Don’t Get Catty

Steve Abramowitz  |  Aug 22, 2023

I’VE NEVER RENTED TO cats. The opportunity came my way recently via an email from my property manager. An elderly couple was interested in renting our flagship duplex, which would become available in August.
The prospects were smitten by the location near their church and grandchildren, and they seemed like a landlord’s dream. No undergraduate mayhem and no complaints from neighbors about beer cans strewn on the front lawn. They were also likely long-term renters,

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My Magic Wand

Kathy Wilhelm  |  Jul 13, 2023

ONE REASON I WAITED so long to sell my house was my extreme reluctance to move all my belongings. I didn’t want to deal with the hassles involved—because I’d gone through that less than a decade earlier.

In 2013, I had the house renovated. I replaced almost all the flooring, with hardwood downstairs, carpet upstairs and tile in the bathrooms. I also updated the kitchen cabinets. That meant, of course, that every single thing in the house had to be moved.

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Closing the Door

Brian White  |  Jun 21, 2023

I FOUND OUT A YEAR ago that my Aunt Ina Lou, then aged 95, had designated me as her agent in her financial and medical powers of attorney. She also named me as executor of her estate and the trustee for her trust.
She wasn’t well and needed more help than her thoughtful neighbors could provide. Within months, my brother, my wife and I had our aunt settled in an assisted living facility near her townhome in Burke,

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Buying Time

Dana Ferris  |  Jun 4, 2023

“I’D BE HAPPY TO JUST come here every year,” I told my husband. We and our two daughters had arrived on Maui 72 hours earlier. It was May 2000—and our first trip to Hawaii.
We’d signed up for a timeshare presentation in return for discounts on tours and activities. By the time we got to the meeting, I’d fallen head over heels in love with the place. The timeshare salesperson had an easy time persuading me to buy.

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My Retirement Home

Kristine Hayes  |  May 24, 2023

WE BEGAN IN 2019 to think seriously about what we wanted our retirement to look like. My husband had retired in 2018. I was aiming to leave my job in 2022. We were hoping to have a plan in place long before my final day of work.
Our first step was to decide where we wanted to live. We were both eager to escape the Pacific Northwest, so we zeroed in on a couple of potential destinations.

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Breaking My Rules

Jonathan Clements  |  May 13, 2023

I’M ABOUT TO MOVE OUT of my home for four or five months. Yeah, this takes some explaining.
In February 2020, when I was planning my move to Philadelphia, I wrote down 10 criteria I’d use to pick my new home. I recently re-read the article—and realized I broke the final two rules I’d laid down for myself.
To be sure, the home search didn’t go quite the way I planned. For starters, there was this little hiccup called the pandemic.

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A Moving Predicament

Casey Campbell  |  May 10, 2023

EVERY TIME I HEAR the sage advice to pay off a mortgage before retirement, I wince. Not only will I have a mortgage in retirement, but also I won’t even make my first payment until after I retire—just as my salary plummets to zero.
I hate going against the conventional wisdom. But I really have no choice. As an active duty military officer who, for the past 20-plus years, has had to move every few years,

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Powering Up

Howard Rohleder  |  May 5, 2023

SPRING TURNS A MAN’S fancy to… wait for it… outdoor power tools. Every April, I’d haul out the gas mower to prep it for the summer season. That meant a trip to the hardware store for oil, a spark plug and an air filter. Then I drove to the gas station for some new fuel.
For an hour, I would pretend that I understood the manly art of maintaining an internal combustion engine. I would gap and change the spark plug,

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Getting Old

Edmund Marsh  |  Apr 19, 2023

I COULD BE KIND TO my home and say it has rustic charm, but that would be pretentious. The truth is, it’s an old house, built in 1930 by my maternal grandparents. It sits on a remnant of the farm my family once owned. It’s a place I love, and where I’d like to grow old, and therein lies the challenge.
More than 20 years ago, my father and I extensively renovated the house inside and out.

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The Homing Pigeons

Steve Abramowitz  |  Mar 28, 2023

“ARNIE, YOU JUST HAVE to watch this video,” offers the wife. “Jessie is so adorable.”
“Honey, I’ve been thinking,” hubby responds. “I know mortgage rates are high right now, but we really should get a place near the kids.”
If you can remember I Love Lucy, you’re old enough to have had this sort of conversation. The mortgage is paid off, the Roth has done well and you’ve got the cash for a down payment.

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Luxury Liner Living

Marjorie Kondrack  |  Mar 17, 2023

MOST OF US REACH a point in retirement where we think about downsizing. This happened most recently for us when my husband was replacing batteries in our smoke alarms. This required him to stand on a ladder and look up, triggering a bout of vertigo.

This and other elder episodes, happening as we try to perform simple, everyday tasks, caused us to rethink our ability to remain in our current home. We’re not decrepit yet,

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Opportunity Knocks

Steve Abramowitz  |  Mar 3, 2023

YOU’VE SOCKED AWAY some cash, waiting for the chance to snap up a small rental property. Property prices are down. Meanwhile, interest rates are up and many folks can’t qualify for a loan, but you’ve already been preapproved. It’s time to strike.
Now comes the hard part. Much literature is available on how to buy and sell residential income units. But there’s much less written on how to manage them. What follows is a primer for first-time landlords.

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Through the Roof

Ron Wayne  |  Feb 23, 2023

IT WOULD BE EASY to sell my home “in a snap” for a no-obligation, all-cash offer—or so I was told in a mailing I received last week. I frequently get letters, texts, emails and phone calls from companies that want to buy my two-bedroom condo for cash.
It’s tempting to sell. I’m retired, and both my children have left to find their fortunes in bigger cities. But I suspect the new owner would then rent out my unit for some jacked-up price.

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When Bubbles Burst

Juan Fourneau  |  Feb 17, 2023

ABOUT HALF THE RENTALS that my wife and I own were foreclosures we bought around the time of the Great Recession. In fact, I closed on the first one on my wedding day—a fact my wife isn’t anxious to let me forget.

In 2000, a family had bought the house for $70,000. In 2006, JPMorgan Chase foreclosed on the house. In 2007, the bank unloaded the property for $93,000 to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD),

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House in Order

Michael Flack  |  Feb 6, 2023

“I WOULD SAY TO the House, as I said to those who have joined this government: I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering…. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: victory. Victory at all costs—victory in spite of all terror—victory, however long and hard the road may be,

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