Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Retirement and health care costs

We all know that health care costs are the wild card in planning financially for retirement - or before retirement for that matter. This is the best article I have seen on the topic. Hope it helps.

Next Avenue's blog article on Retirement health costs: Planning for the wild card

Monday, September 15, 2014

I'm declaring it walking week!

My attempt to PUSH myself to exercise more failed on my beach weekend with friends. The day we were to go kayaking I woke up with an unforgiving headache and nausea. So I stayed home and shut my eyes and took medicine. The next morning I was fine but then we drove home so no exercise this past weekend.

My intent is to take a long, exercise focused walk each day this week and I got off to a good start this morning. The dog got her short walk and came home and then I went out again without her.

The weather has here has turned towards Fall with a bit of cooling making walking outside an option again. If we have a rainy day I have a walking exercise dvd to use.

I am going to continue with following my PUSH goals. Here is what I did do in week 1 despite the kayaking fail:

Push myself physically
- Strength: Heavy yard work 2 1/2 hours; sorting/moving donated books 4 hours 
- Aerobic: Walked dog 6 times
- Weight: Lost the 3 pounds I put on over vacation; 10 to go

Push myself mentally
- Nothing I can think of!
Push to engage deeply in a hobby/activity
- Signed up for a Craftsy sewing with knits class

Push to be more outgoing
- Phone calls with brother and a cousin
- Lunch with a friend
- Beach weekend with 6 friends - I kept thinking of reasons not to do this, but pushed myself to go ahead and go on this trip.
- RSVP sent for a large party - the kind I find hard to attend

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

That pesky planning for 2015 finances and goals

Once again my father in law took a sleeping pill and a few hours later got out of bed to use the facilities and fell. He wasn't hurt thank goodness, but had to call for assistance in getting up. So the place he lives had to notify us (on the other side of the country) and that was at 3:30am. I couldn't go back to sleep and am really shattered as the Brits would say.

Forging ahead I grabbed an extra cup of coffee and went to the library to put in my time sorting, pricing and packing donated books and media items for our next Friends of the Library sale and am happy to note that the one over Labor Day weekend made $5475+ which was a good take. The donations keep coming like a flood though so we are on to preparing for the next one. Then I went out to lunch with a friend as I still needed to go to the grocery store and drugstore on that side of town. Right now I am debating the wisdom of a nap vs. more coffee. Even the dog has decided on an early nap as I messed up her sleep schedule too.

Yesterday I started thinking about next year's finances and family goals. I am trying to cut back in some areas so we can save even more and still travel as much as we want and need to. So far I have eliminated life insurance for me due to my inheritance and not bringing in any income that needs replacing. We will keep hubby's as he is working through 2017 and since he hasn't started receiving his pension the amount I would get as a widow would be smaller than the survivor's share once he is.

I also really looked at my clothing situation and came up with a very short list of things I actually NEED - waterproof walking shoes for winter, replacement running shoes and sandals in the spring and some underwear. I am going to take a sewing with knits Craftsy course so I will be making some items as an interesting challenge and hobby for myself. If I actually limit my shopping to that my clothing budget will be low. Hubby needs to replace much of his wardrobe as he has lost weight he didn't need or want to lose due to a chronic illness and has reconciled to not being able to put it back on in the foreseeable future. He gets the bulk of the clothing budget.

We have to decide what to do about the need for a retaining wall in a hidden area of our yard. I am leaning towards shoring up what is there rather than spending a lot on a new one. I want to spend money on travel - at least 2 visits each to N and S California to see our kids and other family, one trip to NH to see family and a vacation trip to Santa Fe or NYC. Hubby will probably go see his Dad at least 2 additional times so it adds up quickly.

However, I am confident that our gift budget will be much smaller as we have no planned large gifts to family. No planned technology upgrades, no planned home improvements or large repairs and no planned new large health care expenses for us or the dog. There are always unplanned ones though aren't there? So right now our bottom line for next year looks good and planning is all I can do.

Although I won't know what increases we have in health, car and home insurance costs, property taxes, cable fees, etc. until later, I do know they will all go up. Starting to think about where to spend vs. where to save may also help out this last quarter of 2014.

Have you started thinking about your budget or plans for next year? How do you approach it?

I'm such a lucky girt!

I was talking to someone this morning who is heading off soon on vacation and you would think they were being taken to a dreadful event or place. Anticipatory negativity - not worth the effort. Why think like that when you can be grateful and look for the good in what has happened, what you have and what is ahead?

So I am going to go through my 65th year with the "I'm such a lucky girl!" attitude. Right now I am thinking I am lucky to -
 Have had these two as parents! My cousin gave me this photo of my parents probably taken before my brother was born as he is not in the photo. Mom was pregnant with one of us LOL. They wanted a family very badly and were glad to have us and did their best to be good parents.
And here we are in 1952 with our Mom

 And probably the late 1960s with my Dad and Grandpa in the corner there.

And I'm such a lucky girl to have family and friends who not only gave me a birthday party or came and to celebrate with me.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Theme for my 65th year is PUSH

Can you describe your goals, everyday focus and dreams in one word or a phrase? How do you come up with that?

I've read about doing this as a substitute for New Year's resolutions and decided to try it for my 65th year. I've always seen my birthday as the start of a new year for me and it probably goes back to how we went back to school soon after my birthday. Now schools start much earlier at least where I live, but for me September 1st is not only my birthday but also when I think about what I want to focus on in my life.

I thought about several words that sum up what I want for myself during this year of life - active, amazing, beyond expectations, dynamic, thrive and so on. However I think the word PUSH will be my theme.

It is clear from my thoughts about what I want and need to:
  • Push myself physically - I want strength building, stretching and aerobic activity to become  habits as necessary as brushing my teeth; also to get my weight down 10 pounds as a health benefit issue
  • Push myself mentally - I love to learn and problem solve and don't thrive without it
  • Push to engage deeply in a hobby/activity - I find purposeful activity makes life more meaningful and developing hobbies and other activities and then diving deeply into them provides that meaning
  • Push to be more outgoing - I tend to be reticent so making sure I socialize more and connect more deeply with friends and family is important and the benefits speak for themselves
So I had better get started!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Back to routine with memories of a great week in CA

We have been busy since we got home Friday night. Laundry, groceries, dog walking, yard work, bill paying and other catch up stuff. Today I started back with my usual activities including volunteering.

I'm enjoying the memories of our trip still and what keeps popping into my head are of course the lovely birthday party my kids made for me - I felt very loved and celebrated, nice walks in Pasadena, and a trip up to the top of Mt. Wilson for a picnic and walk around which brought back lots of memories as we went there a lot when we lived nearby. We also had a fun brunch with one son and his sweetie while the others went off to visit friends. Add in visits to elderly relatives and lunch with a cousin and all in all it was really a lovely vacation.

Now I am thinking about what to take with me to my girls weekend at the beach in GA. Such a tough life!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Just to prove there was cake

And it was absolutely delicious. A wonderful 65th birthday celebration with family and friends.