Count Me Out

Dana Ferris

Dana and her husband live in Davis, California. She’s a professor in the writing program at the University of California, Davis, and is the author or co-author of nine books on teaching writing and reading to second language learners. Dana is a huge baseball fan and writes a weekly column for a San Francisco Giants fan blog under the nom de plume DrLefty. When not working, she also loves cooking, traveling and working out.

Count Me Out

Dana Ferris  |  May 10, 2024

MY ALL-TIME FAVORITE movie is the Coen brothers’ 2000 classic, O Brother, Where Art Thou? At one point, Holly Hunter’s character, Penelope, declares, “I’ve said my piece and I’ve counted to three.” Her estranged husband, played by George Clooney, understood from long experience that once she had “counted to three,” her mind couldn’t be changed.
Last summer, I wrote an article that explored the decisions my husband and I are working through about our retirement date and location.

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My Father’s Daughter

Dana Ferris  |  Jan 30, 2024

MY LATE FATHER SPENT his entire career, from the time he dropped out of college to marry my mother until the day he died at age 61, in the insurance business. My father was also a huge fan of the San Francisco 49ers, our hometown NFL team.
Last year, the 49ers cruised through the playoffs, led by the team’s dynamic young quarterback, Brock Purdy. But then, in the NFC Championship game against the Philadelphia Eagles,

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When and Where?

Dana Ferris  |  Sep 6, 2023

A LOT HAS BEEN written, here at HumbleDollar and elsewhere, about the “when” of retirement. Not surprisingly, there are strong opinions.
For example, I’m a member of a Facebook group where the overwhelming consensus is, “Don’t work one single day longer than you absolutely have to.” Of course, many people don’t have the luxury of choosing their ideal retirement date because life intervenes: They get let go from their job or experience health issues that dictate the answer to the “when” question.

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Scoring Points

Dana Ferris  |  Aug 30, 2023

I’M NOT SOMEONE WHO enjoys spending money on luxury travel. I’d never pay cash for a business class airline ticket or a hotel suite. Nonetheless, on a recent trip to Spain with my husband, we flew business class and had suites in all four hotels we stayed at.
We also visited lounges in every airport before our flights, had access to executive lounges at two hotels where we could get free meals, snacks and cocktails,

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Improving My Habits

Dana Ferris  |  Jun 13, 2023

THE PROLIFIC MR. QUINN recently wrote that people who were irresponsible in one area of their life, such as failing to return shopping carts, also tend to be irresponsible in other areas, like managing their finances. He’s probably right. Still, I’ve had times when, even though I’m a “responsible person”—I’ve had a successful career, my kids lived to grow up, and so forth—I nonetheless had pockets of disorder in my life.
For me, the two biggest areas of chaos were managing money and maintaining a healthy diet and exercise regimen.

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Buying Time

Dana Ferris  |  Jun 4, 2023

“I’D BE HAPPY TO JUST come here every year,” I told my husband. We and our two daughters had arrived on Maui 72 hours earlier. It was May 2000—and our first trip to Hawaii.
We’d signed up for a timeshare presentation in return for discounts on tours and activities. By the time we got to the meeting, I’d fallen head over heels in love with the place. The timeshare salesperson had an easy time persuading me to buy.

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A Better Plan

Dana Ferris  |  May 9, 2023

MY HUSBAND AND I WERE late bloomers when it came to estate planning. Though we took care of the basics when we became parents, such as purchasing term life insurance and naming a guardian, we never had a professionally executed will and trust until 2016, when we were in our late 50s.
Observing my in-laws, now in their 80s, made us realize how important it was to get our own estate-planning house in order.

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