The Simple Dollar

Simple, applicable personal finance advice for the modern world.

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Latest Posts from The Simple Dollar (page 290)

Failing at Personal Finance

Recently, I’ve been reading the wonderful book The Up Side of Down by Megan McArdle, someone whose writings I’ve enjoyed for a very long time. The premise of the book is that, at some point in our lives, we’re going to fail. We’ll fail at a relationship or at launching a business or at a college course. […]

Reader Mailbag: February Thaw

What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to five word summaries. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. Helping sibling with retirement 2. Cheap haircuts 3. Podcast baby steps 4. Recent graduate with car trouble 5. Selling car 6. Handling big raise 7. Down payment or investment? 8. Contradicting financial advice 9. […]

Does the Investing Advice of a Billionaire Help Ordinary People?

A reader passed along this interesting interview from the Wall Street Journal with Mark Cuban. For those unfamiliar, Cuban is a billionaire who made a significant amount of his wealth in the early days of the internet era. His argument in this interview? […]

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Winter Blues Edition

Most winters, I get a strong case of the “winter blues.” It usually manifests itself in a sense of feeling really tired, particularly in the darkest parts of winter. This winter, strangely enough, I’ve barely had any blues at all. […]

Six Tactics for Handling Piles of Credit Card Debt

This article first appeared at U.S. News and World Report Money. A lot of American families have a lot of credit card debt. The average U.S. household credit card debt is $15,270. That’s almost a third of the annual median household income in the United States. […]

Don’t Cut Where It Hurts (At Least, Not at First)

The one part about turning around your personal finance situation that everyone dreads is the cutbacks. It’s easy to see why. Your normal, everyday life is what has led you to this financial corner. In order to turn the ship around, you’re going to have to make some changes to your normal, everyday life. People don’t like changes. […]

Best IRA Accounts for 2014: Roth vs Traditional IRA

Most of the top companies that are home to the best IRA accounts are the same places where you would open up an online stock trading account. […]

The False Belief of Invincibility

When things are going well, it can be really easy to buy into your own invincibility. You can’t possibly lose your job. You’re dominating in the workplace and taking care of everything that can be asked of you. Your performance numbers are incredible. You can’t possibly get sick. […]

Reader Mailbag: Special Meals

What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to five word summaries. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. Father getting out of debt 2. Reporting interest 3. Freedom versus feeling like loser 4. Alcoholism and finances 5. Underwater home – should I care? 6. Dollar sign pros and cons 7. Down payment versus IRA 8. Age and money 9. […]


A long time ago, I wrote an extremely well-received post in which I outlined the basics of personal finance on the back of five business cards. After that, I converted the cards into a presentation that I’ve used many times when I’ve been invited to speak on personal finance topics in my area. A few weeks ago, a person I know in the community asked me to summarize that presentation quickly. […]