The 7 Personal Finance Articles We Loved This Week

Something I’ve mentioned a lot before here on TFD is that when I was younger, I thought thinking about money was reserved for other people — not me. Investing was for older men in suits, not a 22-year-old aspiring writer who’d never had a budget spreadsheet, let alone a stock portfolio. I always imagined Future Holly as someone who could afford a cozy apartment filled with nice things, but I never thought about the path I’d have to take to actually become that person.

I also bought into the myth that talking and caring about money makes you somehow boring, or vapid, or self-centered. Now, of course, I understand that it’s one of the most valuable tools you can give yourself. I wish our cultural norms didn’t assume “creative” and “financially secure” to be mutually exclusive characteristics people could have, especially because I now know that’s far from the truth.

There are so many of these cultural myths surrounding money, so I really loved that ESI included this piece from Optimize Your Retirement in his roundup this week, especially this excerpt:

Saving money shouldn’t be considered a sacrifice and deprivation. This is a common misconception that people have about cutting spending: that it’s a sacrifice. It’s not a sacrifice as much as it’s a well-planned decision to improve your life. And this is where the social memes come in.

Society puts the desire for things in your mind if you’re not careful. Then you think that you’ll be happy if you buy a new gadget or bigger house. Society says you worked hard and now you deserve to spend that money. That’s the entire job of Advertising Execs: to make you want and then buy things. What the things are doesn’t really matter; they’ll always change.

Be sure to check out the full post, as well as the rest of this week’s great picks!

1. Why The Best ROI On College May Be For Those Who Would Have Been Successful Anyway – Kitces

“College is a good investment for good students, a mediocre investment for mediocre students, and a bad investment for bad students, who are especially prone to paying for some of college and then not even finishing (incurring the cost/debt but not even getting the signaling benefit of the degree). Beyond that, only the best students should pursue a Master’s degree, field of study does matter, college prestige has a potentially surprisingly small impact, and the best investments are generally found at the top public university where an individual is eligible for in-state tuition.”

2. What Killed Meriwether Lewis? 5 Lessons from America’s Greatest Explorer – Fiintrovert

“What lessons can we learn from the tragic death of a man of such accomplishment and promise?”

3. The $121,500 Guestroom – Humble Dollar

“One of the classic financial mistakes that people make (including me, apparently) is spending too much money, including buying too expensive a car and too large a house. Sometimes, something as simple as wanting a guestroom can lead to unintended and expensive consequences. If we didn’t have a guest room, I would probably have an extra $121,500, a school year’s worth of food — and I wouldn’t be driving a ‘manny van.'”

4. You’ll Never be Able to Retire! And Other Cultural Myths – Optimize Your Retirement

“I’m calling bull$hit on these ever-increasing-in-popularity social memes that are sold by corporations and governments alike.”

5. When Is Energy Efficiency Worth the Investment? – Joe’s Github Blog

“Should you buy LED bulbs? What about replacing an old vehicle with a more fuel-efficient vehicle? When exactly is an energy efficient upgrade worth the investment? While part of these questions has environmental and safety considerations — making the answer a definite ‘it depends’ — the financial aspects are a little more straight-forward. Essentially the answer is ‘yes’ if the item — LED bulbs, a car, or what have you — pays for itself in a certain time frame.”

6. How to Build Your Opportunity Fund – Retire By 40

“The opportunity fund is basically the money you set aside to take advantage of opportunities. Once in a while, you’ll come across a good opportunity and you need money to take advantage of it. But where does the opportunity fund sit in your portfolio? Should it be in cash or something else?”

7. Funding Retirement with the Bucket Approach – The Financial Journey Man

“The buckets approach is slightly more complex than a systematic drawdown strategy.  The main benefit is that it helps to keep the mind of the investor more at ease during all market conditions.  If managed correctly, the theory is that an investor will always feel secure because they always have two to five years of cash to fund the next few years of expenses.”

Image via Unsplash

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