Yesterday, my father had emergency surgery to relieve a big infection that started when he got a fish hook embedded in his hand and he didn’t clean the wound properly immediately. I spent most of the day distracted and worried about him (he seems to be doing okay). I mostly wandered around in a daze. I did some work, but I had a hard time staying focused. I played with my kids. I took a long walk. Mostly, I wished …

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Those who have followed this blog for a long time know that I don’t have many personal heroes. There are a lot of people who have valuable things to say, but there are very few people who have reached such a trusted level with me that I tend to put extra value on the things they say just because that person said them. One of those few people was John Wooden, who passed away this past week (I mentioned it …

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With all the road trips scheduled this summer, I’ve been thinking about a song collection that both my wife and I would enjoy on the trip. So, we’ve started co-curating one, where we each add 100 songs to a playlist, then we are each allowed to delete anything we don’t like from the list. My wife doesn’t like to do this, so I’ve essentially been doing it vocally with her, asking her what she thinks of song X and song …

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This is the third entry in a fourteen part series discussing the time management classic Getting Things Done by David Allen. New entries in this series will appear on Tuesday afternoons and Friday mornings through July 16. Last time, we looked at the five stages of a healthy task and information management workflow (collect, process, organize, review, do). Of course, one of the big revelations is that while this works really well for short, individual, discrete tasks, it doesn’t immediately …

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The single biggest personal finance lesson that anyone can learn is that of delayed gratification. Delayed gratification means that you hold off buying that new cell phone for a while so that you can pay cash for your car in a few years. Delayed gratification means that you spend the evening reading a book or learning a new skill instead of merely watching television. Delayed gratification means that you immediately save some of your paycheck instead of even giving yourself …

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Ellen writes in with a very difficult story: I am a huge fan of yours and have used much of your advice to simplify the money matters in my family, but my family is currently in a crisis that I have never seen discussed on your site. In early April, my family was in a severe car accident. We were driving my mother’s van at the time and we were t-boned by a hit & run driver. My children’s car …

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This past weekend, one of my heroes passed away. I’ll memorialize him with five of my favorite quotes from him. “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” “You can’t let praise or criticism get to you. It’s a weakness to get caught up in either one.” “If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a …

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Every Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance or other book of interest. A while back, I reviewed Robert Pagliarini’s The Six-Day Financial Makeover and concluded that there was some very good advice buried inside a lot of marketing gloss. The core of that advice was strong enough that I kept an eye out for future books by Mr. Pagliarini, and now The Other 8 Hours has come down the pike. This time around, Pags has written an interesting …

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About a year ago, I wrote an article entitled Preparing Your Information for Disaster, in which I discussed the challenges my mother (and I, in a peripheral way) had in organizing the accounts and papers of my maternal grandmother after she passed away. The article is really thorough and I consider it to be one of the most essential things I’ve ever written for The Simple Dollar. Simply put, if you have someone you’re going to leave behind, you need …

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There are quite a few things that you can do to improve your financial and personal state without spending even a single dime. One of the biggest is simply improving your attitude – the way you interpret the things around you and the way you relate to others. Think about it for a moment. I want you to imagine the single most caustic person you’ve ever had to interact with for a long period of time (I certainly know who …

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