Saturday, October 15, 2016

Managing the Paper Onslaught

Almost every day, I find 3-8 solicitations in the mail, that are tied to my age/approaching retirement.  Every one of them is designed to separate me from my money.

  • Medicare ads
  • Hearing aid offers
  • Insurance ads
  • Financial planning ads
  • Mortgage refi offers
  • Retirement property/retirement community flyers
I generally junk most.  A few I put into a folder, to be looked at when the need arises.  I wonder what percentage of the senior population acts on these offers.

I've divided my mail into groups:
  • Current bills - they go into the slotted dividers, to be acted on/paid when due
  • Information - two types
    • Tax info - in the box to be taken to the accountant after the first of the year
    • Long-term information - put into folders, and file away until needed
  • Junk - toss/shred and toss
  • Personal - my choice
By far the biggest group is junk.  I resist the temptation to load up on debt by immediately tearing the credit offers into pieces.

The same with receipts.  They are either important, and can be filed/put into the Tax box, or unimportant, and can be tossed.  By handling them immediately, I eliminate a source of clutter.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Still On the Fence

I would love to announce that my retirement date is set in stone.  But I can't.

We still have our Cleveland house, and, until that is sold, we will not be able to confidently state that we can afford to retire.  We should know more in a few months.

Other than that, life has been more stable.  We're S-L-O-W-L-Y clearing out the SC house - every time I start to see real progress, something happens to set us back.  However, the trend is still generally positive.

One major factor in the organizational improvement is the ability to scan documents.  Once a document is digitized, I can toss it into a box/file, and not have to look at it again.  Even better, as the marked box/file reaches a certain age, I can toss it, confident that I will be able to retrieve it, if necessary.

Only a relatively few documents need to be kept longer - licenses, certificates, etc.

We had a minor setback with the car situation - Den's car was totaled, and we ended up buying a new car - a hybrid.  Hopefully, the savings in gas will offset the pinch of a monthly payment.

I've been focusing on mini-changes - forcing myself to break big jobs into manageable small jobs, and interrupting other things - reading, watching TV, grading - with a quick mini-job that can be completed in that short stretch of time.  So far, it seems to be working.

As far as our retirement date, two possibilities are likeliest:

  • Retire at the end of next year, or
  • Den retire this year, me the next - in some ways, I favor the second option
The second choice would allow us to better manage the process, without forcing too large a financial change at once.  On the other hand, DJ and the other grandkids are fast growing, and we will never be able to get that time with them again.  I expect that we could manage, if we could sell the house by the end of the year.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Some Random Thoughts About Work

I'm on Lunch Duty (I spend my lunch period supervising students in the cafeteria) this week.  It's not that bad - there are other adults who do this, about 4 times a semester.

What it is, is NOISY!!!!

Kids in groups make a LOT of noise.  They talk loudly.  They laugh loudly.  They pound on the table, move around furniture, and talk - BOY, can they talk - always LOUDLY.

I forget, sometimes, just how loud kids can be.

Then, at the end of the day, I go home to my quiet, senior life.

And take a stiff drink.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Beyond COOL!

I've been playing around with Ham Radio for the last 2 years, mostly listening.  The times that I COULD make contacts, I'm usually tied up at work.  Too often, I settle in, expecting to have time to chat, but Den has other plans.  So, mostly, I've not been that active.

Today, I decided to try Echolink.  It uses the Internet to link up to other hams, which gives me the opportunity to connect throughout the world.  I was able to talk to another ham in the Raleigh, NC area today.

The process is VERY easy.  If you have a General license, the world is your oyster (so to speak).  Honestly, if I'd realized that it was so simple, I've have done it much earlier.

This should make communications much easier.  I'm going to try to find English-speaking hams in other countries over the next few months.

Life As an Imposter

One thing that makes the idea of retirement so scary is this:

We are trying something new.  We have no idea how to do it.  Each morning, we wake up to face the fact that our day will be totally up to us.

That's frightening for many of us, whose days were dictated by the demands of work, family, and routine.  Once we retire, it's up to us.

I've been testing out the waters of retirement.  As a teacher, I have summers off.  It's like a mini-retirement, a time that allows me the luxury of little structure, and where the day is designed by me.

I tried leaving my summer relatively open this year.  When June 1 arrived, I felt hopeful and excited.  At last, I would have the time to:

  • Organize and clean my house
  • Exercise and eat right
  • Spend time with my radio hobby
  • And, most importantly, write
I don't suppose that it would surprise anyone that NONE of that was accomplished very well.  Instead, I watched a lot of TV, read OTHER people's books, and spent entirely too much time on the Internet.

What went wrong?

I had plans, but little discipline.  When I woke, it was too easy to avoid showering and dressing until later in the day.  My computer acted like a Hoover, sucking me into a chair for long periods of aimless surfing.  With all that time, I began to procrastinate in a major way.

As a result, other than short blitzes of productivity, I did very little with that precious gift of time.

Part of the problem was that I felt, and acted, like a Wanna-Be, rather than an Already-Was.  I fell victim to the Imposter Syndrome.  I didn't believe that I was adequate, therefore, I began looking for more information to help me manage.  Hence, the descent into computers and books.

There is a TEDTalk that addresses how to improve your performance in many ways. See it here. 


Here is more about the Imposter Syndrome.

Making, and Keeping, a Household Schedule

I'm not an organized or particularly neat person. As a kid, I cleaned up my room immediately after my mother pitched a massive fit about...