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Archive for May, 2016

won diet bet and purging and happy day

May 27th, 2016 at 04:03 pm

I forgot to mention it's my birthday. Anyway nothing too big just a dinner out and maybe a cake.

I won my kickstarter and transformer bets!!! Woohoo! Now onto month 2 of transformer.

I also purged today 171 items to a clothing bank and threw away a ton of stuff. I'm up to 270 items for the year out of 2016. I am on a roll. I hope to hit 300 by this weekend. I think I will since I'll be sorting things out and will do a big push on Tuesday.

I'm just excited by my accomplishments on my birthday no less. Oh my. New Year and new me.

so i'm guilty too

May 27th, 2016 at 09:32 am

Like my parents LAL and Mr LAL's secret shame is our lack of wills now. We had it done about 8 months before we moved and 5 years after having a kid. But then we moved and now I'm pretty sure we need to redo everything. So again we've not done it.

But this time things have changed a little. Our kids are older and we're more secure with the idea of my mom taking the kids. My dad's older but the kids are easier. We've got $5m+ (life insurance plus savings) to help her if anything should happen to us. That will provide I would guess the ability to buy the right house, private school (need in hawaii), and live in help permanently.

But now more than ever we need to look at someone to provide financial oversight and planning for her and the kids. When I brought this up over my parents lack of financially planning my DH made a face. Before we had his best friend but since we're more unsure about his financial planning skills. A cousin I would have trusted before got married and I'm not sure about his decision making. I wonder if we can hire a bank? Would a CFP work out?

My aunts and uncles are not good financial investment planners. None of them including my mom are overspenders and all are very frugal. But long term? I'm not sure what to do now.

Before we struggled more with finding a guardian for our kids. Now we're struggling with a financial manager. This is compounded by the fact that I hate to do a will and we move again. It's something else we've talked about and thought perhaps we should wait until we settle in a place we know we'll stay.

Sometimes the simplest tasks seem so difficult.

parents part 2

May 24th, 2016 at 03:05 pm

Talking more with my parents, my mom is extremely uncomfortable with sharing any details of their finances. I am trying to steer her to buying proper home and auto insurance and I'd really like to know they have a proper will. I'm not being snarky nor greedy, which since I'm bothering her I'm being accused of. Trust me we don't need the money. Everything is coming out defensive.

But my mom admitted that they have no idea who they bought their auto or home insurance because the broker is a personal friend. And they continued with them and the way it works is if they were in an accident they would call the broker and he would deal with the insurance company. Well that's changed now and the broker is now the "son" and they really don't do that anymore.

Now she has to deal with an insurance company for the home insurance policy and it's not a big company. It's not well known and I'm not even sure what sort of coverage they bought. I'm fretting now because my mom has no idea what they bought for auto except it's some shady small name auto insurance.

It's hellacious. I'm struggling because I am going to guess my parents who are using the same "family" friend accountant and lawyer, honestly I'm not sure how competent either of my parents are at this point financially.

My mom is constantly talking about dropping off books at the accountant and they owed money this year. She can't understand why when they've never owed before. Then they were updating their wills.

The fact is that when it comes to money my parents have always been bad at money. They probably could have been millionaires multiple times over but didn't because of the way they spent and handled money. The truth is they are still invested in C shares of mutual funds if I had to guess.

When I ask questions I always get I don't know or I'm not sure or we don't have it answers. I feel like I'm banging my head on the wall.

I plan on going in August and perhaps just digging into the paperwork once and for all. My mom has boxes of files of CRAP. Nothing is organized. She has no idea what an insurance policy looks like. She has no idea what their taxes look like really. She signs papers and my dad has no idea either.

They still carry a mortgage on their condo because some IDIOT told them the deduction was worth it. It's NOT!!!!! But do they listen to me? Nothing.

I talked to my DH and his answer was that I just need to wait until my dad passes and then deal with all the shitstorm then. At that point I'll be in hell and spend months just going through everything and untangling everything and probably fixing it at that time. He called it a shitstorm and said it's not going to be pretty. He knows my parents and I'd say likes them a lot.

But dealing with my parents and money is one of the ugliest situations. The fact that I'll be having to figure out even when my dad gets sick what to liquidate and where the money is gives me a headache now. I just want to cry because truthfully I feel like they should try to get some of this taken care of now.

But I know part of it is embarrassment. Embarrassment they've let it get to this. That they are of the generation of people who were "people/brand/company" loyal.

And yes I know they are secure. My mom has a pension and SS and IRAs. My dad has SS and tons of IRAs and investments, he's still working at 85 and was forced at 70 to start RMD which they stashed away in more investments. Paid for home and should be paid off condo.

But I'm uncertain about insurance, wills, and cash positions in case of liquidity. I'm also unsure if my mom is the beneficiary properly and if everything is jointly titled. And because it was a second marriage they kept many things separate and not joint.

Please tell me this sort of hiding behavior about money is normal. That everyone goes through this with their parents. That prying information out of their hands will be when they are dead and cold. Do people know their parents circumstances? How do you help your parents manage when they have enough but have no idea what they are doing with it?

How to help your parents?

May 23rd, 2016 at 05:10 pm

I'm at an awkward age of wanting to help my parents but them being cognizant of what's going on and refusing. I hate the fact that in our society we aren't allowed to be transparent about money. I hate the fact that we have to "hide" until death how we spend and what we save.

My parents are absolutely the worse. The pieces they reveal make me upset and it's never revealed until it's too late. I am writing this under tremendous stress and guilt because I just don't know how far to let this go on or what to do or how to push. My DH handles his parents and I handle mine. We decided this long ago and said we would never interfere with the in-laws. So it's entirely on me. Neither parents should need financial help but mine in particular are very, very bad with money in many, many ways. Background they are 64 and 85 and my mom has a pension and my dad still works. Money is not an issue for them, hence why my mom constantly uses the phrase "i don't ask for money so don't ask or tell me what to do."

Until the crap hits the fan. My parents condo they owned flooded and they have the worse condo insurance and my mom and dad have no understanding of how insurance works. They lived in a small town and bought insurance from a broker who sold them a policy. My mom's copy is apparently from 2008 and they have no idea who the insurer is and no electronic copy to send me.

I have tried to set up electronic accounts for some banking and retirement stuff so I can periodically track stuff and help when issues arise. Well now I'm in a pickle. My mom has been working with the adjuster whose screwing her over and she's taking it and crying (yes literally crying over it on the phone) that they didn't buy enough insurance, she has no idea who the insurer is and the other party is refusing to pay.

So they have a $25k policy and the people above their unit washing machine broke and their insurance company is refusing liability. When I questioned my mom and explained it like a car accident she said that's all they get. She's not sure what to do and keeps talking about how they have to pay out of pocket. I questioned how are they getting money from the insurance company when the adjuster says it's a curtesy claim and not going against her policy.

I'm also worried now that my parents have used this friend for years and have no idea what sort of home insurance they have on their primary residence.

In case you were wondering I also have no idea where their wills are or how anything is set up. I honestly am not sure my parents are really savvy to set anything up. They tend to listen to other people and make bad financial decisions. Thankfully they've always outearned stupid and been high wage earners and never overspend.

I ended up asking them to fire their financial planner over 15 years ago when I found out my parents were invested entirely in C shares of mutual funds with Merrill Lynch. They refused because they thought the FP knew better and stayed until she retired. Then it turned into Raymond James and the same thing happened.

Because of this I decided I would have to stop worrying about it until my dad dies and then i'll take complete control of the train wreck. I am pretty sure at that time my mom who admits for the past 25 years since they've been married she's been a stepford wife who has just nodded and literally assumed everything was taken care of. She hadn't a clue that my dad had no idea what sort of condo insurance they bought.

I am frustrated and unable to know what steps to do or I can take. I mentioned today that they refuse to listen to any advice. Or let me sit in and start to have some input. I'm not perfect but honestly I think I'm savvier than the average financial planner. I'm well versed in dealing with condo insurance having owned and been on the board for nearly 15 years and running an association and doing taxes and dealing with others. I've also seen policies and dealt with shopping around. I also manage our investments with DH and we're pretty good, especially for our ages.

But I don't know what to do. I know my DH knows his parents are fine and a little too financially savvy. But mine? I can't deal with them. What am I going to do?

Is there anything that can be done until my dad passes? I know it's a generational thing about not sharing any details but I'm frustrated and I know that they are wasting a ton of money and I am worried about the organization period of their finances. For reference I'm 36 and longevity runs in the family. My grandmother is still alive at 88 and my great grannie lived to 101. My dad's mom lived to 95.

I don't know how to help or more likely take over. I mean my mom literally only pays credit card and utility bills. But she has no idea how the taxes are or anything else. I mean they don't even have a copy of their insurance policy!!

Off to chat with my mom.

moratorium on eating out

May 21st, 2016 at 07:29 pm

So I'm almost done with my second kickstarter and 1st month in a transformer. I'm meeting the transformer goal and it's iffy for the kickstarter although I think I'll make it. Anyway I have to say one of my biggest weaknesses in losing weight has always been eating out.

Even before kids I when we were DINKS I limited my eating out lunches because my shorts wouldn't fit otherwise. So bad for pocketbook, bad for figure.

But I noticed this time it is a lot easier to lose the weight because we've been on a moratorium on eating out. Since we've moved and been "retired early" or on sabbatical we've curbed a lot of our spending. We are living pretty frugally and probably closer to $2k/month, excepting the dog costs (chemo is expensive).

Our biggest budget change we control is definitely eating out. I mean yes we spend about $100/month on gas for cars versus $300/month. And our utility bill was $90 this month versus $500-600/month previously. But that we couldn't really control.

But eating out? Well we used to spend if I had to guess because while mint.com does a good job, it's not perfect and there are cash eating out. We spent around $400/month. Our grocery bills averaged $500-600/month, and now they are a solid $750/month. But we eat out under $50/month and the kids are eating more as they get bigger.

I'm not sure if this moratorium will last after DH gets a job. But it's been eye-opening on how much we ate out. It's also been good for us to get back into the habit of cooking more.

When we ate out before it was always the weekends. Compared to most of our friends we cooked "a lot" because most people we knew ate out during the week and weekends. Even now many people we know eat out during the week and weekends.

Do you know how much you eat out? Do you do it because you enjoy it or for convenience? Most would say convenience and I have to agree. It's a lot of work to cook, do dishes, clean up, etc.

But I admit I did miss experimenting with cooking. Last night I made Rolo Cupcakes. And this week we had tacos, burgers, ma po tofu.

On the agenda for next week? Shrimp tempura, fish and chips, and other stuff from the pantry.

But first I have to win my kickstarter.

job hunt week two

May 19th, 2016 at 04:57 pm

So the job hunt is in full swing for DH. It's actually been a weird schedule. Good in some ways and odd in others. He's able to be home in the mornings, except tomorrow. Tomorrow he's going to volunteer at a conference and has to be there at 6:30 am to check people in. He's valued his time at $150 for 90 minutes. Not a bad investment.

But he's been out many evenings at networking events which means instead he's been gone till around bedtime. Last week it was Mon, Wed, Thurs, Friday. This week it's been Tues, Thur, Fri, Sat, Sun. So the crazy busy schedule I think won't stop until he finds a job.

The bootcamp has made a lot of good suggestions for the job hunt including applying to 10 jobs a week. They've also had panels of prior students come and talk about how they did their job hunts.

Right now my DH has been focusing on studying for the technical exams and networking his way into companies he sees posting for. He hasn't quite been on schedule with applying to as many jobs as suggested and I'm worried he's being a perfectionist. He's obsessing over every job being perfect and the perfect application and not applying.

But either way he's got to find his groove and a position that suits him. Fingers crossed. He's got a couple of phone interviews next week. He also decided to expand his job hunt because there were positions he really was interested in not the local area. I agreed reluctantly because I like it here and don't want to move. But I said if we move this is it. I don't want to move for a job that he felt would only last for 2-3 years and move again. It has to be a dream job.

Here's hoping and praying that things go well. As for me? I found a couple of bootcamps myself I'm interested in and have emailed them to inquire about future job prospects. I'm curious about their placement for part-time work versus a full time positions. How does it work doing a bootcamp as a parent. Some of these programs are women focused but reading the blogs and profiles of students who've gone through the program it's been noted that no one whose gone through has been a mom. Why I'm not sure. Probably not lack of ability but lack of time commitment? Inability to commit because of kids? These are questions I have. Anyway right now it's a pipe dream since DH has to find his dream job and we have to settle in and then perhaps I can find some time to carve out my own niche.

money scripts

May 19th, 2016 at 04:43 pm

I did the quiz Dido posted because I was curious.

Money Avoidance = 1.00

Your score on the money avoidance scale suggests that you do not exhibit significant money avoidance beliefs. In fact, research has shown that your score on this scale is similar to those who have been identified as wealthier, wiser, and more highly educated.

Money Worship = 2.57

Your money worship score suggests that you do not endorse significant levels of money worship beliefs.

Money Status = 1.00

Your score on the money status scale shows that you do not hold money status beliefs.

*Money Vigilance = 3.38

Your money vigilance score indicates that you endorse money vigilance beliefs.

I trimmed it down but basically I watch money but don't worship it. I think that's a pretty accurate portrayal of my financial beliefs.

Something I noticed as a I get older is that many people are torn about money status. They want the luxuries that they see and as they get older they are better able to afford it. I think it's okay as long as they can afford it. But I wonder if people's attitudes to money script changes as they age and can afford more? I think I'm a lot more liberal than before.

So it goes

May 14th, 2016 at 04:00 pm

So is there another housing bubble? I don't know but things are nuts. Both the place we left and the place we moved to.

Our old neighbors just listed their house for $849k and over the weekend they got 4 awesome offers, 3 without contingencies. They got three offers above $900k+ without inspection contigency or mortgage contigency. CRAZY. My spiritual neighbor said these people are nuts. They didn't even bother with a bidding war the number was so high that they took it and ran before this person came to their senses she said. She wouldn't give me a final number but will when they closed. Their realtor was in tears over how high it was. For perspective this was a 3 bd/1.5 bath, 1700 sq ft house with detached garage, cute but 1920s arts and crafts home. No inspection is NUTS. Slap some lipstick on the pig. I'm so happy for them because they deserve it. Yeah I came from a very expensive area.

But then where we moved? Well people are apparently crazy stupid here. Had tea and playdate with another neighbor few houses down and she said they went $80k over asking on a house and lost it by $1500! The house was in the neighborhood we were in 3 bd/2.5 ba, 1800 sq ft listed at $550k and sold for $630k also no contingencies. She said they waived the inspection contingency but kept the mortgage contingency. OMG. I nearly died over the bad financial decision making and she doesn't seem like a stupid person.

I actually asked if they get to buy a home if perhaps DH and I could talk to their landlord about renting since they are in a 4 bd house renting for $2600 or $200 more a month than we pay. I might as well take advantage of potentially a cheap place to live if I hear about.

Talking more with DH we're getting more on the fence with buying. His take beside if you buy and hold it doesn't matter if price drops is you have a place to live. But now he said perhaps it's better to keep letting it run up then either price correct or flatten. That way if you buy at that point perhaps it's 10-20% more than now but at the same time you have peace of mind that you've preserved your equity?

I hate this feeling of unknown.

Craigslist mishap

May 13th, 2016 at 01:37 pm

So I sold my double bob revolution stroller on Craigslist. We aren't having a third and if we do I don't need a double stroller anymore. I had a lot of trepidation and just overall sadness. The idea of no more kids was hard but that's another post for another day.

So anyway I got a lot of interest but I just had to get rid of it asap. I listed it for $400 and got offers of $350-$400 but only one person could come ASAP to meet and get it. So I said yes for $375. I mean you know how craigslist can be. People sometimes are late, flake, etc. You meet in a public area and sometimes are stuck waiting. As it was my DH waited 30 minutes for the guy stuck in traffic.

I posted it with all defects and all extras listed and photographed. It was a 2012 manufactured date but I hadn't bought it until May 2013 and I had the receipt for it from REI.

But around 6 pm the guy calls and asks to return the stroller. His wife decided she didn't like it. It wasn't what she wanted and they wanted to meet up and get their money back. It had been an impulse purchase

After discussing it my DH and I felt bad but decided no returns. We didn't want to drive another 30 minutes and wait to get our money back then sell it to another person. Were we wrong? I did suggest giving back $350 and keeping $25 for our time and gas. But my DH was annoyed and said no way. He tried out the stroller, opened it up, looked at it, tested it, and saw all photos. He refused to waste more time and go meet the buyer again. But we called and explained the situation and the buyer said he appreciated the call since he wasn't expecting any response.

Has this ever happened to you on Craigslist? Have you ever returned anything?