Acting Our Age

Marjorie Kondrack  |  Apr 9, 2024

I CHUCKLE WHEN I read Lucille Ball’s gentle admonishment that “the secret to staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.” That’s not so easy anymore, ever since the internet outed us all.
But I’m not above using a little subterfuge. After all, forced disclosure is never comfortable. When asked how old I am, my usual reply is “any woman who will tell her age will tell anything”—a remark sometimes attributed to Mary Kay Ash.

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Avoiding or Evading?

Richard Connor  |  Apr 8, 2024

OUR INCOME TAX SYSTEM is based on voluntary compliance. Taxpayers are responsible for reporting all their income and paying the required taxes.
In assessing tax returns, the IRS differentiates between tax avoidance and tax evasion. Tax avoidance is “an action taken to lessen tax liability and maximize after-tax income,” while tax evasion is “the failure to pay or a deliberate underpayment of taxes.”
What are the major sources of tax evasion? Under-reporting income seems to be No.

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Eat Sleep Move

David Gartland  |  Apr 8, 2024

WHEN I WAS A KID, I would hear “old people” say, “If you have your health, you have just about everything.” I heard it. I understood it. But in truth, I didn’t really understand it—until I joined the “old people” category.
Looking back, I realize I’ve been blessed with good health. I’ve never broken any bones. I’ve never spent a night in the hospital. I’ve never had any long-lasting illnesses. I don’t regularly take medication,

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Stories We Tell

Adam M. Grossman  |  Apr 7, 2024

YALE UNIVERSITY economist Robert Shiller, in his book Narrative Economics, argues that storytelling has more of an impact on economic events than we might imagine. It might seem like the financial world ought to be driven by facts and data, and yet stories often take on a life of their own.
For instance, financial narratives often play a key role in stock market bubbles and busts. More generally, financial myths and misperceptions are widespread,

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What Our Dollars Buy

Jonathan Clements  |  Apr 6, 2024

WHEN WE SPEND MONEY, we’re looking to get something in return. But what? Forget classic budgeting categories like housing, food, utilities, insurance and entertainment. Instead, suppose we used a completely different classification system—one that reflected the physical, social and emotional benefits we garner.
The list below is, I suspect, far from complete, especially when I compare it to the 16 basic desires developed by psychologist Steven Reiss. Moreover, as you’ll see, while an expenditure might fall predominantly into one category,

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If Not Now, When?

Jeffrey K. Actor  |  Apr 5, 2024

WE WERE DINING WITH close friends when the conversation turned to foreign travel. Stories were recounted of ventures to exotic and faraway lands filled with inspiring people, unique cultures and historic sites.
My wife and I were humbled by the sheer number of trips our friends had taken. We were shy to admit that our international travel bucket was relatively empty, and we had embarrassingly few stories to share.
This wasn’t a matter of keeping up with the Joneses.

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Making Claims

Richard Quinn  |  Apr 5, 2024

HAVE YOU HEARD THIS nonsense about Social Security? It’s nothing but a Ponzi scheme. The trust fund is just IOUs. My favorite: I’d rather invest the money I pay in Social Security taxes because I’d get better investment returns.

All three claims reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of Social Security and how it works. Social Security is insurance—a form of annuity, a type of pension, a social safety net. It isn’t an investment and shouldn’t be viewed that way.

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Handing Over the Keys

Steve Abramowitz  |  Apr 4, 2024

IN 1954, THE SPANIELS sang, “Goodnight, sweetheart, well, it’s time to go.”
It may not be time for me to go, but it is time to hand over the keys to our rental properties to my wife, Alberta. Since 1983, I’ve had primary oversight over our family’s residential real estate. At age 79, I’m dogged by heart disease and cancer, and weary of scrimmaging with delinquent renters and dishonorable service people. After assisting me and grooming for the role,

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Talking My Book

Mike Drak  |  Apr 4, 2024

I’M TURNING 70 THIS year, and that’s got me thinking about the legacy I’ll leave behind. Legacy for me involves much more than bequeathing money to the kids. It’s about the contribution I’ve been able to make and the people I’ve helped along the way.
Since retiring, I’ve been on a mission to help folks have a better retirement. This resulted in me co-authoring three books on the subject. In addition to my family,

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Back to Work

James Kerr  |  Apr 3, 2024

CALL IT THE GREAT unretirement. Hit by rising living costs and unexpected feelings of boredom, one out of eight retirees plan to return to work this year, according to a recent survey.
I’m one of them. Two and a half years after retiring from the corporate world, I’m headed back to work. I’ve accepted a position as lead writer for the CEO of a Fortune 200 technology company. I’ll be writing the CEO’s speeches,

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Billionaire Next Door

Ken Cutler  |  Apr 2, 2024

JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER was the richest man in the U.S. in 1918, which happens to be the year my father was born. His $1.2 billion net worth at that time would have the buying power today of more than $24 billion.
Rockefeller, with his massive wealth, could purchase things most of us can only dream about, such as sprawling estates and gigantic yachts. Still, in many ways, today’s millionaire next door has more purchasing power than this billionaire of yesteryear.

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March’s Hits

Jonathan Clements  |  Apr 2, 2024

WHAT WERE FOLKS reading on HumbleDollar last month? Here are the 10 articles and blog posts that garnered the most pageviews during March:

“During our working years, the usual goal is to minimize our tax bill each year,” notes Adam Grossman. “But in retirement, the objective is different: It’s to minimize our total lifetime tax bill.”
“Perhaps the key to my happy retirement was not planning what I’d do in retirement,” says Dick Quinn.

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Owning My Mistake

Richard Connor  |  Apr 1, 2024

I RECENTLY WROTE an article about our purchase of a new primary residence, and our plans for our existing beach house. On the same day, HumbleDollar published a companion article that I also wrote. That second piece discussed the tax implications—and complications—of converting a former primary home to a rental property.
We had purchased the new home using a mortgage, and our plan was to refinance the beach house and use those funds to pay off the mortgage on our new primary residence.

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Time to Stop

David Gartland  |  Apr 1, 2024

MY WIFE AND I ARE different in many ways. This is good and bad. The good part: I get to see both sides of any issue we discuss. This includes our retirement.
Toward the end of 2020, we stopped working within three months of each other. We were both eligible for Social Security and Medicare, so those two key ingredients of a successful retirement were there for us. But we have different visions of retirement.

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Shining Moment

Adam M. Grossman  |  Mar 31, 2024

GOLD REACHED A NEW high last week, climbing above $2,200 for the first time. Year-to-date, gold is up 8% and, since the end of 2021, it’s gained more than 20%, outpacing the S&P 500. This raises two questions: Can we expect the rally to continue? And does gold deserve a place in your portfolio?
To answer these questions, let’s start by looking at the drivers of the recent rally. The first factor is interest rates.

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