Month: May 2014

How Can I Beat the Stock Market?

You’d be surprised how often I’m asked some variation on this question. People will write in to me asking me whether they should buy an index fund (in other words, they would own a little bit of a LOT of stocks and ride the averages of the stock market), a managed mutual fund (where someone …

Reader Mailbag: Time for Games

What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to five word summaries. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. Removing credit card users 2. Making your own shoes 3. Clothing budget for teenage girl 4. Board games for two 5. Too tenacious on debt repayment? …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Is Formal Personal Finance Education a Failure? Some Thoughts on Improving It

When I was in high school, I took a consumer education proficiency test and passed it with flying colors, demonstrating that I had the knowledge needed to manage my own money and be a savvy shopper. Within ten years, I was buried in debt. This isn’t an experience that’s unique to me. On The Simple …

Categories: Education

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Winter and Summer Edition

One of the most challenging parts of having three children of different ages is that they seem to pick up sicknesses then pass them to each other, and just as they finally all get well it seems like another one gets a cold of some sort. I just want this season to be over with. …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Little Steps for Teaching Young Ones Frugality

This morning, as my children were waking up, I was inspecting their dresser drawers looking for clothes. I pulled out clean underwear and socks for both of them, but rather than continuing through the drawers, I started digging through their clothes hamper, inspecting the clothes right in front of them. I’d examine one garment, say …

Categories: Frugality, Parenting

Illusions and Reality

An old friend of mine that I’ll call David has this amazing gift for talking to people of all stripes. I’ve seen him talk comfortably with a United States congressperson, a research scientist, an orchestra director, a janitor, and an unemployed person all within a few days of each other and build a quick rapport …

Categories: Getting Started

“Beyond” Frugality

A few days ago, someone made the interesting comment that they’re “beyond frugality” in their personal finance journey. When I asked her what she meant by that, she made several comments along the lines of “focusing more on improving income” and “optimal use of time.” That phrase, “beyond frugality,” stuck in my head for the …

Categories: Frugality

Reader Mailbag: Baseball Season

What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to five word summaries. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. Inheritance concerns 2. Emergency fund size 3. Using Roth as emergency fund 4. Frugal odor elimination 5. Home warranty 6. Estimating child costs 7. Maxing out …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Review: You Majored in What?

Every Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance or other book of interest. Also available is a complete list of the hundreds of book reviews that have appeared on The Simple Dollar over the years. I double-majored in life science and computer science. What on earth am I doing writing a blog about personal …

You Need To Cut Your Spending. It Sounds Painful. Now What?

You’ve realized (finally) that you’re in a precarious financial situation. You’re spending more than you earn – sometimes quite a bit more. You’ve racked up a fair amount of debt. Now, you’re seeing that some changes are going to have to happen in your life, but those changes sound utterly painful. What do you do? …

When Should a Hobby Remain a Hobby?

One constant theme of The Simple Dollar is my encouragement of people to try to find ways to turn their passions and hobbies into a stream of income. This is a path I followed in my own life, as I turned my hobby of writing into a major revenue stream. While that may have been …

Categories: Careers

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #12

Each week, I highlight ten things each week that inspired me to greater financial, personal, and professional success. Hopefully, they will inspire you as well. 1. Rachel Some of you long time readers may remember that a few years ago, I posted an article about a friend of mine named Rachel. The post was something …

Dinner With My Family #11: Enchiladas, Vegan or Otherwise

Several people have emailed me recently, asking why I’m vegan. It’s not political at all. My dietitian simply recommended it based on some minor health issues that could potentially escalate into something serious. My diet (for now) is vegan with an occasional piece of fish (maybe once a week or every ten days). Eventually, I …

Ad Ingenium Faciendum

The Latin phrase that serves as the title of this post means simply “toward the building of character.” Character isn’t something that’s often discussed on personal finance sites in a direct fashion, but character certainly is a key component in financial and professional success. What exactly do I mean by character? When I say “character,” …

Categories: Getting Started

Why Get Married At All? Finances and Cohabitation

Last week, I wrote an article discussing reasons why the idea that men shouldn’t get married for financial reasons was false. In the article, I pointed out several purely financial reasons for men to get married, reasons that applied very well to women as well. Many people responded with the great point that many of …

Reader Mailbag: Personal Trainer

What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to five word summaries. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. Mint and privacy 2. 401(k) distribution issues 3. Small emergency fund? 4. College student planning for future 5. Helping people in need 6. Old debts 7. …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

The Limits You Choose

A few days ago, Kenia left a very interesting comment on my earlier post What You Are – and What You’re Not: Great post, Trent. Very inspiring. I have to disagree slightly though… “There’s still nothing keeping you from having a life filled with doing the things you love. Focus instead on who you are, …

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Summer Planning Edition

During this coming summer, I’m departing on a ten day trip to the West Coast, as well as a few other long weekends at various locations around the Midwest. This happens during most summers for me, so spring is usually filled with writing posts in advance to cover the periods when I am traveling. Travel …

Categories: Morning Roundup

When Pride Gets in the Way of Success

After my article a few days ago on putting food on the table when you can’t make ends meet, a reader sent me an email that left me thinking. A key part of the email: When you write about such things on your website, they sound realistic and doable. But when I actually think about …

Categories: Getting Started