Part 1 of Tales of a Mortgage: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the ARM

Last October, I mentioned that I had finally hit a net worth of zero, celebrating the occasion of being officially worthless. At that point I mentioned that my next step was to buy a house. I can now say that I finally did get down and buy a house, closing on June 13th). I started looking in November just to see what was out there but didn't … [Read more...]

Lifestyle Creep and You

When most of us reach a certain point in our professional and personal finance journey, we start to experience lifestyle creep, the pressure to spend more. The causes could be social, financial or even boredom. After a certain minimum livelihood is met, each raise or goal accomplished allows us to potentially spend or save more. Personal finance … [Read more...]

Is There An Alternative to Student Loans?

You know we here at DQYDJ love to try to raise your hackles every once and a while, and there's no surer way to offend a lot of people than talking about college.  The last time we visited the land of student loans, we asked you if Arts and Psychology Majors should pay higher rates on their student loans, to make up for diminished employment … [Read more...]

I Am Completely Worthless

Worthless at last! Worthless at last! Thank God Almighty, worthless at last! Bells are ringing! I am finally worthless! With my paycheck today my net worth has finally passed the literal and psychological $0 barrier. My financial leverage given a net worth of $1 is about 45,000-to-1. Let this be a lesson to everybody: massively over-leveraged … [Read more...]

Payday Lending and Short-Term Liquidity

Personal finance experts frequently tout the advantages of having a six month emergency fund, if not a more conservative twelve month fund. There are many reasons that a citizen would need to dip into their emergency savings: family illness, death, severe medical expenses, unplanned pregnancy or job loss to name a few. Many reports however, … [Read more...]

All About Credit Cards and the Perfect Credit Card Spending Strategy

Credit cards get a bad rap - one that is not entirely deserved. I've got this working theory that it has to do with their name - the term 'credit' may mean 'ability to obtain resources based on a future payoff', but the card is named entirely wrong: If the only purpose of your credit cards is to purchase things on credit you are doing things … [Read more...]

Paying Down Student Loans Versus Paying Down Other Investments

Tying to an article earlier that my colleague PKamp3 wrote, personal finance seems to have taken a dive in popularity in more recent years. As a writer for a confessedly self-aware personal finance crowd, this assertion may seem irrelevant, surprising, or, at worst, alarming. As a young college graduate, many of my fellow coworkers (as well as I) … [Read more...]

Refinance Your Mortgage and Pay the Same Amount? A Calculator to Determine if it’s Worth It!

There is a mortgage strategy variously described in different corners of the internet where a mortgage is refinanced... and payments stay steady.  For this strategy, a borrower is currently paying some monthly payment, and will continue to pay the exact same monthly payment after their mortgage is refinanced.  The benefits are usually explained as … [Read more...]

Should You Refinance Your Mortgage? A Calculator to Help You Decide!

Conceptually, it's easy to grasp why and when you should refinance your mortgage. In practice, inertia is the main reason people hold back from refinancing.  With that in mind, we present these mortgage calculator which will allow you to see how your current mortgage will compare with the mortgage you are considering.  Perhaps if the math is … [Read more...]

Online Banks, Credit Unions, Credit Cards and Bank of America – Avoid Debit Card Usage Fees!

Here's an interesting move on the part of Bank of America... account holders who use their debit card at any time during a month will be expected to pony up $5.00 at the end.  The fee doesn't apply if you use your debit card at ATMs, just when you use it to make purchases.  It's just the latest of the big banks to make waves with debit card fees - … [Read more...]

Dr. S&P or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying About the Credit Rating Downgrade

Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Guernsey, Hong Kong, Isle of Man, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.  What do all of these sovereign states have in common?  As of yesterday, Standard and Poor's rates their debt as a lower default risk … [Read more...]

Improper Analogy

A recent article reviewed the new debt agreement as follows: "It's like a 400-pound man boasting that he plans to drop 20 pounds over a decade, while his doctors warn about the risks of losing weight so fast." I found that analogy grossly misinformed. It's much more like a 400-pound man who is gaining 50 pounds a year who plans on being 850 … [Read more...]

Student Loan Debt…

... is higher than credit card debt in our country (hat tip: Wall Street Journal).  How can this be?, you may ask, when the number of news stories on credit cards seem to vastly outweigh the corresponding reports on student loans.  Well, yes, credit card stories seem to outnumber student loan stories by a ratio of about 15 to 1, according to … [Read more...]

More Fallout From the Credit CARD Act

Like I mentioned in my article yesterday, this week ushers in the new credit card laws.  On Monday, the provisions of the Credit CARD Act of 2009 took effect, to the joy of consumers everywhere.  Well, not all consumers.  Confused?  Don't be.  The new credit laws will increase the cost of credit for people with worse credit scores. Welcome New … [Read more...]

The Death of Personal Responsibility

Happy Monday morning!  Did you know that today is the day that the credit card rules enacted in the Credit CARD Act of 2009 go into effect?  Most likely you have seen increased communication from your credit card companies already, as they attempt to predict the effect of the rules on their profit (and change your rates preemptively).  However, I … [Read more...]