Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Walking in his father’s Holocaust steps

We often share what we do in retirement.
Our friend, Al, is the son of a Holocaust survivor.
Today Al started a 170 mile force march
that his father took in the middle of winter in Poland.
His father was in his teens.
Al is a recently retired.
I can say that he has researched all aspects of his destroyed German Jewish family.

My retirement is lazy and comfortable.
Al’s is all about reminding us what can happen
When things go way too far.

Here is his vlog

Please join him on the journey
And share this with everyone you know-
especially those younger then we
who knew this generation well.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Closing the books

My books are closed for the year.
I paid every bill that we started in 2019
Some I pay forward
Here was today's work:
- groceries purchased
- cars are on full
- insurances
- electric bill
- cable bill
- Physical Therapy sessions
- Doctor bills (from injury)
and finally, the credit card bill is completely paid off.

We had two major purchases in 2019:
 new roof
 land for our new house

We did several trips this year:
Two to Phoenix
New York

We had two major medical incidents and one pet incident.

Nothing changed in income.
We did rolled the last of my husband's Traditional IRA into his Roth.
That will increase our income tax.
We chose to keep that money out from the actual funds.
Probably better not to, but it seemed the best decision at the time.

I added the roof and land back into our current balance
-they added to our net worth-
 to see how our money grew.

Overall we made about 9% between saving and interest.
We will begin 2020 about 1% less then 2019.

Clear as mud?

Outside of our regular savings
We also keep separate savings accounts In there we have:
 enough for half of a new car (three more years on this one),
Taxes, gifts and  insurance  until June (we begin to save for Jun- Dec tomorrow),
a month of emergency money,
 enough to fill the propane tank in March.

We do not keep track of each other's allowance,
but I know we each have enough for a toy or two if something comes up.

It only got a bit tight when we thought we may have had to help with
other family medical bills
but that passed
and we are back on our road of retirement.

And with that 2019 is a financial wrap.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

End of the year money round up

There is always this lull
after Christmas presents are purchased and wrapped
That I work on the books.

This year I am making a list of what I do in the next six weeks
for tax season
and next year.

Although I will have to wait to do taxes until March
because I will be waiting for documents
Everything will be ready for them to be sent.

Here is my list:

Close the books on my envelopes
Did I allocate correctly? What is left over.? What is the budget for next year?
Consider starting a new envelope for moving?
dogs and propane
auto repair and purchase
gifts and taxes (they are the same thing, right?)
take out/ special groceries
House repairs
  Personal Allowance (only to figure out the budget)

Pay off, every single thing that has posted, 
between Dec 31- Jan 1.
All of my spending that I did in 2019
needs to be paid for in 2019. 
I do not carry any negative balances into the new year.
No carry of credit card debt on 2020 money.

Print off the final statements, 
from every account, when they post in January
I am a hawk.
This one thing has saved me so many hours when preparing our taxes.

This will be first year for:
Calculate my husband's RMD for the year 
and prepare where it will be applied.
He will turn 70 1/2 in December 2020.
Almost all of his Traditional IRA accounts have been rolled in the last ten years.
What ever is left is divided by 27.4 
(how long the IRS plans before he dies)
and place that into an account.
What account will be a discussion. 

Calculate how much of my Traditional IRA should be rolled into a Roth, and do it.
I still have a larger T IRA
Right now the taxes are very much in favor 
of me rolling as much as possible next year. 
Until this year the emphasis has been on his IRAs
There are three years before my Social Security comes into play.
Roll, baby, roll.

Check rates on CDs 
Several CDs will mature soon.
Where will they go?
I just rolled some IRA money into a 3% CD
Oh, how I long for the days of 7%.

Do you have anything on your list that I am missing?

Sunday, December 8, 2019


My mother (89) and I had a chuckle yesterday
"It must have been crazy to try to
balance all Christmas things out for 22 people!"
"Seriously, I don't remember".

My mother does not remember much of our childhood.
No clear remembrance of any firsts except my oldest brother.

We all played tennis and swam, but there is no memory of meets, or games
or even sitting at the softball stadium all day, ever other day, in the heat of the summer
while each of us played in our own leagues.
Confirmations, even baptisms - five children in ten years.
It is all a blur.

She does not remember details after her father died when she was in high school
when the household went into poverty for a bit.
She does remember that she shared the wedding dress
with her two older sisters
but I had to explain why.

But there are things she does remember:
Her year as a clerk at the local hospital
Her year at college
Her time as the Vice President of the Junior League.
Her taking the trolly to school in downtown Phoenix.

The mind is an amazing thing, isn't it?
My mom can argue politics until she is purple
she keeps up with technology
she gets upset when her books don't balance.

Still, the memories that I treasure most in my mind
Are gone.
Mom has been older for a long time,
she hit elderly about three years ago...
and with that, only clearly happy memories come through.

It makes me ponder,
what will I remember?

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Who Knew?

About two weeks ago
A bout of anxiety and depression started.
Was it the news?
Or the move?
Or being tired?
Or surgery?
Jet lag?

The spiral has been significant.
Even with the trip to Hawaii,
I cannot seem to shake it.
My crazy driving (60,000 miles to see grands in two years)
has come to a sudden halt.

Tonight I expressed to a dear friend that I am just sad,
Really sad.
She and I shared prayer.

The back story is that I take very few medicines.
That is it.

Since I shattered my elbow I have been taking
2000 mg of Ibuprofen a day for the pain.
It does great.
My arm is comfortable.

I was prompted to look up Ibuprofen.
This is what I found on WebMD:
"Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: easy bruising/bleeding, hearing changes (such as ringing in the ears), mental/mood changes, unexplained stiff neck, signs of kidney problems (such as change in the amount of urine), visionchanges, symptoms of heart failure (such as swelling ankles/feet, unusual tiredness, unusual/sudden weight gain)."

I did mention to my doctor that my ears are now ringing ALL of the time.
I am also bruising a lot! I have a stiff neck, and 
the mood...oh the mood.

Who knew?
I am taking myself off of it,
Praying that is the answer.
At least I feel guided to this possibility.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Many hands make light work

The food pantry at my Church is in full swing.
We are small.
We normally giving enough groceries for a week
to 15 to 20 families.
Families come on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Our families usually are referred to us by the city
since we have no real "clearing" team.
I am on a mission to begin to get our elderly to come for help as well.

Most of the food is by donation in the bins at the Church hall.
You would be surprised how much food comes in two cans at a time.
Favorites are canned chicken, hearty soups, spaghetti and PB&J
A local deli gives us loads of bread
and a grocery gives us their "almost ready to throw out" produce
AND all of their 'old cakes"!

This time of year we are on double time.
I am sure you have seen lots of "State Food bank" ads for donations.
Unfortunately for us, the food bank charges us to buy the donated food.
Soooo---we set out begging.
Actually, people don't seem to mind
because they know we distribute well.

Last year we packed Thanksgiving for 82 families.
The families of one or two get turkey breast. The rest get a full bird.

We have a neighboring fully Spanish speaking parish
Usually we provide for about 20 families.
This year the number has jumped to about 40.
They prefer pork or chicken to turkey
and we are happy to fill their bags.
They get corn meal of tortillas as well.

This year the parish has been very generous.
We are still short about 20 turkeys, but we still have a week.
We have enough cakes, stuffing, milk, beans and corn for everyone
The Amish donate bags of potatoes and onions.

We also supply much of the base for the homeless shelter foods.

Many hands make light work,

What happens in your community during Thanksgiving.

PS- we turn around and do the same thing for Christmas!
Busy bees we are. Busy bees!

Friday, November 8, 2019

Celebrating with my sister in law

Two nights on the Pacific. Five to go. It is snowing at home. I love my life.