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. Buying the next house 2. Starting over from scratch 3. Loan disqualification 4. Starting a business 5. Taking care of Mom 6. Building credit with business cards 7. Stocking my HSA 8. New side business and taxes 9. Diverting retirement to mortgage 10. Interest calculations One thing that deeply frustrates me …

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One of the more costly (and unhealthy) routines I once had was grabbing sodas out of the refrigerator, taking them into my office, and gulping them down. Not only was it costing my health, but it was also an expensive routine. Even if you buy in bulk, a can of soda is still going to cost you a good quarter. Obviously, this was a routine that needed to change, both for my body and for my wallet. My first approach …

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A few days ago, one of my favorite podcasters (Tom Vasel, from The Dice Tower) lost his infant son to an E. coli infection. Having an infant son myself, I can’t imagine the pain of that type of experience. My condolences go out to him and his family. There’s already a wonderful video tribute out there. What I Learned During the Year of Penury Penury is a five dollar word for intense poverty. Essentially, this person is telling how they …

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Career Moves and Decisions

January 26 2011

This week, someone from my past reached into the present and dropped a job offer on my lap. If this job offer had appeared three years ago, I would have taken it in a heartbeat. It allows me to work from home. It allows me to take complete control of an interesting software development project in an area where I have some significant domain knowledge and experience. After some thought, I turned it down. It’s not that we couldn’t utilize …

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One feature you’ll find in our home, particularly during the winter months, is a card table in the family room which features an ongoing jigsaw puzzle. My wife and I both work on it here and there and our oldest child will occasionally do a bit of sorting pieces by color. Last night, I started a 1,000 piece puzzle of Georges Seurat’s famous painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. Just as I was starting to …

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The other day, I opened my mailbox and what I found inside was painful. I found an energy bill and a mortgage statement and a phone bill and a water bill and an insurance statement and an internet bill. As I looked through them, I could just see the money leaving my accounts, floating through the ether, and winding up in the pocket of some company somewhere. That experience stuck in my head that entire day. Why did I really …

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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. Helping a rock bottom friend 2. Moving around the world 3. Easing a tax burden 4. Financial wedding propriety 5. Small claims court question 6. Deeply worried about parents’ future 7. Credit report issues 8. Goals regardless of money 9. Haircuts 10. First time home buyer tips The end of January …

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Each Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book or other book of interest. I’ve been a big fan of Liz Weston’s writing, particularly her columns over at MSN Money. I’ve also communicated with her many times in the past. So, when I saw that she had a new book out, it was an immediate addition to my reading list. This book, The 10 Commandments of Money, features a subtitle, Survive and Thrive in the New Economy, that left …

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Please take a moment and watch this YouTube video before we get started. I’d embed it here, but the person who uploaded it has disallowed embedding of the video. If you’re unable to watch, the video is a series of clips from the movie Transformers, showing the absurd amount of product placement within the film itself. What do I mean by that? Characters are often very deliberate about using certain products, like the repeated iPod use throughout the film. The …

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I get some variation on the above email all the time. In fact, I could probably include some variation on this question in every single reader mailbag (yes, I filter the questions a bit as to not get too repetitive). The story is usually the same. A person went to college, often majoring in a field that doesn’t have enormous job possibilities after earning one’s first degree. Usually, they racked up a significant amount of student loan debt. They finished …

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