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August ramblings

August 18th, 2019 at 05:48 am

Wow, I really love using the new iPhone. It's amazing how quickly my cellphone use has gone from occasional/sporadic to every day, throughout the day. I just find so many ways to use it, and I still want to explore podcasts and music more. If anyone has any great (free) podcasts to recommend, I'm all ears. I did subscribe to The Moth radio hour.

Luther got through his dental procedure fine, though on one of the car rides home, he was so upset that he peed AND pooped in his carrier, and when we got home, I found the urine had spilled onto the fabric car seat.

Between the seat and Luther, it was quite a cleaning job, especially after Luther escaped from the bathroom where I'd temporarily put him and then tracked urine footprints all over the house.

I twisted my knee a week ago walking with a friend. We had gone off the paved trail onto a dirt trail and I slipped on a downward incline with some loose rocks. I used my left hand to break my fall and it is still pretty sore if I clench my fist or move it in certain ways.

What's probably more concerning is my right knee. I've resumed my walking routines, but the knee just goes out from under me without warning so I have to catch myself from falling. This is something that happened to me in the past, much more sporadically, which I think was due to a much older injury, and now the more recent fall seems to have aggravated that. I'm hoping that with time and continued building up of the muscles around the knee that this will resolve. I imagine it could have been much worse if I wasn't as much of a walker as I am.

2 giant tiger swallowtails on my dwarf Joe Pye Weed.

Dad and I had a nice visit with my cousin 2 weeks ago, out from PA. We mostly just went out for some good meals and talked a lot. On his way home, though, he was pulled over for speeding and then found after the cop left that he was stuck in a ditch and couldn't get out. Luckily the cop saw this, returned and waited with him until the tow truck arrived. He ended up paying about $1200 for damage to the undercarriage of the car. (Lucky for him, he got just a warning from the cop.)

On the money front, not much to report. I continue to track all my spending and then do monthly income/expense reports just to make sure I stay on track with a rough annual budgeted allowance of about $40,000. My investments are pretty much "set it and forget it," although I have some cash sitting in a money market I'd like to invest during one of the big dips we've been having.

I am thinking I would like to get a fixed immediate (not variable) annuity using about one-tenth of my portfolio, I guess when I turn 65 and plan to be fully retired. The stream of guaranteed income begins immediately. I like the idea of having all of my basic ongoing expenses covered by guaranteed income instruments: Social Security and/or the annuity. Without it, I'm so much more vulnerable to stock market gyrations, something I'd rather not have to deal with when I'm on a fixed income.

7 Responses to “August ramblings”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    That's a good example of how an annuity can be helpful. Obviously there are higher costs with those, but I can see how for a small portion of your portfolio that could be worth it.

  2. AnotherReader Says:

    With interest rates so low now and apparently headed lower, there is no way I would consider an annuity. If you require indexing for inflation, the payment will be miniscule compared to the investment. Shop annuities at Vanguard, and see what your money buys.

    You have one annuity coming anyway, Social Security. With careful shopping, you can still get CD's paying three percent or more. For example, Navy Federal Credit Union is offering a 5 year CD at 3.25 percent now. It was 3.5 percent until yesterday. They also offer 18 month CD's at 3 percent. Did your father serve in the military? That makes you eligible to join. Shop your local credit unions and www.depositaccounts.com for other deals. There is also an excellent thread on CD rates over at early-retirement.org.

    I would look to tie up money in these instruments instead of an annuity. You can get some income AND get your money back for reinvestment as the CD's mature.

  3. frugaltexan75 Says:

    Have you tried using a knee brace? At least till you build up the muscles.

  4. Jenn Says:

    Your photo is stunning! I know your Luther story wasn't meant to be funny but I had to laugh because I can relate. When our pets get muddy feet, they are like magnets to the white furniture.

  5. rob62521 Says:

    What an amazing photo!

    I was going too suggest the knee brace, but Frugaltexan beat me to it. Take care of yourself!

  6. ceejay74 Says:

    When my work upgraded me to an iPhone, my usage also skyrocketed! I wish I used it a little less, but it is handy for so many things. Including staving off boredom when waiting in lines and waiting rooms, and being able to "chat" with people when I go out to shows alone! And I never get lost going to a new place any longer.

  7. Dido Says:

    Nice photo! Sorry to hear about your knee and I hope it heals soon. I'm glad to hear Luther survived his dental procedure ok, despite the mishap with the car and house.

    I understand where you're coming from on the immediate annuities. Adding to cover just basic expenses can be reassuring. Your portfolio is at a level where you don't really need it--it's a strategy that can be most helpful for "mid-market" retirees--those who have enough in assets that they can afford the assurance but are at risk of running out if the market really falls. With a portfolio value of over/close to a million, an alternative strategy is to keep 2-3 years of those very basic expenses in an account that earns some interest--there are some CDs and online bank accounts that get over 2%. That's the safe and secure money so you don't have to sell in a down market. Then to replenish the buckets as they empty, you set enough of the investments in your taxable account to put their interest, dividends, and cap gain distributions into cash rather than reinvesting them--look at your year-end statement to see how much income is generated by your investments. With the cash being replenished from interest and dividends, you don't have to worry about selling into a down market, and your allocation will stay the same and won't need rebalancing if one asset class out-performs.

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