Sooner rather than later

I've decided that it due to my mother's recent diagnosis, it would behoove me to get crackin' on that 2011-2012 Move Fund (which may happen sooner than that), so I've done the following:

  • Decreased my Travel Fund from $4,000 to $2,000. Since I'm going to be home more, I won't need much for travel. Just enough for maybe one or two visits to see the BF for a weekend and my cousin's wedding in September (provided, of course, that my mother is well enough to spend nights alone or one of her sisters could stay with her overnight).

  • Moved $2,000 from the Travel Fund to my 2011-2012 Move Fund. That, along with cutting my grocery budget in half for the next three months will get me to my 10k goal in July rather than September. I'd love to meet in sooner, but there's only so much I can do.
These changes put me at 31% of my $10k goal. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I really won't have to move until 2011 (even if it's in January or February!) but just in case, best to have that cash handy as soon as possible.

Sometimes just going with your gut is good enough

Back in 2004-2005, everyone was asking me why I wasn't trying to buy a house of my own. My response? "I can't afford a mortgage AND furniture. I can only do one or the other." I wasn't trying to be pithy or cute, that was my honest-to-goodness reason. I knew everyone else with income like mine was buying, but I just didn't feel comfortable with it, and that was good enough reason for me. No further explanation needed. I'll spare you the history lesson of what happened with the housing market and people like me who decided to buy a house anyway.

So here we are in 2010 and the pressure is on, but for a different reason: "So when are you and BF getting married/moving in together?" My response? "When the job/housing market allows us to." No one seems satisfied with that response. The look I usually get seems to say, "Well that really shouldn't stop you." And for some people, it doesn't. And they end up in a lot of debt and/or unemployed because of it. Right now we both have a roof over our heads and jobs. Neither one of us have any interest in putting ourselves in financial harm to satisfy people we neither know nor like. I'm sure it seems strange to people on the outside of our relationship to be long-distance for two, projecting into three or so years. But we're doing what feels right for us with the information we know right now. No further explanation needed.

Resisting the smartphone urge...for now

Man, I wouldn't mind having one of those smartphones. They would (or would have) come in so handy when I was traveling to check flight schedules, etc. They would keep me entertained on the long commutes home. I could have gotten one of those new droid thingies for free (well, with the commitment to a 2-yr. contract) since my phone was eligible for an upgrade since 2007. I'd have access to Facebook and Twitter since they are blocked at work! Wouldn't that compel you too? No?

Really, not me either. Especially when I started to think about the additional $30 per month that would be tacked on for the mandatory data package. Then I thought of all the apps that nickel and dime you to death. Suddenly just buying a new battery from my 5-yr. old phone at Radio Shack didn't seem like such a lame idea. No, I can't log into Facebook and Twitter, but I don't need to drain on my productivity. Now that my mom is sick and I have to take care of her, I won't be doing any traveling anytime soon. Last, but no least: When I move, I won't be able to afford the hefty month charges.

So looks I'll be kickin' old school with this phone for a while.

Three down, three to go

The Travel Fund goal has been met, now it's time to tackle the largest, and possibly the last, financial goal I can accomplish this year.

My mother has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I'm still in a bit of shock. It was just last year that my father died of pancreatic cancer. Isn't there a limit or time spacing thing about dealing with death? No? Well there should be. Anyway, understandably so, mom doesn't want to spend whatever time she has left working, so she wants to sell the house, move in with her sister, and enjoy her life. I totally agree and understand where she's coming from. Of course, I have a few concerns. At the risk of sounding like a morbid ass, they are the following:

  • I'm concerned that whatever she'd make from the sale of the house (which would be minimal considering the current market and the fact she owes a considerable amount on it) would not be enough to cover whatever she'd like to do. It's kind of hard to say because we don't know her prognosis.

  • I'm not all that convinced my mom will sit down and look at her finances and reasonably think about how she plans to fund all the things she wants to do. I'm not convinced it can happen. Some, but certainly not all.

She asked if I'd take over the mortgage. I flatly responded that I can't afford it. She seemed unhappy about that. Truth be told, I'll barely be able to afford rent for a lame studio in the city (I live in a HCOL area. Factor that with having to save a decent amount for retirement, and yeah...bolonga sandwiches for the next 30 years).

I think the most important thing we can do right now is figure her financial/legal situation and options.

  • We need to set up powers of attorney for her health care and financial affairs as well as a will. I've reached out to a lawyer that helped us with my dad.

  • While everything my dad needed was covered under Medicare, I'm concerned that it may be different for mom. It was 4 months from diagnosis to death for my dad. I'm hoping the time for my mother will be much longer. Also, her illness is different from my dad's. I'm wondering if there may be things with her treatment that may not be covered under medicare.

  • I know she doesn't want to work, however it may be beneficial to go down to part-time work instead of full-time. It will be less trying for her physically and still keep some income.

  • We'll need to sit down and discuss her financial life. If she has any debt, types of insurance, other possible sources of income, etc. We'll keep to keep track of everything submitted to Medicare and her supplemental insurance so we know what's covered and what isn't.

Then of course, there's the whole deal of where I'm going to go, where I can afford to live and still get to my mom, how long I'll have to live there, wondering if the BF will ever move here...I'm just kinda in "stop-the-damn-world-cuz-i-need-some-answers"mode.