I've been spending TOO much time thinking about money lately!
First of all is the whole Equifax debacle. It is outrageous that a company that you never hired or did business with -- can track your financial data and then LET IT GET HACKED! And they don't even have to notify you of the breach! I am (so far) one of the lucky ones. My friend whose data was breached is just sick with worry. She NEVER had any dealings with Equifax, but apparently someone else fed her data into the Equifax system to do a credit check on her. Also like many people, I have had credit cards hacked because some store didn't protect my data (Target! Home Depot! and many more). These businesses are acting irresponsibly! I am grateful when my credit card company called to tell me someone was purchasing items in another state using my card ...
Plus I am adjusting my personal financial plans. I retired 2 years ago, and I started drawing social security and using my IRA savings about 18 months ago. I was very conservative with how much money I drew out from my IRA, and I have managed to live within my monthly budget.
What I am wrestling with is unexpected expenses. I have separate savings that includes an emergency fund, a home remodeling fund, and travel. Well, last week I was notified by my homeowner's insurance company that they were only offering a plan with a LARGE deductible ($5,000) to me, because I had 2 claims within the past two years. And that if I filed another claim, they will drop me altogether (I HAVE to have insurance; it's a requirement for my mortgage). I've never had a claim before in 35 years of home ownership!
But: in 2015 a tree fell in my house during a wind storm.
And in 2017 we had historic snow and ice, and an ice dam created damage to my interior; the floors were soaked and warped.
The weather here has just gotten more extreme -- the summers are hotter and the wildfires are worse; and the winters are colder and the storms are worse; and drought has weakened the trees.
So I am going out to bid to see if someone else will pick up my insurance with a standard $1,000 deductible. I am NOT optimistic. My back-up plan is to bite the bullet, and stay with my current insurance company, and recognize I need to keep MORE money in my emergency fund (it will have to come out of my travel budget). And it is infuriating to pay them a premium, because they already told me that I will not be able to file another claim with them without losing ALL my coverage!
With my home remodeling fund, I used some to update my guest bathroom. I had hoped to fund a final remodeling project that would remove a large built in wet bar that divides the space between my living and dining rooms. It is VERY 1970s. I could just remodel it (reface with lighter wood or paint it, and replace the current Formica counter-top with quartz or granite) -- but it sits smack in front of the big stone fireplace, and that means I can never relax in an easy chair in front of the fire. So I wanted to remove the whole thing the next time I replaced the carpets, and put in a couple of comfortable seats in front of the fireplace.
Sorry these pics aren't great -- but the wet bar isn't so great either!!!
I had planned to do this project when I replace the carpets in another 5-10 years. Well I think I need to readjust my plans and fence my yard instead. This past summer, I have noticed people walking through my yard.
Let me be clear -- I don't mind neighbors chasing a playful dog, or a kid going after a ball. But one of my neighbor has walked around my yard more than once to look at deer (Last time she walked through my yard with a vet to assess the health of a deer that she was concerned about), or she tries to separate the deer herd (I prefer to let the deer BE wild! and not try to manage their behavior). She didn't call me first; she fences HER yard for her dogs, and she feeds the deer on the side of her yard that is by my property, so the deer all come through my property every day. The home on the other side of me is fenced also.
Even more concerning, twice I have had total strangers walking through my yard, walking back and forth. (When I asked what are you doing? one stated he looking for access to the river; one was looking for a short cut and thought there was a right of way through my yard). Bottom line: as town has gotten bigger, and the zoning around me has changed from rural to urban density, I think I need a little more security. And I don't think I will be able to change my neighbor's behavior, so I need a fence. (p.s. if you are wondering why I didn't put in a fence already, well our semi-defunct homeowner's association rules do not allow fences ... But if everyone else is putting them in, then I'm going to also!)
So I am going to go ahead and get bids to put in a deer-proof fence. I think the fence will wipe out the remodel budget. I should be able to refinish/remodel the big old ugly wet bar within my monthly expense budget. I need a new television (my old television is not well equipped for HD, and my cable has gone to all HD), so the wet bar remodel may come sooner than planned! I'll get rid of the entertainment unit that houses the old television, and hang the new flat screen t.v. on the back of the wet bar. I'd LOVE to reface the old rough cedar planks that are on that side of the wet bar, but I'll settle for painting them!
I HATE worrying about money! But I have to recognize that I am retired, and when the savings are gone, they are GONE!