Getting rich slowly vs. taking financial risks

After years of living well below my means, I'm finally a few weeks away from reaching a personal savings goal and rolling over my 401k. I'll hold for applause.

Yes, I'm almost in a secure place financially. But this has left some people close to me offering their input on what I should do with my income, now that I'm a grown up and all.

The suggestions are interesting. I've been told I should open my own business, something I've never had a desire to do. I've been told I should completely change careers, something I've already done once, recently. I've been told I should invest in real estate, and, well, let me put it this way. Yes, I'm close to being financially comfortable. That doesn't make me Donald Trump.

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More about...Planning

How Saving Money Cost Me Money

I used to have a savings problem. But not in the way that one might think.

For years, when payday would come, I would budget a ridiculously large percentage of my paycheck for savings. I left myself very little for bills and practically nothing for shopping, eating, entertainment — the things I vaguely dubbed "nonessentials." I was determined not to live beyond this budget.

Well, I sorely underestimated my love of "nonessentials." And it cost me, because I would inevitably overspend, even as little as $10. Which doesn't sound so bad, except that, after saving all of my money, I had nothing left in my checking account and would thus incur overdraft fees. At one point, a $2 purchase spiraled into $300 dollars of overdraft fees. Continue reading...

More about...Psychology