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Whenever I meet someone face to face and they ask what I do, I tell them I’m a writer and that I mostly write about money from the perspective of the average person, looking at how normal people make ends meet and can get ahead in the world, maybe even achieving a nice retirement or even early retirement. Most peoples’ eyes glaze over at that point (not necessarily out of boredom, but because it’s not a conversation you typically have …

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“Today Show” financial editor Jean Chatzky tweeted on Wednesday what appeared to be a simple bit of retirement planning advice. “By the time you’re 30, aim to have 1x your annual income set aside for retirement,” she tweeted. “At 40, 3x; at 50, 6x; at 60, 8x; and by retirement, 10x.” However, Twitter clawed back with snark, sarcasm, and outright disbelief. “Are you aware how irrelevant this advice is for actual 30-year-olds up to their ears in student debt?” tweeted …

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Sometimes, I’ll get a message or an email from a reader that starts off like this… Hi Trent! Love your site! I have a financial problem that I hope you can help me with. I’m 33, my wife is 30. We have a combined income of $300K. We own a home worth $700K and have about $1.5M in stocks and cash. Right off the bat, I can’t help but compare myself to that story. Sarah and I are both a …

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These cards go beyond points and miles, offering you cool freebies. Credit cards are a great way to build credit and establish your financial independence. They can also be a way to earn rewards or cash back. While the best rewards credit cards revolve around using the card and earning points or miles, some cards offer free — yes, free! — perks. Here are four free credit card perks you may not realize you have… 1. Free museum entry As …

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Now that it’s getting colder outside, you’re probably looking for some frugal ways to fill your time indoors. One of my favorite ways to kill an afternoon while learning something new is curling up on the couch with a good book. New or old? An easy fiction read or a thick, detail-packed self-help book? Straightforward nonfiction or an entertaining plot? It almost doesn’t matter. The type of book you choose for fall and winter reading can and should depend on your mood …

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In the past, I’ve mentioned the strategy of using a wishlist to curb my spontaneous spending impulses. It turns out that the simple act of adding something I want to a wishlist is an incredibly effective way to cut through momentary desires, keeping me from spending money on something I might want in the moment but that I’ll end up forgetting and/or regretting over the long term. It’s a really simple strategy that takes advantage of a psychological tic that …

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It almost seems like, overnight, I transformed from a fun 20-something to a middle-aged mom pushing 40 years old. I’m not sure I’m any more mature than I was, but I sure do have a lot more responsibility. As my kids have grown, I’ve come to the realize they’re not just my babies; they’re actual people. Everything I do now – and don’t do – could very well shape the lives they get to live. The behavior I model every day is …

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When I first started really turning my financial life around, I was of the genuine belief that doing so was going to bring about incredible positive change in my life. I envisioned this glowing future where all of the things I was worried about in life had melted away. We were going to live in a beautiful house. I was going to have a low-stress job. My marriage was going to be great. My children were going to be great. …

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The recent Equifax data breach has many people talking about privacy and what you can do to protect your personal information. While it’s true that you should try to safeguard your private data from people with bad intentions, it’s also true that there’s a very good chance your information is going to be exposed at some point. Equifax’s data breach alone just put the personal information of some 145.5 million U.S. consumers at risk. According to reports from Identity Theft Resource Center, over …

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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. Bad credit and property sales 2. Escaping paycheck to paycheck 3. Wealthy obligation to community 4. Warm everyday socks for winter 5. iPhone X question 6. Dissatisfied with discount grocers 7. Box of old bills 8. Amazon Camperforce thoughts? 9. Cheap popcorn popper 10. Taekwondo question 11. Handling …

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