About a year and a half ago, I posted an article entitled Some Thoughts on the Prosperity Gospel. In it, I addressed the so-called “prosperity gospel,” which is a Christian philosophy in which God provides material prosperity for those he favors. A quote from the earlier post summarizes my stance on this philosophy. First of all, let me state I’m a Christian. I’m involved with a Lutheran church in my community which does a lot of local charitable good, I’m …

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Infinite Games

April 24 2011

When I was going through the items in our garage loft as part of a spring cleaning of the garage, I came across a small shoebox that’s been a part of our camping gear for years. When I opened the top of it and peered inside, I got excited. There’s more fun in that small box than in almost anything else that I own. That shoebox contains a gaming travel kit, perfect for rainy days when you’re stuck in a …

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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. Picasso’s skills I read this little story in Michael Masterson’s The Pledge and it stuck with me all week. A French woman, upon seeing Picasso in a Parisian restaurant, approached the great master and insisted that he put down his coffee and make a quick sketch of her. Graciously, Picasso obliged. When he was …

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When I was a college student, one of the meals I consistently ate was ramen noodles. I could often pick up twelve packages of it for $1. I would take it home, boil it up, add the seasoning packet, and enjoy. Over time, my taste buds became a bit more discerning – and I became a bit more health conscious, too. I began to realize how unhealthy the seasoning packets were, full of sodium and MSG and other things I’d …

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I got a wonderful email from Alison about extreme saving practices and how they impact retirement. I originally intended to include it in yesterday’s mailbag, but my response grew so long that I felt it needed a post of its own. Take it away, Alison: I’ve recently read Your Money or Your Life and wanted to ask you a question about some of their unstated implications. I was raised in a typical Millionaire Next Door family–except not the kind that …

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One of the most valuable personal finance tools in our repertoire is communication. Communication with your boss. Communication with your partner. Communication with your children. Communication with the IRS. Communication with your friends. Communication with a retailer. Communicating well with these people is incredibly valuable. It opens the door to understanding each other better and, often, putting you both in a better financial position. You might want to haggle with a retailer to get a better price – and the …

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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. Employee Stock Purchase Program help 2. Divorce mess (and follow up) 3. Unsure about next steps 4. Understanding tax brackets 5. A big mess of debt 6. Student loans or mortgage 7. Retirement path 8. A Game of Thrones 9. Self-employment questions 10. College student with some debt Many people seem …

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About a week ago, I answered a question from Ashley that’s really stuck in my head since then. Here’s the question and answer: Growing up, I was not pretty spoiled, materially speaking, and was never taught to manage money. This led to bad spending habits in adulthood, and a divorce caused me to have to settle with my credit card companies because my debt was huge. I have always been one of those people that will buy something on impulse, …

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I considered posting this article during the actual tax season, but I decided to wait until the rush of actually filing taxes was over. Almost all of you who live in the US have filed your income taxes by now. Some of you – the self-employed or functionally self-employed, like I am – have filed first quarter estimated taxes as well. Others may have filed business taxes. We’ve all gone through a process that, at the very least, involves filling …

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I receive many emails each day from people who have had some kind of financial crisis. Most of these stories have a great many factors in common with each other, although the specifics can vary wildly. Here are some of the specific elements many of the stories share. Something unexpected happened. Life was going along seemingly well until something happened. A job loss. An illness. A pay cut. A credit card cancellation. A car failure. Something triggers a big financial …

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