So, how is your investing for the future coming along? What, you’re confused? I understand. Most of us are total novices. Unfortunately, what do we do? We let others make our decisions for us, thinking they are so much smarter because they are “professionals” or TV commentators.

Piggy Bank

Recently, I was drawn to a book that was simple to read, easy to understand and quite charming. In How a Second Grader Beats Wall Street: Golden Rules Any Investor Can Learn by Allan S. Roth, we follow the story of Kevin Roth, the author’s 8-year-old son, and discover exactly how simple it can be to become a successful investor.  Read more

It wasn’t our fault that a drunk driver plowed into our parked car in the middle of the night while we were on vacation more than 500 miles from home. No one was hurt; it could have been worse. Our loss was insured and we got just enough money to pay off the loan. We needed to replace that car anyway.

Modern Motor Sales Ltd

Some rights reserved by aldenjewell

To buy a new car would have required borrowing the down payment and taking on bigger monthly payments. We could have financed a used car with lower payments, but that was beneath what we thought we deserved. A better option—or so we thought— was to lease a new car with nothing down and lower payments than we’d been making.

Read more

We need to talk about this word “cheapskate.” It was in the original name of my newsletter, Cheapskate Monthly, and for the past eight years it’s appeared at the top of this column. Yet what the word means to me has come up only a couple of times, in the early days of the newsletter and in the very first column. So, I can’t really blame the reader who sent me a letter accusing me of being a hypocrite. I’m the one who took the bold move to redefine the word, a little something I may have failed to mention to her and to you.
House Of CardsIt all goes back to my life as a credit-card junkie. My house of cards finally collapsed after 12 years of outrageous spending. It wasn’t a pretty picture: over $100,000 of unsecured debt (and those were 1985 dollars). Read more

The longer I live, the more convinced I become that it’s not the amount of money a person has, but what he or she does with it that makes the difference between a life of joy or one of misery.

Man-Jumping

Years ago, a friend of mine won the New York State Lottery, with guaranteed annual checks of $200,000 for 10 years. Two million dollars seemed too good to be true. Tony was over the moon with joy because he knew his days of financial misery were over. He could pay off all of his debts, and buy the car he needed so badly for his young family and a new home, too. Just like that, he was a millionaire. And, boy, was he happy. He couldn’t write those checks fast enough. He bought a new car the following weekend, and they bought their dream home, as well. Read more

Today, there is a huge debate about whether exposure to plastic poses health risks. But there exists still an even bigger problem with a different kind of plastic exposure, already proven to be hazardous to our wealth. I’m talking about the kind of plastic we carry in our wallets.

Credit-Cards2

Convenience Factor. Most people begin their relationship with plastic on what I call terms of convenience. They have enough money in the bank to pay for groceries or gas, but it is just so much more convenient to swipe a card. And the monthly statement offers such a tidy record of transactions. It is so convenient.

Then comes the time when the bank balance is a bit low and the perfect shoes are on sale. Can’t pay the entire balance when the statement comes? Not to worry! Because of the minimum payment option, you can pay a small amount and buy yourself another 30 days. Such convenience. Read more