Personal Finance

“Like Warren, I had a considerable passion to get rich, not because I wanted Ferraris — I wanted the independence. I desperately wanted it.”

— Charlie Munger

If you are interested in personal finance, chances are that your goal is to eventually reach financial independence. The path to financial independence, for most people, is relatively long and winding. There will be inevitable setbacks along the way and there are really no shortcuts available. Unfortunately, financial illiteracy is rampant in the United States which brings about predictably poor results. But fortunately, this is not a complicated subject. Hopefully some of the articles below will help chart your course.

Early retirees are often misunderstood when it comes to their financial status. Being in a position to deal with "social debt" requires conservatism and a substantial financial reserve.
Early retirement is a dream for many Americans. In addition to saving aggressively and investing well, success depends on navigating pitfalls in the tax code.
Inflation is like kryptonite for bond investors. This article describes two fixed income investments that provide some inflation protection.
Treasury Inflation Protected Securities currently offer the potential for a positive inflation-adjusted return if used appropriately.
Many market observers seem to lack an understanding of the effect of rising interest rates on fixed maturity securities. This article explains the basic principles of bond investing.
If reading Benjamin Graham represents "vaccination" against speculation, then having a small “mad money” account could be a form of "variolation".
Financial independence enabling early retirement is a worthy goal, but there are important considerations that are often ignored by the FIRE movement.
Anchoring is a common mental heuristic, or short cut, that can be useful in many contexts but often proves very damaging when it comes to financial decisions.
Few investments are as boring as savings bonds but they can play an important part of a portfolio. This is especially true based on interest rate conditions in the early 2020s.
As an investor, are you making rational decisions when it comes to taxes? Too many investors let "the tax tail wag the investment dog."
The goal of financial independence is best viewed as a means to an end rather than an end in itself. Financial independence is achieved when cash flow exceeds spending needs.
Money cannot guarantee happiness but poverty caused by financial illiteracy will guarantee misery. Fortunately, financial literacy is not as complex as many seem to think.
When can you give up the security of a regular paycheck? This is the fundamental question that everyone must answer in the context of their own retirement.
Stocks can be a great way to build wealth over long periods of time, but in the short run anything can happen. Using a bond ladder can be a useful strategy for many investors.
A bicycle is an incredibly versatile vehicle and can actually replace a car for many people. This has the potential to create financial, health, and environmental benefits.
It can be complicated to navigate the Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare". This article provides some guidance on plan selection and available subsidies.
Moving is nobody's idea of fun, but it is an inevitable part of life. Being aware of available options can help save a substantial amount of money.
Financial independence is achievable for anyone earning a decent salary, but the choices that are necessary are highly unconventional and require a certain type of mindset.
Sometimes the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Many common consumer purchases are up for negotiation but most people never bother to ask. Cable service is a good example.
Hedonic adaption refers to the tendency of people to quickly get accustomed to new spending. More often than not, simply spending more money does not lead to happiness.
Owning an automobile is one of the largest discretionary expenses most people have. There are many ways to reduce the damage, up to and including getting rid of a car entirely.
No one can forecast what tax policy will be in the future, especially in the distant future. Holding assets in a Roth IRA can potentially hedge against higher tax rates down the road.
Catastrophic health insurance, when coupled with a health savings account, has the potential to reduce health care spending at the individual level as well as in society as a whole.
Grace Groner died at the age of 100 in 2010. She left $7 million to her alma matter. What was the source of her funds? She made a $180 investment in Abbott Labs in 1935.
The first Superman comic book sold for a record $1 million which represents a 25% compound rate of return over 72 years. The snowball effect can certainly apply to collectibles!
Home ownership has been a source of savings and wealth for generations of Americans but it is important to realize that renting can make more sense in many situations.
In the aftermath of the financial crisis, low mortgage rates represented one bright spot in an otherwise dismal housing market. Many were able to refinance at attractive rates.
Waiting until the last minute to file taxes is a mistake for those who expect to receive tax refunds. There is no reason to give the government an interest free loan!
Most New Year's resolutions are broken just a few days or weeks into the new year. However, there are some achievable resolutions that investors can easily stick to.
Extended warranties are very lucrative add-on products that many people opt for when buying a car. In most cases, such warranties are very bad deals for consumers. Caveat Emptor.
There are times when I Series United States savings bonds can be a good alternative for cash that investors are willing to lock up for at least one year.
Many consumers and investors have been badly burned by debt and avoid it like the plague. However, the tax code makes mortgage debt a potentially attractive hedge against inflation.
Are classic cars investments or a form of consumption? While hobbies such as classic car collecting are fun, they should not usually be mistaken with intelligent investment.
There is a difference between being smart with money and being cheap for poorly thought out reasons. False economies are a mirage that we should try hard to avoid.