sand running through fingers

Different people approach personal finance in different ways. Some people simply like to follow “rules,” like “put 10% of your money toward retirement” or “spend less than you earn.” They do this out of an understanding that if they follow this rule, they will be in good financial shape in the future. Other people hire financial advisors to help them plot out their future plans. They nod yes to the plan that the advisor comes up with and then trust …

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The quality of your credit reports and credit scores has become more important than you’ll ever know. Your credit reports and credit scores can impact a loan or credit card application, a job application, a new insurance policy, and even a new utility account. As a result, learning how to earn and maintain great credit should be at the top of your financial to-do list. Unfortunately, misinformation can trip you up on your journey toward better credit, and credit myths …

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What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to summaries of five or fewer words. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. Certifications for my career 2. Cooking in tiny efficiency apartment 3. Pay-as-you-go cell phone companies 4. Vehicle depreciation question 5. Selling old books 6. Repairing a leaky tent 7. Can’t trust husband with money 8. Feeling pointless 9. Breaking out of partying mindset 10. CNBC problems 11. Discounted …

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Target-date retirement funds were originally created by Barclays in 1993 as a way to make it easier for regular investors to get access to a high-quality, highly diversified investment portfolio. These days they are widely available in 401(k)s and other employer plans, as well as IRAs and regular investment accounts. They’ve greatly simplified investing in many ways, but are they always the right choice? This is an especially important question given that they’re often the default investment option in company …

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I never really learned to appreciate summer as an adult until I became a mother. But now that I have two kids – and especially now that they’re ages 5 and 7 – the magic of summer is once again fresh in my mind. As a child, summer breaks felt as if they went on forever. Along with my brother and sister, I would spend countless hours outside playing ball, looking for crayfish in the nearby creek, and getting as …

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Once a month (or so), I share a dozen things that have inspired me to greater personal, professional, and financial success in my life. I hope they bring similar success to your life. 1. Marcus Aurelius and the power of your mind “You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” — Marcus Aurelius I touched on Marcus Aurelius earlier this week during my article about the value of stoicism in personal finance, …

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When it comes to student loan debt, there are myriad ways to pay it down and pay it off. You can go about it the old-fashioned way, choosing the standard 10-year repayment plan. Conversely, you can extend or reconfigure your repayment so it stretches out much longer – even up to 25 years – to lower your monthly out-of-pocket expense. Some people refinance their student loans to score a lower interest rate with better terms. And still others are eligible for certain government …

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When I first graduated from college, I was lucky enough to get a pretty good job almost immediately. In fact, my first day at that new job was literally nine days after my college graduation day. My starting salary at that job blew away my earnings up to that point. In fact, it was higher than the earning level of my parents at the time. Even better than that, it was pretty clear that this job held some real opportunity …

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Some of you may remember that, a few years ago, I wrote a three part series on Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay Self-Reliance. I read it for the first time almost twenty years ago and not only has it had a tremendous impact on my life ever since, it’s also triggered a lifelong interest in philosophy and how it can impact how I choose to live my life. Perhaps more than any other topic, I’ve found incredible amounts of personal value …

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If you’d like to earn some extra pocket cash — and who wouldn’t? — the internet is a treasure trove of viable options to do just that. With a connection to the web, you can jumble together an array of part-time jobs – from renting out a room in your home on Airbnb to running errands or shopping for your neighbors through apps like TaskRabbit, Postmates, or InstaCart. Heck, you can even buy and resell items (or sell your old …

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