Wednesday, March 22, 2017

What to Do If Your Retirement Plan Needs Tweaking?

I'm a little more hopeful about figuring out a way to retire than I was the last time I posted. Several reasons for this:

  • I managed to put in a proposal for a summer workshop at my school district. I have no idea (and, frankly, little reason to hope) that it will be accepted, but it was an important first step.
  • I'm still working on getting my life in order. My toe is healing nicely, and it looks as though I will continue to improve mobility. That would make it easier to move around, and continue functioning as a teacher.
  • I've re-booted my novel revision, and will be continuing to slap that puppy into shape. Once I do, I plan to approach publication from 2 directions:
    • Send it out to potential publishers
    • If I don't at least get a nibble within a reasonable amount of time, self-publish and self-promote
  • I'll be continuing my writing - I keep dipping into the Chem ebook, and may realistically anticipate it being on the market by late summer - just in time for new teachers to discover it!
  • I'm keeping my eyes out for other, non-regular school jobs. I will start dedicating time to that after Easter break.
One significant direction to follow is to (1) reduce expenses, and (2) get the money that is in the pipeline already - taxes, refunds, lost funds, etc.

I plan to put most of my efforts on relatively short-term, or part-time opportunities. The goal is NOT to replace my full-time job with another, but to reduce the time spent in paid work.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Social Security Re-Do

After my foot checkup, I stopped at the Social Security office. I was seen relatively quickly (for not having had an appointment), and had a delightful and personable young man assist me. It was a complicated question, and he persisted, using the Chat function to get more expert assistance from another employee.

The Result?

I've withdrawn my application for SS that was in process. I had applied in my own name accidentally.

I have another appointment with a representative to discuss how to apply in my own name, which it appears WILL result in my getting some money - Yay!!!!

At this point, no one can tell me exactly how much. But, I'm OK with that - I just have to trust the process.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Or, Not.

Just got bad news - Social Security confirmed that I will NOT be eligible for money based on being a 'wife of'. So, that $400/month I was counting on is Gone With the Wind, so to speak.

It appears that the trouble is that I get a pension from OH teachers. That government pension (2/3 of it) is deducted from my SS money. Alas, it is actually higher than the money SS WOULD have provided.

So, no money. Until I'm 70, and can collect in my own name.

I could collect earlier, but I pay a penalty for doing so. In addition to the penalty I will pay in either case, to the tune of around $350 less in my SS check than other folks.

The girl (can't call her a woman, not with that tiny voice) at SS had to deliver the bad news. She did say something incredibly dumb: she cheerfully pointed out that once I had 30 years of SS-eligible work, I wouldn't lose any money. She continued with her perky positive attitude even when I pointed out that I would be 79 at that point.

I don't know what to do now. I counted on that money to make it possible to retire. It looks like I have to work for another few years, at least.

I'm really depressed now.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

What Do You Want to DO in Retirement?

Den and I were kicking around this very topic last night:

What do you want your retirement to look like?
Ways to get things done

I'm changing life-long habits

My husband indicated that he wants to see changes in how we do things at home. He wants me to schedule weekly chores, and become more organized (OK, he's right that I could definitely benefit from this).

I set up an erasable calendar, with just a few things scheduled. Later, once I get those things a part of a routine, I can add more stuff.

I have two calendars:

  • Monthly - it's erasable, and has been a great help in getting my commitments in front of my husband (I've try using online calendars, but he doesn't look at them). It's also helped me in daily/weekly planning.
  • A workweek-only one under the monthly one, with room for daily tasks/reminders.
So far, this system has been working for me.


Catholicism

My husband picked up a couple of the Matthew Kelly books at church. The organization Dynamic Catholic provides very low-cost books to churches, so they can put them in the hands of those attending. The first book, Rediscovering Catholicism, was designed to be given out at Easter and Christmas masses (Kelly had found that many sort-of Catholics only attended those masses, and thought it would be a good way to reach them).

If you go to their website, you can either order the individual books for the cost of the shipping - WELL worth the price - or your parish can sign up for their book program. I talked to my Director of Religious Education at my church, and we decided to order the books for our adult group 2 years ago. We read 4 Signs of a Dynamic Catholic, which I HIGHLY recommend. It formed the springboard to about 6 weeks of lively discussion in our group.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Technology Down!

I've been experiencing Kindle problems for a month or so. Slow to charge, not charging without several tries.

Yesterday, it gave up the ghost - would NOT charge, and wouldn't even flash to indicate that it was alive.

Naturally, I did a search to find the cure for my terminal bookholder. Finally found the answer at Eddie on Everything.

It's not completely up yet, but happily flashing the green light, so I have confidence that it will be usable this afternoon.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Part-Time Work For Post-Retirement

We've been in touch with an organization that is interested in working with us to put on a workshop for middle school science teachers. We've been asked to put together a proposal, and submit it. They already expressed an interest in the ideas, when I pitched them on it.

This is BIG! It's an activity that my husband and I can pursue even after we leave paid employment, in various parts of the country. I'm working on the proposal, and crossing my fingers that it is accepted for this summer.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Medicare Fraud Crack-Down

Notice, however, this is hitting the people behind the schemes, not the possibly tricked elderly.

Fraud taking money from government programs is a HUGE (YUGE?) thing. They range from doctors billing for non-existent treatment, to over-prescribing drugs for participants, to luring patients in with the promise of FREE stuff (mobility devices for ALL!).

It's not free - it is spending money that taxpayers don't have, to enrich people with no conscience.
With government programs, if you don't pay for something, it's not the same as getting it for FREE!

Someone - perhaps younger or future taxpayers - is paying for it. Free stuff comes at a cost - that money won't be available for other needs - defense of our borders, care for veterans, paying back the money that is already owed (here is a link to the National Debt Clock - the upper left hand corner shows the overall tally - other parts put that figure in context). That's all money SOMEONE has to pay for - and there are not that many rich people who can be forced to pay for it.

Payback will fall to those of us who work and pay taxes. That's about 53% of the population. A little more than 1/2 of Americans are responsible for paying for all of these 'give-aways'.

What can we do about this massive debt?
  • Put a halt to increases in programs. Sort out those who should not be getting money, or who are being overpaid (including government contractors).
  • Put all departments/agencies on an austerity budget - 5% less in their budget this year. They will have to chose which activities are core, and which are fluff.
  • Offer bounties to those who report fraud or abuses of government programs - if their evidence or information leads to a conviction/settlement, they get a cut.
  • If someone takes money they are not entitled to, it comes out of their:
    • Paycheck
    • Income tax refund/credit
    • Social Security check, if they haven't paid it off before they collect one
    • Other sources of income, including Federal/State/Local pension
  • Cut the waste. Stop those end-of-the-year purchases. If the agency/department doesn't spend everything, they return the money. NO bonuses if they spend to the limit. NO raises/promotions until the department's budget is at least 5% less than was budgeted.