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Home > Archive: November, 2016

Archive for November, 2016

This and That

November 27th, 2016 at 10:52 am

1. Mom: Following a collapse-type fall (meaning no broken bones) from which she could not get up, caused by weakness from an infection, my mom was hospitalized for several days and is now housebound. So DH & I are now fully in the "helping care for elderly parents" stage of our life. Unlike my FIL who has not yet been able to move from his hospital to hospice due to his fragile state, my mom is expected to regain most of her functioning. But I know from experience with my own grandparents, and hearing from others like Patient Saver, it's not like she is going to get all better and go on with her life. Mom needing help is going to be a recurring thing.
Right now she is getting PT, OT, and bathing assistance at home. She has church friends who have delivered some meals. My brother lives with her and is able to provide some physical assistance. I've been pleasantly surprised with what I've been able to help her with from over 2,000 miles away, thanks to the internet and telephone. I've ordered delivery of groceries (signed up for a trial membership in Amazon Prime since Mom lives in a Prime Now delivery area), ordered fireplace logs, sent flowers, researched personal emergency response devices, notified family members, reminded Mom of the deadline for open-enrollment Medicare selection, discussed mail delivery of prescriptions, and just been a sounding board to help her problem-solve and provide emotional support. Thank goodness for modern technology.

2. Taxes and Investment Planning: DH and I talked on the phone with Vanguard CFPs regarding our investments and taxes. Regarding taxes, the "good news" is that other than investing in munis or deferred annuities (no thanks), we will be doing all we can do legally to reduce our taxes once DH has established a solo 401K. And the "bad news" is that other than investing in munis or deferred annuities (no thanks), we are doing all we can do legally to reduce our taxes. ha...ha...ha - that's meant to represent a "funny but not really funny" laughing sound. Regarding investments, we did not dig deep in to the discussion. It felt like the person we spoke to was mostly interested in selling Vanguard's newish Personal-Advisor-For-A-Fee service or throwing out cookie-cutter statements like "at your age and years from retirement we recommend a higher percentage in equities" and I did not get the sense that we would get far by getting in to a deep discussion about how the "stock" in DH's business factors in to the equation, or how our percentage of publicly traded equities compares to other entrepreneurial types (we are pretty typical when you look at that smaller subset of the investing population). These discussions did result in a couple very helpful answers to specific questions regarding solo 401Ks, and one helpful suggestion for a fund that we will likely choose for DH's solo 401K that we did not choose for his SEP IRA. So the conversations were worth our time. They also reinforced our belief that it is helpful to get advice from experts, but that we are still the ones best equipped to make our own investing decisions.

3. The Endless Bank Shuffle: This morning I moved funds around to maximize interest earnings on savings. I won't bore you with all the details. I'll just say that this has become a repetitive exercise and I WILL continue to fight the good fight. It's part of my job as household CFO.

4. Holidays: I'm done with my shopping (it's not much), and mailed off the few gifts that needed to be mailed on Friday. I was just feeling the need to be ahead of schedule where I could, to leave room for unexpected demands on my time. I've completed my regular, big holiday-season volunteer project and have started a second, new one (one that is smaller, more flexible, and a balm for my soul).

Life goes on . . . sometimes with the same challenges over and over, and sometimes with new ones. I think I'm ready.

Oh, Mirror in the Sky, what is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changing ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?
(from "Landslide" by Stevie Nicks)

FIL Update

November 4th, 2016 at 01:15 pm

FIL has finally agreed to move to hospice and has stopped insisting to go back home. He will have a private room for 2-3 months. He would like to have an electric wheelchair for some degree of independence so DH & I are planning to rent one for him.