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Take a Hike

Ron Wayne  |  Nov 30, 2021

MOUNTAINS CAN MAKE you feel inconsequential and weak when you stand at their base, or important and strong when you climb them. Even a minor hike up their sides gives you a sense of power and pride in your abilities.
On a recent trip to California to celebrate my retirement, I went on more hikes than I have since I was a teen. Walking about 2½ to 3 miles almost daily for more than a year at home helped prepare me for the rigor.

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Stuck in the Sand

Don Southworth  |  Nov 30, 2021

MY WIFE AND I recently took our first mini-vacation since 2019. We traveled to the Outer Banks in North Carolina for a long weekend to celebrate our anniversary. The weather was perfect, the crowds were small, the food was delectable and the morning sunrise was spectacular. But none of these memories has stuck with me like the one that wasn’t so delightful.

We spent a morning driving up the coast to enjoy the sights and sounds of the small villages and towns along the way,

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Creative Tension

Jim Wasserman  |  Nov 29, 2021

PAUL MCCARTNEY SAYS he originally wrote lyrics to a song that began, “She was just seventeen. Never been a beauty queen.” When he showed it to John Lennon, his writing partner, Lennon roared with laughter and said, “You’re joking.”
Lennon, who was a bit cheekier, then had McCartney change the second line to “you know what I mean” to add a wink-wink-nudge-nudge element. The eventual song, I Saw Her Standing There,

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Sticking Power

Sonja Haggert  |  Nov 29, 2021

MY HUSBAND’S READING material consists of financial publications and Chemical & Engineering News, a throwback to his chemistry education. The other day, I glanced over his shoulder to see an article about Spencer F. Silver.
Never heard of him? No doubt, you’ve used a Post-it Note or two. Silver invented their adhesive while a chemist at 3M.
The article told of his passing, and went into a technical explanation of the science behind the Post-it Note.

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Black Friday

Mike Zaccardi  |  Nov 28, 2021

COVID STRIKES AGAIN. The new Omicron variant found in parts of southern Africa was the reason cited for Friday’s stock market freefall. It was the worst day for the S&P 500 since late February. So far this year, the U.S. stock market has endured a 2% one-day drop on six occasions.
This most recent market plunge felt similar to declines in February and March 2020, making investors extra jittery and prompting traders to reopen their playbook from 22 months ago.

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Dress Parade

John Goodell  |  Nov 28, 2021

WHEN I DECIDED to leave active duty, I quickly realized that my work clothes—a set of jungle jammies—wasn’t going to cut it anymore.
Most people slowly amass their work clothes as they progress through adulthood. Military folks, however, have to do it all at once when they transition to civilian life, and they’re often beset by sartorially inept groupthink. You can always tell current or former military in civilian clothes. Typically, they still wear a uniform,

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A Difficult Choice

Howard Rohleder  |  Nov 27, 2021

FEAR OF MISSING OUT, or FOMO, seems to be everywhere. We suffer it when we read about our friends’ fabulous experiences on social media. We can also suffer it when investing, as we fret that our friends are making more on their investments than we are.
My own concern in recent months, however, hasn’t been FOMO, but FOLB. No, it doesn’t roll off the tongue like FOMO. It’s my own invention—and it stands for fear of losing big,

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Keeping It Going

John Lim  |  Nov 27, 2021

AS 2022 APPROACHES, countless people will begin thinking about New Year’s resolutions—both financial and otherwise. There’s nothing quite like the start of a new year to inspire hope. Many of us will set big dreams and resolve to drop bad habits.
According to Statista, just 9% of those who make New Year’s resolutions manage to keep them all. Meanwhile, by year-end, 28% haven’t kept any of their resolutions.
What differentiates these two groups? Is it willpower or the lack thereof?

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Off Target

Greg Spears  |  Nov 26, 2021

NEW RESEARCH suggests that target-date retirement funds—which currently receive a majority of contributions to 401(k) plans—are missing the mark.
Target funds’ returns, in aggregate, lagged those of replica portfolios built with exchange-traded funds (ETFs) by one percentage point a year, according to University of Arizona finance professor David C. Brown, one of the study’s authors.
The majority of the underperformance was due to higher fees, Brown said. Target-date funds are funds-of-funds. Most fund families charge investors layers of management fees—both on the target-date fund itself and on the underlying funds.

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Faith Rewarded

Richard Connor  |  Nov 25, 2021

I RECENTLY WOKE UP early to try and catch the peak of the Leonid meteor shower. Because the celestial event coincided with a full moon, the best time to view the meteors was at 5 a.m., just after moonset.
The estimates I read indicated that there were typically 11 to 17 meteors per hour during the peak. But there was no guarantee.
At 5 a.m., I got up and went to the front porch,

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Betting Against

Kyle McIntosh  |  Nov 24, 2021

I’M USUALLY BORING when it comes to investing. My portfolio is mostly comprised of stock and bond index funds. I dabble in individual stocks when I come across something I see as interesting, but individual stocks have never made up more than 5% of my portfolio. I currently hold just three individual stocks amounting to less than 2% of my investment holdings.
While my interest is occasionally piqued by stocks with upside potential, I’m more often drawn to companies I see as having significant downside.

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Hopping Around

Mike Zaccardi  |  Nov 24, 2021

THERE’S BEEN MUCH talk in 2021 about the future of work, with a big focus on remote and hybrid office arrangements. But I’m more intrigued by another major trend: job hopping. Each month, labor economists get a fresh read on the pace of hirings, firings and quits. In fact, the “quit rate” has become a household term in 2021, as workers change jobs to snag higher pay.
That got me thinking about conventional personal finance wisdom,

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Rainy Days

Jim Wasserman  |  Nov 23, 2021

ONE FALL DAY, my father and I were watching the rain ruin our outdoor plans. “The one thing about rain,” he said to me, “is that there’s nothing you can do about it.”
My father was a go-getter. In 1941, he volunteered for the Army Air Corps right out of high school. He flew 35 missions in a B-17 Flying Fortress. After the war, he took over a local curtain manufacturing company operating in the red.

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Doing Trumps Owning

Richard Connor  |  Nov 23, 2021

ONE OF MY FAVORITE tenets espoused on HumbleDollar is the emphasis on using our hard-earned money to buy experiences rather than possessions. As you get older, you feel like you have enough things. Indeed, my wife and I spent much of the past year getting rid of excess stuff when we downsized.
Meanwhile, the pandemic has put on hold some of the experiences we look forward to. Prior to 2020, in 24 of the previous 25 years,

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Making Contact

Andrew Forsythe  |  Nov 22, 2021

I TURN 70 IN JANUARY and my wife just turned 65. I recently applied for my Social Security benefits, and got her kicked off with Medicare. I needed to call both agencies. What a contrast I’ve seen in their responsiveness.
As I’ve conceded before, I’m a bit of a fanatic when it comes to this topic.
We set up my wife’s online Medicare account, and she designated me as her “authorized representative.” Like most couples,

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