The Danger of Limited Knowledge

There is an old saying that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. When it comes to money this is not only true, it can be very consequential.

Partial Knowledge Affects Us Negatively

No matter what area of life we are talking about, knowing a little often leads to misguided thinking and poor decisions. We see it every day.

getting fit on weights

For example, I have a site where I explore fitness topics, especially from the perspective of senior adults. I don’t have to tell you how opinionated people are about subjects like weight loss or nutrition. Everyone you know is willing to tell you all you need to know about many topics—each one knows the facts, but everyone’s facts are different.

The reason all this is so dangerous is that when we make quick decisions based on very limited knowledge it is easy to make mistakes. Sometimes it is of little consequence, but at other times it can have disastrous effects on our health or well being.

The Danger of Our National Debt

What led me to discuss this topic today is a conversation I had yesterday. Because one individual involved was so strongly advocating a particular idea I decided the situation was not conducive to education and let it go, but I will share it with you here.


Don’t Let Money Burn a Hole in Your Pocket

How are you about hanging onto your money. Is it easy for you to save? Or does money just slip through your fingers?

Money Can Be Slippery

money floating away

For many people, money goes as quickly as it comes. Sometimes even faster.

Yep! It is simply hard for some people to hang on to a dollar. In a Gunsmoke episode once I remember Matt talking to Doc about Chester being broke and having a hard time keeping his money. Doc asked, if it was women or gambling. Matt said, “I don’t know Doc, Chester is the kind of fellow who can lose money standing in the shade!”

That is the way it is with many folks. They never have any money because they seem to spend everything they get as soon as they get it….Why does this happen?


Save Money with a Garden?

There are lots of ways people try to save money.

  • Some methods work well for most people.
  • Some work well for a few people.
  • Some don’t really work well for anyone.

One approach to saving money that seems to have folks advocating all of these conclusions is vegetable gardening.

Onions in the garden

What is the truth? Can you save money by growing your own food?

Or is the whole idea a hoax and you will likely end up spending far more than you save? With all the different views out there, each strongly held, how can you know the truth?


Living on the Financial Edge

One of my favorite financial blogs is The Simple Dollar. Its founder and contributing writer is Trent Hamm who just wrote an extended, terrific post he titles, Ten Steps To Turn Financial Disaster Into Financial Independence. I encourage you to check it out.

People Do Live on the Financial Edge

Trent Hamm portrait

Introducing his post, Trent points out some of the facts about financial life in America today. The statistics are not encouraging:

    76% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.
  • 50% of Americans have less than three months of living expenses in total savings.
  • 26% of Americans have no savings at all.

Looking at these facts he comments, “Most Americans are walking a dangerous tightrope. A single injury, a single job loss, a single unexpected child, a single automobile accident could very easily unravel their life, causing them to lose their homes, their automobiles, and leave them unable to even get the simplest of loans.”

Living on the Edge Kills Peace of Mind

Only those who are oblivious to the realities of our economic conditions today, or have let feelings of being unable to change things anyway, refuse to face the implications of these facts. But it is not necessary to let our fears prevent us from finding a better course for our future. There are steps we can take to make financial success possible.


Support Your Local Thrift Store

In our town there is a large new store being built and it is not a new Walmart. It is a Goodwill Thrift Store. Is this a sign of the times? A trend around the country? A rising opportunity for many to get by in difficult times? Or something else?

Increasing Use of Thrift Stores

A few days ago Donna Freedman wrote a post on her Surviving and Thriving blog site about the increased popularity of thrift shops. In her opening paragraph she shared some interesting statistics from the Savers/Value Village.

Donna Freedman Blog Header

It seems that 47%of U.S. residents report shopping at second hand stores. One-third indicate that they do so more now than three years ago.


An Opportunity to Help Others

While shopping in the thrift stores is a great way to save money for ourselves, there is another idea I would like to focus on. These stores also give us an opportunity to help others out by contributing our unwanted items.


Financial Freedom in Half the Time

You’ve all heard the competing insurance commercials. In one you can save 15% in 15 minutes; in the other you can save more in half the time.

Remember Suzie Orman’s book titled, Nine Steps to Financial Freedom. Well guess what? Now you can achieve your financial independence goal in half the steps! How? By following the plan in my new guide, Five Steps to Financial Freedom.

With Apologies to Suzie Orman

Suzie Orman book - 9 Steps

What’s up Suzie? Why make people go through nine steps when they could achieve the same thing in just five?

Naturally I am having some fun with the titles. Suzie’s book is great and I can recommend it. It has gone through at least four editions and sold over 3 million copies which tells you something of how well received it has been.

In her book Suzie cover 9 basic principles that will affect your chances of success. For example, one is Trusting Yourself More than You Trust Others. This is a very important principle as are all the others.

When you get a chance you might want to read it. It is a classic.

The Five Steps to Financial Freedom

On the other hand, my five steps are an introduction to the five practical steps that are involved in getting the job done. It is not a book but a concise eight page description of exactly what you need to do to achieve financial independence.


A Third of Americans Are Delinquent on Their Debts

Would you believe that 35% of Americans are in collections for unpaid debt? According to a massive study just released by the Urban Institute that is the case.

What’s the Scoop About Debt?

Now you do not go into collections until the debt holder gives up and closes the account, reporting it to the credit bureaus and selling it to a collection agency. Ordinarily the debt must be over six months overdue for this to happen.

pile of debts

With two exceptions, states with the highest percentage of people into collections are concentrated in the South where incomes are lowest and the economic crisis proved more painful. Nevada, where the housing crisis was the worst, and Washington, D.C., were the other two.

Is there a positive side at all to the debt situation? Yes, in fact there is.


How to Increase Personal Productivity

One of the keys to success in any field is to discover and put into practice those skills that increase productivity. All else being equal, increasing your productivity has a direct correlation to increasing your income.

How I Learned About Productivity

When in graduate school I had the privilege of working with Dr. Elmer Gray in conjunction with my studies, particularly in learning more about writing. He had authored a couple of books in addition to many magazine articles and was working as the editor of a newspaper.

Project Plan Page

One of the invaluable skills he taught me was to plan carefully (even if quickly) what you were going to write. In particular, to get all the facts first, then organize your project into sections and write out a fairly detailed outline including the space to be allocated for each part.

Next, I learned to write in a disciplined fashion so that you would end up with only ten percent more material than you wanted for the end product. Finally, edit down to the intended size, deleting repetitious, superfluous material, unnecessary adjectives and the like.


Economic Disincentives: Woopi Goldberg and Dr. Ben Carson

There has been a lot of talk about economic disincentives recently, most of it confusing.

Recently Dr. Ben Carson appeared on The View. He and the ladies on The View, especially Woopi Goldberg, engaged in a debate that was quite significant. The problem is that they, and all the commentators I have heard, saw their views as polar opposites when they should have seen them as opposite sides of the same problem, a critical one for our nation.

Because there seems to be so little understanding of economic disincentive I thought I might share a little insight to help our readers understand what it really is and what it means.


Food Prices Increase!

For more than a year now I have been observing the widespread anticipation of rising food prices among those who claim to be experts on the subject as well as talk among everyday shoppers as they observe trends in the local grocery stores.

No one expects anything but higher food prices in the months ahead. But how well are we prepared?

Higher Prices Are Here Already

Two Gallons of Milk

Have you been to the grocery store lately? Just a few months ago I could run down to a local store and pick up two gallons of milk for $5.00. Not any more. Yesterday my daughter told me the best advertised sale price now for two gallons of milk is $7.00!

…No really good solutions are out there, I suspect, but in general there are two things that can be done.