Radical Finances

How I handled my most recent impulse purchase

Once every six months or so, I drain my car’s battery. This isn’t an intentional thing, mind you. It’s just that I leave my car’s internal dome light on, and then go about my day, sometimes a few days, before coming back to the car and finding it totally dead. (Let’s put aside the bizarre … Continue reading »

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How to know when to make an impulse purchase

Ramit Sethi, the I Will Teach You To Be Rich guy, has a rule about books: If you’re “thinking about” buying a book, just buy it. Don’t waste 5 secs debating. Even 1 idea makes it worth it. I may not be this cavalier about books (because one might easily end up with a big … Continue reading »

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Here’s how I’m going to get a Tesla

I’m not a “car guy”. I understand that there’s an aesthetic about “acceleration” and “handling”, and how a car “feels”, but I’ve always just wanted one to get me from A to B in relative comfort and without breaking down. When I was a teenager, my friend told me about a new kind of car. It … Continue reading »

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Why I love the Rule of 72

WARNING: This post contains math. (But you knew this with a title like that.) How long will it take an investment to double? It’s a good question. And while doubling itself isn’t the most important aspect of an investment, it’s a good way to give you an intuitive sense of how well an investment is likely … Continue reading »

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In defense of rounding

If you’re used to just “not worrying” about money (which can ironically make one pretty anxious) or just wanting to “let things happen”, my suggestion that you track all of your spending (all of it, every purchase, every month, forever) might seem a little daunting. All those numbers. Math! It’s too overwhelming. But let’s not … Continue reading »

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8 mistakes people make that can drastically affect their financial health

At almost 500 posts here on this site over the past five years, you might be forgiven for feeling like you are drinking from the fire hose. So here is an opportunity to keep it simple. Let’s talk about 8 mistakes people make that can drastically affect their financial health. I use the word “drastically” … Continue reading »

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Can you do a partial rollover of a retirement plan?

So I made the decision to rollover my retirement account from TIAA(-CREF) to an IRA. I had done a transfer of a Roth IRA from Scottrade recently, and the process was seamless. I had also, a few years before, converted a 401(k) I had with Vanguard into a Traditional IRA. The decision to rollover my 403(b) … Continue reading »

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How to know when it’s time to rollover your old retirement plan

A little over a decade ago, I had a job with a university. I participated in their retirement plan, a 403(b) plan with TIAA-CREF (now TIAA). I still have this account. As I moved to a different job, I started a retirement plan there, but my TIAA retirement account stayed put, which was intentional. Chances … Continue reading »

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How to calculate just how bad a deal a payday loan is

I love local newspapers. There’s just something you can learn about a place from a local newspaper that no wandering or even research will tell you. But it’s the advertisements that often are the most interesting. I was recently in Vancouver, Canada, and while I was there I picked up a “24 hrs” newspaper, which … Continue reading »

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Four ill-advised reasons to refinance your mortgage

So there are definitely some reasons where refinancing a mortgage could be a good move. Rates too high? Terms no good? Not going to be moving for a while? It could make a lot of sense, and save you money. But there are equally a lot of ill-advised reasons to look into mortgage refinancing. If … Continue reading »

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