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“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! In the first part of this series, we took a long look at the things that shape our lives – the things we spend our money, time, and energy on – and figured out which ones were most important to us. More specifically, we chose roughly five things that were of prime importance …

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Two in five workers will be independent contractors by 2020, according to one study. That’s an estimated 60 million of us toiling without the restrictions (or benefits) of full-time employment. The downside, of course, is that this freedom isn’t necessarily free: For every freelancer you meet who shrugged off the shackles of Corporate America and struck out on his own, you’ll meet several who were forced into part-time, contract, or temporary work by the economy. And, regardless of how you became a …

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Retirement means different things to different people. To my parents, it largely means a simple day-to-day life. It means plenty of time to engage in their hobbies and interests at home. It doesn’t include any major changes in lifestyle after retirement, just a lot of additional free time. Without the expense of having to work and without the cost of some of the conveniences necessary to keep working, their life is actually far cheaper than it was before. To my …

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In the last few days, several readers have shared a video with me that’s been floating around on Facebook. The video is titled Financial Mistakes You Must Avoid in Your 20s and it features “entrepreneur and author” Grant Cardone discussing a bunch of what he considers to be financial mistakes that people make early in life. I watched the video, hoping for the best. Instead, I found a bunch of outright nonsense mixed in with some “kinda true” things, baked …

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Questions regarding your credit generally do not have a simple cut and dried answer. Instead, credit-related questions more often require the rather ambiguous and sometimes frustrating response of, “It depends.” The answer to the question “How will medical bills affect my credit?” is no different. The impact your medical bills will have on your credit reports and credit score is going to depend on a variety of factors. Sometimes medical bills can be extremely damaging to your credit reports; sometimes …

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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. Old savings bonds 2. Attacking spousal debt 3. Wedding cost cutting strategies 4. “Backdoor” Roth IRA? 5. Mattress buying advice 6. Are we ahead or behind? 7. Stocks at all time high 8. Time cost of bargain hunting 9. Purchase-generating media and socializing 10. Family calendars 11. Best …

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Your 401(k) is often the easiest place to start investing because the account is already set up for you and your contributions can automatically be deducted from your paycheck. Unfortunately, many 401(k)s are still behind the times in terms of offering high-quality, low-cost investment options that maximize your odds of success. So, how do you know if your 401(k) is good or bad? And if it’s bad, what should you do? Here’s a quick guide that will help you figure it …

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Nobody likes talking about the dreaded “B word.” Just mention the word budgeting in a crowd, and you’ll see perfectly reasonable adults turn into petulant children. After giving you an angry stare, they’ll cross their arms, give you the side-eye, and breathe deeply until the moment passes. Why? Because even responsible and hard-working adults hate the idea of budgeting or planning their spending. They work hard each week, they’ll say, and they don’t want to live life in a cage. And …

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The average American family spends $151 a week on food, according to this Gallup poll. That’s actually quite a lot of money when you consider that the average week contains just 21 meals and that it’s relatively easy to eat a meal that costs less than $1. The truth of the matter is that people often spend far more on their food than they realize and that those food expenses really add up over time. Even if you’re spending just …

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Earlier this month, I was traveling with my family in Toronto. I was waiting outside of the CN Tower for my family to meet up as my parents had gone in one direction, my wife and children had gone in a second direction, and I was using the bathroom, so I was standing at our meetup point. While standing there, I was leaning next to a guy in a Blue Jays jersey who was waiting for the Rogers Centre to …

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