washingtonpost OP t1_jebv9ha wrote

From Alex Horton:

You are correct that AR-15s are not machine guns. They shoot as fast as any other semiautomatic firearm, since firing speed is as fast as you can pull the trigger. But the comparison has only so much value. Typical hunting rifles are bolt-action and require you to recycle the round manually with each shot. They also often have limited ammunition capacities, typically around 5 with one in the chamber. What also makes them different from AR-15 is their size, weight and length. Most modern ARs have collapsable buttstocks and shorter barrels, making them more compact than your typical hunting rifle. I think in most situations when you want to cause maximum harm, like a mass shooting, those are some of the reasons AR-15s and not hunting rifles are used.

I think one reason AR-15s are so central to this discussion is market saturation. About 1 in 20 U.S. adults own one, according to our polling. Of course there are other types of rifles that are similar, like Mini-14s, and other foreign alternatives, like the Steyr AUG. But those are far less common. I think some reasons are AR-15s are available everywhere, easy to shoot, customizable and fairly cheap for entry level models. AR-15s also have a long and recognizable history from Vietnam all the way to Iraq and Afghanistan because of the use of the rifle’s military cousins, the M16 and M4.

Not to mention that AR-15s are symbolic on both ends on the spectrum. Gun advocates say AR-15s are the pinnacle of the 2nd Amendment, and critics point to it as emblematic of all that is wrong with guns and access to them.


washingtonpost OP t1_jebo2tt wrote

From Ashley Parker:

It’s hard to imagine a credible push to overturn the 2nd Amendment. I always think back to when I covered Congress, in the wake of the Sandy Hook mass shooting. Then, it felt like the entire country was horrified and outraged by what happened, and there was real bipartisan political will on Capitol Hill to get something done. And even in that moment — when 20 six and seven-year-olds had been killed at school — Congress was unable to pass even a simple background checks bill.

And when a new assault weapons ban finally came up for a vote in a Democratic-led Senate, only 38 of the chamber’s 54 Democrats voted in favor of the bill — meaning that 16 Democrats did not vote for it.

In the aftermath, I remember talking to a bunch of Hill aides, both Democratic and Republican, who had worked on the issue, and their takeaway was basically: If we can’t do anything after nearly two dozen babies are slaughtered, we’ll never do anything.

Since then, we have seen modest fits and starts, both legislatively and through executive action. But overturning any amendment — let alone one so polarizing — is a huge lift, which makes your question feel like more of a fascinating hypothetical than anything else.


washingtonpost OP t1_jebkmvi wrote

From Ashley Parker:

My sense is that media ownership has very little influence over why people choose to own or not own AR-15s. I’d specifically point you to our polling story that delves into, among other things, why people own guns — and the top reason is to “protect self, family and property.”

This story also features interviews with several gun owners, talking about why they ended up deciding to own AR-15s. I found them so fascinating that I watched them all, some several times, and I don’t think media ownership — or anything related — come up even obliquely.


washingtonpost OP t1_jebkidy wrote

From Todd Frankel:

We looked at the role the NRA played in promoting the AR-15. The NRA is far from alone in supporting the AR-15. The National Shooting Sports Foundation, Gun Owners of America and others do, too. Our reporting did find that while NRA membership has declined in recent years, members who are AR-15 owners and supporters became more important to the organization. And so the NRA has become one of the most ardent opponents of any laws that would restrict the AR-15.

But the rise of the AR-15 did not start with the NRA. As our “American Icon” story showed, the NRA did not openly welcome the AR-15 at its conventions in the 1990s or early 2000s.

From our story:“We’d have NRA members walk by our booth and give us the finger,” said Randy Luth, the founder of gunmaker DPMS, one of the earliest companies to market AR-15s.

That eventually changed. The AR-15 is today largely the star of gun conventions and trade shows.


washingtonpost OP t1_jebi5r6 wrote

From Todd Frankel:

We wrote about one potential way to reduce gun violence: Banning large-capacity magazines.

It’s a pretty simple and very controversial idea – the more often a shooter needs to stop and reload, the fewer people that are killed. The standard magazine on AR-15s today holds 30 rounds. That’s usually considered a large-capacity magazine. A handful of states ban magazines that hold more than 10 rounds or 15 rounds or 17 rounds. The basic idea is the same. Cutting down on the number of bullets that can be fired quickly.

Some experts call the period when a shooter stops to reload “the critical pause.” The shooting has stopped, maybe it’s only for 10 to 15 seconds. But that’s enough time for people to escape or for people to rush the gunman.

For example, a gunman wielding an AR-15-style rifle burst into a synagogue in Poway, Calif., in 2019. He killed one person and injured three others while emptying a 10-round magazine. California bans magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. And while he tried to reload with another 10-round magazine, people confronted him and chased him away. The shooting stopped.

A magazine ban wouldn’t prevent mass shootings from occurring. But researchers and experts say that studies show the ban reduces the death toll. It gives victims a chance to survive.


washingtonpost OP t1_jebg1y7 wrote

From Ashley Parker:

I cover national politics, and from a political standpoint, one thing that could make a difference is what always makes a difference — voters actually voting on this issue. The reason why some Republicans are reluctant to support even slightly modest measures that would restrict gun rights are because they believe — often correctly — that the Republican base will punish theme in a Republican primary. But in my conversations with Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) — who obviously represents the state where Sandy Hook occurred — he has become increasingly bullish on the idea that Democrats can now run on the issue of gun restrictions… and win. He says in the wake of the Parkland shooting, he sees a real movement, led by young people, where politicians may now expect to pay a price for NOT supporting what he would term common sense gun reform. But of course, before it can become a real general election issue, it has to stop being a toxic Republican primary issue.


washingtonpost OP t1_je9z4ko wrote

From reporter Scott Allen:

Here’s what to expect at Nationals Park in 2023.


The two most notable additions to the ballpark’s food lineup are Swizzler and Capo Deli. Swizzler, which began as a food truck and opened its first stand-alone restaurant in Navy Yard in 2020, will offer smashburgers, fried chicken sandwiches and hand-cut fries, with locations in Sections 106, 130 and 320.

Capo Deli, which opened its first location in Shaw in 2017, replaces the former Hard Times concession stand next to See You Tater in Section 107. Capo’s menu of sandwiches includes the Italian combo with capicola, genoa salami and provolone; roasted turkey and provolone; and a tomato and mozzarella caprese. It will also offer tri-color pasta with genoa salami, provolone and housemade dressing.

Grab-and-go concessions

The Nationals are hoping to reduce the amount of time fans spend waiting in line for concessions by introducing four Grab-and-Go Marketplaces outside Sections 110, 136, 141 and 314. Fans at these concession stands will be able to pick up the items they want and proceed to a self-checkout kiosk, where their items will be rung up automatically. Staff will fill drinks and check IDs for fans wishing to purchase alcoholic beverages. Additionally, all concession stands, except Shake Shack, will offer kiosk ordering.

There will also be four grab-and-go beer markets, including three on the main concourse, offering a selection of canned beers. The Craft Corner market outside Section 110 will provide the largest selection of local canned beers in the ballpark. The District Drafts program, which has offered a rotating selection of local craft beers on draft for more than a decade, is back, but it will feature fewer carts this season.

Read more about food options, the giveaway schedule and merchandise here, and skip the paywall with email registration: https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2023/03/24/nationals-park-food-2023/?utm_campaign=wp_main&utm_medium=social&utm_source=reddit.com


washingtonpost OP t1_jd5948k wrote

It’s helpful to compare where the average person’s emissions come from. Housing is the top source (around a third) and transportation is next (around a third as well). For most people, those emissions vary dramatically. Frequent flyers, especially. Because plane travel is so energy intensive, it often contributes an outsize share of one's emissions.

So even if you drive every day for a commute, flying across the country several times could swamp those emissions. So there’s no one right answer to that except to say that a few long flights equals many, many miles in a car.


washingtonpost OP t1_jd56qis wrote

Recycling is the number one thing people say they do for climate change. And it’s great. For metals, glass, paper, and batteries in particular, you’re making an impact. But the questions is much less clear for single-use plastic (better to avoid). And other things are more important if you’re prioritizing.

As The Atlantic reports, when Project Drawdown, a nonprofit group, "analyzed more than 80 separate means that could help keep the world from passing the oft-cited threshold of 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius of warming, the recycling industry’s projected contributions fell below the median, trailing geothermal power, efficient aviation, forest protection, and dozens of other actions."


washingtonpost OP t1_jd56g04 wrote

Couple great things about it: avoid methane emissions in landfill, turbocharges your garden (or someone else's), and you get a much better sense of how much food you're wasting — the biggest source of emission.

Oh, and composting doesn’t have to be hard anymore. I wrote all about it: https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2023/02/21/home-composting-new-technology/?utm_campaign=wp_main&utm_medium=social&utm_source=reddit.com


washingtonpost OP t1_jd55lue wrote

It matters! The transportation sector is now the largest source GHG emissions in the US: 27%. Decarbonizing that is critical. While not perfect, EVs are a necessary step in getting US emissions on track. Of course, it’s best to walk, bike, share, etc. but electric mobility is important, especially as we decarbonize the electricity grid. The one exception?

The electric Hummer is actually worse than many gasoline vehicles.


washingtonpost OP t1_jd55anb wrote

You, like most people, probably know 97% of climate scientists conclude that the Earth is rapidly warming because of human activity. But that doesn’t convince everyone! Yale estimates only 11% or “dismissive” and 11% more are doubtful. So what do we do with this 22%?

I actually wrote about this a while ago, and there’s an excellent Reddit thread exploring this topic more: https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/5zvuxx/former_climate_change_deniers_what_changed_your/

So Yale Climate Connections analyzed 66 answers describing the motivation behind people’s conversion from denier to believer. The biggest reason was a slow acceptance of clear scientific evidence. For many, seeing graphs of atmospheric carbon dioxide and overwhelming data supporting the conclusion that humans are rapidly, catastrophically warming the planet was convincing. “It’s just difficult for me to deny it with the overwhelming amount of scientific evidence that supports it,” wrote one.

But they have to get there first, and in many cases, people aren't even willing to consider these facts. That's where values come in.

Many people rejected climate science in the first place because of 1) their families 2) personal politics and identity, which were a close second. “Mostly because my family rigorously shot it down whenever it was remotely mentioned,” one person wrote in the Reddit thread. Another writer had grown up “actively and obnoxiously denying climate change because my dad told me it wasn’t real.”

A third major reason was a desire to avoid the enormity of the problem. “I really doubted it for a while, because honestly it scared me,” one poster wrote. “I figured if I just denied it and pretended it wasn’t a thing, it wouldn’t be and it would just go away.”

So how do you change peoples’ minds? Lead with values. Throwing scientific studies in people’s faces is likely to have the opposite effect, putting people into a defensive crouch. People tend to reject the validity of scientific evidence if it conflicts with worldviews.

You can present information in ways that already align with people’s beliefs without triggering emotional, defensive responses. As a good analysis of the research summarizes: "Conservatives are more likely to embrace climate science if it comes to them via a business or religious leader, who can set the issue in the context of different values than those from which environmentalists or scientists often argue. Doing so is, effectively, to signal a détente in what has [been] called a “culture war of fact.”

That gives facts a chance.


washingtonpost OP t1_jd53gw2 wrote

Good question but let me reframe it. You’re absolutely right. Any one us don't have an outsize impact on the 36.3 gigatonnes the world emits each year — except perhaps Kim Kardashian and others flying their private jets. But a more useful question is how are you part of a solution. There’s two ways that I can see:

  1. You reuse your own emissions a small, but personal meaningful amount. This has the added benefit of bring your life in line with you personal values (and you may even have more fun)
  2. You’re a walking billboard for how to do things a different way.

I personally think #2 may be the biggest impact you have by shifting norms. Here’s what I wrote in my first column:

"While global problems don’t seem entirely amenable to individual action, that is only part of the story. Human culture and global warming are not linear systems. They are driven by exponential curves, social contagions and threshold effects. They exist at the messy confluence of biology, economics, psychology and physics.

Take solar panels. In 2021, researchers in the journal Nature published a paper studying why people install solar panels on their roofs. Subsidies, geography and policy were all considered. The most powerful factor? Whether a neighbor already had solar panels. There was even a proximity effect. People living within two blocks of homes with panels were the most likely to buy their own. Solar panels, in other words, were contagious. With climate, we must consider social norms as well as policies and incentives."


washingtonpost OP t1_jbtiyuv wrote

From reporter Peter Hermann:

When D.C. embarked on a years-long process to overhaul its criminal code, one of the things city council members set out to do was remove from the books antiquated laws that are no longer relevant to modern society. But with Congress moving to nix the overhaul — concerned over other provisions, like the lessening of statutory maximum penalties for carjacking — some of the outmoded measures technically remain in effect.

Many of the laws are no longer applicable, and they are definitely not being enforced. Some were already stricken decades ago — like a ban on flying kites, which was scrapped in 1970. Others, with roots dating back to England in the 1700s, have been rendered moot by court rulings. Still others have been revised through subsequent legislation, but the original language was never removed from the official record.

Curse in public

In 1892, Congress criminalized cursing in public in the District, lumping it in with the crime of vagrancy. It made it unlawful “for any person or persons to curse, or make use of any profane language or any indecent or obscene words.”

Courts in subsequent years have taken a far different approach to free speech. The fine 131 years ago: $20. The same law also equates making an obscene gesture with the crime of indecent exposure, both punishable with fines up to $250.

Ride ‘any animal of the horse kind’ too fast

When cars weren’t so prevalent, it was illegal to ride “any animal of the horse kind” in D.C. at “a rate of speed exceeding eight miles per hour.” It was also illegal to turn a corner with a horse going more than 4 mph.

Whether the law remains technically in force, though, is somewhat unclear. Notes from the commission that reviewed D.C.'s code as part of the overhaul say it may have been repealed, but because the group couldn’t confirm that, the overhaul would formally remove it.

Read about more of these laws here, and skip the paywall with email registration: https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2023/03/10/archaic-dc-laws-criminal-code/?utm_campaign=wp_main&utm_medium=social&utm_source=reddit.com


washingtonpost OP t1_jae7dvn wrote

From reporters Katharine Houreld and Meg Kelly:

NAIROBI — Just days before a deal to end the war in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, soldiers from neighboring Eritrea last fall massacred more than 300 villagers over the course of a week, according to witnesses and victims’ relatives.

Eritrean forces, allied with Ethiopian government troops, had been angered by a recent battlefield defeat and took their revenge in at least 10 villages east of the town of Adwa during the week before the Nov. 2 peace deal, witnesses said, providing accounts horrifying even by the standards of a conflict defined by mass killings of civilians.

The massacres, which have not been previously reported outside the Tigray region, were described in interviews with 22 relatives of the dead, including 15 who witnessed the killings or their immediate aftermath. They spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

The survivors are only now willing to talk: As long as Eritrean troops remained close by, villagers were cowed into silence. Once the soldiers finally pulled back in late January from much of Tigray, witnesses and relatives began to give accounts like the following: A toddler killed with his 7-year-old brother and their mother. Elderly priests shot in their homes. A nursing mother shot dead in front of her young sons. Family members beaten back as they clung to fathers and sons being taken to their deaths.

Residents of the village of Mariam Shewito who had fled the violence said they returned from the bush to find the doors of their homes swinging open, the floors inside black with blood and the air heavy with the stench of death. Others searched for brothers and husbands among half-eaten corpses on a mountain where scores were executed and left to wild animals.

Satellite images first provided by Planet Labs and reviewed by The Washington Post show that at least 67 structures in the area, mostly in household compounds, were severely damaged during the time that witnesses said the killings happened. Additional imagery provided to The Post by Maxar Technologies shows military vehicles matching witness descriptions of Eritrean vehicles, less than three miles from where the massacres took place.

The agreement between the Ethiopian government and Tigrayan rebels brought about a cease fire in a two-year war that had made northern Ethiopia one of the deadliest places in the world. But the deal did not address the status of Eritrean troops and avoided some of the other thorniest issues, including who might investigate reports of multiple war crimes like the most recent one near Adwa and how perpetrators could be brought to justice.

The U.N. International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia has repeatedly documented and condemned atrocities carried out by all sides to the conflict. In January, the Ethiopian government asked the United States to support its bid to terminate the commission, calling its work “highly politicized.”

Read more about this exclusive investigation here, and skip the paywall with email registration: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/02/28/ethiopia-massacre-tigray-eritrea/?utm_campaign=wp_main&utm_medium=social&utm_source=reddit.com


washingtonpost OP t1_j9g2s4e wrote

From reporter Scott Allen:

Early in his quest to see every Division I men’s college basketball team play in person, Craig Caswell resolved that he would travel to see the last school play at home. Caswell’s wife and most frequent travel companion, Jaclyn Meyer, lobbied to finish the journey in Hawaii, but when the Rainbow Warriors played a nonconference game at Illinois in November 2019 — the program’s farthest trip east in more than a decade — Caswell, who lives outside Dayton, Ohio, decided the opportunity to cross another team off his list without getting on a plane was too good to pass up.

Hawaii, which lost to the Fighting Illini that night, was the 330th Division I team Caswell saw play. Three years and 34 teams later, Caswell completed his quest Saturday at Bender Arena, where he watched American lose to visiting Lehigh with Meyer, his mother and his brother by his side.

“This feels more like a milestone than a conclusion,” Caswell wrote in an email Sunday. “I’ll still go to more basketball games this season and beyond, only now with a fresh air of confidence with this achievement under my belt.”

Caswell’s college basketball odyssey spanned 21 years and took him to 442 games in 131 venues. The first Division I college basketball game he attended was Dayton’s 83-59 rout of George Washington on Jan. 9, 2002, at UD Arena. It was his second game, as a wide-eyed freshman at Bowling Green nearly seven years later, that lit the spark for his impressive and unusual quest.

A Detroit Pistons fan who didn’t pay much attention to college hoops growing up, Caswell, 32, walked into Bowling Green’s Anderson Arena for the first time in the fall of 2008 and grabbed a seat in the front row for a game against Wayne State. He felt a bit like Spike Lee sitting courtside at Madison Square Garden, and he was hooked. Caswell went to most of the Falcons’ home games that season and again as a sophomore, when he made trips to see games at Wright State, Akron and Kent State.

The quest entered Caswell’s mind during his junior year.

“I thought: ‘I love to travel, and I love college basketball. How feasible would it be to see every team in Division I?’ ” he said. “I was determined to basically consume as much college basketball as I could going forward. All the years since have involved a lot of deliberate planning to try to achieve that goal.”

Read more about Caswell's cross-country journey here, and skip the paywall with email registration: https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2023/02/21/college-basketball-fan-sees-every-team/?utm_campaign=wp_main&utm_medium=social&utm_source=reddit.com


washingtonpost t1_j8znjtv wrote

i mean, people sometimes just copy and paste our whole articles on here anyway — all i can say is if you enjoy reading our work, please subscribe if you’re able to!

across the site we try to give some excerpts of stories from behind the paywall — and even offer 7 free articles to redditors specifically, along with AMAs every other week — to give non-subscribers a way in to seeing our work without running into a paywall right off the bat.

but subscriptions are important to keep a newsroom going, and we can only do our jobs because of reader support. but uhh personally i def can’t stop … this. i’m just the reddit guy

— angel


washingtonpost OP t1_j7qvhbd wrote

From reporter Will Hobson:

Pressured by Congress, the league and its union promised reforms years ago. But a Washington Post investigation shows a system still stacked against players left broken by football.

The 2022 NFL season will be remembered, in part, for two shocking scenes that renewed focus on the damage America’s most popular sport inflicts on its players. One was the sight of Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa writhing on the field after suffering his second concussion in five days, briefly bringing a Thursday Night Football game to a halt. The other was Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsing with a cardiac arrest, ending a Monday Night Football game and briefly bringing the sport to a standstill.

Both events brought swift public responses from the NFL and the NFL Players Association, professing their concern for the health and safety of the league’s players.

But beyond the glare of national television, debilitated former NFL players continue to encounter a benefit plan, jointly managed by the league and union, that fights aggressively to deny claims and repeatedly shirks legal obligations to fairly review cases, a Washington Post investigation found.

Over the past six months, The Post reviewed thousands of pages of medical records, denial letters and other plan documents produced in lawsuits since 2008, the year after former players went to Congress to complain of onerous red tape, biased doctors and a rigged claims process. League and union officials disputed those allegations but promised reforms.

In the 15 years since, though, eight players have successfully sued the league’s plan, triggering tense and protracted legal fights that have revealed repeated instances in which the NFL’s plan seized on technicalities, ignored medical evidence and flouted federal judges to justify denying claims.

The NFL declined to make any official available for an interview. In a statement, the league dismissed the plan’s losses in court as a small fraction of the thousands of cases it has handled. And even in cases where federal judges ruled the plan wrongly denied a claim, the NFL asserted, the judges were wrong.

“There have been roughly 10,000 claims considered since 2008,” wrote league spokesman Brian McCarthy. “Even if those less than a dozen cases were improperly decided — and they were not — the less than one dozen cases hardly amount to a pattern.”

The NFL and the union, NFLPA, both emphasized the sum the plan pays out to disabled retirees: more than $320 million last year, a substantial increase from the $20 million the plan told Congress it was paying out in 2007.

The NFL’s plan is unique, making it difficult to compare its record in the courts to peers. A typical disability insurer manages plans for many companies, covering millions more customers than the NFL plan. But playing in the NFL is also far more likely to leave players with potentially disabling injuries than perhaps any other job in America, increasing the likelihood for lawsuits.

Several experienced disability attorneys who have battled the NFL’s plan in court, in interviews, said the league’s plan stands apart in how vociferously it fights claims. And they expressed outrage that the NFL maintains every judge who has ruled against the plan was mistaken.

Read more about our investigation into these lawsuits here, and skip the paywall with email registration: https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2023/02/08/nfl-disability-players-union/?utm_campaign=wp_main&utm_medium=social&utm_source=reddit.com


washingtonpost OP t1_j6or7u6 wrote

From reporter Luz Lazo:

The District has about 250 electric vehicle charging stations, a number that some city officials say is inadequate to meet the growing demand for EVs in the nation’s capital.

City leaders are hoping to grow that number 30-fold, proposing to put 7,500 charging stations across all eight wards by 2027 while setting requirements for the city and developers to include charging ports in renovations or new construction.

“Right now, even if you go get an electric vehicle, you don’t have any place to charge it,” said D.C. Council member Charles Allen (D-Ward 6). “We don’t have building standards that require charging infrastructure. We don’t create public charging infrastructure. We don’t do a whole lot.”

Allen, the new chairman of the council’s Committee on Transportation and the Environment, introduced a bill Tuesday that would create a plan for how to boost charging options within residential and commercial districts across the city. The proposal, which is co-signed by each member of the D.C. Council, is the city’s latest effort to boost EV adoption while seeking to meet environmental goals and reduce pollution.

The bill would require developers of new residential and commercial buildings to include charging options in their parking plans and mandate that the city consider installing ports in major streetscape projects. The plan also would establish a permitting process for charging infrastructure at existing single-family homes and multifamily housing.

Supporters say the proposal would allow the District to catch up with the demand for EVs as more residents and visitors choose electric over gas-powered vehicles.

Read more about the proposal here, and skip the paywall with email registration: https://www.washingtonpost.com/transportation/2023/01/31/dc-electric-vehicle-charging-ports/?utm_campaign=wp_main&utm_medium=social&utm_source=reddit.com


washingtonpost OP t1_j5vpo3a wrote

The long-term care insurance market is a hot mess. Early on they got the pricing wrong. The thought was people would only need it for a few years or pass away before needing it. WRONG. Not only were early long-term care policy holders using the insurance, they lived for years and years. So the insurance companies had huge payouts they had not anticipated. Here we are now and many people are experiencing steep hikes as the market tries to correct the pricing. I’ve talked to seniors who have policies and got notices for price hikes of 20%, 30% and even 50%. If they cancel they lose all that money. If they keep the policy they are paying out the nose. Many end up reducing the benefits, so that they can afford the price increases. There are some hybrid policies that make it more affordable but the coverage periods are limited.

At your age, you may be too early for it, assuming you stay healthy. I would go over this with a financial planner to determine if it’s right for you.


washingtonpost OP t1_j5vof0a wrote

It’s all about your risk tolerance. Being in all equities right now will try your patience and sanity. Can you sleep during periods when the market bounces in and out of bear territory?

Most experts, suggest you still have some bonds even in your younger years. You want balance. And what that balance will be will depend on how much risk you can stomach.


washingtonpost OP t1_j5vo0pe wrote

This is always a hard question for me. I know many people struggle to make ends meet, so perhaps they didn’t have much left to save for retirement. Or, let’s be real, they had the money and made poor decisions. Or, just didn’t know how to save. If you face living just off Social Security, and that’s not a lot (about $1,700 a month as of Dec. 2022), you have to rethink your retirement. First look for ways to reduce your biggest expense – housing. Can you live with someone or get a roommate? Can you move to a less expensive area? If you are able, can you work full-time or part-time? Or, if you can, can you delay retiring until you’ve been able to save a little bit more. Look at all your expenses and see where you can cut. Be sure to tap all the state and federal resources available.


washingtonpost OP t1_j5vn1fn wrote

I get this question a lot. Here’s my philosophy based on working with hundreds of folks in debt. Yes, your priority should be to get rid of debt. But if you focus all your extra cash on debt reduction and fail to save for an emergency – and there will be one because life happens – you may end up adding to your debt to handle that emergency. So save some – perhaps up to $1,000 – then stop and concentrate on the debt. If you have an old car that’s giving you some issues, err on the side of a large “life happens fund” (see earlier answer about this fund).

So for example, if you have an extra $100 a month, use say $50 to boost your life happens fund until you reach a safe savings pot. Then stop saving and put all the extra cash toward the debt. For instance, I was working with a woman who had like $25,000 in credit card debt, and about $30,000 in savings. Her credit card was charging close to 20% interest. Her savings was getting less than 1 percent. But she was scared to let go of that money. She had a fairly secure job, no other debt, etc. I told her to pay off the credit card in full. She did, and she built back her savings in no time.

As for tithing. If you believe this religious principle then, yes, you should tithe while paying off debt. For those who are not believers, I know this sounds, well, financially unsound. But faith is a personal thing and if you believe you follow your faith. Because there are always going to be something to pull you away from your beliefs. Now, if you are going to follow this advice, you must, and I mean must, have a plan that will help you get rid of that debt.


washingtonpost OP t1_j5vjxby wrote

Wanted to add something. So, if you are hiring a fee-only planner paying $1,000 to $1,500 is about right if the person is doing a comprehensive look at your financial situation and making recommendations. And you will want that to to include an assessment of whether you are on track for certain goals, such as saving for retirement.


washingtonpost OP t1_j5vjbdi wrote

Here’s how I typically answer this question. If you have a painful problem with your gums or teeth, would you try to fix it yourself? Or would you hire a professional/dentist to treat you?

Same with your money. If you are unsure of what to do, or you need a second opinion or guidance pay the money to get help. I have and it has made a world of difference. A few years ago, I found an old folder with advice from a financial planner. She had made a number of recommendations – term life insurance in addition to what my husband and I carried at work, disability insurance, stop being so conservative in our workplace retirement accounts, start those 529 plans, create a non-retirement investment account. We followed all the advice and I’m so grateful. We are doing very well because of her guidance. I would have never done that one my own in my 30s because I was too scared of risk. So, yes, pay the money for someone to look over your financial plan.