The Simple Dollar

Simple, applicable personal finance advice for the modern world.

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Latest Posts from The Simple Dollar (page 8)

Changing Your Day Versus Changing Your Trajectory

Back when I was in my early twenties, my professional mentor at the time would often tell me something that didn’t really click with me until the last few years. He would tell me, “Trent, you can either have a good day, or you can have a good trajectory.” At the time, I really took his meaning the wrong way. […]

Three Rules for Earning Credit Card Rewards Without Harming Your Credit

Have you ever heard of the term credit card “churning?” It’s a process where someone signs up for a bunch of rewards credit card accounts in order to score lucrative sign-up bonuses. […]

‘If You Don’t Like It, You Can Leave’

Let me start things with a story, recently told to me by a friend that we’ll call Tammy. Tammy has a reasonably well-paying job in a corporate research lab. She’s still paying off student loans and a car loan. She goes out with friends a lot, for meals and for drinks. She basically spends what she earns and enjoys her young, single life. At work, however, things are a bit tougher. […]

Financial Outpatient Care: When Parents Financially Support Their Children Into Their 30s (and Beyond)

Over the weekend, the New York Times published The New 30-Something: Have you or haven’t you cut the financial cord with your family?, an amazing article by Hannah Seligson on the phenomenon of children relying financially on their parents into their 30s or later. This phenomenon is sometimes called “financial outpatient care,” and it was notably given that title in the book The Millionaire Next D […]

Flood Insurance Only Works With the Right Type of Water Damage: What You Need to Know

Flood insurance may comfort you when the water’s rising, but it may not cover all of your losses. Flooding became an issue for my wife and me on New Year’s Day 2017, when we came home to find our basement coated in roughly an inch and a half of standing, bitterly cold water. […]

Questions About 529s, Cheese, Pyrex, Retirement, 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. 401(k), Roth IRA, or mortgage? 2. Cost versus value 3. Timing the market? 4. Food staples not store brand? 5. Pyrex questions 6. Making ends meet 7. 529 investment options 8. Current personal finance books? 9. […]

Five Alternatives to Savings Accounts (Besides Under Your Mattress)

Despite a string of interest rate hikes from the Federal Reserve in 2018, returns on the average savings account continue to be meager at best. In December, the Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate a quarter-point to 2.5%, which was the fourth increase of 2018 and the ninth since the central bank began normalizing rates in December 2015. Yet, interest rates on savings accounts, in ma […]

Nine Secrets of Successful Homebuyers

A popular real estate website recently compiled a list of the six habits all successful homebuyers have in common. As someone who’s approaching the one-year anniversary of owning my own home, I found the topic fascinating. Not because I possessed so many of the habits outlined. But for the opposite reason. When I purchased my house, I winged it, for the most part. […]

Inspiration from the “Notebook System,” Wendy de la Rosa, Sturgill Simpson, and More

Once a month (or so), I share a dozen things that have inspired me to greater personal, professional, and financial success in my life. I hope they bring similar success to your life. 1. […]

Five (Potential) Misplaced Financial Priorities

Erika writes in with a great question that grew beyond a normal mailbag entry: Why do you think people get into financial problems to begin with besides the obvious “not enough income”? The easy answer is temptation to buy stuff but I think there’s more going on than that. I’ll be honest: Erika hits on the two biggest reasons I can think of for why people get into financial problems. […]