Future Travel Plans and Traveling Buddies

A couple we know from Mérida, Tom and Debi, are in Madrid.

This is very interesting to us because we are planning a trip to the Iberian Peninsula for 2014.  Move to Mérida around May of 2013, and travel to Portugal and Spain around June of 2014.

Kathy really wants to see Barcelona while her vision is still pretty good, even if her field of vision is tunnel-like.  This came up last year when she asked me what I wanted to do for my 60th birthyday (November 4).  My answer was to be in Mérida for Hanal Pixan (Maya Day of the Dead), and be on the Caribbean side for my birthday.  She said:  Okay buddy, but I want Barcelona for my 60th, so you had better start saving your money 🙂

Barcelona and other points on the Peninsula.  I went to grade school in Brasil, and Portugal is the mother country.  We are enjoying the tales of Tom and Debi’s trips that are slowly leaking out, and we look forward to getting travel tips from them.

Another small step and updates

Kathy is painting the wood trim of the living room picture window – it took a lot of hours to get it ready between sanding and then taping the 20 smaller panes that make up the window.

Kathy received a letter from her eye doc this week, confirming that she is legally blind.  A Commission for the Blind staffer thought she would need it to exchange her still valid driver’s license for a state ID card.  Seems Kathy is pretty sure she got some funny looks with using a driver’s license for ID at the airport whilst walking with a blindness cane.

She told me this week that she is feeling some time pressure to get some things done while she can still see some – and that is currently manifest by occasionally frenetic brain activity thinking about all the things she wants to do.

Next week I email the endocrinologist to set up a test that may reveal something about why my blood pressure is high and my potassium level low.  As Bette Davis said: “Getting old is not for sissies.”

Getting older is a lot of fun, though.  I look forward to many more years of getting older!

Small steps, frenetic thoughts, medical tests – all part of the current landscape of our lives.

Small Steps in Preparation

Living room painted today, after the baseboard heater was removed, a thermostat removed and the walls patched.

A few rooms to go – then the oak floors get sanded and refinished.

All on the way to putting the house on the market this spring.  Some friends in Canada just sold theirs four days after they put it on the market.  Wow, I hope we can replicate that.

This work was all done by Kathy over the past few weeks.  Hooray for Kathy

The Money Plan for Retirement in Mexico

This is an update of a post written in February, 2006.

Target date changed, it is now the Spring/Summer of 2013

So, with some hesitation, I’ll launch into how we think we may be able to afford to indulge our desire to retire early.

We will still have pensions – one for me and two small ones for Kathy. Mine will be small also.

We will have two defined contribution plans, started by the state of Oregon in 2004. I’ll take mine over a 5 year pay-out. We have a 457 plan account – public employee equivalent of a 401k, and we each have an IRA.

I will get an early retirement stipend of a few hundred dollars a month until I turn 65 (I am 60 now). We will get most of our US based health insurance paid for until I turn 65. It will only cover emergency care in Mexico, so we will get another policy down there, but emergency care is significant if you need it.

Eventually we will take Social Security. The timing of that will depend on how long we can wait to add it to our income.

The pensions and Social Security should cover our monthly living expenses. The defined contribution bits will be consolidated into self-managed IRAs, and I have worked on learning investing and personal finance stuff over the past 15 years. Most of that money will invested in dividend yielding stocks that will provide us with a supplement to our pensions/social security. Some I will use to pursue my hobby of fairly aggressive stock and options investing. Enough to make it fun, but not enough to hurt us if I screw up.

Investing has been an intellectually challenging and profitable hobby. Who knew that an old liberal (almost socialist) fellow would enjoy capitalism so much :). My professional background as a research analyst has been helpful with this hobby. There may be more on this later, as I have joined a group of independent Apple analysts, and my first quarterly Apple earnings and revenue estimates will be published as part of that group in a few weeks. If mine don’t suck, I may post a link to them in this blog.

Hobbies are supposed to be good in retirement :). This is not my only one, but I do rather enjoy it.

Future topics

We are a year away from moving

We have lots of stuff to do here. I don’t think most of those will be interesting.

We are doing financial preparation, to make sure that part of the equation is all right. I enjoy it a lot, but I don’t know how interesting it is. I call it managing the Smith Family Hedge Fund *laugh*

We have lots of medical stuff going on. Kathy will see 3 eye docs in the next few months. I am seeing an endocrinologist. Again, not sure how interesting that would be to folks, or how much of it might be over-sharing.

Basically, it sounds like we might be dull folks in the year before we move to Mérida.

Maybe we will come up with something interesting. If there are topics you would like to hear about, let me know and we’ll give it a go.