In Naked With Cash, seven anonymous Consumerism Commentary readers publicly track and analyze their finances on a monthly basis. For almost a decade, I tracked my own finances on Consumerism Commentary; now I’m sharing the benefits of public accountability with the participants. I’ve partnered with financial planners who will offer some guidance along the way. Read this introduction to learn more about the series.
SteveDH is retired, and he and his wife have two grown kids. By the time he retired in 2008, he had reached his retirement asset goal of $500,000. His goal now is to ensure his savings last as long as he does. Read his bio to learn more about SteveDH. SteveDH is on Team Roger, with Certified Financial Planner Roger Wohlner.
Keep reading to see his net worth report, updated for September 2013. You can read last month’s analysis here. Following the analysis from SteveDH, Roger Wohlner will offer his own thoughts and guidance from his planning perspective. This month the participants were asked to focus on estate planning.
Roger Wohlner, CFP appears courtesy of The Chicago Financial Planner.
SteveDH analysis and comments
Even the increased revenue from quarterly dividends and a better performing market can’t fully explain our September net worth results.
After closing the books we had to ask ourselves; “What Happened?” It sure seemed like a regular month. We did quite a bit: we ate, drank (just a little), and did what we normally do. So why was our cash-flow higher than any other month this year? A little quirk in spending (maybe we just did less expensive stuff) left us pleasantly surprised with nearly $5,000 in positive cash-flow and a good-looking jump on the balance sheet. Yeah!
Estate planning: Well, that’s an ugly topic for those of us who are members of AARP rather than the local gym. Luke’s topic selection did prompt me to dig out the documents and take a look. We both have all of the requisite estate planning covered. Wills, advanced directives, and assigned Power-of-Attorney (POA). Although I see that these are over five years old, there is nothing that needs changing.
Just as importantly, we’ve shared all of our “financial network” information. I’ve given my daughter an envelope that contains everything needed and I update it regularly. I chose my daughter rather than my son (who is the executor) because she is 250 miles closer and has a safe-deposit box at her bank to put it in. In that envelope I’ve listed each and every account from my checking accounts to utility accounts and either provided a phone number or contact person. My son is listed on our secondary checking account so he’ll be able to take care of most business without involving POAs, death certificates, or other obstacles. So I think we’re good-to-go. (Did I really write that?)
One interesting, albeit off-topic, side note for September: My wife becomes eligible of Medicare in January but received her Medicare Part A and B ID this month. We did absolutely nothing to get signed up for Medicare. They are either very, very efficient or the Air Force wanted to make damn sure Medicare started paying most of the cost right on-time. I suspect the latter.
October: I showed my wife an article that said Americans spend over a billion dollars on Halloween. That’s right, it comes in second, right behind Christmas in holiday spending. Darn glad the decoration and costume days are behind us. One box of Rice Crispy Treats (from COSTCO) should be our only contribution to that little spending statistic.
Nothing special is planned for October but I do have a little basement improvement project I’m already working on. With the arrival of fall I’m looking forward to less lawn mowing and outside tasks so I’ll have to look for things to keep the activity level up. Maybe I’ll join a gym… Nope!
Feedback from Roger Wohlner, CFP
Another very good report with more “boring” info, keep it up as boring is very good in this case. Our youngest is a college junior and I’m pretty certain we don’t want to know all of the details of his Halloween activities. We still buy plenty of candy for the kids, me being the biggest one of all. Probably the only time of the year when I eat mass amounts of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
As far as the estate planning goes it sounds like you have everything under control. Two things. First I suggest that you sit down and actually go through a “fire drill.” By this I mean go through account by account and determine what happens if you die first, if your wife does, or if you go simultaneously (for example in a plane crash). Then do the same thing with your respective incapacity. Does everything pass as you would desire?
Second I would make sure that your kids have access to digital info as well including passwords, etc.
Feedback from Luke Landes
A positive cash flow that high is always good news. Your estate planning sounds well-considered, so I have no suggestions on that side of things. It seems to me that over the course of your life, you’ve made good choices when dealing with your finances, and in retirement you can enjoy some freedom.