Tom Young's first journal

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Tom Young
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Tom Young's first journal

Post by Tom Young » Sat Sep 06, 2014 7:05 pm

Gee... never had a journal before. A few attempts at a web page (which still exist, but are long forgotten), but wow... a journal... pretty exciting. :lol:
Ever since learning to read in the second grade, I've been a sponge... ??? do sponges have brains?
A long almost 80 year life, spent soaking up information. The arrogance of ignorance, that led me to my namesake, a polymath... a legend in his own time, but not in ours, and so a mostly anonymous avatar for the general public.

A good student, and a good athlete that got me through a great college at which point came marriage and four children. A US army stint, and a career in retailing, far afield from the Psychology Major, and the wide ranging liberal arts courses that left a never ending thirst for knowledge of all kinds.

So now, after my working life ended in 1989, DW and I are happily retired for 25 years, fairly healthy, and while relatively poor, can see our way to the age of 85 or maybe 90.

Interests? Too many to list, but for starters, the exploratory college courses... Biology, History Creative writing, French, German (my minor), Astronomy, Music, Comparative Religion, Philosophy, too much math... my downfall, World Art, with some audited classes in anthropology, and of all things, Goethe.

The sport was swimming,,, All American Swim Team 3 years HS and 4 in College as well as NCAA championships. Add to this the ancillary sports of Sailing Body Surfing, Canoeing, Camping Hiking, Biking (which I still do daily).

Am into mechanics, auto repair, bicycle collecting and repair, computers (still teach classes), birding, and have had 30 years in Boy Scouts. Favorite current hobby... salvage. Like to pick up used, discarded things and restore them, and then give them away. Am a hoarder of sorts, keeping parts and stuff for repair, so that I hardly ever have to go to Lowes or Home Depot. Small coin collection, and a small stamp collection that I can't seem to find.

When we retired, relatively poor, in 1989, after 3 years of my own business cut short by cancer, we lived in a park model camper, in a campground, on a lake in Illinois, thence... after a horrible winter, to a mobile home park in FL,,, 6 months in each place from 1990 to 2004 when we bought into our current CCRC, which we love. We still own in Florida, and our place on the lake, (25 miles away from our CCRC), but that will only be for a few more years. Upkeep too strenuous. .

That's enough ego stroking for the time being.

I don't know if we qualify for "extreme" financial independence, but the way we've structured our savings, investments, SS (at age 62) and our expenses, we haven't had to pay State or Federal taxes since 1991.

That's a nutshell starter for my "journal".

Tom Young
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Re: Tom Young's first journal

Post by Tom Young » Sat Sep 06, 2014 7:52 pm

Can I reply to my own journal?

I guess the most unusual part of our life, is that we have moved lock, stock and barrel 22 times since our marriage... the first being along with my new post-college job as waterfront director at the YMCA camp on Lake Cobbeseconte in Maine. For the whole summer, we had all of our meals wit 200 campers and counselors, and... get this...spent our honeymoon and then lived lived in a duplex log cabin with a separating wall that was only 8 feet high...and a vaulted ceiling. The camp repairman and his wife, the camp nurse, lived in the other half... they were about 75+ years old at the time. Being newly married, and having a metal springed bed that was rusty and squeaky... the mattress spent the summer on the floor.

Next, OCS at Ft. Benning Georgia... with a now pregnant wife, and the outstanding salary of $220/mo. From there, to Ayer, Ma., then to OMG Chelsea Ma. at the time called the armpit of the east coast... as a store Manager for Sears... and thence to Vineyard Haven on Martha's Vineyard... in this house, which we rented for $90/month. Wait 'til you see it now...
http://www.1720house.com/
You can rent the whole house for a week in July or August, for only $8400.00 :)
Then to Falmouth, Ma, and then to Claremont NH... and then as a DM w/Montgomery Ward to three places in Massachusetts, ending up semi permanent for four years 'til a Transfer to the regional main office in Albany, and then to the National Office in Chicago. Last job was special assignment from Mobil/MWard to close down the 2400 unit catalog division. After that, my own business in the Chicago suburbs for 3 years that ended as I was planning a major expansion, but stopped short by colon cancer, and not wanting to leave DW with a large debt.
So, underfunded but optimistic, decided to try retirement @ age 53, with the idea that if it didn;t work out, so... back to work.
It worked out... naturally frugal all our lives, we made a 20 page (Large green spreadsheets) plan for all years year up to age 80. Every event... buying a house, a car, inflation, SS a small annuity and healthcare plus other details. We used an interest rate of 6% and an inflation rate of 5% as an example.
None of what we planned worked out as we expected, but as amazing as it seems,now, we are exactly on plan, if not a little ahead.
We didn't use a financial planner, or receive a windfall, but things like interest rates, rising home prices, and later low inflation all balanced out. Imagine getting 11 1/2% on a CD or cashing in on a 100% increase in home prices. We bought I bonds to the limit in the early 2000's when the individual max investment/yr was $60K.
Like... we made plenty of mistakes too, but overall it worked out well, and to save on taxes, we took SS # age 62.

Onward and upward... our retirement plan is very simple, and I'll try to explain in a future post.

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GandK
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Re: Tom Young's first journal

Post by GandK » Mon Sep 08, 2014 11:05 am

Wecome! I'm enjoying your journal so far. Please keep going!

steveo73
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Re: Tom Young's first journal

Post by steveo73 » Tue Sep 09, 2014 3:57 am

I'm enjoying it too.

Tom Young
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Re: Tom Young's first journal

Post by Tom Young » Tue Sep 09, 2014 5:25 pm

As Promised... our retirement plan, the key to which is establishing a 'final date" . Since beginning the plan, and writing it up this way, the end date for out planning is age 90, because we've been under our planned expenses, and under the plan drawdown.
Our plan is extremely simple... On the spending side, we have three different budgets that we can adjust as circumstances warrant. Best case... Nominal... and Austerity.

On the Asset/Nest Egg side, We boil our assets down into three categories.
1. Fixed assets... house, auto, and other valuable non cash items... real property, jewelry, . We do not count household goods... (experience tells us that this is not realistic)
2. Non Income producing assets... bank accounts, cash, cash value life insurance policies.
3. Income producing assets... stocks, bonds, annuity.

All of these items are kept on a spread sheet and periodically updated. It's easy to come up with a total value... and then to average the income from the total...

To calculate where we stand in our retirement plan, we add
a. Social security amount.
b. Amount of interest earned on income producing assets.
c. ... and add the Total Assets divided by the number of years between now and age 85.

That establishes how much we can spend, which we then adjust to our best/nominal/austerity budget.

Sounds funky, but it works,and it takes about 2 minutes to tell if we're on budget or not.
I have shared this on other websites, and have heard many criticisms, but it works for us.
The key is in being honest with oneself. Not to overstate the net worth, nor to understate expenses.

It's easier to do, after reaching age 60 or age 65.
.................................................................................................................
So back to the journal.

Still recounting the past... Disclaimer... If I contradict myself, or recall things differently from time to time... it's lies... hard to keep them straight... :oops:

We retired in 1989 as a result of the cancer scare. It's not like it was totally a desperation move... even though I couldn't pursue my new business, I could have gone back to work, albeit at a lower salary. 53 year old retail people, even then, were not in short supply, and my inflation adjusted salary to today, of about $110K would have turned into a shift manager at Walmart...
Soooo ... to make the decision. Literally dozens of those large green lined sheets... full... truly full of every cost and expense between age 53 and age 75, (at the time)... When to buy a house, when to buy a car, when to get SS, how much for medical, inflation rate, interest rate... CD's Investments, financial advisers, net worth .... house, and then (stupid calculation) household goods. (As if that five year old sofa had some kind of cash value.)

Many mistakes, but enough good things to build some confidence. Sell the house, and move into the campground. You own your lot, and become part of a owner owned and operated campground . First a 27 foot trailer, then later, a park model w/400 sf add-a-room and a 400 sf deck, and two 8'X10' sheds... and the smartest thing... on a lake. Look up WoodHaven Lakes.

At the time, we could have lived there year round, but laws changed, and to keep campground (low tax) status... limited to 185 days/yr. The, yearly dues $525 plus $300 for water and sewer.
So now, we have bought the water/sewer company, and out yearly dues 25 years later are about
$1400.

It was a good move moneywise, but the first year was the coldest in history, and the park model had an insulation factor of 6 and even with the built in gas heater, three electric heaters, and a kerosene heater, the windows still froze. December heating bill was $400+, so we left for Texas and then to Florida. A month in Florida, and we found our Shangri-La... a mobile home senior park in central Florida and from then 'til now, our ultra busy lifestyle for 6 months out of the year.

We still have our Illinois campground property but bought into an Illinois CCRC in 2004... (in the "hello" thread. )

That's an update... Next, I guess, to share philosophies, give slanted opinions, rant, tell secrets, and maybe share some of the stuff that helped us to stay solvent and (more important), HAPPY over our 57 years of marriage.

Tom Young
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Re: Tom Young's first journal

Post by Tom Young » Thu Sep 11, 2014 7:03 pm

Life history, living situation and financial status covered, what else is there to write about? We don't even have any pets, unless you consider Homer, our stuffed polar bear a pet...

Image
Homer is a graduate of my college, and the college mascot.
A little story about how Homer came to live with us. We were in the Salvation Army store, and I spotted him, sitting in a child's high chair... in the front window of the store. Hmmm... kind of a silly thing... what would we do with him after we got him home, and so we left the store... As I looked back, i saw a young couple in the display window, looking at Homer... Ye God!... They'll take him home. I rushed back into the store... right to the window, and reached in front of the couple and seized Homer... "he who hesitates...". Turns out they were looking at the high chair, not Homer, but no matter.
Anyway Homer came home with us, and sits in the extra living room recliner, then travels back and forth to FL in the back seat, looking out the window. He's been with us for 11 years.
So this may sound silly, but wait... there's more to the story, and...
It may be of some help to you.

DW and I are very loving, but independent in thought and deed, and occasionally have differences of opinion. Many years ago, this might have resulted in hours, or even a full day of stricken silence. Homer changed all that. We learned. We learned that if we had something to say, instead of mmbbpff holding it in, we could say it to Homer. A few more times, and we had the ombudsman thing under control, and still, to this day, address Homer on a regular basis for possible disputes, and to decide what to do in difficult situations.

And one more strange thing. When friends come into our house, no kidding... with no intent as a joke, they just casually say "Hi Homer" with no thought about him being just a stuffed bear.

Still tying to think what to write in my first journal... Maybe a story about "Salvage 1", or maybe how we've been able to legally avoid state and federal taxes for the past 25 years. (being somewhat poor helps).

The Journal thing is really fun... and just imagine... a few people actually read it!!! :D

almostthere
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Re: Tom Young's first journal

Post by almostthere » Fri Sep 12, 2014 9:04 am

Keep it up. It's good to see how one really can make over the long haul.

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Ego
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Re: Tom Young's first journal

Post by Ego » Fri Sep 12, 2014 12:56 pm

Tom Young wrote: Still recounting the past... Disclaimer... If I contradict myself, or recall things differently from time to time... it's lies... hard to keep them straight... :oops:
:lol: You are going to fit in well here.

Tom Young
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Re: Tom Young's first journal

Post by Tom Young » Thu Oct 16, 2014 6:24 pm

Yeah...
One of the opportunities that comes with aging, is that of rediscovering things you enjoyed but had forgotten about along the way. Over the past month, a concentrated effort to maximize the enjoyment of our camp, with some biking, canoeing and communing with nature.
Now a return to the reality of a plunging market, pestilence, global unrest and ... colder weather.:(

I did mention Salvage 1. In a way, it's a symbol of my most fun hobby. Finding old, unusual, and broken stuff, and then taking it apart to repair, and in most cases, just to find out what it is, what it was, and if it has practical use for anyone. Salvage 1 is my golf cart, an old Club Car that I use to ride around our Florida Senior Community on trash days. (twice a week). It's a classier way of being a dumpster diver. Absolutely astounding what people, (especially old people like me) throw away. Between appliances, furniture, tools, and a thousand oddball items, it becomes a regular project. Repair, and then use, or give away. A supplement to our retirement economics as well as a fun thing to do.

Here In Illinois, no trash searches... not allowed, and so, a sublimation of this habit. In the next town over, we have a recycle Goodwill-type resale shop. A high volume very low price shop, that is run by the ladies from the five local churches. Profits to help the poor and the homeless. The town was (and still is) a fairly wealthy old money farm town. It has been our experience in several of the places we live that this type of business can be found, but it takes some looking around. Most often church affiliated, and most often prices well below Goodwill.
In this case, one of the features is that for $5 you can fill one of those Walmart wire handle baskets with as many pieces of clothing as will fit. Because of the generally wealthy donors, most of the clothing is brand name, and almost universally nearly new. Almost all of the clothing we get is indistinguishable from new, and in fact, many of the blouses me dear wife gets still have the original sales tag. Example.. our last trip... one $5 basket... four blouses, two pair of slacks, a pair of Leggs support stockings in the original unopened package, a Gucci-looking pocketbook, a hoodie jacket and a pair of almost new Sketchers.
I bought an almost new $59 humidifier for $2, a GN2100 Heaset (retail $99) for $.50, a $59 kids game for granddaughter for $1, four books-on-tape for $.25 each, and a 400 day clock for $5.
That's all part of my/our hobby of buying used or salvaging.
Last year, I picked up a $500 trolling motor (free repair of cold solder joint), and a $750 leather chair... discarded by a lady who couldn't stand to see that memory of her husband in the living room. All kinds of salvaged tools... mowers, chain saws, routers, drills etc, and even a set of Air Conditioning guages.
A virtual museum of vintage bikes... free or at most $5. Bikes are my favorite hobby.
So, as part of this "hobby", a degree of hoarding, but organized and out of sight. My storage shed at the camp, and in Florida, is the source of all those "things" that one usually buys at Lowes or Home Depot. Not just for me, but for the entire neighborhood. "If I don't have it, you don't need it".

And so I guess you could call this part of our frugality, but its one of the things that gives me the most pleasure.

Tom Young
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Re: Tom Young's first journal

Post by Tom Young » Thu Oct 30, 2014 12:36 am

OMG... two weeks later... Time flies when you're having fun, and flies even faster when you get old.
Used to be able to look back and say... I accomplished this or that... now, very sadly nothing to report. Been doing lots of ego posting on various sites, spending time at the lake. A campground with 6200 sites, and maybe 50 occupied at this time of the year. The animals have taken over. Out on my bike a few days ago, and came across a whole herd of whitetail deer... casually strolling down the middle of the road, with no inclination to get out of the way... Total of 12 deer, totally fearless.
Birds... super active. Geese learning to fly in perfect V's... My guess about 200 on our lakes at this time.
For the first time ever, we had a large white Egret, and with my neighbor, got to see an unusual sight. Our local Great Blue Heron, met up with the Egret, and they flew together, in formation for about a half hour, up and down the lake, periodically landing about 10 feet apart, then taking off again wings almost touching.
A marvelous sight.
The humming birds have left, but before they flew south to Texas, they spent a few days drinking my feeder dry. As many as a dozen at a time. Here's a short video, taken outside about 5 feet from the feeder. The birds so busy and excited that one landed on my shoulder,and another bumped into my camera. MP4 video here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzIlEZ ... sp=sharing
Sad... next visit will be to winterize unless we get a warm spell. Camp is about 35 minutes away.

Thinking to put together some thoughts about finding kindred spirits... a not so easy task in today's 24/7 connected world. Will save it for another time. Enough for now.

George the original one
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Re: Tom Young's first journal

Post by George the original one » Thu Oct 30, 2014 10:48 am

> For the first time ever, we had a large white Egret, and with my neighbor, got to see an unusual sight.

I saw one in Seaside, Oregon last weekend. They're not unheard of up here, but it's a rare sighting.

BPA
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Re: Tom Young's first journal

Post by BPA » Thu Oct 30, 2014 7:10 pm

I love your journal and your frankness.

So great to see someone who has been making this lifestyle work for so many years. :)

Tom Young
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Re: Tom Young's first journal

Post by Tom Young » Tue Nov 04, 2014 8:20 pm

Finding kindred spirits:
Age has something to do with this. Age and having lots of free time.

Back in the days of kids and work and social circles like church or scouts or camping buddies, it was pretty easy to make friends and to fit in. Even for the first 24 years of retirement in our Florida active senior community, lots of friends and always busy.

Now, not so much. Easy to make friends, but more difficult to find what I call kindred spirits. Being an avid news/philosophy/psychology/history junkie, it's not easy to find those who share these interests. Much of this would be called snobbery, but it's more than that. We live in a senior community (a CCRC) single home (villa)... in a Central Illinois town that is working class and farming oriented. My liberal education background calls out for stimulating conversation, and discussion of world affairs and subjects more involved than travel, social events, shopping and places to eat.

And so kindred spirits. Some interest at the local library, but am no longer into reading. A local Community College, and some courses that I could audit for free, as a senior, but that becomes too narrow, and I don't have enough time left. :) The local churches are good social centers, but not much that is stimulating. My past interests 25 years in Scouting, and years in leading church youth groups are out of the question now, Working in any form... too late... even for the SBA consulting that was part of early retirement.
My 4 sons are best friends, and good company, but they live too far away, as do those special best friends from college. DW and I are on the same wavelength so that works well, but 56 years of marriage and we're pretty well set in what we believe.

Looking back, over the years, always some kindred spirits. People who had wide ranging interests, high intelligence, and to whom it was easy to confide, argue, and to be with. Lost the last one two years ago.

Now, it's down to the internet... posting and discussing on forums. Not as easy to find compatibility as it would seem. Few forums provide the moderation that's necessary to keep civil discussion and idea exchange. It doesn't take too long to see thread hijacking or egoists who rate themselves by their posting totals... and contribute with sarcasm and one liners but little of substance. The other disheartening problem with forums is that familiarity often breeds contempt.

This is now officially a rant... not welcome, but just a part of life that happens to many older persons. Something for younger people to be aware of when they have aging parents.

I am mindful of a day many years ago, when we were on our way to Florida and stopped in Cordele, GA. It was breakfast at McDonalds. There were five geezers (my age today) and they were having a great time discussing all kinds of subjects. They met every morning for coffee, and to discuss the world. At the time, it didn't seem important. Now I wish they lived here.

And so, while I am not bored, and very active with many interests and plenty of physical activity,
I do miss the kindred spirits.

1taskaday
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Re: Tom Young's first journal

Post by 1taskaday » Fri Nov 07, 2014 3:43 pm

Love the journal,stories and your style of writing.

Would like to request more videos and nature photos if possible-could only catch a glimse of lake area on humming bird video -but seemed like a beautiful place.

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GandK
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Re: Tom Young's first journal

Post by GandK » Fri Nov 07, 2014 8:18 pm

Tom Young wrote:I am mindful of a day many years ago, when we were on our way to Florida and stopped in Cordele, GA. It was breakfast at McDonalds. There were five geezers (my age today) and they were having a great time discussing all kinds of subjects. They met every morning for coffee, and to discuss the world. At the time, it didn't seem important. Now I wish they lived here.

And so, while I am not bored, and very active with many interests and plenty of physical activity,
I do miss the kindred spirits.
I feel that way now, at 40. I'm not starved for conversation, but I'm frequently starved for meaningful conversation. It's one of the reasons I come here.

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Re: Tom Young's first journal

Post by jacob » Fri Nov 07, 2014 9:19 pm

In my experience sufficiently kindred spirits come along every 24-48 months. Identical matches, practically never. It's a rare thing. So is life.

Tom Young
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Re: Tom Young's first journal

Post by Tom Young » Sat Nov 08, 2014 9:30 am

In my experience sufficiently kindred spirits come along every 24-48 months. Identical matches, practically never. It's a rare thing. So is life.
Looking back over nearly 80 years... total of 8 or 9. :)

Tom Young
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Re: Tom Young's first journal

Post by Tom Young » Sat Nov 08, 2014 9:36 am

Sharing some thinking about the future:
For discussion purposes, I see hedonic regression as one of the major factors in planning for the longer term retirement.
In particular, decisions on housing, but also to establish a DEW line for major shifts in the economy. A good example of this, the current policy movement among the international Central Banks.
Understanding long term interest rates as a precipitating factor for growth, decline, deflation, inflation or hyperinflation is a step beyond market movement and the stability of the market itself.
Subjects such as housing as a percentage of GDP, and the aging population, the effects of medicine, and climate change are just a some of the factors what will be rebalancing in a "Globalized" world.

We, as a nation, have been through a very long period of relatively stable economy broken by relatively small recessions, and mostly affecting stock market losses. Long forgotten and misunderstood are the periods of real hardship from 1929 to the of recovery in 1941.

There are current arguments that the CPI (before chained CPI) has created a gap between stated and real inflation. (Shadow Statistics). Whether that is true or not, the basis behind the establishment of the value of goods and services is only as good as the basis of the currency underlying the calculations.

I am reminded of the saying: "A rising tide lifts all boats".
By the same token the corollary that receding tide could earlier strand and damage those boats with greater draft, with a loss of much cargo. Therein lies the thought that early recognition and preparation could avoid running aground.

So... what?
Where to live?
What to pay?
Rent v. own?
Corporations stability and outlook relative to the economy.
Bond v. Stocks v. other Material investments.
Timing?
Widening understanding of alternate investment strategies.
Gold?
Emerging nations?
Commodities?
Population explosion related factors
Environmental concerns.
And the rest of the litany of risk/reward factors.
.................................................. .................................................. .....

Down to the basics: How is value established?
Will the Michael Jordan Fleers Bubble Gum card be worth $20K in 2024?
Will an extended drought in the West drive up food prices?
Why did property values in Detroit and Las Vegas change? Where else could this happen in ten years?
What could happen with a collapse of the Euro?
Can copyright laws be enforced?

What has value today?
What will have value tomorrow?

Think Pensions, Social Security, Education, Welfare, and especially TAXES.

As food for thought, three minutes spent on this page

http://www.usdebtclock.org/world-debt-clock.html

to look at DEBT, should give a picture of the inequality between nations. For a quick comparison, look at public debt to GDP and outside debt to GDP.
Note where the percentage decimal place is!

Check these comparisons
US
UK
India
China
Russia

So... a wider definition of hedonic... the value we place on what makes up the security part of our lives.... and regression... the actual on-balance measure of what the future may bring.

For me, a difficult subject, given the concept of globalization and free trade.
How can we, with an external debt of 100% to GDP, deal with Russia @ 33%, China @6%, England @466% and Ireland @ 1,000+%.

How does printing money become an infinite solution? In the same vein, within the US, balancing unfunded liabilities such as pensions and SS without dealing with tax increases?

Using a 10 year outlook, how do we stay in the game, and not be subject to massive inflation.
.................................................. ...................
Though at my current age, I have no direct concerns, four sons are in the age brackets of many here on ERE. My thinking is to build a type of "prepper" plan that lists concerns... and potential offsets to avoid the "regression".
ie.
Investment - timing shift to bonds, foreign bonds, or commodities
Housing - Right-size, Right location today and tomorrow
Energy- Serious review of cost vs. efficiency on all sources
Health- Fact based actions, Knowledge based risk reward, accelerated learning curve for self diagnosis and protection.
Actual hedonism - cost of vanity, travel, entertainment - Direct alternate plan.
Timing- Determining trends, watching financial forecasts, cutting through hype to fact
A defensive loss of income plan
Analytical approach to support for education, relatives, charities... measuring wants vs. needs.
Knowledge of and direction for national interests:
-infrastructure
-armed forces
-critical SCOTUS decisions
-law re: environment, global warming, energy
international commitments.
(The latter national interests to be quantified for personal economic directional decisions... ie. "dark clouds forming".)

Agreed that much of this is motherhood... and like... "What's different from what I'm doing already?" ....BUT that's the real purpose of calculating hedonic regression. To establish real value in the face of changing dynamics. Not just a 2007-2008 type market event, but wider causes such as the above mentioned global economic balances.

A lot of "ramble" here, but looking ahead ten years, is more than deciding what to have for lunch.

Tom Young
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Re: Tom Young's first journal

Post by Tom Young » Sun Nov 09, 2014 11:21 am

The hedonic regression post was just a ramble after looking ahead ten years.
Not too well done, but anyway....

Some thoughts to share on Retirement... not Extreme, but frugal:

While our early retirement years were always shadowed by cares about "money", we now feel secure with our financial decisions. Whether by chance or luck, the ultra conservative choices that we made, worked to our best advantage. While most of these were covered in earlier posts, here is a reprise... some of the choices were good for the time, and could not be repeated, while others might have a similar benefit in the future, depending on the economy.

1. I Bonds... 2001 through 2003, the best years for the higher base rates.

2. Social Security at age 62 in 1998. Instead of using our invested monies, which were earning more than 10% in one year CD's, the tax free social security worked out to our advantage. (this is one area of SS that doesn't received much attention since the interest rates have been so low).

3. Taking advantage of state assistance programs was very beneficial to us for about seven years. Our state offered these programs based on adjusted net income, rather than means testing (net worth). Over the period of 7-8 years these benefits (pharma, drivers license, tax freezes, and transportation benefits etc. totaled more than $10,000). All legally available, but not commonly applied for by most eligible people.

4. Long Term Care policy. We would not do this today, but with rates that have been frozen for 17 years, the potential benefits far outweigh the investment dollars.

5. Keeping a small annuity account that began @ 12% but was reduced after 2 years to a permanent 4% return which has accumulated over the past 30 years.

6. Securing the advantage of home ownership as a hedge against having savings depleted in the case of extended nursing home care. (ie. purchasing a more expensive home as a residence vs. the lower valued mobile home and park model housing that we had lived in during the early (more frugal) years.

7. Maximizing the tax advantages on our 1040's, by taking out IRA dollars to the 'below the taxable level' after turning 65. Fully legal, we have not had to pay taxes during our retirement. (this will probably change within the next 2 years as we begin to draw down our savings).

8. Calculating the cost of our two older vehicles over the period of ownership (excluding fuel, insurance and licensing... but including initial cost, maintainence and repairs), the cost per vehicle, per year... has been less than $1300.

In truth, over the past 24 years, we probably would have done better financially if we had invested our limited capital less conservatively, but neither one of us has an appetite for risk.

Re: the future... Age has changed our perspective. At ages 50, 60 and even 70, the future looked to be infinite. Now, not so much. it's more of a "Phase II" and more finite. It's a period of acceptance, for whatever may go wrong, health or otherwise. We plan only for things that are pleasurable, and don't dwell on the "what if's". Frugality is ingrained and second nature so even where we could afford to do more, spend more, it's not in our nature.

Tom Young
Posts: 37
Joined: Sun Aug 31, 2014 2:38 pm
Location: MidWest, Florida

Re: Tom Young's first journal

Post by Tom Young » Fri Jan 09, 2015 4:22 pm

Some thoughts about music and its' influence on life:

Yesterday, at Aldi's, I found a marked down Christmas gift... a student size guitar, marked down to $9.99. Not only a good deal, but a very nice sounding instrument. It brought back some memories of music in my life.
I found myself humming JaDa... a song we sang at YMCA camp, with my ukelele playing fellow counselors. back in the early '50's.

We grew up with music... A piano in our 9'X10' dining room, against the wall... mom played and tried to teach me, but gave up... At grandma Miller's house, with aunts and uncles and cousins... in all about 30... crammed into the "parlor" around the player piano, where cousin Margie and I pumped the pedals, and we ALL sang Harbor Lights, and When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again... in the 1940s.
Uncle Jerry was a tail gunner in a B24, and died over Poland when his plane was shot down. Jerry played the violin, and my grandmother decided that someone had to carry on the musical heritage, so little Bobby, won the violin, and in 5th grade began lessons in Mrs Sherman's after school... free music class. For two years... right through 6th grade, I carried that damned thing to school... defying the bullying of the day. Got up to the 6th position. Dad finally relented, and I gave the violin to my little brother, who dropped and broke it... A solution I had never thought of.
After grammar school... to High School... not good enough for the chorus, and they didn't need aviolinist in the band... It was a small marching band... The School was Pawtucket West... (there was also a Pawtucket East which was twice the size)... At the highschool football games, the band always played at halftime. Yes... a small band... 5 players... enough to make a "W"...
But it was in highschool that this musician flourished... Western singing was beginning to take over the country... before Nashville was in Tennessee. We listened to WWVA, Wheeling West Virginia...on a radio "skip" at night and bought the words to the songs at the drugstore for $10.
Too costly for a guitar, so we all bought ukeleles and "made believe". Learned every song, from every country western singer who ever sang... hundreds of songs... knew every word, and ... ahem... still remember them today. Swam for the Boys club, and we won the National Championship in 1953 and 1954. Six of our swimmers played the uke, and we serenaded the audience, and made the NYT... Couldn't do that today.

College was more of the same... but added playing the recorder, the tin whistle, harmonica, and guitar. Got good enough in singing to join the chorus, but bored after 1 year... and knew I'd never make the Meddiebempsters... so became a troubadour.. mainly at parties, and usually best after 11 PM.

Also in College, took Music Appreciation, as a hoped for "gut course"... to offset Calculus and Biology... OMG... didn't realize that the music labs were 4 hours long, with headphones, listening to and parsing classical music... If you've done that, you'll understand. But yeah... definitely a wonderful lead in to listening to, loving and subconsciously analyzing the classics.

After college, did the usual... bought 45's, then LP's then 8 tracks, then cassettes... Mostly popular music of the 60's, and 70's. Stopped everything in the 80's... right after disco... so am totally ignorant of the in-between '85 and '13...
So in the early 90's when Napster was semi legal, managed to download about 3000 of my favorites that I still have and play regularly. Haven't P2P'd in 15 years...
Now... still play ukelele, harmonica, electronic piano, and jam with some buddies in our retirement community, and play with them in the "talent" shows. No violin.

I guess music has followed DW and I throughout our lives, and helped over the rough spots...
"Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast, To soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak" ~ William Congreve

Tom Young
Posts: 37
Joined: Sun Aug 31, 2014 2:38 pm
Location: MidWest, Florida

Re: Tom Young's first journal

Post by Tom Young » Fri Jan 23, 2015 7:28 am

Winter is becoming a long haul... I know, because I I'm getting antsy, and realized that when I found myself reading the "Hollywood Reporter". This time an article that made me think.
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/g ... net-765989
Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt on Thursday predicted the end of the Internet as we know it.

At the end of a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where his comments were webcast, he was asked for his prediction on the future of the web. “I will answer very simply that the Internet will disappear,” Schmidt said.
The quote got me started. Basically the article says that because of the proliferation of personal electonics... glasses, health bracelets and such that the individual will live in a virtual world, and interact with others by your own permission.

The part that got to me, though, was the projection that the 40% of the world that has internet access wil grow rapidly in the future. Along with that... the next step that opened the door to some wider thoughts:
Sandberg and Schmidt lauded the Internet as an important way to give more people in the world a voice. Currently, only 40 percent of people have Internet access, the Facebook COO said, adding that any growth in reach helps extend people’s voice and increase economic opportunity. “I’m a huge optimist,” she said about her outlook for the industry. “Imagine what we can do” once the world gets to 50 percent, 60 percent and more in terms of Internet penetration.
She cited women as being among the beneficiaries, saying the Internet narrows divides.
So women are empowered! That's great... and that starts the thinking process...
...........................................................................................................................................
So if the internet empowers women... what about THE PEOPLE????

I look around and see older people like me, who are living their lives, passively. We can't change the world. Our votes count for little, after the election. We smile, and hope for the best.
Bad enough... but then I look at my kids, now in their 50's, but aside from voting, feeling just as much disenfranchised as me... watching and reading the news... pleased or angry as one side or another of the current crisis is presented.

So who is making the policy? Who is making the decisions? Who are they listening to? To ease the pain, we typically watch or read the liberal, conservative or progressive viewpoints... just to keep the blood presure down. What do we (the "most people" we) do to affect change? Aside from the few who will call or write the decision makers... almost nothing.

What if... the internet became a place to formally "vote"... or "choose"... or "agree or diasagree"... with a "poll result" page. Simplistic? Not workable? Can't be done? Hmmm... maybe.

In his 1974 book Computer Lib, Ted Nelson connected computer use with political freedom with the rallying cry "Computer power to the people! Down with the cybercrud." Forty years ago... Not there yet. Still millions... billions... trying to be heard. Some reach a few thousand, or a few hundred thousand others, but what if... the people could be empowered with a central, formal site to ensure their voice is heard.

Women power a start, but why not a one voice, one vote.. "sense of the people".

Scrubby
Posts: 153
Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2014 4:46 pm

Re: Tom Young's first journal

Post by Scrubby » Fri Jan 23, 2015 9:21 am

Tom Young wrote:So who is making the policy? Who is making the decisions? Who are they listening to? To ease the pain, we typically watch or read the liberal, conservative or progressive viewpoints... just to keep the blood presure down. What do we (the "most people" we) do to affect change? Aside from the few who will call or write the decision makers... almost nothing.
I haven't gotten around reading it myself, but the book "Power: Why Some People Have It and Others Don't" by Jeffrey Pfeffer is supposed to explain just that.

Tom Young
Posts: 37
Joined: Sun Aug 31, 2014 2:38 pm
Location: MidWest, Florida

Re: Tom Young's first journal

Post by Tom Young » Thu Feb 12, 2015 1:45 pm

Am not here often enough to tune in to all of the posts, but I do enjoy the philosophical approach... something that seems to be missing in most internet discussions. Negative blogs are hard to read, but provide a place for venting.

So, a little divergence here, about looking at the future. Instead of seeing our world as a place we can change, it seems to be a structure quite different from anything that would enable the "people" to effect change, but rather a world of puppets, controlled by the puppeteers.

Imagine the tower of power... a place where the very wealthiest individuals live in opulent splendor, aware of their own special elevated status, impervious to the will of those who re looking up.

Wealth and power come... not from hard work, but from legacies, and/or the use of capital (wherever and however obtained) to grow the fortunes that provide the protection for their status.

Lawyers, armies, governments, and the law itself, all controlled by wealth, in a manner never before seen... not in history or even in imagination. Never again a Frech Revolution... never again a government chosen by the people. Never again a public demand for the correction of ills, damages, or any change that does not benefit those who live in the tower.

The very latest projection of freedom from the doom that comes from environmental changes, food crises, or overpopulation... goes only to a year that would be old age for those who are over 20 years old. That means no effective change, and an eventual doomsday scenario that stops in about 50 years.

My crystal ball is cloudy as to the process and timetable, but I can see no way that this could change.

Liberty, fraternity, equality. Never again.

I watch for signs of hope, and if not hope, wide recognition. The sparks of a moral revolution pop up here and there, but are always short lived, or quickly crushed. My own preferred model for a new world is in CESJ... but this too, shall never see light of day.

And so it goes, my dear wife and I live very happily in Today... thankful for what we have. Our four sons are also nearing retirement within the coming four to eight years. While I don't expect thay will have the same good fortune, I believe they will be okay, in an increasingly complex world. We must all look to our own future, hoping to be above the midpoint of society. I fear that those below the midpoint may not fare well at all.

With age, sometimes comes curmudgeonry. :)

Tom Young
Posts: 37
Joined: Sun Aug 31, 2014 2:38 pm
Location: MidWest, Florida

Re: Tom Young's first journal

Post by Tom Young » Sun Sep 06, 2015 8:57 pm

A one year bump.
Nearing the 80th year... November 3.
All is pretty much the same. No words of wisdom...

If anything, life is much less extreme. As my bride and I slow down, it's easier to pick and choose what we do. Life becomes more stable... more organized out of necessity. Adventure comes from planning, and not from a flight of fancy or as a challenge. As memory becomes more of a problem, establishing a framework for time and place is a major change from our younger days.

So... as to time: First... a calendar... no more just the normal memory. A listing of appointments, events, and reminders that we used to keep in our heads. Things like the 90 day reordering of prescriptions or the annual tax, insurance, or regular payment dates for most of the the recurring bills. But it doesn't stop with just the daily schedule, but with the general hourly activities.. exercise, medicines, meals and things like shopping, social activities like card games, group coffee etc. Not a firm written plan, but a structure that keeps life more full and even.

The place part... Yeah.. pretty much like -a place for everything, and everything in its place-. From the organization of the refrigerator, to the stocking of the pantry, to the closet and then to the garage. Plus... one special place for everything that is lost or doesn't yet have a place.

Sound like it's just normal living? Well, yes... but if you've had experience with an aging relative or friend who is having memory problems, you'll understand what structure means. Nowhere in the aging process does stress play greater role than in the frustration of fouling up the routines of what used to be "normal".

This is just a first person observation that probably seems unimportant or self evident. Certainly nothing that ever crossed my mind in earlier years. Now.. it's becoming important. A step at a time. If there is any value to this, it may come from recognizing organization as a part of aging that is better dealt with early. For those with aging parents or relatives, a reason to be proactive... a subject to to be dealt with ahead of time. Better to establish the patterns early... habits that can become second nature when the learning process no longer works.

Tom Young
Posts: 37
Joined: Sun Aug 31, 2014 2:38 pm
Location: MidWest, Florida

Re: Tom Young's first journal

Post by Tom Young » Fri May 12, 2017 5:57 pm

Sheesh... Now into the 81st year, and dealing w/the forgetfulness that we call alzheimers... Not too bad yet, but getting there. Short term memory not worth a damn, but the underlying IQ seems to still be there.
So that explains the intervening time. Just found the link in my deleted files. Jeez.. did I write all of those posts?

Anyway... trying to cover my lies. Still living in my villa home in the Liberty Village Peru, Il CCRC... Still have our FL home, and our Woodhaven Lakes campground Park Model on Bass Lake.

Health still pretty good for me, and my dear wife. One set of kids is going to retire to a new home in Sarasota in Early August, and will live in our Florida community while their home is being built. Other guys still going along, now in their mid 50's

Money seems to be holding up very well, as we no longer do the traveling, the meals out, and spending on the house. Looking back, we still have the same (low) assets that we had when we retire in 1989... no more, but no less, and what I call phase 2 of later retirement has kicked in strong. We're still frugal, but don't even thing about money any more...

Have become even more philosophical in my dotage. Well satisfied and very happy as we grow older.

Will come back, now that I've found the link... Regards to all new, old and potential retirees.

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