Proud of Nothing

Dennis Friedman  |  Apr 27, 2022

I’M NOT SOMEONE who pats himself on the back when he does something right. I’m also not someone who takes compliments well. But this time, I want to toot my own horn.
After four years, I can finally say I’ve accomplished a goal that I’ve worked toward for many years, but was unable to achieve. It wasn’t easy. It took a lot of discipline and composure.
To accomplish this feat, I tuned out cable business news.

Read More

Perspective Needed

Matt C. White  |  Apr 26, 2022

THE HIGHEST expression of complexity is thoughtful simplicity. It’s like standing on a mountaintop after navigating the ascent.
The work of the mountain’s trailblazer is arduous. He or she must focus intently on the task at hand, glancing left and right, guessing what will come around each new bend. But from the pinnacle looking down, the perspective puts the most efficient path in clear view. It becomes possible to make a map to aid those who will come next.

Read More

Falling Hard

Mike Zaccardi  |  Apr 25, 2022

THE S&P 500 IS DOWN 10% so far this year—but the pain hasn’t been dished out evenly. Value and steady dividend-paying stocks are about flat for 2022, while technology companies and speculative small-cap stocks have suffered mightily. Money has fled the market’s unprofitable glamor companies and flocked to old-fashioned cash flow generators.
Just how bad has the drubbing been among formerly hot growth names? Look no further than Cathie Wood’s ARK Innovation ETF (symbol: ARKK).

Read More

Fending Off Inflation

James McGlynn  |  Apr 24, 2022

I REMEMBER 40 YEARS ago listening to Salomon Brothers economist Henry Kaufman bemoaning government deficits and predicting higher interest rates as a result. We institutional investors would gather in a room to listen to his declarations through a “squawk box” intercom system—because conference calls weren’t yet a thing.
Federal Reserve Chair Paul Volcker was in the process of wringing inflation out of the financial system by raising the federal funds rate so high that investors would rather hold cash investments than spend money.

Read More

Sick and Tired

Jonathan Clements  |  Apr 23, 2022

BETWEEN 1972 AND 2018, the percentage of Americans who described themselves as very happy ranged from 29% to 38%. The number for 2021 was recently released: Just 19% of us said we’re very happy—10 percentage points lower than any prior survey.
Our happiness, it seems, is another victim of the pandemic. Indeed, COVID-19 and the resulting social isolation has delivered a bigger blow to our collective happiness than 2008-09’s Great Recession, 2001’s terrorist attacks and countless other distressing events from the past half-century.

Read More

My Favorite Ideas

Mike Drak  |  Apr 21, 2022

WHAT ARE THE MOST important financial notions? For me, the answers are “compounding” and “financial independence.”
Albert Einstein purportedly called compounding the eighth wonder of the world. Warren Buffett has said that the power of compound interest played an important role in his success. But what I’ve learned is that compounding doesn’t just apply to our finances. It can also be used to improve our health, our relationships and our mastery of whatever topic we choose.

Read More

Bad Old Days

Richard Quinn  |  Apr 20, 2022

I RECALL PAYDAY IN 1961, when I was at my first job. There was a paymaster who would deliver our paychecks. At break time, we would be off to the nearest bank to cash our checks. I deposited most of mine in a savings account, plus $2 in my Christmas Club account. But many of my fellow workers took the whole check in cash.

I always thought taking cash was a bit risky. I once got up the nerve to ask a few friends why they took cash.

Read More

Let Others Despair

Mike Zaccardi  |  Apr 18, 2022

EXPERIENCED INVESTORS know that the stock market and the economy sometimes diverge. Early 2020 offered a stark example: Even as the economy was still contracting rapidly, stocks started bouncing back.
But right now, many areas of the stock market are doing about what you’d expect. After all the efforts by the Federal Reserve and Congress to prop up the economy over the past two years, rising inflation is front and center, along with rising interest rates. 

Read More

Stocks and Steaks

Michael Flack  |  Apr 17, 2022

I WAS OFFERED a “free retirement review” by Carlson Financial a year ago. The review would—among other things—”help me answer the five biggest questions I have about retirement.” I didn’t realize I had only five questions. Still, I decided a financial review might be in order.
I then forwarded an uncomfortable amount of personal information, financial statements and tax returns to a man I’d never met. Scott seemed like a nice enough guy, but hey,

Read More

Missing in Action

Jonathan Clements  |  Apr 16, 2022

SINCE EARLY JANUARY, this site has published a series of essays every Saturday, each from a different HumbleDollar writer. The theme: my money journey. The essays, 30 in all, will appear in a book of the same name, which will be published by Harriman House in March 2023. With this blog post, you get a sneak peak at the book’s cover.
As you might imagine, the book has meant a lot of work for the writers involved—and a ton of editing for me,

Read More

Get What’s Yours

Larry Sayler  |  Apr 14, 2022

AFTER THEY MARRY, some people discover their spouse has hidden debt. We had the opposite situation.
Several years after we were married and while living in Illinois, my wife got a letter from the New York Secretary of State saying she may be the owner of an unclaimed savings account in the town where she was raised. This was before the internet. We had no idea how New York found her. Neither my wife nor her parents remembered the account.

Read More

Ride of a Lifetime

Ron Wayne  |  Apr 13, 2022

SAVED A BUNCH of money so you could retire and buy that sporty car you always wanted? My advice: Do it.
In almost 50 years of owning vehicles, I have bought just one car that was almost fully impractical. It had a shallow shelf of a trunk. My wife couldn’t drive it because it had a stick shift. More than a few times, I had to start it by pushing it down a hill,

Read More

Time to Settle Up

Matt C. White  |  Apr 12, 2022

TAX DAY IS ALMOST here, and I have a feeling that some of you may be less than excited. The cash that changes hands every year around this time gets a lot of attention, but it tells an incomplete story. The size of the check you write—or the refund you’re receiving—doesn’t, by itself, say much of anything about your tax situation.

Back in the days before technology made transferring money so convenient, did you ever let a tab run both ways with a friend?

Read More

Yielding to Reality

Mike Zaccardi  |  Apr 11, 2022

IN THE MARKET FOR a home loan? Chances are, you aren’t pleased. Amid soaring real estate prices and intense demand, mortgage rates have climbed above the psychologically important 5% threshold. Mortgage News Daily published its rates update on Friday afternoon, and the figures weren’t pretty for prospective borrowers. The 5.06% average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is close to the highest mark since late 2008.
Meanwhile, over the past 12 months, home prices are up 19.2%,

Read More

Fair Enough

Richard Connor  |  Apr 10, 2022

IT’S OFTEN SAID THAT beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The same could be said of fairness in taxation.
A recent article by Kelly Phillips Erb addresses this contentious topic. Erb, who tweets as @TaxGirl, is the team lead for insights and commentary at Bloomberg Tax and Accounting. Her article was titled, “Did you pay your ‘fair share’ of federal income tax this year?”
The piece discusses the history and current state of U.S.

Read More