I adopted several old-school money tricks that I picked up from my grandparents who lived through the Great Depression as well as from personal finance books. The old-fashioned way to getting rich still works today.
I used to get a sick feeling when I heard the phone ring because I knew it was a bill collector. But answering the call and bargaining with a bill collector was the best thing I could have done for my financial future.
Different generations have radically different ideas about whether or not to leave an inheritance. As Gen Xers, it's challenging to figure out how much to spend on children now and how much to leave for an inheritance.
Now that I know my bank might freeze my debit card when I travel to other states, I make sure to carry cash and an extra credit card. I educated myself on what triggers my bank to suspend my account for suspicious activity.
Now that the housing market appears to have stabilized, we may be missing our only chance to break even on our home purchase. Short of a dramatic run-up in value, it may take more than a decade for our home value to return.
Even though members of my Generation X have the most overall debt, new reports from the Census Bureau show our credit card debt is shrinking. It's the grandparents who are accumulating the most consumer debt.
I'm glad I didn't wait to see if mortgage rates would go any lower when refinancing for a second time. Even though we didn't get the lowest historic rate, we are glad we refinanced to a 15-year mortgage at 2.75 percent.
Eager new home buyers are creating such a demand for housing that some builders have brought back the lottery system. Even though we won the lottery drawing for a chance to buy a new home, we felt like losers after the bubble burst.
Until I became educated about Social Security, I planned to retire early. Now I can see the financial benefits of waiting until I'm 70 to retire. Generation X may learn from the mistakes of baby boomers who retired too soon.
I was able to break my credit card addiction by going cold turkey. How 4 simple financial rules helped me overcome my credit card dependence. I got out of $50,000 worth of debt and stayed debt free for a decade.
Experts still can't figure out how to define the middle class, but everyone knows it's easy to fake it in the middle class by using credit cards. Why I decided to give up an upper middle-class lifestyle.
I'm wondering whether the values of homes in my Florida neighborhood will ever recover. Although prices of homes seem to be going up around the country, a shadow inventory of foreclosures is dragging my property value down.
I used a cash flow personal finance calculator so I could master the art of cash flow forecasting. Learning to manage our cash flow is helping us to prepare for the future while enjoying our lives in the present.
Instead of waiting until the boss axes my job, I'm preparing ahead of time in case of a job layoff. How I get prep my finances for a personal financial crisis so I can avoid taking unemployment benefits and going bankrupt.
I was able to double my net worth during the first two years of the economic recovery, while 93 percent of Americans lost 4 percent of their net worth. How I came out ahead by paying down debt and investing in stocks.
Investing in individuals stocks has become a lot like gambling. I am opting for index funds for my retirement fund in a time when experts give mixed messages about how to avoid the train wreck that is the American retirement.
I plan to live on Social Security alone so that I will have more money to give my children and grandchildren when I'm older. I also want to hedge my bets in case I'm forced to live on less due to a global economic crisis.
Experts say I'm stupid for paying down my mortgage with an interest rate of just 2.75 percent, but I don't care that it's no longer cool. I have a plan to save $250,000 after paying off my mortgage at 50.
After using a calculator to determine whether my home was a good investment, I found out I would have came out further ahead by investing in stocks or bonds. I no longer view my house as an investment, but a money pit.
Marketers are using a data base of information so they can understand how to reach consumers. I found I don't fit into any of their clusters or categories such as "City Mixers," and " Apple Pie Families."
With the rising costs of healthcare, my husband and I have had to make tough financial decisions. We increased the amount we put into our health savings account to the detriment of our retirement savings.
My home is the largest piece of my retirement puzzle as I try to figure out how to retire comfortably. My plan is to pay off my home at least 10 years before I retire so that I increase my cash flow in retirement.
I was able to go from having a horrible credit score to a nearly perfect one after getting out of debt at age 30. I had to build my credit history by being smart about my credit instead of shunning all credit.
After making it through the housing crash, my husband and I are glad we bought less house than we could afford. We asked ourselves several key questions to determine whether we could truly afford our house.
Even if we are headed to another stock market crash, I'm investing in stocks for the long term. I am excited that the stock market has reached all-time highs because it could signal the start of a secular bull market.
A new Duke University study shows billionaires are some of the smartest people. However, I think it doesn't take any brainpower to become rich. The secret is to hire people and get advice from people who are smarter.
As a Gen-Xer, I don't mind asking retired baby boomers and the wealthy to do their part. While baby boomers may be howling about aspects of President Obama's proposed budget, I'm in favor of the Buffet Rule.
Contrary to a report by the Government Accountability Office, it was not too confusing to rollover my money from a 401(k) plan to an IRA. I didn't feel misled by my discount brokerage firm that charges me very little to trade.
Recent studies show that retail therapy is a legitimate way to relieve stress and find happiness. By following a budget and shopping by myself, I'm able to relieve depression by shopping. Shopping also saves me money in other ways.
Poor people are more likely to spend during economic hard times. I frantically saved during the Great Recession as a fear response, but a new research study shows some people spend when times are tough.
Instead of arguing about how much money we should be saving for emergencies, my husband and I used a personal finance calculator. We decided to pick a savings target range so we can have enough saved within 5 years.
A new study shows a lot of women are afraid of a 'bag lady' future. I am making key financial choices that gives me financial security in a time when I can't count on Social Security and the job market.
We don't always agree with how our parents handle money, but until they have dementia, we plan to keep out of it. It's frustrating to watch elderly parents make mistakes with their money, but we learn from their missteps.
With a shortage of housing inventory, some Realtors are knocking on doors asking if home buyers wish to sell. Now that the value of our home is going back up, I'd consider selling it to the right buyer.
I may be part of the walking dead by being a full-time employee, but I'm not going to quit my job out of fear or on a whim. I don't agree that temp employees or freelancers can replace many of us working with full-time gigs.
New federal rules are supposed to make it easier to know how much 401(k) plan providers are charging in fees, but it's difficult to figure out. A new study shows some workers can lose as much as $100,000 in fees.
Many of the Zombie foreclosures in my neighborhood are being eradicated as banks move to fix up and sell homes again. Meanwhile, many of our neighbors are no longer underwater on their mortgages as home values increase.
I made all the wrong financial moves in my 30s that sabotaged my retirement nest egg. However, in my 40s, I'm planning to make up for foolish decisions and diversify my investments so I can retire with confidence.
If I could do it all over, I would have put nothing in my retirement accounts in my 30s. Instead, I'd pay off my home and save money for other financial priorities that actually matter to me in my 40s.
Even though I'm not 50 yet, I'm already starting to plan for the fact that I may be jobless at that critical stage of my life. Experts are saying workers over 50 are the new unemployables, which means I need to save more now.
I have had to spend more money on groceries because the face value of coupons is decreasing. Since the recession ended, companies are getting stingier with their discounts. I may just need to improve my grocery IQ.
Being a part of the "Sandwich Generation" isn't about having late-night snacks as much as it's about juggling the financial responsibilities of having aging parents and young adult children who return to the nest.
Statistically, I'm more likely to end up poor compared to the average man. However, I'm taking steps now to ensure I have enough money when I'm older. A new study explains why women are more likely to end up poor.
I'm inspired by Strike Debt's recent random act of kindness to forgive $1 million of random people's debt. I think Occupy Wall Street's offshoot group has found a positive way to make a real difference.
I have more empathy for people who are living on minimum wage after taking the "Spent" challenge, an online game that gives players just $1,000 for the month. I went broke after 26 days by making a lot of sacrifices.
Housing values may be increasing, but it turns out most young adults are not participating in the new housing boom because of student loan debt. I'm still hoping my children can buy their first homes in their 20s.
I'm no longer living in the shadow of the recession, but I haven't given up my frugal ways. I have found small and painless ways to tweak my budget and save money without triggering spending rebellion.
I wouldn't trade my smaller home for a mansion because I love feeling closer to my family in our cozy Florida house. We won't have to downsize when it's time to retire because we picked the right size from the start.
I dreamed of buying a home in my 20s, but was denied because of my poor credit score. I repaired my credit score in four years so I could purchase my first home. Now I have achieved a nearly perfect score.
Experts say we are back to pre-recession levels in terms of our household wealth. Even though my net worth is up, I'm not confident enough to go back to reckless spending. And I don't trust the stock market.
A new finance study shows half of adult children think their parents made no mistakes when it came to their finances. Why I'm open with my young adult children about my personal finances, even the rocky periods.
Just because we are making 6 figures doesn't mean we can afford lava rock showers in Fiji. We aren't getting rich on a $100,000 household income because of the diminished purchasing power of our money.
Since I'm more of a spender, it took a long time for me to adjust to the frugal lifestyle. However, living in a penny-pinching family has motivated me to think about what I really need instead of want.
I hate the paternalistic attitude of economists who think we need to force Americans into saving for their retirement. I want the freedom to live in the moment if I choose, although I am motivated by positive peer pressure to save.
Even though the U.S. didn't make the top 10 places to retire in the world, I plan to retire in America in another 30 years. I will avoid my own retirement crisis by saving for retirement and not depending on a Social Security safety net.
While baby boomers might enjoy retiring to a college town, I am not lured by the idea of being the buzz kill. Why I plan to retire in place in my Florida home, but will avoid the 55-and older communities.
After seeing how the baby boomers messed up their retirement, I have specific advice for my children about how they can make it in today's economy. My children can't depend on the dried up Social Security system.
With many food companies trying to trick consumers into eating more and spending more, I have decided to invest in organic foods. By growing my own produce and cooking at home, I'm saving money without gaining weight.
Young Americans are escaping the stereotype of being part of "Generation Debt," by paying off their credit card balances. A new study shows people under 35 reduced their debt by almost 30 percent in recent years.
When the company I work for announced furlough days, I knew I'd be adjusting my budget to deal with unpredictable income this year. How I've learned to be flexible with my budget so I can deal with pay cuts.
We got rid of our newlywed debt in one year as we waited for our new construction Florida home to be built. How we got rid of debt while saving for a down payment on our first home as a married couple.
I actually miss being underwater on my mortgage because it motivated me to pay down my mortgage debt as quickly as possible. Now that I have equity in my home, I am trying to stick to my original plan to be free of a mortgage in my 40s.
I had to decide whether to take a lump sum distribution or wait it out another 25 years to receive a pension after the company I worked for decided to sell. Why I decided to roll over my old pension into a Roth IRA.
I decided to increase my savings rate after gauging the future value of my retirement nest egg. By using retirement calculators, I was able to make an educated guess as far as how much money I'll have for retirement.
Instead of using our refinance savings for a trip or to pay down credit card debt, we are putting the money back into our home. We are building equity faster by paying the same amount of money we always paid toward our mortgage.
Instead of counting on the stock market to grow my retirement accounts, I'm reducing my expenses so I will have better cash flow in retirement. How I'm reducing and eliminating debt so that I can retire on time with no worries.
I think President Barack Obama is on the right track by asking Congress to raise minimum wage to $9 an hour, but it should be raised to $10 an hour within a year. Raising minimum wage will help businesses as well as workers.
I had fun using a marriage bonus and penalty calculator to figure out how much more money I could make without having to pay a "marriage penalty." Why I don't plan to let the IRS tax code affect my career and marriage decisions.
I am not upset about the prospect of no Saturday mail since I often forget to check the mailbox on Saturdays. However, no Saturday mail will affect the finances of some of the older members of our extended family.
A new report shows that 401(k) balances have hit a new high, but I know it's just a temporary situation before the market "corrects." How I plan to retire comfortably without increasing my 401(k) contributions.
After hearing about the proposed spending cuts detailed by the White House, I realized I need to do more to volunteer. I think spending cuts are necessary to get out of national debt, but people need to fill in the gaps.
I debated with myself and my family about how to channel a small tax refund. We had to figure out whether to use our tax refund to pay down debt, save for emergencies or spend on an Australian adventure.
Some financial experts say home prices are the barometer of personal wealth, but I have not felt that way since the housing bubble. Even though the value of my home is starting to recover, I don't feel the wealth effect.
In order to make financial plans for my beachfront property in retirement, I had to figure out the future value of my home. How I found a reliable estimate for how my house might appreciate in the next 30 years.
Even though I'd love to retire early, I've learned the sheer idiocy of making that move by observing the oldest of the baby boomers. Generation X may have even greater financial challenges in retirement.
I learned a major financial lesson after Blizzard Nemo blew away my $500 in cash for travel to New York. I plan to build up a better emergency account to cover catastrophic weather events and surprise trips.
I don't have a crystal ball to figure out how much money I'll have in the future, but I can use financial calculators and charts to estimate my future net worth. How I plan to reach a net worth of $1 million in 20 years.
One of the latest trends in the workplace is a share-all approach that allows an employee to know another employee's salary and performance review. Has transparency and "collaboration" in the workplace gone too far?
Are we a nation of deadbeats who have walked away from billions of dollars in debt? Why I think the younger generation is struggling with role models from the me-generation or original generation debt.
I never thought I would be completely out of debt before the age of 50, but refinancing is helping us pay off our house in our 40s. Because I refinanced, I can quit my job in my 40s because we will have no mortgage payment.
As a homeowner who bought my house during the housing bubble, it annoys me when experts say housing values are rising too rapidly. Most of us still have not seen our homes appreciate since the housing bust.
New research shows the connection between credit card debt and depression. I have changed my thinking about good debt versus bad debt now that I know long-term debt won't have the same psychological effect.
New research overturns past studies that show a person reaches optimal happiness at $75,000 a year. I find money does bring me happiness, but only if I spend it on experiences and people rather than things.
A new tool by Merrill Edge allowed me to see what I will look like in the future so I could identify more with my future self. How getting in touch with my future self motivated me to save more and spend less.
I was too casual about buying my current house because of the housing boom. Now I know all about the different financial traps of being a homeowner, especially after buying at during a seller's market.
My plan for creating a ladder of different retirement and other savings vehicles that I can access starting at age 50. Why I may be able to retire as early as wealthy CEOS in the news who may be experiencing midlife professional burnout.
Younger generations including Gen-X and Gen-Y will have to pick up the pieces as older Americans run up credit cards and do nothing about the rising national debt. A new study shows Baby Boomers are hitting their own debt ceilings.
How I went from living on credit cards only to living on cash only. After getting out of credit debt at age 30, I've spent the last 10 years following several key rules so that I wouldn't need to depend on credit ever again.
I like to be entertained by personal finance experts and television personalities, but I don't take their advice. At times, I think they overstep their bounds by giving people inappropriate and sometimes foolish advice.
A new study show one in four workers raid their retirement accounts for non-retirement needs such as paying their credit cards and mortgages. How I resist the temptation to take money out of my 401(k).
If I could turn back the hands of time, I'd save cash instead of investing in stocks when I was in my 20s. After living through the dot.com bubble and the housing bubble, I wish I had a boat load of cash.
When I look back, I realize I made several key financial moves as a teenager that helped lay the foundation for my future. Now, I'm helping my own teenagers learn financial responsibility in the aftermath of the Great Recession.
I've noticed teenagers in my community are finally getting jobs. The fact that fast-food chains are cutting worker hours due to health care costs has a huge upside for students who want to work part-time while going to school.
A new survey of investors on peer comparison shows not everyone is motivated to save more just to keep up with the Joneses. Why I am using the so-called "compare me" financial tool to figure out how much I should save and spend.
Even though new bans on risky home mortgages are intended to protect some people, the bans could also hurt others. Why I think federal regulators should only educate rather than limit the different financing options such as interest-only loans.
Even though we are going to be more frugal after the payroll tax hike, I don't like to use the word "austerity." We will have less money for discretionary spending, but we are still fortunate to be living the American Dream.
Our home appraised at the high end, even though the high end is $53,000 less than we originally paid during the housing bubble. How I was able to boost the value of my home so I wouldn't have to pay PMI for a refinance.
I lost my pension after working for a company for less than 1 year. Since then, I had to max out a Roth IRA and contribute to a 401(k) so I could make it in retirement. Meanwhile, one of my close friends is counting on a pension check every month.
How we went from having negative net worth to a positive net worth of more than $150,000. Although the recession hit us hard with several pay cuts, we managed to stay out of debt and build up equity in our home.
Even though I had hear horror stories of people having to go through the refinance process multiple times, we were able to close on our refinance in less than 30 days. We landed a 2.75 percent interest rate on a 15-year loan.
I would be more excited about the IRS increasing the contribution limits to the various retirement accounts if I had more money to save. With the end of the "tax holiday," I won't have the extra money I need to save for retirement.
Financial experts claimed the new normal would be pathetic returns on stock market investments. However, as a Generation X investor who has another 25 years to go before retirement, I reluctantly choose stocks.
I'm not sure if we are entering a new recession, but I don't plan to ring up any new debt in the New Year. How I'm slashing my household debt like many Americans. Household debt has fallen to the lowest level in 29 years.
Spoiled by a free refinance two years ago, I was surprised by what a headache it is to refinance. We are spending more than $3,000 to refinance our home to a 2.75 percent interest rate, but it will be worth it.
I still believe in The Latte Factor, even though some financial experts say we have all been duped by such self-help personal finance advice. Why I choose to live below my means now so I can avoid the personal finance mistakes of baby boomers.
Experts predict the cost of cars, certain foods and electronics will rise in 2013. I'm making changes to my budget now so that I can manage higher prices when it comes to shipping, health care, beer and various other things.
Even though I made more money as an independent contractor, I discovered many financial advantages of having a full-time job that will help me become wealthy. I put off several key money moves until after I started a full-time job.
I looked back at what I was paying for my mortgage 10 years ago when my interest rate was at 7 percent. How refinancing at 2.75 percent is reducing my finance charges by $100,000 compared to my first loan.
Housing predictions for 2013 spooked me into refinancing. For me, it still doesn't seem to be a good time to sell or a good time to buy. My best option is to hunker down and take advantage of the lowest mortgage rates in history.
Instead of depending on a cost-of-living adjustment to my Social Security, I hope to be financially independent in retirement. I'm overcoming 3 bad financial habits now so I can retire more comfortably.
I keep out of credit card debt by being a defensive shopper who notices the tricks retailers employ to tempt me to overspend. By spending as little time as possible in a store, I find it easier to buy only what's on my list.
Despite the warnings of some financial experts, I'm not going out of my way to save for retirement. I don't feel as though I'm suffering from middle-class retirement delusion by saving less than 20 percent of my income.
Even though I can't control what lawmakers do about tax policies and the "payroll tax holiday," I can adjust our budget to offset higher income taxes. How we plan to deal with an anticipated $3,000 annual tax hike.
Blame it on the fiscal cliff, but I started to feel as though it was urgent to refinance my mortgage. Why I decided to lock in a loan at a 2.75 percent rate by choosing to wait or pick a different term.
If I could turn back time, I'd spend less money on things I didn't need so I could avoid paying the price in terms of interest charges and other fees. I paid a price for failing to follow a spending and savings plan.
Instead of following the traditional financial advice to "pay yourself first," I found it works better if I pay myself last. Why I pay all of my bills first and make my purchases before setting money aside for retirement.
When it comes to living in the suburbs, I can think of four major financial benefits. Even though I have lived in several different cities and towns through the years, I choose to retire in place in my Florida subdivision.
Experts say more consumers are buying homes like their Greatest Generation grandparents after emerging from one of the worst housing markets since the Great Depression. Why I should buy a home like my grandparent's home.
Because it's nearly impossible for us to anticipate all of the unexpected expenses in the new year, my husband and I plan to put aside 10 percent for surprise costs. How unexpected expenses can skew our financial planning.
I am skeptical about the fact that the mortgage deduction is really helping the middle class. According to data from the IRS, only a quarter of taxpayers take the deduction. In most cases, it's the rich who benefit.
I'm planning to avoid the vicious debt cycle by having a financial buddy keep me accountable to my no-overspending plan for the new year. Paying off my debt won't be enough unless I avoid new debt in the new year.
If living the middle-class lifestyle means I go on expensive family vacations, neglect my retirement savings and rent a house, I may choose a different path. Why I rather continue to live below my means even as my income rises.
A new study shows that women who receive group counseling to treat their intense fear of childbirth are less likely to opt for a c-section. How I overcame my fear of giving birth with the help of a midwife and therapy.