WHEN FOLKS TALK about their best financial decisions, they’ll often mention the investments they bought. But my list is quite different. Here are the five best money moves I’ve made during my dozen years in retirement:
1. Updating my estate plan. When I was my mother’s primary caregiver, she was the major beneficiary of my estate. If something happened to me, I wanted to make sure she could afford the care she needed.
WHEN I WAS IN MY early 20s, many of my friends wanted to buy expensive new cars. But I wanted to save money. In fact, I was probably too thrifty. Some people wear their frugalness as a badge of honor. But I was sometimes embarrassed by my spartan lifestyle.
I was a college graduate with a history degree. There weren’t too many jobs for someone like me. That could be the reason I was squirreling away so much money.
I DON’T MAKE TOO many New Year’s resolutions anymore. At age 70, it seems like most of the good ones are for people much younger than me—especially the ones that involve money.
That said, I did have a good New Year’s resolution involving money for the past few years. It was to wait until age 70 to claim Social Security. In return for my delay, I was rewarded with a far bigger check.
If I were a young fellow again,
I HATE BUYING CARS. I can’t think of too many sales transactions that are more loathsome. When I look back at all the times I purchased a car, the one with my father in 1976 was the most memorable.
I needed a new car. I was living in San Diego and often driving to Los Angeles to visit family and friends. My 1966 Volkswagen Beetle couldn’t take too many more trips.
I asked my father if he wanted to come with me to look at new cars.
AS ANOTHER YEAR draws to a close, I sometimes wish I could slow time down. As I grow older, it feels like life is moving way too fast. Maybe the reason is that I’m enjoying life more. I’ve always felt my life has gotten better as I’ve grown older.
Even though we’re having to deal with the fallout from COVID-19, I like my life. I wouldn’t want to turn back the clock and be young again.
I DROVE BY the condominium I sold last year. It was bought by a young lady in her early 20s. I noticed a for-sale sign hanging near the front entrance of the building.
Out of curiosity, I looked up the unit for sale online. It had the same floor plan as the condo I’d sold, but was located on the first floor in the back of the building. The condo I owned was located on the top floor facing the street—a much better location.
WE WENT TO NEW YORK City last month for a vacation. Before we left, I went to my credit union and withdrew money in small denominations. I wanted to make sure I had cash to tip the people who helped us during our trip.
Sometimes, I get confused about who I should tip and how much. It can be a little stressful when you want to make sure you don’t stiff anyone—especially people who are counting on tips to make ends meet,
SOME INVESTORS TODAY are avoiding bonds because rising interest rates could cause the price of bonds to fall. I’m not one of them. Bond funds continue to play a significant role in my investment portfolio. Here are eight reasons I’m sticking with my funds:
This isn’t a good time to sell. Bonds have already factored in the market’s expectation that rates will rise. Interest rates have climbed this year, causing a decline in bond prices.
MY WIFE AND I ARE going to New York City for a vacation. One reason we chose New York: We wouldn’t have to deal with inflated rental car prices. We can walk and use public transportation to get where we want to go. Also, it’s just a fun place to visit.
Trouble is, I’ve been suffering from foot pain and a bum shoulder. The past few months, I’ve been trying to stay off my feet to give my foot a chance to heal,
AS A RETIREE WHO HAS traditional Medicare, my health insurance premiums will cost $4,696 this year. That comes to $391 a month. I’ve had no other out-of-pocket costs in 2021, except Medicare Part B’s $203 deductible.
Here’s how much I’m paying in 2021 for each of my health care plans:
Traditional Medicare: $148.50 per month or $1,782 total
Prescription drug plan: $29.20 per month or $350 total
Medigap policy: $213.68 per month or $2,564 total
I know some people are critical of federal-run programs.
THE OTHER DAY, I did something I probably shouldn’t have done. I checked Zillow to see the current estimated value for the condo I sold last year during the COVID-19 pandemic.
I knew real estate prices had gone up quite a bit since I sold in June 2020. But when I looked at Zillow’s price, I was still surprised to see my old home had risen 19% during that short period of time. It’s hard to imagine,
IF I WERE STARTING my career all over again, I don’t know how well I’d fare in today’s economy. By contrast, if my dad were alive, he wouldn’t have any trouble finding work. He was good with his hands and could fix anything. He was a machinist by trade, but he could’ve easily been an electrician, plumber or carpenter.
All the disasters we’ve endured during the past few years have created an explosion in skilled,
I’M SUFFERING FROM shoulder and foot pain. My doctor said I’ve done too many pushups and run too many miles. He scolded me, saying, “You’re 70 years old. You’re not 30 anymore.”
When I wake up in the morning, the pain radiating from my shoulder and foot makes me feel much older. My dentist also reminds me I’m not getting any younger. When examining my teeth, he noticed severe erosion along my gumline. He said,
WHEN I WAS IN HIGH school, I had a summer job at a machine shop. My job was to deburr large cutting tools known as end mills. I would take a penny and run it over the cutting edge of the tool to smooth it out. Once I finished my job, the tools were sent to another facility for the next operation.
There was a young man in his 20s named Max whose job was to load these heavy boxes of tools onto a truck and transport them to the other facility,
WHEN MY PARENTS were alive, they would ask me what I was going to do with their home when they passed away. I knew they wanted me to live there. My sister and brother-in-law had no interest in the house. They were planning to move to Tennessee to be close to their son.
I never really gave them an answer on what my plans were. They probably never understood why I wouldn’t jump at the chance to live in a bigger house with more amenities in a safer neighborhood.