FREE NEWSLETTER
Barely Afloat

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 52 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 100 articles for HumbleDollar.

Barely Afloat

Richard Quinn  |  Mar 27, 2020

YES, I’M STILL AT SEA. Confinement in our cabin is wearing thin. But unfortunately, with ports closed and politicians opposed to us docking in Florida, the end isn’t in sight.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be totally dependent on someone who you can’t see and have no contact with? Me neither. But now, I know.
Bottles of water show up at our door, the last one a full gallon.

Read More

Seasick

Richard Quinn  |  Mar 24, 2020

I ATTEMPTED TO CHECK the markets the other day and everything was the same as the day before and the day before that. Had the world really stopped? No, it was Sunday. The fact is, I have no idea where I am or what day it is. I’m still in the Pacific on a ship full of senior citizens who outwardly have few concerns, except when the restaurants will open. But we are famous,

Read More

At Sea

Richard Quinn  |  Mar 12, 2020

I WRITE THIS FROM somewhere in the Atlantic. We’re headed toward the Falkland Islands, where we’ll apparently see penguins. My wife and I booked this cruise months ago. Since then, of course, we’ve been told repeatedly that being on a ship for 30 days with mostly 60- to 80-somethings is not the best idea. Who knew?
There was a time when getting away meant little connection to the outside world. No more.

Read More

Know Your Demons

Richard Quinn  |  Feb 27, 2020

I’M WRITING THIS just before 6 a.m., following a few days during which world stock markets caught their own version of the flu. Frankly, I can’t sleep thinking about what’s happened—and especially about the investors who panicked and locked in their losses, just like so many folks did in late 2008 and early 2009.
It took me a few minutes to muster the courage to look at my 401(k). When I did,

Read More

Brain Meets Money

Richard Quinn  |  Feb 20, 2020

HOW OFTEN DO YOU think about money? Hey, you just did. Seriously, we think about money every day and sometimes every hour. Some studies say we ponder financial matters even more often than the old standby: sex.
We’ve been thinking about the stuff for a long time. Money goes back about 3,000 years. Paper currency can be traced to China in 700 BC. They didn’t fool around: Their currency stated that all counterfeiters would be decapitated.

Read More

Count the Noncash

Richard Quinn  |  Feb 12, 2020

MOST PEOPLE THINK of their earnings as what they receive in their paycheck. But that’s not the case. Typically, it’s more—sometimes far more.
That brings me to my first topic: chief executive officers. You’ve all heard the numbers: This or that CEO was paid a salary of $30 million. Actually, no CEO was paid that sum or close to it. Those amounts represent total compensation, which might include their regular salary, stock awards and options,

Read More

It’s a Stretch

Richard Quinn  |  Jan 27, 2020

FROM LISTENING to financial talk radio shows, it seems the hot topic these days is the SECURE Act and how it’s hurt the middle class. One caller had $2 million in his IRA, and was worried about the impact of the stretch IRA’s elimination on his children and grandchildren.
What am I missing here? I thought IRAs were a vehicle to help average Americans save for their retirement, not an estate-planning tool. Under the new law,

Read More

Going Without

Richard Quinn  |  Jan 9, 2020

I RECENTLY READ about a trendy way to lose weight: intermittent fasting. Supposedly there are also health benefits. That got me thinking.
I’ve been roundly criticized for bashing the financial independence/retire early movement, otherwise known as FIRE, and for arguing that average Americans spend unnecessarily on all kinds of stuff, thus hampering their long-term financial security. My point of view hasn’t changed. But I’ve found room for compromise: Think of it as periodic financial fasting.

Read More

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.

Read More

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,

Read More

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.

Read More

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?

Read More

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.

Read More

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,

Read More

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,

Read More
SHARE