Friday, March 19, 2010

Another new chapter in our book

Ed got laid off today. We're both not terribly worried about it, and see it as an opportunity to help us get a little organized around here and he can have a little time to think about the direction he wants to go.

So, it's a good thing that I've been getting prepared, what with the livestock and gardening and all. Had I know yesterday that this would have happened I probably wouldn't have spent $600 in additional gardening supplies. I think in the long run we will have grown well over that much in food and/or livestock food, so it was a good purchase.

Mainly I bought several fruit trees and bought a lot of equipment to make hoop houses. Is that what they're called? They are the ones that are just a couple feet off the ground, not the full size walk-in ones. There is not enough sunshine in this climate to make the big ones work well. But the low to the ground version will help keep the temperature a bit warmer, which is all I can really ask for, but it will help tremendously.

I bought a bunch of sweet potato plants from Territorial. Anyone know how well they will yield? Any growing tips? Plastic mulch or no?

Now... I am a little worried about the mortgage. I know we will get it taken care of one way or another but golly wouldn't it be nice to not have to worry about it. When I think of all the money that we'll be spending on interest... I'm wondering if I should just cash in my roth IRAS and put that money toward the principal of the house and work to get the house paid off. I don't know, they say that isn't a good idea. Don't put all your eggs in one basket blah blah blah. But we will still need a house when we retire, right? So in essence that would still be contributing toward retirement. Ugh. What to do what to do.

The thing that does have me worried is healthcare. FUCKING healthcare. Sorry for the explitive but how could it cost $900 for a family of two healthy adults and a two year old for just insurance? That doesn't count the cost of copays and office visits and prescription costs and whatever else they can squeeze out of ya. Why does it cost so much?
Why is it allowed to cost so much? And yet, every one of us Americans harbor deep anxiety over what would happen if we lost our health insurance. What choice do we have? Pay an exhorbitant fee upfront in case disaster happens, or risk becoming ill and not having access to healthcare or face financial ruin. Isn't that extortion?

Main Entry: ex·tort
Pronunciation: \ik-ˈstȯrt\
Function: transitive verb
Etymology: Latin extortus, past participle of extorquēre to wrench out, extort, from ex- + torquēre to twist — more at torture
Date: 15th century
: to obtain from a person by force, intimidation, or undue or illegal power : wring; also : to gain especially by ingenuity or compelling argument

synonyms see educe


Laura said...

Well well, what a year.

I know nothing about sweet potatoes. Some more of that olive mulch might be good though.

I am happy that you are seeing this as an opportunity to look at what's next.

And am sorry about the healthcare worries.

I wouldn't cash in the Roth IRAs without a thorough analysis. Let me know if you want me to help. Maybe the more eyes looking at it will yield the best look/see.

Love, Mom

Anonymous said...

Hi Amy Dear~~ I'm sorry about Ed's job. I hope something emerges soon. Hopefully a little closer to your home. Wouldn't that be awesome.

The health care insurance system is a total racket. It pisses me off big time. This morning Obama signed the bill so we'll see if this puts a dent in the problem. When Steve was out of work and then did contract work we had no insurance. We just crossed our fingers and hoped for the best. There were costs but nothing like the $1,400 per month we would have had to shovel out to Cobra. Extortion is exactly what it is and I wonder if the republicans are so anti-reform because they've got cronies making millions from the fraudulent insurance system. Even WITH decent insurance it seems like there is always some stupid glitch that affects the coverage. We're paying out of pocket for Mindy now because of her age. Apparently this is one of the first things to be remedied with the reform. I hope so. Mindy could really use her one on one therapy but we just can't afford it. Something is seriously wrong with a system that can fork over money to line executives' pockets but doesn't provide adequately for those paying for the services.

Okay enough of that.

Wouldn't you pay a substantial penalty for withdrawing your IRAs?
Otherwise I think it would be a good idea. Pay off your house and you'll have money to build up your retirement and also have a place to live.

Okay now, enough of that.

Sweet potatoes are another edible I've never grown. Good luck with yours. I'm sure you'll do a great job with them.

You wrote about fruit trees. Did you get any berries? Raspberries and blueberries are so easy to grow and so rewarding, although on the news they were talking about a new fruit fly species/strain whatever, that last fall wreaked havoc on blueberry plants. I hope this is all a bunch of hoopla.

Vegetable Garden Cook said...

Yes, oh yes, there are lots of different berries. Actually I dug some from the old yard and brough them with. I bought triple crown and chester blackberry. Plenty of strawberry plants too.

On the IRAs: there are two main types of IRAs. With a Roth, the money that you put into the account is after tax. The beauty is that the earnings are comletely tax free if you withdraw on the account at retirement age.

The other type is a traditional. With this type of account you put in money that has not yet been taxed, and when you withdraw the account at retirement age, the entire account is taxed at whatever income tax bracket you are currently in.

I have both types of accounts, from the years when I was working. Come to think of it, if I were to liquidate any account, I should liquidate the traditional. The penalty currently is 10%. Since the Roth grows completely tax free, it should be the very last one to be liquidated.

But we are still not ready to make that decision.

On health insurance: not only is it extortion, but legalized gambling. The insurance industry is placing BETS on who they will make money off of and deny coverage to those that they know they are likely to lose money on.

I find the whole thing totally immoral. It is absolutely wrong to have a middle man, whose sole purpose is to make money off of our illnesses. I don't see what is wrong with universal health care. Everybody pays for the fire department, police protection, etc., and everyone benefits. There is no middle man lining his pocket with our hardearned cash for services that we collectively need.

Golly, I could go on about this for a long time. I'll stop now.