Thursday, March 29, 2012

Catching Up

OK, I got some great suggestions for additions to my blogroll. Plus I realized that I've been reading some cool blogs that I hadn't yet put onto my site. For example, LC often comments here. I'd been reading her Retirement Daze for some time when all of a sudden, she had a stroke. Instead of putting her blog on hold, she has been writing her way through her treatment and continued recovery. I'm so sorry the stroke happened to her, but I'm still fascinated by her posts. (Just for the record, there is a serious history of strokes in my family going back three generations on both sides--I should probably be taking notes!)

Also check out I'm Losing It Here, Tessie's Awesome Blog, and Last Third of Our Life.

For those looking for Judy at "Finally Frugal," she is apparently on a temporary hiatus. Why that means she took the blog away with her, I don't know. But she says she will be back shortly, so I'll leave the link up for a bit longer.

March was the month in which I turned 63 though it was something of a non-event. However, I did get a new microwave from my sister, which I've been coveting for awhile but was too cheap to replace the old (but working!) model I've had for more than 10 years.

March was also a good month on the debt front--I paid down $1,694.55. Of course part of it came from my meager $300+ tax refund, but no matter--I love seeing the figures reduce. I now owe $88,142.76 on everything, including my house.

And, in some very good news, my retirement funds recently topped $250,000, which should mean that by the time I retire at age 69, I will have more than $400,000 in my 401(k).

So in spite of the fact that it is storming outside, March is leaving like a financial lamb.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

They Went Which-A-Way?

Here's the thing about blogs--I love writing mine, but even more, I love reading the blogs of others. I am offered interesting, if brief and narrow, glimpses into the lives of those very different from myself--people who are younger, richer, older, more settled, well-traveled, less sensible, much smarter, of different genders and races, whatever.

So, I take it badly when writer leaves the blogosphere. I want more!

Sadly, not everyone cares what Grace wants.

Hence--a new clean-up of my Blogroll.

I have trouble believing that Morrison can actually stay away for long, but I have eliminated "All Doors Considered" until she changes her mind.

Julie from "Beside Still Waters" has left for the second time. Too bad. I like the perspective of someone forced into retirement too early who is struggling with the financial consequences.

Karissa from "Keeping It Seriously Simple" has the best reason to stop blogging--she paid off all of her debt, which was the reason she started her blog in the first place. You go, Girl!

"Blogging Away Debt" is here, but with a new blogger, Claire. Her financial situation is different from Beks, but still compelling.

"Living Almost Large" is gone, though its author still comments on various financial blogs. Ditto Dog from "The Dog Ate My Finances."

Master Po from "The Po File" has posted what he says is his final post. He has, however, left his blog up, which I appreciate. I'm curious why other folks don't. Still, unless I hear he's coming back, I'm deleting him from blogroll.

Judy, formerly of "Poor But Happy" got hacked, but is back at a different location with a new name, "Finally Frugal and Happy."

Some bloggers definitely seem to be losing steam. One of the first blogs I found was Jane Dough's "Boston Gal's Open Wallet" but her posts have become increasingly sporadic. Her most recent post was last November. Still that puts her ahead of "Debt Hater", who was all set to get married and hasn't blogged since. Shouldn't the honeymoon be over by now? And what about "Sistah Ant"? She became a lawyer, got married, and found a job. Shouldn't that give her enough to blog about, but her last post was in September.

Neither "M Is For Money" nor "Oh, My Aching Debts" have posted in over six months, so off my list they go.

Hmm--Now I need replacements.

Suggestions, anyone?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Never Too Late To Do What You Always Wanted to Do.

Mother Martina Roy died

I never knew her though friends of mine did.

There were a lot of things important in her life--like her marriage and her four children.

There were things that wentwrong in her life--the marriage didn't work out and one child pre-deceased her.

But here's the part I find the most interesting: her earliest dream-career was to be a nun. Her family was against that, and real life intervened. After her divorce, she was the sole support of all of her children.

Once her children were grown, she took positions as housemother at various fraternities. At age 72, when she decided to once again pursue that dream of becoming a nun, she not only knew how to handle rowdy college boys, but thanks to them, she was up on all the latest technology.

She was the United States' (and maybe the world's) oldest postulant both when she entered the convent at age 72 and when she took her final vows at age 84.

She was in her mid-ninties and had suffered from dementia for the past few years before she recently died. Her last years were spent among the nuns on Shaw Island, WA.

Those that knew her described her as funny, social, physically active, and a true delight.

There's definitely a lesson here--and not just for Catholics.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

February Wrap-Up--Back on Track

I finally feel like I can breathe financially.

February is always hard because that's when property taxes and various insurance policies are due.

I not only managed to get everything paid, I did it without incurring more debt. In fact, I once again reduced my debt below $90,000 (including my house)--albeit just below, at $89,837.31. That is a monthly reduction of $996.69, though given the increase in debt in January, the net reduction is $204.69.

My retirement funds hit new highs in February, which also feels good. My general goal is to have at least $400,000 in my retirement 401(K)s when I retire in six years.

So I'm feeling pretty fine right now, and I'm hoping the rest of the year works out as well.