Saturday, June 06, 2015

Endings, Beginnings, and Everything In-Between

I was let a few thousand when my Mom died, and I was determined to not fritter it away, but instead to invest it in some way. I used it as a downpayment on a house which DD and lived in for about four years, and rented the other house out. Long story short - the renter from hell trashed the other house, using up all my dollars to get it fixed, and I had to move back. My lovely new home became a rental. I figured that when I was ready to retire, I could sell one house to pay off the other house, and I could live mortgage free in my old age. Not so. Housing prices crashed, I had run of decent, but semi flaky renters, and ended up putting my lovely little house on the market. Eventually I accepted an offer, and the tragic saga of getting from contract to closing is a tale for a fantasy novel set in a post apocalyptic world.

We closed last night. The proceeds will fund on Monday. I will receive about 10K less than I put down on the house. I'm sad.  I'm sad for a lot of reasons, but one thing keeps nagging at me - my parents were hard working people, children of the Depression, and they scrimped and saved to save a little bit so they would not be a burden on me in their old age, at least financially.  I thought I was doing the same thing, but it didn't turn out the same way.

The sale of this house is, in some ways, the end of an era - the end of my childhood, I think. The worth of that house was, really, my last safety net from my parents, so now I'm walking the tightrope of life without that net.

I am tempted to splurge on a couple of small things with these dollars, but I've decided to fund my safety fund in my savings account, pay for iconography camp in the fall, and take 2K for some desperately needed repairs to my current abode. The rest needs to go elsewhere, to some place where I can't easily transfer a couple of hundred if I run short some month. I'll have to research that.

In figuring what to do with this money, if anything, I've thought about what my priorities are.  I need to feel semi secure that I can pay for surprises that crop up, like new tires, or vet bills.  So, I need to fatten up my savings account, and, decrease spending (OMG WHAT ELSE CAN I POSSIBLY CUT?????) so that I can save a bit every month.  That should allow me to replace whatever gets spent from the savings.  Second, I need to set up a system to fund two expenses every year: iconography camp and plane tickets to SFO to visit DD. Iconography camp, including some spending $$ while there and gas etc., is probably $1500 a year, and the cheapest round trip tickets I've found are around $600.  I need to save around $2100 per year for these two, top priority things each year. I cannot delve into the main stash for these things every year or I will, once again, have nothing. The third priority is still the fact that I am turning 60 on my next birthday and I can reach out and touch retirement. I am hoping to work part time for my current employer when I retire, which should allow me to have a few days a week to spend on my real life.  However, that won't last forever - eventually I will need, or be forced, to stop working.

So many choices to make. I've made so many bad choices in the past - I need to make good financial choices this time around. I need to maintain and grow this little nest egg, while funding the most important priorities in my life.

So, signing my little house away last night - the house that dear daughter and I chose because we loved it - the house that was a new start for us - the house that we ran away to when the old house had too many sad and painful memories - signing that house away was bittersweet, and symbolic. The new family will have a happy life in that happy house.  I am back in my old house, and have been for five years, but the memories don't sting the way they used to. It's fine, living here - I just haven't had the dollars to perform repairs or maintenance the way I need to.  Perhaps I can do some of that now.

It's an ending, but also a beginning.  It's the beginning of my final act, I think. My eyes are on the prize, and I'm starting the last leg of this race.  I really do need to get it right this time. Maybe being very clear about my priorities will help.

Goodbye, 107 Blue Wing Drive! Welcome your new owners! Hello, renewed purpose in life! May I have wisdom and strength to finish the race set before me.