Reluctant Spenders

John Yeigh  |  Dec 30, 2021

A 2021 SURVEY by the Employee Benefit Research Institute found that three-quarters of retirees said the value of their financial assets was the same or higher than when they first retired. This finding was consistent from the poorest respondents to those with the most wealth. The typical time in retirement for the respondents was seven to 10 years.
One implication: Retirees may be underspending their accumulated wealth. EBRI examined five reasons for this possible underspending:

Saving assets for unforeseen costs later in retirement
Don’t feel spending down assets is necessary
Want to leave as much as possible to heirs
Feel better if account balances remain high
Fear of running out of money

The first two reasons—”saving for tomorrow” and “no current need to spend”—were reported by almost half of respondents.

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Living With Insecurity

Don Southworth  |  Dec 30, 2021

HOW DO YOU STAY centered when markets plunge and volatility is off the charts? One of the ways I cope is by pulling out a wonderful financial book to reread.

In 1951, Alan Watts wrote The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety. But his message is as timely today as it was then. “There is a feeling that we live in a time of unusual insecurity….

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Check the Price

Mike Zaccardi  |  Dec 29, 2021

YOU MIGHT ASK, “What makes an exchange-traded fund the best?” While it’s hard to say for sure which are the right funds to own, it’s often easy to spot a fund that should be tossed to the curb.
Take the iShares suite of exchange-traded index funds (ETFs). Did you know iShares offers two nearly identical emerging markets funds, iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (symbol: EEM) and iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (IEMG)? The only material difference is what you pay.

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Not Average

Kristine Hayes  |  Dec 29, 2021

I REMEMBER TALKING to a guidance counselor in high school. The meeting was supposed to help me decide which career path I might follow after graduation. As part of my assessment, I’d taken a skills inventory test designed to narrow down jobs I was potentially suited for. Nearly 40 years later, I still remember three of the suggested occupations: tour bus driver, police officer and veterinarian.
In the end, I didn’t choose any of those careers.

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Yardeni Speaks

Richard Connor  |  Dec 28, 2021

MARKET STRATEGIST and economist Ed Yardeni says the current bull market is “the most hated and feared bull market that any of us have experienced, maybe in history.” This quote came from an interesting interview published in ThinkAdvisor, a magazine for financial professionals.
Worried about today’s lofty stock prices? You may find Yardeni’s views comforting. When asked about his market outlook, he commented on the strength of the current bull market, which started in 2009.

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Closing the Deal

Dennis Friedman  |  Dec 28, 2021

I HATE BUYING CARS. I can’t think of too many sales transactions that are more loathsome. When I look back at all the times I purchased a car, the one with my father in 1976 was the most memorable.
I needed a new car. I was living in San Diego and often driving to Los Angeles to visit family and friends. My 1966 Volkswagen Beetle couldn’t take too many more trips.
I asked my father if he wanted to come with me to look at new cars.

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Hits 2017-21

Jonathan Clements  |  Dec 27, 2021

READERS HAVE CAST an eye on more than 13 million HumbleDollar pages over the past five years. Not surprisingly, many of those pageviews were garnered by the homepage, the latest articles page and the main money guide page. But what about the site’s articles? Here are the 30 best-read pieces since the site’s launch on Dec. 31, 2016:

Terms of the Trade (2019) by Jim Wasserman
Nobody Told Me (2020) by Jonathan Clements
Farewell Money (2019) by Richard Quinn
He Gets,

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Whither Crypto?

Mike Zaccardi  |  Dec 26, 2021

NO DOUBT ABOUT IT, cryptocurrencies have had a raucous 2021. From bitcoin and ether’s fast start in January, to the rise of dogecoin in April and then the shiba-inu October shenanigans, folks owning seemingly any digital currency likely experienced big gains if they were owners since early 2021.
What if folks got in later in the year? Despite being all over the financial press and having inked all sorts of sponsorship deals—including the naming rights to what was once the Staples Center in Los Angeles—total crypto market cap today is pretty much unchanged from the peaks reached in May and September,

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Juice from Lemons

John Lim  |  Dec 26, 2021

TAX-LOSS HARVESTING is a popular strategy at this time of year. It works best with mutual funds and exchange-traded index funds, for which very similar investments exist. By swapping your losing funds for similar investments, you can realize your tax losses and maintain your market exposure without violating the wash-sale rule.
By contrast, tax-loss harvesting is difficult to implement with individual stocks. Is there a “nearly identical” investment for a company such as Tesla or Amazon?

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Santa Claus Rally

Don Southworth  |  Dec 25, 2021

THERE ARE FEW certainties in life, but December always brings a few. Our neighbors will decorate their houses with bright lights, our mailbox will be stuffed with letters asking for charitable donations and the financial pundits will speculate whether there’ll be a Santa Claus rally this year.

If you’re a regular reader of HumbleDollar, you know that a Santa Claus rally has the potential to fill our portfolios with extra dollars via higher stock and mutual fund prices.

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Chance of a Lifetime

Dennis Friedman  |  Dec 24, 2021

AS ANOTHER YEAR draws to a close, I sometimes wish I could slow time down. As I grow older, it feels like life is moving way too fast. Maybe the reason is that I’m enjoying life more. I’ve always felt my life has gotten better as I’ve grown older.
Even though we’re having to deal with the fallout from COVID-19, I like my life. I wouldn’t want to turn back the clock and be young again.

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On the Receiving End

Richard Connor  |  Dec 23, 2021

IF YOU’RE A NUMBERS geek who’s also interested in Social Security, the recently released OASDI Beneficiaries by State and County 2020 report is for you. Put out by the Social Security Administration (SSA), the report provides a wealth of interesting statistics.
Here are some basic numbers for context. As of December 2020, the U.S. population was 329,484,123. The population age 65 or older was 55,659,365, or 16.9% of the total. The SSA provides benefits to retirees,

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Last-Minute Selling

Kyle McIntosh  |  Dec 23, 2021

THIS IS THE TIME of year when many folks rush to purchase last-minute gifts. Not me. While others are out buying, I’m at home selling. You see, this is when I make moves in my brokerage account to limit my tax bill.
What have I been up to? First, I logged on to my Schwab account and reviewed my year-to-date realized gains and losses. I had generated $8,000 in long-term capital gains earlier in 2021 by selling an appreciated exchange-traded fund.

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Eyeing the Aisles

Mike Zaccardi  |  Dec 22, 2021

ALDI IS A POPULAR grocery store chain with a cult-like following in some parts of the country. This family-owned business is based in Germany but currently expanding in the U.S. I always knew that frugal shoppers loved Aldi.
Still, I was surprised to learn just how inexpensive the company’s products are. According to a recent Bank of America Global Research study of the Nashville area, Walmart has the cheapest prices among conventional, mass and specialty grocers,

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Fire Gods, Unite

Richard Connor  |  Dec 22, 2021

I HAVE A SECRET to share. I’m a Fire God, and quite proud of it. My first engineering job was with General Electric’s Aerospace Division in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. I started in the thermal engineering group. The group was responsible for the design, fabrication, integration, testing and operation of spacecraft temperature control systems.
An important part of the design was managing the heat input from the sun. Since the group “controlled the sun,” someone gave the group the moniker “Fire Gods.” I knew none of this when I joined as a young graduate.

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