• Planting Seeds

    One of the best parts of gardening is that you get to watch the tiny seeds you plant in the early spring grow gradually into beautiful, blooming plants that provide food all throughout the harvest season. The smallest thing, with a bit of love and care and attention, turns into something incredible. One of the …

  • Ten Pieces of Inspiration #112

    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. I love looking at peoples’ bookshelves. It often opens the door to a great connection with someone. Today, I’m sharing some of those glimpses from people who have made share-able …

  • Building an Investing Future

    John writes in: You’ve mentioned before how a person might slowly build up income-earning investments to provide an income stream for them. How would that actually work? Let’s say I can squeeze out $100 a month for this. What would I do? Okay, let’s do this. First of all, you need to have selected something …

  • Spending Choices and Steps Toward Maturity

    At Christmas, each of our children received a small amount of money as a gift, along with encouragement for them to spend it on whatever their little hearts desired. Over the next week, the subject of spending that money came up several times. Rather than just taking them to a store and letting them go …

  • The High Cost of Low-Interest Debt

    Lately, I’ve seen many emails from readers asking me whether or not I think a particular debt is “okay” now that interest rates are so low. It’s true – collateralized debt for people with good credit histories has a very low interest rate right now. You can get car loans and home loans for stupendously …

  • Reader Mailbag: Old Albums

    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. Starting with digital video Running for office A “rent or sell” dilemma Buying individual shares Borrowing from 401(k) Cooperative board games Starting a book club Cash or …

  • The Simple Dollar Redesign to Come

    I’m excited to announce a few upcoming changes to the look and feel of The Simple Dollar. Since kicking everything off at the end of 2006, I’ve pretty much kept the overall design the same, but after seeing what a redesign can do for a site, I realized The Simple Dollar could benefit from some basic …

  • A Month of Change

    During the month of February, I committed myself to writing one long note each day to someone who I used to be highly connected with but have drifted apart from for some reason or another. Old friends. Old co-workers. Old clubmates. Old business partners. Old classmates. Once upon a time, I shared something valuable with …

  • The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Barefoot Edition

    Most of the time, when I’m working at home, I’m barefoot. I don’t like wearing socks, even in the heart of winter. During the summer, this isn’t a problem. If I want to go work outside, I just go outside barefoot. This doesn’t quite work in the winter, of course, so I’ll often literally put …

  • When Can I Live Off of My Own Savings?

    You’d be surprised how often I’m asked this simple question. It’s something on a lot of people’s minds, apparently. How much do I have to save up to be able to live off of my own savings? It’s impossible to come up with an exact number, but we can come up with an estimate. Figuring …

  • Five Red Flags for Bad Financial Advice

    Every once in a while, I’ll find myself in an airport or somewhere else where a personal finance or investment program is on television. I’ll watch it for a bit and usually find myself frustrated because, every time I watch, I see a bunch of red flags that indicate that I should take what’s being …

  • The Connection Between Your Receipt and Your Life

    Spend a minute and think about the last several non-essential purchases you made. Maybe you bought a magazine at the grocery store. Maybe you stopped at Starbucks for a cup of coffee. Maybe you downloaded a new album. Now, ask yourself this: In light of all of the things you already have in your life, …

  • Reader Mailbag: The Neverending To-Do List

    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. 401(k) question Channeling political dreams Elder relative scammed Rampant gambling Remembering things Using Roth for home purchase Data backup Career reboot Food buying conflicts Hamburger or steak? …

  • Raising the Celebration Bar

    When Sarah and I were seriously dating and, eventually, engaged to be married, we set something of a precedent of celebrating certain events in our lives. When one of us got an A in a difficult college class, we celebrated by going out for dinner and a movie. When one of us got a post-graduation …

  • Five Vital Tactics for Making Self-Employment Work

    I’ve been self-employed for almost five years now. Along the way, I’ve learned a lot of things about self-employment. Originally, this article was going to be much longer, but as I found myself writing tip after tip, I discovered that most of them were either simply restating the same thing or they were very narrow, …

  • Children, Bribes, and Reverse Bribery

    Have you ever had a two year old repeatedly attempt to climb out of a bathtub while you were trying to give that child a bath? You end up covered in soap and at the end of your rope. Our youngest child is well into the “terrible twos.” As anyone who’s had a child can …

  • Ten Pieces of Inspiration #111

    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. Over the past week, the weather here has been brutal: a small blizzard, a batch of freezing rain, a very rapid thaw, a very hard freeze, frigid wind chills, and …

  • Starting Out with an Insurmountable Debt Load

    This morning, we talked about the burden of caring for parents and the “sandwich generation.” This afternoon, let’s look at the burdens of younger people. Yesterday evening, I heard a fascinating story on Marketplace about how millennials are likely to be in debt their entire lives, and take some debts to their grave. There are …

  • The Sandwich Generation and You

    Recently, I read a fascinating study by the Pew Research Center indicating that somewhere around one in seven adults have simultaneously provided financial assistance to a parent aged 65 and older and to one of their own children of any age in the past year. A quick overview of this study: With an aging population …