Monday, December 30, 2013

The un-expected

So just when I decide I'd better get my feet back under me and get going on an emergency fund. The worst thing happened.

My dad went into the hospital on the 19th. At 86 every hospital stay is serious.

He passed away on December 26.

Not only was I not emotionally ready for this. I also wasn't financially ready. Which makes me angry with myself. To have to borrow money to travel to  my father's funeral. This scenario is a nightmare.
But I did. I borrowed money from my mom's account ... she's in a nursing home so I have to be sure and pay it back or the Medicaid folks will say I"m 'hiding' money. She wanted me to have it but that's beside the point...

The point is I should have had enough money!!

My dad was a huge proponent of one basic financial tenant:

Spend less than you make... put the rest away.

Do you think after almost 50 years I could figure this shit out???

So I'm in Evansville. And my dad was my only family here aside from my step-family. No one was really 'getting together' the night before the funeral.

I called my step-mom to let her know we were in town and she invited us to dinner at a local restraunt...
That was God-send number 1.

We spend some time with her and I met one of her sisters and brother-in-law. Super nice people. We talked for awhile and then opted to go to the hotel.

Hotels are rarely cheap anymore. even less so around holidays. I contacted an old and dear friend to see if she was available to meet. We had seen each other in about 15 or 16 years. She was and she came out to the hotel...

She called me over to where she was talking with the lady at the front desk when I went out to meet her.. seems my dear dear friend had had a coupon for a free night's stay at this very hotel... and she got the hotel to apply it to  my bill... I was nearly in tears.. well, actually I was in tears!

God-send number 2.

Now I can focus on why I'm here. ANd now I can quit worrying about how to get home.

And I can also use this story and my father's precious memory and wise philosophy to motivate myself to do better. for me, but especially for my girls.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Life and money, they are 2 different things

Settling back into single, solitary life, I really am trying to convince myself to work on my finances. It's not as easy as it seems. For a few reasons..

First and foremost.. CHRISTMAS!
I love Christmas! I love decorating! I love food! I love presents!! Giving them that is. And I love, love, love, to spoil my girls. I love for them to have lots to open. I love to have bulging stockings over flowing with candy and goodies.

I love to shop for my friends! I love to find that one perfect gift. That thing that says to them 'yes I pay attention to who you are.' I love to have them over for get-togethers. I love to entertain and go to where I'm invited.

And I'm trying to balance these loves with my goals. But this year I'm reallllly not doing so hot.

Family circumstances... My Mother.
My mother is in a very expensive nursing home. And I need to move her, but I can't figure out how. Applying for Medicaid for her is so daunting and confusing. Add to that that she has dementia and I don't even know where most of her papers are. And if they were in a central location at one time, they aren't now because I've had to sell her house and move all her things into my house and everything is an upside down hickledy pickeldy  mess.

And advice is hard to come by... Good Advice that is.
So I sold my mom's house. So that should mean that a nearly 20 year investment should come to fruition. According to all the financial gurus that is. Dave Ramsey for instance...
But guess what?

She lost money. She bought it for 30 and only sold it for 35. 20 years and thousands upon thousands of dollars of improvements and upkeep. A 3 bedroom, turn of the century home with forced air heat and central air. 35. It makes me want to puke.

So exactly what is best for what to do with your money? How is a person to know what's best? Well there are a couple of things I'm learning...

  • stuff is pretty worthless.

  • Houses are just shelter and space to create a personal atmosphere in. It's not money or a 'sure thing' ask the thousands affected by the housing bubble. and me. So live cheaply and make it nice. Nice for you... personally. fill it with what you love and what speaks to your soul. 

  • buy long term care insurance. Just do it. 

  • stay out of debt. It's not honorable. And it's hard to get out of.  

  • The one thing Dave Ramsey and I agree on totally is do not count on the government for your income in retirement. What do you count on? Invest of course. Other than that. I wish I knew. 

What I do know is that if you end up with dementia like my mom, none of it matters because you won't remember or understand any of it. Not where your money comes from, or where it's going. Not where your stuff is or what your stuff is. Not what an investment is or a percentage rate or why it matters. You'll be like Rainman... 'how much is a new car? About a hundred dollars. how much is a candy bar? About a hundred dollars.'

So heed my warning and buy the long term care. At least you'll be safe and cared for.

In the meantime, I'm working my way into more responsible living (morally and socially). I'm working on eliminating my debt, then reducing my bills, then reducing my housing expenses in order to move into a life that better fulfills my beliefs.

And someday I hope to be able to expand on that statement specifically. In the meantime, I'll keep you  informed.  Follow along if you're curious.