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April was a busy month for us. We had the income tax filing deadline, 2 birthdays, our son visiting from Chicago, a visit to my mom, and lots of babysitting travel back and forth (2 hour drive each way.)
I'm happy to report that our 401k accounts are still holding up since withdrawals started, and has not yet dropped below its January starting balance. Yay!
This means that the current returns are keeping up with the withdrawals.
However, a downturn can change that at any time, but hopefully any downturns will be temporary.
This was, as far as we know, our last income tax return with W-2's from our jobs, and we had a nice tax refund. In the years when I know there will be some kind of change to our tax return for the coming year, I always do a "dummy" tax return test to see how the change will affect us. This is really easy to do with tax software. The reason is so that we'll know about any situations where we might owe tax money instead of being owed a refund.
So this time, after I completed our returns for 2011, I deleted the W-2's and added 1099-R's for our planned retirement income to see whether we would still get a refund.
Yay, we will get back most of what is being withheld from our 401(k) savings paychecks! That's a nice little bonus we can use for vacation money or some other big ticket purchase, or if there is a downturn and we want to be ultra-conservative, we could use the refund in lieu of a few monthly paychecks. This is great news!
We had lots of family time this month with a visit from our son and 2 birthday parties. Our grandson turned 4 years old in April, and it seemed a little bittersweet for me since he is no longer a baby. He is still a sweetheart of a rambunctious little boy, and an absolute joy to us. I wouldn't even attempt to count the smiles and episodes of laughter he inspires.
We're eager to find out if our son and daughter-in-law will be providing a grand baby or two in the next few years. I'm trying not to ask what they're thinking on that decision too often.
With all the babysitting we do, it is sometimes hard to find the time to visit my mom as much as I would like. She lives in the Western North Carolina mountains. But in April I was able to spend a day with her, just the two of us.
One of the things we did was talk about retirement hobbies and other things to do in retirement.
One of her long-time hobbies is sewing and making quilts. I have at least one quilt she made, and possibly two. She rarely uses the same quilt pattern more than once, and each quilt has a different color palette.
Here are some of her beautiful quilts.
This quilt pattern is called Churn Dash:
I can't believe next month is our 6th month of retirement! It seems more like 3 months than 6. We don't have many specific plans for May yet, but I hope we can get back into our exercise routine. We haven't had as many 3 mile walks in April as I would have liked, but we did replace a few of them with working in the yard.
Consider increasing your contribution amount for your 401k savings.
Tax time is a good time to get all financial things in order, for example, rebalancing, IRA contributions, and increasing your automatic savings.