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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Beware of Bears

Mike Zaccardi  |  Nov 22, 2021

THE BOND MARKET has had a turbulent year. Interest rates, which move in the opposite direction of bond prices, spiked in early 2021 on hopes of an economic reopening. The 10-year Treasury yield, which started the year under 1%, surged above 1.75% in March, before subsiding in the second quarter and the third quarter’s initial weeks.
Today, 10-year Treasury buyers can earn a smidgen more than 1.5%, far less than the 6.2% inflation rate.

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Cheap to Cheaper

Mike Zaccardi  |  Nov 21, 2021

BORED ONE WEEKEND, I took up actor Ryan Reynolds on his offer to switch cellphone carriers. Frugal guy that I am, I’d been a loyal Republic Wireless subscriber for several years before my recent change. My new plan is on the Mint Mobile platform.
Perhaps you’ve seen Mint’s commercials on NFL Sunday or when perusing YouTube videos, with its offer of four gigabytes of data with unlimited text and calls. This will cost me a measly $201 a year,

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Four or Less

Sanjib Saha  |  Nov 21, 2021

A RECENT ARTICLE from Morningstar suggested that the 4% rule for sustainable retirement withdrawals should be revised downward to 3.3%. This lower rate, the researchers argued, is safer given today’s rich stock market valuations and low bond yields.
The article also recommended being flexible with withdrawals, by taking larger amounts in good markets and smaller withdrawals during down periods. This strategy could provide more lifetime income than fixing a withdrawal amount in the first year and then automatically increasing that sum each year with inflation.

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Travel Tips

Dennis Friedman  |  Nov 20, 2021

WE WENT TO NEW YORK City last month for a vacation. Before we left, I went to my credit union and withdrew money in small denominations. I wanted to make sure I had cash to tip the people who helped us during our trip.
Sometimes, I get confused about who I should tip and how much. It can be a little stressful when you want to make sure you don’t stiff anyone—especially people who are counting on tips to make ends meet,

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The Number

Howard Rohleder  |  Nov 20, 2021

WHEN I WAS IN MY early 30s, I decided to determine “the number.” What would be enough money to allow me to retire, and what was the path to get there?
Personal computers were newly available, so I decided to work this out in Lotus 1-2-3. There was no internet to speak of. Investment companies didn’t have online calculators running Monte Carlo simulations that incorporated hundreds of possible retirement outcomes and spat out a most-likely scenario with a 95% confidence level.

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Bye-Bye I-Buy

John Goodell  |  Nov 19, 2021

ZILLOW ANNOUNCED recently that it would cease its algorithm-driven home buying program. Thus ends its three-year experiment to disrupt the real-estate brokerage business with what’s known as “i-buying.”
Zillow had purchased homes without significant involvement by real-estate agents. Instead, it used its proprietary algorithm—which it calls the Zestimate—to determine a property’s value. It then offered homeowners a percentage of this value, in cash, to buy their houses.
This offer proved appealing to many home sellers.

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Clicking for Cash

Kristine Hayes  |  Nov 19, 2021

A FEW YEARS AGO, I searched a government database of unclaimed assets—and was surprised to discover the state of Oregon owed me money. I submitted a claim and waited a few weeks.
A check for $86 arrived. The funds were from royalties I’d earned from a YouTube channel that I’d long since forgotten about.
It’s estimated that one out of 10 Americans has unclaimed property waiting for them. A variety of websites allow anyone to search databases filled with unclaimed property,

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