family playing board games

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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I have this little voice in my head that likes to slam me for the missteps I make. If I eat too much at supper, that voice will say, “Are you completely lacking in self control or what? You didn’t need to eat like that! How disgusting!” If I spend money on something without thinking it through, that voice will say, “Are you even remotely thinking of your family’s future? Why did you throw your money away like that, you …

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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! Last time, we examined insurance options along with some strategies for maximizing the value one gets out of their insurance. Now, we’re moving on to a handful of special topics to close out the series, starting with a deep look at emergencies. Life isn’t always perfect. Unfortunate things happen. A car breaks down …

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There are many benefits to freelancing, but it’s sometimes hard to remember that when tax time rolls around. That’s because, unlike regular employees who pay taxes through deductions from their paychecks, freelancers are responsible for setting aside their own state, local, and federal taxes. They also have to pay self-employment tax to contribute to Social Security and Medicare. This can add up to a nasty surprise at tax time. But it doesn’t have to. With a little planning, you can stay on …

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The biggest personal finance mistake I make on any sort of a regular basis is to visit a store of any kind where I know I’m going to be personally tempted, and to do so with money in my pocket. A board game store, a bookstore, a stationery/pen/ink store, a brewing supply store – I should never, ever, ever walk into places like that with money in my pocket that I know I’ve budgeted for free spending. It’s a huge …

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If you got a huge raise at the end of the year, consider yourself lucky. A deluge of data both new and old show that annual raises have mostly fallen flat, barely keeping up with inflation in some cases. The Society for Human Resources Management reports it plainly. Their stats show that, in 2016, most U.S. firms handed out raises equal to 3% of their employees’ salaries. For 2017, companies are planning to do much of the same. Considering the fact …

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One of the most influential books I’ve ever read in terms of shaping my thoughts on personal finance and helping me figure out what to do. This is one of a few books I read at my financial low point, along with Your Money or Your Life and The Total Money Makeover, that really helped me figure out a new direction with my money and my overall life. So, what exactly is The Millionaire Next Door about? I like the …

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One of the more commonly misunderstood and misreported aspects of credit reporting is exactly when a late payment will show up on your credit report. And, taking it one step further, when a late payment will potentially harm your credit scores. Safe to say, it’s complicated — because of the voluntary nature of the credit reporting environment. First, there is nothing in the Fair Credit Reporting Act that requires any lender or credit card issuer to report anything about your accounts …

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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. IRA contribution and rollover questions 2. Saving for next home 3. Using banking to “buy local” 4. Figuring out where to live 5. Turbo Tax difficulties 6. Retirement and general savings planning 7. Where can I live happily? 8. Why work so hard? 9. Weight loss wardrobe issues …

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