About Me

Friday, June 30, 2017

Locking too much money up?

I have realized that I, sometimes leave too little money in my non-interest earning accounts as I approach the end of the month. I am a bit obsessed about keeping nearly all of my money in interest earning accounts.

I just had to shuffle some money around to meet the end of month bills because of that.

Was it due to unexpected expenses? Not really. I just felt like donating more money to a charity this month and I did not have my infamous budget sheet with me so, I used the wrong account to make the donation. Couple of days later, I realized my mistake and moved some money around in three separate accounts. Thankfully, I did not miss any of the automatic payments and ended up being charged a late fee. That would make me kick myself.

In the USA, FDIC insurance is up to USD 250,000 which is great. In this country, it is up to TL 100,000 which is about USD 28,600 these days. So, I have to use a number of banks to keep my money in. I only use reputable banks and usually keep more money than the insured amount. Still, I have to deal with a number of banks and multiple accounts. That makes management harder.

Mind you, the interest rates in this country are around 12-14 % for TL and 2,5-4% for USD. That is why, I try to lock my money in interest earning accounts.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Opening a bank account as a non-US resident in the USA

I am interested in parking some of my savings in a US bank account. My upcoming visit at the end of August is a good opportunity to do that because, a non-resident cannot open an account online. I know there are some options but, I would like to go with names, I am familiar with.

I am looking at Wells Fargo, Citibank and HSBC. HSBC is present in Turkey whereas the other two are not.

I am going to base my decision solely upon the following fees:

1. Account Fees
2. Fees for withdrawal from an ATM outside the US

Normally, if you maintain a certain balance, they should not hit you with fees. I have no intention to use this account in the next few years. No fees for a minimum balance of USD 1500 and 2-5 USD per each ATM transaction outside of US is acceptable to me which seem to be the norm from what I have read.

I haven't decided as to how much I would like to bring to the US. That is an important decision and I do not want to go overboard with that at least in the beginning. I am thinking of gradually shifting money to such an account.

If HSBC makes it easy and cheap to transfer funds between the two countries, I think, I will do business with them. Right now, I am not a customer of theirs in Turkey. I looked it up though and by moving some of my savings to an account with them might prove useful. I have submitted a form inquiring about what I need to know. I will wait patiently till someone gets back to me in 24 hours. Hoping at least...

Some of you may ask why I want to do this so, here is why: I am very suspicious about the future of the economy and political stability in my own country. I think the current government is screwing up big time and at one point they may decide to freeze our accounts, limit withdrawals (happened in Greece; a European Union Country a couple of years ago) or decide that our savings in foreign currencies will be converted to the local currency. Or even worse, a civil war may break out because of the stupidity of the Government.

Many people do not think any of this might happen but, I am a born pessimist. I would like to park at least some of my money outside of Turkey at a trustworthy organization yet still within reach globally. Better be safe than sorry...

Friday, June 23, 2017

A Good Team!

Yesterday night we had a dinner barbecue at work. Less than half of our employees fast during Ramadan. So, it was a nice surprise for them too. We have a very large garden and enough picnic tables to accommodate all our staff.

At the end of the night I was looking at the people while sipping tea and my boss came up to me to say: "This is a Good Team. Isn't it?" I told him I was thinking the same thing and thanked him. He said "What for?" I replied "For offering the position for my last job to make good memories". He thanked me too and we ended the night at about 11 p.m. chatting and laughing with the team.

It is the beauty of a small company doing a very technical job. There are only three problem people and one of them is leaving the company today. The other two work off-site so, the rest of the team can work in harmony and co-operation.

My boss is going away for vacation tomorrow and he will not be back before mid-August. He designates a couple of hours each day to communicate with work and the rest of the day, he is radio silent. As the founder and the sole owner of the company, he certainly deserves such a nice long break with his family.

A week after he comes back, I will be gone for two weeks.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

BossMan, Olivia and Irene

Jean asked in a comment about the Bossman, Irene and Olivia and I have realized, I never gave you an update.

The BossMan wanted Irene and Olivia to talk it out but, Irene could not bring herself to send Olivia an apologetic message because, she did not think she was at fault. So, she sent a normal message to Olivia to get together and talk. She asked why Irene wanted to speak to her and she replied that it was about what has happened and that she felt it was necessary to talk face to face. Olivia never answered her back because she was probably expecting Irene to be apologetic.

Then I got fed up with all this nonsensical drama and told the BossMan that this is childish and that Irene should stay at least until the fall till after our vacations. Only then we can look for a new person, get her on board and let Irene go. Meanwhile there are 5 companies looking to buy our company so, may be there is no reason after all to let her go.

So, the whole thing is over now.

It was silly from the start.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Summer Plans

I am taking mom to Istanbul with me today. Next weekend coincides with Ramadan Feast, a religious holiday, and a lot of people move from one city to another to visit relatives or take a short vacation creating terrible traffic.

I had told mom that I would not go to Ankara just for 4 days and besides Istanbul becomes such a peaceful city when people leave it. During the last few years I did go to Ankara and suffered terrible traffic both ways. I have promised myself not to do it this year.

She agreed to come with me and stay for a few weeks. Then, we shall be back and she needs some minor work done in her apartment regarding the natural gas line. I am supposed to find a contractor and supervise the work for her.

My boss will be leaving for his vacation next week until mid-August. I have a little more than two months till my vacation starting on August 25th. These are slow months at work so, I do not think, I will be too busy.

I am still looking for a replacement of the studio apartment due to the noise but, since it will create extra expenses, I think, I will stay put for another year. In a few days, I will give up the effort. Still looking just in case.

I am not planning any activity that will require spending money until my vacation in the US other than a few dinners out. So, these two months, I will be watching my spending like a hawk.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Played Hostess on behalf of the Company

Last night, we had a dinner party. Some of you may know that it is Ramadan for the Muslims and the whole day fast is broken at dinner time. I do not fast or practice any of the religious rules but, it was an opportunity to invite our Customers for a nice dinner at a five-star hotel.

130 people or so attended and it was quite the success. I do not know how many of the attendees were really fasting but, that is none of my business.

The food and the service were superb. It cost a pretty penny to my boss but, he does not mind. The reputation of the company is more important.

At the beginning I had to grab the microphone and welcome the guests. No big deal. I could talk longer. I have no fear of addressing crowds.

I enjoyed the dinner and so did everybody else. That's what counts.

I actually dread these occasions because there are many things that might go wrong that are beyond one's control.

Next year, during Ramadan, I am taking my vacation :)

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Happy! Toothache gone!

This morning I went to my dentist High School buddy and got my very old filling replaced. He told me there was a large cavity under the filling. He administered a little anesthesia. I did not feel a thing and he was so fast, I could not even believe it, when it was over. Yay! From now on, he is my dentist.

I was worried that it would be a root canal but, that did not happen so I am really really happy. It only cost me USD 50 which is like nothing when compared to the US prices. His clinic is in a very nice and popular neighborhood.

The effect of the anesthesia is wearing off and I am now feeling a bit of pain but, that is expected. I usually get away without taking a pain pill.

I am so glad, I acted fast.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Tootache... Yikes!

For the last 5-6 days, I have a toothache especially when I am drinking or chewing something. I hate getting fillings but I think, I should see a dentist sooner than later. I made an appointment for tomorrow morning.

This is yet another one of those unanticipated expenses. We shall see how much damage is done.

My insurance does not cover dental work. Social Security will cover it but then, I have to use their hospitals and probably wait weeks to get dental work done.

So, I am biting the bullet and going to an old HS mate of mine.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Dream Wardrobe

As you know, I had been talking about getting rid of clutter at home and so far I have made many successful sorties.

I was able to donate 13 pairs of shoes and 1/3 of my wardrobe and to gift 2 pairs of shoes (never been worn).

What a relief!

Even after all that, I am thinking, I can still get rid of some more items.

I am planning to retire in the next 4 years (hopefully at the end of 4 years not before) and I can dream of the minimal wardrobe I plan to have when I am retired. It will probably be like this:

1 pair of nice jeans
1 pair of nice black pants
2 nice blouses and a few nice t-shirts

1 pair of jeans to go outside and run errands
1 pair of old and worn-out jeans to do dirty work

2 pairs of sweatpants and a couple of sweatshirts to wear at home in winter
2 house dresses for the summer

Half a dozen t-shirts for every day wear.
Some old t-shirts to do dirty work

Sneakers for everyday wear
2 pairs of boots for the winter
1 pair of nice shoes
1 pair of Crocs

A couple of cardigans and may be one nice jacket just in case.

I have never been a shopaholic but, I still own more than I need. Couple of weeks ago, I was looking at the pocketbooks that I had and was surprised to see that I have probably enough bags to last all my life. I am not the kind of person who changes the pocketbook a few times during the week to match outfits and what not. I usually start using one and until it is stuffed and very heavy, I keep using it for weeks, sometimes months. When I am obliged to empty it out, I change the pocketbook that I am using.

When I was living in the US, I had only two sets of bed sheets. Now, I do not even know how many sets I have between the two apartments. Why? I have no idea! Same thing for towels. I have a thing for towels and I think, one can never have enough towels. Why? Don't know.

Last weekend, I took a mid-size garbage bag and went around the apartment opening each drawer and cupboard. By the time I was finished, I had the whole garbage bag full of stuff to be thrown out. I think, I should do this more often.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

50! I took myself on a Bosphorus Ferry Tour

It is official now; I am 50! Wow!

Today I took myself out to lunch and then on a ferry tour on the Bosphorus. Here are some photos: Enjoy!

Ortakoy Mosque (1856) and Bosphorus Bridge

Bogazkesen Castle (1452)

Pretty isn't it?
Unaffordable Real Estate unless you have 20-50 million USD

Some more real estate

And more... Right on water

Monday, June 5, 2017

My last day being 49... Counting my Blessings

Tomorrow I will have left behind half a century. I am feeling....old....confused...weird.

Life IS too short!

I had a good childhood. I was loved, taken very good care of and protected. My parents were the best and I am so thankful for having them as my parents. My dad passed away, when I was only 27 and he was only 54. Thank God mom is still around. My northern star...

I have a wonderful sister. She is smart, witty, funny, a bit crazy and very loving although she does not like to show it. I am so thankful for her and wishing her stable health and a long, happy life. She had been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease couple of years ago and I am worried about her health but I am praying and hoping for the best. I love her more than anyone can imagine.

I have some amazing friends and I am so thankful for having them.

I have had relationships which made me feel happy only for a while. I do not know it it was me, or them, or my poor choices, or their poor choices but, none of them worked. I finally gave it all up in my early thirties and decided that I would be better off alone.

Since, I do not feel lonely and spend time by myself quiet satisfactorily (is that a word?), I haven't regretted my decision.

Financially, I did well. If I had known, what I know now in my youth, I could have done things in a better manner but, even now at the brink of being 50, I am very close to financial freedom.

I think life is a gift and we must make the best of it. I am thankful for my life and ready to embrace what it will bring in the next half a century.