16 Good (and Bad!) Changes Since My “Retirement”

Gooooood morning!

And welcome back to week two of the new Budgets Are Sexy!! 

It’s been a trip dusting off the ol’ keyboard and catching up again, and so glad so many of you are still here :) If you haven’t had a chance to re-introduce yourself yet, please do so!

I thought I’d share one more recap of changes over the past couple of years here to get fully caught up, and then later this week we’ll get back to “normal” blog posts again since that’s a lot of talking about myself :)

It really is amazing though HOW MUCH can change in just a short amount of time! Especially lately with the world falling apart all around us! My last posts before leaving were right as the pandemic was going into full force – EEK!

But while we can’t control everything that happens, we DO have more power in our lives than we give ourselves credit for. And regardless of what’s going on around us we can always find some nuggets of joy to appreciate.

Here’s a list of some of my very own, followed by some I’d rather see flushed down the toilet, lol…

Let me know if anything surprises you!

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pup and i

#1. We got a new dog! Or rather, my wife did. And she was sneaky about it…  She went out “just looking” on her birthday two years ago, and then ended up bringing home the precious little thing “just for a day or two” to try out fostering…

But as many of you foster parents know, we “fail” at fostering more times than we succeed!! Lol… So she’s been with us now for a little over two years and makes everyone in the house happy (except possibly me – since I’m the one who has to feed her and walk her all the time! MUCH more fun having a dog as a kid when you can reap the cuddle rewards without any of the responsibility ;))

whiskey samples

#2. I’m a whisky drinker now!! I never really paid much attention to it, but then someone gave me a bottle of Wild Turkey honey whiskey and by golly if I couldn’t put it down. I eventually started wondering what other types there were out there (Wild Turkey gets awfully sweet at times), and then did a binge sample tasting for an entire month to make sure I got the lay of the land, haha…

Turns out some of the more popular stuff I didn’t particularly enjoy (Bulleit, Crown Royal), but others surprised me like Southern Comfort, Hennessy, and Redneck Riviera?! I tried the whole gamut from $.99 bottles to $8 bottles and all different varieties of whiskey/bourbons/scotch/cognac and honestly the price didn’t usually reflect the taste, at least to me.

But I did get spoiled shortly thereafter when my brothers started bringing me their $80-$150 whiskies to sample and boy did that make a difference, haha… My favorites of the group was the Glenlivet 12 and Laphroaig 10 single malt scotch that tastes like a campfire in my mouth. 😂 So I usually sip on that weekend nights (they gave me a bottle for my bday!), but then stick to the cheaper – just as fine – stuff during the week like Jack Daniels or the more uppity Woodford Reserve…

Though I am far from being a whiskey snob, at least yet haha… Any whiskey is better than no whiskey if you ask me!

cream of wheat

#3. I’m now a Cream of Wheat fiend!! Did NOT see this one coming! But with my mouth sores exploding all over earlier this year I was hard pressed to find *anything* I could devour that wouldn’t pain me, and Cream of Wheat came to the rescue (thanks guys, you looking for a sponsor???! Haha…). I now eat it every single morning – with honey, yum!! – and there’s some sort of comfort feeling attached to it which I just love.

I also started the habit of eating cut up apples with peanut butter every single afternoon (MmmMMmmMMmm), along with vanilla yogurt and granola in the evenings, and often followed by some tasty rice pudding – another thing that kept me alive during my illness.

Wait – AM I TURNING INTO AN OLD MAN???!

rummy hand
[About to lay the smack down on my 7 y/o!!]

#4. I’m a card player, again! Particularly Rummy! I saw a mom and her kids playing it earlier this year at the coffee shop, and thought it was the CUTEST – most wholesome – thing ever, so later that night I asked if my boys wanted to play and of course they were ecstatic :) Probably one of the funnest hours I can remember playing together, and they’ve become super good since too… So much so that I now don’t have to “fake play” anymore and can actually enjoy the challenge!

It’s also sparked some fun playing of other card games as well, such as War, 9-Hole Golf (a new one to me that even my 4 y/o can play!), and Solitaire. The best part? NO SCREEN TIME!

home blogging office

#5. I finally added a home Blogging Office! Interestingly we didn’t do any home improvements over the pandemic, but eventually I thought it was time to have my own blogging nook instead of working off the kitchen table as I have these past 3 years…

So I snagged my old Xmas Desk from the guest room that no one was using, found my old speaker system and wall art motivators in storage, and now we’re all set up and rollin’!! Really makes a difference too, psychologically – like I have the space to create and focus that’s all MINE… I swear I can type faster in my little corner too! 😂

dog boarding
[“Dogboarding”]

#6. I now skateboard 2-3x a week! Which I know I’ve already mentioned 100 times, but couldn’t leave it off of the list since it’s been such a HUGE part of my life this past year and a half… Both physically and mentally – and socially!!  I’ve probably expanded my friend network by a solid 20-30 people which I’d never have done otherwise, and it’s been such a thrill…

And while I’m still stuck on many of the basics of skate tricks (can’t get close to a kickflip AT ALL, but I can rock a good ollie and shove-it and more recently board slide (!!!)), it’s been a blast, and I’m getting particularly good at dropping in and skating down all sizes of *ramps* too – which is a nice break from “street” skating. Every new thing I land I feel like I’ve accomplished something!! Even though no one will ever know it! Haha..

pink vans

#7. I’m obsessed with VANS!!!! 100% due to the skating, of course, but really had no idea how fun and comfy they were! I now have a half-dozen pairs of all kinds of styles and colors, one to match almost all my outfits ;)

In fact, it’s also been teaching me something I never knew though it makes total sense: If you wear a *different* pair of shoes every day, they wear out less and stay more “new”!!! So instead of always wearing the same one like I used to and then getting grungy fast, it feels like I’m wearing a new pair almost every single day because I keep swapping them out! It’s beautiful!!

And something I’m completely making an allowance for minimalism-wise too, because a) they make me happy! and b) I’m *using* each and every pair. And since I’m finding many at vintage shops “gently used”, they’ve been damn cheap too. (Also – Outlet stores!! There’s one at the beach we visit every year (Rehoboth, Delaware) and are all like 50-60% off – It’s amazing!!)

sk8-hi aloha yoda vans - star wars

[Latest pair my brother just found me for $8.99:
Sk8-Hi “Aloha Yoda” – Star Wars edition (retails for $150+!!)]

Ironically though, I can’t skate in VANS at all – even though they’re literally made for skating, haha… I don’t know if it’s the souls or the way they fit or what, but they just don’t work for me so I only rock them around town and then switch to other shoes for skating… like Globe or Nike.

[NSFW song – “Fresh VANS” – D-Loc from Kottonmouth Kings (shout out to my Twitter friend I can’t recall the name of right now that sends me this link every time he sees me in VANS, lol… love it.]

#8. I’ve gotten into writing poems (!) – Not your typical ones about nature or philosophy, but more gritty, “raw” ones where you bare your soul of all secrets you’ve kept inside that you wouldn’t dare put out into tho the world but you do it anyways just for the thrill of it!! Haha…

And WOW do things come up that you’ve suppressed for many a years! I’m only in month #6 or 7 and had to take a break when I was sick, but when I’m there and pouring it out it’s amazing the things you find out about yourself…

For example, I noticed that many of my poems are about wanting to be “good” all the time but occasionally saying “screw it” and purposefully doing the opposite, even though it’s against my nature. And then there’s the turning point in my life where I realized you can basically do or wear whatever you want in life and it really doesn’t matter because there are no “rules” – only perceived standards! Deep stuff!! :)

Maybe one day if I’m brave enough I’ll compile them all and release them in small book format or something, but we’ll see… I have about 15 or 16 that are completed, and then maybe another half dozen that still need some work – ranging from interesting episodes in my youth to college escapades to lots about sex (!!) and then a little about love scattered in there too (but mostly around sex for some reason?!)

Again – stuff you usually keep to yourself!! 😂

pf swagger

#9. Launched a new site around financial merch! PF Swagger — “The hottest merch in finance” lol… I created it while waiting for All-Star money to launch to better promote the awesome $$$ shirts and hats and hoodies in our community, but then after a few months it kinda just stagnated and now only gets updated every now and then…

Although with the latest lineup of Budgets Are Sexy shirts I’ll have to get back to it cuz now I have my OWN merch I can promote – woo! WIN for building outlets that goes around to help yourself along with everybody else! :)

You can check out the site here 👉👉 PFSwagger.com

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And in more financial news…

#10. We paid off our house! And I’m still waiting for the mortgage company to throw me a party, which I don’t think is coming?? 😂

We went back and forth on this for a while before pulling the trigger, but eventually the need to diversify more got us to finally do it (90% of our investments are in index funds), and then of course we knew slashing our recurring monthly expenses would feel pretty good too.

The greedy part of me wanted to just keep shoveling it into the market because I’m pretty sure we’d be up another $50k-100k or so, but at some point you have to be OK with “winning at money” and not needing to maximize every last dollar, right? Though it certainly didn’t stop some of my $$$ friends for poking fun at me as the run up in markets soared for the next year and a half!! Interestingly though they’ve been awfully quite these past few months ;)

#11. We (finally) got a Will and Trust set up – something that’s been tempting to take away my Blogger Card for the past decade!! And not gonna lie, it was a bitch to do and time consuming and boring, but it did force us to think about greater things like what happens to our kids if both of us die at the same time, or how we want our $$$ divided up later on and do we want the kids to be a certain age when they inherit it, etc, etc..

Probably took 3-4 months from start to finish (with one of those months me just not doing a thing because I didn’t want to deal with it!), but once we got going it was fine and we’ve even since amended it which was 1,000x easier (and cheaper) to do, so now it’s just a maintenance thing that you check in every year or so and see if anything needs to be updated.

I can’t recall exactly, but I wanna say it ran us around $3,000 and then maybe a few more hundred for some extra documents like power of attorney and medical forms/etc. Which also were helpful to consider since there’s more to dying than just a will!

(Oh, and we chose to do a Trust too so it’s easier – and faster/less hassle – when dealing with things later for the kids, and also stays out of the public eye. Though it meant more additional steps like re-deeding our house into the Trust and setting up more bank accounts for it, etc… Again, one time pains for long term gains! And 100% proud and happy with ourselves we finally did it, and of course only wish we did it sooner.)

cemetery plot
[Circa 2099]

#12. Speaking of death, I also bought a family cemetery plot!! HAH!!! Ironically on the *same day* I found out I was able to get the first Covid Vaxx shot too when they first came out and didn’t know if it was a sign or not 😂. So got my shot AND final burial place all wrapped up in one fell swoop – BOOM.

What made the plot extra special though was that it was in a cemetery that’s a favorite place of mine to visit and SUPER hard to get into (everyone’s dying too! Nyuck nyuck nyuck…) so the fact it even became an *option* was incredible news.

It cost us around $2,500 for the lot, and I plan on turning it into a “family” one where any one of my siblings or parents or kids can be buried there if they choose so we’re all in one spot. It would mean having to share a tombstone and be cremated to fit (it’s only 3×9 I believe), but hey – less decisions to have to make later and it’s already paid for!

I’ll have to leave it in my dying wishes to tell everyone on the blog where I’m buried so you can come pay your respects and pour out some coffee/whiskey on your homey ;)

jordan card collection

#13. I finally sold my basketball card collection! Remember that from an old blog post where I wondered if it was still worth anything? :) Well it is/was! Not as much as they once were, but def. more than “the cardboard they’re printed on” that you hear all the time… At least if your collection is somewhat decent.

Towards the end of my collecting days (1995-1997) I decided it’s probably better to focus on one or two good players vs a smattering of them, so I chose the GOAT at the time – Michael Jordan – and traded/sold away everything else to just bank as many Jordan cards as I could… Better to have a focused collection than a random one, right?

I eventually ended up with around 200 cards I wanna say, including some extra items like magazines and newspaper clippings and even Wheaties boxes of Jordan to round it out, and then I had a dozen or two other rookies from other sports like Shaqs and Ken Griffey Jrs and even some less valuable older baseball cards from the 1950s I kept around for good measure.

old baseball basketball cards

You can see the pictures of all of them at OMG My Money if you’d like, which is another financial blogger who I learned hustles in sports cards and eventually accepted my proposal of taking them off my hands and selling for me!

Sports Cards Collection How To Inventory, Appraise, and Sell To Make Money

The plan was for him – and me – to blog about the process since cards are similar to liquidating coins that I do for people, but life kinda got in the way and he ended up just buying the lot from me so we could wrap it up and then kept some of them and planned to sell the others…

We estimated them at around $500 retail, and he paid me a flat $350 which we both considered a win. And more importantly, they were now out of my basement and in the hands of others who could appreciate them!! Can’t ask for a better ending than that!

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Some things that didn’t go so well the past couple of years…

#14. Covid. Ugh… We weathered the storm fairly well all things considered – no one got seriously sick! –  but I quickly learned that staying at home for long periods of time did not do any favors to my mental state as an extrovert. I lasted an impressive year and a half staying away from shops and crowds and coffee shops (!!!), but eventually came back to them and now can’t even imagine doing it all over again?! Which I would if I had to, of course, but what a difference in mood and happiness now that we can venture out again!

And what a great reminder of how resilient and adaptable we are as humans too when we need to be. My kids were absolutely FANTASTIC throughout it, barely even complaining or noticing after a while (I complained more than they did!) and made it through a whole school year and then some virtually and still did relatively okay… They were much happier going back IN school again and seeing their friends, but still – couldn’t have asked for a better situation looking back.

Oh, and our big yard proved massively helpful too! Despite my (still) not really wanting our house, haha… (that’s for those of you who asked if I’ve come to enjoy home ownership yet – NOPE!! :))

#15. My sickness… I won’t go too into this as I already brain dumped on you last week, but since it is a part of my ongoing life now I do have to include it and it def. falls into sucky territory… There’s absolutely NO CURE for it (Pemphigus Vulgaris) and you literally just have to live with it and do your best to maintain your entire life!

But I *did* finally get on the schedule to start real treatments for it (a set of infusions called Rituximab, a monoclonal antibody medication that cancer patients also use) so that’s made me feel more at peace after waiting a month or so for insurance to approve it… It costs in the tens of thousands of dollars too, so thank GOD for insurance!! I’ll have to repeat this process every 1-4 years for the rest of my life 🙃

#16. Lastly, we lost some beloved family members and friends over the past couple of years as I’m sure y’all did too… My beautiful mother-in-law was a biggie who fought the good fight right to the end, and then recently some wonderful coin club members ended up passing which unfortunately is becoming more of the norm lately as it’s not a club for the young :(

Always so weird talking to someone one day about coins or something normal, and then literally the next day they’re gone as if it were all a mirage… Really reminds you how fragile life is no matter how much we don’t want to accept it!! We’re only promised today so get those Bucket Lists and “I love you’s” flowing while you can!!

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typing fast gif

And I think that’s enough for one day, haha… did NOT mean to put out such a novel here for you – sorry about that! I told you this desk gets my words flowing fast! :)

Later this week we’ll be back to the meat and potatoes of finance again… I’ve been sketching out a lot of good thoughts lately so I’m excited to share and get your opinions on them!

In the meantime, have a great start to your week over there, and feel free to share any major life/money changes of your own if you wish! A fun exercise to reflect on whether you share or keep to yourself :)

XOXO,

j. money signature

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28 Comments

  1. Virginia June 20, 2022 at 7:23 AM

    Glad you’re back. I enjoy your writing style. Love your Vans shoes collection.
    It sucks to have a rare condition but glad you have maintenance meds covered by insurance. Cheers to life and the challenges you are able to overcome.

    Reply
    1. J. Money June 20, 2022 at 8:07 AM

      Thanks Virginia – I love your name! It’s always at the top of my list but never get to explore it as I only seem to be able to produce boys :)

      Reply
  2. Paul June 20, 2022 at 8:25 AM

    I saw Kottonmouth Kings at the 9:30 club back in like 98 or 99. They opened for Insane Clown Posse. TBH, that was one of my favorite concerts I’ve been to. Small venues were always more fun… Now I’m sore, and my back starts hurting a little just thinking about the logistics of going to a concert again…

    Reply
    1. J. Money June 20, 2022 at 10:11 AM

      Haha… ICP was the BEST… I remember blaring them at college and even dressing up as one of them on Halloween! Everyone thought we were just deranged clowns, but hey – they were close ;)

      Reply
  3. Adam June 20, 2022 at 9:47 AM

    SLICED APPLES AND PEANUT BUTTER 4EVA
    I’m psyched that you’ve discovered the best afternoon snacc of all time!

    And whiskey… goodness. My brass quintet rehearses every Tuesday night and four of us (the fifth doesn’t drink) go through about a handle of the stuff every month. We’ve taken to just buying the cheapest bottles we can find that come in glass rather than plastic. Thanks for reminding me — I think I’ve gotta pick up another one tomorrow on my way over. When I’m not hanging out with those lushes I keep cheap ryes and solid single malts in my cupboard at home.

    What’s your dog’s name? She looks like she’s loving life!

    Reply
    1. J. Money June 20, 2022 at 3:31 PM

      Hah! Awesome!! Much better drinking with friends than alone, of course (unless you’re alone from the kids – in which case it’s glorious!!! lololol)

      Reply
  4. Nancy June 20, 2022 at 9:50 AM

    Hey JMoney!
    So happy you are back. I have been following you since the days of Frankencaddy. Life is just a little more joyful when you are out and about in the world. Love your energy. Last few years have been rough for everyone and I am really hoping the world will just calm down a bit. I have all money matters on autopilot, so just entertaining myself while all the hard work gets done.

    Reply
    1. J. Money June 20, 2022 at 3:37 PM

      You are so sweet, Nancy – thank you :) And what a great position you’re in! Maybe one day I can get another Frankencaddy and scoop you up for some nice coffee and money chatting? You seem so peaceful over there.

      Reply
  5. freddy smidlap June 20, 2022 at 11:25 AM

    dude. where you skating? we were just in virginia beach around the corner from mt. trashmore where i used to work out as a youth.

    Reply
    1. J. Money June 20, 2022 at 3:11 PM

      Ohhh man – I heard that was a good one! Even Tony Hawk skates there!! ;) I’ve only been able to hit a few where I live more northern from there, but it would make for a pretty epic road trip to hit ALL of them in the state… And then maybe next year another state, and then after another and another? I wonder how many there are in the country and then world? I wonder if anyone would pay to sponsor me to do it??! Lol…

      Reply
  6. Ny Money Hawk June 20, 2022 at 12:43 PM

    Really interesting post.

    Sorry to hear about your medical condition but glad to hear the insurance can cover it.

    Someone in my family has a condition that is very manageable but requires extremely expensive medication each month. Thankfully we have insurance that covers after the deductible.

    Knowing this and after seeing how many medications and medical treatments are out there that cost tens of thousands or more per year I am always on the soapbox for people to have good insurance.

    Reply
    1. J. Money June 20, 2022 at 3:14 PM

      Oh gosh sorry y’all have to deal with this stuff too! I have Soooooooo much more empathy for people battling diseases and/or their insurances now… I always knew it was bad, but going through it personally puts it all into much better perspective :(

      Reply
  7. Donna Freedman June 20, 2022 at 2:26 PM

    Fellow fan of Cream of Wheat here! And it MIGHT indicate encroaching age. From https://donnafreedman.com/things-youre-old/:

    “The other day I just did NOT feel like cooking, and none of the leftovers appealed to me. So I chose my fallback: oatmeal. Then I realized that we had an entire gallon of milk – enough to cook farina and still make a batch of yogurt.

    “’Ooohhhh, no, not oatmeal. I’ll have Cream of Wheat,’” I said eagerly.

    “Wonder whether anyone has ever said that exact sentence with that level of happiness? Probably not.”

    Seriously, though: You do you. In fact, Google “Cream of Wheat recipes” and you’ll get even more ideas.

    Glad to see you back, friend.

    Reply
    1. J. Money June 20, 2022 at 3:45 PM

      Of COURSE you eat it!!! Haha….. But I will 100% be checking out those recipes thank you very much ;) one of the few highlights that came out of this dang disease…

      Reply
  8. Caren June 20, 2022 at 3:47 PM

    Good to see you back in the blogging game! Congrats on the foster fail, and sorry to hear about your MIL.

    Reply
    1. J. Money June 20, 2022 at 3:54 PM

      Thanks Caren!

      Been enjoying your journey over there too with your ADHD findings and blog transformations! Looks like you’ve found “your path” with this stuff – it’s beautiful to see :)

      Reply
  9. Cathie June 20, 2022 at 4:37 PM

    Have you tried Basil Hayden? We were gifted a bottle a couple of years ago, and now all the other whiskey is ignored.
    Love the shoes!

    Reply
    1. J. Money June 21, 2022 at 7:23 AM

      no, i haven’t!! haven’t even heard of it but going now to Google – thanks! :)

      Reply
  10. Tracy June 20, 2022 at 4:54 PM

    If you haven’t played the card game Garbage with the kids, check that one out. As soon as they know their numbers 1-10, they can learn to play. I have it listed as one of our favorite games to play with a standard deck of cards while camping…because that is what we do when it rains and we are stuck inside. So. Much. Fun!

    Reply
    1. J. Money June 21, 2022 at 7:33 AM

      Oh cool – okay!! Adding to my list to look into – sounds awesome by name alone so far, haha…

      Reply
  11. Terri T June 20, 2022 at 7:28 PM

    If you like smoky Islam scotches try Ardbeg.

    Reply
    1. Terri T June 20, 2022 at 7:29 PM

      Islay not Islam…. Stupid autocorrect. Islay is the region in Scotland where all the smokiest scotches come from.

      Reply
      1. J. Money June 21, 2022 at 7:36 AM

        hhahahaha okay i laughed hard at this…

        but yes – def. heard of Islay due to the Laphroaig. Will add Ardbeg to my next tasting list, thanks! :)

        Reply
  12. Kevin Martin June 20, 2022 at 9:12 PM

    Great write-up. Main takeaway: I’m going to need some new hobbies if I plan on retiring anytime soon!

    Reply
    1. J. Money June 21, 2022 at 7:37 AM

      Hahaha… TRUTH.

      Or at least be good at finding new hobbies once you have all the free time! :)

      Reply
  13. Gary Grewal June 23, 2022 at 1:14 PM

    You’re youthfulness and vigor are so appreciated, even out here on the West Coast I feel enthusiastic on reading your posts J. Money! I longboard to the gym and for fun, and even though I may not “fit” the profile it’s too much fun just to cruise on a board (and faster/eco friendly).

    I laughed at the Cream of Wheat. It’s been around forever and I was actually thinking of adding that back in because I forgot what it tastes like.

    Huge congrats on paying off your home! That’s a big weight off, and you can focus more on taking care of yourself.

    Reply
  14. J. Money June 23, 2022 at 5:31 PM

    Love that you long board to the gym!! It’s EXCELLENT exercise and 10x smoother transportation-wise than a normal skateboard too :) I used to ride alongside my kid to Taekwondo on my longboard while he road his bike – so great!

    And appreciate the kind words… I do get pretty passionate about stuff here, lol… Glad to see you’re still in the game too w/ the blog!

    Reply
  15. Impersonal Finances June 26, 2022 at 7:54 PM

    I think if I listed out significant life events over the last couple of years I’d have to stop at about two or three haha. Take the good with the bad, of course, but sure sounds like an eventful “retirement!”

    Reply

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