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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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Who’s Responsible?

Richard Quinn  |  Apr 7, 2023

CAN WE REALLY EXPECT Americans to be financially literate and act prudently with their money—when they can’t even return a shopping cart to where it belongs, or stop dropping litter wherever they stand?

I was in the grocery store recently and came out to find a shopping cart pushed into the side of my car. I was parked eight feet from the cart corral. Meanwhile, on my last trip to an ATM, the ground was littered with receipts.

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Food for Thought

Richard Quinn  |  Apr 3, 2023

EXCEPT FOR A SCALLION or cucumber—feel free to add other items—finding something green in your refrigerator is generally not good. This morning, I reached for the butter and caught a glimpse of dark green. It was a wedge of never-opened goat cheese, $5.60 worth. Or, to view it another way, $253 in lost retirement savings over the next 40 years.

Before we left for Florida this winter, we removed from the fridge all items that would not survive six weeks.

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Pipe Dreams

Richard Quinn  |  Mar 20, 2023

AS A TEENAGER, I wanted to be an architect. I took six years of mechanical drawing during junior and senior high school, and I was good at it, earning nearly all As.

At another time, in my 30s, I thought about becoming a lawyer. People told me I’d make a good one. A lawyer’s opinion seemed to carry more weight, even when the subject was unrelated to legal matters.

I also wanted to play a musical instrument.

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Character Building

Richard Quinn  |  Mar 10, 2023

HAVE YOU THOUGHT about what made you the person you are—the way you think about money, life, your behaviors, your likes and dislikes? When I look at my own life, I can clearly see the impact of my childhood.

My mother and grandmother made a lot of my and my sister’s clothes. I recall those paper dress patterns all over the apartment. Is that why I dislike shopping for clothes? I’m happy to let my wife and daughter decide what I should wear.

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Only You Can Answer

Richard Quinn  |  Feb 28, 2023

HOW MUCH DO I NEED to save for retirement? How much will I spend in retirement? Can I live comfortably in retirement? Can I even afford to retire?
I can answer all these questions, but most likely none of my answers will be exactly right—for you. Experts tackle these questions, too, but provide inconsistent answers. Google any of them and you’ll get a range of results. Without knowing your situation, such shotgun advice is pretty meaningless.

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When Free Isn’t Free

Richard Quinn  |  Feb 24, 2023

DO A QUICK REVIEW of Twitter and other social media sites, and you’ll find extensive use of the word “free.” The dictionary defines free as “without cost or payment.”

College, health care, child care, preschool, even housing are often mentioned in connection with “free.” The actual cost of “free” may not be what it seems. Free in this context typically means shifting the cost from one person to another, or redirecting money to some favored purpose.

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Myths That Won’t Die

Richard Quinn  |  Feb 16, 2023

I RECENTLY DISCUSSED Social Security with a friend. After trying to explain the program’s funding, I gave up when his reply was, “The facts are that the Social Security money was misappropriated and there’s no way it can be tracked after all these years. People die before they collect one Social Security check, and others get very few checks. You will never convince me otherwise.”

Yes, that’s the one thing we do agree on: I will indeed never change his mind.

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Quinn’s Favorites

Richard Quinn  |  Feb 9, 2023

I STARTED WRITING for HumbleDollar almost five years ago—and it’s become a big part of my retirement.

Some folks have likened me to Andy Rooney. It’s a comparison I’ve happily embraced. I try to offer pointed opinions leavened by a measure of humor. Here are my 10 favorite articles that I’ve written for the site.

Choosing Badly (April 24, 2018). This was my first piece for HumbleDollar. Employer-sponsored 401(k) plans are underutilized and misused.

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Angry at IRMAA

Richard Quinn  |  Feb 5, 2023

I’M AMAZED BY the opinions expressed by some retirees about the Medicare premium surcharge known as IRMAA, short for income-related monthly adjustment amount. Is it really unfair for higher-income older Americans to pay larger premiums for Medicare Part B and Part D? Many people think so.

IRMAA was part of 2003’s Medicare Modernization Act and took effect in 2007. The threshold at which IRMAA kicks in for a couple is four times higher than the median household income for Americans age 65 and older.

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Just Do It

Richard Quinn  |  Feb 3, 2023

AS A REGULAR READER of HumbleDollar, The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg, I pick up all kinds of pointers on investing. And the more I read, the more I think I may have been doing it wrong all these years. My approach to picking investments is more aligned with a dartboard than a spreadsheet.

I’ve never owned an exchange-traded fund. I don’t know what the VIX is,

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Giving Made Easy

Richard Quinn  |  Jan 25, 2023

I’M NOT ONE TO DIVE into the mysteries of the tax code in an effort to avoid paying Uncle Sam. But I’ve lately stumbled onto something that many others are already well-versed in and which has been around since 2006: qualified charitable distributions.

If I make a contribution from my traditional IRA directly to a charity, the withdrawal is excluded from the taxable income reported by my wife and me and, indeed, it counts toward my required minimum distribution.

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We’re Overruled

Richard Quinn  |  Jan 22, 2023

I BEGAN TRYING TO figure out the laws related to retirement and employee benefits after the enactment of ERISA in 1974. I spent endless hours over many years in lawyers’ offices in Washington, D.C., as each new law or regulation came along.

TEFRA, DEFRA and COBRA are but a few of the many laws that now confound Americans. I bet most people think COBRA was only about health insurance. In fact, it’s the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act.

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My First 2023 Rant

Richard Quinn  |  Jan 17, 2023

I’M ANNOYED BY THE financial independence-retire early movement, otherwise known as FIRE. Most annoying are the FIRE bloggers who present their fantasy world of radically early retirement, but don’t like to be questioned, challenged or criticized. As if I’d ever do that.

FIRE folks typically have a few things in common. They were high-income earners before “retiring” and their households usually had two incomes. They’re willing—indeed eager—to embrace a frugal, nontraditional lifestyle, sometimes outside the U.S.

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A Place to Start

Richard Quinn  |  Jan 11, 2023

I JUST READ THAT the 4% rule is making a comeback. From where, I thought?

Under the 4% rule, you withdraw 4% of your nest egg in the first year of retirement. If you had $1 million, you’d take 4%, or $40,000. In year two, you’d add inflation to your previous year’s withdrawal. Say inflation ran at 6%. You’d multiply $40,000 by that 6% to get the second-year adjustment of $2,400. Add that to the prior year’s $40,000,

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Save First Then Spend

Richard Quinn  |  Jan 7, 2023

IF EVERYONE WOULD just follow my advice when managing their money, all our financial problems would evaporate.

I’m kidding, I’m kidding.

From recently viewing a YouTube video, I learned it’s necessary to track all spending, have a budget and be mindful of spending habits. Nope and nope—but yes to watching our spending habits.

Managing money boils down to discipline and responsibility. You may not be able to keep up with the Joneses, take that vacation you desire or get that next tattoo.

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