Everyone’s an Expert

Richard Quinn

In addition to writing for HumbleDollar, Dick blogs at his own site, 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.

Everyone’s an Expert

Richard Quinn  |  Dec 8, 2021

DOES ANYONE DOUBT that planning for retirement is unique for each individual?

The way we manage money, how we handle debt, our desired lifestyle and our family status are all important variables to consider. From what I observe, however, many people ignore these differences and seek a one-size-fits-all answer.

I’m addicted to YouTube. In addition to history, archeology and general education videos, I watch many retirement planning shows. I also follow retirement groups on Facebook and bloggers who embrace the FIRE (financial independence-retire early) lifestyle.

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Save ’Til It Hurts

Richard Quinn  |  Dec 2, 2021

I FREQUENTLY FIND myself criticized when I state my fiscally conservative views on saving and spending in retirement. One fellow recently said I had no compassion and I was scaring people.

If folks are frightened by my urging them to retire with the ability to replace most of their preretirement income, then perhaps they should be scared.

I’m also criticized because I have a pension, and so don’t rely on investments for my income.

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On the Move

Richard Quinn  |  Nov 23, 2021

AS WE GROW OLDER, maintaining the family home can become a burden. Eight years after I retired, my wife and I moved to a 2,000-square-foot condo. It’s about the same size as our old house. But it has no stairs, no basement—and no attic full of stuff. There’s also no exterior maintenance or landscaping work required of us.

I’ve been asking near-retirees how both downsizing and relocating figure into their retirement plans. Although there’s much talk about it,

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Strikes Me as Fair

Richard Quinn  |  Nov 18, 2021

THE FEDERAL government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services just announced the new income-based Part B and Part D premiums for 2022. Many people aren’t happy.

Next year’s basic Part B premium jumps to $170.10 a month, in part because Congress artificially limited this year’s premium increase to only 25% of the true amount. It’s time to play catchup—and deal with rising health care costs.

But a small group of seniors will pay more than $170.10 a month—sometimes much more.

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Not an Investment

Richard Quinn  |  Nov 16, 2021

IN A RECENT TWITTER post, a man claimed that if all the Social Security taxes he and his employers pay were invested instead, he’d accumulate $1.9 million by age 67. That sum could then generate $95,000 in annual income, he added, which is more than his anticipated Social Security benefit. He concluded that Social Security was “theft.”

Claims like these bother me greatly because they’re often widely read and believed—and they’re nonsense.

Social Security is an insurance program,

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Retirement Pro

Richard Quinn  |  Nov 10, 2021

I’VE AWARDED MYSELF a professional designation: CER, or Certified Experienced Retiree. In the dozen years since I left the workforce, I’ve learned a great deal about retirement. I’ve grappled with the financial aspects, how your relationships with family and friends evolve, and how your outlook changes over time.

One key lesson learned: A steady income stream provides peace of mind. In my case, it’s from a pension and Social Security. For younger retirees, it could mean drawing savings from a 401(k) or IRA,

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Priced Less

Richard Quinn  |  Nov 1, 2021

I REMEMBER GOING to my grandparents on holidays. At each place at the dinner table was a cloth napkin in a sterling silver napkin ring. It was the thing to do at the time. Each napkin ring was unique and quite old. I still have mine.

When my wife and I were married in 1968, two things she wanted were sterling silver flatware and Lenox china. We got the silver as a wedding present and eventually built up enough Lenox china to serve 12.

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Feeling Better

Richard Quinn  |  Oct 27, 2021

“I SORELY MISS the peace of mind that comes with universal health coverage.”

Those are the words of a 32-year-old woman from Canada, who is currently a PhD student residing in the U.S. When I read them recently in the comment section of a blog, they changed my thinking about health care.

I’ve been involved in health benefits, health insurance and health plans of various types since 1962. I’ve designed employer plans. I was on the boards of four health maintenance organizations.

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Bill Him Not Me

Richard Quinn  |  Oct 23, 2021

NOBODY, INCLUDING ME, wants to spend their hard-earned money on health care. That, of course, is illogical if you’re being treated for an illness or relieved of discomfort. Nevertheless, we don’t want to use our own money. That’s why we have health insurance—to cover everything. Or at least that’s our expectation.

When I ran employee benefits, I had many debates with workers about their health care bills. When a doctor charged significantly above the reasonable and customary fee,

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Making It Automatic

Richard Quinn  |  Oct 17, 2021

ONE OF THE TOUGHEST financial challenges most people face—second only to accumulating enough for retirement—is deciding how to convert those funds into retirement income. Especially when the goal is to never run out of money.

I pride myself on being informed. This morning, I received my comeuppance. I was reviewing my 401(k) account, which is administered by Fidelity Investments. I had taken my required minimum distribution for 2021, but was exploring other ways I could withdraw money.

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Feeling Naked

Richard Quinn  |  Oct 11, 2021

I BEGAN WRITING THIS article after reading a Facebook group’s page filled with derogatory comments about seniors and technology. The comments related to seniors’ inability to use a smartphone. Talk about stereotyping. The fact is, some of us seniors are addicted to technology—at least the nontechnical part.

For example, I recently went shopping and forgot something vital. No, I had my face mask. What I was missing was my smartphone. Smart is an appropriate word because,

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Scraping By?

Richard Quinn  |  Oct 8, 2021

LIVING PAYCHECK to paycheck is defined as spending “all of the money from one paycheck before receiving the next paycheck.” But living that way doesn’t have much to do with income level, even though the idea is often presented that way.

One study says 53% of those earning between $50,000 and $100,000 live paycheck to paycheck, including 70% of millennials. The popular claim is that 50% of Americans are just scraping by. To that,

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A Large Bite

Richard Quinn  |  Oct 2, 2021

IN DECEMBER 2020, my wife got an infection at the site of an old root canal. The dentist initially thought it could be treated with medication. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, so an extraction and implant were planned.

The process took several visits and several bills, with the charges accumulating along the way. Some of this pain could have been relieved by a modest dental plan that I had from my former employer. That was not to be,

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Clouds in My Coffee

Richard Quinn  |  Sep 26, 2021

I’M ON MY THIRD cup of coffee this morning and it dawned on me how much I’m spending on the stuff. I have one of those machines that use the little K-Cup pods, which may be the most expensive way to make coffee. I find it curious that someone who likes to think of himself as frugal makes coffee at home that can cost 70 cents or more per cup.

If I bought a pound bag of house brand—not designer—coffee,

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Not Their Fault

Richard Quinn  |  Sep 17, 2021

“THE REALITY IS THAT most working Americans will continue to struggle to achieve retirement security because the ownership of financial assets is highly concentrated among the wealthiest,” wrote Dan Doonan, executive director of the National Institute on Retirement Security, for

I read and re-read that statement, especially the word “because.” It seems Doonan has concluded that the great wealth held by the top 1% somehow inhibits the rest of us from saving and investing.

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