Month: May 2014

The Present Versus The Future

Not long ago, I was thinking about the financial lessons that some of my friends learned during their formative years from their parents. One close friend of mine, who I’ll call Hannah, had parents that were regularly in disturbing amounts of debt. In the mid-1990s, they managed to convince some lender to build them a …

Categories: Debt

Eight Tips For Reading A Personal Finance Or Personal Development Book Without Getting Bored

As my regular readers know, I review in great detail two books a week, one personal finance book and one personal development book. In those reviews, I try to extract most of the key ideas and put them in a form such that a person can get many of the key ideas of the book …

Categories: Books

Student Loans And The Philosophy Of Debt

A reader wrote to me recently stating that she had about $40,000 in student loan debt at 4% (she locked in in late 2002 when the rates were in the basement) and she couldn’t decide if she should be making extra payments on the debt. My advice to her was to figure out how much …

Categories: Debt

Review: Die Broke

Die Broke caused a pretty big splash when it was first printed several years ago, mostly because it turned conventional wisdom on its ear so deftly, and books that do that and do it well usually end up meriting quite a bit of discussion. Die Broke made a name for itself by painting a very …

Categories: Books

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Packing Begins In Earnest Edition

My wife and I have begun packing in earnest for our move, starting with boxing up all of her non-maternity clothes and, starting tomorrow, our book collection (which we’re going to filter as we pack). It’s really, really fun. How To Start A Roth IRA And Where To Do It This is an excellent article …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Interesting Insights Into Life Insurance From An Actuary – How He Would Buy Life Insurance

One of my closest friends in the world completed a Ph.D. in mathematics recently and became an actuary for a very large life insurance company. I had lunch with him recently just to catch up on things and we spent about ten minutes talking about life insurance itself. He basically told me that if I …

Categories: Insurance, Life

Children Fighting For Money At The End Of One’s Life: A Cautionary Tale

I received a very sad story from a friend of mine, who I’ll call Roger, that I felt was worth sharing as a cautionary tale: About three months ago, my paternal grandfather was diagnosed with lung and intestinal cancer. He had worked for forty years at a factory that, for most of the time he …

Categories: Planning

The Morning Money Routine

About once every three months since I was eight, I would spend a day keeping a detailed chronology of all of the stuff I did on that day. I kept a little notebook with me, noted things throughout the day, and would write it all out in great detail that evening in a notebook that …

Categories: Food, Frugality

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Local Library Edition

People often ask me how I can afford all of the printed material that I discuss on this site. The secret is my local library – I visit it three or four times a week and usually have several books checked out at once. Without that resource, I wouldn’t have been able to educate myself …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Eight Frugal Father’s Day Gift Ideas

For me, Father’s Day has always been much easier to understand than Mother’s Day, perhaps because I saw my father as a role model growing up and now I have become a father myself. I also find that most fathers I know like “open-ended” gifts – ones that they can continually get enjoyment out of …

Categories: Gifts, Parenting

Financial Preparations For A Second Child

Shortly after our big move (which is coming in a little over a month), we are expecting our second child, meaning our two children will be about two years apart in age. Although it’s already clear that this second baby won’t be nearly as big of a financial hit as the first one (we can …

Categories: Parenting

Ten Financial Matters I Wish I Had Discussed With My Wife Before We Got Married

I adore my wife – she’s a wonderful woman and a wonderful mother. We go together like two peas in a pod on most things, except for money (and cats, but that’s entirely off topic). We’re both frugal, but she’s never been into any sort of financial planning at all, and this has led to …

Categories: Marriage

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Good Faith Estimate Edition

We received our good faith estimate on our home purchase today and my wife and I were quite happy with it. Everything on there was either equal to or less than what our estimates were, and I was concerned that our estimates were on the low side. The house process is sailing right along. Curb …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Comparing Yourself To An Earlier Generation – And Blowing The Comparison To Bits

I subscribe to an email list of high school and college acquaintances. It’s mostly a discussion list of about fifty people my own age, and I know almost everyone on the list – it’s a great way to keep in touch with a circle of friends. It gets about thirty messages a day – we …

Categories: Parenting

Save Time, Effort, And Money With A Monthly Home and Auto Maintenance Checklist

Can You Devote Fifteen Minutes A Day To Frugality?

Over the last few months, I noticed that on an average day, I spend somewhere around forty minutes engaged in some sort of activity intended to cut costs. I hang clothes out on the line to dry, clip coupons, and so forth, and at the end of the month I see the results of that …

Categories: Frugality

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Pepto Bismol Edition

About once a year, I go through a week or so of viciously sore stomach, usually right around the onset of summer. It’s almost like clockwork. Pepto Bismol is the only thing that really helps, so right now I’m chugging the Pepto all the time. I’ll be fine in a few days. What Would You …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Sorry, Virginia, There Will Be No Book

After reading the frank discussion yesterday about publishing a book based on this site, I have decided not to invest the effort in writing a book. That’s not to say the response yesterday was entirely negative – it wasn’t, and it’s clear to me that even those who were negative support this site a lot. …

Categories: Books, Meta

Personal Finance Success Comes More From Smart Budgeting Than Smart Investing

One of my closest friends (let’s call him Kevin) is obsessed with individual stock picking. He bragged to me quite loudly recently that his portfolio was up 15% for the year so far, which is pretty good – and I told him so. I asked him how much his net worth increased, though, and I …

Categories: Frugality