FruGal61 at your service

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Re: FruGal61 at your service

Post by IlliniDave » Fri May 04, 2018 3:48 am

I think I've just become more acculturated to it all. 'Working for the man' has never been part of my vocabulary. Since my first job in high school I was always acutely aware of 'what's in it for me' and I think I assess that pretty accurately.

All the larger companies out there that I have insight into have retooled their health insurance benefits to pretty much follow the ACA scheme because of the punitive treatment the old-fashioned "Cadillac" plans receive. The only benefit to continuing to work with my employer is that out on the market I'd have to pay 100% of the premiums (less subsidies if any) versus something like 30% while employed. Overall the cost is extremely similar to qualified exchange plans. To me the most important number in a health insurance plan is out-of-pocket max. I found that in the state I am looking at for retirement, the premium + deductible costs added together was extremely similar across the various levels of plans. I don't know if that was a coincidence for that time and state, or if that's how they work everywhere. But it implies that for an individual without subsidies with the higher level plans they are basically prepaying part of the deductible via increased premiums. So at least while my health holds out I'll probably go with the Bronze plans and have a contingency in my spending plan for spending up to the OOP max in the (hopefully unlikely) event it happens.

Working, the amount of my health insurance paid for by my employer is ~$6K iirc. Not enough to keep me working just for that bene. I tend to agree with your last paragraph, though I don't feel bad about it, it's just me being me. Consumption for the sake of consumption is what makes me feel bad. Luckily, most of my family is lower middle class so there isn't much extravagance to keep up with. My wealthiest relative is the biggest 'cheapskate' of us all. The longer I stick to modest-expense activities, the more I find myself in a circle friends (albeit a small one) content with the same.

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Re: FruGal61 at your service

Post by jacob » Fri May 04, 2018 6:41 am

IlliniDave wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 3:48 am
I found that in the state I am looking at for retirement, the premium + deductible costs added together was extremely similar across the various levels of plans. I don't know if that was a coincidence for that time and state, or if that's how they work everywhere.
That should not be a coincidence. The insurance company is essentially selling an option on installment. An option close to the money will be more expensive (higher installment premiums) than one further away (so lower premiums). However, they're both priced according to the same probability which would be the equivalent of the volatility in Black Scholes. Presuming that bronze, silver, and gold people have different odds of becoming sick (getting into the money), the implied volatilities can be slightly different thus generation a skew. (In the market, that's where the smile generated by the fat tail comes from.)

IOW, there's "efficiency" along the different plans. (If there weren't, consumer demand/supply would drives prices up/down ...)

Most insurance companies will try to invest their premiums in other securities to make some extra money. This creates what's called the combined ratio. It's generally around 10% IIRC but that depends on how well the company runs their portfolio. Berkshire Hathaway is known to do this well.

Same with fat cats, like us, who use bronze plans ... and invest the premium we save for our own account for extra return ... until we have to pay it out in sickness.

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Re: FruGal61 at your service

Post by FruGal61 » Tue May 15, 2018 1:13 pm

I'm my case, I have been planning my income to be under a certain threshold so that I can qualify for a plan that will not cost $750 a month with a big deductible to insure just myself. Being self employed, I can rely on deductions in order to do this.

As for the last five years I've dealing with a chronic partial disability that affects my dominant side it seems to be the way to go. I am working less by choice and also necessity. That said, I am a bit concerned about how this will work in the next 8-9 years before I am eligible for Medicare as well as how it may affect my social security. If my disability worsens with natural aging, I suppose I could apply for SSDI if necessary. Would rather that not be the case, I would prefer to recover 100% to get function back but at this point after many medical opinions, I may have to live with ongoing deficits.

My goal: live each day less in worry and fear. Emotional stability. Practice "The Four Agreements". Try to find something wondrous each day. Spend time in nature as much as possible. Self-reliance. Not worry what others think, they are usually thinking about themselves. Know that others will judge by default and it really doesn't matter one iota. Often their judgments are projections of their own fear, self-doubt and insecurity.

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Re: FruGal61 at your service

Post by FruGal61 » Mon Jul 09, 2018 12:15 pm

Been thinking lately how lazy I am or appear to be compared to other people. I turned 57 this year. What I'm trying to accept about myself and not have to explain to other people is that I don't enjoy forced busy-ness as I age, having "tickets" to this or that show that cost $100 plus, running around, having a full social calendar, going to this or that event. I also don't see myself having a "real" job (which I haven't had for 20+ plus years) or being forced to plan my life around the confines of a "real" job.

The people I know with "real" jobs have paid vacations and health care benefits which are nice yet they still have to be at that "real" job most days except for their planned vacations, sick days and oh, let's not forget, one or two "personal" days. They are not free until 5:30 or 6:30 and they have to be there, tethered to their computer or in the office or hospital, or sitting in traffic. In exchange, they go on "trips", they buy stuff, they buy tickets to events. They don't understand why I am hesitant to make such plans.

This is not how I want to live. I cannot live this way. I am 57 and now I get to decide how I want to spend my time. But unless you are talking to someone who is also "done" with the hamster wheel, many people don't understand. They ask, "how can you afford to not be working full time? How will you support yourself? Don't you get bored? Don't you want nice things? "

No, I do not get bored. I do get annoyed with this notion that I have to be "busy", being productive, that I have to continue to "improve" myself and show the world just how goddamn successful I am. I am 57, for chrissakes. I'm done producing. I can't do it anymore.

I've done some cool stuff. It's time to rest on my laurels. I like doing NOTHING or at least having the freedom to make that decision.

I live frugally and in exchange I get to decide what I want to do on any given day. For me, this freedom is worth it. My consumerist peers are and will look down their nose at me. I need to let go of my fear of their opinions. This fear can be debilitating.

True, I probably won't join you on that splashy luxury safari trip. When you suggest going to that new restaurant and I see the entrees are all north of $30 with $15 glasses of wine, I will probably not want to go. When you suggest I buy or lease a "nicer" car like a Lexus, because your first car was a Toyota, I will be annoyed at your condescension but I won't do it. When you suggest we get "tickets to the show", I probably won't want to go to the show. So many people I know who need forced busy-ness and need to be "doing" all the time do not understand this mindset. They seem fearful of having downtime. They don't know what to do with themselves and they spend money like sailors "doing" things and buying stuff. It's very interesting to observe.

Sometimes I do benefit from their luxurious lifestyles and I wonder if they are resentful. For example, I go for a ride on their new boat that cost $50K. You invited me, so I went. But I don't invite you on my boat, cuz I don't have one. Is this a problem?

I like not doing. At this point, I like completely free unstructured days. I like making my own schedule, being my own boss of how I get to spend my time. Yet we are beaten over the head through our lives with the so-called Calvinist work ethic, we are told we now have to work until age 67 or 70, we are mocked and marginalized if we choose an alternative lifestyle.

Other people (friends, relatives) look down on my chosen lifestyle because I haven't fallen into the trappings of what is considered "success"....a big house that is tastefully appointed with fine furnishings, a "luxury" car, blowing money on this or that, being in debt, being a wage slave. I sleep late, I go to bed late, I do nothing when I want, I do things when I want.

To me, a "real" job is a prison sentence. Maybe I haven't found the right job.

Yet I have battled depression because I still worry about what others think about my chosen lifestyle, they drop judge-y comments, and sadly, it still stings. This is something I am actively working on - letting go of my fear of other's opinions about my material goods, possessions and where/how I live. I hate shopping, I am not decisive about big purchases, I don't enjoy decorating, and I am on my own with no inheritance in one of the most expensive cities in the country. I am DONE, people. So please just accept it. Because I don't "entertain" in my tiny apartment, I am in a different category. Yes, if you have a party in your home and you invite me and I am available, I will attend but, I do not reciprocate. Yet I am pleasant, I smile and engage in witty banter and discourse about the state of the world, and I compliment you on your beautiful home and the nice food you prepared or ordered out. If it is a potluck, I bring a dish or I bring a nice bottle of wine. I show up. It's OK, right?

It seems that my more consumerist peers are all gauging where they fall on the social ladder compared to each other and it is clear, I am at the bottom. am free to do what i want which is nothing or whatever I choose. Is this not success? Why yes, I think it is! Here it is a beautiful summer day. I have done pretty much nothing so far except drink coffee and muse about this stuff swimming around in my head. I am not being productive, efficient nor am I "managing my time wisely". Who makes this rules that we have to be running around being "productive"?

Ok, I feel a little better now after that vent/rant. Time for breakfast and then maybe a swim later to combat all this mental swimming. :D All is well in my world .

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Re: FruGal61 at your service

Post by Lemur » Mon Jul 09, 2018 5:50 pm

I liked this post. Let it out man :) I feel the same way and I'm 27.

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Re: FruGal61 at your service

Post by FruGal61 » Mon Jul 09, 2018 6:51 pm

Thanks Lemur, it was cathartic. I just have to take my own medicine and all will be well. Wait a minute, what am I saying...all IS well. 8-)

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Re: FruGal61 at your service

Post by Chris » Mon Jul 09, 2018 8:12 pm

I would say "get new friends," but I think we all know we're in the minority IRL. That's one reason this forum exists :-)

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Re: FruGal61 at your service

Post by FruGal61 » Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:46 pm

Yep, a minority indeed. It is encouraging to find like-minded people here.

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Re: FruGal61 at your service

Post by Frugalchicos » Fri Jul 13, 2018 1:06 pm

Same reasons you described above keep me away of seeing my "friends" more often. I rather just save the money and get the fuck out asap.

By the way, you did an amazing job amassing all that money that now gives you the "ultimate luxury" - Freedom

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Re: FruGal61 at your service

Post by FruGal61 » Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:00 pm

I agree, Frugalchicos...these days I find myself preferring to spend time alone or with my boyfriend and his dog. Who needs this kind of stress from so-called "friends"? I also meet more new people when I'm alone and I find I just have a better time when I do things by myself.

True, I have saved a fair amount of money and it does give me a sense of freedom. Releasing myself from the shackles of consumerism is freeing but a thick skin is necessary when one decides to march to the beat of one's own drum. The real luxury for me will be true attainment of emotional freedom and not caring a whit what others think.

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"Watching The Wheels"

Post by FruGal61 » Mon Oct 01, 2018 11:43 am

Well, it's October. A very nice month but the thought of winter just around the corner is....wait, never mind, it's great! Everything is great, life is great, people are great, this forum is great, my painful knee is great.....and gosh darn it, I'm blessed! It's ROCKtober, folks, That's it. It's ROCKtober and I'm going to rock, I'm going to roll and I'm going to sit around on my crazy, lazy rear end and watch the wheels go round and round.

Alas, I'm still battling my mental demons as I fall further and farther behind on the social ladder. YOU'RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH! WHERE IS YOUR BIG HOUSE, where is your LEXUS, what HIP re$taurants are you eating at? What do you mean, you don't go out as much anymore? Your dishes don't all match? You really should do something with your hair! What, you're not a "member of the board"? What the F is wrong with you, outlier non-consumer, staying at home, walking in the woods, letting your hair go gray weirdo?

Actually, I'm not letting my hair go gray...don't worry! I'm not being that crazy yet! My goodness, 57 and you have gray hair? That is NOT acceptable!

Er, back to the topic at hand. It's OK because in exchange for getting off the hamster wheel, I have freedom. Less stuff, less consuming, more freedom = more peace of mind. Right? That's reportedly how it works. Now if only I could set my mind free. A work in progress. Sigh. The serenity prayer comes to mind, looking at my dog's beautiful face, I look to the sky, clouds passing by, summer is over, the seasons...they go round and round (Joni Mitchell). She's another musical icon, one of my favorites.

Sooo, back to Rocktober. Last night my boyfriend reminded me of the John Lennon song, "Watching the Wheels", we got into a discussion after watching an interview with Paul McCartney. I listened to the song a few times last night, really listened to the lyrics and decided this morning when I get back home I will learn it on the piano and add to my repertoire. This song is my new mantra. I am a musician at my core. I am not working "full time" at least not in the corporate structure. I am crazy, lazy and doing what I'm doing - which is playing my guitar, goddammit. My goal this winter is to practice my instruments, beef up my repertoire, snag some more gigs and be a musician. That is who I am. It's what I do best and it's what I enjoy. And when I do it well, other people enjoy it also. If it's only around someone's living room or campfire or for my own enjoyment, that's OK too. I have been fortunate, I've had a lot of rewarding and fun gigs. But because I have straddled the life of a musician and a person with a "real" job because I was too chicken to pursue music truly seriously, I am in a reasonably good place financially.

The thing is, our culture doesn't really value musicians unless they are successful. Musicians get a pretty bad rap, e.g. "never marry a musician". I guess this is one reason my family is not overly appreciative of my boyfriend cuz guess what...he's a musician! An extremely talented one. I tried, I tried, for many years to find an acceptable mate, a "provider" that everyone would approve of didn't work. My boyfriend is a bona fide musician, meaning, he chose to not slave away in a cubicle with his 2 weeks vacation because he would not have been able to practice his craft, what he does best. Perhaps it works for some people but usually not. He took big risks, he pursued his dreams, he lived and continues to live a real musician's life. He's a funny, sweet, intelligent, uber-talented, cute, crazy/lazy and poor musician. I am asked over and over by some family members: "does he have a job?" "Well, what kind of work does he do?" As if being a musician is not work. This kind of sentiment, this kind of attitude towards musicians/performers/artists/sensitive souls who just can't function in the corporate environment.....rankles me. He didn't "make" it and he should have. But not all people/musicians "make" it. He still could "make it" but it would most likely through publishing, getting one of his songs into a film or performed by another well known artist. A long shot, yes, but it could happen. His songs are so much better, well-crafted, and more clever than a lot of what is considered music these days. He is what they call the "real deal".

Sigh. What if all the musicians who "made it" and became famous icons, like Lennon - ok, maybe the Beatles are not the best example - but what if all the musicians/artists/creators didn't try, they were all scared into submission and they disappeared into structured, corporate, benefitted, rot away in a cubicle jobs? What if all artists and daydreamers decided to go the safe route, would that be better?

The anniversary of Lennon's tragic death is this winter, December. He would have turned 78 this month, on October 9. I remember exactly where I was when I learned the news, it was my generation's JFK. I was in my car driving to my class in college. As some family members and peers breathe down my neck, I return to this wonderful Lennon song "Watching the Wheels". Give it a listen. I'm going to learn and memorize that song during Rocktober. Let those lyrics sink in and join me in giving the finger to all those who disparage those of us who decide to no longer ride on the Merry-Go-Ro-houund!

Thanks John. Like many millions of people, I continue to mourn and wish you were still here. Thank you, Paul, George and Ringo. Happy Rocktober, all!

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