WHEN I WENT to the grocery store last week, it was packed with customers stocking up on essentials. Carts were filled with items that people couldn’t possibly consume in any reasonable period of time. It’s a scene that’s been repeated across the country.
A friend told me: “When people panic, they want things right away. When people see other people panic, they panic, too.” Like the coronavirus, fear is highly contagious.
I’m not panicking,
STOCKS HAVE YET to close 20% below their Feb. 19 all-time high, so technically the U.S. market hasn’t entered bear market territory. Still, after this morning’s sharp drop, the S&P 500 is 17% below its peak.
If this decline does indeed become a bear market, how can you prepare yourself? A bear market can be an emotionally gut-wrenching time—one that leaves you feeling vulnerable and helpless. But there are steps you can take to limit the damage to your investment portfolio.
WHAT I FIND surprising about the stock market isn’t its recent dramatic pullback, but how I’ve reacted. I simply haven’t paid much attention. It’s just been business as usual. I haven’t even looked at my portfolio or watched CNBC.
Such a calm demeanor is unusual for me. A few years ago, if I experienced this type of market decline, I would have made big changes to my portfolio. Yet this time around, I just shrugged my shoulders.
I’M SAYING GOODBYE to an old friend I’ve known for 35 years. We had a special relationship that enriched my life in many ways. Although I’ll be moving to a new city and will never see my old friend again, I’ll always be grateful for our relationship, and how it helped me financially and emotionally.
You see, as I put my dear little friend—a one-bedroom, 789-square-foot condominium—up for sale, I’ve come to realize how important it was to have a home that helped me live below my means.
LIKE OTHER WRITERS for this site, I blog often about what’s happening in my own life—my financial mistakes, early retirement, health scares I’ve had, my mother’s death and more. Here are four updates:
Spending. When it comes to parting with money, I have a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality. I sit home at night wearing three layers of clothing, two pairs of socks and a hat because I’m too cheap to turn on the furnace—and yet I don’t hesitate to spend hundreds of dollars to be pampered at a five-star hotel.
I’M NOT THE TYPE of person who makes New Year’s resolutions. This year, however, I foresee some major changes in my life—and that’ll require some financial adjustments.
Now that my elderly parents have passed away, Rachel and I can live like a normal couple in our own home. As I mentioned in an earlier article, we will be moving into my parents’ house.
During the last several years taking care of my mother, I was constantly traveling from one house to another and living out of a suitcase.
A FEW MONTHS AGO, I received an early morning phone call from a nurse, notifying me that my mother had passed away. Even though she was age 96 and recovering from a mild heart attack, it was still a shock.
Up to the time of her death, she was mentally alert and determined to show everyone that she belonged at home, not at a strange nursing and rehabilitation facility. She gave it her best,
SOCIAL SECURITY has come under political attack over the years. With the federal deficit ballooning, will there be another round of attacks in the run-up to 2020’s election?
I hope not. Here are 15 reasons we should all want to preserve Social Security benefits, no matter which political party we favor:
It helps many. About 63 million people get a Social Security check each month. That’s one out of six Americans.
It provides insurance.
I HAVEN’T BEEN feeling myself lately. Until now, I didn’t understand what had brought this on. You see, I have this different attitude toward money—and it’s changed the way I behave.
Before, it seemed like money was always on my mind. I used to love to read Barron’s every week. Now, I just pick it up in front of my house and toss it in the garage, where it joins 20 other unread copies.
MANY BELIEVE we’ve raised a bunch of financial illiterates. If people were better educated about personal finance, the argument goes, they’d make smarter money decisions.
North Carolina this year became the 20th state to require high schoolers to take a financial literacy class. Its Lieutenant Governor, Dan Forest, said the new law would “ensure future students, prior to graduating high school, will be more financially literate and economically sound in their decision making as adults.”
But many aren’t sold on the idea that a personal finance class in high school is going to make much of a difference.
AS I GROW OLDER, I realize how important money and good health are. If we have sufficient income to pay our retirement expenses and if our health remains good, we have the makings of something very special.
What is that special thing? It’s the ability to be independent—to live the life we’ve always lived with few limitations. We can continue to live in our home, drive our car, visit our friends and cook our meals.
WHEN I WAS A CHILD growing up in Ohio in the 1950s, my two best friends were Tommy and Terry. They were brothers who taught me a lot about life. When I was nine years old, they showed me how to smoke a cigarette. They also taught me what the middle finger was all about. Okay, some of this stuff wasn’t what you’d want your child to know. But they also helped me learn an important lesson about money.
PREPARING FOR retirement is like running a marathon. It requires dedication, discipline and endurance.
But there’s also a crucial difference.
When you cross the finish line in a marathon, you know the race is over. But when you quit the workforce, it’s much harder to figure out whether you’ve successfully reached retirement. Why? A happy and prosperous retirement is about money, but it’s also about so much more than money. Here are 15 signs that a wonderful retirement likely lies ahead:
You don’t need an online calculator to tell you that you have enough money,
I STILL KEEP IN touch with three high school buddies. One of them, Brent, isn’t doing well. He has high blood pressure, poor eyesight caused by glaucoma and creaky knees that make it hard to get around, and he’s recovering from heart surgery.
My other friend, Robert, is a diabetic with poor vision, suffers from neuropathy pain in the foot, needs a cane to walk and is on medication for various ailments.
Burt, my third pal,
I HAD AN AUNT who did everything for her husband. She paid the bills, invested their money and oversaw the family budget, plus she did all the household chores.
They both liked this arrangement. It worked for them. But as they grew older, people were concerned about what would happen to Uncle Bob if he outlived my aunt. He depended on her for everything. How could he take care of himself?
My uncle could not operate a washing machine,