The Challenge of Defining Wealth

What do you consider wealth? The other day I was a guest panelist for a regional NPR call-in show dealing with personal finance problems. One topic for discussion was the different value people put on living within their means and saving money. It was interesting hearing how far apart different people’s views are on this […]


Another US Credit Downgrade Looming?

Remember back in August 2011 when Standard & Poor’s downgraded the US credit rating from Aaa to Aa+? Yeah, me too. S&P attributed it to: “The political brinksmanship of recent months highlights what we see as America’s governance and policymaking becoming less stable, less effective, and less predictable than what we previously believed.” And guess […]


Potluck: A Fiscal Attitude Worth Adopting

Though I live a fairly — ok, thoroughly — domestic life, I spend a lot of time as a guest or host. I have my weekly writer’s group; I have a monthly book group; I have a group of friends-with-kids who host raucous parties to which all of our children are invited; I have a […]


Barclays Bank Online Savings and CDs

Not quite a year ago, Barclays entered the online banking space. They launched an online savings account with a 1% APY as well as a series of CDs of varying terms with competitive rates. Since that time, they’ve held their savings rate steady and now find themselves near the top of the heap amongst the […]


What is Sequestration?

Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand, you’ve likely heard the term “sequestration” bandied about over the past few months, with increasing urgency in recent weeks. If you check out the linked graph of Google search traffic for that word “sequestration” over the past 12 months you’ll see just what I mean. So […]


Claiming the Home Office Tax Deduction

Do you claim the home office tax deduction? I don’t, even though I generate a significant amount of self-employment income out of our home. But lots of other people do. In fact, according to IRS statistics, nearly 3.4 million taxpayers claimed the home office deduction in 2010. As for me, I’ve avoided it because: (1) […]


Just How Tough is Today’s Economy?

My timing is terrible, but then, you can’t help when you’re born. I got out of college in the early 1980s, when the economy was struggling and jobs were hard to find. Things got better both for myself and the economy, and I spent much of the 1990s and early 2000s recruiting job candidates at […]


Wine Prices and Perception

Over the past week or so, I’ve discovered the joys of the Freakonomics podcast. I read and enjoyed the book Freakonomics shortly after it was released, but it took me years to discover the Freakonomics podcast. One of the beauties of this podcast is that not only do I enjoy it but my kids are […]


Marrying for Love and Money

With Valentine’s Day in the rearview mirror, I’m thinking about love. Love, and money. Robert Brokamp at Get Rich Slowly was part of my inspiration, with his sweet and personal take on his “relationship deal breakers.” (A brief summary: when he was 23, smoking; now, fiscal irreponsibility.) Though many of us reading this site are, […]


Poor Service Made Right

Not quite a month ago, I wrote about a poor customer service experience at the Golden Arches, and what a poor job they did in making it right. Today I’m writing about another negative experience at a different establishment and a manager that went above and beyond what was necessary to make things right. We […]