• Something Will Go Wrong

    Last night, I sat down and did a forecast of where Sarah and I will be financially over the next ten years. If our income continues at its current pace, our spending continues at its current pace, our investments continue at their current pace, we have only one autombile cycling between now and then, and …

  • Reader Mailbag: Children and Productivity

    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. Baby, job change, and move 2. Voting for financial best interest 3. Exiting a mutual fund 4. Biweekly paycheck 5. Selling sports cards 6. Husband’s disastrous …

  • The Fallback Question

    For many people, the interesting career path that they feel most passionate about is one fraught with risk. Entrepreneurship. The creative arts. Professional sports. All of those career tracks – and many more – are ones where success is relatively hard to come by. Let’s say you’re a relatively skilled high school baseball player. You …

  • The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Questionable Weather Forecasts Edition

    Last week, the local weather forecasts were predicting a giant winter storm. Some forecasts were projecting as much as twenty inches of snow in our area. We got a total of two and a half inches. Earlier this week, forecasts were projecting a 20% chance of snow for us and, if we did get any, …

  • Teaching Kids How to Shop Around

    Frugality is a toolset that anyone can use to squeeze more out of their dollars, and shopping around is just one of those tools. One of my biggest projects as a parent is to make my children intimately familiar with those tools, not just in terms of “seeing how Dad does it,” but finding ways …

  • An Example of Dividend Stock Investing

    Several people have written to me recently asking me how exactly investing in dividend-paying stocks actually works. I thought I’d walk through this in a step-by-step fashion so that people can see how it actually works. First, a few caveats. Dividend stock investing is something I do with only a small part of our investments. …

  • The Personal Finance Number That Matters the Most

    Personal finance is a numbers game. As much as I like to vouch for the “personal” part of personal finance, it’s only half of the story – “finance” is part of the phrase, too. In the end, you’re still looking at the dollars and cents on your paycheck, on your income tax forms, on your …

  • Reader Mailbag: Hostage Chess

    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. Thoughts on Betterment 2. Swimming pool 3. Free puzzles 4. Evicting a child 5. HSA or FSA? 6. Charitable giving receipts 7. Credit limit increase? 8. …

  • The Fear

    Every single time I sit down to write an article for The Simple Dollar, I think of two things. The first thing I think of is how incredibly scared I was when we hit our financial bottom. I had a seven month old baby at home to take care of, one that I was constantly …

  • A Deeper Look at the Average American’s Budget

    Recently, I came across this wonderful graphic over at The Credit Blog that spells out how the average American spends their paycheck: I actually pointed to a similar graphic a few years ago, but this is a revised one with updated figures. Let’s pull out the data, shall we? An average “consumer unit” in this …

  • Four Big Things To Do Today That Will Change Your Financial Situation

    Want some action points today that can change your financial situation pretty rapidly? Willing to make a few big changes to your life? Here are four things you can do starting right now to make a radical shift in your finances and set you on a better track. 1. Cancel your cable or satellite service. …

  • Ten Pieces of Inspiration #114

    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. This past week, our family has been talking about places in the world that we’d like to visit. As I often do, I pulled out a bunch of photographs of …

  • Bulk Buying Versus Overconsumption

    I love orange juice. I just love the stuff. When there’s orange juice in the fridge, I am constantly tempted to pull out the container and pour me a glass of it. This is particularly true when the container is mostly full, but when the container starts to get low, I slow down. I know …

  • There Are Twenty Enjoyable Things I Could Be Doing Right Now. Why Not Do The Cheapest One?

    That’s the thought I have pretty often when I have a few free hours on the weekends. I usually have a ton of things that I’d like to be doing. I could go buy some books I’ve been wanting, then curl up with them. I could go golfing. I could go out to eat at …

  • What Is Your Logjam?

    During the months leading up to our financial meltdown in April 2006, I knew that there were some serious financial problems brewing in our life. We had a lot of debt and didn’t own any major assets and we seemed to be consistently spending less than we earned. It wasn’t as though I was oblivious …

  • Reader Mailbag: The Calm Before the Storm

    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. Using a blog for sales 2. Emergency document contents 3. No 401(k) at work 4. Local bookswap 5. Whole life insurance 6. Handling windfall 7. Pen-and-paper …

  • Investments, Taxes, and Worry

    Johnny writes in: The one thing that has kept me from diving into investing is fear of taxes. Every time I read about taxes and investments, it seems really, really complicated and I’m worried I’m going to be stuck with a big tax bill at the end of a given year even if I think …

  • The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Novel Editing Edition

    You write a novel. You revise it. You think it’s really good. You get someone to help you edit it. They immediately point out a hundred problems with the novel, most of which are due to the things you just assume in your head about the characters without actually setting down on paper. You feel …

  • The “I’m Never Going to Retire” Retirement Plan

    Stephen writes in: I’ve basically made the decision that I’m never going to retire. I’m going to keep working until I literally cannot work any more, at which point my physical and mental decline should be pretty steep and swift. Given that, what’s the point of saving for retirement? It seems pretty ineffective for me. …