May You Live In Interesting Times

may-you-live-in-interesting-times1May you live in interesting times – traditional Chinese curse

The operative word below the picture is curse. Big changes are coming next year, whether we like them or not. There will be many unknowns for everyone, and “interesting” times will most likely be arriving sooner rather than later, maybe sooner than we’d like or are prepared for.

Because we don’t know if any of the changes to Social Security, Medicare, health care, etc. that have been threatened by the incoming Congress will actually occur, and if they do, when and how they will affect us, we have decided that instead of traveling as much as we had planned in 2017 we will instead stick close to home for most of the year and fatten up our savings account. We can afford the trips we had planned, and think we’re going to be OK, but we’d rather err on the “safer” side. Brett, YaYu and I are still going to Japan in March, but I’ve decided to hold off on the second trip in June with WenYu, Meiling and friends, and we will also put off a planned fall Mystery Vacation™. Money that would have gone towards these two trips will instead go into our savings account.

Once we get a better feel for how things are going to shake out, we can decide what we want to and will be able to do in 2018, although we’ve already started planning something. If nothing else, we’ll be taking YaYu to college somewhere that year, and will also be getting all three girls to school and home for the holidays and other breaks.

We’re not giving up on travel completely though. There are terrific and affordable staycations to be taken on Kaua’i, and we may be able to swing a short trip over to one of the other islands. We’ll see. But other than Japan, we’ve put plans for any other “big” travel in 2017 on hold. That doesn’t mean though that I still won’t be thinking about it all the time!

May you live in interesting times.

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19 thoughts on “May You Live In Interesting Times

  1. Joy Franks says:

    I think that is a very wise decision. Very wise. I know we’re watching our shekels closely. (thank goodness for Big Save) At least you’ll be “stuck” here on the prettiest spot on the planet! I read a comment the other day by a local who said that even if Medicare gets cut, Hawaii would provide some kind of replacement type healthcare like Medicare. I know I did a dry run on social security to see if we could handle a 30% cut and we can, thank goodness.

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    • Laura says:

      Our post-age 65 military insurance is tied to Medicare, so if that goes away we’re not sure what happens. SS is one of the major pieces of our retirement (although not the top one), so if it goes away we’d be hurt. We can take some cutbacks, but not the loss of it all together.

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  2. Amy Hartigan says:

    I know what you mean…I will most likely have to return to full time work to get employer paid health insurance as we currently have insurance through the ACA. I have been happily working part-time since 2014. So disappointing.

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    • Laura says:

      We can only wait and see at this point. I don’t think I’ve ever been so grateful for our retired military medical insurance, although there’s nothing to say they won’t mess with that either. I’m frankly more worried about a nuclear conflict at this point.

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  3. Sonja says:

    Very wise, as none of us knows what may happen given our interesting times. I’m feeling the same way though am already financially committed to a big trip…however should the tide turn very quickly I will accept some loss to maintain the status quo or even a bit below.

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    • Laura says:

      We too can accept some loss, or cutbacks, but if those are too great I’m not sure what we’ll do. Right now I want to be as prepared as we possibly can be for whatever may come.

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  4. Jan says:

    We have always planned without Social Security since we have been getting notices about their cut (25% decrease in 2034)for the last six years. We, actually, make close to the bottom of SS- so the recent news is that we might actually get an increase. Our kids never planned on getting Social Security.
    I anticipate paying more for our health care- at least mine. I figure we have gotten away with such low premiums for so long, it is not surprising. My brother paid $1200 a month last year and went to paying the tax this year and making arrangements with his doctor for checks. Any relief will be a good thing for him.
    Our plans are on hold since the Middle East and China have become so unstable in the last years. Sad, very sad.

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    • Laura says:

      Brett years in the navy were not conducive to saving. His salary wasn’t much, but covered our needs, and we moved frequently (every 2 1/2 years) – those moves came along with big expenses (the navy covered some but not all – we always had to take a month or two of advance pay to cover the cost of moving, and then spent 2 years paying it back). Once he retired and was employed we started saving again, but then adopted our three girls and there went our big retirement savings. However, given the chance, we wouldn’t change anything.

      So, here we are – the military retirement has provided more for retirement than we could have ever saved, we have great medical insurance, but we need SS to “make it.” So, until we see what’s going to happen, everything is on hold, and belts are being tightened.

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    • Joy Franks says:

      Jan, may I ask when you got these notices about a 25% decrease in 2034 and from government or media? We are on social security and have not gotten notices, not one.

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      • Joy Franks says:

        I checked the yearly ss reports for this year and the few years past on my husband’s as well as mine and that information is not there. In our reports its explains about additional earnings for 2017 and 2016. The next section says where to find online services, and then rules for certain family members, benefits for same-sex couples, life changes that may affect eligibility for federal benefits, how to detect social security fraud, preventing identity theft, medicare information, ACA, and lastly, the back explains our COLA for 2017. Not one word about future decreases, etc.

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      • Joy Franks says:

        Ah, I think we’re talking about 2 different reports. You are getting your yearly statement of your contributions. We’re already on Social Security so we don’t get the same information as you do.

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  5. Laurel says:

    A very prudent move, I think. We are holding off on travel planning ourselves and waiting to see what shakes out. It’s maddening to see the discussion of a new arms race and think of what that will cost. The whole situation is just frightening on so many fronts.

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    • Laura says:

      Agreed – it is very frightening right now. For someone who lived through the 50s and 60s, the Cuban Missile Crisis, “duck & cover” drills, and so forth, what’s going on right now is very unnerving and scary.

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  6. Tahoe girl says:

    I’m scared of all things Trump could do since he is so unpredictable and so narcissistic. My husband still works full time at 66. He has to work at least 4 more years to get SS where we could live on it. Who know what will happen but it is scary.

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  7. Vivian Gibson says:

    Just had to sign up for social security at 62, recent emergencies have pretty much eliminated my emergency savings. Healthcare is one of my major problems, the costs just went up more than $50.00 per month to 692.84 per month. That is over $8,300 per year and does not include co-pays and deductibles. I spoke with a friend at Church and she had to cancel the state insurance for herself and her husband because the costs of the health insurance would be more than her pension and she would have to start paying the state.
    An article in the paper this week says more than 100,000 retirees are living abroad due to cost of living. One man stated he lives in Japan which is not cheap but he can join the Japanese healthcare system for $370 per year and that makes it worthwhile.
    Like you, I am going to try to bulk up my savings in 2017. Good luck to us all.

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    • Laura says:

      Healthcare in this country is still such a MESS. The ACA has helped more people get insurance, but it didn’t rein in the insurance companies who have continued to raise rates every year, just as they did before the ACA. I think doing away with the ACA is actually going to make things worse though, so I feel your pain.

      I would gladly live in Japan and use their healthcare system (which is very good) if we could get a visa. Long term visas there are VERY difficult to get – we have family there and it’s still impossible for us to get visas.

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      • Vivian Gibson says:

        I never went with ACA as I was always afraid the government would reverse themselves and the costs when I checked them were comparable with what I already pay but with much less coverage. My friend from church has a $7500 deductible with her ACA insurance. I really feel for all the people who have come to rely on the program. I am also worried about what will happen to Medicare/Tricare as my parents have to pay higher out of pocket expenses each year.

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