It may seem like there is a lot to personal finance. And in one sense there is. There are thousands of different approaches to personal finance. And this can get overwhelming. It may seem so overwhelming that you feel paralyzed at square one. But it doesn't have to be. There are a handful of things that are critical in personal finance. All the rest is splitting hairs. So go through each of these items one at a time and make an improvement in each area. . . .
Dave Ramsey likes to recommend buying a house with no mortgage. As in, 100% cash. When I first read this in Ramsey's book, 'Total Money Makover,' I thought this was the dumbest suggestion I'd ever read. Because everybody knows that renting is just throwing money away. So, after a year of renting, my wife and I bought a house... with a mortgage. That was 5 years ago, so now I have 20/20 hindsight . . .
Suze Orman has been around for a while, as has her "Ask Suze" series. But, old doesn't mean irrelevant. These quick little books, styled in an FAQ format, are still packed with lots of relevant information. Suze Orman unpacks the details of how everything from annuities to Social Security work. With the FAQ style, you can decide to read the book cover to cover, or just scan through for questions . . .
'The 4 Hour Workweek' by Timothy Ferris is the 'click bait' of publishing. Its got a catchy title that really makes you want to find out how exactly to 'escape the 9-5, live anywhere, and join the new rich'. Once you get into the book, you find out it's not as easy as you were hoping. Which you really knew all along, but were hoping you'd be wrong. Essentially, the book boils down to coaching . . .
Buying a new car is usually not the cheapest option when you're replacing your vehicle. In fact, you usually won't save any money by replacing the vehicle in the first place. But, since the point of life isn't to pinch every penny, you'll likely decide at some point to replace your vehicle, possibly even with a new vehicle. Some people love the car shopping process. They like test driving . . .
Personal finance experts and bloggers love talking about net worth. Many people re-calculate their net worth on a monthly basis. It's a fun statistic in your personal finances that can give you a broad idea of what direction your finances are going. But too often it is misused, over-tracked, and over-valued. Net Worth Misused Using your net worth to examine your own finances is one thing. . . .
Many employees long to quit their day jobs to be able to work from home or while travelling the world. Some just want to be able to be their own bosses and set their own hours. Others just want a secondary source of income that can be pursued on a whim, whenever and where ever they feel like it. The good news is that collecting cans and bottles is not the only way to make a side income. Especially . . .
Money doesn't make you happy. Endlessly pursuing more money will likely rob you of your life and time and make you miserable. But sometimes, working a little extra at a part time job or freelance gigs for a temporary income boost makes sense. Emergency Fund If you don't have an adequate emergency fund, you're leaving yourself vulnerable to the emergencies and curve balls that life likes to . . .
I've written before that your utility bills can be one of the easiest places in your budget to find savings. This is especially true with winter right around the corner. I know, I know, the last thing you want to think about at the end of September is winter. But if you spend a little bit of time sealing up your home now, you'll be glad when your heat bill comes in a little bit . . .
The key to making personal finance work is spending less than you earn. A lot on this blog, and a lot of advice out there focuses a lot on the spending less part. You may have noticed that I even phrased the first sentence as "spending less than you earn", rather than "earning more than you spend". There's a reason for focusing on cutting your expenses. Often cutting your spending is far easier . . .
A bank is one of those things that should largely go unnoticed in your life. Once you find a good bank, you use it on a regular basis to park enough cash to cover your short-term needs and earn a little interest on top. You shouldn't need to spend more than 5 minutes a year worrying about your bank. Your bank also shouldn't be costing you any money. You are doing them a favor by letting them keep . . .