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My Third Hanging

Tanvir Alam  |  Sep 30, 2022

IN THE COEN BROTHERS’ excellent movie, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, James Franco’s character is set for a good old-fashioned Wild West hanging. Franco appears to accept his fate, but there’s a poor slob next to him with a noose around his neck crying inconsolably. Franco quizzically turns to him and says, “First time?”
I cracked up when I watched that scene. It has since become a famous meme. I feel like uttering the same phrase when younger friends,

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Once Upon a Dime

Kelechi Iwuaba  |  Sep 29, 2022

AS A RELATIVE newcomer to the wonderful world of personal finance and investing, I’m quickly learning that there’s more to money than numbers. I’m discovering from my own experiences, as well as that of others, that psychology plays a huge role in how we handle our finances.
We’re human beings, not machines. We aren’t completely logical. Yes, logic helps the process, but logic isn’t how we regularly process and digest information. Instead, we’re driven primarily by our emotions.

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Starting at the End

Luke Smith  |  Sep 28, 2022

MY FAVORITE BOOK of all time is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The title may be the only thing that author Stephen Covey has ever written that I don’t like. This book and all of Covey’s work are exploding with life, integrity and meaning. I believe he does an incredible job conceptualizing the most important questions of a well-lived life. If you can’t tell, I’m a bit of a disciple.

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Trial by Fire

Steve Spinella  |  Sep 26, 2022

DURING MARKET CRISES, I’ve sometimes made bad investment decisions—and sometimes I’ve successfully done nothing.
In 2008, I was living and working in Taiwan, meaning I heard what happened to U.S. stocks after the market was closed. When it’s 4 p.m. in New York, it’s 4 a.m. in Taiwan. I was also very busy at work.
This made it easier to do nothing about the 2008 stock market meltdown. I did nothing so well that by 2011,

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Everything Compounds

Luke Smith  |  Sep 23, 2022

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,

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Lunch Money

Edmund Marsh  |  Sep 22, 2022

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.

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The Winner’s Curse

Greg Spears  |  Sep 21, 2022

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.

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Just Enough

Edmund Marsh  |  Sep 17, 2022

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.

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Moving the Goalposts

Luke Smith  |  Sep 7, 2022

EARLY IN MY CAREER, I pursued a rigorous financial industry certification. Among the hoops I had to jump through: passing a seven-hour exam.
For 18 months, I woke up every day before work and studied for an hour. I found that consistency far more helpful than eight-hour weekend study sessions. Thanks to my daily commitment through the workweek, I only had to study for one to three hours each Saturday and Sunday.
Still, I didn’t want to get up most mornings.

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Deliberate Practice

Dan McDermott  |  Aug 29, 2022

I ENJOY PLAYING GOLF with friends and colleagues, but my game never seems to improve. Like many, I’m busy with my career and other activities, so I don’t make it a point to practice and, when I do, it’s rarely with an instructor.
Instead, when I head to the driving range to hit balls, it’s without a clear notion of what aspect of my game I’m going to concentrate on. It’s a trial-and-error process that’s modestly helpful at best.

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Made to Measure

Jonathan Clements  |  Aug 20, 2022

“TO MEASURE IS TO improve.” Businesses, investors, athletes and others embrace this notion, and it undoubtedly has value. Still, earlier this year, when my bicycle’s decade-old computer—which measured speed, distance and cadence—finally quit on me, I didn’t replace it.
These days, when I go out for my morning 20-mile bike ride, I like to think I’m going reasonably fast and I’m not happy if another cyclist passes me. But I also know that, when I occasionally use the Strava app on my phone to clock my average speed,

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How to Tame Regret

Adam M. Grossman  |  Aug 14, 2022

THE ENGLISH POET Alfred Tennyson wrote that it is “better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.” When it comes to matters of the heart, maybe Tennyson was right. But when it comes to personal finance, I’m not sure that’s the case. If you’ve ever seen a gain slip through your fingers, you know the feeling of regret can be powerful.
Two conversations last week prompted me to take a closer look at this topic.

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We All Want an A

Jonathan Clements  |  Aug 10, 2022

IN THE WEEKS BEFORE my annual physical, I made a concerted effort to lose a few pounds, drink more water, skip my evening glass of wine, eat more fiber, and avoid red meat, French fries and cheese. The happy result: My blood pressure was low. My weight was down slightly from my previous checkup. My cholesterol count was good. My A1C level suggests my prediabetic condition hasn’t got any worse. All in all, last month’s physical found that I had little reason to worry.

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Check on Yourself

Jonathan Clements  |  Aug 6, 2022

MEET THE LATEST feature added to HumbleDollar—as well as the website’s first calculator: the Two-Minute Checkup.
How does it work? All you need to do is input up to nine pieces of information, the sort of stuff most of us know off the top of our head. There’s no need to create an account or link to your brokerage firm or bank, and none of your information is saved on HumbleDollar or anywhere else. 

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Divide and Conquer

Jim Wasserman  |  Jul 29, 2022

IF WE GO TO the movies and buy a mega-tub of popcorn, we’ll eat a lot, probably too much. If, however, that same amount of popcorn is packaged into four bags, we won’t eat nearly so much.
Why? With the four bags, we keep arriving at a decision point—that moment when we have to ponder whether it’s worth opening a new bag. This is the insight of behavioral economist Dilip Soman of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management,

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