Archive for Retirement

The 2017 Tax Returns Filed

taxes.jpgOur Investment Consolidated 1099 forms were finally available today, so since the returns were 99.9% complete, we filed both Arizona and Federal Tax Returns online this afternoon. We were somewhat aggravated that it took so long to officially get the numbers on the proper forms, but now it’s done and we can start waiting for our refunds.

The 2017 withholding rate we used underestimated the effect of upgrading our motorhome for which larger amounts of Vehicle License Fees and 2nd home loan interest would work to our benefit. As a consequence, we overpaid into the Federal and State coffers all year.

Now, we can start to calculate and adjust the amounts to be withheld for the remainder of 2018. We have a spreadsheet that we used in the past to figure the proper withholding and will resort to it again this year. There are a couple of complications involved, however, due to the effects of the GOP Tax Reform and an increase in the IRA distribution.

Our Arizona withholding will be zero this year because we contribute to the Arizona Private Education Scholarship Fund which completely offsets our state income tax obligation. For Federal Tax, we will use an assumed effective tax rate to determine withholding. As an aside, the IRS withholding calculator is not available because of the recent tax reform bill.

Bottom line, we’re glad to have 2017 tax behind us. Now to figure out how to spend the refund!

Comments (3)

2017 Tax Return (Almost) Complete

irs_logo.pngWe have received all but one tax form from our various sources of income. The last of the 1099’s to arrive (as usual) was the one from the Social Security Administration, the SSA 1099. We had an additional set of 1099 forms this year due to our pension administrators decision to switch financial providers during 2017. Not a big deal, but two additional income sources to input into the tax program.

The last form (1099 B) which we have not yet received deals with investment income; we had a negative capital gain in 2017 when we sold mutual funds to acquire the new RV. I completed the inputs for this event into the tax program, but there are a couple of items I still do not have to finish up the input for the investments section. For that reason, I won’t be able to file the return until about the middle of February. The numbers won’t change, but the missing information is required by the IRS.

I mentioned on the other blog that we would be getting a refund this year. The final calculation shows that to be true. Damn, I hate lending the .gov interest-free money, especially given the amount of the over-payment in 2017. Given the new tax deal from Trump and the GOP, I will have to make some wild guesses as to how much “tuning up” our withholding needs. I am especially anxious to file the returns so we can get our money back ASAP.

Comments off

Checking off the Chores

check.pngWe use a calendar application on the home computer to remind us of things we need to do. Even in retirement, there are a myriad of chores (as many retirees already know) that present themselves to be accomplished on a routine basis. The application also reminds us of birthdays, appointments, holidays and anything deemed necessary as a one-time or recurring event.

Wednesdays are filled with things to do:

  • Look at the grocery ads
  • Do the weekend food planning
  • Start and run the engines in the RV and in Damsel’s Convertible

And today, being the fourth Wednesday of the month:

  • Record the SSA deposit in the banking application
  • Pay off the Credit Card

There was an additional chore to do today; fill the RV with diesel (it has been on half tank since our return from the fall excursion). Our grocery chain has a “GAS REWARDS” program where we can get up to a dollar discount per gallon up to 25gal. It so happened that we had enough rewards for fifty gallons of fuel, so I drove the RV to the station that accepts the rewards here in town and pumped in 44 gallons of diesel at a dollar off the advertised price. Paying $1.999/gal is a whole lot better than the last time we fueled up in rip-off Kalifornistan at the $3.559/gal price tag over there.

Comments (2)

Cactus Planting Day

Peruvian Apple CactusAfter our usual Monday morning activities were complete, Damsel and I decided it was time to put some of the potted cacti sitting in the side courtyard into the ground. We should have done this a long time ago, since a couple of the cacti had started sending roots into the courtyard ground through the drain holes in the bottom of their pots.

Today’s weather was Arizona perfect for these outdoor chores. It was mostly overcast with the temperature in the high sixties, nearly perfect conditions for digging a hole.

The first cactus to go into the ground is pictured on the right. The label on the pot said it was a “cereus peruvianus montrose,” or, as I learned from the internet, a Montrose Peruvian Apple Cactus. This cactus has been doing well in the courtyard in its pot and has given us numerous flowers typical of night-blooming cereus.

In addition to the cereus, we had three one-gallon pots, each containing a golden barrel cactus. These three were added in the rock slope in front and to the side of the house where we already had planted five other golden barrels a while back.

There are three or four more potted cacti in the courtyard which we didn’t get to today. But, now that the weather is going to be like this or cooler for a while, we will try and get to the others in the weeks ahead. Of course, we probably won’t stop there as the landscaping is an on-going endeavor that we may never finish.

Comments (2)

Desolation

CA Hwy 62

This is a view of the scenery we saw yesterday along CA Hwy 62 in San Bernadino County as we crossed the great desolate Mojave Desert on the last leg of our trip. Damsel took this photo after our departure from Twentynine Palms. We were just north of Joshua Tree National Park, which, in itself, is a very large chunk of real estate.

Other than a few lightly populated areas and the larger town of Parker, AZ, the trip yesterday had us looking at bare desert. The difference between the California deserts and Arizona deserts would be that there are saguaro cacti east of the Colorado River and not so much west of there.

Still, both deserts are amazing examples of geological variety and wonder, with scrub brush and jagged mountains. We enjoyed the crossing very much on a clear, calm and beautiful day.

Comments (2)

Journey’s End

Home Again

This is just a short post to log the fact that we are again home after a safe arrival this afternoon. It was a good trip with light traffic and plenty of blue skies and sunshine along a scenic and desolate desert drive. We can hardly wait for the next excursion, but we have pressing issues at home.

Drake, the neighbor’s dog came to welcome Damsel home. Click on the image to enlarge.

Comments off

High Desert Camping

Twentynine Palms Resort

After the second leg (of three) on our return home, we find ourselves in Twentynine Palms in the Mojave, CA high desert. Today was an interesting drive which, in part, took us both to areas of the high desert where we had yet to see, to wit: Lucerne and Johnson Valleys. It is quite the scenic drive with desolate areas, giant rock formations and the usual desert flora and fauna.

The campground here is at elevation 1730 MSL according to the GPS. We are experiencing warmer weather than that we had in Northern California, where fall has definitely become quite brisk. Here, the temperatures are forecast for between lows of high fifties and highs of low eighties. We expect much of the same when we arrive home tomorrow.

Our drive tomorrow will be through the rest of the California Outback, across the Colorado river at Earp, CA/Parker, AZ and continuing through the Arizona Outback the rest of the way home. Weather and traffic are not expected to be factors during the last leg home.

Comments (3)

« Previous entries

-->