hiking through a valley

“31 Days to Financial Independence” is an ongoing series that appears every Thursday on The Simple Dollar. You might want to start this series from the beginning! Last time, we looked at what you can do when your goals change, even in the midst of working toward a major personal finance target. Today, we’re going to look at a much different but also incredibly vital part of personal finance change: getting your family and friends on board. Up to this …

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Have you ever jumped through hoops to save money, only to find you paid more – or, wasted a bunch of time? Maybe you misread the terms on a coupon, signed up for a fake or deceptive promotion, or just made a poor decision. Either way, it’s frustrating when you discover your money-saving efforts weren’t worth it, or that you were purposely misled. Despite the fact I can read and count, I’ve been there more than once. But there’s one …

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In the summer of 2015, our family collectively decided to get a pet dog. I was by far the least enthusiastic about the idea at the time, as I’ve never been a real enthusiastic pet owner, but after a lot of discussion, we made the choice to get a family dog. We decided to adopt a rescue dog with a history that would not indicate any reason for the dog to not be around children and we wound up with …

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If credit was easy, then everyone would have a VantageScore or FICO score of 850. But it’s not easy, and mistakes happen. Your challenge as a consumer of credit is to be smart enough to distinguish between what’s right and what’s a mistake, so you can avoid them at all costs. Credit Mistake No. 1: Co-Signing No, no, no — don’t ever do it. Co-signing is one of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to protecting their credit reports …

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Everyone has boundaries. If you find yourself doing something that makes you bitter, it is time to reconsider. – Peter Singer, The Most Good You Can Do, p. 29 It’s going to happen at some point in your financial journey. At some point, you’re going to try a frugal tactic or even read an article about a frugal tactic that just doesn’t sit well with you. The practice of doing it – or even the thought of doing it – …

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For many college graduates, an advanced degree is a one-way ticket to earning more. By working beyond a bachelor’s degree, new graduates can climb the corporate ladder, move into middle or upper management, and perhaps score a higher-ranking position at a new firm. While not all jobs that require advanced degrees pay enough to justify the cost, the difference between median earnings by educational attainment is truly staggering. As the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes, median weekly earnings …

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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. Planning around low interest loans 2. Worried about financial crisis 3. Figuring out cremation costs 4. CPAs and taxes 5. Status symbols and real estate 6. Credit card balance transfer problems 7. Driving without shoes 8. Status symbols and workplace information 9. Simple and quick skillet meal 10. …

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The last few decades have been very good for individual investors. Vanguard introduced the first publicly available index fund in 1976, and since then index mutual funds and ETFs have exploded in availability. Given what we know about investing – namely that minimizing fees and using index funds both increase your odds of success – these developments have made it easier than ever for regular people to access high-quality investments. Of course, there’s still the issue of choosing which mutual …

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About five years ago, I’d had enough with Comcast. They had wronged me in some way, yet again, and it was the last straw. Around the same time, DirecTV sent us some enticing offer in the mail, so I signed up with them, and enjoyed roughly the same bunch of channels for much less money (and a far worse internet connection) for the next 12 months. Then, as you might have guessed (and I surely should have), our rate nearly …

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Once a month (or so), I share a dozen things that have inspired me to greater personal, professional, and financial success in my life. I hope they bring similar success to your life. 1. Friedrich Nietzsche on friendship and marriage “It is not lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.” – Friedrich Nietzsche My wife is my best friend in the world. The thing that makes our marriage work isn’t romance, but the fact that …

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