The Simple Dollar

Simple, applicable personal finance advice for the modern world.

Profile of The Simple Dollar

Latest Posts from The Simple Dollar (page 295)

The Basics of a Mutual Fund

Following my article on what a Roth IRA is from last week, Karen wrote in asking a good related question: “Can you help explain mutual funds? Are they a good investment – better than IRA’s or 401K’s? I realize they may be risky but can you put money into them – watch the money grow and then withdraw the money at any time?“ A mutual fund is basically a big collection of investments. […]

The Holiday Prep Plan (Inspired By Halloween Ads That Come Far Too Early)

On September 5, I stopped by a local pharmacy to pick up a prescription only to be greeted with a giant orange and black display with pumpkins and witches and all that jazz. Halloween? Already? Yes, almost like the changing of the tides, stores have moved from the “back to school” displays to the “Halloween” displays, with Labor Day seemingly the big cutoff between the two. […]

Starting a Facebook Book Club

Several months ago, a few of my old college friends started a book club using Facebook. We’re all spread across the world and we wanted an opportunity for us to read a book and share our thoughts with each other. All of us were once very avid readers, but some of us have fallen into a pattern of reading less and less and this was a way to get us all to read more. So far, it’s been quite fun. […]

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #142

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. Marie Curie on perseverance “Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. […]

The Ballad of Joe and Mike: How Expenses Hold You Back

Joe earns $40,000 a year at his job as a software developer. He has a 1,200 square foot home and a new car to drive to work. His expenses total up to $38,000 per year – the other $2,000 go into retirement. Mike earns $40,000 a year at his job as a software developer. He has a 1,000 square foot home and drives a seven year old used car to work. […]

Setting the Pattern

Each weekday, my children arrive home about two hours before my wife does, giving me two hours where it’s just dad and the kids. Most days, they’re pretty happy to do whatever I suggest, but if I don’t happen to have an idea for them, they’ll go out in the back yard and play or, if the weather is poor, down to the family room and watch a television show. While I don’t mind playing in the back yard […]

Self-Education During a Career Hiatus

As many of you know, before The Simple Dollar became successful, I had an enjoyable career as a software developer. I wrote code to analyze, dig deep into, and share scientific data. I deeply enjoyed the professional work that I did. I also deeply valued the camaraderie and friendship with my coworkers. In fact, I only walked away from it for two reasons. […]

Reader Mailbag: Piano Lessons

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. Credit for new immigrant 2. Kindle MatchBook 3. Good credit moves? 4. Controlling anger about money 5. Alternative to Christmas Club 6. Selling weapons 7. Does everyone need a budget? 8. Reusable grocery bags 9. […]

Parental Support and the “Salad Years”

Mary writes in: “My son recently graduated from college and took a job with a startup. It doesn’t pay well, but he’s building some fantastic experience and connections and if the startup goes well he’ll be in on the ground floor. For now, though, he’s living in a tiny apartment with four other people and lives on free food from work or the cheapest stuff he can find at the store. […]