Wednesday, November 28, 2012

So Tonight, I Wasted Some Money On Power Ball

What else, other than wasting money, is not new in my life. I stopped by the supermarket to pick up a bag of Hazel Nuts (an afterthought), some Power Ball tickets (main mission) and a few other lottery tickets too. While I was filling out the Power Ball numbers, the lady behind the counter asks some guy if he bought any. He said "I'm not wasting my money". She said likewise back at him and he then repeated himself, in an exaggerated and drawn out manner, this time his voice directed toward me from the sound of it. All I could think was: 'Fine arsehat, you spend your money how you want, but if you say it again and get any louder and closer to my ear, I am going to give you a face full of Ballseye'.

As it turned out, I completed filling in my numbers, paid for my tickets, checked to make sure they were the right selections and started to leave when suddenly I realized I had an extra Power Ball ticket for which I did not ask nor pay. I let the lady behind the counter know about it and she looked puzzled but only for a moment and then she told me that you get one free play if you buy $10 worth of tickets (5 tickets). She could have just grabbed it from me and said sorry about that and maybe would have had the winning ticket in her pocket. It was nice to see she was honest right back at me. I am pretty sure that many people would have just thought they had gotten away with an extra ticket for which they had not paid, that is, if they, like me, did not know about the free game.

I would be more than satisfied to hit the second prize but have to admit that the first prize of $500 million dollars would be one heck of a wonderful thing. I figure that the prize would be doled out in the amount of about $225 to $250 after taxes in a lump sum. What to do with that much money. I think I would secure the family coffers first, buy some land (because only volcanoes and God make more of it and I have not seen God making an lately), have fun with a lot of it, and give a very large amount of money to a charity or three of our choosing. Then again, maybe we would buy a small country somewhere and call it Ballseyevania wherein the right to keep and bear arms (including possess, buy, manufacture, shoot, defend yourself with, overthrow a tyranny with) would be sacred over all others.

Now back to reality. I wish any of you who bought a ticket or more all the best of luck just as I hope you wish me the same. Money may not buy happiness but it sure goes a long way toward allowing you to enjoy things that might make you happy. Of course, it can also be a pain in the arse but oh what a joyous pain to have so much of it as to be uncertain how to spend it. If nothing else, it could certainly make life interesting.

All the best,
Glenn B

Getting My Money Out of the Federal Government

I have decided, with my wife's concurrence, to withdraw all of our savings from my Thrift Savings Account with the federal government. Fiscal cliff being imminent or not, the chances are that the tax rates will soon rise and we do not want to be taxed at a higher rate in the future. Now granted, we may be taxed at a much higher rate, by withdrawing it all at once this year, than by withdrawing it over a few to several years if tax rates do not increase markedly, but that is where trust in government - or lack of that trust - comes into play. I no longer trust my money will remain 100% secure if I keep it in the hands of the government. I do not mean that my money will disappear because the government might steal it; my concern along those lines is that the government may wind up going belly up, unable to pay its financial obligations and then my money may disappear. Perhaps the same effect as it being stolen, just much more likely than someone actually stealing it.

I felt that way before I retired last year but was not sound enough, with the cancer treatments, to sit down, really give it the required thought, and decide to do it or not. Yet, I was pretty sure that is what I would wind up doing before this year was over. Today, I found out that it takes 2 to 3 weeks from the day I send my forms into them until I get the money in my hand. I still have enough time to get it this year. If taxes go up, then I will have known I did the right thing. If they do not go up, then I will wonder if I will have done the right thing but regardless, we will have whatever we have after taxes.

We do not have a heck o a lot of money in the TSP, so a big tax bite is going to reduce it significantly. With the TSP withdrawal added to my pension, my part-time job salary and Linda's two part-time job salaries - I think the tax bit will be substantial. Let me just say, my TSP balance is in the tens of thousands, not in the hundreds of thousands, of dollars that most others have contributed to said plan. I paid off my house early and thus we had little to put into the TSP over the several years that I contributed. I should have contributed sooner, just never saw the need. I see now that my whole roof, not just the shingles but the roof structure, may need to be replaced and it is sounding more and more like the insurance company will be paying less than I had expected.

Oh well, another one of those days with having to make: 'Decisions, Decisions, Decisions'! I have decided that either tomorrow or Friday, I'll be sending in the withdrawal form.

All the best,
Glenn B
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