My father was a planner. Definitely a type “A” person– even more so than I am (if you can believe it). He did a great job planning and preparing for his retirement.
I just wish he could have enjoyed his retirement for longer.
What with investments (401k), a good pension, social security and such, he was able to build a lovely home and to live comfortably and enjoy the 15 years or so that he had. And now me being the sole heir, means that I now benefit from his planning.
I know that I am so very fortunate. And while I am immensely grateful, I must admit it is also somewhat of an emotional burden.
I wish he had lived and used his every drop of his money in order to travel and be happy. It was his and he earned it. Why shouldn’t he burn through every damn cent of it? He should have lived longer been able to use it however he wanted. Travel. Golf. Wine. Women. Whatever.
But he did not get the opportunity.
And now the foundation that he so carefully laid it’s mine, and I didn’t earn it. This brings up a tremendous amount of guilty feelings. I mean, I didn’t do anything to even remotely deserve this inheritance (other than merely existing). I don’t even know if I was there enough for dad in the end.
Every time I think about this money I also remember briefly fighting with dad about it all before he passed. I think I mentioned it in another blog post when he was upset that his checkbook wasn’t balanced and he got agitated and the last we said of it involved him saying “If the ledger isn’t right, how will you know how much you will be getting when I die?”
So yeah. Lots of emotions.
But what started this whole post was the topic of home ownership. Because I do own my home now. (And soon my mother will, too). Thanks to dad.
When all was said and done, the sale of dad’s home provided me the financial means to pay off my own mortgage a couple decades early. When I did the math, it was a no brainer. The interest saved alone over those years, plus the opportunity to save more money and invest appropriately in a 401k… enough said.
So I wrote a lovely, decently large check to my mortgage company a couple weeks ago.
On Friday I received a letter from Wells Fargo congratulating me for paying off my loan. I opened it and read the news while riding the elevator up to my condo.
When I opened the door and crossed the threshold, I was officially coming home to my space. My little corner of the world which is all mine. My home. I thought I might celebrate more or be happier than I was. Instead I felt a bit melancholy. But also hopeful.
You see, by having no mortgage payment, this affords me a bit of freedom. I can start looking in earnest for a job that doesn’t suck the life out of me. Or heck, I can now say “fuck you” at any time to my current employer, knowing that I’ll still have a place to lay my head and that in the end I’ll be ok.
This coming November, I will also be paying off the small amount left in my mother’s mortgage. This will save her interest and a monthly expense, now that she’s on a fixed income. This should mean that her pension and social security should be enough for her to be ok and to perhaps save some money for future home repairs.
All of this is quite a weight off.
My father was a planner, and I like to think he’d approve of mine, such as it is to date. So, thank you, Dad.