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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Entry for April 20, 2008

I got frisky this weekend and almost bought a boat. After sitting through a few hours of trying to work it into the budget, it probably isn’t going to happen.

It amazes me that interest-bearing accounts have dropped so low over the past several years. It must be dire for those who retired and counted on their certificates of deposit paying six percent and above. Some must be rethinking their entire retirement. For example, if they had banked a million dollars and were counting on an annual fixed income of $60,000 without touching the principal, their income now would be down to around $40,000 annually. For many it is too late in their lives to risk shifting to an aggressive stock portfolio from a fixed income portfolio. I look around and see some retirees are doing well, and some are not doing so well. Planning can only go so far.

Supposedly, my pension is sound, guaranteed by law to be good as gold, no worries, etc. If nothing else has been learned during the past decade, there is nothing truly guaranteed, and we all better have some sound contingency plans, just in case. If a full Social Security check is there for me when I reach age sixty-six, great, but I didn’t budget one dime of it when planning for retirement. I did not include the annual pension increases in my budget, and presciently used a three percent yield on my domestic savings, and on my 457B account. So far, I have needed nothing but my pension; the principal, yield, and gains on the accounts remain untouched. Further, I used what I thought were some outlandishly high inflation values to budget for health care, housing, and living expenses. All I need now is good luck, good health, and no boat.

Still, that cruiser sure is pretty.

Your ship’s Captain,

James A. Zachary Jr.

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