Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Too Much Month at the End of the Money

First, let me set it straight – we have enough. We have plenty. We have planned and saved, by the grace of God, we are doing OK.

Second, even after a year of being ‘retired,’ and those of you who know us know that retired and ‘retired’ are not quite the same – even after a year, we have yet to have a normal month.

So when AdventureMan asked how we were doing, I told him fine, but we are watchful. He asked me to explain.

For several years, living the expat life in Qatar and Kuwait, we didn’t pay for our own housing, or utilities, or my husband’s car. There was always, literally, more than enough, and at the end of every month, I wrote a check to savings, even though we were automatically banking savings. It’s not like we stayed home and ate cheese and crackers, as you know from this blog – it’s just we didn’t have a lot of expenses, nor a lot of major purchases, nor a lot of repairs, nor upkeep – all the things that drain a normal monthly income.

So when AdventureMan asked, I told him it was kind of like when we were young; I am having to make sure we maintain a minimum balance in our accounts (this year the banks changed the rules, and if you weren’t paying attention, you could end up paying huge monthly charges, like I found a monthly ‘service’ charge of (are you sitting down?) $25 on one of our checking accounts.

$25! A month! I talked to the bank, they fixed it. But what if I weren’t paying attention? A charge of $25/mo adds up quickly. That’s like . . . robbery!

So now I am trying to pay attention to the rules, trying to keep repairs up, trying to make sure insurance bills are paid (there sure is a lot of insurance to be paid, and Florida is the WORST state for insurance, except maybe California, and I am not talking knowledgeably here, just talking about how it feels to be insuring a house in Florida. Like in Florida, you buy ‘hazard’ insurance – you know, like fire and things like that – from one company, and then flood insurance from a government insurer, and then ‘high wind’, insurance talk for HURRICANE insurance, from yet another – it feels like another kind of robbery), car maintenance, utility bills, oh holy smokes, I’m learning all the rules all over again.

And taxes! As expats, we got a significant exclusion on our income tax, but we no longer meet the residency requirement, so when AdventureMan does a stint overseas, it isn’t the same, now we pay TAXES. Lots of TAXES. oh Aarrgh.

The bright spot in all this is that after all these years of being focused on work goals, AdventureMan has the time to focus on many of these issues, and is taking on insurance, and health insurance, and taxes – all the things I hated the most. God bless him, God bless him mightily! Wooo HOOOO (she dances around the room), I don’t have to do taxes!

We are still trying to save, to keep our reserves high, against some unseen disaster, like $4/gallon gas for example, (LOL!) or hurricanes, or earthquakes (another house is in an earthquake zone) so we agreed on what we thought we could live on per month, and now it is not quite the end of the month. We are not at the end of our money for the month, but it isn’t like the old days, when I am going to be writing a big check to savings. It’s kind of funny, to be paying attention again, and honestly, it’s kind of fun.

April 26, 2011 Posted by | Aging, Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Financial Issues, Humor, Hurricanes, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Marriage, Moving, Pensacola, Work Related Issues | 5 Comments

   

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