Updated on 04.14.10

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: TrentHamm.com Edition

Trent Hamm

Over the past year, I’ve been experimenting a lot with my personal website, TrentHamm.com. Should it just be a puff piece that promotes me? Should I have some long essays or short stories on there?

What I eventually realized, though, is that the thing I enjoy doing the most is simply sharing interesting links on all kinds of stuff – sports, science, politics, personal growth, religion, books, and so on – and then adding my own comments. I realized this because I often find that putting together these weekly roundups is my favorite post I do on The Simple Dollar all week, because it gives me an excuse to read what others are writing and add a bit of my own thoughts.

So, if you go to TrentHamm.com now, that’s exactly what you’ll find. You’ll find little bits of stuff – mostly links to things that interest me, but also quotes that inspire me and other things here and there, including updates on my life. In fact, that’ll probably be the first place I say anything when our upcoming baby arrives sometime later this month.

Check it out. I hope you’ll visit it every once in a while.

Beware of the Expensive-Gym-Membership Effect This is something of a video-ized version of this older post. I tend to agree that buying something in itself won’t make your life any better – it can only serve to heighten something you already enjoy. If it doesn’t do that, then it’s almost always a waste of money. (@ happiness project)

21 Best Pieces of Money Advice This is a really solid, though-provoking, diverse list of ideas. (@ cnn money via free money finance)

Letting Go to Succeed In order to truly succeed at life, there are a lot of things that a person has to let go of. Past failures. Self-doubt. The list goes on and on. (@ pick the brain)

How to Design Your Circle of Friends I’m a big believer in the idea of choosing friends that bring out the best in who you are rather than bringing out the worst. Such friends will always help you walk the path to a better life. (@ dumb little man)

Would You Rather Receive a Refund or Owe More Taxes? I would far, far rather owe more taxes (as long as there were no extra penalties for doing so) than to receive a refund. Owing more taxes means I kept more money in my own savings throughout the year, whereas receiving a refund means I gave a free loan to Uncle Sam. (@ consumerism commentary)

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  1. Susie says:

    Okay, so I went to check out your personal website and all it has is a quote by Ethel Watts Mumford. What’s up with that?

  2. Johanna says:

    On taxes: Considering that keeping money in a savings account these days is not all that different from giving a free loan to a bank, I don’t see what the big deal is. I’m not one to deliberately overpay my taxes throughout the year in order to get a several-thousand-dollar refund, but it’s not a terrible idea for people who have trouble saving up several thousand dollars by other means.

  3. todo es bien says:

    Conceptually, I can understand the preference for owing rather than paying taxes. However, behaviorally, if I receive a lump sum it is more likely that I will save/invest it. If i receive an extra $20 a week I am more likely to just spend it. That of course does not make sense, but it tracks to my real world behavior. This year taking the 4k the government is sending me back and investing every cent of it. Would I have done that if I received $333 a month more income. Nope. I suppose you could argue that it cost me $150 or so in lost interest, and you would be correct. I would say WHAT YOU DID with the money far outweighs WHEN you did something with it. (assuming a relatively short time frame like a year)

  4. This is the first year we owed taxes. It was intentional. It was also a bit painful but I like that the government wasn’t holding my money all year. If you have the will-power I say go for it and take a pass on the refund next year.

  5. Sara says:

    If I knew exactly how much I would have to pay in taxes, I certainly wouldn’t choose to overpay and give the government an interest-free loan. The problem is that I don’t know how much I will have to pay in taxes, and if I’m going to be surprised, I’d rather have a pleasant surprise than an unexpected expense. It gives me peace of mind to know that I will be in a better financial position after I file my taxes.

  6. Brittany says:

    There’s also the issue that much of what people receive as a refund are tax credits (if you’re getting that $3000 mentioned as an article in a refund without a lot of child tax credit, first time home buyer credits, etc. you’ve got to have screwed up withholding somewhere). Some credits you can get in advance a bit at a time (like EIC… maybe Making Work Pay) instead of in a refund, but to me that seems like a gamble, since taking a credit in advance is making a bet that nothing (either policy or your personal situation) will change.

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