Tuesday, February 11, 2020


Mom called last night. They went to the doctor last week as my dad was feeling low energy. His blood pressure was low so they adjusted some medication. They went to the heart doctor on Monday and his injection projection is low, around 25 whereas 50 is normal. About 25 years ago he had cardio myopithi. At the time there was nothing much that could be done. A new experimental pacemaker was in development, a biventenicular device. He had it installed and made good recovery. My friend Billy always tells the story about going to the hospital and visiting back then. They gave him six months at that time. Billy tells it better.
So we will have to see what happens. There is a new medication that is supposed to help.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Retirement Planning

It is difficult to forsee the future. I think that is one of the things that holds me back a bit. What is the future going to look like? Who knows. Writing this now to get down and share my thoughts and plan.

I have been saving in earnest towards retirement for a while, maybe the past ten years. At 52, it is not a very long while to have been saving for retirement. I did have a IRA account through my school but rules changed and I could no longer contribute to that account so it has sat dormant since. I was not happy with the high percentage cost IRA's they offered after that so stopped contributions in that way. I do have a pension through the teachers retirement system. It is a good program if one continues to teach for the full thirty years on the rule of 90. Retiring from teaching after twenty years, not so much. 

I read a bit. The Mr. Money Mustache , I just found Get Rich Slowly, The Dave Ramsey fellow. It is all a bit overwhelming and too much. Today, I found a good article on $1000 a month in retirement, basically it is necessary to have $240,000 in an account earning at least 5% return in order to pull out $1000 a month. For every $1000 a month desired, one needs $240,000 in a "retirement" account.

In many ways retirement wise I am fortunate. I am basically single with no children. I have a good job that pays slightly less than the median household income in Oklahoma. I bought a house about 10 years ago in a rough part of town for abut $50,000 and got it paid off. My truck has 250,000 miles on it. Dining out is my biggest expense. Things are changing in my girlfriend just got a new house. We will be fixing it up and using the current house as a short term rental or an AirB&B.

I have a glass studio that breaks even on expenses and earnings each year. I do pay myself $1000 a month from the studio and put $800 (with a $24 match) a month into a Vanguard Simple IRA account. I do have a CPA for taxes and keeping everything in good order from a legal standpoint.

I have several savings accounts earmarked for purpose. I have an HSBC travel account. This account is funding through a couple of modest oil royalty checks from wells my father has given my brother and me.  The HSBC card can be used outside of the US without fees. We have been to Tulum Mexico a couple of times and it is a great place to visit. I opened the HSBC account with Tulum in mind as they have a branch so getting cash is easy. I have a summer travel account that pulls automatically from checking every month. I have a house and truck savings accounts where I funnel left over funds from checking at the end of each month. I did open a Money Market Mutual Fund account with the truck fund and put money in each month as if I were making a payment on a new vehicle so I am saving now for a new truck. It is not really recommended to save for short term in a fund like that but with so little interest paid on a standard bank account or even a CD it is a risk I was willing to take.

So with all of that as to where I am. I plan on teaching for at least eight more years to make it to 30 years teaching and retirement. I am unsure of health insurance at this point but I expect to be able to maintain membership in the health system provided by the state for teachers. I have a lot of little bits of saving in retirement accounts which should add up to a little bit of supplemental income in the future. It really seems okay but is a constant fear. I think more people fear over a zombie apocalypse then they fear over saving enough for retirement and they are probably hoping for the zombie apocalypse because they do not have anything saved for retirement.

There are lots of people out there who are experienced in the ways of retirement. Folks who are experts with advice. What is the best approach? Read and read some more. Talk to folks, meet with financial planners. I have a difficult time giving money to someone for taking care of my retirement. I met with a group a few years ago and they wanted me to transfer all of my accounts into their plan and they would take care of everything for a fee. I could not see a benefit. I met with my local recommended financial adviser to get an idea of if I am going in the right direction. Things look good but yes, they want me to move my accounts over to their program and they can get a percentage of my investments. I think a good financial planner would be one willing to work together to provide the best direction. Sign posts and goals to follow, not charging a toll every year or quarter. I think that is about it. If this helps you in anyway let me know.

Monday, February 03, 2020


I have been looking at my finances again. Wondering if I am doing the right things and if I am on the right track.
It is difficult to know where to start and if the 10,000 foot view is enough. I remain confused most of the time and reading from others I wonder sometimes. Many of the saving money blogs repeat the same information and appear to do very well. Making money doing what they love. Traveling. Residual income. Where do I fit into all of this?
Goals -
Daily Living -
Hopes and Dreams -
Fears -

seriously in the blogging field. Why would anyone want to read read what I have to say, and then why would anyone give me money for doing it too? And then how much work is it to keep it going?
Look at my blogging progress to start. I used to blog a lot. Then just stopped. Now just now and again. Wondering about my voice, authentic voice.

Goals -
8 more years of teaching to reach retirement. With the teacher retirement system it is really necessary to get in 30 years. The difference in monthly pension is huge between 20 years ($700 a month) and 30 years ($2300 a month).
The studio - it is good. It is difficult to project into the future with the studio. Many factors contribute to the whole success of the studio. It is in a good place and is still fulfilling.

Daily Living - the monotony of daily life continues for everyone. Cook, Clean, eat, sleep, work, play, exercise, Balance.

Hopes and Dreams - A lot of what if's.

Fears - many are not founded in experience or reality.

Take stock of the whole gets to be overwhelming.

What am I going to do today in order to make the dream for tomorrow possible?

Friday, January 31, 2020

Five More Seconds

Reading online today (https://www.getrichslowly.org/early-retirement-extreme/#more-237770) this quote jumped out at me, "It also resists incremental learning because it doesn't make sense or flow until all of the ingredients are known and snap together. (Much like the ERE philosophy!)"

I have been trying to sum up learning the process of glass blowing. It is very much a step by step process but the mastery of craft comes with the flow of each of the steps and being able to adjust when necessary. 

We were working recently and discussing the nuances of the glass. Knowing the steps and what to do next is great. It leads to the creation of beautiful things. Knowing why it is what you are doing is key. Learning to put pressure of different levels in different places to shape the glass leads to better design and better results. This is teachable and learn-able but only once a certain level of competence is reached. 

Heat is glass is key. Getting enough heat throughout to have the substance move to where you want it to go with ease and efficiency. The hotter the glass gets, the more difficult it is to control. Being on the edge of losing control. Once one becomes comfortable at the control at a certain heat, it is time to get more heat. Once you have the heat that is needed stay in for five more seconds. Learn to master the glass at that next higher level. It is amazing the difference that makes in the process. 

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

move up

I keep going back to someone said about 30 years ago... "You are not there yet.". Sort of like the oracle in the Matrix when she tells Neo he is not ready, he is waiting for something. It was in regard to enlightenment and rebirth.. maybe in the next lifetime.
It seems to me now I just stopped. Why pursue higher thinking, why seek enlightenment when we are simply not going to achieve it?