Sunday, January 19, 2014

Anticipation...Not Just A Song

Anticipation.  Webster's defines it as the action of looking forward to something.  As children, we all learned well what anticipation was.  We anticipated Christmas.  We anticipated our birthdays. We anticipated summer vacation.  This anticipation thing soon turned into anticipation of our driver's test.  A final exam. A first kiss.

Right now, I'm in a huge State of Anticipation.  Five months from today, I will spend my final day in Pakistan.  In a little over 2 months, I'll head back to Texas to try to accomplish the impossible.

During those 14 days, I  need to look for a house and buy it, hoping for a closing date in early July when I return for good.  I also have appointments to see my dentist, ophthalmologist and financial adviser. Throw in a visit to the Social Security Administration to find out what my benefit will be and you can come close to feeling my pain.  To add to this, I've begun making a list of everything I will have to start paying for once I'm a normal citizen again. In the Foreign Service when you are assigned abroad, housing and many expenses are provided for you. Those expenses will now return to me.  It wouldn't be so bad if I was still earning my current salary!  Pen to paper, I've tried to estimate expenses, income and just what the minimum I will need to live comfortably.  How much can I afford for a house?  Can I get by with just a part time job?  Not knowing what my exact monthly income will be makes it difficult to estimate anything!  As you can imagine, my anticipation level is quite high. Closer to a stress level.

I anticipate I will be just fine.  I've always lived well within my means and things won't change when I retire. I just want to be able to afford a few visiting my son and his family in Hawaii a couple of times a year.  Like going out to dinner when I feel like it.  Like not having to say "no" to myself for a new pair of shoes.  We all hear the stories about people who didn't plan well for their retirement years.  I hope I've done a decent job.  I plan on getting a part time job and hope it will be enough for me to live comfortably.  Time will tell.

I anticipate lots of challenges ahead but also anticipate I will be just fine. 

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

A New Year...New Plans

Happy 2014!!
New Year's celebration in Pakistan
I survived New Year's Eve here in Karachi.  For the first time in many years, I partied.  And this morning, my head is reminding me why I decided years ago to not party.  Oy.  But I thought I would start the year off right by writing on my blog.  And with the big change that will occur for me in 2014, I wanted to get off to a good start.

2014.  It’s a year I’ve been talking about for 7 years.  It was 2007 when I decided to apply to the Foreign Service as a Specialist.  And due to mandatory retirement, I only had time for 3 two year tours, with no time for language training or anything else that would cut into those 3 tours.   It’s a decision I’ve never regretted.  Well, the only regret is that I didn’t do it years sooner.  I had this “Six Year Plan” and with just one little hiccup, it’s gone according to schedule.  I will retire in June with 6 years, 3 months service to my country. I’ve saved like a mad woman and will be able to do just fine with just a part time job when I retire.  Youngsters, take note.  Start saving NOW for retirement because it will be upon you before you know it.  And at age 65, you sure don’t want to have to look for full time employment because you have to.  It’s one thing if you're young at heart, mind and body, but if all you want to do is retire, it’s a real bummer if, due to finances, you must work full time.

The end of March, I’ll fly home to Texas to buy a house.  Is it possible to look for, find and buy a house in 2 weeks?  I think I can make it happen.  And I need a realtor who realizes the very little work involved and is willing to take a reduced commission. I mean, why not?  Usually people drag their realtor around every weekend for months, looking at dozens of houses.  And they really earn their commission.  Not me…I’ll only have 14 days in town to buy a house so that I can close on it when I return to Texas July 1.  I’ve already been looking at houses for sale online and think the task is completely doable.  Let’s hope I’m right.  Even though I’ll only need a very small mortgage, I still need to be able to put something down on the application for income.  So I have to buy it while I’m still employed. 

2014.  It’s also a year when I pledge to spend more time with my grandsons in Hawaii.  I’ve only been able to visit them once a year and with the miles I’ve accumulated on American Airlines with all my travel, it will mean a few flights to Hawaii. 

So, bring it on! I’m ready for 2014 and all the lifestyle changes it will bring.  

Ringing in 2014 in New York