Monday, December 30, 2013

My Most Remarkable Purchases of 2013

Happy new year! :D 
Read this if: 

1) You want to know how I spend my money (and how I feel about those expenditures). 

---

I have intense buyer’s remorse. According to my records, I have spent more this year than I have in any other year of my life (but considering I’m only 21 I guess that’s not saying much). Here are the highlights: what I paid money for and why it was significant. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

How Personal Finance Motivates Me To Study

My train of thought when I don't feel like studying.
I think everyone goes through this at some point, but every once in a while, I have trouble focusing on my studies. And by that I mean, I have trouble figuring out why I'm in college. It's a brief, momentary lapse in common sense, but it happens and when it does, I need to be sure that I have a good way of dealing with it.

That's where personal finance can (and often does) help me.

Monday, December 16, 2013

My First Personal Finance Lecture

Money Matters, first presentation. Why does the color look all weird here?

One of the goals I had when starting this blog was to document everything that happened in my life that was related to personal finance. (Super exciting. I *know*.) One of the most significant things was getting the opportunity to give a 45 minute lecture to a group of 20 college students. 

Read on if you want to know how it went...

Monday, December 9, 2013

Mishaps in Money: The Missing Payment

The universal symbol for fairy tales.

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Jane who lived in a castle. One day, she had to go to The Doctor’s Office. After her visit, she received a bill in the mail, which she paid, on-time and in full, because she was financially responsible. Yay! Since she was done with the whole thing, she threw the bill away, never giving it a second thought. 

A month later, she received a bill from The Doctor’s Office again. She was confused, but she ignored it since she knew she had paid already. 

Yet another month later, she received the bill again. What was going on? Surely it was a mistake...

Finally, after the bill was sent for the fourth time, she called the Customer Service people at The Doctor’s Office and asked, “Why?” 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Investing on Auto-Pilot

Could not figure out how to crop my fingers from the bottom. :( 
Read this if: 

1) You don't save or invest because you think it takes too much time. 
2) You don't save or invest because you forget. D: 

---

I spend less than an hour a month managing my finances because everything is on auto-pilot. Most of the time, I forget that I even have money. 

Of course, when I started my whole plan, I thought about it very carefully and planned every little detail out, but that was just to get all the automating started. I recommend this approach for pretty much everyone, especially those who are busy.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Certificates of Deposit

I'm pretty sure certificates of deposit aren't actual certificates anymore.
Read this if: 

1) You don't know what certificates of deposit are. 
2) You want to earn a little interest on your money with no risk of losing any. 

---

When I first started investing, I wanted two things: I didn't want to lose my money, but I also didn't want to let it sit there. I knew that the less risk I was willing to take, the lower the return I would be able to get. My risk tolerance has increased significantly over the years, but I know a lot of people who are still iffy about risking their money. 

Something that I would recommend for people with a low risk tolerance is called a certificate of deposit (CD).

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Bare Essentials

Bear!
Relevance to the post is self-explanatory.
Read this if: 

1) You like money and being responsible but you have no idea where to start. 

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The hardest part about having a blog about personal finance is that I know people read my posts but I don't know if they ever do anything about it. I've gotten a couple of messages from people who did (someone felt very fulfilled after checking his credit score :D ) but I'd like to see more action. I think part of the problem is that most of the people who read Money Matters are in college - I know how busy a student can get. Here are some steps you can take towards financial awesomeness, that shouldn't take more than an hour or so each to complete!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Emergency Savings

Firetruck! The universal symbol for emergencies?

Read this if: 

1) You are responsible for yourself in some way (e.g. you have a car, you pay your own rent, etc.). 

---

At some point in our lives, we will become financially independent and have to fend for ourselves. At that point, it will be really important that we have emergency savings set aside to cover unexpected costs.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Six Months!

Fireworks! :D :D :D 
Hey guys,

Thank you so much for reading my blog!

I've gotten almost 6000 views and many comments and emails about Money Matters. :) I can't believe it's been six months, or that my blog is still going, or that I'm still going with my blog, but I hope that during this time, you've learned something from it.

I really appreciate the time and efforts of the many people who helped me along the way, you guys rock! :D

Thanks,
Joan

Photo credit: Express Monorail via photopin cc

Monday, November 4, 2013

Book Review: Guide To The New Rules of Personal Finance


"Get on a budget. For the personal finance write, this is a bit like recommending that people floss more." 

-The Wall Street Journal: Guide To The New Rules of Personal Finance (The Essential Strategies for Saving, Investing, and Building a Portfolio in a World Turned Upside Down) p. 23
Dave Kansas 


Monday, October 28, 2013

Increasing Your Credit Limit to Maximize Your Credit Score

It seems like the sky is the limit these days when it comes to how much you can spend. 

Read this if: 

1) You have a credit card. 
2) You know what a credit score is. If not, read this.
3) You want to maximize said credit score by understanding the debt utilization ratio. 

---

It sounds kind of counter-intuitive, doesn't it? 

I've talked about this before but basically, the debt utilization ratio is a number that shows how much of your total credit you are using. For example, if my total credit limit is $1000, and I am currently carrying a balance of $100, then my debt utilization ratio is 10%. You want this number to be as low as possible, and there are two ways to do that: increase the total credit available to you, or spend less. I recommend both, but I'm just gonna talk about increasing your credit limit for now. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Messages From Readers: Examples of Credit Card Rewards

Credit card rewards are a little bit like gifts. But not for free!
A while ago I wrote a post about credit card rewards and asked if you guys thought they were worth it. I got a couple of awesome comments where people gave me specific examples and proof that rewards are worth it. 

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Monday, October 14, 2013

Exchange-traded funds (ETFs)

I have issues trading things. Especially Pokemon.
Read this if: 

1) You want to know about one of the most flexible and low-cost investment choices you can make. 

---

I don't think I've explicitly stated this, but I am a big fan of index funds. I've talked about what those are here and pretty much everyone has heard of stocks. There is something you can invest in that I haven't mentioned: exchanged-traded funds (or ETFs). Think of the ETF as the baby of a stock and an index fund. 


Monday, October 7, 2013

What is this "Dow" thing everyone keeps talking about?

Prices go up and down, but just looking at individual
stocks doesn't always give you the best idea of what's going on!
Read this if: 

1) You are curious about that "Dow" thing you always hear about on the news. 

---

I'm in college now so I don't get in a car often. But before that, whenever I was in the car with my parents, they'd listen to the radio and someone would be talking about the Dow. I am going to explain what that is and what it means when it goes up or down. 


Monday, September 30, 2013

401(k): Doesn't It Just *Sound* Like A Good Idea?

I would totally wander through a maze looking for free money. 
Read this if: 

1) You are interested in doing something with your money besides putting it in checking or savings. 
2) You know that your employer offers a 401(k) but you don't know how it works. 

--


I like to think that there are two kinds of money: retirement money and non-retirement money. Retirement money is the stuff that you earn that you set aside for when you don't want to (or can't) work anymore, and it's special because there are lots of benefits that apply specifically to retirement accounts. 

I also like to think that there are two kinds of retirement money: the kind that you put in a 401(k) and the kind you put in IRAs (Individual Retirement Account). I'll talk about the 401(k) for now. 


Monday, September 23, 2013

Money Market Accounts: They're really cool, I promise.

This is a food market. The obvious correct choice for a photo for money market accounts.

Read this if: 

1) You find that checking accounts and savings accounts are lacking something. It's okay if you don't know what that something is. 


---


Everyone knows about checking accounts and savings accounts, but there is a kind of account that sort of falls in the middle: a money market account. It doesn't offer anything mind-blowing, but I think it's good to know that you have more options than you think. 



Monday, September 16, 2013

Target-Date Funds: Investing, On Autopilot

Time is the most valuable thing you have.
Read this if: 

1) You want to invest but you're not sure what to invest in. 
2) You want to invest but you want something that is relatively safe. 
3) You want to invest but you want to just sort of set it up and never think about that money again. 

--

Since I've started doing this personal finance stuff, I have not made it a priority to invest in individual stocks. The money that I am investing is going towards a specific purpose and stocks are just a bit too risky for me to consider them. Instead, I found an alternative that lets me take advantage of stocks without having to pick them out for myself: target date funds (also known as lifecycle funds).


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Recap: August

It's been a great month. 
Hey guys, 

I've decided to start doing a recap post at the beginning of each month so that new readers (I'm very hopeful) will see what they've missed and go back and read about topics they're interested in. 


Here's what I did in August: 


Monday, September 9, 2013

Recap: July 2013



Hey guys, I've decided to start doing a recap post at the beginning of each month so that new readers (I'm very hopeful) will see what they've missed and go back and read about topics they're interested in. 



Here's what I did in July: 


Friday, September 6, 2013

Recap: June 2013


Hey guys, I've decided to start doing a recap post at the beginning of each month so that new readers (I'm very hopeful) will see what they've missed and go back and read about topics they're interested in. I'm still playing catch-up, so you're going to see the last four months in a row. 


Here's what I did in June: 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Recap: May 2013

I drew this in Paint. 

Hey guys, I've decided to start doing a recap post at the beginning of each month so that new readers (I'm very hopeful) will see what they've missed and go back and read about topics they're interested in. 


Here's what I did in May:

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Welcome to Money Matters

I don't know where this is, but it's super pretty.

Hi everybody, 


It's the start of a new school year, which is a big deal for me because that means I get to convince more college students that my blog is worth reading. 

This blog is about money. I try to talk about anything that affects how much money you have, can lose, will get. "Personal finance" is the official term for it, but no matter what it's called, I think it's definitely useful information. 

I am just a student but I have spent years learning about this stuff and I want to share with anyone who will read what I have to say. I only write about things after doing thorough research and only after I'm positive I can explain in a simple way. 

Please contact me if you have any questions or comments, and take a look around. Usually, I do two posts a week (Mondays and Thursdays), but will be doing intro posts this week to get people to read my past posts. Since the semester is starting, starting next week I will be doing posts on Mondays only. 

Thanks for reading,
Joan 

---

Photo credit: disparkys via photopin cc

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Money Models: Part 2

My best friend's dad just got a telescope. Maybe he can see the moon?

A while ago I did a post on people who affected the way I handle money. Here's part 2, because I'm really popular and know a lot of people. 



Monday, August 26, 2013

What I DON'T Do

Just relax. Don't be stressed about money.

Read this if: 


1) You want to know what you don't need to do when it comes to personal finance. (Of course, this is just my opinion). 

---

People always give advice on what you should do, but I find that a list of what you shouldn't do could be a lot more effective. Here is a list of things I don't do when it comes to personal finance. 


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Book Review: I WILL TEACH YOU TO BE RICH

I believe him.

"…I take perverse pleasure in knowing how much you're going to dominate everyone else in the personal-finance arena."


- Ramit Sethi (p.84)

Pros

The intended audience for this book was young adults. The fact that he knows his audience well is clear because the book only contains information we can use at this age, instead of everything from having children to writing wills (topics that are covered in most personal finance books I read). 

He gives so many specific scenarios, and for some of them, he even has scripts for what you would say if you, for example, call a credit card company to ask about lowering your fees. 

Lastly, he markets his book as a "Six-Week Program" that helps you get your financial life together. He shows you very clearly what your priorities should be.


Monday, August 19, 2013

Book Review: MONEY RULES - The Simple Path to Lifelong Security

Highly recommended!

"...I am aiming to understand it well enough to make use of it in my own life. And once I've done that, I can help you understand it, too." 


By Jean Chatzky 

Pros

I love this book. If I could only have read one personal finance book in my entire life (*gasp*), it would be this one. She makes these personal finance concepts so simple, and makes a really compelling case that her book is not a trick - everything really is just that simple. Her rules are a sentence long, followed by a brief paragraph that elaborates on her reasoning for sticking with that rule. 


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Federal Work Study: The Best Kind of College Jobs

Financial aid isn't just about having money handed to you.

Read this if: 


1) You want to know what Federal Work Study is. 

2) You want to know how to get one. 

--


As part of my financial aid package for college, I get what they call Federal Work Study (I just say "work study"). Work study is great for many reasons, and if you get some kind of financial aid, then you are probably eligible for a work study position as well. 



Monday, August 12, 2013

Investment Options: Where To Put Your Money

That's right guys, I drew that by hand.
Disclaimer: This chart does not have every option in the world stated explicitly.

Read this if: 

1) You want to know about your different investment options. 

--

Some people who want to invest have a hard time starting because they think it's really complicated and that they'll never be able to pick what to invest in. The good news is, there really aren't that many types of options. The bad news is that there are still a lot of different things to choose from in each type (for example, picking individual stocks can be a headache), but it's ok. Let's go over what "types" of investment vehicles you can get first. 


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Three Easy Ways to Save Money

I hope I'm never that rich.

I recently heard about two silly things: a $120 t-shirt and a $999.99 iPhone app. The shirt just has Kanye's name on it, and the app just flashes the words "I am rich." If only it were always that easy to see that you were being overcharged. 


I think there really is only one way to figure out if you're overpaying for something. Ask yourself, "Can you get it cheaper?" If the answer is "yes," then, SURPRISE, you're overpaying. This can get really tedious though, and you don't want to get caught up thinking about whether or not you could have saved $0.50 if you went to Target instead of Giant for that package of cream cheese. Here are some habits that ensure that you will save money, so you don't always have to ask yourself that question. 


Monday, August 5, 2013

Personal Finance Manager: A Review of "Mint"

This is supposedly a mint leaf.

Read this if: 


1) You want a way to keep track of all of your credit cards, bank accounts, brokerage accounts, etc. 

--

When I say "personal finance manager," I wish I was talking about me because I would love to do that for people, but I am actually referring to software. There has been a lot of personal software developed that takes information from all your different accounts and funnels them to the same place. There are a bunch of them out there, including: Mint, Manilla, Personal Capital, Quicken. I've only played with Mint, and I still haven't explored all of its features. 


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Becoming Financially Literate

A book. In case you haven't seen one in a while.

I am pretty bad at reading and interpreting literature. I struggled through AP English Language and Literature in high school and since coming to college I don't think I've read another book that required much thinking. I think some people see personal finance the same way - there is so much new vocabulary that it's hard to understand many topics about the economy or business or finance. The only way to get better is to "practice," and get more exposure. 


Here are three sites I recommend reading (in additional to my super awesome blog, of course) that will help you a lot:


Monday, July 29, 2013

Messages From Readers: More On Credit Cards

I don't know why but I thought this was hysterical.
photo credit: JoelJohnson via photopin cc


Sometimes I get nice comments from readers that teach me more about something that I wrote about on my blog. Here is a credit card related comment I'd like to share!


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"In addition to being able to negotiate over fees, if your account is in good standing, you often can negotiate interest rates charged on a credit card. It is best to request this when you have no revolving balance- certainly not when you are maxed out. If you have a balance transfer offer from another credit card, it doesn't hurt to mention that when speaking with a representative. 

Interest charged over time on a revolving balance can be considerable, as can shaving a few points off the interest rate. It pays to maintain a clean credit history!

- Larry S. 

---


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Book Review: Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki

It's like a fairy tail...about personal finance.
Photo credit: http://www.meetadamchandler.com/review-of-rich-dad-poor-dad/

"You're taxed when you earn. You're taxed when you spend. You're taxed when you save. You're taxed when you die." 

-Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That The Poor And Middle Class Do Not! (p.25) 
Robert T. Kiyosaki 


Monday, July 22, 2013

Mishaps In Money: Vacuum Seal Bags

How cool are these!!!!!
Photo credit: Amazon.com

I have an unhealthy obsession with things that are practical. I like office supplies, nifty kitchen gadgets, and vacuum seal bags. (For those you who don't know, this is how they work: you put a bunch of stuff in a plastic bag, seal it, and then vacuum the air out of it, which helps you save space when storing stuff). I loved the idea of vacuum seal bags so much that I bought forty (two packs) of them because I was so excited to start vacuuming stuff in these vacuum seal bags. Yay, vacuum seal bags! 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Credit Unions vs. "Real" Banks

Seriously.
photo credit: London Permaculture via photopin cc

Read this if: 

1) You don't know what a credit union is. 
2) You want to know which one (bank vs. credit union) you should put money in. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Messages From Readers: Saving is NOT Boring

If you save, you will NOT look bored like these kids. 

Something I like to do is share the comments I get. I particularly liked this one because the commenter gave me a great real-life example to share with my readers. :) Also, it was a response to another commenter, who said that saving was kind of boring - it was better to spend while young, instead of saving until retirement to have fun.   

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"...I've been saving for as long as I remember. In fact, I started saving the day my father gave me a check book when I was 12 and started giving me my monthly allowance. Except he never gave it to me in cash, instead, he would sit me down, have me write down the amount every month under "Debit" and whenever I wanted to spend money I would sit himdown, write the amount under "Credit" and he would give me cash from his wallet.

It's been almost ten years since, and three years ago we opened my first bank account together, and ever since I've done nearly the same thing: Instead of a monthly allowance, I earned paychecks on a biweekly basis. I put at least 60% of that amount into my savings, and I put the rest in my checking account to do as I please. I basically started saving from the get-go, and it's a habit that is just normal to me.



Thursday, July 11, 2013

Worried about losing all the money you invested?

It's a lot more difficult to find a good picture for SIPC insurance than you would think.
photo credit: Brett Jordan via photopin cc

A while ago, I wrote a post on FDIC insurance, which protects your deposits. For example, your savings and checking deposit accounts are insured up to $250,000 (last I checked, this could change, as it has in the past). FDIC insurance does NOT cover things like mutual funds or stocks, but there is something that does: SIPC insurance. 

Read this if: 

1) You are worried that you will lose all your money if a company you invest with goes down. I know you worry about that all the time. But don't worry. 

(Note the keyword "with." Not "in." If you lose money because a stock or mutual fund you invested IN loses value, there's nothing you can do. SIPC deals specifically with brokerage firms, which are companies you invest through, or invest with.) 
--

Monday, July 8, 2013

Money Models

Batman isn't one of my money models, but I can appreciate his wealth just the same.

I want to talk about some of the people in my life who have really distinct money personalities - some good, some sort of not so good, but overall, they have all taught me something really important about money matters. 

The Coin Detector

My best friend sees coins on the ground from, like, ten feet away, and lets out a squeal of excitement every time she finds one. Then she kind of attacks it (before someone else can pick it up?). She is so cute when she does this that some of her friends have taken to tossing coins on the ground to watch her pick them up. She taught me that no amount is too little, and that free money is the best kind of money. 

The Ruthless Negotiator 

I once knew a guy who got things like free phones and cash because he was really smart and knew his way around warranties. He also knew how to negotiate and get what he wanted pretty much anytime he tried. He taught me that it's okay to stand up for yourself when it comes to customer service. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Messages From Readers: No credit could be just as bad as bad credit

What does a kitten have to do with personal finance and credit?
Absolutely nothing.

I've written a lot about credit, but I'm only 20 and have had a credit history for about five months. It's really nice to hear from people who are older than me, and here is a message from such a person detailing some personal experience. 

---

"In one post you (nearly) recommended not to use credit at all.  I think there is some safety to this, but I don't think it's actually good advice.

Early on I was told that to establish credit, you need to acquire debt and pay it off on time. I took that to heart, got a credit card, and put all my day-to-day expenses on it (i.e. food, movies, etc. but not rent). I make sure I don't spend more than I have, and I pay it off every month completely and before the deadline.  It takes a little effort and planning, but the result is that I now have nearly perfect credit, which means I get excellent terms on car loans, etc. In contrast, if you have no significant credit history, even if you pay on time every month, you represent basically an unknown quantity to lendors, and they don't want to give you generous terms.

Please fact check me on this, as I may have been misinformed (by the lenders, maybe, I don't know). But this has been my experience, and no amount of careful planning and avoiding credit will save you money if you can't get a low-interest loan when you need it. (also, there's no harm in financing a car if you don't have the cash- just take the absolute highest monthly payment you can afford to avoid paying extra interest).


Monday, July 1, 2013

What To Do When You Have No Credit History At All

A baby eating a credit card. What could be more appropriate?
photo credit: _Dinkel_ via photopin cc

Read this if: 

1) You don't know how to build credit so that you can build more credit. 
2) Because if you don't have credit, you really can't get that much more credit. 

--

To get a credit card, you have to have good credit. To get approved for a loan, you'll need good credit. But what do you do if you've never had a line of credit? Having no credit means that potential lenders will have no idea what kind of person you will be financially - why would they lend you money? Here are some things you can do to establish credit. I based this off of what I found online and also on what things show up on my credit report, which is just my credit card (because I don't have loans).

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Ways to Raise and Lower Your Credit Score

This is what you could look like if you have a bad credit score.
photo credit: miguelavg via photopin cc

Read this if: 

1) You want to know how your financial actions affect your credit score. 

--

I've talked on Money Matters about the basics of credit scores (also known as FICO scores). They range from 300 something to 800, and generally anything below 600 is considered "bad" credit. I want to talk to you guys about some ways to raise and lower your score.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Book Review: fastread Personal Finance

From Amazon!
"Money is an integral part of our lives and to be in control of its effects on your present and future is a significant step towards happiness." 

-Personal Finance (Part of the "fastread" series of books, p.ix) 
Adams Media Corporation 


Thursday, June 20, 2013

How My Money Comes and Goes

One of my dreams is to go to New Orleans and eat all the fried chicken I can. I need money to do that.
photo credit: joshbousel via photopin cc

Read this if: 

1) You are interested in knowing where all of my money lives. 

--

When I earn money, I like to put it to work so that it can earn even more money. There's no point in having it just sit there if I know what else to do with it. I wrote this post to show you guys what I do, and if you're curious about any of the things I talk about, please let me know! :D

Monday, June 17, 2013

Secured Cards: An Alternative To Credit Cards

Secured cards are a great alternative to those regular "unsecured" credit cards.
photo credit: Credit Tips via Good Credit Bad Credit cc

Read this if: 

1) You're worried that you might get into financial trouble if you start using a credit card. 
2) You want to start building credit but you don't want to get a credit card because you've heard horror stories about credit card debt. 

--

I think we all know that credit card debt is a problem a lot of people have these days. There's something called a "secured credit card" that acts like training wheels for a "real" credit card (aka unsecured card). People use these secured cards to learn how to handle a regular credit card wisely, and sometimes use them to rebuild their credit after they experience semi-eternal financial ruin. It's also easier to get approval for secured cards, especially if you don't have much of a credit history.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Rewards: Be careful what you're signing up for!

Getting credit card rewards is like getting little pieces of a dollar bill in exchange for spending money.
Well, until you become a high roller anyway.

Read this if: 

1) You are thinking about getting a new credit card. 
2) You wonder if all those rewards you get with cards is really worth it. 

--

When I got my first credit card, one of the things I really focused on was researching what rewards came with the cards. I realize now that while getting rewarded for spending sounds like a great idea, there are many traps to get caught in if I'm not careful. Here are three to start with. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Spending Money: It's never been easier.

Need I say more?
Armed with two of my mom's credit cards, about ten different coupons, and some cash, my little sister and I went shopping for things she needed to get for prom. When we set off to the mall, I felt almost giddy. There was a limit, of course, but she could basically get anything she wanted in the name of prom. I felt like buying everything she expressed a remote interest toward because it wasn't my money being spent and swiping those cards just felt so good.

Moral of the story: it's a lot easier to spend if you have the means. Carrying cash, credit cards, etc., can turn even a frugal person into a card-swiping nightmare. 

---

Do you overspend? Are you trying to save? Do you have trouble remembering how much you spent and what you bought and when you bought it? 

Here's my advice!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Messages From Readers: Saving is Boring

A little condemning, but it's true. Life is so full of things to do, being bored almost seems like a crime.
I've heard a lot of common worries/criticisms/comments about personal finance and saving, and what this reader said comes up pretty often.

---

"Personally, one thing that always keeps me from starting my own investments is my lack of time to research and find out all this stuff on my own.

And I also hesitate because I would rather use the money when I'm younger and have more potential and desire to go out and do things in the world...whereas, when I'm older in my 60s, I'll have less drive and desire to do those things with my money. And living in retirement money actually sounds a little boring to me...

Maybe it's just my lifestyle choice. I know I should be saving up and preparing, but I feel like its kinda preparing for the last years of my life, whereas I'd be satisfied with a meager retirement account and just spending my time doing humanitarian or volunteer work." 

-Anonymous

One Month Anniversary! :D

Creativity+ Timothy K Hamilton via photopin cc

Hey guys! 

I started my blog a month ago on May 6th, and since then have gotten over 1700 views! 

Thanks to everyone who has read a post or all the posts, or anywhere in between. Thanks to everyone who shared my blog with others. I really appreciate it, and I hope you learned something! 

Again, please don't hesitate to contact me with questions or suggestions at moneymattersjoan@gmail.com, or just leave me a comment. Email is better because then I can guarantee that you'll see my response. 

Have a wonderful weekend! 

-Joan 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Credit Scores: What are they, how do you see yours?

Each of the credit bureaus will calculate their own score for you, and they could all be different!

Read this if: 

1) You don't know what credit scores are.
2) You don't know how to see your credit score. 
3) You don't know when you should pay to see your credit score. 

What is it?

Your credit score is basically a measure of how responsible you are with your money. When you apply for a credit card, for example, the credit card company can check your score to see if you're responsible enough to be given a card. You can also get better interest rates with loans if you have a higher credit score.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

So What Exactly Is Personal Finance?

It's a cute piggy bank. Don't you just want to feed him all your coins?
photo credit: enggul via photopin cc
I realized yesterday that as awesome as my blog may be, some people might not even know what personal finance is.

We don't really learn about it in elementary school, middle school, or high school (at least, not where I went), and even in college, I haven't seen any kind of personal finance education program. On campus, there are tons of resources for job placement, resume writing and networking, which is great. But let's say you go through all that and find yourself a wonderful job. Do you know how to handle the money?

There's a lot more to do with what you earn than just spending it.