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Richard Quinn

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.

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Faulty Assumptions

Richard Quinn  |  Feb 19, 2024

I SAW A GRAPH recently generated by some retirement-planning software. It showed the investor enjoying substantial portfolio growth over the course of his 30-year retirement. Forget running out of money. This particular software program says the guy’ll be a 90-year-old multimillionaire.

My curiosity piqued, I used the same software to run numbers for my finances. I ran optimistic and pessimistic assumptions. I entered my monthly expenses and my fixed income. I tried to run out of money,

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My Biggest Gamble

Richard Quinn  |  Feb 13, 2024

I’M NOT A SAVVY investor, nor do I pretend to be. Some people get paid to analyze and make predictions about stocks, often for people like me. How reliable are their opinions? I’m not so sure.

Take the newsfeed about my largest single stock holding, the utility Public Service Enterprise Group (symbol: PEG), that I got late last month from my Fidelity Investments account:

“Guggenheim Downgrades Public Service Enterprise Group to Neutral From Buy,

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It’s a Secret

Richard Quinn  |  Feb 6, 2024

SOME FOLKS SEEM HAPPY to tell the world how much they earn, how much they have in the bank and what their portfolio is worth. Not me.

If I were to share my income and net worth, I’d expect some serious consequences, and not just from local thieves. In fact, I’m so cautious I have a plan not to tell anyone, except my wife Connie, if I win the lottery.

To be sure, overt sharing often isn’t necessary.

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Aiming for Less

Richard Quinn  |  Jan 5, 2024

WHAT DOES IT MEAN to “live within your means”? To answer the question, we first need to define “means.”

If your gross income is $60,000, that income isn’t your means. For starters, you need to subtract income and payroll taxes. To live within your means, you need to spend no more than your net income—income after taxes and other withholdings.

I’ll go further and suggest that your true means are your income net of monthly savings for retirement and financial emergencies.

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An Annuity Instead?

Richard Quinn  |  Dec 29, 2023

IN A RECENT ONLINE discussion, I compared the benefits of an immediate-fixed annuity with the 4% retirement-income rule. The 4% rule suggests that investors can withdraw 4% from a well-balanced investment portfolio in the first year of retirement, and then add annual inflation adjustments without fear of running out of money over a 30-year retirement.
Using the NewRetirement annuity calculator, I found that a 65-year-old man could purchase an immediate annuity for $1 million,

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It’s Not So Bad

Richard Quinn  |  Dec 19, 2023

EVERY GENERATION HAS its own unique perspective—one that’s shaped by its environment, but also limited by a lack of appreciation for the past. Are things all that bad in the 2020s? I think not.
A recent Bloomberg radio discussion mentioned that, when families go out to dinner, they become keenly aware of inflation when they pay, which in turn affects their view of the economy. It took me a minute to digest that. Is going out to dinner no longer a luxury?

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’Tis the Stress Season

Richard Quinn  |  Dec 11, 2023

THE HOLIDAYS ARE HERE. For me, the Christmas season brings back memories—along with anxiety and stress.

Let’s review the stress first. Where are we going to have Christmas dinner and who will come? Getting everyone together is virtually impossible.

Next come the decorations. It wouldn’t be so bad if they weren’t stacked this way and that in a storage locker. When we moved to a condo, we converted to an artificial tree. It looks real from two feet away,

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Calculated Risk

Richard Quinn  |  Dec 8, 2023

SOMEONE POSTED THIS comment on a Facebook retirement-planning group that I follow: “My plan is based on my spouse and I living to 95 and 94 respectively. Our paid house is now worth about 900K. I am comfortable it will appreciate at 5% per year. The plan shows a 75% chance of success. If we sell the house at 85-84 and rent at a retirement community the success goes to 99%. We could cut back on expenses and that 75% chance would improve but why do that if I don’t need to?”

I suppose that,

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Took Time

Richard Quinn  |  Dec 6, 2023

HOW DID I GET financially to where I am today, 15 years into retirement? It’s a good question—one that’s taken me a lifetime to answer.

I’ve been fortunate in a way that’s nearly impossible for Americans today. I worked for one company for nearly 50 years and I accumulated a traditional pension based on that service. In addition, during my last few years on the job, I was eligible for stock options, restricted stock awards and enhanced bonuses.

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Faulty Perceptions

Richard Quinn  |  Nov 28, 2023

THERE’S A SAYING that “perception is reality,” meaning that what you believe is your reality, whether it’s true or not. Changing our perception isn’t easy. It takes effort, along with a willingness to discover and accept facts.
Many Americans’ perceptions are incorrect, leading them to make subpar financial decisions. Consider:

Social Security. Nobody stole the trust fund, it’s not going broke and, yes, it will be there for you.
Medicare. It’s not socialized medicine.

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Four Score Wisdom

Richard Quinn  |  Nov 6, 2023

I WAS BORN ON THIS day in 1943. Today, I must acknowledge being old. I remember, years ago, scanning the obituaries and checking the age at death. Seventy-five seemed like a good run. Not anymore it doesn’t.

At age 40, I gave up the occasional pipe and vowed, if I made it to 80, I’d take it up again. That’s not going to happen. Not smoking may be a factor in getting this far.

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Seeing It for Myself

Richard Quinn  |  Oct 25, 2023

THE TOPIC OF TRAVEL pops up occasionally on HumbleDollar, and I’ve even written about my own travels. The reasons for not traveling go from “can’t afford” to “no interest.” I can understand “can’t afford.” But the “no interest” is a mystery to me. The only budget we have in retirement is for travel. It’s funded with our Social Security checks.

When I was in school decades ago, my favorite subject was history.

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Is It That Hard?

Richard Quinn  |  Oct 20, 2023

I READ QUITE OFTEN on HumbleDollar about the trials and tribulations of those planning for retirement—questions like when to retire, where to retire, what will my expenses be, when to take Social Security, how to minimize taxes, how much money to save, how much to spend.

I approached retirement quite differently. Even I’ll admit I’m not typical, and perhaps only questionably normal. I tend to set major long-term goals with modest attention to details.

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Two Paychecks Needed

Richard Quinn  |  Oct 16, 2023

DOES THE RISE IN dual-income families, which started in the 1960s, mean that today it’s almost a necessity for both spouses to work? In my opinion, absolutely.

Our first child was born in 1970. That was the last time my wife was employed, apart from a brief part-time job when our youngest was in high school. But we’re the exception. Over the past 40 years, the number of couples where both have jobs has soared from about half to 70%,

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Retirement Do-Over

Richard Quinn  |  Oct 12, 2023

IT’S TIME TO THROW out our broken retirement system and start over. My first article for HumbleDollar, published more than five years ago, was titled Choosing Badly. It was about the inability of most employees to make good use of their 401(k) plan.

Guess what? Nothing’s changed.

Today, some 401(k) plans still have too few investment choices, while others have too many. There are multiple options that people don’t understand, such as target-date funds compared with index funds,

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