• Letting Go: How Being a Control Freak Costs You Money

    I’m something of a planner. I can’t help it – I always like to make plans for the future. I fill up my calendar with all sorts of little details and I’m always making lists. My mother does the same thing, actually. She’s constantly making lists and jotting down notes. She’s always been the person …

  • Confirmation Bias and Your Money

    Over the last few weeks, I’ve been involved in a very interesting discussion with a reader who wanted to know why I thought index funds were such a great investment strategy. I pulled out a huge array of quotes and experts that support my claim. A sampling: Deep down, I remain absolutely confident that the …

  • The Stroop Effect and Your Wallet

    Let’s try a little psychology experiment. In the image below, read out all of the colors, not the words themselves. You can say them out loud, or in your head. Now, try the same for this batch of colored words. Remember, say the color, not the word itself. It’s at least a bit harder, isn’t …

  • Review: Fight for Your Money

    Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book. I’ve reviewed quite a few David Bach books over the years: The Automatic Millionaire, Smart Couples Finish Rich, Start Late, Finish Rich, Smart Women Finish Rich, and Go Green, Live Rich. Bach writes in a very approachable tone, but many of his earlier books …

  • Review: You’ve Got to Be Believed to Be Heard

    Over the next several months, I’m giving several presentations and speeches on my story and what I learned about personal finance along the way. Some of these engagements will be paid ones, thus this may be the beginning of a new revenue stream in my life. As with anything new in my life, I’m filling …

  • Review: Results Without Authority

    Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal development, personal productivity, or career/entrepreneurship book. One of the biggest struggles I had at my previous job was finding ways to get the project results I needed with very little authority to do many of the things I needed to do. I had a lot of …

  • The Cost of the Psychology of New

    My wife and I are actively in the process of purchasing a replacement for the car my wife uses for her commute. During our initial search, we focused pretty tightly on late model used options, but as we searched, we began to find that, for many of the models we were looking at, the new …

  • Riding the Line of Overcautiousness

    Over the last few months, I’ve made the conscious decision to investigate long term disability insurance and long term care insurance for myself to help my family survive if I were to become incapacitated for some reason. I’ve been quietly collecting quotes on these insurance types and reading up on them so that I really …

  • An Impulsive Mood

    A few days ago, I was in a pretty down mood. I mostly just wanted to curl up somewhere and hide from the whole world. I felt like a failure, mostly in a professional sense, but in a bit of a personal sense as well. I was really doubting my ability to write anything that …

  • A Mother’s Gifts

    Recently, my mother celebrated her birthday in her usual quiet fashion. She likely never mentioned the day to anyone, remaining just happy to receive a few calls and a gift or two from the people who remembered on that day. That’s just her style. When I was young, my mother was always the person in …

  • The Intelligent Investor: A General Approach to Security Analysis for the Lay Investor

    This is the twelfth in a weekly series of articles providing a chapter-by-chapter in-depth “book club” reading of Benjamin Graham’s investing classic The Intelligent Investor. Warren Buffett describes this book: “I read the first edition of this book early in 1950, when I was nineteen. I thought then that it was by far the best …

  • Review: Get Everything Done

    Every other week, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal productivity, personal development, or entrepreneurship book. A few months ago, I was very pleasantly surprised by Mark Forster’s personal productivity book, Do It Tomorrow. Most of the time, when I open up a personal productivity or time management book, I can pretty much predict what the …

  • Internal and External Signals

    Over Thanksgiving and the following weekend, my wife and children and I went back to our home town to visit our families. There were many nice meals, some long and lazy afternoons spent together visiting and playing games, and lots of getting in touch with people we hadn’t seen in years. One of the big …

  • Dealing with Personal Disappointment and Tragedy

    Over the last few days, I’ve been dealing with a deep personal disappointment, one that I’d rather not discuss in public (don’t worry, it’s not relevant to The Simple Dollar – it’s wholly personal). It’s left me feeling empty and rather sad and – frankly – not very motivated to write at all. I’ll sit …

  • The Other Choice

    Whenever you make the choice to spend money on something, you’re actually making other choices as well. I choose to “dress for success” by buying this expensive suit. I also choose to have large credit card bills. I choose to eat out for dinner every night. I also choose to be stuck in a high-paying …

  • The Psychological and Emotional Attachment to What We Have and What We Want

    Recently, I’ve been reading the excellent book The Price of Privilege by Dr. Madeline Levine, which discussed the prevalence of depression and social problems among affluent teens. For the most part, the book lays the blame for this problem squarely on the parents: in their race to affluence, they failed to give adequate time, attention, …

  • The Aldi Question: Does One Bad Experience Spoil the Soup?

    Whenever I mention the grocery stores where I tend to shop, someone always asks me about Aldi. I tend to usually avoid that question because the answer makes me uncomfortable, but after several emails following my post yesterday about personal finance recommendations, I realized that it was actually a subject worth digging into. I don’t …

  • The Inspiration and the Motivation

    Virtually every time I accomplish something significant in my life, it’s been guided by two separate forces, one pushing from behind and one pulling me ahead. The inspiration and the motivation. The inspiration is the big vision you see in front of you. What is it that fills your heart with passion? What is that …

  • How to Avoid the Trap of Splurging as a Reward for “Being Good”

    Before I got control over my spending, I used to splurge all the time on small things that I wanted. I’d buy a new book (or three) every Friday in order to “reward” myself for getting through another work week. I’d often buy a new CD or DVD whenever I received a paycheck. Whenever I’d …