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More Updates - Mostly Financial

September 9th, 2014 at 04:40 pm

1. Will: After calling several law offices, I surprised myself by deciding to stick with the DIY Will I prepared several years ago. Our situation is not at all complex (only one marriage for both of us, no children, estate taxes not a concern) and the cost of having an attorney prepare a will was just so high. I reviewed our current Will and it doesn't even need updating. It is our "Letter of Instructions" that really needs to be updated because account info is out of date.

2. Switching Primary Banks: The switch is finished! It was a multi-step process that took quite a bit of time. The final step was waiting (and waiting and waiting) for one last payment to clear our old bank account so I could close it.

3. Dearth of Bank Account Bonuses or Great CD Rates: It has been almost 6 months since I last opened a new account for a bonus or got a new CD. (We aren't eligible for the Navy Federal CU 5% 1-year CD.) Oh, well, I'll keep trolling the DepositAccounts.com blog, watching and waiting for the next appealing promo. Our cash reserves are averaging a tad over 2.5% in interest so I won't complain.

4. Medical: DH is scheduled for a procedure. Including pre-pay of our share of some of the costs and OTC medication purchases we are just under $400 out-of-pocket so far and there will be a few hundred more when all is said and done. I couldn't care less about the money spent on this. This is why we have saved, so we can take expenses like this in stride. At our age, we just expect increased medical expenditures. I'll take a healthy husband over anything else money could be spent on any day! I did print out some coupons at home that resulted in $1.75 savings when I went out to buy the OTC meds. Wink

5. Eventual Automobile Purchase: Our '99 Camry has over 160K miles. We have known for awhile that if it ever needed major (thousands of dollars) repairs we'd just replace it instead of fixing. I talked to DH and suggested that we go ahead and replace it IF we can find a super bargain on a new car. That way, we wouldn't necessarily be in a "must buy" situation. I crunched some numbers and came up with a maximum amount to spend on the next car (DH agreed). We'll pay cash. Who knows when we will actually buy ... it will depend on either finding an awesome deal or having our Camry go kaput, but either way we are ready. I'm leaving it up to DH to do the bargain shopping, since this will be the vehicle he drives and he enjoys car shopping much more than I do. He thinks there may be some deals in December. We'll see. I can't help but wonder if this will be our final "second car" purchase? When we retire we'll go back to having just one car, and even though retirement isn't imminent, we do keep our cars for a pretty long time.

6. CFP Consult: It has been 4 years since we last consulted a CFP. Where does the time go? I guess I should schedule a "checkup." I don't expect it to result in any changes in our investments or level of savings, but it's still couldn't hurt to get a reality check from a professional.

7. 401K Investment Options: I've stated before that I'm not thrilled with the investment options in my company's 401K. They aren't terrible (as far as I know), but they aren't the best either, and the so-called "Stable Value Fund" is completely opaque so I really don't know how good or bad it is. I'm thinking of composing an Email to the VP in charge of benefits stating my opinion and politely suggesting an alternative. Hah! I sure have gotten opinionated an unafraid of speaking up now that I'm in my 50's. But really, what's the worst that could happen? Have any of you ever done anything like that? How was it received?

4 Responses to “More Updates - Mostly Financial”

  1. snafu Says:

    I'd like to encourage you to re-work Letter of Instruction now called ' Advanced Care Directive' if not via a lawyer verified by a Commissioner of Oaths.

    Since your money is in that 401K you are totally entitled to ask for details. Who is the custodian? How much are the fees/charges? What is the MER? What percentage is equities? What percentage is in Bonds or other? Is the risk appropriate to your age? How does this portfolio rate agains their matched index?

    Do you have under utilized funds that could be added to savings? Do you analyze your investments and savings each year? When you compare your net worth 2010, how does it look 2011, 2012, 2013? 12/29/2013 The DOW was @ 16526., The DOW 9/9/2014 is 17013. for example.

    It's helpful to review insurance bi-annually to make sure your coverage is appropriate for value of vehicles, home, personal etc.
    If DH is considering a specific year/brand/model replacement some have way higher premiums for silly reasons and something to consider before making a final choice.

    How big a hit does your FICO/ credit score take when you close a long standing bank account? When you changed to another provider, did they add 'Beneficiary' paperwork?

    sorry, imagination is running over

  2. scfr Says:

    We have Advance Care Directives. The Letter of Instructions is from Jonathan Pond and is available for free on-line: http://jonathanpond.redfinsolutions.net/sites/jonathanpond.com/files/assets/R4%20LETTEROFINSTRUCTIONS.pdf It covers the nitty gritty of what our alternate executor (my sister) would need to know if DH & I both died in a simultaneous accident. Sister lives in another state state, has a full-time job and children, and would need to deal with a lot of business in a short period of time so the primary purpose of the Letter of Instructions is to make things as easy as possible on her. I completed a Letter of Instructions (sister has a copy) and have aleady done one update, but but it needs another (especially the account information section).

    Regarding the 401K, I am not a fan of the plan Trustee (mega financial conglomerate) and I do not like that the "Stable Value Fund's" lack of transparency (it is not subject to the same disclosures as mutual funds). Unfortunately, in-service (while still employed) rollovers are not allowed ... if they were, I'd roll the funds over to Vanguard in a heartbeat.

    Yes, I review investments, net worth, and insurance coverage annually. And yes, we have always called to check on auto insurance rates once we get car choices narrowed down to 2 or 3. It has never been said that I don't do my research before making a financial move. Big Grin

    Regarding impact on FICO score of opening a new bank account, I do not care. My credit history is squeaky clean so no worries about impact on employment or insurance, and that is all I care about. I am not a consumer of anything that charges interest.

  3. scfr Says:

    Regarding the Letter of Instructions, my sister filled one out and sent me a copy (I am her alternate executor after her husband) and I walked my mom through it too (I am her executor). Because it was created awhile ago, the one are it is lacking is on-line password information.

  4. PatientSaver Says:

    Your employer has a fiduciary responsibility to offer a balanced range of 401k investment options, so I wouldn't hesitate to speak up if you find their offerings lacking.

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