A Milestone

 Posted by at 12:05 am  Nick's Blog
May 232014

Yesterday Miss Terry reached an important milestone when she applied for Social Security. It won’t be a lot of money coming in every month, but every little bit helps, right? I’ll be doing the same thing in about three months. Yes, I married an older woman. Or Terry robbed the cradle, depending on how you look at it. Smile

We could have held out until we were 65, or even 70 and received a bit more money but we’ve always lived for today because we both know tomorrow holds no guarantees. That’s why we walked away from our old lives at age 46 and hit the road long before many fulltimers were under age 60. We were definitely the new kids on the block back then.

For as long as we’ve been on the road, and even before, we used Bank of America for both our business and personal banking. But it seems like every week they get less and less user friendly. Little things like one branch refusing to accept a couple of rolls of coins Terry wanted to include with one of our deposits, or having them decline credit or debit card transactions because we’re someplace far away from the address on our account, even though we repeatedly tell them we publish a travel newspaper, which means we travel. But now that they are closing most of their small town branches, we find that Bank of America doesn’t fit our needs any more.

A few years ago we joined Alliant Credit Union, which is very RV friendly and works with fulltimers. So much so, in fact, that they have a vendor booth at Escapade and other RV rallies. Both our Winnebago and our Ford Explorer are financed with Alliant and we have always had a good relationship with them. But we wanted to keep our business and personal accounts separate, so we’ve been looking for a new bank. The problem is that with todays screwy banking rules, Homeland Security and all that nonsense, sometimes banks shy away from fulltimers. Especially fulltimers who operate businesses on the road.

Our pals Greg and Jan White have been with Chase for a long time and have always been happy with them, and a lot of other RVers we know use Chase, so the other day we visited with a very nice lady named Kristen Wargo, a personal banker at the Chase branch here in Elkhart. We explained our rather convoluted situation in that we have South Dakota drivers licenses, a business that originated in Arizona with a Nevada mailing address, and we spend a lot of time in Elkhart, Florida, and Arizona. Kristen said no problem, navigated her way through all of that, and in no time at all had us set up with a new business account. We’re looking forward to being Chase customers and to saying goodbye to Bank of America.

Have you entered this week’s Free Drawing for an audiobook of Big Lake Lynching, the second book in my Big Lake mystery series? All you have to do is click on the Free Drawing link and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Big Lake Lyinching Audio cover

And here are some more free and low cost books from four of my author friends. Meghan Ciana Doidge’s post apocalyptic love story After the Virus is just 99¢ this weekend. Another great 99¢ book is Angie Jenner’s horror and zombie graphic novel Decay of Innocence. If you’re a science fiction fan, be sure to get a free copy of The Tube Riders, the first book in Chris Ward’s Tube Riders Trilogy. And last, but certainly not least, Anna J. McIntyre’s Sundered Hearts by is currently free on Smashwords.

Thought For The Day – Women want somebody who will make them laugh, but also feel safe. Basically, a clown ninja.

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  10 Responses to “A Milestone”

  1. Been on the road for nearly 20 years and used Wells Fargo bank.Wife used Chase for a long time. No problem with either one and very nice people to deal with. Once in awhile I have problems with WF Security blocking my card, but it is easily resolved with a call. If you are having trouble getting card to work you can enter your password before entering card numbers..This will overide WF block. Security isn’t open 24hrs/day.

  2. One problem I became aware of what that when you’re 62 you end up paying quite a bit back if you have earned income. I also turned 62 this year, and for those of us of this age group 66 is full retirement until 66 a percentage of your income will be taken away if you file early. I’m still working so , wait I will:-(
    I agree with you about Bank of America I gave up on them about four years ago nothing but troubles

  3. Back when I was growing up in California, Bank of America was a problem. And I am almost 62. Then later when we were there again in the military, we encountered more problems. SO we gave up on them. I hope you can find a decent bank. We prefer and use a credit union. Though also a bank too for some things.

    Elizabeth in america

  4. I think it may have also helped that you had your banking discussion with Chase in Elkhart. Hopefully the idea of folks living in RVs, traveling extensively and making a living on the road isn’t as far a leap of the imagination for individuals that live in the RV capitol.

  5. Now that you’re with Chase, get yourself a Chase INK card for your business. It pays you a 3% rebate on gas, diesel, restaurants, office supply stores and home improvement stores. I agree, they are very nice to work with.

  6. We’ve been with Chase for years both for personal and business banking and have been very pleased with them. And the previous comment about the Ink card is so right! That 3% back on fuel is nice! They also have a “Freedom” card that gives nice money back “rewards” that change every 3 months. We love Chase!

  7. Waiting to take social security is like investing in an 8% annuity that also contains cost of living increases. It’s a *great* deal, if you can afford to wait. Also, there are certain ‘tricks’ that you can employ (perfectly legal), such as “apply and suspend”. This strategy allows your spouse to claim spousal benefits while both of your individual accounts continue to accrue credits. I will be using this strategy once I turn 66. I will claim, then suspend and wait until I’m 70 to collect. In the meantime my wife will be able collect half of my benefits. Once she turns 70 she will stop collecting spousal benefits and begin collecting her own, full benefits. Assuming I die before her, she will then be able to switch over to collecting 100% of my maxed-out benefits. It pays to wait, assuming you think you will live long enough (82.8 years old) to make up the difference and that you have enough dough to wait.

    Also, I concur with John above, Wells Fargo has been great to work with all these years. They have no problem with our lifestyle.

    — jc&bev

  8. Regarding Banks: Any bank in the world that you work with will piss you off eventually. It is only a matter of time. I’ve been with Bank America since Nations Bank bought Bank America and took the name. Almost 20 years. Chase is in expansion mode and building in many parts of the country including Florida and Nevada. Spent 5 weeks in Colorado last year and there were only 2 branches of BA in the state. We survived. Bottom line when you do not like your bank’s rules move on. I’ve come close to leaving BA a few times but things always got worked out.
    Regarding Social Security: I’m a tax preparer and a financial planner who is approaching 63. If you are not working and would like the money collect it. If you are working and make less than $15,000 each a year and would like the money collect it. If you are making more than about $15,250 from wages or self employment you will have to pay back to social security $1 for every $2 you go over the limit. If you have over $45k of earned income you will pay all of the social security back and have to pay income tax on the SS that you are going to pay back. Between $15k and $45k it depends. The closer to $45k the worse it is. For some people on the low end and the high end it is very simple decision. For those in between it can be a bit harder. Please make sure you know the rules for SS and income tax before you collect. Surprises can bee expensive.
    In the 80’s Congress passed what is effectively a back end means test. Depending on your filing status and your taxable income you can pay income tax on up to 85% of your social security. The IRS then calculates the taxes you paid on your SS and sends that money back to SS. All of it comes in one pocket and some goes out the other pocket. You get to keep the difference. There are many perfect legal complex provisions as JC refers to and they are right for different people. The correct answer can come from a complex formula. You just have to know when you are going to die, how much income you will have each year, what the investment returns and tax rates are going to be along with a few other variables. I’ve got the formula, I just haven’t been able to find anyone who can fill in those variables so I can run the formula and give them the answer.

  9. I have been with Chase for over 10 years and have been very pleased. I do all of my banking and bill paying on line with them very efficiently and they cover all of the postage when checks are needed. Transfer between accounts immediately 24-7 and no questions.

  10. I concur with Jim about taxes on social security, but my situation is I have no earned income. We’re living off qualified dividends, interest, and capital gains. So earned income does not factor into my decisions wrt taking social security.

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