Day 107, money money

Tuesday, 3/19/2019

Had the annual talk with the

Financial Advisors.

The firm is Sullivan and Serwitz, and for several years, we’ve met with only Bob Sullivan, but today his partner Marshall Serwitz sat in as well.

Bottom line, I’m financially fine. According to their conservative model, I can spend money at a generous annual rate (almost surely more than I’ll actually spend) and I still won’t be able to keep up with my principal’s growth, even at a conservative projected growth rate. So I will almost unavoidably die richer than I am now. Yay me; or rather, yay us, because it was the money we earned as DINKs, conserved by our naturally modest desires, that was the foundation.

As for what I had seen as a vexed question: In the event that C.H. offers a unit before the house is sold, how to finance the entry fee without incurring big capital gains and/or paying high interest? Not an issue at all! First, thanks to my being a recent widower, all of our investments have a new “basis” — not just the house, which is a huge benefit, but even the mutual funds that we bought into back in the 80s. So I can sell any amount of those shares, should I want to, and pay no capital gains. But, they pointed out, it would be equally simple to get a standard home loan through e.g. Quicken Loans, secured by the house. Almost surely at a lower rate than the 10% annual that C.H. offered.

Or, the advisors’ suggestion was to ignore C.H.’s timing; go ahead and sell the house as quickly as possible so as to have the liquid cash in hand whenever C.H. is ready to offer a unit. Well, that means moving twice, say I, like moving into another ILF with a monthly rate.

Not necessarily, they said. Look, you don’t want to keep much of your furniture anyway, right? True, I agree, about 5 or 6 pieces all told, and a few boxes worth of other stuff. OK, you put those in storage. Storage units are cheap. You pack your clothes and move into a long-stay hotel, or a vacation home rental. It would be cheaper than moving into any ILF.

This turns out to be true. They referred me to “Vacation Rentals by Owner”, (the link is a search for Palo Alto at under $150/night) and there are lots of cottages and apartments I can rent for extended periods around $100/night, which comes to $3000/month, which is substantially less than any local month-to-month ILF; the difference being, no food service. OK, given a kitchen I can feed myself for not much, just as I do now.

So the picture they proposed is that I (1) move out to a rental, (2) take my time saving whatever possessions I want to keep into a storage unit, (3) sell the house, (4) wait comfortably for the unit I want. The local housing market is showing signs of turning down, they said, so the sooner you sell, the better.

I took all this under advisement. A critical time will come tomorrow at 11 when I sit down with Kim Krebs at C.H. and find out what the actual prospects are. If she says, you can have X unit next month, that’s one thing. If she waffles, indicates it may be weeks to months, then I may implement the advisors’ plan.

There were other points. The house and everything else is part of a family trust. With the death of one of the joint trustees, the trust documents need to be revised. They will set up an appointment with the attorney who drew up the trust, probably for May. So there will be that to do. Also I had to sign and notarize several documents related to changing the ownership of the various Schwab accounts to me as sole trustee.

From there I did some


Got the car washed, first time since it was waxed, poor thing. Bought some groceries (like, $30 worth, see above). Got some cash from the ATM. Then home to

throw out more

… I want to say shit, but that’s not fair. I cleaned up a couple of shelves of things, and most of the things on the shelves went into the black landfill box. There were collected CD-ROMs and manuals for software. Photoshop CS2? Really? (Current version is 7 or so.) Also two or three versions of Windows, which I ran (still can run) in a virtual machine on the Mac. I used to do that when I was maintaining an app that a few other people used, and I had to test new versions on Windows as well as Mac.

Then more serious stuff: a fat binder which has all the historical receipts for house maintenance. This has been often used. When the hot water heater goes out, as it did a month ago, it’s handy to be able to look back and see who installed it. That’s where I could look up how much we paid to fumigate in 2005, but I disdain to do that. Anyway that has some value going forward, if only for the curiosity of a buyer.

Next to it was a fat binder that set me sniffling for the next half hour: Marian’s medical records. She kept every test result, every procedure, going back forever. Organized, with tabs for easy lookup. Anytime a doctor wanted to know, when did you have this or that, she could tell them, oh that was in ’93, or ’07 or whenever. So I looked at it and debated with myself. Under what possible circumstance could I ever imagine me or anyone else wanting to refer to this? None! For any reason? Certainly not for nostalgia’s sake; illnesses and medical procedures are not what I want to remember her by. And yet… it really hurt to put that in the trash. Another shard, falling away.

It’s 5:30; I’m going to feed myself and then watch something stupid on TV. Naked and Afraid should do it.




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