Covid-19, Worry

This is hard.

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Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

Captains Log:  Day 23. {Can you tell I’ve been binge watching Starship Enterprise?]

I wanted to write these posts as a way for me to document how I feel during this unprecedented time.  Never in a million years would I have guessed our whole world would be shut down because of a deadly virus.  The whole world is shut down.  Good grief.

There have been some pretty horrific events in my lifetime, but none as personal as this.  And even though I’m safe, my family is safe, my husband is employed, and we are all healthy, the never-ending anxiety because of the unknowns have been wreaking havoc on my mental health.

First, let me just put it out there that I’m so grateful for my situation.  I have it easy, really.

 I get to stay at home.

I can read books, sit out on my back deck, binge watch sitcoms (comedy only), journal, exercise on my treadmill, do yoga from the internet, bake bread, muffins, cookies or anything else I can conjure up with a bit of flour, eggs, sugar and butter. I have enough food for the next two weeks (at least).  I have a roof over my head and a soft bed to fall into at night.

Other people have it much harder.  Some have lost loved ones. Some have lost their incomes.  Some are putting themselves at risk every day by working in hospitals, doctors’ offices, grocery stores, pharmacies, etc. so that we may be cared for and fed.  I am thankful and grateful and will never take grocery shopping for granted again.

However, it’s Day 23 under ‘stay at home order’ but it feels like Day 103.

Even with my ‘easier’ life, there has been debilitating fear.  Some days I’m scared to go grocery shopping, I’m scared to have packages delivered, and I’m scared of the air I breathe when I take my dog for a walk.  It’s been a challenge to carry on my routines and normal behaviors.

Thankfully, other days have been good.  I hope to have more of the good, and less of the bad in the days to come.  I pray that this invisible monster goes away, and things will get back to a ‘new’ normal.  (Because clearly we will all never be quite the same again.)

If you are finding this situation hard to navigate, you are not alone.

We will get through this. #inthistogether

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash Savings, Retirement Journey

Covid-19, cash savings and a retirement update.

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Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

The Covid-19 virus appears to have given everyone pause, both in their physical lives as well as their financial lives, whether it was voluntary or forced.

It definitely has brought me back to reality, especially in the realm of retirement.  With 30% gains in my retirement accounts over the past 18 months, then 30% losses over the past 18 days, our account is back to where it was in 2018.   There were some sleepless nights and worries, but I know we are still in good shape.

My husband is 56.  We still have time to save, readjust and rejigger our plan.  And that is exactly what we are going to do.

We’ve decided to bulk up our third ‘bucket’ more than initially planned.  We lowered our percentage that is going into the stock market, and instead are adding that percentage to our cash savings.  We won’t stop saving until we have at least 5 years’ living expenses in the form of cash.  We know that our savings account will most likely not keep up with inflation.  It will, however, offer peace of mind which, to us, is priceless.

I thought I might go back to work, but I’ve realized now is not the time.  I will wait a bit and see if things get better.  In the meantime, I’m looking into online work, virtual assistant work, and such.   Anything to add to the cash savings.

Fortunately, the cruise line cancelled our trip which means we will be getting a full refund (and not just a credit).  However, our airline tickets will only be issued as a credit.  (Don’t get me started on how crooked they are).  That money will not be put in our savings fund, but moved to a  ‘future’ trip fund.  We still want to do something special to celebrate.

And lastly, our time line for when we retire may change.  We are still at least four years out to our planned retirement, but we are now considering five or six years.  It all depends on how much we can save.  We don’t want to retire hastily, without solid cash in hand.

That’s our new plan, and hopefully we’ll be able to meet our goal.  Covid-19 slapped us back into reality, and for that I am grateful.  It may just have saved our financial lives in our retirement.

How has Covid-19 changed your financial plan?  Please share.

 

 

 

 

 

Laughter, Quarantine

Toilet Paper. It’s truly a laughing matter.

Laughter reduces pain, increases job performance, connects people emotionally, and improves the flow of oxygen to the heart and brain. Laughter, it’s said, is the best medicine. … And all the health benefits of laughter may simply result from the social support that laughter stimulates. – Psychology Today

We could all use a good laugh, and why not start with the ridiculousness of the run on toilet paper.

Quarantine-Coronavirus-Jokes-Memes

{reddit.com}

 

Quarantine-Coronavirus-Jokes-Memes

 

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Quarantine-Coronavirus-Jokes-Memes

Quarantine-Coronavirus-Jokes-Memes

Quarantine-Coronavirus-Jokes-Memes

Quarantine-Coronavirus-Jokes-Memes

All memes were taken from this site.  Check it out for a bunch more!

 

 

Retirement Journey, Worry

How the present is affecting our retirement future.

man and woman sitting on brown wooden bench
Photo by Monica Silvestre on Pexels.com

The present market situation has caused a bit of a pause for us as we figure out when we will retire.  In four years, or age 60 (for my hubby), we still would have a sizeable nest egg, but not nearly what we thought we would have.  We are considering and expecting a very slow recovery, and only a 3% rate of return once it does.  Once our investments come up to what they were before the crash, we plan to put almost all of our investments to conservative, non volatile funds.

Along with watching our funds in the stock market, we are assuming our cash savings in bank accounts will not earn much, if anything.  Still, we are stashing away as much as we can, and I still anticipate we will meet our cash goal in four years.

What else has changed for us?  I’m applying for a job and my husband is considering working until 62 or 63.  We are both healthy, and want to make sure we work as long as we can to save the amount of savings we feel comfortable with in retirement…without the concern of another bear market down the road.  If we save enough, we won’t have to worry about interest rates.  Period.

I know we are fortunate.  I know we have it better than a lot of people.  I’m grateful every single day for my husband and his secure job.  However, if he lost his job tomorrow, we would be okay.  We have a considerable amount of equity in our home, which we could sell immediately.  Downsizing is in our future anyway, so it wouldn’t feel like a hardship.  In the meantime, while he is working, we are saving and paying down our mortgage as quickly as we can.

That is the financial side, but how am I navigating today?

Taking time to just breathe.

Trying to help others where I can.

Remaining positive in this space.

It is scary, I know, and I’ve lived through bear markets, 911, and the snipers (which traumatized me for months) but I believe we will prevail.

Just remember we are all in unchartered territory, including our government officials.  Be patient.  Don’t blame.  Don’t hoard.  Share.  Above all, be kind.

Sending my love and prayers to all those who are suffering a loss, whether it be a loved one who lost the battle with this illness, loss of pay, or loss of savings.

We are all in this together.