PCC Scroll: Your Money Matters

Here is an article I wrote about planning for retirement.

As we enter fall, we are entering the time of harvest.


In the spring, we planted. In the summer, we cultivated. In the fall, we harvest. In the winter, we will enjoy the fruit of our labor.


What happens in nature is a great analogy for the steps we take in preparing for retirement. Depending on your age and where you are in your career, you could be in spring, summer, fall or winter. It is during the winter, or our retirement, that we enjoy the ultimate fruit of our financial labor.


As they say, “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” Still, when it comes to your retirement, you must plan. In retirement, my desire for myself and for you is that we are able to enjoy the fruit of our long years of employment and retire in comfort (with all of our needs met) and in style with (with some of our wants met).


AARP has an article that suggest 10 things to do when planning for retirement.


Define Your Retirement

AARP recommends writing down your top five objectives and being specific and realistic. So instead of writing down “travel,” write down “travel to Cairo, Jerusalem and Casablanca.” Instead of writing down “volunteer,” write down “volunteer at the neighborhood foodbank.”


Take Stock of Your ‘Assets’

Focus on traditional assets, but the article also suggests thinking about talents and skills you can use for extra income in retirement. For example, teaching piano, giving singing lessons and writing/editing.


Evaluate Your Health — Now

One thing we rarely think about in planning for retirement is investing in our health, now. The quality of your health will have a major impact on your retirement. Make sure you are going to your checkups and exams now. Eat right, exercise and get enough rest. Also, don’t forget your mental health. Stay sharp by reading, playing games and doing puzzles.


Determine When to Collect Social Security

They give a hint that later is better, and they have a social security benefits calculator on their website. Social security is a crap shoot that I assume will be there. I also assume that the benefit will kick in later in life.


Network Through Social Media and Other Methods

Having a strong community is so important as is networking. Be sure to connect with people who have similar interests. It is also a way to keep your mind fresh and could provide a way for you to find ways to volunteer your time.


Decide How Much You Want (or Need) to Work

This is why having a financial planner can be beneficial. You can set goals that will have you on track to retire when you choose and you can calculate different scenarios. For example, an early retirement from corporate America into a job that pays less but is more rewarding. But since you have planned, you will be all set when you retire.


Create a Retirement Budget

The budget needs to include your income streams, your expenses and factor in any debt. Having your mortgage paid off could be huge.


Find New Ways to Cut Your Expenses (Start Saving More)

Keeping your expenses to a minimum is always a good habit. Balance living today with preparing for tomorrow. Perhaps you could get rid of your cable bill and use a cheaper alternative.


Prepare for the Unexpected

Many people have higher health costs than they expect when they retire. Keep that in mind as you are planning. If you own a home, be mindful of costly, reoccurring expenses like roof and siding replacement.


Stick to Your Plan

You have worked hard. You deserve to enjoy your retirement!



That one weekend in Los Angeles

After work on Friday, I headed to the airport to spend the long-weekend in Los Angeles. Since I got in late, Samarah and I chatted then off to bed to tackle the city on Saturday and Sunday.


Although the last several years I have gone to Long Beach for work, I have not been to Los Angeles in around seven years and that trip was to be a bridesmaid in a wedding.


In some ways, I felt like a first-time visitor. Rediscovering the long streets that I associate with the city: Sunset, Sepulveda and Ventura. Remembering how close Venice Beach and Santa Monica are. Remembering how close Melrose is to Sunset is to Hollywood. Remembering how spread out everything can feel and how something close in miles can be far because of the endless LA traffic.


One of my favorite places to visit is Venice Beach. Even though it is hell of crowded with a mixture of locals and visitors, it is the perfect place to people watch. The area gives new meaning to the phrase, “Characters Wanted.” I love being on the water, and the sound of waves crashing is music to my ears. It was hell of hot, but we did take the time to walk up and down the main drag. We did meet an interesting person named Matthew. He was watching a friend’s stall, and he does independent movies. He gave us a copy of one of his movies called North Starr. The movie in question won a Grand Jury Prize Nomination for the Sundance Film Festival. It was also in AFI Dallas and the Chicago International Film Festival.


Then we went to Santa Monica to meet Mary and Tony and family for dinner. We had a chance to talk, catch up and do a little bit of reminiscing. Then we all walked around and had Gelato, enjoying the cooler weather. Her kids are so adorable. If you are in a mall and see a ZPastabar, check it out. It’s so good.


Last stop for the night was to City Walk to say hi to Deidre who was in town with the boys. They were in town to see the first taping of DaNell Daymon and Greater Works on America’s Got Talent. Check the show out and vote for them tonight. Samarah and I walked around for a quick minute, but then it was time to come home to go to sleep. Did I mention it is hot!


Sunday morning we went downtown to have brunch at a place called Perch. The food was yummy; I had French toast. The service was good and the rest of the customers were friendly.


I had been telling Samarah about the tent cities in Seattle, and she showed me the ones in Los Angeles. I was quite shocked. Our tent cities are more around underpasses with a few on sidewalks. The ones in Los Angeles were shocking. And they went on for street after street after street. I am not sure what the solution is, but I am convinced tents are not the way. How do we house people and offer services like counseling and/or addition services? I have so much to say on this topic, but it is a whole new conversation.


One of my favorite places to wander and shop is Melrose. We started in the Sunday flea market. We came across the booth of an English man who is a photographer. He was selling art on canvas. Some was art he did with spray paint on canvas. Others was pictures he had taken and printed on to canvass. It reminded me of the photo transfers I had done with Angela. I totally could try to sell some of my pieces. I need to give it some thought and figure it out! It also made me more determined to showcase my own art. Some of his pieces were somewhat dark on the surface, but in talking to him, it was more about finding peace in the struggle is life. One day we are all going to die, so how do we make sure we are living it to fullest. I approve of that message.


We also hit up Crenshaw, and Samarah was saying how that area is being gentrified and the black community who historically lived there is slowly being pushed out. It is happening everywhere and by that, I mean worldwide. We came across a community fair that we stopped at. I have not seen the show Insecure but the building where the main character works in in the show was across from the fair.


We drove around the black, middle-class neighborhood of View Park/Windsor Hills that is up the hill. I had never been up there so it was cool to see.


Then off to cruise along Sunset. That so reminds me of Motley Crue and all the other bands like Guns N Roses and Faster Pussycat that played in that area. We were going to do Hollywood, but just looking at the crowded streets was exhausting!


We ended the day by having dinner at Harold’s and Belle’s back in the Crenshaw area.


Monday was just chilling until it was time for me evening flight, and I have today off to catch up and get some writing and editing done.


Oh, and for the first time in a long time, I did not get the TSA hair pat down. I got it coming down but not going home.


I spent the weekend having awesome conversations about life and its meaning. About purpose and what is success. About satisfaction and constant dissatisfaction. I am nowhere closer to answering the meaning of life question. I just do know that whatever it is that I am longing for/desiring is not here. When is this due season? I have more questions than answers, but I am more determined to not settle until it comes.


I also got some inspiration to the next installment of Following Jane’s Advice. I just need to get it out before I lose the inspiration.


To end, to quote U2, “I have climbed the highest mountains; I have run through the fields…but I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.”

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From Blogger to WordPress

Hi everyone,

In lieu of an August activity, I have been working with the lovely and talented Meagan Davenport to transfer the content of my blog from Blogger to WordPress! Huge thanks to Meagan for doing the heavy lifting. I appreciate your hard work and dedication to the project.

See Meagan’s blog. She can help optimize your blog or move you over to a new platform. She also does copy-editing and proofreading. I recommend her wholeheartedly.


I had two major goals for 2016. One was moving the blog over. My favorite part of the new blog is the ability to drill down to different categories. For example, there are categories for travel, photos, and my church writing.

Please take a look.

NFC Championship Game

I made a friendly wager with a work colleague in San Francisco regarding the NFC Championship game, and we all know how that ended. My winnings arrived today. Needless to say, I will be sharing with my coworkers.

I have had three training sessions, and I consider this chocolate as temptation. I will resist!


Signing Out

Okay. I just realized that I had already posted my Arts N Carafes first class, but alas, I will keep the second post.

I will try to do a better job of staying on top of this.

I actually like the picture thing. It’s cool to share life in pictures.

Like I said, I feel a little stressed. Part of it is poor time management, but I need to get it together!

Hard to believe that tomorrow is March 1 already!