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Ask the Question

David Gartland  |  Apr 22, 2024

I WAS A PART-TIME instructor in public speaking for Dale Carnegie & Associates during the 1980s and early 1990s. I taught a course at the Downtown Athletic Club in lower Manhattan.
At the time, my wife and I were living in northwestern New Jersey, and we each took the bus into Manhattan to our respective jobs. The course was given after work, so I had to take a late bus home. This meant my wife needed to drive to the bus depot to pick me up.

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Make Them Answer

Warren Berger  |  Apr 17, 2024

MANY HUMBLEDOLLAR readers are the financial experts that friends and family members rely on. But how can you best help those around you? Below is an edited excerpt from the 10th anniversary edition of “A More Beautiful Question.”
We all like to give advice—it feels good. “When you’re giving advice, you’re in control of the conversation,” notes the author and executive coach Michael Bungay Stanier. “You’re the one with the answers.”
But people who are experts at using questions to build rapport will tell you: resist the urge to dole out advice.

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Make That Choice

David Gartland  |  Apr 15, 2024

I’M NOT THE SMARTEST guy. That used to bother me when I was in school. The smart guys were making their teachers happy. They were named to the National Honor Society. They went to the best colleges. They seemed to have it all.
As I got older, and began to make more and more decisions on my own, I had to come up with a method that would allow me to make good decisions,

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Killing Time

David Gartland  |  Mar 25, 2024

WHEN I WAS A TEENAGER, my father and I went to the local mall. I don’t recall why we went shopping together, but I do remember going into a Tandy craft store and buying a customizing kit for leather belts. Tandy Corp. would later become well known as the owner of RadioShack.
On the way home, my father and I were talking about the kit, and I made the comment, “It’ll be a good way to kill time.” My father shot back,

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Nothing Odd

Ken Cutler  |  Mar 21, 2024

VOGUE RAN AN ARTICLE a decade ago about Marissa Mayer, then Yahoo’s CEO. The opening quote from Mayer grabbed my attention: “I really like even numbers, and I like heavily divisible numbers. Twelve is my lucky number—I just love how divisible it is. I don’t like odd numbers, and I really don’t like primes. When I turned 37, I put on a strong face, but I was not looking forward to 37.”
Mayer’s statement resonated with me.

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Asking Myself

Jonathan Clements  |  Mar 16, 2024

WHAT’S THE BETTER choice? This is the perennial question for all of us, as we ponder how best to use our time, how to invest our savings and how to get the most out of the dollars we spend.
Want to lead a more thoughtful financial life? As I try to make better choices, here are five questions I find particularly useful.
1. Why would I stray from the global stock market’s weights?

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Fearing Nothing

Tony Wilson  |  Mar 11, 2024

WHEN I WAS IN MY 20s, I didn’t think much about money. My spending wasn’t lavish. I didn’t go to high-end restaurants or wear expensive clothes.
Still, if I wanted a book or a compact disc, I bought it. I wasted money on fast food instead of cooking at home. I blew money on electronics like a fancy CD player and bought a bigger, more expensive television than I needed. For somebody who considered himself reasonably bright,

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It’s What We Do Next

David Gartland  |  Mar 11, 2024

BOXING CHAMPION Mike Tyson famously said, “Everybody has plans until they get hit for the first time.”
I’ve only been punched in the face once in my life. It occurred in sixth grade. I was alone in the boys’ bathroom when a bully came in. He said something to me and didn’t like my response, so he attempted to kick me.
I saw this happening out of the corner of my eye and I lifted his leg up,

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Friends for Life

Steve Abramowitz  |  Mar 8, 2024

WHEN I WAS YOUNG, my parents converted our basement into an indoor playground for the neighborhood kids.
My friends could listen to Elvis belt out Hound Dog or croon Love Me Tender on the Seeburg jukebox. Some chose instead to light up the Bally pinball machine. Others would challenge my father to a game of pool. Meanwhile, my mother would create mini-pizzas for everyone, with a slice of Swiss cheese drenched in tomato sauce on half an English muffin.

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Aiming High

David Gartland  |  Mar 7, 2024

MY WIFE NEEDED KNEE replacement surgery a few years ago. Her health plan, which was provided through the school district where she worked, was a preferred provider organization with a large network of doctors. After some research, my wife decided she wanted her operation done at New York City’s Hospital for Special Surgery.
I love hearing about people’s lives. I’ve long read biographies to learn how others gained their fame or fortune, hoping for pointers that would help me with my own life.

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Mind Games

David Gartland  |  Mar 4, 2024

IN MY ENGLISH CLASS in junior high school, we read a play called I Remember Mama. It was a story about a poor Norwegian immigrant family living in San Francisco in the early 1900s.
The mother ran the household while her husband went to work and the children went to school. The mother was in charge of the family’s finances. Any time a family member needed extra money, he or she would have to ask Mama for it.

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Yesterday’s Influence

Adam M. Grossman  |  Mar 3, 2024

MY FIRST DAY IN the investment industry was—unfortunately—not so great. On the morning of Sept. 15, 2008, the investment bank Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, sending the stock market into a free fall. The rest of 2008 was equally ugly, with the S&P 500 losing 37% for the year. But that experience provided investors with a valuable lesson—about the power of recency bias.
Recency bias is the mind’s tendency to extrapolate. When things are terrible,

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Keeping It Simple

David Gartland  |  Feb 26, 2024

“I NEVER MEMORIZE anything I can look up.” Albert Einstein, it seems, said this or something similar. I first heard the quote in my freshman physics class. The teacher asked a student to recite a formula. The student’s response: “I never memorize anything I can look up.”
I’ve adopted the same philosophy. My wife loves to point out that I don’t remember the names of streets in our neighborhood. But I don’t need to know them.

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Losers Weepers

David Gartland  |  Feb 22, 2024

MY SON AND I WALK the streets of our town, so my son can pick up trash and recyclables. He’s obsessive-compulsive about trash. He impulsively picks it up even if he isn’t wearing gloves or doesn’t have his grabber available. To reduce this behavior, he and I go out daily looking for trash, so he feels there’s less trash out there.
We do find trash, but we also find things that I wouldn’t classify as trash.

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Measuring My Money

Mark Eckman  |  Feb 20, 2024

I KNOW FOLKS WHO consider their income to be the best measure of their wealth. Income, however, doesn’t gauge whether you’re making headway toward financial independence.
What does? My financial statement provides everything I need to measure my progress. At the end of each December, I gather the dollar amounts for my assets and liabilities, and assemble the details on a spreadsheet that compares my current standing with prior years. If you’re inspired to do the same,

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