Thursday, 21 January 2016

Here we go

I suppose we must admit that 2016 is well and truly under way. We came back from Napier last Friday, to three days of overcast and drizzle, followed by some warm and humid days. Heather will go back to work next week, and I've started on the reform of our financial and legal affairs.

Later this afternoon I am seeing a lawyer about dissolving our family trust. This has been a rather expensive exercise, which we started as a way to separate asset ownership from ourselves to the trust, in case one of us needed long term care. The trust would guarantee that the other partner would still have the house. However, National changed the rules, and that protection no longer applies.

We also have our savings in various accounts owned by the trust, and any interest (hardly worth mentioning in today's economic climate) is being taxed at the trust rate of 36%. It would be cheaper, now that my tax code has changed, to count these interest amounts as personal income. So it's goodbye to the trust, and farewell to a lot of unnecessary time and expense.

Once the accounts are all back in our personal control, the next task is to rearrange the term deposits so that we can draw out some cash as we need it, to supplement our pensions of approx $500 a week. I've been doing spreadsheets based on withdrawing varying amounts, meaning we can afford to live modestly until we're well into our 80s if we're lucky. I suppose that in around 10 years we'll probably sell this house and buy something smaller, and people say you spend more in the 65-75 period than you do later, so we'll probably shuffle through in genteel parsimony. Of course, rises in fixed outgoings, like rates, could make a big mess of these plans.

A miniature schnauzer (someone else's)
Before we settle to the pensioner lifestyle, though, we have a trip to France, Switzerland, and Italy in April - that's paid for (mostly), and we've committed to buying a miniature Schnauzer which will be born in a few weeks, and will be ready to collect when we get back from Europe. Let's hope its upkeep doesn't cost too much!

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