Month: May 2014

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Two Reader Mailbags Per Week (?) Edition

In a few weeks, the book club reading of The Intelligent Investor, which I post each Friday morning, will be finished. Some of you will celebrate this, others will lament it (I’ve received a lot of comments on both sides of the coin). Regardless, I am aware that the Reader Mailbag is perhaps the most …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Struggling with the Guardianship Question

Several months ago, I wrote an article entitled The Guardianship Question, where I discussed at length the challenges that parents face when making the difficult decision about guardianship in their estate planning. It’s a very challenging thing to think about – who can possibly take care of your children if something unexpected were to happen …

Categories: Parenting

Using a Gratitude Journal as a Personal Motivator to Save Money and Enjoy Life

A few weeks ago, a nice reader named Nicole introduced me to the concept of a gratitude journal: Have you ever written about a gratitude journal? It’s something I’ve started doing and it’s really helped me figure out what is important in my life. It’s easy. Each day you just write down the five things …

Categories: Getting Started

What’s First, What’s Next

A little over a week ago, J.D. at Get Rich Slowly posted an article entitled “What Next?” The Third Stage of Personal Finance, where he discussed the fact that he had dug himself out of his financial hole and was beginning to accumulate wealth. The “problem” here is that it meant that he was having …

Categories: Getting Started

Reader Mailbag #50

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: Presentation Zen

Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal productivity, personal development, or entrepreneurship book. Lately, I’ve been working hard on improving my presentation skills. Why? As The Simple Dollar gets more and more popular, more and more opportunities come my way for presentations. I hear things like “Can you give a ten minute talk …

Tips For Low Risk Investments

Jamie writes in: I’m twenty eight years old and am now debt free. I’d like to start investing, but I have almost no tolerance for risk. I don’t mind not earning a great return because of this, but the thought of losing any of my investment makes me feel very uncomfortable. Any suggestions? Before I …

Categories: Investing

About My Wife, Sarah

Today is Valentine’s Day, and what better way to talk about the day than to talk about my wonderful wife and how she constantly and subtly pushes me to become a better person. I grew up about six miles away from my wife, but we barely knew each other for the first sixteen or seventeen …

Categories: Getting Started

Financial Windfalls and a Revelation About Debt

Earlier this week, I tossed out an interesting question to the people following me on Twitter: What would you do if someone gave you an unexpected $10,000 gift (meaning it’s tax free)? I was utterly flooded with responses to this question, far more than I anticipated. I took the first 250 responses and did a …

Categories: Debt

The Intelligent Investor: Four Extremely Instructive Case Histories

This is the nineteenth 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 …

Making a Monthly Personal Balance Sheet

More than a few times, I’ve mentioned that I enjoy calculating my net worth on a regular basis and using that to see how my personal financial situation has improved over time. It’s pretty easy to do this – just create a little table with two columns, one being the date and the other being …

Categories: Getting Started

One Step Isn’t a Journey

Lately, I’ve been listening to a wide variety of podcasts and talk radio stations while writing, mostly in order to expose myself to thoughts and opinions across the spectrum. A few days ago, a host on one of these shows (I believe it was Colin Cowherd) complained quite specifically about personal finance advice in a …

Categories: Getting Started

Twelve Ways to Use the “Thirty Day Challenge” for Great Personal Finance Benefit

A few weeks ago, I reviewed Leo Babauta’s excellent book The Power of Less, which details a lifestyle philosophy of reducing and simplifying life. One of the most thought-provoking portions of the book was the idea of the “thirty day challenge.” If you’re attempting to adopt a new habit in your life, simply try it …

Categories: Getting Started

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Kindle Edition

For those of you who might be visiting The Simple Dollar via the … suboptimal web browser on their Amazon Kindle (or otherwise own one), The Simple Dollar is now available in periodical form on the Kindle, meaning you can download it and read it like any other book or magazine on the device. The …

Categories: Morning Roundup

The Light Bulb Showdown: LEDs vs. CFLs vs. Incandescent Bulbs – What’s the Best Deal Now … And In The Future?

Recently, I made a purchase that’s right on the fine line between my desire to investigate frugality and my enjoyment of new technology. I purchased three very expensive 60 watt light bulbs, not much different than any other light bulb. The catch? These bulbs were LED bulbs, among the first LED bulbs designed to replace …

Riding the Line of Overcautiousness

Over the last few months, I’ve made the conscious decision to investigate long term disability insurance and long term care insurance for myself to help my family survive if I were to become incapacitated for some reason. I’ve been quietly collecting quotes on these insurance types and reading up on them so that I really …

Categories: Psychology

Maturity and Money

The one absolute requirement of a money manager is emotional maturity. If you don’t know who you are, the stock market is an expensive place to find out. – Adam Smith I ran across that amazing quote from Adam Smith (an 18th century economist that’s often seen as the father of modern economics) the other …

Categories: Getting Started

Reader Mailbag #49

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: How to Be the Family CFO

Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book. As of late, I’ve been reading a lot of what one might call “business classics” – books that have stood the test of time at explaining fundamental principles of how modern businesses work. Books like Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey A. Moore, The Innovator’s …

Categories: What We're Reading