Monday, April 18, 2011
When A Parent Retires
My dad is planning to retire at the end of the year - he'll be 66. Mom is a bit younger and plans to work several more years. I'm no expert, but my parents often ask me for financial advice. (I think they ask me because I'm their only child and they want to keep me in the loop.) They're in really good financial shape, have done everything the conventional wisdom suggests, and are good at saving and living beneath their means - so I should feel good about this. Yay for being proactive and all. But the prospect of dad's retirement - and thoughts of his mortality - make me sad. I'm uncharacteristically up at 1:30am now pondering the changes that are coming. He's loved his job, but says he wants to stay home and write. I hope that will make him happy.
He's asked for some input from me about rolling over his 401k into an IRA. I had to do some research, and I think it is a good decision. A Roth IRA would be ideal. From my research Roths are truly incredible devices that can allow a person to transfer tax free $ to their heirs - IF they play the IRS rules right. Anyway, he scared me a bit when he emailed me the name of this investment company I had never heard of - and I keep hammering him to stick with a trusted name that's well-known and fully insured. Which reminds me that he is also vulnerable. Really we all are, but it feels like folks his age facing these choices are especially so. I guess part of me thinks he is susceptible to being duped, even though to my knowledge he's never made any imprudent decisions - except one recent decision. He read something in AARP or some such publication that convinced him to apply for Medicare a few months before this certain milestone birthday... or else he might not get full benefits. WTF? So he applied and the govt sent him a bill! I think he sorted it out, and maybe that was a lesson not to believe everything you read, and to make sure you apply the general principles to the particulars of your own situation. Navigating this shit seems like a bit of a minefield. Hopefully I can be helpful and not worry and lose sleep for no good reason.
In other news, last week I was sure I had a blood clot in my right leg due to the birth control pills I started taking in January. Turns out I'm just a hypopchondriac who probably needs better neurochemicals. (I kid. But not really.) I had these weird pains in my legs that were a lot like the first day of my period was back in my pre-synthetic-hormone-poppin' days. It was the first cycle where I skipped the placebo pills and started taking the next pack of active pills so that I would not have a period for a few months. I think my odd, slightly-painful leg reaction, accompanied by one pimple and a whole lot of moodiness, was just my body getting used to the excellent idea that I'll only have 4 periods a year. Hooray for that.