Reader Mailbag: Sad Child

February 17 2011

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. Spouse with large savings 2. Split payment offer 3. Late taxes and debts 4. Elizabeth Warren 5. Timing of Roth IRA contributions 6. Funeral budgeting 7. Orange Loan from ING 8. Escrow account question 9. Loose change 10. Empty savings for bills? One of the most difficult challenges of being a …

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As I’ve mentioned a few times on The Simple Dollar, we use piggy banks and allowances with our young children in our home. We have a few simple rules that go along with this, mostly allowing them to freely spend part of their allowance while they save another part of their allowance for longer-term goals (and our oldest has a few other restrictions as well). The amounts we’re talking about are small – we give them fifty cents per week …

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A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I was working in collaboration with a friend on a site focused on board and card gaming, and I also promised to give you guys updates on any progress on the site. Unfortunately, my friend has made the decision to drop out of the project, mostly out of a desire to not have to commit to any sort of standard writing schedule. The idea of having a set writing schedule, coupled with a …

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Over the past weekend, I had a long conversation with a man in our community who was nearing retirement age. He felt comfortable about his own coming retirement, but he seemed very pessimistic that his children would ever be ready to retire. “They just don’t know how to save money,” he told me. I told him that, although I agreed with him that young people should save more, there is also a strong case that it is much more difficult …

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Quite often, in our day to day lives, we interact with people who spend with reckless abandon and don’t think for a moment about the long-term financial implications of what they’re doing – or, when they do think about it, they simply believe that someone or something will take care of it for them in the future. For those of us who really understand the tremendous value of getting our financial houses in order, this can be incredibly frustrating, particularly …

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“So, what’s The Simple Dollar about?” people will ask me when I tell them what I do for a living. “Oh, it’s mostly about getting your life straight with money as a big part of the equation,” I say. “I talk about things like frugality and how you can use them to pay off your debts and get some freedom in your life.” They then look at me like I’m from another planet and often follow that with, “I don’t …

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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. Student loans after marriage 2. Parents in financial trouble 3. 401(k) and index funds 4. Best PS3 game bargains 5. Furnace savings? 6. Used cell phones 7. Buying board games 8. Financially irresponsible parents 9. Achieving goals 10. Roth investment questions For me, Valentine’s Day is another one of those days …

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Review: Getting More

February 14 2011

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. One aspect of getting a good deal that I do not enjoy is the negotiation process. I’ve gotten over my unwillingness to negotiate at all. My problem now is that I’m never sure if I’m negotiating too firmly. I tend to walk away from …

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My Story

February 13 2011

Many readers of The Simple Dollar have come here over the years to get ideas on personal finance, improving their life, improving their career, and improving their use of money. Although many of the articles heavily include details from my own life, I don’t really have a great full summary on why I write The Simple Dollar. How am I qualified to write such a site? Where did I come from? So, let’s address all of that. For starters, I’m …

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This past week, I was fairly irked by a tweet by a high-profile Twitter denizen that basically said “you’re a loser if you’ve ever cut your own hair.” Simply put, it’s another perpetuation of the idea that somehow frugality is uncool. So, let’s start out with a confession. Hi. My name is Trent. I have a wife and three children. I live a pretty normal life. Over the past fifteen years or so, I’ve cut my own hair at least …

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