Ten Ways to Simplify

Adam M. Grossman  |  Jun 3, 2023

TODAY MARKS MY 300th weekly contribution to HumbleDollar. Over time, one key theme has emerged: While personal finance can be complicated, it doesn’t have to be. How can you simplify your financial life? Below are 10 ideas.
1. Tracking donations. In the old days, it wasn’t too difficult to track charitable gifts. You would simply refer back to your checkbook. But today, most people use debit and credit cards,

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May’s Hits

Jonathan Clements  |  Jun 1, 2023

WHAT ARTICLES AND blog posts caught the eye of readers last month? Here are the 10 most popular pieces published by HumbleDollar in May:

Did you end up with a surprisingly large tax bill? Next year, advises Rick Connor, see if you can trim that bill by making a belated contribution to an IRA or solo 401(k)—and perhaps even claim the saver’s tax credit.
U.S. stocks have outperformed foreign shares in 12 of the past 15 years—and yet there remains a strong case for diversifying internationally,

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11 Mottos to Live By

Marjorie Kondrack  |  Apr 21, 2023

LIVING BENEATH OUR means is one of the best habits to develop if we want a secure retirement. Like many others, I learned this sort of thrift from my parents and grandparents, who lived through the Great Depression and, by necessity, had to avoid waste.
Not only did our forebearers survive the Great Depression, but also the Second World War came right on its heels. These were years of conserving materials—such as metal, rubber,

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Makes You Wonder

Steve Abramowitz  |  Apr 20, 2023

THOSE OF US WHO GREW up in the 1950s watched Howdy Doody on that large, newfangled box with a picture tube and knobs. The show’s host was Buffalo Bob, who enthusiastically proclaimed Wonder Bread “helps build strong bodies eight ways.”
Subsequent nutritional research debunked that claim, and the government induced Continental Baking to add back the healthful ingredients that its processing methods were removing. The new wrapper proclaimed “enriched” Wonder Bread, even though the firm was simply replacing what had been there before.

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What’s Your Answer?

Jonathan Clements  |  Apr 15, 2023

COMMENTS FROM READERS are one of HumbleDollar’s greatest strengths. Just finished perusing an article? If you don’t scan the comments posted below, you’re often missing out on some savvy financial insights and eye-opening personal stories.
With an eye to tapping into this strength, I launched the Voices section two years ago. My hope: The questions—now 133 in total—would offer a way to organize readers’ collective wisdom and become a go-to resource for those seeking help on a particular financial topic.

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So Much to Like

Jonathan Clements  |  Apr 1, 2023

THE BEAR MARKET HAS now dragged on for 15 months—and no doubt plenty of anguished investors are second-guessing their allocation to stocks. But as for me, I grow more enthusiastic with every drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. In fact, I’d be happy to see the bear market last a few months longer, so I can finish fully funding various tax-advantaged accounts for 2023.
Not only are stocks better value than they were 15 months ago,

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No Going Back

Jonathan Clements  |  Mar 18, 2023

RETIREMENT IS LIFE’S most daunting financial puzzle, not least because many of the decisions we make are difficult or impossible to reverse. To make matters worse, we’re often making decisions we’ve never made before, so we have no real expertise.
What sort of decisions am I talking about? Here are 10 examples.
1. When should I quit work? Needless to say, this is the most important retirement decision. Once you quit the workforce,

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Worldly Wisdom

Michael Flack  |  Mar 17, 2023

A FEW MONTHS BACK, this site’s editor suggested I write an article about the “10 things I learned about money from four years traveling the globe.” I thought, hey, if someone wants to pay me $60 to write about travel, I’m in. I’m hoping he’ll next suggest I write an article about drinking bourbon.
Starting in September 2017, my wife and I traveled the world for four straight years. Travel can be wondrous. Filled with new tastes,

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What I Don’t Own

Jonathan Clements  |  Mar 4, 2023

WE BUY ALL KINDS of investments and financial products. But what is it that you haven’t bought, do you have a good reason for not buying—or is there a gaping hole in your finances?
Below are some of the investments and financial products I’ve chosen not to own. The list, of course, isn’t comprehensive—and I didn’t bother to touch on financial products that are beyond the pale. Equity-indexed annuities, anyone? How about leveraged exchange-traded funds?

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No Need to Guess

Adam M. Grossman  |  Feb 26, 2023

IN FORT LAUDERDALE, an unusual property sits wedged in among a row of waterfront mansions. It’s a 35-acre patch of wooded wilderness with just a single home, called Bonnet House. It was for many decades the winter residence of a woman named Evelyn Bartlett.
She first began spending winters at Bonnet House in the 1930s, and she continued to live there following her husband’s death in the 1950s. By the 1980s, however, the property’s assessed value had reached $30 million,

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Clements’s Favorites

Jonathan Clements  |  Feb 18, 2023

I’VE PENNED MORE THAN 450 articles for HumbleDollar, so picking 10 favorites could have been a laborious task—if I’d bothered to look back through all the articles I’ve written.
But instead, I took an easier route, simply listing the articles that I could most easily recall. What made these articles memorable? Some were quite personal, while others broached ideas that I continue to grapple with to this day.

Really Useful Engine (Dec.

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Helpful in Theory

Jonathan Clements  |  Feb 11, 2023

IF YOU KICK AROUND Wall Street for long enough, you’ll witness all kinds of investment fads—special purpose acquisition companies, cryptocurrencies, meme stocks, to name just a few. Each bubble differs, but the eventual comeuppance always feels brutally familiar.
But there aren’t just fads among investments. There are also fads among investment concepts. But while naïve investors tend to get caught up in investment bubbles, it’s the brainy types who fall in love with investment concepts,

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Quinn’s Favorites

Richard Quinn  |  Feb 9, 2023

I STARTED WRITING for HumbleDollar almost five years ago—and it’s become a big part of my retirement.

Some folks have likened me to Andy Rooney. It’s a comparison I’ve happily embraced. I try to offer pointed opinions leavened by a measure of humor. Here are my 10 favorite articles that I’ve written for the site.

Choosing Badly (April 24, 2018). This was my first piece for HumbleDollar. Employer-sponsored 401(k) plans are underutilized and misused.

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Kicking the Tires

Adam M. Grossman  |  Feb 5, 2023

IT’S HUMAN NATURE to be impressed by things that sound sophisticated or seem complex. In the world of personal finance, this certainly applies to the planning tool known as Monte Carlo analysis.
Its roots go back to the 1940s, when it was developed by Stanislaw Ulam, a physicist working on the Manhattan Project. Today, it’s a popular way to assess the strength of a proposed retirement plan. If you’ve seen presentations indicating that a financial plan has a particular probability of success,

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How to Retire at 38

James Kerr  |  Feb 2, 2023

You know who I’m talking about: Ordinary people making ordinary salaries who are somehow able to sock away half or more of their disposable income and who accumulate enough to step away from the working world long before the rest of us.
We hear about these people all the time on podcasts. The couple who banked $1 million over the course of a decade by scrimping and saving.

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