An American Story

Marjorie Kondrack  |  Jan 25, 2023

MY MONEY JOURNEY began as a young girl when a confluence of events created tragedy and financial ruin for my family. I grew up in Brooklyn in the 1950s. After the death of my father at age 40, we lost our home and had only the barest of necessities.

At that time, there was little help for people in our situation. The meager government benefits that existed were highly regulated and came with a lot of intrusion into your personal life.

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This Empty House

James Kerr  |  Jan 4, 2023

I STEP INTO THE OLD farmhouse where I grew up and am momentarily confused.

Where’s the blue sofa under the living room bay window with its plump pillows and cozy blankets that my mother likes to throw over her as she reads the morning paper? Where’s the coffee table with the covered pewter candy dish filled with M&Ms and Hershey Kisses? Where’s the rickety table where our family of eight crowded around for countless meals in the tiny but somehow adequate kitchen?

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You Are Missed

Ben Rodriguez  |  Jan 4, 2023

IN FALL 2021, I WROTE about my father-in-law’s impending death due to cancer. He died a few months after publication. I had the honor of writing his obituary. Like my wife and her family, I have found myself wanting to call him many times since he died.
I was born in the early 1980s. That means that, until very recently, all I’ve known is a falling interest rate environment. People from my father-in-law’s generation knew environments like today—when interest rates and inflation rose together,

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Rules for the Wedded

Richard Quinn  |  Dec 27, 2022

ON DEC. 14, MY WIFE and I celebrated 54 years of marriage—not bad for a curmudgeon and the person who’s had to live with him.
Considering that the average marriage in the U.S. lasts seven to eight years and the divorce rate is near 50%, we’ve done pretty well. On top of that, we got married just 10 months after our first date—and I was in the Army for eight of them. I remember receiving a letter from my dad while I was in the Army in which he basically asked,

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Spreading the Word

Ron Wayne  |  Dec 23, 2022

I BOUGHT AND SENT 16 Christmas cards this year. Why spend $6.99 for the box of cards and $9.60 for stamps? I frequently communicate with most of the recipients via email and texts—but that’s why the cards are special.
Apparently, many other Americans feel the same way. Billions of cards are still bought and presumably sent each year, despite the cost of postage, according to the Greeting Card Association.
I could send virtual cards.

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It’s All Relatives

Richard Connor  |  Dec 7, 2022

MY WIFE AND I JUST returned from our annual Thanksgiving vacation on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. This is a yearly outing for our immediate family, my wife’s four siblings and their families. This year we numbered 43, representing three generations of siblings, children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, along with significant others.
I wrote an article about this family tradition three years ago. It started in 1995, and has been held 25 times since. We’ve only missed two years—one because of a family wedding in California and another due to COVID-19.

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Letter to My Dad

Steve Abramowitz  |  Nov 4, 2022

DEAR DAD, I’M SORRY I didn’t go to your 80th birthday party, just a year before your heart gave out. I was that angry at you, still smarting from all the belittling, the sarcasm, the intimidation. Just this morning, I was listening to a broad-shouldered CEO with a booming voice on CNBC and began to feel beads of sweat on my forehead. I was just a kid, Dad. I’m pushing 80 now, wounded as you were by the slings and arrows of life,

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Ready for Rough Times

Mike Zaccardi  |  Oct 24, 2022

AS INFLATION continues to run hot, wage gains for the bottom quartile of income earners are almost keeping pace with consumer prices. Meanwhile, checking account balances for this group remain more than 50% above pre-pandemic levels.
Is everything A-okay? Of course not. Still, I’d argue that many Americans have positioned themselves well to weather an economic downturn. Another sign: Average credit scores are much improved from, say, the mid-2000s, when families were loading up on debt and speculators were snatching up houses only to flip them months later.

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Fulfilling a Promise

Donnie Mattox  |  Oct 6, 2022

MY INVESTING BEGAN in the mid-1980s with savings bonds. Initially, it was a way to set aside some emergency money. I would automatically buy EE bonds through payroll deduction and have the bonds sent to my home. This gave me a sense of accomplishing something for the future. It also showed me that you won’t miss something—money, in this case—if it never makes it into your hands.
Some argue there are better saving and investment strategies.

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On the Sidelines

Richard Quinn  |  Sep 24, 2022

ONE OF THE GREAT blessings in life is grandchildren. In fact, as I think back on our childrearing years, skipping the children and going right to the grandchildren would have been great. Just kidding, Rick, Chris, Caryn and Craig.

Here I sit as a retiree on a Saturday morning, what to do, what to do? Are you kidding me?

When you have 13 grandchildren all living within an hour or so from your home,

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All Together Now

Kathleen M. Rehl  |  Sep 10, 2022

ONE OUT OF FOUR Americans lives in a household with three or more generations under one roof, according to Generations United’s 2021 report. The number of folks living in these multigenerational households has increased sharply over the past decade, from 7% in 2011 to 26% in 2021. Although “multigen” households come in many shapes and sizes, the rarest type is a four- or five-generation family living together.
For most of my pre-teen years, I lived in a four-generation household.

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Separate Ways

Richard Quinn  |  Aug 24, 2022

IT’S CLEAR I AM a dinosaur when it comes to my views on money matters—and apparently several other things as well, but let’s not go there.

When I read in blog posts and articles that a married couple should separate their finances into his money and her money, that one person pays for this and the other for that, and never the twain shall meet, I’m shocked. Some articles indicate a severe division of money matters.

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He Said She Said

Steve Abramowitz  |  Aug 18, 2022

MONEY MAY TALK—but couples have a harder time, often struggling to agree on financial matters.
I’ve been a clinical psychologist for almost 50 years. I’ve counseled many couples who are mired in financial conflict and seen the quality of their relationship corroded by their squabbles.
How can we avoid such damage and start to reverse it? Let me tell you about two couples. These couples are hypothetical—remember, there’s this thing called patient confidentiality.

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Bonding for Life

Richard Connor  |  Jul 30, 2022

WHEN MY WIFE AND I were young, it was common to receive savings bonds for major events, such as birthdays and religious celebrations. We carried on the tradition with our two sons and we’re planning to do the same for our grandchildren.
With our sons, we bought savings bonds to mark significant childhood milestones. We held on to those paper bonds for many years, and gave them to our sons when they graduated college.

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Four Decades Later

Richard Connor  |  Jun 15, 2022

LAST MONTH MARKED 40 years of wedded bliss for my wife and me. I’m amazed at how fast the time has gone. I still remember the day we met. It was at a party celebrating her high school graduation. I gave her a ride to pick up a pack of cigarettes, all the while lecturing her on the dangers of smoking. I believe I saved her from a lifetime of smoking. She saved me from everything else.

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