MY PARENTS RECENTLY moved out of the house they’d lived in for 50 years. A half-century might sound like quite an accomplishment. But they stayed too long.
Their home was a 1940s two-story gray stone house north of Pittsburgh, with a three-quarter acre yard. At the 40-year mark, when my parents were in their mid-to-late 60s, the house began evolving from a safe shelter to a hidden hazard zone. The comfort and familiarity of four decades overshadowed the emerging challenges that would affect them as aging seniors.
THIS SIMPLE EQUATION is arguably the most important in personal finance: income – expenses = savings.
Think back to your early paychecks. Most of your after-tax salary likely went toward housing, food and maybe a few debt payments. For many of us, little was available to save each month for the first year or two of our working lives.
Then one day, on the last day of the month, there was money left over.
MY UNCLE GAVE ME one share of Chevron for my 20th birthday. It was 1995, and he was the stock transfer agent for the company, overseeing its dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP). The share was a modest $48 gift, but the accompanying advice became the foundation of my investing career for the 27 years since.
As a young kid, I would comb through the business section of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, monitoring the performance of my dad’s two mutual funds.
MY FATHER RETIRED from a 35-year teaching career in 2002, when he was 56 years old. He hasn’t worked a day since. For years, his retirement was the primary model for my retirement aspirations—until I realized my path needed to diverge.
Like many dads, he worked a career he tolerated but probably didn’t love. It provided our family with a comfortable lifestyle in the suburbs of a low-cost-of-living city. Teaching enabled him to be ever-present during my youth,