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Over the years, I’ve written about many personal finance books that have been incredibly valuable to me and to many others in terms of helping them figure out their finances and build a path to a strong retirement or even to financial independence / early retirement. Perhaps the most in-depth list was this one, where I outlined 15 essential personal finance and career books. As time as gone on, though, I’ve come to realize that many of the best lessons I’ve …

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One of the biggest struggles I have in my life is this constant battle between two guiding values: minimalism and preparedness. I see great value in both of these things. In minimalism, I see the value of having fewer things to worry about and take care of, leaving me more time to actually do things instead of having to maintain stuff. It also leads to more financial flexibility because I’m spending less money on stuff overall, and my natural tendency …

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Several years ago, I wrote a brief article on the first steps someone should take if they’re new to cooking at home. For some reason, I spent half the article outlining reasons why someone might be new to cooking at home, citing statistics about fast food and takeout use. Suffice it to say, many Americans use restaurants and prepackaged foods as the backbone of their diet. What’s wrong with that? For one, it’s expensive. You can make many full meals …

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Planning to file a claim with your auto insurance? If so, you should brace yourself for higher premiums. This warning comes courtesy of a joint study between InsuranceQuotes and Quadrant Information Services. According to the data, drivers who made claims in 2016 saw their policy premiums increase by an average of 44.1%. The study looked at the impact of claims worth $2,000 or more and compared premium increases in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Keep in mind, the reported premium increases …

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Last week, I posted an article about how busy people can build new income streams, and a reader sent in a great follow-up message that I wanted to address in detail. Here’s (most of) that message: “I’ve been thinking about this more and more and my current hypothesis is that whether you should commit to multiple income streams or not depends on probability and your personal circumstances. “After thinking about this some more, people who meet the following characteristics probably …

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Not negotiating salary when you accept a job offer can cost you up to $1 million over the course of your career. Still, many workers hesitate to ask for more money, either when they negotiate a new offer or at review time once they’re on the job. In fact, 57% of workers have never asked for a raise in their current field, according to PayScale. Why don’t more people ask for raises? In most cases, it comes down to fear. Seriously: …

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It’s a pretty familiar feeling for everyone at some time or another in their life. You’re doing some household chore and you realize that having some particular item would make this task more convenient, so you add that item to your shopping list. Or, maybe, you’re at the store and you see something that is pretty obviously going to take care of a problem in your life. Or, maybe, you’re at the store and you find some sort of incredible …

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There is no shortage of mistakes you can make when it comes to your credit. Missing your payments, running up large credit card balances, and never checking your reports are just a few you’ll need to avoid if you ever want to achieve the type of credit scores that make qualifying for a loan a breeze. Yet one of the most dangerous credit mistakes often occurs when you’re just trying to help someone out of a bind. It might make …

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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. Career, marriage, and life crossroads 2. Taxes for disabled veterans 3. Paying off a lease early? 4. Queen of Versailles 5. Buying a car with cash 6. Huge salary a requirement? 7. Career versus cost of living 8. Buying a pepper mill 9. Strategies for minimizing food expense …

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If I offered you the chance to immediately double every dollar you saved, would you take it? Of course you would! You work hard to save that money, and a magic money-doubling machine is just the thing you need to make all that hard work pay off. Well, in essence, that’s exactly what your 401(k) employer match is. It’s a way to get an immediate and guaranteed 50% to 100% return on your investment, which is as close to a …

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