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.
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,
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,
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,
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.
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.
WANT THE LAST WORD? Write your own obituary.
It’s the final opportunity to tell the world you were a great person and that others should regret never having known you. You can write what you want because, in most newspapers, the obituaries are essentially paid ads—and pricey, to boot. No one is going to challenge your obituary’s veracity, at least not publicly, unless it’s outrageous.
Was she really well liked by everyone she met?
I ALMOST NEVER MAKE fast decisions. But I bought a used car in August immediately after seeing it. If I hadn’t, I might still be looking.
Inventories for new cars are at record lows. Prices for used vehicles are at record highs. This was not the year to buy another car, but I wanted to replace my 14-year-old Mazda sedan with a more reliable vehicle for long trips to see my children. I was tired of months isolated at home,
IN 1994, AMERICANS could find out what was going on in their communities by reading one of the 1,534 daily U.S. newspapers. Most of them were published in individual cities and towns where they served subscribers defined by geography, rather than by political persuasion or socio-economic class.
These newspapers were trusted voices. They provided common knowledge and community forums for everyone from bank presidents and doctors to plumbers and teachers.
As of 2018, 255 daily newspapers had stopped publishing,
AND SO IT BEGINS again—trying to figure out the mess that is Medicare.
A 132-page book from the Department of Health & Human Services arrived in the mail recently. “Medicare & You 2022” is four pages longer than the 2021 edition I received earlier this year, when I was turning age 65. I could barely bring myself to pore through the pages of that one, as I endeavored to understand the myriad choices facing me as I hit that magic milestone.
QUITTING CREDIT CARDS might be more difficult than quitting cigarettes. I’ve done both. I’ve not smoked in 36 years. But it wasn’t until 11 months ago that I stopped charging on my credit cards.
I got my first card at age 15 from the biggest department store in my hometown. It was 1971, and my card’s limit was $50. The store was locally owned, so perhaps it was easier to obtain credit as a minor without steady income.