Quarantine, Retirement Journey, Spending Freeze

Retirement Preparation Update

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We have just completed six months of 2020.  Can you believe it?  It has been the longest six months of any year I can remember.

Anyway, it’s time to check in with our retirement preparation.  Our ultimate goal is to retire in exactly 43 months.  (I haven’t figured out the days, hours, or minutes yet, but I will soon 😉 )

When the pandemic started and the stock market crashed, I thought we would have to extend our retirement plan out two extra years.   When the market bounced back, we successfully rebalanced all of our accounts, and have a much less volatile portfolio.  We won’t have significant gains, but we also won’t have significant losses.

The biggest eye-opener was our lack of sufficient cash. We had 6 months’ worth, but it didn’t feel nearly enough with our age as factors.   We have implemented a new savings plan and are now socking away nearly 40% of my husband’s income (even with a 10% pay cut).  This has been relatively painless since we are not going anywhere or doing anything.

I imagine once the world opens up again, we’ll have the travel bug and want to start going places.  We have a Disney cruise planned for May 2021, a trip we planned with our entire family 1 1/2 years ago.  If, however, masks are still required, this trip will be postponed until all’s well with the world.  I have that trip money already set aside.  My grandchildren may be teenagers by the time we go, but we are going nonetheless. 😉

pluto costume
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As far as other trips, we may postpone until retirement so that we have enough cash to feel comfortable when we do say goodbye to a paycheck.

As far as the budget, the only wild card has been food.  The grocery stores have been hiking up prices and I’m trying to stay fairly close to what I’ve allotted.  The only way I can do that is to shop solely at Aldi.  But even Aldi has raised their prices.

All in all, we are on track to retire in early 2024.  How are you doing with your budgets?

Covid-19, Gratitude, Living for TODAY

I failed.

photo of a boat on a river
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I failed June’s challenge — staying off of social media, the news, blogs, and YouTube was harder than I thought.

I initially was doing well but it didn’t last. I failed miserably by Day 3.  Since June was a complete train wreck (and you know what happens when you see a train wreck) I found myself not able to look away.  If I didn’t read it or see it, my husband was sure to tell me about it.  It all just made me sad.

Although I did a few of the things on my list, I didn’t do as much as I wanted.

Like write more in this space.  I haven’t quite been able to put two words together.  If you are reading this post, then I was actually able to finish it.  Like many people during this time, I have had extreme mood swings.  One day I have a ton of energy, ready to take on the day, and the next day all I can do is flop on the couch and binge watch a TV series.

These weird times have been hard for me, I have to admit.  It just all feels surreal.  But I continue to be grateful for all that I have and try to remember that my life is still pretty darn good.

I hope you all had a great June, and are staying healthy and safe. xoxo

 

Gratitude, Living for TODAY, Quarantine, Staying healthy

June: A New Start.

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It’s been quite a Spring, right?  Lots of information to take in.  Unfortunately, it’s been mostly negative, ugly stuff.  Death, destruction, and loss of income, to name a few.  An unprecedented time, indeed.

The doomsayers, fear mongers, and political hacks have all come out in full force to inject more fear.  And, it appears they are doing a great job.  People are loose canons, just waiting to explode.  I know it has affected me in ways I didn’t think it could, but I’m drawing a line in the sand. No more.

We have been fortunate.  My husband is still employed, our investments are holding steady, and most importantly, we are healthy.  However, in order for me to stay healthy, I have to make a change in how I am ingesting information.  Less stress equals higher immunity, right? So……

Starting today, June 1st, I will be turning OFF all social media, YouTube videos, blogs, news, politics, the stock market, the pandemic, or anything else that has been wreaking havoc on my normally positive nature.  For 30 days, I will be blissfully focusing on what makes me happy.  Self-care, if you will. And I.can’t.wait.

Just a few things I have planned are:

  • Reading (light-hearted fiction only).
  • Writing (I’ve always wanted to write a book, and now is a great time to start (more on that in a future blog post).
  • Hiking.  Trails are abundant near me and I want to try them all.
  • Baking.
  • Visiting with my grandbabies.
  • Gardening.
  • Cooking more meals from scratch.
  • Road tripping. My son will be within driving distance in June/July.  I’m so excited to see him!
  • Learning how to cut my hair.  It’s time.
  • Starting a Savings Challenge for the rest of 2020.
  • Learning a new skill.
  • Sipping coffee in the morning, sipping wine in the evening; and
  • Anything else I feel like doing that brings me joy, happiness, and peace.

Not everyone can take the month off, I know, but I’m sure the simple act of turning off social media and the news may work for your well-being as well.

What are your plans for June?

Anniversary, Gratitude, Laughter

A sweet anniversary gift from my kids.

25 years ago a young guy decided to take a chance on a single Mama of two young girls.  25 years later he’s still here — with two more wonderful kids, two sons-in-laws and five adorable grandkids added to the mix.

My daughter put together this compilation of pictures taken over the years.  What a wonderful love story it’s been.

Joe – Thanks for taking that chance…here’s to another 25!

 

Gratitude, Meditation, Yoga

Making lemonade out of lemons.

love romantic bath candlelight
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It’s been a very stressful two months, and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight to this ‘new way’ of living.  I’m sad I can’t travel next month.  We had been planning our anniversary trip for two years.

Travel had become such a big part of our lives.  It was fun to dream of all the trips we would take.  I had a whole room in our home dedicated to our travel, which included all of our suitcases, toiletry bags, snorkeling equipment, and cruise gear.  We called it ‘the travel room’. (Not a very creative name, but it worked. 😉 )

Yesterday, I reorganized it all, and stowed it all away in the back of the closet.  All that was left was an empty room.  Looking at it just made me sad.

I decided to move our bedroom Smart TV, yoga mat, and weights (for Yoga w/Adrienne),  into the room.  I’ve always wanted a place that I could use for yoga and meditation…a personal space for when I wanted to escape the outside world for just a bit.  Now all that’s left to do is put on a fresh coat of paint (with paint we have on hand) and add some plants and I will have my very own retreat!

drink glass glassware lemon
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When times change, you have to change along with it, or at least make the best of it.  Just as lemons are tart to the taste, you can still use them to make delicious sweet lemonade if you add the right ingredients.   I know I will travel again.  But until then, I will take care of my mind, body, and soul so that I will be ready for that next adventure.