Friday, February 8, 2013

South America cruise

Second day
This is the end of the second day,  I'm disappointed with how things have gone so far, but will withhold final judgment for a few more days.  Boarding was hectic, but then it usually  is with 3200 people trying  to get on.  We are in a priority group, but come to find out, half of  the boat is in the same group, so I didn't feel  too special this time.   But we are going around South America!   Forty Eight days and 17 ports of call!
We were parked next to the Queen Mary
This ship is too large for  the Panama Canal, so we have to  go around.  It was based in Long Beach and  doing the Mexico cruises, but with all the violence down there, no one wants to travel there any more.  So they are pulling out and going to base it in NYC, and that's where we are heading, the  Big Apple.  Going to pay our  respects to the Twin Towers.
Watching the Super Bowl with a few thousand friends.....
Tonights show was a Hypnotist, who we had seen on the Australia cruise.  He has a family show, and an adult show,  both are very good.  You'd never  catch me up there!  
It is  our goal this  time  to maintain our weight, so we've  been doing a  lot of  walking, and stair climbing today.  Sandy got  20,000 steps today!  I think that  is one for the record books, for us.  It's going to be hard to resist all those deserts the next 7 weeks, but the friends we are traveling with have the same goals.  All I can say is,  we'll be doing a lot of  stairs!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

On the road again,,,,,,

I know it's been awhile, I'm bad........  Did you read my last post, a book report on The Clash of Generations?  I copied a portion of the book detailing the expenses of keeping up the house vs. hitting the road in the RV, full timing it.  It's still a good book that you should read.

Sun City Texas, a beautiful place to retire to. 
We sold the house in Sun City Texas (Georgetown) and now we are on the road, looking for a home with a RV garage.   It was a great house, and we loved Sun City, we were just never there!  Sandy still works (when she wants) 3 month contract jobs any where in the country, so now we just pull up in the RV and set up camp.  On her days off we get to tour that part of the country.  Sounds like the life, doesn't it?  We have full intentions of returning to Sun City Texas after we get done with this Gypsy phase of our life, in about 7 years.  

Just stopped along the Great Ocean Road to feed the wild birds.
Well, Sandy hasn't been doing much work lately, I'll have to crack the whip in a few months.  We got back last month from a two and a half month trip to Australia, which included a 36 day cruise, 3 weeks in Australia, and a two week cruise back to the states.  I call this our around the world vacation, we started going west and never turned around until we got back home.  Somewhere in the South Pacific, our home sold.  When we got back, we had a week and a half to pack up and get out.    

We are in north Texas for a few months checking out our new grandson, Kade Bradley.  He's 4 months now, and doing great!   It's a little chilly up here in the RV, but that's the sacrifice you have to make when full timing.  Not everything happens on your schedule.   Next year we need to be a little further south........

Our next big trip is a 48 day cruise from Long Beach CA to NYC, around South America.  We are excited about this one, we stop at 15 ports all along the S. American coast. And after THAT, Sandy has to go back to work.........

I promise to write more this year!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Book Review

I'm on another tirade! 

I’m reading a book called The Clash of Generations, by Scott Burns and Laurence Kotlikoff.  It’s about how broken our country is, and the politics that has put us in this position.  I like this book because it supports my view, that Congress is a bunch of crooks looking out for themselves and supporters.  It’s not just another book complaining about everything (well it does), but they have solutions to the problems, that make sense.

I want to offer a few excerpts of the book that I find useful to retirement minded folks.  This section talks about our choices at retirement, and how we can stretch our fixed incomes.  You’ll have to read the book to get the whole story, but here are the options in a nut shell.
            1.  Work longer
            2.  Own your home vs. renting, vs. RVing!
            3.  Investing
            4.  Move out of the country
            5.  Costs of our drugs
            6.  Senior Spending
            7.  Death
These are all personal choices we have the power to plan for.

Since I like RVing, I want to share what they have to say about that.  So, you retire, and say your house is paid off and is worth about $250k.  You’ve been working and earning about $65k a year and your wife has worked some during her career, bringing your total Social Security benefits to about $25.5k a year.  Oh, and you have about $250k in a 401k plan.  Sounds like you’re sitting pretty good, doesn’t it? 

Now your house is a little older and is going to need a new roof in a few years, appliances will need to be replaced/updated, and what about that kitchen remodel you’ve always talked about?  Using some financial software, Scott Burns came up with housing expenses should average out to be about $15k a year.  The same software says you should expect to live on $15k a year for everything else. 

What are your options? 
1.                            Stay in the house and mow the lawn for the rest of your life, and pay to keep up the house, having about $15k to spend. 
2.                            Or, you could sell-and rent a house; that would increase your available spending limit to almost $29k a year.
3.                            Or, you could sell, buy a used, nice sized RV and tour this beautiful country of ours!  After expenses, Scott figures you’ll have $39k a year spending power.  WOW!
4.                            If you can’t do that, then you could still save a bundle by moving to another part of the country where cost of living is lower and save between 20 and 50 percent from what you are paying now.  See Where to Retire magazine for broad overviews of the economic benefits and liabilities of moving to a different region. 

What have you got to loose?  Do you really have deep roots where you are now?  The kids have all grown and scattered like seeds in the wind, why can’t you?  This book explores these topics more in depth, and how to fix Social Security, Bank problems (we are no way out of the woods yet), investing, income tax reforms, and health insurance for all.  This is from a pure economic point of view, completely non-partisan (other than Washington has really screwed things up).     

I encourage you to read the book, and let your Congressman know how you feel.  Vote Purple!  (you'll have to read the book to know what that means)