Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

Happy Days? Here Again?

Hand holding chalk dollar growth chart on green blackboard

Hand holding chalk dollar growth chart on green blackboard

Welp, the stock market has gone SO berserk on news (presumably) of a bullying egotist’s election to the White House that happy days appear to be here again.

Yes, again. This month’s statements from my financial advisors show that my big IRA alone earned so much last month that the increase absorbed this year’s RMD (required minimum distribution) rip. The increase covered the entire $28,314 gouge with seven grand to spare.

Wow. Just wow. What else can one say?

Well. I could say I’d feel a lot happier about this if I didn’t suspect it ultimately will come at the expense of the American republic and of our children and our children’s children. But hey… let tomorrow take care of itself, eh?


Problem is, o’course, “tomorrow” is just a few hours away…

The credit union estimates that the downtown house M’jihito and I bought ten or twelve years ago (thinking he would live here about five years, get back on his feet after the penultimate recession, and then move back to San Francisco) is now worth about $35,000 more than we paid for it.

That’s nice. I guess. Well…except…

a) That ain’t what I’d call a grand return on investment (considering that we had to put about 40 grand into it to make it habitable…), especially after something over a decade.


b) At least we’re not underwater anymore, lhudly sing huzzah.

My son is refinancing the loan, which as some of you will recall was a 30-15 deal…because we thought he would be outta there long before the 15-year balloon came up, and we thought we were buying at the bottom of a downward-heading market.

What we thought was…so magnificently wrong.

The credit union locked in a very good rate just before the Fed raised its rate, causing mortgage rates to jump. So if he gets this loan, he’ll be pretty well set.

He’s writing me out of the loan, even more lhudly sing huzzah. This means that if anything happens to him, God forbid, I will no longer be on the hook for the debt. If he goes belly-up (highly unlikely, with this mega-frugal kid), I will not have to pick up the mortgage. If he croaks over (hello, God? let’s repeat that: FORBID, got it?), I presumably will inherit the house but not a hundred grand worth of toxic debt. I would probably break even on the sale of the place.

Sort of. I’ll continue to contribute, since without a wife or a partner he would have to strain every gut to afford the house payments. Financial Advisor points out that in his misspent youth he earned exactly what M’hijito earns and he could’ve covered those payments…but the youthful FA did not live in 2016. Nor did he face a future probably devoid of Social Security and Medicare.

It’s such a pretty little house, historic in its years. Mid-century middle-class tract housing, from back in the day when America had a middle class.

(Think of that!)

He invited me and the pooches over for dinner last night, whereinat he created a pretty awesome home-made chef’s pepperoni pizza. With the gorgeous mahogany French doors and the solid mahogany front door standing open (we built a courtyard in front to slow the dog’s escape and add some “charm”), on a balmy Arizona winter night the place was just beautiful. If I could afford the utility bills, I’d love to live in it myself.

Ain’t a-gonna happen, though.

It’s in the Arizona Public Service power district — APS is just freaking rapacious. His house is much smaller than mine, he has a swamp cooler, and he’s penurious in his use of energy, but his power bills exceed my summer bills by upwards of a hundred bucks a month. I know I couldn’t afford that…so (God — listen up! — forbid) if anything should happen to him, I couldn’t even begin to think of selling my own house and moving in there.

In the bidness department, it’s been a busy week. We have a very  large project in-house — 475 pages, deadline January 31: the product of god only knows how many individual academic contributors, each of them fond of footnotes and references. Two proposed indexes came in; one sounds easy enough that I could probably manage it around the other project, assuming The Kid handles at least some of th’same. Together, they would bring in enough income to cover two months’ worth of target income for The Copyeditor’s Desk.

Which sounds nice until you realize we got hardly any work at all through the summer doldrums.

Alors… speaking of werk, now that the bedding is washed and several days worth of food is cooked and financial data (some of them) are entered and the hair is washed and set and the bathroom is cleaned and the kitchen is cleaned and the dog hair is laundered out of the dogs’ bed blanket and the pool filter is cleaned and the correspondence is tended to and a Christmas present idea is investigated and I still need to paint my face before tonight’s social event, it’s time to knock off the blogging.

And so, à demain…

Got a plan to hang on to whatever ill-gotten gains you’ve accumulated in the (no doubt brief) wake of the Trump triumph?

Image: DepositPhotos, AndreyPopov

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Author: funny

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  1. Hmmmm….Being one of the many “Deplorables” ( Hilary named us!) ….You’re welcome….Couple of things….First how amazing it is all the fuss Mr. Trump has caused since the election….and he hasn’t even taken the oath yet. It should be an interesting ride…I for one am going to be very interested to see how things REALLY are after they “drain the swamp”…. Second “round of applause” for the son and his conviction to “pull the trigger” on the refi. I’m thinking 3-5 years from now people will consider his move pure genius….Third how crazy it is to have such a “windfall” from the IRA…I would take a bit of money off the table…but I’m no expert….What concerns me is interest rates and inflation fueled by higher oil prices. OPEC seems to finally have seen the light “that less…is more”…that is that pumping less oil equals higher price per barrel. A spike in interest rates would be felt through out the economy. Especially at the biggest borrower…the US Government….A return to historic norms in interest rates could wreak havoc on the domestic economy and the social safety net. AND lastly let us not forget the REAL power lies in the House and Senate…..My thought is Mr. Ryan is the guy to watch and the person in charge of “keeping us out of the weeds”…..not Mr. Trump. Merry Xmas….

  2. Mr. Ryan wants to be sure your daughters and granddaughters have to carry an unwanted pregnancy to birth — even if it resulted from a rape, even if its issue will be hopelessly, incurably handicapped, even if carrying the pregnancy means the loss of the woman’s life. That’s the kinda guy he is…and the kind of people his colleagues are. He has openly said he’s relieved that in the near future working women will be able to go back to doing the job they were created to do: bearing children.

    Then we have the “deplorable” remark: No better evidence could have been put forth to show that woman should never have been run for that office. It iconizes, in 10 letters of the alphabet, the condescending elitism that characterizes the expensively educated, privileged class who have taken over the country’s liberal leadership. Have you ever read a story in _The New York Times_ or _The New Yorker_ written by an East-Coast writer sent to report on your part of the country? It sets your teeth on edge. Those people are flat out oblivious to the concerns, realities, and culture of anyone who lives outside the NYC/DC corridor.

    Arrrrghhhhhhhhh! I’ll tell you what we need. We need Dwight Eisenhower. We need Harry Truman.

    But NONE of these people, left or right, are Dwight Eisenhower or Harry Truman.

    And oh god don’t get me started on the future of this country’s economy. Let’s hope inflation isn’t on the horizon…a forlorn hope it is, we might add.

    My father retired in the late 1960s. He had, he was sure, enough to be “set” for the rest of his life, assuming he lived conservatively without running up debt.

    Then came the inflationary 1970s. It DECIMATED the value of his savings. In a matter of months, he suddenly no longer had enough for himself and my mother to live on. Within a few years, the value of his savings had dropped to a fraction of what it was worth when he quit his job. By then he was too old to go back — he took a few odd jobs like working as a security guard, which paid minimum wage. The guy was a sea captain, a Merchant Marine commander…look up what an American supertanker captain earns today. That just translates into 2016 dollars what his wage was like in 1967.

    The Baby Boom generation is reaching retirement age. And believe me: when you reach that age, yes, you do WANT to retire…but there’s also the issue that you HAVE to retire. In a society that freely discriminates against the elderly in ways no one can get away with where Blacks, Latinos, and women are concerned, you are forced out of your job, and once you’re laid off or made to take “early retirement,” you CAN NOT GET ANOTHER COMPARABLE JOB. The best you can do is something like security guard or Walmart greeter.

    If 1970s-style inflation returns (and it may not be a matter of “if” but of “when”), we are going to be looking at MILLIONS of retirees whose savings will not support them through the end of their lives. And if the Republican Party gets its way, those millions of retirees won’t even have Social Security and Medicare to fall back on.

    That means we will have millions of younger workers who will have to help support their parents…if they have any ethical turn of mind at all. But most of those millions have been brought up to expect they will leave their home cities, get nice jobs somewhere, and bring up their own families: not keep a roof over Mom and Dad’s head. And most of them will be in debt up to their teeth (tuition debt, credit card debt, house payments, car payment) and so in no position to support their parents.

    Think we’ve seen the Third-Worldization of America? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

  3. Hmmm….Don’t hold back Funny…LOL. To be clear I do not agree with everything Mr. Ryan and the GOP represent. And to be very clear…..what a woman does to/with her body is nobody’s business but hers. So if Mr. Ryan is going down that road….I’m thinkin’ a large part of the electorate will send him packing. Let’s face it Mr. Trump will be a one term President. IMHO he will become frustrated, bored or stand no chance of re-election. My hope is for someone with new ideas in his/her 40’s to get elected and set this ship right. guys like McCain have served long enough AND need to go home. We need new blood! The folks in the House and Senate are up for election ever so often and my thought is this when the messages are sent and delivered…loud and clear. Bernie Sanders would have got my vote….and the thing that should make every one sick is how the DNC sabotaged his efforts….border line criminal. As for the New York Times AND Washington Post AND even the Baltimore Sun…these papers are a shadow of their former selves. And to me seem more everyday like propaganda machines. I don’t know about Eisenhower BUT I did read a book about him and his biggest concern upon exiting office wasn’t the Russians or spread of Communism BUT the power of the “military industrial complex”….Hat’s off to Trump for “calling out” the high cost of defense. I just finished a book on Herbert Hoover and have a whole different outlook on this President. I would encourage you to read it. He was against entering the WWII and encouraged Roosevelt to “sit tight” especially after Germany invaded Russia. His thought was to let those two “evil empires” beat the hell out of each other. Then for the US to enter the War after both were severely weakened and “war weary”, clean up the mess and end the War…After reading this book my views on the Great Depression and the Hoover Presidency changed….He was a good man….and a visionary….like the Donald….LOL.

    • A significant majority of the electorate tried to send Mr. Ryan et al. packing. Didn’t work. Now we’ve got an administration that WILL curtail women’s reproductive rights: they’ve said repeatedly that’s what they intend to do. Remember, a large portion of Americans think that’s the right thing to do.

      Interesting argument about Hoover and the rest. I’ll have to track that down!

      Agreed that we surely do need someone new in Washington. But that someone new needs to be someone sane. 😀

      Seriously, though: to my mind, that was the drawback to Hillary: same old same old. But the Republicans weren’t any better: until Trump came along and hijacked that bunch, they also represented the same old…except for the Tea Partiers, who unfortunately are clear and present nutcases.

      We need new blood, all right. But with a strong dose of common sense. Where’s Mr. Smith when we need him?

  4. It’s going to be an interesting next four years!

  5. If tax rates are going to go down as many predict, then I think people would avoid selling and taking gains this year but would move that selling to next year. So I’m not convinced that this rally can go on forever. Eventually people are going to want to make some of those gains real.

    • True that. Also, for most Americans tax rates are not going down. That was a campaign promise…and we know what those are. 😉

      Some believe a large number of middle-class Americans will see their taxes rise slightly.

  6. I don’t know about the whole tax thing/promise….My thought is once the Trump Cabinet gets installed they REALLY get to see what kind of debt we are in as a Nation. After all we need to collect enough to keep the lights on!!! And politicians break promises ALL the time…..Who can ever forget George Bush Sr. with “no new taxes” ….and then decided to raise taxes…..which some would say cost him re-election… I for one don’t understand where the money is coming from with these massive tax cuts…..BUT that’s for smart guys like Speaker Ryan to figure out….