My First Bear Market, By the Book

I'm boosting my 401(k) contributions now that my gym membership and student loan payments are on hold.

(Image credit: Christine Balderas 2020 (Christine Balderas 2020 (Photographer) - [None])

Practically as soon as I could count to 21, my father taught me to play blackjack. Dad insisted I play “by the book” (the one sold in casino gift shops), always making the move with the best odds to win the most money. Sometimes that means doubling your bet with a relatively weak hand, or asking for another card, even when it looks like you’ll win. Easy enough, when Pops is dealing at the kitchen counter. When it’s 3 a.m. in Atlantic City, and it’s real money on the line, things get trickier.

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Ryan Ermey
Former Associate Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Ryan joined Kiplinger in the fall of 2013. He wrote and fact-checked stories that appeared in Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine and on He previously interned for the CBS Evening News investigative team and worked as a copy editor and features columnist at the GW Hatchet. He holds a BA in English and creative writing from George Washington University.