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Richard Quinn

In addition to writing for HumbleDollar, Dick blogs at his own site, QuinnsCommentary.net. Before retiring in 2010, he was a compensation and benefits executive. Dick and his wife Connie have four children and 13 grandchildren, and they've been married for more than 50 years. Since retiring, they have been to 44 countries and driven across the U.S. twice. Dick takes pride in having kissed the Blarney Stone, drunk from the Fountain of Youth and placed a prayer in the Western Wall. He's written more than 200 articles and blog posts for HumbleDollar.

Boredwalk

Richard Quinn  |  Dec 11, 2020

I AM THE FIRST TO admit that I’m no star when it comes to math. I was so enthralled with calculus in college that I took it twice. To make matters worse, math keeps changing. Just ask a 10-year-old to show you how to multiply.
I am not alone. At the high school from which I graduated in 1961, the current math proficiency rate is 2% The national average is 46%. The lowest ranked state is at 22%.

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Last Stop

Richard Quinn  |  Nov 24, 2020

I GREW UP IN a small apartment. Truth be told, I was never enthusiastic about maintaining a house, but I did so for 45 years. Eight years after I retired in 2010, the house and its stairs became too much for my wife and me.
We considered moving to a smaller one-story house and briefly flirted with a continuing care community. We even looked at one community and found it too expensive, especially having to hand over a partially refundable $900,000 upfront fee,

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The Late Show

Richard Quinn  |  Nov 17, 2020

I’VE BEEN INVOLVED in retirement planning for more than 50 years. Back in the day, my job was to calculate the pensions for 20 to 30 workers each month by hand, using multiplication and long division. Many of those new retirees were poorly prepared, but they did have a pension.
Here we are in the 21st century and I see little has changed. Lack of planning, lack of savings, widespread misinformation and reliance on inaccurate assumptions still plague Americans.

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For Your Benefit

Richard Quinn  |  Nov 3, 2020

ONE OF MY SONS has to choose health insurance for the year ahead—and his employer provided a 95-page pamphlet. Let’s face it: If you need that amount of information to make a choice, something is wrong.
The pamphlet describes three medical options, plus dental options and vision coverage. Two options get you an employer health savings account contribution—or it is a health reimbursement account? There are three levels of deductibles and coinsurance and, of course,

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A Seat at the Slots

Richard Quinn  |  Oct 13, 2020

WHAT DO HIGHER corporate profits truly mean to investors? Or, put another way, this 77-year-old neophyte wants to know, “How is investing in stocks different from gambling?”
Don’t get me wrong, I invest in stocks and I understand they’re the best way for most of us to grow wealthy over time. What I don’t get is, “Why? What causes a stock to increase in value?”
I’ve researched the question and what I find is a lot of talk about earnings per share,

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Want $870,000?

Richard Quinn  |  Sep 17, 2020

SENTENCES THAT BEGIN with “I can’t” drive me nuts—and I especially dislike the sentence, “I can’t save.”
“Pish-tosh,” I say.  Every household in America earning at least the median income can save for the future. If they try hard, many lower-income Americans could also save.
Of course, the amount saved will vary, but even small amounts can help over the long haul. If a household earning $40,000 a year can sock away enough to generate $300 or $400 in monthly retirement income to supplement whatever they get from Social Security,

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Taking Credit

Richard Quinn  |  Aug 25, 2020

BACK IN APRIL, I WROTE the last in a series of articles about my ill-fated cruise around South America, the last few weeks of which were spent in quarantine. In that article, I mentioned efforts to obtain a refund for airline tickets we bought to fly home but couldn’t use, because the ship was refused permission to dock in Punta Arenas, Chile.
For several weeks after our return home, I attempted to get the refund.

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Do as I Don’t

Richard Quinn  |  Aug 14, 2020

MOST OF US DON’T attempt to make a living trading stocks. Instead, investing is a long-term effort. We’re accumulating wealth to sustain us in retirement. Well, at least some of us try.
To that end, we need to save regularly over many decades, reinvest interest and dividends, and keep our eye on the pot of gold at the end of our rainbow.
How come we find this so hard? We get distracted. We start thinking short term.

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About That 4%

Richard Quinn  |  Aug 5, 2020

IT’S SCARY TO RETIRE with a pool of money, knowing how you handle it determines your financial security for the next 25 years or so. It must seem even scarier to everyday Americans who don’t think they can count on Social Security.
A recent Tweet caught my eye. It linked to an article about the problems with the so-called 4% rule. As you might recall, the 4% rule states that, if you withdraw 4% of your portfolio’s value in the first year of retirement and thereafter step up the dollar amount withdrawn with inflation,

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Banking from A to F

Richard Quinn  |  Jul 27, 2020

YOU MAY HAVE HEARD me say this before: I don’t think people need to budget if they have an effective spending and saving system. Recently, a reader of my blog challenged me on that point, arguing that you need a budget to ensure you’ll have enough to pay off your credit cards in full.
Au contraire, as we say here in New Jersey.
You may also have heard of the envelope method, where some people place money in envelopes for specific expenses.

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It Took Decades

Richard Quinn  |  Jul 10, 2020

IF YOU’VE WORKED a lifetime—while prudently saving and investing—so that in old age you’re well off financially, should you feel guilty?
If your retirement income is greater than the income of most American families, including those still raising young children and facing college costs, as well as the cost of their own retirement, is that embarrassing?
A few years back, during a discussion about how people spend, save and invest, my son-in-law—who’s a financial advisor to high net worth families—casually said to me,

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Making Cents

Richard Quinn  |  Jun 24, 2020

IT ISN’T HARD THESE days to find media stories about family financial troubles—living paycheck to paycheck, no retirement savings, no emergency money and so on. These news reports often include complaints about the limited opportunities to get ahead financially.
That got me thinking about my own work history. My memory of earning money goes back to 1953, when I was age 10. It was about then that I recall understanding that you needed money to get stuff,

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Scared Debtless

Richard Quinn  |  Jun 17, 2020

MONEY IS ONE OF THE most emotional issues we deal with. It can create both immense stress and moments of pleasure. I’m guessing the way each of us view money, and how we handle it, is as unique as our fingerprints.
My wife’s car of 14 years was kaput and headed for the junkyard. Fixing the wiring and computer on her 2006 Jaguar would have cost $5,000—far more than the car was worth, even though it was otherwise in very good shape.

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What If?

Richard Quinn  |  Jun 10, 2020

IT SEEMS THE WORST of this economic crisis may have passed, though the health risks will be with us for some time. What have we learned? For many people, long-discussed financial risks became all too real in 2020.
There are two words that should always be part of our thinking: what if. Those two words aren’t always associated with bad things. What if I win the lottery? I have a plan for that, which varies depending on how much I win and whether it triggers estate taxes.

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Despite Myself

Richard Quinn  |  May 14, 2020

I OFTEN BLOG ABOUT mistakes I’ve made. Why change now? Looking back over my 76 years and the many poor money decisions I’ve made, it’s a wonder I’m in better financial shape than the Social Security trust fund—and yet I am. Here are 10 of my more memorable decisions:

In 1961, when I started working at age 18, I got hooked on the stock market. With little money and earning a bit more than minimum wage,

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