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3.9.04 Finances

This morning it feels like I'm out of things to say. Nothing to over-analyze, nothing to rant about. Nothing to say that I haven't said before. It's probably a sign of something -- time to recharge the batteries.

Yesterday, I finished up my next "Kitty Curran" version and posted a progress report. I thought that meant I was done for awhile, but my mentor got back to me last night. Good praise, but a few tweaks that may require rerecording the whole thing. That's okay, because I promised myself I'd record it as many times as I needed to get it right.

After I did that I spent the rest of the day on finances. In November we broke down and signed up with a financial advisor. She analyzed our situation into the long-range future and developed a plan for us. The process forced us to look at how we spend our money and what "living within a budget" means.

We're in good shape, but she recommended that I look at long-term care insurance. From time to time I have worried about Jim's final days, but I have avoided thinking about my own. So yesterday, our advisor Elizabeth and I spent time going through all the options and costs related to the 3 plans she has already analyzed. We zeroed in on a Met Life plan that will give me the equivalent of 4 years of nursing home care, which can be stretched out by getting home care or assisted living instead. The annual premiums are a chunk of money -- probably equivalent to adding an accident-prone son to your car insurance.

The rest is the hassle of transferring accounts. Over the years I accumulated 2 403Bs, a 401K, an IRA, an annuity from a past job, and the pension plan from work. The big decision was whether to take the money from work as a lifetime annuity or in a lump sum. The lump sum was a nice chunk of money, but once spent is gone forever. The lifetime annuity was a laughable amount -- less than Social Security -- and yet it's "forever."

We decided to take the lump sum, but roll it over into another 403B (with all the other little accounts), which Elizabeth would manage to generate income. Getting all those funds transferred is an amazing exercise in bureaucratic paperwork and mysterious processes. No one want to to take your money out of their funds, so they make it as hard as possible.

There was an article about financial planning in the newspaper and it featured our Elizabeth. The reporter also interviewed me and I was quoted saying that the pension from my old company amounted to a "pittance." It did nothing for my popularity at the misery factory, but all I have to say is "HA!"

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