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Self-Improvement


  • The Happiness of Pursuit (28 comments)

    This article is by staff writer April Dykman. Historically, personal development has been a big part of Get Rich Slowly. Back in 2012, founder J.D. wrote, “I’m a firm believer in personal development. Self-improvement is part of living a rich life. In fact, when I started this blog … the self-improvement category was one of the first I implemented.” But not so long ago, I’d never read a self-help or personal development book. In fact, I…

  • Breaking taboo: Ask your friends and family for financial advice (49 comments)

    Note: This article is from J.D. Roth, who founded Get Rich Slowly in 2006. J.D. recently launched the Get Rich Slowly course, a year-long guide on how to master your money. His non-financial writing lives at More Than Money. Last weekend, Kim and I went out to breakfast. The only other table in the small restaurant was a party of four youngish women who were laughing and having a good time. They were having such…

  • Using “Decisive” for your decisions (29 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle. The older I get, the more complicated my life gets — and the harder it is for me to make decisions. Do we have anything in common there? By far, the most complicating factor has been having children. Not that that’s a bad thing. It’s not bad, just … complicated. And since we just added another child about two weeks ago, we’re adjusting to less sleep and…

  • Ask the Readers: How can we improve Get Rich Slowly? (146 comments)

    This article is by editor Linda Vergon. I think 2012 was the last time we “checked in” with readers to ask “How can we improve Get Rich Slowly?” Last week, we asked the Facebook readers what they thought, and we got some great comments. Jenny Fox wrote that “The personal stories are always good to read and you have excellent, thought-provoking articles, so carry on with that!” A few people would like to get rich…

  • Ask the Readers: How do you control your time? (14 comments)

    We’ve been discussing the value of time a lot lately. For me, it’s been an appropriate topic. Lately, my work-life balance has been out of control. There are a few reasons for this: I’ve been giving into time-sucks. I’m struggling to organize a few new writing gigs into my schedule. I don’t give myself any breathing room. The result of my poor time management? One, I’ve been working a lot at night. Long after my boyfriend…

  • Ask the Readers: What do you do if you can’t make ends meet? (Part 2) (72 comments)

    This article is by editor Linda Vergon. Part 1 is “What do you do if you can’t make ends meet? (Part 1) “ There are so many people desperately trying to make ends meet and failing at it – whether because of their own failures or because of terrible misfortune. And it’s hard. Still the problem remains that we must get through it, get past it so we, and everyone else in our lives, ultimately…

  • Ask the Readers: What do you do if you can’t make ends meet? (Part 1) (86 comments)

    This article is by editor Linda Vergon. Part 2 is What do you do if you can’t make ends meet? (Part 2) There are times when it doesn’t work. You lost your job or you can’t get a job. Your ex-wife takes you to court. Your partner absconds with the money in your business account. Your business fails. Your car dies. Your health takes an unexpected turn for the worse. Sometimes you’re actually just trying…

  • On a time crunch? Squeeze more out of your day (50 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle. When I (or others) want to improve our financial situations, most excuses involve time. I am too busy to take on another job. I don’t have time to start that business I’ve wanted to start for the last three years. I wish I could really get my financial ducks in a row, but I feel like I’m already using every spare minute of my days. While time budgeting and money budgeting…

  • Money lessons I’ve learned since writing for Get Rich Slowly (43 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. For the past year and I half, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed writing for Get Rich Slowly. That’s not to say it hasn’t been a challenge. Some weeks, I’m completely run down and don’t feel like thinking too hard about anything, much less personal finance. But I do my best to jumpstart my brain and produce something that I hope at least some of you will find useful. Writing…

  • Breaking bad…habits (39 comments)

    This Reader Story comes from Brian. Brian blogs at Debt Discipline, where he writes about his family’s personal experience with debt and paying off over $109k in debt. You can follow Brian on twitter @debtdiscipline. http://www.debtdiscipline.com/ 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…

  • Ask the Readers: If I could turn back time… (62 comments)

    This article is by staff writer April Dykman. First things first: I hope everyone read the title of this post and immediately heard Cher’s voice singing it. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here you go. Enjoy having that stuck in your head all day. Okay, now that we know what Cher would do if she could go back in time, let’s talk about other kinds of regrets. Money regrets. Most people have them, and if…

  • How I’m changing my relationship with money (27 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. As a teenager, I had a part-time job that was already mundane and dreadful enough, but then Kelly P. was hired. For whatever reason, Kelly and I were instantly repelled by each other. She thought I was too dorky to bear; I found her voice impossibly grating. She over-pronounced her esses. All it took was one shift. One evening, Kelly and I were stuck together. Alone. For…

  • Book Review: “Soldier of Finance” (13 comments)

    This post is by staff writer Honey Smith. There are many personal finance books 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 Money Book for the Young Fabulous and Broke” and “The Smartest Investment Book You’ll Ever Read.”…

  • Heal your money shame in 3 simple steps (22 comments)

    This guest post is from Kate Northrup. Kate is the author of the new book, Money: A Love Story. She’s leading a live online event called A Course in Having Enough with guest teachers Marianne Williamson, Barbara Stanny, and Amanda Steinberg. This course is free when you purchase Money: A Love Story. Get details at www.moneyalovestory.com. It’s no mystery that the road to wealth can come with some emotional turmoil. Anyone who tells you that…

  • 4 steps to finding financial improvement (33 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Lisa Aberle. The two worst years of my financial life were 2007 to 2009. Before 2007, our income was low, but our expenses were low, too. We didn’t save much, but we didn’t spend more than we earned, either. Then we saw our dream house. And we bought it while we still owned our first house. For two years, we had two mortgages. Suddenly, even though our income was…

  • You Are the Boss of You: How to Find Success with Life and Money (71 comments)

    Note: This article is from J.D. Roth, who founded Get Rich Slowly in 2006. It marks his return as a contributor to this site. J.D.’s non-financial writing can be found at More Than Money. “What do you think is the difference between successful people and unsuccessful people?” an interviewer asked me earlier this week. “Well, I don’t like to make generalizations,” I said, “but I’ve thought about this question a lot. While there are certainly…

  • Book review: ‘Change Your Life in 7 Days’ (13 comments)

    This post is by staff writer Honey Smith. There are many personal finance books 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. So for the foreseeable future, I will be reviewing one PF-related book per month. My first review was of “All Your…

  • Financial advice for my former self (80 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Holly Johnson. This year, our office welcomed a 24-year-old professional into our tight-knit group. Aside from making everyone else in the office feel really, really old, it’s been fun and exciting learning what the younger generation is into these days. Let’s face it — her life is much more exciting than mine. On weekend evenings when I can be found bathing my kids, making meal plans, and doing…

  • Friends and philosophies of personal finance (32 comments)

    This post is by staff writer Honey Smith. Recently one of my bridesmaids came to my city to attend a professional conference, and we were fortunate to be able to spend some time together as well. This is not a friend I had talked about money with before, despite having known her for over 15 years. It came up on this trip because she just quit her job in Boston to move to Atlanta with…

  • Building a life we value (57 comments)

    The reason why I think “earn more” is better than “spend less” is not simply because more money gives us more options to amass a positive net worth, or because I don’t like to spent my time transporting my garbage to somebody else’s trash dump. I think this way mainly because I cherish human work and creativity, and I see wealth as the accumulated expression of this work. This deep appreciation of human activity is…

  • Ask the Readers: What are your favorite personal finance blogs? (159 comments)

    Of course, you’re a loyal reader of Get Rich Slowly – and we certainly appreciate it! But what other blogs do you read, and why do you like them? Many readers have mentioned Mr. Money Mustache as a new fave. What do you like about his style? What have you learned from him? Then there are the long-time PF sites like WiseBread, Consumerist, Consumerism Commentary, Money Crashers, I Will Teach You to Be Rich, and…

  • My New Year’s resolution: lowering the bar for happiness (68 comments)

    A blog to which I contribute recently won a contest, and upon finding out, my boyfriend suggested that we celebrate. “Oh, no, it’s not a huge deal,” I told him. “It was just a small contest.” He responded, “But if you wouldn’t have won, you’d be upset, right?” “Yeah,” I admitted. “So why not be happy now?” My friends, I have set the bar for happiness way too high. I’ve made happiness an emotionally expensive…

  • Reader Stories: Breaking the boom-and-bust cycle (60 comments)

    This post is by Jezna. This story is part of our Reader Stories series. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks with all levels of financial maturity and income. Want submit your own reader story? Here’s how. I never would have thought how much growing up is done in your 20s. Like many, I went to college at 19, but…

  • The Power of Personal Tranformation: Change Your Self, Change the World (116 comments)

    Note: On July 8th, I gave the closing keynote at World Domination Summit 2012. After listening to Brené Brown talk about vulnerability, Susan Cain talk about introversion, Scott Harrison talk about building wells in Africa, and Chris Brogan talk about bravery — after listening to all of these professional speakers, I took the stage. I’m just an average guy. I shared what I’ve learned about how to change your life. This is the text of…

  • World Domination Summit 2012: Community, Adventure, Service (66 comments)

    Last June, I helped nine friends do something crazy. With the help of a few dozen volunteers, we staged a conference at the Portland Art Museum. We called this conference the World Domination Summit. After a year of planning and tons of work and worry, five hundred people came together and…well, the experience was truly awesome. This year, we repeated the experiment but on a larger scale. Last weekend, this same group of ten people…

  • Ask the Readers: How Much Do You Spend on Self Improvement? (160 comments)

    I’m a firm believer in personal development. Self-improvement is part of living a rich life. In fact, when I started this blog six years ago, the self-improvement category was one of the first I implemented. Over the years, I’ve published dozens of articles on the subject, including: Getting to now: How to beat the procrastination habit The power of yes: A simple way to get more out of life Luck is no accident: 10 ways…

  • The Power of Community (65 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 Meagan Van, a long-time GRS reader. Sitting on my computer is a Post-It Note that was supposed…

  • Professional Sports: A Waste of Time, Money, and Energy? (162 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. You know what I like to do on a beautiful fall day? Sit on a couch and watch other people exercise! Furthermore, I cheer for a bunch of people I’ll never meet, representing…

  • Just One Thing: A Simple Way to Make Changes to Your Life (46 comments)

    As part of my recent vow to do what I love, I’ve been spending a lot more time with friends. Lately, for example, my friend Castle and I have been meeting once per week to hike though Portland’s Forest Park. One bond that Castle and I share is a desire to improve our lives. Just as I’ve lost fifty pounds over the past couple of years, she’s in the middle of a weight-loss journey. But…

  • This I Believe: 43 Lessons from 43 Years (94 comments)

    Because I’m a nerdy kind of guy, I have some nerdy traditions. In the past, one of those nerdy traditions has been to celebrate my prime-number birthdays with a big party. When I turned 37, for instance, I hosted a poetry recital. Two years ago, we held a “bacon bash”, which was a lot of fun. This year, I was going to host a travel-themed party to celebrate my 43rd birthday. Certain major life events…

  • Time Sinks and Passion: More Thoughts on Time Management (46 comments)

    One advantage of bringing back the short afternoon posts here at Get Rich Slowly is it’ll give me a chance to carry on more of a dialogue with you, the readers. For instance, there was a good conversation over Friday’s post about how I’ve become a magician of time. One reader, Alex, is a college student, and he wants to know how to tell is something is a waste of time. He wrote: I was…

  • A Magician of Time (92 comments)

    It’s strange sometimes to see yourself through other people’s eyes. Others see things — both good and bad — that you don’t see in yourself. “I see you as outdoorsy,” a new friend told me the other day, which caught me off guard. I’ve never thought of myself that way. Or a few months ago, a friend told me, “Every time I see you, you’re doing something amazing.” Me? I love my life, but much…

  • Kickstart New Habits with a 30-Day Challenge (52 comments)

    This post is from staff writer April Dykman. I never make New Year’s resolutions. I’ve got nothing against them, but I’m usually already working on resolutions made throughout the previous year. I’m too impatient to wait for an arbitrary day to start changing something in my life. One example? Less-than-healthful holiday eating habits. I’m a health nut by nature — I crave kale, and soft drinks have zero appeal. But on December 25, you can…

  • Empower Your Willpower (23 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 my fundamental beliefs about money is that it mostly comes down to self-control: Making yourself do the right things and preventing yourself from doing the wrong things. I’ve discussed this before…

  • Finish What You Start (57 comments)

    This post is from staff writer April Dykman. Last week I realized something: I’ve been playing piano consistently for more than one year. That’s a feat considering that I’ve wanted to play for as far back as I can remember. I’ve started and stopped lessons countless times (since fourth grade), bought a few “10 steps to playing piano” type of books, and have had a piano in my house for more than eight years, yet…

  • How to Learn a Foreign Language Without Spending a Cent (88 comments)

    Last week at Far Away Places (my new travel blog), I shared some tips on how to learn Spanish fast. The short version: Hire a tutor. But what if you can’t afford a tutor? What if you don’t want to spend money but still want to learn a language? In this guest post from Benny Lewis, the Irish polyglot, he shares tips on how to learn a language on the cheap. For more info, visit…

  • Paying for What You Could Get Free (57 comments)

    This post is from staff writer April Dykman. Each month I pay about $400 to reach personal goals. These are goals that won’t make me money, and they certainly aren’t saving me money, but nonetheless, they are important to me. That’s a lot of money to spend on hobbies and recreation, especially considering that I could probably make headway on my goals on my own — for free. For example, there’s my yoga practice. I’ve…

  • Ask the Readers: When Is It Not Your Fault? (256 comments)

    In popular American mythology, the rich work hard for their wealth. They’ve earned it. They deserve it. While this is often true, everyone can cite instances of people who have money due to fate and circumstance, not because of hard work and perseverance. The same holds true for folks at the opposite end of the spectrum. Yes, there are plenty of people who are poor or in debt due to their own bad choices. But…

  • Ask the Readers: Financial Success Stories? (325 comments)

    It’s been a long, dark week for me. My mother is now safely ensconced in the “memory care” unit at a managed-care facility, but she’s confused and scared. The staff says this is normal, and that she’ll adjust with time. I hope so. I want to turn my attention to something more positive. Normally on Fridays, I share a reader question, but I haven’t had time to sort through to find a good one. Instead,…

  • World Domination and the Pursuit of Happiness (67 comments)

    My friend Chris Guillebeau never rests. Over the past few years, he’s written a best-selling book, visited every U.S. state and Canadian province (except Nunavut, but why quibble?), and traveled to more than 150 countries — all while maintaining a popular blog. Not one to rest on his laurels, last summer Guillebeau hatched a plan to bring a bunch of dreamers and writers and entrepreneurs and travelers to Portland for a convention. He wanted to…

  • Reader Story: Paying Attention and Taking Action (35 comments)

    This guest post from Jackie 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. Jackie writes about learning to love your financial life at MoneyCrush. Seven years ago I was divorced, unemployed, in debt with a negative net…

  • Spare Change: Miscellaneous Flotch Edition (11 comments)

    When I was in high school, my friend Sparky and I invented a new word: “flotch”. To us, flotch was just miscellaneous baggage, whether or physical or mental. In GRS parlance, it was Stuff. Ever since I started blogging in 1997, I’ve used the term “miscellaneous flotch” to refer to the odd links I collect in my daily reading, the stuff that doesn’t fit in anywhere else. At Get Rich Slowly, “miscellaneous flotch” takes the…

  • 42 Goals in 42 Months (118 comments)

    I’m not big on holidays. They seem fabricated — an excuse to sell stuff. Thanksgiving is a big exception. So too are birthdays. I think everyone should celebrate birthdays in a big way. For me this year, that means commandeering Get Rich Slowly to go a little off topic. I’m not writing about money today. I’m writing about personal goals and self-improvement. Success Junkie I’m obsessed with self-improvement. For good or ill, all my life…

  • 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…

  • The Power of Patience (57 comments)

    When I was young, I had no patience. I wanted everything, and I wanted it now. No wonder, then, that I found myself with over $20,000 in credit-card debt just a few years out of college. I was spending to obtain a lifestyle that I wouldn’t be able to afford until I was older. Much older. I’m not the only one with this problem. Many young adults graduate from college or leave home, and suddenly…

  • Book Review: Living the Savvy Life (30 comments)

    This post is from staff writer April Dykman. Last year I wrote about the stereotypes perpetuated by many personal finance books written for women, especially that women like to “shop till they drop.” As I mentioned in the article, a Consumer Expenditure Survey showed that women and men spend the same amount of money, just on different items. Women spend more on clothing and men spend more on restaurants, gadgets, and transportation. Also, a Stanford…

  • Ask the Readers: How Much Should You Spend on Self Improvement? (89 comments)

    Ah, it’s good to be home and finally getting back into something of a routine. As part of that routine, I’ve been reading hundreds of e-mails, including quite a few reader questions — like this one from Annie. Annie writes: I’m 25, and starting to take personal finance seriously. I’m in graduate school, and am very fortunate to have an educational trust that allows me to do this without loans. Knowing how lucky I am,…

  • Developing Systems That Work (75 comments)

    In my fantasy life, I’m an organized guy. In the real world, that’s just not the case. I do my best to stay on top of things — I make lists, use a calendar, ask Kris for help — but there always seems to be something slipping through the cracks. Before we left for Africa, for example, I hid my wallet. I always do this when we go on a long trip. (I don’t use…

  • Calling the Shots: How to Be the CEO of Your Own Life (31 comments)

    This is a guest post from Flexo, creator of Consumerism Commentary, one of the first independent blogs to focus on personal finance. During the 1990s, my financial life was like a Caribbean cruise ship during hurricane season: I was in a cabin at the center of the ship, unaware of the storms approaching from the horizon. By 2001, I’d wandered onto the deck in the midst of Hurricane Debt and Failure; I found myself in…

  • Reader Story: Mistakes and Milestones, and Lessons Learned Along the Way (30 comments)

    This guest post from Jen Bevel is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. In just a few short months, I will be — gasp! — thirty years old. Thirty always seems so old when you’re young,…

  • One Problem, One Correction: How to Set New Year’s Resolutions You’ll Actually Keep (54 comments)

    A new year is coming, and for many people that means it’s time to make a list of resolutions. I used to be one of these folks, carefully cataloging the faults I’d like to fix every winter. Not anymore. It’s not that I’m perfect — as my wife would attest, I’m far from it! — but I’ve learned that a long list of resolutions was a sure path to failure. There’s a reason you see…

  • All I Want for Christmas (34 comments)

    This has been the most Christmas-y Christmas season I can remember in a long time. Usually Kris and I downplay the holiday. I know that Christmas is important for many people, but there are other holidays (like Thanksgiving) that we value more. This year, however, we seem to have some of that old-time Christmas spirit, and I like it. What makes this year different? I’m not sure, but it may be because: We’ve been listening…

  • 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…

  • Does Your Spending Match Your Values? (37 comments)

    Last night, I joined a large group at Powell’s Books in Portland to see my friend Chris Guillebeau speak on the last stop of his 50-state book tour. Afterward, I got to chat with several GRS readers, including Dakota and Katy. I also talked with Tsilli Pines, whom I’ve mentioned here several times before. “You look great,” Tsilli said. “You’ve lost a lot of weight.” She and I talked about fitness, about Crossfit, and about…

  • In Praise of Work-Life Balance (47 comments)

    I went running with my friend Dan the other day. As we ran, we chatted. “You know, J.D.,” he said. “It seems like you have the perfect life.” I laughed. I think that Dan seems to have the perfect life — funny how the grass is often greener on the other side of the fence. “My life is good,” I said, “but it’s not perfect. Besides, I’ve had to work hard to get things where…

  • Productivity Hack: Using the Web to Minimize Internet Distractions (55 comments)

    This post is from staff writer April Dykman. There have been days when I’ve wasted an embarrassing amount of time mindlessly surfing the Internet. While I try to make that the exception rather than the rule, it’s a massive time suck that usually puts me behind on things I actually needed to do that day. Obviously the web makes life easier in many respects. We have virtually every type of media, every bit of information,…

  • What to Do When You’re Completely Unsure (26 comments)

    This is a guest post by Tyler Tervooren of Advanced Riskology, a blog with resources for extraordinary risk takers. You can follow him on Twitter @tylertervooren. Personal finance is full of confusing concepts, puzzling equations, and no lack of professionals with conflicting advice about what you ought to be doing and how you ought to go about doing it. With all that information swirling around in your head, and mixed with a general uncertainty about…

  • Reader Story: Even Better Than Enough (51 comments)

    This guest post from Louisa Rogers is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. I feel deeply fortunate. I have close-knit family, friends, health, beautiful surroundings, work I love, and financial security. In a word, I have…

  • Welcome to Generation App (51 comments)

    This is a guest post from Joseph D’Agnese who, with his wife Denise Kiernan, wrote The Money Book for Freelancers, Part-Timers, and the Self-Employed, which sets forth a personal finance system for people with not-so-regular jobs. You can follow them on Twitter: @The_Money_Book. Hey you! Yeah, you hunched over the smart phone. How about giving the opposable thumbs a rest and joining the real world? No, I’m not advocating renouncing your phone forever. (God knows,…

  • How to Use a Commitment Contract to Change Your Habits (45 comments)

    This is a guest post from Pop at Pop Economics, a great new blog about investing, personal finance, economics, and more. It’s now 9pm on August 30th. I’ll finish this guest post by 11:59pm on August 31. I know this, because if I don’t, I’ll lose $1,000. Call it an incentive. I’ve written about behavioral economics over at Pop Economics for three-quarters of a year now. There are an infinite number of subjects to cover,…

  • Action Not Words: The Difference Between Talkers and Doers (104 comments)

    It’s Sunday morning and I should be editing articles in advance of my upcoming vacation. Instead, I just got done playing another game of Starcraft II. Since the game was released on July 27th, I’ve played many games of Starcraft II. In fact, I’ve played at least 150 games of Starcraft II. (I know this because the game keeps track of your record. I played 50 training matches, and have since won 47 and lost…

  • How to Build Confidence and Overcome Fear (36 comments)

    “How to Build Confidence and Overcome Fear” is a rare GRS re-run; it originally appeared on 17 February 2009. I’m dealing with a family crisis, and haven’t had time to write. Things should be back to normal tomorrow. Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering. — Yoda Last week I did something that scared the hell out of me. I stood in…

  • Productivity Lagging? Take a Siesta (35 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer April Dykman. I’ve discovered that one of the biggest benefits to being a full-time freelancer can be one of its drawbacks: setting ones own schedule. Don’t get me wrong, it’s the reason I wanted to get into freelancing in the first place, but I keep wondering if I’m working enough. Am I getting enough done in a day? How often should I take a break, and for how…

  • Downshifting: The First Day of the Rest of My Life (76 comments)

    “This is it,” I told my wife last Monday. “This is what?” Kris asked. “This is the first day of the rest of my life,” I said. She knew what I meant. For the past few years, I’ve been living in a self-created whirlwind of busy-ness. I know a blog like this often seems calm and quiet on the surface, but underneath there’s usually a flurry of turbulent activity. “Look,” I said, showing her my…

  • Reader Story: Learning to Spend (47 comments)

    This guest post from Meg is part of the “reader stories” feature here at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general “how I did X” advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. Meg writes about sane wedding planning and brave married life at A Practical Wedding and Reclaiming Wife. Compared to…

  • Patience and Personal Finance (29 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer April Dykman. I used to describe myself as impatient as though it were a trait of which to be proud. While I still have a long way to go, I think back on that and have to smile and shake my head. Impatience is the quickest route to misery. I recently read an article by Eknath Easwaran, teacher, author, and founder of Blue Mountain Center of Meditation, called…

  • Social Capital: More Valuable Than Money? (63 comments)

    I’m back! After ten days boating through southeast Alaska (and two days of recovery), I’m ready to think about personal finance once again. Actually, it’ll probably come as no surprise that I never stopped thinking about personal finance. Even while we were skirting among ice floes, pulling up prawns, and admiring whales, my mind never strayed far from the topic of money. (I’m not saying this is a good thing, but it’s the truth.) It’d…

  • 8 Financial Deadly Sins (83 comments)

    I did a lot of stupid things with money when I was a younger. In fact, I still make mistakes. We all do. But some mistakes are worse than others. This morning’s USA Today features an article that highlights eight money missteps that can really hurt you financially. Author Kathryn Canavan highlights eight economic deadly sins: Raiding your retirement accounts. I get a lot of e-mail from readers who want to generate quick cash by…

  • Struggling with Time-Debt (51 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 recently found myself, late one night, staring at my computer screen with a sinking, hard feeling in my stomach and a bad taste in my mouth. A familiar bad taste. The taste of debt. But I wasn’t looking at my bank statement — I was looking at my calendar. I’d borrowed…

  • A Two-Step Approach to Breaking Bad Money Habits (20 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer April Dykman. Bad money habits, like other bad habits, can be tough to break. Relying on willpower alone to stop cold turkey makes us long even more for the Stuff or the behavior that we’ve forbidden ourselves. The focus becomes solely on what we can’t have, which sets us up for failure. We’ll lapse, feel guilty, and the cycle repeats. Think about people who lose 70 pounds on…

  • Book Review: The Other 8 Hours (75 comments)

    Before I started Get Rich Slowly, I was a slacker. I’d get up in the morning and drive to a job I hated where I gave almost no effort. When I came home in the evening, I’d fritter away my time: I watched TV, played Magic: The Gathering, and — most of all — whiled away the hours with World of Warcraft or other computer games. As I started my financial turnaround, I made a…

  • Made by Hand: In Praise of Amateurs (98 comments)

    Note: I’m afraid this post is long and rambling. So sue me. I’ve been meaning to write about this subject for a long time, and finally felt moved to do so. This article may be amateurish, but that’s kind of the point… My father was a serial entrepreneur — he was always starting businesses. But more than that, he was a serial inventor, a master of DIY, an amateur everything. When I was a boy,…

  • Resisting the Time Suck (93 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer April Dykman. I usually have an idea of what I want to accomplish once I get home from work. It goes something like this: Practice yoga. Get some writing done. Make a fabulous, healthy dinner. Work on my business. Read something thought-provoking. But I never seemed to accomplish all I set out to do. Sometimes I’d accomplish none of it. Other activities would get in the way, and my evening…

  • Back from Belize (23 comments)

    Greetings, friends. I am back from a relaxing week-long vacation in the jungles of Belize (with a one-day trip across the border to Guatemala to visit Mayan ruins — or the rebel base on Yavin IV, if you’re a Star Wars geek like me). I had a blast. I slept a lot, thought a lot about my future plans, and basically forgot about the world. As always, coming home was overwhelming. It’s a shock to…

  • A Little Bit of Blog Housekeeping (27 comments)

    At long last, I’m officially finished with Your Money: The Missing Manual. No more writing. No more editing. No more nothing. The book is in my publisher’s hands, and they’re sending it to press on the 26th. It’ll be in stores sometime in March, but you can pre-order it now. Now that I’ve completed this Herculean task, it’s time for a break. Though perhaps I should have saved my advance against royalties for something smart,…

  • Plan Your Gift-Giving to Save Time and Money (32 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer April Dykman. Last Christmas, I had some great gift ideas: They were heartfelt, they were personalized — and they couldn’t just be bought at a store. We’re talking custom-made ornaments, family calendars, and photo books filled with precious memories made that year. Unfortunately, Christmas snuck up on me, and I only pulled together two of the gifts in time for the holiday. This irked me because, one, they…

  • Great Lessons from Great Men (67 comments)

    Because I write a personal finance blog, I read a lot of books about money. I’ll be honest: they’re usually pretty boring. Sure, they can tell you how to invest in bonds or how to find the latest loophole in the tax code. But most of them lack a certain something: the human element. Recently I’ve begun to read a different kind of money book in my spare time. I’ve discovered the joy of classic…

  • Break Out of Your Comfort Zone to Achieve Success (44 comments)

    This is a guest post from Flexo of Consumerism Commentary. Flexo is embarking on a ten-day, ten-blog tour. Previously at Get Rich Slowly, he’s shared how to be CFO of your own life. Humans are wired to seek comfort, and as a result much of daily life is focused around familiar patterns and habits. When something threatens to break those habits, we feel uncomfortable and nervous. These negative feelings are easily avoided by continuing to…

  • Notes on Self-Study from a Killjoy Perfectionist (35 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer April Dykman. I have a friend who just doesn’t see himself. He has declared bankruptcy twice and alcohol abuse landed him in jail for the past year. Despite losing almost everything, when he was released he was talking about how much money it would cost to get his iPhone back in service. To make the situation more frustrating, he largely blames others for his circumstances. We all know someone…

  • 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….

  • You Can Negotiate Anything (45 comments)

    In May, I wrote about how to negotiate your salary. I argued that following the advice in Jack Chapman’s Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1,000 a Minute is one of the best ways to improve your financial well-being. I still believe it. If you’re looking for work or looking for a raise, you should absolutely read his book. But negotiation is a skill you can use in other parts of your life, too. In…

  • Is Frugality a Necessary Evil? (118 comments)

    In the comments on a recent post about peer pressure, I mentioned a quote that I’d edited from the original draft. (I write a lot of stuff that doesn’t make it into final articles. It’s as if there should be “bonus features” for GRS, like on DVDs.) Anyhow, I re-read John T. Reed’s Succeeding recently, and was struck by this passage, which does an excellent job of encapsulating my current philosophy on frugality. Reed writes:…

  • Knocking Out the Beliefs That Hold You Back (69 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer April Dykman. A college professor once told my journalism class that freelance writing is something you should do on the side. It’s not anything you could make a living at full-time.  I graduated and worked at an office job until I decided I wanted to become self-employed and do something that would give me more free time to write. A real job and a writer on the side,…

  • Happier (79 comments)

    “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” — Aristotle For a long time, I was unhappy. I used to think that this was because of my overwhelming debt. I believed that if I were debt-free, happiness would come to me. It didn’t. After I paid off my consumer debt, I was still unhappy. “Maybe it’s my job,” I thought. I’d always hated working for the…

  • Weekend Links: Rants and Raves Edition (15 comments)

    Kris and I are in the middle of a long weekend of food and friends. Every autumn is like this, and we love it. We’re starting earlier than normal this year, and I hope that’s a harbinger of things to come. (This has been one of my favorite summers, and I’d love to continue this “lucky” streak.) This morning, we’re both in the kitchen preparing food for various gatherings. I made my famous clam chowder…

  • Lighting a Fire: How to Overcome Procrastination (49 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer April Dykman. This article is particularly relevant to my own circumstances as I begin work on my book project. I’ve been procrastinating. A lot. In fact, I liked April’s piece so much I’ve delayed my own article that I had scheduled to run this morning. I like to say that I write well under pressure, and to a degree, it’s true. Nevertheless, most writers would agree that writing…

  • On the Road to Financial Independence (107 comments)

    It’s been a long time since I wrote about the general state of my financial affairs. A few readers have written to express concern that I’ve lost my way. I haven’t. If anything, I’m more devoted to this stuff than ever. But as I wrote earlier this year, I’ve entered a different stage of money management. During the first two stages of personal finance (debt elimination and establishing a foundation), things happened quickly. They did…

  • The Personal Finance Hour, Episode 17: What I Did On My Summer Vacation (2 comments)

    We’re back! After a six-week hiatus, The Personal Finance Hour returns Monday afternoon with an easy-going episode in which Jim and I discuss what we’ve been doing since you last heard from us. (Short answer: Jim’s been trekking across Europe; I’ve been walking and biking all over Portland.) We would love to have you call with questions and share your own experiences! What have you been doing lately to improve your financial position? Have you…

  • Discovering (and Challenging) Your Financial Values (48 comments)

    This is a guest post from Karawynn, who writes about personal finance at Pocketmint. Karawynn is a potential Staff Writer for Get Rich Slowly. In her first article, she visited the Island of Misfit Foods. Karawynn has been blogging since before “blogging” was a word. My parents taught me nothing about money management. My dad opened a checking account for me in high school and showed me how to use the checkbook register. Beyond that,…

  • Failing Forward: Transforming Mistakes into Success (22 comments)

    Sometimes the best personal finance books aren’t about personal finance. In June 2006, for example, I shared a brief review of Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art. Ostensibly this book is about creativity and overcoming procrastination, but I found its lessons valuable for pursuing my financial goals. Last year I read Mastery by George Leonard. On the surface, this book has nothing to do with money, yet it’s one of the best books about money…

  • The High Cost of Laziness (66 comments)

    Last month, Forbes published an article about all the ways your laziness is costing you. As a semi-reformed layabout (Kris would say I haven’t reformed at all!), I read the article with interest. I recognized some of my old money habits — and some I still have. Author Daniel Adler writes: These days countless businesses make hay by taking advantage of our collective indolence — everything from not bothering to spend 15 minutes surfing the…

  • Have More by Choosing Less (27 comments)

    As I search for simplicity in my life, I’ve realized that it’s not just about purging Stuff. Stuff is simply the physical representation of an overall pattern of clutter. In order to accomplish what I want to accomplish, I need to sort and purge the mental mess, too. Over at Unclutterer yesterday, Erin shared her guide to “having it all”. She explains how she’s able to lead a full life without getting bogged down by…

  • The Land of the Free (28 comments)

    It’s Independence Day in the United States, and that means time with family and friends. I don’t have any financial tips from the Founding Fathers today. Instead, I have three fine performances of the U.S. national anthem. First up, a traditional rendition from Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians. (This group is virtually forgotten today, though popular enough in their day. Have I mentioned I have vast collection of music from before 1950? Yet another hobby.)…

  • Further Research on Money and Happiness (53 comments)

    Recent research confirms what many GRS readers already know: money doesn’t buy happiness. At the University of Rochester, psychology professors Edward Deci and Richard Ryan and graduate student Christopher Niemic spent two years tracking recent college graduates to determine the effects of various “intrinsic” and “extrinsic” goals. According to the official press release: Aspirations were identified as either “intrinsic” or “extrinsic” by asking participants how much they valued having “deep, enduring relationships” and “helping others…

  • Where We’re Starting From (30 comments)

    Each of us has a unique relationship with money. Some have always used it wisely, have saved, have avoided debt. Others, like me, have struggled. I carried consumer debt for 20 years. I didn’t open my first savings account until I was 36 years old. But now, after just over four years of intense effort, I feel financially secure. I still make mistakes (boy, do I!), but my momentum is leading me in the direction…

  • Why Do You Want to Be Rich? (78 comments)

    I’m not the only one who has been thinking about the relationship between money and meaning lately. This is a guest post from CJ at WiseMoneyMatters.com, who is trying to live a rich life even as he works to pay down debt. “Wealth and riches are not synonymous. Wealth will get you riches, but riches will never make you wealthy.” – Dr. Edwin Louis Cole I love this quote from Dr. Edwin Louis Cole because…

  • How to Build Confidence and Destroy Fear (102 comments)

    Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering. — Yoda Last week I did something that scared the hell out of me. I stood in front of nearly 200 financial planners and I talked to them about why financial blogs are a good thing. I’m a confident writer. I’ve been doing this long enough that I know my strengths and my limitations. I’ve…

  • How to Make Your Own Luck (86 comments)

    The current issue of Newsweek (cover-dated 02 February 2009) has a fantastic article from Ben Sherwood entitled “What It Takes to Survive”. Ostensibly, this piece is about how people handle crises. Why do some people panic, some people lead — and most people stand around in a daze? This larger topic is fascinating, of course, but even more interesting is the article’s sub-theme: some people are lucky and some are not. But what we think…

  • Commitment Contracts and StickK.com (21 comments)

    It is not difficult to change for a day. But it can seem almost impossible to change for a year — or a week. Though 2009 is only eight days old, I suspect that many folks are already struggling with their New Year’s resolutions. This problem is the driving force behind StickK.com. StickK helps users to set — and stick to — “commitment contracts”. Here’s how it works: After signing up with stickK, you will…

  • Book Review: The Power of Less (31 comments)

    Today I am reviewing new books written by two colleagues: Trent from The Simple Dollar and Leo from Zen Habits. As you read these reviews, please remember that I am friends with both authors. Zen Habits is one of my favorite weblogs. For the past two years, Leo Babauta’s exploration of productivity and simple living has helped me make the most of my time. (Plus sometimes, like yesterday, he just hits it out of the…

  • How to Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick (77 comments)

    Yesterday a GRS reader named “P” pointed me to a New York Times article from Alex Williams, who writes that change isn’t easy. Williams notes that about 80% of those who make resolutions on New Year’s Day fall off the wagon by the middle of February. The article isn’t as depressing as that opening might lead you to believe. It offers glimpses of why people fail to keep resolutions — and offers tips for how…

  • One Year Later: Checking My Goals for 2008 (55 comments)

    Last year, I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions. Instead, I set goals. “I don’t like long lists of resolutions,” I wrote. “You need focus to achieve a goal. If you set too many goals, it’s difficult to keep them all in mind. When you lose sight of a goal, you begin to drift.” At the start of 2008 I shared three goals for the year: To save a $10,000 emergency fund. To lose 40…

  • Finding Time to Pursue Your Dreams: Free Up 750 Hours a Year with One Simple Change (91 comments)

    This is a guest post from Erica Douglass. Erica sold her successful business and “temporarily retired” at age 26. Having made over $1 million online, she is now sharing her business knowledge with over 10,000 people every month at erica.biz. There is one reason most of us don’t learn how to invest, start a business, or even can our own food — we just don’t have the time to do those projects. Between jobs that…

  • Warren Buffett’s Ten Secrets to Wealth and Life (46 comments)

    Warren Buffett is the richest man in the world, yet his reputation for frugality, folksy wisdom, and straight talk make him seem like just a regular guy, like he might be the billionaire next door. He’s one of my heroes. Several Buffett biographies have seen print over the years — The Making of an America Capitalist, The Good Guy of Wall Street, etc. — but at the end of September, author Alice Schroeder will publish…

  • The Myth of Multitasking: How Doing It All Gets Nothing Done (62 comments)

    Multitasking has killed my productivity. At this moment, on this computer, I have: Five open browser windows with a total of 59 open tabs (in Safari) 79 open text documents (in BBEdit) — I am not joking 14 open images (in Photoshop) 55 unread messages in my mailbox (and 48 additional unread Get Rich Slowly comments) Three open chat sessions Seven open word processing documents (in Microsoft Word) And ten other open applications That’s 227…

  • The Key to Getting Things Done (19 comments)

    This is a guest post from Philip Brewer of Wise Bread, a personal finance and frugality blog. Philip is one of my favorite personal finance writers. Today, however, he’s sharing about productivity. I spent many years working for various companies that, like most businesses, were more or less dysfunctional.  They were places where priorities constantly shifted, where every day brought a new emergency, and where managers and peers might show up at any time with…

  • Use Written Goals to Pursue Your Dreams (22 comments)

    This is a guest post from Jim, my friend and colleague at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity. A few months ago, my wife and some of her friends decided to start a book club. They recently held their second meeting, at which they discussed Randy Pausch’s The Last Lecture. My wife and I both attended Carnegie Mellon University, where Professor Pausch taught. He was very well known even before his Last Lecture, and so my wife…

  • Randy Pausch and The Last Lecture (32 comments)

    Last summer, Randy Pausch, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, learned that the pancreatic cancer he was fighting had metastasized, and that he only had months to live. A few weeks later, he delivered his “last lecture”, a talk meant to impart the wisdom he’d gained during his lifetime. Pausch’s presentation, entitled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” was a huge internet phenomenon, and was downloaded more than 10,000,000 times. Many Get Rich Slowly readers sent…

  • Network Your Way to Job Security (42 comments)

    This is a guest post from Brandt Smith, who writes for Wealth and Wisdom, a blog focused on helping you achieve wealth and life balance through entrepreneurship. I was stunned but not surprised when Don wouldn’t meet my eyes that morning. I had grown suspicious when he started passing me over earlier that week while handing out new projects. I was responsible for 40% of the workload in a three man group — why else…

  • Financial Success Stories for the Fourth (63 comments)

    Tomorrow is Independence Day in the United States, a time for friends and family to gather and enjoy the early summer. I’m taking a l-o-n-g weekend, and won’t return until Monday. If I’m lucky, I’ll get a chance to play in the sprinkler. In the meantime, I thought it would be fun to devote a thread to financial success stories. People send me e-mail all the time to say how they’ve taken control of their…

  • Talking With Friends About Money (47 comments)

    We had dinner last weekend with our friends Pierre and Marcela. The food was fabulous. The conversation was good, too. Much of the time, we talked about money. If I were a rich man “If we were rich, I wouldn’t change a thing in my life,” Marcela said. “Except the food. If we made ten times what we make now, I’d keep everything else the same, but I’d eat like this every night.” The rest…

  • Guarding Against the Invasion of Stuff (58 comments)

    Since August, I’ve been on a quest to reduce the clutter in my life. Back when I was a spendthrift, I bought a lot of Stuff. Stuff comforted me. When I was buying things (even on credit), I felt wealthy. Stuff doesn’t make me feel wealthy anymore — it makes me feel cramped. With time, Stuff simply becomes clutter. Slowly but surely, I’m banishing excess belongings from my household. I still sometimes buy more than…

  • Share a Dream, Win a Thousand Bucks (4 comments)

    My colleagues Mark and Tim at Soul Shelter are holding a contest. They’re giving away $2,000 in prizes to people who share real-life stories about balancing fortune and fulfillment. Here’s more information: All entries must be nonfiction and 400-1,500 words in length. Essays should tell a true story based on the author’s personal experience and relating to the Soul Shelter theme of “balancing fortune and fulfillment, or getting a living while having a life.” We’re…

  • A Rather Obvious Metaphor for Personal Finance Couched in a True Story About Physical Fitness (8 comments)

    This piece originally appeared at Andrea’s Consultant Journal in a slightly different format. Exercise is a funny thing. When you start a fitness regimen, you feel awful, especially if it’s been months (or years) since you’ve been physically active. The first couple of weeks can be grueling. But once you make it a habit, once you find the groove, exercise can become exhilarating, even addictive. During the summer of 1997, I lost 40 pounds. My…

  • RescueTime: Free Time-Management Software (28 comments)

    “How much time do you spend blogging?” people often ask me. “I don’t know,” I say. “A lot. Probably forty to sixty hours a week.” I’ve always wished I could provide a better answer to that question. Now I can. During his recent “fireside chat” with Google, Tim Ferriss mentioned a new application he’s been using called RescueTime. He didn’t elaborate, only mentioning it in an off-hand sort of way, but I was intrigued. It…

  • Daily Links: Spring Cleaning Edition (12 comments)

    I’ve written before about my haphazard blogging method. On this computer, for example, I currently have open eight different browser windows, each with 8-10 tabs. Each of these tabs contains some page I think is worth sharing with Get Rich Slowly readers — someday. The trouble is I never find the time to write about all these great resources. So, inevitably, many of them find their way here, to the daily links. For example, here’s…

  • Seven Traits of Successful People (45 comments)

    This is a guest post from Pinyo, author of Moolanomy, a personal finance blog about money, wealth, investing, and more. Ever wonder why some people can never do wrong? I have been observing successful people around me, and experimenting with different ideas. Here are the seven traits that I’ve found work well for me in many situations. I think they will make you richer and more successful in many ways. Successful people know what they…

  • Word2Word: Free Online Language Tools (7 comments)

    Browsing through a collection of old bookmarks recently, I stumbled upon Word2Word Language Resources. Word2Word is a collection of links to free language tools around the web: This site is dedicated to breaking down of language barriers and assisting the users who have the desire to learn a language, a need to communicate between languages, and for those who work with languages as a profession. Don’t let the interface fool you — there’s a lot…

  • Making Progress: An Update on My Goals for 2008 (31 comments)

    On New Year’s Day, I shared my three primary goals for 2008: To save a $10,000 emergency fund. To lose 40 pounds. To write a book about personal finance. Some readers thought setting only three goals for the entire year was “pretty weak”, but this has enabled me to remain focused, and to spend a little time every day working toward each objective. How am I doing? Let’s find out. Save a $10,000 emergency fund…

  • “Simplify, Simplify!” — In the Footsteps of Thoreau (19 comments)

    This is a guest post from Mark Cunningham, one of the co-authors of The Prosperous Peasant. Cunningham is a member of the Woodstock Writers Guild, the monthly writing group to which I belong. In my twentieth year I packed a large cardboard box with belongings and headed east by train to begin my artistic life in Massachusetts, 3,000 miles from California, where I’d been born and raised. I wanted to live near Walden Pond and…

  • Five Secrets of Self-Made Millionaires (42 comments)

    Several people forwarded a recent Reader’s Digest article about the secrets of self-made millionaires. It’s a quick and inspiring read. “Many modern millionaires live in middle-class neighborhoods, work full-time and shop in discount stores like the rest of us,” writes author Kristyn Kusek Lewis. “What motivates them isn’t material possessions but the choices that money can bring.” She goes on to describe five millionaires and the lessons that can be learned from them: Set your…

  • My Three Goals for 2008 (and How I’ll Tackle Them) (55 comments)

    On Monday I suggested that instead of resolutions, you should set goals for the new year — a subtle but important distinction. I also recommended that you keep your list of goals small and manageable. When you set too many goals, you can lose focus, and are more likely to miss your mark. This year, I have three primary goals: To save a $10,000 emergency fund. To lose 40 pounds. To write a book about…

  • The Benefits of Looking Ahead: Success Tips from 1950 (10 comments)

    Happy New Year! As we say “good-bye” to the old year and “hello” to the new, it’s a great chance to look ahead to our plans for the future. I believe that the road to success is paved with goals. Who are the people who are most likely to succeed? What’s the secret of their success? Let’s see if Nick Baxter can help us to find the answer in this short film from 1950: “To…

  • Clark’s Option Theory: Making the Most of Opportunity (12 comments)

    This guest post from Tim Clark is a response to an “Ask the Readers” segment from two weeks ago. Tim is one of the authors of The Prosperous Peasant. Two Get Rich Slowly readers recently asked whether education is always a good investment. Lisa and Jethro are pondering their futures and wondering whether they should borrow money in order to go back to school. Both Lisa and Jethro seem to be looking at the decision…

  • The Prosperous Peasant: Five Secrets of Fortune and Fulfillment (116 comments)

    One night each month, I meet at a local restaurant with a group of friends. We are the Woodstock Writers Guild. Mostly we eat, drink, and chat, but we also take turns sharing the stuff we’ve written: fantasy novels, horror stories, and even some literary fiction. Though most of us are only aspiring amateurs, we do have one real writer in the group. Mark has published two novels: The Green Age of Asher Witherow and…

  • Ask the Readers: Personal Finance Books as Gifts? (74 comments)

    I’ve deftly managed to avoid Christmas hype so far in 2007, but that ends this weekend. We’ll pick a tree on Saturday. On Sunday I’ll start my (virtual) shopping. My family exchanges $5 gifts, and it’s always fun trying to see how far I can stretch that five bucks. (Hint: summer garage sales can yield terrific deals.) This year I’m hunting for on-line bargains. GRS readers are beginning to buzz about the season, too. In…

  • The Pastoral Lifestyle: A Life Removed from Day-to-Day Concerns (21 comments)

    This is a guest post from Karl Staib. A few months ago, J.D. wrote an interesting review of Voluntary Simplicity, a book dedicated to living a stress-free life. What I found most interesting was not the review, but J.D.’s introduction: For years, one of my goals has been to achieve a “pastoral lifestyle”. This amuses my friends, but it’s true. By “pastoral lifestyle” I mean that I want to create for myself a life that…

  • The Hidden Costs of Stuff (59 comments)

    This is a guest post from Amanda, a Colorado tech writer and an activist for children with congenital heart disease. For a couple of years I’ve been learning the “tips and tricks” to saving money. I’ve read about freezing your credit cards, paying yourself first, the “latte factor,” etc., but the most important thing I’ve learned, I learned from myself: to change the way I live, I had to change the way I think.  …

  • Zen to Done: The SIMPLE Productivity System (27 comments)

    Deep in my heart I want to be organized. Somehow, though, what’s on the inside never manifests itself on the outside. My office is filled with stacks of personal finance books, money magazines, and scribbled notes. My e-mail box is packed with questions from GRS readers, guest posts, and correspondence from friends — sometimes I have time to read this stuff and reply to it, but mostly I don’t. For years, I’ve been searching for…

  • Better Use of Leisure Time: Self-Improvement Tips from 1950 (18 comments)

    I’ve written before about how profitable it can be to use your free time to engage in money-making hobbies. But even if your hobbies don’t earn you money directly, you can still use them to develop useful skills, skills that may help you earn more down the road. From 1950, here’s a short film describing the advantages of making better use of leisure time: Time. Leisure time. Did you ever stop to think how much…

  • Getting to Now: How to Beat the Procrastination Habit (82 comments)

    I am a procrastinator. I always have been. It’s a character flaw, and I admit it. I’ve tried all sorts of things to beat the habit — Getting Things Done, e-mail reminders, dozens of list systems — but the only thing that seems to work is to: Do it now. This is blindingly obvious, I know, but many people lose sight of this fundamental skill. It’s not that we don’t know that we should do…

  • How to Read a Personal Finance Book (20 comments)

    I read a lot of personal finance books. I do this because I learn best by reading, and because I like to review the available literature for readers of this site. When I recommend a book, it’s because I think there’s something valuable there, maybe not for everybody, but for most people. Books are only valuable, though, if you are willing to do your part. Be an active reader You, as the reader, must be…

  • Book Review: The 4-Hour Workweek (59 comments)

    When I picked up The 4-Hour Workweek, I was worried it was some sort of “get rich quick” book. The first few pages didn’t do much to change my mind. The author, Timothy Ferriss, makes a lot of bold claims, such as: “How do you create a hands-off business that generates $80,000 per month with no management? It’s all here.” But something happened during the first few chapters. When I read a book, I use…

  • The Tyranny of Stuff (103 comments)

    “Did you learn anything in England and Ireland?” a friend asked the other day. I brushed the question aside; I didn’t have a good answer. But I’ve been thinking about it. Maybe I did learn something: being gone for three weeks taught me that I have too much Stuff. I’ve always been a packrat. When I was a boy, I had a closet that my parents called my “rat’s nest”. I stashed anything I could…

  • What I’m Doing Right (140 comments)

    Today’s guest post comes from M, a blogger and writer living in San Francisco. She keeps a fascinating personal blog, as well as Bay Area Love Letters, a site devoted to San Francisco and Northern California. Decide how much to save in an emergency fund…Research how to determine amount of life insurance coverage needed…Brainstorm ways to save on health insurance costs…Increase 401K contributions to take advantage of company match… All these items and more are…

  • Why Religion is an Important Part of Personal Finance (211 comments)

    This is a guest-post from Free Money Finance. J.D. is on vacation in Europe. This guest-post has had some very passionate comments. I felt it appropriate to reference J.D’s thought on the matter included in this article “I’ve intentionally kept my political and religious leanings obscure at Get Rich Slowly — they have no bearing on personal finance.” However, FreeMoneyFinance disagrees and took time out from their very busy schedule to post a very lengthy…

  • Mining YouTube for Personal Finance Gold (14 comments)

    I waste a lot of time on YouTube, watching videos like old Whose Line Is It Anyway? skits (warning: time sink!) and Gnarls Barkley played on the theremin. But YouTube isn’t just a place to goof around. There’s a lot of useful stuff there, too, including videos on personal finance and self-improvement. I’ve already shared Michael Fischer’s series on Saving and Investing. I’ve recently begun to unearth other useful personal finance videos: Michelle, The Wall…

  • Developing Self-Reliance: Personal Empowerment Lessons from 1951 (12 comments)

    Recently I wrote how I’ve been able to live a more fulfilling life by saying “yes” to opportunities and experiences instead of being afraid of them. Another way to look at this is that I’ve developed self-reliance — I’ve learned to take responsibility for my own happiness instead of being passive, leaving my happiness in the hands of others. Here’s a short educational film from 1951 that explores the subject of self-reliance. “If you’re not…

  • Clutter’s Last Stand: The Cost of Buying Things You Will Not Use (59 comments)

    During the 1990s, I used credit cards to fund my every whim. I bought books and games and computers and gadgets. Now, ten years later, I’m still carrying a lot of that debt in the form of a home equity loan (into which I rolled all my credit cards several years ago). I also still have a lot of the crap I bought. I have a plan for getting rid of the debt by next…

  • Dumb Things I Sometimes Do (34 comments)

    I’ve made great progress with my personal finances over the past year. I am paying off debt. I established an emergency fund. I even opened a Roth IRA. But I’m not out of the woods yet — I still do stupid things from time-to-time. Spending for the sake of spending For example, I just returned from a trip to the bank. I deposited a couple of checks which caused my balance to increase to what,…

  • More on Goals and the Meaning of Life (13 comments)

    Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame) has an excellent personal blog in which he pontificates on life, the universe, and everything. GRS readers frequently send me Adams’ nine-step guide to personal finances. It’s good, and someday I’ll post it here. (I haven’t found the time yet.) Yesterday Adams wrote about his Happiness Formula: Happiness = Health + Money + Social Life + Meaning He noted that each component of the formula could be reduced further. For…

  • 101 Things in 1001 Days (31 comments)

    After writing that the road to wealth is paved with goals, I realized that my own list of goals looks a little ragged. Some of the goals are outdated. Many have been met. And I’ve developed new priorities for which new goals should be set. I recently discovered an old internet meme that involves setting goals: the “101 things in 1001 days” list. Participants make a list of 101 things they’d like to accomplish over…

  • Book Review: Acres of Diamonds (2 comments)

    One recurring theme of personal finance books is that it’s easier to accumulate wealth by working for yourself than by working for others. Many have heard this maxim, but few have heeded it. Some want to, but don’t know how to begin. A century ago, Russell Conwell was famous for his traveling lecture in which he encouraged listeners to find the “acres of diamonds” in their own backyards. Conwell was born in Massachusetts in 1843….

  • Golden Goals Interviews at Zen Habits (5 comments)

    Leo at Zen Habits is conducting a series of blogger interviews this week, learning “how they achieve their goals, their most important habits, their productivity systems and more.” I’m honored to have been included today. I felt my responses went well. A sample: What are the essential habits that you’ve formed to help you achieve your goals? Hard work! [...] I write nearly every day, often for several hours. I read constantly. I’m always absorbing…

  • Take Back Your Brain! (4 comments)

    I recently wrote about the insidious power of marketing, about how advertising is used to make you want, need, and buy Thneeds and Zizzer-Zoof Seeds, and all sorts of things you don’t really need. During the past week I’ve found a couple sites that actually advocate advertising. They advocate advertising to yourself! Over the weekend, Lifehacker pointed to an article describing how to make a motivational collage. Yesterday Rock Hymas shared his thoughts on advertising…

  • How to Win Friends and Influence People (23 comments)

    There’s a famous story of a young woman who dined with William Gladstone one evening, and with Benjamin Disraeli the next. (Gladstone and Disraeli were prominent British statesmen of the nineteenth century. They were bitter rivals.) Asked her impression of these two powerful men, the young woman replied, “When I left the dining room after sitting next to Mr. Gladstone, I thought he was the cleverest man in England. But after sitting next to Mr….

  • Procrastination Can Cost You Money! (26 comments)

    As I was driving home from work yesterday, I passed a police officer. When his car pulled onto the road behind me, I thought nothing of it: my vehicle is in good repair and I was obeying the traffic laws. In fact, when the police officer activated his flashing lights, I pulled to the side fully expecting him to whiz by me on the way to some emergency. He didn’t. He, too, pulled to the…

  • How a Wellness Coach Whipped Me Into Shape (41 comments)

    Three months ago I wrote about the high cost of being fat. I had spent $4500 over four years because of my weight. The problem wasn’t just costing me money — it had caused sleep apnea, a torn ACL, and mild depression, three conditions which eroded my quality of life. Then a reader issued a challenge. Lauren Muney wrote to provide her services as a wellness coach free for one month: “I’m offering this to…

  • Facing and Fighting Financial Trolls (18 comments)

    Money is more about mind than it is about math — that’s one of the fundamental precepts of this site. If you improve your self-esteem, if you improve your mental attitude, if you improve your knowledge, you will improve your finances. To this end, it’s important to avoid negative messages about money. It’s difficult to improve your mental attitude when you’re besieged by financial trolls. What are financial trolls? In a recent article, Steve Pavlina…

  • Ask the Readers: Advice for the Old and Wise? (31 comments)

    Most financial advice is meant for those starting out in life, or for those who have made mistakes and are looking to recover. But what if you’re already on top of things? The Saint recently wrote for advice: I read The Wealthy Barber years ago and was floored with the simple concepts and much-needed advise. I have read the Rich Dad, Poor Dad books, and listen to Dave Ramsey from time-to-time, but as with Dave…

  • Book Review: Quarterlife Crisis (13 comments)

    When I recently mentioned my interest in the book Quarterlife Crisis, GRS-reader Laura volunteered to review it. She didn’t find it as useful as she had hoped. I’ve just finished Quarterlife Crisis: The Unique Challenges of Life in Your Twenties by Alexandra Robbins and Abby Wilner.  Let me be clear: I am not the right audience for this book.  I am 33, married with a young child, and have been out of college and active…

  • Ask the Readers: Best Tools for Tracking Resolutions? (19 comments)

    Kathy W. writes: Do you know of any websites to help track progress on financial (and other) New Year’s Resolutions? These sites would be excellent for tracking goals in 2007: General Joe’s Goals is an east-to-use goal-tracking app. It lets you track positive and negative goals, and keeps a daily record of your progress. It’s free! 43 Things is a social-networking site where users can create lists of goals and dreams and share them with…

  • A Thanksgiving Poem (3 comments)

    There’s no question — Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. Here’s a poem for the day. I’ll be back on Monday. Desiderata (Max Ehrmann, 1927) Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they…

  • Be Thankful for Your Wealth (3 comments)

    Thanksgiving is a day to pause and reflect upon the blessings in your life. It’s a day to consider just how fortunate you are. Make no mistake — if you’re reading this, you’re among the world’s wealthy. Vintek wrote to pass along a site that makes this clear, saying: It’s a good time of year for all of us to think a little bit about how rich we all already are, and to put things…

  • Getting Things Done: How to Take Control of Life (48 comments)

    Taking control of your finances is easier when the rest of your life is in order. If your mind is swamped with worries about work, or home improvement projects, or obligations to friends and family, personal finance can become a low priority. You have other Stuff to worry about. David Allen’s Getting Things Done provides a system for tackling all of the Stuff in your life. I’ve avoided mentioning Getting Things Done before today. But…

  • An Expanded List of Personal-Development Sites (15 comments)

    In June I posted a list of excellent personal development sites. Today I have more to share. These sites offer real, practical information that you can use in your everyday life. They motivate you to be a better person. I find these sites inspirational, and I read them regularly. They’re not directly related to money, but the skills they impart will certainly help you in all aspects of your life, including personal finance. Of the…

  • Pep Talk: The Courage to Succeed (3 comments)

    I had planned to write a traditional review of 50 Success Classics, but instead I will share some wisdom from its pages. This is an excellent book. I recommend it highly. Personal finance is not its focus. It’s about success. (For a description of the book, read my first impressions from last week.) Success is the courage to live out your dreams. Living out your dreams is scary, dangerous because it’s not routine. We’re scared…

  • A List of Excellent Personal-Development Sites (43 comments)

    I recently polled Ask Metafilter for the best personal development sites: I want to compile a list of personal development and productivity sites. I’m looking for sites with real, practical information that you can use in your everyday life, sites that motivate you to be a better person, to try new things. Examples: 43 Folders, Steve Pavlina. Please point me to your favorites! The suggestions included: Lifehacker — The 300-pound grandmother of productivity blogs (and…

  • 50 Success Classics: Winning Wisdom for Work and Life (3 comments)

    I don’t often feel compelled to recommend a book before I’m even a quarter of the way through it, but for 50 Success Classics, I’ll make an exception. I’m an avid audiobook listener. I commute half-an-hour each way, which gives me five hours of “reading” time each week. In the past, I’ve stuck to classics and to nautical fiction (I’m a huge Patrick O’Brian fan), but recently I decided to check Audible‘s stock of self-development…

  • Use Your Hobbies to Bring You Wealth (22 comments)

    Yesterday I shared the most important money tip: to gain wealth, you must spend less than you earn. Get Rich Slowly has covered many ways to reduce the spending side of the equation. But how can a person increase the earning side? Consider an entrepreneurial endeavor. Start a small business based around one of your hobbies. It’s not difficult to earn a couple thousand dollars each year doing something you love in your free time….

  • The War of Art: How to Defeat Procrastination (0 comment)

    Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art isn’t just a book about defeating procrastination — it’s a book about defeating all the things that prevent us from fulfilling our dreams: procrastination, fear, rationalization, self-doubt. Pressfield calls these dream-killers Resistance. Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance. Have you ever brought home a treadmill and let it gather dust in the attic? Ever…

  • Action Girl’s Guide to Living (7 comments)

    Sarah Dyer‘s Action Girl isn’t a superhero in the traditional sense. She has her own comic book, sure, but her super power is the ability to help people take charge of their own lives. Dyer has a personal agenda, and she’s pleased to share it with the world. Here is an abridged version of Action Girl’s Guide to Living (follow the link for Dyer’s extended version):

  • Cheap and Effective Ways to Make Life Easier (7 comments)

    “What are some cheap and effective ways to make life easier?” asks a Metafilter user. I only buy one kind of socks. This means I don’t have to match them up when doing laundry, never stress about where the extra one in a pair went, and getting dressed is easier in the morning. I also switched to using plastic cups for nearly all beverages. Since most of the time I was running the dishwasher it…

  • Procrastination is the Enemy of Life (0 comment)

    Ramit at I Will Teach You to Be Rich has a fantastic post about the difference between: loving something, and loving the idea of something. It’s easy to read about personal finance (or any other area of self-improvement) and to say to yourself, “Yeah. That sounds nice. I really should drive less. I really should stop buying so much at Starbucks. I really should open an IRA.” It’s easy to say these things to yourself…

  • Six Steps to Learning Difficult Subjects Quickly (5 comments)

    Throughout our lives we encounter situations where we need to acquire new skills. Sometimes it’s nice to have a method for acquiring the basics quickly. Paul’s Tips has a technique for learning difficult subjects quickly. Here’s a strategy I’ve found useful for learning dry and difficult material quickly. At various times, I’ve used it to build up my knowledge of subjects like economics, investing, writing and computer programming languages. Some people have been surprised at…

  • Ten Steps to Greater Happiness (3 comments)

    Money can’t buy you love. It can’t buy you happiness either. Hedonistic Adjustment and Seattle Simplicity have linked to a wonderful paper outlining the road to happiness. This paper is from an investment strategy company, but guess what? They admit that money isn’t the answer. If you are after specific investment advice, stop reading now. We seek to explore one of Adam Smith’s obsessions: what it means to be happy. We also discuss why that’s…