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A few Tuesday links and thoughts

November 3, 2015

Links:

A really well done Barbie add – its about time.

What is an elevator pitch really for?  I admit I hate the idea of an elevator pitch to the level that I don’t bother trying to come up with interesting ways to describe the (actually quite interesting!) things that I do.  That is probably NOT the right approach, but I agree with Allison:  “If the other person is thinking, ‘oh, I’m hearing an elevator pitch,’ that’s a failure.”

Not my circus, not my monkeys.  I’ve seen this saying a few places lately, and wish it applied to my work situation!  Unfortunately, these ARE my monkeys, at least some of them. Maybe I can trade them in for some other, more well-trained monkeys eventually.  Until then, I’m responsible for the bananas! (Am I taking this saying too far?) Despite all the chaos and uncertainty, I have found it pretty easy to motivate myself to try to solve a problem and win, until someone declares “game over.”  It isn’t over until it is over.

Like it or not…

I have hardly baked in months, but tried out these pumpkin cheesecake snickerdoodles to celebrate fall. YUM.

Life Updates

Life is not too unchanged from my last update.  Work is still in the same crazy state, but I’m having fun. I think. The husband is also busy, but things are good.  The weather is getting colder and the holidays are coming.

Dog:  The dog is still ridiculously cute, and getting easier. We have several options for holiday care for him, so I’m feeling a bit relieved. I was really panicked, because as of 3 days ago, we hadn’t really gotten our act together.  Things left undone make me itchy.

Home:  We haven’t made much progress on house projects.  T has only added to the list of potential projects! Our landscaping situation probably requires professional help, at least to get us started, but we’ve hesitated. Being a homeowner is kind of a drag!  Except when it comes to my next topic…

Taxes:  I am working a quick tax estimate to make sure I don’t need to do any last minute changes and to confirm my plan to pay only the first installment of property taxes.  I calculated a rather enormous refund. I am pretty sure I’m not wrong.  Better than the alternative, although my target is a $3k-$5k refund, and we overshot.  This is our first year with 12 months of mortgage interest. The other factor is that we actually saved a fair amount more in retirement than original planned… like, double… So, we need to think about whether that is really sensible to continue doing.  The good news is, no AMT this year!

Dream Interpretation Request:  I had a dream the other night that we had a baby, and we forgot to name it. Or we named the baby, then kept forgetting what we had named it and forgetting to care for it. “Where is that baby whats-her-name right now? Is she here? Did we name her? If not, maybe we should name her Jane? Or does she already have a name? What was her name again?!?  Where is she?!”   What does this say about my life?!? It is like a parent version of that dream where you realize it is finals day for that class that you forgot to go to all semester!

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. November 3, 2015 9:52 pm

    I would be curious to hear about how you’re deciding how much to contribute to retirement accounts. I know I’ve calculated my current pre-tax and Roth balances forward until age 60 at 5% return and that would give me 50 years of my current living expenses, which is 2x what I actually need to retire… But the tax deduction now is so nice and I could always do Roth conversions later? I dunno, my retirement accounts are going to end up far more plump than necessary at this rate.

    • November 3, 2015 11:02 pm

      It is pretty arbitrary right now, honestly. My husband only did a ROTH while in grad school, so he’s behind on his side. I’m ahead, though I doubt drastically. I really should think through this in some detail, and do some calculations. I suspect we’d be better off diverting some money to mortgage prepayment, but it is a hard habit to break. I highly doubt we’ve reached a tipping point where we could stop completely contributing and be OK to retire at 50 or something. My notional idea was over save while young, freeing up flexibility for child expenses later. Also, before we had another good deduction (house), it really helped with taxes.

      The real thing that happened this year was that I have a pension again, but this time I’m forced to contribute a portion of my salary to it (which earns interest & I can take my contributions when I leave). I just let that contribution go through, yet continued with my usual 401k max, because… I couldn’t not. Probably not optimal, but saving for retirement is almost never a wrong choice. The “save as much as you can for retirement” approach breaks down at some point…

      • November 4, 2015 8:01 am

        Yeah I’m starting to wonder when that approach breaks down myself… although the after-tax 401(k) -> Roth IRA is pretty cool because I can always withdraw the contributions later without any penalties. Having a high-ish Roth balance with most of it still being basis makes me feel better about how much I’m stuffing into retirement accounts.

  2. middle_class permalink
    November 4, 2015 12:33 pm

    I interpret that as you’re ready for a baby but feel a bit overwhelmed by the thought. 🙂

    • November 6, 2015 9:11 pm

      Haha. My husband thought it meant i was worried i was neglecting important things in my life. Probably true!

  3. November 6, 2015 11:46 am

    I had those dreams before actually deciding to let pregnancy happen if it was going to happen too! I would dream we had a grade school kid except I only just discovered it. Like arriving really really late to your own life. I don’t think it swayed my decision … well, ok maybe when I realized that, aside from the horror of missing 6 years of your kid’s life, the idea of actually having the kid didn’t send me running off into the night like it used to signaled that I wasn’t against having them anymore.
    But I was on the fence 80% of the time prior to that, so it’s not that I wasn’t open to the idea.

  4. November 6, 2015 11:47 am

    PS. I vote for trading those monkeys 🙂 And the pup? He is unbelievably cute.

    • November 6, 2015 9:27 pm

      Yesssss. It is official, monkeys are to be traded. At least I hope so. Otherwise I will have to go out and seek new monkeys, which I hope doesn’t happen.

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