If you can’t get enough of me on Quinnscommentary, there is hope. Check out my writing on HumbleDollar.com
Richard Quinn | Feb 9, 2023
I STARTED WRITING for HumbleDollar almost five years ago—and it’s become a big part of my retirement.
Some folks have likened me to Andy Rooney. It’s a comparison I’ve happily embraced. I try to offer pointed opinions leavened by a measure of humor. Here are my 10 favorite articles that I’ve written for the site.
- Choosing Badly (April 24, 2018). This was my first piece for HumbleDollar. Employer-sponsored 401(k) plans are underutilized and misused. Sadly, not much has changed over the decades. Asset classes, diversification, dollar-cost averaging: This is the language of investment professionals. But it isn’t the language of everyday Americans, including those saving for retirement in their 401(k), and that’s one reason things often go badly.
- How Not to Move (April 17, 2020). Retirees often downsize. I hope they do a better job than I did. My strategy was intended to lessen stress, but instead it achieved just the opposite.
- Quinn’s Commands (Aug. 29, 2021). Sometimes, life experience provides guidance for the future—assuming we pay attention. Here is my not-so-fatherly advice to an 18-year-old.
- My $233 Surgery (June 1, 2022). I’ve been writing about health care and its cost for many years. But there’s nothing like a real-life experience.
- Scraping By? (Oct. 8, 2021). This tackles one of my recurring themes and pet peeves: Why is it so hard to live within one’s means? We think the phrase “living paycheck-to-paycheck” applies to low-income families. Not true.
- Ten Years Retired (Dec. 28, 2020). I’ve been retired for 13 years and loving it. Still, it’s not for everyone. I know someone who was working at age 87 in the same job I had when I worked alongside him in 1961 at age 18.
- Banking from A to F (July 27, 2020). Multiple linked bank accounts, each designated for specific purposes, allow my wife and me to manage money without a budget or frequent kerfuffle. But many readers said our strategy was too complicated.
- Home at Last (April 9, 2020). Who would start a 30-day cruise around South America as the world entered a pandemic? This was the last of four articles telling our seafaring tale, which included being quarantined in our cabin for two weeks. Two journalists even turned the story of the cruise into a book titled Cabin Fever. But don’t believe everything you read.
- Mercedes and Me (Sept. 11, 2019). Let’s face it, many buying decisions are emotion-driven, especially when you’re purchasing your dream car. That was the case when I fulfilled a teenager’s promise to his dad. It took me 53 years. Now, the car is eight years old. Why would I spend $4,000 repairing it? And yet I just did.
- America the Drivable (Nov. 25, 2022). This story was about our third roadtrip around the U.S., covering 7,000 miles and 21 states in 23 days. We have also visited 44 countries since I retired. I can’t get enough of traveling—and I can’t understand those who don’t like it.
Thanks Dick. So glad to see you are enjoying retirement – as I always used to say when conducting my firm’s pre-retirement planning seminar, you’ve earned it.
With respect to the first post, choosing badly, one of the smartest moves I made was to give up on “push”, or employer-directed participant education. I found that once individuals had accumulated a threshold amount, say $15,000 – $20,000 in retirement savings, the discussion changes. The worker becomes much more engaged – interested enough to seek out or “pull” information from the plan, the service provider, the investment provider, etc.
So, to maximize the potential that the majority of workers would someday get to that threshold asset accumulation, we implemented perennial automatic features, and, starting in 2007 and continuing for over a decade (last I knew), 95+% were participating / contributing to the 401k plan (that’s 95+% of workers, as all were eligible on the date of hire).