Delayed Reaction

Dennis Friedman  |  May 15, 2024

IF YOU’VE READ MY articles, you know I don’t respond to readers’ comments very often. It’s not because I’m quiet or shy. Rather, it’s because I like to be thoughtful in my responses, rather than firing off a quick one- or two-sentence answer in the comments section.
That brings me to four comments that I’ve found myself pondering, often months or even years after the article appeared. Here’s my belated response to each.
Trading up.

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April’s Hits

Jonathan Clements  |  May 2, 2024

WHICH BLOG POSTS and articles were popular with HumbleDollar’s readers last month? Here are the 10 pieces that garnered the most pageviews during April:

“We enjoy amazing material advantages simply by virtue of being alive at this time in history,” notes Ken Cutler. “We have many phenomenal options not available to the richest man in the U.S. a century ago.”
Investors should be careful when the market hits an all-time high. It’s a mistake to claim Social Security before 70.

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Fully Committed

Jonathan Clements  |  Apr 20, 2024

IF YOU THINK IT’S irritating to debate an issue with folks who have already made up their mind, there’s one situation that’s even worse: debating an issue with those who have not only made up their mind, but also gone ahead and acted on their decision—especially if that decision is irreversible.
And, yes, many retirement decisions are irreversible.
Take issues such as when to claim Social Security, whether to take pension payments or a lump sum,

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Almost True

Adam M. Grossman  |  Apr 14, 2024

LAST WEEK, I DISCUSSED a key challenge in personal finance: In an endeavor where we’d expect facts and logic to drive decisions, we instead find that misconceptions and misunderstandings often take hold. In my previous article, I outlined five common financial myths. Below are five more:
1. “When a company’s doing well, its stock should go up.” Benjamin Graham, the father of investment analysis, was famous for the way he explained stock market behavior: “In the short run,

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Stories We Tell

Adam M. Grossman  |  Apr 7, 2024

YALE UNIVERSITY economist Robert Shiller, in his book Narrative Economics, argues that storytelling has more of an impact on economic events than we might imagine. It might seem like the financial world ought to be driven by facts and data, and yet stories often take on a life of their own.
For instance, financial narratives often play a key role in stock market bubbles and busts. More generally, financial myths and misperceptions are widespread,

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Five Seasons

Adam M. Grossman  |  Mar 24, 2024

NICK MAGGIULLI, in his book Just Keep Buying, makes an observation about the world of personal finance: If you Google common questions—such as “how much should I save?”—you’ll receive more than 100,000 results. It’s an overwhelming amount of information. But there’s a bigger issue: Many of the answers contradict each other.
It’s the same with many other personal finance questions. How much should you hold in bonds? Do you need international stocks?

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Risks Retirees Face

Sundar Mohan Rao  |  Mar 12, 2024

WE’VE ALL HEARD THE maxim that “without risk, there’s no reward.” Over the years, we’ve all taken countless risks—big and small, financial and otherwise—to get to where we are today.
Every activity has a risk associated with it, and that includes retirement. It’s best to be aware of these risks and, when prudent, take steps to limit them. Here are nine risks that retirees face.
1. Health. Even if we’re fortunate to enjoy a long,

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He Asked, I Answered

Richard Quinn  |  Mar 9, 2024

I’VE BEEN CHALLENGED—by Mr. Clements, no less. Jonathan didn’t actually say it, but his challenge was to defend my unorthodox views on investing and retirement, and the actions I’ve taken as a result.

Some of my decisions will seem illogical to others. Some don’t maximize investment returns. Some are very conservative, others not so much.

I don’t like math. I don’t like details. I haven’t used a spreadsheet in 30 years. I focus on the big picture and long-term goals.

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Lessons of a Lifetime

Richard Quinn  |  Mar 1, 2024

MY RETIREMENT finances today are based on actions I took over six-plus decades, starting at age 18. Early on, I tried my hand at picking stocks and beating the market—to my regret. As time went on, I became more sensible.
Want to avoid my mistakes? Here are 10 tips based on my lifetime of managing money:

Start saving as soon as you have cash—it might be from shoveling snow, raking leaves or loose change—and never stop.

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Every Bit Helps

Adam M. Grossman  |  Feb 25, 2024

IN NEW ORLEANS, a lagniappe refers to a small gift or bonus—like receiving 13 items for the price of 12, or a so-called baker’s dozen. Today, credit card points are a popular form of lagniappe, delivering a modest bonus every time you spend. But many other lagniappes are also readily available:
Banking. If you’ve ever paid a fee to use an ATM, Charles Schwab Bank’s checking account is worth a look. You can use any bank’s ATMs and,

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What Lies Beneath

Jonathan Clements  |  Feb 24, 2024

MONEY IS A TOOL. But a tool for what? We might imagine it’s simply a way to purchase the goods and services we need or want. But in truth, there are all kinds of things that money can do for us—some worthy, some not so much.
Want to use your wealth more wisely? I think all of us should spend time pondering what money represents to us, how we use it and why we like to have it.

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Easily Avoided

Adam M. Grossman  |  Feb 18, 2024

APPLE COMPUTER WAS founded on April 1, 1976, by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. What’s less well known is that originally there was a third co-founder, an engineer named Ronald Wayne. Wayne’s tenure at the company was short, though. Concerned by the risk—and by Jobs’s personality—Wayne sold his stake in the company after just 12 days.
In exchange for his 10% stake, Wayne received $2,300. Today, Apple is worth close to $3 trillion. Wayne’s decision to sell is sometimes cited as one of the worst missteps in financial history.

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Lessons I’ve Learned

Dennis Friedman  |  Feb 5, 2024

I DIDN’T ALWAYS LIKE my retirement. After I quit my full-time job, I briefly went to work for another aerospace company. It seemed like the perfect arrangement for a retiree: just 16 hours a week, with the luxury of setting my own schedule.
But it was the same old pressure cooker environment that I’d wanted to get away from. Although I was working fewer hours, it didn’t feel like I was retired. Instead, it felt like the same old grind.

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Money Misconceptions

Sanjib Saha  |  Jan 11, 2024

AS I’VE TRIED TO HELP folks understand financial issues, I’ve come across numerous money misconceptions. I wasn’t surprised—because, before I learned better, I too misunderstood some of these issues.
Here are the top eight misconceptions I’ve encountered:
Misconception No. 8: Consumer prices drop when inflation falls. Inflation measures the pace of price increases. Declining inflation simply means that prices aren’t rising as fast, but they’re still going up, albeit at a slower rate.

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Hug the Center Lane

Adam M. Grossman  |  Jan 7, 2024

WHAT SHOULD BE THE first rule of personal finance? My vote: Always look for ways to stay in the center lane—that is, to take a balanced approach. As 2024 gets underway, here are 10 ways you could apply this principle.
1. Housekeeping. Over time, many of us accumulate a grab bag of investments—some good, some not-so-good. Those in the not-so-good category can pose a challenge. Suppose you own an expensive mutual fund.

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