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Showing posts from July, 2017

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…

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 …