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Eight Strategies for Reducing Financial Dependence

One of the biggest themes that I write about here on The Simple Dollar is the concept of financial independence. I define financial independence as being the state in which you can live off of your passive income, usually in the form of investments that pay out over time such as dividend-generating stocks. As with …

Categories: Getting Started

Questions About Paper Plates, Declining Brands, Windfalls, Community Theater and More!

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. Mispriced items at local grocer 2. Brands that have gone downhill 3. Handling $5,000 windfall 4. Commute or rent closer? 5. Setting annual or quarterly goals …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Four Steps to Turn Your Idea Into a Business

What was the last great business idea you had? Do you remember it? What did you do with it? Did you write it down? If you’re like most people, you had a great idea, never wrote it down, told a couple of co-workers or your spouse, and let the idea fade away without taking any meaningful action to …

Life Lessons From a Funeral Home

As a child, it was hard for me to envision what my future would look like. I’m sure I considered being a teacher once, and pondered possibilities of a future as a dancer, veterinarian, chef, and astronaut through the years. So I’m sure you can imagine how surprised I was to find myself working in …

Tips for Landing a Job After College

Buckle up. You’ve done the work, and you’ve got the debt to prove it, but you’re finally finishing college and ready to start looking for a job. Piece of cake, right? Not to scare you, but the unemployment rate for recent college graduates is at 8.5%, and the underemployment rate is at 16.8%. That doesn’t mean …

Categories: Careers, Education

Inspiration from Terry Pratchett, Rhiannon Giddens, Stephen Jay Gould, and More!

Once a month (or so), I’ll 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. Sir Terry Pratchett on the impact of a person “No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the …

Categories: Inspiration

Don’t Waste Your Tax Refund: Four Better Ways to Use It

According to the IRS, the average tax refund so far this year has reached a staggering $3,539. It’s still early, however. And as the tax agency notes, most of the big refunds are filed quickly since the people receiving them don’t want to wait for their payday. Still, last year’s refunds for tax year 2013 were averaging around …

Categories: Saving Money, Taxes

Financial Independence and Career Choices

At dinner a few days ago, I was discussing the concept of financial independence to a friend of mine who had really never heard of the concept. He and his wife are actively saving for retirement, but they fully expect to retire between the ages of 62 and 65, not earlier, so the idea of …

Can the Saver’s Credit Save You Money on Your Taxes?

For many people, two of the most frightening words in the English language are death and taxes. Even among those for whom the words are not terrifying, they evoke strong emotion. Another word that generates strong emotion is retirement. Unlike death and taxes, that word usually brings a smile to people’s faces. That is, until …

Categories: Retirement, Taxes

Seven Things to Know When Filing for Bankruptcy

Filing for bankruptcy is often seen as a scary but necessary option. But it’s important to know that even when you’re facing what seems like financial ruin, you have choices. Bankruptcy laws have changed over the past few years and offer benefits as well as drawbacks to filing. If you’ve talked with a lawyer about …

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