I Dream of FIRE

In pursuit of financial independence and personal fulfillment

Category: General finance (page 1 of 2)

The amazing benefits of a practical Christmas list

Were your childhood Christmas dreams filled with visions of a 200-shot carbide action official Red Ryder BB Gun with a compass in the stock, and this thing which tells time?

Did you long for the Sears Wish List catalog to arrive in the mail, so you could etch circle after circle into each glossy color page filled with the year’s hottest toys?

If your adult Christmas list is just a slightly more elevated version of the same youthful exuberance for the shiny object du jour, let me lay an idea on you. Continue reading

The Dude abides: The Big Lebowski’s hidden lessons about homeowners insurance

A way out west there was a fella, fella I want to tell you about. Fella by the name of Jeff Lebowski. At least, that was the handle on his insurance forms, but he never had much use for it himself. This Lebowski, he called himself the Dude. Continue reading

Our Halloween nightmare: surgery, setbacks and insane stress

“I want you to get in the car and drive directly to Primary Children’s. I’ll call ahead and let them know you’re coming.” I knew the measured, even tones in which the pediatrician spoke meant we were in for a hell of a day. “Don’t bother going to any closer hospital. If she has what I think she has you’ll need a pediatric surgeon, and there’s only one hospital in the valley that has one on call today.” Continue reading

The highly effective money management matrix

For almost three decades, top performers have used the time-management matrix Stephen R. Covey introduced in “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” to maximize the time spent on meaningful work and minimize the time spent on distractions. It is among the book’s most memorable and effective tools.

What if we apply the same concept to personal finance? Continue reading

Forget Equifax, you should be worried about your craptastic passwords

Would you stay at a hotel where every room could be opened with the same key? Or would you smile at the desk agent, get back in your car and drive to an inn with at least a basic sense of security where you could feel safe staying the night?

If you’re like most people, you have one — maybe two — passwords that you use across all of your online accounts. One key to rule them all!

Oh sure, sometimes you make slight variations to add numbers or capitals as each site requires. Your password “bumblebee” becomes Bumblebee, Bumblebee123, or bumb1eb33. You’ve also got it all written down on a piece of paper taped to your monitor or under your keyboard. Rock-solid security!

The Equifax breach got everyone all excited about security. But there’s another glaring problem most people overlook. What happens when one or more of your accounts, say like Yahoo, LinkedIn, or Adobe, is compromised and your user name and password are sold along with millions of others on the dark web? How many doors can that key open, and what’s behind them? Continue reading

Put your piece of junk car out of its misery — donate it

It was the third call for a tow truck that month that finally snuffed out any hope of selling the cursed piece of crap.

“Buy an older car and drive it into the ground,” many frugal and FIRE bloggers say. I not only found the ground — I kept digging. Continue reading

16 ways to lower fall energy bills

Here are 16 things you can do as fall approaches to save energy (and money) over the chilly season. Many of these are free or inexpensive, while others will more than pay for themselves over time. Continue reading

The I Dream of FIRE money map

A while ago, I did a different take on the money map concept by making a visual representation of how much of my money went to each expense. Since then, several bloggers have jumped on the money map chain gang inspired by Apathy Ends, Budget on a Stick and The Luxe Strategist, so I thought I would also add a more conventional money map that shows how my money flows between accounts. Continue reading

Why have an emergency fund? So you won’t have an emergency

I just had an unexpected expense that would put almost half of Americans into a tight spot financially. Continue reading

Is an employee stock purchase plan a good deal?

My wife works for a Silicon Valley mega corp. Recently, her boss was talking up the incredible benefit of the company employee stock purchase plan. He couldn’t understand why people would pass up the chance to buy company stock at a discount.

I had seen The Friendly Russian’s write-up about his company’s killer ESPP, and my wife and I talked about whether that was something we wanted to take advantage of when the enrollment period for her company’s plan came around.

Recently, she got an email outlining the plan and announcing the next open enrollment period. So, I did what any good investor does: math. Continue reading

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