Archive for February, 2009

A breath of fresh air

February 16, 2009

I took a walk down the street while my wife stopped at a store.  I told her I’d just head toward home and she could pick me up when we were done.  It was a crisp, windy day – I figured it would be a nice walk.

It wasn’t.  In spite of cool air and wind, the auto fumes were awful.  I was happy to see her coming after fifteen minutes – I didn’t want to breathe any more crap.

Is it possible to find clean air anywhere today?  The last time I think it was cleanest was the week after the blizzard of ’78.   Massachusetts wouldn’t allow cars on the road for that week; it was wonderful.  I went running and was able to go two miles farther than I usually could – just because of clean air.

I’d love to see the end of gasoline powered cars..

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End Days

February 1, 2009

It’s been interesting how often the time we have left to live comes into our planning and discussions now.  We’re barely into our sixties but already we’re thinking about how the approaching horizon affects us.

Should I take early Social Security?  By all traditional wisdom, no, but I’m thinking that could be wrong for several reasons.  One, I may need it if this recession continues as I think it will.  Two, it might be smart to take that money even though it will be cut in half for four years because if the market is still depressed, that loss could be paid back.

Of course that assumes the market recovers and it may not in our lifetime.  I think the predictions of a turn-around in 2009 are hilarious and even two to three year estimates are probably just as silly.  This could be decades..

And then there is the question of what happens when one of us dies?  Will the other go live with one of our children?  Will we be in a nursing home?

What will our expenses be?  If we get inflation as I think is possible, there’s no way we’ll survive; we just don’t have enough investments and of course they’ve been crippled by market downturns.  Inflation could drive them back up, but who knows?

Update:  I wrote a longer piece about taking early Social Security.