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2023 ebay/marketplace wrap up

January 1st, 2024 at 03:40 pm

2023 Totals

$13,325.29 gross
$9,455.82 net

$1,608.44 Cost of goods sold for the year

My average monthly profit was $787.99 with my lowest month being $610 and my best month being $1,033.

For 2024, my goal is a monthly profit of at least $600 and to get my average daily sales up to 2 items. My 90-day running total right now is 142 so about 1.58 items/day.

2023 portfolio results

December 30th, 2023 at 07:46 pm

Since the business year ended on 12/29 I was able to review my year-end numbers a couple of days early.

For the year, our portfolio was up $323,751.18.
That's a whole lot better than a year ago when we finished 2022 down $252,713.52.
It took 2 years to recover but we're now just above where we were on 12/31/21.
We're up 10.6% for the year.

2023 was the first full year I was per diem at work and was also the first year when we drew from our portfolio to support spending. We took out about $66,000 but I contributed about $9,000 to my 401k for a net withdrawal of about $57,000 which wasn't bad at all.

The plan is to work even less in 2024 and withdraw more from our portfolio.

I hope you all saw great growth in your portfolios in 2023 too. It was sure a heck of a lot better than 2022.

Happy New Year to all!

Happy holidays!

December 26th, 2023 at 01:06 am


I wrote a long post earlier today and when I hit submit it disappeared so I'll try to recreate it (and I'm doing it in my word processor this time just in case).


It's not quite time for the year-end wrap up post but figured I'd give some updates.


All is going pretty well. I'm finishing up my first full year of “semi-retirement”. I'm really not sure what else to call it. I went per diem in August 2022 meaning I no longer have a set schedule or required hours. Technically I am required to work 24 hours every 12 weeks but unless I consistently miss that mark, nobody will say anything. I've mostly worked 8 hrs/wk this year, some weeks 4, a couple of weeks 12, and several weeks zero. My plan for 2024 is to cut back to 4 hrs/wk. I just chose my January shifts yesterday so 16 hours scheduled for the month.


My wife is doing well and finally back in good health. Not 100% and never will be after 2 back surgeries and a lung surgery but her most recent labs had her inflammatory marker (C-reactive protein) normal for the first time since this began in early 2021. She has been crocheting up a storm, did quite well at a local craft fair in October, and has made numerous other sales, especially to our daughter's co-workers who keep ordering stuff from her.


Our daughter is enjoying her job and they love her. She's gradually taken on more responsibilities and helped them streamline workflow and improve processes.


My mom turned 93 in August. She's having more trouble with her back and an MRI in October showed a new herniated disc. She's had a couple more epidural injections since then but those really don't help. The only thing that helps a herniated disc, other than surgery, is time. It can take 4-6 months or more for those to heal. It's made it harder for her to manage and we finally increased her aide to 3 days a week and we are going over there more frequently to help out.


My ebay business is cruising along well. I have a running thread on the forums where I give monthly totals and periodic updates if anyone wants details. I enjoy going to the estate sales and finding treasures that I can flip for good profits. This year I had several of my all-time best sales so I must be on the right track.


Between my wife's health and my mom's, we didn't do any major traveling this year. We did try to do a number of day trips and earlier in the year a few overnight getaways. We have a trip planned to Riviera Maya in late February. I'm hoping things are stable here and that we are able to go as scheduled. It's a group of us going to celebrate a friend's 50th birthday.


Speaking of birthdays, my wife turned 60 last Sunday and we had a party for her the day before at a local distillery that we really like. The 3 of us along with 14 friends had a good time celebrating her.


The other thing we did this past week was sign up for new health insurance through the ACA. The premium will be about $1,000 less than we've been paying on COBRA though the out of pocket costs will be higher so that will be offset somewhat.


I'm looking forward to tallying up the year-end numbers for our portfolio, our spending, my ebay business, and everything else. At this point, I've got a pretty firm grasp on it all already but want to see the final numbers.


I guess that's all for now. I'll post again in January with a full 2023 wrap up.

YTD income update 9/30/23

October 4th, 2023 at 12:28 am

I reviewed our 9/30 Vanguard statements. Year to date our Vanguard accounts generated a combined $44,318.96 in investment income (interest, dividends, capital gains). Our Ally account paid another $1,488.71 for a total of $45,807.67.

About 70% of our total portfolio is with Vanguard. I haven't looked at the other 30%, and a lot of that is taxable mutual funds that will pay out most of their income in December.

That means we're on track for our portfolio to generate $75-80,000 this year. I'll make about $70,000 at work plus $8,000+ from ebay for a total of $155-160,000 which will exceed our expenses which is perfect.


YTD income update 8/31/23

September 4th, 2023 at 07:09 pm

I reviewed our 8/31 Vanguard statements this morning. Year to date as of 8/31/23, our Vanguard accounts generated a combined $37,135.13 in investment income (interest, dividends, capital gains). If I extrapolate that out (which isn't quite how it works), that would mean about $55,700 for the year.

About 68% of our total portfolio is with Vanguard. I haven't looked at the other 32%, and a lot of that is taxable mutual funds that will pay out most of their income in December, but let's say another 20K comes from there.

That would mean around $75,000 total portfolio income for the year. I'm on track to make about $72,000 at work, though that might come in lower as I'm thinking about working even less than I already do. Add another $8,000 from ebay. That brings us to $155,000 for the year approximately. That should exceed our spending, which is partly why I'm considering working fewer hours. I think more like $130-140,000 would cover everything.


Since this is the first full year that I'm per diem, I'm really trying to see where everything falls. I won't know fully until after we do our 2023 taxes next spring, though.

Mid year update

July 4th, 2023 at 06:51 pm

I see that others have been posting similar things so I'll add mine.

Numbers are as of 6/30/23

Our portfolio is up by $183,259.19. That still puts us $69,454.13 behind where we were on 12/31/21 but at least there's been a decent recovery. Total now stands at $3,232.879.01.

For the first 6 months of the year, our portfolio income came to $30,244.20 (interest, dividends, capital gains). If that extrapolates out for the year, that will be about $60,500 in income, plus any year-end distributions which are always unpredictable. Thanks to higher interest rates, that's higher than the number I had used in my planning and projections. Of course, that also means a bigger tax bill since much of that is taxable, but that's okay. I'd rather make the money and pay the taxes.

Otherwise, things are cruising along about the same. Spending was on track, though in the past few weeks we've had some big expenses like a couple of car repairs, new appliances, and some plumbing work, but those were all one-off things.

New washer and dryer, water cooler, general updates

June 20th, 2023 at 09:00 pm

I'm not very good at this blogging thing.


Life is cruising along okay. Since my last post in February, my wife was in the hospital again in March for a flare up of the infection around her spine. She had surgery to remove the hardware put it last year in case that was the source of lingering infection. She then did 9 weeks of IV antibiotics (as well as having a drain in the abscess for 6 weeks) and is now on daily oral antibiotics for at least a year. She has been seen by her spine surgeon, 2 different cardiothoracic surgeons, a neurosurgeon, and her infectious disease doctor. Everyone agrees that surgery to get to the abscess isn't indicated. With the hardware out, they feel her body will resolve what remains. She's getting labs every couple of weeks and has a CT scheduled for August. The really good news is she feels terrific, the best she has since the whole back issue started in fall of 2021. She's not 100% yet but she's doing PT and getting back to the gym and overall feels pretty normal.


I continue to work per diem, mostly doing 8 hours a week in the form of 2 four-hour shifts, usually Saturday and Sunday mornings but occassionally a weekday shift. I like the weekends best because the pay is much higher.


I'm still actively selling on ebay. Year to date I've had sales of about $6,000 gross/$4,000 net which is ahead of my goal of $500/month net. I logged my 4th highest sale ever a couple of weeks ago selling an item for $477.77 that I bought a week earlier for $8. Back in March I had my 3rd highest sale at $499. I go to one or two estate sales nearly every week and really enjoy that.


We had a big household expense this week. Our dryer started making a weird noise a few days ago. I opened it up yesterday to see if it was a DIY project I wanted to tackle. I didn't definitely identify the issue but I think it is a problem with the drum rollers. Fixing those means fully disassembling the unit, taking off the belts, removing the drum, etc. I just don't want to work that hard on a 10-year-old dryer so I agreed it was time for a new one. Of course, DW figured we should buy a new washer while we're at it. That's just as old, or maybe older, has rust around the top of the tub, and sometimes doesn't drain right after a cycle. I've DIY'ed that one before to fix something else (door switch assembly) so it's about time. We headed to Lowe's today and bought a new set. All in with delivery and removal and hoses and such, it came to about $1,500. We went with the pretty basic ones, not the ones with all the fancy electronics and stuff. Those are supposed to come on Thursday. While we were there, we also bought a new water cooler. Ours is pretty old and the great feature of the new one is that it is bottom-loading. I don't have to carry and flip the bottle onto it anymore, which occasionally results in some water spilling around it. That was another $200.


Otherwise things are doing pretty well. My mom is still plugging along at almost 93. Slowly declining which is hard to watch and deal with but such is life. Our daughter just celebrated 1 year at her job. She's stressed a lot which has been aggravated by her therapist being on maternity leave the past few months. Thankfully she starts back in therapy in 2 weeks. I'm hoping that gets her back on track fairly quickly.


That's enough for now. I'll try and update more regularly. I just forget about doing it.

February 2023 update

February 26th, 2023 at 01:52 am

Wow. My last post was in November. So much has happened since then, both good and bad.

I mentioned in my last post that my wife was having surgery on December 7. That happened and went relatively smoothly. The surgeon took skin and muscle from her left leg to graft onto her face. The face has been healing up nicely and really didn't give her any trouble at all. The harvest site on the leg, however, was/is much more challenging. That was very painful. It's slowly gotten better but is still not pain-free. Also, the skin continues to get irritated and blister so she still needs to cover it with a bandage when she puts most pants on, but it's ever so gradually getting better.

Since we lost 2020 and 2021 to COVID and 2022 to DW's illness, we decided that starting last month we were going to do at least a short trip somewhere every month. In January, we went to Delaware. We stayed close to the big mall there so plenty of shopping and dining around. There is also a casino nearby and we stopped there for a bit. DW's sister and brother-in-law also live not far from there in Maryland and we met up with them for dinner one night. This month we went into Pennsylvania. Again just shopping and dining and relaxing plus we had show tickets at a regional theater that we enjoy.

For March, we were going to go to Hershey, PA, but I think we're changing our plans. We have good friends in Maryland who run the high school theater program at their school and they have a show that weekend. We've always said we needed to go see one of their shows and I think we're finally doing it. Another couple (mutual friends) from PA is going to come also.

My mom ended up in the hospital for a few days a week ago Sunday. Turned out that her blood pressure was just running high so they adjusted her medicines. Everything else checked out okay thankfully.

Then 2 days after my mom came home, DW got a call that her sister had a stroke. We didn't have any details at first but not long after her husband called back to say that she wasn't going to make it and to come to the hospital. We got right over there as we were only 15-20 minutes away. Her mother came also. Once we were all there, we all agreed that her sister wouldn't want to have her life prolonged artificially and life support was withdrawn about 8 pm and she died just after 11:30 pm. She was 64. Funeral was on Monday and despite the circumstances, it was nice to see some friends and family we haven't seen for a while. So we're dealing with that right now.

I'm still working urgent care generally 8 hrs/wk. I'm still selling on ebay regularly. For 2022, my total sales came to nearly $14,000. My profit was well over my goal of $6,000. I've kept the same goal of $ 500/mo profit for 2023 and so far I'm on track having made $610 in January and $564 in February with a few days to go.

I think that's all the major stuff to report.

4 month update

November 24th, 2022 at 01:21 am

I realized the other day that I haven't posted for quite a while. Apparently it's been 4 months. Oops. Life has been rather crazy, both good and bad.

At the beginning of August, I switched to per diem status at work. That means I no longer have scheduled shifts (or guaranteed hours). I am able to look at the schedule, see open shifts, and pick them up when and where I want to. I've basically been working two 4-hour shifts a week since then. It's very nice. Four hours is easy even when the place is crazy. I only take 9-1 any day or 1-5 on weekdays. I don't take 1-5 on weekends or 5-9 on weekdays so I'm not there for closing. One of the things I really hated about the job was the stress and pressure to get done on time when we were swamped with patients so I just decided I'd never take those shifts again if possible.

Open shifts are predominantly on the weekends, which is fine with me. Saturday and Sunday don't hold any magic for us. I'm just as happy being off during the week when everyone else is working. The added benefit to taking weekend shifts is that the hourly rate is 10% higher and there is a incentive bonus on top of that since they have so much trouble filling those shifts. I end up making about 37% more per hour from weekend shifts.

My wife is doing fairly well with her recovery from her back surgery and lung surgery. Still not 100% but much better. However, she developed another problem that is probably related. I'm not sure how much I've talked about this in the past but my wife is a childhood cancer survivor. She had a tumor behind her left eye when she was four that was successfully treated with then-experimental radiation. It cured the cancer but damaged the surrounding tissue as well as her left eye, which eventually got removed when she was 20 (there's more to the story but not relevant here). Anyway, she developed an infection of the skin of the eye socket. It didn't fully respond to 2 or 3 rounds of oral antibiotics. Then she did 2 weeks of IV antibiotics which finally took care of the infection but the whole episode with the skin swelling and irritation resulted in a tear in the skin that can't heal. So on 12/7 she's having surgery to get a skin graft to fix that. The surgeon expects her to be in the hospital for about a week. I'm super worried about that going well so lots of stress here lately.

On the happy side, both DW and DD got new cars recently. My wife's 2011 Sienna was not aging well. The pain on the roof was very worn, some rust had started in a few spots, and the moulding around the windshield and a couple of other places was rotting away. She bought a 2019 Subaru Forester from Carmax 2 weeks ago and is very happy with it. DD had a 2010 Hyundai Accent. Not a ton of miles but also starting to have a series of issues - broken hood release, dying power window motor, issues with the stereo, etc. All fixable things but we didn't feel it was worth puttting $1-2,000 into a 13-year-old car. Plus we really liked the idea of her having some of the newer safety features. So she got herself a 2018 Hyundai Elantra from Carvana. It was pretty neat doing everything online and having them deliver the car to the house.

I'm still hard at work with ebay and have been doing very well. I'm enjoying going to the estate sales pretty much every week, the yard sales during the season, and getting stuff for free online that people are giving away. Year to date, I've grossed just over $12,000 with profit of just under $9,000 which I'm very happy with. My goal was to earn at least $500/month profit and I've actually averaged over $800.

I think that's the big stuff that's been going on lately.

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving and wonderful holidays.

General updates - work, wife, ebay...

July 24th, 2022 at 02:42 pm

Things have been cruising along pretty well.


Thankfully my wife is feeling much better. Not 100% pain-free but able to do just about everything pretty normally. She's downstairs sewing as I type this.


We were able to go away for a few days earlier this month for our 30th anniversary. It wasn't the 2-week land/sea Alaska trip we had planned, but we had a really nice time just getting away and spending quality time together.


My last day of part time work is rapidly approaching. August 4 is my last shift and I officially become per diem on August 7. I've scheduled myself for 8 or 12 hours a week for the 5 weeks after that, either two 4 hour shifts or one 8 and one 4. One thing I'm planning to avoid is closing shifts as I find those the most stressful. So I'll be dropping from 3 days a week to 2 days a week which will be nice.


I've been getting more and more active with ebay, which has been the plan all along. This past week was very good as I sold 21 items this past week which I'm sure is the most I've ever done. My rolling 90-day sales jumped to 104 items. Averaging 1 item/day had been one of my goals and I hit it and blew right past it last week.


I continue to shop at estate sales and have gotten pickier about what I buy while also being open to buying more at one time. I've been working to increase the average sale price of my items which has been going pretty well. I'm not totally avoiding lower priced things as they can help provide steady cash flow but I have been moving into more items in the $30-50 and up range and less in the $15 and lower range.


Not too much else going on. All the usual stuff dealing with family, helping my mom (who will be 92 next week), and such. We have finally been getting back to some sort of social life after 2+ years of doing very little due to COVID. We had dinner with friends the other night, we're going out tonight with 2 other couples, and we have plans to meet other friends for dinner this week. It's nice to be seeing people again.


Ebay update

July 1st, 2022 at 09:57 pm

Somehow I've forgotten to blog for a while so here's an update on my ebay progress this year.

The 2nd quarter is over. It's almost comical to look at my results vs what my goal was at the start of the year.

Goal: $200/month average profit
Actual as of 6/30: $5,562 or $927/month average profit
Gross sales of $6,877

If you frequent the boards, you may have seen this story, but if not, I hit the jackpot a few weeks ago. I bought a crate of vintage bottle caps at an estate sale for $10. They turned out to be quite rare. I sold a single cap (there were about 1,650 caps in the crate) for $610! I won't get anywhere near that much for the rest but I have sold a few others for over $100 each. So far, I've made about $3,500 from the caps. I actually decided to sell off a lot of them to a collector/dealer. I could have made a lot more keeping them and selling them individually myself but I got a little overwhelmed and figured $3,500 profit on a $10 purchase was amazing and I didn't want to be greedy. If he can make some money too, I'm okay with that. And I didn't sell him everything so I still have a bunch to sell.

I'm trying to back off on buying a bit and focus on getting the stuff I already have listed. I want to keep hitting the estate sales from one company I've been dealing with a lot as they've gotten to know me and give me pretty good deals. Yard sale season is pretty much over as it's getting too hot. I'll work on selling stuff in the basement and garage (when it's cool enough to work out there for at least a few weeks and try to keep myself out of the other estate sales and thrift shops until I get some other stuff listed and hopefully get some more items sold.

Major health update on DW and Ebay update

May 21st, 2022 at 12:50 am

I haven't blogged for a few weeks with good reason. My wife ended up in the hospital on 4/23 and was there for 19 days. To keep it short, she developed a serious infection in and around her spine and related fluid in her left lung. She had major surgery on her back to clean it out and rebuild and stabilize her spine. She had a total of 3 procedures, 1 minor, 1 intermediate, and finally 1 more extensive to fix the lung issue. Spent 4 days in ICU post-op. Got 3 transfusions. Came home last week with a PICC line and IV antibiotics for a few more weeks.

As you can imagine, it was a major ordeal for all of us. On top of that whole mess, my mom got admitted during that same period for mild heart failure. Same hospital fortunately, so I was constantly going back and forth between their rooms. DW came home on Wednesday. Mom came home on Thursday. So I've been busy coordinating their home care needs since.

Anyway, both are now recovering and doing okay. Both have a visiting nurse and physical therapy at home. In a couple more weeks, DW will likly start outpatient PT for her back rehab.

Incidentally, as of now, the billing for DW's hospitalization stands at around $730,000. Insurance has already taken care of most of that but there is still some stuff that hasn't settled. It's only been a week, though, so I'm hopeful that the remainder will work its way through the system and get paid as well. We may end up owing something but we're hoping it won't be a major amount.

I put my ebay sales on vacation mode for a week when DW was first admitted. Once it became clear that she would be there quite a while, I restarted sales but only listed an item here and there so I was making and shipping sales but wasn't doing much to keep it going until after she got home. There just weren't enough hours in the day.

For the 2nd quarter so far, I have done $1,042.36 in sales and $679.42 in profit. That brings my YTD numbers to $2,657.35 in sales and $1,795.94 in profit. Considering my goal back in January was to average $200/month profit, I certainly can't complain as I'm actually averaging $359/month even with pausing for a few weeks with my wife's illness.

I haven't gotten an official end date for my part time contract at work so I'm still assuming it will be August 6. That means I've got 31 shifts left to work before I change to per diem. With the latest COVID surge hitting full force, I can't wait to cut back to 4-hour shifts. My site saw 69 patients yesterday which is a lot for us. I'm hoping this wave dies down quickly but right now there's no sign of that happening so we're all working our butts off again thanks to elimination of mask mandates and so many people just not caring anymore.

Ebay update 4/17/22

April 17th, 2022 at 01:14 pm

I realized I didn't post last week. Happy Passover and Easter to all.

My year to date sales total is $2,034.12.

YTD profit is $1,366.56.

I went to several estate and yard sales this weekend but the results were disappointing. I only picked up 3 items on Friday but nothing major.

I did spend a good amount of time in the garage Friday and Saturday and put together 2 boxes of stuff to list for sale. I listed 5 items yesterday and will do more today. Hopefully some of those will generate some sales. The past week was pretty slow, though other sellers in my Facebook groups have said the same. Probably due to the holidays and people doing their taxes.

Ebay update 4/3/22

April 3rd, 2022 at 07:24 pm
Time for my weekly ebay update.
My year to date sales total is currently $1,627.97.
YTD profit is $1,136.25.
I had some good estate and yard sale purchases this week. Saturday was the first time I got out to yard sales this season and there was a huge estate sale on Thursday that I actually went back to today for the final day and bought more stuff (at greatly reduced prices). I've barely begun to list this weekend's purchases but 2 things I did list on Friday sold within an hour so that was nice.
I've been off from work the past 6 days but I go back tomorrow. I did spend time yesterday cleaning up our computer room as that's where I'm now doing a lot of the ebay stuff and the room was a mess. I also ordered a new postal scale. Mine is good but has a 6 pound limit and a number of times I've had to ship something heavier than that. That will arrive tomorrow and I need to clear a space for it to go tonight.
I think my goal for the coming week will be to catch up on listing the things I bought as well as some other things already in stock. I work next weekend so no yard sales for me, which is fine, as I've got plenty to list already.


2021 Taxes Done - Turned out well

March 28th, 2022 at 12:14 am

We got our taxes back from our accountant last night. 2021 was complicated because we had to file our normal personal return, a final return for my late cousin, and an estate return. I had no idea what to expect. Our accountant didn't either, so he was extra conservative with our tax planning this past year. Back in December after we got some large investment distributions in taxable accounts, he had me pay a total of $9,400 in estimated taxes and he thought we'd likely owe another $1,500 or so before we were done.

Thankfully he greatly overestimated. Overall, we're getting refunds totalling $7,623. I was very pleasantly surprised by that. I've been sitting on extra cash in our checking account expecting to have to write a couple of large checks. Now that money, and the refunds when they come, can get put somewhere better.

Ebay update 3/27/22

March 28th, 2022 at 12:09 am
Time for my weekly ebay update.
My 90-day running sales total is currently $2,095.08 and $1,544.04 YTD.
YTD profit is $1,079.35.
Very happy with these numbers. I've sold several items that were in our garage and basement, along with a couple more estate sale purchases.
I'm now in the black with the estate sale stuff. Since 2/19/22, I've spent $92 at sales to purchase 12 items. I've now sold 6 of those items for $109.90 so I've made about $18 profit (before expenses) and still have 6 items left to sell.
I went to one sale on Friday but didn't get anything. I had to work this weekend so wasn't able to hit any estate or yard sales. I was bummed about that as it was the first weekend there were many yard sales around here and the weather was beautiful. I had to live vicariously reading all of the posts in the ebay Facebook group seeing all the great stuff others scored this weekend. Oh well, I'll be out there next Saturday for sure.

Ebay update 3/20/22

March 20th, 2022 at 07:35 pm
I had a good week. My GI Joe auction ended on Tuesday for $305! One of my best sales ever. And several other things sold too.
My 90-day running sales total is currently $1,852.54 and $1,397.20 YTD.
YTD profit is $960.56, so way above my goal of $200/month.
I went to estate sales on Thursday and Friday and picked up a few things. The Thursday sale was an extra day added to a sale from the previous weekend. Everything was 50% off, which was perfect for me. Unfortunately, two things I bought turned out to have damage that I didn't notice until I got them home. I need to check more carefully from now on. I should still be fine though. The other items should sell for enough to make up for it. I adjusted my costs to zero out the cost of those two items.
I only started hitting the estate sales last month. So far, I've spent $92 on 12 items (not counting the 2 damaged things). I've already made back $91 selling 5 of them so whatever I get for the other 7 is all profit.
I didn't bother with any sales yesterday. I went to two today but didn't get anything. The professionally-run sales seem to have sky high prices, at least when they first start. Later in the sale they're more willing to negotiate. I think I need stop going when they open and start going toward the end of the day, or on the last day if it's a multi-day sale.
Overall, I'm very happy with the numbers I've racked up. Definitely more than I expected. Now that it's spring, the yard sales should start popping up soon. I'm looking forward to checking those out as prices tend to be a lot more reasonable than they are at the estate sales, though finding quality items can be more challenging.

New freezer - ugh

March 20th, 2022 at 01:44 am

DW went down to get the laundry on Thursday and the freezer was beeping which generally means we left the door open... except the door was closed. So the temp was too high for some reason. She opened it and things were still frozen but a couple of things weren't as solid as they should be. I told her to just crank up the temp setting and leave it be (I was at work).

Of course, that didn't solve the problem. We moved some stuff into the upstairs freezer and the little freezer in the bar fridge but we will end up having to trash a bunch of stuff ($$).

I went online today to shop for a new one. Found one I wanted at Lowe's but the website showed it wouldn't be available until September. Fortunately, I knew that the website isn't always accurate, so I took a ride over to their nearest store. They didn't have one but their system showed that another area store did. I went there and sure enough they had one in stock.

I bought it right away. I even signed up for Lowe's credit card because it saved me $100. The soonest they can deliver is Wednesday but we're fine without it until then.

Just $700 we weren't expecting to be spending plus the cost of replacing the food that we lost.

It's always something.

Ebay update 3/13/22

March 13th, 2022 at 11:59 pm

I've been a collectibles dealer since 1986 and an ebay seller since 1997 but was relatively dormant for many years as work and life kept me busy with other things. It's been my plan all along for my retirement "job" to be getting back to my collectibles business. I started selling again toward the end of the summer with a lot of the stuff I got when I cleaned out my cousin's house, and I've moved on to a lot of the stuff we already had that needed to be sold.

My 90-day running sales total is currently $1,364.61 and $958.30 YTD.

My goal for now, while I'm still working, is to earn at least $200/mo. after expenses. Right now I'm at $687.89 YTD so already ahead of my goal.

Something I didn't really think I would do quite yet was to start buying items to resell again, but I've gone down that road, too. In the past 3 weeks, I've gone to several estate sales. I struck out at some but did buy several items at others. So far, I've bought 7 items and already sold 4 of them, so not a bad track record in a short time. I'm hoping that once yard sale season gets going, I'll find more merchandise at better prices as the estate sales tend to be more costly. I think some of those organizers price the stuff based on  the highest prices they see on ebay. Great if they can get it, but I certainly can't pay full retail price if I want to resell the stuff.

That's all for now. I'll update periodically with my progress. If you're an ebay seller too, I'd love to hear how you're making out.

New bed, Chili, and ebay update

March 5th, 2022 at 09:07 pm

We did something today that we haven't done for 25 years - bought a new bed. DW has been wanting a new mattress for ages but I've put it off because I'm cheap and sleep just fine on the one we have. However since she hurt her back in October, she hasn't been able to sleep in bed. She just can't get comfortable and it doesn't give her enough support. She's been sleeping downstairs on the loveseat propped up with pillows. Not a good long term solution. We were hoping she'd be better by now but since she's not, it was time to go another route.

She did a bunch of research and decided on a hybrid memory foam/spring mattress. The main thing would be an adjustable base so she could raise the head of the bed rather than propping up on pillows. Honestly, I'll like that too as watching TV in bed or even doing stuff on my phone means propping up awkwardly which tends to hurt my neck.

We headed off to a local shop today. They were still running their Presidents Day sale. We tried several options and agreed on one and placed the order. It should be delivered on Tuesday. We got split twin XLs since we have a king bed but need to be able to adjust them independently so she can sleep propped up and I can sleep flat. Of course, that raised the price, but it's the only workable solution.

After lunch, I made a pot of chili as we were out. That will be dinner tonight and 5 containers went into the freezer.

Ebay has been busy. I'm up to 82 active listings. My 90-day sales total is $1,039. My current goal is to make at least $200/mo after expenses and YTD I'm already at $505 so I should have no trouble passing $600 before the end of March. I already have $21 in bids right now.

Although the primary goal is to clear out the basement and garage, I've also started going to estate sales, being very selective in what I buy to resell. Two weeks ago, I went to my first one and bought 6 items for $14. I've already sold 2 for $40. Thursday I went to one and spent $3 for one item which I sold last night for $25. Not a bad track record so far.


February updates

February 20th, 2022 at 12:42 am

Things are cruising along reasonably well. I've adjusted well to working part time. At first it didn't seem much different. It took me a few weeks to adjust my schedule and stop feeling like I had to cram things into the 3 days I was off since I now have a whole 4th day free. Plus 2 days a week I don't go in until 1pm so I've got those mornings free now too.

Still, I'm constantly running the numbers to see when it is reasonable for me to drop to per diem and just work when I want to. I'm thinking that if I can pick up at least enough shifts to earn what we will be spending on health insurance, that would be perfect.

I'm not sure if I mentioned this in my blog (I know I've talked about it on the forums) but my wife developed back trouble at the end of October so we've been dealing with that. She's had 3 epidural injections and is having facet joint injections on Friday. She's better than she was but still nowhere near normal. Because of that, I don't really want to switch insurance plans now, which we'd need to do if I stopped working part time. We could do COBRA but that's super expensive so not really a good option. Hopefully, things will turn around over the next few months and she'll be better so switching coverage won't be a big concern anymore.

I've been much more active on ebay, which was my intent when I started working less. I currently have 72 items listed (plus 10-20 on Marketplace). Just this morning, for the first time in a long time, I bought some stuff to resell from an estate sale. While we still have plenty of stuff in the house for me to sell, I also know that if I want ebay to become a meaningful source of retirement income, I'm going to need to buy stock. I spent $14 today on 6 items that should bring in $100 or more. We shall see.

We have a cruise booked for August so we're hoping both that COVID is under control and that DW is physically able to do it.

I'm taking our tax stuff to the CPA on Tuesday. This year is complicated as it's our normal personal return, a final return for my cousin, and an estate return. I have no idea what that will all look like, if we'll owe, if we'll get money back, or what. So I kind of feel like I'm in limbo at the moment as far as making any big financial decisions until that's all done and I know where we stand.

Plenty of other things happening, but that's enough for now.

Extra tax bill - ouch

January 6th, 2022 at 01:18 am

Two of our taxable mutual funds paid out particularly large year-end distributions. Along with other taxable investment income, it came to about 46K, as I said in my last post.

I sent that info to our CPA and he ran our numbers and we need to pay over 10K in taxes. We need to pay at least $9,400 by 1/18 to avoid an underpayment penalty.

We have the funds, so that's not an issue. I just wasn't anticipating a 10K bill.

I did log in tonight and turn off reinvestment of dividends and capital gains for the one fund. The other fund already paid out rather than reinvesting. So at least when this happens again 12/22, we'll have those funds to draw from to pay the taxes.

Oh well. My father the accountant always said it's better to make the money and pay the taxes than to not make the money at all.

Investment income

January 3rd, 2022 at 01:59 am

I just had to add up our taxable investment income - interest, dividends, capital gains - for our accountant to see if we need to make an estimated tax payment.

It came to $46,000.

There was also about another $6,000 in dividends from two inherited stocks that are still in my late cousin's name and were paid to the estate, not to me directly.

In 2022, I have to start taking RMDs from the inherited IRA. That will be about $20,000 this year.

Finally, there's just over $550,000 still sitting in the estate bank account currently earning nothing. I will gain control of those funds soon and be able to invest them. Even at a modest 3% return, that would be another $16,000/yr. Obviously more if I can do better than 3%, which I think I can.

All together, that comes to $80,000 or so in income that we can reasonably expect this year. That's before touching a penny of our retirement accounts (except that inherited IRA) and in addition to my income from work.

If it truly plays out that way, I think I'd be well-positioned to retire by the end of the year, which has been my plan. It's just nice to have some actual numbers to back it up.

2021 year-end portfolio numbers

January 1st, 2022 at 12:58 am

Happy New Year to all!

I'm spending some of my New Year's Eve downloading year-end numbers for our portfolio. My goal was to end the year with $3.3 million and we just made it with a final total of $3,302,333.14.

That represents an increase of $1,677,361.02 for the year. Of course, the bulk of that came from the inheritance I received when my cousin died, but he "only" left me about $1.2 M. The rest is from growth of our existing holdings and the growth on that money once it became mine.

I'm certainly happy with that, but it could have been more except that $551,000 is still tied up in the estate account earning nothing. All of the paperwork has been filed to release it - over two months ago actually - but the court hasn't gotten around to it yet. Hopefully sometime early in 2022 that money will come into my control and I can start putting it to work for us.

Our year-end asset allocation is still overly conservative, thrown off by that 551K sitting in cash. We are now at:

Stock 58.12%

Bond 18.79%

Cash 23.09%

I haven't started to analyze performance yet. I just know that 7 of our holdings ended the year at or near their 52-week high and 4 ended at or near their 52-week low. The rest fell somewhere in between. Not too bad overall.

I hope everyone had a successful 2021 and I wish you all a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2022.

2021 spending

December 27th, 2021 at 01:45 am

I haven't crunched the numbers in detail but big picture, here's how our spending stacked up for the past 3 years.

2019: $81,200

2020: $70,600

2021: $88,400

There was also a large one-time expense in 2021 not included there. We paid the lawyer handling my late cousin's estate $14,500. Technically that was paid from the estate (even though I was the sole beneficiary of the estate so ultimately it was my money either way) but I certainly don't need to count that when doing future spending projections.

We had one other large expense this year spending $10,200 for a home repair. If not for that, our 2021 spending would have come in a few thousand under 2019. We're not quite back to pre-pandemic spending yet.

We have trimmed a couple of costs over the past year or so. We cut cable in November 2020. Just this past month, I dropped DW's life insurance and one of my disability insurance policies. Our daughter aged off our health insurance in October but we're now paying out of pocket for her therapy as her new plan doesn't cover it.

Overall, I'm pretty satisfied with where our numbers are at this point. I dropped to part time at the end of November so my income dropped by 1/3. That should still have me earning more than we're spending with a little to spare. That was pretty much my goal - earn enough to pay the bills and still save a bit and not have to touch the nest egg yet.

Had CFP follow up meeting today

November 19th, 2021 at 09:32 pm

Today was our follow up visit with our CFP. We saw him initially on 10/29 at which time we presented all of our information and discussed our plans and goals.

Today he reviewed the results of his analyses. He modeled several scenarios ranging from me retiring at 60 to retiring January 1, 2022. In all but one scenario, our projected success rate was 100%. In the one outlier, our success rate was "only" 99% so I think we could squeak by.

All of his projections assumed that I would have zero income after retirement, which isn't my plan. I anticipate dropping to per diem status and still working a few days per month for at least a few more years. At worst, if I work one weekend a month and nothing more, I'd earn at least $30,000/year. I also plan to do more online sales on ebay and Marketplace and have some money coming in that way, too. So his projections would look even better if you plug in that "post-retirement" income.

His projections also use a 4% rate of return from our portfolio. I certainly hope the long term return will be better than that. Even if it is 5%, that tips the scales even more in our favor.

Bottom line is that he thinks we're well positioned to succeed regardless of what I end up doing or when I end up retiring. I was pretty confident that that would be his conclusion, but it was nice to actually hear it stated.

I will be part time as of next Sunday, 11/28. I'm looking forward to seeing how that goes. I expect I'll find the work-life balance more to my liking and can stick with that for a while. Otherwise, we're set for me to cut back more if and when I decide it's time.


401k maxed for the year

November 17th, 2021 at 02:18 am

I just downloaded this week's paycheck. I contributed the final $740.78 needed to max my 401k at 26K for 2021. This is the third year I've done so. It's also possibly the last since as of 11/28 I will drop to part time. I don't think I'll be able to contribute that much going forward for however much longer I work (and the max rises for 2022).

Still, I'm happy to have been able to put in what I did. That account now stands at about $215,000 and I won't be touching it for at least a few more years so it can continue to grow. And even if I can't put in the max, I do want to keep contributing as much as I can for as long as I can.

This working thing is really getting old

November 9th, 2021 at 12:51 am

I'm tired of working. I suppose more accurately I'm tired of never having enough time to do everything else I want and need to get done because I spend so much time working. House stuff, financial stuff, family stuff, medical stuff, car stuff, exercise, the list goes on and on. Even fluff like staying current on a Netflix show I'm watching or being able to take advantage of a special offer at a favorite restaurant. There just aren't enough hours in the day. So many people say they'd be bored if they retired. I say bring it on. I'm ready. My to-do list is a mile long.

Three weeks from yesterday I'll officially be part time at work, dropping from 36 hrs/wk to 24, from 4 days to 3 days. I'm hoping that having that extra day, those extra 12 hours each week will provide better balance and give me more time to do all the stuff that gets ignored or delayed now. If not, it will be time to very seriously plan cutting back to just per diem work and getting our finances in order to make sure that will work.

First meeting with CFP done

October 30th, 2021 at 05:15 pm

We had a meeting yesterday with a CFP. He happens to be my wife's cousin and is someone we know and trust. He's the farthest thing from a sleazy salesperson type as you can get. Very upfront and honest about everything. We told him before we scheduled the meeting that we were not interested in money management services and did not want to be sold anything. We were strictly looking for planning services.

Prior to the meeting, he sent a list of information he wanted us to bring: income statement, SS statements, tax returns, spending log, and portfolio review. All easy enough for me to put together.

We started by talking about our situation and goals and what we'd like retirement to look like. He asked if we had any specific questions or concerns we wanted him to address. I then walked him through our portfolio spreadsheet because it's not really designed for a stranger to necessarily read and clearly understand so I wanted to make sure he knew what everything was and how to follow it. We talked a fair amount about our spending and how we envision that changing (or not) in retirement.

He explained the review he will do and what the results will look like, what sorts of things he models in, etc. We scheduled a follow up visit for 11/19 to go over what he comes up with.

Without giving us any specific answers, which he can't do just off the top of his head understandably, he was impressed with our situation, portfolio, knowledge, and mindset. Just based on the initial review, he thought we were in good shape overall to retire in the near future but will go into far more detail once he runs all the numbers, analyzes our portfolio, etc.

One thing he particularly liked was how we have good diversity of account types. Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, 401k, taxable accounts, etc. He said it's always challenging when someone comes to him who has a lot of money but it's all in one place, like their 401k. The diversity creates much more flexibility when it comes to withdrawal planning and managing tax efficiency.

So overall he thinks we're on the right track and have managed things well. I'll post again after we have the follow up in a few weeks.

Part time starts 11/28

October 28th, 2021 at 08:20 pm

I gave notice on 8/3 to end my current full time contract and switch to part time. My contract requires 120 days notice which took me to 12/1. The pay period starts 11/28 so the change will be effective then.

I'll be dropping from 36 hours/week to 24. I currently work two 12-hr days, one 8-hr, and one 4-hr. The new schedule will either be three 8-hr days or one 12, one 8, and one 4. We got our new schedule yesterday that runs through 12/25. It was nice to see my newly reduced hours in black and white.

Due to over-extending my PTO this year when my cousin died, I still owe them about 45 hours that I need to make up. I've been picking up 4 hours here and there and have already worked off 35 hours (I owed 80 originally). Even after I switch to PT, I'll still need to pick up some extra shifts until I make up that deficit, but it will be a lot easier at that point since I'll have more time free.

Once I've taken care of the PTO deficit, I'll probably still pick up extra shifts fairly regularly. Working a 4-hour shift is pretty easy and pays nicely. So maybe I'll aim to actually work 28 hours most weeks, still better than 36.

We're meeting with a CFP tomorrow for some hard core retirement planning. I think I have a good grasp on where things stand but I wanted to get a pro's input, particularly on a withdrawal plan once I do retire fully. We have so many accounts and I don't want to do anything that screws us up at tax time when doing something a little different could have saved us thousands of dollars. I'm really looking forward to seeing what he has to say. More to come on that once we've reviewed everything with him.

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