Flying with allergies

As I have mentioned before, our daughter has severe food allergies. There are many challenges with seeing to her safety. One of the things that all parents of children that are allergic to peanuts knows is that a plane can be a very dangerous place for a person with peanut allergies.

Almost all airlines serve nuts, and almost all airlines could care less about anyones allergies much less them being humans that deserve a certain amount of respect. Recent events on the news highlights just how little airlines care about people. There are a number of blogs where people with peanut allergies have shared just how little airlines care about our issues. Some airlines are better than others, but almost all of them have had issues where certain flight crews didn’t follow the airlines policies.

Although our daughter has flown once, we are very aware of the dangers, and that was a very stressful situation. When you are in the air at 34,000 feet and something goes wrong, minutes matter. Most people don’t seem to realize that an EpiPen only buys you about 15 minutes of relief if it works. Severe reactions may not be stopped. So if your a parent and something goes wrong on an airline and you have two EpiPens you technically have about 30 minutes of relief should you need it. That means from the moment you inject someone, they have 30 minutes to be in an ambulance where hopefully they have more EpiPens or epinephrine. If you’ve ever flown you know that those jets take 15 minutes just to taxi down a runway, that doesn’t leave the plane much time to find an airport and land. And of course thats if you get 15 minutes, you may get way less from each EpiPen. I’ve read stories of people that had to take two back to back immediately to stop an episode.

Now I’ve read plenty of Peanut allergy sites about planes making emergency landings due to an event on the plane. And on the flip side I’ve read a number of blogs of people who fly all the time with peanut allergies. (It should be noted that peanut allergies aren’t a one size fits all issue. Some people are mildly allergic and some like our daughter are severely allergic.) There are a number of things that people do, from wiping down the seat and tray, seat and tray covers, dust masks, asking the airline to make announcements and asking if they won’t serve nuts.

On two recent flights that I took with two different airlines, I noticed that there was plenty of peanut particles all over the floor of both planes. And I believe that when people due have an issue on a plane it is most likely that they touched something rather than breathed in something. My little girl is constantly exploring and then touching her face. When she flew the first time she was in a carseat on the plane and only an infant. So it was easy to ensure that she couldn’t touch anything. Now that she’s older, not so much. We have seen what happens with her when she does hive out, a term we use to describe her having a severe allergic reaction. Its a very scary event.

Now I want to show her the world safely, but how to do it. We have driven all over the United States, due to job changes. Driving presents some issues as well, if something goes wrong you could potentially be hundreds of miles from help. But you do control the cars environment. However, trying to visit places when you live on a coast thats far from some of the major attractions (we are huge Disney fans) can be challenging. Do we take extra time off so that we can drive there and back or risk flying and the convenience of being there in just a few hours.

Conference

Work conference. Traveling to a conference is great, you get to get away from the daily grind and fly somewhere new. Meet new people, learn new skills. At previous jobs, I would go to these events and no one cared when I returned, most would never even ask if I had learned anything.

For this conference I get to fly back to what I consider is my Home State, however I will probably never move there again. I have several hundred friends there. The real kind, not the Facebook kind. And plenty of family lives in that state. I’ve made arrangements to meet some of my closest friends for dinners on various nights. Should be fun. Yay 🙂

However, at my new job, thing are very different here. I have to prepare a presentation on all of the topics. This means taking a copious amount of notes. Then I have to create and present said presentation in front of roughly  20+ people. Yay 🙁

Work Conferences.

Antsy

Not sure what it is. I stay somewhere a little while and then I start wondering if I can do better, or make more, or look for a more modern workplace. I have changed jobs many times in the last 10 years. Luckily having a background that I have has enabled me to find work throughout the country.  However all of it at a cost to me of not vesting in any one place.

I do  try to save as much as I can though. Currently contributing 15% of may take home pay. The company has a weird pension system, that I’m required to contribute just over 9% to. The pension basically pays out 2% for each year you work, of course only if you vest. Given my age, I would have to work till I’m 70 just to get 20 years. I am allowed to buy 5 years, but its not cheap.

Yet none of that matters if I can’t stay long enough to vest and since i’m currently considering if I’m in the wright job. We’ll you get the picture. The endless cycle of self annihilation.

Having worked at a few places that were very modern or forward thinking on how they treat employees, I’ve come to realize that is worth its weight in gold. I’f I could go back to the last one that I left, I would never leave again. I was tempted by more money only to find myself in a total hateful work environment. If you find yourself in a job that doesn’t hold you to a clock and is open and collaborative and treats everyone as equals, Stay there!

Markets

So far it has been a glorious couple of months for the retirement accounts. Massive amounts of growth. I cautiously have a small amount in cash thats missing the wild ride up, but for 98% of my portfolio it has been going no where but up. Wouldn’t it be nice if it could stay this way for like 15 years or longer? To retire with Multi Millions and not just a couple of million would be nice.

I’ve been contemplating some of the low fee index funds versus some of the kinda low fee funds that have better returns. I have to admit that in the time that it has taken me to get here, I initially had to go with what was offered by employer accounts and they never had the low fee funds. This is from what I’ve learned is that the wrong people sit on these retirement boards and they limit the choices available to fellow employees. I know that they feel they are doing the right thing, however having more options is what I consider to be the right path. I think I could have gotten to my current level of cash faster had I had many more options available to me. It really bugs me that employers may have an option for a brokerage type account, but you have to have some high amount of money in a retirement account to use that feature.

Having left many companies I have rolled one 401k after another into my IRAs where at last I can manage it my way.

Short Break

I’ve been taking a break from my blog. Too much presidential stuff and worrying about the markets. Lately I’ve been moving money into a S&P 500 Index fund. I’ve also been buying shares of funds and companies that invest in Water.

I think that there will eventually be a very large water shortage. Its the companies that are buying up water rights around the globe that will do well if and when that day comes. Companies like Nestle, actually most of the bottled water companies have a stake in water rights. Plus there are a few water indexes and mutual funds. By no means am I an expert, I just buy what I think may happen.

Earlier this summer I purchased Apple at around $97/share and then sold it at $112/share which if I had waited a few more weeks I could have sold at $118/share, I was still happy though. The sale of those shares I’ve been waiting to see what the outcome of the election is before I commit that money to something, probably the S&P 500 index. I figure if Trump gets elected that may cause the markets to nosedive.

Anyways, I’m gonna try to give this more attention and see how it goes.

Investing

So with the name of the domain being about saving and retirement, I probably should write about investing. Even though we are a 1 income family, I do save as much as I can.

I try to invest a minimum of 10% to my retirement accounts. At one point I was putting in 25% into my 401k. I know that there are sites where families have retired after only working 10 or so years, by saving 60 – 70 percent of their income. That would be a nice goal, but that’s not my current thing. So occasionally I plan to write about the various investments I have. Eventually I will create a page that shows my investments and what my ballpark total balance is.

I definitely should probably minimize the funds that I’m in. Currently I have investments in probably 20 different funds and maybe 5 stocks. I prefer to be extremely aggressively invested. The way I see it is that I will eventually have a small pension. This pension is what I consider my base, therefore I can go aggressive on other accounts.

About a month ago I purchased shares of Nestle, so far its done ok. Considering the whole BREXIT thing occurring, it hasn’t even phased Nestle shares. I’m not the type of person that can tell you why certain investments make more or less sense than another. I buy based on things I’ve read or how I feel. A few years back I bought into a fund called FBIOX, I was stunned at how much that fund earned in interest. This year however hasn’t been that great. But I’m in for the long haul, so we will see where it goes.

Lately I’ve been trying to come up with ways that I can put about 10k into some type of investment for my daughter. If you put 10k in an account that earns interest about 8% for 60 years (her retirement age), it would be worth $1,012,000.00 give or take. That’s without contributing another dime to it.

College

Eventually I did get a degree, B.S. in Management Information Systems. I’ve also earned several certifications, CCENT, CCNA, CCNA-Security, CISSP, & CEH along the way. All three of my CISCO certs have expired. In the Networking world, everyone talks about how they used to have a CISCO cert. CISCO requires that every 3 years you either retake the same cert or one that is equal or higher, in order to maintain your certification. With my two other certs, I just have to earn continuing education credits. Earning credits is way easier than having to study for and pass another cert.

I’m always asked if its more important to have certs or degree. I think that both help to create a well rounded candidate. But the certs and experience will definitely get your foot in the door.

That being said, one of my regrets though, is that I should have completed an MBA. At my school if you immediately started after finishing a bachelors degree, you wouldn’t have to take the GMAT as long as you were a business school major, which I was.

Another regret is not also getting an engineering degree. I must have changed my major 6 times. Two of the times I had engineering majors, to this day I wished that I would have completed under those programs. I also wished that I would have taken more English classes. If you’ve made it this far in this new blog, you probably agree that I need work in that topic.

In college I had friends that were English majors, and it was easy to have them proof my work before handing it in. In hindsight that didn’t help the future me that much. But it does teach you to be resourceful, which is a good trait in the business world.

Navy

I served 6 years in the U.S. Navy. While in the navy I got to participate in Operation Desert Shield and then Operation Desert Storm. I was in the navy nuclear power program. The nuke program is two years of intense training. Its funny, because I dropped out of college and joined the navy. And in the navy I got to spend two years in training, which included all these very stressful classes, and if I would have just stayed in college I could have graduated with a degree. I remember there was a clipping of a magazine article that talked about the most stressful schools in America, and the nuke program was listed along with Harvard and MIT as being the most stressful schools.

I’m a disabled veteran, and I’ve been battling the VA on issues for awhile now. But I have learned a few things along the way and met people that are willing to help. It can be daunting when there is no one to turn to or ask questions to for help with the process. It does take a very very long time, so if you have a claim, get started sooner than later.

The experiment!

This is my experiment in creating a WordPress site. I’ve owned this domain for a very long time. I periodically change my various domains to try something new.

By the way, for those of you that are interested in purchasing this domain name, listen up. For the price of one Class A share of Berkshire Hathaway stock (NYSE: BRK.A), you can purchase this domain name. That would definitely help me in my goal of saving to retire. The price today is currently at $211,000.00/share.