Month: May 2014

Untangling Emotions from Purchases

It’s almost impossible right now to avoid hearing about the issue of gun control. It’s all over the news. It seems to be the topic of discussion on every messageboard I read. I don’t really have any stances worth sharing on the issue, and I have no interest in discussing the politics or personal rights …

Categories: Getting Started

Reader Mailbag: Child Names

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. Dictation software 2. Private school worth it? 3. Switching houses to avoid mortgage 4. Home exercise routine? 5. Weather compromise in Iowa? 6. Angry about money …

Categories: Books and Reading

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Fantasy Baseball Edition

It’s mid-January. What does that mean for me? It means spreadsheet time. I love playing fantasy baseball, and the people that succeed at fantasy baseball tend to be the ones who find some sort of statistical edge over the other guys in terms of figuring out who the best “bang for the buck” players are. …

Categories: Books and Reading

A Quick List of Free Things My Family Has Done So Far in 2013

We went ice skating as a family during a free skating day at the local ice skating rink. We found out about this because we watch the local community calendar. We played several board games among the ones already sitting on our shelves. At different times so far this year, all of us have suggested …

Some Thoughts on “Expected Value”

In the middle of last year, I wrote an article on playing the lottery in which I talked about the “expected value” of winning a lottery ticket. In that article, I gave an example of a typical Powerball jackpot and spelled out how the average return you would get on a $1 lottery ticket is …

Categories: Getting Started

Helping Your Children

One of the questions I’ve really struggled with over the past several years is how much help I should provide to my children as they grow older, and what form that help should take. When I turned eighteen and left for college, my parents were more or less finished with their role as parents for …

Categories: Family

Reader Mailbag: Child’s Play

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. Reverse mortgages 2. Storytelling and profit 3. Refinancing and PMI 4. Short term investing options 5. Children and television 6. Handling old wine 7. Getting a …

Categories: Books and Reading

Making Work Into Play

Work, for most people, is primarily a way to turn their time and energy into the money they need to make ends meet in their lives. It’s not something that’s particularly enjoyable for most people, based on job satisfaction surveys. Last week, though, I happened to be on the campus of the local university for …

Turning External Motivation into Internal Motivation

The very first push life gave me to consider rebooting my financial life was an external push. It came from my infant son. Whenever I looked at him for several months, I felt tremendously guilty. I felt as though I should be doing more for him. I knew that my financial fumblings were costing him …

Categories: Getting Started

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #108

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. Paulo Coelho on ideas for living “Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.” – …

The Value of College

Over the last several months, I’ve had conversations with several people about the value they got from college. One person went to college to study chemical engineering and became a high school teacher. Another person went to study agriculture and became a database administrator. Yet another person went to law school and is now an …

Categories: Education

Reader Mailbag: Ongoing Site Redesign

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. Frugal gifts for adult children 2. Eliminating a collection 3. Maximizing income in graduate school 4. Inexpensive learning games for kids 5. House savings in early …

Categories: Books and Reading

Tips To Protect Yourself From Identity Theft

A few days ago, one of my close friends shared a harrowing story with me regarding identity theft. The person had their checking account compromised and found themselves spending a great deal of time working closely with their bank to resolve all of the issues. That person was not entirely sure whether everything was cleaned …

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Time Versus Money Edition

Lately, I’ve been struggling with figuring out the value of my time. How much is time really worth? Take laundry, for example. Let’s say I have ten loads of laundry to do at home. There are several days of clothes built up and the sheets need washed and the towels need washed. My time investment …

Categories: Books and Reading

Revising My “Essential Bookshelf”

In 2009, I made a list of eleven essential books that profoundly helped my career, my finances, and my personal life. These eleven books were ones that I turned to time and time again for advice and ideas. Recently, several readers have asked me whether these books have stayed around and remained the same over …

Categories: Books and Reading

Five Things That Keep People from Getting Ahead

I’ve kept in touch with many of my friends from high school and college. All of us are roughly the same age (almost everyone in that group is in their thirties), so our experiences in terms of societal changes in our lives is roughly the same, as is the time spent since we’ve become adults …

Categories: Getting Started

Reader Mailbag: The Lesson

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. Businesses and kids 2. Bill pay in advance 3. Cutting own hair? 4. Satellite radio solution? 5. Used sporting goods 6. Treasury Direct today? 7. Retaining …

Categories: Books and Reading

Six Reasons Why I Don’t Want a Luxury Car – Ever

A while back, I read a “wonderful” article over at Forbes entitled “Ten Reasons to Buy a Luxury Car.” Such important factors as “prestige” and “horses under the hood” were bandied about. Personally, I didn’t really find any of the reasons to be compelling ones for buying a luxury car. Instead, here are six reasons …

Categories: Automobile

Is Self-Employment Risky?

It was just under five years ago that I made the decision to step away from a secure full-time job to become self-employed. It was a very risky decision, but there were several reasons why I made that choice. First, my work had turned into something I didn’t enjoy nearly as much. During the first …

Categories: Entrepreneurship