Banking 
14
comments

Savings makes you happier than a fun job, eating right or exercising

In order to achieve maximum happiness, this is all you should eat from now on.To achieve maximum happiness, as soon as you finish reading this, you should start eating only spam, quit your gym, and get a horrible but high paying job (patent lawyer or international accountant come to mind). Then, funnel all the extra money into a savings account.

Ok that might be a little extreme, but a national poll released today by Ally Bank suggests that having a lot of money saved up is more important to people’s overall sense of well-being than eating healthy foods, having a job they like, or exercising regularly.

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 Personal Finance 
6
comments

4 ways to fight and claw your way to the increasingly elusive American Dream

The American Dream is getting harder to achieve for many.The American Dream is a great story.

Since the days of Horatio Alger, Americans have been (literally) buying the story of how, through hard work and persistence, we’ll all get to live a comfortable life in a respectable neighborhood, and raise our kids to do even better.

This story gets part of its truthiness from the fact that we all know someone, or can point to an American we admire, who really did pull themselves up by their bootstraps through ingenuity and elbow grease and pep. The belief also serves a useful purpose: Thinking you can better your situation through sticktoitiveness and moxie is a great motivator. It’s part of why Americans work lots of hours compared to those in other industrialized nations, and why we have the most productive workers in the world.

Unfortunately, for lots of people, it’s just not true.
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 Education 
5
comments

College degrees expensive but also really valuable

Will drum for collegeWe hear a lot these days about the crushing burden of college debt on today’s college graduates. But one thing that’s tougher than having to deal with the rapidly rising cost of college and skyrocketing student loan debt is the financial burden of not going to college at all.

A recent review of census data by the Pew Research Center found that college graduates make a lot more than less-educated workers, and that the gap is growing rapidly.


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 Personal Finance 
3
comments

Data shows spending on basics up

Transportation costs increased
This month the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its annual survey of how American households spend their money last year.
The results seem to validate feelings among Americans that it’s getting harder for the average family to make it on their current income. Spending on necessities like transportation and food are up substantially, while spending on more elective items, like apparel and entertainment, are falling or basically flat.

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 Your Take 
38
comments

Your Take: Magic Income Number

The WSJ reported a couple weeks ago on a study by Princeton economist Angus Deaton and psychologist Daniel Kahneman that:

The magic income: $75,000 a year. As people earn more money, their day-to-day happiness rises. Until you hit $75,000. After that, it is just more stuff, with no gain in happiness.

The conclusion came from a series of Gallup surveys of 450,000 Americans in 2008 and 2009. I thought it was interesting that happiness pretty much peaked at $75,000 (lending credence to genius of Biggie’s “mo’ money, mo’ problems”) but “contentment” was the only thing that increases with income. “More money does boost people’s life assessment, all the way up the income ladder. People who earned $160,000 a year, for instance, reported more overall satisfaction than people earning $120,000, and so on.”

What do you think your magic number is? Is it $75,000? Higher? Lower?


 Personal Finance 
78
comments

What is the Average Middle Class?

I’m a sucker for statistics, probably why I enjoy looking at numbers like the average retirement savings or the average tax refund, but I never gave the term “middle class” much thought until recently.

Fortunately for us, U.S. News & World Report has compiled some statistics on what the “average” is for a lot of money related statistics, like income, hours worked, etc.

Let’s take a look…
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 Devil's Advocate 
47
comments

Being Frugal is Foolish

Devils Advocate Logo
This is a Devil's Advocate post.

I bet this Devil’s Advocate is going to ruffle a lot of feathers! Frugality is a pretty big topic in the personal finance blog community because there are so many things you can do to trim a few cents or dollars off here or there. You can buy gadgets like a Kill-A-Watt to find out how much energy your appliances are using and disconnect them when they’re not in use. You can make your own detergent for your washing machine or buy a rack to line dry your clothes. There have been books filled to the brim with thousands upon thousands of ways to save a few dollars and cents here or there… however they never get to the heart of the issue – being frugal should be the very last thing you try to be when all other options have been exhausted.

If you think of yourself as a business, you have two ways of generating a profit. You can increase your income or you can decrease your expenses. When you focus entirely on being frugal, you only look at half of the equation. That’s foolish.

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 Your Take 
59
comments

Your Take: Married Women Outearning Husbands

Money money money!An MSNBC article this week discussed how women are increasingly earning more than their husbands. Twenty years ago, 17.8% of women outearned their husbands. In 2007, 25.9% outearned their husbands if they both worked and 33.5% of married women outearned their husbands period. It’s estimated that the percentage bas probably jumped because of all the jobs lost in the recession, it’s estimated that nearly 75% were held by men.

The Shriver Report conducted a survey and found that 65.3% of women and 61.2% of men were comfortable with women earning more than men. I want to know, what do you think?

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