The Simple Dollar

Simple, applicable personal finance advice for the modern world.

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Latest Posts from The Simple Dollar (page 293)

The Fear of a 401(k)

When I was in high school, my father’s employer launched a 401(k) program. He’d been there for twenty five years (off and on) at that time and was getting fairly close to his retirement, so it wasn’t a huge deal for him. Still, my father has always been pretty careful with his money. Aside from their mortgage, my parents have never been in significant debt, even during periods of unemployment. […]

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Pencil and Paper Games Edition

Whenever we go to a restaurant, I usually wind up playing a pencil and paper game with my kids – tic-tac-toe, the dot game, and so on. Lately, though, we’ve been getting creative and trying to design new games. This has involved crazy grids, tearing of corners for playing pieces, and lots of other things. Try designing a simple game with your kids the next time you eat out with them. […]

The Gift Economy and You

I want you to think for a minute about the last time you enjoyed a Thanksgiving or a Christmas or an Easter dinner wtih family and friends when you were not the host. You went to someone’s home (most likely), enjoyed a delicious and deeply filling meal, and spent several hours in leisurely conversation with the family and friends that were gathered there. […]


Old routines are hard to break. It took me almost five years of alternating between “good” and “bad” behavior to finally curb my bad media buying habits, particularly books. See, the problem is that I’m an avid reader and I also view reading as a very worthwhile and valuable hobby. […]

A Day at Adventureland

This past Saturday, our family spent the day at Adventureland, an amusement park in Altoona, IA, an eastern suburb of Des Moines. Our whole family had a great time. The park is really thoughtfully designed, putting rides that only adults and older kids can go on very close to young children’s rides, allowing our family to split up very nicely as needed and meet each other at ride exits. […]

Reader Mailbag: Jury Duty

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. IRA inheritance and goals 2. Fighting over small amounts 3. Calculating “real” salary? 4. Saving inheritance for retirement 5. Driving totaled car 6. Moving up in fast food 7. Housing difficulties 8. Selling old autographs 9. […]

The Gift Card Shuffle

A while back, I needed some minor home maintenance materials. I had a short checklist of things – a new air filter for our air conditioner (possibly several if there was a sale), some masking tape, some paint for a bit of touch-up work, and a few other odds and ends. […]

The Gospel of Jeff

I want to tell you about a guy I know that I’ll call Jeff. Jeff is in his middle years. He’s one of those guys who just naturally makes people feel comfortable around him, with a bit of slight deprecation and a great smile always at the ready. […]

Lock In Your Savings? Don’t Do It

The savings account at your local bank probably earns around 0.5% interest right now. Even the best national banks at the moment earn only around 0.85% in interest. By comparison, rates on CDs look pretty good. […]

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #143

Each week, I highlight ten things each week that inspired me to greater financial, personal, and professional success. Hopefully, they will inspire you as well. 1. Thomas Watson on thought “All the problems of the world could be settled easily if men were only willing to think. […]