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Showing posts from 2017

Busy, Busy

As promised, I got back on track this week. I cleared up a lot of paperwork early in the week, and, today, I am working on planning, financial stuff, and getting my radio receiver ready for the Eclipse.

I had a good visit with the Chiropractor yesterday, about my shoulder problem. I've had increasingly more difficulty moving my left arm, and a lot of pain. It's also affected my sleep, as anytime I turn over, I wake up in pain. I got a new treatment - based on Sonic Waves - that breaks up scar tissue and brings in increased blood flow to old injuries. I can't say that I immediately felt better, but I felt no worse. I'm planning on 6-12 visits, at $39 a visit. Not a bad cost, considering, and - if it helps - will have been worth it.

I've been working on getting in better shape, but I probably overdid it when I injured my shoulder. Serves me right - I'll definitely take it slower next time.

I'm slowly making headway in the house. I'm limited in the amount …

Getting Back on Track

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I started off strong - really, I did. When I first retired, I had the strength of 10. But, as the summer passed, I lost my Mojo.

The first thing to go was my dedication to daily upkeep of the house. I found myself weakly saying, maƱana.


Then, I began raiding the fridge. I packed on a lot of the weight I had lost in the last semester I worked.


Lastly, I began skipping my revision schedule. I read aimlessly, both on- and offline.

I started taking naps. Like a 3-year old.

So, unless I want to become this:


I need to re-boot my life plans.

I started Tuesday morning by getting cleaned up and dressed. I got to work with revising my Chem book, planning my week, and cleaning up the kitchen.

Together, Den and I planned a healthy breakfast, conferred about our schedules, and made the bed (that last is not easy to get done early, if you have a partner - like mine - who likes to sleep in).

I didn't manage to check-in with the Ham Radio NET today, but I did re-set my radio for the local repeaters (I ha…

Changes to Medicare - How They Will Affect You

Obamacare has a wider impact than the people who are forced to comply with its many provisions. It will have an effect on Medicare, as well.
Despite the constant political rhetoric that Medicare payment reductions affect only providers and not beneficiaries, funding cuts for Medicare services will directly affect those who depend on those services. If Obamacare’s major reductions are implemented by Congress over the coming decade, seniors’ ability to access Medicare services will surely diminish. Obamacare can be considered a success, judging from the OMB's reports.

Unfortunately, those reports can only work from data/constraints they are given. Such limits mean that, depending on the questions/framework/data comprising their analysis, ACA looks like a raging success.

Which, it isn't.

In too many Americans' minds, debt of a government should just be paid by all those high-earners who greedily grab all the available money in an economy.

Funnily enough, a substantial number of…

Bouncing Back From Setbacks

I was reading (nothing much, just noodling around), and found this link to Bouncing Back After Setbacks, and the resilience needed to do so.

Resilience is the (according to Dictionary.com):
abilitytorecoverreadilyfromillness,depression,adversity,orthe like;buoyancy One factor that is not fully appreciated by many parents is the importance of experiencing Failure - AND recovering from it.

Some lessons from a school that has studied the successes - and failures.

I'm going to start a regular post on At Last - Retiring for Good, that focuses on Things Kids Need to Learn From Grandma. If you'd like to be added to the list, go here and put your information into the link form.

UPDATE: Beware Those 'Helping' You

I previously posted on the UN-helpfulness of the AARP brand, which purports to work for seniors, but seems more inclined to exploit them. Today's Forbes has an article that explains more about this.

One facet of their conflict of interest with seniors:
The AARP is also one of the largest private health insurers in America. In 2011, the AARP generated $458 million in royalty fees from so-called “Medigap” plans, nearly twice the $266 million the lobby receives in membership dues. There's more, and it's worse:
AARP Medigap plans are exempted from most of Obamacare’s best-known insurance mandates. AARP Medigap plans are exempted from the ban that requires insurers to take all comers, regardless of pre-existing conditions.

Beware Those 'Helping' You

I've never belonged to AARP. My husband joined, just for the discounts (probably MOST peoples' motivation).

I've heard about the immense profit AARP makes selling companies access to seniors (you do know that they are a large driver of all that junk mail you receive, don't you?). This gives more evidence for the charge that they are not so much a lobbying group, as a predator.
...most of AARP’s revenues do not come from the “members” it purports to represent. The group’s primary source of income is from royalties it receives from its AARP branded health insurance plans, which enjoy exemptions from some of Obamacare’s more onerous taxes and fees.

Untangling the Mess That is Roadside Service

We're heading out next week to a Physics conference, and, as we are traveling via car, my husband asked me to check out Roadside Assistance.

Specifically, did we still have it, or could we get it, on our cell phone plan?

The short answer is no. It was discontinued in 2012.

The long answer:

Sprint - they don't have itAARP - I keep getting information about the WONDERFUL, heavily DISCOUNTED perks you can get for membership in AARP.I never really did join, but they keep sending their magazine each month, along with a card that says I'm a member. Most places accept it for discounts without actually checking to see if I AM a member.I checked their website. They do have a Roadside Assistance plan listed. I click on the link, which pops up a box warning me that YOU ARE LEAVING AARP FOR ANOTHER SITE! I click OK and end up on the site - Allstate. Yes, I think it is somehow affiliated with the insurance company.I check out the rates. Not that cheap, unless you are a single person onl…

Part B - Here At Last!

It was a long time coming. I had to make a second trip to Social Security offices to make sure that I received it.

I really don't know how it happened that the application slipped through the cracks. I do credit the time and attention that the employee of that office dedicated to un-earthing the problem, and correcting it.

The Moral of the Story?

Follow-up on EVERYTHING. Don't assume that the paperwork will go through.

It also took considerable time for my SC retirement purchase of time to get moving forward. Full Disclosure: a good portion of that was MY fault. The process is so time-consuming, and filled with paper going back and forth, that I threw up my hands several times, and resolved to deal with it at a later time.

That delay cost me money. I'm going to be MUCH more diligent in the future on follow-up.

Part of my time this summer, and into the fall, will be to automate paperwork, organize our stuff and get rid of clutter, and take care of business that had become a…

Have You Prepared Well Enough?

This is a hot-button issue. All of the literature regarding saving for retirement suggests that there soon may be a glut of aging bums on the streets.

But, is that a realistic outcome?

Statistics suggest "Yes".

First, I have to point out that retirees are divided into two major groups:

Those with pension plans that will provide a specific amount of money each month (called Defined Benefit plans). Those with these plans include:Police, Firemen, and other government workersTeachers and full-time workers in schoolsMilitary - it may not be a BIG benefit, but it is a stable oneSOME workers in larger corporationsThose with pension plans that do not guarantee a certain benefit (called Defined Contribution plans). Most people have these.These include 401(k)s and other tax-free contribution plansMany employers will match or even double the contributions made by their workers. Too many people don't even make minimal contributions in their early years, if at all.If people leave their…

What's YOUR Reason?

Your reason to get out of bed in the morning.

Other than having to go to the bathroom, I mean.

The Z-Man brings up the question of how society will handle all of the unemployed people in the future. He sees this situation as potentially disorienting for the society, as well as disturbing and depressing for the individuals.

I haven't thought of myself as unemployed. I've thought of myself as commencing the next chapter of my life. For me, the idea of having the time to write was exciting. It didn't concern me with thoughts of - However will I fill that time?

Others have different perspectives on retirement. My husband has made, and postponed, retirement plans for several years. Recently, he acknowledged that he thinks of working at an outside as something he will always do, at least on a part-time basis.

Recently, he has been urging me to think about moving closer to family back in OH or PA. I'm not totally against the idea, but would hate to leave a more agreeable clima…

Roundup of Old Posts

I was browsing around the backend of this blog, and I noticed that some of my earlier posts had not received the traffic that I anticipated. Part of this is that I have become better at promoting my work, and part of this is that the topics have built interest over time.

In no particular order, here are a few that I think worthy of posting again:

Digital Natives?

50 Years Since High School

My First Experience with Medicare

Dipping My Toes into Uncharted Waters

Retirement Prep

Handling Chronic Pain (NOT at the level of end-stage cancer pain)

A SERIOUS Hot-Button for Women


WEP, Explained (Sort of)

The idea behind WEP - the Windfall Elimination Provision - is that a FEW people were taking advantage of the ability to get a government pension, then take a non-government job, and get Social Security benefits, as well. According to Wikipedia:
"The Windfall Elimination Provision (abbreviated WEP[1]) is a statutory provision in United States law[2] which affects benefits paid by the Social Security Administration under Title II of the Social Security Act. It reduces the Primary Insurance Amount (PIA) of a person's Retirement Insurance Benefits(RIB) or Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) when that person is eligible or entitled to a pension based on a job which did not contribute to the Social Security Trust Fund. While in effect, it also affects the benefits of others claiming on the same social security record." How it affects me: both my husband and myself worked primarily in teaching jobs over the last 25+ years. My husband is less affected, as he had more of a history…

Budgeting for Retirement

My Father's decision to retire early

My father had received a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer from his doctor, when he was 60. He was naturally quite flummoxed, and wondered what to do.
He returned to work after the news, and made a list of his expenses, his current income, and his income as it would be if he retired. He also noted which expenses would drop if he did retire early, such as commuting expenses, lunches out, and clothing purchases/dry cleaning.
He found that he would LOSE money if he continued working.
He turned in his forms that day.
Was it a good choice? Well, he lived another 16 years, and was able to pursue his hobbies, spend time with his family, and enjoy the freedom of not having to answer to others.
I'm not that lucky. I've generally earned more in the last 10 years, and will stand to lose some income as a result of my decision to retire. That's even after factoring in reduced expenses.
For me, it's worth it, for the freedom it gives me to pursu…

Is This Blog Hard to Read?

I made another change - what can I say? I get bored with the same look.

I do need feedback - is the white on a dark background a bad idea? Answer in the comments.

Moving Forward with the Paperwork

It's a slow process - a VERY slow process.
The NC check came yesterday - MONTHS after I sent in the paperwork. However, it did come, and is currently in the hands of the SC Retirement people. I made a physical trip down there this morning, to make sure that the money would be in their hands today.It looks I've started getting the SC retirement money - my bank is showing the first check (e-deposit) is pending. Don't know how the NC money will affect that. It may mean I have to refund the June money, and take the first month as of July. We'll see.I'm getting the piddling SS money ($8/month). However, I won't be taking my SS as a worker until at least January of 2018. Maybe longer, it depends on how long Den is working, and if I can scrounge extra money up - either teaching a college class, or writing for magazines, or something.I'm still waiting on the new Medicare card. The old one only shows Part A. However, on the web, it does show that Part B is there, as …

Roadblock to Progress

My back is hurting - I think it's just a mild strain, not major organic damage, but I'm taking it easier this weekend. I wasn't able to show up at the 2017 ARRL Field Day for my radio club, but I couldn't take a chance on making it worse.

I didn't even go to church this morning. Like I said, taking it REALLY easy.

Our cable is out - the lawn guy accidentally cut the cable, so, until around 4 pm today, we're off the grid - at least for Dish.

I'm using the Roku, which works off our OTHER cable, for Internet. I've found an interesting program, The Man in the High Castle. It's a sci-fi look at what America would have looked like, had Hitler won. It's based on a story by Phillip Dick.

It's another one of the Amazon Prime offerings - no charge for Prime customers (which, about 6 out of 10 people in the US are).

I was blown away by the first of the Prime shows I found - Z - The Beginning of Everything. I'm just waiting impatiently for Season 2.

Success! Finally Got Part B in Process!

I really don't know what happened, or why my personal visit to the offices to get my Part B signup did not work.

All I knew is that my Part B coverage wasn't showing up on the website.

I tried calling - not a good idea - I spent HOURS on the phone, without success.

So, this week, I got into the car, drove about 2 miles down the road, checked in and waited for almost 45 minutes (I didn't have an appointment), and saw a representative.

Who was immediately helpful.

I now have Part B coverage.

Now, I will need to set up the arrangements for paying for it, but - I'm in, without a penalty.

Penalty?

Yeah. It turns out that if you don't sign up at 65, for BOTH Parts A and B, you will have to pay a penalty for the rest of your life in the form of higher premiums.

The exception - which I qualified for - is for those over 65 who are still working (which, until 6/1/17, I was). I just needed to show them the form CMS-L564, signed by my former employer, which verified that I had…

Untangling Medicare, Part II

Part A - Check
Part G - Check
Part D - Check

Ironically, the one that Medicare administers is the one that I've had the hardest time getting verified. I've spent several hours online and on the phone, but can't get an employee to check the system, and tell me whether my coverage is in process.

In contrast, the private sector, responsible for Parts G and D, have been quick - responding to me within hours, carefully making sure that my questions are answered, and generally performing quite well.

Second Week of Retirement

I slowed down on the re-organizing; my husband threw out his back, and I had to chauffeur him to the doctor's, work, and other places. Can't let a man on drugs drive.

I did manage to get my Pi set up (although it appears that my NOOBS SD card may have become corrupted - I'm ordering another one from Amazon - it's cheaper to get one already loaded, than to buy a blank one).

I'm revising the novel, and have started tracking my progress - I'm aiming for 700 words a day - it's slower work, and I'm cutting almost as much as I'm adding. I'm going to start planning for Monday today, and work on getting my plan in place before quitting each day.

Monday will be a heavy paperwork/government contact day. I may need to spend as much as 1-2 days a week on that for a while. I'm getting things done, but the pace is slow.

Field Day is next weekend - that's the 24-hour club activity, where we make as many contacts as possible, and use the event to introdu…

Retirement, One Week In

It's been good.

My house is on the road to organization. In other words, small pockets of it are cleared out. I have a LONG way to go.

Part of this, I realized after talking to my sister-in-law, whose home I'd always thought perfectly lovely, is that the modern no longer goes through this purge process once a year (Spring Cleaning). I never valued it before, but doing a regular yearly 'turn-out' is something desperately needed in American life. It might be a good plan for a small business, for someone who is mega-organized. Not a professional organizer, but just someone who can come in and nudge that person to:

Put away in some organized fashionGive awaySellThrow out This can be an overwhelming task, needing weeks of planning, moving stuff out of where it's at, cleaning the containers, and putting back ONLY what should be kept. It's not a fast process.
I'm doing it in bite-sized hunks. Much more, and I'd be facing massive back issues, as the task is hard…

First Days of Retirement

AWESOME!

Just AWESOME - that's all I have to say about it.

I made MAJOR progress on cleaning up the house - bathroom - Check! Living Room - In Process. Desk Cleared - Check! Office - In Process.

My goals this month are clearing out paperwork backlog, and general cleaning and organization.

So far, so good.

On the Road Problems

I've been trying to use the Mobile version of Blogger - kept getting kicked out of the app. I didn't bring my usual laptop this week, as I didn't think I'd have that much time to work on things.

I'm going to write, but not post again until Monday. If I can, I'll schedule the post(s) before that time.

Next Step in Medicare Sign-up - Part D

The government does make it RELATIVELY painless to sign up (well, other than that paying for it thing). You can go to the site by Googling:

Medicare part d signup

Or, just go to this site to find plan comparisons.

Once there, your access to plans is partly determined by your location, so the first step is to enter your zip code.

You will be asked a few questions (I Don't Know is an acceptable answer).

This takes you to a page where you can enter your on-going medications (if this isn't something you need, you can skip it, but if you take regular meds, it will make a difference to the cost of the plans).

You will want to enter your standard medications on the list (easy-peasy), then select one of the 3 options (the first one is for buying Part D separately from your Part B, which your person signing you up should have told you if you needed this). Check the first box and compare plans.

NOTE: pay attention not just to the monthly cost, but to the overall yearly cost - that last o…

Organizing The Paper Clutter

This is one of the BIG things I have to do over the next 3 months or so. We have a ridiculous amount of loose paper around our house.

This paper onslaught comes from several sources:

Work papersPaycheck stubs, communiques from our benefits department, receiptsRelated to professional activitiesPD (professional development)Continuing coursework and CEUsMailing list items, catalogs, random CD/DVDsPTRA - we provide workshops for teachers - this will continue even after retirementStudent work - this will be less of a problem, as I will no longer be generating these. But, Den still has responsibilities to maintain records and grade papersFinancialBillsFinancial investmentsBanking statementsRefunds in process, warrantiesTaxesHobby/ChurchRadio and electronics (me) - I recently built a workbench in the attic, and will be moving most, if not all, of my gear to that spaceMagazines, mailing offersChurch bulletins, Catechist paperwork and materials, reference materialsMedicalThis is getting to be m…

Untangling Medicare

I've been hip-deep in the morass that is our Government-Issued/Overseen Health Care for Seniors for the last few months. I did NOT put enough time into it to be sure that I am making good choices, but I plan to monitor the situation, and re-assess as I approach the Open Enrollment period, so I can decide whether to keep that assortment of plans, or change them.

I'm in uncharted waters here. I've only had access to work-connected health insurance, and my choices were limited to a few plans. At most companies, the Benefits department does a reasonably good job of explaining the pros and cons of different plans, making decision much easier.

Two parts of Medicaid were easy - Parts A and B. I signed up for A last year when I turned 65, but didn't add B until I retired. No sweat, there was no real choice to make for these. Same for everyone.

I spent some time wrestling with which of the alphabeted plans to select, and decided on Plan G - it has coverage for illnesses/acciden…

Almost Done!

I've moved out the big stuff (metal carts with equipment, for example, and my scanner/printer). I was able - with the assistance of my husband, who really didn't complain too much - to get my room clear of everything except what I can manage in my car on Tuesday.

I need to go in that day, as I still have a few loose ends - inventory, checkout list, Medicare paperwork - to get tidied up.

But, that will be IT!

I was hot and sweaty after all that work - went straight home, and took a quick shower.

I know there are probably more important things to focus on - world peace, adequate food and medicine for kids, no more Kitty videos on Facebook - but, my deepest desire is that hot and cold running water should be a goal for everyone on Earth.

It is SUCH a pleasure to be cool and clean after hard work. So many people in the world do not have access to clean water, let alone running water. For them, I do hope that governments can stop putting less important things ahead of that simple, …

One Week to Go

By this time on May 30, I will be preparing for my last day teaching.

Oh, it's possible that I might work as an adjunct, a substitute (particularly in a long-term job - 1-3 months, typically), or a tutor.

But, full-time employment may be permanently over.

Or, not.

Sometimes, plans change. Usually, there is a financial incentive. Some crisis hits, and the budget takes a hit. One or the other (or both) of the retirees needs to return to paid work, for a time.

Sometimes, there are other factors - boredom sometimes sets in, and paid employment is used to fill empty hours. I don't fault those who do so - I can imagine a time where, in an effort to re-connect after a spouse's death, one of us might choose a part-time job. It certainly beats withering away from loneliness.

I can't guarantee the future. But, as of now, this is the plan.

I'll post more over the next few months, as I adjust to the change in my routines - how I structure my days, ways I change my spending, th…

The Countdown Continues

6 more days with kids (the last two days, I have no students, which should make it easier to organize, clean, and complete all of the end of the year stuff). Right now, I'm exhausted.

The up side is the faculty meeting was canceled, so I'm able to leave in about 10 minutes - which, I plan to. I usually stay late, but not tonight.

Wednesday, 5/17/17 - I did stay later, to finish some activities, but, still left earlier than usual.

I have almost all of my students in 1st Block either taking the Final, or exempting. Only 1 non-senior, who will be taking the Final next week. So, I'll plan on off-loading him in another class on Thursday, to take advantage of that time to get some organizing and inventory done.

Later - 1:20 - I'm waiting for my students to arrive. Really, the Physics students have generally been delightful this year, although a little passive and low-key. They seldom get over-the-top excited about anything.

To be honest, almost all of my students are sweetie…

Off the Fence

It's official. I submitted my retirement letter today. Already heard back from Benefits.

I do feel relieved. Actually making a decision is less stressful than avoiding making one.

I'm going to spend the rest of this week catching up on grades, making notes about what to take and what to pitch, and planning for the transition.

Trudge, Trudge...

...and, I'm nearly there!

I just completed the paperwork (oh, I do hope I did it right!) for transferring my NC Teacher's pension to SC. I'm crossing my fingers, but - in the back of my mind - won't be totally surprised if I have to re-do all, or part, of it.

D-Day is Thursday - that's Decision Day - I have to either sign my contract, or I'm automatically NOT renewed for the next year.

I'm about 80% sure that I won't sign. I don't need to babysit DJ (pity, I was kind of looking forward to it), but my dear SIL is apparently facing another bout with cancer, and my daughter may need me, at least occasionally, in the fall.

I have PLANS!

Writing is # 1 - I have been chomping at the bit to get started. I've upped my blogging regularity, and have been keeping a journal, as well. I figure that it will take me a week or two to get fully in the swing of daily production, but - watch out, World!Cleaning and Organizing - both a good cleaning of the entire ho…

The Significance of May 7th

Today would have been my father's 95th birthday. Instead, he died just before his 76th.

Dad was born in New Martinsville, WV, May 7, 1922. His father, Emzley Martin Ruble (spelling of that first name varies considerably in official documents), died in 1929, when my Dad was 7. Within a few short years, my grandmother Delphia Delia had lost the money the insurance had provided, due to bad investments, and was forced to place my Dad with relatives, along with all but the youngest two children. Later, when the eldest two were grown and married, he lived with them.

His stories about his time on his grandfather Edgell's farm were few - he merely said that he did NOT like the farmer's life. One time, he mentioned that his grandfather was quite stern, even harsh, in his treatment of him and his grandmother. But, he mentioned it only that once. His other grandfather, Taylor Ruble, was a very kindly man, and he had good memories of him.

Grandma Ruble was a very quiet and sweet woman…

One Reason to Write

This post sparked mine today.

I've been writing (slowly, one anecdote at a time) my memories of my youth, and the stories that I remember being passed down from parents, grandparents, and other long-lived people.

I was fortunate - in my mother's family, old age was the default - my grandparents were born in the 19th century, and passed on stories of their youth. My father's family was equally long-lived, but not as talkative (WV vs. Irish-descent). Still, I have an aunt by marriage whose passion is genealogy, and who had compiled a bookshelf of clippings, copies of newspaper stories, and charts of the family, back to pre-Colonial times.

If you aren't on Ancestry.com (and, I don't blame you - the price has risen shockingly!), you might want to use a word processing program or app - Google Docs is easy to use, and can be shared with others easily - to write down your memories - personal, or what has been told to you.

If you'd rather, set up a videocam, and record…

Caring for Senior Hair

It's tough.

Senior hair, consisting of mostly grey hairs, is usually quite fragile. Unless you take great care to condition, treat it, and handle it gently, you may have straw-like hair that breaks easily, and is hard to style.

So, totally unsolicited or compensated, here are my Rules for Caring for Senior Hair.

At a maximum, only ONE process - coloring, straightening/curling - you have to make a choice, or your hair's health will suffer. Grey hair is more fragile than hair with more pigment. Two or more processes will stress it more than it can take.If you are more than 50% grey, stop coloring your hair. It's less aging to go natural than to have the hair not match the face's age. We need to re-claim our natural hair's beauty.Here are some tips for the transition. For more advice, and some photos to inspire you, go here. FWIW, Helen Mirren is my hero - I have hair very like hers - fine and moderately wavy, but relatively thin. I usually take a picture of her into t…

Still Teetering on that Fence

Now, another possible twist that affects my decision.

The mother of my youngest grandson may be returning full-time to finish her bachelor's degree, and MAY need some child care.

Oh, darn! How inconvenient! I may just have to think about that!

NOT!

I'd LOVE to spend extended time with him, and, also, with his older sister (whom I don't know that well, but would like to - she seems to be both intelligent and lovable).

I should find out what the updated situation in Cleveland is by sometime next, leaving me with a last-minute decision to make. Den is leaving it up to me.

Like Willie Nelson...

...we're on the road, again.

We are traveling to Cleveland, to take care of some residual business with the house we sold. The contractor (or his people) took stuff out of the house while it was being renovated, then gave us a bum check, as did his mother-in-law. We're making sure that their home has a lien on it, and can't be sold without paying that money they owe us.

Other than that, we'll be seeing people, and celebrating our youngest grandson's 1st birthday. Truly a great bunch of reasons to travel.

It looks - says she CAUTIOUSLY - as though I WILL be able to retire at the end of the year - now, whether that means the school or the calendar year is still up for grabs. We'll be meeting with a financial planner in May to discuss just how this will be done.

Back and Forth, Back and Forth

I'm SO on the fence about retirement. On one hand, if it were totally up to me, I'd already have my papers in.

DH is more focused on having our income replaced before leaving. If not, at least having a much bigger pile of cash in our TSA (Teachers' Savings Account - a special type of investment available only for Teachers and a few other nonprofit employees).

So, the Back and Forth.

Today, I'm planning to work on taxes. By the middle of the week, I hope to have them done, and have updated a list of what we owe. On the trip to Cleveland, then, we can talk about how to manage the transition to debt-free (if we agree on the basic premise), and have a clear understanding of how much of each of our paychecks to dedicate to that process.

I COULD do another year, but I'm more inclined to commit myself only to until the end of the calendar year (2017) - at that point, if I decide I've had it, replacing me at a semester change would be less of a problem. A lot depends o…

Some Help for Finding Lost Things

How Much Money Do YOU Need?

Years ago, when I was attending an Amway seminar, I was struck by something that was said:
Retirement is not a matter of how old you are, it's whether you have the money to walk away from paid employment. It is true. One of my fellow teachers, who had been just hanging in there for several years, recently let the administration know she was leaving at the end of the school year. (both being tired of teaching, and physically exhausted because of medical problems - I don't know, but I suspect that it was a self-reinforcing loop - she was not well, so didn't enjoy the teaching, and she didn't enjoy her working hours, so tended to make her sicker).

She didn't have the age to get Social Security yet, so hesitated to retire, because of the need for medical. This year, she realized that her retirement savings could make up that shortfall until she qualified for SS.

And, she will be gone - hopefully, to enjoy the rest of her life.

Most people are hugely in debt (we have mo…

What to Do, Continued

Den and I were at church today, and heard a visiting priest talk about a charity effort that supplied low-cost, solar-powered computers to poorer countries. Den was so motivated, that he approached the priest after the mass to see if he could volunteer. He was not sure, but suggested that we contact the sponsoring organization.

It made us think. One of the possible choices we have is to start our retirement, not with a luxurious cruise, but with an extended volunteer experience (probably NOT Haiti, at least in late summer/early fall - the hurricane season will be in full gear by then). It would be great to have an opportunity to pass on our science/computer/ham radio experiences to another generation.

What about YOU? Are there life opportunities that you might, in retirement, be able to pursue for the first time?

In the comments, tell me about them.

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 publishersIf I don't at least get a nibble within a reasonable amount of time, self-publish and self-promoteI'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 …

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.

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 k…

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 provide…

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.

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.

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 a…

I'm Getting Afraid to Answer the Phone

Have you ever experienced a time when seemingly everyone around you is:

SickUnemployed or short of moneyExperiencing personal traumasOne foot in the graveDepressed (often for good reasons - situational, not endemic)And otherwise not in a good place? That's my situation right now. In my own family, both my brother and sister are not well (my brother is in the hospital), and my husband is slowly recovering from an antibiotic-resistant infection and pneumonia. In my husband's family, most have a variety of long-term illnesses, including the brother nearest in age with congestive heart failure.
My eldest is also experiencing a large number of sick or troubled people in her life, and my youngest grandchild is sick with a virus.
I'm getting afraid to answer the phone, for fear that it will be more bad news.

My New Schedule for Posts

I've been doing some scheduling for future posts. Rather than just churn out stuff whenever it occurs to me, I've been making a conscious effort to space out my posts on an approximately 2-3 times a week schedule.

I would appreciate your spreading the word about this blog on social media. It's my hope that others might benefit from reading my story of retirement prep, and my experiences once I finally do retire.

I've been discussing this with my husband, and I'm leaning toward plugging the plug at the end of May. I may see if I can set up a part-time gig with a college for extra money. This should leave me relatively free for some travel and kicking back - as well as writing and pursuing my hobbies.