Kids as a Tax Dodge

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I know that this comes well after tax season, but I somehow neglected to write up something about this sooner. Regardless, it’s never too late to plan for the future… So here’s my advice if you want to minimize your tax liability in the coming years: have kids (or have more kids). That’s right, the impact of kids on your tax liability is truly amazing! (more…)


FiveCentNickel on Reuters.com

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It was just brought to my attention by Ryan over at My Cashflow Blog that this site was mentioned in a Reuters article about personal finance weblogs along with the likes of All Things Financial, PFBlog, Frugal for Life, Seeking Alpha, and Sound Money Tips. Their take on what I’ve put together so far?

“Short and sweet and focused on family finances. Newish, so there’s not too much there yet.”

I’m both pleased and surprised to get this sort of attention within just ten days after launching this site. Thanks to everyone who’s been reading, as well as those who have been willing to exchange links with me. Thanks also to JLP at All Things Financial for plugging my site the other day.


Why Gas Won’t Get Cheaper

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The May 9th issue of Time magazine had an interesting article on why it is that gas prices won’t be getting any cheaper (you can also read it online; subscription required). Nothing terribly new here, but there are some interesting statistics, as well as a bit of investment advice. (more…)


A Small(ish) Citi Gotcha

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As you may have read in my previous entries (here and here), I’m a big fan of CitiBank credit cards and their generous rewards programs. This is not, however, to say that Citi is a credit card panacea. In fact, I just ran into one of their less obvious limitations during the past week. (more…)


Time is Money

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At last! I’ve spent the last couple of days racking my brain, trying to remember the name of personal finance book that forever changed the way I think about money. After a good while browsing on Amazon tonight, I finally found it. But first the backstory… It was the mid-90s, I was in graduate school, and we had just had our first child. I had always been interested in money (aren’t we all?), but had never really done anything significant to take charge of my financial future. And then I picked up a copy of Time is Money by Frances Leonard at the local library. (more…)


The Quarter Million Dollar Baby

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There’s an interesting article over on MSN Money about the cost of raising a child. According to the most recent data from the USDA, a family making $70, 200 per year will spend an eye-popping $269, 520 to raise a child from birth through age 17. The numbers are a bit lower for lower income brackets, but it’s still not cheap – e.g., in the $41, 700-$70, 200 bracket the cost is projected to be $184, 320. Families making less than that are projected to spend $134, 370 over the same timeframe. Not surprisingly, they get more expensive as they get older, topping out in the 15-17 year old age bracket. (more…)


Reshuffle Your Retirement, Part Deux

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Not long ago, I wrote about rethinking your retirement contributions. In short, I suggested that you might want to consider sending excess contributions (those that go beyond what is necessary to get your employer’s match) to a Roth IRA rather than sending them to your 401(k) or 403(b). When I first started my current job, I opted to contribute 5% to get my employer’s dollar-for-dollar match, as well as an additional (unmatched) 5%. Each year since then I’ve increase my unmatched contribution by 1%. As of this year, this worked out to an extra 8% of my income going to my tax-deferred retirement account. During this time, however, I was neglecting my Roth IRA. (more…)


Hospital Rankings Available Online

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In the interest of remaining healthy, as well as wealthy and wise, I thought y’all might be interested in the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ hospital comparison website. This site, which was launched in April, allows you to assess the quality of care at nearly 4, 200 hospitals nationwide. While it currently only covers treatment related to heart attacks, heart failure, and pneumonia, it really is a nice resource. It’s very easy to use, and I’m hoping that they’ll continue adding data related to additional maladies as time goes by.


The Upside of Costly Gas

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I’m sure that by now many (most?) of you are sick of hearing about gas prices, but I thought I’d throw in my own two cents anyway. According to a recent AP news article, high gas prices have resulted in an increased reliance on public transportation. If this turns out to be a real (and substantial) trend, and not just a bunch of media hype, it will not only decrease demand for oil, perhaps helping to moderate prices, but it will also help with regard to other urban woes, such as traffic and pollution. (more…)


Turn $1/Day into $67, 815

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There’s a nice (albeit very simplistic) article over on MSN Money illustrating how you can turn a dollar a day in $67, 815. Nothing magic here… Just the old ‘tuck a buck a day away, ‘ but it’s still a good reminder. Simply save an average of a dollar per day in spare change and dump it into a Roth IRA. Over 30 years this amounts to just under $11k but, assuming you can pull down an average annual return of 10%, you’ll wind up with just under $68k. The author also provides a number of other money saving tips, along with the impressive results if you invest these savings. Don’t you just love the effects of compounding? Check it out if you need some money-saving inspiration.