Today I called in sick to work. I probably could have gone in, but I'm really glad I chose to spend the day sleeping in and lazing around instead of fighting a sore throat and low grade fever while at work. I'm a big believer in people taking the time they need to recover from even a minor illness rather than push themselves when they're already taxed. I blame my diet, stress, lack of relaxation, and chaotic work schedule which prevented me from getting to bed at an earlier time for this downtime. I'm not super sick or anything, but it's still annoying to have your appetite and energy sapped this way. Despite feeling unwell I managed to have a fairly productive day.
Probably the biggest thing I accomplished was filing my 2016 federal return. I didn't have an option to file my state return, I accidentally clicked on a site other than the one I had previously used, they were very similar and I wasn't feeling well so it wasn't until I went back and found some old emails that I realized I had made a mistake. I still haven't filed my 2015 return. Why I chose to do 2016 instead of starting with 2015 isn't really complicated. I was frustrated by my many attempts to file for 2015 and decided to skip ahead and file for 2016. I don't know if I have to file for 2015 because questions asked during the 2016 process may have made that filing unnecessary. I'll have to make an appointment or call a qualified tax professional which is what I should have done long ago, but I digress.
Another cool thing I did today was transfer stock out of a joint account into one under my TIN. This is another thing I should have done long ago, but for some reason I kept procrastinating, probably because it involved having my ex sign paperwork and finding another institution to house the assets. I initiated the call to take care of an unrelated matter relating to my aforementioned taxes. I needed the dividend information for 2016 on my Coca Cola stock. For some reason, later I learned that my address hadn't been updated on this stock, but had for two others, I never received my 2016 paperwork after finding my 2015 form in with the rest of my tax documents. It's depressing to think that I waited this long to address this issue. I have no excuse other than I asked for the paperwork and never completed it. Insert sad faced emoji...
After getting that switched over I updated my Mint account and gained $9,000 worth of assets which brings my total net worth to approximately $50,000 in cash and other securities. Seeing that number made my day. I had the money before, but being able to see it on a single screen was heartwarming. I took a moment to reflect on what I would be worth today had I stuck with my values and kept investing after leaving the workforce to have children, but then I thought about how aggressive I'm going to be over the next twenty years of my life. Seeing those numbers galvanized me into action, I was on a roll so I called the company's 401(k) plan advisor. He was a schmuck which I had anticipated, but it was still a shock to hear a snake speak on the phone in real life.
Realizing that he was worthless I went online, couldn't view my account and called his secretary. She wasn't much better than he was, explaining that I couldn't see my retirement account because it hadn't been 'networked' properly. I worked in finance, this is code for we didn't tell somebody to push a button, but we're going to blame it on you and imaginary system issues. What little respect I had for these people died right then and there, she should have apologized to me and escalated the 'networking' request, but I'm small potatoes and she has better things to do with her time than try to service the tiny mutual fund accounts that grocery store employees need to retire.
Anger is pointless and hurts me instead of them, but I went and changed my asset allocation without his advice anyways. If he can't spend five minutes looking up my account and telling me which funds he feels would be appropriate for a 42 year old woman who is comfortable with the risk provided by the aggressive mutual funds offered, I have nothing more to say to him. Had he given me more than the time of day he would have been able to pitch more products and services to me, but his narrow life view prevents him from seeing anything beyond large dollar signs. It's really a shame that so few people in that job are there to grow a portfolio using dollar cost averaging and better budgeting. There is a great need for reform in that industry. Brokers are great at identifying when and how they're going to get paid, sometimes at the expense of their customers although they'll deny that happens because there's enough wiggle room to let their conscience off the hook.
This goes back to when I worked for a big insurance company. They wanted me to sell insurance products and I couldn't do it. I didn't believe that my family and friends really needed these expensive policies and now that I'm older I'm glad that I walked when I did. I'm great with money, but I have a problem selling people things they don't need. My friend's friend who had $35,000 worth of credit card debt needed credit counseling and a budget, not a term life insurance policy. There are times and places when insurance is appropriate. My ex has a policy in case anything happens to him, that's a good example of insurance working the way that it should and doing what it needs to do; protecting his ex and children from excessive financial hardship if he goes before his wage earning days are over.
There might be people who argue that I need a policy, but I will die leaving money behind after my debts are paid. Sure I could leave my children much better off financially than they are now, but I can't see how leaving a large sum of money to children who are 13 and 15 would be wise when I need this money myself. This is just my two cents on the issue, you can't misconstrue any of this as financial advice, I probably shouldn't even be writing about it the way that I am, but a lot of people are being sold policies they don't need and I'll stand by that. More people should be taught how to manage their money well so the need for insurance lessens instead of grows. People like Dave Ramsey take on the insurance industry, go listen to what he says on the matter for more detailed information.
Suze Orman is another name you'll here, there are a lot of them out there since money and investing are such popular topics. When I asked a friend of mine what he did to be able to retire early he said he paid himself first, put money in savings beyond what he was contributing to his 401(k) that he didn't touch, he lived beneath his means and didn't bother trying to keep up with his more extravagant friends. He pays his credit card bill in full every month, he drives an older modest car, little things like that add up and make a difference. Success is a long line of good habits and decisions with the occasional interruption. Set the systems in place as soon as possible, before you think it's possible, even a dollar or two will add up over time.
Goals of mine are creating a budget, contributing more to my retirement account at work, and taking advantage of investment opportunities in my Roth IRA. I'm so glad I set that thing up when I did. The difference between my retirement money and some that others have is a large percentage of mine is growing tax free. I'll never be taxed on the money I converted from a regular IRA however many years ago that was. I might do more with that instead of my work account, I need to talk to someone about which is the smarter strategy. I really hope I'm able to go to work tomorrow. It's not even seven and I'm ready for another nap. The kitchen isn't a terrible mess, but it isn't clean either and that's stressing me out.
Today I want a caregiver to come over with tea, soup, fresh juice, clean sheets, and some reassurance that tomorrow will be another day. The reason I was able to do a lot of these things that I've been meaning to do is related to my friend at Verizon. I use him as a voice in my head that prompts me to do the things I don't want to do. Meeting him was the catalyst for economic change and growth in my life, but he'll never know that. Sometimes things don't work out, but you can learn valuable lessons from being rejected. The next time I decide to ask a guy out I'm going to go about it differently. I'm going to be the person I want to go out with if that makes any sense. It's not fair to ask another person to help me out, I need to be more self sufficient and reliant. I called the dentist about Jane's retainer and will make an appointment to get the work done on my car when my tax refund check arrives.
When I get that money I'll have to determine what I'm going to be doing with it. Ten percent is going to be mad money. I'm going to go out and spend it frivolously. I'll get my car window fixed so the driver's side rolls down and back up again, I'll stick the rest of the money into a savings account that is hard for me to access and forget about it. I'd like to buy a condo or find another apartment. I don't know if I want to sell stock I've had for more than twenty years on a place to live, but that might be the time to do it. Then again it might not be. I'll have to look around and see what I can find. I might go back and refile my federal return. I filed in haste and am now repenting at leisure, but at least I have options. Hoping this finds you well...
Until next time,
P.S. I wrote another poem, I emailed it to myself and now I realize something I should have discovered long ago, writing poetry is relatively easy, writing good poetry is an entirely separate matter, still I'm glad I keep trying.