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Moving toward my goal

June 3rd, 2017 at 10:52 am

So, in May my savings just barely spilled over into the $900K range, at $900,308. As of June 1, I am now solidly in the $900s, with a net worth at $917,462. This is what's so magical about saving a wad of cash; the month-to-month gains (or losses) can add $17K to your investments without too much trouble.

My goal, of course, is not to see that number go south.

This is kind of exciting; it means I have achieved about 92% of my goal of saving $1 million for retirement.

I'd be too young to retire and live on that money now but I'm getting pretty close. Ideally, I'd like to save another $131,000 (see my sidebar) purely for healthcare expenses over my remaining lifetime, and not having any idea what the state of our healthcare system will be in the 8 years before I can pick up Medicare.

On the face of it, saving another $213,538 (for healthcare costs and to hit my remaining goal for retirement) in 3 or 4 years seems like a herculean task. But thanks to an incredible bull market and the power of compounding, I've come this far already, so who knows?

Well, there are a few good things about my contract job ending soon. I can attend the MS lunch the following week. I can go ahead and schedule a visit by my cousin in PA and generally enjoy the summer. I can try to do more things during the week with dad.

My cat drove me nuts the last 2 nights. I had just turned the light out, dead tired, at about 10:30 pm when, lying in the darkness, I heard the telltale scamper of little cat feet. A certain kind of scamper I have become familiar with, the light-hearted dance of a very excited cat. I got up to find a live mouse hiding under my dresser which Luther had carried up from the basement to show off. Sigh. When Luther retrieved him, I yelled at him with the aim of getting him to run down the stairs into the basement, mouse in mouth. He did, and I then closed the door to keep Luther in the basement.

Later, I went down there so I could remove the mouse, but it was nowhere to be found. Luther lost it.

Last night I went to bed and again heard the scamper of little cat feet. Luther had a mouse again, and I assume it was the one he caught...and lost... the night before. He'd brought it up to the main floor of my house and it was hiding by the sewing machine. This time I used a broom to sweep it into a cardboard box and dumped it outside. It was dead.

I went to bed again and unbelievably, Luther caught a 2nd mouse. Got this one in the box in the sun room and released it outside, still alive.

I'm not getting much sleep.

I went to see my neurologist last week. The one I usually see for my MS. I felt that my numb toes had gotten worse, that it's not really numbness now but extreme stiffness involving all 5 toes and part of the pad of the foot, just under the toes. His nerve conduction test a few months ago showed no lasting nerve damage from a pulled hamstring a few years ago and I just wasn't clear on what exactly the problem was. Arthritis? MS? Something else related to stepping on glass years ago? I had seen 3 podiatrists about that, years ago now, and all 3 said there was nothing in my foot.

My neurologist said he didn't think it was arthritis since part of the ball of my foot is affected, and he doesn't think it's related to the pulled hamstring of years ago since any inflammation caused by the pulled hamstring would now be gone. He thinks it's my MS.

I was surprised, since I've had no major issues for the past 9 or 10 years. He explained that as part of the normal aging process, we all lose "reserves,"
so little deficiencies or ailments are magnified.

I guess this may be true, becus the fact is, nearly every MS I've had involved my right side. Lesions in the brain, depending on their location, cause certain symptoms. He said to come back about it only if the stiffness spreads to my ankle or up my leg; it would be a sign my current medication is not working and an MRI would then be warranted to see what's going on.

I forgot to ask him if this could go away spontaneously or am I stuck with it forever. With relapsing/remitting MS, which is what I have, symptoms do come and go; with progressive MS, symptoms gradually worsen over time and don't disappear. Some MS people who start out with relapsing/remitting MS go on to develop progressive MS over time.

At this point, there are more effective MS drugs available now than the one I'm on, but all of them come with much more serious potential side effects and may require regular checkups to ensure no kidney damage, for example, and stuff like that. I'd prefer to avoid those drugs as the Copaxone is nearly side effect free.

15 Responses to “Moving toward my goal”

  1. Bluebird Says:

    Great job on your goal!!! It sounds like Luther is having a good time! 😉

  2. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    Our Buddy has brought us two "gifts" of dead mice in the last few weeks. One he ate ... the other I flushed down the toilet.

  3. CB in the City Says:

    I'm glad I'm in a second floor condo with indoor cats. No mice, knock on wood! But I've had my share of "gifts" in the past.

  4. PatientSaver Says:

    CB, my cats are indoor only too!

  5. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    Our cats are also indoor.

  6. CB in the City Says:

    Yikes, I guess I've been lucky no mice have wandered up to this level!

  7. scottish girl Says:

    Good job!

  8. rob62521 Says:

    That is simply amazing on your retirement savings!

    Hope you can find what is going on with your foot. It sounds very annoying, not only because of the condition, but the fact you can't get answers.

  9. Dido Says:

    Luther is certainly having fun! Sorry you aren't getting sleep as a result.

    Something that you may want to consider in a few years, depending on what your housing situation is, is taking out a Line of Credit on a Reverse Mortgage. It's not available until age 62. Because it's a line of credit, it's something that you can open but not borrow against (like a HELOC), and it grows dramatically with time, which is why it's recommended to open early. It can be a good safety reserve for the health care expenses in the case that you can't save the reserve yourself. Also note that federal regulations have greatly improved Reverse Mortgages from what they were a decade or so ago....they have a bad reputation that is apparently not currently deserved.

    I'm just beginning to learn about them, but this is one of the "hot" areas in the retirement income world these days. Lots of research and studies coming out on them in the professional literature. I've been to a couple of webinars already and will be going to at least one more next week when I go to my professional conference.

  10. PatientSaver Says:

    Dido, what would be the advantage of taking out a line of credit on a reverse mortgage as opposed to a reverse mortgage? I also don't understand what you mean when you say it could "grow dramatically" with time. How can that be?

  11. Dido Says:

    If you take out a Line of Credit as opposed to a reverse mortgage itself, you are not incurring any debt just by opening the LOC. There's no debt until you use it.

    The reason it grows is because the value of your house appreciates over time. Taking out the LOC (technically called a HECM, HOme Equity Conversion Mortgage) gives you more time for the line to appreciate, just as starting to save for retirement at age 21 gives you a big advantage over someone like me who didn't start until 30. The Time Value of Money is always a huge asset!

    I'm still in the early stages of learning about the strategy and will eventually be able to explain more fully. But I have seen graphs like the one in the attached link (below) in several articles in Journals like the Journal of Financial Planning, Retirement Income Journal, etc. I've been stockpiling them to read when I have some time.

    Given all the negative news about how relatively little most Americans have saved for retirement, this is a saving grace, since most older Americans are homeowners.

    And the nice thing about it being a line of credit is that you don't need to use it unless you really have to. For someone like you, who would probably not be able to get Long Term Care Insurance because of the MS, it's a good alternative.

    Link: https://toolsforretirementplanning.com/2015/11/15/now-or-last-resort/

  12. Petunia 100 Says:

    If you do decide to downsize, you might also consider buying your next home with a reverse mortgage. You would need to put about half down, then you take a reverse mortgage for the other half and never make a single payment. This strategy allows you to keep more of your capital in liquid savings and investments, rather than tied up in home equity.

  13. Dido Says:

    Yes, excellent point!

  14. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    Um wow! I knew about Reverse mortgages, but not these other options.

  15. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    I would not do a reverse mortgage. The lenders who do them are terrible. I would consider a HELOC instead. Reverse mortgages are very costly and very painful. It'll be hard for your estate to settle as well. Experience here talking. We beat a foreclosure by 15 minutes to refinances my DH's uncle's estate out of a reverse mortgage and into a 10.5% hard money loan. LONG STORY.

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