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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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Bought to Be Sold

Michael Flack  |  Nov 17, 2022

I’M STILL AMAZED WHEN I speak with friends and neighbors who have no idea what their home is worth. They tell me they might sell in the near future. When I ask them how much they think they’ll get, they say something like, “I’m not sure, I’m meeting a real estate agent next week.”
Homeowners always need to know how much their home is worth. You can’t wait until your boss tells you about a great opportunity in Honolulu to start determining your home’s value.

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Losing My Cool

Michael Flack  |  Oct 9, 2022

IF THERE’S ONE THING that causes more marital stress than money, it’s the thermostat. I figured combining both into one article would be nothing less than genius.
As I grow older, I’ve come to appreciate my father’s fascination with the thermostat, because now I, too, am constantly adjusting it. In my case, based on the current and future temperature, humidity and cloud cover, the adjustments are in the most economical direction. My wife is a set-it-and-forget-it kind of gal,

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Looking Not Seeing

Michael Flack  |  Sep 27, 2022

IN THE NAVY, THEY USED to say, “You don’t get what you expect, you get what you inspect.” Inspections played a major role in how the Navy determined the competency and capability of a warship. For nuclear-powered submarines, the most important inspection was the Operational Reactor Safeguard Exam, or ORSE, which rhymes with horse.
A team of experts thoroughly inspected all aspects of a submarine’s nuclear power plant. This covered everything from material readiness (“verdigris on valve stem”),

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Anchors Aweigh

Jiab Wasserman  |  Sep 7, 2022

THE DALLAS HOUSING market has recently shown signs of slowing. In our townhome community, I’ve noticed that houses are sitting unsold for longer. Until recently, any place on the market for more than seven days was considered unusually long.
Two weeks ago, we became interested in buying a two bedroom, two bath townhome on our street as a rental property. It was listed at $375,000. Upon a closer look, however, we found the following:

The property hasn’t been upgraded since 1988.

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Best Option

Richard Quinn  |  Sep 6, 2022

BACK IN 2005, MY employer was in merger talks. If the deal had gone through, I would have lost my job. I’d already received an offer of promotion to vice president. That made me eligible for an officer’s severance package that included, among other things, two years’ pay plus my full pension.
I was almost hoping the deal would go through, but it didn’t. Still, I was made a VP and worked another five years.

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