We’re down to 13 work days and weekdays left before we’re all done with our careers. (Is 13 unlucky? If you don’t hear from me next Monday, you’ll know it was!) And that means we’re in that final mad dash to wrap up the things that need to be wrapped up before we pull the plug.
The mix of feelings is still very much here, but paired with a sense of focused urgency to get loads of things checked off our list, especially given that we’ll be at our company headquarters in D.C. for our last week of work, not at home where we can get more done. (DC people — plan on a meetup on December 9! Details next week.)
Today, a rundown on what’s left to do, and the strong urge we’re fighting in the home stretch.
Updates on the To Do List
I’ve shared some to do list updates along the way in this last year, most recently the to do list with just over three months remaining.
At that point, we were still cramming on health and dental care, and had some items remaining to be checked off, including:
Deciding on a cell phone and plan for me — Update: I get to keep my phone, and we’re just trying to figure out if we can go straight to Consumer Cellular (thanks for the tips!) or need to go onto a short-term AT&T plan until my phone unlocks in March.
Locking down our withdrawal strategy — Update: Done! I’ll share more about our unconventional strategy in its own post.
Registering our business entity — Update: Now that we’ve revealed that we live in California, I can share that we’ve decided not to register the business until 2018 because CA mandates a minimum state tax on all partnerships and corporations. So we’ll wait until next year when we’ll have a bit more revenue to make that tax worthwhile.
Deciding whether to keep a landline phone — Update: Out with the landlines as soon as work is done!
Buying a new-used mountain bike for Mark — Update: Located, purchased and still getting ridden despite the snow on the ground.
Planning the first big trip — Update: We’re going to Taiwan, a country filled with national parks and natural beauty. We’re planning to meet up with Jeremy and Winnie from Go Curry Cracker, since I know some folks will ask. ;-)
Still To Do — A Whole Lotta Health Care
It’s been a banner year on the medical front, and I’ve learned that most doctors look at you funny when you ask, “What else should we do, knowing that I might not be back for a while? Like maybe there are some other shots I should get or something?” (Also, oww, my arm still hurts from that tetanus shot last week. And also also, you can totally get pneumonia vaccines designed for seniors if you ask nicely enough. I’ll be a retiree, after all!) ;-)
But despite all the cramming, we have a few health things left to complete:
Mark’s final dental cleaning and check-up — Hoping not to need any follow-up work!
Two dental appointments for me to replace almost every filling — Another thing that gets a weird look: when you say to your dentist, “I have the Cadillac insurance right now, and will never have it again, so let’s replace every filling that looks like it could possibly fail in the next decade.” Don’t try to talk to me next week — I won’t be able to move my jaw.
Mark’s final eye exam and one last chance to get cheaper glasses — Because it’s convenient to be able to see.
One more specialist visit for Mark — Hoping to get some resolution on our last remaining medical mystery.
Enrolling in Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance — If you live in most states, your deadline to sign up for an exchange plan is December 15, so don’t waste any time signing up! California and a few other states with their own Obamacare exchanges have a January 31 deadline to sign up for 2018 coverage, so we have a smidge more time. But the truth is I have researched this so much that we know exactly what kind of plan we’ll be purchasing. I just want to be able to write a detailed post about it (because I know how to party), and so have put it off til this weekend.
The Last Few Financial Items in 2017
Our cash accounts are already topped up, with two full years of expenses sitting there, but we’ll have a last couple of items to do after we get our bonuses in a few weeks:
Top up our donor advised fund — Everything above our magic number goes in there, and we’ll decide once we know final numbers how much to donate directly this year vs. to sock away for future donations.
Decide how to allocate our remaining investable assets — We have a little more coming in this year that we need to allocate, and given where the markets are, we’re not feeling thrilled about dumping more money into the stock markets at the moment. So we may put the remainder in bond funds for the time being, or hang onto it in cash as a future stock purchase fund — or we may just buy stock index fund shares after all. It’ll likely be a game time decision.
Speaking of Finances…
A year or so ago, I noted how knowing our retirement date was nearing was giving us weird urges, like my desire to own some scary and uncomfortable shoes to stomp into meetings like a badass business woman for once in my life. (“Once” referring to stomping into meetings, not to being a badass.) Update: I resisted that urge. No scary shoes in my closet.
We knew we’d feel the need to buy a few things before the year ends, while we still have paycheck cash flow, but like with the emotions in this home stretch, we underestimated how strong that urge to acquire things would be.
We’ve resisted on a lot of it, but I did buy new backcountry ski boots and am on the lookout for a deal on the downhill boots that I want (both big ticket items that I do need, and which would take a bite out of next year’s budget). And I went on a bit of a Black Friday (online) shopping spree for new socks and underwear, about the only items we aren’t ever interested in buying used. (For non-outdoorsy folks, FYI that technical socks are a whole lot pricier than standard gym socks, and thus the sales are a good thing. Sierra Trading Post deals with stacked coupons for the win.)
It’s also been a time of assessing all of our stuff to figure out what might need replacing in the near future, and then figuring out if we should buy the replacement now. Currently I’m on a hunt for a replacement fleece robe, because I practically live in mine in our cold house, and at 15+ years old, it’s looking a bit threadbare. (If anyone knows who currently sells a floor length, hooded, zip-up fleece robe, let me know! My current one is Lands End, but they don’t make it anymore. I’m striking out finding one that checks every box.) And there are a few shoes I’ve bought or am looking to buy — I got new snow boots, and am still searching for comfortable ballet flats that can stand up to a lot of walking in foreign capitals and still look nice. (I am not willing to shell out for Tieks or Rothys, and the Hush Puppy “Chaste” flats I’ve been rocking for years aren’t something I love enough to replace.)
I could keep listing the other items on my lookout list, but reflecting on it all, it does strike me that I’m in the midst of a bout of scarcity thinking.
And maybe, for once, it’s actually well placed.
Because the truth is that we are about to have a lot less to spend. Not that we’ve been big spenders for quite a few years now, so in practice, things won’t actually feel much different. But our ability to spend should we need to or wish to will change in a big way in a few weeks. And it makes total sense that we’d feel some anxiety about that, because any change — real or perceived — is hard.
Help Us Out with Last Call!
Okay, friends, please tell us: what are we forgetting? What do we need to hurry up and figure out before the clock strikes midnight on 2018? Any other tips for us? What’s on your to do list? We appreciate your help getting us over the finish line… right in time to start the next journey. ;-)
Categories: the process