The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: PBS Mormon Documentary Edition

PBS is currently airing a documentary entitled “The Mormons,” focusing on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It’s incredibly informative and is doing a good job of reaffirming some ideas I had about the church, but completely erasing some others. I’ll be doing some serious blog searching today because I’d love to read commentary of members of the church on the documentary. Anyway, on with some personal finance posts.

10 Ways To Organize And Simplify Your Finances Really, it’s more “simplify” than “organize,” but it’s a nice list and an interesting read. (@ the digerati life)

Why I Say Buy A Big New House Don’t tempt me… please, don’t. (@ personal finance advice)

How Long Should You Keep Financial Documents? Well, as I’ve moved to digital storage, my current answer is “forever,” because I see no reason to delete them. (@ cash money life)

The Simple Dollar Retro: Nourishment on a Desperate Income This was the first post on The Simple Dollar that became really popular with readers. Basically, it’s an outline of some extreme ways I’ve used to eat when there was no money.

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  1. Brettn McKay says:

    You should check out or They’re mormon blogs that have some open threads going about the show. As a mormon, I thought the documentry was very well done. I think you’ll find many mormons who weren’t very pleased with it because they focused too much on Mountain Meadows Massacre and polygamy. Mormons are pretty self concious about their image. But they’re issues that members need to face. I thought the poem that one journalist used to describe how mainstream mormons feel about polygamy hit it right on the head:

    I was going up the stair,
    I met a man who wasn’t there.
    He wasn’t there again today…
    Oh how I wish he’d go away.

    Anyway, looking forward to tonight’s show.
    Brett McKay

  2. Alex says:

    I thought the PBS documentary last night was great. I’m interested to see what they find interesting about Mormons today, as I hear that they’ll be focusing on that a bit more in the second part tonight. When I tried to learn more about the people they interviewed for their documentary, I realized they had set up a great website at I’d certainly be interested in learning more about other religions, too, especially if all the documentaries had such a professional feel.

  3. ck_dex says:

    Thanks for the link to the “Buy a big house” blog. I generally agree with this writer that you shouldn’t aim low in house picking IF you intend to stay put for a while, if not permanently. Jonathan Clements, the Wall Street Journal personal finance columnist–and pretty frugal liver–says that in retrospect he wishes he had gone for more house because he’s spent the past several years on updates and remodelings that have been disruptive, if not more expensive than just buying a bigger house in the first place.

    I’ve made the same mistake. Twice, because we wanted to pay all cash for the houses instead of take out loans or cash out uncomfortable amounts of our non-retirement holdings. But I would only aim high if two conditions were met: the house payment could be met by one partner’s income of a two-income family, and if we were intending to stay for a very long (12+ years) time.

    One of the best bits of financial advice I ever read came from a writer who said that 2 decisions had saved him from the penury that so many of his colleagues encounter later in life when their productivity drops but their expenses are set high: he had married one good gal and stayed married; and they had bought a decent first house with a good amount of land in a good neighborhood, and had had the space to add to it over the years instead of moving around or trading up every few years.

  4. Thought you might like to see a good blog written by a friend of mine, and his commentary about the PBS special.

  5. Trent, Thanks for putting up my “how to simplify” list. I hope it helps you/your readers as it will me.

    Here’s an angle on the “buy a big house” advice, and it’s the “stretch to buy the biggest house” advice: I’ve heard this time and again from real estate brokers I’ve dealt with — that this is the way to go. I personally went this route 6 years ago when we moved to a new house. We had a budget in mind and ultimately ended up paying 50% more than what we wanted on the house of our dreams. It was worth every penny — but of course, I say that now after 6 years and healthy appreciation in the housing market. It also turned out that those 6 years were kind to us financially, so we ended up being able to settle in and comfortably afford the house’s requirements all this time.

    However, it would be harder to stand by this advice in a challenging market. When the market bottoms (you’ll know from the sentiment around you as well as your gut), I’ll say yes, buy the house at the top end of your budget, but not any time sooner. If you are unsure about when this is happening, then I’d stick to the budget. Your decision depends on how optimistic you are going forward: with your income, obligations and the market.

  6. The work and the glory says:

    This morning I read an article stating that“ The unexpectedly large fundraising total raised by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in the first quarter of 2007 had less to do with a“ Mormon network” than with the former Massachusetts governor’ s business acumen and strong ties with the financial community nationwide, according to political analysts.”

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