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Savings


  • Tandas: Informal Loan Clubs Where Trust Meets Need (5 comments)

    As savers go, I’m somewhere between decent and so-so…or at least that’s what I thought until I saw a 22-year-old neighborhood kid who used to work with me saving $800 a month with his earnings, plus furnishing his own rental apartment (in New York!) and buying a piece of land in Mexico. Our other neighbor has three kids and she earns a pretty humble salary taking care of babies and cleaning houses—yet she too saves…

  • The Complete Guide to Building an Emergency Fund (58 comments)

    Life is full of little bumps … like how our furnace went out at the onset of last season’s most severe cold snap. It’s bad enough that an emergency like that seems to happen at the most inopportune time, but what’s worse is the $6,000 bill that accompanies it. Where do you get $6,000 quickly when you need it? If you’ve set money aside for a rainy day — an emergency fund — you’ll be…

  • How to use a balance transfer card for holiday debt (28 comments)

    Have you received your credit card bill for December yet? If so, you’re not the only one. As this Federal Reserve Board chart shows, Americans accumulate about $30 billion in credit card debt in the last quarter every year – and then attempt to pay it off in the first quarter of the New Year. The problem is they rarely succeed at paying off the entire balance. By the end of the first quarter every…

  • 29 Ways to Build your Emergency Fund out of Thin Air (51 comments)

    Building an emergency fund is an essential part of financial security. One constant is that you will face unexpected expenses throughout your adult life and many Americans are unprepared to face them. According to a 2015 study by The Pew Charitable Trusts, 60% of Americans experienced a “financial shock” in the past 12 months and the average cost was $2,000. If you don’t have at least that amount in an easy-to-access emergency fund, you could…

  • Taking control of your mortgage debt (18 comments)
    This article is by GRS contributor Richard Barrington.

    I remember my first mortgage. Getting it seemed like a bureaucratic hurdle on the way toward buying a home, and I couldn’t wait to get the paperwork done and out of the way. By the time we bought our second house, I was 10 years older and wiser. I played a much more active role in choosing a mortgage and negotiating terms that time, and saved us…

  • Save money on your bike commute (36 comments)
    This article is by editor Linda Vergon.

    This year, my husband decided to commute to work again – on his bicycle. He’s not alone. The number of people commuting by bike has increased every year since 2009, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Back then, it was just over 687,000 Americans that biked to work. By 2014, the figure had climbed to more than 832,000. What’s surprising is that the number of active commuters…

  • How To Save Money Each Month (16 comments)

    Is this the year to focus on saving more? If you’ve been disappointed when you’ve checked out your savings account balance, let’s change that this year by figuring out how to save money each month. How much should I be saving? Actually, advice on the topic of how much you should be saving differs based on who’s giving the advice. At a minimum, most people recommend saving 10 percent of your income. Dave Ramsey recommends saving…

  • 7 ways financial goals are like dieting (5 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Richard Barrington.

    Dieting is not a popular topic around the holiday season; but perhaps with caloric temptations everywhere you turn, this is the best time to be thinking about it. Similarly, the holidays are a time of year when people tend to let themselves go financially, so a reminder about financial discipline might also be timely. After all, working toward financial goals is like dieting. I recently wrote…

  • How to Live Comfortably in Retirement (18 comments)

    Retirement lifestyles depend on your financial success — but financial success is part reality and part perception. In fact, if you moderate what you perceive as financial success, you could improve the financial reality of your future. It’s particularly important to consider this as you approach retirement, but this dynamic actually starts well before you’re ready to retire. It has to do with what kind of lifestyle you think you need. People tend to raise…

  • 5 things banks do for you that’s really important (9 comments)
    This article is by staff writer William Cowie.

    [This is Part II of a two-part series on how banks affect our everyday lives. Part I was Money matters: How money works.] “The bank” has been a standard villain in the movies since the earliest days. In fact, it wouldn’t be the holidays without Jimmy Stewart reminding us how wonderful life could be without Mr. Potter, the banker villain. But where would we be without…

  • Maneuver toward retirement: What to do in your 30s (25 comments)
    This article is by staff writer William Cowie.

    For most people in their 30s, life can feel like a breathless uphill run on a downward escalator. Everything seems to expand: families, homes, social circles, career responsibilities, and income. Managing it all requires more of your immediate attention, so it’s not surprising that retirement planning tends to fall lower on the list of high priorities. For many, just making it through the day is all…

  • Maintaining liquidity as you reduce debt — how a savings account helps (19 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle.

    Are you ready to start killing your debt? Whether you make the minimum payment or you’re ready to accelerate your debt repayment like a mad man/mad woman, you need a strategy to make that happen. Why you need a debt-repayment strategy While you have to make the minimum payment on your debt each month, what happens if you want to accelerate your payments? If your budget…

  • Master this personal finance concept (45 comments)

    Nothing worth doing in life is easy. I grew up with my dad preaching that to me, and I know I’m better person for it. Although I don’t always make the right decisions when it comes to my money, I am definitely doing better now that I understand the importance of sticking to my budget and building personal savings. People in my generation, millennials, are generalized to be lazy, entitled, and spendthrifts; and while I…

  • What is the most difficult part of running your own business? (13 comments)
    This article is by editor Linda Vergon.

    If you have the opportunity to go into business for yourself, I would recommend you do it. It’s an experience marked by creativity, ingenuity, and extreme growth. It is one of the most challenging, exciting, rewarding, creative, and scary things you can do in life. At least that was my experience. If you’ve never started your own company, your perspective might be colored by some of the romantic…

  • Overcoming the fear of investing (28 comments)
    This article is by staff writer William Cowie.

    Investing is the most important element of our financial future — but sometimes it takes a while before we really get it, so to speak. Fortunately, I think it’s fair to say most of the readers here at Get Rich Slowly get it. But I’m willing to bet that there are still a few who might get the concept but have yet to put it into…

  • Strategies for an affordable college education (53 comments)

    As you gaze at your newborn or newly adopted son or daughter, one of these thoughts may run through your head: “Will I be able to afford to put you through school?” “Am I required to put you through school?“ “Right now it’s all I can do to pay for Pampers and child care. I’ll worry about college later.” Time has a way of sneaking up on us. Seemingly overnight, that gurgling infant morphs into…

  • 5 ways to pay yourself first (16 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Honey Smith.

    Recently, we discussed the benefits of paying yourself first. But exactly how do you go about doing that (especially if you feel like you’re living paycheck to paycheck already)? If you are just starting to manage your money or you simply struggle when it comes to budgeting in the first place, paying yourself first may seem like one of those personal finance concepts that sounds good…

  • Retire at 40: A 24-year-old in pursuit of financial freedom (13 comments)
    This article is by staff writer William Cowie.

    The way Thomas Frank looks at it, everything in his young life has been leading him to get better at controlling his finances. In high school, he saw a cool video game he wanted to buy — no, had to have. It took him three weeks to earn the $350, but he actually spent it buying cool clothes and hanging out with friends instead. His key…

  • How Social Security can help you catch up on retirement savings (36 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Honey Smith.

    I was chatting with my dad on Father’s Day (he prefers phone calls to Father’s Day gifts), and everything seemed ordinary at first. He asked how Jake and I were enjoying our house and whether I still liked my new job. However, I was in for a surprise. When I asked him how his work was going, he said, “Oh, I retired a couple of weeks…

  • Revisiting the credit union vs. bank debate: Which is better? (24 comments)
    This article is by editor Linda Vergon.

    Judging from the comments in Kristin Wong’s article “Credit unions vs. banks: Things to consider“ back in January 2014, there was a lot of interest – and a fair amount of skepticism – in what credit unions have to offer. The sentiments went in a lot of different directions. People were quick to point out that interest rates on deposits at credit unions were usually much higher…

  • The best (and worst) states for saving money and getting ahead 2015 (29 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Megan Wells.

    Looking to save versus spend? Eager to sock money away not just for a rainy day but potentially for stormy months, even years, ahead? Consider heading to the Heartland. The Midwest is home to some of the very best places to save money and get ahead in the U.S., according to a new analysis by Get Rich Slowly. To find out which parts of the U.S….

  • Limited income, big family, major savings: Meet the Economides clan (15 comments)

    When Steve and Annette Economides got married in 1982, they made a conscious decision to always live below their means. The couple from Scottsdale, Arizona, even made the pact a part of their wedding vows. Then the car broke down. This is usually the part in the story where taking on a little bit of debt seems perfectly OK to do. After all, Americans collectively owe nearly $12 trillion in outstanding household debt. Sometimes other…

  • The good side of quitting (24 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Richard Barrington.

    Does quitting have a bad rap? When it comes to the job market, quitting is happening more these days than at any time in the past several years. We tend to associate quitting with giving up or giving in, so you may be surprised to learn that economists are very happy when people quit. This might be a good time to consider why economists like it…

  • Real-life case study: Should I save money or pay off debt? (36 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Honey Smith.

    An issue was raised in the comments of my recent post, Celebrating One Year of Homeownership. In that post, I mentioned that we currently have over $30,000 in liquid savings. At least one reader felt that, with our level of debt (currently over $390,000), that this was an excessive amount and instead we should pay down some of our debt. So I thought that this was…

  • How to invest even if you’re treading water financially (27 comments)
    This article is by staff writer William Cowie.

    A 20-something acquaintance of ours recently received an inheritance of a few tens of thousands of dollars from an aunt unexpectedly. Naturally, all of us were very happy for her, and it wasn’t long before I asked what for me was the obvious question: “So, are you going to invest the money?” She looked at me as if I wanted her to bet on the frog…

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

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

  • Ask the Readers: Will higher interest rates make you save more money? (17 comments)
    This article is by editor Linda Vergon.

    Interest rates are expected to rise later in 2015. What will you do with this information? You could make the case that you haven’t missed much if you didn’t keep your money in a savings account over the last few years. But still, we all need liquid funds to one degree or another – and the sooner the interest rate goes up on those balances, the better….

  • How much to save for maternity leave (45 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Holly Johnson.

    The United States policy on maternity leave can be a touchy subject among families, and especially women. Unlike all other wealthy countries, many of which mandate weeks and months of paid leave for natural and adoptive mothers and fathers, the U.S. mandates no such thing. In fact, the last movement toward maternity fairness in the U.S., the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), included…

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

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

  • Ask the Readers: Have you ever opened a retirement account to reduce your taxes? (40 comments)
    This article is by editor Linda Vergon.

    As we finished up our tax return this year, it turned out that we owed. Great. We don’t have to scrape the money together. We had planned for the extra liability when an unexpected consulting gig came together for my husband at the end of 2014. But nonetheless, it stings when you have to write a check to the Internal Revenue Service. (And besides, you just want…

  • How to Ladder CDs (24 comments)

    How to build a CD ladder? It’s a great question — unless you have no idea what a CD “ladder” even is. Let’s start at the beginning. A CD ladder is a method of staggering the maturity dates of certificates of deposits so you can invest your money safely and still keep some of it easily available for emergencies. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insures certificates of deposit (or time deposits) just like they…

  • 10 Money Mistakes to Avoid in Your 20s (77 comments)

    Your 20s are filled with milestones and life-changing experiences. It’s a time when the things you learn start to become habits and when financial decisions can either lead you to great success or become a problem for you in the future. It would be great to have perfect foresight so that you knew the best decision to make in every situation – but in the absence of perfect knowledge, even knowing what not to do…

  • Calculating your emergency fund: providing for opportunities and a higher cost of living (49 comments)

    After a brief stint in the automotive industry in Detroit, Ryan Takach moved to Chicago to work for a major financial institution. The antics of traders on the trading floor stoked his curiosity for the markets, and an ex-pat assignment in London provided additional exposure to the global financial system. These experiences encouraged his investing and provided the financial foundation to manage the money challenges of a 30-something. He currently lives in San Francisco enjoying…

  • Ask the Readers: How do you teach your children about net worth? (20 comments)
    This article is by editor Linda Vergon.

    Back in 2008, Holly P left a comment on J.D. Roth’s article about teaching kids to invest saying: “I’d love to know how your sibling got your nephew to think about actually saving. Despite repeated efforts to get them to save, my kids want to spend every cent as soon as it hits their palms.” It’s a common problem for parents. They see the need to teach…

  • Hidden advantages of savings accounts (47 comments)
    Savings accounts? Are you crazy? Boo, hiss. These days, savings accounts are only used as joke fodder for late-night comedians, but there are benefits of a savings account. Take the mom who wants to teach her kids the value of prudent financial management, for example:

    For little Bobby’s eighth birthday, his mother takes him down to the local credit union to open a savings account. Figuring that all the grownups in his life would pour…

  • Wedding savings accounts: How I saved for my wedding (44 comments)
    This article is by contributor Holly Johnson.

    When my husband proposed to me on July 10th, 2005, I was ecstatic. In fact, I’m pretty sure I screeched “Yeeeeeeeeessssssssssssssssssssssssss” before he could even pull the ring out of his pocket. Our plan was to move into the little apartment above his work — it was part of his compensation package — then get married the following summer. Unfortunately (fortunately?), a few of the older ladies…

  • Ask the Readers: What are you saving for? (62 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Holly Johnson.

    In the last 12 months, my husband and I both turned 35 years old. Although I hadn’t put my finger on it until now, I think there is something about that age that made us want to reassess our current financial strategy. But the truth is, gratefully, that I think we are on the right track. We are debt-free aside from a small mortgage, we save…

  • How to raise a frugal child (39 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle.

    Sometimes you find clues of your kids’ financial education progress in the strangest places. “Dear Santa” – began my seven-year-old daughter’s letter, published in our local newspaper – “May I have more money? I will save it to buy a house or car.” (I know. I still can’t believe she wrote it, either.) “I want for my brother a horse that is real…” and “For my baby brother; he…

  • The importance of financial balance — a conversation with my mom about money (46 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong.

    It seems like an odd goal for a kid; but when I was little, I wanted to be financially secure. Of course, I didn’t put it that way. Instead, I declared, “When I grow up, I want to be rich.” Incidentally, so did my parents. I remember rolling quarters with them, while they explained to me the importance of saving. At a young age, I realized I’d…

  • Honey Progress Report: 2014 wrap-up and 2015 goals (48 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Honey Smith.

    The new year is a time to look forward; but in order to do that, you need to know where you’ve been. Before I set my goals for 2015, I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss anything that happened last year. Updated reckoning for me in chart form: 2012-present Please note that I have consolidated some separate accounts of the same type into one category…

  • How to save money from falling gas prices (21 comments)
    This is a guest post from former GRS staff writer Donna Freedman.

    The price of gasoline in the U.S. dropped for 97 days straight beginning in late September 2014. According to the American Automobile Association, the gas we buy today costs an average $1.11 per gallon less than this time last year. Averages are great liars, of course. The average cost of gas in Anchorage, Alaska, right now is $2.87 while folks in Columbia,…

  • 30 Days to Better Finances (23 comments)

    Learning to manage your finances isn’t something most people would put at the very top of their “most fun thing to do” list, but we all know that we ignore money and budgets at our peril. Having a strong handle on what money is going in and what money is going out is an essential first step. But you don’t have to be overwhelmed. By setting aside between five and 30 minutes each day, you…

  • How to Save for a House (64 comments)

    How to save for a house? It’s a common question among newly married couples, but this was not our first marriage milestone. My wife and I didn’t wait too long after our wedding to create a family. We were parents one week before our first anniversary. Our apartment was too small for a third human, so we endeavored to buy a house. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a lot of cash on hand since we moved…

  • Are you holding yourself back with these money lies? (35 comments)

    This article is by Suba Iyer, who currently writes for FiveCentNickel.com. In 2009, I was all excited to start looking for a house to buy. I had been working in a well-paying job for almost five years at that point and I figured I shouldn’t be throwing money down the drain renting. Well, reality came crashing down when I finally looked at my savings. It wasn’t even enough to be a good emergency fund, let alone a down payment….

  • Saving money when you have no time (27 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Holly Johnson.

    A few weeks ago, I participated in an “Ask the Experts” segment on a huge site in the mommysphere, CafeMom.com. The focus of the project was saving, budgeting, and frugality, and my job was simply to answer questions that readers sent in. Sounds easy, right? Unfortunately, I quickly found that I am no longer equipped to answer many of the inquiries I would have sailed through just a…

  • Preparing financially for a job search (17 comments)

    Looking for a new job is a multi-faceted process. I’ve discussed many aspects of career-building that apply even if you are just trying to keep a job you already have. But laying the groundwork for a successful job search is about more than just your reputation. A job search can take months — in some cases, up to a year or more — so it is very important to be prepared financially before you start…

  • A six-figure income, and still paying off debt? (51 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong.

    At another site, I recently wrote about a tool that shows you online prices in terms of hours worked. I used a random item — a fancy coffee maker that costs $116 — as an example. It would take someone who earned $38 an hour approximately three hours of work to pay for that item. A reader replied that, if they made $38 an hour, they…

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

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

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

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

  • Should Cash be Part of Your Emergency Fund? (59 comments)

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

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

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

  • Buying rental property: Sometimes getting rich means taking it slowly (52 comments)

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

  • Bad advice about having a baby I’m glad I followed (55 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Holly Johnson.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Dissecting retirement savings (34 comments)

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

  • Becoming friends with your future self (25 comments)

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

  • Coming to terms: retirement vs. financial independence (58 comments)

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

  • A conversation with Mr. Money Mustache (30 comments)

    Note: This article is from J.D. Roth, who founded Get Rich Slowly in 2006. J.D.’s non-financial writing can be found at More Than Money, where he recently wrote about how to be happy. As part of the Get Rich Slowly course, I interviewed 18 of my favorite financial experts. Combined, these interviews comprise over eight hours of audio and more than 200 pages of written transcripts, all of which are available as part of the…

  • Money challenges: Why I’m OK with them, and a few of my favorites (52 comments)

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

  • Best CD Rates | Certificate of Deposit Rates (34 comments)

    Identifying the best CD rates It is important to think through how best to use a certificate of deposit in your overall financial plan, but it starts with understanding your goals and how a CD can help you reach them. Interest rates change constantly, so having up-to-date rate information is critical to identifying the best CD rates and terms to make the most of your investment. We have made the whole process easier in a…

  • The power of profit margin (40 comments)

    Note: This article is from J.D. Roth, who founded Get Rich Slowly in 2006. J.D.’s non-financial writing can be found at More Than Money, where he recently wrote about how to be happy. After six months of work, my guide about becoming the Chief Financial Officer of your own life is ready for launch! Be Your Own CFO will be released on April 22. Over the next couple of weeks at Get Rich Slowly, I’ll…

  • Cultivate your X-factor before it’s too late (26 comments)

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

  • Which online high-yield savings account & money market account is best? (31 comments)

    Saving money is essential to building your net worth. Savings accounts and money market accounts are meant to hold your liquid assets, or funds that you expect to use within a year. You may think, “If you’ve seen one high-yield savings account, you’ve seen them all” – but, actually, higher interest rates and certain features can make one account a better choice than another. Online high-yield savings account and money market account rates As online…

  • The cultural shift toward financial security (27 comments)

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

  • Why we aren’t saving for our children’s college educations (143 comments)

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

  • How to get started investing (33 comments)

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

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

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

  • Too much emergency fund? Spend it! (79 comments)

    How big is your emergency fund and when should you spend it? Growing up, I learned all kinds of money lessons from my mother. An avid saver, she socked away every cent that she possibly could. She cut coupons, shopped at garage sales, and drove cars without heat or air conditioning. She even paid for our family piano with money she got from refunding (people often earned extra money sending in for small rebates in…

  • Don’t have savings? Quit making excuses (81 comments)

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

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

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

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

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

  • Big wins: The quickest way to wealth (106 comments)

    Note: This article is from J.D. Roth, who founded Get Rich Slowly in 2006. J.D.’s non-financial writing can be found at More Than Money, where he recently wrote about the difference between tenacity and talent. There’s a divide in the world of personal finance. On one side are the folks who offer advice for scrimping and saving your way to financial success. On the other are the experts who scoff at frugality and champion big…

  • The one-page guide to financial freedom (74 comments)

    This year, I learned a lot about money. I think the biggest breakthrough I had in 2013 was to connect the ideas of personal and financial freedom. I spent a week in Ecuador talking with folks about this subject, and then I spent a couple of months putting my thoughts onto paper. I’ve done a lot of writing and thinking and speaking on this topic. But you know what? I’ve come to realize that the…

  • What are savings for? (62 comments)

    Note: This article is from J.D. Roth, who founded Get Rich Slowly in 2006. J.D.’s non-financial writing can be found at More Than Money. Last week, I wrote about a conversation with my investment adviser. In the article, I mentioned that my current income roughly covers my current spending except that I’ve been spending an average of $2,000 per month on travel. Because of that spending deficit, I’ve been drawing down my medium-term savings, which…

  • How to avoid binge-shopping (62 comments)

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

  • 10 tools and tips to save money on legal fees (22 comments)

    This is a guest post from John Corcoran. John is an attorney and former Clinton White House writer, and he advises entrepreneurs and small-business owners on how to use networking to grow their businesses.  In addition to the tips in this article, you can download his free report for an additional 10+ tools to save you money on legal fees. Like it or not, everyone has to use a lawyer now and then. Whether you run your…

  • Reader Stories: How we saved one year’s salary in Roth IRAs in grad school (56 comments)

    This reader story is from Emily, a graduate student living in North Carolina who blogs about transitions in young adulthood and living well on less at Evolving Personal Finance. 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. My husband, Kyle, and I recently…

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

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

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

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

  • Ask The Reader: What is the best way to save for college? (56 comments)

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

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

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

  • Thoughts on Financial and Personal Independence (88 comments)

    Note: This article is from J.D. Roth, who founded Get Rich Slowly in 2006. After a year off, J.D. is once again writing here at GRS. His non-financial writing can still be found at More Than Money. ¡Saludos de Ecuador! For the past two weeks, I’ve been enjoying my third trip to that seldom-remembered continent, South America. I love this place, and love it more each time I visit. My past trips have been personal…

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

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

  • What Are the Best Financial Accounts and Tools Available? (49 comments)

    Note: This article is from J.D. Roth, who founded Get Rich Slowly in 2006. After a year off, J.D. is once again writing here at GRS. His non-financial writing can still be found at More Than Money. As a personal-finance blogger, it’s my responsibility to keep up-to-date on the latest in the financial industry. Whose advice is worth heeding? (And whose advice sucks?) What are the current tax rates? Where’s the best place to save…

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

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

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

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

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

    This is a guest post from Andrew Selby. Andrew writes about debt management programs at his Debt Consolidation Blog. Some reader stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks with all levels of financial maturity and income. Want submit your own reader story? Here’s how. After fighting, scratching and clawing for years, I had finally paid off my college loans and was…

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

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

  • Coverdell Savings Account: Definition, Pros and Cons (39 comments)

    A Coverdell savings account, or a Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA), is an investment account that is tax-free when used for qualified higher-education expenses. Assets in Coverdell accounts can be transferred to other family members if the beneficiary doesn’t need the money (whether because of scholarships or other circumstances) and many find the main benefit is that these funds can also be used for K-12 school-related expenses. The biggest drawback is that you cannot contribute…

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

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

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

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

  • The tyranny of the 401(k) industrial complex (68 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. Like many living beings – including turtles, snakes, and llamas — he’s on Twitter. If you never watch PBS’ “Frontline,” you’re missing out on some of the best journalism on TV. I don’t agree with every viewpoint they advocate, but each episode is thought-provoking and well…

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

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

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

    “I can’t believe I’m going to be 30!” I told my Dad at the beginning of the year. I said the same thing when I turned 20, so I knew he would reassure me that 30 actually wasn’t that old. “Nope, 30’s old,” he said. Getting older doesn’t bother me; I actually embrace it and all the experiences that come along with it. That’s also something I say just to make myself feel better. But it’s…

  • Is it possible you don’t need an emergency fund? (92 comments)

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

  • Oops, I may have broken my nest egg (42 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. Financial success can be due to making good decisions or avoiding big mistakes. In many cases, the biggest mistakes happen after good decisions, because the stakes have become higher. As an example, let’s consider the dilemma of Motley Fool reader Jim, who emailed us this…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Driven crazy by car loans (95 comments)

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

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

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

  • 6 financial products that made the nice list (and 6 that didn’t) (38 comments)

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

  • HSA Pros and Cons (107 comments)

    Lately, my dad’s been praising the benefits of having a health savings account. This year, he had the opportunity to get the most of his HSA — bad news for his health, but good news for his wallet (side note: Dad is now doing OK health-wise). If you have one or are considering one, here are all the HSA pros and cons to consider. But first, if you are looking for the 2016 and 2017…

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

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

  • Saving for a Big Purchase (86 comments)

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

  • How Saving Money Cost Me Money (86 comments)

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

  • Ask the Readers: How to Save Money While Making Minimum Wage? (148 comments)

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

  • Ask the Readers: Income? Or Negative Savings? (93 comments)

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

  • How Safe Is Your Cash? (51 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. One of oldest adages in investing is “no risk, no return.” These days, that old saying seems literally true, since cash is considered the safest asset, yet it earns virtually no interest. However,…

  • Five easy ways to save money (105 comments)

    There are numerous ways to save money, but many people think putting funds away is difficult. Rather than stopping themselves from opening a savings account, they could start with easy ways to save money and build their funds to meet their financial goals. 5 easy ways to save money I’m writing to you sitting next to a jar. This jar is stuffed full (okay, imagine it gently filled — it’s a small jar) of $5…

  • Spare Change: Submit Your Story Edition (32 comments)

    Like a hibernating bear, I feel like I’m waking from a long winter’s nap. For the past few months, I’ve been dormant, not just at Get Rich Slowly but at my other sites as well. I’ve had so much happening in my personal life that it’s been tough to find the mental energy to write about money (or anything else). Now I’m ready to get back to work. As part of that, it’s time to…

  • Stealth Savings: Sneaky Ways to Fatten Your Account (110 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. Have trouble saving money? Time for some mind games. Hide cash via direct withdrawals. Get free money from banks. Name an account for a goal. Make your savings “one-way,” i.e., really hard to tap. The unemployed and underemployed may feel — with good reason! — that…

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

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

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

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

  • 20 Ways to Spend $20 (77 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer Donna Freedman. Donna writes a personal finance column for MSN Money, and writes about frugality and intentional living at Surviving And Thriving. Since she just found out she is going to be a grandmother, expect to be bombarded with cute-baby anecdotes about seven months from now. If you draw a paycheck, you’re due an extra $160 in January and February thanks to the Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation…

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

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

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

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

  • Why I Still Pick Up Pennies (168 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. The most-read piece I ever wrote for MSN Money’s Smart Spending blog was an essay called “See a penny? Pick it up!” It got more than 1,657,000 hits before MSN changed blog platforms. After that, the penny essay and most of the other things I’d written…

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

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

  • Free Money from Banks! (But Watch the Fine Print) (53 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer Donna Freedman. Donna writes a personal finance column for MSN Money, and writes about frugality and intentional living at Surviving And Thriving. I earned $200 in less than an hour the other day, without removing any of my clothes. A bank gave me the money (or will, a few months from now) in exchange for opening a business checking account. Why would a bank or a credit union…

  • Best Savings Accounts for 2015 (106 comments)

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

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

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

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

    This guest post from Rya is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. Rya writes a Bulgarian personal-finance blog called kadebg.com. My name is Rya. I’m 25 years old, and I live in Bulgaria. That’s a small…

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

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

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

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

  • Ask the Readers: The Best Online Bank for Service and Security? (148 comments)

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

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

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

  • Reader Story: How Our Simple, No-Category, Mostly-Cash Budget Accidentally Paid Off the Car (42 comments)

    This guest post from Heather is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. Besides teaching elementary band and running a personal training business, Heather keeps a healthy-living blog called Change Is Possible, plays trombone in a local…

  • Emergency Fund vs. Debt Snowball: What’s the Top Priority? (80 comments)

    A few weeks ago, in my review of Mary Hunt’s Debt-Proof Your Marriage, I mentioned that she advocates building a 3-6 month emergency fund before beginning to snowball your debt payments. That’s not my approach, and I criticized it a little in my review. Several commenters said they agreed with Hunt — that an emergency fund should trump debt repayment. It’s an interesting issue, so I figured I’d explore both sides of it in a…

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

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

  • Money ‘Magic’ to Curb Spending (16 comments)

    Editor’s Note: This post on money ‘magic’ is a bit of a departure from our usual fact-based personal finance advice but in the spirit of Halloween, contributor Sierra Black explores folklore and saving money, with a little spookiness thrown in. It’s Halloween, the season of ghosts, ghouls, and witches! To celebrate, I thought I’d share a little money magic with you that really works. It’s an old Southern folk magic spell called Money Stay With…

  • The Quest for the Best Budget (38 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. We can do two things with our money: spend it or save it. (Actually, there are other possibilities — eating it! smoking it! — but we’ll limit our discussion to what sane people do.)…

  • Checking Accounts: New Rules, Old Rules, Your Rules (20 comments)

    Did anyone ever give you a user’s manual for your checking account? Probably not. There are best practices in managing a checking account, but even if you learned the rules from your parents or through your own hard-won experience (or if you never did), it may be time for a little checking account check-up. Why? Because some of the rules for checking accounts no longer apply. Financial regulation, market conditions and technological developments have all…

  • College Savings: The Basics of Saving for College (47 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Sierra Black. Sierra writes about frugality, sustainable living, and getting her kids to eat kale at Childwild.com. Got kids? If so, you’re probably hoping to send them to college. And you know it won’t be cheap. College costs are rising faster than inflation, and have been for decades. But that doesn’t mean you can’t afford a good education for your kids, even if you have a modest salary or…

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • High interest: How to choose between checking, savings, and CDs (52 comments)

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

  • The Incredible Shrinking Emergency Fund (141 comments)

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

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

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

  • Fixed Expenses and Flexible Expenses: How to Budget for Both (57 comments)

    Having flexible spending can help reduce your stress because you never know when you’re going to get hit by flexible expenses. A few months ago, my local bank and I had a falling out and my husband and I were suddenly very motivated to switch banks. We’d narrowed it down to two choices: Citizens Bank, which has a local branch where I can deposit the cash and many small checks I receive in the course…

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

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

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

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

  • How to get the best rates on your savings — safely (64 comments)

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

  • Give Your Wealth Away: An Argument For a Secular Tithe (145 comments)

    This is a guest post from Sierra Black, a long-time GRS reader and the author of ChildWild, a blog where she writes about frugality, sustainable living, and getting her kids to eat kale. Previously at Get Rich Slowly, Black told us about sweating the big stuff and the pitfalls of buying in bulk. My mother’s family is Catholic. They’re working class people from Buffalo: nurses, drugstore clerks, steel mill workers. Even though they never had…

  • Which Comes First: The House or the Nest Egg? (85 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer April Dykman. It’s also a part of National Save for Retirement Week A few weeks ago, J.D. asked me to consider writing a post on retirement for National Save for Retirement Week. As it was intended, National Save for Retirement Week made me reflect on the state of my and my husband’s retirement accounts. Currently, our retirement savings are a tad pitiful. I have a 403(b) through my…

  • Pay yourself first (63 comments)

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

  • How Much Money Should I Save? Answering the Big Question (117 comments)

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

  • Ask the Readers: How Much Should You Save for Retirement? (154 comments)

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

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

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

  • Compound Interest: One Percent Can Make All the Difference (44 comments)

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

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

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

  • How to Open a Money Market Account (51 comments)

    \ Here’s how to open a money market account, a type of savings account that offers the security of FDIC insurance, the higher interest rates of a savings account and the flexibility of access that comes with a checking account: Shop around. Find a bank or credit union that’s offering a competitive interest rate with the features you value the most — don’t just go for the bank down the street or where you have…

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

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

  • Good-Bye, Microsoft Money! 12 Powerful Personal Finance Programs (295 comments)

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

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

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

  • How much money should you save? (52 comments)

    As an editor at CNNMoney, Walter Updegrave has answered hundreds, if not thousands, of reader questions on everything from retirement to advice on saving money. Lionel from San Diego wrote in with a question that all of us have: What percentage of income should someone save in order to be considered financially responsible? I’m wary of spending now because of the bad economy, but I don’t know how much I should be saving on a monthly…

  • How to find the right CD or money market account (21 comments)

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

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

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

  • Oversaving Does Not Lead to Happiness (51 comments)

    I love frugality. Frugality helped me to dig out of debt, begin to build wealth, and find more meaning in the things I already own. But at some point I crossed the line from frugal to cheap. I’ve spent the past few months seeking balance: allowing myself permission to spend on a few indulgences while choosing to cut back in other areas. There’s new research that indicates this sort of conscious spending really does make…

  • The Light at the End of the Tunnel (25 comments)

    This is the third of a five-part series about the “stages” of personal finance. In the first part I described the zeroth stage of money management, in which I was fumbling in the dark, spending compulsively and accumulating debt. Last week I described the first stage, in which I finally saw the light and began to repay my debt. Today I share what happened next. Last night at dinner, my friend Mike told me about…

  • 25 Useful Financial Rules of Thumb (100 comments)

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

  • Ask the Readers: How to Prioritize Savings Goals? (73 comments)

    Once you’ve paid off your debt, it’s time to save. But for many of us, it’s difficult to know where to start. Via Twitter (and edited slightly), @funkyknitwit asks: How do you set priorities with savings? I have so many things I want to save for, but I don’t know where to start! What I mean is, how can I decide which thing I should work towards first? My budgeting is already in order. This…

  • How to Save $5000 a Year — As a Homeowner or a Renter (63 comments)

    J.D. is on vacation. This is a guest post from Alison Wiley, who writes about more joy and less consumption at Diamond-Cut Life. Friendly married couple, both professionals in sustainability, seeks one competent, friendly person to serve as Home & Garden Manager in exchange for free rent. That’s the opener to the Craigslist ad that has saved us about $5,000, turned our weedy front lawn into a beautiful garden, and freed up six hours of…

  • Ask the Readers: How Much Cash Do You Stash? (260 comments)

    “How much cash do you carry in your wallet?” my friend Michael asked at lunch last Sunday. “I don’t know,” I said. “Somewhere between $40 and $100, I guess. That’s how much I take out of the ATM when I need it. Why do you ask?” “Well, I read something the other day that said the average person keeps about $175 on hand. That seems like a lot.” “That does seem like a lot,” Kris…

  • Simplify Your Life with a Stuff Replacement Fund (42 comments)

    One thing that prevents me from getting rid of more clutter in my life is the worry that someday, for some reason, I’ll want it again. Maybe I don’t use the rice cooker now, but what if I need it in the future? It’s thinking like this that keeps me from achieving the simple life I long for. After writing about the idea of having recently, I decided to re-read Your Money or Your Life,…

  • 8 Tips for Saving Money on Hobbies and Pastimes (67 comments)

    Lee wrote with an innocent question about photography equipment yesterday. Little did she realize I’d already been thinking about the broader issues of her dilemma. Here’s an abridged version of her message: A friend asked me about cameras. He went shopping last weekend and saw lenses that ranged from $200 to $700. He felt that the lower-end lenses would not work for him, but he wasn’t prepared to spend $700, so he went home. Now…

  • SmartyPig: A Goal-Oriented Savings Account (50 comments)

    Have you ever wanted to pool your money with friends or family to save toward a common goal? While it’s possible to do this with paper and pencil, it’d be easier if there were an online service to automagically track the savings for you. SmartyPig believes it is that service. SmartyPig is a special branded savings account from new type of savings account, with funds held at West Bank of Iowa. It’s specifically created to…

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

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

  • The Economics of a POW Camp (15 comments)

    In a 1945 issue of Econimica, R. A. Radford wrote about the economic organization of a P.O.W. camp. Radford spent at least two years (the timeline isn’t clear) as a prisoner in Italy and Germany during World War II. He used his experience as the basis for a paper about “financial” transactions among his fellow inmates. He found that although economic activity as a prisoner is severely curtailed, the ideas and habits of the outside…

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

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

  • The extraordinary power of compound interest (129 comments)

    If you are young, you may not think you need to invest or open a retirement account. You probably think it is easier to worry about it five years from now — or ten. You’re wrong. Time is on your side now, especially when it comes to compound interest. No matter what your age, now is the time to begin saving for retirement. In The Automatic Millionaire, David Bach writes, “The single biggest investment mistake you can…

  • How to Get Out of Debt (245 comments)

    Editor’s Note: This is a story about how to get out debt. While every situation is different, all financial experts agree that too much debt can cripple your future. It can prevent you from buying a home when you want to, make the cost of borrowing more expensive and turn everyday transactions into tomorrow’s nightmare. This is the story of J.D. Roth, founder of Get Rich Slowly. Twenty years ago, I was a freshman in…

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

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

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

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

  • More Money: 5 Ways to Earn Extra Cash in Your Spare Time (69 comments)

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

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

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

  • Book Review: The Millionaire Next Door (37 comments)

    Some personal finance books promise to show the reader how to become a millionaire. The Millionaire Next Door (by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko) is different. It is built on years of research, on a body of statistics and case studies. It doesn’t make hollow promises. Instead, it profiles people who have already become millionaires. This is a subtle but important difference. Many people who earn high incomes are not rich, the authors…

  • Nintendo Wii: A Study in Planned Saving (12 comments)

    Last May, we held our annual garage sale on the same weekend that the Nintendo Wii was revealed. As I sat in my driveway, selling old stuff, I followed online coverage of the Wii on my laptop. I wanted one. “I’m putting this money in the bank and saving it to buy a Nintendo,” I told Kris. I opened a separate targeted savings account at my credit union specifically for this goal. But I was…

  • How and why to start an emergency fund (92 comments)

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

  • Start Late, Finish Rich (5 comments)

    Just finished David Bach’s Start Late, Finish Rich. At 42, I thought it would be a good intro to Bach’s many treatises on personal finance. I’ll come right out and say I highly recommend this book. It was full of great information, and took an optimistic, yet realistic tone. I’ll try to touch on some key points. Yes, because you started late, you are going to have to work twice as hard to put away…