Checking the Score

Steve Abramowitz  |  Jul 10, 2024

I’M DUMB MONEY, as are all so-called recreational gamblers. That’s why, during the recent basketball playoffs, we sports spectators were bombarded with wildly seductive commercials glamorizing sports betting.
Fortunately, I learned my limits early on. My last notable gamble ended badly more than four decades ago, when some IBM options I bought expired worthless.
But I’ve also come to appreciate that not all individual gamblers are dumb money. I’ve lately been serving as the sounding board for my 36-year-old son Ryan,

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Do Who You Are

David Gartland  |  Jun 10, 2024

THE ONLY DREAM I HAD for my son was that he’d get a job. To most parents, this probably seems like small thinking. Why wasn’t I dreaming of him walking across the stage after earning his medical degree, or walking down the aisle with his new bride, or the joy of him holding his first child? Because that would not be his reality.
It took me a while to accept this. Based on my life,

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Took Courage

Dennis Friedman  |  Mar 21, 2024

I ALWAYS THOUGHT my father was a brave man. It wasn’t just because he served in World War II. It had to do with a few incidents that I witnessed.
I’ll never forget when my dad and I went to McDonald’s for a late evening meal. I was probably in the eighth grade. I believe my mother was working late that night. It must have been a Friday because a lot of teenagers were hanging out in the parking lot.

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Money in the Middle

Steve Abramowitz  |  Mar 15, 2024

OUR COURTSHIP WAS both ripe with joy and fraught with tumult. One scene is emblazoned in my memory. Alberta and I had just finished lunch on the grass in front of the campus cafeteria. I was slumped over, exhausted by the frantic academic scramble to get published and disillusioned by the political intrigues.
Alberta read my mood and rested my head in her lap, as she ran her hand softly through my hair. Schooled by my parents to keep an eye out for retirement and advancing age,

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My Parents’ Retirement

Ken Cutler  |  Mar 13, 2024

DAD WAS AN ACCOUNTANT. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, taking classes at night while working full-time. He also studied engineering at another Philadelphia college, again taking classes at night. Dad would have enjoyed being an engineer, but he could only take on so much while working a day job. He never completed that degree.
Being sharp at math and having an organized mind, accounting was a good fit. Dad eventually became president of J.S.

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Forget Me Not

Jonathan Clements  |  Feb 17, 2024

WHAT WILL BE YOUR legacy? It’s a question many of us ponder as we get older. My conclusion: It’s the wrong question to ask.
The fact is, the whole notion of a legacy is a tad delusional, and very likely a trick played on us by our genes, which want us to care deeply about future generations. The reality: Most of us will leave scant mark on the world and we won’t be remembered for very long after we’re gone.

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Drawn From Memory

Jonathan Clements  |  Feb 3, 2024

WE’RE ALL CAPTIVES of our own experiences. Want to behave more rationally? We should set aside our life’s anecdotal evidence and instead make decisions using the best information we can find. Yet our experiences—especially those during childhood and that involve family—tend to triumph, shaping our world view and potentially setting us up for costly financial mistakes.
What drives your behavior, financially and otherwise? A little introspection could help you better understand your financial choices—a crucial first step to behaving better.

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Seeking Answers

David Gartland  |  Jan 22, 2024

I LEARNED OF MY brother’s death by Googling his name. I always wondered whether his family would let me know if he was ill or had died. After Google led me to his obituary, I had my answer.
My brother and I were co-executors and co-beneficiaries of my mother’s estate. From the start, we couldn’t agree on how to settle her affairs. I wanted to sell everything and divide by two, but he wanted to hold off selling my mother’s house.

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Keeping It Together

Jeffrey K. Actor  |  Jan 19, 2024

WHEN I MENTION THE word “bands” to my friends, most think of the Rolling Stones or Grateful Dead. Among fellow financial nerds, the word can prompt a discussion of rebalancing strategies. What about me? I think about my billfold, which has been to more places and countries than I have.
Many years ago, I spent a week away from home attending a scientific conference. By the meeting’s conclusion, I was exhausted. I had a history of returning from longer trips bearing token gifts for my twins.

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Cat’s in the Cradle

David Gartland  |  Dec 28, 2023

MY WIFE WAS STILL waking up from the general anesthesia. She’d had a Cesarean, or C-section. Meanwhile, I was in the nursery, helping the nurse record my newborn son’s vitals.
The Harry Chapin song Cat’s in the Cradle came over the loudspeaker. For readers unfamiliar with the song, it tells the story of a dad who is more interested in his job than his son. Having kids was never my priority. Making money was,

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Losing the Keys

David Gartland  |  Dec 21, 2023

MY MOTHER AND MY future mother-in-law met at a funeral 37 years ago. They started discussing their respective families. It was during that conversation that they realized they each had an unmarried child, and they decided it would be nice if their two children got together. Thus, on that fatal day, my life was changed forever.
One of the stories I heard early on about my mother-in-law was how she lost a house to foreclosure.

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Learned From Less

Ken Cutler  |  Dec 4, 2023

HOW MANY OF OUR adult financial habits are shaped by childhood experiences? My parents, who grew up during the Great Depression, weren’t fans of providing allowances for my sisters and me. My oldest sister, Gail, got no pocket money but remembers being offered a quarter to fill a grocery bag with dandelions pulled from the yard. Lynn, 10 years older than me, received a quarter a week for a short period.
My first allowance was also a quarter a week,

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Letter to My Ex

Steve Abramowitz  |  Nov 27, 2023

HI CHRIS, IT’S BEEN 45 years since we broke up, we’re now both age 78, and I’m winding down. I wanted to touch base and catch you up, but mostly let you know that I often think back on our 11 years as husband and wife, and how much I value the time we spent together. Sometimes, that period of my life seems far in the past, but other times it’s right on my shoulder,

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Let the Elephants Go

Charles Schafer  |  Nov 15, 2023

HAVE YOU HEARD THE parable of the white elephant? In southeast Asia, possessing a white elephant was symbolic of power and prestige. It was a good omen to find one in the wild, signifying peace and prosperity for the kingdom. They were considered sacred and could not be used in war or for labor. To receive a white elephant from the king was a great honor. Who would turn down such a special and unique gift?

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Everything She Needed

Ken Cutler  |  Nov 14, 2023

THE MOST FRUGAL person I’ve ever known was my Great Aunt Beatrice. To all the family, she was just Aunt Bea. Never married, she was the sister of my paternal grandfather, a man who passed away 14 years before I was born. She was a dignified lady, proper and pleasant, and not given to bursts of laughter. Still, I felt closer to her than to any of my living grandparents or other relatives from that generation.

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