WE’VE ALL BEEN looking for signs that the financial world is returning to some semblance of normalcy. I recently read a CNBC article that gave me hope. The article said that worldwide dividend payouts were expected to reach $1.39 trillion in 2021, almost back to pre-pandemic levels.
The data came from a report by Janus Henderson, a U.K. money manager. Dividends in this year’s second quarter increased 26% from 2020’s second quarter and were only 6.8% below 2019’s second quarter.
“THE REALITY IS THAT most working Americans will continue to struggle to achieve retirement security because the ownership of financial assets is highly concentrated among the wealthiest,” wrote Dan Doonan, executive director of the National Institute on Retirement Security, for Forbes.com.
I read and re-read that statement, especially the word “because.” It seems Doonan has concluded that the great wealth held by the top 1% somehow inhibits the rest of us from saving and investing.
I HATE DEBT. A very happy day was when we paid off the mortgage. I’d rather walk on broken glass than pay a penny of interest on my credit cards. But there have been a few exceptions to my usual rule, all involving car purchases.
The first was many years ago when I reached what I thought was an all-cash deal on a new car. The salesman surprised me when he offered the same price with 0% financing.
WHEN I WALK AROUND my neighborhood, I see beautiful and expensive automobiles parked on the street. When I look at the garages where these cars should be parked, they’re full of stuff. I just can’t understand why someone would spend thousands of dollars on a vehicle and let it be exposed to theft, vandalism and severe weather, while their garage is used as a storage unit.
Even though I can still fit both our cars in our garage,
AS I TYPE THIS, I’m less than a week from walking out the door of my workplace for the last time, bringing my second career to a close. I’m looking forward to the rest of my life.
We’ve been anticipating this day and we’re more than ready. My wife is already retired. My work for a large corporation is fine, but I’m not passionate about it. While there are some positive aspects to where we currently live,
HOW LUCKY I WAS to be the recipient of a dinner invitation to Ruth’s Chris. I love a sizzling ribeye, so I booked my seat at the event. Those nearing and in retirement have a good idea of what I’m referring to—the good old annuity sales presentation.
These dinners are put on by financial advisors looking to expand their business. The routine goes like this: Invite prospects, present for an hour on the benefits of owning insurance or an annuity,
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,
I PARTICIPATE IN Facebook groups for retirees from my old employer. Having worked in employee benefits for decades, I know or at least recognize the names of many of the people.
Frequently, someone posts an obituary. It used to be that they were much older than me. No longer. Now they’re near my age—or younger. It’s all a bit unsettling. Often, a picture is posted of the deceased. I think to myself, “What happened to Joe?” Then I avoid looking in a mirror for a few days.
OUR MONEY DECISIONS usually aren’t driven by rational thinking and financial math. That’s one of Morgan Housel’s key messages in his recent book, The Psychology of Money: Timeless Lessons on Wealth, Greed, and Happiness. He uses history and personal tales to highlight a crucial insight into our relationship with money—that we often feel as though we’ll never have enough.
The book contains no formulas for success, no get-rich-quick stock tips. Housel states the premise this way: “Doing well with money has a little to do with how smart you are and a lot to do with how you behave.
MY WIFE RAN INTO an old acquaintance at our local grocery store. I asked my wife if she was surprised to see her. “No, but she said she was surprised to see me. I asked why. She said she didn’t think I could afford to live here.”
Maybe that’s what most people would have thought, especially if they saw my wife in the neighborhood parking lot getting out of our 2007 Honda Fit.
It’s become extremely difficult for a middle-class family to own a house in California.
AT THE CRACK OF DAWN each day, I grab a cup of coffee, and then dig into the latest investment articles and research reports. Last week’s most intriguing insight: According to data from Emerging Portfolio Fund Research, investment flows into global stocks are on pace to hit $1.048 trillion this year.
To appreciate the magnitude of this year’s inflows, consider that 2017 ranks as the next strongest year—at a relatively paltry $300 billion. Other years,
THE RIGHT PARTNER is not one whose outlook is the same as yours, but rather one whose outlook complements you. For me and my wife Jiab, we agree on shopping decisions most of the time. When we disagree, however, it’s due to each of our “leans.” I lean toward spending a bit more money to save time. To be finished with shopping, I’ll say at some point that what we’ve found is good enough.
I’VE BEEN TRAINING dogs for nearly 30 years. I’ve won enough awards in dog competitions to wallpaper my office with rosette ribbons. My 15 minutes of fame also involved dogs. Almost 20 years ago, I appeared on an episode of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, where one of my corgis happily demonstrated his ability to ride a skateboard.
Just as there are many ways to skin a cat, there are also many ways to train a dog.
IT’S A QUESTION that gets asked all the time: What’s the best age to start Social Security benefits?
The discussion quickly deteriorates into calculating the breakeven point. Are you better off with a lower benefit for a longer period or a larger benefit for a shorter time—that is, assuming you live to your actuarial life expectancy? What if you die before you reach breakeven? Yeah, what if? You won’t be around to complete the final calculation.
IN A RECENT POST, I suggested three questions that folks should consider before moving out of California. As a California native who has lived many other places, I appreciate the weather and convenience of living here, and I urged others to think carefully before moving away.
The post generated some great discussion when I shared it on my Facebook page. Based on the comments left by my friends, here are some added considerations and tips for those thinking of leaving California:
Take a test drive.