THE CLOSER IT GETS, the more attention I pay.
“It,” in this case, is retirement. In January, I’ll celebrate my 60th birthday. I have no intention of fully retiring, but I am thinking about how to work less, travel more and prep my finances for the years ahead. As I sketch out my plans, I’m drawing not only on a lifetime of writing and thinking about personal finance, but also on an even more valuable resource: you.
ONE OF THE GREAT blessings in life is grandchildren. In fact, as I think back on our childrearing years, skipping the children and going right to the grandchildren would have been great. Just kidding, Rick, Chris, Caryn and Craig.
Here I sit as a retiree on a Saturday morning, what to do, what to do? Are you kidding me?
When you have 13 grandchildren all living within an hour or so from your home,
I’VE ALWAYS BEEN fascinated by compounding. I discovered the concept at a young age. The idea of money making money was earth-shattering to me. Do you mean to tell me I don’t do any physical work and the money just grows? Yes, and—with enough time and interest—it can grow at lightspeed.
I was all in. I searched for everything I could on the subject. This is where my love for financial planning began. I wanted to follow all the rules of compounding: save early,
WE BUY LOBSTERS from the backdoor of a fisherman who we know here in Maine. On Tuesday, my wife texted him to say she’d left $35 in cash for the four lobsters he’d set aside for us in a cooler. He texted back to say $25 was more than enough.
In a year of spiking inflation, I have a morsel of good news. The wholesale price of lobster has crashed since March, down 45% according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St.
THE FINANCIAL WORLD generates a lot of noise. As a financial planner, I see that every day. Being in my 20s, it’s fun to learn about new alternative investments or imagine getting rich quick thanks to one stock or following the advice of one social media post.
But I know that’s all it is—fun. Instead of imagining my way to wealth, I take control of my finances by creating rules to live by. Rules are driven by values.
WE ALL HAVE GOOD habits and bad habits. One of my best habits: bringing my lunch to work.
I save both money and calories by brown-bagging it rather than buying lunch at a restaurant. My lunch of leftovers, along with a few pieces of fruit and a bottle of water, cost less than even a fast-food meal deal, and it’s healthier. What about the long-term savings from avoiding those additional calories? Researchers have found that excess body weight adds thousands of dollars to our annual health care expenses.
I RECENTLY LEFT A BID for a set of old, dusty chairs at a country auction. The next morning when I called the auctioneer, he told me I was the high bidder and the chairs’ new owner. As an economist, I immediately thought, “Wait—am I the winner or the loser here?”
The auction was held at the Elks Lodge in Rockland, Maine, where old furniture tends to go for a song. I had been drawn there by a picture of six Chippendale dining chairs supposedly made in Philadelphia in the 18th century.
I HAVE A MILESTONE birthday this month—turning age 65. This has long been considered the standard retirement age.
When the Social Security Act was signed into law in 1935, 65 was the age at which workers could receive retirement benefits. Many companies’ defined benefit pension plans still use 65 as the age at which employees can receive an unreduced pension. And 65 is the age at which folks become eligible for Medicare.
This is also the median age at which workers expect to retire,
MY WIFE AND I JUST returned from the first extended road trip of our retirement. We were away two weeks, drove 2,800 miles and visited 10 states. The primary reason for the trip was to stay five days on a houseboat on Beaver Lake, Arkansas, with seven friends.
We broke the trip into three phases. The first part took us from New Jersey to northwest Arkansas in two-and-a-half days. Along the way, we stopped in St.
I TURNED 70 THIS YEAR, and decided to finally do something about the hearing loss I’ve experienced over the past few years. In other words, get hearing aids.
I asked my older sister for advice. She told me she ended up spending $4,000 to $5,000 for her hearing aids a few years ago. She also said she wishes she’d asked her friends for advice first.
My sister doesn’t consider herself wealthy but has a few friends who are.
WHILE THE S&P 500’s price-earnings (P/E) ratio has little predictive power if you look at returns over the next 12 months, it’s more important if you stretch out your time horizon to five years and beyond. What you pay has a significant impact on your likely long-run return—and that should be comforting for today’s buyers.
Recently, WisdomTree Global Chief Investment Officer Jeremy Schwartz shared a compelling graphic showing P/E ratios for dozens of U.S.
INSURANCE COMPANIES are disproportionately represented among the world’s oldest companies. John Hancock was founded in the 1860s. Cigna dates to the 1700s. Some insurers are even older. Why is that?
In my opinion, it’s because they employ a strategy called asset-liability matching. In simple terms, insurers organize their finances so cash is always available when they need it.
Let’s say each winter typically results in $100 million of auto claims for a particular insurer.
WHEN I WORKED at The Wall Street Journal, editors used to quip that, “There are no new stories, just new reporters.” I don’t know whether that’s the case with politics, sports and technology articles, but it sure rings true for personal finance and investing stories. All too often, the latest hot topic just seems like a rehash of something I’ve witnessed—and often written about—before.
That brings me to three financial arguments that never seem to end.
PHYSICAL THERAPY is a teaching profession. I am the teacher and my patients are the students. They come to me with a problem in need of a solution. I help them find the answer.
Most of my patients have never faced the daunting challenge of overcoming a physical disability caused by injury or disease. They don’t know where to begin. Many have also never put in the sustained effort needed to achieve a tough goal.
CAROL IS MY COUSIN. Long divorced, she raised three daughters on her own. Now newly retired, her life is one long adventure—tackled with an incredible attitude. Some people approach retirement with trepidation, but not Carol. She was out of the gate with gusto.
Carol retired from Medtronic in November 2021, after 22 years. She’s a registered nurse who assisted doctors with the insertion of medical devices. She has a pension—Carol became eligible just before the company stopped offering them.