Monday Meanderings

The whole Lehman clan at Thanksgiving, 2001 (minus my sister-in-law Tracy)

My grandmother died yesterday morning at the age of 90.  I’m grateful that Domingos and I got to see her briefly in early July.  My overwhelming emotion is one of relief that she is no longer suffering.  I’ve been very lucky to know all four of my grandparents well into adulthood.  My mother’s father died in 2002, when I was 28; my father’s mother died in 2008; my father’s father is still alive, and we were able to visit with him in July as well.  It seems that I have good longevity genes from both sides of the family, so we’re planning for our assets to last us well into our 90s, just in case.

Sometime in the last few years, I became obsessed with retirement planning, and the concept of FIRE (Financially Independent Retired Early).  In general, you don’t hear a lot about early retirement.  You hear a lot about the many and various financial crises, the boomer squeeze (caring for aging parents and out-of-work children at the same time), the mess that is known as Social Security, and the huge annual increases in health care.  But retiring in your 50s?  It’s not done, or at least it’s not talked about.  Instead, you hear that the new reality will be working into your 70s.

Our current plan is to be retired in 2026, when Domingos is 53 and I’m 52.  A lot can happen in the next 14 years to derail that plan, but I just keep updating my spreadsheets and making adjustments and trying to stay on track.  There are some excellent tools on the web to help you plan.  Two calculators that I used quite a lot (before I took the time to build my spreadsheets exactly the way I wanted them) were the Bankrate Savings Withdrawal Calculator, and FINRA’s Savings Calculator.  I spend a lot of time browsing financial advice blogs and websites.

Pretend I used the clutch and have now shifted back to family gear.  I feel all over the place today!  I’m trying to organize a Lind reunion for the summer of 2014.  This is no easy task, as my father has 5 brothers and one sister, 4 sisters-in-law, 1 brother-in-law, 18 of us in my generation, and 13 in the next generation (with 3 more on the way).  We used to have reunions every summer when I was growing up, and it would be nice to revive them now that my generation is having children of their own.  Not every year, certainly, but maybe every 3 years?  Every 5 years?  It’s a massive task, however, and I’m not sure how successful I’ll be.  But I figured it was worth a try.  I like having so much family, I like liking my family.  I have 19 cousins total on both sides, and I think they’re all interesting, fun, likable people.  How rare is that?  I also adore my in-laws, though there aren’t nearly so many of them as there are Linds/Lehmans.  My husband’s first experience with a Lind gathering was somewhat overwhelming!

Clutch again.  (Who else learned to drive with a manual transmission?  How many kids learn these days, I wonder?).  We saw The Dark Knight Rises yesterday.  I wanted to like it, I really did.  I thought it was very well made, good writing, good acting, good directing…  but I was miserable almost the whole way through.  I just don’t have the stomach anymore for such utter bleakness and gloom.  I don’t want to feel awful and bummed out for 2 hours and however many minutes, and then get the barest glimmer of hope for the last 10 seconds.  The movie left me with a cloud of darkness the rest of the day that I’m still trying to shake off.  If the fact that I just want to be entertained and feel good about humanity makes me shallow, then I’m happily shallow.  I don’t mind stories where bad things happen, I really don’t, but there has to be balance in the stories I enjoy,  not a 99/1 split.  I stopped watching and enjoying 24 for the same reason.

Well, enough of my unfocused ramblings for today.

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