Archive for Money

Milestone - One Decade of Retirement!

block-10.pngToday marks the tenth year milestone since I began my retirement from the Aerospace Mill for which I worked many years. I must say that those daily routines of getting up out of bed, commuting to the office, participating in whatever the plan of the day might have been, finishing up for the day, commuting back home and attending to home matters were comfortable for me right up until the last day. Now, however, at a decade down the road, I must also state that I don’t miss the old ways a bit.

During the last decade before retirement (starting 20 years ago), Verna and I spent a lot of time planning for the retirement we were to have. It turned out that by the grace of God and our own foresight, we managed to get our basic plan together. Thankfully, my employer had good a retirement plan and an incentivized 401(k) savings plan, both of which we participated in. Upon retirement, we exercised our choice to roll the 401(k) into a managed payout mutual fund designed just for retirees. We opted for the retirement pension payout as well. Bottom line: we’re doing OK.

Sure, there were still some unknowns and other events post-retirement that would shape our destiny, but the foundation for our sustenance was set by the time we were out of there. We weren’t prepared to lose our California house to flooding, for example, but our insurance payout and a fortunate find of a “flipper” to take that property off of our hands made it a sweet departure from home ownership in California. Otherwise, we would have had to do the fixing up and “flipping” ourselves for which we weren’t exactly prepared. Between that example and a couple of other post-retirement glitches, we have managed to stay afloat.

Pardon all the metaphors, but it seems that we’re set for smooth sailing for the next decade of our retirement, God willing.

Comments off

Investing in the Future

ship.jpgVerna and I have been blessed with new generations in our family; our granddaughter gave us a great grandson, Alex, and our daughter-in-law presented us with a grandson, Jerry. Both have been born within the last two years. We decided it would be a good idea to start an investment/savings plan for each of them.

Within the past two weeks, we opened a Universal Transfer to Minors Account (UTMA) for each of the boys. Since we both have accounts with the well-known brokerage seen above, we went through them to establish the boys’ plans. As of this evening, they are each vested in a mutual fund designed to produce growth in the equities, and for us to continue to contribute via periodic automatic investments and the occasional special gift for birthdays and such.

Comments off

How to Destroy a Speedpass®

Last month, we discovered a fraudulent charge on the credit card. The procedure for rectifying that is to cancel the card. When the new card arrives, you have the task of notifying all of your on-line stores (like Amazon.Com) that you have a new number. When I tried to notify Mobil to change the card associated with my Speedpass®, they told me they would send a new one and that I should destroy the old one.

Fair enough . . .

speed pass

Comments off

Wal Mart vs. Peers

Despite recent decline in value of most securities on Wall Street, a few well-managed companies manage to stay ahead of the game. Wal Mart (WMT) is one of those companies.

I have a few shares of Wal Mart in my portfolio. I was going to sell it last year when I reallocated my portfolio from growth to more stable equities, but Verna encouraged me to hang on to it.

wmt-vs-peers.jpg

I like her intuition. Twenty-two percent growth in a year is pretty spectacular.

When you look at the lackluster performance of Wal Mart’s peer group, you can see that the retail industry, in general, is not doing too well for a variety of reasons. One of the problems with retailers is labor unions, which drive profits down and operational costs up. Wal Mart, while providing competitive wages and benefits, does not have unions as a factor.

I’m glad for two things: Verna’s intuition, and Wal Mart’s sensible policies on labor.

Comments off

The Tax Man Cometh

taxprep.jpgActually, I filed our tax returns electronically last week. Today is the day that the small amounts we owe to the Franchise Tax Board and the U.S. Treasury get debited from the checking account. This year, filing the taxes electronically automatically initiates the pending tax rebates which will automatically be credited to the checking account next month.

The tide goes out, the tide comes in - mostly out though.

Comments off