Thinking Money Over the Holidays

The PBS documentary Thinking Money: The Psychology Behind Our Best and Worst Financial Decisions probably won’t take root as a holiday tradition like gathering the family round to watch It’s a Wonderful Life. But it’s sure to be a worthwhile reprieve from binge-watching A Christmas Story and other holiday TV classics. For more information on when Thinking Money is airing and to watch short clips from the show, check out this website. >> Discussion: What would you do with a …

Two and a Half Inflation Myths

Inflation lately has been pretty tame. Still, the possibility that it could raise its ugly head again, eating away at our spending power and standard of living, is always in the back of our minds. That’s why it’s important to understand inflation to better protect ourselves from its potential impact. Knowing these myths about inflation is a good place to start. Myth one: Inflation is easy to predict. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) measures inflation and reports consumer …

Take a Bite Out of Record-High Meat Prices

Have you noticed how more and more of your grocery budget is spent on meat these days? If so, you’re not alone, and for good reason: Meat prices are rising faster than any other food group, with the price of beef, pork, poultry and fish all recently reaching record highs. The price of ground beef, for example, is up more than 75 percent in just the past five years. That’s enough to give a cheapskate like me a grocery shopping …

How to Be Really Rich With Less Money

Most people define their net worth in dollars. As a financial planner, I define net worth in time. Allow me to explain. When I ask people to tell me what money means to them, I hear words like freedom, security and independence. Money, and having enough of it, allows us to do whatever it is that makes us happy. Reframing wealth as time turns some millionaires into paupers, and it makes those with $250,000 in 401(k) savings into the very …

Cheapskate Answers to Your Money Questions

When you write about personal finance for a living, lots of folks ask for your advice about their own money issues and problems. That places me in a difficult position because, while I’d like to help, in many cases there are just too many variables when it comes to offering good financial advice to people I barely know. And then there’s the “How dare you!” factor. That’s especially common when you primarily give advice about the spending side of people’s finances, …

Want to Buy Happiness? Indulge in an Experience

Want to buy happiness? Then spend your money on an experience, like concert tickets or a trip to the U.S. Open, instead of buying new clothes or a big-screen TV. New research from Cornell University finds that using your money to do something makes you happier than purchasing material goods. In fact, just thinking about making vacation plans or going to the symphony raises your level of happiness more than anticipating a purchase like furniture or a computer. What if …