I’VE BEEN A WITNESS to inflation with every trip to our neighborhood H-E-B grocery store. As various articles have pointed out, inflation can disproportionately hurt retirees. Yet recently I stumbled on a piece that argued the reverse, at least for some of us. I think my wife and I fall into that lucky category, and I’m curious if other HumbleDollar readers feel the same.
We own our home free and clear, so there are no rent increases to worry about and no mortgage to pay.
I SPENT 40 YEARS practicing criminal law, and there was always a lot to read: police reports, lab reports, probation and pre-sentence reports, motions, orders and court opinions. These were required reading and there was little time left to read for pleasure.
One of the great joys of retirement is the freedom to read a lot—and whatever I choose.
Which, in this season of reflecting on the things we’re thankful for, brings me to one of mine: public libraries.
I TEND TO KEEP MORE cash than the average investor, so the recent rise in interest rates paid on savings has my attention. In fact, 2022’s pitiful performance by bonds has caused me to shift even more money into cash.
We have online savings accounts at CIT Bank, Synchrony, Marcus and American Express. CIT is currently paying 3.25%, Synchrony 3%, Marcus 3% and American Express 2.75%. The rates have climbed so frequently this year that they’ll probably be higher by the time you read this.
I TURNED 70 THIS YEAR, and decided to finally do something about the hearing loss I’ve experienced over the past few years. In other words, get hearing aids.
I asked my older sister for advice. She told me she ended up spending $4,000 to $5,000 for her hearing aids a few years ago. She also said she wishes she’d asked her friends for advice first.
My sister doesn’t consider herself wealthy but has a few friends who are.
COUNTLESS ARTICLES on HumbleDollar speak of the need to save, especially for those early in their careers, so they can eventually retire in comfort. The powerful effect of compounding means that the sooner those dollars are saved and invested, the greater the sum down the road.
But where can folks find those extra savings? Let me offer a suggestion: learn to cook.
The amount Americans of all income levels spend on eating out,
I’VE PREVIOUSLY written about the dramatic turn my life took when I went from carefree bachelor to husband and proud father of four. With multiple college educations looming, I drastically curtailed my spending, including on my professional wardrobe.
Initially, instead of the Hickey Freeman suits in which I’d previously indulged, I was happy with the latest sale at Jos. A. Bank. But eventually, I dipped my toe in uncharted waters—buying clothes on eBay.
This comes with risks.
I’VE WRITTEN BEFORE about stumbling on an unexpected way to save on auto insurance. My education continues: I’ve also learned of a way to save on Medigap coverage.
When I became eligible five years ago for Medicare, I bought Medigap Plan G supplemental coverage from Mutual of Omaha (MOO). Last summer, as my wife was about to become eligible for Medicare, we took another look at Medigap coverage. I was generally happy with MOO’s claims procedures and customer service,
THERE ARE MANY virtues, but one of the rarest is persistence in following through. In our complicated world, often you can’t get something done on the first go. Instead, you have to revisit the task, sometimes more than once. This is true not just of financial decisions but also many other aspects of our lives.
In fact, if you’re trying to get folks to do something, often their first defense is to stall—because they know that,
I RECENTLY STUMBLED on a way to save a significant sum on my home and auto insurance. While I knew that insurance companies use credit scores in setting premiums, I didn’t know about a policy option that could be turned to our advantage.
Our home, auto and umbrella policies are with Safeco, which is part of Liberty Mutual. I don’t know if this option is available with other insurers, although Liberty Mutual has many subsidiaries and I would guess it may be available with them.
IN MY COLLEGE DAYS, a roommate taught me something about bargaining. He was a clothes horse, a rarity among college students then and, for all I know, still today. When he was feeling down, his best medicine was to take a stroll down the Drag, as Guadalupe Street in front of the University of Texas is known, and buy a new shirt.
In those days, there were several small mom-and-pop haberdashers on the Drag,
IT SEEMS LIKE EVERY month or so, one of our kids—and, for the married ones, that includes spouse and little ones—is on vacation. A week or two in Cabo or Cozumel, a road trip out west, or a jaunt to some other interesting destination is commonplace. How is this possible? One of the reasons, I believe, is because they don’t work for themselves.
Instead, they work for big institutions, such as corporations, universities, school districts and large nonprofits.
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,
MY PARENTS WERE financially comfortable but not rich. Some of their friends, though, were rich. The men always seemed to die before their wives, resulting in a few wealthy widows in my parents’ social circle.
I recall glancing at the annual report of a company for which my dad had done some work. One of the widows was listed as a board member and her occupation was stated as “investor.” I asked my dad what that meant and he replied that it meant she had enough money that simply managing it was a part-time job.
I TURN 70 IN JANUARY and my wife just turned 65. I recently applied for my Social Security benefits, and got her kicked off with Medicare. I needed to call both agencies. What a contrast I’ve seen in their responsiveness.
As I’ve conceded before, I’m a bit of a fanatic when it comes to this topic.
We set up my wife’s online Medicare account, and she designated me as her “authorized representative.” Like most couples,
THE ABOVE HEADLINE doesn’t refer to Afghanistan. Even that 20-year struggle has finally come to an end. This is about an even more relentless campaign—against the cable company. In my case, that means Spectrum, part of Charter Communications.
The first question is, why haven’t I cut the cord? The short answer: My wife loves sports on TV and cable seems to be the only way to get all her favorites.
As cable victims know,