Home > Goings on

Goings on

November 16th, 2019 at 07:51 pm

Sitting here enjoying a hot cup of Assam tea. I was going to rake leaves today, but darn, it's cold.

Well, I finally saw the bear! Not in my own yard, but in the center of town where we have a nice paved walking trail that goes through woods and open meadow, and where our municipal center, senior center, community center and sports complex are, among other things, like a new brewery opening soon.

I got on the trail and ran into my neighbor with her beagle, and we walked together a while until we parted company. I wanted to go see the photo exhibit at municipal center and she continued on the trail.

A short time later, I had returned to my car and was talking on the phone with a friend when I caught something fairly large, black and fluffy running in my rear view mirror. I craned my head around to see what it was, and there it was: a small black bear romping across the mown ball fields.

I later learned my neighbor ran into some other dog walkers who already encountered the bears near the meadow. I am guessing the bear was somewhat spooked by the people and their dogs, because it was running at what I would describe as a slow gallop, looking unsure about where it was going and probably feeling a little ill at ease being so exposed and in an open area.

It ran past my car, then headed down the busy road, and without pausing for a second ran into the roadway; luckily it wasn't hit, and I watched it as it scooted under a metal guard rail fence and then behind the Parks & Rec building. The rear of the building looks to be mostly fenced in as there are several very large mounded hills of I-don't-know-what there, but if the bear made its way out of there, it would have found the state horse guard stables and, beyond that, the woods and Pootatuck River.

The last two weeks at work have been slow, and I only worked 10 hours each week.

I've begun thinking about Christmas shopping, and bought my animal-loving cousin a 2020 calendar featuring topless Australian firefighters posing with various Australian wildlife; it's a fundraiser, and I thought she would get a kick out of it.

I also spent an enjoyable hour or so browsing gourmet goodies at, where I wound up ordering some interesting preserves: gooseberry, black currant and lingonberry, plus some fried herring for my father (can we say "Eew?")

I made my first app purchase for my iPhone recently: a year's subscription to Calm, which features a variety of meditation and destressing audio clips. I've gotten into the habit, believe it or not, of having someone read a bedtime story to me using this app. I always end up asleep before the end of the story, which is what you're aiming for. Last night I chose Gulliver's Travels, which I remember reading as a kid.

I've also been really enjoying the free audiobooks on the phone too, via Overdrive. I just finished "Educated," by Tara Westover, which was a riveting memoir of a homeschooled woman growing up in a survivalist family in the backwoods of Idaho.

This morning I made a great pumpkin pie with my own homemade crust (ground walnuts, tahini and maple syrup). I also made my own yogurt, which is now resting in my off oven with just the light bulb on, presumably so the probiotics I added will grow in the next 48 hours.

I've been enjoying the small ritual of brewing my Harney & Sons loose tea since making the trip with dad to their tea tasting place.

Last week I started trying to calculate what my RMDs would be at age 70.5 after deducting from my traditional IRAs the cost of 1) an immediate lifetime annuity I've been thinking of getting at age 65, just to cover "some" of my essential expenses. I like this idea because it would remove a portion of my assets, which are nearly all invested in mutual funds, out of the stock market and better manage my risks, especially in a recession and 2) after living on savings (traditional IRAs) between the ages of 65, when I plan to fully retire, and 70, when I plan to start collecting Social Security. I haven't finished the calculation and need to get back to it, but as usual, I am pulled in a hundred directions. Anyway, I have many years to figure this out. No rush!

Of course, if a Democrat gets elected president and delivers on some kind of radically different health insurance in this country that isn't tied to employment, I would definitely consider stopping work sooner. There is a certain comfort or security level that comes from still working and earning enough to cover just my ongoing expenses, but there are also things I'd like to do besides work, and I'm not getting any younger.

10 Responses to “Goings on”

  1. crazyliblady Says:

    If the small bear you saw was a baby bear, mama bear is likely not far behind. Be careful.

  2. mumof2 Says:

    OOHH my hubby or daughter buys me those calendars every them...we have great looking firemen...that is awesome about the bear we don't get them here but we did have a koala in our yard a few weeks ago...that was pretty awesome

  3. creditcardfree Says:

    Too bad the picture feature isn't working! We could then see the bear picture you posted.

  4. rob62521 Says:

    Wow, a bear! Glad it was close enough to see, but not TOOOO close!

  5. Dido Says:

    Just a couple of quick notes now:

    -IRA distributions will change somehow before your Required Minimum Distributions kick in. The IRS has just proposed a revision of the Uniform Life Table, which is used for calculating the amount of your annual benefit. It essentially adds 1.7 years to the divisor used (at least in the early years), making the *required* distributions smaller.
    -The SECURE act has bipartisan support and would extend the starting age for required distributions to 72, which would make the required distributions bigger.
    -Just for an example, if you had $800,000 in your retirement savings currently, then a future value calculation for 10 years from now at 5% would make that value $1,303,116 (the future value calcualtor at is nice and simple), and at age 70.5 under the current Uniform Life table, the RMD for the first year would be $47,559. If the new IRS tables go into effect, it would be $44,781. If the retirement age is extended but no change was made to the table, the first year draw would be $50,903.
    -If tax rates are higher, at some point it may make sense to draw from the tax-deferred accounts earlier than required. Having a nice IRA is reassuring, but too big an IRA creates its own tax headache in retirement, such as six-figure RMDs. That's why the Roth IRA is so nice!

    I also am a fan of bedtime stories. I've used the Calm stories on a limited free basis, but mostly what I do is have my Alexa read my kindle book. The robotic voice is also a help in getting to sleep, and my preferred bedtime genre is the Amish romance.

    I have to figure out how to set up Overdrive. Maybe over Thanksgiving break.

  6. Fern Says:

    Thanks, Dido.

    Wow, those RMDs (either way) are really alarmingly high. Using that handy calculator (I have bookmarked it) I couldn't quite replicate your RMD number. I used the 27.4 number from the Uniform Life Code. What I get with my actual trad IRA balance (quite a bit less than your example as I do have a Roth, it comes out to a more reasonable $29,412.

    "If tax rates are higher, at some point it may make sense to draw from the tax-deferred accounts earlier than required." This is why getting an immediate income annuity would be so inviting, because I could "create my own pension" and simultaneously take $150K off the table as far as RMDs calculations were concerned, and I calculated that would get me about $750 a month for life. And living on my own savings for 5 years, as mentioned above, would reduce my trad IRA balances by another $210K, roughly (@ $42K a year).

    So basically, once you start taking RMDs, if you don't need to spend the money, that money is just converted back into taxable funds. Uncle Sam never lets go of you...

  7. pjmama Says:

    I love Calm! I've tried other meditation apps and not really liked them, but between the guided meditations and nature sounds I've found that Calm is worth every penny. The relaxing with gratitude bedtime meditation is a favorite of mine.

  8. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    I could see the bear move! I know that's a feature on iPhone cameras, but didn't realize it transferred to uploaded photos.

  9. Fern Says:

    FrugalTexan...really?? It was just an ordinary photo. Did you click on it at all? I'd like to try to replicate what you did, but so far, nothing happening!

  10. Fern Says:

    PJMama, thanks for mentioning the Gratitude one...I listened to it last night and you're right, it was a good one.

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