JUST A HANDFUL of weeks ago, I posted about achieving a $1 million net worth. Now my status as a millionaire is already in jeopardy. While the value of some of my financial assets have held steady—and some have seen gains—the portion of my retirement account invested in the stock market has suffered significant losses.
My retirement account balance peaked on Jan. 4 at $478,000. Today, it hovers around $430,000. Since I retired in late May,
I’VE MOVED SIX TIMES in the last 10 years. Four of those moves involved relocating less than a mile. The most recent move–from Portland, Oregon, to Phoenix, Arizona–required significantly more travel.
As a child, my family changed homes frequently. I attended five different elementary schools between first and fourth grade. I’ve never minded moving. I’m not the type of person who gets attached to a home or a particular location. I’m a firm believer that change is a good thing.
A FEW WEEKS AGO, my net worth hit the $1 million mark. It was a milestone I’d been looking forward to for years.
Almost a decade ago, I performed my first net worth calculation. Back then, I was recently divorced and living on my own for the first time in my life. My only assets were three retirement accounts and a seven-year-old car, plus half the proceeds from the sale of a house my ex and I had owned.
I LET MY EMPLOYER know last week that I’m leaving. It’s a strange feeling to think I’ll soon be saying goodbye to the daily routine I’ve followed for more than two decades.
When I began working at the college, I was 31 years old. If I wore my blonde hair up in a ponytail, I was often mistaken for a student. But working at a college provides a unique perspective on aging. Every year,
WHEN I PURCHASED a house in Portland, Oregon, in 2018 for $375,000, my plan was to stay in it for four years. By 2022, if everything went according to schedule, I’d be set to retire from my fulltime job. Then I’d sell the house, and my husband and I would move to Arizona, where we’d purchased a second home in 2019.
Conventional wisdom suggests that homeowners should plan on remaining put for at least five to seven years to come out ahead on a home purchase.
MY HUSBAND AND I purchased a home near Phoenix, Arizona, in 2019. It was the second house we’d bought in less than a year, so we were only able to come up with a 10% down payment. That’s meant paying $70 a month for the past 30 months to cover the cost of private mortgage insurance (PMI).
With property values in the Phoenix area up 30% since 2020, I knew I should contact our mortgage company to see if we could get the PMI payment removed.
FOR AS LONG AS I CAN remember, I’ve been a worrier. I’ve spent too much time fretting about any number of things. I worry about money. I worry about my health. It’s not too much of an exaggeration to say there are times when I worry about not having enough to worry about.
As I get closer to retirement, I’ve resolved to limit how much time I spend worrying about the future. I’ve come to realize many of the decisions that have kept me up at night are things I have little control over.
I REMEMBER TALKING to a guidance counselor in high school. The meeting was supposed to help me decide which career path I might follow after graduation. As part of my assessment, I’d taken a skills inventory test designed to narrow down jobs I was potentially suited for. Nearly 40 years later, I still remember three of the suggested occupations: tour bus driver, police officer and veterinarian.
In the end, I didn’t choose any of those careers.
A FEW YEARS AGO, I searched a government database of unclaimed assets—and was surprised to discover the state of Oregon owed me money. I submitted a claim and waited a few weeks.
A check for $86 arrived. The funds were from royalties I’d earned from a YouTube channel that I’d long since forgotten about.
It’s estimated that one out of 10 Americans has unclaimed property waiting for them. A variety of websites allow anyone to search databases filled with unclaimed property,
MY MOM JUST SOLD her house. A few months ago, she interviewed three real estate agents. Each offered her a different opinion of how much her home was worth. All three also charged different commissions.
In the end, she selected the agent with the highest fee. I was skeptical when she told me her 1,100-square-foot home would be listed for $500,000. My mom’s house and mine are nearly identical in size, age, location and condition.
SIX YEARS AGO, when my grandmother was age 94, our family felt it was best for her to move from her home to a residential senior facility. She didn’t want to leave the house where she’d been living for more than 50 years. But with no close relatives nearby, we thought the time had arrived.
I’m not sure such a move would be necessary today.
Amazon just announced that its Alexa Together service will begin enrolling subscribers later this year.
DURING THE FIRST FEW months of the pandemic, my almost-daily trips to the gym ceased. I was home more of the time and snacking became a habit. I found myself five pounds heavier than I’d been a year earlier. Knowing that, at age 54, my metabolism isn’t quite as vigorous as it once was, I took action. I started a ketogenic diet and quickly dropped the extra weight.
As we contemplate growing older, much of our time and energy is spent planning the financial aspects of our retirement years.
AS PART OF OUR retirement strategy, my husband and I plan on using the money we make from the sale of our home in Oregon to help cover part of our retirement expenses. We already own a second home in Arizona, which we’ll move into once I leave my job. We’ve played around with different ideas for how best to use the money, including making a large, onetime payment against our Arizona home’s mortgage.
AS SOMEONE WHO’S been employed in academia for more than two decades, I often wonder about the future of higher education. One trend seems clear: At a time when more companies are doing away with degree requirements for new hires, more colleges are doing away with studying. The so-called college experience appears to be more important than academics. Indeed, grade inflation has been running rampant since the 1960s.
Meanwhile, student debt loads are the highest they’ve ever been.
I’VE BEEN TRAINING dogs for nearly 30 years. I’ve won enough awards in dog competitions to wallpaper my office with rosette ribbons. My 15 minutes of fame also involved dogs. Almost 20 years ago, I appeared on an episode of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, where one of my corgis happily demonstrated his ability to ride a skateboard.
Just as there are many ways to skin a cat, there are also many ways to train a dog.