By: Revanche

I have many money questions right now

November 28, 2016

Asking myself questions about what's next for our money I’m not trying to be pessimistic. I never have to TRY to be pessimistic, I was born expecting the glass to be empty and missing if I turned my back on it. This explains why I’m prepared for most wound care up to a broken bone.

Naturally that means I’m concerned about the state of the nation but also leaves me at a bit of a crossroads with our money.

I’ve got the usual conflicting goals of needing to secure stable income and preserving capital versus needing to use our capital to invest aggressively to grow our wealth while time is still on our side.

This is further complicated further by my family. No matter how much I resent the situation they’ve created, I can’t find it in myself to pretend I won’t care if and when Dad gets sick and needs better care than he can get from Medicare. I know Medicaid care. Mom had it and it was point blank terrible. She was miserable for far longer than she needed to be because they weren’t that interested in finding a diagnosis nor were they interested in treating her. They really just wanted to get her out of the office at each visit and didn’t ask even the most basic questions about how she was coping. She didn’t help matters by putting on a brave front trying to pretend she was fine but someone who is fine doesn’t have blackouts, six accidents in as many months because their vision blurred out or greyed out, or forget where they’ve lived for the past 15 years.

Needless to say, I expect Medicaid to be not much better for Dad.

Ponderable 1: This year I started moving a lot of cash into our investment accounts. I was also hoarding cash because I’ve been looking for another rental property. But with all the I don’t knowness in the world today, I’m not sure that committing us to a third mortgage sits comfortably. How much of a mortgage debt:cash ratio am I comfortable having? Not counting our brokerage account which I consider a long term investment, we’re at about 2.3:1 mortgage:cash right now. If I take on a third mortgage it would feel like a fairly large imbalance. Maybe the more important questions are whether the income that it will generate long term is worth taking on the debt, and whether we could bear up to a year of expenses (repairs, vacancy) without income in case of  a job loss.

Ponderable 2: apocalyptic planning – as I’ve said before, I’ve friends who grew up in internment camps. This has and can happen again. With that in mind as a possible worst case scenario, it’s hard not to want to plan for losing everything including freedom despite it being such an major set of unknowns.

Ponderable 3: I have no idea how much I need to save in case of a serious illness and any long term care Dad might require. Maybe $250k? Should that just be considered a cost we deduct from our cash and non-retirement accounts? Probably yes.

Ponderable 4: How aggressively must I invest, and spread out risk, to achieve income replacement in ten years, given the other likely demands on our money? How comfortable can I get with that? And how likely is it that this Presidency will result in one or both of us losing our jobs? I think mine is more at risk but PiC’s industry isn’t invulnerable and our fields are small enough that a sharp contraction would leave a whole lot of us out in the cold.

Ponderable 5: Can we afford to add to our family any time soon? Going by JB’s costs, if we were to add naturally (if we could, and wanted to), childcare would add about $20k to our annual expenses, before food and anything else. If we were to adopt, those costs would be so variable it’s probably not worth guesstimating right now. Either way, probably no. And, dare I? It terrifies me even more now to imagine how we’d protect THIS child, if things go Deep South, and that’s with a two to one adult-child ratio. I had protective worries when I was pregnant before but they were run of the mill compared to now. I’m watching this irrepressible child and thinking back to the Diary of Anne Frank and shudder to think how impossible it would be to hide zir if it came down to that.

I have more questions but these are top of mind as I try to make sense of the hate and ugliness. A Jewish friend has had her car vandalized twice now since the election with swastikas and “Hitler” among other vile things scrawled across it. DT hasn’t even been sworn in yet and the repercussions of his hate rhetoric are affecting real people deeply.

:: What’s on your mind, money or otherwise? Do you see a clear or murky path ahead?

16 Responses to “I have many money questions right now”

  1. Yikes, you’re raising some scary scenarios, and I heartily hope you’re wrong…but if you are seriously worried about worst case scenarios (internment, etc) then your diversification plan should probably include getting some money out of the country (and keeping some available to you). In most cases of internment, the assets of those interned were seized by the government (including the Japanese in 1942.)

    I don’t think that will happen. For all the hate that’s been whipped up, there’s a lot of activism that has been too which I think will make it harder for hateful “official actions” to take place. But I didn’t think things would get this crazy, either.
    Emily @ JohnJaneDoe recently posted…Financially Savvy Saturday #170My Profile

    • Revanche says:

      That’s pretty much where my mind was going – my friend’s families lost everything because the US government decided to steal everything and still hasn’t decided that it was unconstitutional which is frankly pretty upsetting.

      I wouldn’t want to believe that it could happen now either but I don’t think any layperson thought it could happen back when those previous internments happened either. So it’s hard to dismiss it out of hand.

  2. Whew you’ve got a lot on you mind. I’m not sure I can be of much help, especially with your dad because of what he did to you. I think all I can say it to breath…you don’t have to have it all figured out today my friend!
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…November ReviewMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      I know, it just frustrates me to have so many open life-decision type questions that I can’t answer, especially when it comes to money, it’s the ONE thing I usually understand well.

  3. I would like to say that you’re spiraling into crazy territory, but I feel you these days. The demons have emerged from the crevices and they’re out there. That being said, I have to say that this community wouldn’t take this all sitting down. If something like that were to happen again and you lost everything, J. Money’s new philanthropic project would be right there and we’d all be throwing money your way to solve all of your problems! Like Tonya said, you don’t need to figure it all out today. Take one cautious step forward and let it be. For now. Re-evaluate every 30 days.
    Maggie @ Northern Expenditure recently posted…The Privilege of Being SantaMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      I would like to agree that I was, but the threats against people have been escalating steadily since the election and I think we all know at least a bit of this country’s bloody and unconstitutional history.

      I do like your faith in the community, though 🙂

  4. rae says:

    I hate that you’re having to think about this, but sadly, I don’t think it’s completely unreasonable.

    Some thoughts:

    1) If you feel the need to nurture, take a look at foster parenting. I don’t know about your state, but I was able to specify age and gender and short versus long term placement.

    2) You and PiC might consider starting to learn languages that would be applicable for your escape route countries. While I sincerely hope that this is overkill, perhaps the act of preparing will help with anxiety. And it can be fun to learn other languages in general, especially as a family.

    3) A strategy for long term safety has been bubbling around the back of my head: decide in advance what would constitute the last straw, the sign that you can no longer live safely in the US and have to take immediate action, even if it is financially detrimental. Have a plan in place for the possibility. When possible, take steps toward the plan (for example, learning the language of your planned destination nation, investing visa requirements, visiting, etc.). I haven’t yet committed to this, but it keeps coming to mind.

    4) Medical bankruptcy exists in this country in part because we acknowledge the very high cost of care and that people can’t price shop very easily. It is a known business expense for hospitals, for example. If your father’s expenses are in his name, this is a legitimate safety valve.

    • Revanche says:

      Thanks, Rae, these thoughts are actually incredibly helpful. I do consider foster parenting, and I have looked into it, but whether that’s a good fit with a rowdy and disruptive toddler is an open question. You have a good point about keeping his medical expenses in his name – I’ve always shouldered their burdens but there comes a point I can’t keep doing that.

  5. The internment camp thing has been freaking me out a lot lately. My parent was an immigrant from a Muslim majority country (one of the ones on the NSEER list) so I’m feeling like my prospects are not great. Right now I’m gathering documentation on my existing financial situation to hand off to my significant other and a close friend. I believe government seizure of my assets is less likely than asset freeze and accidental default on my mortgage, etc. I’m doing my best to make sure all that stuff can automatically be paid without me. At the very least, having backup records of my existing financial situation would help in post-camp civil rights lawsuit after the fact. Other thing I’m doing on the disaster preparedness side is getting a go-bag and emergency plan together.

    On the kid question, I’ve been talking with my partner about the same thing. Our plan was to conceive around 3 years from now anyway, so I guess that should give us sufficient time to determine how downhill everything is going.

    For ACA/Medicare/Medicaid proposals, I’ve found Sarah Kliff at Vox to be a great resource running down the GOP plans. She recently posted a write-up on Tom Price’s ACA repeal-and-replace bill that I found helpful: I’m planning on discussing health care and retirement expectations with my mother and grandmother when I see them over the holidays. As rae mentioned, we still have medical bankruptcy in case things go really badly.

    Best of luck to you and your family.

    • Revanche says:

      Likewise to you and yours! I’m glad you stopped by, I hope you see this reply, but I was looking for you a while back and was wondering if you were ok?

      As to the asset freeze, that’s true, it’s as likely or more likely a problem as outright seizure. And I know government agencies like the DEA are already known for grabbing liquid assets and holding onto them for prolonged periods of time which also has the net effect of leaving you stranded without means to pay your bills. Backup records are a good idea – do you keep statements or just a summary of your assets? I’m thinking that it’d be a good time to store statements (which I’ve been not great about keeping) in a couple of safe places just in case.

      • I’m okay. Life is just crazy.

        I’m storing statements. Still gathering everything but I plan to have local copy account statements, cloud copies, and physical copies. The goal is to update digital copies monthly and hard copies quarterly. I feel like a paranoid weirdo doing all this but at the same time anything can happen.

        • Revanche says:

          Too true that anything can happen. I am tempted to store documents out of state in case either Northern or Southern CA is shaken by the Great Big Massive Shake, even!

  6. Well… I’ll tellya what I think.

    We saw what the Republicans did at the end of the Bush presidency. Voodoo economics and doctrinaire deregulation brought down the economy, and recovery has taken eight years. Now we’re handing the country and the economy back to the same bunch of crackpots. In my opinion, a recession — possibly a depression — is well-nigh inevitable.

    How exactly one prepares for that escapes me. Convert all your securities to gold? Then what? You can’t eat gold.

    If they take Medicare away or convert it into some expensive privately run, severely limited plan, people like me will be screwed. My own boob experience, which entailed five surgeries, would have cost something over a hundred thousand dollars. Coming right on the heels of that adventure, the intestinal blockage frolic must have cost at least 40 or 50 grand — I was in the hospital for a week and had major surgery. I don’t even KNOW how much that all added up to.

    Multiply that by almost every elderly person in this country…and watch life expectancy drop like a stone off the side of a cliff.

    I do not believe they will put people in internment camps. If they try it, there will be riots in the streets…and not just in places like San Francisco. As a matter of fact, one of my rarely spoken concerns is that if the nastiness and divisiveness we have see our “leaders” cultivating continues into the future, within a decade or two we could be looking at a civil war. Too many people’s parents and grandparents fought in World War II for us to allow the alt-right to establish a new Reichstag here.
    Funny about Money recently posted…Do you need an extended auto warranty?My Profile

    • Revanche says:

      I truly hope that we wouldn’t let them get away with internment camps again but we’ve done it before, more than once. It seems like plenty of people fought against the Nazis but even more Holocaust deniers and neo-Nazi racists are getting a platform these days. That’s pretty much what the so-called “alt-right” really are.

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