Nervous Bride

Kristine Hayes  |  August 5, 2019

WHEN I MARRIED for the first time, I didn’t think much about it. I was in my 20s. My new husband (and future ex-husband) and I had already been living together for nearly a decade. Neither of us had any items of real value, so the financial implications of joining our lives meant very little. Marriage, it seemed, was just the obvious next step in our relationship.
When I married for the second time,

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Double Checking

Adam M. Grossman  |  August 4, 2019

A LITTLE WHILE back, I found myself in an Uber. The driver began to share his political views. Before long, it became clear that his point of view was well outside the norm. He explained that the Federal Reserve is not a government entity, as most people believe. Rather, it is privately owned by the Rothschild family. In addition, he said, the Rothschilds also control the president—not just this president, but the presidency in general.

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Whither Vanguard?

Jonathan Clements  |  August 3, 2019

IT WOULD BE difficult to overemphasize how important Vanguard Group is to everyday investors. Many of us have money at the Malvern, Pa., behemoth, which easily ranks as the largest mutual-fund company. But even if investors don’t, they’ve likely still benefited, as other companies have moved to slash their fees and expand their lineup of index funds to compete with Vanguard.
Well aware of this, I follow Vanguard closely—and even more so since Vanguard’s founder,

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July’s Hits

Jonathan Clements  |  August 2, 2019

IT SEEMS THAT, when folks go on vacation, they don’t read about personal finance. What’s that about? One result: The first half of July was relatively slow here at HumbleDollar, though the month still ended up ranking as our fourth best ever in terms of total page views.
While absentee readers were getting sunburned, the site continued to post articles every day. Here are July’s seven most popular blog posts:

That’s Enough
Getting Used?

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Naming Names

Dennis Friedman  |  August 1, 2019

I JUST WENT to see a lawyer about making changes to my trust and will. It’s been some 20 years since I had my revocable living trust drawn up, and a lot of things in my life have changed since then. 
For most folks, it’s difficult to decide how they want their estate distributed upon their death. Consider five questions:

Should the division of your assets be based solely on relationships, leaving your assets to immediate family,

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Financially Fit

Phil Dawson  |  July 31, 2019

WANT GREATER financial success? It may all start at the local gym and in the fresh food aisle.
“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” —Benjamin Franklin.
Well, Ben, if only it were that simple. While the timing of our repose may not produce all of these outcomes, this aphorism offers food for thought. Are there connections between cognitive ability, physical health and wealth accumulation?

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Making It Work

Richard Quinn  |  July 30, 2019

I’M ONE of the fortunate Americans with a pension. I know firsthand the sense of financial security that comes with steady monthly income.
Others don’t have it so easy. I worry a great deal about the majority of Americans—including my four children—who have no pension, and instead will rely on Social Security and their investments for their retirement income. My fear: Even if these folks are saving regularly, they don’t really understand how to invest or how to manage their nest egg once retired.

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Cashing In

John Yeigh  |  July 29, 2019

STOCK MARKET indexes are at all-time highs, share prices are expensive relative to earnings and global economic growth is slowing. Is it time to consider rebalancing our portfolios and perhaps adopting a more defensive approach?
If you believe in rebalancing—maintaining a relatively consistent allocation to stocks and bonds—then, at some point in this bull market, you must sell stocks. I am hugely hesitant to do so, for three reasons. First, I am fundamentally a buy-and-hold forever investor,

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Oddly Effective

Adam M. Grossman  |  July 28, 2019

MY FATHER-IN-LAW—known to his family as Papa—passed away earlier this month. After 96 years, he had developed a number of money habits that were unconventional but quite effective, including these three:
1. Focused frugality. Papa was frugal, but not in the conventional sense. He didn’t practice extreme frugality and saw no virtue in intentional self-denial. Rather, he practiced what I would call focused frugality. If something was important—his children’s education, for example—he was happy to write that check.

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Thinking Out Loud

Jonathan Clements  |  July 27, 2019

IDEAS ARE TOOLS that can help us see the world with greater clarity. Indeed, I find myself returning to certain financial notions again and again, because they’re so fundamental to understanding the world of finance and how we can make our lives better.
What are the most important ideas? I decided to create a new chapter for HumbleDollar’s online money guide, which covers the 15 notions I consider most crucial:

Future Self
Hedonic Treadmill
Human Capital
Be an Owner
Risk and Reward
Opportunity Cost
Risk Pooling


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Beat the Cheats

David Powell  |  July 26, 2019

U.S. CREDIT CARD fraud topped $8 billion in 2015 and should surpass $12 billion next year. You can reduce your exposure to such incidents with a few simple steps. Why bother? Won’t the bank pick up the tab when unauthorized purchases show up on your account? Generally, yes, thanks to the Fair Credit Billing Act and the Electronic Fund Transfer Act. But there may be limitations on that protection, based on how quickly you notify your bank when you discover unauthorized charges.

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Before the Fall

William Ehart  |  July 25, 2019

THE SUDDEN BULL move of 1991 enraged me. Mr. Market waved the red flag and I charged. Forget balanced, S&P 500 and large-cap value funds. I was gonna get me one of them aggressive funds that goes up 99% in a year.
I greedily and resentfully scanned the list of 1991’s 10 top-performing mutual funds. Why didn’t I own any of them? Oppenheimer Global Biotech was up 121%. Vanguard Windsor II, which I owned around that time,

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Blame Game

Dennis Friedman  |  July 24, 2019

I’VE READ A LOT of articles about why Americans aren’t saving enough for retirement. Most of the articles lay the blame on our spending habits and the debts we’re servicing.
For instance, some point the finger at the gourmet coffee we buy each morning. Suze Orman says, “You need to think about it as: You are peeing $1 million down the drain as you are drinking that coffee.”
Similarly, others point out we’re spending too much on unnecessary items like vacations,

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Righting Wrongs

Richard Quinn  |  July 23, 2019

SOCIAL SECURITY remains a great mystery to many Americans and is widely misunderstood. For instance, when Social Security’s trustees release their annual report, we get vastly different interpretations. One group will read the report and conclude there’s a “surplus” and plenty of money to improve benefits. Meanwhile, another concludes that the program is in fiscal trouble and fixing it is vital.
Headlines frequently state the program is going bankrupt. It isn’t. Today’s level of benefits may not be sustainable,

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Take It or Leave It

John Yeigh  |  July 22, 2019

THE CLASH, the U.K. punk-rock group, famously asked, “Should I stay or should I go?” Retirees and job changers need to tackle the same question when they leave their employer.
At that juncture, you have four options for your 401(k) or 403(b) account: You can leave the balance in your old employer’s plan, roll over the balance to a new employer’s plan, roll over the balance to an IRA or close out the account.

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