warren buffett

I read a lot of personal finance books and personal finance articles. You’ll often find me at the library digging through the personal finance section, pulling out issues of Money or Kiplinger’s, or sitting at a table taking notes. Unsurprisingly, I see a lot of the same advice trotted out again and again in publication after publication. Most of this advice is really good stuff. Spend less than you earn. Pay off your debts. Contribute to your retirement fund. It’s …

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Refinancing has big benefits — you can lower your monthly payments, score a better interest rate, or even leverage your home for some cash to pay off other expenses — but only if you do it right. Doing it wrong isn’t dire; the worst-case scenario is spending money on the process only to realize you aren’t really saving that much on your mortgage. That’s not the end of the world, but also not the point. The best refinance mortgage companies, like …

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If you ever want to feel like you’re completely wrecking your own finances, try this little tactic on for size. At the end of the month, pull out your most recent bank statements and credit card statements and go through each of them line by line. See if you can name what purchase each one of those line items represents and what you can remember about those purchases. Do you remember anything at all? For some purchases, you won’t even …

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During the summer of 1998, I worked a night shift for a research lab in which I shoveled and sifted dirt for eight hours at a time. I hung out in this little room in the basement of a greenhouse that had a chute in which dirt had been dumped. I’d set up a large tub on top of a pushcart, put a screen attachment on top of it, then scoop several shovelfuls of dirt on there. I would then …

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Working for someone else can be a drag. Not only do you have to please your boss and toe the company line, but you have to deal with the innate limitations of an hourly or salaried profession: You can only earn a set amount of money. Staying motivated can be a difficult feat when you haven’t had a raise in two years – or when you get an annual raise, but it’s the same raise as everyone else. How do you justify …

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What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to summaries of five or fewer words. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. HSA open enrollment and fees 2. Organizing ideas for blog posts 3. Combining 401(k) accounts worthwhile? 4. Hot water heater problems? 5. Finding job with art degree 6. Renting or buying a minivan 7. Dryer problems 8. Long-term disability insurance 9. 15- or 30-year mortgage 10. Challenging problems …

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A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of reading Holly Johnson’s insightful post on why you should not just tolerate, but downright love your older, paid-off car. As someone who always bought cars used, for cash, it resonated with me. I got to thinking about where else in my life I could apply that kind of thinking. What are some other unheralded possessions that I don’t appreciate as much as I should? My gaze immediately settled on my old …

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America’s love affair with debt and consumption has left far too many of us financially hamstrung and struggling to get ahead. After all, the average U.S. household carried $15,672 in credit card debt and $130,922 in total debt in 2015. Add in the fact that the average indebted student left college with over $35,000 in student loans debt last year, and you’ll see what a grim picture we have painted. All too often these days, the American Dream means living …

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Let’s roll back the clock 20 years… Twenty years ago, I was enjoying the summer between high school and college. During that summer, I would go on my first date with my wife, though we would not become an official “couple” for another year or so. I was really apprehensive about going to college in the fall, as I was the first person in my family to do so. I spent some of the time during the summer helping my father …

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At some point in their lives, many people come to the conclusion that they need to have a life insurance policy. Perhaps you’re like me and that realization occurred when you first had children. Maybe some other life event occurred and caused you to consider it. Or perhaps you’re just following the advice from a personal finance book. Whatever the reason, you’ve made the decision to buy life insurance. I won’t get into whether or not that’s a good decision …

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