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We’re afraid we might need it

A recent survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) gave me some surprising insight into my spending habits. This is what I learned: I’m not alone.

I’m not alone in my reluctance to take money out of my retirement accounts. I’m not alone in choosing to spend less rather than draw down assets. I’d rather keep sitting on my nest egg than break it open and gobble it up, and most older Americans feel exactly the same way.

According to the EBRI survey, the majority of retirees want to draw down only a fraction of their savings or none…

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We seem to be moving in the right direction

If you’re like me, you look at those “World’s Happiest Countries” articles every year with a mixture of jealousy and awe. It’s easy to see what the countries that make the list have in common; their residents can count on their governments and fellow citizens in times of need, they embrace a healthy work/life balance, and they value education enough to provide it to their populace. This year, the US seems to be moving closer to those ideals.

We can count on our government

My husband, who used to travel around the US teaching classes in automation, lost his job this year. I know you’re not…

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This is the call to adventure

We have not even to risk the adventure alone, for the heroes of all time have gone before us. The labyrinth is thoroughly known; we have only to follow the thread of the hero path. And where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god. And where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves. And where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence. And where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world. …

“You are rich if money you refuse tastes better than money you accept.” If I’d plucked this from Nassim Taleb’s The Bed of Procrustes last year I would have thought…

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It may be the best way to ethically invest in the stock market

I’ve been looking for ethical companies to invest in this year, and it’s a search that’s long overdue. I want to put my money where my mouth is, so I can’t keep talking about conscious spending unless I’m consciously investing, too. That’s not as easy as it seems.

On a surface level, I know where my money is going. I’ve had mutual funds for years, a blend of large-, mid-, and small-cap stocks that satisfied my attraction to balance. …

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Kohlberg’s model of moral development tells us something about the political divide

Imagine yourself in this position. Your beloved spouse or partner is dying of a rare form of cancer but can be saved by a recently discovered drug. Unfortunately, the drug’s price has been raised 10-fold by its producer and it costs more than you can pay. You try to borrow the money and collect about half of the medication’s price. You call the pharmaceutical company and try to cut a deal. They justify their refusal with a song-and-dance about the cost of research and development. There’s no way you’ll be able to buy the drug, but you may be able…

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You’re probably not

People who are shy, introverted, or socially anxious are often teased about being “antisocial,” but that’s a confusing misuse of the term. The prefix “anti” means “against.” So people who are truly antisocial don’t avoid society; they act out against it.

What is antisocial personality disorder?

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) describes antisocial personality disorder as a “pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others…” People who have this disorder are also known as psychopaths or sociopaths, terms the American Psychiatric Association sees as being equivalent.

People with antisocial personality disorder are often on the wrong side…

If you’re a freelance writer who’s still wondering how to get the most bang for your health insurance buck, here’s a summary of my extensive research on the subject. There…

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What is it, and what does it tell us about depression?

The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) is a 21-question survey that measures the presence and severity of depression by helping people to quantify their symptoms. For example, one of the markers of depression is “…diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day (as indicated by either subjective account or observation).”

The question that pulls for an endorsement of this symptom on the BDI asks respondents whether they get satisfaction out of things as much as they always did (0 points), not as much as they used to (1 point), don’t get real…

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Retirement didn’t turn me into a snowbird; the coronavirus did

It’s not safe to be around other people right now, especially at my age. An impressive majority of Covid-19 deaths have occurred in older people with underlying medical conditions. Most old people have these, including my husband and me.

That’s why we don’t eat at restaurants anymore, even those with patio dining. We don’t shop for our groceries; our food comes to us. We don’t visit with other people, even those we love, except for a rare front-porch catchup. We don’t go indoors with anyone from outside our bubble.

Life in a rat park

It’s been surprisingly easy. We miss our social life, of course…

K M Brown

Retired psychotherapist who loves a good story.

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