Help! I Have Serious Student Loans

We help a reader with a serious amount of student loans but showing her how she can live within her means and get ahead of her loans. More »

I Do Not Buy Christmas Gifts

Stop the insanity! I know that Christmas is months away but last year I confessed that I have not bought gifts in years. Read why. More »

Coupon Industry Fights Extreme Couponing

Throwback to my popular article on extreme couponing. More »

15 Percent of Americans Are Officially Poor

Do not let the commercials of people starving in other countries fool you into thinking that America is okay when 15 percent of Americans are officially poor. More »

 

8 Possible Reasons Why You Didn’t Get the Job

best-job

Nowadays, just about everyone needs a job.  This is especially important if you’re looking for a higher salary to pay off debt and improve your credit.  No matter what’s going on in your life, being employed can help you reach many financial goals. If, however, you’re currently unemployed or looking for a new job, you know better than anyone else how tough the job market can be. You might comb the job ads everyday, stalk Craigslist and hit the pavement passing out your resumes.  Despite your efforts, callbacks might be few and far between. And if you do receive an interview, there are no guarantees.

There are many reasons why you’re not offered a particular job, and oftentimes it’s because the interviewer found a more qualified applicant. However, there are other reasons why you might not get a job – and some of these reasons may never cross your mind. For that matter, if you’ve been job hunting for a while, here are eight possible reasons why you didn’t get hired.

Growing My Dough: 6 Months In

Dollar tree

I love these update posts.  Six months ago I joined a challenge created by Jeff Rose of Good Financial Cents along with with like-minded personal finance writers who wanted to see how a $1,000 investment would pay off at the end of the year.  The goals were pretty simple:clint eastwood

  1. Show you how easy it is to get started investing
  2. Show you the plethora of online options available
  3. Show you different strategies that you can try
  4. Erase any doubts that you can’t do this on your own.

Pretty much all of the challengers decided to invest in the stock market.  A few others had some non-traditional investment options such as peer-to-peer lending in their portfolio.  I decided to split investment with 25% into peer-to-peer lending, 25% into the stock market and 50% into a small business.  Let’s see how I’m doing.  First, the disclaimer.

July 1 Debt Check…And Other Stuff

My Ring

I’m 14 days overdue, but with good reason. I wanted to wait a bit to share some news with you in this post instead of making a whole separate post about it later.

Let’s see.  We’re deep into July and heading towards August at full speed.  It’s been a wonderful summer so far, much like my summer last year when I was job free and enjoying life.  This year, I’m consulting and thoroughly enjoying what I’m doing and where I am.  If nothing else, this blog has been an amazing chronicle of where I have been and how life can twist, turn and evolve over the course of months and years.

Let’s good the financial details out of the way.    The debt numbers are below and they’re trending in the right direction.  I slowed down the debt repayment somewhat to increase savings.  One mistake that I see people in debt constantly make is concentrating on the debt and neglecting savings.  It is entirely possible to have two goals and accomplish them both at the same time.

Want To Help Someone? Let Them Fail

say no

Splat!

That’s the sound of some people who I know falling flat on their faces.  It’s also the sound of a lesson learned the hard way.  And, in some ways, it’s the sound of a fair bit of guilt, but that too shall pass.

I’ve been sharing the stories of friends and family on this blog for years, as long as there is a financial lesson to be learned.  I’m trying very hard to keep the anonymity of my friends and family going, so pardon me if I slip into third party jargon here.

It all began long, long ago.  Some friends who I’m pretty close with have been helping their family members out financially for years.  I’m going to say that this stretches back over twenty years.  The parents had been financially supporting their grown daughter’s family – constantly bailing them out of financial woes time after time.

Does Money Make You Mean? Answer: Yes!

money mind

In one of my favorite Ted Talks, social psychologist Paul Piff shares his research into how people behave when they feel wealthy.  Individuals were divided into a rigged game of Monopoly where groups were divided into a group of rich players and a group of poorl players.  As the game went on, the “rich” players began treating the “poor” players badly.

Even in a rigged game where players had a clear advantage, the “rich” players credited their success to their own strategies instead of their access to greater resources in the first place.  As these players’ level of wealth increased, their compassion decreased and feeling of entitlement increased.

Paul Piff shares the results of many years of social experiment that show how the interest of others decrease as wealth increases.   Money can change you!    Watch this very insightful Ted Talk and ask yourself, have you changed as your financial situation has improved.

How I Can Afford To Retire At 40

retirement

I promised that I would share how I plan on retiring at 40, so this is it.  If you’ve ever wanted to know how a regular Jane can do this, here’s your chance.  First, we have to get one thing out of the way before we even talk about my actual plans:

Retirement does not mean the same thing for everyone.  What I plan on doing is retirement will most likely be far from your idea of retirement.

Back when the dinosaurs roamed way back in your parents’ or grandparents’ day, retirement might have meant sitting at home watching television, while knitting socks.  They might occasionally take a cruise, visit the grand kids or host family events.  That’s not my idea of retirement.

June 1 Debt Check

summer

Alright, I’m back.  I was on the receiving end of a stern talking to about working too much for the company that is not my employer and putting everything else, this blog as well, on the sidelines.   With that, my apologies for disappearing.  I was spread way too thin and just couldn’t do everything anymore. Let’s enter the confessional.

Forgive me readers for I have sinned.  It’s been three months since my last debt check in.  In the five plus years that this blog has been in existence, there had only been one month of debt checks that was missed…until the past three months.  It appeared to others as if I had walked away from this blog, in fact, I’ve received four offers to buy this blog.  I can’t say that I was ever tempted though.  Seems like I’ve got some more juice left in the old veins.

Before I get to the debt, I want to recap this whole job thing a little.  Way back in the wilds of October, I took a consulting gig that was scheduled to end three months and one week later.  The entire reason for taking the job was because it was supposed to be short-term and it would give me an opportunity to reduce the debt a little while I decide if I wanted to get back to work on a full-time basis.

Student Loan Debt Direct Refinancing Proposed

Student loan balloons!According to the Federal Reserve, as of 2013 U.S. debt holders owe a total of $1.3 TRILLION in student loan debt – vastly more than what is owed on auto loans and credit cards and surpassed only by mortgage debt. Holders of consumer debt and mortgages have a leg up on student loan debt holders since they can easily refinance their debt to potentially lower interest rates.

A total of 30% of all student loan debt is currently in deferral, default or forbearance, indicating that a significant number of individuals with student loan debt are having a hard time making payments and affording their daily living expenses. In fact, people age 60 and older who should be thinking about retirement owe more than $36 billion in student loan debt. This debt is dragging the economy downward since individuals who would normally move out of their parents’ homes and begin life on their own are now saddled with debt that has made them slow down their spending in other areas.

If you think that these individuals can just file for bankruptcy and have their debt wiped out, think again. Student loan debt will follow you to the grave and will most likely reach out to your estate for recovery once you have already passed on.

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has introduced the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act that would allow student loan debt holders to refinance their government held debt to lower interest rates that might lower monthly payments enough to make a difference in millions of people’s lives. I’m not a fan of the entirety of the bill, however, I am a fan of anyone who is willing to do SOMETHING to address student loan debt and its effect on millions of individuals.

If you have a few minutes, listen to a portion of Senator Warren’s speech on student loan debt as she introduced the proposed bill on May 6, 2014.