@JL13: True. Not sure what I was thinking there. I guess I was thinking I'd avoid drawing down the dividend portion of my portfolio to start with, but yeah, double-counting the dividends as such invalidates the SWR long-term.
@GandK: My dividend-oriented portfolio pays out about 5% in dividends at the moment. Mostly dividend-growth "dividend champions". Seems like it handled Brexit about as admirably as my Permanent Portfolio portion, which amazes me as I've always thought of myself as a sub-par investor. But assuming the total value of my assets converted to "good money" is about $270k, 5% would be about $13.5k a year, or $1125/mo.
I didn't mention my personal expenses because A) I was trying to universalize the problem, B) I've been increasingly lazy about saving and could almost certainly be much more efficient if pressed, and C) I feel the numbers could change drastically depending on the situation. But, FYI, my running average of all non-housing (PITI)
expenses for the last two years is about $1050. This includes ~$50/mo in tax deductible side hustle expenses and ~$350 of "frivolity" spending which is basically what it sounds like, including restaurants, booze, video games, new clothes/books, and other luxuries that could be cut pretty drastically (disturbing that the average is so high, actually; probably the PCs I built for me and my GF). It's also worth noting that my electric bill, averaging about $150, would probably be less in a smaller house or one with a damn fireplace. Actually, most bills would probably be lower outside of MD. Ultimately, I think it would be reasonable to assume I could live fairly happily in an environment roughly similar to my present one (e.g. SFH, on the grid, reasonable kitchen and fridge space, etc) on $700-900/mo, PLUS housing costs. If the situation were closer to my ideal (see below: off-grid/solar, smaller house, wood fireplace, large garden, etc) I think I could easily go lower than that.
RE: Zillow estimate; I honestly think it's roughly accurate, maybe high by 5-10k. When I refinanced to 15 year about 3 years ago, the house appraised at $270k, which I take as the high estimate; I got a comp analysis from a realtor maybe a year or two ago that came out at $245k, which I take to be the low estimate.
RE: Capital gains tax; I thought there was an exemption if the capital gains are under something like 2xx,000?
In MD the transfer taxes, attorney fees and other miscellaneous costs would be something like 2-3% of the sale.
RE: Vagabonding/van-abonding; In attempting to universalize the problem, I did leave out a few obligations unique to my situation, like a girlfriend and a dog. Personally, I always wanted to start early retirement with some vagabond-style adventuring. I haven't had a solid adventure since hitchhiking cross-country in my early twenties which was sadly (ahem) about ten years ago. Appalachian Trail hiking or van/RV camping, etc, sounds pretty good to me, even if only as a temporary solution to add a "buffer" of low draw-down years at the start of retirement. Problem is, my GF is way closer to the "homesteader" side of the spectrum (to the point that I think her ideal situation or at least "dream" situation would be a full working farm). She is the Hobbit to my wandering, inscrutable Wizard. She seems to be reluctant to leave the current situation regardless, but probably increasingly so the less the alternative resembles a safe, ordinary middle class life. She also adamantly hates/fears living in the city, especially Baltimore (honestly, I don't disagree there, which is part of why I overpaid for my house in the semi-rural ex-urbs).
So, taking that into account, when I picture a "lifestyle design" that would work for both of us, I think of homesteading. A plot of forested or at least not too arid land, with not too severe weather/disasters, probably somewhere toward the Rockies or Pacific. As large and private a lot as possible while still having internet and cell phone access for work and pleasure. Would prefer to be off-grid as far as other utilities, with a well and septic for water and solar for electric. The house could be either a tiny home/cabin with wood burning stove and/or an RV parked under a pavilion/garage. The latter would allow for occasional adventuring or seasonal snowbirding.
I've been casually looking across several western states (mostly CO, NV, OR, WA) for at least a year now. Seems like there isn't much that meets those needs in my desired price range of $40-75k. Most places are either too remote or the land too inhospitable for our tastes.
@Riggerjack: "You want to be an author, use this to learn enough to write about."
Hell, having written and published half a dozen full-length books now, in my wildest fancies I sometimes believe I AM an author.
But yeah, I see what you mean.
Although @Ego may be on to something; maybe best to skip the books and go straight for the documentary!