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Money Lately: Pension, Taxes, House Projects, Bonuses

October 24, 2014

Retirement Options

I got an offer from an old employer to exchange my pension benefit (vested, as I no longer work there) for approximately $20k to rollover to an IRA, or $75/month starting in January lasting until I die.  The second option just seems odd!  I think the offers generally were for people much closer to retirement.

I did some math, and will probably be keeping the pension benefit as it stands.  It is a better deal by at least 20%, and with the majority of my retirement funds being invested in defined contribution plans, maybe having a fixed benefit is something to keep.  Still, it’s really tempting to try to get it in my control RIGHT NOW.  Who knows what might happen in ~30 years?

2015 Planning

I want to revamp my accounting system for 2015.  One thing that bothers me about most budget templates I’ve seen is that they work completely off of your take home pay and neglect taxes.  For day-to-day money management, that makes total sense.  However, I don’t do a lot of day-by-day budgeting, I am focused on the big picture.  Understanding what percentage of our income we are really paying in taxes would be interesting, if not super useful.  I can also see the tax implications of owning a home more clearly.

House Projects

We are getting a new furnace, and it is completely not exciting.  It was a planned expense.  Yay, efficient heat?  We are removing the asbestos that is surrounding the old duct work, and getting new ducts.  It’s all really expensive, but the alternative was to have them build some special adapter to fit the new furnace to the old duct work, which was hardly cheaper.  There are some rebates right now, and I’m kind of excited to have new clean heat, given my allergies to dust.

I just hate spending the money.

I also want to build / create a little mudroom / entryway  We need a bench with storage for shoes, coat hangers, and shelves, sort of like this in function (not in style):

T is against hooks because he doesn’t like coats visible.  I agree in theory, but they need to go somewhere, and the coat closet is not right by the door.  They end up all over right now.  On  a hook is better than on the couch, the bar stool, etc.  This will be an exciting project, but it is going really really really slowly.  Meaning, we have nothing except ideas so far!


The bonus process at my company is annoyingly black-box-esque, so I have no idea what to expect. But I should get something!  Bonuses were sold as a big part of our compensation package, but it isn’t clear what that means in terms of dollars.  I was only there for 3/4 of the fiscal year, but I was consistently staffed to projects.  I didn’t get “most amazing ever” reviews, but they were solid.  My current guess is that it will be $17k, but it could be significantly less or a bit more.  (For the record, I do not like “black box” compensation methods.)

At any rate, I plan to save most of it, maybe put some towards the mortgage principal, some in our home maintenance fund, and some in short term savings for future travel.  I don’t even have anything on my wish list right now to splurge on.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. October 24, 2014 10:06 am

    I have a spreadsheet that I use to track my income for the year and one for my boyfriend’s as well. I use it to estimate my actual tax liability and income. That’s completely separate from my day to day spending projection spreadsheet.

    I really don’t like my employer’s compensation model. I don’t feel like it rewards us very well at all.

    • October 24, 2014 3:42 pm

      Is it salary based, or what don’t you like about it?

      I’m not a fan of this one… but maybe my tune will change with the bonus? I just feel like there is a lot of room for favoritism and politics in our bonus structure.

      • October 24, 2014 6:53 pm

        So much of it is in stock. There are no cash or immediate bonuses, all deferred, even on promotions. About 45% of my comp in 2013 was stock. I would prefer to see more in salary and performance tied bonuses.

      • October 24, 2014 7:07 pm

        I’ve also lost about 10% of my original expected comp for this year due to changes in the stock price. That’s a pretty significant amount.

  2. October 24, 2014 10:41 am

    I actually like that hallway look.. I just wonder if (not sure if it’d be a problem) when it is winter, if large winter coats would all fit on that rack if the hooks are not properly spaced out.

    Could always put a curtain or something over it, if it bothers T…

    • October 24, 2014 3:46 pm

      No, winter coats aren’t an issue for us! We’d just have to be sure to control the number of coats we keep out vs in the closet (rain coat, wool dress coat, light down jacket, hoodie…). The look is not bad, but we don’t have white, and so it will just end up being a different look. Plus we don’t have a window, and the window is clearly the best part of it!

      I think a curtain would be worse – I”m anti curtain! 🙂 He’ll be OK with hooks and understands the practicality.

  3. October 24, 2014 4:21 pm

    I’m not a fan of hooks or coats in the open either. Can you make a cubbyhole or little alcove for the coats? If not, yeah, at least hooks are better than clothes draped over the couch. 🙂

  4. October 24, 2014 6:47 pm

    PiC is the same way, liking to have all the coats and such behind doors, but I have to say I do like the set up.

    A friend who has actual weather where she lives has a whole hallway with that kind of set up (no window) but it’s awesome cause there are cubbies for kid things and adult things and hooks for both as well. Keeps the dripping out of the house and looks pretty neat too.

    • October 24, 2014 8:50 pm

      Actual weather makes a difference! Are mud rooms a common concept in CA or no?

      Growing up, we had a little room off the garage for coats, shoes, and scarves, so I guess I’m used to having a lot of room for coats and the like. (The room also was later a room for the dog bed and food.)

      It is important that we come up with a place to put all those things we bring in the door each day, otherwise they end up as clutter. (

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