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Debt


  • Taking control of your mortgage debt (17 comments)
    This article is by GRS contributor Richard Barrington.

    I remember my first mortgage. Getting it seemed like a bureaucratic hurdle on the way toward buying a home, and I couldn’t wait to get the paperwork done and out of the way. By the time we bought our second house, I was 10 years older and wiser. I played a much more active role in choosing a mortgage and negotiating terms that time, and saved us…

  • 7 ways financial goals are like dieting (5 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Richard Barrington.

    Dieting is not a popular topic around the holiday season; but perhaps with caloric temptations everywhere you turn, this is the best time to be thinking about it. Similarly, the holidays are a time of year when people tend to let themselves go financially, so a reminder about financial discipline might also be timely. After all, working toward financial goals is like dieting. I recently wrote…

  • 6 things that help me stop worrying about money (almost) (23 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Richard Barrington.

    It might be the incessant nagging of an unpaid bill, or a stomach-churning plunge in the stock market. Chances are, there are things that occur periodically that make you worry about money. Join the club. Even having a decent nest egg of savings and a solid financial plan is no cure for money worries because the more you know about personal finance, the more you understand…

  • Student loan repayment and the ethics of personal finance (12 comments)

    [This is the third installment in a series examining repaying student loans. Part I was a best practices guide for repaying student loans. Part II discussed an alternative payment plan, Revised Pay As You Earn or REPAYE.]

    This article is by staff writer Honey Smith.

    Quick Links How is AGI determined? How can I lower my AGI? Is it ethical to artificially lower my AGI? Is it smart to artificially lower my AGI? In…

  • What else can young people do to jumpstart their lives? (26 comments)
    This article is by editor Linda Vergon.

    According to a new Pew Research Center analysis, the number of young women living with relatives is rising – to levels not seen since the 1940s. Fully 36.4 percent of young women between the ages of 18 to 34 are not financially capable of striking out on their own these days – even though five times more of them are college-educated today. The gender gap It’s no…

  • Tailor your circumstances to your strategy (3 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Honey Smith.

    Tailor your circumstances to your strategy. Sounds a bit backwards, doesn’t it? Most of the time, we take the path of least resistance and tailor our strategy to our circumstances. And that can certainly work if all your finances need is some minor tweaking. But if you have a large goal in mind or you need to address debt, you may need a different approach. Prioritizing…

  • Pay off student loans or invest — how to move toward funding retirement (30 comments)
    This article is by staff writer William Cowie.

    In my recent post, “Why investing can be better than paying down debt,” Dianecy’s comment raised a question faced by many: What do you do about investing when you have student loans? It is quite the dilemma, actually, because the best time to start funding your retirement is when you’re still in your 20s. And as anyone who has been reading Get Rich Slowly for more…

  • Why investing can be better than repaying debt (46 comments)
    This article is by staff writer William Cowie.

    It’s a difficult choice: On the one hand, you understand the need to begin investing early to make the miracle of compounding work for you; on the other hand, you know that, when you have debt, making those payments hampers the ability to harness the miracle of compounding. So, what should you do with that $500 you have — invest it or pay down the debt?…

  • Maintaining liquidity as you reduce debt — how a savings account helps (19 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle.

    Are you ready to start killing your debt? Whether you make the minimum payment or you’re ready to accelerate your debt repayment like a mad man/mad woman, you need a strategy to make that happen. Why you need a debt-repayment strategy While you have to make the minimum payment on your debt each month, what happens if you want to accelerate your payments? If your budget…

  • Couple erases $55K student loan debt in 14 months (55 comments)
    This article is by staff writer William Cowie.

    Andrew and Amanda Argue were both working for public accounting firms in Miami, Florida, when they met. As young, ambitious professionals, they fell right into the hard-charging lifestyle of certified public accountants — where your rapid ascension to partner is determined by the number of hours you rack up. Managing their career trajectories meant that eating out became the norm because, as Amanda put it ……

  • Life after debt – experimenting with financial balance (18 comments)

    This article is from returning staff writer Tim Sullivan. I first became part of the Get Rich Slowly community six years ago. I lived in Austin, Texas, at the time and had to travel a lot between jobs. I say that I drove a scooter to save money on gas; but really, it was because I couldn’t afford a reliable car. The fact it cost me less than $2 to fill up my tank for…

  • What will you do when your debt is paid off? (34 comments)
    This is a guest post from former GRS staff writer Donna Freedman.

    I’ve been in debt just once: during and after a two-year-long divorce, a time during which I was also a midlife university student. Good times! Nineteen months after the divorce decree, I zeroed out my legal debt. I also took a deep breath for the first time in years. Unfortunately, I had no idea what to do with the extra money each…

  • What’s your position on debt? Read this first (62 comments)
    This article is by staff writer William Cowie.

    You hear it all the time, here and many other places: Debt is bad — evil, even — you know, like smoking and drinking and gambling. Yet, despite overwhelming evidence that smoking is bad for us, almost one person out of every five still smokes. And in the past year, that number has not declined significantly. The government even has campaigns to get people to stop…

  • Why bankruptcy should be your last resort (39 comments)

    (Petrish Dyer is an active military Navy Chief, currently stationed in Japan. Please understand that her duties and time zone may prevent her from responding to comments in a timely manner even though she would like to. Petrish is also the founder of debtfreemartini.com where she blogs and inspires others to live a debt-free life.) A few years ago, I was at my lowest point financially. I was looking for a solution to rise above…

  • How to get out of debt on a low income (37 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle.

    You’ve seen the get-out-of-debt advice: Quit buying lattes. Sell your stuff. It’s good advice, but it doesn’t apply to you. Because of your low income, a latte hasn’t touched your lips in years. And your stuff? You’ve been limping along for months now. No one wants what you have. You know Dave Ramsey says you need a bigger shovel to dig yourself out of this hole;…

  • Starting a garden to pay off debt: Really!?! (87 comments)

    This article is by staff writer April Dykman. Some personal finance advice is just plain ridiculous. I’m talking about the kind of advice that’s great for filling up a webpage but that had neither saved nor made anyone money ever. Or maybe you could follow it and save money, if you wanted to hate your life. I’m not entirely innocent, I admit. I’m sure I’ve espoused my share of well-meaning-yet-impractical advice in the last seven years….

  • Reader Stories: Living in a Car to Pay Off Debt (82 comments)

    Some reader stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks with all levels of financial maturity and income. Want to submit your own reader story? Here’s how. I don’t spend lavishly on clothes, hair appointments, or travel. I drive a 12-year-old Honda Civic. I got into debt by trying different business investments, including real estate and selling refurbished tablets. I also took out…

  • Reader Stories: Your debt-paying personality (24 comments)

    This reader story comes from long-time reader and commenter Bill McFadin, aka Cybergeezer, who commented that he had submitted a story months ago that never ran. We asked if he would resubmit the article, which he kindly did — and then he submitted another one! Some reader stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks with all levels of financial maturity and…

  • An updated reckoning and why we became homeowners: Honey’s story (81 comments)

    This story is by staff writer Honey Smith. The dust has (mostly) settled from our home purchase. As a result, I thought it would be a good time to post an updated version of “the reckoning.” I also thought I’d share our reasoning for moving forward with homeownership at this point in our personal finance journey. The Reckoning Please note that I have consolidated some separate accounts of the same type into one category for simplicity’s…

  • Honey progress report: More milestones edition (65 comments)

    This post is by staff writer Honey Smith. Last year’s August update was full of good news, and it seems to be a yearly tradition! I will go over each update and its impact on my life, but the bottom line is: My student loan balance now starts with an eight! Jake paid off his credit card debt! I got a raise! Sometime last November or December, I told Jake I could feel it in my…

  • Reader Story: Could crowd funding help this guy pay off his mortgage? (236 comments)

    We get dozens of requests at GetRichSlowly.org every day. They are usually queries such as “Can I guest post to promote my business?” (No.) “Will you share our infographic with your readers?” (No.) Last week we received one that intrigued me. The writer had started a crowd-funding effort to pay off his mortgage and he wanted me to share it with the Get Rich Slowly community. I replied, “Why would anyone want to pay off…

  • Car payments: ‘Til death do us part (81 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Holly Johnson. Your car breaks down on the side of the road … again. It’s rush hour and it won’t start. You have to have it towed and you’re not happy about it. At all. So what do you do? You head to the local dealership in a fury, ready to replace it with something far more reliable, but also affordable. But the dealership has a few tricks up their…

  • More on motivation and money (29 comments)

    This post is by staff writer Honey Smith. In my last post, I talked about motivation and money. Motivation is a huge yet under-discussed concept in personal finance, I think. While big wins may be the quickest way to wealth, that doesn’t mean you’ll reach your goals overnight. Even if you have become wealthy, you still need motivation to manage your money and prioritize your spending. After all, if you want to stay wealthy, then you can have anything you…

  • Student loan debt: Learning to save yourself (116 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Holly Johnson. In late 2008, Lance Cothern reunited with his high school girlfriend Tori after several years apart. Lance was almost ready to earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting, and Tori was a sophomore studying nursing at a four-year public university at the time. After a few years of dating, the conversations turned serious and they started planning a future together. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to either of them, Tori had…

  • The high cost of keeping up with the Joneses (69 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Holly Johnson. In late 2004, Kim Parr and her family upgraded their lifestyle with a brand new home in a rural area. As an optometrist with a higher-than-average salary, it seemed like the natural thing to do. After all, Kim’s husband had a secure (albeit lower-paying) job in education and their combined household income was finally in the six-figure range. They had earned it. Unfortunately, the Parrs soon found that…

  • Student loan update: Interest rate edition (62 comments)

    This post is by staff writer Honey Smith. In my last progress report, I mentioned that I took my student loans off Kwik-pay (autodebit) until after closing on my house. The thinking was that I’d have the money just in case things didn’t go smoothly with the house and move. Originally, I thought I’d re-enable the automatic payments after closing. Then I realized that if I kept my student loans on manual payments, I wouldn’t be…

  • Ask the Readers: What Do You Do When You’re Broke? (147 comments)

    Note: This article is from J.D. Roth, who founded Get Rich Slowly in 2006. J.D. recently launched the Get Rich Slowly course, a year-long guide on how to master your money. His non-financial writing lives at More Than Money. Last week, Mr. Money Mustache visited the Pacific Northwest. While he was in Portland, he and I joined Tyler Tervooren (of the Riskology website) to host what we called “Three Blog Night”. About 100 readers of…

  • #StudentLoanDebt is trending (91 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Honey Smith. Since I have over $92,000 in student loan debt myself at last count, perhaps I’m just finely attuned to news coverage on this issue. However, my very unscientific observation is that there have been quite a few articles on student loan debt in the news lately, particularly graduate school and Ph.D. debt. And I think that devoting more attention to this issue is definitely a good thing. What’s…

  • How to avoid binge-shopping (62 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. It seems contradictory, but I love being frugal and I also love spending money. Over the last few years, however, my love of frugality has outweighed my love of spending — and it’s been good for my savings. Yes, it’s OK to spend money sometimes. If you have it, and you’re comfortable with your present and future finances, by all means, spend away. But a lot of…

  • Reader Story: Free at last (32 comments)

    This guest post is from Mary Newcome. Some reader stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks with all levels of financial maturity and income. Want to submit your own reader story? Here’s how. I remember what it was like to live in my first apartment at age 17. Although not old enough to legally sign a lease agreement, I guess my full-time employment…

  • Could you say no to your mom? (73 comments)

    This is a guest post from Jeff Rose, CFP who blogs at GoodFinancialcents.com. Jeff is well known among bloggers for his various causes: The Debt Movement, The Roth IRA Movement and The Life Insurance Movement.  His first book, Soldier of Finance, officially releases September 9, 2013. “Heck no!” Imagine if a stranger asked you one of the following questions: Can I borrow your credit card to make a quick purchase? I don’t have any cash on…

  • Reader Stories: How I paid off $610,000 in debt, became a dad and quit my job — in 2 years (57 comments)

    This reader story comes from John Corcoran, an attorney, former Clinton White House writer and blogger at SmartBusinessRevolution.com, where he writes about how to use smart political strategies in business. You can download his free ebook, “10 Ways to Use Secret Political Strategies and Tactics to Grow Your Business.” Some reader stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks with all levels…

  • Look, Mom! I’m on TV! (27 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Kristin Wong. “If they cleaned this place up, it could be pretty nice.” –My mom’s take on NYC. This week my mom was kind enough to take some time off work and accompany me to New York, where I was a guest on one of her favorite shows, “Fox & Friends.” “Did you know Gretchen Carlson won Miss America?” my mom asked me when I first told her about…

  • Avoiding credit card traps (12 comments)

    This is a guest post from John Ulzheimer. John is a recognized expert on credit reporting, credit scoring and identity theft, and is the Senior Columnist at Credit Card Insider. He is twice Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) certified by the credit reporting industry’s trade association and has been an expert witness in more than 100 cases involving credit issues. Formerly of FICO and Equifax, John is the only recognized credit expert who actually comes…

  • 5 debt lessons from ‘Braveheart’ (20 comments)

    This guest post is by Ben Edwards of MoneySmartlife.com. His book “Debt Heroes,” which chronicles the stories of 21 people who got out of debt, was published in December. Get Rich Slowly readers may download a free copy of the book from Sunday, March 24, through Thursday, March 28 on Amazon.com. Ask anyone struggling to pay off big loans whether debt is oppressive and their answer will likely be yes. As you may know, debt…

  • My student loan story: How I paid it off in a year (115 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Kristin Wong. Today I pulled out a file in my cabinet that’s been gathering dust since 2007: STUDENT LOAN. In 2007, I paid that sucker off, and I haven’t looked back since. Well, except to check my credit report. I wanted to make sure the nightmare was really over, after all. It wasn’t too much of a nightmare, really. With interest, I owed a little over $12,000. But when…

  • The hassle of being in debt (110 comments)

    This post is from contributor Holly Johnson. A few months ago, I wrote about how we dug ourselves out of debt. Once we cut our expenses and stopped living beyond our means, it didn’t take long to make significant progress against the tens of thousands of dollars we owed. And after a few years of struggle and sacrifice, we finally paid everything off. Once all of our consumer debts were gone, we turned our focus…

  • Bouncing back from financial grief and loss (39 comments)

    This guest post is from Psychotherapist Bobbi Emel who specializes in helping you face life’s significant challenges and regain your resiliency. Download her free ebook, “Bounce Back! 5 keys to survive and thrive through life’s ups and downs.” You can find her blog at http://www.TheBounceBlog.com. Some reader stories are guest posts containing information or general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These posts feature folks with all…

  • Join the Debt Movement (40 comments)

    This is a guest post from Jeff Rose, a Certified Financial Planner who writes about financial planning topics at Good Financial Cents. His first book, Soldier of Finance, is slated to be released the fall of 2013. His latest project, named The Debt Movement, is to help people pay off $10,000,000 of debt in 90 days. You can join the movement and a chance to earn some of the $10,000 debt scholarship money by visiting…

  • Frustrations with my new student loan servicer (97 comments)

    This post is from new staff writer Honey Smith. Since I only took out Stafford loans while I was in school, I was able to consolidate almost all my student loans into a single balance through a program called the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP). After I consolidated, I was able to use a website (which I believe was maintained by the federal government) to track my loan balance and otherwise access my account….

  • Student loan debt: How I got in deep (335 comments)

    This article is from new staff writer Honey Smith. My mother was quadriplegic by the time I was in high school. My dad was a real estate agent who worked on commission, so he worked long hours to make ends meet. As a result, I took on a lot of responsibility at a young age. I cooked and cleaned and did all the grocery shopping. I did the laundry and paid the bills (in the…

  • Are Universities Immoral? (218 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. By popular request, J.D. has added photos of cats once again. Yes, this is another article bemoaning the cost of a college degree, and the amount of student debt that many graduates take…

  • Reader Story: How My Upbringing Helped Me Avoid Debt and Build Wealth (129 comments)

    This guest post from long-time GRS reader SB is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. SB writes about personal finance and personal development topics at One Cent At A Time. Some of you might recognize me. I’ve…

  • Paying for College: A High School Student’s Quest to Stay Debt-Free (129 comments)

    This is a guest post from Chase Miller, a high school student from Orange County, California. He loves to surf, travel, Tweet, and catalog life through photography. “Where are you going to college?” “What are you going to major in?” “What kind of career do you want?” As senior year flies by like a speeding car, there are certain questions I have been asked countless times by friends, family members, and coworkers. These questions are…

  • Reader Story: How Debt Put My Dreams on Hold (85 comments)

    This guest post from Jason Jacobs is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. Jason wants to be financially free so he and his wife can be missionaries with no strings attached. You can read about his journey to becoming fat free at FindingMyFitness.com. When we’re young and stupid, we don’t think about…

  • Reader Story: My Falling Credit Score (and Why It’s Not the End of the World) (88 comments)

    This guest post from Matt is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. This is a rare reader story that appeared elsewhere first. I saw it on Matt’s blog last week and asked if I could reprint…

  • How My Generosity Got Me $8,000 in Debt (105 comments)

    This is a guest post from Logan Sachon. Her piece originally appeared at Bundle.com. I am in debt: $8,000 on two credit cards, to be precise. The debt occurred over several years, and includes a few periods when I was living off the cards because I was in between jobs. Perhaps $1,000 of the debt was spent on plane tickets to visit my parents on the East Coast, my job on the East Coast, or…

  • Ask the Readers: Pay Off the Mortgage or Keep the Money in Savings? (230 comments)

    It’s tough to write a personal-finance blog for five years without repeating topics. New readers come and old readers go. Meanwhile, the needs of existing readers are constantly changing. I try not to repeat material too often, but sometimes it’s clear it’s time to revisit a subject. Now is one of those times. Lately, I’ve received several questions like this one from Robin, who wants to know if she should pay off her mortgage: I’ve…

  • Ask the Readers: What Is My Financial Obligation to My Family? (265 comments)

    Last Friday’s question about the moral implications of spending prompted a great discussion, as well as a few personal messages. One of those e-mails was from Dave, who wrote with his own ethical dilemma. Instead of looking at the world at large, Dave wants to know how to handle a financial dilemma closer to home: with his own family. Here’s his story: I read your site though I no longer need it. I did a…

  • Reader Story: How I Avoided Student Loans (101 comments)

    This guest post from Crystal is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. Crystal writes about finding the balance between paying the bills, saving for the future, and budgeting for the fun stuff at the aptly-titled Budgeting…

  • Ask the Readers: Saving vs. Debt Reduction (99 comments)

    The tone and content at Get Rich Slowly have shifted a lot in the past five years. When I started this site, I was a financial novice. I was learning about smart money management. Now, I’m in what I call the third stage of personal finance, and the basics come naturally. (Most of the time, anyhow.) I’m glad that GRS has evolved with me. At the same time, though, I sometimes forget to focus on…

  • How to Lend Money to Friends (Without Ruining the Relationship) (179 comments)

    This post is from staff writer April Dykman. Lending money to friends and family is a generous act — one that could easily backfire and even ruin your relationship. Most of the time when someone is considering a loan to a family member, I think, “Don’t do it.” There can be other ways to help. But when it’s someone you care about, logic only plays one role in the decision-making process. Not too long ago…

  • When To Walk Away From A Bad Mortgage (255 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Sierra Black. Sierra writes about frugality, sustainable living, and getting her kids to eat kale at Childwild.com. Since the housing bubble burst, many Americans have found their finances underwater. They’re paying on homes that are worth much less than the mortgages against them. More than a few have chosen to walk away from these debts. Called a “walkaway” or a “strategic default”, deliberately defaulting on your mortgage is becoming…

  • Should You Pay Off Your Mortgage Early? (91 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. Everyone’s looking for safe investments these days. Unfortunately, there’s a price for security: low returns. A five-year certificate of deposit at a major bank like Ally pays just 2.4% APY today, and a five-year…

  • Emergency Fund vs. Debt Snowball: What’s the Top Priority? (80 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Sierra Black. Sierra writes about frugality, sustainable living, and getting her kids to eat kale at Childwild.com. A few weeks ago, in my review of Mary Hunt’s Debt-Proof Your Marriage, I mentioned that she advocates building a 3-6 month emergency fund before beginning to snowball your debt payments. That’s not my approach, and I criticized it a little in my review. Several commenters said they agreed with Hunt —…

  • Reader Story: Scholarships for Fun and Profit (42 comments)

    This guest post from Alison is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. This is one of the best reader stories I’ve ever featured. I’m a graduate of the George Washington University, a school now known as…

  • Reader Story: Patience and Persistence Pay Off (60 comments)

    This guest post from Alissa is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. I like all of the reader stories I publish, but for some reason I particularly like this one. Update: Now with photos! Alissa e-mailed…

  • Ask the Readers: Should I Sell My Home to Pay Off My Debt? (100 comments)

    Yesterday we had a great discussion about some of the financial choices I’m facing, but today it’s time to look at a decision a GRS reader is trying to make. Catherine wrote to ask if it makes sense to sell her home so that she can become debt-free and have the freedom to pursue a simpler life: I’m in my mid-forties, self-employed in a high-cost city where I live in a one-bedroom condo that I…

  • Ask the Readers: What Can I Do About My Student Loans? (135 comments)

    I do my best to cover a variety of topics here at Get Rich Slowly. Personal finance is a v-a-s-t topic, and there’s a lot of specialized knowledge. But there’s no question I have blind spots. Because Kris and I have no kids, I don’t write much about children and money. Student loans are another blind spot for me. Still, I know a lot of GRS readers have questions about student loans. You folks e-mail…

  • Ask the Readers: “Help! I Co-Signed on a Loan and Now I Wish I Hadn’t!” (147 comments)

    Ah, relationships. Without other people, money management would be easy! Easy-er, anyhow. But love, family, and business relationships tend to make people do things they know they really oughtn’t. Take Patrick, for example. He fell in love, and it led him to commit a financial faux pas. Here’s Patrick’s l-o-n-g story and his questions: A couple years back, I met a girl, fell in love, and we moved in together. A few months into our…

  • Reader Story: Debt-Free by 30 — Including the Mortgage! (120 comments)

    This guest post from Jesse (who juggles) is part of the “reader stories” feature here at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general “how I did X” advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. My wife and I paid off our house in April while we were both still 29 years…

  • Reader Story: The Other Side of Bankruptcy (213 comments)

    This guest post from Shara is part of the “reader stories” feature here at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general “how I did X” advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. J.D.’s note: Over the past couple of months, I’ve shared a couple of reader stories that involve bankruptcy or…

  • Reader Story: I Paid Off $70,000 in Debt and Quit My Job! (76 comments)

    This guest post from Jaime Tardy is part of the “reader stories” feature here at Get Rich Slowly. Some reader stories contain general “how I did X” advice, and others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity, and with all sorts of incomes. In 2005, I was working more than 60 hours a week in a position that required…

  • Is Your Spouse Hiding Debt? Recovering from Financial Infidelity (49 comments)

    I’m on vacation in Alaska. This is a guest post from MP Dunleavey, editorial director of DailyWorth.com, a free daily personal finance email for women. I’ve been a fan of Dunleavey’s writing for a long time, and am pleased to have her swing by GRS. Infidelity is always devastating. But if your spouse or partner has been cheating on you by hiding pricey vices or illicit spending sprees, the consequences can be far worse than…

  • Ask the Readers: Should I Take Out a Loan to Buy a Car? (114 comments)

    If smart money management were just about math or opening the highest interest savings account, this stuff would be easy. But there are a variety of complex factors that come into play when we have to make financial decisions. For example, Alyssa wrote recently to ask for advice. She needs to buy a car at the end of the summer, but she doesn’t know whether to take out a loan or pay cash. Here’s her…

  • Reader Story: I Was Drowning in Debt (29 comments)

    This guest post from Steven is part of the “reader stories” feature here at Get Rich Slowly. Some reader stories contain general “how I did X” advice, and others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. (Note that Steven is the author of Hundred Goals, a blog about achieving you goals while managing your finances.) Three years ago, I was drowning in debt. Week after week, I found myself…

  • Ask the Readers: Should I Stick With My Adjustable-Rate Mortgage? (56 comments)

    In February, Get Rich Slowly reader Abby wrote with questions about her adjustable-rate mortgage (or ARM, for short). She’s had an ARM for seven years now, and the rate is due to reset in 2010. She wants to know what her best course of action is. Abby writes: In Fall 2003, I began my career as a teacher and bought my first house at 23. I shopped around for a home loan, borrowing a little…

  • Calculate How Much Your Debt Costs You Per Month (46 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Adam Baker. Read what Baker had to say about J.D.’s new book, Your Money: The Missing Manual, in his recent review on Man Vs. Debt. As you all know, April is Financial Literacy Month. To celebrate, my weekly contributions throughout the month will cover basic techniques to raise your financial awareness. In my opinion, raising awareness is the first step to tackling financial literacy! When initially dealing with the problem…

  • Reader Story: How I Paid Off $18,000 in Student Loans While Still in Graduate School (84 comments)

    This guest post from Andrea is part of the new “reader stories” feature here at Get Rich Slowly. Some reader stories contain general “how I did X” advice, and others will be examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. I am a graduate student, working towards a PhD, and I hope to graduate in 2012. Prior to starting my PhD program I acquired a significant amount of student loan debt…

  • Reader Story: How I Paid Off $18,500 in Debt (69 comments)

    This guest post from Rita marks the start of a new feature here at Get Rich Slowly. Every Sunday will include a reader story (in the new “reader story” category). Some will be general “how I did X” stories, but most will be like this: An example of how a GRS reader achieved financial success. I discovered Get Rich Slowly from a link on MSN Money in the fall of 2008. I’d just purchased a…

  • Pros and Cons: 30-Year Mortgage vs. 15-Year Mortgage (114 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer April Dykman. My husband and I are in the early stages of building a house. As we modify our floor plans, the amount we’ll need to borrow to build is on our minds. It’s probably going to be the most expensive thing we’ll ever purchase, and we need to decide what we want to borrow and what loan term we’ll want. The main differences between 15- and 30-year…

  • Your Credit Report Card (69 comments)

    Mark Frauenfelder is the co-founder of my favorite sites, Boing Boing (which is a “directory of wonderful things”). Mark’s also a GRS reader. He dropped me a line the other day to tell me about a new project he’s been following. Today, Credit.com is launching a free new online financial tool called Credit Report Card. This tool is designed to provide users with a quick snapshot of their credit reports. According to the site’s FAQ,…

  • Ask the Readers: How to Face a Family Financial Crisis? (91 comments)

    With the arrival of the GRS staff writers, the semi-regular “ask the readers” column has a new home. Look for this feature most weekends. “Ask the readers” is your chance to get (and give) advice about real-life financial dilemmas. An anonymous GRS reader submitted a question last week that hits close to home: I have a family member that this past year has been in serious financial trouble. He is one of the most ambitious…

  • Reader Success Story: Debt Free on $2,000 a Month (76 comments)

    We interrupt this series of Staff Writer auditions to bring you a brief success story from a Get Rich Slowly reader. I receive several of these a month (often several a week), and sometimes wish that I had a place to share them all. Instead, I just make the time to share a handful every year. This morning, Jay wrote to share his own tale of dedication: Hey JD! I am very excited to tell…

  • 25 essential books about money: Financial wisdom from your public library (49 comments)

    Last week, Jonathan B. sent me the following e-mail: Maybe I’m just not seeing it, but is there a way for you to put up a consolidated list of your favorite personal finance books? This can include ones you found entertaining, made the biggest impact on your personal finance goals, etc. I shared a list of my favorite money books once before, but that was over two years ago. I’ve read dozens of books since…

  • Should Repaying Debt Be an Obsession? (75 comments)

    Some people never take control of their finances because they’re afraid that doing so would require them to give up everything they enjoy. I don’t believe that’s true. Getting out of debt requires hard work and sacrifice, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun along the way. Aaron recently sent the following e-mail: You paid off $35,000 in debt in just over three years. Does that mean you were balls-to-the-wall dedicated and had no…

  • Ask the Readers: Debt Consolidation or Consumer Credit Counseling? (79 comments)

    One of my favorite parts of Get Rich Slowly is the weekly “Ask the Readers” section. It’s fantastic to see how well this community pulls together to help each other find solutions to financial dilemmas. Most of the questions come via e-mail, but last week I met a man named Aaron who reads the site. He told me that he could use some reader advice for his situation. Here’s Aaron’s story: My girlfriend has managed…

  • How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt, and Live Prosperously (50 comments)

    Once or twice a year, my wife and I spend a Saturday combing the local thrift stores looking for bargains. Kris is mainly after clothes. I target books — especially personal-finance books. On one recent trip, I picked up a two-dollar copy of How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt, and Live Prosperously, a 1988 book from Jerrrold Mundis. How to Get Out of Debt is built on the principles of Debtors…

  • Free Debt Snowball Spreadsheet (28 comments)

    Vertex42, a site devoted to Microsoft Excel templates, spreadsheets, and calendars, has posted a free debt snowball calculator. From the description: This spreadsheet allows you to choose different debt reduction strategies, including the debt snowball effect (paying the lowest balance first) and highest interest first. Just choose the strategy from a dropdown box after you enter your creditor information into the worksheet. This file contains two worksheets: A debt reduction calculator, which allows you to…

  • The Dirty Secrets of Debt Reduction (and What to Do About Them) (74 comments)

    When I was a sophomore in college, I got my first credit card. I thought it was awesome — it was like free money. Soon I got another credit card, and before long I’d maxed them both out. I entered the work force with a handicap. I had the start of a nasty credit habit. Because I’d grown up in a poor family, I had no notion of proper money skills. I made some bad…

  • Ask the Readers: “I’m Doing Well Financially But My Family Is Not” (147 comments)

    Personal finance would be easy if it were only about the numbers. But it’s not. Money management not only requires that we master our own whims and emotions, but that we navigate the sometimes rocky waters of our personal relationships. Rachel wrote looking for help with a stormy situation. What happens when you gain control of your finances but the people around you continue to struggle? Here’s her story: I’m having issues because I’m doing…

  • Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover book review (173 comments)

    According to J.D. Roth, Dave Ramsey changed his life: “In the fall of 2004, I had over $35,000 in consumer debt. I was making a solid middle-class salary, but I lived paycheck to paycheck. My money habits were terrible. When I looked into the future, all I saw were years of toil to pay for the things I’d already purchased. “Then a friend loaned me a copy of The Total Money Makeover, a book by…

  • Are Mortgage Rates Tied to the Federal Funds Rate? (29 comments)

    The Federal Reserve has lowered short-term interest rates twice in the past week by a total of 1.25 percentage points. (They lowered the federal funds rate, not the prime lending rate, though that falls in lockstep with the former.) Many people are excited because they believe this will lead to lower rates on fixed-term mortgages, meaning the average person may be able to save big bucks by refinancing. One GRS reader wrote yesterday to ask:…

  • Ready to Tackle Your Debt? Two Alternatives to Home Equity Loans (17 comments)

    Earlier today I wrote about using a home equity loan to pay off credit cards. I suggested that this may be a good option for somebody who has arrested her spending and is ready to focus on debt elimination. It’s a move that carries a big downside, though, and is certainly not a good choice for everyone. When I took out my home equity loan in 1998, I wasn’t aware of any other options. I…

  • Using a Home Equity Loan to Pay Off Credit Cards (49 comments)

    This is a “dueling bloggers” post between me and Jim at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity. Read his post about not using home equity to pay off unsecured debt, and share your thoughts about this issue with us! You’ve spent the past few years being dumb with money. You realize that now. Your credit cards are maxed out, you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck, and you cannot see a way out. You plan to sell some stuff and to…

  • Free at Last! Saying Good-Bye to 20 Years of Debt (245 comments)

    Twenty years ago I was a freshman in college. I was a poor kid from a poor family, but my roommates came from wealth. In order to fit in, I went out and picked up a department store credit card. I bought some new clothes, an electric shaver, and a bottle of cologne. From that day on, I’ve been in debt. Getting hooked My debt grew slowly at first. The department store credit card had…

  • The Thrill of Paying Off a Mortgage (87 comments)

    This is a guest-post from Free Money Finance. It’s a follow-up to Mrs. Micah’s post earlier today. A few weeks ago, J.D. and I were chatting when he asked me what it felt like to be debt-free. He’d read on my blog that I had no debt and was curious if I’d write about it for Get Rich Slowly. In particular, he asked me to communicate both how I managed to pay off my mortgage…

  • A Rough Guide to Repaying Student Loans (62 comments)

    There are certain aspects of personal finance that I’ve never had to deal with. Student loans are one of these. But student loans are a huge concern for many people. This guest-post from SJean is an introduction to repaying these debts. There are really two things to know about student loans: How to get them, and what to do when you have to start paying them back. I’m going to write about the latter, as…

  • Reader Advice: How to Live Debt-Free (29 comments)

    Recently I wrote about the transition from “becoming debt-free” to “living debt-free”. One reader e-mailed me some advice that I felt did a good job summarizing what everyone had said. The following was written by James Crocker, and is an excerpt from a much longer message. This post has been edited for clarity. Congratulations! You’re about to accomplish something many people have never done, and something that many others never will do: become debt-free. (Well,…

  • Ask the Readers: How Can You Help a Family Member in Financial Trouble WITHOUT Loaning Them Money? (73 comments)

    “The Tim” is in a bind. He’d like to help his brother-in-law out of a tight spot, but he’s not interested in loaning him money. What are his options? Here’s his story: My brother-in-law is currently in his third year of college at a private university. He is paying for his schooling without any financial assistance from his parents, as they had somewhat of a falling-out a few years ago. Recently, his job came to…

  • Real-life choices: Retirement savings vs. debt reduction (47 comments)

    I’ve accumulated $3500 and I don’t know what to do with it. As you may recall, I am carrying the remainder of my credit card debt in the form of a home-equity loan (or HELOC). The current balance on this debt is $15,000 and I’m paying a 9.25% finance charge. I intend to have this debt eliminated by March 2008. It’s an ambitious goal. In order to make this happen, I’ve had to forego investing…

  • In Praise of the Debt Snowball (69 comments)

    During my twenties, I accumulated nearly $25,000 in consumer debt. I had a spending problem. With time, I was able to get my spending under control (mostly), but I still owned overwhelming debt. How could I get rid of it? The personal finance books all suggested the same approach: Order your debts from highest interest rate to lowest interest rate. Designate a certain amount of money to pay toward debts each month. Pay the minimum…