Deconstructing Dave Ramsey

November 23 2016
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Every once in a while, I find myself listening to streaming audio of Dave Ramsey’s radio show on weekday afternoons (I usually listen via NewsTalk AM 1270). His message is very similar day in and day out, but it’s a message that is apparently not being followed by many Americans. Why do I say this? I can only assume that, based on the way Americans live their lives, Dave Ramsey’s message mostly falls on deaf ears. But, is his message …

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Here’s the truth: when you set a big financial goal for yourself, most of the new discoveries and new behaviors occur at the start of the journey. You bury yourself in knowledge, learn quite a bit, figure out a plan that works well for you, put that plan in place, automate it as much as you can (by having money taken out of your check and so on)… and then you wait. And wait. And wait. For some people, that …

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Your boss would love for you to feel like you have a stake in the company. After all, loyal employees put in longer hours, produce better work, and stick around for more years than those whose feelings about the organization can be summed up with a resounding, “Meh.” There’s just one problem: With job security a thing of the past, and workers changing jobs a median of every 4.2 years, per Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the average worker would be crazy to …

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The average American incurs $10,345 in medical expenses each year, according to government estimates. No matter how wealthy you are, this is an extremely heavy financial burden for anyone. While it’s obviously not evenly distributed – some people will have tremendous health care costs in a given year, while others will have only minimal costs – the financial burden of health care can strike anyone without warning, and it can bring financial ruin. Yet, you have tremendous control over this equation. While …

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Donna writes in with a great question: Hi Trent! I am really struggling with balancing ethical consumption with my dreams of financial success. Quite often, getting the most “bang for the buck” for a product involves buying from a company that cuts a lot of ethical corners in terms of their products. […] Looking for some insights into how to balance those concerns. First of all, let’s look at what ethical consumption actually is. From Wikipedia: Ethical consumerism (alternatively called …

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Trying to find an ethical and effective way to improve your credit scores can sometimes be a rather frustrating undertaking. After all, improving your credit often takes time or money; two things you may not have readily available depending on your personal situation. The good news, however, is that there are also some out-of-the-box methods to improve your credit score that you may not have considered. One such tactic is to increase your credit limit. Revolving Utilization and Your Credit Scores Credit …

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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. Virtual account numbers 2. Student loan forgiveness 3. Retirement contributions as state employee 4. Quarter-life crisis 5. Best bargain on bed linens 6. Noisy neighborhood while telecommuting 7. Best streaming music bargain 8. Black Friday and big purchases 9. Gifts for distant people 10. Inexpensive daily shaving routine …

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Just about every investor at some point compares his or her investment returns to the market. Professional investment managers advertise their services by comparing their performance to the market. Look up any mutual fund or ETF, and you can easily find a chart showing its recent performance relative to the market. The message is everywhere: Beating the market is an important and valuable thing. But why? Why Do You Want to Beat the Market, Anyway? Seriously, why? What’s the reason? Why is it …

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An Ode to Old Furniture

November 21 2016

When I was about 10, my parents bought a brand new glass table for our living room. Even at 10, when my idea of cool was Chicago Bulls wallpaper, I could see that this was a cool table. Plus, my parents let it be known that by our standards, it was expensive. I was told to be very careful around this table, which is why I briefly considered fleeing Southern California and going to live with relatives in Oklahoma when …

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Ten Lessons, Ten Years

November 20 2016

It was roughly ten years ago that I launched The Simple Dollar. It wasn’t a smooth rollout, so pointing to a single day as “launch day” is tough, but late October to mid November 2006 is a pretty good timeframe for the launch of the site. Let’s roll back the clock a little to see where my life was at that time. In April 2006, Sarah and I had our big financial meltdown where we realized that we were going …

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