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Posts tagged with: retirement accounts

Long Distance/Long Term Travel and Finances

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There were lots of fantastic questions on the last post so it made the most sense to lay it all out in the same place especially since there may be lots of folks who are considering long term trips right now.

Q – Have you considered renting out your home while you are gone?

A – Yes. There are some big problems with this idea though. First, there are 6 of us in 1,200 sq. ft. and we homeschool. The prospective money we could make off AirBnBing our home didn’t offset the cost/burden of moving out the school room set-up and our personal belongings. That, and in the time of COVID, the liability/risk factor is high. If someone got COVID, could they say it was because we didn’t adequately clean the home between renters? Lots of hassle. Very little reward.

Q – Does your health insurance cover you out of state? Will you get stuck with a huge hospital bill?

A – We have the worst, best insurance out there. We have an HSA which means we pay 100% of all medical expenses out of pocket until we hit our deductible (that’s the bad part). Once we hit our out-of-pocket maximum, our insurance pays 100% of medical and prescription drug costs for the rest of the year (that’s the good part). The out-of-pocket maximum is less than our emergency fund. This would be the same whether we were in-state or out of state but it’s something everyone should look into when traveling, particularly during a pandemic.

Q – Should you use the trip money to pay down your mortgage instead?

A – This is a hard call. We saved up money for a fall trip and my husband got some unexpected side jobs so we aren’t going into our emergency fund or stealing from another budget bucket BUT, I recognize this experience won’t be what it would have been had we not been knee deep in a pandemic. There will be no stops at amusement parks or zoos. There won’t be family dinners at fun restaurants. That makes me sad. But at the same time, I also recognize that I’m in a situation that is unlikely to happen again (please Lord, I HOPE IT WON’T!). I have a huge chunk of time to watch my kids fish in lakes and rivers and explore backcountry. I’ll pay my mortgage for two months longer to take advantage of this opportunity.

Q – Would you like to get into a debate about traveling during a pandemic?

A – As fun as that sounds… No. ; ) I understand that we all have strong opinions and I respect them but I’m not open for a debate. I’ll explain the finances related to traveling during a pandemic but not about the pandemic itself.

A couple more things I think are important when trip planning…

Double Check Your Insurance Coverage

Yes, look at your healthcare but also look at your home insurance and your car insurance. Are the limits right? Do you feel comfortable with your deductibles? Do you have enough insurance? Do you have roadside assistance?

Make Sure Your Affairs Are in Order

Yup. I’m getting morbid on you. Chris and I have very detailed wills. They outline what to do in lots of situations. What happens if we both die? Who gets the kids? Who is the executor? What are our health directives? It’s all there. Before we leave on big trips, we double check to make sure everything is still the way we want it and we call my mom to remind her where the information is. We don’t do it because we are morbid, we do it because the last thing I want my loved ones worrying about when dealing with loss is trying to figure out what to do with my kids or my house or my car. You should have this in place NOW but you should regularly revisit to make sure it’s accurate. Travel is a good reminder to double check.

You Know the Saying…We Plan and

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God laughs. That has been so true for me the last week! I let the last couple of posts publish because I wanted to document how I thought my life was going to go. (I typically write about a week in advance.)

But let me tell you…that is NOT how life has gone!

Sea Cadet is Back in the House

First off, Sea Cadet is back. And it cost me $162 to get him here. Ugh!

His plans to move out fell apart a little over a week ago. He called the guy he had plans to move in with only to learn that his girlfriend and children had moved in so there was no more room available.  So he blew the money he had saved to move out, knowing he would just come home.

He didn’t have anything but the gas money to come home when his duties at camp ended and a paycheck due next week. And then as he attempted to leave, his car wouldn’t start. Thankfully, after a little while of panicking he did determine he just needed a new battery. (Which is what I told him when he called.)

I let him put the new battery on my credit card, all three of the kids are authorized users and have their own cards. He will be paying me back for the battery and his rent when his paycheck arrives this coming week. But ugh!

Gymnast has Moved In

Gymnast has decided to finish out his last three years of high school here. His dad and I left it up to him (for better or worse as we couldn’t agree on anything) to decide. (Broken families really suck, especially for the kids!) As a result, I had to buy another bed and a few bedroom accessories. (When Beauty moved in, she took his old bed. It had already been living in Princess’ room as we didn’t really have anywhere to store it.)

Gymnast, Beauty and I hanging out

Gymnast, Beauty and I hanging out. We didn’t plan to coordinate our shirts, we just did!

So several hundred dollars later, he has a bed and his room furnished. History Buff moved out of the little room and back into the living room with Sea Cadet. We just finished rearranging that room to make it a bedroom for the twins instead of a living room/Sea Cadet’s room. It’s a little crowded as most of the living room furniture had to remain as we have no where else to put it.

But our 1100 square foot house is now liveable for all 6 of us…seriously, it’s okay. I’m pleasantly surprised. And better yet, we are the most organized we have every been. I guess the five of us in a 2 bedroom, 2 bath, 900 square foot apartment was preparing us for the 6 of us in a 3 bedroom, 1 1/2 bath, 1100 square foot home. It truly isn’t terrible.

But moving on to what was the biggest shock to me and perhaps the one with the most financial repercussions.

Princess is Transferring Schools

Without a lot of forethought or even time to decide, Princess is returning to the public school she left. I left the decision up to her after some very heartfelt, tearful conversations. Taking into consideration what it would be on all fronts. She wants to return.

So Thursday afternoon of last week, I got her registered. For the first time ever, my two biological kids will attend the same school. And I think they are both a little excited about it, and frankly, I am too. Even though they are only a year apart in age, they are two grades apart due to Princess skipping a grade when she transitioned from homeschooling to public school. So this really is the only opportunity for this to happen.

Gymnast & Princess - back together again

Gymnast leaving was hard on all of us. It was devastating to some of us. But I hope and pray that this year back together again will help heal some wounds.

There were some other factors which will remain private. But she is very happy with her decision and I have decided that no matter what my feelings or thoughts on it, I want her to have a successful and fun senior year. I believe she has made the right choice looking at the broader picture, especially in these uncertain times.

So all three of my high-schoolers return to school next week, as of today, at least. I spent about $10 on basic school supplies (paper, notebooks, pens and pencils,) bought about $300 worth of back to school clothes and do not have to think about car stuff as they will all be able to ride together! Woot, woot!

Now I am just waiting to hear about getting a refund on the tuition I have already paid. Per their policies, I should be able to get it all back. That’s $2,600 that I’ll have to go toward debt. (But I’m not sure how long that will take so just waiting to hear.)