• Tag Archives budget
  • What? No TV?

    Winter                                     First Moon of the New Year

    Business meeting this morning.  Some drastic pruning budget wise to squeeze our spending into line with our post-retirement income.  Example:  dropped cable tv.  I know.  It feels almost unamerican.  My mom and dad raised me to watch at least three to four hours of television a night and I feel like I’m letting them down.  Not to mention CBS, NBC and ABC.

    The impetus for this came after the trip to South America.  We watched no TV over the cruise and when we got back I settled in with a good book in the evening.  We still have a blu-ray player, Netflix and I just signed us up for Hulu Plus, so we’re not leaving the big box behind in toto, just the absurdly expensive piped in Comcast version.

    The internet connection?  Well, we kept that.  There’s TV and then, there’s the internet.  No comparison.  We’re not totally TV broadcastless as it turns out.  To keep our lower rate for the internet I agreed to a $12 a month “antenna” service from Comcast.  With the broadband the total was lower than internet alone. You get a discount on the broadband if you have any other services.  Weird, huh?

    None of this feels draconian, just adjusting things to keep pace with changing reality.

    We’ve also decided that with Kate retired we can go with one car.  We’ve done that for a couple of months anyhow since the Celica blew a tire.  Again.  I’ve decided to let it set until warmer weather.  I’m gonna give it away.  It’s been a great car and we didn’t make it to 300,000 miles together, but it still feels like time to let go.  I’ve driven it since September of 1994.


  • Ummm…. Money

    Winter                         First Moon of the Winter Solstice

    Inflation is at 3.39%.  How about that?  Just thought you might like to know.

    Only reason I know is that we adjust the draw from our IRA every January and we have to take the inflation rate into account when we do that.  How do we take it into account?  I don’t remember, so I just e-mailed Ruth to find out her formula.

    And winter.  Sorta back.  I loved the guy in the Tribune this day who identified SDA:  Seasonal Disappointment Disorder.  That’s me.  A bad case.

    Still squeezing that budget to make it fit our income.  This shoe is sooo tight.  We have plenty of money, we just have too many expenses.  Ha.

    I’m definitely on the downswing with posts here.  More than made up for though by posts to ancientoftrails.com.  Check’em out if you enjoy other peoples vacation photos.

  • Monkey. Still. But, Making Progress.

    Beltane                                                                     Waning Last Frost Moon

    Whoa.  84.  Sometimes I think of the seasons as if we were on a moveable patch of earth.  On a day like today our patch got shifted on the seasonal moving belt to about Georgia.  Last week we were parked above the Canadian border for a while.  Who knows where we’ll go next.

    I have passed the 50% mark in reading Monkey:  Journey to the West.   That means I’m somewhere around 1,000+ pages in.  Hard to tell on the Kindle, though I know precisely how far I am in percentages.  This book is funny, wise, rollicking, supernatural and just a bit cynical.  Well, maybe a lot.  Yesterday I bought a book that features English works on the Chinese classics.  It has a lot to say about these favorites, but I’ve still found no commentary that helps me get, say, the wood, water, earth, fire, metal sequence or the names of some characters or the works referenced as if everyone knew them.  Next up, probably next year, is The Dream of the Red Chamber, the best of the six, in the opinion of several writers.

    While hunting for a picture to go with this post, I discovered that Neil Gaiman, author of the Sandman graphic novels and several fantasy novels started, back in March, on a screenplay for a trilogy based on Monkey.  Should be interesting.

    If you feel like you have the time, both Monkey and the Romance of the Three Kingdoms will more than repay the effort.  There’s a different culture at work here, sometimes a radically different one, but, at other times, radically similar.  That’s the power of reading works from other cultures, insights you can’t get any other way.

    A slow day.  Business meeting in the morning.  We scheduled a couple of days in July, post Kate’s second hip surgery, to go over our expenditures in the first six months of retirement, check them against our budget, see where we need to adjust.  Big fun.

  • Finishing the Puzzle–Not Quite Done. But Close.

    Winter                                                              Waning Moon of the Cold Month

    One more piece of the retirement puzzle should get put in place today, Medicaid part D for Kate.  We’re visiting an adviser recommended by both Ruth Hayden and RJ Devick  to help us sort through the overwhelming number of choices.

    Since last year we’ve added social security for both of us, withdrawals from the IRA, my pension, long term care insurance, Kate’s medicare, added funds to our cash savings and trimmed our budget some.  Now we just have to live a few months into this way of getting our cash together and see how it works.  Don’t anticipate any big problems.

    Seems like the most difficult part of all this is the setting up, making choices phase.  After that, barring disaster, things look reasonably smooth for us.  That way, we can just go back to life as we live it day to day.  Because we’ve done so much planning for such a long while now, the transition seems to have been easy, but, of course, it wasn’t.  Lots of legwork, phone calls, penciled in budgets, head scratching over rules and options.    Worth it  though.

  • Life

    Samhain                                       Waxing Thanksgiving Moon

    Another morning spent worrying our post-retirement budget, trying to make it fit our post-retirement income.  We’ll be able to do it and we’ll be fine: enough to eat, space and place to do things we love, but, like most folks, we won’t have as much as we would like.  Fancy trips don’t look too likely anymore.   Instead we’ll be splurging on long term care insurance, medicare part d and automobile insurance.  See a theme here?

    In this recession or technically post recessionary time those are huge pluses.  We’ll be able to contribute to the health of the planet, too, as well as sharing the arts with others, each in our own way.  Life continues and that, by itself, is good.

  • Life Is a Cabaret

    Spring                                                         Awakening Moon

    When we drove over to our financial consultant this morning, I looked up and saw a crescent Awakening moon tucked in behind three wispy rows of cirrus clouds.  The moon, faint and slightly out of place, added a moment of mystery.

    It was an omen.  Ever had a really pleasant surprise?  I had one, Kate and I had one this morning.  We sat down with Ruth, our consultant, and began going over this and that as we always do.  She got caught up on matters personal and physical like Kate’s back surgery and asked questions about Kate’s impending retirement at the first of next year.  That was why we were there, to make sure about our resources after Kate leaves full time medicine.

    We tossed ideas around and looked at a 2011 budget Kate and I did last week.  It was,  in my view, tight but manageable.   Ruth made a comment about the amount of money we had coming in from social security and pensions and then how much more we needed from money in Kate’s retirement account.  Wait?  What was that?

    We add the money from the retirement account to the social security and the pension?  My mind went blank for a minute as parts of me processed what this meant.  It meant I’d viewed our post-retirement budget from a very restricted perspective.  I had, for reasons I no longer understand, folded the our social security and pension payments into the total from the retirement account rather than adding them all together.  This means our available cash after Kate retires just went up by about 50%!  50% is a big number.  That means our budget goes from being adequate to pretty damned good.

    A pleasant surprise, indeed.

    Afterward, we ate lunch at Spoonriver, Brenda Langston’s place by the Guthrie.  I saw Brenda there and complimented her on her class and the restaurant.  It was a great, healthy and damned expensive lunch.  But, what the hell?  We can afford it.