What Matters Most

Adam M. Grossman  |  December 16, 2018

PABLO PICASSO was one of the most influential, prolific and financially successful artists of the 20th century. Yet, if you had visited his studio at the peak of his career, you might have guessed otherwise: It was a mess and his work schedule was, at best, leisurely.
On a normal day, Picasso would stay in bed all morning and only get to work around 2 p.m. When he did work, according to a biographer,

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Just in Case

Jonathan Clements  |  December 15, 2018

A YEAR AGO, I was worried about the stock market. Today, I’m concerned about the job market.
In December 2017, I penned an article entitled Best Investment 2018, which turned out to be surprisingly prescient. That wasn’t really my goal. At the time, I was simply pondering rich stock market valuations, tiny bond yields and the new tax law, with its higher standard deduction and limits on itemized deductions. Putting it all together, it struck me that paying down debt—even mortgage debt—seemed like an awfully smart move.

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Starting Young

Ross Menke  |  December 14, 2018

I BEGAN WORKING for my father at age 12. He and his brothers run a sign manufacturing business that was co-founded in 1947 by my grandfather. The first few years, I cleaned pickup trucks, swept floors and took out the trash. When I got my driver’s license in high school, I started running errands for the business—better known as a gopher. As a finance major in college, I was able to work my way into the office,

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Mind the Gap

Jiab Wasserman  |  December 13, 2018

BACK IN 2002, I was part of a three-person financial analysis team at a major mortgage lender. I was better qualified than my two male colleagues, thanks to my master’s degree and greater years of experience. Imagine my surprise, then, when I compared my performance review with one of my colleagues. I discovered that, while we both received the same rating, he got a year-end bonus and I didn’t.
Like many women, I was aware of the gender pay gap,

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Saving Time

Dennis E. Quillen  |  December 12, 2018

WE HUMANS CAN be a bit irrational. We’ll struggle to the bitter end over potential losses of property, whether it’s fretting over investment losers, trying to recover money we’ve lent or wrangling over our parents’ estate. But strangely, when it comes to what may be our most valuable resource—time—we collectively shrug off losses as a mere nothing. That “mere nothing” can often have significant financial implications for future monies earned or lost.
Time has specific properties.

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Heading Home (V)

Kristine Hayes  |  December 11, 2018

WITH MY OFFER of $375,000 accepted, I was faced with coming up with $80,000 to cover my 20% down payment and other closing costs. I had additional expenses as well: There was a home inspection, radon test and sewer assessment that all had to be paid for. And because I’d be breaking the lease on my apartment, I would also need an additional $1,800 for that.
Coming up with the first $50,000 was easy.

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Happy Compromises

Adam M. Grossman  |  December 9, 2018

A LITTLE WHILE back, a friend—let’s call him Paul—recommended a book with an unusual title: How Not to Die. As you might guess, it’s about health, nutrition and longevity. Since Paul is a cardiologist and knows a thing or two about what can land people in hospital, I took his recommendation seriously and immediately ordered a copy.
When the book arrived, I learned that the prescription for not dying isn’t so simple.

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Newsletter No. 38

Jonathan Clements  |  December 8, 2018

IS THAT BUNDLE of joy really a source of joy? Lots of parents—myself included—think so. But the data suggest otherwise. Numerous academic studies have found that parents tend to be less happy than the childless. The latest HumbleDollar newsletter delves into this thorny issue.
The newsletter also includes our usual list of recent blogs. Our next newsletter—the final one of 2018—is slated for Saturday, Dec. 22.
Follow Jonathan on Twitter @ClementsMoney and on Facebook.

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Now or Later?

Julian Block  |  December 7, 2018

WANT TO CUT your tax bill for this year and next? The main thing is to act—or not act—before Dec. 31, while there’s still time to take advantage of tax angles that can generate dramatic savings.
Once we’re beyond Dec. 31, it’s generally too late to do anything but file Form 1040 on the basis of what took place the preceding year. There are a few exceptions. For instance, in early 2019, you can still make deductible contribu­tions to some tax-deferred retirement accounts,

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Grab the Roadmap

John Lim  |  December 6, 2018

FINANCIAL SECURITY is within your reach. Don’t believe me? Here’s a roadmap that demonstrates it’s possible for most Americans.
Sam is a 22-year-old college graduate. He begins working right after college, earning $50,000 a year. He saves 20% of his income the first year, equal to $10,000. Each year, he gets a 2% raise. This raise is over and above inflation, which we’ll assume is zero to keep things simple. In addition to saving $10,000 a year,

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Keeping It Going

Ross Menke  |  December 5, 2018

AFTER YOU’VE become successful and accumulated wealth, what comes next? Americans are facing this question more often than ever before. CNBC notes that the number of millionaire U.S. households grew by more than 700,000 in 2017. This affluence can create a disconnect between parent and child: One generation created the wealth, while the other grows up surrounded by it.
As a financial planner, I’ve learned the younger generation has two options: They can either destroy the wealth or they can add to the family’s legacy.

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First Impressions

Dennis Friedman  |  December 4, 2018

WHEN I WAS age six or seven, an older man came to our house. My mother answered the door. I couldn’t hear what the man was saying, but my mother mentioned the word “garage.” I then followed her to the kitchen and watched her make a sandwich with white bread, sliced bananas and mayonnaise. She then poured a glass of milk and went to the garage.
There, sitting in a lawn chair in our tiny garage,

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November’s Hits

Jonathan Clements  |  December 3, 2018

NO SURPRISE: The most popular blogs on HumbleDollar last month were those devoted to the slumping stock market. But not everybody was obsessing over share prices. Three of November’s top seven blogs were focused on family financial issues:

Just Asking
A Little Perspective
Simple Isn’t Easy
Five Messy Steps
Taking Their Money
Why Wait?
Family Inc.

The site’s most widely read article in November wasn’t one of our blogs. Instead, it was Fanning the Flames,

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Pushing Prices

Adam M. Grossman  |  December 2, 2018

WITH INCREASING frequency over the past month, I’ve been hearing the question, “Why does the stock market keep going down? I understand why the market dipped when the Fed raised interest rates, but why does it keep going down day after day?”
If you’ve been feeling unnerved by recent headlines, you aren’t alone. After gaining 10% in 2018 through late-September, the U.S. stock market reversed course and gave up that entire 10% over the course of just two months,

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Taking Us for Fools

Jonathan Clements  |  December 1, 2018

IF THE STOCK market decline resumes, we’ll soon be reading articles about remorseful everyday investors bemoaning their earlier foolishness.
No doubt some folks have been foolish. Perhaps they’ve belatedly discovered that Amazon and Apple aren’t one-way tickets to wealth, that they aren’t the investment geniuses they imagined, or that they misjudged their courageousness and shouldn’t be 100% in stocks.
But mostly, I view these articles as patronizing garbage that propagate the myth that all amateur investors are clueless and all professionals are super-savvy.

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