Humbly Received

Andrew Forsythe

EVEN AS I’VE WRITTEN regularly for HumbleDollar over the past year, I’ve also learned a lot from the other writers. There have been specific tips I’ve picked up, as well as more general strategies that have influenced my thinking.

For instance, John Lim and others have touted the benefits of Series I savings bonds, with their virtually risk-free interest rate, currently set at a whopping 7.12%. My wife and I took the plunge, opened TreasuryDirect accounts and bought the maximum allowed.

The comments on articles can likewise be helpful. Recently, a reader mentioned that, thanks to a couple of promos, he was getting 1.1% on his Marcus online savings account. My Marcus account was yielding 0.5%, so this got my attention. I referred my wife and she opened a Marcus account, getting us both a 0.5% interest bonus for three months. Then we joined AARP, which got us another 0.1% for two years.

Adam Grossman’s article on how to analyze the total cost of owning a particular mutual fund is a great tool. I’ve used it in deciding whether to sell some actively managed funds I bought decades ago and which now have significant unrealized capital gains.

Charles Ellis’s recent article on fees reinforced, in a dramatic way, my belief in a low-cost index fund approach. His same logic applies to fees paid to an advisor, strengthening my resolve to stay with my do-it-yourself approach for as long as I have enough marbles remaining.

More generally, just seeing so many HumbleDollar contributors and commenters embracing the same basic principles—start early, keep fees low, diversify, trade infrequently, maintain a healthy cash reserve and so on—has been helpful. It reinforces what I’ve personally learned, often the hard way, and gives me confidence that I’m on the right path.

Sometimes, the dividends paid by the site are unique and completely unexpected. A while back, I mentioned my hobby of collecting pocket knives, and how I sell some of them each year to benefit organizations that help our canine friends.

A reader with a knife question got in touch. He had owned an unusual pocket knife decades ago, but sadly lost it. He asked my help in finding a replacement. The pocket knife gods were with us. I found one on eBay, and also gave the reader some eBay tips I’d picked up over the years. He won the auction for the knife and, to show his gratitude, made a contribution to a very worthy dog organization I’d mentioned in my article.

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