The Simple Dollar

Simple, applicable personal finance advice for the modern world.

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Latest Posts from The Simple Dollar (page 9)

Why You Can’t Time the Market: Thoughts on Investing in Stocks

Unless you have a time machine handy, there’s no way to time the stock market. Photo: William Warby Marcus wrote in with a great reader mailbag question that really couldn’t be answered in brief, so I expanded my answer into a post. […]

Running on the Hedonic Treadmill

Going to the bookstore might give you a small burst of happiness — so you do it again, and again, and again, until after awhile, it’s no longer special; it’s just something you do, and your new ‘normal’ routine is costing you money.  Photo: Kristin Klein One of the weirdest phenomena I have ever experienced is when I realized that I get more pleasure out of going to, say, a bookstore once a month […]

And the Stock Market Outlook Is… Who Cares?!

Bulls and bears, booms and busts: They make great headlines, but a solid financial strategy is actually a boring one. Photo: Sam Valadi As I write this article on the morning of Aug. 24th, the Dow just opened down over 1,000 points and CNBC is going crazy with prognosticators predicting what the market is going to do next. […]

40 Free (or Extremely Low-Cost) Things I Genuinely Enjoy Doing – and You Might, Too

Live music is like magic — and many communities offer free concerts, like this one in Portsmouth, N.H. Photo: Prescott Park Arts Festival via Facebook A reader recently “called me out” via Facebook: I don’t really buy your claim that there are more “free” things to do than you have time to do for the rest of your life. It’s a claim that I make pretty regularly, and I’ll say it again here. […]

Best Personal Checking Account Promotions in 2015

If you need a new checking account, banks from coast to coast are offering attractive promotional bonuses to lure your business. […]

Questions About Entitled Kids, Trash Bags, Money Belts, Life Insurance and More!

Worried about spoiling your kids? What matters most is how you define ‘normal’ in your home: Exceptional experiences are great, but make them the exception.  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. Ride the investment waves? 2. Trash bags and frugal advice 3. […]

College Un-Checklist: 10 Things Not to Bring to Campus

The average college dorm room is just 228 square feet — only half of which is yours. So think twice when you pack bulky items, and don’t waste precious space on stuff you don’t need. Photo: Elmira College As the first days of school approach, many new college students are trying to figure out what to bring – and what not to bring – to college. […]

A Detailed Guide for Writing Informative and Entertaining Blog Content

Over the last few years, a handful of readers who contact me regularly have asked for me to write a post about the actual nuts and bolts of writing for a blog and building an audience for that writing. Honestly, most of the same things hold true for things like building a Youtube channel and building an audience for that. Many, many people launch blogs every day. […]

How to Save Money on College Textbooks

Photo: Santa Monica College Bookstore Over the last few days, I’ve heard from a handful of college students that are facing the start of their fall semester in college and are looking for smart strategies for trimming their expenses when it comes to textbooks. Here’s an example message from Jen: I just priced out my books for fall semester and the total was $950 from the campus book store. […]

The Backdoor Roth IRA

Photo: Anders Ljungberg/TSD illustration Earning too much money to contribute to a Roth IRA — and its unique tax benefits — is what most people would call a nice problem to have. Even better, it’s barely a problem anyway, since there’s a loophole that props open a back door to Roth IRAs for high earners. Financial experts are big fans of Roth IRAs. […]