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. . . .
When I first dipped my toes into investing, I decided to invest in individual stocks. I don't think I necessarily thought I could outperform index funds or other mutual funds. I just wasn't fully aware they were even there. Sure, I had heard the phrase 'mutual fund' mentioned, but it sounded like it was for people with a lot more money than me. I just figured that individual stocks were the way to . . .
In past posts, I've suggested self-insuring to save money. Insurance companies have figured out the odds of you filing a claim and have set the premiums accordingly. They probably won't make money on you every year, and likely will lose money on you some years. Over time, however, they will collect more in premiums than payouts. The less insurance you carry, the more you will save. Learning how to . . .
There's a recent blog post by Abandoned Cubicle detailing how he's lost a million dollars over the last 20 years in unnecessary spending. It's a very insightful article, and I strongly encourage reading it. He highlights how much little money drains can cost you over the course of many years. He also highlights our collective unnecessary spending as consumers. His conclusion is that had he not . . .
Spending within our means, or more specifically, keeping our expenses below our earnings is what makes personal finance work. Accomplishing this requires self-discipline and budgeting, but becomes much easier when you learn contentment. What Is Contentment? Contentment is learning to be happy in whatever situation you find yourself. Contentment is a mindset change. It involves . . .
When you hear 'budgeting' and 'fun' in the same sentence, you probably start shaking your head, sure that something's wrong. Budgeting and fun should never go together, right? Budgeting surely isn't fun, and budgeting for fun definitely ruins all the fun. Or not. While you may not think budgeting itself is fun, budgeting for fun definitely leads to less stress and more satisfaction. Budgeting . . .
Much of the United States depends on car loans to finance their vehicle purchases. According to credit rating agency Experian, over 80% of new cars and roughly 55% of used car purchases are financed. So if everybody's doing it, it must be smart, right? Taking out a Loan The obvious advantage of financing a car purchase is being able to get a nicer, newer car than you would have been able to . . .
Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are relatively new to the health insurance field. An HSA is a tax friendly savings account that is available to anyone who signs up for a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP), which must meet certain IRS requirements. Income Tax Benefits Unlike most retirement accounts, HSAs are double tax advantaged. Both your contributions and withdrawals to the HSA are tax exempt, . . .
Choosing to live debt free can be one of the most liberating choices you'll make, impacting far beyond your finances. A debt free life makes you flexible and resilient and frees you from lots of worry. Perhaps you've never been in debt before, or perhaps you've paid off all your debt. Or you might be currently paying off your debt, with the debt free life as your goal. Either way, having . . .
The deeper you go into the financial world, the more you hear about the credit score. Everybody wants you to want to know what your number is. The way people talk about it, your entire financial future is dependent on your score. Even John Oliver did a (surprisingly informative) episode on it. Maybe they've gotten to you and you now obsess about those three numbers, or maybe you just don't care. . . .
Warren Buffet once said that investing is simple, but not easy. He could have said the same about most of personal finance. Knowing what we should do with your money is often much easier than actually doing it. We know we should budget, but conveniently forget to make time to review our budget. We know we should save for retirement, but never get around to making our monthly investment. And that . . .