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Savings


  • What can we learn from Gen Y’s view of money? (21 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…

  • Lifestyle inflation: How to decide if it’s ever okay (81 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. Despite that I don’t own it, I like my apartment. It’s got a mountainous view, it’s comfortable, and my neighbors are few but friendly. Sure, I’d like to own a home someday. But, unless I move to another city, that probably isn’t going to happen in the next few years. I’m fine with that. Like my neighbor said, I’d rather live here than anywhere else, at least for…

  • Should cash be part of your emergency fund? (58 comments)

    This post is by staff writer Honey Smith. When I was in college, one of my co-workers at my part-time, on-campus job gave me a funny little gift that I use to this day. What was it? It’s called a “wallet fairy.” According to the note that came with my little talisman, you put it in your wallet and “you’ll never be out of money when you need it.” I can’t honestly say that the…

  • How I budget with a variable income (22 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. It seems like everybody’s goal lately is to leave their job and become a freelancer. And that’s great! Freelancing gives you flexibility and control — and, plus, you get to work from home in your yoga pants. But as someone who has transitioned into that role full-time, there are certain things I do miss about having an employer: 401(k) match Insurance benefits Free coffee Office buddies Income…

  • Buying rental property: Sometimes getting rich means taking it slowly (51 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Holly Johnson. I have two second cousins who serve in the military — both brave young men I am proud to call my family. We don’t always talk much, though. The age gap can be a roadblock and those boys are always traveling around, serving overseas and living on bases in order to fulfill their military duties and finish school. Still, social media makes it easier than it used…

  • Bad advice about having a baby I’m glad I followed (51 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Holly Johnson. Last week I was out walking with a friend when she admitted she was scared she would never have kids. “We’ll never be able to afford them,” she said as we made our way around the block and up the next street. She and her husband are about our age (and not getting any younger), and I could tell she was worried. “Oh, I’m sure you’ll figure…

  • Ask the Readers: Are you reaching your goals? (44 comments)

    This article is by editor Linda Vergon. Remember when 2014 was new? I’d rather not think about it, but more than half the year is behind us already and we’re moving into fall fairly quickly. For me, that’s a good time to start thinking about whether I’m reaching my goals for the year and what I need to do to correct my course. I would like to be in a position to tackle a “single…

  • Ask the Readers: How do you balance multiple sinking funds? (58 comments)

    This article is by editor Linda Vergon. About four years ago, Breezy and her husband opened a checking account at their local credit union so they could save for car-related payments – insurance, gas, repairs, and the like. They liked how it allowed them to separate these expenses from the rest of their spending. Soon, they established more funds. Right now, she and her husband have four sinking funds and she is considering adding another….

  • What to do during the “What’s Next?” stage of finance (43 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. When I first started writing for Get Rich Slowly, I’d just become interested in my finances. While I’ve always been frugal, I started to realize there was much more to personal finance than finding ways to save money. Here’s where I was, financially, at that time: I was rebuilding my recently depleted emergency fund. I had just started to earn more. I was working hard for my money,…

  • Weird ways our brains control our money habits (22 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. I’ll admit it. I’m a sucker for money psychology studies. And it’s not just because I write about money. On a sheer curiosity level, they’re fascinating. But they also serve as a great reminder that money is more about mind than it is about math. It’s interesting to see exactly how our brains work when it comes to habits like spending and saving. And not only is it…

  • 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….

  • Becoming friends with your future self (24 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. I fight splurges less often than I used to, but the urge still pops up occasionally. Sometimes, it’s okay to splurge; but mostly, I find myself wanting to resist temptation. There are a few questions I ask when I’m mulling over a purchase: Do I have money saved for this? Do I feel like I’m stealing money from a financial goal? Am I simply being impulsive? Will I…

  • Gratitude is good for your soul … and your finances (19 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. I’ll admit it. When I lost work last year, a tiny sense of entitlement crept up on me. Okay, maybe it was more than tiny. On the outside, I told people: “I just feel like I deserve a good job, you know?” On the inside, I thought: Why the $%^@ don’t I have a good job? I’m awesome. My awesomeness, however, is irrelevant. Sometimes these things just happen….

  • Coming to terms: retirement vs. financial independence (57 comments)

    Note: This article is from J.D. Roth, who founded Get Rich Slowly in 2006. J.D. recently launched the Get Rich Slowly course, a year-long guide on how to master your money. Last Sunday, I shared the transcript of a recent conversation between me and Mr. Money Mustache. We talked a lot about retirement and what it takes to get there. “You and I are both supposedly retired, and yet we’re doing this work here where…

  • A conversation with Mr. Money Mustache (30 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 be happy. As part of the Get Rich Slowly course, I interviewed 18 of my favorite financial experts. Combined, these interviews comprise over eight hours of audio and more than 200 pages of written transcripts, all of which are available as part of the…

  • Money challenges: Why I’m OK with them, and a few of my favorites (50 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. I’m not usually a fan of gimmicks. But if the sole purpose of a gimmick is to save some extra cash, I guess I’m OK with it. We talked about this recently, but there seems to be a heightened interest in frugality lately. Maybe that’s why I’ve noticed a whole crop of money-saving challenges popping up all over the Internet, from personal finance blogs to Pinterest. And then,…

  • Best CD Rates | Certificate of Deposit (14 comments)

    Current Certificate of Deposit Rates A certificate of deposit (CD) is considered a time deposit because it is not a liquid asset that can be accessed on demand. Instead, the amounts deposited into a CD are expected to remain untouched for a specific period of time. (In general, the longer the term, the higher the interest rate for a CD.) Historically, interest rates for CDs have been higher than for high-yield online savings accounts, and…

  • The power of profit margin (40 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 be happy. After six months of work, my guide about becoming the Chief Financial Officer of your own life is ready for launch! Be Your Own CFO will be released on April 22. Over the next couple of weeks at Get Rich Slowly, I’ll…

  • Cultivate your X-factor before it’s too late (25 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Sam. Sam spent 13 years working in Equities on Wall Street and discusses financial independence strategies on Financial Samurai. Sam is also the founder of the Yakezie Network, the largest personal finance blog network on the web. Out of the 500 or so college graduates I interviewed over a 13-year period, practically every candidate was extremely enthusiastic about getting their butts kicked working 14-hour days in finance. When you can…

  • Which online high-yield money market & high-interest savings account is best? (19 comments)

    Savings Account Rates An online savings account is a helpful tool in your financial life. When you want to set up an emergency fund or other savings account for short-term liquidity, an online savings account usually offers higher interest rates than many brick-and-mortar banks.  In addition, many consumers think online banking is much more convenient. Even though rates are low right now, they will eventually rise as the economy recovers. An online savings account, money…

  • The cultural shift toward financial security (27 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. In the past few months, I’ve had a noteworthy number of conversations about the trend toward frugality. More of my friends seem interested in finding ways to save, I can’t throw a rock at the Internet without hitting a money-saving “hack,” and, during a job interview, I had a lengthy discussion about how “personal finance is now trendy.” Get Rich Slowly reader and money blogger Mrs. PoP noticed…

  • Reader Stories: The Notebook (Part 1) (39 comments)

    Jim, a reader of our Facebook page, shared some of his personal finance journey in Facebook comments a while back, and readers commented that they’d like to hear his story. We reached out and asked him if he would elaborate so we could share his story with the Get Rich Slowly website readers. This is part 1. Some reader stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or…

  • Why we aren’t saving for our children’s college educations (142 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle. For a few years, I got to skip Dave Ramsey’s Baby Step 5. Save for our children’s college education? That was an easy one…since we didn’t have children, that answer was NO! But now we have two kids (soon to be three), which means our days of delaying that decision are over. And since our oldest child is ten, we’ve already missed out on a decade of compounding….

  • How to get started investing (33 comments)

    This article is by staff writer William Cowie. Confession time: Despite a financial and business education more comprehensive than most, I never invested. I grew up poor and just couldn’t wait for my first “serious” job and those big bucks. It was so bad, I decided to drop out of college in my senior year. “None of this ivory-tower crap is going to make me any more money,” I told everyone who would listen. Fortunately,…

  • Can you grow your family on a shrinking income? (31 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle. Our two kids came with an almost two-year gestation, similar to an elephant’s gestation, actually. (Here’s where I would make a joke about now our salary feels like peanuts, or something, but I’m not that funny.) Between starting the adoption process and taking custody of the kids, we had much longer than most parents do to prepare. And we tried to prepare. We made some decisions to increase…

  • 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…

  • Too much emergency fund? Spend it (75 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Holly Johnson. Growing up, I learned all kinds of money lessons from my mother. An avid saver, she socked away every cent that she possibly could. She cut coupons, shopped at garage sales, and drove cars without heat or air conditioning. She even paid for our family piano with money she got from refunding (people often earned extra money sending in for small rebates in the ’80s), and paid…

  • Don’t have savings? Quit making excuses (80 comments)

    This guest post is from former GRS staff writer Donna Freedman. Donna writes for a number of websites, including Money Talks News and Retail Me Not, and blogs about frugality and intentional living at Surviving And Thriving. I’m back, and I sound just like your mom: Save that damned emergency fund, already. This week (Feb. 24-March 1) is America Saves Week. And not a moment too soon: As a nation, we’re losing ground. An ASW…

  • How I kept saving even during a job loss (57 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. A few months ago, I wrote about a job loss. It was a first for me. To recap, a high-paying client let go of the majority of their freelancers, which included me. I felt rejected, but I quickly came to terms with it: It’s business. However, since I’d been focusing 90 percent of my work life on this client for the past couple years, I consequently lost…

  • Can we really change our financial habits if our backs aren’t against the wall? (56 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Sam, the Financial Samurai. I recently had a discussion with a friend who made an argument why it’s better to eat out in Manhattan than to save money by cooking because of the convenience and the joy of eating with friends. I’m all for breaking bread with good people, just not so much if you’re concerned about income. My friend just went through a divorce and eventually needs to find…

  • Big wins: The quickest way to wealth (106 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 the difference between tenacity and talent. There’s a divide in the world of personal finance. On one side are the folks who offer advice for scrimping and saving your way to financial success. On the other are the experts who scoff at frugality and champion big…

  • The one-page guide to financial independence (71 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. This year, I learned a lot about money. I think the biggest breakthrough I had in 2013 was to connect the ideas of personal and financial independence. I spent a week in Ecuador talking with folks about this subject, and then I spent a couple of months putting my thoughts onto…

  • What you wouldn’t want to hear from your adviser (32 comments)

    This article is by contributor Jeff Rose, CFP. He blogs at Good Financial Cents. My role as a financial adviser sometimes feels like a fortune teller. (Get it?) I’m peering into the crystal ball of your finances while trying to take everything into consideration: how much you’ve saved for retirement, how long you have until retirement, how much debt you hold, and historical trends for your asset allocation. I’ve had the privilege of sitting down with countless…

  • What are savings for? (62 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. Last week, I wrote about a conversation with my investment adviser. In the article, I mentioned that my current income roughly covers my current spending except that I’ve been spending an average of $2,000 per month on travel. Because of that spending deficit, I’ve been drawing down my medium-term savings, which…

  • How to avoid binge-shopping (62 comments)

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

  • When is your financial relaxation due date? (48 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle. I am perched in the corner chair, cup of Chai in hand, with just hours before the deadline for this post. I have piles and piles of clean laundry that need to be folded. Dishes need to be washed. I can’t recall the last time I’ve dusted any room in the house. My husband has been working 80-hour weeks for a few weeks, so I am doing…

  • Are English-speakers less likely to save money? (30 comments)

    If you speak English, you probably have a harder time saving money than someone who speaks German. That’s because the language you speak influences your money habits, according to a Yale study published this year. In The Effect of Language on Economic Behavior: Evidence from Savings Rates, Health Behaviors, and Retirement Assets, behavioral economist M. Keith Chen writes: “Languages differ in whether or not they require speakers to grammatically mark future events. For example, a…

  • Ask The Reader: What is the best way to save for college? (55 comments)

    No doubt you’re aware of the debt burden facing students upon graduation these days. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the outstanding student loan debt in the US now exceeds $1 trillion. For the 2015 academic year, undergraduates will be borrowing at 3.86 percent for subsidized and unsubsidized loans, but the rates go up to 5.41 percent for graduate students and 6.41 percent for parents who borrow to pay for their child’s college education….

  • 5 money excuses that held me back (58 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. It’s been several months now that I’ve been on a savings lockdown. It’s been going well, except for this past weekend, when I had a relapse. I over-splurged on everything — food, shopping, beer — and I’m officially hungover. My buzz started when a client check came early, making me feel super rich and burning the hell out of my pockets. Oh, I know. It’s OK to…

  • Thoughts on Financial and Personal Independence (88 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. ¡Saludos de Ecuador! For the past two weeks, I’ve been enjoying my third trip to that seldom-remembered continent, South America. I love this place, and love it more each time I visit. My past trips have been personal…

  • Top 10 High Interest CDs that can double your interest income (15 comments)

    This guest post is by Richard Barrington, CFA, senior financial analyst for MoneyRates.com. The latest cruel trick played on savers is that while mortgage rates have started to rise, bank deposit rates haven’t budged. If you want higher interest rates on your deposits, you’re going to have to do something about it yourself. According to the FDIC, five-year CD rates (certificates of deposit or CDs) are currently averaging just 0.75 percent nationally. Fortunately though, not…

  • Bernie Madoff was not alone (18 comments)

    Bernie Madoff, perpetrator of the most staggering case of investment fraud in U.S. history, is apparently not alone – and neither are his victims. According to a new FINRA Investor Education Foundation survey, fraud in America is on the rise and it’s estimated to be costing Americans over $50 billion a year! The survey defined “fraud” as an occasion when “… someone intentionally gives you false information to encourage you to make an investment.” Email…

  • Honey progress report: a good problem edition (40 comments)

    This post is by staff writer Honey Smith. In my last progress report, I mentioned three pieces of good news: I paid off my small student loan balance, Jake paid off the balance transfer he’d made to one of my credit cards, and I got a raise Shortly after those occurrences, I reached another milestone: I celebrated five years with my current employer. Why is that a financial milestone? Because I became vested in the employer…

  • What Are the Best Financial Accounts and Tools Available? (49 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 a personal-finance blogger, it’s my responsibility to keep up-to-date on the latest in the financial industry. Whose advice is worth heeding? (And whose advice sucks?) What are the current tax rates? Where’s the best place to save…

  • What I learned from losing my emergency fund (36 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Kristin Wong. A couple of weeks ago, I sent off my quarterly estimated tax payment. This is never fun, but there’s always a part of me that’s thankful when I drop that envelope in the mail. I’m thankful that I’ve budgeted for this payment. I’m thankful that it’s not coming out of my emergency fund, the way it did a couple of years ago, when I lost all of…

  • 5 ways to cut costs to save more for retirement (48 comments)

    David Bakke is an author and blogger for the personal finance resource Money Crashers, where he discusses tips for saving money for retirement and generating long-term wealth. When it comes to saving for retirement, many Americans are woefully behind. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 56 percent of those surveyed said they had less than $25,000 in retirement savings, and 30 percent doubted they’d have enough money to retire. However, regardless of your situation,…

  • No discipline and can’t save? No problem! (30 comments)

    This is a guest post from Joe Saul-Sehy. Joe is the co-host of the relaxed financial podcast Stacking Benjamins, available on iTunes and Stitcher. His Stacking Benjamins blog, where he shares stories and tips about the struggle to earn, save and spend with a plan, debuted on June 11th. Do you lack the discipline to save? So do I, but discipline is nearly irrelevant. When I was a financial adviser, I enjoyed sitting across from…

  • Reader Stories: Using the waterfall money management system (59 comments)

    This is a guest post from Andrew Selby. Andrew writes about debt management programs at his Debt Consolidation Blog. 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 submit your own reader story? Here’s how. After fighting, scratching and clawing for years, I had finally paid off my college loans and was…

  • Ask the Readers: How can I help my father get financially set? (74 comments)

    Dealing with family members who aren’t as financially savvy or frugal as you are is a common problem. Reader Mike in New Hampshire wrote to tell us his dilemma, and he wants your thoughts on what he should do. Here’s his story (and here is the update to his story): In college I majored in Communication and Journalism, so when it came time to choose electives to meet the requirements for math and science I…

  • How to save for college, though begrudgingly (39 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. Here’s an idea: Leave juvenile delinquents in a prison for three hours to be harangued by hardened criminals in an attempt to convince the kids to change their ways. That was the premise of the 1978 documentary “Scared Straight!” which won an Oscar and an Emmy. When…

  • Ask the Readers: What will make you feel financially secure? (78 comments)

    If you’re a regular reader of Get Rich Slowly, you are focused on getting out of debt, saving, retirement goals – all of those money issues we all deal with. But at what point would you or do you feel financially secure? I think my own sense of financial security came once I had paid off all of my debts (excluding my mortgage) and had enough money to save a chunk each month. Certainly, having…

  • How my mom inspired me during a savings slump (56 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Kristin Wong. I’ve been saving up for a big purchase, so I’ve seriously tightened my budget. Staying within my own strict boundaries has been frustrating. When I get frustrated, I call my mom. Recently, I vented about my finances to her. She reminded me of her story of rising from poverty. Here we go again. She grew up poor in China; saved ten grand working part time at the grocery store. I’ve…

  • The tyranny of the 401(k) industrial complex (68 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. Like many living beings – including turtles, snakes, and llamas — he’s on Twitter. If you never watch PBS’ “Frontline,” you’re missing out on some of the best journalism on TV. I don’t agree with every viewpoint they advocate, but each episode is thought-provoking and well…

  • Are you prepared to buy a home? (49 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer April Dykman. For many, owning a home is still “the American dream.” According to Gallup’s annual Economy and Personal Finance survey, 56 percent of Americans own a home and 25 percent plan to purchase one in the next 10 years. But sometimes buyers fall in love with a home, only to find out that they don’t qualify. Or worse, they barely manage to qualify, but at a sky-high interest rate. That’s…

  • Reader stories: The importance of number crunching (18 comments)

    This post is from Corinne Hoener. Corinne is a long-time GRS reader and personal finance geek living in Brooklyn, NY with her partner and two cats. 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’m starting a new job soon (very excited!) and I’m fortunate…

  • Will you have what you need when you need it? (35 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. Let’s say I told you of a company whose stock posted the best 15-year return of any Fortune 500 company between 1965 and 1995, earning more than 18.5 times the return of the S&P 500. Had you invested $10,000 in this company at the beginning of…

  • I’m 30! Am I where I should be with my finances? (79 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…

  • Ask the Readers: Do you save more or less than your parents? (111 comments)

    This post is from Ollie Geiger, a personal finance writer who contributes to MoneyRates.com. Whenever we visit my grandmother-in-law’s house, we always leave with paper towels. Lots of them. Because our car is typically packed with vacation items when we visit, and because we usually have plenty of jumbo packs of paper towels waiting for us in our garage, there’s no good reason we should cram 14 rolls of these things into our back seat for…

  • Saving for college when time is on your side (81 comments)

    This post is by staff writer Holly Johnson. According to the Federal Reserve, the average amount of student loan debt carried by a student graduating in 2012 reached a staggering $24,301. And that isn’t the only scary student loan statistic. Overall, student loan debt in the U.S. has reached a cumulative $902 billion dollars, and loan delinquencies are at an all-time high. This is depressing news for everyone, including those of us who want our children…

  • Is it possible you don’t need an emergency fund? (90 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Lisa Aberle. Common personal finance advice recommends building an emergency fund. In fact, how and why to have an emergency fund has been covered here before. But like so much common advice, it doesn’t apply to everyone — and it certainly doesn’t apply to each stage of personal finance. Sometimes I get financial tunnel vision and focus on my financial checklist (Pay off debt? Check. Have an emergency fund of three…

  • Oops, I may have broken my nest egg (42 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. Financial success can be due to making good decisions or avoiding big mistakes. In many cases, the biggest mistakes happen after good decisions, because the stakes have become higher. As an example, let’s consider the dilemma of Motley Fool reader Jim, who emailed us this…

  • 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…

  • 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….

  • Ask the Readers: What will you give up this month to save $250? (101 comments)

    Welcome to February! In early January, we asked people what are their savings goals this year. But reading El Nerdo’s post on Tuesday made me think about how focusing on a short-term goal could help us achieve a long-term goal. So we’ve come up a series of challenges to help us achieve some goals this year. Here’s the February challenge for our GRS community: What will you give up for just one month to save…

  • 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…

  • And the winners are… (3 comments)

    To get your new year’s saving resolutions off to a healthy start, we ran a sweepstakes on the Get Rich Slowly Facebook page. More than 300 (310, to be exact) people told us what their new year’s goals were, and from those entries, we randomly chose winners to receive $50 gift cards. And the winners are… (drumroll): Linda Beuthe Michael Brewer Lynn DeRocco Erika Imhoff Amy Lee Andrea Neuschuez Congratulations! To collect your gift cards,…

  • Sweepstakes: What is your New Year’s savings resolution? (4 comments)

    The Get Rich Slowly community is a savvy one, and we know you like to save money, find unexpected money and make good investments. But most of all, we know you like to voice your thoughts! To help you keep your savings resolution for the New Year, we’re running a sweepstakes on our Facebook page. All you have to do is “Like” the page, fill out a form and tell us what your savings resolution…

  • Honey’s financial goals for 2013 (126 comments)

    This post is by staff writer Honey Smith. Now that I’ve taken stock of where I’ve been in 2012, I’m ready to set goals for 2013. I want my goals to be ambitious enough that meeting them is a true accomplishment requiring me to stretch my growing money-management skills. However, I also want them to be realistic and personal (revolving around my priorities). Goal 1: Pay off $5,000 in student loan principal Since I’ve paid…

  • Driven crazy by car loans (95 comments)

    My long commute means my car has a lot of miles on it. Right now, it’s cruising up to 180,000 miles and still going strong. While we’re hoping to make it to 250,000, approximately 30,000 miles goes on the odometer each year. My car-buying philosophy In a rare piece of verbal financial advice from my father, he told me to always pay for my vehicles with cash. He said, since they depreciated, I should pay…

  • 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…

  • 6 financial products that made the nice list (and 6 that didn’t) (37 comments)

    How great would it be if you could get a better return on your savings? What if you could get a rate 300 times higher? Of course that’d be great! Who doesn’t want more money? But if you just opened a money market account with the local big bank branch, or you signed up for a credit card to get the free T-shirt, you might be leaving money on the table or paying sky-high fees….

  • Health savings accounts: An overview, plus some pros and cons (101 comments)

    Lately, my dad’s been praising the benefits of having a health savings account. This year, he had the opportunity to get the most of his HSA — bad news for his health, but good news for his wallet (side note: Dad is now doing OK health-wise). At any rate, I’ve spent the week researching, calculating and mulling over whether an HSA is the best option for me. I reviewed a lot of your comments from…

  • The really, really, really long-term view…and when you’ll die (50 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. I know it’s the holidays, but I’m going to begin this post with a somber topic: death. I think about it quite a bit, not because I’m morbid, but because it’s one of the important variables in the calculus of retirement planning. After all, your…

  • Adopting strategies to pay for big expenses (84 comments)

    I like the idea of financial independence, and if I’d had my way, we would have started our family once we had college fully funded for each child. Plus, a healthy emergency fund, a do-I-want-to-be-a-working-mom-or-not fund, and a minivan fund. But I didn’t want to be 80 years old at my children’s high school graduations either. Ironically, as it turns out, we decided to build our family through international adoption, a notoriously expensive way to…

  • Bid for savings at an auction (48 comments)

    This is a guest post from Matt Ainslie. He is a reference librarian and auction  animal. His interests include blacksmithing, learning new obscure facts and saving money. He lives with his wife and children in Philadelphia. Some months back I was at an auction, and was chatting with the auctioneer. I asked how things were going. “All right,” he said, “but we’re having trouble getting people out here, some days.” “I would think you’d be…

  • 5 principles of fund investing, as illustrated by a zombie (20 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. On this Halloween, I have a frightening tale of decaying wealth, failed attempts at resurrection, a dying reputation, and a Lynching. Of course, I’m talking about the Fidelity Magellan Fund, once the largest…

  • GRS 2.0 (still with cat pictures) (33 comments)

    Now that J.D. has said his farewell, I wanted to introduce myself to the Get Rich Slowly community, since my name will be on many of the posts that are not written by staff writers. I am Ellen Cannon, the editorial director of the financial services websites owned by QuinStreet. In addition to Get Rich Slowly, I oversee ConsumerismCommentary.com, MoneyRates.com, CardRatings.com, HSH.com and numerous others. I am not the new face or financial guru of…

  • How Wall Street eats a third of your savings and makes you work longer (35 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. In my post from a few weeks ago, I explained how Wall Street wants your balls – that is, if you compare retirement savings to balls, as I did in the second video…

  • Reader Story: Go online to raise money-savvy kids (12 comments)

    This post from Doug Lebda is part of the reader stories series. Doug is a personal finance expert, father of three, founder and chairman of Lending Tree, the Lending Tree Foundation and co-founder of Tykoon. 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 submit your own reader story? Here’s how. According…

  • Ask the Readers: What odd things have you done to save money? (254 comments)

    This is a guest post from David Bakke. David is always looking for ways to save money and live frugally. He shares his tips and strategies on Money Crashers Personal Finance. During my journey to escape $30,000 worth of personal debt, I wore my frugality like a badge of honor. I had no problem bragging to people about all the ways I saved money, regardless of their quizzical reactions. I was on a mission, and…

  • Reader Story: My Roth IRA Sprint (45 comments)

    This guest post from Vermont Moose 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 with all levels of financial maturity and income. Want submit your own reader story? Here’s how. I’m less than a year into the real world and have been enjoying the ride on the personal-finance rollercoaster. After…

  • Saving for a Big Purchase (86 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Tim Sullivan. I love the jeans I’m wearing. I actually wear them almost four days a week. Chances are that if you see me, I’m wearing these jeans. They’re my only pair. When I bought them, I very gladly put down my $200 cash and left the store with a smile. The jeans I had before them cost the same, and I wore them until they got holes in…

  • Reader Story: Falling in Love with the Freedom Fund (61 comments)

    This guest post from Lisa Mueller 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 with all levels of financial maturity and income. Want submit your own reader story? Here’s how. When I was in my twenties, I didn’t really understand the point of wealth accumulation. To me, it kind of…

  • Reader Story: What Financial Freedom Really Means (50 comments)

    This guest post from Sue 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 with all levels of financial maturity and income. Want submit your own reader story? Here’s how. I’ve always been a saver. Even as a child, my pocket money was more likely to end up in my piggy…

  • Finding Room for the Spontaneous (82 comments)

    This post is by staff writer Tim Sullivan. This past Friday, I got an e-mail from my uncle letting me know the Sox were here in Seattle. Since leaving Chicago, it’s rare that I get to see my hometown sluggers, and it’s not an opportunity I would want to miss. But by the time I caught wind of the windy city being in town, the cheap seats were sold out, which meant that tickets for…

  • Saving Without a Goal (206 comments)

    For the past few months, I’ve been in a strange place with my financial journey. My retirement needs are met, as are my daily living expenses, so all I need to worry about is saving for short- and medium-term goals. That’s great — except I don’t have any. I can’t decide whether this is a problem or not. When I was younger, not having financial goals absolutely caused problems. Because I didn’t have anything specific…

  • Ask the Readers: How to Save Money While Making Minimum Wage? (147 comments)

    It can be tough to get out of debt and build savings even if your income is above average. If it’s average (or less), the challenge becomes even greater. And what if you’re earning only minimum wage (or something a little over)? In cases like this, is saving even possible? Yesterday, a reader named Andrew asked this question on the Get Rich Slowly page at Facebook: Andrew’s question from Facebook I love this question. Andrew…

  • Ask the Readers: Income? Or Negative Savings? (92 comments)

    I’ve been fielding reader questions at Get Rich Slowly for almost six years now. In that time, we (you and I) have answered 202 questions, most of which have been about the Big Picture, about things that apply to everyone. Sometimes, though, it can be interesting to get a bit more specific. For instance, Julie wrote recently with a question that, by her own admission, is technical and fussy. Well, let’s be technical and fussy…

  • How Safe Is Your Cash? (51 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. One of oldest adages in investing is “no risk, no return.” These days, that old saying seems literally true, since cash is considered the safest asset, yet it earns virtually no interest. However,…

  • Five Easiest Ways to Save Money (97 comments)

    This post is by staff writer Sarah Gilbert. This is America Saves Week, and I am writing to you sitting next to a jar. This jar is stuffed full (okay, imagine it gently filled — it’s a small jar) of five dollar bills. I do not feel proud that this is the best way I’ve found yet to save money consistently; somehow, having it sit there on the windowsill is a gentle reminder that there…

  • 8 Questions to Help You Save More (63 comments)

    This is a guest post by Fiona Lippey. Fiona is the author of the bestselling book The $21 Challenge and founder of Australia’s largest frugal website, SimpleSavings.net. If you want to save money, and I mean really save money, then you’re going to have to stop buying Stuff. You have reduce the amount you consume. Today I want to share the system I’ve been using for the last 15 years to reduce my spending and…

  • Reader Story: The Money Fix (59 comments)

    This guest post from Christine 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 reader story is a little unusual. It’s the product of Daily Worth’s “The Money Fix”. But I’ll let Christine explain… My name is Christine,…

  • Automating Savings on an Irregular Income (24 comments)

    This post is from staff writer April Dykman. One of the tenets of personal finance is to pay yourself first. And one of the most sure-fire ways to make sure you do that is to automate your savings: setup your checking account to make an automatic deposit to your saving accounts. Automation has been incredibly effective for me. I have targeted sub-accounts for property taxes, auto repairs, house savings, and more — a tactic I…

  • Ask the Readers: How Much Should I Save (and What Should I Save For)? (107 comments)

    Many of the reader questions I get here at Get Rich Slowly follow a familiar formula. The person sends me a breakdown of her income and expenses, also sharing how she’s allocating her savings. From these figures, my correspondent wants to know if I’d make changes to her budget. Unfortunately, I’m not qualified to answer questions as specific as these. (And I don’t have time to answer them all!) That said, there are often certain…

  • Ask the Readers: When Is It Okay to Use Your Emergency Fund? (101 comments)

    It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a person in want of a good fortune must be in possession of an emergency fund. Hilarious literary allusions aside, the emergency fund — or rainy-day savings, or whatever you want to call it — is one of the bedrocks of basic personal finance. A solid savings account is like self-insurance; it can offer some protection when life seems intent on drowning you with one financial crisis after…

  • 20 Ways to Spend $20 (77 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. Since she just found out she is going to be a grandmother, expect to be bombarded with cute-baby anecdotes about seven months from now. If you draw a paycheck, you’re due an extra $160 in January and February thanks to the Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation…

  • How I Lost 25 Pounds — And How It Can Help Your Finances (35 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. It’s that time of year — the time when everyone makes resolutions in hopes that a year from now, we’ll be thinner, wealthier, smarter, more productive, and better-smelling. As I ponder my own…

  • Getting Over the Overdraft: How I Started Saving (56 comments)

    This post is by staff writer Tim Sullivan. A few years back, I got a paycheck in the mail and went to deposit it. I left the bank, dropped off a rent check, bought groceries, a sandwich across the street, gas on the way home, and a new album from iTunes to listen to while cooking. I forgot to endorse the check. Normally, this is no big deal for my bank. That day, they decided…

  • Ask the Readers: Staying Motivated to Save? (82 comments)

    Sometimes you do everything right — you work hard, you cut back on spending, you invest for retirement — but all of your effort seems for nought. You get sick. You wreck your car. Or, as has been the case for the past several years, the entire global economy seems determined to thwart your long-term plans. What happens when you do all the right things, but the right things don’t seem to work? That’s what…

  • Why Most of Us Won’t Change Banks (73 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Sarah Gilbert. Did you ever look at a bank’s website and think to yourself, “Why would they give you free bill pay when they charge for everything else?” Even with the super-restrictive accounts that limit ATM deposits and withdrawals; put holds on most of your checks; and demand monthly fees or regular savings transfers; bill pay is usually offered free. It’s surely not an inexpensive process from the bank’s…

  • Why Pay Debit Card Fees? Changing Banks, or Not (167 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Sarah Gilbert. Bank of America will soon be charging $5 per month for consumers who use its debit cards to access the money in their accounts. This fee, to be charged whether you use your debit card once or several dozen times, is a direct response (a kind of “up yours,” if you ask me) to the recent limits on what banks can charge merchants for debit transactions, and…

  • Holiday Saving Tips: How to Grow Your Christmas Nest Egg (48 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Sierra Black. Sierra writes about frugality, sustainable living, and raising children at Childwild.com. Autumn is here and the leaves are just starting to turn. Believe it or not, that means it’s time to start thinking about the holiday season. Holiday expenses can pile up quickly. Planning ahead saves you sticker shock and can spare you a steep credit card bill in the new year. Careful planners have laid out…

  • Free Money from Banks! (But Watch the Fine Print) (53 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. I earned $200 in less than an hour the other day, without removing any of my clothes. A bank gave me the money (or will, a few months from now) in exchange for opening a business checking account. Why would a bank or a credit union…

  • Best Savings Accounts for 2014 (104 comments)

    J.D. first posted this online savings account article back in March 2007, when interest rates were well over 1 percent. Since then, of course, interest rates at online banks have run under or just at 1 percent, making it hard for savers to make headway on their goals. Our sister site, MoneyRates.com, does a quarterly analysis of savings rates, called America’s Best Rates, which shows the highest interest rates offered during the previous quarter. The…

  • Ask the Readers: I’m Getting Older — Should I Save or Should I Travel? (112 comments)

    Long-time GRS reader Sheila (aka PawPrint) dropped a line earlier this year because she’s facing a financial dilemma. She and her husband want to be responsible — to save for retirement — but they’re afraid that doing so means they won’t be able to pursue other passions, such as travel. Sheila writes: My husband is nearly 60. As we watch friends and relatives succumb to cancer (mostly) in their late sixties, I wonder about our…

  • Reader Story: How My Parents and I Partnered on a Win-Win Savings Plan For College (93 comments)

    This guest post from Robb Engen is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some reader 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. Robb writes about personal finance at Boomer & Echo, where he and his mom (she’s the Boomer, he’s the Echo) offer their…

  • Reader Story: Saving the American Way…and the Bulgarian Way (96 comments)

    This guest post from Rya 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. Rya writes a Bulgarian personal-finance blog called kadebg.com. My name is Rya. I’m 25 years old, and I live in Bulgaria. That’s a small…

  • Reader Story: Saving for Something Close to Home (38 comments)

    This guest post from Jeanne 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 reader story is a response to my article last week about how to spend your money. Until I was 34, I spent most…

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

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

  • The Most Important Factor in Retirement Savings (67 comments)

    “Wanna see something neat?” Kris asked the other night. She was holding the year-end statement from her work-based retirement plan. “Sure,” I said. “Show me the money.” She handed the statement to me. “Look at my account balance,” she said. “Look how it’s grown. It went down a little bit in 2008, but because I kept contributing, the balance has gone crazy during the last two years.” Kris’s retirement account took a hit in 2008,…

  • Ask the Readers: The Best Online Bank for Service and Security? (147 comments)

    It’s been a while since I’ve written about the best online bank accounts. Usually when I cover online banks, I’m focused on their interest rates, such as in this constantly-updated list of which online high-yield savings accounts are best. But interest rates have been low for nearly three years now, and there’s not much difference between earning 1.11% on your savings at one bank and 1.09% at another. In an environment like this, how do…

  • Think You Can’t Afford an Emergency Fund? Think Again! (78 comments)

    This post is from new GRS staff writer Donna Freedman. Donna writes the Living With Less personal finance column for MSN Money, and writes about frugality and intentional living at Surviving And Thriving. Once upon a time it was enough to have a three-month emergency fund; now I hear we should aim for enough to cover a year’s worth of food, shelter, and other basics. A swell idea in theory, but this could actually discourage…

  • Reader Story: How Our Simple, No-Category, Mostly-Cash Budget Accidentally Paid Off the Car (42 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. Besides teaching elementary band and running a personal training business, Heather keeps a healthy-living blog called Change Is Possible, plays trombone in a local…

  • 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…

  • Reader Story: First Generation White Collar (43 comments)

    This guest post from L. Marie Joseph, the Money Monk, 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. Marie is the author of the new book, First Generation White Collar. My story is like most others: Girl…

  • Emergency Fund vs. Debt Snowball: What’s the Top Priority? (79 comments)

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

  • How to Save: Putting “Pay Yourself First” into Practice (79 comments)

    For many people, saving is tough. Between housing, utilities, groceries, transportation, credit-card debt, student loans, and other expenses, there never seems to be enough left to set aside for long-term savings. And that’s the problem. Most people try to save something out of what’s left over instead of saving first. One of the oldest rules of personal finance is to pay yourself first. All the money books tell you to do it. All the personal…

  • Money Magic That Really Works (15 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. It’s Halloween, the season of ghosts, ghouls, and witches! To celebrate, I thought I’d share a little money magic with you that really works. It’s an old Southern folk magic spell called Money Stay With Me. This version is adapted from Cat Yronwood at Lucky Mojo, a hoodoo shop in California. This…

  • The Quest for the Best Budget (38 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. We can do two things with our money: spend it or save it. (Actually, there are other possibilities — eating it! smoking it! — but we’ll limit our discussion to what sane people do.)…

  • Why Are There No Ads Urging Us to Save? (39 comments)

    This is a guest post from Rob Bennett, a long-time GRS reader. Bennett created the first retirement calculator that contains an adjustment for the valuation level that applies on the day the retirement begins. The Cat in the Hat and the Grinch. Who’s the miser? Who’s the spendthrift? Nearly everyone is going to say that the Cat in the Hat is the spendthrift and that the Grinch is the miser. The Grinch is selfish and…

  • Checking Accounts: New Rules, Old Rules, Your Rules (20 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, tips for sound saving and investing, and info about energy-efficiency tax credits. Did anyone ever give you a user’s manual for your checking account? Okay, I guess J.D. did with Your Money:…

  • College Savings: The Basics of Saving for College (47 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. Got kids? If so, you’re probably hoping to send them to college. And you know it won’t be cheap. College costs are rising faster than inflation, and have been for decades. But that doesn’t mean you can’t afford a good education for your kids, even if you have a modest salary or…

  • Treasury Department to Help Under-Banked Citizens at Tax Time (48 comments)

    Every week, I’m bombarded by press releases from companies and publications wanting me to share their products and stories. I’d love to be able to pass this info on to you — at least the stuff that’s both relevant and good (actual subject line from one irrelevant press release this morning: “Rev. Jesse Jackson holds Automotive Summit in Detroit Sept. 30 – Oct. 1″ … spam!) — but doing so would be a full-time job….

  • Does Saving Stimulate the Economy More than Spending? (73 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer April Dykman. When the 2008-09 financial crisis hit, my husband and I were debt-free and building our savings. We were proud of what we’d accomplished, and I used to stare at our savings balance with a smile after every payday. At the time, all I seemed to hear was that we Americans had to spend our way out of a recession, that spending was the key to growth….

  • Why Are Interest Rates So Low Right Now? (and Where Should You Put Your Money?) (72 comments)

    I’ve been plowing through my e-mail lately in my never-ending quest to reach inbox zero. As a result, I’ve been answering tons of reader questions. And when I can’t answer them (or when I think a colleague can do a better job), I try to refer the question to somebody else. Over the weekend, for example, LP wrote: I’m a college student and have started saving up and setting aside money, and I feel that…

  • The Legal Nomad on Saving for Travel (39 comments)

    As you’ve probably noticed, travel has become a priority in my life. There are number of reasons for this. For one, I love it. I love visiting other cities, other states, other countries. I love seeing how different people live, and how they do things. Here in the U.S., we are so myopic — we tend to focus on just our way of life, so that it becomes difficult to imagine that there are billions…

  • How to Help Your Kids Build $25,000 Stock Portfolios (61 comments)

    Mary and her husband set out to build a stock portfolio worth $25,000 as a college graduation present for each of their children. That’s a lofty goal. How did they do it? In her entry to the GRS video contest, Mary explained: Here’s how Mary describes her method in a post at her site, Frugal to Rich: When our children were born and people wanted to get a gift for the baby, we asked family…

  • Three Stories About Banking (19 comments)

    As part of my downshifting project, I’ve spent the past couple of days replying to several hundred stale messages in my inbox. There were plenty of great reader stories, guest posts, and “ask the readers” questions in my stack of stuff, but there were also some good article ideas, too. For example, I had three different e-mails about bank-related stories. Each of these is pretty small for its own post, but they share a similar…

  • Pay Yourself First with a Coupon Booklet (19 comments)

    Is budgeting a hassle? Do you sometimes forget to make your Roth IRA contribution or to transfer this month’s installment for the new car you’re saving for? Do you wish there were some way to make the process easier? One way to reduce human error is to set up a separate savings account for each of your goals. You can then set up automatic monthly transfers to each of these accounts (and to each of…

  • High Interest: How to Choose Between Checking, Savings, and CDs (52 comments)

    In a rocky economy, high interest rates are the holy grail of conservative investors, especially those who don’t want to to invest in bonds. But in this rocky economy, “high interest” hasn’t really meant much: High-interest savings accounts are returning below two percent! Get Rich Slowly readers are just like everybody else. A couple of times a week, I get e-mail from somebody looking for higher interest rates, but puzzled about where to find them….

  • In Praise of Paying Yourself First (64 comments)

    Can you bear with me for one more labored metaphor? As I’ve mentioned a few times already, I’m in the midst of a successful fitness program. I’ve lost 20 pounds since the beginning of the year, and, more importantly, I’m exercising every day. This morning, for example, I pedaled 8-1/2 miles to my Crossfit gym; spent an hour practicing skills, doing body rows (pull-ups for people who can’t do pull-ups), and lifting weights (front squats);…

  • The Incredible Shrinking Emergency Fund (141 comments)

    The polls that appear in the Get Rich Slowly sidebar are far from scientific, and a lot of the time they don’t yield anything interesting. But sometimes they turn out a curious piece of information. At the end of April, the poll question asked, “How many months to do you have in your emergency fund?” This was the same question posed in mid-January. This poll also ran concurrently at Money Rates, a site with a…

  • Grow Your Savings by Paying in Full (63 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer April Dykman. In the past six months, I’ve spent more money on personal development than I have in my entire life. I’ve also spent considerable amounts on laptops and on a holistic wellness program. Now that I’m somewhere in the third stage of personal finance, I see the value in investing, and I’m not just talking about the stock market. What I started to notice was how having…

  • Ask the Readers: Am I Being Foolish for Saving So Much? (132 comments)

    Some of my favorite questions come from readers who are worried that they’re saving too much. This is a great problem to have. For example, Henry wrote recently with this dilemma: I’ve been reading Get Rich Slowly since I was 15. At that time, it inspired me to save 20% of everything I earn for retirement. I’m almost 20 now, and I currently max my Roth IRA each year. (Well, I did in 2008 and…

  • Ask the Readers: How Do You Choose a Savings Account? (45 comments)

    Here’s a little twist to the typical Ask the Readers column. Yesterday, I exchanged e-mail with financial writer Liz Weston. She gave me advice for this Friday’s post, and in return she asked the following question: I’m writing about all the bonuses you can get for opening a savings account or other financial account (like $50 to open an ING checking account, for example). Is this something your readers like to do? How do they…

  • Reader Story: How (and Why) I Moved My Money to a Local Bank (73 comments)

    This guest post from Aja is part of the “reader stories” feature here at Get Rich Slowly. Some reader stories contain general “how I did X” advice, and others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. By now we’ve all heard about how the giant national banks (Bank of America, Chase, Citibank) are “too big to fail” and have to be rescued from their mistakes with our taxpayer money….

  • Fixed Expenses and Flexible Expenses: How to Budget for Both (56 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. A few months ago, my local bank and I had a falling out and my husband and I were suddenly very motivated to switch banks. We’d narrowed it down to two choices: Citizens Bank, which has a local branch where I can deposit the cash and many small checks I receive…

  • What Does It Take to Make You Switch Banks? (170 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Adam Baker, whose own blog featured the hit post 42 Ways to Radically Simplify Your Financial Life. When I was 14 years old, I opened my very first checking account at Bank One. That’s where my Dad banked and so that’s where he drove me when I asked to open an account. Over the years, I continued to give them my business. By 16, I had opened another checking…

  • New from the IRS! Use Your Tax Refund to Buy Savings Bonds (29 comments)

    Here’s something cool I learned at Mapgirl’s Fiscal Challenge. Apparently you can now use your tax refund to automatically buy I-series bonds from the U.S. government. As recently as three years ago, I was a huge fan of tax refunds. Despite the arguments against them, I liked getting a tax refund because it was the only way I’d found to save. I’m able to save on my own now, so I no longer aim to…

  • How to Get the Best Rates on Your Savings — Safely (64 comments)

    Over the past year, one of the frequent questions I get is: “Where I can safely invest my money to get a decent return?” For example, Joseph wrote in November: Around February/March I should have $5,000 to invest. My debts are under control and my wife and I have lowered our monthly expenses. I was wondering if you had any advice on ways to invest $5,000? I don’t want a savings account because the interest…

  • Ask the Readers: Life After a Maxed-Out IRA? (82 comments)

    It’s been a long time since we had an Ask the Readers around here. Time to remedy that situation! Jeff recently wrote with a question about saving. The lucky dog has saved so much that he doesn’t know what to do next! Two years ago I started getting smart about my finances and in the time since, I’ve been able to put away enough money to max out my Roth IRA. I’m a grad student…

  • Don’t Let Irregular Expenses Wreck Your Budget (or Drain Your Emergency Fund) (111 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer April Dykman. Right before our Thanksgiving trip, the AC went out on our vehicle. $600 later, we had a functioning AC. What a way to start a camping trip.  The good news was that we had the funds set aside for that specific reason—auto repairs. We’ve never used one of our targeted accounts before, and now that we have, I can attest that they are a fantastic idea….

  • The Personal Finance Hour, Episode 27: Banking for Fun and Profit (1 comment)

    On today’s episode of The Personal Finance Hour, I’ll join Jim from Bargaineering to discuss the wonderful of banking. We’ll talk about online banks, offline banks, high interest savings accounts, current CD rates, and more. (We’ll also talk about how to optimize your accounts.) This show will air live at 3pm Pacific (6pm Eastern). It’s much more entertaining for everyone when you call in to participate. We’d love to hear how you use your bank…

  • Is There a Generation Gap in Saving? (122 comments)

    I’m old-school: I went to the bank to make a deposit today. (I make most of my deposits in person, inside the branch.) While I waited, I chatted with the teller, whom I know from many previous visits. “I’m writing a book about money,” I told him. “What’s the one thing you wish you could tell people about banking?” “Save!” he said. He told me there’s a huge generation gap between savers and spenders. “The…

  • The Personal Finance Hour, Episode 24: Saving for Retirement (6 comments)

    It’s National Save for Retirement Week! All week, Get Rich Slowly will feature articles about retirement planning. This morning, I wrote about how important it is to pay yourself first. April and Adam will share their thoughts on the subject in the days ahead. On today’s episode of The Personal Finance Hour, I joined my co-host Jim from Bargaineering to discuss saving for retirement. We spoke with Jeremy from Gen X Finance. Jeremy is a…

  • Pay Yourself First (57 comments)

    This article is the fourth of a fourteen-part series that explores the core tenets of Get Rich Slowly. It’s also a part of National Save for Retirement Week. One of the oldest rules of personal finance is the simple admonition to pay yourself first. All the money books tell you to do it. All the personal finance blogs say it, too. Even your parents have given you the same advice. But it’s hard. That money…

  • How Much Should You Have in Savings? (117 comments)

    A couple of weeks ago, we had a fine discussion about how much we should save for retirement. But how much should we have saved for today? How much should we have in cash reserves? As I write my own book, I’m reading (and re-reading) dozens of other money manuals. While perusing Bert Whitehead’s Why Smart People Do Stupid Things With Money, I came across his table of “minimum base liquidity”. (Whitehead is a highly-educated…

  • When Is It Okay to Finance Fun? (103 comments)

    At AskMetafilter last week, a user asked a question I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Now that I have my finances firmly under control, now that I’m building wealth, is it ever okay to finance fun? Here’s the question (with minor edits for clarification): When is it okay to finance Toys? We have a budget, all bills are paid, we are saving $100 every month, the only debt we have is our cars and…

  • 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…

  • Ask the Readers: How Much Should You Save for Retirement? (153 comments)

    How much should you save for retirement? Carla dropped me a line because she’s puzzled where the standard “save 10% of your income for retirement” advice originated. She’s afraid that ten percent isn’t nearly enough. Carla writes: The financial experts always say to save 10% for retirement (for example, in your review of The 1-2-3 Money Plan). Buy why 10%? It doesn’t make sense to me. I’m 25. If I retire at the normal age…

  • 11 Ways to Spice Up Your Emergency Fund (77 comments)

    This article is by Adam Baker, a GRS Staff Writer. In addition to writing for Get Rich Slowly, Baker blogs over at Man Vs. Debt, where he discusses ways to simplify your financial life. A thriving emergency fund is an essential piece of a healthy financial picture. You’ve heard this a million times before. The basics of emergency funds have been covered in depth. We’re used to hearing discussions on why they’re important and how large…

  • Compound Interest: One Percent Can Make All the Difference (43 comments)

    How many of you consider the effects of compound interest (or “compound returns”, if you prefer) when you make financial decisions? I mention the concept from time-to-time — and I’ve even devoted whole articles to the extraordinary power of compound interest — but I don’t know if others keep the notion in mind when they work with their finances. When I was younger, when I was struggling with money, I only had a fuzzy notion…

  • How to Choose the Right Bank Account (53 comments)

    On my first day of college, I chose a checking account because the bank was handing out free Frisbees. This was my only bank account for nearly 20 years. Eventually I opened a savings account at the local credit union. Then I discovered the benefits of a high-yield savings account. Last autumn I opened my first certificate of deposit. And just a few months ago, I started a money market account. Why so many accounts?…

  • Ask the Readers: What Happens *After* You Use Your Emergency Savings? (64 comments)

    A comfortable “rainy day” fund is a key component to most personal financial plans. The experts don’t agree on the exact amount to keep in an emergency fund — advice ranges from three to twelve months’ of expenses — but they do agree everyone should have one. An emergency fund is self-insurance: It’s a way to cope with the unexpected without resorting to debt or other expensive options. But what happens after you use your…

  • 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,…

  • Saving for the Short Term (49 comments)

    Dave wrote yesterday with a common question. He’s looking for a low-risk investment with decent returns, but not having any luck finding one. He writes: I currently have a Money Market Savings account and the interest rate has dropped to 1%. It used to be 5%. When it was earning 5%, I had roughly $25,000 in there, and would make something like $60-$90 per month in interest. Now I have $50,000 in there and only…

  • An Introduction to Money Market Accounts & How to Find The Best Rates (51 comments)

    I’ve been moving large sums of money between my bank accounts recently. I’m shuffling funds from my business account to my personal account to my high-yield savings account in an attempt to get each dollar in its proper place. It’s really not as complicated as I make it seem, though it does take a little work. At one point during this process, I ended up with over $25,000 in my credit-union checking account. Most of…

  • The Fall and Rise of Personal Savings (58 comments)

    Americans are beginning to save again, or so the media is reporting. The personal saving rate has jumped from 0.4% in 2007 to a whopping 6.9% in May. But what does that mean? Is it a good thing? And how long will it last? The personal saving rate “Personal saving rate” is an economic term for income that is not used immediately to buy goods and services. It’s money that consumers save for the future….

  • 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…

  • Good-Bye, Microsoft Money! 16 Powerful Personal Finance Programs (288 comments)

    As of today, Microsoft Money is no longer available for purchase. Microsoft has essentially conceded that there’s no demand for the product. From the website: With banks, brokerage firms and Web sites now providing a range of options for managing personal finances, the consumer need for Microsoft Money Plus has changed. After suspending annual updates of Money Plus in 2008, Microsoft is announcing today that we will no longer offer Microsoft Money Plus for purchase…

  • Ask the Readers: How to Handle a Windfall? (79 comments)

    It’s been a while since we touched on the subject of windfalls: money that unexpectedly falls into your lap. It’s been so long, in fact, that I’ve started to receive questions about them, including this one from Aaryn: I wanted to get your advice as far as the distribution of windfalls. Would you put a certain percentage in a savings account? Invest it? Keep some in your regular checking account? What is your recommendation? Would…

  • Online Banking: 13 Choices for Higher Interest Rates and Increased Security (86 comments)

    In its July 2009 issue, Consumer Reports Money Adviser published a brief overview of the best online banking options according to their research. “Online banking, despite a rocky start, is becoming the rule rather than the exception,” the article says, noting that online banking can net savers better interest rates and increased security. I’d love to be able to point you to an online version of this article, but none exists. And I’m not about…

  • How to Find the Right CD or Money Market Account (21 comments)

    This is a guest post from Richard Barrington, a Chartered Financial Analyst and 20-year veteran of the financial industry. Barrington blogs regularly at MoneyRates. Conservative savings vehicles such as certificates of deposit (CDs) and money market accounts look especially appealing these days, despite low interest rates. But how do you pick the right savings vehicle for your needs? There are many options, and a little information will help you make the best choice for your…

  • How Much Do You Need to Save for Retirement? (104 comments)

    I’ve had several conversations in the past month with people who are wondering how much to save for retirement. They’re worried they won’t have enough. (And the recent market turmoil only makes matters worse.) The problem is that nobody seems to agree on what assumptions to make when planning for retirement. How much should you assume for inflation? For investment returns? For rising health-care costs? How long should you expect to live? Conventional wisdom Most…

  • 25 Useful Financial Rules of Thumb (100 comments)

    Lately I’ve found myself using more and more financial rules of thumb. A rule of thumb is a general guideline, an easy way to approximate a value quickly. It’s not meant to be completely accurate. On a whim this weekend, I gathered together many of the general rules I’ve been using, as well as several others I found online. Thanks to those who follow me on Twitter, who also contributed suggestions. For example, @FourPillars wrote,…

  • Ask the Readers: Should I Chase Higher Interest Rates? (88 comments)

    Almost eighteen months ago, I wrote a post listing the best on-line high-yield savings accounts. Over 750 comments later, the discussion is still going strong. Kyle recently chimed in with a question many people have: In January, before I started reading Get Rich Slowly, I opened a high-yield investor checking account with Charles Schwab. The interest rate was around 3.75%, but it’s fallen to 2% now. After starting to read your site, I decided to…

  • What’s the Reason for Saving and Investing? (35 comments)

    Yesterday, in his final piece for The Wall Street Journal, Jonathan Clements shared what he learned from writing 1,008 columns about personal finance in 26 years. What is the reason for all this saving and investing? The short answer is, you save now so you can spend later. But what will you spend your money on? People dream of endless leisure and bountiful possessions. Unfortunately, after a few months, endless leisure often seems like endless…

  • The Extraordinary Power of Compound Interest (92 comments)

    If you’re young, you may not think you need to open a retirement account. You probably think it’s easier to worry about it five years from now. Or ten. You’re wrong. No matter what your age, now is the time to begin saving for retirement. In The Automatic Millionaire, David Bach writes, “The single biggest investment mistake you can make [is] not using your [retirement] plan and not maxing it out.” Saving is the key…

  • April is Financial Literacy Month (7 comments)

    Though April 2008 isn’t officially National Financial Literacy Month in the United States, many organizations are still treating it as such. (Here in Oregon, for example, it is again statewide financial literacy month.) Because I think basic financial literacy is imperative, I will devote the next few weeks to covering the fundamentals of personal finance. If you have a topic you’d like me to write about, please let me know. To begin, however, here’s an…

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

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

  • Letter to a Godchild: Passing on Financial Wisdom (42 comments)

    This is a guest post from Suzanne S. I’m English and live in California. My goddaughter recently graduated in England (with a degree in Art). I’m one of those who regrets not starting off with good financial habits when I was younger. I thought I would write her a letter giving her the advice that I wish someone had given me when I graduated. I would love the perspective from Get Rich Slowly readers on…

  • Can You Have a Savings Account in a Roth IRA? (24 comments)

    Yesterday, Brent wrote with a question regarding the types of investments one can have in a Roth IRA: Is there such a thing as a Roth IRA “savings” account that gets rates comparable to a good “regular” savings accounts (5% APR or higher)? Is there a reason this is so difficult to find information on (at least for me)? It seems like any place that I want to take my Roth IRA to will require…

  • Money Day: Your Personal Finance Holiday (22 comments)

    I opened my first checking account on the day I entered college. During registration, local banks set up tables at one end of the room. They all seemed the same to me. I chose the bank that gave me a free Frisbee. I did business with that bank for seventeen miserable years. I loathed that bank. They were constantly finding new and interesting ways to charge me money. If I hated it so much, why…

  • Ask the Readers: What’s the Best Way to Save for a Down Payment? (50 comments)

    When I asked recently for topics you’d like to see covered at Get Rich Slowly, many of you expressed interest in learning more about how to purchase a home. Jason sent the following question: What’s the best vehicle to save money for a house? I’m probably more than a year from purchasing my first real estate. While maxing out my Roth IRA and building a nice emergency fund, I need to start saving specifically for…

  • More Money: 5 Ways to Earn Extra Cash in Your Spare Time (67 comments)

    The discussion yesterday about how to earn money when you’ve lost your job got me thinking about ways to earn extra income outside regular employment. None of these are quick fixes, but they’re ways to generate cash in your spare time. Get a second job vslide_var1 = ‘vslide-extracash’; A second job can be an excellent way to earn extra money if you have the time and energy. Why have a second job? To pay off…

  • Saving and Investing: The Power of Compounding (21 comments)

    This is part two in a series that will occupy the “money hacks” slot at Get Rich Slowly during April, which is National Financial Literacy Month. Albert Einstein reportedly called compound interest the greatest mathematical discovery of all time. On its surface, compounding is innocuous — even boring. “So what if my money earns 5.40% in a high-yield savings account?” you might ask. “What does it matter if it averages 10% annual growth in a…

  • Saving and Investing: Introduction (5 comments)

    This is the first in a series that will occupy the “Money Hacks” slot at Get Rich Slowly during April, which is National Financial Literacy Month. While browsing YouTube a couple weeks ago, I stumbled upon some short videos about saving and investing. They were low-key and low-tech, and I might have dismissed them except that the information they contained was solid and easy-to-understand. Intrigued, I contacted Michael Fischer, the man who created the videos….

  • Which Online High-Yield Money Market & High-Interest Savings Account is Best? (1761 comments)

    Savings Account Rates Updated Version of Original Post Below The rates on this page are current as of the dates specified below. Rates are low right now, but they’ll rise as the economic crisis eases. For more information about these banks, please see the 1,700+ comments that follow this list. I’ve heard a lot of people mention their online high-yield savings account, but I’ve never bothered to look into them. It occurred to me today…

  • Ask the Readers: Save for a Down Payment, or Put Money into Home Equity? (27 comments)

    Matt has a question about the best way to save for upgrading his house: My wife and I bought a small house before our wedding, and we know that eventually (say, within the next five years) we’ll need to move. We’ll want to start a family and will need more space. We purchased our current home with an 80/20 loan, instead of putting down the traditional 20% down-payment. At the time we could afford the…

  • How and Why to Start an Emergency Fund (91 comments)

    “Pay off your debt.” “Max out your IRA.” “Buy a house.” “Get a new job.” Personal finance advisers bombard us with a litany of things we ought to do in order to achieve financial independence. It’s overwhelming. Where’s a person to start? Most personal finance books agree: the first thing you should do — after meeting basic needs, and while reducing spending — is to start an emergency fund. What is an emergency fund? An…