Month: May 2014

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 …

Categories: Getting Started

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 …

Categories: Books and Reading

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 …

Categories: Books and Reading

The Simple Dollar’s Education in Insurance

Up until now, I’ve only occasionally dealt with a major component of monthly finance: your insurance. If you’ve got a family, like me, you have to know how your insurance works. For that matter, if you’re financially stable or you’ve got valuable property, grasping your coverage is just as necessary. When something unexpected happens, insurance …

Categories: Education, Insurance

Reader Mailbag: The Time Spent

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. Overseas travel with kids 2. Bitcoins 3. Life or disability insurance? 4. Prepaying funeral expenses 5. Reaching a financially clueless student 6. Self-publishing a book 7. …

Categories: Books and Reading

Making Financial Independence a Part-Time Job

Carrie writes in: I’m a 23 year old single woman with a solid government job that pays reasonably well. I have quite a bit of free time. What I’d like to do is somehow “bank” that free time so that I can have more free time later on when I (theoretically) have a child, as …

Categories: Getting Started

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #113

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. Gandhi on action “Action expresses priorities.” – Mahatma Gandhi There is no clearer representation of what you truly value than what you actually do with your time and energy. …

Three Drawbacks to the Dave Ramsey Plan

Carly writes in: I recently bought The Total Money Makeover on your recommendation and I’ve been enjoying it. It seems like a lot of your ideas and Dave Ramsey’s ideas overlap. What differences are there between your ideas? Before I get started on this article, I want to point out that I agree with Dave …

Reader Mailbag: Reading Lists

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. What’s our next step? Handling professional disappointment Listerine alternative? Bonding with teenage son Short light bulb life span Student loan repayment worries Debit card worries Investing in …

Categories: Books and Reading

Three Life Lessons About Life Insurance

Life insurance is a topic that has danced in and out of my life over the years. The Simple Dollar has even written a guide on life insurance. But here are three little tales about the times when life insurance has impacted my life and what valuable lessons I’ve taken away from those experiences. A …

Streamlining Your Hobbies, Streamlining Your Money

I’ll be the first to admit that I have a lot of interests. Without skipping a beat, I can name off a dozen hobbies that I actively enjoy and a dozen more that I enjoy on occasion. I know I’m not alone in this. I have quite a few friends who are roughly my age, …

Categories: Getting Started

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Construction Progress Edition

Out of the window of my office, I’ve had the pleasure of watching an ongoing home construction project. The project has been ongoing for the past two or three months, so I’ve been able to watch almost every step along the way, from the digging and pouring of the foundation to the erection of the …

Categories: Books and Reading

The Complete Guide to Health Insurance

The state of health insurance today is one of America’s most heated debates. The Affordable Care Act, widely referred to as Obamacare, aims to revamp the American health care industry, and some provisions of the Act are already kicking in. In this rapidly changing environment, it pays to be aware of the fundamentals. As an …

Categories: Health, Insurance

Stomaching the Roller Coaster

Jane writes in: I think you’re giving bad advice to people when you tell them not to put everything in stocks or real estate when making a long-term investment. Over a long period like ten years or more, you simply can’t beat the returns there. Long-term investing relies on several assumptions, two of which hinge …

Categories: Investing

Our Guide to Car Insurance

Welcome to Car Insurance 101, your primer and guidebook for understanding and navigating the exotic territory of automobile insurance. My aim is to explain everything you need to know about insuring your automobile, its occupants, and all objects in your path.   Here’s how the guide is structured: I’ll begin with an overview of the …

Categories: Insurance

The Complete Guide to Life Insurance

Forbes’s LearnVest did a nationwide study on life insurance in America that showed 57% of respondents owned life insurance but only 28% were “extremely confident” about their understanding of life insurance. 66% of study respondents had a poor understanding of how accessing payouts on their life insurance worked. Though it can certainly be confusing at …

Categories: Insurance

The Complete Guide to Home Insurance

Anyone who’s bought a house or has shopped for one knows that homeowners insurance is a fact of life – some might call it a necessary evil; others peace of mind in times of crisis. And while most people are convinced or compelled by banks to purchase insurance on their homes, few people understand exactly …

Categories: Insurance

Lower Monthly Bills Or More Long-Term Money?

Jennifer writes in: My husband and I are shopping very seriously for houses right now. We will likely be in a home by the start of the summer. I’m writing to you because we’re very unsure about the mortgage. On paper, it makes complete sense to get a fifteen year or even a ten year …

Categories: Getting Started