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For us, 2010 was a year of learning for both the parents and the children in our household about what allowance means, how it works, and what kinds of money lessons our children are learning. Let’s roll back the clock to November 2009, when our children each received piggy banks and the allowance adventure got underway: Our son received a Money Savvy Pig for his birthday, which has four slots to designate savings of various kinds. The bank featured a …

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Right now, our emergency fund would cover ten months’ worth of living expenses for our entire family. This is, of course, assuming that Sarah and I are both jobless (though able to care for our children) and that I’m earning absolutely no income from The Simple Dollar. We would be able to pay our bills from our cash reserve for ten months in this situation. First of all, how did I build that up? The truth of the matter is …

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One of the most frightening things (to me) about the 2008 investment bank failures of Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns coupled with the fraud of Bernie Madoff is the impact it had on individual investors who had used these groups as a means to invest. It’s no different than what most of us do with our 401(k) plans and our Roth IRAs and our other investment plans: we put that money with an investment house, using them to facilitate our …

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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. What does “savings” mean? 2. Getting out of a lemon 3. Dealing with multiple debts 4. Is a prenup needed? 5. Investing help 6. Best movie of 2010 7. Working on a goal 8. Saving for someone else’s college 9. Using multiple companies for investing 10. Best books of 2010 2011 …

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Review: Goals!

January 3 2011

Every Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book or other book of interest. For my first book review of 2011, which will pop up on the site on Sunday and appear in subscriber’s mailboxes early in the morning of the first working Monday of the year, I thought I’d take a look at one of the best books out there about defining and setting goals, since so many people start out the year with goals and resolutions of …

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Throughout the month of December, The Simple Dollar is posting a daily series focusing on specific activities you can do right now to set the stage for a great 2011. Out with the old, in with the new. 31. Celebrate the year that has passed – and the better one to come. It’s New Year’s Eve, which for many of us means a party or social gathering of some kind. Our social event will involve a few friends, a great …

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In an effort to talk about the power of goal-setting along with some methods of setting and achieving goals, I’m going to discuss my three resolutions for 2011 this week. Over time, any voracious reader winds up with a list of books that they intend to read someday, but they find themselves reading more urgent things in the interim. They could read this challenging novel, but there’s this great page turner to read instead. This novel is pretty good, but …

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Throughout the month of December, The Simple Dollar is posting a daily series focusing on specific activities you can do right now to set the stage for a great 2011. Out with the old, in with the new. 30. Start an automatic savings plan to bank that money. Yesterday, we discussed how to calculate exactly how much you’re saving per paycheck thanks to the positive changes you’ve made in your life. Today, we’ll talk about how to turn that number …

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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. Using recorded financial data 2. Moving away from debt consolidation 3. Student loan forbearance 4. Stopping all retirement contributions 5. Chasing passions without self-sabotage 6. Dealing with college burnout 7. Emergency funds or debt repayment? 8. Debts and responsibilities 9. Homemade windshield washing solution 10. Earning money at home Several of …

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Throughout the month of December, The Simple Dollar is posting a daily series focusing on specific activities you can do right now to set the stage for a great 2011. Out with the old, in with the new. 29. Calculate the monthly money you’ve saved due to these changes. If you’ve been reading the Out with the Old series, you’ve probably thought that several of them were good ideas and many were not good fits in your life (and that …

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