What’s the Point of Working Toward Financial Success?

Debbie writes in: Love your blog, but you are too focused on the future. What’s the point of working toward financial success if you’re just going to eventually die? Why have a life if you’re not going to live it? I get some variation on this question about once a month, but something about Debbie’s wording left me thinking. […]

Can a Personal Loan Help You Reach Your Goals This Year?

While it’s hard to measure just how many New Year’s resolutions fail, some studies peg the figure as high as 80%. It’s easy to get pumped up about a new goal for a while, but it’s much harder to change your behavior for the long-term. […]

Ask the Readers: How Do You Save Money at the Movies?

Like everything else, movie ticket prices seem to go up every year. If you don't want to bust your budget on a cinema experience, you need to be more selective — and strategic — about going to the movies. How do you save money at the movies? How often do you go? How do you decide which... […]

Questions About Tax Brackets, Compound Interest, Warehouse Clubs, Stamps, and More!

What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to summaries of five or fewer words. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. Losing faith 2. Thoughts on simple investment strategy 3. Tax bracket question 4. Compound interest question 5. Costco versus Sam’s Club 6. Question about “forever stamps” 7. Investing for near term 8. […]

How to Use Your 529 Plan When It’s Time for College

It’s easy to find advice about saving for college, but what are you supposed to do once your child actually reaches college age and it’s time to spend some of that money you’ve saved? Specifically, how should you handle the money you have in your various 529 savings accounts? Is it best to spend as much as you can all at once? Should you withdraw it more evenly over time? […]

Parent PLUS Loan Equals Another, Older Generation Mired in Student Debt

It appears that the nation’s ballooning student loan debt is not just confined to students. The crisis, as it turns out, also encompasses millions of parents who are Parent PLUS loan holders. […]

20 Free Things I’ve Done and Enjoyed on Days Off in the Last Year

At the start of last year, I decided to make a list of things I did on the weekends that didn’t cost me any money at all and then mark which ones I really enjoyed. […]

Is OnTrajectory the best retirement calculator?

My colleagues, who are money nerds just like me, know that I'm obsessed with finding the best retirement calculator. I've been on this quest for years. As you'll learn later this week, my favorite retirement tool is (and has been) NewRetirement. But there are other great tools out there. “You really need to try OnTrajectory,” Jillian from Montana Money Adventures told me last summer. […]

What Is a ‘Backdoor’ Roth IRA? How Can It Benefit Me?

A little while ago on The Simple Dollar, Saundra Latham wrote a nice summary of how a backdoor Roth IRA works. Since then, I’ve seen a number of follow-up questions regarding backdoor Roth IRAs, so I thought I’d write a complementary article explaining some of the things that people were asking questions about. Mostly, these questions centered around why a person would want to do this. […]

Pursuing Retirement Goals in the New Year: Highlights from Our Chat with AARP and Ad Council

AARP, Ad Council and Jean Setzfand, a financial expert from AARP, joined us for our #WBChat on January 10th! Our #AcingRetirement #WBChat featured wonderful tips helped our chatters learn more about pursuing retirement goals in the new year. In total we had 108 participants, reached over 242.9k... […]

The Value of Your Time: The Stories of Adam, Becky, and Chris

Let’s do a little thought experiment before we get to some practical advice. In an ideal week, a person has 168 hours to spend. Let’s assume that they spend 50 of it sleeping, another 20 on life management tasks (eating, preparing food, basic housework, basic hygiene), and another 18 on leisure. This leaves 80 hours to fill. Most American adults fill a lot of that time with their job. […]

How to Negotiate on Everything for Your Wedding

If you're getting married, you need to prepare yourself for a hefty price tag for the event. According to a 2017 survey by The Knot, the national average cost of a wedding is $33,391. Few people have that kind of money in the bank, so many couples turn to credit cards or loans to finance their... […]

The pros and cons of Personal Capital

If you've read money blogs over the past five years, you've heard about Personal Capital. Personal Capital is a free money-tracking tool with a beautiful interface and — gasp — no advertising. (One of my big complains about Mint is that it shoves ads in your face.) Many of my friends and colleagues promote the hell out of Personal Capital because the company pays good money when people sign up. […]

Join Our Tweetchat on Thursday 1/10, 12pm PST for a Chance to Win $200 in Prizes!

Join our Tweetchat Thursday 1/10 at 12:00 p.m. Pacific/ 3p.m. Eastern for lively conversation and a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card or one of two $50 Amazon gift cards! Use #WBChat and #AcingRetirement to participate. This week's topic: Pursuing Retirement Goals in the New Year! Join us and... […]

How to Decide if a Warehouse Club Membership Is “Worth It”

Max writes in with a great question that had an answer that was just a bit too long for the mailbag: Recently moved to and bought a house in a new town where I hope to stay for several years. There is a Costco and a Sam’s Club here. Never lived close enough to either or had the storage space to make it worthwhile so I’m considering joining one or the other. […]

The Pros and Cons of Paying Off Your Debt Early

Debt stinks. We all know this. The sensible move here is to pay off any and all debts as soon as possible, right? Not so fast. In some cases, paying a debt off early doesn't save you all that much money. Let's take a look at the pros and cons of paying down debt before you have to. Pro: You'll save... […]

A Single Parent’s Financial Guide to Returning to School

As a single parent, going back to school can seem like an impossible and daunting process. You need that higher education to snag a high-paying and solid career, but at the same time, it’s necessary to keep working to pay for your schooling. […]