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Planning


  • Ask the Readers: What personal finance choices will you face in the coming year? (59 comments)
    This article is by editor Linda Vergon.

    The New Year is coming, and we’re busy thinking of ways to inspire your personal finance journey in the coming months. Personal finance is about making one choice over another. And at Get Rich Slowly, we’re a deliberate bunch. We actively avoid making hasty decisions. So one thing we’d like to continue to explore – whether it is through someone’s personal journey or just by digging in…

  • 14 smart money moves to make before the end of the year (24 comments)

    It’s a really busy time, I know. But when Suba Iyer told me about how she closes out her year financially, I thought it would be of interest to the readers of Get Rich Slowly. So I asked if she would prepare an article and share her list with us – but in reviewing it, it appears she made it even more comprehensive! Suba currently writes for FiveCentNickel.com. The new year is just around the…

  • What can we learn from Gen Y’s view of money? (25 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. Recently, Fidelity released another survey about millennials and money. They found that 47 percent of us are saving for retirement. To me, that stat was really telling about our generation’s view of personal finance, and it’s not unlike other findings. When TIME wrote about the survey, they reported: “Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies found that 71% of millennials eligible for a 401(k) plan participate and that 70% of…

  • The problem with being goal-oriented (43 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. A few months before I decided to quit my job and move, I’d made a whole timeline of accomplishments I hoped to reach within the next three to five years. It included a series of backup plans, too, should Plan A not work out (Plan A: become a hugely successful writer, make lots of money, buy a home in Malibu, take many naps). This timeline included mini-goals…

  • Fire: Oh, that will never happen to me (45 comments)

    This article is by staff writer William Cowie. Laughter and hooting filled the house as my wife had Karen and a few other friends over for a mid-morning tea. (Such are the joys of retired life.) The chirping of a cell phone rose from the pile of purses on the sofa. Nobody paid it any attention — whoever it is can leave a message was the general sentiment. Sure enough, the chirping stopped. But then…

  • Ask the Readers: Are you involved in community disaster planning? (6 comments)

    This article is by editor Linda Vergon. This week, Phoenix, Arizona, had extreme flooding and, before that, Napa, California, experienced a 6.0-magnitude earthquake. Landslides, earthquakes, extreme heat, floods, hurricanes, severe weather, space weather, thunderstorms and lightning, tornadoes, tsunamis, volcanoes, and wildfires are just some of the natural disasters that can plague us in a given year. Yet “nearly 70 percent of Americans have not participated in a preparedness drill or exercise outside of fire drills…

  • No, the American dream doesn’t cost 130K (83 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Holly Johnson. A few weeks ago, I was browsing the Internet with my morning coffee when a link to a write-up at USA Today caught my eye. It read “Price tag for the American dream: $130K a year.” The article, which is based on a study conducted by researchers at Cornell University, claims that the rising costs of everything from food to housing have resulted in a new American dream…

  • What the Fed’s monetary policy statement means for you (40 comments)

    This article is by staff writer William Cowie. Twice a year, the Federal Reserve’s Chair gives what amounts to the “financial state of the union” address to Congress, and it’s a good thing for everyone concerned with their finances to take five minutes or so to find out what the Federal Reserve is seeing, thinking, and about to do. Janet Yellen delivered her latest comments a week ago, and it may be worth your while…

  • Dissecting retirement savings (34 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle. When I finally and completely quit my once-full-time job in May, something changed: Neither my husband nor I have access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan. With a significant drop in income, we’re looking at maximizing our now small retirement account contributions. So, how can we get the biggest bang for our buck? Before we talk about that, let me fill you in on my retirement contribution history….

  • Ask the Readers: Are the “golden handcuffs” real or self-imposed? (44 comments)

    This article is by editor Linda Vergon. Last December, Honey Smith was in the throes of some major life changes – her husband started his own business, only to sell it and start a new job, adding to the pressure to move and possibly buy a house. She wrote about it in her blog post “When the right choice isn’t obvious” and basically asked the readers which direction she should take. “I’ve been steadfastly against…

  • The only two things you need to remember about funeral costs (31 comments)

    This article is by staff writer April Dykman. When someone has to make funeral arrangements, they often look to the funeral home for help. They select one of the three coffins suggested by the funeral home. Often it’s part of a mid-priced package deal, one that includes pretty much everything you need, and then some. And in a lot of ways, it makes sense that we turn to the experts, especially if we’ve never had…

  • The opportunity fund: How to be prepared for lucky breaks (32 comments)

    Note: This article is from J.D. Roth, who founded Get Rich Slowly in 2006. J.D.’s non-financial writing can be found at More Than Money, where he recently wrote about how to retire early. The first step on the road to financial freedom is to eliminate debt. The second is to save for emergencies. Your emergency fund acts as self-insurance, cushioning you from small disasters. Life is full of unexpected surprises, many of which cost money…

  • Reader Story: Looking ahead pays off until “boom”! (49 comments)

    This reader story comes from JenB. 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 thought I had it all figured out, but the middle-of-the-night panic attacks have started again as a result of a little piece of mail I received this week….

  • How to spring clean your financial house (33 comments)

    This article is by staff writer April Dykman. It’s almost spring, you guys. I don’t know about the weather in your neck of the woods, but that’s a welcome thought where I’m at, and I live in Texas! (Northerners, feel free to make fun of my idea of a cold winter. I don’t care. I did not sign up for anything colder than highs of 50 degrees.) At any rate, I’ve been on a cleaning…

  • Finding the road out of poverty (130 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle. Until I reached my early 20s, I believed that my childhood had fewer financial advantages than the average childhood. Once I gained more life experience, I saw that my family hadn’t been as poor as I thought we were. That doesn’t mean we weren’t poor, though. We wore hand-me-downs, didn’t go on vacations much, qualified for reduced school lunches, things like that. But we were “poor with…

  • Ask the Readers: What do you do when someone constantly hits you up for money? (105 comments)

    A few years ago, I wrote about how to lend money to friends without letting it ruin the friendship. To quickly recap, a friend needed help paying the rent. She had never asked me for money in all the years we’d been friends, so I knew she had to be in a pretty desperate situation. In fact, she was even on medical leave and tried to return to work early, but her doctor (and therefore her…

  • When prepaid college plans work (18 comments)

    This reader story comes from Elaina. 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. Recently in the news I have heard more and more about the pros and cons of prepaid college plans (here, here). This type of plan allows an adult to…

  • Ask the Readers: Big decisions for 20-somethings (69 comments)

    This question comes from a regular Get Rich Slowly reader who needs some help making some life-changing decisions. She’s reaching out to the GRS readers for some advice. Between the two of us, my then-boyfriend and I had a moderate amount of savings. We had both paid off all of our debt – cars, student loans and all credit cards. We were proud of ourselves and felt ahead of other 26-year-olds we knew. About 25…

  • Money resolutions and goals for the New Year (36 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. Last year, I wrote about lowering the bar for happiness. I recently found out my neighborhood doughnut shop is experimenting with the cronut trend, and I became genuinely giddy. So I think I’ve been doing pretty well with that resolution. I can’t believe it’s already 2014, and the new year has me thinking about resolutions again. The start of the year is a good time to clean up…

  • 2014: The year of change (45 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Holly Johnson. A few days ago, I received a text message that made me smile. “We signed up for Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University,” the message read. “We start right after new year’s day.” The message was from a family friend, a married father of four whose annual household income is close to $200,000, and in the top 5 percent of households in the U.S. according to the New York…

  • Taking stock of 2013 (46 comments)

    This post is by staff writer Honey Smith. At about this time last year, I was taking stock of 2012. They say that the reason time seems to speed up as you get older is because each day/month/year is a smaller fraction of the time you’ve been alive. For example, a year seems a lot longer when it’s 10 percent of your life instead of less than 3 percent. Regardless of the reason, it’s a wild…

  • In praise of financial resilience (55 comments)

    Note: This article is from J.D. Roth, who founded Get Rich Slowly in 2006. J.D.’s non-financial writing can be found at More Than Money. I had lunch with my friend Craig a few months ago. Craig is an architect, and he took me on a tour of his company’s offices. “The cool thing about this building,” he told me, “is that it’s especially resilient.” I could tell from the way he said it that the…

  • Review: FlexScore, part 2 (the website) (27 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Honey Smith. There are many personal finance books and tools out there, useful to people in all stages of personal finance. I have a lot to learn before reaching financial independence, and the editorial elves thought it would be useful if I shared some of what I learn with you. My recent reviews include “Soldier of Finance: Take Charge of Your Money and Invest in Your Future” and “FlexScore,…

  • A Meeting With My Financial Adviser (90 comments)

    Note: This article is from J.D. Roth, who founded Get Rich Slowly in 2006. J.D.’s non-financial writing can be found at More Than Money. Once every six months, whether I need to or not, I meet with my investment adviser from Fidelity. I’ve been doing this for five years, and have come to value the experience as truly educational. On Tuesday, for instance, my new adviser Michael talked me through some income planning. My financial…

  • What to do when Easy Street develops potholes (46 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle. The moral of this story is obvious: It’s a lot easier to get ahead financially before children enter the picture. Now that I have that brilliant thought out of the way, let’s get into a keepin’ it real kind of post by analyzing the last few years of the Aberle budget. 2009 – Making more money. Start targeted savings accounts. Pay off car loan. Only the mortgage is…

  • Ask the Readers: Are you involved in your parents’ finances? (56 comments)

    It felt awkward to bring up the subject at first, but I could see my dad was starting to struggle with managing his house and everyday affairs. My husband and I pitch in where we can. Still the changes we’d been noticing over the past year kept nagging at me until I finally asked, “Is there a better living situation for you?” I was glad I phrased the question so innocuously because it kept us…

  • Review: FlexScore, Part I (The Book) (10 comments)

    This post is by staff writer Honey Smith. There are many personal finance books and tools out there, useful to people in all stages of personal finance. I have a lot to learn before reaching financial independence, and the editorial elves thought it would be useful if I shared some of what I learn with you. My recent reviews include “The Smartest Investment Book You’ll Ever Read” and “Soldier of Finance: Take Charge of Your…

  • Unexpected ways bad credit can ruin your day (16 comments)

    This guest post is from Daniel Wesley. Daniel is the founder and CEO of CreditLoan.com, a website that educates consumers about various personal finance issues. Among some of the topics discussed are bad credit loans, credit cards, auto financing, and many other credit and financial help issues. Connect with Daniel on Twitter and Google+. A few years ago, I took my grandmother to a wireless provider store to help her get her first cell phone. While…

  • 7 rules for growing slow (but sustainable) wealth (31 comments)

    This guest post is by Pejman Ghadimi. Pejman is the founder of SecretEntourage.com, an author, an entrepreneur and a leadership consultant. Many will argue that fortunes can be made overnight; while that may hold very true in some cases, the majority of those who have made it will tell you it did indeed take a great deal of time coupled with some correct financial choices. For me, wealth did not come solely from entrepreneurship or…

  • Ask the Readers: Post-divorce — buy out wife or sell house? (72 comments)

    This reader question comes from Rick. He’s asking for the readers’ advice on this common dilemma that many divorced people face. My wife and I had a pretty good handle on our finances and were on track for meeting all of our major financial and life goals…college for the kids and retirement for us. We are both 43 and have two kids, ages 10 and 8. My wife went through a mid-life crisis last year…

  • Get Your Shit Together (11 comments)

    Note: This article is from J.D. Roth, who founded Get Rich Slowly in 2006. After a year off, J.D. is once again writing here at GRS. His non-financial writing can still be found at More Than Money. As I return to writing at Get Rich Slowly, one of my resolutions is to share interesting apps and websites with you folks promptly instead of sitting on them while I wait for the ideal moment. In the…

  • Empty goal syndrome: What to do when your last goal leaves the nest (47 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Lisa Aberle. I shouldn’t be admitting this in public, but it’s the truth. Hi, I am a staff writer for a personal finance blog, and I’m losing interest in personal finance. I’m not leaving the blog, and I’m not going crazy with spending. But I need a little shot of espresso in my ho-hum financial life. This is the first time in my life that I’ve felt my enthusiasm…

  • Emotional and financial lessons from death (63 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Honey Smith. It’s been a rough couple of weeks in the Honeycomb. First, my husband Jake’s grandfather died. Then, the very next week, we had to put one of our cats down. As a result, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about death and how it affects us, both emotionally and financially. Funeral logistics: The flight out Jake’s grandfather was 91, and he is survived by his…

  • ‘Gen Z’ is financially-savvy, with one big exception (50 comments)

    If someone handed you $500, what would you do with it? A whopping 70 percent of those in Generation Z say they’d save at least part of it, and among them, 34 percent would save it for college. That’s just one of the findings in TD Ameritrade’s 2nd Annual Generation Z Survey that shows that teens and early 20-somethings* are refreshingly money-savvy. Although they haven’t got it all figured out just yet. Affording higher education Almost half…

  • Ask the Readers: What will you donate this month? (32 comments)

    We are frugal for a reason. We are trying to maximize our money to buy a quality of life, and that quality looks different for everyone. For some, it means being able to travel the world; for others, they’d like to stay home with their kids. Many would like to know the feeling of owning something outright. We’ve shared experiences for almost half the year on earning, saving, investing and trading and negotiating. We’re hoping…

  • Ask the Readers: Do you plan for the good times as well as the bad? (53 comments)

    This is a guest post from personal finance writer Gwendolyn Pearce, who has written previously on chicken coops and cooking challenges. In a recent post, staff writer Lisa Aberle provided an excellent outline of the kind of financial information and preparation you should provide for your loved ones in the event of your incapacitation or death. It’s no fun to prepare this information, which may be why so many people avoid it. But as we’ve…

  • Couples and money: Lessons from The Queen of Versailles (32 comments)

    This post is from staff writer April Dykman. I recently got sick for the first time in almost a decade, and was bed/couch-ridden for a good four days. Since I had some time on my hands, I was able to watch a few documentaries on my Netflix queue. One of those was The Queen of Versailles, a film that will make your jaw drop like an episode of Hoarders. It’s hard to believe people really live like…

  • How (and why) to create a financial plan (40 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Lisa Aberle. A few weeks ago, I celebrated another birthday. For whatever reason, birthdays always make me think about how many more birthdays I have to celebrate. And eventually, I think about how my husband would handle the finances in the event of my death. Happy birthday, huh? Although I am unlikely to die anytime soon, you never know. When thinking about my earthly exit, I am bothered most…

  • Defining a healthy dose of lifestyle inflation (100 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Holly Johnson. On April 1st, I got an unpleasant surprise, and it wasn’t an April Fools joke or gag. I found out that one of our renters didn’t have enough money to pay all of his rent. Since nothing like this has ever happened before, I was definitely caught off guard. Still, it wasn’t the end of the world. Since I pay all of our mortgages ahead of schedule,…

  • Ask the Readers: 4 options for the next step (56 comments)

    Ken is sending his financial situation into the GRS ether to see what you have to say. Here’s a snapshot of his finances: I thoroughly enjoyed reading your article “What Next” and the “Ask the Readers: What is the Next Step?” because that is my situation. I have been struggling for the past year to figure out where to focus my attention. I am married with no children. My wife and I are 43 and…

  • I’m 30! Am I where I should be with my finances? (82 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Kristin Wong. “I can’t believe I’m going to be 30!” I told my Dad at the beginning of the year. I said the same thing when I turned 20, so I knew he would reassure me that 30 actually wasn’t that old. “Nope, 30′s old,” he said. Getting older doesn’t bother me; I actually embrace it and all the experiences that come along with it. That’s also something I say…

  • Morningstar’s day for individual investors (3 comments)

    Hey, GRS readers, you have been invited to the Morningstar Individual Investor Conference. This is an all-day webcast (although I’m sure you can jump in and out of the webcast depending on which sessions most interest you), and it features an all-star lineup of personal finance experts. The theme is retirement savings and setting goals. The conference is on Saturday, March 23, and starts at 9 a.m. Central time. Here’s the link for registration http://www.morningstar.com/conference…

  • Creating objective rules for spending (36 comments)

    This guest post is from Mr. F, an Australian reader in his mid-20s who works for the government. We’re often told to “spend money on what’s important,” “spend according to your values” or “spend on whatever takes up most of your time.” So, for example, you should spend money when it comes to things like education, or family, or on a mattress. That’s a good guide, but in day-to-day situations you often have to make…

  • Ask the Readers: What is the next step? (92 comments)

    J.D. wrote about the three stages of personal finance often. His definitions were: The first stage of personal finance involves learning the basics: understanding compound interest, reducing debt, beginning to save. The second stage is putting the basics into practice: choosing to live frugally, saving in earnest, and pursuing financial goals. The third stage — the “what next?” stage — comes after we’ve mastered the fundamentals. It’s at this point that we begin to ask…

  • Play hooky for money (31 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. We at Fool HQ did it again: We had a company-wide financial health day. As we did three years ago, we encouraged Fool employees to clear their professional decks in order to tackle personal financial tasks. We also held 10 classes — from estate planning…

  • How to plan for a worst-case scenario (46 comments)

    As many longtime GRS readers know, a few years ago I quit my job to become a full-time writer. The decision to ditch a job and leap into self-employment always brings up a lot of big questions, like where to get health care and how to adjust to working alone. But the biggest question on my mind was about income. What if I lost a major client and my income suddenly dropped? While I was…

  • Taking the semi-retirement plunge without drowning in debt (60 comments)

    After spending months working 60 or 70 hours per week, realizing that life is all too short, and preparing for our kids to come home, it’s time for a new financial paradigm of my own: I’m semi-retiring. I had always been perplexed by those who, say, retired early to travel to exotic locations. I like working and don’t really like traveling, so my dreams involved some sort of fulfilling employment until I couldn’t work anymore….

  • Reader Stories: The frugal Orioles fan (36 comments)

    This post was written by Kurt Smith, author of Ballpark E-Guides, PDF-format guides that help fans get the most bang for their buck at the ballgame. He’s been called “MLB’s Worst Enemy” by “Connecticut Morning,” a TV program on which he is a frequent guest. 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…

  • Planning for a new financial paradigm (58 comments)

    I’d tried and occasionally gotten by on very much less, and I’d shuffled small freelance gigs and guiltily spent windfalls instead of saving. But I just couldn’t figure out a long-term way to make my rather meager freelance income work for all my non-household-bill expenses; food, child care, coffee shop goodies, lunches for my boys, the limited-but-still-precious entertainment expenditures, home office costs, clothes, and the rest of it. I was considering finding some more small…

  • Reader Stories: Starting to see financial fitness muscle! (31 comments)

    This story comes to us from reader EmJay. EmJay’s story is the epitome of getting rich slowly, and readers can learn from her effort. This post is part of the Reader Stories series. 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. Although we…

  • New student loan payoff tool (30 comments)

    Stafford, PLUS, Perkins, Direct, private – there are enough types of student loans out there to make your head spin. All of these loans have different criteria and interest rates. This is especially the case if you have loans from before 2012. Pre-2006, when Stafford loans were variable interest, it often made sense to consolidate when you felt that interest rates were low. While this option may still appeal to folks whose priority is the…

  • This year, switch and get things done (28 comments)

    Friends: this is only an arbitrary calendar, but still, it’s a nice mental paradigm to start counting again from day one. Don’t forget to write the correct year when you write your next check! (That is, if you still write checks.) Speaking of checks, and balances, I don’t have a crystal ball, so at the time of writing this I don’t yet know if by the time of publication we’ll have gone over the “fiscal…

  • A few things to consider before becoming an expatriate (23 comments)

    This post is from Justin Boyle. Justin is an experienced English tutor and writing coach who works as a designer in the tech industry. He lives in Austin, Texas, and finds a lot of things interesting, especially food, finance, education, gadgetry, software, art and travel. He never stops thinking about food. He is probably eating right now. There are plenty of possible reasons you could want to leave the U.S. Perhaps you’ve always dreamed about making the sand…

  • Reader Stories: Why giving up $100,000 a year was the right choice (87 comments)

    Steve Chou writes about entrepreneurship and how to start an online store over at MyWifeQuitHerJob.com. In addition, he and his wife run an online store selling wedding handkerchiefs and wedding linens at BumblebeeLinens.com. This story is part of our Reader Stories series. Some 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 submit your…

  • Preparing for the inevitable (41 comments)

    This is a guest post from Holly Johnson. Holly is a 32-year-old wife, mother of two, and frugal lifestyle enthusiast. She blogs about saving money, frugal habits, and whatever is on her mind at ClubThrifty.com. There are few occasions in life that anyone dreads more than the death of one of our parents. After all, our parents gave us life. They most often raised us. As most of us grew and had our own children,…

  • How badly would a disaster affect you? (59 comments)

    The oceans are rising, the climate is warming. Is your house — literally — in order? No matter what we do, say scientists, the oceans are rising; anything we do to address climate change won’t help until, at the earliest, 2100. And the effects of carbon emissions on the climate lag the emissions by at least 40 years and as many as hundreds of years. In a report that was ironically delayed because of Hurricane…

  • Reader Stories: Making friends in ‘God’s Waiting Room’ (30 comments)

    This guest post is from Mrs. PoP, who writes at plantingourpennies.com.This is a fitting post near Thanksgiving, as Mrs. PoP has a lot to be thankful for. This story is part of our Reader Stories series. Some 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 submit your own reader story? Here’s how. Mr….

  • Reader Story: I’m Retiring from Get Rich Slowly (69 comments)

    This post from J.D. Roth is part of the reader stories feature at Get Rich Slowly. J.D. founded this site and acted as editor for six-and-a-half years. He now writes at More Than Money. Want to submit your own reader story? Here’s how. First, the short version: I’m officially retiring from Get Rich Slowly. I may write an occasional guest post here, but from today forward, my online home is at More Than Money, where…

  • Risk-a-Palooza: All that can go wrong and how to prevent it (30 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. Note: Robert’s post is particularly timely this week, which is National Financial Planning Week. Time to get your finances in order! Let’s get this out of the way up front: This post is…

  • Get Free Financial Planning Help (10 comments)

    I’ve been working with a fee-only financial advisor recently to be sure all my eggs are in the right nests for my future. I’ve been impressed with her knowledge of law, taxes, insurance, investing — all aspects of financial life. While I’ve covered personal finance topics as a journalist for more than 20 years, I haven’t been so diligent about managing my own affairs. Yes, I’ve been saving for retirement all along, but I’ve been…

  • Reader Story: Dodging Financial Bullets: A Tribute to My Ex (94 comments)

    This guest post from Holly Johnson is part of the “reader stories” feature. Holly is a 32-year-old wife, mother of two, and frugal lifestyle enthusiast. She blogs about saving money, frugal habits, and whatever is on her mind at ClubThrifty.com. Want submit your own reader story? Here’s how. I could talk for hours about my ex-boyfriend and all of the terrible decisions he made, his bad habits, and his financial mistakes. Ahhh…..so where do I…

  • Stop Being the Person You Think You Are (100 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer Donna Freedman. Donna writes the Frugal Cool blog for MSN Money, and writes about frugality and intentional living at Surviving And Thriving. How’s your life going? Do dark nights of the soul outweigh the good days? Have you spent more time than you care to acknowledge wishing for something – anything – other than what you have? Get over it. It’s not that simple, obviously. But in order…

  • What Matters in Matters of Love and Finance (166 comments)

    “You need to keep your skills fresh,” said a commenter in a recent post about the finances of parenting, referring to the concept of a mother staying at home with the kids. “In case of death or divorce. I didn’t argue, but I shook my head and rolled my eyes. (I do this to avoid leaving snappy replies to people’s comments. Work with me.) I’ve long felt that combining one’s finances with a potential, or…

  • Friendships and Financial Inequality (168 comments)

    This article is from staff writer Kristin Wong. A few years ago, I started spending time with a coworker outside of work. She was cool, fun to hang out with, and we had a lot in common. Except income. She worked in a separate department and made significantly more money than I did. Hanging out with her and her friends usually involved dining at fancy restaurants, drinking at fancy bars, and talking about whether we’d…

  • Reader Story: What Would You Do If You Were Rich? (97 comments)

    This guest post from Sean Ogle is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Ogle writes about location-independent living at Location 180. Some 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 submit your own reader story? Here’s how. For most of my life I’ve worked under the assumption that money…

  • Straying Off the Path or Changing Direction? (77 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer Donna Freedman. Donna writes the Frugal Cool blog for MSN Money, and writes about frugality and intentional living at Surviving And Thriving. The delightful Rita Rudner once said that she never gets lost — she just changes where it is she wants to go. I’d like to stand that joke on its head: If life takes a sudden, unpleasant turn, you might have to turn along with it…

  • Getting Rich Slowly vs. Taking Financial Risks (37 comments)

    For the next week (or two), we’ll be sharing “audition” pieces from folks interested in being new staff writers at Get Rich Slowly. Your job is to let us know what you think of each of these writers. Pay attention, give feedback, and after a couple of weeks we’ll ask which writers you prefer. This article is from Kristin Wong, who also writes at The Heart Beat blog for MSN Living. Her first audition article…

  • Estate Settlement: Reading the Will Is Not What You Expect (24 comments)

    For the next week (or two), we’ll be sharing “audition” pieces from folks interested in being new staff writers at Get Rich Slowly. Your job is to let us know what you think of each of these writers. Pay attention, give feedback, and after a couple of weeks we’ll ask which writers you prefer. This article is from Jennifer Rose Hale. Jennifer’s first audition piece was about what to expect when settling an estate. Big…

  • Wills, Trusts and Drama: What to Expect When Settling an Estate (58 comments)

    This is a guest post by Jennifer Rose Hale, one of the candidates for a new staff writer position here at Get Rich Slowly. We all face times when we suddenly, necessarily have to become experts on a topic we’d previously given little consideration. Some, like pregnancy, accompany positive changes in our lives. Others, like dealing with funeral planning and estate issues, are entirely the opposite. Yet, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll have to…

  • One Lesson From a Financial Whiz Kid (103 comments)

    When Zac Bissonnette writes about how savvy he was about money in high school, I know his unusually precocious wisdom is not a put-on. I knew him back then. And, with his new book, How to Be Richer, Smarter, and Better-Looking Than Your Parents, I think you should listen to him. Even though, admittedly, he only has one lesson to teach you. I Knew Him When Zac was one of the first writers I contracted…

  • How to Do a Wallet Audit (90 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer Donna Freedman. Donna writes the Frugal Cool blog for MSN Money, and writes about frugality and intentional living at Surviving And Thriving. On my way to the 2011 Financial Blogger Conference last year I encountered three young men who’d made a non-traditional career choice: mugging tired-looking, middle-aged women pulling suitcases. They got me as I headed for the train to the airport, taking a little over $80 and…

  • Ask the Readers: How Do You Merge Finances and Philosophies? (132 comments)

    Everyone is different. That’s the beauty of life — but also one of its greatest complications. When two people fall in love, the meshing of these differences can be both fun and frustrating, especially when it comes to personal finance. That’s what Elaine has discovered. She’d like some advice on how to merge finances and philosophies with her fiancé. Here’s her story: My fiancé and I are both very responsible with money — neither of…

  • How to Donate Your Body to Science (135 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer Donna Freedman. Donna writes a personal finance column for MSN Money, and writes about frugality and intentional living at Surviving And Thriving. A basic burial averages close to $6,600 in the United States. Many people worry about the financial burden this places on their families. There is a way around this besides opting to be cremated and carrying enough life insurance: whole-body donation. It’s estimated that at least…

  • Make 2012 Better by Asking the Right Question (30 comments)

    This post is by guest writer Carl Richards. Carl is a financial planner, contributor for The New York Times and Morning Star, and author of Behavior Gap: Simple Ways to Stop Doing Dumb Things With Money. With 2012 still fresh and new, it’s a great time to make a plan to have a better year financially than we did in 2011. But figuring out how to make smart decisions about money can be a frustrating…

  • Planning for My Financial Future (65 comments)

    I’ve been fortunate over the past few years. I’ve managed to get out of debt, quit my day job to write full time, build substantial savings, and am now able to do what I want when I want. I still work hard, of course, but I do so on my own terms. I’m a lucky man. Next year, though, is going to be a year of changes. For one thing, my income might actually decrease….

  • Reader Story: Recovering from Divorce (70 comments)

    This guest post from Gina 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. Back in 2007, I found myself experiencing an unexpected divorce. After the smoke, I realized where I was financially and panicked. However, my inner…

  • Ask the Readers: How to Help a Homeless Friend? (117 comments)

    As the U.S. economy enters its fourth year of turmoil, average folks continue to struggle. At GRS, we’ve shared questions and stories about people who can’t make ends meet, who are losing their homes, and who find themselves out of work. But we’ve never tackled the homeless before. Today, though, Evan wrote with a tough situation. One of his friends is out on the street, and he feels guilty because of it. Should he help?…

  • Reader Story: What My Father’s Death Taught Me About Estate Planning (100 comments)

    This guest post from Jody 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. My dad died recently. He was a good man and a great father. Just three months after he retired (after spending more than 40…

  • Deciding What to Buy (108 comments)

    For the past five weeks, I’ve been traveling. At the end of September, I packed my bag and I’ve been on the road ever since. I’ve had fun, and learned a lot of Spanish, but to be honest I’m looking forward to seeing cold, rainy Portland again next week. As always happens when I travel, I’ve come to marvel at how little I can live with. I have a hotel room (or a tent) every…

  • Seven Years of Fiscal Responsibility (77 comments)

    It’s mid-September as I write this, and I’ve been spending the past few days scrambling to prepare for my trip to Peru. I’ve been packing, of course, but I’ve also been editing reader stories and writing blog posts for my absence. While bustling around, I stumbled across an old document. I’ve shared this before, but it’s been a while. Since it’s an important part of my financial history, I’m going to share it again today….

  • Play the Fooly-Wed Game! (24 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. One of the first articles I ever wrote for The Motley Fool was actually co-written with my wife, who also then worked for the Fool. It was more than 11 years ago (which is…

  • Ask the Readers: Which Financial Products Do You Actually Use? (143 comments)

    The financial blogging conference last week was great. My colleagues and I had a lot of thought-provoking discussions, not only in the planned sessions but also late at night in the hotel lobby. One of these impromptu chats focused on the financial products we actually use. Financial bloggers do a lot of product reviews. (I do them too, but I think they’re tedious. Besides, I think there are some ethical grey areas with product reviews,…

  • Turn Paranoia Into Plan B (Because Things Might Get Worse) (47 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner, the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service, and the husband of Elizabeth Brokamp, who has written a darling Halloween-themed children’s book, The Picky Little Witch. I have a confession: I am an “awfulizer.” I’m always afraid that something awful is around the corner, especially when it comes to my personal finances and the overall…

  • Get Free Professional Financial Help During Financial Planning Days (21 comments)

    When Kris and I attended our college reunion last month, we met many folks from other classes. For instance, I chatted with Harvey Gail, who graduated ten years before we did. We had plenty to talk about anyhow. Turns out Gail is the executive director of the Financial Planners Association of Oregon and Southwest Washington. (This is the same group I spoke to in 2009.) “You know,” Gail told me, “maybe you can help us…

  • Want More Money in Retirement? Work a Little Longer! (83 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 also has a blog, Twittering thing, and a wife who has written a clever little children’s book, The Picky Little Witch. Looking for an effective way to improve the chances that you won’t run out of money in retirement? It’s easy: Just delay retirement. That…

  • Reader Story: Lay-Off Resistant Family Finances (78 comments)

    This guest post from Sam 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. Sam writes about personal finance at Grad Money Matters. A few years ago, my husband and I began planning to have children. As part…

  • Preparing for an Emergency (80 comments)

    This post is from staff writer April Dykman, who recently wrote about ceviche and how to peel shrimp like a Hawaiian. A few weeks ago, I wrote about how hot it was in the Lone Star State. The update is that we’re literally on fire. Wildfires have destroyed hundreds of homes in central Texas, and they’re breaking out all over the state (more than 60 fires so far). We were at dinner last night when…

  • Estate Planning Essentials: Preparing for the Unpleasantly Possible (24 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 also has a blog, Twittering thing, and other things that are supposed to be important but he often forgets about, such as hygiene. Robert contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. As I mentioned in my missive from two weeks ago…

  • Reader Story: Estate Planning – The First Month (37 comments)

    This guest post from Jeffrey G. is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. It seems like a fitting follow-up to my recent experiences with my mother. 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. What would happen if you, your spouse, a parent, someone…

  • Drama in Real Life: A Place for Mom (259 comments)

    In my ideal world, you’d now be reading an article about the freelancing or entrepreneurship or extreme couponing or one of the half dozen other topics I’ve started to write about. In my ideal world, I’d go to the gym this morning, and then to Spanish lessons this afternoon. In my ideal world, Kris and I would go see the Portland Timbers play this evening. Unfortunately, I don’t live in my ideal world. Instead, I…

  • The Next Step: Preparing for Change (105 comments)

    For years, I wallowed in debt. I had no fiscal discipline. I used credit to buy what I wanted, when I wanted. My money skills were abysmal, and my life was in financial ruin. In 2004, I decided to turn things around. I started teaching myself about personal finance. I attacked my debt with vigor. I learned about saving and investing and frugality and thrift. I discovered the basics of self-discipline. Gradually, from the ruins,…

  • Reader Story: Making Life Transitions Meaningful (83 comments)

    This guest post from Laura Mezoff Christy 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. Some of the biggest transitions in life also tend to be the most expensive. Births, funerals, weddings, buying houses, and leaving for…

  • Reader Story Update: How My Debt-Free Marriage Led to Freedom for New Opportunities (54 comments)

    This guest post from Mike C. 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 follow-up to Mike’s November reader story about his debt-free marriage. If you’ve consumed enough personal finance books and blogs, you’ve…

  • How to Make Separate Finances Work: An Interview with J.D. and Kris (199 comments)

    Every couple has its own way of managing money. Some folks share their finances completely. Some — like my wife and me — keep their finances completely separate. Most couples fall somewhere between these two extremes. Writing for the June issue of Redbook magazine, Virginia Sole-Smith highlighted what she calls the new money rules for couples. Experts don’t agree on how couples should manage their money, Sole-Smith says. That’s because there’s no “one size fits…

  • Estate Planning Done Right: How to Help Your Family from the Great Beyond (48 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 also has a blog, Twittering thing. Robert contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. Note: No cats were harmed in the writing of this post. Unless you’re Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re not going to be able to visit your relatives after you…

  • To Automate, or Not to Automate (85 comments)

    This post is from staff writer April Dykman. Lately I’ve been giving my personal finance systems a lot of thought. What is the best way to track my expenses (I’ve yet to figure it out)? Am I allocating my savings in the way that makes the most sense? Should I automate more, or less? Right now I’m both automated and unautomated. Payments for cell phones, my yoga studio membership, Netflix, and charity, for example, are…

  • Your Retirement Account Survival Guide (55 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 also has a blog, Twittering thing, and a piece of carpet that was once in Elvis’ jungle room (no joke!). Robert contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. An IRA is a simple little thing. It’s a common, garden-variety retirement vehicle,…

  • Building Your Financial “Safety Gear” (54 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Sierra Black. Sierra writes about frugality, sustainable living, and raising children at Childwild.com. Recently, I’ve gotten into indoor rock climbing. It’s a challenging activity, and frightening when you first begin. You need to really push the edges of your strength and flexibility. Once in awhile, if you happen to glance down and see how far off the ground you are, it can be terrifying. Which is to say, it’s…

  • Reader Story: A Five-Year Financial Turnaround (51 comments)

    This guest post from Lindsay 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. Thank you for Get Rich Slowly. I started reading GRS almost five years ago, and it has influenced me to: Ask for raises Seek…

  • Use a Financial Fire Drill to Prepare for the Worst BEFORE It Happens (49 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer Donna Freedman. Donna writes a personal finance column for MSN Money, and writes about frugality and intentional living at Surviving And Thriving. Hey, federal employees: How many of you were you watching the Countdown to Shutdown clock and wondering how you’d cope if salaries were delayed by even a few days? The time to figure out how you would have managed was before the crisis loomed. The same…

  • Financial Security for Unmarried Couples (97 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Sierra Black. Sierra writes about frugality, sustainable living, and raising children at Childwild.com. Money is one of the biggest issues couples fight about. It’s also one of the most important areas for clear communication. After all, money touches every aspect of our lives. I’ve written before about the importance of having good financial communication with your spouse. It’s doubly important to communicate well with your partner if you’re not…

  • All About Asset Location: How to Make the Most of Your Accounts (68 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 also has a newly reinvigorated blog, and you can have your day interrupted once or twice by his Twittering. Robert contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. When he submitted this, Robert advised, “File this under the ‘long and tedious but…

  • Establish Your Financial Priorities (Worksheet Inside!) (55 comments)

    This post is from staff writer April Dykman. Quick — can you list your top financial priorities? My top priorities (aside from basic living expenses) are building a house and travel. Those are the two things I daydream about the most, and the two things I try to keep in mind when I’m deciding whether I really need all 10 “hard-to-find” books from the used book store or whether I’m overspending on, say, a $100-compost…

  • Emergency Preparedness on a Shoestring (130 comments)

    This post is from new GRS staff writer Donna Freedman. Donna writes a personal finance column for MSN Money, and writes about frugality and intentional living at Surviving And Thriving. Images of devastation emerged after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. We watched water sweep away vehicles and houses; we saw stunned men and weeping women in the ruins. But we also heard about survivors whose homes weren’t flattened or inundated, people who subsisted on stockpiled…

  • College Is a Big, Fat, Hairy Rip-Off! (But Save for It Anyway) (109 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 also has a newly reinvigorated blog, and you can have your day interrupted once or twice by his Twittering. Robert contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. A few weeks ago, the proprietor of this establishment (J.D. “The letters in ‘Get…

  • Reader Story: Sailing Away from the American Dream (52 comments)

    This guest post from Michael Robertson 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. Two years ago, Michael shared a guest post about direct stock purchase plans. Today, he shares his personal story, which is about sailing…

  • Drama in Real Life: When Emergencies Pile Up (76 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. Last week, I mentioned that my cat just died. Not only was his passing heartbreaking, it was expensive. But as I said in that post, I was very happy to be able to write a check from my emergency fund and not worry about where the money would come from. Since I’m…

  • The Cost of Being a Better Parent (107 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. Remember the good old days? Of course not, because they never really existed — at least not the way they’re recalled in old TV shows and movies. But you can still get a flavor…

  • Christmas Gifts That Make a Difference (63 comments)

    This is the first post from new GRS staff writer Donna Freedman. Donna writes the Living With Less personal finance column for MSN Money, and writes about frugality, intentional living and lifeitsownself at Surviving And Thriving. Grandma probably doesn’t want another scented candle, but she could very well use a ride to the store. Your underemployed nephew would likely prefer a little help filling the pantry instead of a jokey T-shirt. And the sister who’s…

  • Fantasy vs. Reality: Paving a Path to a Promising Future (45 comments)

    On Saturday night, I had dinner with Wendy and Dennis, two Get Rich Slowly readers who recently moved from Phoenix to Portland. We talked about a lot of things — most of them nerdy. We also chatted about the ever-evolving nature of Get Rich Slowly. “I’ve noticed you’re writing more about credit cards lately,” Wendy said. “Is that because you’re using them more often?” “Well, maybe,” I said. I thought about it for a moment….

  • Advice from a Billionaire: What to do With a Windfall (42 comments)

    A long-time GRS reader named Andy dropped me a line the other day to point out an article on the Forbes website. Forbes interviewed billionaire Mark Cuban (best known as the owner of the Dallas Mavericks pro basketball team) about his secrets to building and keeping a fortune. Andy particularly liked Cuban’s answer to the penultimate question, which is about what to do with a windfall. (Or, I suppose, what to do with a bunch…

  • Reader Story: Since My Divorce (196 comments)

    This guest post from Mandy Walker 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. Mandy writes the blog Since My Divorce, a collection of stories mostly from women about life after divorce — the challenges, the hardships,…

  • Why Now is the Time to Think Long-Term (37 comments)

    This is a guest post from Philip Brewer of Wise Bread. Brewer also writes science-fiction and fantasy stories. Previously at GRS, he shared how to live a rich life on a budget. As a saver, I have a personal interest in higher interest rates: I earn more. But as a conservationist and environmentalist, I know that low rates enable a certain kind of long-term thinking. Now, while rates are at generational lows, circumstances are perfect…

  • Re-Thinking Retirement: Beyond Conventional Wisdom (32 comments)

    This post is from Kent Thune. Kent urges and guides readers to place meaning and purpose before money and planning at his blog, The Financial Philosopher. Previously at GRS, Thune has written about defining financial freedom, and shared a brilliant article about how the number-one impact on your investments is YOU. When planners talk about retirement, they often use the metaphor of a three-legged stool. The three legs of this metaphorical stool include: Social Security…

  • Reader Story: Widowed Young (64 comments)

    This guest post from Heather 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. In 2002, I was 28 years old with a dead husband. It wasn’t a total shock: He had been sick, and there was never…

  • Reader Story: I Was a TV Freelancer (or Financial Planning and Job Instability) (38 comments)

    This guest post from Kristen Swensson is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. It’s also the funniest post I’ve published since Robert Brokamp’s last appearance. Swensson is the proprietor of Cheap Healthy Good, a great blog about food and frugality. She likes nothing more than good feedback and bacon, preferably combined in a delicious slurry. A long, long time ago (2009) in a galaxy far, far away (New York City), I…

  • Planning for Budget Busters: Home Ownership (41 comments)

    This video post is the third of a four-part series from staff writer Adam Baker. Baker previously featured a post on his own blog entitled Cost of Living Abroad: Dozens of Bloggers Share Their Expenses. Last week, I introduced the concept of a Budget Buster, which is any irregular expense that I fail to plan for. These are’t true emergencies, but rather expenses that pop up to surprise me, even though I should have easily…

  • How Do You Define Financial Freedom? (70 comments)

    This post is from Kent Thune. Kent urges and guides readers to place meaning and purpose before money and planning at his blog, The Financial Philosopher. Can freedom be bought? Are there any (financially) poor people who are free? Are there any (financially) wealthy people who aren’t free? If someone were to ask you, “What’s your definition of financial freedom?”, what would you say? Be honest with yourself: Would you reply with a concrete definition?…

  • Preparing for the Future: A Risk-Management Checklist (17 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. Many of you asked for a follow-up to last week’s post about what happens to your stuff when you die; this article offers more info about how to prepare for the inevitable. Some aspects…

  • What Happens to Your Stuff When You Die? (49 comments)

    Most of us have some sort of vague idea about what happens to our assets when we die. The stuff we own gets passed on to the people we specify — assuming we’ve jumped through the right hoops. But what happens to our debts when we die? That’s what Matt wants to know. He wrote recently looking for clarification: My parents are both in their sixites, and don’t have the best financial position. They have…

  • What YOU Can Learn from Baby-Boomer Blunders (111 comments)

    J.D. is on vacation in Alaska. This is a guest post from Neal Frankle, a Certified Financial Planner, and the author of Wealth Pilgrim, a blog about his financial journey. If you know someone in their fifties, don’t be surprised when you discover they’re afraid. I’m 52, and I checked with everyone. They confirmed it. It’s true. Ten years ago, all of our investments were booming: real estate, the stock market, you name it. It…

  • Six Steps to Strengthen Your Family on the Journey to Financial Freedom (43 comments)

    J.D. is on vacation in Alaska. This is a guest post from Dustin Riechmann. Dustin created Engaged Marriage to help others achieve the extraordinary in marriage and in life. Together, his family paid off $54,500 in debt to simplify their lives and achieve financial freedom in their household. Financial freedom is clearly a desirable goal, and we read about the associated benefits every day here at Get Rich Slowly. It seems like everyone should be…

  • How I Survived the Computer Castrophe of 2010 (115 comments)

    Sometimes I feel like I’m cursed. Computers hate me. I don’t think I’m particularly rough on them — I don’t toss them around or poke at the screen or douse them in water (though, on occasion, I do forget to close my window here at the office, and my printer gets rained on) — but for whatever reason, my Macs all seem to die after a couple of years. Maybe this is because I use…

  • The Business of Marriage: Five Things You Should Do Before Tying the Knot (46 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. I’m at a friend’s wedding this weekend, traveling with my own husband and kids. The wedding invitation labelled the event as a “triumph of hope over experience”. It is that, and I’m honored to be invited as a witness. But it’s also a business arrangement, something I’m sure my friend (a respected…

  • Have a Financial Health Day…at Work (27 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. Once a month, a small group of folks at The Motley Fool gather to discuss money-saving ideas and exchange tips and tricks. Last fall, we members of the Personal Finance Club (as we boringly…

  • Are We There Yet? How Will You Know When You’re Rich? (104 comments)

    This is a guest post by Ami Kim, who blogs about searching for a calling at 40 Days to Change. Ami is a long-time GRS reader. Here at Get Rich Slowly, we imbibe many flavors of frugality, smart investing, and money management. Between J.D.’s (and others’) posts and the treasure trove of comments, you could build a path to wealth tailored to your individual income, assets, and circumstances. But how will you know when you’re…

  • Calculating Your Life-Time Income (30 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Adam Baker. Baker recently released an online guide entitled, Unautomate Your Finances. J.D.’s note: According to Facebook, today is Baker’s birthday. Happy birthday, Adam! In continuing celebration of Financial Literacy Month, my GRS contributions throughout April are covering basic techniques to raise your financial awareness. Last week we covered a few methods of getting to know your debt. This week we’re going to attack the income side of the…

  • How to Self-Diagnose Your Financial Health (38 comments)

    The New York Times Your Money section features consistently great advice from Ron Lieber and his team. (This team includes Carl Richards, who you may remember from his excellent blog Behavior Gap; Richards has shared a couple of guest posts here at GRS in the past.) Last week, Your Money featured an article from Tara Siegel Bernard in which the author explained how to self-diagnose your financial health. “We asked planners what they ask their…

  • From Whole Foods to Food Stamps (102 comments)

    This post is from new staff writer Sierra Black. Sierra writes about frugality, sustainable living, and getting her kids to eat kale at Childwild.com. The recession has hit families where they live. For many, it’s forced a change of address. Think about all those foreclosed homes and urban deserts: One in every 400 homes received a foreclosure notice last year. Unemployment is approaching 10%. Some families no longer have a place to call home at…

  • Money Without Matrimony (42 comments)

    When you get married, figuring out the financial implications can be a challenge. Do you merge your money completely? Do you keep some or all of the accounts separate? And who takes care of which household financial chores? As difficult as marriage and money can be, things are even tougher for unmarried couples, both gay and straight. There are all sorts of legal, financial, and emotional issues, and it’s difficult for these folks to get…

  • Women and Retirement (94 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the advisor for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. I don’t know about Get Rich Slowly readers, but I can tell you that the majority of Motley Fool readers are guys, and that’s true of most financial publications. That men are more likely…

  • Happy New Year! My One Goal for 2010 (73 comments)

    As an amazing 2009 fades into the sunset, it’s time to review my progress and look forward to the year to come. Am I a better person than I was a year ago? (I believe so.) How can I be even better at the end of this year? As in 2008 and 2009, I’m not setting resolutions for 2010. I’m setting goals. When I set goals, I don’t feel like I’m trying to become somebody…

  • Job Loss: Got a Financial Game Plan? (63 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer April Dykman. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of unemployed was 15.4 million and the jobless rate was 10 percent in November. While those numbers “edged down” from previous months, there’s no doubt that job loss and unemployment are hot topics, and people are worried. Some of those lucky enough to hang onto their jobs have experienced salary reductions, reduced hours, or withheld bonuses. Even if your…

  • Giving to Receive: What Legacy Will You Leave? (46 comments)

    This is a guest post from Tyler Tervooren, a long-time GRS reader. Tyler is a practical environmentalist who writes about the overlap of money, sustainability, and personal development at Frugally Green. Have you accepted yet that you’re going to die? Have you? Honestly? We’ve been doing it for thousands of years but, for some reason, most of us won’t figure out how to deal with it until it’s too late. This is something every one…

  • The Regrets of Christmas Past (79 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the advisor for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. Every summer, my wife and I cull our closets for stuff we and our kids no longer use. This is followed by a yard sale (complete with the obligatory lemonade stand from our kids),…

  • Are Pre-Nuptial Agreements For Everyone? (138 comments)

    This is a guest post from Andy Jolls, founder of VideoCreditScore.com. Andy ran the myFICO.com business for a number of years and now educates consumers with free credit videos. You can follow him on Twitter at @vidcredit. My wife and I were married a few years ago. I was working at myFICO at the time we got engaged, so I was already swimming in the world of credit, debt, and personal finance. In fact, Suze…

  • Money and Marriage: Tackle Trouble BEFORE It Begins (73 comments)

    Ron Lieber writes the excellent “Your Money” column for The New York Times. Last week, he shared a list of four money talks to have before marriage. Lieber writes: Divorce tends to be emotionally gut-wrenching for the people who go through it (not to mention those around them). But most couples don’t realize that divorce can also be among the most ruinous financial moves anyone can make. This article struck home for me. No, Kris…

  • Goals Are the Gateway to Financial Success (61 comments)

    This is the second of a fourteen-part series that explores the core tenets of Get Rich Slowly. Yesterday I completed my first marathon. It didn’t happen exactly as I’d planned, but it happened. Instead of running 26.2 miles, I walked the entire course. Some might view this as a failure. Not me. I’m ecstatic to have finally, at the age of forty, met one of my life-long goals. Though I had hoped to run the…

  • Sound Saving and Investing: Taking the Road to Riches Step-by-Step (28 comments)

    This is a guest post from Richard Barrington, a freelance writer and novelist who spent over 20 years as an investment industry executive. Barrington is a regular contributor at MoneyRates. Previously at GRS, he shared how to find the right CD or money-market account. The problem with saving money is that it’s like hiking toward the mountains. The target seems so distant that it feels like you’ll never get there. However, people who start putting…

  • The Quiet Millionaire (48 comments)

    Despite what you see in the media, financial success generally doesn’t come with a lot of glitz. The wealthiest people I know are the ones you’d least expect. They’ve built their wealth slowly — and quietly. Certified financial planner Brett Wilder has observed the same thing, and has written about the phenomenon in his book, The Quiet Millionaire. Along the way, he shares real-life examples of quiet millionaires. These are the same sorts of people…

  • What Got You to Get Better? Reasons for Change (86 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the advisor for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. (And note that this post is much less controversial than yesterday’s!) Let’s face it: Most of us weren’t born eager to delay gratification, invest in IRAs, diversify our assets, and give a hoot about…

  • Wrapping Up the GRS Staff Writer Auditions (129 comments)

    It’s been a long two weeks, but I think it’s been worthwhile. Thanks for your patience and feedback as the seven Staff Writer candidates shared their articles with you. I still think all seven are great, and wish I could bring all of them on board. It’s going to be difficult to decide whom to add as a Staff Writer. Before I return to full-time at GRS tomorrow morning, I’d be grateful for one last…

  • Ask The Readers: What Is Your Appetite for Risk? (75 comments)

    This is a guest post from A.J. Clark, a long-time lurker at Get Rich Slowly. A.J. is a potential Staff Writer for GRS. He is a recent college graduate who writes software in the financial services industry, while trying to find his financial footing in the Real World. In his first post, A.J. explained that he’s hoping to finish ahead by starting behind. As I mentioned in my previous post, I recently transitioned into my…

  • KeePass and Dropbox: Two Tools for Managing Your Electronic Life (41 comments)

    Over the past few months, GRS readers been recommending two applications that I haven’t found time to mention — until today. These two utilities perform simple but important tasks. One is a password manager, and the other allows you to share your documents — including financial documents — across multiple computers. KeePass Here, for example, is an e-mail I received from a reader who asked to remain anonymous. He’s one of the many to sing…

  • The Big Book of Everything: A Free Life-Affairs Organizer (95 comments)

    Last summer, Mark Gavagan mailed me a copy of his It’s All Right Here life and affairs organizer. This three-ring binder is big and unwieldy, but is amazingly comprehensive. It not only offers pages for credit card and saving account information, but also includes space to record family medical history, business information, and more. There are even several pages of vinyl or plastic sleeves where you can store things like keys! The It’s All Right…

  • What If You Don’t Plan to Retire? Save Anyhow! (49 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the advisor for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. In my last post, I explained why your financial time horizon may be longer than you think, since you may be investing well into your 90s. The discussion was in the context of retirement,…

  • The Personal Finance Hour, Episode 16: Moving to Australia (13 comments)

    In the recent GRS reader survey, one common request was to delay the weekly podcast announcement until after the show so that I could provide a brief written summary for those who don’t have the time or the inclination to listen. That means I can’t provide a reminder for people to call in during the show, but it may generate more discussion here on the blog. “I think I’ll move to Australia.” This week, Jim…

  • Ask the Readers: Save More or See the World? (166 comments)

    I’ve written a lot lately about finding balance. It’s important to save for the future, but how do you balance that with enjoying today? Each of us has to address that question in our own way. A reader named Max wrote to share his own dilemma: I’ve been working as a web designer since I was 18. I made a few financial mistakes in my early days: leased a car for four years, bought a…

  • My Sister’s Keeper: Sharing Financial Goals with an Accountability Partner (28 comments)

    “Don’t you have any tips for single folks?” I’m often asked. Like any writer, I tend to write from my own experience — that of a married man. Fortunately, there are plenty of single people in the GRS community who are willing to share the things they’ve learned. Here’s a guest post from Kinley Levack about how she and her sister hold each other financially accountable. Over Christmas 2007, my sister Michelle and I started…

  • Estate Planning 101: Preparing for the Possible — and the Inevitable (35 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the advisor for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. We interrupt this regularly cheerful website to bring you some unpleasant news: You’re not going to live forever. And, just to pile on the unpleasantness, you might become incapacitated before you join that Great…

  • Ask the Readers: Tips for Tackling Big Financial Goals? (50 comments)

    Lance wrote recently with some questions about goals. First, he’s worried that he should have more than just one. Second, his only goal seems daunting. He’s looking for advice: I wanted to get some help on setting financial goals. Growing up, I did not have many luxuries, so items such as vacations, new cars, televisions, clothes, furniture, etc do not mean much to me at all. The only personal goal I really have is to…

  • The Personal Finance Hour, Episode 10: Finding Financial Advisors (2 comments)

    How do you find financial advisors? How do you know whom to trust with your money? That’s the topic on today’s episode of The Personal Finance Hour, a BlogTalkRadio program all about personal finance. You can catch it live at 3pm Pacific (6pm Eastern) every Monday. During today’s discussion, Jim and I will be discussing how to find financial advice you can trust. We’ll talk about lawyers, accountants, and financial planners. We’ll share what we’ve…

  • Be More Involved in Your Financial Planning (28 comments)

    This is a guest post from Tough Money Love, the personal-finance blog that doesn’t pull any punches. You don’t have to look far in our economy to find someone willing and able to assist with your financial planning. Bankers, insurance agents, stock brokers, wealth managers, and professional financial planners are everywhere. Advice passed along by personal finance bloggers and other amateurs is easy to come by as well. Many of those wanting to give you…

  • The Boat Experience: The Means Justify the Ends (42 comments)

    This is a guest post from Michael H. It’s the story I alluded to when I first wrote about the third stage of personal finance. I was afraid to run this story when Michael submitted it last year. I thought it encouraged foolish behavior. Now I understand that it does no such thing. Instead, it points to goals, and the reasons for our frugality and saving. For the past 10 years, our family has gone…

  • Coping with Life’s Little Setbacks (52 comments)

    I had a lousy weekend. It was one of those weekends where anything that could go wrong did go wrong. The individual problems were minor enough, but taken as a whole, it was all rather overwhelming. Some examples: When I left the house to go on my marathon training run Saturday morning, the cover to porch light fell to the ground and shattered into a million little pieces. Our internet connection died. And, of course,…

  • When Does It Make Sense to Stock Up? (159 comments)

    One of my wife’s favorite cosmetic products was recently discontinued. For years she’s used a certain facial cleanser from Avon, so when Avon stopped selling it, Kris was frustrated. She’s tried similar products from other companies, but prefers the one from Avon. It occurred to Kris that maybe she could find the product online. She tracked down a seller on eBay and ordered a two-year supply for $50 (plus shipping). This is double what she…

  • The Personal Finance Hour, Episode 8: Pets (20 comments)

    How much do you spend on your pets? Are pets worth the money? How can you keep costs down? Those fuzzy little critters are the topic later today on the 8th episode of The Personal Finance Hour, a BlogTalkRadio program all about personal finance. You can catch it live at 3pm Pacific (6pm Eastern) every Monday. During today’s episode, Jim and I will be discussing companion animals — and how to cope with their costs….

  • The Miser’s Peril: Why You Should Save for Tomorrow AND Enjoy Today (55 comments)

    I recently dropped in to speak with my accountant (who is also a good friend). We chatted about my finances, and we spent a little time discussing Get Rich Slowly. Somehow the conversation turned to frugality, and he told me a little story about one of his clients. A true story Like many of us, Mr. and Mrs. Smith were careful with their money. Mr. Smith handled the family finances — the income, the investing,…

  • 8 Questions to Ask BEFORE Hiring a Financial Planner (120 comments)

    This is a guest post by Jeff Rose, an Certified Financial Planner from Illinois. Rose is also the author of Good Financial Cents, a financial planning and investment blog. Before reading his article, you may want to begin with two previous guest posts from Dylan Ross: What is a financial plan and why have one? and When and how to hire a financial planner. When meeting with a financial planner for the first time, many…

  • The Personal Finance Hour, Episode 4: Couples and Finances (5 comments)

    I know this is late going up, but I’ve been running errands all morning (many of which were money-related). In just a few minutes, you can join us for the fourth episode of The Personal Finance Hour, a BlogTalkRadio program all about personal finance. I’ll be co-hosting the show with Jim from Bargaineering at 3pm Pacific (6pm Eastern). During this fourth episode, Jim and I will be discussing couples and finances. Do you keep separate…

  • The Ways and Means of Coping with Emergencies (63 comments)

    This is a guest post from Gail Vaz-Oxlade, a Canadian financial writer and host of the television series ‘Til Debt Do Us Part. Experts have been touting the importance of having an emergency fund since Moses was a lad. So why is it that so many people still don’t have enough (or any?) money set aside just in case? Reasons and rationales abound. “I’m paying off my debt. That’s the most important thing.” With the…

  • The Personal Finance Hour, Episode 3: Finding Balance (15 comments)

    Join us this afternoon for the third episode of The Personal Finance Hour, a BlogTalkRadio program all about personal finance. I’ll be co-hosting the show with Jim from Bargaineering at 3pm Pacific (6pm Eastern). During this third episode, Jim and I will be exploring balance. What is it? How do you find it? And how do you maintain it? Balance is different for different people. When you’re in debt, your financial balance is very different…

  • Financial Independence: The Final Stage of Money Management (46 comments)

    This is the last of a five-part series about the “stages” of personal finance. These stories have intentionally been less polished than most articles at Get Rich Slowly. This is a chance for me to think out loud, to explore an idea with you in an informal way. In February, I wrote that I was entering the third stage of personal finance. As I made my way out of debt and began to save, I…

  • Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems: Why Pro Athletes Go Broke (23 comments)

    Last week’s issue of Sports Illustrated featured a fantastic article from Pablo S. Torre that describes how (and why) athletes go broke. Generally, it’s for the same reasons that people like you and me go broke: they don’t know enough about money. But pro athletes are also besieged by many people who are eager to help them “invest” their fortunes: “With athletes, there’s an extraordinary metamorphosis of financial challenge,” says agent Leigh Steinberg, who has…

  • Ask the Readers: How Do You Organize Your Account Information? (86 comments)

    Between my personal accounts, my business accounts, and the joint accounts I have with my wife, it’s difficult for me to keep track of my essential information. As we’ve been working to refinance our house, for example, there have been several times I’ve had to dig for needed account numbers and statements. I’m not the only one with this problem. Earlier this month, Meghan wrote to ask: How do you compile a comprehensive list of…

  • George Kinder: Three Questions about Life Planning (31 comments)

    I spent last Tuesday at the mid-winter conference of the local financial planning association. I was there to give a one-hour presentation about financial blogs, but I had a secondary motive. I wanted to hear the keynote speaker, George Kinder. George Kinder takes a unique approach to financial planning. He moves beyond the numbers and tries to address the goals and values of the client. Kinder calls this method “life planning”. From his website: Life…

  • “What Next?” The Third Stage of Personal Finance (142 comments)

    I earned more money in 2008 than I’ve ever made in my life. Get Rich Slowly isn’t just a personal success — it’s a financial success, as well. Combine this income with an ongoing campaign of frugality — my spending last year was the lowest it’s been since I started tracking it — and my financial position is rosy. My plan to get rich slowly is succeeding. Financial security Yet despite my increased wealth, I…

  • Playing with Numbers: Using Spreadsheets to Learn About Money (112 comments)

    One of my favorite personal finance tools is the spreadsheet. Although I’m no Excel master, I’ve found that I can create a spreadsheet to find answers for many money questions that I have. If I run into problems, I ask Google…or my wife. (Kris took an Excel training course.) Here are some recent questions GRS readers have e-mailed me that could be answered in just a few minutes playing with formulas: “Won’t using multiple savings…

  • How to Be the Family CFO (12 comments)

    This is a guest post from Kelly Whalen, a mostly stay-at-home mom who writes about personal finance at The Centsible Life. As acting chief financial officer of my family, Kim Snider’s How to Be the Family CFO provided me with an education I wish I had received 15 years ago! The book is easily digestible, with five sections, and most chapters easily read in 5-10 minute bites. This proves to be the best way to…

  • Ask the Readers: When Is It Okay to Spend Your Savings? (85 comments)

    Amanda wrote with a question this week that I think many GRS readers can relate to: When is it okay to spend your savings? My husband is currently unemployed so we’re just living on my salary, but at least we don’t have to pay for child care.  However, we are spending more than we make.  We had a fair amount stashed away from savings and some inheritance, and we’ve been dipping into this to help…

  • Why 2009 Will Be a Fantastic Financial Year For Me (30 comments)

    J.D. is on vacation. This is a guest post from Katrina Ramser, a freelance writer who contributes to various websites, newspapers and magazines. She also writes about swimming at SquidKid and about cars at Vehix.com. I’m predicting 2009 will be a fantastic financial year for me. Not so much due to any income figure or increase or another form of windfall money, but rather because of my bottom-line affecting attitudes. Here are six reasons I…

  • What’s Your Why? The Importance of Finding Meaning in Your Life (28 comments)

    J.D. is on vacation. This is a guest post from Jeremy Martin. You’ve heard the phrase, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” I’ve often wondered about that — should we really settle for half the return just to have a sure thing right now? It could be argued, and convincingly, that our love of immediate gratification is why so many people have so much debt now. Of course, what are…

  • Daily Links: Christmas Vacation Edition (12 comments)

    Thanks to your fellow Get Rich Slowly readers, I’ve amassed enough guest posts to take a short break. For the next two weeks, I will be posting articles from other writers. I’ll still be around, working behind the scenes (and posting occasionally), but most of my attention will be focused on crafting a book proposal. And I’ll be back full-time in 2009 with lots of great articles about investing, debt reduction, and smart personal finance….

  • Yes, You Can Achieve Financial Independence (33 comments)

    In the midst of our rush to earn money, our scramble to save for retirement, our focus on frugality, it’s easy to lose sight of why we’re doing this. What is the goal? What is it we’re trying to accomplish by getting rich slowly? For me — and for many others — the answer is Financial Independence. Your Money or Your Life defines Financial Independence as “having an income sufficient for your basic needs and…

  • All You Ever Wanted to Know About Emergency Funds (But Were Afraid to Ask) (183 comments)

    This is a guest post from Dylan Ross. Dylan is a long-time member of the Get Rich Slowly community: a frequent commenter and occasional guest author. He’s also a Certified Financial Planner. This article is an abridged version of a chapter Dylan contributed to Investing in an Uncertain Economy for Dummies, which was recently published by Wiley. See the end of this post for a chance to win a copy. Even if you’ve never had…

  • Ask the Readers: How Can I Know Whom to Trust? (60 comments)

    Joleen wrote this week with a unique situation. She’s a Canadian who has been working overseas in China for the past six years. She has accumulated substantial savings in the local currency, but has no idea what to do with her money. She writes: I was recently approached by a financial advisor who works for a large international brokerage. He wanted me to think about investing in an offshore account and/or the stock market. I’ve had one…

  • 2008 U.S. Election Results (19 comments)

    Courtesy of Google Gadgets, here’s a little election-tracking widget. I’m posting this more for my own edification than anything. All of the other sites and widgets are painfully slow to load. Kris and I are hosting a small election party, and I’m not finished writing for tomorrow. The morning post may become a mid-morning post!

  • Setting and Achieving Family Financial Goals (38 comments)

    When I finally paid off my consumer debt last fall, I set a new goal: build an emergency fund to cover several months of my expenses. Never before had I managed to accumulate more than $1000 in savings. In fact, I’d spent most of my life living paycheck-to-paycheck, constantly flirting with overdraft fees. For the past ten months, I’ve made saving my priority. Instead of using my positive cash flow to buy toys, I funneled…

  • Dealing with Disaster: A Brief Guide to Emergency Preparedness (34 comments)

    This is a guest post from JLP of All Financial Matters. JLP, who is a financial planner, was instrumental in helping me get started with Get Rich Slowly, and his blog remains one of my favorites. As a resident living fairly close to the Gulf Coast, I’m familiar with evacuating for a hurricane. There’s no way around it — evacuating for a natural disaster is a pain. But, there are things you do to make…

  • Funding the Future with a Financial Savings Plan (21 comments)

    When do I want to retire? How much do I want to have saved? What sorts of things do I want to accomplish before then? I’ve begun to think seriously about these questions lately. Jim at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity recently offered some tips on how to draft a basic financial savings plan, a tool that could help me craft a road map for my future. He says that failure to plan is one of…

  • 7 Tips for Money and Marriage (34 comments)

    My wife and I never fight about money. I used to claim this was because we keep separate finances, but now I know it’s because we share similar financial goals and dreams. Even during those years I was deep in debt, I never did anything that might jeopardize our financial future. Our shared vision has helped us to maintain a successful marriage. We’re not alone, however. Writing in last Wednesday’s New York Times, Tara Siegel…

  • Saving for Baby: Making the Move from Two Salaries to One (41 comments)

    This is a guest post from Corrinne Fisher, who is transitioning from career woman to stay-at-home mom. I stared down at the two pink stripes on the pregnancy test with the same feeling one has when they find themselves strapped into the front of a roller-coaster. Heart pounding, you start to wonder whether you really want to take this ride, but the decision has already been made. And as you climb to the top of…

  • How to Prepare for Buying a Home (48 comments)

    This is a guest post from Jim, my friend and colleague at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity. When I bought a home three years ago, the economic climate was different from today. Back then, a house would could be listed on Friday and a contract signed by Monday. It was easy to get a loan (too easy, in fact) and you could make every mistake in the book and still find yourself a home. Despite the…

  • Ask the Readers: How Should We Spend Our Inheritance? (74 comments)

    Most of the questions I receive are from readers in their twenties and thirties. Many of them are just starting out in life. But money issues nag everyone. Donald wrote the other day with the sort of question most of us have not yet faced. He’s getting near retirement, but doesn’t have much saved. He just inherited a bunch of money, and he wants advice about what he should do with it. I am 55…

  • Ask the Readers: How Can I Get My Wife to Talk About Money? (91 comments)

    Money management can be difficult, even when you’re on your own. Throw a life partner into the mix and things get more complicated. What can you do if you and your spouse just aren’t on the same financial page? Hal recently wrote with a question: I got married about a year ago to a wonderful girl who is up to her ears in debt, including medical bills and student loans (including federal loans) which have…

  • Die Broke: Spend ’til the End (28 comments)

    Smart personal finance is all about balance. You work while you’re young to provide for the day when you may not be able (or willing) to work any longer. If you don’t save enough, you may find yourself unable to lead the life you want in retirement. But if you save too much when you’re young, you risk sacrificing years of youth and vigor for an uncertain future. In a worst case scenario, you may…

  • Using Mini-Retirements to Get More Out of Life: An Interview with Timothy Ferriss (45 comments)

    On a cool Thursday morning last July, I woke early to walk into the hills outside Wells in Somerset County, England. After three-quarters of an hour, I reached a point with a broad vista of the surrounding countryside. I leaned against a fence post and took in the view — I could have sworn I was looking at Hobbiton. After a few minutes of silent contemplation, I walked back to town. I took a brief…

  • Learning to Love the Emergency Fund (50 comments)

    I wasn’t raised in a culture of saving. My parents never made it a habit, and so could not pass the skill on to me or my brothers. In fact, I didn’t establish my first savings account until three years ago, when I was 36 years old! (I had a passbook savings account as a young boy, but it never had more than $5 in it.) Minor-league start Soon after I decided to take control…

  • Suze Orman’s Ultimate Protection Portfolio (and a Do-It-Yourself Alternative) (60 comments)

    For the past few months, I’ve been pursuing a paperless personal finance system. I’ve scheduled electronic transactions with my bank, and I scan important documents when I receive them. My method is still very much in “beta”, but I hope to write about it later this year. My sister-in-law, Tiffany, isn’t a computer geek, but she’s been trying to get her financial documents organized, too. So when she saw an advertisement for Suze Orman’s Ultimate…

  • Heath Ledger’s Death Highlights the Need for Proper Estate Planning (21 comments)

    You don’t normally find celebrity gossip at Get Rich Slowly, and for good reason: I’m completely out of touch with pop culture. (Plus there’s the fact that this is a personal finance blog, I guess.) But the January death of 28-year-old actor Heath Ledger highlights the need for even young adults to consider basic estate planning. According to The New York Times: Heath Ledger’s will left nothing to his former girlfriend and their 2-year-old daughter…

  • How to Prevent Identity Theft — Deter, Detect, Defend (53 comments)

    Identity theft sucks. Our mail was stolen recently. All that we know we’re missing are some tax documents, but we’re not taking any chances. Rather than wait for the thieves to do any damage, we’ve taken steps to minimize repercussions. After filing a report with the US Postal Service, we received a package of information, including a flyer from the Federal Trade Commission describing techniques to fight back against identity theft. The FTC encourages people…

  • How to Make Yourself Recession-Proof (12 comments)

    The March 2008 issue of Money has an article by Stephen Gandel about how to recession-proof your life. “We may or may not be entering an official recession,” he writes, “but either way 2008 has gotten off to a scarier start than most anyone predicted.” To lower your anxiety level Gandel recommends that you first learn the facts. Educate yourself about past recessions. Try to avoid the media hype — it will cloud your perspective….

  • Friends and Money: Coping with Social Spending Situations (37 comments)

    My friend Tim is in a rough spot. He recently got divorced, moved across the country, and started a new job. He’s making less than he used to, but his expenses haven’t declined much. I don’t think he’s gone into debt, but he’s walking a fine line. One problem is that he doesn’t have as much disposable income as most of his friends do. Because they have more money, they want to do more things,…

  • Scratch Beginnings: An Interview with Adam Shepard (152 comments)

    I just finished reading Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America for the third time. In this book, the author chronicles three one-month stints working as one of the American poor. Her goal is to demonstrate that it’s difficult to succeed as a waitress, or a maid, or a Wal-Mart employee. This is a book that I wanted to like — I sympathize with the author’s motives — but what could…

  • Daily Links: The Great Depression and Poverty (8 comments)

    I’ve been swamped lately. I know it’s a temporary thing, and that soon I’ll have all the time I need to maintain this site, but in the short-term it’s frustrating. I have grand plans, but am unable to do anything about them for a month or two. Meanwhile, here are some great articles from elsewhere: My favorite post last week came from Simplicity in Kansas. The author interviewed his 84-year-old mother about her first-hand memories…

  • The Grand Illusion: Personal Finance Advice from Styx (27 comments)

    And now for something completely different… While listening to Styx this morning (yes, really), I realized the title track from their 1977 album The Grand Illusion does a good job of describing a part of the Get Rich Slowly philosophy. Don’t be fooled by the radio, the TV, or the magazines. They show you photographs of how your life should be, but they’re just someone else’s fantasy. So if you think your life is complete…

  • Ask the Readers: I’m Not Good With Money — How Should I Handle a Windfall? (76 comments)

    Mitch recently wrote to me with one of the toughest reader questions I’ve seen yet. He lives a paycheck-to-paycheck existence, but will soon be coming into a lot of money. He wants to know what he should do: It is now 11:45pm on 14 January 2008, the day before payday! It’s also about three days before being broke. With no savings and poor credit, I’m living paycheck-to-paycheck. For now, I bring home about $400 a week….

  • Don’t Make Resolutions — Set Goals for 2008 (42 comments)

    With Christmas past, most of us have begun to focus on our plans for the coming year, making lists of resolutions to improve our lives. But Chuck Jaffe at MartketWatch suggests that this year you ditch the resolutions to focus on goals instead: Concrete goals don’t evaporate in the face of adversity, hardship or laziness. Resolutions are broken — and usually abandoned — with one misstep; goals are such a long journey that bad footwork…

  • Charity Navigator: Your Guide to Intelligent Giving (28 comments)

    I wasn’t raised in a culture of giving. My parents tithed to their church — irregularly — but I can’t recall that they ever made contributions to charity. This was probably because we were poor; we barely had enough money for our own needs! As an adult, I have a more comfortable lifestyle than my parents did, yet my track record with charitable contributions is poor. Every year I give a little more than the…

  • It’s a Wonderful Life and the Value of Social Capital (38 comments)

    Yesterday I made a sales call to a local business, a nursery owned by one of my former high school classmates. Keith and I didn’t move in the same circles and were never friends, but I always appreciated his good nature and quick wit. In just twenty minutes yesterday morning, I got to know him better than I had the entire time we were kids. Like my father, Keith’s dad ran his own business. Both…

  • Setting and Achieving Financial Goals (37 comments)

    For three years I’ve had a single goal directing my actions: I wanted to get out of debt. Now that my consumer debt is nearly gone, I’ve spent a lot of time wondering what to do next. I was worried that I’d lose focus, lose direction. That’s not going to be the case. I’ve set three major financial goals for 2008. After I pay off the last of my final loan next Tuesday, I intend…

  • Beating the High Cost of Weddings: How We Did It, and How You Can Too (95 comments)

    Think you need to spend a fortune to tie the knot? It’s just not so. Kris and I got hitched for a couple grand in 1993. In this guest post from JerichoHill, he explains how he kept costs down for his wedding last summer. Weddings are expensive affairs. Couples often spend tens of thousands of dollars for an event that lasts only a day or two. I know, I know — the memories last a…

  • Yardwork and Financial Setbacks: A Metaphor (11 comments)

    A metaphor Kris and I did more yardwork today — it never ends. We wheeled out the chipper and continued to grind away at the branches and the leaves. We spread the resulting mulch at the base of our blueberries and grapes. After about ninety minutes of work, however, disaster struck. Kris was pouring a tub of oak leaves and acorns into the hopper when the chipper ground to a halt. I crossed my fingers…

  • Ask the Readers: How Do I Find a Good Lawyer (or Accountant)? (26 comments)

    Jonathan recently wrote with a common question: How does one find a good lawyer or accountant? I’ve heard from several sources — including The Millionaire Next Door — that wealthy people generally have an accountant and a lawyer that they trust. I’ve been asking friends and family members, but none are very confident in their recommendations. How do I go about finding these people? I’m fortunate. I didn’t need to search for competent help: I…

  • Ask the Readers: How Do Couples Combine Finances? (60 comments)

    Most young couples must eventually decide whether to keep separate or joint financial accounts. We’ve discussed the pros and cons of each method, but we’ve never explored the practical considerations: how do you make each system work? More importantly, how do you make each system work well? Recently, I’ve received a couple of questions about the details of combining finances. For example, Patrick writes: I am getting married next year, and know that our W-4…

  • An Introduction to Financial Archaeology (37 comments)

    Despite past financial failings, I’ve always had at least one good habit: I save every receipt, bill, statement, invoice, and memo that I receive. For nearly fifteen years I’ve used the same low-tech system. At the end of the week, when I do my finances, I tuck my paperwork into a shoebox. When the shoebox is full, I place it in storage and start a new one. I now believe this system is flawed. I’d…

  • An Introduction to the Crossover Point (35 comments)

    Trent at The Simple Dollar recently wrote about the Crossover Point, a notion popularized by the book Your Money or Your Life. The Crossover Point is simply that point in time at which your investment income exceeds your monthly expenses. For most people, this never occurs. YMoYL is about getting readers to the Crossover Point. The authors want people to achieve Financial Independence, which they define as “having enough — and then some”. They ask…

  • Ask the Readers: Personal Finance During a Health Crisis? (28 comments)

    What would you do if you knew you were dying? How would a cancer diagnosis affect your personal finance decisions? The Travelin’ Man from Stuff You Oughtta Know isn’t dying yet, but he’s had a scare. Here’s his story (this is not written by J.D.): I was given my very first cancer scare last week. I have to tell you — it freaked the hell out of me. For that matter, “scare” may not be…

  • The New Graduate’s Guide to Financial Freedom (36 comments)

    I graduated from college in 1991 with a degree in psychology and a minor in English lit. I was one course shy of a second minor in speech comm. With credentials like these, it’s no surprise that my first job out of school was knocking on doors, selling crummy insurance to little old ladies in Eastern Oregon. I hated the job, but I could not quit. I was trapped by debt. After I was hired,…

  • A Collection of Financial Literacy Resources (19 comments)

    April was National Financial Literacy Month. Get Rich Slowly did its part by featuring a video series that explored saving and investing. Here are links to each part in the series: Introduction The power of compounding Providers and users of capital The difference between debt and equity What is leverage? An introduction to financial statements Why do financial markets exist? What is a bond? What is a stock? What is a stock market index? The…

  • Which Should You Choose: Joint or Separate Finances? (91 comments)

    Several months ago I mentioned in passing that my wife and I keep separate finances. I promised to eventually explain why, and to discuss the pros and cons of doing so. Our story When I was a boy, my parents fought about money often. And loudly. They had joint finances, but it didn’t seem to matter. Each accused the other of being financially irresponsible. (Both were right.) Their example left me disenchanted with the notion…

  • What is a Financial Plan and Why Have One? (14 comments)

    In the past, I’ve shared how to use purpose-driven investing and a financial wishlist to meet your goals. Today Dylan Ross, a certified fianncial planner, lends his expertise to explain what a financial plan is and why it’s important to have one. Having a financial plan is a lot like having a travel plan — it identifies where you’re going, how and when you’ll get there, how much it’ll cost, and things do along the…

  • What Should a Billionaire Give, and What Should You? (56 comments)

    “Why is it that giving money is good?” Plonkee asked in the newly-revived Get Rich Slowly forums. Brad replied citing a December 2006 article from the New York Times Magazine: “What should a billionaire give — and what should you?” (If this is behind a paywall for you, try this mirror.) In this essay, philosopher Peter Singer discusses the magnitude of recent donations from the two richest men in the world: Warren Buffet contributed $37…

  • Ask the Readers: Emergency Fund or Debt Snowball? (40 comments)

    Ben writes with an interesting predicament, and he hopes GRS readers can provide some guidance. He’s trying to dig out of debt and establish an emergency fund, but which is more important? I recently accepted an offer for a 0%-for-12-months Citi credit card. (That’s 0% on both purchases and bank transfers.) I opted to get the money in a check, which I intend to disperse to my other cards in the debt snowball method. However,…

  • Ask the Readers: What if You Have No Credit History? (71 comments)

    Elizabeth writes with a common question: what do you do if you have no credit history? Here’s her story. What would you recommend for a young person who has no credit history, but would like some (without having the long-term hassle of credit cards and credit card debt) because it would make identity verification easier? I’m a college student trying to get my savings and IRA account (started as custodial accounts when I was 11)…

  • Jump-Start Your Life With a Financial Plan (34 comments)

    I’ve recently exchanged e-mail with Wesley, a reader who has exercised self-discipline to become debt free while still in his twenties. He’s even paid off his mortgage. Here’s how he did it.   I’ve been following a fairly rigid financial plan for about eight years now.  It’s about to pay off in the next few months — I’ll be 28 and completely debt free (including no mortgage). My planning started on a small scale when I…

  • The Light at the End of the Tunnel (38 comments)

    It’s an odd feeling to be accumulating money for the first time in my life. When I was young, my family didn’t have much money. Any money I earned, I spent. This was a learned behavior. I was imitating my parents. After college, I allowed myself to be trapped in a life of credit hell. About five years ago I began to wean myself from credit. And in December 2004, I began the process of…

  • Five Gifts That Will Make Your Kids Rich (9 comments)

    Lynn forwarded an article from CNN Money entitled “Five gifts that will make your kids rich”. The five recommended gifts are: A Roth IRA — “Best way to make your kid a millionaire.” Kids are best suited to take advantage of the wonders of compound returns. Encourage a teenager to open an IRA, and offer to match their contributions. (Ad: Buy Stocks for $4 at ShareBuilder.) Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday — “Best book for teaching little…

  • A Brief Guide to Creating a Will (19 comments)

    It’s Halloween — time for a scary, morbid subject. Young adults don’t think about wills. The typical person graduates from college, gets a job, marries his sweetheart, has children, and never considers a will until he turns fifty. But not everyone lives to be fifty. You can’t always see death coming. A will is for anyone with money and possessions that need to be distributed according to some plan. A Lifehacker reader recently asked about…

  • How to Manage a Windfall Successfully (20 comments)

    This entry is part of JLP’s October project — a month-long, cross-blog review of the book The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing. Some of what follows is taken directly from the book. You have won $50,000! So, what do you do now? Every day I give advice on following the slow, sure path to wealth. But what happens if you do manage to get rich quickly? What happens if you win the lottery, or hit the…

  • Make a Wish List of Financial Goals (12 comments)

    If one moves confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavours to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. — Henry David Thoreau What would you do if money were not a concern? Would you quit your job? Would you travel? Would you live in another state? Another country? Would you write? Would you garden? Would you devote your life to charity? Would you…

  • The American Dream (10 comments)

    Couple Dreaming of Their Future in the Stars by Constantin Alajalovcover to The Saturday Evening Post, 15 August 1959

  • How to Become as Rich as Bill Gates (0 comment)

    The Bill Gates Wealth Index Here’s a site that answers the burning question: “How much money is it worth Bill Gates’ time to pick up?” (The following was originally written in 1998.) Consider that [Gates] made this money in the 25 years or so since Microsoft was founded in 1975. If you assume that he has worked 14 hours a day on every business day of the year since then, that means he’s been making…

  • Australian Financial Plan: Win Lottery, Stash Under Bed (5 comments)

    Lady Lunchalot — who has an awesome foodblog, and who is also participating in the Blogathon right now — submitted a story about the woeful state of Australian personal finance. One in seven Australians are banking on winning the lottery to deliver them financial security. A new poll, released to coincide with a campaign to boost Australians’ financial literacy, has also found 8 per cent of people think the best place to put their savings…

  • Tips for Financial Independence (4 comments)

    Yesterday I described how Financial Independence is the goal of many frugal folks. We live cheaply, work hard, and save until we reach a point where we can pursue our dreams without concern for money. Mark Gallagher has posted ten tips for financial independence and a good life. Keep your life simple. He suggests that this is best done by being very careful with the big decisions in your life: career, marriage, etc. Learn what…

  • My Paycheck is Late Again (6 comments)

    “I’m starting the second month of my job, and my fourth paycheck is now a day late. Of the 4 checks I’ve been due (including this one,) 2 have been late, the first one by 5 days. I’d like most to get my checks on time, but if I can’t do that (or even if I can,) I’d like to do something about it that makes my displeasure known. Any ideas?”

  • Are College Funds Necessary? (25 comments)

    An AskMetafilter user has questions about saving for college education: I have two kids (4 and 5), and I don’t think I’m going to set up college funds for them. I nor my brother had any support from family through college, and we both made it though (grants, loans, scholarships, jobs!). I’m just interested in other people’s experiences and whether people think that if a college fund can be set up it should. At this…

  • Will You Ever Be Able to Retire? (1 comment)

    I recently noted that 43% of Americans won’t have enough saved for retirement. GRS-reader Sabino forwarded an MSNBC article that suggests this number may only continue to rise. The financial security of American workers is more uncertain than it has been in decades. Once reasonably assured of a comfortable retirement, Americans are now watching private pensions collapse and public pensions come under pressure. And even those…whose retirement security was once all but guaranteed, are now…

  • Should You Prepay Your Mortgage? (29 comments)

    You can save tens of thousands of dollars by prepaying your mortgage. But is it a smart move? A CNN Money reader asks expert Walter Updegrave: The psychological freedom of not having a mortgage is very appealing to us, but the argument for trying to invest the extra cash at a higher rate is compelling too. What’s your take on paying off the mortgage early? Surprisingly, this is one financial point on which the experts…

  • The Wealthy Barber (16 comments)

    When I picked up The Wealthy Barber from the public library, I figured it must be good: the book was well-worn, the cover bent, pages dog-eared, passages highlighted, whole sections annotated in pencil and pen. Only the best personal finance books receive this sort of treatment. I’m pleased to report that The Wealthy Barber is a good read — author David Chilton offers an excellent introduction to personal finance. The Wealthy Barber‘s gimmick is that…

  • Four Retirement Blind Spots (2 comments)

    MP Dunleavey at Money Central has written an article about four common retirement blind spots. We kid ourselves that the Retirement Fairy will rescue us. But the truth is, we’re on our own. Here’s how to break free of the myths. Here are the four misconceptions that can lead you astray as you plan for retirement: I can work until I’m 70 or older — Though Americans are living longer, this is a pipe dream….

  • What to Do with a Windfall (2 comments)

    Your Great-Aunt Madge dies and leaves you $20,000. You win the Okefenokee Poker Playoff and take home $2,100. Spacely Sprockets pays out $4,700 in profit sharing. What should you do with this money? The typical response is to spend it on something fun, something you don’t really need. Something like a jumbo-sized wide-screen high-definition television with Sensurround. The latest Money Magazine “Ask the Expert” question offers better advice about what to do with a windfall….

  • The Cost of Waiting One Year (2 comments)

    AllFinancialMatters has posted a couple of shocking charts illustrating the cost of waiting to invest in your retirement. I keep closing the page, but then opening it again to look at them. After messing around with the retirement savings calculator I built, I started thinking about the cost of waiting just one year to start saving for retirement. The impact is huge! Take a look at the chart below: I assumed the following: A person…

  • Cost-of-Living Comparison Calculator (2 comments)

    How much would it cost you to live in New York? In L.A.? CNN offers a cost-of-living comparison calculator. Use this calculator to compare the cost of living between U.S. cities. Select the city you’re in and the city you’re moving to. Enter your present income and click “Refresh listing.” The income required to maintain your current standard of living will appear in the box below, along with the percentage difference between the two cities….

  • Can One of You Afford to Quit? (2 comments)

    Most of my friends are having children. For some couples, the new financial realities are shocking. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance offers a financial calculator to answer the question: Can one of you afford to quit? This tool is for more than just new parents, though. What if one of you wants to start a new business? Go back to school? Simply retire? Before deciding to live on only one income — to take care of children,…

  • NetWorthIQ (0 comment)

    NetWorthIQ is: …all about your net worth and keeping track of your overall financial health. No one wants a physical, but we all need one now and then, just to keep tabs on our well being. Your finances deserve nothing less, and determining your net worth is a good first step. NetworthIQ is a social personal finance manager designed to make monitoring your net worth easy and, dare we say it, maybe even fun. Heck,…

  • Making Early Retirement Happen (2 comments)

    In today’s CNNMoney “Ask the Expert” column, a 33-year-old reader wants to know if he can can count on an early retirement. I’m 33 years old and have $75,000 saved in my 401(k). I make $70,000 a year and contribute 10 percent of my salary to my 401(k). My company then matches the first 6 percent. Am I on track to retire at 55, or should I open a Roth IRA to supplement my 401(k)?…

  • When Your Paycheck Stops (1 comment)

    I realize that I’m a day late and a dollar short with this particular news, but last week’s issue of Newsweek (April 17th — the one with Katie Couric on the cover) has an article by Jane Bryant Quinn about retirement called “When Your Paycheck Stops”. With longer life spans in our future, many of us will need to save even more than our parents and grandparents in order to meet the needs of the…

  • So You Want to Be a Millionaire (1 comment)

    “The day my husband and I became millionaires was a lot like any other day.” Liz Pulliam Weston has a great piece up at MSN’s Money Central called “So You Want to Be a Millionaire”. Weston describes how she and her husband have used a goal-centered approach and hard work to achieve financial security. Pulliam writes: If you want to be a millionaire someday, I hope that our experience — and those of millions of…