hiking through a valley

“31 Days to Financial Independence” is an ongoing series that appears every Thursday on The Simple Dollar. You might want to start this series from the beginning! Last time, we took a deep look at tactics that a person might use when handling a personal crisis. Things like a death in the family, a car breakdown, a job loss, or a personal illness can have a real impact on a person’s finances, so we looked at how a person on …

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When is political chatter appropriate in the office? As Trent explains in a recent Reader Mailbag column, never. This is true even if you’re reasonably sure that everyone on your team has similar views. It’s just plain unprofessional. Maybe you’re unconvinced, however. In that case, it’s useful to consider exactly why talking about politics at work is a bad idea: It stresses people out. An APA survey prior to the election found that 28% of younger workers reported being stressed …

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I had a great conversation recently with a gentleman in his early fifties who, upon being introduced to me and learning that I had been a full-time personal finance writer for several years, had been looking for a chance to have a conversation with me privately. Let’s call him Gene. It turns out that Gene had never put a single dime into retirement savings during his entire professional life. He had assumed all the way along that he would save …

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A 2016 study from the U.S. Travel Association showed that more than half (55%) of Americans didn’t take all their paid vacation days in 2016. While Americans took an average of 16.2 days of vacation last year, they left a cumulative 658 million unused vacation days on the table in the process. According to the study, which polled 5,641 Americans who work at least 35 hours per week, plenty of workplace barriers have made taking vacation harder. For example, 37% of workers feared …

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One of my biggest financial frustrations is stopping at a gas station. You dump fuel in your car, spend $40 or more, and then all you do is burn that fuel getting to where you need to be. It just goes up in smoke, literally. Whenever I see something that I’ve spent my hard-earned money on just disappearing like that, I want to conserve it. I want to find every strategy that there is in order to reduce how much …

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Have you ever struggled with credit problems? If so, chances are you’ve probably wished, at least once, for a solution to erase all your credit troubles. After all, bad credit can cause your life to be quite stressful and more expensive. It can lead to the denial of loan applications, difficulty finding an affordable place to live for your family, and can even cause you to be passed over for a job. Given the many issues that accompany poor credit, it’s no …

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What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to summaries of five or fewer words. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. Certifications and financial coaching 2. Selling valuable items through mail 3. Starting college advice 4. Thinking of quitting my job 5. Restaurant bloat 6. Most important characteristic? 7. Going out of business sales 8. Receipt surveys 9. Snowball method best? 10. Letterboxing? 11. Instant Pot? 12. Bag dump …

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When you read up on investing, it’s easy to get the sense that there’s one way to invest for “average” people, and another way to invest if you really know what you’re doing. You know what I’m talking about. You’ll hear people say things like, “Index investing is great for the average investor,” or, “If you’re new to investing, index funds are the way to go.” Statements like that aren’t incorrect, but they carry a subtle implication that there’s something …

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Snowmen and hot cocoa are nice and all, but for many of us the novelty of the cold and snow begins to wear off shortly after Christmas and New Year’s Day. By the doldrums of mid-February, the cold, dreary weather takes its toll, isolating many of us in our own homes. And when it feels like you hardly see anyone or do anything, it’s easy to get depressed. Sometimes it’s Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a real medical condition, that has us …

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Recently, I had a long email conversation with a reader about 10 years younger than myself. He’s firmly a member of the millennial generation, whereas I’m right on the dividing line between millennials and Generation X. This reader’s argument centered around the idea that the deck is stacked against millennials far more than other post-World War II generations. His primary reasons are threefold. First, the real wages of someone with just a high school diploma have dropped in the last 40 …

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