Not My Place

Ron Wayne

Ron spent 26 years working for newspapers in Pennsylvania and Georgia before becoming the editor in the University of Florida’s main news office. During his 10 years working there, he earned his master’s degree in mass communication and taught as an adjunct in the College of Journalism and Communications. Since retiring in 2020, he’s enjoyed a simple life, including reflecting on his experiences on

Not My Place

Ron Wayne  |  Nov 22, 2022

LIKE MANY RETIREES, I’ve thought about moving. My two children are living elsewhere, and I have no other family in the Florida city where I’ve resided for more than 17 years. For two years, I’ve researched buying a condo closer to the ocean or even moving to Mexico, where my modest fixed income would go much further. Perhaps I should return to my hometown up north—something two friends from high school have already done.

Read More

Unhappy Meals

Ron Wayne  |  Oct 11, 2022

I RETIRED TWO YEARS ago this week. I’d been in a job that was a bad fit for my skills, experience and university degrees. The pay was paltry, but it was the only job I could find four years earlier.
I calculated that my Social Security and state pension would match my take-home pay because they were based on my highest earnings, which were many years earlier. COVID-19 was a threat to old guys like me and my employer was offering a modest retirement incentive,

Read More

Traveling Money

Ron Wayne  |  Aug 31, 2022

I NEVER PLANNED to retire early. But I was toiling away in a job that had nothing to do with my college degrees or my previous work experience, plus it paid 40% less than the post I’d held for the prior 10 years. When my employer offered a meager early retirement package in 2020 to cut labor costs during the pandemic, I took it.
I’ve lived frugally ever since, as I had during the four years in my last,

Read More

Batting .500

Ron Wayne  |  Jul 22, 2022

ALMOST SEVEN MONTHS on, I’ve failed miserably with one of the New Year’s resolutions I wrote about for HumbleDollar—but I’ve done well with the other.
I’d like to take credit for my success in not obsessively checking my IRA, but the discouraging reality of the financial markets has a lot to do with it. This year, going online to view my account several times a day—which I’ve been known to do—would have left me feeling truly hopeless.

Read More

Change Is Coming

Ron Wayne  |  Jul 2, 2022

WHETHER FOR GOOD luck or because I’m thrifty, I still stoop down to pick up pennies. But there might not be any in the future.
Thanks to their copper content, pennies now cost twice as much to produce as they’re worth—and skyrocketing inflation is only exacerbating the problem. There are even rumors that the government will stop producing pennies, but so far the U.S. Mint has made no such announcement.
Instead of using my debit card for groceries,

Read More

A La Carte

Ron Wayne  |  May 20, 2022

I REMOVED THE YOKE of cable TV several years ago. Thanks to today’s streaming channels, I have endless options—and I’m still saving money.
If you thought cable offered an overflowing abundance of choices, buy a Roku or other streaming device. You could stay glued to the screen 24/7 and never see anything twice, probably for years.
A Roku device, available for as little as $24, will give you access to more than 200 channels,

Read More

Learned from the Best

Ron Wayne  |  Apr 21, 2022

MY KIDS THINK I’M cheap. I tell them, “If I’m so cheap, why don’t I have more money in the bank?”
I learned to be thrifty at the knees of my father and grandfather. During this time of high inflation, they provide me with examples to be emulated. Grandpa never owned a car and kept a vegetable garden into his 80s. He built a loom to weave small rugs made from rags, and then sold them to friends,

Read More

Ride of a Lifetime

Ron Wayne  |  Apr 13, 2022

SAVED A BUNCH of money so you could retire and buy that sporty car you always wanted? My advice: Do it.
In almost 50 years of owning vehicles, I have bought just one car that was almost fully impractical. It had a shallow shelf of a trunk. My wife couldn’t drive it because it had a stick shift. More than a few times, I had to start it by pushing it down a hill,

Read More

Leaky Insurance

Ron Wayne  |  Apr 5, 2022

I JUST LEARNED a hard lesson about insurance companies: They have the upper hand.
Water leaked into my ground-floor condo’s bathroom and laundry room from a unit two floors above. The unit owner offered to report the damage to his insurance company, but I decided I should call mine for advice. A rep told me that I could file claims with my insurer and it would then seek compensation from the other unit’s insurance through subrogation,

Read More

Resolved: Less Stuff

Ron Wayne  |  Jan 14, 2022

CLUTTER IS DEFINED as “things lying in heaps or crowded confusion.” Its origin as a word dates to the 1570s. More than four centuries later, you might imagine we would have got the problem under control, but it seems not.
I had a friend in high school who lived like a monk. He had nothing on his bedroom dressers except lamps and a record player. I wish I could achieve such a pristine state in my condo.

Read More

Resolved: Look Less

Ron Wayne  |  Jan 9, 2022

TOO MUCH FREE TIME, coupled with easy access to the internet, create a problem for this retiree. I obsessively check my IRA at least once—and often several times—each day.
I retired two years early with an above-average Social Security payment and a decent state pension, but not a whole lot in my IRA, which is my only retirement savings. Experts say I need much more, but a job loss in my late 50s, and the inability to find an equivalent position in my field and at the same pay level,

Read More

Getting by on Less

Ron Wayne  |  Jan 5, 2022

I LEARNED TO LIVE a lot more cheaply after I lost my job at age 58—and that’s allowed me to retire with a less-than-average income.
After getting laid off, I spent 18 months searching unsuccessfully for a position that reflected my experience and education. I ended up taking an administrative office job at 40% less pay.
Although I was already a thrifty and cautious person, my life became a lot leaner for the next four years,

Read More

Make a Wish

Ron Wayne  |  Dec 21, 2021

ECONOMISTS SUGGEST we stop spending excessively on Christmas gifts and instead buy more prudently or efficiently, according to an NPR story. Modern scrooges, you say? Not really.
The economists questioned believe huge amounts of money are wasted because we buy gifts that recipients don’t want, like or keep. In the interview, economist Tim Harford suggests more thoughtful gift-giving by, say, using wish lists to buy folks what they really want. We’ve been doing this in my immediate family for years,

Read More

The Price Is Right

Ron Wayne  |  Dec 5, 2021

DOLLAR STORES ARE currently booming in popularity, but I’ve patronized them for many years. It never made sense to me to pay more for household goods elsewhere. Yes, the quality isn’t always great—but you can’t complain about the price.
I never buy food at Dollar General on my weekly visits. That’s partly because I go on to ALDI and Trader Joe’s immediately afterwards. I also wouldn’t want anything to spoil in the Florida heat.

Read More

Take a Hike

Ron Wayne  |  Nov 30, 2021

MOUNTAINS CAN MAKE you feel inconsequential and weak when you stand at their base, or important and strong when you climb them. Even a minor hike up their sides gives you a sense of power and pride in your abilities.
On a recent trip to California to celebrate my retirement, I went on more hikes than I have since I was a teen. Walking about 2½ to 3 miles almost daily for more than a year at home helped prepare me for the rigor.

Read More