A Modern Miracle

It might be accurate to say that there are at least two aspects to miracles. 1) They are unexplainable. 2) They are beyond human control.

In the realm of science, we expect things to be replicable. A researcher who follows the same methods as an earlier researcher should come up with the same results. It's repeatable. It's controllable.

The nature of a miracle is that it is something that we cannot make happen.

It seems like a miracle to me now, at age 64, to feel like I have financial security. I got my first job when I was 17 years old. By the time I reached the age of 57, the most money I had earned in a single year was about $10,000. In most years until then, I had earned considerably less than that.

My highest income year was 2017 when I earned about $36,000. If I started claiming social security benefits right now, I think they would be about $750 per month. If I receive as much as $100 per month of spousal social security benefits, that would help a lot. If I receive as much as $100 per month of investment income, that would help even more.

A lot of my financial security is the result of an inheritance from my mom after she died in 2014. Mom left me about $150,000 worth of assets. That inheritance is a great cushion, just in case. Enrolling in Medicare later this year will be another big relief.

My current expenses total about $1,000 per month. That's the key. I need to keep my expenses low like that.

If I wait another year or two before I start claiming social security, my benefit might amount to as much as $850 per month. With spousal social security and investment income, that should be enough.

Plus, l still have a part-time job as a Substitute Librarian for St. Louis Public Library.

It feels like a miracle to me. As long as the emerging synergy of human and machine intelligence becomes a force for liberation instead of repression, I should be fine.

By the way, if you look at my statement of earnings from the Social Security Administration, you might notice the five consecutive years of zero income for 1991 through 1995. That is when I was working as a Family Resource Counselor for the Five Church Association, which continued with the title of Diaconal Minister for Deaconess Hospital, and transitioned into teaching introductory classes on computer including as a volunteer at Garfield Elementary School. I actually had some income during those years. It was just too little to file an income tax return, which is why it was recorded by the SSA as zero.

The next article is The Means.

John Kintree
January 28, 2019
Updated, February 8, 2019