We keep twelve months of expenses as an emergency fund and I’ve often been asked – “what do you do with the money?” The answer: nothing. It has to be 100% safe and 99.999% liquid in case of emergencies so I don’t do anything foolish like stick it in the stock market When I say […]
Whether you know it or not, you have a financial system.
If you didn't sit down and explicitly design it, it may be a little messy. It may have accounts you no longer need, credit cards you stopped using, and other relics you need to clean up.
It may not have some features you'd otherwise want but just haven't gotten around to because life has a funny way of getting in the way.
This category focuses on the big picture systems you put into place to make the rest of your life easier.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act grants you the right to get a copy of your consumer credit report every year, absolutely free. I can’t even imagine what it was like before the FCRA gave everyone that right. If someone’s going to collect data about you and make credit decisions based on that information, you should […]
My father is originally from Taiwan and smoked cigarettes like his brothers, his father, and nearly every adult male he knew. Back in those days, no one knew that smoking could cause lung cancer… so kept smoking. Then he had kids. Those kids grew up and we grew up in an era where we knew […]
When I was in elementary school, I remember watching a fire safety video. The video told us, all of eight years old at the time, that we needed a fire escape plan. Come up with a fire safety plan kid, or you’ll die kid. Heavy stuff. You needed to know what happens during a fire, […]
In 1984, an ice cream truck driver appeared on the show Press Your Luck and proceeded to win $110,237 in cash and prizes. For those too young to remember the show, contestants answered questions to win “spins.” For a spin, lights would flash around a board and the contestant would hit a button to stop […]
There are a lot of tools out there to help you track your finances. Most arrived after I started working (I never got into Quicken) and after I started tracking our net worth, so they are useful but they aren’t my “core system.” For that, we use an old fashioned spreadsheet. 🙂 Our Net Worth […]
We have two Master documents that outline our finances – Net Worth Spreadsheet and the Money Field Manual. The Net Worth Spreadsheet is a Microsoft Excel document that calculates our net worth. It is a monthly accounting of all of our financial accounts (banking, investments, … anything with a number) and excludes credit cards. It […]
The first credit card I ever got was an AT&T Universal Card because someone had a table outside Doherty Hall at Carnegie Mellon University, my alma mater. I may have gotten a t-shirt out of it too. The biggest appeal of the card? The fact that I could get one as a freshman with no […]
Emergencies suck. I lost my first car, an Acura Integra, in an accident while making a dedicated left turn. A red Dodge Durango blew through her red light and totaled my little silver Integra. Front quarter panel and passenger door were smashed in, the wheel was bent, the axle was bent, both air bags deployed, […]
At one point, I once had over a dozen checking accounts. I was doing reviews for my previous personal finance blog and since opening a checking account didn’t hurt anything, I kept opening them and reviewing them. After a few years, I had a dozen checking accounts. I’d have ten bucks here, twenty bucks there, […]