Good news & new goals

There’s some good news to share.

My ex-husband has called and reports that his employer health care plan will cover the youngest until she’s 21, regardless of her status as a student or otherwise.

If she is a student, it’ll cover her until she’s 25. A couple of weeks ago I considered the option that her prescription drugs wouldn’t be covered which would amount to about $10K per year.

I have some not so good news to go along with it:  by the time he told me this, I had already made myself sick worrying about it.

Last Friday I woke up with a terrible headache, nausea and dizziness. Actually, I thought I was hungover but also thought that was odd given that I only had two conservative  glasses of wine. Still, I spent the day on the sofa, unable to be vertical at all.

The weekend (yes, the long weekend) wasn’t much different. I had moments of being upright, but not many. I didn’t cook. I didn’t buy groceries. I didn’t fill my outdoor containers with annuals. I didn’t care.

By the third day I knew it wasn’t a hangover. I started getting a familiar feeling that I got decades ago when I suffered from anxiety. As I googled anxiety, I noticed a common definition: “worry about every day life events with no obvious reasons for worry.”

Logically, I know I’m not going to be homeless. I know that my odds of being reliant on social services now or in the future are quite slim. I know I’m smart and I know I’m disciplined.

Why do I persist in worrying myself to the point that I can’t get off the sofa for 5 days? Was it a ploy to ensure I didn’t miss the last few episodes of Oprah?  No, it wasn’t (although that was a perk).

Before my little sofa-stint last week, I also broke and re-wrote one mortgage product with Scotiabank. The time I spent considering my options and negotiating saved me not only about $40K in interest over the life of my mortgage, but I also just shaved nine years off the amoritization. Two weeks ago it was being paid off at 25 year amoritization pace. Now, it’s at 16 years. Sounds like I’ll have that money to take my fantasy trip to Florence, Italy when I’m in my sixties after all.

More good news is that I’ve directed my RSP folks to take $400 per month (instead of $100) toward my RSP investments. Yes, that’s still in the plan and no, I’m not compromising on that.

Finally, the good news is because I keep a budget, and because I do pay attention to my numbers, I could see the change in income coming. While I predicted it to be worse than it turned out to be, the knowledge of the pending change gave me an opportunity to make some changes and trim about $6K off our household budget proactively. People who should have anxiety over money don’t do those sorts of things.

I have two goals over the next couple of weeks, one financial and one personal.  The financial goal is to make a decision about how to invest TFSA contributions at my local bank branch to help boost my savings there.  The personal one is to really focus on not worrying about day to day things when there is no obvious reason for worry.

The last thing I want to do is fulfill the prophecy of my worry. There is entirely no need. Besides, daytime TV really isn’t worth it. What’s the point of having the world by the tail and only seeing the sofa?

Note to self: print out one of those “Keep Calm & Carry On” signs. Read it. Live it.

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5 responses to this post.

  1. Good job with the RRSP contributions, mcMOM! It’s tough putting away money for the future when there are so many immediate needs for that cash RIGHT NOW.
    But saving for the future should give you a bit more peace of mind on your ‘freak out’ days. And we all have ‘freak out’ days.

    Reply

  2. Oh I have had sofa days too! Must say that I really enjoy your blog. I think that you have made some really tough and wise decisions about money and your future.

    Reply

  3. Tracy, one of the things that I used to do when I’d get lost in that morass that was my own non-helpful thoughts was to schedule “worrying time” – I think it was like 1/2 hour on Thursdays at 5 or something. Then of course I’d forget. Then I kind of trained myself that whenever I would start to worry I’d DO something – anything to address it. Like write a list of options and things like that.

    I think one of the things that is the most difficult as a single parent is to have to worry alone. You don’t want to make your kids neurotic, you have no S.O. to blame or nag – or strategize with :-), you don’t want to whine to your friends too much… It’s all very hard.

    What I’ve noticed when I’ve been in one of those funks is that our thoughts are incredibly non-constructive. Or maybe that’s just me. I would get just lost in self-pity and undirected anger (that I ended up turning towards myself). So I wonder if it’s not a good idea to actually brainstorm ideas for cutting costs, earning income, all that kind of thing – when we’re actually feeling good and positive for the future (ie. before we need them)?

    Anyway, sorry to hear that you were having a bad week. Any time, if you want to “talk” or vent via email, you know my email address.

    Reply

    • Jacq, I love the idea of dedicating a small amount of “worry time”. Intellectually, I know how non-productive it is. In practice, however, it seems difficult to logically talk yourself out of the muck and mire of it all once you start to slip in there. At some point once I got my butt off the sofa, I did realize that in the weeks ahead, it’s a great opportunity to discuss some strategies as a family. There’s entirely no point in raising anything when you’re in a funk.

      I appreciate the opportunity to vent in your direction! Thank you!

      Reply

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