One Simple Thing

Dennis Friedman

Dennis retired from Boeing Satellite Systems after a 30-year career in manufacturing. Born in Ohio, Dennis is a California transplant with a bachelor's degree in history and an MBA. A self-described "humble investor," he likes reading historical novels and about personal finance.

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One Simple Thing

Dennis Friedman  |  May 14, 2021

I THOUGHT SAYING goodbye to my coworkers, and walking out my office door for the last time, would be the most memorable moment from the beginning of my retirement. But, no, that moment didn’t come until the next day.
I woke up, got out of bed and walked into the living room. Staring out the front window, I felt this sense of calm and peacefulness that I can’t remember ever feeling before. I felt so relaxed that I could swear I was weightless.

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Two Words

Dennis Friedman  |  April 13, 2021

I’VE LATELY BEEN having a hard time sleeping—and I have a pretty good idea why. It has to do with two words that keep bouncing around inside my head. If you let them, those two words will also keep you up at night. They’re powerful because there’s no end to them. You ask, “What are the two terrible words?” The answer: what if.
What ifs are about what could happen in the future and,

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Making It Last

Dennis Friedman  |  March 26, 2021

MY WIFE AND I usually finish dinner by 6:30 pm. She then heads upstairs, while I stay downstairs until 7:30. You can find me walking around in circles in the living room and dining room during that time. I like to think I’m walking off my meal or regenerating new brain cells. You see, I’ve been reading a book by Sanjay Gupta, Keep Sharp, where he points out that moving is good for the brain.

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My Retirement Plan

Dennis Friedman  |  March 19, 2021

I RECEIVED A LETTER from the Social Security Administration telling me I need to apply for benefits immediately. I turn age 70 this year and there’s no advantage to delaying my benefits any longer.
How does reaching 70 feel? I know I get cold easily and don’t move as fast when I’m exercising. I’m also not as sharp mentally. But I’m actually looking forward to my 70s. It will be a decade more about living and with less thinking about money.

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Best If Shared

Dennis Friedman  |  March 8, 2021

I KEPT THE LANDLINE number that my mother had when she was alive. I thought there might be friends I wasn’t aware of who would try to phone her. Indeed, I received calls from people like Helen who lives in Arizona, Cheryl in Colorado and Jan from Michigan. Eventually, however, the phone went silent, except for those annoying sales calls.
But I still kept the phone number. I just couldn’t give it up. It was costing me an extra $50 a month,

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Do Nothing, Do Well

Dennis Friedman  |  January 1, 2021

I MADE A SMART financial decision last year that netted me thousands of dollars. What’s so fantastic about this decision is that I didn’t have to do anything. I just sat back and let my investment portfolio do all the work.
If you did what I did and ignored the talking heads, and just bought and held a diversified mix of stocks and bonds, your investment portfolio performed well in 2020. Those who warned about investing in overvalued domestic stocks and low-yielding bonds might be right one day,

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Too Thrifty?

Dennis Friedman  |  December 26, 2020

I NEVER REALLY liked the vehicles that I owned. They were an unimpressive lot, including a Volkswagen Beetle, Mercury Capri, Toyota SR5 pickup, Toyota Camry and Ford Fusion. I would like to say they got me where I needed to go, but that wasn’t always the case. All the cars, except for the Camry, were unreliable, which would sometimes make my life stressful and difficult. Of course, keeping those cars for many years didn’t help.

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Mother Knows Best

Dennis Friedman  |  December 21, 2020

DURING THE BULL RUN of the 1990s, when the S&P 500 soared 417%, I had a brilliant idea: Why not start an investment club? I invited my father and sister to participate. My mother declined. It turned out she was the smart one in the family. We met periodically, usually on a Sunday, to decide which companies to invest in.
I was serious about this endeavor and determined to make it successful. I even gave our new investment club a name: DSD.

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Live It Up

Dennis Friedman  |  November 27, 2020

THE HOLIDAY SEASON is here—and retailers will be looking to make up for the sales they lost during the pandemic. Let me offer some advice you won’t hear elsewhere: Go ahead and splurge.
What do I want for Christmas? To be honest, not much. But then again, my wife and I have been spending money in 2020 as if Christmas were a year-long event. We remodeled the house, filled it with new furniture and bought a new car.

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Don’t Delay

Dennis Friedman  |  November 18, 2020

I’M GOING TO BE 70 next year and I think I’m in pretty good shape. I do 25 pushups before bed, along with some stretching. I usually go for a long walk in the morning and, once in a while, I might head out for a hike. On top of that, I do strengthening exercises three times a week.
I don’t take medication or have any chronic ailments. Of course, you can never be sure what’s going on with your body,

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Try Not to Slip

Dennis Friedman  |  November 6, 2020

THE FLU SEASON was approaching, so I decided to schedule an appointment with my medical provider for a flu shot. The next morning, I received an email from my prescription drug plan informing me that it was processing a payment for $30.80.
My immediate thought: “How could my medical provider charge me for a flu shot that I haven’t yet received? And why aren’t they billing Medicare?” Medicare provides a free flu shot to every enrollee.

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Go Long

Dennis Friedman  |  October 14, 2020

WHEN I WAS GROWING up, I don’t remember my parents talking about the stock market. In fact, I’m not sure when they started buying stocks. It could have been sometime after I graduated from high school in 1969.
When I was a junior in high school, however, I do remember a conversation about stocks between two of my classmates. Brandon was telling Brian that he could buy a motorcycle if he sold some of his shares.

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The Short Game

Dennis Friedman  |  October 5, 2020

I WOKE UP ONE morning, looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize the person looking back at me. Who is this person? It can’t be me. I’m not the same person I was five or six months ago. I don’t know if it’s the pandemic that caused me to behave differently or if I’m going through some kind of midlife crisis.
No, it can’t be a midlife crisis. I’m almost 70 years old, plus I don’t feel my life is boring,

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It Sure Adds Up

Dennis Friedman  |  September 16, 2020

MY FINANCIAL advisor has been on a mission to reduce my investment costs. He’s been replacing my low-cost, broad-based index mutual funds with the exchange-traded fund (ETF) version. He believes this will improve my investment returns over the long run.
For instance, if you own Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund—a mutual fund—you’re currently paying 0.11% in annual expenses. But Vanguard’s ETF alternative charges just 0.08%, equal to a savings of three cents a year for every $100 invested.

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11 Remodeling Tips

Dennis Friedman  |  August 24, 2020

WE JUST STARTED remodeling our house. I knew it would be an expensive project. Indeed, my next-door neighbor warned me about the difficulty of controlling costs.
He said they netted $250,000 from the sale of their old house. Their plan was to remodel their current home and use the remaining proceeds to pay off the mortgage on their vacation property. But unfortunately, they blew through their remodeling budget and didn’t have enough left over to pay off the other mortgage.

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