Practicing guitar

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. Ralph Waldo Emerson on being yourself “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson I often have this sense that much of the modern world exists to try to shape all …

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Budgets are often presented as being some kind of magical tool that people can use that will transform their day-to-day life from an ongoing slow-motion financial disaster into a debt eliminating and wealth building machine. Quite often, personal finance books and websites buy into this picture, too. They immediately suggest creating a budget for your spending, setting caps on all kinds of spending areas, and then showing that this budget somehow “transforms” your income into covering all of your needs …

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I recently celebrated my birthday with my family and a few friends. It was a decidedly low key affair. We went out to dinner together at a pretty low-cost restaurant with some good vegetarian fare, and then we played some board games together. Yes, I’m quite the party animal, but this is actually exactly the kind of low-key event with friends that I really enjoy and prefer. In contrast, two old friends of mine had major celebrations in their life …

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Amazon made big waves in the business world with its recent purchase of Whole Foods Market. As surprising as that was, it makes sense — Amazon was already a big player in the grocery game. They offer many bulk foods, as well as fresh food deliveries in certain areas through their Amazon Fresh delivery program. The Whole Foods deal seems like it will make those initiatives even more successful. Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods happened right around the time that my Costco membership was up …

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Let’s start out with defining exactly what “cash flow” means. It’s a business term that refers to the amount of money coming into and going out of a business over a period of time. In general, positive cash flow means that the amount of cash (and other things they might easily sell for cash without disrupting the business) on hand is increasing, while negative cash flow means that the amount of money on hand is decreasing. For example, if a …

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Is there anything that says “summer is basically over” quite like the arrival of next year’s school supply list? Since my children’s school follows a “modified, year-round” schedule, they head back to school today, August 2nd. This is a huge departure from when I was a child; back then, we had three full months of summer, as we didn’t start school until after Labor Day. So yeah, our kids get a shorter summer (eight weeks), but we make up for it with a …

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One of the core ideas that I like to share regarding personal finance success revolves around the idea that it’s better to spend your money on “experiences” rather than “stuff.” For example, I’d rather spend $100 going to a convention for a particular hobby than spend $100 on items for that hobby. An astute reader, Lisa, called that into question with a very nice mailbag submission: How do you draw the line between “stuff” and “experience”? Is it just whether …

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Have you developed the habit of regularly checking your credit reports and scores? If so, kudos to you. You’re already doing a better job monitoring your credit than most Americans. However, if your focus remains fixed solely on those three-digit scores, you could be missing some valuable and helpful information — your “score factors.” What Are Score Factors? What if I told you that I could give you advice and guarantee it will improve your scores? And not just obvious, high-level …

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If you have the or the (or were thinking of applying soon), this offer will be music to your ears! Capital One® and Spotify have teamed up to offer 50% off the popular music streaming service through April 2018. All you need to do is pay for your Premium subscription with either of those cards to get the discount. Here’s how it works. About this offer What’s the deal? Quicksilver® cardholders get 50% off any Spotify Premium subscription. The offer …

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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. Changing account fees 2. General advice for approaching retirement 3. Early retirement buyout 4. Health insurance options in retirement 5. Earning more money in retirement 6. Professional clothing advice follow-up 7. Reading philosophy 8. Long lasting item gift card 9. Notetaking strategies for online classes? 10. Entertaining children …

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