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Clicking for Cash

Kristine Hayes

Kristine manages the biology department at a small, liberal arts college in Oregon. Her pastimes include dog training and competitive pistol shooting. She and her husband look forward to retiring to Arizona in a few years.

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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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Worth the Cost

Kristine Hayes  |  Oct 21, 2021

MY MOM JUST SOLD her house. A few months ago, she interviewed three real estate agents. Each offered her a different opinion of how much her home was worth. All three also charged different commissions.
In the end, she selected the agent with the highest fee. I was skeptical when she told me her 1,100-square-foot home would be listed for $500,000. My mom’s house and mine are nearly identical in size, age, location and condition.

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From a Distance

Kristine Hayes  |  Oct 11, 2021

SIX YEARS AGO, when my grandmother was age 94, our family felt it was best for her to move from her home to a residential senior facility. She didn’t want to leave the house where she’d been living for more than 50 years. But with no close relatives nearby, we thought the time had arrived.
I’m not sure such a move would be necessary today.
Amazon just announced that its Alexa Together service will begin enrolling subscribers later this year.

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Healthy Investment

Kristine Hayes  |  Oct 2, 2021

DURING THE FIRST FEW months of the pandemic, my almost-daily trips to the gym ceased. I was home more of the time and snacking became a habit. I found myself five pounds heavier than I’d been a year earlier. Knowing that, at age 54, my metabolism isn’t quite as vigorous as it once was, I took action. I started a ketogenic diet and quickly dropped the extra weight.
As we contemplate growing older, much of our time and energy is spent planning the financial aspects of our retirement years.

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Dream Inflation

Kristine Hayes  |  Sep 25, 2021

AS PART OF OUR retirement strategy, my husband and I plan on using the money we make from the sale of our home in Oregon to help cover part of our retirement expenses. We already own a second home in Arizona, which we’ll move into once I leave my job. We’ve played around with different ideas for how best to use the money, including making a large, onetime payment against our Arizona home’s mortgage.

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Matters of Degree

Kristine Hayes  |  Sep 19, 2021

AS SOMEONE WHO’S been employed in academia for more than two decades, I often wonder about the future of higher education. One trend seems clear: At a time when more companies are doing away with degree requirements for new hires, more colleges are doing away with studying. The so-called college experience appears to be more important than academics. Indeed, grade inflation has been running rampant since the 1960s.
Meanwhile, student debt loads are the highest they’ve ever been.

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Financial Dogma

Kristine Hayes  |  Sep 11, 2021

I’VE BEEN TRAINING dogs for nearly 30 years. I’ve won enough awards in dog competitions to wallpaper my office with rosette ribbons. My 15 minutes of fame also involved dogs. Almost 20 years ago, I appeared on an episode of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, where one of my corgis happily demonstrated his ability to ride a skateboard.
Just as there are many ways to skin a cat, there are also many ways to train a dog.

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Ignoring the Experts

Kristine Hayes  |  Sep 6, 2021

I’M NOT A RULE breaker. In the nearly 40 years I’ve had a driver’s license, I’ve received just one traffic citation. I follow all the laboratory safety rules when I’m at work. When I fly, I’m the person who removes the card from the seatback pocket and follows along with the flight attendants as they do their safety briefing.
But when it comes to finances, I don’t always follow the rules laid down by accountants,

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Brace Yourself

Kristine Hayes  |  Aug 26, 2021

PARTICIPANTS IN 401(K) plans will soon be getting estimates of how much income they might receive in retirement if their plan savings were spent purchasing an annuity. Under a new rule, plan providers are required to provide participants with at least two annuity estimates annually on their account statements. One would project the lifetime income from the purchase of a single-life annuity and the other from a joint-and-survivor annuity. A joint-and-survivor annuity extends payments over two lives,

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A Well-Placed Bet

Kristine Hayes  |  Aug 5, 2021

THREE YEARS AGO, I bought a home a few weeks before getting married. The purchase wasn’t so much an investment as a necessity: My new husband and I owned four dogs between us, and we knew we’d have a difficult time finding a rental that would allow that many pets.
I’d lived in the Portland, Oregon, metro area for nearly 30 years and had owned two other homes. I knew which neighborhoods to avoid,

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Lean Times Ahead?

Kristine Hayes  |  Jul 30, 2021

THE HEADLINE GRABBED my attention—because it seemed to speak to my situation: “Planning for Retirement: Women in Two-Income Households at Highest Risk.” The article suggested that women in their 50s in two-income households are at greater risk of being unable to maintain their preretirement standard of living when compared to single women and women in one-income households.
A big factor: Dual-income households tend to save a smaller percentage of their income compared with single-income households.

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Keeping My Cool

Kristine Hayes  |  Jul 23, 2021

MY 2007 HONDA CR-V’s air conditioning system started having issues about three years ago. I took it to a shop where they added refrigerant and declared the problem fixed. A year later, the AC stopped working again so I took it to a different mechanic, who declared the problem solved after adding refrigerant and replacing a relay. Several months later, I was once again driving around in a car at ambient temperatures. Because I spent much of the summer of 2020 working from home,

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Aging Alone

Kristine Hayes  |  May 20, 2021

MY MATERNAL grandmother just celebrated her 100th birthday. She still lives a mostly independent life, residing in her own apartment within a senior living facility. She walks to the dining room three times a day for her meals, does her own laundry and is always willing to talk about current events.
At age 54, I often try to imagine what it’ll be like if I live to the same age as my grandmother. The process usually overwhelms me with angst.

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A Firm Foundation

Kristine Hayes  |  Apr 9, 2021

I WAS 24 YEARS OLD when I started working fulltime. My salary at that first job wasn’t great—I was making about $16,000 a year—but the retirement benefits were stellar. As a government employee, I was entitled to enroll in the state’s pension plan. Every month, the government contributed an amount equal to some 17% of my salary. The money was guaranteed to never earn less than 8% interest a year. Most years, the rate of return was much higher.

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Not What I Planned

Kristine Hayes  |  Jan 30, 2021

I WROTE MY FIRST column for HumbleDollar four years ago. In that article, I described how a midlife divorce had forced me to learn as much as I could about investing and personal finance. As part of that education process, I spent hours creating spreadsheets designed to predict my financial health over the next decade.
Planning didn’t seem difficult back then because my life was quite simple. I shared a one-bedroom apartment with my elderly dog.

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