Cost vs. value: the $71,000 conference that’s a bargain

June 29th, 2011

The vast majority of Americans are fixated on cost, not value. They complain about how much something costs, rather than understanding what value it could provide -- whether financially, emotionally, or otherwise. I’ve written about this before in my post on why I bought a new car, a decision commonly dismissed without any research or perspective. In that post, ...

The psychology of cutting back on lattes

June 08th, 2011

I’ve talked about Big Wins instead of savings on pointless small expenses like lattes. Frugality zealots don’t understand this and accuse me of arguing that people can’t manage their expenses and that, gasp, is it REALLY that hard to cut back on this stuff? They are right. In general, people can’t manage their expenses, and yes, ...

Goldilocks and the Three Prices

May 18th, 2011

I was out to dinner with 5 people recently. Two of us live in San Francisco, two live in the Palo Alto area, and two live mid-Peninsula (in between). Think of it like this:   Many of you don't know, but I almost became a cartographer. However, I chose blogging due to the copious amounts of female groupies. Anyway, after ...

This guy is going to regret his life in 15 years

May 09th, 2011

Sigh. An email I got recently. Vito writes: "Love your name btw. Just ram it! lol. My investment strategy is non complicated. I invest everything I have in gold and silver. 75% silver and 25% gold. Simple and effective and no need to read any books. It's doing very well. Nobody I know has the slightest clue what's going on. ...

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Most people in debt don’t even know how much they owe

April 22nd, 2011

Yesterday, I ran a small survey: How long until you're out of debt? Yes, it's a self-selected audience I've long suspected that most people in debt don't even know how much they owe. I'm trying to dig up data on this, but from talking to tons of people about this, I feel comfortable saying "most" people in moderate to significant ...

Your parents are delusional about tax refunds

April 14th, 2011

I love tax time because all these kooky weirdos come out of the woodwork -- including personal-finance "experts" who don't know what they're talking about. These are the people who will get on TV, or on their online soapbox, and lecture you about taxes. One of their favorite go-tos is this old chestnut: "If you're getting a tax refund, you're ...