Getting Started With The Simple Dollar

Over the last several months, The Simple Dollar has picked up a lot of readers, as you can all probably tell if you’ve been watching that subscriber number on the upper right corner of each page. Because of this, I thought it would be worthwhile to step back and give an overview of The Simple Dollar to those who are new to the site.

I’ve been reading a long time! This is boring! If you’re a long time reader, please leave a comment about how you found the site and any posts on here you thought were particularly good and encouraged you to become a reader. In a few days, I intend to highlight this post on the site for new visitors to read so that they can find some great material to start with.

My Background

My name is Trent Hamm. I live in rural Iowa with my wife, my son (who is 21 months old as of August 2007), and soon, my daughter (who is due in September 2007).

Throughout my life, I made a lot of financial mistakes, which I illustrated in detail in my series Road to Financial Armageddon. In April 2006, I almost went bankrupt and was drowning in debt, but my infant son inspired me to start turning things around and learning about personal finance. In October 2006, I started The Simple Dollar to record many of the things I was learning and to put myself out there as an example of how to turn one’s financial life around.

I think part of the appeal of The Simple Dollar is that I’m willing to put myself out there. If I make mistakes, I don’t mind talking about them. If I make good moves, I don’t mind talking about them, either. I share what I learn and I share my bad moves, too. If my readers think I made a mistake, I don’t delete their comments – I leave them up there for everyone to read because anyone that might visit the article in the future might want to learn from it. I have a tendency to debate, though, and will often pop in in the middle of comments, particularly on controversial posts.

What Else Do I Need To Know?

Almost always, I post four times each weekday, twice on Saturday, and three times on Sunday. Each weekday starts off with a Morning Roundup, a brief collection of interesting articles I found the previous day along with some commentary. I also generally review a personal finance book each Friday and lately I’ve also been reviewing a personal development or productivity book each Sunday evening (the “third” post on Sunday).

If you have a question, please don’t hesitate to contact me. You’re also strongly encouraged to leave a comment any time you have an opinion on a post, whether it be an agreement or a contrary perspective. Please do note that if your message doesn’t ask a question of some sort, though, I may not respond – I get tons of messages each day and the best way I have for dealing with them is only responding when a response seems obvious, and sometimes it’s difficult to even do that.

What Should I Read First?

I’d probably start with Road to Financial Armageddon, which gives a brief outline of how I got where I am today. It’s a pretty chilling tale and I think it’s also familiar to many twenty- and thirtysomething Americans who are going through the same experiences. Another insightful post about my early financial experience is this one.

Another series well worth reading is 31 Days To Fix Your Finances, which is basically a month-long program to re-evaluate your financial situation.

I’d also check out the posts recommended by readers in the comments here.

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