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Planning


  • Planning the year ahead – 2016 (8 comments)
    This article is by editor Linda Vergon.

    Once again, we ring in the New Year and experience the phenomenon of being connected to everyone else. We’re tied together by the calendar. Even though we lead separate lives and have distinctly different journeys from every other person, we can’t escape the fact that January 1 starts a new year for us all. Our reaction to the New Year is not necessarily shared, though. For as…

  • How (and where) to donate unwanted Christmas presents (5 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle.

    If you give (or receive) a gift that misses the mark, returning the item is the natural thing to do. After all, return policies are pretty awesome these days. However, if you decide to make a bigger impact with your gift — an item that you’ve probably survived without just fine for the last year anyway — why not donate it? Why you should think about…

  • Honey progress report: 2015 wrap-up and 2016 goals (16 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Honey Smith.

    Now is the time of year to look back, celebrate your accomplishments, and set goals for the upcoming year. Sharing those goals publicly — whether in the comments, in the GRS forums, or to your friends and family — can make you feel more accountable. With that being said, here’s how this year stacked up in the Honey/Jake household! Updated reckoning in chart form: 2012-present Please note…

  • 10 ways to maximize your end-of-year finances (7 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Honey Smith.

    Oh, 2015, where did you go? It seems only moments ago it was time for New Year’s resolutions, and now here we are again. With only a month left before another year is behind us, you may be wondering how best to maximize this year’s finances. Well, look no further! 1. Prepare for taxes. Hopefully, you’ve already started to put the year-end tax-planning 2015 checklist to…

  • How to know when to change your financial plan (11 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Richard Barrington.

    Financial planning is like taking a long car trip. You plan your route, your schedule, and your eventual destination in advance; but then you have to be prepared to adjust for detours, traffic delays, bad weather, fatigue or other unexpected changes. When it comes to financial planning, you face this same conflict between sticking to a long-range plan and dealing with the realities of life that…

  • Money mistakes to avoid in your 40s (11 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Suba Iyer.

    With age comes wisdom, so they say — but it also comes with more complicated lifestyles. By the time we reach our 40s, we expect to be savvy, certainly capable of making good financial decisions, and generally well on our way to reaching our goals. But from what I can see, it’s often not the case. We are still in our 30s, but our friends and…

  • The best (and worst) money advice Dad ever gave you (18 comments)

    This article is by Les Masterson. Fathers are great at offering advice – in matters of life, love, and, of course, money.  And while we’ve all resorted to clichés at times, the wisdom fathers impart often stays with their children, who in turn pass that guidance on to the next generation. So in honor of Father’s Day, we wanted to ask readers: What did your father teach you about money? What was his best –…

  • Unexpected funeral costs – 3 financial lessons that could protect your heirs (10 comments)

    This is a guest post by Lynnette Khalfani-Cox. In a little less than 18 months, I lost three treasured family members. First, my husband’s 94-year-old grandmother, Nana, passed away in late 2013 and was laid to rest just before Thanksgiving. At the end of December 2014, my sister Deborah died suddenly and completely unexpectedly. Debby was a 49-year-old healthy, vibrant person, the mother of an 11-year-old daughter, and the most caring individual I’ve ever known….

  • 5 ways to reduce the pain of the inevitable (38 comments)
    This article is by staff writer William Cowie.

    Jake and Kelly (not their real names) were very dear friends of ours. Well, Kelly is still, but her husband just recently passed away. Because he was healthy and active, it came as a complete shock to us all — especially to Kelly. A familiar division of labor had developed in their 40 years of marriage. Jake was the one who took care of everything. He…

  • Financial stress: Strategies for the sandwich generation (16 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Suba Iyer.

    My husband and I are millennials who expect to be part of the sandwich generation soon. The term “sandwich generation” refers to those who support both an aging parent and a child. As I read the responses to the Ask the Readers article, Are you planning to care for an aging parent, it looks like we have plenty of company, and statistics from the Pew Research…

  • Ask the Readers: Are you planning to care for an aging parent? (36 comments)
    This article is by editor Linda Vergon.

    A few weeks ago, I got an unexpected invitation to lunch from my husband. His afternoon meetings had been rescheduled and he was coming home early. We went to a little Subway store in a shopping center near my office. The patio area in back has a beautiful view of the picturesque homes on the large canal by the bay, and it’s perfect to just talk and…

  • How to profit from economic cycles (15 comments)
    This article is by staff writer William Cowie.

    (Since April is Financial Literacy Month, a number of articles will be devoted to more educational topics. This is Part IV in a four-part series about how understanding economic cycles could inform your financial decisions. Part I is Understanding economic cycles: An introduction. Part II is Recognizing economic seasons: recovery and growth. Part III is The fall and winter seasons of the economic cycle.) In the…

  • The fall and winter seasons of the economic cycle (17 comments)
    This article is by staff writer William Cowie.

    (Since April is Financial Literacy Month, a number of articles will be devoted to more educational topics. This is Part III in a four-part series about how understanding economic cycles could inform your financial decisions. Part I is Understanding economic cycles: An introduction. Part II is Recognizing economic seasons: recovery and growth. Part IV is How to profit from economic cycles.) You will recall from Part…

  • Recognizing economic seasons: recovery and growth (11 comments)
    This article is by staff writer William Cowie.

    (Since April is Financial Literacy Month, a number of articles will be devoted to more educational topics. This is Part II in a four-part series about how understanding economic cycles could inform your financial decisions. Part I is Understanding economic cycles: An introduction. Part III is The fall and winter seasons of the economic cycle. Part IV is How to profit from economic cycles.) In Part…

  • Understanding economic cycles: An introduction (13 comments)
    This article is by staff writer William Cowie.

    (Since April is Financial Literacy Month, a number of articles will be devoted to more educational topics. This is Part I in a four-part series about how understanding economic cycles could inform your financial decisions. Part II is Recognizing economic seasons: recovery and growth. Part III is The fall and winter seasons of the economic cycle. Part IV is How to profit from economic cycles.) Getting…

  • What McDonald’s and Walmart raising wages could mean for the economy (27 comments)
    This article is by staff writer William Cowie.

    That Walmart, and more recently, McDonald’s are giving their workers much-overdue raises is now old news. What few realize is those raises might cost you a lot more than you expect — even your job. Think that’s a little overstated? Hear me out. The good news Many have documented the fact that this recovery has, for the most part, bypassed America’s rank and file. Employment statistics…

  • Money mistakes in your 30s (74 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Suba Iyer.

    As I venture into my early 30s, I think I’ve become pretty careful about our finances. I certainly know not to continue on with the mistakes I made in my 20s like buying more car than I can afford or not paying myself first. But something happened last week that made me go, “Uh-oh.” Now that spring is here, I went shopping to look for new clothes…

  • What does Quantitative Easing mean for me now? (25 comments)
    This article is by staff writer William Cowie.

    If you have ever heard talk of Quantitative Easing (QE) and “tapering,” you may have been left wondering what it is exactly. The terms are bandied about so frequently these days that it is rather difficult to parse out the facts from the political hype that surrounds every move the Federal Reserve Board, or Fed, makes. Another, more pointed question to ask might be, “Does Quantitative…

  • How to achieve long-term financial goals (16 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Honey Smith.

    In my last post, I talked about how personal finance is about playing the long game and “making choices that are harder in the short term for the good of the long term.” But when the payoff is so many years down the road, it can be difficult to stay on track. In order to actually reach long-term goals, you have to keep making the right choices…

  • Personal finance and the long game (15 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Honey Smith.

    When you think about it, personal finance is about playing the long game. Sure, it’s about other things as well. It’s about paying off debt. It’s about spending less than you earn. But when you think about it overall, it’s about making choices that are harder in the short term for the good of the long term. Here’s what I mean…. Saving for retirement Saving for retirement,…

  • 10 money mistakes to avoid in your 20s (74 comments)
    This article is by editor Linda Vergon.

    (This article was based on Suba Iyer’s article that originally appeared on FiveCentNickel.com.) Your 20s are filled with milestones and life-changing experiences. It’s a time when the things you learn start to become habits and when financial decisions can either lead you to great success or become a problem for you in the future. It would be great to have perfect foresight so that you knew the…

  • How to prevent mobile phone theft (16 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Robert Brokamp.

    Modern technology is amazing. For example, thanks to the wonders of Find My iPhone — an application which allows you to use another device to locate a phone on a map — I was able to watch my stolen iPhone travel northward until the signal stopped deep in the heart of Washington, D.C. I haven’t heard from it since, so I don’t think the person who…

  • Beyond Valentine’s Day: Money and relationships (16 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Honey Smith.

    Spoiler alert: Stress ahead! More than three in four women think about money more than sex, and more than one in four Americans in relationships feel money-related stress affects their desire for sex according to a survey conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Yodlee from December 6 to December 10, 2013. The 2,039 U.S. respondents were adults ages 18 and…

  • 30 days to better finances (23 comments)
    This article is by GRS contributor Suba Iyer.

    [Editorial Note: For Throw-back Thursday, we wanted to bring back one of our favorite articles about taking control of your finances. Enjoy!] The new year is upon us! Every year “save money” and “manage debt” resolutions show up among the top resolutions people make. And since January is the time we are most motivated to work on goals, you can use this momentum to push your financial…

  • Keeping my New Year’s resolutions — what didn’t work for me (and what did) (12 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong.

    At the beginning of the year, I made four main resolutions, financial and otherwise. Max out my retirement Speak up more Consume less Save for a medium-term goal Of these goals, I achieved one and four. Two and three? Well, I did okay. In reviewing my goals, I realized there were a few goal-setting tips that worked well. But first, here’s what didn’t work for me….

  • Looking back on 2014, what could we have done better? (28 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Holly Johnson.

    I honestly cannot believe that this year is already coming to an end, and I still have so much to do to prepare. At my house, end-of-year responsibilities include assessing our retirement situation, getting our business books caught up for tax purposes, and going over our expenses to see if there is anything we could change and do better next year. I’ve been working on that final part…

  • 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 (25 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 (44 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…

  • 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…

  • Are you ready for a major power outage? (68 comments)

    This article is by staff writer William Cowie. Have you considered how your life would freeze to a standstill if a general outage cut electric power for more than two or three days? As every summer dawns, it’s a question more and more people ask, because demand for electric power is growing inexorably, and summertime is when the grid always gets strained to the max. Many experts say all it will take is one unusually…

  • 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…

  • 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 (142 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? (118 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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? (73 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…

  • ‘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…

  • 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 (41 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…

  • I’m 30! Am I where I should be with my finances? (85 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…

  • 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…

  • 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….

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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 (170 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…

  • 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…

  • Wills, Trusts and Drama: What to Expect When Settling an Estate (65 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…

  • 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…

  • How to Donate Your Body to Science (146 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…

  • 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? (118 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 (101 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…

  • 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,…

  • Drama in Real Life: A Place for Mom (261 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…

  • 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…

  • 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,…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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? (50 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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 (121 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • How to Prepare for Buying a Home (49 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 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…