Month: May 2014

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 …

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: Reader Mailbag

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: Morning Roundup

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. …

Categories: Getting Started

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

The Range of Your Vision

Because of the strange trajectory of my life, I have friends in rural places and I have friends in cities. I have friends who are on food stamps and I have friends that are millionaires. I have friends who own their own business and I have friends who can barely keep a job. I’ve noticed …

Categories: Getting Started

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: Reader Mailbag

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

The Collection Plate Dilemma

According to various studies, approximately 40% of Americans attend religious services on a weekly basis (though that exact percentage is disputed). Once a week, they’ll get up and head to the religious institution of their choice to engage in fellowship and worship. One common part of those services is the request for donations of some …

Categories: Getting Started

Knowing What To Do Versus Actually Doing It

Chris writes in: “I’ve read all of the usual personal finance books and I know exactly what I need to do to get myself out of this hole. The problem is actually doing it. When I make decisions, I make poor ones, even though I know that in the long run they’ll cost me. I …

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. …

Where Is Your Future Pointing?

Where are you going to be in five years? What will that life look like, assuming you don’t do anything radically different than you’re doing now? Just think about that for a moment. Sketch out what your life will look like at that point. Where will you live? What will your family look like? What …

Categories: Getting Started

Renters and Keepers

A while back, I ran across this brilliant quote from Sam Lipsyte’s 2010 novel, The Ask: She was from the people who kept everything. I was from the people who rented some of everything for brief amounts of time. I knew I deserved no pity, would get none from the people who kept everything. They …

Categories: Getting Started

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: Reader Mailbag

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 …

Categories: Insurance, Life, Planning

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