Month: May 2014

Stop Trying to Impress Other People

Imagine, just for a moment, that you find yourself on a desert island with just you and four or five of your closest friends and relatives – the people you care about the most in this world. The only people around are the people that care about you. On this island, you can have whatever …

120 Minutes

A few days ago, Seth Godin posted a brilliant piece on his blog entitled Is Effort a Myth? In it, Seth addresses the issue of luck: And that’s the key to the paradox of effort: While luck may be more appealing than effort, you don’t get to choose luck. Effort, on the other hand, is …

Categories: Getting Started, Goals

The Intelligent Investor: Introduction

This is the first in a weekly series of articles providing a chapter-by-chapter in-depth “book club” reading of Benjamin Graham’s investing classic The Intelligent Investor. Warren Buffett describes this book: “I read the first edition of this book early in 1950, when I was nineteen. I thought then that it was by far the best …

Ten Things I Wish I’d Done Differently While Buying a House

During the summer of 2007, my wife and I purchased our first home. We spent tons of time doing homework and we are still very happy with our purchase, but as first time home buyers, there were simply some things that we didn’t fully understand that fell through the cracks during the process. Hindsight is …

Opening the Door to Helping Your Parents

Yesterday, I called my parents just to see how they’re doing. I usually give them a call two or three times a week and talk for most of an hour, mostly with my mother. During the conversation, we talked about my father’s health. He’s in his mid-sixties and still in pretty good shape, but he’s …

Categories: Family, Getting Started

A Do-It-Yourself Guide to a Romantic and Highly Frugal Date Night

Whenever I talk about being married or the six years in which I was dating my wife, people always ask for suggestions on how to put together an interesting, romantic date without blowing a lot of money out on the town. I’ve been collecting ideas and tips for a while and I’ve come up with …

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Fantasy Baseball League Payoff Edition

I entered a fantasy baseball league this spring with the owners of several other personal finance blogs. While I did well (my pitching staff had almost 100 combined wins. led by Ryan Dempster, Johan Santana, Carlos Zambrano, Ben Sheets, Adam Wainwright, Jake Peavy, and John Maine – yep, I had ‘em all, and all won …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Changes You Can Make

One of the strongest memories I have from my childhood comes from when I was about seven years old. We were visiting my grandmother and I walked in on her praying out loud. She was hunched over with her hands closed and her back to me, but I remember her prayer – it still rings …

Categories: Getting Started

How to Read a Stock Chart in Just Five Seconds

Whenever I tune into CNBC, I’m usually blown away with the raw amount of data thrown at me. For the average person, there’s no way to separate what’s useful from what isn’t, so people often rely on the pundits to tell them. I’d prefer not to do that – I know from my experiences in …

Categories: Investing

The Entrepreneurial Drive (Or Lack Thereof)

Whenever I write a post about careers, I usually receive a few comments or emails from readers who are heavily involved in entrepreneurship, chiding me for writing an article that wastes people’s time. “I’m an entrepreneur, and such articles are a waste of time,” they’ll say. “The only real way to get ahead is to …

Reader Mailbag #31

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, we’ll start things off with …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Review: Millionaire by Thirty

Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book. Over and over again, I get encouraged by readers to review the “hot” personal finance book of the moment – the one that describes an investment or personal finance plan that takes great advantage of the situation of that moment in time. I usually …

Categories: Books, Investing

Creating a CD Ladder for Your Emergency Fund or Other Savings to Earn a Better, Safe Return

As I’ve mentioned before, my family has a pretty good sized cash emergency fund, somewhere around nine months’ worth of living expenses. Having that amount of cash available is a very nice security blanket for all of us, and in our savings account, it was earning roughly a 3% annual return. Safety, personal security, and …

Categories: Banking, Saving Money

Positive and Negative Advertisements

I don’t comment on advertisements very often, and when I do, it’s usually to skewer it, as I did with Hyundai’s “Dollars and Sense” ad campaign. Advertisements are designed to sell products, after all, and they use a lot of clever techniques to convince you to buy. Still, I couldn’t help but notice when several …

Some Thoughts on the Fulfillment Curve

One of the best concepts from Your Money or Your Life is that of the fulfillment curve. Basically, the idea argues that there’s a sweet spot for anything that maximizes the fulfillment you get out of it. If you spend more, your fulfillment starts to actually decrease. I often reflect on this concept. I see …

Retirement Plans in a Down Stock Market

After writing my piece yesterday on fear and the economic situation, a very eloquent reader named “Maggie” wrote to me: I completely agree with your assessment on the economy, particularly if you’re young. There is no crisis that is well served by panic and I don’t think that the current economic situation is anywhere near …

Categories: Investing, Retirement

How I Keep on Task and Organize My Ideas Using Online Checklists

Last Sunday, I posted a detailed review of Mark Forster’s excellent time management book Do It Tomorrow. During the review, I mentioned that I had actually started using several of the ideas from that book, mixed them together with ideas from Getting Things Done, and started using my own task and idea management system based …

The Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself

Over the last several days, many readers have asked for my take on the economic crisis. I’m not an economist – my opinion is just that of an average person who has read a number of economics books and talked to a lot of people from all walks of life. Here’s my humble take on …

Categories: Getting Started, Meta

Personal Finance Management on a Biweekly Pay Schedule

Many workers in the United States receive their paychecks every two weeks – many federal and state employees are in this group. At the same time, most bills and payments that people make are paid on a monthly basis. This creates an interesting situation. Over the course of a year, there will be two months …

Categories: Getting Started