On My Own—But Not

Kristine Hayes

Kristine Hayes Nibler recently retired. She and her husband reside in Arizona. She enjoys spending her time reading, writing and training their four dogs.

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On My Own—But Not

Kristine Hayes  |  Nov 26, 2022

WHEN I ANNOUNCED I’d be retiring at age 55, the most frequent question I received from friends was about how I’d pay for health insurance. They knew I wouldn’t be eligible to receive Medicare for a decade. They also knew paying for 10 years of premiums would likely leave a large crack in my nest egg.
Fortunately, I was able to take advantage of a health insurance benefit provided by my former employer. As an early retiree,

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Hitting the Brakes

Kristine Hayes  |  Oct 25, 2022

FOR MORE THAN 30 years, my primary hobby has been training dogs. I’ve trained my own dogs, winning multiple performance titles along the way. I’ve also devoted years to coaching dogs, and their owners, as part of a dog sports team. I’ve spent thousands of hours—and thousands of dollars—attending dog competitions.
My husband shares my passion for dog training. He spent nearly three years training one of our German shepherds to be a member of a canine search and rescue team.

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Cold Comfort

Kristine Hayes  |  Oct 19, 2022

MY HUSBAND AND I CAN now say we survived our first Arizona summer. When we moved from Portland, Oregon, to Phoenix, we weren’t sure how we’d cope with the abundant sunshine. There was also another unknown: How much would it cost to keep our home comfortable when the temperature outside soared?
We heard stories about residents in our retirement community paying upward of $350 a month for electricity during the summer season. Since we’re living on a fixed income,

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Best Advice Ever

Kristine Hayes  |  Aug 26, 2022

I’M EMBARRASSED to admit that the best piece of financial advice I’ve ever received is also the only piece of financial advice I’ve ever received. To make matters worse, the advice came from someone who stood to profit from the guidance he was providing.
As a child, I don’t remember a single family discussion about money. There were no dinner table talks about the stock market. There were no lectures about saving, spending or investing for college.

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Farewell Paycheck

Kristine Hayes  |  Jul 27, 2022

I ADMIT I’M ENVIOUS of people who feel passionate about their careers. People who have no desire to stop working. People who can’t imagine how they’ll fill their days when they finally retire.
I spent 37 years in the workforce. My first few years, I held multiple part-time jobs to put myself through college. Once I completed my master’s degree, I began working fulltime. For 30 years, work was just a daily chore.
During three decades of employment,

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Procrastination Pays

Kristine Hayes  |  Jul 15, 2022

I CONSIDER MYSELF to be a reasonably skilled do-it-yourselfer. I’ve tackled painting, plumbing and even small electrical projects with the help of YouTube. I figure I’ve saved thousands of dollars over the years by completing various projects myself rather than hiring a professional.
A couple of months ago, our utility provider offered my husband and me a deal on a new “smart” thermostat. The utility would give us the thermostat for free if we agreed to sign up for one of its energy saving programs.

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Didn’t Last Long

Kristine Hayes  |  Jul 5, 2022

JUST A HANDFUL of weeks ago, I posted about achieving a $1 million net worth. Now my status as a millionaire is already in jeopardy. While the value of some of my financial assets have held steady—and some have seen gains—the portion of my retirement account invested in the stock market has suffered significant losses.
My retirement account balance peaked on Jan. 4 at $478,000. Today, it hovers around $430,000. Since I retired in late May,

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Staying Put

Kristine Hayes  |  May 27, 2022

I’VE MOVED SIX TIMES in the last 10 years. Four of those moves involved relocating less than a mile. The most recent move–from Portland, Oregon, to Phoenix, Arizona–required significantly more travel.
As a child, my family changed homes frequently. I attended five different elementary schools between first and fourth grade. I’ve never minded moving. I’m not the type of person who gets attached to a home or a particular location. I’m a firm believer that change is a good thing.

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Seven Figures

Kristine Hayes  |  May 24, 2022

A FEW WEEKS AGO, my net worth hit the $1 million mark. It was a milestone I’d been looking forward to for years.
Almost a decade ago, I performed my first net worth calculation. Back then, I was recently divorced and living on my own for the first time in my life. My only assets were three retirement accounts and a seven-year-old car, plus half the proceeds from the sale of a house my ex and I had owned.

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Winding Down

Kristine Hayes  |  Mar 26, 2022

I LET MY EMPLOYER know last week that I’m leaving. It’s a strange feeling to think I’ll soon be saying goodbye to the daily routine I’ve followed for more than two decades.
When I began working at the college, I was 31 years old. If I wore my blonde hair up in a ponytail, I was often mistaken for a student. But working at a college provides a unique perspective on aging. Every year,

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Talk About Hot

Kristine Hayes  |  Mar 23, 2022

WHEN I PURCHASED a house in Portland, Oregon, in 2018 for $375,000, my plan was to stay in it for four years. By 2022, if everything went according to schedule, I’d be set to retire from my fulltime job. Then I’d sell the house, and my husband and I would move to Arizona, where we’d purchased a second home in 2019.
Conventional wisdom suggests that homeowners should plan on remaining put for at least five to seven years to come out ahead on a home purchase.

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Up and Away

Kristine Hayes  |  Jan 27, 2022

MY HUSBAND AND I purchased a home near Phoenix, Arizona, in 2019. It was the second house we’d bought in less than a year, so we were only able to come up with a 10% down payment. That’s meant paying $70 a month for the past 30 months to cover the cost of private mortgage insurance (PMI).
With property values in the Phoenix area up 30% since 2020, I knew I should contact our mortgage company to see if we could get the PMI payment removed.

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Resolved: Worry Less

Kristine Hayes  |  Jan 4, 2022

FOR AS LONG AS I CAN remember, I’ve been a worrier. I’ve spent too much time fretting about any number of things. I worry about money. I worry about my health. It’s not too much of an exaggeration to say there are times when I worry about not having enough to worry about.
As I get closer to retirement, I’ve resolved to limit how much time I spend worrying about the future. I’ve come to realize many of the decisions that have kept me up at night are things I have little control over.

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Not Average

Kristine Hayes  |  Dec 29, 2021

I REMEMBER TALKING to a guidance counselor in high school. The meeting was supposed to help me decide which career path I might follow after graduation. As part of my assessment, I’d taken a skills inventory test designed to narrow down jobs I was potentially suited for. Nearly 40 years later, I still remember three of the suggested occupations: tour bus driver, police officer and veterinarian.
In the end, I didn’t choose any of those careers.

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Clicking for Cash

Kristine Hayes  |  Nov 19, 2021

A FEW YEARS AGO, I searched a government database of unclaimed assets—and was surprised to discover the state of Oregon owed me money. I submitted a claim and waited a few weeks.
A check for $86 arrived. The funds were from royalties I’d earned from a YouTube channel that I’d long since forgotten about.
It’s estimated that one out of 10 Americans has unclaimed property waiting for them. A variety of websites allow anyone to search databases filled with unclaimed property,

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