This week ROCKED. It wasn’t about scoring the big money wins. It was about getting prepared for the future. Jam out to The Lady’s weekly memoir–the “rock” episode, complete with music GIFs, links and videos.
The 3 Most Profitable Things I Did This Week
Week Ending September 15, 2017
Phoned It In: A Chat With My Financial Planner
Yes, I have a financial planner. It’s reassuring to know that I’m backed by someone who has WAY more financial expertise than I do and I trust her.
I’ve come a long way in realizing she won’t fix anything for me; that’s my job. However, she has invaluable advice and access to financial products that help me travel the wiser financial path.
We hadn’t spoke in quite some number of months and I was eager to brag about my recent wins over my debt, including receiving a huge adjustment to my tax debt and paying off a mountain of charge-off debt. Our conversation was timely as I was just publishing my Money Map and had some financial plans I wanted to prioritize, namely establishing a retirement account.
She suggested a back-door Roth IRA. I just did a bit of research on backdoor Roth IRAs…and quite honestly, I’m still a bit confused. However, I do know that any money I can set aside for retirement is good. It won’t offer me immediate tax benefits (booooo) but she’s planning longer-term for me. She has other plans on this front and we agreed that, in another 6 months, I will be in a position to run another financial analysis and reassess my strategy.
I hope to contribute $200 a month. It’s not a lot and won’t “max me out” but it’s a solid start.
I’ll contribute more when one of two things happen; one, I refinance my car loan or, two, pay off my CA state tax debt. Either should free up more money to throw into the account.
We also spoke about the pros and cons of a 529c for my child’s college savings. She’s thumbs down on it and proposed a few alternatives. Since I have less than $1,000 in there, it’s not a pressing issue.
Anyway, blah, blah, blah. The Lady is getting a retirement account!
Holy shit. Look at me. I might have to rush out and get a pair of big-girl pants. Which brings me to my other big weekly chore.
Prepared for The Worst
You know how the Universe sends you messages?
Well, I’ve been receiving some subtle cues for a while now but this week they hit me over the head.
Between the horrors of the hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the “be prepared” lessons of a recent Girl Scout meeting, the 9/11 anniversary, the Equifax hack (that did compromise my info), and my own words from my money map post “this is the most prepared I’ve ever been for a worst-case scenario”, it was time to get serious about preparedness.
As a single mom, living in earthquake-prone southern California, preparedness is no joke. I have made marginal attempts at feeling “prepared” but it was always cursory and somewhat half-hearted. Now, my intuition is telling me there’s no better time to prepare for the worst than when things are at their best.
Here’s what I did just this week to get prepared:
- Bought some little flashlights during a recently trip to Best Buy and stashed them around the house
- Pulled out my bug-out bag and reacquainted myself with its contents
- Gathered up various supplies from the apartment including extra toiletries, tea lights, etc.
- Charged up my mobile power bank for my phone and threw it in my purse
- Hid a key outside my apartment
- Pulled my old preparedness file full of contact numbers/communication plan/etc. so that I can refresh it (it’s years old) and then distribute and discuss with my family
- Bought $239 worth of disaster preparedness supplies from Amazon
Here’s a list of the new items I bought to build out my disaster readiness:
- Aerosol fire extinguishers
- Lifestraw personal water filter
- First aid kit
- Solar powered lantern and iPhone charger
- 72 Hour emergency food supply kit
- Portable camp stove
I still have much to do on the preparedness front but I figure I’m probably doing more than most.
Do I have plans to outlive an apocalypse? Am I doing pull ups like Linda Hamilton in T2, readying myself for a big fight? Hell no. If things go sideways, I’m going out with a case of red wine and a handful of Valium. (Note to self: buy wine and Valium.)
All jokes aside, southern California is a cluster-fuck of place to live. It will be unimaginable chaos if the shit hits the fan. I’ll need to hole up in my apartment until things calm down enough to hightail it home to the Red Dawn wilds of upstate NY.
Recharged With The Power of Music
To offset the anxiety the Universe produced by triggering my preparedness kick, she threw me a few little fun moments, mostly centering around music.
These musical interludes were little bubbles of folly–exquisite and fleeting. And they came in such quick succession that it was if I was under some cosmic tickle attack.
First, I heard a song that suddenly, and profoundly, reminded me of a dear friend. The song was I Want You to Want Me. I texted him that I was listening Cheap Trick and it made me think of him. He responded something cute and quippy and then guessed the song was Surrender. Of course, I had to rush off and listen to that as well. Both GREAT songs.
Somehow the conversation turned to KISS and he sent me a link to a live version of Detroit Rock City. I was literally dancing in my kitchen making dinner. (Haven’t done that in a long time.)
Go ahead, watch the video. I’ll wait.
Kicks ass, right?!?
The next day, a casual comment from a Twitter friend about hating autoresponder messages had me checking my follower list. (I used to write personal thank you messages to every follower until it became too much.) And who was listed on the top row, front and center? One of my favorite bands, The Dollyrots!
I had JUST Tweeted about how I was listening to their song Love Me, Pet Me at work. I didn’t tag them or anything and yet there they were…following ME!
I was so excited that I wrote them a private message that I must now be as awesome as their song I’m Awesome suggests–and I got a response! I felt like the hot chick who catches the drum stick at a Motley Crue concert.
Go on, you know you want to listen.
You’re welcome. And yes, my brain is really super-sized.
My daughter and I were on the drive to school and changed the lyrics of Elton John’s Bennie and The Jets to “jelly-jelly-jelly-jelllllly is the best.” We were laughing and singing and being as silly as only a goofball mom and not-quite-old-enough-to-be-embarrassed daughter can be.
Today, I got a bit nostalgic for one of my BFFs when Let’s Groove by Earth, Wind, and Fire came on my car radio. I texted her that I was thinking about her. She responded “I love Earth, Wind, and Fire. And you, too.” Awww.
I dare you to listen and not feel just a bit better about life.
While I’m older than most of my readers, at least I was born long enough ago to know Cheap Trick, Elton John, Earth, Wind, and Fire, and KISS first-hand. I credit that fact for making me so cool that I know have a super-cool punk rock band following me on Twitter!
Music connected me to two friends, a favorite band, a child…and, most importantly, to my own inner child.
And none of it cost a dime. Now THAT’s a profitable life!
If your down or frustrated or anxious, try a little music therapy. It’s a thing.
Managing your personal finances is largely focused on the future. Getting out of debt…in the future. Having enough money set aside for an emergency….in the future. Investing for a comfortable retirement…in the future.
The Lady’s never been future-focused but I’m trying. And it’s really helping me feel more confident and independent. However, there’s no denying that nothing is guaranteed. Tomorrow isn’t promised to you. So, I plan on doing what I can for tomorrow while rockin’ out today.
And it might go a little something like this.
Who’s ready to boogie on down to the local preparedness expo? Any one have a source for inexpensive, quality camping gear? Anyone in the LA area want to join me for the Oct. 8 Jason Aldean concert? I have an extra ticket.