cooking vegetarian meals

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. Switching careers 2. Sporadic loan interest payment calculator 3. Why credit unions? 4. Separating spouse’s credit history 5. Rebalancing a Roth IRA 6. Best place for student loans? 7. Saving safely for next house 8. Lump sum for old pension 9. Blogs and trademarks 10. At a career …

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Everyone knows you’re supposed to be investing for retirement. But let’s be honest: That’s kind of a drag. Yes, it’s important to save and invest so that you can one day support yourself without working. We’ll all be there eventually, whether by choice or by necessity, and you’ll need money in savings to replace the income that’s no longer there. But that’s a boring reason to invest. Pretty morbid, too. And the truth is that there’s a LOT more that …

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One of the most powerful articles I’ve ever read is When You’re Poor, Money Is Expensive. The article lays out in incredible detail how easy it is for otherwise stable people to fall into financial crisis and then how incredibly difficult it is to get out of that situation. The reality of it is that when you fall into a financial hole where you can’t afford to pay some of your bills and you wind up visiting a payday lender …

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Almost every article you read about retirement savings brings up the terms “pre-tax” and “post-tax” savings, often throwing the ideas out there with no real explanation of what they mean or why they’re important. I know that the first time I encountered those terms, I was pretty unclear as to what the big deal was, too, or even why I should care at all. So let’s start from the beginning and work through what those terms mean and why they …

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I read a lot of personal finance books and personal finance articles. You’ll often find me at the library digging through the personal finance section, pulling out issues of Money or Kiplinger’s, or sitting at a table taking notes. Unsurprisingly, I see a lot of the same advice trotted out again and again in publication after publication. Most of this advice is really good stuff. Spend less than you earn. Pay off your debts. Contribute to your retirement fund. It’s …

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Refinancing has big benefits — you can lower your monthly payments, score a better interest rate, or even leverage your home for some cash to pay off other expenses — but only if you do it right. Doing it wrong isn’t dire; the worst-case scenario is spending money on the process only to realize you aren’t really saving that much on your mortgage. That’s not the end of the world, but also not the point. The best refinance mortgage companies, like …

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If you ever want to feel like you’re completely wrecking your own finances, try this little tactic on for size. At the end of the month, pull out your most recent bank statements and credit card statements and go through each of them line by line. See if you can name what purchase each one of those line items represents and what you can remember about those purchases. Do you remember anything at all? For some purchases, you won’t even …

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During the summer of 1998, I worked a night shift for a research lab in which I shoveled and sifted dirt for eight hours at a time. I hung out in this little room in the basement of a greenhouse that had a chute in which dirt had been dumped. I’d set up a large tub on top of a pushcart, put a screen attachment on top of it, then scoop several shovelfuls of dirt on there. I would then …

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Working for someone else can be a drag. Not only do you have to please your boss and toe the company line, but you have to deal with the innate limitations of an hourly or salaried profession: You can only earn a set amount of money. Staying motivated can be a difficult feat when you haven’t had a raise in two years – or when you get an annual raise, but it’s the same raise as everyone else. How do you justify …

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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. HSA open enrollment and fees 2. Organizing ideas for blog posts 3. Combining 401(k) accounts worthwhile? 4. Hot water heater problems? 5. Finding job with art degree 6. Renting or buying a minivan 7. Dryer problems 8. Long-term disability insurance 9. 15- or 30-year mortgage 10. Challenging problems …

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