Financial Samurai

Good stuff! Another example of a millionaire in their 20s. There is WAY MORE money out there than people realize. It's not all doom and gloom like the mass media says.

Our great BART train janitors and elevator technicians in San Francisco make $270,000+ a year with overtime and benefits. What makes people think people in banking, tech, consulting, law, medicine, etc don't make eve more? Of course they do.

Heck, even bloggers are making good money nowadays.

Abolish welfare mentality folks! CEOs can earn 10s of millions burning their companies to the ground. Why can't you make something good doing something good?



Excellent that you chose to retire at such a young age, but I do think you will need to adapt as you get older and your needs change. You always have the option of moving to a lower cost area.


I can only imagine a retired person or couple, staying in the bustle of the big city if thats only what they know. I think for the majority of retirees, the goal is to relax somewhere slower moving like they are. Regardless though, the article has good tips to make the city life easier.

ann wallace

So interesting....I'm retired in downtown Los Angeles and love it. I think cities are great for aging in place...no need for a car (that's right, even here in LA). Everything very close. My mother-in -law is in the suburbs and no longer driving. She's become quite isolated and dependent on others for getting around.
Absolute correct that it is expensive and I've lost some friends who had to move away because they had not saved for retirement and all they had was their home equity.
I also know some who love the country and I do worry about what will happen to them as they advance in to really old age.
We all think we'll be healthy forever, don't we?

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