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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…

  • 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…

  • 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,…

  • 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…

  • Our brains on scarcity: The trap of not having enough (Part I) (36 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. (This is a two-part series. Part II is “Our brains on scarcity: Breaking out of the trap.”) I recently discovered the book “Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much.” To be honest, I don’t even remember how I came to find out about the book. Maybe…

  • How to negotiate when you hate negotiating (19 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. In an ideal world, you wouldn’t need to go negotiate. In an ideal world, the weather would be perfect, there would be no war, and your employer would simply say, “Hey, your value to our company has increased. Here’s ten thousand dollars.” If only, right? When it comes…

  • Teaching life skills to your children (22 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle. While I’ve tackled many kid-centered topics, like how to save on kids’ clothes, should you buy your kid a car, or pay for your child’s college, you know what is really important to me? Helping them learn to be responsible and self-sufficient, so they don’t need me (except for moral…

  • A guide to managing your fear of money (23 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. My first year of high school, I was looking for an easy, goof-off elective — a class that would allow me to take a break in between Geometry and English, and maybe catch up on some magazines or take a quick nap. “Debate” sounded right up my…

  • Overwork and the illusion of a “high-paying” job (68 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. I recently read a short article in The New Yorker titled “The Cult of Overwork.” In it, James Surowiecki writes: “For decades, junior bankers and Wall Street firms had an unspoken pact: in exchange for reasonably high-paying jobs and a shot at obscene wealth, young analysts agreed…

  • The Second Annual Chautauqua on Wealth and Happiness (10 comments)

    Hey, everybody. J.D. here. Last September, I traveled to Ecuador to participate in a good old-fashioned chautauqua. Near Otavalo, I joined Mr. Money Mustache, Jim Collins, and Cheryl Reed to share what we knew about wealth and happiness. Twenty-two smart Canadians and Americans joined us for a week of workshops, one-on-one meetings, and excursions into…

  • Pick your hobbies strategically and save (73 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Honey Smith. For the most part, we think of hobbies as activities that we naturally gravitate toward. The idea of being strategic in our selection of hobbies may seem contradictory to their very nature! However, I think that being strategic in the selection and pursuit of hobbies isn’t mutually…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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,…

  • The high cost of saying ‘no’ (25 comments)

    This post is from staff writer April Dykman. Before I became a full-time freelancer, I worked in the communications department at a large non-profit. The organization hosted several events every year, from small local workshops to huge statewide conferences, and we always needed to fill some holes in the event schedule. This was never easy….

  • Should you ever work for free? (42 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Sarah Gilbert. I lose count of my “jobs” these days: my literary writing (that theoretically pays, or had better one day or else), a nonprofit board on which I serve as president, and the magazine I started last summer. While I certainly put the same intensity into everything, I can definitely say…

  • Reader Stories: How I built up the courage to quit a promising career with a six-figure salary (42 comments)

    This reader story is from a longtime GRS reader Sumitha, who blogs at afineparent.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 how. I…

  • 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…

  • 9 traits of underearners (75 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Kristin Wong. I just read Barbara Stanny’s “Secrets of Six-Figure Women.” I was happy to find that I share similar traits to the 150 women she interviewed. But there was a section that stood out to me, mostly because I didn’t expect it to stand out to me. We…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • The morality of personal finance (80 comments)

    I was running last Sunday night. I had waited too long to start my run, and it was dark. I’ve taken to using my iPhone to track my runs, because I’m very motivated by the additive nature of all my runs over time. (I’m over 900 miles!) But I don’t like to use the earbuds…

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

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

  • Take a deep breath: Letting go of financial stress (31 comments)

    I’ve been reading through some of my old posts and thinking about what I wanted for this, my very-end-of-the-year statement on money. And what I saw was a lot (a lot) of angst and worry and stress. It was appropriate, as I’d spent most of the day in a kind of crazy wound-up worked-up state,…

  • Getting rich slowly on my own terms (47 comments)

    Over the last six months, I have had several articles published at Get Rich Slowly. However, I have never had the pleasure of formally introducing myself. My name is Holly Johnson, and I am a 32 year-old wife and mother of two young children. I work alongside my husband at a small family owned mortuary…

  • More fun with life and death (29 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’ve always assumed that I’m screwed, longevity-wise. With a father and a grandfather who had heart attacks in their 60s and an uncle who had…

  • When you just can’t get the important stuff done (38 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. This post is not for those of you who have focused minds and…

  • Ask the Readers: Do Your Morals Cost You More? (163 comments)

    This is a guest post from personal finance writer Gwendolyn Pearce. I’m considering building a chicken coop. I’m thinking about this choice because paying over $5 for a dozen eggs seems ridiculous. Especially when compared to the carton of bleach-white generic eggs beside them for $1.04. But I take the $5 eggs every time because…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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,…

  • 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…

  • Want to Save Money? Slow Down (94 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. About a year ago I sprained my ankle pretty badly. It happened as I ran out of a burning orphanage, carrying half a dozen toddlers. Okay,…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • How to Know When to Quit (62 comments)

    This post is from staff writer April Dykman. Before I became a full-time freelancer, I worked for a couple of different companies. Both times I started a new job, it started out exciting and fun. Great benefits! Cool perks! Interesting work! After a year or two, it got harder to get up in the morning…

  • Overcoming Uncertainty (43 comments)

    I met an old friend for lunch the other day. Andrew and I have known each other since the first day of first grade — way back in 1975. “You know,” he said as we slurped down Asian noodles, “when I first reconnected with you fifteen years ago, you were pretty much the same guy…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • What Do You Care What Other People Think? (181 comments)

    Yesterday afternoon, I shared a biking vs. driving calculator that tries to show how much you could save if you gave up your car in favor of other forms of transportation. Whenever I post a story about biking more and driving less, some readers feel judged. They worry that those of us who drive less…

  • 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…

  • 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….

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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,…

  • 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…

  • The Importance of Salary Negotiation (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. I have a good friend who recently graduated from MIT with a PhD in something I can’t even pronounce, let alone do. Even in this rocky economy, he has competing job offers….

  • 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! —…

  • 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….

  • 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….

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • Downshifting: The First Day of the Rest of My Life (75 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • Spend Based on Who You Are, Not Who You Want to Be (110 comments)

    Last Thursday, on April Fool’s Day, I wrote about my obsession with gadgets and how much that’s cost me over the years. As always, your comments and stories were more entertaining (and instructive) than the post itself. In fact, a comment from chacha1 gave me a flash of insight. She wrote: The thing that’s a…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • The High Cost of Clutter (81 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. Last week, J.D. wrote about Stuff; today, Sierra shares her thoughts on the costs of clutter. Do you have piles of papers lurking on your desk? Mountains of laundry looming beside…

  • Book Review: The Happiness Project (47 comments)

    One of my core beliefs is this: It’s more important to be happy than it is to be rich. My personal experience bears this out (though I’m fortunate to be both), as do the anecdotes I receive from GRS readers. In fact, of all my fourteen philosophies, this one is most important. It’s so important…

  • Should You Really Be Reading This Post? (54 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. Let’s say it’s 8 p.m. on a weekday. Or 2 p.m. on a Saturday….

  • What We Know, Don’t Know, and Never Knew (49 comments)

    One of the toughest parts of writing Your Money: The Missing Manual (and writing Get Rich Slowly every day) has been the constant feeling that I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m an accidental personal finance “expert”. I have no formal training in this stuff; instead, I’ve just read tons of books, blogs, and magazines,…

  • Take Control of Your Finances by Building on What You Already Know (26 comments)

    This post is from new staff writer Sierra Black. Sierra has provided several great guest posts over the last few months, so I asked her to come aboard as a semi-regular staff writer. Good thing, too. I’m swamped with final book preparations, so my post for this morning wasn’t ready to go! Sierra writes about…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

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

    As an amazing 2009 fades into the sunset, it’s time to review my progress and look forward to the year to come. Am I a better person than I was a year ago? (I believe so.) How can I be even better at the end of this year? As in 2008 and 2009, I’m not…

  • Action Beats Inaction (50 comments)

    This article is the 13th of a 14-part series that explores the core tenets of Get Rich Slowly. Five years ago, I was a different man. I had no savings, retirement or otherwise. I was literally living paycheck-to-paycheck on $42,000 a year. (Meaning: I had between $0 and $20 every time I got paid.) I…

  • Failure is Okay (55 comments)

    This article is the 10th of a 14-part series that explores the core tenets of Get Rich Slowly. Yesterday, for the first time in my 40-1/2 years on this earth, I went ice skating. Initially, I was scared to try, but I eventually gave in to the taunts from my eight- and ten-year-old friends. I…

  • Don’t Just Thank…Act! (15 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Adam Baker. Baker has recently come to realize that there will always be an excuse not to give if you look for one. As the holiday season approaches each year, we’re reminded to reflect on those things we’re most thankful for. Some of these remain consistent from year to…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • What’s the Difference Between High-Income Earners and Low-Income Earners? (232 comments)

    In June, a user at Ask Metafilter wondered: What are the differences between someone who makes $100,000/year and someone who makes $30,000? As you might expect, this question generated a lot of discussion — all of it interesting. Many commenters noted that, from their experience, high-income earners generally exhibited several of the following traits: They…

  • 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…

  • 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….

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • Financial Serenity – The Missing Ingredient (24 comments)

    This is a guest post from Neal Frankle, a Certified Financial Planner and the blogger at The Wealth Pilgrim. Please stand up if you read Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek. Now sit down if you work less than 40 hours per week. Still standing? I thought so. Me too. Tim’s book is great, no question…

  • 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…

  • 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,…

  • Book Review: Overcoming Underearning (15 comments)

    This is a guest post from Jeremy M, who writes about experiencing a full life at Lucid Living. When I asked GRS readers recently which books they’d like to see revieweed here, Overcoming Underearning was near the top of the list. Jeremy volunteered to review it, so I sent him a copy! Barbara Stanny’s Overcoming…

  • 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…

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

    I spent last Tuesday at the mid-winter conference of the local financial planning association. I was there to give a one-hour presentation about financial blogs, but I had a secondary motive. I wanted to hear the keynote speaker, George Kinder. George Kinder takes a unique approach to financial planning. He moves beyond the numbers and…

  • 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,…

  • How to Replace Bad Financial Habits With Good Ones (51 comments)

    This is a guest post from Leo Babauta of Zen Habits. His first book, The Power of Less, was recently published by Hyperion. It was Aristotle who said, “We are what we repeatedly do … Excellence is therefore not an act but a habit.” If that’s true, it makes sense that if we’re having financial…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

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

    J.D. is on vacation. This is a guest post from Jeremy Martin. You’ve heard the phrase, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” I’ve often wondered about that — should we really settle for half the return just to have a sure thing right now? It could be argued, and convincingly,…

  • Book Review: Work the System (9 comments)

    J.D. is on vacation. This is a guest post from Winston, the Get Rich Slowly “intern”. Sam Carpenter has written an intriguing book about how his approach to owning and managing his telecommunications company in Central Oregon has changed dramatically to positively impact his life, both in immeasurable and measurable ways. Work The System: The…

  • 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,…

  • Museum Day 2008: Free Museum Admission This Saturday (14 comments)

    Looking for some frugal fun this weekend? Saturday is Museum Day in the United Sates — a chance to get into local museums for free. This event is presented by Smithsonian Magazine and a handful of sponsors. According to the magazine’s website: Enjoy free general admission for you and a guest to hundreds of museums…

  • 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…

  • Financial Success Comes from Within (36 comments)

    This is a guest post from Flexo at Consumerism Commentary, the granddaddy of personal finance blogs. Previously at GRS, he shared how to be the Chief Financial Officer of your own life. Success, financial or otherwise, comes from within. According to studies by psychologists and researchers, people with an internal locus of control are more…

  • The Psychology of Happiness: 13 Steps to a Better Life (104 comments)

    We think we know what will make us happy, but we don’t. Many of us believe that money will make us happy, but it won’t. Except for the very poor, money cannot buy happiness. Instead of dreaming of vast wealth, we should dream of close friends and healthy bodies and meaningful work. The psychology of…

  • 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…

  • Reader Success Story: How I Gave Myself a Raise (20 comments)

    Jon wrote yesterday to share a success story of personal finance principles in action. Here’s a slightly modified version of his e-mail. I’ve been a reading personal finance blogs for some time now, and one thing I’ve seen repeated over and over is: if you are looking for a raise, the easiest thing to do…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • Dangerous Norms: When a Treat Becomes a Routine Matter (54 comments)

    This is a guest post from Trent Hamm, who writes about frugality and fighting debt at The Simple Dollar. When I was young, going out to eat at a restaurant was a rare treat, something to anticipate and savor. About twice a year, we would go to an elegant buffet restaurant called Johnny’s Supper Club…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • The Nonconformists’ Guide to Personal Finance (84 comments)

    This is a guest post from Chris Guillebeau at The Art of Non-Conformity. It’s long. It’s good. If you can’t read it all now, bookmark it and come back later. It’s worth it. Earlier this week, Chris released a short (and free) e-book called A Brief Guide to World Domination. It’s all about rejecting mediocrity…

  • 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,…

  • 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…

  • Closing the Gap Between Dreams and Reality (32 comments)

    While sorting through reader e-mail yesterday morning, I began to detect a subtle recurring theme. People were writing because they had a goal in mind, but their present circumstances seemed to be far from their intended destination. These two points were so far apart, in fact, that my correspondents were afraid to begin moving. Because…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • Life After School: Advice for New Graduates (50 comments)

    On Tuesday evening I gave my first-ever presentation about personal finance. I spoke to a group of about 70 graduating seniors from Western Oregon University. My talk went okay. It wasn’t terrible, but it certainly wasn’t good. It’s a start. I learned a lot, and I’ll do better next time. I was the fourth and…

  • Some Thoughts on Goals and Adult Education (44 comments)

    Last night, Kris and I had dinner with Craig and Lisa. Craig is an architect. Lisa is a technical writer who has spent the past few years as a stay-at-home mother. (Lisa contributed two GRS guest posts last year: How to find great deals on eBay and Career advice for the college graduate.) Now that…

  • 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…

  • The Magic of Thinking Small (41 comments)

    There’s an old man who lives down the street. I don’t know his name, but every day I see him walking up and down the road with his cane. He moves slowly. He always wears the same thing: faded denim pants, a lightweight tan jacket, and a bright orange cap. For one hour every day…

  • Luck Is No Accident: 10 Ways to Get More out of Work and Life (44 comments)

    Some people are luckier than others. How many of you believe this? Why do you believe it? Are you one of the lucky ones? Or does luck seem to pass you by? And just what is luck, anyhow? According to John D. Krumboltz and Al S. Levin, there’s no such thing as luck. In fact,…

  • The Number One Impact on Your Investments is YOU (18 comments)

    This is a guest post from Kent Thune, The Financial Philosopher, who applies timeless wisdom and inspiration to investing, personal finance, and the economy. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” — Reinhold Niebuhr Recent volatility…

  • Uncommon Lifestyles and the Truth About the 4-Hour Workweek: An Interview with Tim Ferriss (41 comments)

    One of the fundamental premises of the Get Rich Slowly philosophy is that by making sacrifices and smart moves now, you can create a better life in the future. It’s a philosophy of deferred gratification. But what if you don’t want to wait to enjoy life’s rewards? What if you want to take advantage of…

  • 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,…

  • 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…

  • “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…

  • 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…

  • Some Final Thoughts on Work, Education, and Fulfillment (10 comments)

    I’ve been pleased with our discussion here over the past couple days. Many of you have contributed valuable insights about education and careers. I always tell people that Get Rich Slowly has the best readers — your thoughtful comments continue to impress me. Thank you. Other people have made fine additions to the conversation at…

  • 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,…

  • 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…

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

    With Christmas past, most of us have begun to focus on our plans for the coming year, making lists of resolutions to improve our lives. But Chuck Jaffe at MartketWatch suggests that this year you ditch the resolutions to focus on goals instead: Concrete goals don’t evaporate in the face of adversity, hardship or laziness….

  • The Architecture of Personal Finance: Choosing the Right Materials (14 comments)

    Nearly three years ago, in the original Get Rich Slowly post, I compared smart personal finance to building a house. This is the first part in a series that will explore that analogy. In his excellent Weinberg on Writing: The Fieldstone Method, Gerald Weinberg describes a simple metaphor for the writing process. Writers, he says,…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • Understanding the Seven Habits of Wealth (38 comments)

    This is a guest post from Dough Roller, a Washington D.C. blogger who writes about building wealth, one dollar at a time. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit. — Aristotle We tend to define our lives by the big events: graduation, marriage, children, a big promotion,…

  • 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…

  • Museum Day: Get Free Museum Admission This Saturday! (2 comments)

    Jonathan from Deal Locker wrote to tell me that this Saturday is Museum Day in the U.S. — a chance to get into local museums for free. This event has been put together by Smithsonian Magazine and Hyundai. According to the magazine’s web site: Museum Day is a nationwide event taking place on Saturday, September…

  • 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…

  • Classic Cat – The Free Classical Music Directory (6 comments)

    When I was a boy, my father liked two types of music: Neil Diamond and classical. Unsurprisingly, as an adult I’ve come to love both. Classical music can be expensive, though, especially if you don’t know what you like. During the 1990s, I spent a small fortune acquiring a library of Beethoven, Bach, and Brahms….

  • Live Simple: A Free eBook About Simplifying Your Life (30 comments)

    Earlier today I reviewed Duane Elgin’s Voluntary Simplicity. I was not impressed. I had hoped it would provide more actionable suggestions and less philosophy. Fortunately, I’ve found the sort of book I wanted, and it’s available for free on the web. John December has published a hypertext ebook entitled Live Simple: Radical Tactics to Reduce…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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 Power of Yes: A Simple Way to Get More Out of Life (130 comments)

    For much of my adult life I’ve been shackled by fear. I’ve been afraid to try new things, afraid to meet new people, afraid of doing anything that might lead to failure. This fear confined me to a narrow comfort zone. Recently, however, I made a single small change that has helped me to overcome…

  • 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…

  • Commandment #4: Be Frugal (20 comments)

    Last night while cleaning the house, I found some old papers. Among the many memories, I found a document entitled “J.D.’s Ten Commandments”. I can’t tell exactly when I wrote this, but I’d guess it was back in 1992 or 1993, just after I’d graduated from college. My ten commandments were: Be physically fit. Be…

  • There is No Secret: The Myth of the Law of Attraction (340 comments)

    This review was written several weeks ago, but I shelved it for fear of making anyone cranky. Things have changed. The Law of Attraction cultists are out in force, and they’re gunking up my site with comment spam. Now I’m having my say — I’m fighting back. The Secret is a best-selling motivational book (and…

  • Introducing: Fiscal Fitness Journals (1 comment)

    Several years ago I discovered John Stone Fitness, a site that documented the life of a man whose body looked like this: as he undertook a journey to make his body look like something else entirely: Stone had a problem, and knew it. He educated himself, discovered a solution, and applied himself to achieving his…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • The Road to Wealth is Paved with Goals (39 comments)

    Ramit Sethi, author of I Will Teach You to Be Rich, recently shared his thoughts on a New York Times profile of Russ Whitney, a real estate mogul who charges thousands of dollars to learn the secrets of his success. (Whitney helped inspire Casey Serin’s foreclosure odyssey. John T. Reed has extensive information on Whitney,…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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,…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • Throw Away your TV and Save a Bundle! (49 comments)

    Guest-writer Paul Gonzalez believes that giving up television can save you big bucks. Paul and his wife run One Year Exit Plan, which provides coaching and personal project management services to people seeking long-lasting change. Going “NO-TV” can save you money. In our “Your Relationship with Money” workshops, we advocate living without television. There are…

  • Secrets of the Millionaire Mind (72 comments)

    Initially, T. Harv Eker’s Secrets of the Millionaire Mind: Mastering the Inner Game of Wealth seems cast from the same mold as Loral Langemeier’s The Millionaire Maker (my review): full of vague promises, unsupported claims, and thinly-veiled sales pitches for products and seminars. It’s true that Eker is guilty of some of these faults. But…

  • Free Foreign Language Courses (15 comments)

    Dumb Little Man points to a source of free foreign language courses online: FSI Language Courses [is] the home for language courses developed by the Foreign Service Institute. These courses were developed by the United States government and are in the public domain. This site is dedicated to making these language courses freely available in…

  • 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…

  • The High Cost of Being Fat (53 comments)

    I am fat. I am fat, but I am not obese. I do not pause to catch my breath when climbing stairs. I do not avoid hikes or sports for fear of failure. But — no mistake — I am fat. I am far above my normal weight. I carry 205 pounds on a frame…

  • 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,…

  • DIY: Buying It vs. Making It Yourself (14 comments)

    An AskMetafilter user wonders: What things are worth the time and cost of doing or making myself? For example, tomatoes from the store are miles below the ones I grow in my garden. Fresh-baked bread is amazing. But knitting socks or a sweater seems hardly worth it, despite the fact that I can customize it,…

  • DailyLit: Books Delivered to Your Inbox (15 comments)

    There are few perfect sites on the internet. DailyLit is one of them. If you are like us, you spend hours each day reading email but don’t find the time to read books. DailyLit brings books right into your inbox in convenient small messages that take less than 5 minutes to read. This works incredibly…

  • A College Education for $10 a Course (17 comments)

    Here’s a tip for getting a variety of college-level courses for cheap. Dirt cheap. This may be the best tip I have ever shared. I encourage you to read the entire entry. The Teaching Company The Teaching Company produces college-level courses from renowned instructors and sells them via catalog. We bring engaging professors into your…

  • 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…

  • 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,…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • What Do You Want to Do With Your Life? (3 comments)

    Here’s a piece of inspiration from the mind of Greg Knauss. It reminds me of Action Girl’s Guide to Living: What do I want to do with my life? That’s easy — or, rather, it’s easy to answer. I want to create something, build something, make something, with my hands and my brain and whatever…

  • Spend Less and Live More with a Volunteer Vacation (7 comments)

    At Yahoo!Finance, David Bach (author of Start Late, Finish Rich) offers four tips for vacations that give more. According to nonprofit consumer education organization the Myvesta Foundation, the average American planned to spend $2,249 on his or her summer vacation last year. Taking the average family of four to the archetypical American vacation spot —…

  • 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…

  • Live Simple – Tactics to Improve Your Life (0 comment)

    Are you facing the need or desire to simplify your life? You might be newly laid off, retired, or a student, homemaker, or entrepreneur who has to make do with less. This ebook can help you restructure your life.— from Live Simple John December took a year off from life to write a book that…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • Spare Change #4 (1 comment)

    I’ve gathered several good stories during the past week, not all of which are related to personal finance. I don’t have time to write about them all — I’m suffering from an embarrassment of riches thanks to reader-submitted ideas (keep them coming) — but these are each worth reading for one reason or other: In…

  • Workshops and Craft Rooms (0 comment)

    Phil at the Make Blog is hosting an informal best workshop contest. There’s a Flickr pool for submitting workshop photos. Natalie, Make’s “crafts maker”, also found a set of craft room photos. These pictures are fun to browse — it’s great to see what other people build and create. Frugal folks love to make things….

  • Life After Graduation (7 comments)

    David Bach, author of The Automatic Millionaire, has some tips for a great life after graduation. Choose your life — “You don’t get what you wish for in life, you get what you go for.” Make things happen. Choose your life — don’t let it happen to you. Be responsive. Follow your plan — “Don’t…

  • 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…

  • The Secret of My Success (5 comments)

    I found a piece last week that addresses an important facet of personal relationships. Michael Hyatt is often asked, “What’s the secret of your success?” His answer: “Responsiveness.” So many people I meet are unresponsive. They don’t return their phone calls promptly. They don’t answer their emails quickly. They don’t complete their assignments on time….

  • 21st Century Decluttering (3 comments)

    Creatrope, a site about “21st Century Decluttering”, is a new weblog perfect for packrats. It’s full of suggestions for purging all that junk you’re keeping in your life. I am this site’s target audience. There are entries on: Decluttering your library Books and resources about decluttering Collectibles that never are Valuing items for sale, donation,…

  • 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…