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Archive for April, 2019

Last weekend and this one..and then two after this

April 27th, 2019 at 07:39 am

I did go to that squat workshop last weekend. Useful but my quads hurt for the next 3 days! Good hurt tho, DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). I need to work into some kind of routine of doing strength and mobility work, but that is something for after May 10th (which is when my schedule at work will calm down a bit).

I have been successful in walking most mornings of the week since tax season ended, so I'm getting 10k steps or more 4 days a week. That's my beginning fitness level for the year and I will build from there. 2018 was a bad year with only 21 days with 10k+ steps all year according to my Fitbit. I will have that many for the year to date after today, and we're not quite a third of the way through. If I get about 4 per week for the rest of the year, I'll have about 160 10K plus days by year's end. I'm going to target that as a goal.

My walks have been ending most mornings with a talk with a neighbor who lives half a block away. I've known her vaguely for the entire time I've lived in my house. Back when we first met, when I had Henry, her younger son was a toddler who would come out to greet Henry, and she was teaching sociology at the local community college. Now I'm the one who stops to pet *her* dog--a cute 4-month-old yellow Lab puppy named Daisy. The neighbor sits out with her most mornings at around 7, which is when I've been walking. I've learned through our discussions that the neighbor is now too disabled to work because of fibromyalgia. Her younger son, now 14, is living with her ex-husband 80 miles away, and, though she has a roommate to help with expenses, she's fearful about the possibility of losing her house while she waits for the disability claims to actually kick in. The puppy is what prevents her from becoming seriously depressed. She's a decade younger than me, and my talks with her make me very glad that I have a private disability policy as well as one through work.

Last weekend I had two seders I was invited to. I didn't go Friday night because it was rainy, half an hour's drive away, and I was cranky and feeling unsociable. That seder, I heard, lasted over 3 hours so I am glad I didn't go. Not what I needed on a Friday night after a tough week. I did go to a different friend's seder on Saturday, and the folks who hosted that seder were much quicker about going through it (probably because there were four grandkids ages 1-8 in attendance), and I left early in any case.

I finally got going on studying for my current CFP course, but I'm behind. Hoping to make some progress this morning after I finish this entry.

Then the local Food Co-Op is hosting a craft fair and I will go out there for a couple of hours and take a long walk somewhere other than my neighborhood, and go and do my weekly errands and then chores at home.

The servers at the office were bogged down Wednesday through Friday--Wednesday they were pretty much non-functional, and Thursday and Friday response times on any work that required using our online documents were slow as molasses. I have a super-busy week next week, 5 big client meetings and only 2/3 of one meeting prep is done, so I will be in the office most of Sunday, except for my daily walk and a spiritual writing group meeting with women from my congregation.

Next weekend will be another weekend of more of the same: errands, chores, CFP studying, walking, and work, but in two weekends, Patient Saver and I are planning a meet-up. We've met 3 times before--first back in 2011 when a trip to a family wedding took me past her town, then in 2015 when we met for a night at a bed & breakfast part-way in between, last year, when I spent a night at her house. This year, we're meeting part-way in between again, but won't stay overnight since we both have senior kitties to go home to tend to. We live about 3 hours apart so a 90-minute drive for each of us brings us to a quaint town on the PA-NY border, which we will spend the day exploring. That will be my first real adventure of the summer!

On financial matters: my retirement account hit an all-time high with the day's close yesterday; currently 8.8% up from year-end, and nearly 100k higher a balance compared with 12/31/16. My spending credit cards are currently up since I did a little bit of clothes shopping plus the usual, but by the time both the 4/30 and 5/15 paychecks have hit, my total debt should be down 1k from 3/31. Chipping away bit by bit.

Day off & A couple of financial moves

April 19th, 2019 at 05:00 pm

It's a holiday but I'm not feeling very celebratory. Not bad, just tired and burnt out. I was supposed to be at a Passover seder tonight but I didn't go--it's rainy and I'm just a wee bit grumpy and needing some time to myself. There's another seder tomorrow night (different group, though).

I spent the day puttering. It was a work holiday since the markets are closed. I went over this morning to the university campus (where I once taught), and found that the building that I used to teach in is being renovated and the whole thing is fenced and boarded off. I went to the library instead and spent some time reading, then went to my current office and puttered online.

I made a couple of financial moves online while I was puttering. In my last "Day off" post, I mentioned the new bank account I opened at a reputable local bank. The $50 bonus has been received, and I set up automatic $50 deposits from my current main bank to the new bank for purposes of growing an emergency fund. A lack of "liquid funds" has been a problem because I've either been saving or paying off debt with my discretionary funds (I'm now up to 15% per pay to my 401k).

I also have my eye on my two 0% balance transfer credit cards. Both of the 0% balance transfers are over in September. For the smaller one, I'm moving it over to another 0% balance transfer, and I applied to increase the credit line on that card--not because I have any intent of using the additional credit, but because one factor in your credit rating is keeping the balances on your credit cards at 30% of the credit limit. I want to transfer $4,500 from one card to the other, so I had to increase my credit limit on the card where I am moving it to from 10k to 15k (since 30% of 15k is $4,500).

Tomorrow I am going to a "squat workshop" at the Physical Therapy center where I have gone to for PT 3 times now (most recently in January & February for a shoulder issue). I'm working my way up to getting back into the gym--I've set a new goal for myself to get out of the house and take a walk within 30 minutes of waking up, and I managed that five mornings during the past week. Then I hope to get some studying done for the next CFP class--I've been having problems getting going studying again what with the busyness of the end of tax season.

Last night was a fundraiser for the public library. Since I'm on the finance committee, I felt that I should attend, so I did and paid for a friend to go along too, so I'd be sure to know someone there. It was a good chance to do some networking (which I did), but probably is why I'm in a bit of an anti-social mood today. This introvert can be out there only so much.

Day off

April 11th, 2019 at 03:24 pm

I have been pushing very hard non-stop for the past few weeks (other than taking last weekend off and spending much of it in bed because I felt like I was coming down with a cold; fortunately the extra rest has seemed to forestall that illness, knock on wood!). So today and tomorrow, with both of the major lead advisors that I report to out of town, I decided to take some personal time off.

I was working until 10 pm last night finishing a tax estimate that one advisor had promised to a client, and with that behind me, I was able to take off with a free conscience.

First on the docket was an annual doctor's exam. I hadn't known when I scheduled it a year ago that I would be taking the day off, but that worked out nicely.

Then I went out to breakfast and then over to the local mall to do a little bit of clothes shopping because I have been feeling the need for a bit of a wardrobe update. Picked up 3 pieces priced at over $300 for about $195 that will be good office wear.

Then I went to one of our local banks. I had received a postcard from them promising a bonus $50 for establishing a new checking account with at least $1,000 that stays in the account for at least a week. This particular local bank has an excellent reputation for service and a commitment to stay local, so I've been meaning to establish a relationship with them for a while. Checking is free for life with no monthly maintenance fees and their rates are competitive. At the moment, all of my other banking relationships are with Wells Fargo, whose reputation I have been dissatisfied with (although personally, things have been fine). What I would like to do once my schedule calms down is to transfer my main relationships over to this bank--set up direct deposit for the paycheck, establish a savings account as well, and then move the mortgage and HELOC (balance $0) and safety deposit box over as well. They have a long-running special that does a refinance with closing costs of $525. They promise not to sell your mortgage. My current mortgage is a 20-year (in year 9) at 4% and I could refinance to a 10-year (cuts one year off) at 3.625%. I will probably do that in another month or so. The only pain will be that they don't handle the escrowing of the tax and homeowner's insurance bills, which I'll have to handle myself anyways after to mortgage is paid off. (I'm still feeling good that it will be paid off by December 2025 at the 20-year mark.) I'll probably keep at least one small checking and savings account open at Wells Fargo as well, just because Wells Fargo has a branch just down the block from where I work and they also have lots of branches in Los Angeles, where I am from and where I still visit occasionally.

Those few things were the main accomplishments of the day. I also handled a couple of emails at work and listened to an online professional educational webinar for an hour.

Tomorrow I need to make a dentist appointment because I broke a small piece off a tooth last night--it's not painful but the sharp edges are annoying. Then I need to finish my own taxes--I drafted them back in February in order to figure out my IRA contribution, but now I need to dot all the i's and cross all the t's and submit.

Then I'll work on getting a bit more organized at home--there are too many piles of paper on the dining room table, on the desk, on the coffee table, and on the dog crate, and I need to toss some and file the rest. Being able to see the tabletops will make me feel more relaxed here at home and I'll buy some flowers to put in a vase on the dining room table when it is clear again (which it has not been since Thanksgiving).

I'll also be working on my next CFP class over the weekend and I'd like to take a drive out to a coffee shop I like that sits on the banks of the Delaware. I visited there at least monthly over the summer but haven't been back since September. This is just a weekend to catch my breath and recapture some sense of spaciousness or margin in my life than a weekend where I will really "do" anything. Just getting a chance to spend some more time reading will be a pleasure.

I'm supposed to be attending an orchestra rehearsal in an hour. I should go since I have slacked off during tax season but part of me wants no more commitments today. Whether or not I go, I'll end the day by watching one or two episodes of "Boston Legal." I was delighted to find that it is once again free to wach on Amazon Prime, after having been available only with a charge previously. This was one of my favorite series so I am enjoying re-watching it. I like James Spader and it is nice to see him in his prime. He seems to have aged a lot lately. He's about my age so seeing recent pictures of him makes me feel my own age more acutely. I'd like to think I am aging better than he is! But then, so much of our first impression of faces is about the hair and he has gone semi-bald recently. This is one reason I find it worthwhile to pay to have my hair colored! I grew up believing in substance over form and that image didn't matter so much, but while I still believe strongly in substance, the real world and my education taught me that appearances matter a lot, too!


Milestone Redeux

April 4th, 2019 at 04:55 pm

My retirement savings first hit half a million back around my birthday in August--stayed there for a few weeks but then dropped below by October. Today was the first time that I've logged on that my total is above that benchmark again.

Debt after early April payments is down to 82.5k total.