Maybe the Lunar New Year party we threw is beginning to bring us good fortune? Up until this morning I was bemoaning a pretty sizable income tax payment in April. I found it hard to believe that we had not better managed our IRA withdrawals, especially after last year’s massive payout to the IRS. Granted, we needed considerable funds in 2021 to complete our home sale transaction and make the necessary upgrades. However, 2022 was simply home improvements like an outdoor kitchen, storage shelves, landscaping, lighting fixtures, and driveway expansion. When I loaded everything into Turbotax at the end of the year, we were still looking at writing a hefty check to the government. 

We have lots of travel plans for 2023 and 2024, some of which we’ve already paid for in advance. We’re going to Vegas in March and recklessly added a couple of days with the grandkids at pricey Disney World, since we were already flying out of Orlando. There are two weddings to attend in both Indianapolis and Oceanside, Oregon, plus a bridal shower for her niece that my wife is attending. In addition, we’re also doing a Nile River Viking cruise in May to see the Egyptian pyramids, an extension in Petra, and a 5-day layover in London on the flight back. We’ve been spending a lot more than we’re taking in and the pending tax burden seemed to be the straw that broke the camel’s back.

As a result, we put off some projects at home, delayed making our flight plans into Portland & Indy, scrimped on the upcoming Vegas arrangements, stopped using our charge cards, and seriously considered some part-time work. It’s hardly worth looking for sympathy since most of these expenses are frivolous in nature and most of us are just trying to keep up with inflation. It’s been difficult for us to curb spending after all those years of having two large paychecks every two weeks. We saved our money to travel in retirement and although Covid certainly curbed some spending, it also brought on an urgency to see the world while we still can and build the home of our dreams in the process. 

I admit to getting a bit carried away. With a pension and two Social Security checks, things are getting tight. Warranties seem to be a budgeting factor that i didn’t properly estimate. Appliance contracts, termite concerns, heating & air conditioning service agreements, all coupled with storm damage assessments, paver sealing, repairs, and higher than expected healthcare insurance have taken a chunk out of our travel budget. We needed some unexpected good fortune and perhaps I found it this morning. We got a 1099 in the mail that I had estimated incorrectly in projecting our taxes. Fortunately, we’re now getting a good refund, that naturally I want to spend frivolously, especially after a few sleepless nights of trying to figure out how to stop the financial bleeding. I see this as a turn for the better, hope it continues, and sincerely wish that this good fortune spreads to others.