During a coffee break at the Boston Federal Reserve’s housing crisis conference, I answered my 23-year-old, unemployed, freshly engaged sister’s phone call. She and her (also young but at least employed) fiancé were shopping for homes near San Francisco, where housing prices start above half a million dollars, and wasn’t I so excited for her? Nope! In an effort to prevent her and other young buyers from becoming housing horror stories, here are three thoughts to consider before house shopping. Keep reading »
Tag Archives: personal finance
In finance, there’s a canon that everyone on Wall Street has read: Benjamin Graham, Adam Smith, and Robert Schiller. But no canon exists for personal finance. In fact, most personal finance books are a frustrating waste of time and money. From Suze Orman’s factually incorrect information to Jim Cramer’s super-caffeinated hysteria, it’s a sad field that puts consumers who take such advice, likely already vulnerable if seeking help, at risk. But, despite all the garbage, there are some stellar resources and I am going to direct you to them. Keep reading »
In the latest episode of “Therapy For Your Pocketbook,” Suzie, a young professional, gets seduced by the lure of “15 percent off” that comes with opening a new store credit card. Finance Expert Manisha Thakor urges her to be responsible and warns if her credit score gets damaged, she may wind up with the same car payment for her KIA that her friend gets for her BMW! [Therapy For Your Pocketbook] Keep reading »
I recently married and bought a home. During this same time, I was laid off from my job and my husband’s income decreased drastically. We ended up moving in with my in-laws while we used all of our money to fix up the house. All of my girlfriends were in my wedding. I embraced their financial limitations, and made the most of it. If a girl couldn’t afford her dress, I offered to pay (at the time I was making significantly more than any of them). I looked past the fact no one threw me a bridal shower or bachelorette party. In the end, they only spent around $200 — for their dress. Now I am invited to countless birthday parties, nights out, and social events. I am having to decline most of these “social obligations” to sacrifice for my house. My friends are not taking this kindly; they are rude when I cancel most of the time. I feel that a caring friend would understand my situation and accommodate my friendship needs. As in, rented movies in, cook-outs at home, etc. What do I do if I cannot meet their financial expectations? — Lucky in Love But Not Money
One of my favorite coats is a gorgeous knee-length number that coordinates with almost anything. The best thing about this coat is that I paid the criminal price of $10 for it. I found it on a clearance rack. It was the only coat of its kind and happened to be in my size; our relationship was obviously meant to be. It lacked a price tag, however, and I was scared this meant it would be expensive. When I asked the cost, the manager pulled a jacket of lesser quality from the same rack and said she’d give me my coat for the same insanely low price. Delighted, I showed her where the coat was missing a button, thinking she would have a suggestion for replacing it. Instead she shrugged and offered to knock off an additional 10 percent. I couldn’t hand over my debit card fast enough, and when I got home? The missing button was tucked in the pocket.
As adorable as the coat is, the amazing bargain makes me love it more. While my steal was more the result of a tired manager than my intense negotiating skills, it definitely whet my appetite for wheeling a good deal. Knowing how to ask for one can be intimidating, though. Jim Camp, negotiation skills trainer and coach, and author of Start with No, offered this advice for the negotiating novice. Keep reading »
“Don’t you have a daddy?” the professor sitting across from me asked. I smiled a little. Was he was joking? Or hitting on me? Nope, he was serious and thought my father was paying for my legal education. Though I’ve been independent for years, my law school’s financial aid office had a similar attitude, telling me “ … most students have relatives helping them … ” After a JD, MBA and a third master’s, I’ve found there’s significant latent knowledge about financing grad school, but no one to fill you in. Here’s how it goes … Keep reading »
When I was 27, I finally took my head out of the sand and did what I had been dreading for months. I added up the balances of my credit cards and discovered that they had skyrocketed to over $15,000! By looking at the statements separately, I had tricked myself into believing my debt was much less. I was blindly writing checks each month, just enough to pay the minimum required. Every time I opened the mailbox, I felt a little queasy. Keep reading »
In the latest episode of “Therapy For Your Pocketbook,” Diane, an entrepreneur, splurges a bit on her new business, but — $200 for a cappuccino maker?! Finance Expert Manisha Thakor suggests a formula when buying: break down your yearly income into an hourly wage to determine how much “time” each purchase will cost you. Suddenly that cappuccino maker isn’t looking so hot. [Therapy For Your Pocketbook]
If you’re anything like me, when someone brings up retirement savings, investing, or your 401(k) match at a cocktail party, your eyes immediately glaze over and all you hear is the “wonk wonk” of the adults from a Charlie Brown special. Inside my head is the flashing red light and loud voice signaling “Danger. Danger. You are engaging in a discussion of a topic you know nothing about. Abort conversation to avoid massive embarrassment.”
But the truth is that investing and retirement accounts are something worth knowing about. Even a financial neophyte like me knows that if you start socking away for retirement early in your career you have a huge advantage. In this case, time really is money.
So, we interviewed financial blogger phenomenon and author of Your Money: The Missing Manual, J.D. Roth, for the Cliff’s Notes of Retirement 101. He gave us almost enough to get you through a cocktail and conversation with a financial planner without faking it. Keep reading »