Behave Yourself

Jeffrey K. Actor  |  Sep 19, 2023

SMART GUYS CAN DO some really dumb things. Those dumb things include behavior that seems logical, but is often a sign of addiction.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines addiction as “a compulsive, chronic, physiological or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behavior, or activity having harmful physical, psychological, or social effects.” Addictions come in many flavors. Some are benign, some more malignant. Many involve repeating a pattern or behavior in hopes of achieving a different outcome.

Read More

Making Us Work

Marjorie Kondrack  |  Sep 8, 2023

OPPOSITES MAY ATTRACT—but that doesn’t always make for a happy financial relationship. For instance, tightwads and spendthrifts often marry, each hoping the other will change his or her ways or perhaps provide needed balance.
But that, of course, can lead to conflict—and couples may struggle to negotiate their differences. They wind up having the same argument over and over, and nothing’s accomplished until they listen to each other and try to find common ground.

Read More

How to Decide

Adam M. Grossman  |  Sep 3, 2023

THE CENTRAL Intelligence Agency knows a thing or two about gathering information. That’s why a CIA publication titled The Psychology of Intelligence Analysis is, in my opinion, a valuable resource for investors.
Of particular note is a section titled, “Do You Really Need More Information?” It offers this counterintuitive finding: To make sound judgments, some amount of information is necessary. But beyond a certain point, gathering more data doesn’t always lead to better decisions.

Read More

My Car Journey

Richard Quinn  |  Sep 2, 2023

I WROTE AN ARTICLE in 2019 titled Mercedes and Me. It was about my 52-year quest to fulfill a promise to my father—one I’m sure he never even remembered. My promise: to buy a Mercedes, a vehicle my father sold for many years but could never afford, even at dealer cost.

In 2014, after 10 years of diligent saving, I achieved my goal. I paid $60,000 in cash to make good on my promise and to fulfill my dream.

Read More

Die With Zero

Richard Connor  |  Aug 21, 2023

WHAT’S THE PURPOSE of life? Is it to die with as much money as possible or, as magazine publisher Malcolm Forbes was quoted as saying, “He who dies with the most toys, wins”? An intriguing and provocative book, Die With Zero, says no.
The book’s author is Bill Perkins, a successful energy trader. In it, he argues that the purpose of life is to accumulate as many fulfilling experiences as possible,

Read More

Not a Financial Loss

Jonathan Clements  |  Aug 17, 2023

DON’T CONFUSE THREATS to your happiness with financial threats.
For instance, it would be devastating if one of your children died at a young age, and no doubt that’s why some folks buy life insurance on their children’s lives. But while the death of a child is a threat to your happiness, is it a threat to your finances? It’s terrible to say it, but just the opposite is true: You’d probably be better off financially.

Read More

Escape to What?

Mike Drak  |  Aug 11, 2023

A TIDAL WAVE OF workers quit the corporate world in recent years, starting an earlier-than-planned retirement. I can relate—because I did the same thing.
One reason these people left: Their psychological needs and values weren’t being met at work. We all want a sense that we’re accomplishing something important. We want to feel valued and respected by the company we work for, and we want a sense of autonomy and control.
What we don’t want is to work for bad bosses in a toxic environment.

Read More

What’s Your Story?

Jonathan Clements  |  Aug 5, 2023

AS SOMEONE WHO HAS marched through life—and made money along the way—by putting one word in front of another, maybe it’s no great surprise that I’m a big fan of writing things down.
My challenge to you: Follow the example of the 30 HumbleDollar writers who contributed essays to the book My Money Journey, and devote a few thousand words to detailing your financial journey, including your mistakes, triumphs and the lessons you learned along the way.

Read More

Joining the Club

James Kerr  |  Jul 27, 2023

CALL ME SOLITARY MAN. I’ve never been much of a joiner. I’ve never belonged to a country club and can count on two hands the number of social organizations I’ve been part of during my working years.
Part of this was because I didn’t have a lot of time to pursue outside interests while working 14-hour days as a corporate manager. What spare time I did have, I preferred to spend writing, fishing, hiking or engaged in other solitary pursuits.

Read More

Moody About Money

Richard Quinn  |  Jul 27, 2023

A RECENT ARTICLE on this site, written by the editor, put me in a contemplative mood: How do I think about money?

Actually, I was already pondering this question, something I do frequently and especially at the end of the month, when my pension is deposited into one of our bank accounts and earnings on our investments are displayed in our Fidelity Investments accounts. I also ponder this question when I see our stocks and funds go up or down each day.

Read More

Ask Away

Adam M. Grossman  |  Jul 9, 2023

NEW YORK ATTORNEY Steven Schwartz recently found himself in hot water. Schwartz was representing a passenger injured on board an Avianca Airlines flight. In a filing with the court, Schwartz cited several precedents that appeared to support his case, including Martinez v. Delta Air Lines, Zicherman v. Korean Air Lines and Varghese v. China Southern Airlines. The only problem? These cases are all fictional—made up not by Schwartz, but by ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence (AI) “chatbot.”
The judge was not pleased,

Read More

Money Shame

Steve Abramowitz  |  Jul 3, 2023

AFTER PENNY READ about lower stock market valuations abroad, she bought an exchange-traded index fund focused on European shares. She showed the article to her friend Peter, who purchased the same fund. But the next day, a large French bank reported difficulty meeting customer withdrawals, stoking fear of a bank run.
The U.S. stock market was down slightly, but European shares got clobbered. Penny was disappointed but believed the government would take steps to ease the crisis and vowed to stay invested.

Read More

Fessing Up

Steve Abramowitz  |  Jun 23, 2023

WOULDA, COULDA, SHOULDA are part of every retiree’s investment vocabulary. I’ve certainly had my share of bloopers.
Too often, we writers stand up here and pontificate about our exploits, leaving readers feeling they couldn’t possibly do the same. With an eye toward leveling the playing field, I thought I’d divulge two of my biggest blunders.
Error of commission. Using the royalties from her husband’s high school Spanish textbooks, my mother-in-law Rose began to accumulate municipal bonds in the late 1970s.

Read More

Other People’s Stuff

Marjorie Kondrack  |  Jun 22, 2023

MOST OF US HAVE TOO much stuff, and we’re apt to joke about it. But clutter, if allowed to spiral out of control, can turn into hoarding.

Hoarders are people who acquire an excessive number of items, some with little or no value, and yet they continue to add to their chaotic overflow. Unable to manage the clutter but unwilling to let any of it go, they become upset and anxious when others offer to help clear it up.

Read More

Coming Together

Mike Zaccardi  |  Jun 19, 2023

I GOT CAUGHT UP IN some weird investment fads during the recent era of 0% interest rates. With cash investments and bonds yielding almost nothing, I instead sought to pad my investment returns by opening new brokerage accounts to snag promotion cash, and by dabbling in digital currencies and newfangled alternative investments.
Result? I ended up with far too many financial accounts—and it became a burden to keep track of everything. Just a year ago,

Read More