Thursday, April 27, 2017

The retirement projection exercise

Most of the time, in the back of my mind, is worry that we got such a late start on retirement savings (aged 41) and we won't have near enough. Then about every year or two I actually do a projection of where my 401k should be by the time I retire, as well as get online and see what our estimated social security will be.  Then I kind of breathe easier. It's not really that bad.

I plan (ya ya - I know how plans go) to retire somewhere between 67 and 70. I'm healthy, don't feel my age, I should be able to work until I'm 70. I've always pretty much figured I'm going to have to work that long since we started so late saving.

Monday I did a little spreadsheet for yearly contributions and estimated earnings. They say over time the stock market has averaged 7% a year. I also have my 401k in an aggressive portfolio, since I still have quite a few years to ride it out (about 17 years). I put in my current starting balance, added my yearly contributions, my employer matching and my employer profit sharing contribution. I just left it the same every year and didn't even increase it (though it will most likely increase). I was a bit more conservative on the earnings and put in 6% per year.

By age 70 I would have about $400,000. While at first that sure doesn't seem like enough..who could live another 20 or more years or so on that? But, I'm going to assume social security or some form of it will still be there. I really don't think the voters and politicians in this country are going to cheat us out of putting into it for over 50 years and never get anything out of it. So, I'm going to assume I'm going to get what they are telling me I'll get when I retire. At age 67 I would get $28,000 a year. My DH will be eligible for his or 1/2 of mine, which ever is larger, so 1/2 of mine. Bringing our annual income up another $14,000 to $42,000 a year. Each year, waiting past age 67 to collect adds 8% to the amount. By waiting until age 70 to collect our social security benefits our annual benefit total would be $52,000 a year.

Assuming a (recommended) 4% draw from my retirement funds per year, I just put the first year at a flat $16,000 draw in my spreadsheet along with a much lower earnings estimate at 2.5%.  That would give us $68,000 a year total to live on. I increased the draw 2% per year for inflation needs. With the principal balance (while declining) earning a rate of return every year, by age 95 (Gosh, I hope I don't have to live that long LOL) I would still have about $50,000 left. Money that can go towards living in assisted or a nursing home, which I'm sure we'll end up in before we'd reach 95 years of age. Plus by that time we'll have a paid for house we can sell and that money can be used, as well, for our remaining years, if we have to live in assisted living or nursing home. If that runs out then, I guess it's medicaid, like my grandma had to use after her money ran out (she lived to 95).

I really don't think we'd need to draw down 4% a year if we are making $52k a year in social security.  Changing it to 3% gives us $64,000 a year to live on and assuming the same other variables (2.5% earnings and 2% draw increase each year) - we then still have over $200,000 left by age 95.

At some point, I'll also have some amount of inheritance from my mom. She's very frugal and her annual draw is usually less than her annual earnings on her principal. (plus she gets social security), so she's not even touched her principal yet (at age 76).  I don't anticipate it being until past when I actually retire, but then of course I'll still most likely have another 20 years or so to live. My mom isn't likely to run out of money, that's for sure and even if it ended up only being $50,000-$100,000 she had left, that's still something to add to our retirement money. Plus that's not even counting her house she owns.

So, I don't think we are going to end up poor and destitute. Obviously we will have to manage our money closely and wisely. As long as our house and cars are paid for I do not see any reason whatsoever we could not live on $58k a year - or less! My mom lives very comfortably on $50k a year. We don't plan on living some extravagant lifestyle in retirement, that's for sure. In another year or two I'll start panicking again and have to do this exercise all over again.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017


While, after 4 months or more of looking at it, our neighbor had finally taken away that old junk truck sitting up on a trailer out in front, within days he brought in another one, but this one he parked in his driveway (along with the other non drive-able truck he has parked there) and had mentioned to DH that he was bringing another one "temporarily" to get the parts off of it. Well, we all know what "temporary" can mean..... He ended up not even coming home this past weekend (and had taken his trailer with him when he left) but came back Monday night with just the trailer. He did park that out front, but at least it's low to the ground and we can look out our front window and see the view we are supposed to see. He picked up the rear ends and just moved them over to the other side of his front yard, LOL.

The wife apparently has not gotten her old job back and is now home every day. She's been putting their dog outside in their back yard tied up about once a day. All winter they kept him inside (a blue heeler dog). When he is tied up outside he will literally bark non-stop until they bring him back in. At first she was leaving him out there about 15-20 minutes. Then an hour. She put him out there yesterday at 4pm and he literally barked until 8pm, when she brought him back in. How does a person just think that is ok? I know it happens all the time, but how can you sit in your own house and listen to your own dog bark for 4 hours straight? 1. It would drive me nuts. 2. I would feel terrible that I was annoying someone else. I feel so bad for the dog. Anyone who knows about dogs knows those cattle dogs are super high energy, as well as smart, and they need to be exercised daily and have their brains kept busy.

Last night DH got a hold of the guy that still owns these vacant lots in this little "sub division". He still has 6 lots for sale and these first two houses were built 8 years ago, so he's been trying to sell a long time. Our previous owners had mentioned he wasn't happy with the condition of the renters place either, as he feels it might be hurting his ability to sell the lots. He lives a couple hours a way, so he's not seeing the condition on a regular basis. DH assumed he was also the one that wrote up the covenants for these properties and wanted to clarify the "we can't even wash our cars here" comment the renters made. We read that particular covenant as you cannot wash or repair your vehicle in the street, but you certainly can in your own driveway.

So, the guy (seems like a nice older retired gentleman) said no, it's just the street you aren't supposed to wash vehicles on. They didn't want people washing off a muddy work truck or something in the street or on the shoulder area. Makes perfect sense.

Of course, DH brought up the fact that the renter is breaking several other covenants that we aren't very happy with, especially as it is hurting our property value/investment and DH was wondering if this guy had ever spoken to the renter's property owner and how receptive she might be to us complaining to her. He said he has talked to her before and she "seemed" receptive and he actually had talked to her about it last August and she told him she planned to move them out and put her mom in the house. Obviously that never happened. More than likely it was just something to say to delay being complained at again for awhile.

Then the guy said that as the developer of this subdivision and since the lots have not all sold he would still be considered responsible for making sure the covenants are followed. He said he'll talk to his attorney today about it today. DH told him that we are also more than willing to join in, either through his attorney or our own attorney, to also be part of the complaint. He thought that was a very good idea to have her receive notification that two property owners are not happy with the covenants being violated. He said he'll see what his attorney says on what is best way to handle this. At the end of the conversation he said he also might just give the woman a call (she also lives a couple hours away) first and see where he gets with her. I would imagine he'd try that route first, so that it might save him some legal fees.

So, I think we'll probably get some resolution at some point. He wants to protect his investment too, as well as get these lots sold at some point. Our good friends who live about a half hour from us, the wife works at a law office in the city and they handle property matters, so if need be we will use someone in her office. I wouldn't think it would cost more than a few hundred dollars to have a letter written to the lady that owns the house.

Honestly, if it weren't for the renters and all their junk vehicles and parts (and now their dog) we would probably seriously consider staying right here and not building our house. It's a quiet area at the end of town. We love this little house.  But, after spending all those years at our old house, living next door to a junkyard and crappy neighbors we are not willing to go through that again.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Oh Good Grief!

So over the weekend while we were working on beautifying our little yard, DH had about a wheelbarrow full of dirt and rocks from digging out some of the holes. Most of the dirt he used elsewhere, but this stuff had too many rocks. He didn't want to dump in it a pile on top of our nice newly graveled area around the shop because it would be too hard to shovel back up, so he put it in 2 small piles right up next to our big shop doors, that sit right on the edge of the alley. I'm talking like 2 small piles - about 2 feet wide and maybe out from the shop doors about a foot. It would be easier to shovel up from the hard dirt/grass ground right there, than on our graveled area. And of course we didn't want to dump in on our just seeded lawn area.

He plans to use a little of it to fill in a low spot and the rest will probably just get spread out right in front of the shop doors, as it's kind of a low spot there and driving something into the shop you kind of have the concrete floor up a bit higher. Anyhow - regardless, it's like a wheelbarrow amount of dirt in 2 small piles.

As he was putting it there, he said "watch - old bitty neighbor lady is going to be calling her son or someone from the city or county is going to show up asking about it". Sure enough later Sunday afternoon he shows up for about 15-20 minutes. Then this morning we are sitting in our office at our computers and see a "city" truck pull in the alley, pull up behind our shop for just a few seconds and then back out down the alley and head back towards town. DH is FUMING right now.

I had told him on Sunday, when he made the comment that he's probably right and just say "hey, I'm in the middle of a landscape project right now. It's not blocking the alley in anyway and it will be moved when I have time (and the muscle energy back) to get it moved later this week. OMG! You should have seen the alley and the area around and in front of the shop when we moved in! The previous owner had crap laying all over AND in the alley (that he kindly left for us to clean up) not to mention all the pick up loads of crap on the other side of the alley - from neighbor lady!

But the city has no problem with our junky neighbor with his junk vehicles and auto parts laying on the shoulder area of the street in front of his house - clearly city property! No problem with them tying their dog up outside and he just barks and barks, non stop.

What the hell is wrong with these people? You have someone move into your economically dying city/county, who want to live quietly, make their place look nice, mind their own business, AND more importantly SPEND their money in your city/county and have to treat people like this? I'm sure as slow as these people all seem to work, it'll be 2 weeks before we get a letter or something about it, which of course, by then DH will have it picked up anyway. We've been trying to laugh it off every time DH goes outside and does something in the back yard (not even going in the alley) and she has to have her son come drive down the alley, but this is pretty much past our tolerance level for stupidity.

Did I mention NO one uses this alley? Of the 3 houses on the alley, we are the only lot which actually would have a need to use it (because of the shop) and we don't even use it, other than rarely. I'm sure our previous owner used it on a regular basis. It appeared he parked his pickup in back here. One time there was someone from the electric company in the alley working up on the pole.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Let the week begin

I finished a book I was reading on my library app last Wednesday evening. Then realized I had no more books downloaded to read! Everything in my "hold" list wasn't available yet. I was next in line for a couple of books, but since the lending period is up to 3 weeks, it could be anywhere from a day to 3 weeks wait.  I didn't feel like going through available books and seeing if anything caught my eye, so I just decided to wait it out. Which was not fun. There's not much on tv and I was getting bored!  Finally, last night I decided to find something to download and just as I did it, 3 of my books on hold became available, of course. One of the books I already ready about a month ago, but it is for my book club and it is the book we are discussing this Thursday, so I wanted to have it available to refer to and read the discussion questions. I went ahead and started reading the book I downloaded in my attempt to find something to read and it's pretty good. I guess it's been made into a movie - one of those YA dystopia society books, similar to Hunger Games, called The Maze Runner.

We finished planting all the little trees yesterday. We got 1/3 of them planted on Saturday afternoon before we ran out of time and energy. The ground here is a lot easier to dig in compared to our old house. Not very rocky at all, so that was easier on DH.

That's the alley in back, as well as the grouchy old neighbor lady. By the time those trees grow tall enough to block her either we'll be gone........or she will LOL.
This is the other side of our yard - just a vacant lot next door on that side.

I did get to relax a little bit (before I went outside to help DH put the trees in the holes he dug) and started watching the new Season of Bosch on Amazon Prime. One of my favorite shows and that will give me something to watch for 8 1/2 more episodes, when I am bored and looking for something on tv :)

DH is taking a look at our hot water heater today. It's nearing the end of it's life - was put in when the house was built and even though it's a 50 gallon heater (more than we had at our old house) we don't seem to have as much hot water as we did at our other house. He read you should flush your tank once a year. Did you know that? We didn't and have never done that as maintenance. So he did that. Don't think that is the problem - it all came out clear, no sediment causing any problem. Now he's trying to test the heating elements. He's you-tubing how to do it. He has a meter thingy but honestly, every time I've ever seen him use it on something, he has no idea how it works. LOL. Also, some videos he watched said if the tank is "gurgling" it's probably not the elements and it's just time for a new hot water heater. We have assumed we need a new one and that is the plan to go buy this weekend, after I get paid, but DH decided he'd at least see what he could do on his own to test/fix and maybe save us some bucks, if he can. Otherwise, we'll go get a new one (about $350-400). Get the benefit of more hot water and a good selling point that the house has a fairly new water heater when we go to sell.

Birds are enjoying our bird feeders. We sometimes see bunnies out in the yards and neighboring properties. One is just huge! As big as a big cat. We have yet to see any squirrels around here, but I did see a chipmunk in our back yard this morning.

I just realized yesterday afternoon I didn't make a meal plan for this week's dinners. I ended up making tuna casserole. I had bought some ingredients to try a salmon quiche but after planting trees, plus still being really sore from the yard work Saturday, I was too tired to try something new. I'll try it one night this week. Seems like a fairly easy recipe.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Good deal and busy Saturday

Whew! It's been a busy day and it's only half over. And I can hardly move. DH started with seeding the yard with grass seed. Then his good friend and his son coming over and bringing a load of compost. They spread it all around where we want to add grass and also in the areas where the lawn was pretty thin and DH had over seeded. I planted the 3 shrubs (boxwood) we bought yesterday at 3 corners of the house.  While they were outside spreading compost I was inside vacuuming and painting the edges of our inside doors.

Who lives in a house (that they built them self) for 8 years and doesn't finish painting the edges of the doors? It only took me about an hour and now all the doors are white on the inside edges. There was only one door that had been painted. Then I spackled some  holes we had made in the bathrooms when we put the wood shelves under the mirrors and moved the mirrors up higher, leaving the holes in the bottom from where the mirrors had been. We also had some holes in the laundry room from where we took out their shelf and put in the cabinets. 

Then I made the guys lunch of club sandwiches. Yum. Haven't made those for awhile but everyone always likes them. The guys were done in about 2 hours and it already looks so much better!
Front yard with some overseed and compost added. We also re-seeded that strip of grass out front on the other side of the fence, between the fence and road. It was sort of grass, sorta dirt.
front yard in front of covered porch. New boxwood shrub planted. We'll put some other type of shrubs in that gravel area. The front yard grass should look better soon too.
Part of the back yard that had sparse grass here and there. Was ugly, but should look great when the grass grows. You can sure see the difference from neighbors lawn compared to ours! Hopefully ours will be nice and thick and green soon.
This is our little side yard which was just dirt (ie mud). We graveled a strip next to the house and the rest will grow grass.

We went to the city after work yesterday to look for Thuja (aborvitae) trees. I had called one nursery and they wanted like $45 for a 3 foot tree! We needed at least 30 (and that's only to do part of one side of our lot) . Lowe's had some nice big tall ones (like 4-5 ft) but they were $20 and then they had some really small ones - like barely a foot tall that were $8. We knew we could order some online from a wholesale nursery to get some about 15" that would be less than $2 ea (plus shipping costs). But we still didn't want to start out with that tiny of trees! We decided to go to Home Depot and see what they had.  Found some about 2ft tall for $8, so we decided to get those. We fit 32 on the cart (and that's what fit in the back of my car ) and also picked out 3 boxwoods.  She rang them up and I was expecting a total of like $275 and she said $182....when I got outside heading back to the car I looked at the receipt and all the thuja's rang up at $4 instead of $8. WooooHoooo! What a deal!
We haven't planted them yet and they still are smaller than we had hoped to be able to get for the money we wanted to spend, but it will look 100x better than it did before.  There is literally not a plant, tree or shrub on this lot.  Just grass, rocks and dirt.

I need a nap!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Eyes and Yard work

I finally got off my butt and made an appointment for an eye exam so I can update my glasses prescription and hopefully see better. Next Friday afternoon at the Costco optometrist. I was googling eye dr's in the city and this guy has been voted best optometrist the past 2 years. The person I made the appointment with told me they don't bill insurance direct, I will have to do it, and I said that is no problem, because my insurance is out of network and I'd have to submit it myself anyway. I asked how much for an eye exam for glasses and it's only $75. I have a $20 copay and my insurance will cover $50 out of network, which means I will only have an extra $5 out of pocket for the exam.

DH has taken advantage of the dry weather today and got the areas in our yard that we are going to seed for grass ready by raking up. He did a bit of thatching in our existing lawn and there is part of our existing lawn in the back that is very sparse grass, so he prepped that too.

We have been trying to find some tall growing shrubs (thuja's) like we put in our previous yard, for putting along the fencing here. There isn't a tree or plant on the lot, for goodness sake. How do you live somwhere for 8 years and not put in a shrub? LOL. We were going to get some from this wholesale nursery our friend wants to go to but after talking with the place on the phone I think it's not quite what we are looking for in size. They only have some pretty small starters in stock in their nursery that isn't even in this state, so they would have to be shipped. I called Lowes in the city to ask what they have in stock and sounds like they have a bit bigger sized ones. Even though higher priced, of course, they sound more like the  minimum size we are looking for at $7 ea (we need a lot to make a hedge - time to put some privacy between us and those neighbors!). They sound like the same ones/size/price as we bought at Lowe;s for our old house a few years ago. It doesn't sound like they have as many in stock as we want/need but he said he was pretty sure they could order more. We are going to drive into the city after dinner tonight and take a look at what they have and hopefully get those, at least.

When we shop at Lowe's I always use my Lowes credit card to charge whatever we buy, so that I get an additional 5% off. Then I get home and pay it. I just received a new/replacement Lowes card in the mail today, along with a coupon inside that was for 10% off if spending over $299. That would be a nice savings, but I'm not sure we'll be spending that much, unless we find some other plants we like to go in our rock garden.

Hopefully after this weekend's activity our yard will look a little more spruced up!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

It's a Thursday kind of day

Last night's dinner was easy, but a fail as far as the noodles were concerned. The small grocery store in our town is part of "Western Family" grocers so I have been trying some of their store brand items. Some ok, some not. The egg noodles were not. They pretty much just fell apart when boiling. I mixed in with some beef tips (Hormel, heated in microwave) and we ate them anyway, but I won't be buying those again.

Same thing with their jam. I like raspberry jam and tried their store brand. Ugh. It hardly even had any taste and was a strange texture - almost like a hard jello. In my recent Walmart order, where I needed to spend $35 to get the free 2 day shipping (hey - did I mention that my Walmart orders are now getting here in 2 days?! I like it!) I ordered some raspberry jam. It had really good reviews LOL. Made in France. It came yesterday, so I opened it up and took a little bit on a spoon. Now that is raspberry jam! and the texture is right too. It's called Bonne Maman. Cute little jar too. I'll be having some on an english muffin for lunch today.

Tonight's dinner (I think) will be the easy frozen skillet Bertolli chicken marsala with potatoes. I think it's DH's fav, so good to have once a week. Tomorrow we'll do steak again.

We had another beautiful sunny day yesterday. They seem to be every other day or so, in between clouds and rain. Today is clouds and supposed to rain this afternoon. Saturday is supposed to be sunny-ish and high 60's. I can't wait. We have lots of yard work planned (though mostly it will be DH and his friend doing it) and DH will be able to put the grass seed down and get that going. He got to mow the lawn yesterday. It took him all of 15 minutes, haha. He was going to drive over to our friends place and mow for him. He has 3 acres of lawn (and of course a riding mower - actually 3 of them)) but DH decided he'd better first do it on a day when friend is doing it, so he can ride one of his others and make sure he's mowing it like friend would want it mowed. (is there more than one way?! LOL). He would love to just go spend a couple of hours mowing over there - take the dogs and let their dogs out of the pen and run and play.

For some reason I was thinking tomorrow was one of my half day Fridays, but then I realized this morning it's not. Last week was, so it's not until next week. I need to make an eye doctor appointment, which will have to be in the city, so I'm going to see if I can get in at Costco optical next Friday afternoon sometime. That's where I got my last glasses (though not my exam) and was very pleased with the glasses and especially the price - less than half what the optometrist office wanted for lenses and frames. They aren't part of my vision insurance, but the insurance doesn't cover a whole bunch anyway and I can submit an out of network claim. I will have to pay a $20 copay either way and they will cover another $50 of the exam (I think they run about $100). If I was seeing in network they'd cover the exam cost in full after copay, so I might be out another $30. Either way they only cover $100 towards lenses and frames. I think I've had these glasses a few years now and definitely can tell I need a new prescription. Some of the smaller numbers and words while working on computer are hard to read, as well as trying to read the guide on the tv (even though I made it bigger, LOL). Time to get it done.

Ok, I'm off to try and figure out why my work outlook will not do a smiley face in my emails anymore. When I type :) instead of a smiley face I get a square. I thought it was happening to everyone in the office because I'd see a square in recieved emails, too. But just recently commented on the square is annoying me and found it it's just me! I'm trying google a solution, but so far nothing is working. I'd like to figure out out myself without having to put in a ticket with our IT folks.