I have read a ton of material about personal finance issues, especially debt reduction, but have not done anything about putting what I have learned into practice.
Today, when I read JD's latest post, I realized that the longer I waited, the more difficult it would be to get our financial affairs in order. So, JD, thank you for finally motivating me to do SOMETHING.
Some background: I am happily married (46 years as of this month) to my first and only husband. He is semi-retired, I am retired. Our income is $3300 (combined) from Social Security, plus what he earns as an independent contractor for an insurance company, selling supplemental insurance. Last year his total commission earned was slightly over 20k. He will also be receiving about $600 per month from an annuity that he inherited from his mother.
My husbands parents, both in their mid 90s, died last year, his father in November, then his mother passed on Christmas day. His sister is the executor of both estates, and he has been working with her to settle their affairs. Their parents had been quite ill for some time, so their passing was not unexpected, and his sister had been able to get a lot of details about their finances while they were still living.
One of the biggest issues in settling the estates is that his father was very secretive, and Jim (my husband) and Sandra (his sister) are now hunting for hidden assets. They think that he may have stashed gold coins and jewelry in hidden places (a false bottom in a closet, perhaps), and invested in securities and annuities without leaving any information about these accounts. Seeing what they are going thru really made me realize what a mess our finances are. I don't want my children to have to clean it up after we are gone.
So today my first step was to apply for a new credit card. We have overdraft protection on our checking account, and for the last several months we have taken advantage of it, and currently owe $3200 on a visa card that was linked to our checking account, at 29.99% APR interest. The new card offers 0% for 18 months, so by transferring the balance to it, we will save a considerable amount in interest every month.
I feel really good that I have finally started the process of becoming fiscally fit, and look forward to posting more as I go along.