Month: May 2014

The 9 Steps To Financial Freedom: Overview

This week, The Simple Dollar is conducting a detailed review of Suze Orman’s The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom. This title has appeared on countless personal finance shelves over the past decade; does the content inside hold up? We aim to answer that very question. The overall point of The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom …

Categories: Books and Reading

The Simple Dollar Giveaway #1

Last week, The Simple Dollar reviewed The Millionaire Next Door in detail. This week, The Simple Dollar is giving away the book to one lucky winner! Here’s how you enter: If you have a blog: 1. Dig around the archives of The Simple Dollar and find a post that interests you besides this one. You …

Is There Something Wrong With Me If Suze Orman Appears In My Dreams?

Last night, I was reading through a personal finance book (one of the upcoming ones in the 52 Weeks… series) when I dozed off to sleep. In my dream, I was playing catch with Suze Orman in the outfield at Wrigley Field, and she kept shouting at me in that distinctive tone of hers that …

Setting and Meeting Daily Personal Financial Goals

Ever since I was young, I have had a number of daily goals for myself. Most of them seem rather mundane: commit a random act of kindness, read for at least half an hour, brush my teeth and use Listerine twice, and so on. Most of them have a clear metric for success. However, since …

Categories: Getting Started, Money

How to Build Credit in College

While I was reading a thread at The Consumerist on ways to get started with credit, I found myself repeatedly shaking my head at the number of extremely questionable ideas that people were coming up with.  Buying CDs and using them as loan collateral simply to improve your credit seems like financial suicide to me. …

Review: The Millionaire Next Door

The general premise of The Millionaire Next Door is that the pop culture concept of a millionaire is quite false and that most actual millionaires live a very simple lifestyle. The authors, Stanley and Danko, did extensive profiling of people whose net worth defined them as millionaires along with those whose salaries and age defined …

Categories: Books and Reading

Defining My Long-Term Financial Goals … What Are Yours?

As a young man still more than a year away from the big 3-0, I have most of my adult productive years ahead of me. What are my goals during these years? Here, I intend to break them down by age. For the record, I will turn 30 in one year and eight months. At …

Categories: Money

Applying the Peak-End Rule to Personal Finance

The peak-end rule is a psychological phenomenon that indicates which parts of a past experience we recall and use to define that experience. From Wikipedia: According to the peak-end rule, we judge our past experiences almost entirely on how they were at their peak (pleasant or unpleasant) and how they ended. Virtually all other information …

Building a Financial (and Personal) Idea Diary

Although I (really) like to bloviate about all sorts of personal finance topics, I keep many more thoughts on my own finances to myself. I’ve found that keeping a handwritten diary of my non-numerical financial thoughts has been invaluable (for the numbers, I use a computerized ledger). I personally use a Moleskine daily planner for …

The Road to Financial Armageddon #10: What I Learned

Yesterday, I indicated some of the specific mechanics that I adopted to turn my financial situation around, and I’m happy to say that my finances have never been better. The solution to the problem, though, is much greater than mere financial tools. Even though I was able to discover and apply tools to solve my …

The Millionaire Next Door: Buy or Don’t Buy?

This week, The Simple Dollar is conducting a detailed review of the often-lauded personal finance book The Millionaire Next Door. First published in 1996, the book has held a consistently high level of popularity for more than a decade. What valuable insights does this book contain? Let’s find out. Yesterday, we learned that the typical …

Categories: Books and Reading

Saving Money on Road Trips

My wife and I live more than four hours away from our hometowns, so when we visit our parents and extended family, we spend a lot of time in the car. Over the years, we have developed several techniques for optimizing the cost of the trip. Here’s what we do: Perform some basic car maintenance …

Categories: Frugality, Travel

Investing A Young Child’s Allowance

When I was young, my best friend’s family used to give him and his siblings an allowance based on their age (I didn’t have an allowance, mostly because there simply wasn’t the money for it). When you were ten, for example, you would multiply your age by a certain factor (in their case, $1) and …

Categories: Family, Investing

The Road to Financial Armageddon #9: The Road to Recovery

Yesterday, I described my financial meltdown, when I reached a point where there was more money going out each month than coming in with no real hope for redemption without a change from within. Then, thanks to some inspiration, I made that change. The first thing I did was I laid out every single expense …

The Millionaire Next Door: On Living

This week, The Simple Dollar is conducting a detailed review of the often-lauded personal finance book The Millionaire Next Door. First published in 1996, the book has held a consistently high level of popularity for more than a decade. What valuable insights does this book contain? By the end of the week, perhaps we’ll discover …

Categories: Books and Reading

Jim Cramer’s Cult of Personality

You almost can’t avoid that face, can you? He’s on three times a day on CNBC hosting Mad Money, plus his book Jim Cramer’s Real Money, featuring his smiling face on the cover, is almost ubiquitous if you go anywhere near the personal finance section of a bookstore. If you’re concerned about your money and …

Remembering A Painful Childhood Experience

I was recently working on a self-evaluation exercise in which I was asked to consider memories from my childhood that had to do with money. These memories would then be used as a reflection on which to see my own personal finance biases today – and thus the connection would enable me to strengthen my …

Introductory Credit Card Offers: Risks & Rewards

One advantage of building a strong credit rating is that you begin to receive many credit card offers with introductory 0% APR for six months or a year. These cards are great if you’re carrying a balance on another card; request a balance transfer when you sign up and the interest goes away. Of course, …

The Road to Financial Armageddon #8: Meltdown

Yesterday, I detailed the impact of a baby on my downward financial spiral; suffice it to say, the finances were not good. Everything was set up for a collapse and I inched up to the precipice, largely oblivious of how close I was to the lip of Mount Doom. The most fundamental problem was that …