checklist manifesto

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. Term or whole life insurance 2. Inexpensive and free Kindle books 3. US banking for Canadian residents 4. REI dividend update 5. Landscaping question 6. Investing policy like business plan? 7. Applying for job at megacorp 8. DIY fermented foods cost effective? 9. Recommendations for bicycle commuting 10. …

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Remember the ’80s? The stonewashed jeans? Hypercolor t-shirts? The bad hair and cheesy tunes? Punky Brewster, Alf, and Garbage Pail Kids? If you were a child of the ’80s, you probably wore bright neon colors and tight-rolled your jeans. You watched VHS tapes and recorded songs off the radio with cassette tapes. Your first real introduction to technology was probably Oregon Trail or Nintendo. Heck, some of us wore jelly shoes and worshiped Pee Wee Herman. And that’s just if …

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From the moment we’re born, we’re taught that borrowing money is normal and, dare I say it, expected. From mortgages to car loans to $700 smartphones we pay for over 24 months, we’re taught to spread the pain of our purchases over the course of many months or years. Obviously, this mindset isn’t always bad. With housing prices surging toward all-time highs, taking out a mortgage is the only way most of us will ever own a home. Student loans can be …

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I am a huge advocate for making low cost meals at home. It’s been one of our biggest money savers over the past several years, trimming our cost per meal for our family well below $1 per meal, which means we can feed a family of five for about $400-450 per month, and we do it with delicious foods that we all like and still afford to eat out or get takeout every once in a while. A big part …

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Thoughts Become Desires

March 25 2017

One of my biggest work distractions is looking at interesting websites, particularly ones that I think will help improve my life (this might sound an awful lot like you at the moment). Quite often, I’ll stumble across an article that will talk about a particular book or a particular app or a particular item that really seems to click well with what I’m doing in my life, and that article sets my mind in motion. I’m suddenly thinking about something …

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When I write about my own personal finance experiences, it’s easy to report on the things I did well. Writing about the good moves makes a lot of sense, after all. Those are the moves that resulted in a clear-cut personal finance gain without a lot of sacrifice, and those are the moves that really are well worth sharing. The problem with sticking to that approach is it creates the utterly false impression that my life is one long series …

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How much does it cost to find a new job? A lot of it depends on your industry, job level, and how long the process lasts. According to Jobvite’s latest data, it takes an average of 28 days from application to hire – but that’s assuming you get that all-important first call for an interview. In addition, the higher up the corporate ladder you go, the longer your job search is likely to take. C-suite executives should expect an average of five …

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It’s an almost automatic response. You need a job, or you’re unhappy at your current job. What do you do? You start applying elsewhere. You look up online job listings. You fill out applications. You send out resumes and cover letters. While that’s definitely a key step in the process, you’re often just tossing your resume or application into a pile with a lot of other resumes and applications. The question isn’t whether you apply, but how exactly you’re going …

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I graduated college with $145,000 in student loans. The worst part about it? I was willfully ignorant about the amount I borrowed. It would all be paid off by Future Me, right? Besides, not once during my economics courses was there a discussion about the adverse effects of high student debt. How bad could it be? In a word: devastating. A recent study from the nonprofit group American Student Assistance recently took a look at the effects of student loan …

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Several years ago, I read a wonderful book called The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande. I thought highly enough of the book after reading it that I wrote an article about it for The Simple Dollar, but what I didn’t realize at the time was that this book would subtly stick in my head like few others that I’ve ever read in my life. Several years later, I still see this book resonating for me in the personal, financial, and …

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