Personal Finance


Since the advent of the internet, global information is at our finger tips. In my research for finding a great discount brokerage firm, getting advice on debt elimination, how to live frugally, and which investments make sense for me, I’ve visited varios sources, websites, books and radio. Here are some of the most popular ‘go-to’s’ by category:

Eliminating Debt:

  • Dave Ramsey radio personality, book author
  • Suze Orman tv show host, book author

Personal Finance Blogs:

With elation, I must announce we are finally out of consumer debt!  No more credit card bills, no more car payments, no more personal loans or retail financing.

Last October, I listened to a series of CDs by John Cummuta. (I’ve written about debt elimination before).  By November, we were serious about finding our own accelerator margin and eliminating our debt. At that time, we owed close to $15,000 on credit cards and $7,000 on vehicle loans.

By September 1, 2008, we paid off $22,000 in 10 months. We attempted to pay off our debts the previous the year but kept falling back in to the buy now pay later trap. Looking back, the highest amount of debt we ever accumulated was in May 2007, over $20,000 in credit card debt and over $8,000 on our vehicles. With a steady accelerator margin we plugged away at it, month after month. We lived frugally, used coupons, sold items we no longer needed or used, took on second jobs, sold investments, and after all our hard work we can now proudly say we are consumer debt free! (more…)

As we move forward with our final portion of the overview of David Bach’s Smart Couples Finish book you can catch up on the previous to two posts here and here. Let’s continue on with steps 7-9.

Step 7: Build Your Dream Basket

This step is about saving for your dreams, not about earning more money, or setting goals or getting more organized. Here you will identify what your dreams really are. Do you want to have a vacation home? Take a trip of a lifetime? How will you afford to accomplish your dreams? A systematic investment approach is the best plan. (more…)

Let’s continue our discussion of the information found in David Bach’s second book, Smart Couples Finish Rich. In a previous post we went through the first three steps of Bach’s nine steps to creating a rich future for you and your partner. The first three covered evaluating your current financial situation, what your top 5 core values are and how these affected your financial goals, and established some basic financial truths.

Step 4: The Couple’s Latte Factor

This next step addresses a fundamental problem affecting every American household, the problem is not the income, it’s what you spend. Here we can “learn how anyone can become wealth on practically any income.” (more…)

I recently finished reading another personal finance book, Smart Couples Finish Rich 9 Steps to Creating a Rich Future for You and Your Partner, by David Bach. I felt this to be a very well-rounded finance book that focused on the relationships in your life and how this influences your views and use of money. I appreciate that he didn’t just tell you generic steps to get rich but addresses core values and motivations. By identifying your goals, you have a power in gaining control of your finances. Typically my book overviews are just that, a cliff notes version of the book. For more of a review and recommendation whether to buy or not see this post at the Simple Dollar. I’ll be breaking now my overview into three parts, addressing 3 of the steps in each post. So let’s get started and dig in. (more…)

Ever feel like you don’t know enough about your finances?  Not even enough to know what you’re missing? What questions you should be getting answers to? The following quiz will help you to evaluate your finance standing and knowledge. Couples should each take this quiz separately and then compare their answers to determine how accurate of a picture they have about their current financial situation.

True or False:

  • I know our current net worth (i.e. the values of the assets we have minus the liabilities we owe.)
  • I have a solid grasp of what our fixed monthly overhead is, including property taxes and all forms of insurance.
  • I know how my partner feels about our monthly overhead. We have discussed both the size and nature of our regular expenses and obligations, and are comfortable with them.
  • I know how much life insurance my partner and I carry.  I know exactly what the death benefits are, how much cash value there is in our policies (if any), and what rate the money is earning (if applicable). (more…)
  • If you begin to make more money or receive bonuses, act like don’t have it. Save any additional increases or bonuses. Doing this can directly lead to taking an early retirement.
  • Don’t view tax refunds or cash gifts as a way to get extra stuff. Sock it away.
  • Stop living as if the future doesn’t exist, stop living in the moment.
  • Drive your car for 10 years, get the full value of out it. Never buy a (new) car because you feel like it. If it’s not possible to buy a car out-right and must finance it, don’t take out a loan longer than 3 years. If you can’t make the 3 year monthly payments then you can’t afford it.
  • Deny yourself in the moment to have the real life you want in the future. (more…)

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