You are viewing: Main Page

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.

Estate probate period has ended

October 14th, 2021 at 12:28 am

The probate period for my cousin's estate ended yesterday. The lawyer emailed me all of the forms needed to officially petition the court to close the estate and release the funds to me. There was one form I had to get notarized which I did earlier today. I just scanned and emailed everything back to him and will put the originals in the mail tomorrow. I'm not sure how long it takes for everything to process but that should be the last step.

Sometime soon the estate account should be paid out to me. It currently holds just over 547K. Then the task will be to invest that money. I'm not planning to do anything crazy with it. It will pretty much be added to our existing investments. Even at a modest return, though, that money will generate a nice chunk of our retirement income in the near future.

I may have quit my job today

September 26th, 2021 at 12:13 am

Things at work have been super out of control due to COVID. Patient volumes have been hitting records almost daily and the stress level has been through the roof. We're all exhausted and burned out. And all of this is in the setting of us being short staffed for both providers and techs.

Along with in-person care, we also offer telehealth and that system has gotten even more out of control. The expectations placed upon us to cover that (at the same time we're working in physical locations) wasn't so bad when they first started and only saw a few patients a day, but they're now up to seeing in the 20s or 30s daily without any dedicated staff. Today was really the last straw for me.

I've already sent an email to my lead saying that what happened today was unacceptable and I'm no longer willing to work under those conditions. If they won't move me to a non-telehealth site I will be resigning. I hope it doesn't come to that but at this point, I'm prepared to walk if nothing is going to change.

I'll keep you posted. I may be a full-time ebay seller sooner than anticipated.

Portfolio milestone - $3.2 million

September 4th, 2021 at 02:07 pm

As of close of business yesterday, our portfolio now stands at just over $3,200,000.

I thought we might hit that by the end of the year and here we are at that mark almost 4 months before that. The market performance has been wild. I know it can't continue but it's sure a great ride while it lasts.

I've gotten our AA up to 56% stock as it had gotten really low due to the inheritance. My target is 60-65% stock so we're close. I may just leave things be for now as in another month or so, I'll be getting the money currently locked up in the estate account and will need to deploy that.

401k milestone

August 29th, 2021 at 12:35 am

As of this week, my 401k balance topped the $200,000 mark for the first time.

I started this account when I started working here per diem in April 2016. I went part time in February 2017 and full time in November 2017. I contributed the maximum allowed in 2018, 2019, and 2020.

So 200K accumulated in under 5-1/2 years. Not bad at all.

Florida house sold, portfolio update, odds and ends

August 19th, 2021 at 01:13 am

The Florida house did close on 8/10 as scheduled. All went pretty smoothly. I had to run around a bit to get the paperwork notarized and sent back but that was minor.

Final result was me walking away with $477,203.26. It went into the estate account for now. I'll get it once the probate period ends in early October. There's now over $547,000 in that account.

That means that our overall portfolio now stands at over $3.1 million. That's well above where I thought we'd be with the inheritance. I had estimated we'd be around $2.7 or 2.8 million but the inheritance ended up being more than I thought plus the ongoing stock market returns have pushed up the value of what we already had as well as the value of the money I inherited that was invested in equities.

That estate account, however, has pushed our cash allocation to about 23% right now and our stocks down to 51% with the remaining 27% in bonds.

I'm working on fixing that. I can't do anything about the 540K in the estate account yet but I'm reallocating the money that is in our control, namely the inherited traditional IRA. I started moving 10K/week from bonds to stocks but realized that would take forever, so today I moved 50K and will do that every week for the next couple of months. That will get us to about 57% stock. Then the estate account will get distributed to me and I'll be able to invest that to get the asset allocation where I ultimately want it.

No word yet on when my part time status will begin. We're actually short staffed at work right now so it's very possible they will hold me to my contract, meaning I'll remain full time until December 1. I'm hoping they can find a way to get me part time before that but I'm not complaining as I completely understand I'm bound by the contract.

We go to Florida 3 weeks from today for a big fundraising event and convention. We're not thrilled about traveling in the midst of the COVID surge but we've decided we're just going to do it and take precautions as much as possible.

Updates: estate, job, etc.

August 7th, 2021 at 11:34 pm

It's been over a month since my last entry. Time for an update.

I did return to Florida where I spent about 2 more weeks finishing up. Donated a bunch more stuff. Got the house ready to sell. Met with the realtor. A guy who lives in the neighborhood and knew my cousin had a sister in NY interested in the house. I had her and a couple of others excluded from the realtor contract. She flew down to see the house while we were there (my wife joined me partway through) and made a cash offer for just over our asking price. We're on track to close on Tuesday as far as I know.

We rented a truck and packed up a bunch of stuff that we wanted to bring home and drove back 7/14-7/15. I returned to work on 7/17.

Work has been nuts thanks to COVID and the fact that they closed one of our 8 sites at the end of May. At my primary site, we've had several days where we've seen over 70 patients which is a lot. 50s to 60ish had been the norm. We all can't wait for COVID to settle down but this particular location is also in an area with high anti-vax sentiment and "free-dumb" folks. Even a number of the staff members are anti-vax which just drives me nuts. How can you be on the front line of the pandemic seeing COVID patients every single day and still not see the value in the vaccine? Thankfully, our job has made the vaccine mandatory. We must be fully vaccinated by September 15. A bunch of people have quit as a result, though I'm not sure where they're planning to go since most other health systems are doing the same thing, but at least I won't be stuck with them anymore.

Big news on the job front is that I officially gave notice to drop to part time. I don't have an effective date yet. My contract requires 120 days notice so it could be as late as December 1. They handle that on a case by case basis so it could be before that. I know they have per diem providers waiting for hours to open up so if they can fill my spot easily, they might let me out of the contract early.

I'll go from 36 hours to 24. I'll still have medical benefits but at a slightly higher rate (about $70/month). And I'll still have the option of picking up extra hours whenever I'd like based on availability. I'll definitely do that for a while because I owe them about 80 hours. My leave of absence used up all of my PTO but we have a couple of trips planned in the fall that I'm still taking so I have to make up that time. Also, if I pick up 4 hours a week, I'd make some extra money and still be doing 8 hours less than I had been. One nice thing, hopefully, is that I won't be working 12-hour days anymore. I requested three 8-hour shifts for my 24 hour week.

Hopefully, the house closes as scheduled on Tuesday. That will be the last big piece of the estate. Then I just have to wait for the probate process to end in early October before the funds can be distributed to me.

I've been staying active listing stuff on ebay since a lot of what came home from Florida is items I wanted to sell. I've got about a dozen listings going and have already sold several. Little by little, I'll work through it all. Once I go part time, I plan to devote more time to the sales.

I think that's about it for now.

Heading back to Florida

July 4th, 2021 at 12:10 am

I'm flying back down to Florida on Monday. The plan is to finish cleaning out the house, get rid of most of the furniture, and pack up everything that needs to come home with us. I was thinking about replacing some carpet but might not be able to accomplish that on short notice. At the very least, I'd like to have the carpet cleaned if possible.

I also want to meet with the realtor to go over the process moving forward, sign with him officially, and see if he has any other advice to get the house ready to put on the market.

My wife is then going to fly down on Saturday to help me finish up. The following Tuesday we're renting a truck (already reserved). We'll pack it up and hit the road for home Wednesday morning and should get home Thursday evening.

The one possible complication is Tropical Storm/Hurricane Elsa. I'm hoping it doesn't interfere with my flight on Monday. Time will tell.

I go back to work on 7/17 so if any further stuff requires me being down, I'll have to fly down on one of my weekends off since I'm out of PTO at this point. Hopefully between some friends in the development and the realtor, that won't be necessary.

Back at home - for now

June 24th, 2021 at 11:22 pm

I left Florida on Monday and got home Tuesday evening, 4 weeks to the day that I left. I definitely feel like I accomplished a lot while I was there, but the job isn't 100% done. The plan now is for my wife and I to fly down probably right after July 4th, pack up what remains, and rent a truck to drive home with everything that we're keeping (much of which will ultimately get sold on ebay).

I need to speak with the realtor and get his opinion on what furniture can remain. He did say that he likes there to be some furniture rather than the house being totally empty as it shows better that way. I also want to ask him if he thinks we need to replace any carpet or do any other touch up stuff to the house. I'm not going to do any major work. The last step will be to hire a cleaning service to come in and thoroughly clean top to bottom, floor to ceiling.

I'm estimating we'll need 3 days to get everything packed and cleared out. A bunch more stuff will need to go to the thrift shop. I just couldn't donate it while I was there because I was still using it (dishes, toaster oven, cookware, etc.).

I'm still waiting on the probate stuff from the court. My lawyer warned me that all 3 judges in the county are new and don't know what they're doing so the process will take longer than normal. They already denied a request and said they had to get a copy of my license to prove I'm over 25. The lawyer said that was the most bizarre denial he's ever seen. Hopefully they won't come up with some other outlandish requests to further dealy the process.

The Wells Fargo accounts did transfer to Vanguard so that's done. Once I have the court stuff, I can work on transferring non-retirement accounts (checking, savings, stocks). I can also actually take over insurance policies, the car loan, the homeowner's association, etc. Right now I'm kind of in limbo with all of the legal stuff.

First big installment of inheritance

June 14th, 2021 at 11:50 pm

Not that this was unexpected but as of close of business today, my late cousin's main IRA has been transferred into my account: $433,656.00. The money was already effectively mine but actually having it in my name is one more step in the process.

His Roth hasn't transferred yet. I'm guessing that will happen tomorrow as it's with the same firm (Wells Fargo). He also had much smaller traditional and Roth IRAs with Vanguard which should be in the process of transferring as I spoke to them a couple of days ago.

The final step will be moving the Wells Fargo money over to Vanguard. I already have the new accounts set up so once everything is in my name, I can have Vanguard start that process.

In the meantime, I asked the account manager to liquidate the money within the IRA to go to all cash. It's currently in a ridiculous portfolio of 22 mutual funds which is what you get when you pay a "professional" to handle your affairs - high complexity and high expenses. I will be greatly simplifying that and almost certainly outperforming it as well.

<< Newer EntriesOlder Entries >>