Monday, December 16, 2019


I've been laying low over the past few weeks.  Been going through a rough spot in the care of my mom this month, and have not been able to spend time writing on the blog.

Things had been humming along fairly well this fall.  After I shook up my portfolio back in September, I was on a nice pace of buying and expanding my holdings.

Did have some unexpected expenses last month that is normally part of life's surprises.  Dead computer, dying wife's car, stuff like that.  I'll pay it off in due time.

It happened again.  This time it's much more sobering.   My mom, who is now 86, has been battling dementia.  I am her only family member...

My mom, in the middle, around 1960.  With her sister and bro in law.

The dementia had been pretty much in somewhat control.  She has no clue as to how severe it is, but does know she forgets.  Her short term memory lasts about 5 seconds over the past year.  

As long as she is in her element, her home, she can somewhat function.  She gardens daily, walks the neighborhood daily, and keeps the house clean.  Get her out of her routine, she is totally lost and confused.  

Well, she had a fall the day after Thanksgiving.. Messed up her knee a bit, but will heal on her own.  

All of this trauma to her body triggered a nasty case of shingles that has bedridden her ever since the day after Thanksgiving.  This has effected her routine and her level of lucidity.

It took 2 weeks of constant questions for the shingles diagnosis to sink in.  It took me 10 days of care to get her to get out of bed and move around.   

If I did not have someone there, she would not eat or drink.  At all.   If she did not get out of bed, she'd waste away and be an invalid.  I spoon fed the person that spoon fed me....

This has resulted in some serious costs for nurse care and my time off of work tending to this.  Good news is, she now understands that she must get up, keep the legs moving to stave off wasting away, and easting well to help fight off the outbreak.  

The result is an addition to my credit card debt from easily manageable to not so...  Needing $5K to pay a nurse (no credit cards accepted... grrr) is when the stock fund come in handy.

I used this situation to do some loss harvesting.  I had a couple of companies that were over 10% down, and I get a capital gains loss write off on my taxes.   So I pulled the trigger..

I got out of Abbvie (ABBV) totally, and sold a large chunk of Apple Hospitalty Reit (APLE).   Harvested the long term capital loss and got out from another REIT that had a larger weight in my portfolio than the rest of my holdings.  

If it were not for my stock buying over the past 6 years, I would be up poop's creek...  when it comes to family, this is what this fund is for - taking care of family.  It's not just a retirement fund to escape a job.

Life is a terminal disease.  We all have it...  

We better enjoy it as much as we possibly can.  Live every day like it is your last but also plan of living free of work.  Have fun every single day.  We only have a few years of youth to do so.  At 50, I can't play basketball like before.  It hurts.  Do it when you are 35.  Please. You will be glad you did.

Seeing my mom like this puts this all into perspective.  She can no longer travel to Greece to see her sister.  She does not know what decade it is, or that it was her own birthday when she had to go to the ER.

Life is more important than 40 shares of ABBV and 300 of APLE....  And someday, I will buy ABBV again..if it is a good value..

A positive is that I will move forward without any money going to debt and more to invest moving forward.   I will get it back...

Stuff like this makes me question some of the more extreme frugal aspects of the FI/RE lifestyle so promoted in the blogosphere.  

Not just for caring for others, but to enjoy life before it unexpectedly goes away... The terminal disease of life will sneak up on you when you least expect it.

Does this make sense?


  1. So sorry to hear about your mother, I can only imagine how painful it is to watch a loved one go through this. We do get caught up in the hustle of driving expenses lower so we can accumulate assets for future payoff, but it's challenges like this that make you realize what's important and to enjoy life while we can. I'm glad your portfolio was there so you didn't have to manage financial stress on top of everything else.
    Thoughts and prayers with you and your mother.

  2. Thank you P.C. Looking back, it is an inevitable situation I had to eventually face being an only child. I just never expected the mind to go so far before the body.


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