The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: No Politics Edition

The election is over. Where do we go from here? Barack Obama might be President-elect, but that doesn’t mean that everything has suddenly changed in the world.

After two years of presidential campaigning, we wake up in an America that’s really not much different than the one we woke up to yesterday. We’re still (on average) in quite a bit of debt. We’re still (on average) not saving for retirement. We’re still wasting time at work and wasting time in our personal lives. We’re still trapped by the same old fears, and we’re still choosing to limit ourselves based on what others think of our limitations.

Yesterday, America pretty clearly voted for change, for better or worse. But today is when the real change begins, and it begins with you.

Change we can believe in? That’s yesterday’s news. Today, the real change begins: the change within each of us.

What kind of change will that be for you? For me, I’m changing my work habits and my work goals. I’m going full speed ahead on a big project that I intend to give away in a few months. And I’m focusing more on the charities and causes that are important to me.

That kind of change isn’t brought by a politician promising hope. It’s brought from within me and from within you, too.

That’s change I can believe in while leaving the politics at the door.

The Save $1000 in 30 Days Challenge Ramit is creating a list of thirty essential savings tactics that he believes will add up to $1,000 in savings a month for people who really strive for it. I particularly like tip #4, involve your friends. (@ i will teach you to be rich)

On Shaving Equipment This one inspired me because it made me realize how much of an impact I can have as a frugal role model. If I use classic (frugal) shaving equipment and teach my son to do the same, he’ll save money his entire life. (@ gather little by little)

Simple Steps for Organizing a Home Office My home office recently went through something of a remodel that really helped me be more effective at work. (@ unclutterer)

Tipd This site is something of a personal finance link collector. You might find it of interest.

Get Art for $4 Every once in a while, I see something that really inspires me in some fashion. This one inspired me to work on some frugal home decor ideas (similar to this one, except with paint and stencils instead of an engraver). (@ ikea hacker)

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57 thoughts on “The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: No Politics Edition

  1. Curt says:

    The election is over. But, the economy problems that face our nation are staggering. It will be interesting to see who Obama recruits as his economy advisors.

  2. Catana says:

    I get tickled every time someone mentions the $1,000 in 30 days challenge. I live on less than $1,000 a month, but manage to save at least $20.00 every month. I’ll never be rich, don’t care to be rich, but I’m out of debt and living comfortably. It’s very hard for me to understand people who make excellent salaries and still manage to dig themselves into such financial holes that they have no discretionary income to put away.

  3. Joe says:

    “After two years of presidential campaigning, we wake up in an America that’s really not much different than the one we woke up to yesterday.”

    Trent, I think you are really belittling what America has achieved – little more than 40 years ago blacks couldn’t marry whites and little more than 50 years ago black children couldn’t go to the same schools as white children, having a black man elected as president is truly an epochal day for racial unity in America and worldwide.

  4. MikiP says:

    Dear Catana, the sad truth is that the more money you have, the more you tend to spend it. It’s modern society. That said I completely understand your feelings about people with a lot of income!

  5. Susy says:

    I’m not as elated about this as most, but I’m more of a realist and a bit jaded by the whole political scene.

    Will we all be able to come together, put aside our differences and still be working at it next year at this time? Sadly I have my doubts, only time will tell. It’s up to the American people, not the president, to make things better and we can start with our attitudes and work ethics. I however, think this won’t happen and things will remain the same. I hope American’s prove me wrong and this is the boost they needed to make a change for the better individually.

    I think we’ll still be blaming others for our problems and not facing the reality that we make our own destiny. Some will have trouble respecting our new president because he doesn’t promote their beliefs (just as so many have over the last 8 years have done). When we’ve lost respect and consideration for each other, even a great moment like this will be darkened by the fundamental flaws of human nature that many people cannot overcome.

  6. Trent,
    I am very intrigued at the consumerist world that we live in today.
    The USA just elected the first ever African American President and when I turned on the news this morning the first thing I heard was “What will Michelle Obama wear as the First Lady”
    Are you kidding me!
    That is truly sad on so many levels.

  7. Kalinda says:

    Thank you Trent, I very much enjoyed your post. Am I excited Obama was elected? Yes! But really people’s personal finances are largely in their hands. So yes, today is very much like yesterday in that if people want to see positive changes in their finances (and other aspects of their life) they need to be the force for change.

  8. Mule Skinner says:

    Something profound has suddenly happened. For the first time in my life I can look my children in the eye and **honestly** say “In America you can be anything you are capable of and are willing to work for”.

  9. Troy says:

    I think many people will find that “change” is typical political posturing which has been a theme of presidential candidates for centuries.

    What people will soon realize is that change will have to come from themselves. The Government will not save you. Uplifting speeches will not change you. Four years form now, the only thing that will have changed is the individuals who did it themselves.

  10. Johanna says:

    @Mule Skinner: So your children are all boys, then?

  11. Lauren says:

    Amen Johanna!

  12. Sheila says:

    Johanna and Lauren, you are so right. I said that I hope that Palin will be opposing Hilary in 2012 and was told that there was no way the parties would let 2 women run against each other. My question – why not? – men have been doing it for centuries.

  13. J says:

    I’d think the earliest we’d see Hillary running for President would be in 2016. I can’t see Obama not running for a second term. He’s young, and it’s fairly uncommon for the incumbent not to run again.

  14. Finola says:

    I have to second those that are noting the very real change that has taken place – that of a real symbol of hope and genuine possibility for all non-white persons. We’ve watched this possibility on TV shows for a while and although Hollywood has been eerily accurate in it’s portending of events in the past, it is still just show business until it happens. My one better choice would have been for the double whammy and a woman VP!

    In the Caribbean today many are talking of what this change in America gives us – we’re not (mostly) foolish enough to think that a Black President will not put America’s interest first. We know that the often conflicting needs of nations where the majority are of his skin colour will still unfortunately, often remain in conflict with America’s interests.

    But we are sure of the very real change made for Black and non-white people all over the world, if a Black man can achieve this in America – where most of us see life as hardly any more fair to many of it’s citizens than anywhere else in our imperfect world – then we can at last say to our youth, look, you see, you can do this.

    And we hope that his term in office will show this new chapter to be one where this is proven, where many of the negatives a lot of us perceive in the realities of what is the USA – ‘leader’ of the ‘free’ world – are indeed changed for the better for Americans and the world alike.

    In the meantime, we need to take a leaf from this book and get on with our own personal changes and growth achievements, for in my opinion, it’s these individual actions that become the groundswell that sets the scene for moments like this.

  15. Anna says:

    @catana #2: I too am amused by the $1,000 in 30 days challenge. I went to that link, clicked on another link in that article, and found a woman who had saved (whoopee!) so much money by cutting out her gardener ($40/month), her manicures ($50/month), her gym membership ($30/month), and Starbucks ($60/month), among other economies.

    Give me a break.

  16. Kim says:

    Well, saving for retirement (or any saving for that matter) just got harder – our taxes are going to up and up and up….. This is the start of a brand new chapter, all right – the book’s title: “The Decline of the Middle Class.

  17. Catana and Anna…I feel the same way. I don’t think there is any possible way for me to spend $1000 less this month.

    Amy Dacyzyn used to say that the amount of money someone could save on their groceries depended on how stupidly they had shopped before.

    I can’t really save $1000 extra this month because I’m not spending $1000 on stupid, extraneous stuff. Pretty much every last thing I buy is a necessity and not a frivolity.

  18. Ramit Sethi says:

    (I’m the author of the 30 Day Challenge.)

    I want to point out that “saving $1,000″ doesn’t just mean you have to cut $1,000 of costs. The CEO model I’m using means you can save by: Cutting costs, Earning More, or Optimizing your spending (like today’s tip on optimizing your cellphone bill).

    In any case, maybe you can’t save $1,000 — but I bet you could save $100. Or $200. Or whatever. Wouldn’t that be worth it?

  19. Corey Daley says:

    I think that it’s great that we have a black president, but I think it’s even better that we have a president with an IQ over 80 now.

    I have decided to save money by growing a beard instead of shaving all the time. :) I also cut my own hair with a set of electric clippers. I buy a new set every 2 years for about $20ish, and plan on cutting my sons hair until he is old enough to buy his own haircuts! (He is currently 2 years old, and it took a few tries to get him to not be afraid of the clippers)

    The blog is great Trent, I read it most every day and my wife & I are slowly working towards being debt free (or at least not so much in debt). Keep up the great work!
    ~Corey

  20. @ Ramit:
    Point taken. I think we all understand the frugality is a way of life and as a blogger I also understand that you have to write an appealing headline in order to catch people’s attention.
    If saving $1000/month is that headline for your target audience then you hit the nail on the head.
    We readers must be wise enough realize that it doesn’t matter what number you chose for the headline, the premise of the article remains.

  21. Battra92 says:

    I just hope to never hear about the election again … until 2010. This two year election cycle was awful and frankly I am left with a bitter resentment towards politics, Kool-Aid drinkers, the media, pollsters etc.

    Anyway …

    Classic wetshaving is the best! What sorts of equipment do you use. I’m using a hand me down razor that my grandmother gave me which (though not used in over 20 years) I boiled and soaked in disinfectant and thoroughly cleaned. I have another one I bought at an antique shop which I should boil up (despite it being near mint) and find a way to really disinfect it since I don’t know the source.

  22. Julia says:

    I see a whole lot of people voting just because he was a black man and not about the issues. If McCain had been talking about the exact same things he would have rightfully been blacklisted as a communist. I plan of saving a thousand by cashing my 401′s, and IRA’s before they are taking from us as they are planning on doing. I am cutting out all spending but bare necessities.

  23. BethBeth says:

    Julia,

    While it was a historical vote last night & one I’m proud of, I voted for Obama because there is no way I would ever want to see McCain in office and Hilary wasn’t running.

  24. Matt says:

    Yes, what happened in the election was historical and symbolic. But Symbols don’t get you out of debt. Symbols don’t help you save for YOUR retirement.

    Yeah, you can look at your child and say “You can be anything”, but if you spend more than you make, you will be just as broke as you were beforehand.

    Symbols don’t effect reality (although at times they can represent it). The issues that existed before this event happened, still exist now. So if you want to make a difference in YOUR life, get to work for YOUR “change”!

    This is a good post

  25. BethBeth says:

    Yes we can!

  26. Johanna says:

    @Julia: Is it Obama’s talk of a progressive income tax that makes him a communist, or is there something else? Because, you know, we already have a progressive income tax. Does that make George Bush a communist too?

  27. Mule Skinner says:

    @Johanna: I don’t want to get into a shouting match here but I have daughters. While they are aware that no woman has yet been POTUS, they also see possibilities as demonstrated by the numbers of female senators, representatives, and governors currently in office or about to rise to it. They also know about foreign women heads of state such as Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, Benazir Bhutto, Margaret Thatcher, Megawati Soekarnoputri, Corazon Aquino, Indira Ghandi, Golda Meir, Angela Merkel, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

  28. Isabel says:

    Trent, I’m disappointed in this post; and I’d be surprised if many others didn’t agree with me. I know you probably don’t care, but I have to say it anyway.

    “Barack Obama might be President-elect, but that doesn’t mean that everything has suddenly changed in the world.” Um yes, it does. To me and millions of others, EVERYTHING has changed — in a subtle way that doesn’t count to you perhaps, but today begins truly a different era. Last night was the most incredible thing that’s happened to this country in my lifetime. Your wet blanket post doesn’t change that; but it does make me sad that you seem determined not to even recognize, let alone share in, this moment.

  29. Lola says:

    Yeah, Trent, I agree with Isabel. It’s very sad to see the US and the whole world celebrating Obama’s victory and visiting a blog you like and reading: “election’s over, no big deal”.
    All I can say is congratulations, America! You’ve finally come to your senses.
    http://www.escrevalolaescreva.blogspot.com

  30. Veronica says:

    I agree with Isabel, too! What happened last night was HUGE! My in-laws attended segregated schools, this was not THAT long ago. This country has come so far from those times. The fact that Obama will be our next president is a big deal, we made history last night. Yay America. Si Se Puede!

  31. Kathy says:

    I agree with you Trent 100%. Nothing has changed. But I agreed with your philosophy yesterday, before the results rolled in. I didn’t drink the Obama koolaid and have ALWAYS known that government wouldn’t, couldn’t and shouldn’t save me. The only big deal that this election brings that matters at all is that blacks will no longer have someone to point at and blame. Because really, how you gonna blame the “man” when you are the “man?” And before someone cries “racist”, I will point out that I have never seen such racism as permitted by the black community in this election. How do you explain 90+% of blacks voting for Obama? Hello, they voted for him because he was black, now that’s racist.

  32. April411 says:

    Wow Kathy…clearly you have no idea what true racism is. I don’t expect Obama to save this country (whatever that means) but I hope that he can get us moving in a positive direction. I am disappointed in this post as well. I know that Trent does not discuss his political beliefs on this site but I can deduce them by what he writes. It is clear that his candidate lost last night. Sour Grapes?

  33. justin says:

    I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
    Martin Luther King, Jr.

    All I can see is people voted for obama because he is black, not because of his character. (or lack of)

    I know everyone will jump me now because they think Obama is the messiah. I don’t care. Obama wasn’t even born in the US. His black grandmother said she sa him born in kenya. Everyone in Kenya knows he was born there. I Know…. You are thinking, whatever, he was been in Hawaii. Yeah and the chinese gymnasts in the olympics were 16 too! Birth Certificates can be faked.

    Also Obama is pro choice(pro death)

    Obama and Biden lie all the time. Obama said he wanted to spread the wealth, and then biden said in an interview he didn’t say that.

    The American Dream?? LOL? My dream is to start a business and make a lot of money so obama can spread my wealth to all the people too lazy to work. Also, taking from the rich to give to the poor is stealing. Robin Hood was a thief too.

    Ok, everybody jump all over me now. I’m done posting, so you can say whatever you want about me.

  34. Shevy says:

    I’m quite surprised by this post and by the fact that you didn’t write about what it was like to work at the polls yesterday.

    I haven’t blogged about the election, but I’m in Canada and I try not to discuss politics or say how I vote online, in public or over the phone (i.e. when the candidates phone me and ask if I’ll support them).

    I believe very strongly that one of the biggest freedoms we have in a democratic nation is the ability to vote freely, which includes the right not to have to reveal that vote. That’s why it’s a secret ballot, to keep citizens from being pressured or intimidated.

    But you’ve discussed your ambition to eventually run for public office. People who are as interested in politics as you claim to be are generally very willing to discuss their political beliefs in public. In fact, isn’t it important that potential supporters be able to look back at your background and see how closely your beliefs align with theirs and how well your statements match your record (once you’re in office)?

    I know that politics, religion and big questions such as capital punishment, abortion and gay rights can generate an enormous amount of response on a blog, most of it highly polarized and often barely civil.

    But, if you really care about politics and hope to have a future in that area, I can’t understand why you would describe yourself as non-partisan and remain silent on the subject. That wouldn’t seem to be a stance that would draw potential supporters.

  35. Battra92 says:

    Lots of people drinking the Obama Kool-Aid here, but then the whole Blogosphere is full of it.

    Nothing historic happened. Just a peaceful transfer of power. It was historic the first few times but the 43rd time we take for granted.

    Seriously, can’t we talk about money and leave political crap on political sites. Barry isn’t going to sit down with you and teach you to live within your means. If anything expect more of the same from government where government (like any for profit business) just tries to grow.

    Now, about those classic razors …

  36. gerrell says:

    Trent, I’m a fan of your blog. I like your writing style, and I think you are very smart.

    This post, however, leaves me to wonder if you are also very naive, or just disingenuous. Surely you realized that your ‘nonpartisan’ post would draw VERY partisan reactions?

    I think it’s a good decision to leave politics out of your blog; money is neither blue nor red, it’s green. All of us, liberals, conservatives, and independents, can benefit from the tips and advice and money perspectives you offer. You potentially diminish your audience when you venture into politics because you’ll inevitably offend SOMEONE.

    Finally, I must disagree with you that America is “really not much different” than it was before. There IS a difference. It’s not a major, out-in-your-face difference, but a difference in perspective. Suddenly, government (indeed, democracy) at it’s highest and most powerful levels, seems within the reach of a greater and more diverse number of Americans. That’s HUGE. People who felt they had no place in the highest halls of power now have reason to believe that they CAN make a place there. This is not just about black people. It’s about women, and young people, asians, hispanics, etc. I don’t think I have the words or the eloquence to describe what the burgeoning possibilities feel like.

    So, though you may not perceive or appreciate the difference now evident in America, please don’t deny that there is one.

    Now, back to financial talk…

  37. Kathy says:

    April,
    Yes, I know what racism is. And we saw it clearly in this election. Obama was elected because of the color of his skin, not because of his character (which I would argue, he has none.)

    And Trent has already mentioned in previous posts that he was supporting Obama, unless that is he changed his mind after he realized that Obama was going to spread his wealth around….

    My 4 year old son sums it up perfectly with this knock-knock joke…
    Knock-knock
    Who’s there?
    Obama
    Obama who
    Exactly!

  38. Kathy says:

    One last thing for all of you who want to keep this post focused on the topic of finances…

    We now know just how much money you need to buy an American Presidency, just about 6.5 million will do it.

    Good to know.

  39. ObamaramaLog says:

    I’ve been on the losing end of most elections in my lifetime, so I get where all this negativity is coming from. It’s often hard to see the good in the candidate you’ve been vilifying for months on end. For all those that think Obama is going to take all your money away, calm down, the world is not coming to an end. Besides, tax increases will pale in comparison to the 40% we’ve just lost in the market–I think we’ve got a little more to worry about than whether your taxes are going up 3%. Grow up.

    Now to the rest of you that are inspired by the outcome of this election and the “uplifting speeches” so belittled above. I’m inspired to, like I’ve never been inspired by a politician before. No, obviously it’s not going to change those of you not inspired by Obama, but for many of the rest of us, we are changed. We view this nation in a new light. And you all should be celebrating that we feel this way, not trying to belittle our our inspiration.

    Some people go to blogs to be inspired about their finances, some go to church to be inspired about their spiritual lives, if we can be inspired by a leader, about the nation we live in, the rest of you should be cheering us on. After all, you’ve converted the “anti-American” parts of the nation to be “pro-American.” Shouldn’t you be happy too?

  40. KelBell says:

    Kathy, 90% of African-Americans voted for Obama and in any other election 90% of African-Americans would vote the Democrat ticket.
    That is not racism, that is voting for their beliefs.

    However you voted, it was a historic election and will be a tough presidency.

    Now is the time to move forward and work together. Both McCain and Obama encouraged Americans to put the election behind us and move forward in a spirit of non-partisanship.

    Things are not the same, and anyone who has lived with President Bush in office knows things can only get better!

  41. gerrell says:

    @ Kathy,

    -sigh- Despite what you’d obviously like to believe, the history of this country should make it fairly clear to anyone who cares to look that few things are given to black people because of the color of their skin. It is far more often a hindrance than a help.

    So disagree with Obama’s policies and positions to your heart’s great content, but please don’t believe for a moment that over half the electorate voted for a black man because he’s black.

    Surely you didn’t vote for John McCain because he’s white?

  42. Kevin says:

    Call me crazy (or naive) but I think the new administration has the capability to really bring this country together and provide true leadership and guidance, frankly something we haven’t had in awhile. I am hopeful, but realize it is not a one man job. I think Obama realizes this too and will surround himself with smart people.

  43. Kevin says:

    Kathy’s been reading too many crazy e-mail forwards, it appears.

    Anybody who doesn’t think this was a historic election is kidding themselves. I see this as not only giving hope to blacks that anything is possible, but women and every other non-white male group as well.

  44. Tony Katz says:

    White liberal guilt is deeper than I ever expected.

  45. J says:

    @Kathy,

    You’ve made up your mind about who you like (and that’s your business), but to indoctrinate your 4 year old, that’s another matter.

    We took our kids to vote, and told out 3.5 year old who we voted for, but we certainly didn’t demean the candidates or teach them to do so. I don’t know what political stripe my daughters will grow up with, I just want them to grow up and understand the importance of civil political discourse as well as voting for our leaders. The thing that terrifies me most in a democracy is seeing uncontested offices where the incumbent automatically wins.

    As McCain said several times on the campaign trail and in his concession speech, Obama is a decent man who loves America, and will be a good President. That they disagree on policy is something entirely different, and entirely acceptable. Cheap shots like “NObama” and a lot of the crap that gets forwarded in emails do nothing to add to the debate. I’ll also add that the same goes for “MCSame” and the lies that were eagerly forwarded about Palin. Thank goodness the fact checking sites and snopes exist, so I can send a response to people who forward things around.

  46. Johanna says:

    @Kathy: African Americans usually vote Democratic in overwhelming numbers. Kerry got 88% of the African American vote in 2004, and Gore got 90% in 2000. So the voter demographics this time around are not out of the ordinary, and certainly don’t prove that enormous numbers of people voted for Obama solely based on the color of his skin. But if some people are more than usually enthusiastic to finally have the chance to elect a President who looks like them, well, I don’t blame them for that at all.

  47. J says:

    @Kathy

    You really need to read up. Obama raised more like $600M.

    It might also serve you to read some of the commentary from conservatives who area actually thinking about the GOP can regain power and looking at the real causes behind McCain’s loss. Also keep in mind a significant number of congressional seats changed over, too, as well as a significant number of voters changing their part affiliation.

    McCain also made a number of strategic campaigning mistakes that cost him dearly. Those decisions are going to be heavily reviewed as lessons learned for the next go-round during the mid-term elections and in the next presidential run in 2012. Just like the way the Democrats reviewed how the GOP won the last two times around, and innovated to help this time around.

    This is however, not an easy process and it does involve some pretty big egos saying that they were wrong. It’s much easier to call names and blame it on the other party’s something or other.

  48. Johanna says:

    @Kevin: I’m a woman, and while I’m glad Obama won, I don’t see his election as doing much of anything to break down barriers for me and others of my gender. Sexism and racism work in very different ways, and if anything, the treatment of Senator Clinton and Governor Palin during this election cycle just goes to show that sexism is alive and well and largely unchallenged.

    Racism isn’t dead either, as a lot of the comments on this thread show. Certainly anything is possible for women and for Americans of non-European descent, but if we ignore the fact that the deck is still stacked against us, it’s at our own peril.

  49. deepali says:

    Tuesday night showed a shift in our collective conscience. Whether or not that shift is for the better or worse, we shall see. But perhaps a brief civics lesson is in order – the president does not make laws. There is an entire branch of government that does that, and yet another one that interprets. In that respect, nothing *has* changed – things will still move along mostly slowly.

    But a lot of people woke up Wednesday morning with a new found sense of hope, whether or not they voted for Obama. It’s not just about politics, it’s about achievement, and the fact that we can say that we elected a black man while the specter of slavery still hangs over us *is* a tremendous achievement.

    And yes, I think this affects us all – when there is a shift on a large scale like this, it filters down to the microlevel. When you think big about achievement, it makes it easier to think small. If a “racist” nation can elect a minority to the highest office, I can get out of debt.

  50. Kathy says:

    J, You are correct, he raised about 650 million. That makes it better?

    Deepali, I would not hasten to say that “Tuesday night showed a shift in our collective conscience.” There were 46% of us who did not “shift our conscience.”

    Gerrel, Of course I did not vote for McCain because he was white. I voted for him because of his character, his platform of a strong America, his tax and healthcare policies, his immigration policies for the millions of illegal immigrants, his honesty, his resistance to the socialistic ideas of “spreading the wealth” and most importantly, his EXPERIENCE. Why do you suppose the black people voted for Mr. O?

  51. Ryan says:

    African Americans historically vote Democratic at a rate of over 90% in almost EVERY Presidential elections. The Republican party does not, and has not reached out to the African American community, where as the Democrats have (arguing how much or if their voice is represented is another story). Educate yourself before you scream racism… It gets old. Plus being white is nothing to beat your chest and be proud of (or any ethnicity for that matter.

  52. Lola says:

    Gosh, it’s awful enough to know that racism is so strong. But it becomes even more awful when some white people not only deny their own racism but call black people racist! Justin, Kathy, please tell me you’re only kidding.

  53. gerrell says:

    @ Kathy

    Off the top of my head, I’d guess ‘the black people’ voted for Obama for the same reasons that ‘the white people’ and ‘the hispanic people’ and ‘the asian people’ and ‘the young people’ and ‘the old people’ voted for him. All of these people must have voted for him because he message resonated with them.

    And, as has been mentioned, black people largely tend Democratic in presidential races.

    Lastly, I’m sure you’ve been called racist before–I’m not going to level that charge at you. But I’m curious: have you ever wondered WHY you might be called such a thing? I guess I’m asking if you realize how your comments seem to others or if you are coming across differently than you intend.

  54. Sandy says:

    Hi Trent, I’m 28 single and about to become a mom. What would you recommend as a course of action for me? I’m about to end my time in the service in about a two months and my daughter will be here around thanksgiving. I’ve accumulated a nice cushion in the past five yrs although paying for my mom’s divorce took about 60k away from my daughter’s college fund. I’m investing in IRA, putting money away for a house n saving to finish off college myself. I’m way behind on my degree. I also want to work part time n attend school full time as well
    As spend as much time with my daughter as possible. All in theory of course, what do you think of my situation?

  55. Brian says:

    I sense someone is a *little* disappointed with the election outcome, and is expressing his sour grapes with “Election over, change will come for better or worse, yawn.”

    Please describe to me exactly how it could be change for the worse, given:
    2 ongoing wars, costing billions per month
    Largest financial meltdown since the Great Depression
    Largest financial bailout since the Great Depression
    U.S. actively torturing
    U.S. actively operating “black sites” around the world
    Abu Ghraib
    Guantanamo
    Signing statements used repeatedly to bypass the Constitution
    and the list goes on…

    Again, please explain how the change could be for the worse.

  56. Personally, I think the save $1,000 in one month is unreasonable for a lot of people. On a good month, I bring home $2,000. On a bad month, It’s more like $1,600. (I get bonused at work.) My rent is $525. I don’t think getting out of my lease to meet a challenge is a good financial move. And it doesn’t get much cheaper than $525 a month. My monthly medical expenses are around $295 a month. (This is with insurance, and this is non-negotiable. I found the medicine that works for me and the doctor that works for me.) If I have a good month, that leaves me $180 for the whole month, and I haven’t even gotten to my bills yet or food. If I have a bad month, that leaves me $220 short of goal, and I still haven’t eaten or paid bills yet. Even if I cut my cable and cell phone, I don’t think I could make it.

    I’m sure the math doesn’t add for a lot of people. I don’t have a mortgage, a car payment or kids to feed. And my credit card debt is fairly low. (And I’d have to give up the extra money I put towards this debt to meet this challenge.) This is like a crash diet for finance. Unless you have a certain income, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

  57. John Mark Ockerbloom says:

    “I plan of saving a thousand by cashing my 401’s, and IRA’s before they are taking from us as they are planning on doing.”

    “They” in this case is one academic testifying at a Congressional hearing, who wrote a paper advocating ending tax shelters on 401k contributions and earnings.

    Not a good idea, in my opinion, but lots of people testifying at Congressional hearings have lots of different ideas, good and bad. This one doesn’t seem to have been endorsed either by Congress as a whole or by Obama.

    But let’s suppose that Congress was convinced to pass such a law, and Obama signed it. The effect would be roughly equivalent to being forced to cash out your 401k now (which would also make future earnings taxable), but with the taxes on what you’ve already accumulated deferred until you draw on it, and without the 10% penalty for early withdrawal.

    In order to avoid this feared outcome, you’re proposing cashing out the whole thing, which not only subjects only future earnings to taxation, but subjects your accumulated contributions to *immediate* taxation, *and* imposes an extra 10% penalty on top of that.

    Whatever your politics, this doesn’t make sense from a financial standpoint. Don’t let political fearmongering rush you into making bad decisions with your nest egg.

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