Straight Talk – Twenty tips to simply your financial life … really

Straight Talk

Richard Quinn  |  September 26, 2019

TAKE ANY MONEY issue and you’re sure to find detailed guidance—some so complicated that it’s largely ignored, regardless of its potential benefit.

The following is not intended to make light of the difficulty some people have with money. Still, a little straightforward information helps. Let’s strip personal finance down to its basics:

1. “I can’t afford to save.” It’s easy: Put savings first, and then figure out what you can and can’t afford.

2. “Where do I invest my money?” Low-cost stock index mutual funds. Start mixing in some bond funds as you close in on retirement. Also check out the target-date funds you’ll probably find in your 401(k) plan. If you’re a tad more of a risk taker, buy a few stocks with good dividend-paying records and build an income stream.

3. “I don’t make enough money.” Look for a better job, up your skills, get a second job, start a small side business, work overtime. Perhaps even collect scrap metal with that F-150 you just had to have. Yup, I’m being sarcastic.

4. “How much can I withdraw from retirement savings before retirement?” Do you mean how much should you withdraw? That money isn’t an emergency or vacation fund. It’s for retirement.

5. “I don’t know what to expect from Social Security.” Why not? Go to the Social Security website and run an estimate.

6. “How do I avoid running out of money in retirement?” Start with sufficient savings. Live within your means after you retire. Having zero debt upon retirement isn’t a bad idea, either.

7. “How do I calculate what to take from retirement funds?” Well, there’s the 4% guideline, which says start by taking 4% of your retirement assets in the first year of retirement and thereafter increase that amount by inflation each year.

Read the next thirteen straight talk tips on the HumbleDollar blog at the link below

Source: Straight Talk – HumbleDollar


  1. Mr. Quinn,

    I gather from this, and from some things you mentioned in previous posts, that you are not an advocate of household budgets. Why is that?


    1. Mostly because people see them as restraining and don’t stick to them. I favor a budget of sorts automatically imposed. Save, (emergency and retirement) don’t charge (at least don’t charge what can’t be paid in full each month – I like the rewards, I just booked two 10,000 mile round trip first class flights for free – and spend as you like. That creates the impression of no budget to worry about and forced living within one’s means.


      1. Thanks. And I do understand your point.

        I remain an advocate of having and maintaining a household budget, but to the end of being an information source, not a constraint.

        Have fun on your (first class) trip!


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