Month: May 2014

Review: The Little Book That Builds Wealth

Each Friday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book. The Little Book That Builds Wealth is the fifth book in the Little Books series from Wiley Publishing, each of which focuses in on describing a particular investing strategy in layman’s terms. This time around, the focus is on competitive advantage, or “moats” – the …

A Peek At My Investment Portfolio

In the past, while planning out exactly how I was planning on investing, I discussed a number of different options that I was considering. In March 2007, for example, I discussed this plan, which included four different Vanguard index funds. Well, a year later, I’ve actually begun investing in a taxable account. Not in a …

The Workstation Debate: Needs, Wants, and Making a Rational Purchase

As I embark on a career as a full-time writer, I’ve come to discover that I truly need some sort of workstation on which to do my writing. My laptop (upon which every single post ever posted to The Simple Dollar was composed) works great for a couple one-to-two hour sessions a day, but for …

The Nonsense of “Rent Vs. Buy Myths That Ruined the Housing Market”

Earlier today, I ran across an article at eFinanceDirectory entitled Rent vs. Buy Myths That Ruined the Housing Market. Amazingly, this article was being linked to by a number of reputable blogs – apparently ones who haven’t actually done the research and investigated the real scoop behind the issues in the housing market. First of …

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Bracketology Edition

A lot of people out there are busily filling out NCAA tournament brackets for their (friendly) office pools. I’m pretty obsessive about college basketball and thus I have my own secret industrial-strength methodology for my own bracket, but I usually offer some good advice to anyone who doesn’t know the first thing about the NCAA …

Categories: Morning Roundup

About To Enter The Workplace For The First Time? Try The 50% Solution

“I’m about to leave college and enter the workforce. I don’t want to work forever, and I want my options to be open as much as possible later on. What should I do?” I hear some variation on this question at least once a week from readers of The Simple Dollar. Here’s my eternal answer …

Categories: Getting Started

Seven Steps to Finding What You’re Truly Passionate About

About a week ago, I wrote an article concerning ten ways to turn your passion into additional income. This post, of course, begged the obvious question from several readers: “What do I do if I don’t know what my passion is?” There isn’t a tried and true recipe for finding one’s passion. You can’t just …

Categories: Getting Started

Cloth Diapering: A Real-World Analysis

Several readers wanted a real-world analysis of the costs and benefits of cloth diapering. Luckily, my wife’s closest friend, Carrie, is cloth diapering her daughter Elizabeth and has contributed this lengthy analysis of cloth diapering. Carrie writes some notes about parenting and art at her personal blog, Dangerous Crayon. I have some notes in response …

Categories: Frugality, Parenting

Reader Mailbag #2

Each Monday, The Simple Dollar opens up the reader mailbags and answers ten to twenty simple questions offered up by the readers on personal finance topics and many other things. Got a question? Ask it in the comments. You might also enjoy the archive of earlier reader mailbags. As usual, let’s open things up by …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Review: Margin

Each Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal development or personal productivity book. About two months ago, I settled in to read Margin, a book recommended to me by several readers. Subtitled Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives, it seemed like a book that would match my interests – and the …

No Regrets

When I was young, I dreamed about a lot of things. I wanted to be a writer, writing things that genuinely changed people’s lives. I wanted to have children and be a father to them like Ted Arroway without the collapse. I wanted to visit lots of different parts of the world and see how …

Identity Theft and Family

A reader sent me this heartbreaking story that I feel I need to share with you all. I’m writing on behalf of a friend who just graduated from college two years ago and is trying to get on her financial feet. When she was young her mother used her identity several times to get loans …

Deliberate Practice and Personal Finance

Over at the New York Times Freakonomics blog, Stephen Dubner wrote about the use of deliberate practice in driving oneself to become very good at a particular skill. The three tenets of deliberate practice are: 1. Focus on technique as opposed to outcome. 2. Set specific goals. 3. Get good, prompt feedback, and use it. …

Categories: Getting Started

Review: Money Drunk, Money Sober

Each Friday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance or personal productivity book. I had to dig through some very old emails to make sure, but it’s true: Money Drunk, Money Sober was the first personal finance book anyone recommended to me. It was in an email from one of my college mentors, sent to …

Categories: What We're Reading

How Quitting My Job Saves Me $8,000 a Year

As my final day at my “real” job grows ever closer, I’ve started reflecting in detail on the numerous changes that are going to happen in my life. In essence, most of the routines of my normal day are going out the window and I’ll be forced to find new grooves. This led me to …

Categories: Careers, Frugality

The Credit Card Holy Wars: There Is No “Right” Answer … But Here’s My Take

One of the most frequent negative comments I get on The Simple Dollar relates to credit card usage. I often advocate using credit cards for their purchasing convenience and rewards points, then paying off the whole balance each month. In effect, this means that I use a credit card as an extension of my checking …

Categories: Credit Cards

Reflections on Money: 20 Valuable Questions to Ask Yourself

I recently read a very, very good personal finance book called Money Drunk, Money Sober (which I’ll review this Friday… oooh… the anticipation) where the authors made a brief suggestion of doing a personal inventory of your relationship with your money. At first, I was expecting it to be a rather boring listing of accounts …

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Baby Food Edition

One of the big projects that I plan on tackling in the next few weeks is making individual baby food containers for my daughter by boiling up and pureeing various vegetables and fruits. My plan for this is to save her current baby food containers until we have a big pile of them, clean them …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Ten Ways to Translate Your Passion Into Additional Income

Most people have a thing or two in their lives that they’re deeply passionate about. Perhaps it’s volunteer work or local politics, or maybe it’s making soap or writing. If you have a true passion for something, it’s well worth your time to try to dip your toes deeply into that passion and see if …