• 4 Steps to Take If You Loan Money to Friends or Family

    This article first appeared at US News and World Report Money. A friend or a family member is struggling with a financial problem. That person comes to you and asks you to lend money to help them through their crisis. What do you do? This situation comes up quite often in tightly-knit families where there …

  • The Challenge of the “Best” Choice

    As I write this article, my three year old son is perched on my lap with my arms around him. He’s playing with one of his favorite toys, a Transformer that’s easy to transition from a fire truck to a robot, and he’s telling me stories about them. He’s happy and safe and secure sitting …

  • Parents, Children, and Loans

    I have very few fundamental rules of personal finance that I follow. Spend less than you earn is a big one, but once you get past that, there tend to be exceptions to most rules in life. However, there is one principle that I’ve followed for a long time that has never guided me wrong. …

  • The Reality of Inheritance

    The Reality of Inheritance A surprising number of readers write in to me asking about whether or not they should change their financial plans to account for a healthy inheritance from their parents. Often, these are children who see their recently-retired parents having a significant amount of cash that the children believe they will eventually …

  • Ten Years On, Here Are Some Thoughts on Saving Money on Your Wedding Day

    Sarah and I have been married for ten years. As our tenth anniversary has passed by, we’ve had a few conversations where we’ve reminisced about our wedding day. Mostly, our memories seem to revolve around people. We remembered the unexpected old friend who showed up out of the blue even though we hadn’t seen him …

  • Should I Cosign a Loan?

    I get this type of question all the time. A family member or a friend is trying to get a loan for some reason. Those evil banks won’t lend them any money. They want you to cosign their loan for them. It won’t cost you anything (so they say) and it’ll help a friend out! …

  • Should Your Estate Help Your Children?

    I received three reader emails in the past week about estate planning and children. First, from Doug: My wife and I are about to have our first child. What steps do we need to take care of to make sure our baby girl has a good life if something were to happen to her parents? …

  • My Plan for Handling a Big Windfall

    Kelly writes in: What would you do if you won the lottery? Since I don’t play the lottery, I’ll answer this question under the assumption that instead I’m just receiving a very big inheritance from my unknown Uncle Rockefeller and Aunt Vanderbilt. The first step I’d take is to make absolutely sure all taxes on …

  • 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 …

  • Christmas Worries

    In a recent reader mailbag, Dave wrote: Up until January, I had a wonderful job where I handled all of the IT needs for a small company in our area. At the end of last year, the company was sold and the jobs were folded together with another company with the “redundant” jobs being eliminated, …

  • Finances, Opportunity, and the Path of a Little Girl

    “I think the girl who is able to earn her own living and pay her own way should be as happy as anybody on earth.” – Susan B. Anthony Today, I’m going to talk about my daughter. In many regards, she’s a pretty typical four year old girl – at least judging by her peers. …

  • Handling the Disappointment

    For the past month, my family and I had been looking forward to traveling to the Chicago area. We were going to stay for four days with my cousin (who I adore) and her children (which my children adore). We had planned on going into the city to Taste of Chicago and to the Art …

  • Should We Become Named Guardians for Several Children?

    A few days ago, Sarah and I went out to dinner with another couple that we’ve been friends with for a long time – we’ve actually known the female in the couple for almost two decades. They live several hours away from us and we don’t get to see them terribly often, but we make …

  • Never Cosign a Loan Unless You Want to Pay It Yourself

    One of the most common questions I get is whether or not a person should cosign on someone else’s loan – a car loan, a student loan, or so on. I have a single response that I always give to this type of question: You should only co-sign a loan that you’re perfectly happy paying …

  • Blending Work and Family: How We Do It

    One common question I’m asked a lot is how we actually balance our work lives and our family lives. Barb sums it up best: How do you do it? You write tons and tons of stuff for The Simple Dollar, your wife works a full time job, you seem to have tons of time available …

  • The Mother’s Day Debate – And Eight Sensible Ways to Solve It

    Whenever Mother’s Day rolls around (and it’s just about here), people seem to congregate into two camps on the issue. First, there’s the celebrate your mother camp – the people who feel that Mother’s Day is a perfect opportunity to show your mother that you care for her, either through action or through a gift. …

  • Lifting Your Spirits For Free

    The last week has been pretty rough for me following the passing of my grandmother. I was pretty close to her from my earliest years, but over the last few months, we hadn’t spoken as much as we normally had. I was involved with my own children and she had not called as often as …

  • Thoughts After Losing a Loved One

    My maternal grandmother passed away very suddenly this past Thursday. It caught me completely by surprise, in fact – I was working on arrangements for a weekend guest at our home when my father called me with the news. It shocked me, to say the least. Here are some of the things the last few …

  • Synergy in Life and Money

    It’s amazing to me how often one part of my life is in opposition to other parts. Last Thursday, for example, my wife stayed home with our daughter to take her to her eighteen month checkup at the doctor. I had a lot of work to do, so I went into my office, closed the …