Month: May 2014

Five Minute Finances #17: Check Your Cell Phone Minutes

Five Minute Finances is a series of tips on how you can save significant money or reorganize your financial life in just five minutes. These tips appear Monday, Wednesday, and Friday on The Simple Dollar. Depending on your cell phone plan, you may be paying for far more service than you’re using – or not …

Categories: Money

How To Use Morningstar To Evaluate Mutual Fund Choices

With so many mutual funds out there, companies loudly promoting their own funds, and people giving half-baked investment advice, how can we know what funds are really right for us? The best route is to take advantage of independent research, and for me, the best choice for independent research in mutual funds is Morningstar. What …

Yes, You Can Get A Financial Life: The 30s

I’ve been a fan of Ben Stein’s financial writings for years, but this is the first book of his that I’ve picked up. Could it possibly be as good as his columns? Is it worth reading at all? A large portion of the book (chapters 7 through 13) really focus on issues that many people …

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Nap Edition

Lately, I’ve been trying to train myself to take a nap during the day, a short half hour one about two in the afternoon. My problem thus far is that I fall asleep for far too long, then I stay up later at night. Anyway, on with personal finance posts. 9 Simple Ways To Build …

Categories: Books and Reading

How To Use Your Dreams To Get Financially Ahead

Everyone has a dream, something that they wish would happen in their life. Perhaps it is business success, or the financial freedom to be a stay at home parent. Maybe it’s just a dream of that shiny new car down the block. Some people spend their time living their dream – they’re either incredibly lucky, …

A Look At My Own Mutual Fund Portfolio

As an example of the mutual fund topics we’ve discussed thus far this week, I thought I would mention my exact mutual fund investments and how I plan to grow them in the near future. First of all, I have two separate goals with my investments. The first is for buying a second home roughly …

The Proper Care and Feeding of a Pocket Expense Notebook

For almost a year, I have carried around a small pocket expense notebook. Well, actually, I’m on my third one – the first two fell apart after about three months of living in my hip pocket, which is where I liked to store mine. Hold on… what’s a pocket expense notebook? Basically, it’s a place …

Categories: Getting Started

What Are Your Goals? How Do Mutual Funds Fit In There?

People ask me all the time if they should be putting some money into mutual funds, individual stocks, bonds, and so forth. Generally, I just ask them a few very simple questions and then give a simple answer that will set them down a path appropriate for their goals. Let’s walk through these questions and …

Yes, You Can Get A Financial Life: The 20s

I’ve been a fan of Ben Stein’s financial writings for years, but this is the first book of his that I’ve picked up. Could it possibly be as good as his columns? Is it worth reading at all? Chapters 3 through 6 of Yes, You Can Get A Financial Life focus on personal finance issues …

Categories: Books and Reading

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Mushroom Hunting Failure Edition

I spent five hours in the woods today with my digital camera in hand, hoping to capture some pictures for a photo blog of the art of finding mushrooms for eating and selling (you can make $20 a pound with them). Five hours – no mushrooms (well, not entirely true, but none of the mushrooms …

Categories: Books and Reading

What John Wooden Taught Me About Personal Finance

I used to play organized basketball, and I was reasonably good at it for a time until I injured both my ear (affecting my balance) and immediately after that injuring my back (making running difficult). It was the one sport that I truly loved playing and still, on some fundamental level, I am drawn back …

Categories: Getting Started

Mutual Fund Fees And How To Avoid Them

Earlier today, I discussed some of the basic benefits of mutual funds: simplicity, diversification, and solid returns. Of course, these benefits come with a price: there is no free lunch on Wall Street (or anywhere else). Here are some of the most common expenses that are associated with mutual funds. As a thrifty investor, you’re …

Five Minute Finances #16: Cancel The Channels You Don’t Watch

Five Minute Finances is a series of tips on how you can save significant money or reorganize your financial life in just five minutes. These tips appear Monday, Wednesday, and Friday on The Simple Dollar. One thing I did recently that started saving us about fifteen dollars a month was that I made the useful …

Categories: Money

Personal Finance 101: What Is A Mutual Fund?

Understanding How Mutual Funds Can Work for You Recently, I received a lengthy email from a reader who had a ton of basic personal finance questions contained within. I thought it might be interesting to start an irregular “personal finance 101″ series to answer and explain some of her questions. A mutual fund is an …

Yes, You Can Get A Financial Life: Overview

I’ve been a fan of Ben Stein’s financial writings for years, but this is the first book of his that I’ve picked up. Could it possibly be as good as his columns? Is it worth reading at all? Yes, You Can Get A Financial Life is the latest in a long string of books on …

Categories: Books and Reading

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Mutual Fund Week Edition

Well, my book proposal isn’t quite done, but it’s pretty close – close enough that I’m not looking at the document for a short period to let my mind rest before I do another read-through to finish it up, then pass it off to some people for review. I’m quite happy with the way it …

Categories: Books and Reading

Ten Books That Changed My Life #9: Getting Things Done

Getting Things Done David Allen Changed my life in September 2005 During the early stages of my adult life, my time management was truly awful. I would waste time in complete idleness on a daily basis and spend other times simply struggling to know where to start with larger projects. I was fairly strong in …

Categories: Books and Reading

Follow-Up: Books On Surviving In Desperate Situations

After yesterday’s popular post on survival and personal finance off the grid, I received several requests like this one: It would be great if you would write a book with detailed instructions about these survival skills you developed. I would buy your book and study it well. and Great post. Is there a how to …

Personal Finance Lessons My Childhood Taught Me

When I was a child, I lived with my parents and two older brothers in a very rural area. To put this in perspective to your own timeline, this was the 1980s, in which many homes were wired with cable television, a dedicated phone line, and even such modern amenities as consistent electrical power, which …

Categories: Frugality