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. Unplugging the microwave? 2. Morality and employment 3. Loan modification versus refinancing 4. Saving for vehicle replacement 5. Living expenses and college debt 6. Unequal chess skills 7. Handling banking errors 8. Repairs to increase equity? 9. Ahead on student loans 10. Investing without worry? The Midwest has been loaded with …

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Every Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance or other book of interest. Also available is a complete list of the hundreds of book reviews that have appeared on The Simple Dollar over the years. I picked up this book on a lark off of the shelves at a library recently. I carried it back to a chair with me, expecting to leaf through it and make a quick decision about whether to review it or not (which is …

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A few days ago, I met an employee of a local Christian talk radio station. We had a nice conversation about a variety of things, ranging from the programming on the station he manages, people we both knew, and so on. At the end of the conversation, this person gave me a pamphlet describing a local business that offers personal finance counseling locally. This business uses a lot of Christian material in the advice they offer – in fact, I …

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Synchronicity

May 29 2011

Synchronicity, in the words of Wikipedia, is “the experience of two or more events, that are apparently causally unrelated or unlikely to occur together by chance, that are observed to occur together in a meaningful manner.” It’s an idea that first popped up in psychology in the 1920s (thanks to Carl Jung). Synchronicity is something that I think happens quite a bit in our lives. In fact, I think that synchronicity tends to be a big part of the reason …

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Each week, I highlight ten things each week that inspired me to greater financial, personal, and professional success. Hopefully, they will inspire you as well. 1. An afternoon at the park I came across this picture from last spring that shows my wife and my two oldest children playing together at the park on a beautiful spring day. These are the types of moments that make my life happy. (And, for those wondering, Sarah’s shirt says “Self-Rescuing Princess” – I’ve …

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Vegetarian Jambayala Karen writes in: I really like it when you show meals that you can use bits of leftovers in easy. Could you do some more of those? Sure! We do meals like this all the time at our house. One of our favorites is what I like to call magic jambalaya. All you need is some rice, some cajun seasoning, some beans, and whatever leftovers you might have on hand. What You Need For my family, I usually …

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One of the best things I’ve ever posted on The Simple Dollar (in my opinion, anyway) was an article entitled “Some Thoughts on the Fulfillment Curve.” From that article (where I’m referencing the book Your Money or Your Life: The middle portion of the first chapter focuses on the “fulfillment curve,” which basically refers to the idea that once you reach a certain level of luxury in your life, anything beyond that level is merely diminishing returns. I went on …

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This morning, I answered a question in the latest Reader Mailbag on self discipline and habits. I’ll reprint the question and answer here for your convenience. Q1: Self-discipline or habits? I’m an avid personal finance reader/thinker, and an avid runner, and lately I’ve been struggling with the question of whether my success has been due to self-discipline or motivation for goals. I know that several experts disagree on what prods us toward success. Some believe that self-discipline is key, while …

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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. Self-discipline or habits? 2. Handling job loss 3. Basic blogging questions 4. Graduate school options 5. Handling old medical debts 6. Renting a home in limbo 7. Possibly over-saving for retirement 8. Frightened about loan choices 9. Debt and expense questions 10. Retirement or home savings? One comment I’ve received many …

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If I were to go sell my Honda Pilot right now for a new vehicle, I might drive in a bit more comfort, I suppose. However, that $25,000 invested would have to come from somewhere. I can think of several gadgets that might be fun to have around the house, but they would cost thousands of dollars. That wad of cash would have to come from somewhere. I’d love to buy a big piece of land in the country and …

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