Luck Would Have It

Richard Quinn  |  May 23, 2024

I’VE BEEN WRITING FOR and reading HumbleDollar for more than six years.

I’m struck by the number of articles and comments that talk about things like divorce, job loss, health issues, adverse financial events and caring for elderly parents.

When articles discuss such experiences, the pieces are typically well read, with numerous comments, including many expressing empathy. The amount of personal information shared is amazing. No doubt readers can relate to many of these events.

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Our Good Fortune

Richard Connor  |  May 16, 2024

HOW DO WE MEASURE societal wealth? And what triggered this thought?
I started pondering the issue early last year. I had a total left knee joint replacement in January 2023. Not long after, I was sitting in my living room with an ice pack on my knee, having just completed a strenuous set of stretches and exercises.
The room was being warmed by a modern gas fireplace, lit by a remote control. No wood to split,

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Happy Conclusion

Jesse Cramer  |  May 14, 2024

FOR THE PAST FEW years, I’ve been on a Radiohead kick. For the uninitiated, Radiohead is an English rock band whose lead singer is Thom Yorke, known for his distinctive whining vocals—I mean that in a good way—and innovative songwriting.
As I read about Yorke, a quote from him leaped off the page: “When I was a kid, I always assumed that [fame] was going to answer something—fill a gap. And it does the absolute opposite.”
I immediately thought of the financial corollary.

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Try to Be Satisfied

Ken Cutler  |  Apr 25, 2024

ONE OF MY FAVORITE books is The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz. Its subtitle is Why More Is Less: How the Culture of Abundance Robs Us of Satisfaction. The principles that the book discusses have important implications for how we manage our money.
Schwartz distinguishes between “maximizers” and “satisficers.” A maximizer is someone who needs to be assured that he or she is making the best decision possible.

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Pursuing Happiness

David Gartland  |  Feb 15, 2024

THERE USED TO BE a TV show called Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. I assume it was created to make viewers envy rich people and want what they had. The memorable catchphrase of the host, repeated at the end of every episode, was “champagne wishes and caviar dreams.”
Envy is one of the seven deadly sins—for good reason. All it does is cause heartache and pain. When I was younger,

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Still Above Ground

Sundar Mohan Rao  |  Feb 9, 2024

I WAS WORRIED ABOUT what we’d be giving up when, a few years ago, we moved to a 55-plus community in Atlanta. We downsized from a large home to a small apartment, plus all our neighbors were considerably older. It was obvious we had to adjust and start enjoying our unfamiliar environment or we’d end up miserable.
My wife and I made a conscious decision to slow down, and make every effort to get to know other residents and their life stories.

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Feeling Rich

David Gartland  |  Jan 4, 2024

ON ONE OF OUR TRIPS to visit my in-laws in South Carolina, my mother-in-law asked me what I thought of her home in a 55-plus retirement community.
“It looks like a house,” I said sarcastically.
Her response gave me food for thought. She said, “I feel rich living here.”
My mother-in-law’s home was far from being a McMansion. It was a single-story two-bedroom house, but it had cathedral ceilings. I think it was the high ceilings that,

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Slowing the Clock

Casey Campbell  |  Dec 29, 2023

THE FIRST TIME I remember realizing that “time flies” was during my senior year of high school. One of my class periods each day involved working in the school’s main office. My primary duty was to walk the hallways, gathering attendance sheets from each classroom.
It was a highly repetitive task, each day a replica of the prior one, with the route through the hallways never changing. On one of those days, I recall thinking,

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My Happy Retirement

Dennis Friedman  |  Oct 28, 2023

I’VE LONG THOUGHT that my life has gotten better as I’ve grown older. At age 72, I can honestly say the past few years have been the best time of my life. I’ve never been this happy.
But I’m beginning to believe that my best years may soon be behind me. Maybe from here on things will trend in the other direction—because what makes me happy might be hard to hold on to as I age.

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Coming of Age

Steve Abramowitz  |  Oct 10, 2023

I RECENTLY HAD THREE retired men visit my psychology practice, each grappling with depression. Just as women face special challenges during their senior years, so too do their husbands, fathers and male friends.
Who hasn’t been seduced by those syrupy commercials where an elderly couple hold hands while walking a sun-kissed beach? Retirement is advertised as a magic carpet transporting us to a well-earned destination of meaning and frolic. But the reality is more complicated.

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My Best Experiences

Douglas W. Texter  |  Sep 20, 2023

WORD ON THE STREET is that, if you want to use money to make yourself happy, you should buy experiences rather than things.
In principle, I couldn’t agree more.
There is, however, one kind of experience that I see touted both in the media and on social media that I don’t think reflects money well spent: the expensive family vacation to a distant destination. This status-symbol experience, complete with selfies at ritzy hotels, is supposedly designed to create priceless memories.

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Doin’ the Charleston

Edmund Marsh  |  Sep 1, 2023

I WROTE RECENTLY about my wife’s lifelong love of traveling, and of my resolve to get in step with her as she resumes her rambles. To that end, earlier this summer, I drove our family to Charleston, South Carolina, to attend the retirement ceremony for my cousin Chris, and to see a bit of the city, to boot.
As our departure time approached, we learned that the original schedule for retirement day had been altered.

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Your Answers May Vary

Adam M. Grossman  |  Aug 13, 2023

IN THE WORLD OF personal finance, there’s no shortage of formulas and frameworks for making financial decisions. But it’s also important, I think, to see these as guidelines rather than as rules. Consider the textbook view of money and happiness.
What the research says is that, all else being equal, we should opt to spend money on experiences rather than things. Let’s say the choice is between spending $1,000 on a new watch or on a weekend away.

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Any Seat Will Do

Kenyon Sayler  |  Aug 4, 2023

WHEN OUR CHILDREN were little, we had season tickets to the Children’s Theatre in Minneapolis. We started taking our older child, and then brought his brother along when he was old enough to enjoy the show. We had tickets in the front row of the balcony.
Before my youngest son’s first show, he looked over the balcony railing at all of the people below. He asked why we were clear up here, when there were all of those people below us.

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A Happy Retirement

Dennis Friedman  |  Jun 26, 2023

AS I MENTIONED IN an earlier article, I’ve been writing for HumbleDollar since 2017. Along the way, I set a personal goal of writing 100 articles, not counting the 36 shorter blog posts I’ve penned. This is my 99th article. I’m almost there.
It may not seem like a lofty goal to many people, but to me it’s been a challenge. After I wrote my first article, it took me a year to write another one.

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