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A party and a funeral

December 16th, 2018 at 09:35 pm

It was a strange week, one that started with a funeral and ended with a party.

The funeral, well, I got through it. I went alone and wound up sitting with my friend R.'s best friend, who gave a great eulogy, one that brought many smiles to my face because he so accurately depicted the R. that I knew. I also said hello to many other lifetime friends of R.'s that I haven't seen in 30 years, along with the woman who ran the driving school where R. taught kids how to drive, and a bunch of people from the helicopter museum where he volunteered. I think he would have been very pleased at the turnout.

Another female friend of R.'s approached me at the funeral; I had seen her last at R.s wedding 3 decades ago, and she reminded me that a year or two ago, R. had tried to orchestrate a dinner with the 4 of us (me, R., she and her husband) but it never happened because she said that's when R. got sick. We briefly talked about possibly doing that dinner now, after the fact.

R. wrote his own obituary, which started with the announcement, "R. XXX kicked the bucket on (date). He had an irreverent sense of humor. He also prepaid for a pizza lunch for everyone after the burial.

I would have liked to go, but I had told my boss I'd be in to work right after the funeral.

So it was an emotional day.

I am still wondering if R.'s niece is going to contact me about doing something R. asked me to handle: clean out his condo and work with a realtor to get it sold, so his family wouldn't have to. I know he talked to his niece about it.

I had readily agreed at the time because I wanted to help R., but now that he's gone, it does feel a little funny that the family wouldn't take care of that themselves. It is not a small thing, and his condo is 40 minutes away from here.

Well, it is their decision. I am still prepared to do it.

And the very next day after the funeral, my cousin from PA arrived for a 5-day visit. My dad and I took him out to a great dinner that night at a new, trendy restaurant which we all enjoyed. The next day, we hung around my home for the afternoon with a great chili, cornbread and salad I made, with an apple crumble dessert.

The next day I drove us out to the northeastern-most town in the state of PA as we wanted to show him it was possible to move much closer to us here in CT (cutting his drive time by more than half) but remain a PA resident, thereby still enjoying state tax-free IRA distributions and Social Security (unlike here in CT).

It's actually a cute little town in the Poconos, a little touristy, but with the short daylight hours, we couldn't stay long because while I was driving, I didn't want either of them driving back to dad's place in the dark after I drove us all to my home. They both have vision issues. (My cousin took a wrong turn each time he's come out to visit, which added 2 hours to his trip this time around.) So the drive to Milford was 1.75 hours each way, and we had just enough time to have a nice lunch, poke about in 2 shops and do a quick drive through the downtown area. And plenty of time to talk in the car. We can always return in the summer, I guess.

Yesterday morning after breakfast we did our gift exchange. He gave me a very nice set of 3 ceramic knives, along with a sharpener for non-ceramic knives. He had asked for (and got) an atomic clock.

Last night I went to my friend, walking partner and neighbor's party around the block, and since my neighbors behind me were also invited, they picked me up and I rode with them.

There were about 10 people there and it was a pleasant few hours. I'll be returning there on Christmas day for lunch; I must be one of several "orphan" friends she has with no particular place to go on Christmas. My dad travels to NJ for an overnight stay at his brother-in-law's house (from his 2nd marriage) so I don't usually see him. So thank goodness for the Xmas lunch; my only other plan that day is to open presents with another NJ cousin over the phone together.

The "busy" time at my office has started, and they called me yesterday to see if I'd be able to do some work this morning for them. It was from home, so it was a pretty painless 4 hours ($138).

I decided to skip the office Christmas dinner at a restaurant we went to last year. Part of the reason is that it takes place on one of my days off this week, and it's a 50-minute drive.

I happily remembered recently that the agency I work for offers a 401k to its long-time employees, and you're eligible to participate if you've logged at least 1,000 hours in a year. I checked my last paycheck and I logged 1,019 hours, so I just barely qualify!

The benefits person hasn't returned my call yet, but I'd like to find out some details about the plan. I highly doubt my employment agency (technically my employer) offers any kind of match, and I'm wondering what the fees are.

It might not be a slam-dunk decision, but I'm also thinking it might be smart to contribute part of my pay to a tax-deferred account and then draw from some of my taxable accounts to pay ongoing living expenses. Not a good time to draw from taxable mutual funds, given the market, but I do have $21,000 in online money markets with another $25,000 in taxable CDs maturing at different times within the next 4 years. However, this essentially serves as the bulk of my emergency stash, so maybe I'll have to limit any 401k contributions.

5 Responses to “A party and a funeral”

  1. Homebody Says:

    I'm glad you got through these difficult few days. Hoping all works out with work and retirement contributions.

  2. Dido Says:

    Yes, glad you got through the funeral. Always emotional. I'm going to one tomorrow, for a client.

    For your taxable accounts with mutual funds, you can set the interest, dividends, and cap gains to either automatically reinvest, which is where you almost certainly have yours set, OR you can set interest & dividends and (separately) cap gains to reinvest or not. A retiree trick is to set interest & dividends not to reinvest but to go to cash, giving you a source of cash to draw on. Or if you want to do this by the end of the year, set both int/div and cap gains not to reinvest for the rest of December since you will probably have some big year-end distributions, then go back in in January and re-set the cap gains (or both int/div and cap gains) to reinvest. I have an inherited IRA from my mom and this is how I make sure that I have cash each year to take as a required minimum distribution.

    If you ever want to meet in Milford for lunch and walking around when it's warm, sunny, and longer days, I would enjoy that! I've been there for lunch but never really explored the town. (Here's an interesting article about Milford BTW.)

  3. PatientSaver Says:

    Dido: Great idea! It was so easy to get there, I literally just hopped on I84 for the entire trip til I got off on the exit for Milford. Great spring/summer trip idea. Would like to see your story about Milford. One of my new found as yet to be met cousins lives there too.

    Thanks for the reminder about not reinvesting dividends. I think I will do that if I can get started with my employer's 401k. I'm not positive they will let me enroll. According to their website, you have to accrue at least 1,000 work hours in a year, which I have, but this coming year I won't because it will be all p/t for me (in 2018 the 1st 3 mths i was still working f/t).

    Do you think it's still worthwhile to enroll if there's no company match?

  4. Dido Says:

    If it's not going to persist, it's probably not worth the hassle. The big advantage would be getting more income that is federally tax-free.

    I just emailed you the article about Milford; I put the link in originally but the site software must have stripped it out.

  5. GoodLiving Says:

    You've been through a lot lately, I hope you're enjoying your time with your family.

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