Sunday, October 25, 2009

Clockwatching for retirement

I am presently 55 years old. My financial situation is not exactly "great", so I figure that I will need to work until I am 70 years old before I can "retire", or at least begin something that vaguely resembles retirement. I just started an Excel spreadsheet that tells me exactly how many days that I have until retirement, assuming that I retire on my 70th birthday: 5,297 days or 14.51 years. That still seems a long time to me, but maybe it doesn't seem as long as it used to seem.

I do not mind working per se, but it is getting increasingly difficult to find work as the years go by. Sure, I also put in a lot more effort to find what little can be found, but that just makes the whole "work experience" that much less appealing and satisfying.

Who knows, maybe I'll just punt when I hit age 62 and reture early just to avoid having to waste so much of my time and energy hunting and waiting for skimpy work opportunities. That would result in 25% less social security benefits than if I waited until age 66, but the tradeoff is that I would get to enjoy life and the avoidance of wasting so much of my time.

I just noticed a footnote on the Social Security web site: You must be at least 62 for the entire month to receive benefits. I had to tweak my spreadsheet for that. I will have been 62 for an entire month in 2,411 days, which is 6.61 years. That is still a very long time, but at least I can feel that the light at the end of the tunnel is out there even if I cannot see it yet.

It is always good to have alternative options. So, my plan is to work until I am 70, but when I hit 62 (or the full retirement age of 66) at least I will have the option of asking myself whether I really feel up to working all of those extra years.

For now, I will stay on plan and retire in 14.51 years. Now, time to get back to what little work I have and to start looking for new work.

I really am looking forward to not having to work, but I also recognize that I may have to work at least part-time even in retirement, presuming that work is available for me.

The crazy thing is that I really do enjoy working, but the problem is that the overall "work" environment basically... sucks, to use a technical term.

I absolutely look forward to "working", every single day. The issue is whether I get paid for my efforts.

-- Jack Krupansky

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Made my Kiva micro-loan for the month of October

I made a new micro-loan through Kiva for the month of October. My intention is to make a new micro-loan every month, if possible, from repayments for past micro-loans. Repayments in August and September were more than enough to fund this latest micro-loan (and for a few more months as well.) All of these micro-loans are for micro-entrepreneurs in business in developing countries.

This one was for a group of 17 (mostly women) in Ayacucho, Peru for their individual business needs, especially retail. It is an 8-month micro-loan for a total of $3,025, of which I lent $25. The micro-loan was already disbursed to the micro-entrepreneur on August 26, 2009 by the local partner. Kiva is raising funds to essentially buy that loan from the local partner.

This was a group loan, meaning that although the individual members of the group take their money and go their own ways, the entire group is responsible for the total group payment each month, even if some members are unable to pay and the others make up for the shortfall..

I was going to make a loan to a micro-entrepreneur in the Phillipines, but Kiva has a new policy that permits their foreign partners to decide not to cover foreign exchange losses (e.g., if the U.S. dollar declines relative to the local currency.) I have no idea how big a deal this might be, so I restricted myself to only selecting loans that are not tagged with this risk.

I now have only one micro-loan that is delinquent. It is actually just due to the field partner experiencing difficulty with transferring the money back to Kiva due to some new local government requirement.

I have made a total of 22 micro-loans to date, since December 2008.

Here is my Kiva public lender page:

Note: This is all real and good, but these micro-loans do not net any interest to us micro-lenders. Kiva's fine print:

Lending to the working poor through Kiva involves risk of principal loss.
Kiva does not guarantee repayment nor do we offer a financial return on your loan.

Still, at least we know our money is really helping somebody better their lives in a visible way rather than put the money in a bank account or money market fund where who knows what it helps to pay for or what good it does and for only a few pennies of profit in our pockets.

-- Jack Krupansky