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Getting Catty

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.

Getting Catty

Richard Quinn  |  Dec 20, 2019

CATS ARE NOT MY favorite animal. They don’t like me, either. I’m allergic to them. If I go into a house with cats, within minutes I have trouble breathing. I once saw Cats on Broadway. Even the actors dressed like cats rubbing against my leg creeped me out.
Recently, I was in a restaurant. In the booth opposite were two young women, probably in their mid-to-late 20s. They were chatting away between texts.

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Give Until It Hurts

Richard Quinn  |  Dec 4, 2019

I’M GUESSING OUR credit cards are excited. It’s the holidays, so they’ll get to see the light of day more often. December is a time for spending, for throwing caution to the wind, for rationalizing what we and our children need or deserve. It doesn’t help that we’re barraged with advertising tugging at our heart strings.
Perhaps it’s time to counterattack, to apply logic and to think not about the joys of Christmas morning presents or the next Chanukah gift,

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Food for Thought

Richard Quinn  |  Nov 29, 2019

FULL DISCLOSURE: I wrote this out of frustration, bordering on desperation.
More than a year ago, I bought a condo and took out what was supposed to be a short-term mortgage, which we’d pay off once we sold our home of 45 years. Silly me. You guessed it: I still have the mortgage and I still own the old house, with not even a single offer received. The No. 1 reason for buyers’ lack of interest: The kitchen is too small.

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Fashion Statement

Richard Quinn  |  Nov 22, 2019

SOME PEOPLE ARE into fashion, changing what they wear depending on the season, their whims or what others say should adorn our bodies. In fact, I would go so far as to say some of us are addicted to clothes.
Don’t believe me? Check out sites like Poshmark, which—it says—is “a vibrant community powered by millions of Seller Stylists, who not only sell their personal style, but also curate looks for their shoppers, creating the most connected shopping experience in the world.” Got that?

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You’re on Your Own

Richard Quinn  |  Nov 15, 2019

A WRITER RECENTLY asked my opinion of gig economy jobs and how they could benefit retirees looking for extra income. I looked up the term to be sure my understanding was correct. It was—except we used to call the jobs “temporaries,” “part-time,” “project work” or “consulting.” As I told the writer, a gig economy job sounds pretty good for us retirees who want to keep active or supplement our income, especially if it doesn’t involve being a crossing guard.

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What’s Your Plan?

Richard Quinn  |  Oct 30, 2019

ARE PENSION PLANS superior to 401(k) plans? I have a soft spot for my pension plan, especially when that payment hits my checking account each month. But pension plans were never as common as people imagine—and, for today’s workers, 401(k) plans may be a better bet.
The traditional defined benefit (DB) pension plan is all but gone from the private sector. Companies have terminated them, frozen them for new hires or converted them to so-called hybrid plans,

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Staking Your Claim

Richard Quinn  |  Oct 24, 2019

WHEN SHOULD YOU claim Social Security? The optimum date for starting retirement benefits is the subject of much debate and analysis. For most people, however, it’s a simple matter of when they need the cash—and, indeed, many folks claim as soon as they’re age 62 and eligible. The experts can run models all they want. But when it comes to Social Security, it seems necessity and emotion rule.
One thing is clear, though: There’s no validity to taking your benefits as soon as possible,

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What Do You Mean?

Richard Quinn  |  Oct 10, 2019

WORDS AND PHRASES have a powerful impact. They motivate and mislead. They’re subject to perceptions and preconceived notions. They come and go in fashion. Whatever happened to the word “gobbledygook”? Okay, I admit it, I’m also a fan of “curmudgeon.”
Today, there are several words and phrases in fashion that pack an emotional punch, but sometimes they’re misunderstood or go unquestioned. When you hear the following 10 words and phrases, I’d advise you to put them under a magnifying glass:
1.

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Open Season

Richard Quinn  |  Oct 3, 2019

PICKING A HEALTH plan used to be easy. Not anymore. Today, whether you receive coverage through your employer, buy insurance on your own or are covered by Medicare, you likely face a slew of choices.
Problem is, just as too many investment options in a 401(k) plan can paralyze employees, the same happens with health care. Indeed, a third of employees say they either don’t understand or know nothing about their health care coverage,

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Straight Talk

Richard Quinn  |  Sep 26, 2019

TAKE ANY MONEY ISSUE and you’re sure to find detailed guidance—some so complicated that it’s largely ignored, regardless of its potential benefit.
The following is not intended to make light of the difficulty some people have with money. Still, a little straightforward information helps. Let’s strip personal finance down to its basics:
1. “I can’t afford to save.” It’s easy: Put savings first, and then figure out what you can and can’t afford.

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Mercedes and Me

Richard Quinn  |  Sep 11, 2019

MY FATHER WAS A CAR salesman. For the last 20 years of his career, he sold Mercedes and he was good at it. He even won a sales contest that included a trip to Germany to tour the factory.
Unfortunately, selling Mercedes does not mean you can afford one. But he did get to drive them. As a kid, I was also hooked. When I was 17, I was allowed to drive a 190SL in the local July 4th parade.

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Leaves Me Cold

Richard Quinn  |  Sep 5, 2019

ALTHOUGH IT’S ONLY been a few months since I first heard the term, I’m already tired of all the chatter about the financial independence/retire early (FIRE) movement. This so-called movement is so irrelevant that I don’t know why anybody, including me, writes about it—and yet my curmudgeonly instincts compel me to do so.
Don’t characterize me as a movement hater. To each his own. But consider a recent story in MarketWatch about a couple—he’s age 44,

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Sharing the Wealth

Richard Quinn  |  Aug 22, 2019

SHOULD THOSE OF US who are better off financially feel guilty? When I read about income inequality, folks living paycheck to paycheck and the like, I occasionally feel a twinge of guilt. But it quickly passes.
This lack of guilt doesn’t imply a lack of empathy on my part or that of others who have been financially successful. Indeed, wealth is frequently used to help others. Society has benefited greatly not just from the jobs created by the Rockefellers,

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Matter of Degree

Richard Quinn  |  Aug 13, 2019

YES, EDUCATION IS invaluable. But should young adults go to college to obtain a piece of paper that may mean little in the real world? Is the student debt we hear so much about really worth it? Could pushing college attendance for all be as misguided as pushing homeownership for all?
I’m not against formal education. I put four children through college. In fact, I believe parents are obligated to cover their children’s college costs,

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Lesson Unlearned

Richard Quinn  |  Aug 6, 2019

IF YOU LIVED through the Great Depression of the 1930s and then the Second World War, your view of money was likely molded by those traumatic back-to-back experiences. You might respond by trying to build wealth, so you’re better prepared for the future, whatever it brings. Alternatively, you might hunker down and become ultraconservative for fear of losing everything.
My parents, born in 1910 and 1918, took the hunker down approach. When I was born,

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