Never Stops Raining

Richard Quinn  |  May 2, 2023

SELLING A HOUSE should be easy. Hire a realtor, find a buyer, the realtor takes a percentage and it’s a done deal. If only.

Try this version instead. Before we could sell our house in 2020, we had to fix a list of defects, including power washing the roof, having a dead tree removed, digging up an already drained oil tank and tearing up the pavers in the driveway to get at the tank.

Read More

My Good Fortune

Kristine Hayes  |  Apr 29, 2023

I RETIRED ON MAY 27, 2022, which was my 55th birthday. I chose my birthday because it was the earliest date I could leave my job and still be eligible to receive the early retiree health-care benefit offered by my employer.
Mentally, I was ready to go. I’d been employed at a small liberal arts college for 24 years. I’d been there long enough to see an almost complete turnover of the faculty and staff in my department.

Read More

Dress Rehearsal

Steve Abramowitz  |  Apr 3, 2023

RETIREMENT IS SAID to be a time for reviewing and reminiscing. We try to understand who we were and how we came to be who we are. But the health trials of the retirement years can also project us into the future. When couples enter their twilight years, they begin to contemplate how they’d cope if the other died first. I believe “survivor rehearsal” is one way our biology helps us to contain the fear of having to cope on our own.

Read More

The Waiting Game

Kristine Hayes  |  Mar 24, 2023

I’M IN EXCELLENT health. I avoid overindulging on sugar and carbohydrates. I exercise every day. I hope to live well into my 90s, if not longer.
What if I don’t live nearly that long? From a financial perspective, it makes little difference if I pass away before I tap my retirement funds. The value of most of my accounts wouldn’t be affected by my premature demise. My husband would simply inherit my 403(b) and Roth IRA accounts.

Read More

Counting the Cash

Charles Schafer  |  Oct 29, 2022

EARLIER THIS YEAR, HumbleDollar unveiled its Two-Minute Checkup. All you need to do is input up to nine pieces of information and it spits out advice covering 10 areas of your financial life. When I tried it, I thought it was great—except for one thing. The amount it suggested my wife and I have in emergency cash was $13,000 higher than what we currently had.
I felt comfortable with the amount of cash we were holding,

Read More

Couples Counseling

Matt Trogdon  |  Aug 17, 2022

SARAH AND I GOT married earlier this summer. We’ve always been on similar pages when it comes to money. We both track our finances with gusto. She’s one of the few people I know whose budgeting spreadsheets are more intricate than mine.
We both try to spend reasonably and save consistently. We’d rather devote money to a vacation or an occasional late-night pizza than to fancy things or swanky surroundings. One indication: During the pandemic’s initial lockdown,

Read More

Contain Yourself

Michael Flack  |  Jun 30, 2022

MANY YEARS AGO, I read an article that posited that U.S. income inequality is due, in part, to the unwillingness of unemployed and underemployed Americans to move to a new state or city to take a better job.
It mentioned three reasons for this reluctance. First, folks didn’t want to sell their home, which may have decreased in value due to the recession that caused the bad job market in the first place. Second,

Read More

Preservation Mode

Matt Trogdon  |  Nov 4, 2021

I RECENTLY LEFT MY job without having another lined up. Upon quitting, I noticed an immediate mindset shift: I went from thinking about how to grow my money to, instead, thinking about how to preserve it.
As a trained financial planner, I know that many workers will face a similar mental transition as they begin to wind down their careers. But I was surprised at how quickly it happened to me. After all, I’m only age 39,

Read More

Found Money

Don Southworth  |  Sep 24, 2021

IT’S ESTIMATED THAT up to $3 billion of unclaimed property is recovered every year. But another $49 billion is lost and still waiting to be claimed. How much of it is yours?

Whenever I check if I’m due anything, I always come up empty. But the memories of found money keep me checking and hoping something pops up. Who can ever forget finding that surprise dollar bill in the pocket of your recently washed jeans when you were 11 years old,

Read More

Be Prepared

Richard Connor  |  Sep 14, 2021

I’M WRITING THIS a few days after Hurricane Ida ravaged parts of our country. We were lucky. Our home here on the South Jersey coast was spared from all but minor rainfall. Much of Pennsylvania and North Jersey saw enormous amounts of rain, flooding and tornadoes. In my 64 years living in this region, I don’t recall there ever being this much severe weather, especially the number of tornadoes.
Prior to the hurricane landing in Louisiana,

Read More

Life Happens

Tom Sedoric  |  Aug 27, 2021

WHEN I TELL FOLKS that they’ve just met the only guy to lose money on a house in New Castle, New Hampshire, they usually respond with great surprise.

The fact is, in good economic times and bad, it’s hard to lose money on a New Castle home. This quaint New England village—a collection of islands connected by causeways—has the honor of having some of the highest-priced homes and lowest property taxes in New Hampshire,

Read More

Padding the Mattress

William Ehart  |  Aug 19, 2021

CAN YOU EVER HAVE enough? Yes, I’m talking about money.
But I’m not some gazillionaire burning up billions on a rocket to space. I’m talking about emergency savings for ordinary people. A cash stash. Rainy-day funds. Mattress money.
I thought I had enough a few months ago, but then life happened. Dental work. A blown clutch. More support for my son, who has a great job offer but won’t start work until later this year.

Read More

After the Birth

Howard Rohleder  |  Aug 12, 2021

CONGRATULATIONS, your family has grown with the arrival of a first child or grandchild. As the celebration subsides, reality sets in: You want to do everything you can to pave the way for a secure future.
For new parents, the first step is to obtain two basic documents that’ll last a lifetime: a birth certificate and Social Security card. The hospital will start the process, but you need to be diligent. Is the name spelled correctly?

Read More

Left Alone

James McGlynn  |  Aug 11, 2021

IF YOU’RE MARRIED, it’s almost certain that one of you will outlive the other—perhaps by many years. What are the financial implications? Here are 10 issues to keep in mind:
1. Social Security. For a married couple, their Social Security benefits can consist of two workers’ benefits or a worker’s benefit and a spousal benefit. On the death of either spouse, the remaining benefit is the higher of the two benefits. For instance,

Read More

Skimping on Cash

Jonathan Clements  |  Jun 26, 2021

EMERGENCY MONEY is dead money—and it’s rarely looked more dead.
Just as we shouldn’t carry more insurance coverage than we really need, we shouldn’t hold more emergency cash than necessary. Why not? Excessive money spent on insurance and kept in our emergency reserve will likely come with a hefty opportunity cost. Indeed, thanks to the double whammy of inflation and taxes, our cash reserve will slowly depreciate, and that’s especially true given today’s rock-bottom interest rates.

Read More