Category: Consumer and money matters

The peril of saving apparel to wear later

No matter how diligently we exercise and watch our diets, our shapes change as we age. We get shorter and wider as muscle tissue shrinks. Even our feet flatten and widen from wear and tear. Losing an inch and a half of height bothered me. Needing shoes a half-size larger wasn’t troublesome — except for... Read more »

Advice for the frugal: Find an appealing spending option. Mine is car rental.

As New Year’s resolutions go, it was vague. I’d spend more freely in 2020. A lifetime of frugality has made me uncomfortable about dropping more than $20 in a restaurant or seeing a movie at full price. Now a circumstance will challenge me to act on the idea: My dad’s car, which was at my... Read more »

Generosity was best of Dad’s many good examples

There are many ways my father, who died two weeks ago, set a good example for us. His honesty, his religiosity, his friendliness. What I expect to remember most appreciatively was his generosity.  As my brother said in his eulogy, there was hardly anyone who asked Dad for money who didn’t get it. He wasn’t... Read more »

Cellphone accessories for giving

  Last week I wrote about my family’s new approach to Christmas giving, a white elephant exchange with a $25 limit. I tossed around about a dozen gift ideas that would suit anyone from preteen to senior — everyone but our parents. The list didn’t include cellphone accessories, which are the topic this week. Of... Read more »

Suggestions for a white elephant gift exchange

My family is doing Christmas giving differently this year for everyone but our parents. At recent Christmases everyone received what they asked for, which ensured presents were wanted but lacked surprise and imagination. This year, instead of buying what the person whose name we drew asked for, each of us will be challenged to think... Read more »

Well-liked Medicare plan vs. higher-ranked providers

Medicare Open Enrollment ends December 7. The easy choice is to stay with all-in-one Medicare Advantage instead of switching to Traditional Medicare plus a supplement and a drug plan. The hard one is whether to switch between Medicare Advantage plans, from a well-liked one to one accepted at a so-called top-10 hospital. Humana Gold Plus,... Read more »

Out of step with our real estate–obsessed culture

Three recent things prompted this post: (1) As my siblings and I cleaned out our parents’ condo to put it on the market, we had trouble giving away some of their furniture. Habitat for Humanity asked for photos, looked at them, and didn’t want anything. The Salvation Army came and took only a matching sofa... Read more »

Avoid going into hospital as observational

If you have the misfortune to stay overnight in a hospital bed, make sure you’re admitted to the hospital. A month ago that statement would have made no sense to me. How could you occupy a hospital bed without being admitted? In the last few weeks my mother spent three postsurgery nights in Presence St.... Read more »

Reading glasses were avoidable if I’d known

You’ve probably heard people say that they don’t need glasses at all after cataract surgery. I looked forward to the surgery for that reason yet didn’t question the ophthalmologist when he said beforehand that I would still need reading glasses. In the last day I’ve done more research to write this blog post than before... Read more »

Deciding what to do with the RMD (the what?)

Along with when to start social security and which Medicare plan to choose, retirees who have tax-deferred savings plans have another major decision to make: what to do with the Required Minimum Distribution.  In case you’re not old enough to be aware of the RMD, neither was I until a few years ago. When my financial... Read more »