Roth IRAs Are Done

I just got an email today that the transfer to set up Terry's Roth IRA happened today. I set mine up first, so Terry's was the one I wasn't sure would get processed before year-end. I think it helped that I just funded it with cash from his other IRA and the brokerage didn't have to transfer securities.

I tried to take some losses (I have one security that is a big loser, I've just been holding on to it for the tax consequences) today, but I don't think the trade executed since I put in a limit order over market price before I left the house to run errands. I'll try again tomorrow. I think this year will be a better one to take losses than next year.

I also made several medical purchases today, getting all the value I can out of my nearly-expired health insurance. Plus we can take the tax deduction this year, I don't think we'll hit the threshold next year so I've accelerated some purchases I know I'm going to have to make next year anyway.

I don't think I'll be able to close all the extraneous bank accounts by tomorrow, but I did clear out a small handful when I was doing year-end-planning earlier in the month. All in all, a pretty successful execution of year-end tax plans. Could've been worse.

My goal next year is to continue closing accounts, and paying all bills out of a single checking account. The reason we're not doing it already is because I had accounts in different banks because we had homes in different states, and it was convenient that way. But now it is inconvenient, and I would like to get everything consolidated like a normal person.

I'm also going to try a budgeting strategy-- I will put all the money I think we'll need to spend next year in my new local checking account. And I'll try to pay all my bills out of there, and not make any transfers in. When Terry was making a corporate executive's salary, neither of us paid much attention to what we were spending. Neither of us has extravagant tastes (well, apart from the diamonds) so it was never a problem, there was always enough coming in from his paycheck to cover it all. But now that he's retired, it would probably behoove us to keep track a little better.

We had a ton of out-of-pocket medical expenses this year (five figures, ugh) so I think we might have spent down some of the principal of our retirement savings instead of just the investment income. But that was an extraneous circumstance I certainly hope won't repeat itself in 2010. So I'm going to basically pick a number out of thin air and see if we stay within budget. If we don't, I guess I'll pick a higher number next year!

I will track construction projects separately, since we did set aside a certain amount before Terry retired to improve the farm here. Which means hammock camp! I will have to go full-steam ahead in 2010 since the pond permit expires in January 2011. I will start calling "pond guys" in January, with a goal of having it functional by June. Aaaah. It will be so lovely, relaxing on a hammock in the shady woods next to our pond. I'm not so ambitious as to count on having the cantilevered gazebo done, but we'll see if we get any reasonable offers for construction costs. C'mon, deflation. I'm SO in favor of deflation since I have a backlog of projects that require manual labor, and Terry just isn't particularly productive that way.

On a side note, it seems that out-of-work construction guys here are charging HIGHER prices since they're out of work. My theory is that they are trying to make the same revenue that they did in boom times, but from fewer jobs. I also have a theory that we can hold off on hiring anyone longer than they can afford to fish for clients willing to pay through the nose. Although this is Albemarle County, maybe their strategy will work for them. Regardless, we must hire a pond guy, Terry concedes he does not have the skills to engineer and construct a dam.