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How to Buy a Used Car

We’re in the market for another vehicle in our family and, though it hasn’t always been the case, it will almost surely be a used one. I confess we’ve bought our share of new vehicles over the years, back when we had more money than time, and before I knew better. And that wasn’t a …

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Why I Don’t Fret About Taxes

On either side of the aisle these days, it’s not politically correct to be ambivalent about taxes. If you lean to the left, you’re supposed to feel the tax code should be more progressive, that taxes should be higher on the wealthy and on corporations. And if you lean to the right, you’re supposed to …

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Retirement Savings Vehicles: What Do You Drive?

A primary rule of retiring earlier is to “live below your means” — spend less than you take in. An unavoidable conclusion is that you’ll have money left over. So what do you do with that? Where do you put it? The first, second, and third thing to know about saving is just do it. …

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Luxury or Essential?

It’s safe to say that most of us in line to become financially independent or retire early do not lead lives of luxury. For example, I shave with bar soap, buy socks at Walmart, don’t pay for cable, and still don’t own a Smartphone. I’m just a life-long cheapskate who’s been privileged to splurge in …

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8 Tips for Saving Big and Retiring Earlier

A key aspect of financial independence and retiring early is controlling your expenses. While developing your career to earn more gives you powerful leverage over the retirement equation, saving more is a simple strategy that you can apply every day. Living cheaply is easy once you get in the habit. But it does require some …

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Choosing a Compact RV or Camper for Retirement Travel

An article I posted a while back about our solution for cheap retirement travel — a small RV — continues to receive a lot of traffic…. Nearly 10% of U.S. households own an RV of some sort, and the number is rising. Of households that don’t own an RV, almost 15% express some interest in …

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Larceny and Road Kill: Self-Insuring Revisited

It’s only human to form opinions based on experience. But reality often conspires to modify our views. When things don’t go as expected, I find it’s best to study what went wrong, refine your thinking, and keep moving ahead. I recently re-learned that lesson.… We just completed a 6-week, 5,000-mile road trip from the Southeast …

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What is Your Personal Rate of Inflation?

Inflation is often seen as the termite of the financial world. Gnawing away at your assets over long periods of time, it’s an insidious threat. Hard to detect over short time frames, it can seriously damage your assets over the long term, robbing your portfolio of much of its growth, and crippling your purchasing power. …

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When Should You Self-Insure?

Some people have an affinity for insurance and buy all the coverage they can get. It gives them peace of mind, at a price. Others are suspicious of insurance and loathe paying premiums for services they may never use. Count me in that latter camp. But, I’ve tried to be rational in evaluating our insurance …

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One Solution for Cheaper Retirement Travel: A Small RV

If there’s a common retirement dream across many personalities, budgets, and lifestyles, it’s probably traveling more. Though there are some retirees who prefer to stay on the home front during their golden years, the majority seem to envision traveling more often or further afield. Whether it be visiting children and grandchildren, taking a tour of …

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Recurring Expenses: Why “A Dollar a Day” is Really $9,000

Whether your goal is retiring early, building wealth, or just making your dollars go farther — an effort that pays huge dividends is cutting recurring expenses. Here I’m talking about regular, usually monthly, charges such as phone bills, gym memberships, or property insurance. These are important, and insidious, for several reasons: They are often fully …

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To Build Wealth: Avoid Changing Locations or Partners

Major life changes are inevitable, but they are often costly. To retire early and well — in some cases even to retire at all — it is critical to avoid the financial equivalent of a major detour or train wreck. I’m talking here about expenses in the tens of thousands of dollars that can completely …

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Paying for College: The Last Retirement Hurdle?

A reader who is concerned about the high cost of college writes: “A bedrock objective is that my daughters do not graduate from college saddled with debt. They need to pitch in to an extent, but I do not want them to mortgage their future so they can get a degree. I am interested in …

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“Debt” – The Big Picture

As I write this, debt is front and center on the world stage. In the United States, the Congressional supercommittee failed to reach a compromise that would even begin to address the soaring national deficit. In Europe, the crisis is even more acute, bringing down governments and threatening to take out the euro currency itself. …

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Wish Lists and Dining Cash

Spending less is the simplest, most direct way to increase your effective income, and build wealth. Done right, being thrifty is fun and liberating. Here are a couple of easy, favorite techniques for reducing or controlling your expenses: Use wish lists to delay and defuse the need for instant gratification. I have extensive wish lists on …

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