October 12, 2008
We are trying to prepare ourselves for the finances of living in retirement. The prospect is not necessarily dreadful, but several aspects are worrisome.
I will get some social security and some pension. My wife will get a lower amount of social security and a very small amount of pension money.
Our investments are pretty much in the toilet at the moment. We will have a few dividends coming in, but the amount is close to negligible. Our total amount in the stock market was tiny to begin with. With the current crash, it’s lost a third of its value. Who would have thought that General Electric would be flirting with bankruptcy and having to pay loan shark terms to Warren Buffet?
We don’t have any debts except our mortgage and taxes. We will get rid of my 98 Chevy Prizm which is still running but essentially worn out, and my wife’s 92 Ford Ranger pickup, which is also living on borrowed time. We plan to find a simple, small, solid used pickup truck (that we will purchase with cash) that will hold up for the next five years or so of very light driving. At least I won’t have the constant ferry crossings and huge commutes and we will be down to one insurance bill. We figure after that time we will probably start hitting the difficult point were we have to think about stopping driving ourselves, something elderly people often go into denial about.
My computer is essentially trash, so that will have to be replaced. I’ve been using a laptop from work for my insomnia writing adventures (because it’s quieter and doesn’t wake up my wife). I will get a very simple laptop first, and try running it on Linux instead of Windows, and probably use Open Office instead of Microsoft Office. If this arrangement works reasonably well, I will then bid Windows goodbye when I get a desktop and try running that on Linux as well.
My insurance will be on Medicare, but my wife isn’t working and has no insurance. We will have to get some sort of major medical with about a $5,000 deductible and hope she remains healthy for the two years until she is eligible for coverage. This will probably be the most dangerous part of the next two years for us.
At my last eye exam, the doctor told me I have cataracts in both eyes. In a way I was relieved to get this diagnosis, as it explains why my night vision has dropped off to an alarming and frightening degree over the last couple of years. He recommended against surgery for at least two years. The cost under Medicare won’t be that bad (about $400 total). No surgery is “safe,” but cataract surgery seems to usually work pretty well and provide good results.
I have a business scheme in mind, though the times do look dire for almost any kind of venture.
I also have one very small benevolent scheme in mind which I will cover in a future post.