Interview With Personal Finance Columnist Liz Pulliam Weston

liz-pulliam-weston

I recently had both the honor and pleasure of interviewing Liz Pulliam Weston, known to be the most read personal finance columnist on the internet.  Ms Weston was also the financial adviser for the FNBO Pay Yourself First Challenge in which five challengers learned to get financially fit.  (The Money Life Network’s own Phil from Prime Time Money was one of the contestants though he was beat out by Kristen).
Continue Reading

Subscriber Swap Saturday – Interview With No Debt Plan

no-debt-plan

No Debt Plan is about getting and staying out of debt with a plan. Kevin, the author, is passionate about budgeting, saving for the future, and using goals to reach financial freedom. You can subscribe to his blog by RSS or email.

This interview is part of a new feature he’s developed called Subscriber Swap Saturday. The basic idea is to get the subscribers of one blog to subscribe to the other blog for at least a week, just to try it out. After a week if you don’t find that blogger’s content enticing, drop it. The hope is that over time you will find several writers that you weren’t familiar with who provide meaningful content to you. You can read more about Subscriber Swap Saturday at his get out of debt blog, as well as his interview with me

What’s No Debt Plan all about?

Continue Reading

50+ Personal Finance, Investing, And Money Tweeps Worth Following

These days, it’s all about Twitter and the tweeple there. While many (including my husband) see very little point to Twitter, there are, nonetheless, many twitterers that offer useful and interesting information — even if it is only a link to a well-written blog post. Twitter is full of people tweeting about finance-related subjects. It is impossible for me to include a totally comprehensive list of useful money tweeple, so I’m offering 50 of my tweeps for your consideration — and I’m barely scratching the surface.

Before I share my list of 50 tweeps — in no particular order — I’d like to share my Twitter account, and Bankling’s: @MMarquit, @bankling. If you aren’t on this list, add yourself. And share your favorite tweeps as well. We’d love to follow the people you’re following.

Investing Tweeps

If you want investing news and insight, following the right tweeple can provide you with updates, from the latest Dow reading, to real time forex quotes, to the latest happening in the world of gold. Here are a few of the investing tweeps that I follow:

  1. @TLI_Twitter provides regular investing news and updates. Tweets feature useful links to investing-related articles. Blog: Lucrative Investing.
  2. @TopProsTopPicks is more of a stock-picking kind of tweep. Articles on up-and-coming stocks, as well as news and analysis. This is the Twitter account associated with MoneyShow.com.
  3. @jeflin_sg provides in-depth investing commentary and opinion. Blogs at www.jeflin.net.
  4. @FalkinInvesting offers a good mix of investor education, commentary and news. His blog can be read at Stock Trading To Go.
  5. @penny_stocks, as you might imagine, provides tips on hot penny stocks. For those who are interested in the pink sheets and other low-cost investments. Watch out, though, these are risky investments that aren’t for everyone. Web site at www.thehotpennystocks.com.
  6. @tipd I’m rather fond of the folks at Tip’d (and not just because they put me on their “terrific” list). It’s like Digg for finance and investing people. A number of interesting and varied articles on a number of subjects.
  7. @valuestocks offers some interesting observations. I also like the way account holder Andrei looks to stimulate discussion about different investments.
  8. @forex_queen As you might imagine, forex_queen focuses on the currency market. A look at the latest forex trading news and information. Forex is risky, though; there’s a good chance you could lose a lot of money. She is associated with the Forex Profit Accelerator.
  9. @ETFtrends focuses mainly on the increasingly popular world of ETFs. This is the account associated wtih ETF Trends.

Personal Finance Tweeps

I’m a personal finance blog writer, mainly, so this was a very hard category for me to narrow down. Which is why it’s the biggest. However, there are dozens more high quality tweeps that I didn’t have room for.

  1. @jdroth represents the Twitter account of the wildly popular author of the Get Rich Slowly blog. He is known for his personal finance insight and practical, everyday solutions.
  2. @bargainr blogs at Bargaineering and offers a great deal of good financial information — including CD rates and schedules.
  3. @FMFblog provides personal finance tips and good information. Blog: Free Money Finance.
  4. @fcn is the guy behind Five Cent Nickel. He’s all about a slightly edgy look at personal finance. You can get his article feed at @fcnfeed.
  5. @SunFinancial is an electrical engineer who keeps The Sun’s Financial Financial Diary. Features a number useful links in most of his tweets.
  6. @thepassivedad concentrates mostly on ways to generate passive income. He’s a work from home dad blogging about his efforts at The Passive Dad.
  7. @pimpyourfinance offers helpful tips on a number of subjects — and keeps up with the latest financial shenanigans. Blog: www.pimpyourfinances.com.
  8. @holycap offers slightly irreverent, yet helpful information on good financial habits — as well as his Stop Buying Crap blog. You can stop buying crap! Cap can help.
  9. @CashMoneyLife has good, practical advice about money and preparing for the future. His blog, as you might guess, is Cash Money Life.
  10. @freefrombroke does a great job of retweeting what other personal finance and money bloggers are saying. It’s like another list of great tweeple to follow. Blog: Free From Broke.
  11. @Green_Panda focuses mainly on students. Great advice for college students (and the rest of us) on how to manage finances when first starting out. Blog: Green Panda Treehouse.
  12. @moneymanagement is the account for the Blogging for Change Web site. It’s a nonprofit aimed at helping others learn to manage money.
  13. @WideOpenWallet chronicles the real life adventures of a family trying to keep their personal finances in order. Some good thoughts and interesting tidbits. Blog: Wide Open Wallet.
  14. @flexo is the account for the Consumerism Commentary blog. Focus is on the consumer habits view of personal finances.
  15. @bigcajunman provides a look at finances from a Canadian perspective. Sometimes it’s good to see what’s going on in countries other than the U.S. Author of the Canadian Personal Finances Blog.
  16. @ThatOneCaveman provides real life anecdotes and helpful hints on reaching financial freedom. Blog: One Caveman’s Financial Journey.
  17. @mytwodollars is where I go when I want to know the latest outrage. While offering solid personal finance ideas and advice, My Two Dollars also keeps us up to date on all the outrageous money decisions being made by our leaders.

Credit/Debt Tweeps

Credit and debt issues are getting a lot of play right now, and there are plenty of tweeps who have helpful hints, tips and tricks for dealing with debt — and for improving your credit score.

  1. @NCN writes tweets that focus on debt reduction and staying out of debt. Blog: No Credit Needed.
  2. @debtkid is honest about his massive amounts of debt. Tweets — and his Debt Kid blog — keep followers updated on the progress being made, and provide encouragement for those trying to pay down their own debt.
  3. @paidtwice shares thoughts on getting out of credit card debt, and offers tips for dealing with credit card companies. Blog: www.paidtwice.com.
  4. @nodebtplan provides meaningful help on creating a plan to get out of debt and achieve financial freedom. Blogs at No Debt Plan.
  5. @masteryourcard is the Twitter account for the Master Your Card blog. All about responsible use of your credit card — and using it as a personal finance tool.
  6. @takingcharge shares the thoughts of the editor of CreditCards.com. It’s all about credit card issuer news, and tips for using credit wisely.
  7. @EADFL tweets about making a plan to get out of debt, and then stay there. Includes money making and money saving ideas. Blog: Engineer a debt free life.
  8. @debtblackhole is for the geek in me. A “financial mind meld” of sci-fi and escaping debt. Which is like a black hole. Blog: www.debtblackhole.com.

Christian Finance Tweeps

In the last couple of years, Christian Finance has emerged as its own financial category. It’s all about making sure your financial practices are right with God.

  1. @MoneyMatters puts finances into Biblical terms — and even relates what’s going on in the economy with scripture. Blog: Bible Money Matters.
  2. @ChristianPF is just what it sounds like. Twitter account for Christian Personal Finance.
  3. @glblguy looks at scripture for guidance. Shares tweets that sends followers to a range of sites and tweeple offering good information. Blog is Gather Little By Little. You know, like that scripture…
  4. @RichChristian is a “stewardship pastor” blogging at Rich Christian, Poor Christian. Shares a lot of links about money and the Christian way to get rich.
  5. @jameslparis is the editor in chief at ChristianMoney.com.
  6. @bfnJohn blogs at Borrow From None, another scriptural reference.

Money Saving/Frugal Living Tweeps

In this recession, you need all the money saving tips you can get. The economic turmoil has led to a renaissance in frugal living, and there are plenty of tweeple that can help you learn to live a good life on less.

  1. @CouponTweet Two words: Coupons! Deals!
  2. @CouponCravings More coupons! Retweets/replies to a lot of other thrifty types, providing even more useful people to follow. Blog: Coupon Cravings.
  3. @Lynnae blogs at Being Frugal. She is all about living a frugal lifestyle. And she’s one of Walmart’s Eleven Moms.
  4. @5DollarDinners offers rather helpful tips and recipes for keeping your food bill down. Blog: 5 Dollar Dinners.
  5. @mbhunter ofers insights and information on great bargains from around the Web. Blog: Mighty Bargain Hunter.
  6. @crystalpaine offers tips on cutting the weekly shopping bill and using coupons more effectively. Her blog is www.moneysavingmom.com.
  7. @frugalbabe is all about being frugal while living a mostly sustainable lifestyle. Intersperses frugality with helpful information on going organic. Blog at www.frugalbabe.com.

Tax Tweeps

Because it’s tax season, I offer you some tweeps that can keep you up to date on things like tax credits and deductions. With all the new stuff coming out, it’s nice to have someone who can help you keep up with these things.

  1. @taxfoundation monitors and shares fiscal policy as it relates to taxes. The Twitter account for the Tax Foundation.
  2. @taxgirl is sassy and smart, offering the tax insight of an actual lawyer. Blog: www.taxgirl.com.
  3. @taxtweet authors the Don’t Mess With Taxes blog and offers updates on the economy and tax policy.
  4. @jkharris is the CEO (and founder) of a tax representation company, JK Harris and Company. Has his finger on the pulse of tax trends.
  5. @taxbrain offers links to helpful tax information, education, calculators and more. Web site: www.taxbrain.com.
  6. @althetaxman is a financial and tax planner. Offers helpful tax prep tips and links to informative seminars.
  7. @ifileonline specializes in online filing information and tax software tips and recommendations.

There you have it! Follow my tweeps and learn more about the financial world around you!

Note from FFB: Check out the Free From Broke Guide to Twitter!

Who Do You Follow?

Miranda writes for Bankling, a personal finance portal, which contains both a blog, and a tools section that contains resources like the best bank CD rates, the best savings account rates, online mortgage rate calculators, and more.

Don’t Let Money Ruin Your Marriage!

Wedding Day

You found that perfect person who completes you that you want to spend the rest of your life with.

Now you are getting married!  It’s a big step and will be one of the biggest days of your life.  Sharing your life with someone is a wonderful, intimate experience.

But are you intimate enough?  Have you sat down and had the money talk?

Money talk, you ask?

Yes, money talk.  Have you sat with your spouse-to-be and have a serious talk about our finances?  I mean intimate talk.  Telling each other about your money history, your money experiences, your debts, your plans, your thoughts about money and debt…a real honest talk.

Do you know many couples don’t have this talk?  Did you also know that many marriages end because of money?

Why don’t more couples disclose their money thoughts and history?

This is very similar to why more don’t have a budget.  Some people are embarrassed about their past and are afraid of being judged.  Others don’t want to have to answer for their spending habits and have to answer for what they spend.  I wouldn’t be surprised if many just don’t think d talking about money.  Whatever the reason you aren’t allowing yourself to have a complete relationship by keeping money secrets from your significant other.

Here’s what to discuss in your money talk:

Credit Card Debt

Let your partner know where you stand with your credit card debt.  Don’t be embarrassed.  You’re going to share your lives together and this includes your debt as well.  It’s better to get this out in the open now.

What Credit Cards You Have

Discuss what credit accounts you both have open.  You may find that you have way too much credit between the two of you.  This also helps to improve trust in that you don’t have any secret credit cards the other doesn’t know about.

Student Loans

Your partner has a right now they are possibly marrying into tens of thousands of dollars in student loans debt.

Past Money Problems

Talk about past issues you’ve had with money.  It’s ok that you’ve had bad money experiences.  Talking about your past money issues will help your future spouse understand your emotions about money.

Bills You Currently Pay

Show each other a list of everything you currently pay.  Again you should both get an idea of what bills are coming into the relationship.  You may be able to eliminate a lot or combine some (like cell phone accounts).

How and Where You Save/Your Checking

Disclose your savings and checking accounts and your current savings plans.  Discuss how you want to handle these once you are married.  Put together a plan for both of you to save.  Will you keep separate accounts?  Will you combine them?  Talk about it!

Retirement Saving

What type of accounts to you save for retirement in?  Get the paperwork prepared to add each other as beneficiaries on each other’s accounts.  Talk about how you both feel about retirement and how you will save for it.

How Will You Handle Spending

Do you want to come home one day and find a huge flat screen TV?  Maybe you do but its got to be paid for doesn’t it?  Discuss how you will handle purchases.  Put together a plan for how you will go about purchases and what kind of purchases you’ll both discuss before making.

Who Pays What

Who will be responsible for what bills?  Where will the money come from?  If you have two checking accounts which account will pay what?

Credit Reports and Scores

Pull your credit report and credit scores and share them with your partner.  This is full disclosure with your partner about what accounts you have and black marks you have on your report.  It can also be a great surprise in finding out how great your credit has been!

Finally

In order for you to start off right in your marriage you need to be honest and share yourself. Keeping secrets about money and finances from your partner is dishonesty.  I think you’ll find that when you talk to your partner you will build up your trust and this will lead to a greater, more intimate bond between you!

Are you going to let money ruin your marriage?

Creative Commons License photo credit: makelessnoise

Excuse Busters For Not Having A Budget

Watch Over Your Money With A Budget

Yesterday I wrote about 9 common excuses why you don’t have a budget. Today I’m going to bust those excuses and show you why you need a budget.

Excuse Busters For Not Having A Budget:

  • You Don’t Want To Be Told What To Do – Really?  You don’t want something to tell you how to spend your money.  Well how do you like the bills you pay every month?  Or looking at your bank account and being told you don’t have funds to cover an expense?  Truth is, when you have an effective budget you are in control of your money and you can see what you are doing.  The only one doing the telling is you with a budget.
  • You Feel Constrained - Yes, a budget tells you how much money you may have for different expenses.  And you may not be able to spend indiscriminately.  But the truth is a budget can be liberating!  You know exactly what you can afford and you know where your money is going.  When you know your expenses you can re-allocate your spending to fit your needs and wants.  Without a budget it’s more like a high wire without a net.
  • You Can’t Do What you Want – Not the case.  A budget will tell you what you can afford.  With a good budget you can change your spending to allocate more money for things that are important to you.  You cut out the frivolous spending for things with more purpose.
  • Can’t Give up Your Ego And Admit You Need to Control Your Spending – Get over yourself and take a good look at the bills you have and the stress you go through every month to pay them.  Look at how quickly your paycheck disappears and how your bank account dwindles.  You want the best stuff, I get it.  But you have to reign in your spending.  The lifestyle you are trying to live is an illusion and it’s much healthier for you to truly live your life instead.  Don’t worry so much about appearances because appearances lie.  Be!
  • Your Expenses Are Too Big To Get your Head Around – It can be a daunting task to start a budget if you haven’t done one before.  Start small.  Gather up your bills.  If you don’t have them then as they come in write down their totals in a spreadsheet (or a notebook).  After you have put together your expenses, compare that to your income (for most that’s you paycheck stubs over the month).  Once you can see you expenses and income you can start to go more into the details.  Start holding on to receipts as you spend and mark them down.  Track down the little expenses.  Take a look at those bills and see what they are made up of.  The point is, if you want to start a budget you can.  Don’t think you have to do it all at once.  For most a budget is  work in process.
  • You’re Afraid – Liberate yourself from this fear.  If you are afraid then you probably think your expenses/spending are out of control.  It may not be as bad as you think.  Even if it is, once you can put a definite figure on it you’ve taken a step to start attacking it.  It’s not going to get better until you decide to do something about it and a big first step is starting a budget!
  • It Takes Too Much Energy And Time – Maybe at first it takes some time.  But once you know your recurring bills it gets a lot quicker.  Get yourself organized and you’ll find it doesn’t take much time at all (personal finance software like Mint, Mvelopes, or Moneydance – review can help).  And you will also find that tracking things like your taxes expenses will be easier since you’ve been keeping track of spending all year.
  • It’s Depressing – It doesn’t make me happy all the time to see what money I have left for the month.  Or to see how much I pay out.  But a budget is empowering.  With you budget you are in control and you see exactly what you spend.  What makes me happy (not depressed) is knowing that I have a handle on my money.  It’s a powerful feeling in fact!
  • You Manage To Get By Without One – That’s great if you get all of your bills paid and still have money left over without a budget.  You might even have money going into savings and a retirement account.  Some people are naturally good at keeping track.  But if you put together a budget you may find lots of small “money leaks” that you weren’t aware of previously.  You may find that your savings and such will grow considerably when you see exactly what your spending is.  From personal experience, my wife and I were surprised to see how much we spent on the weekends on little things.  Had we known then what we know now we’d have much nicer savings!
  • Your Spouse Isn’t On the Same Page As You – You need to sit down and talk to your spouse and have a serious money talk.  A budget doesn’t mean you can’t use money any more it just means you know where that money is going and why.  A budget allows you to align your goals for your family.

Hey, you know what? A budget isn’t that tough!  Stop making excuses and get started on one.  You just might find things are easier once you see where your money is going.

Bonus: I just discovered these templates to help manage your finances in Google Docs!  They’re free and there’s a whole bunch of them!

No More Excuses!

See Part I: 9 Excuses Why You Haven’t Started A Budget
Creative Commons License photo credit: peasap

Personal Finance Books For The Holidays

Rich Dad Poor Dad

More old books...

The economy isn’t so hot these days is it? But at the same time you’re looking for some great gifts.  Why not give a gift that could help someone achieve their financial freedom?  There are plenty of great books out there you can give.

Here are some great personal finance books that would make great gifts:

The Intelligent Investor – Great book on investing from a respected master in the field (he was Buffett’s teacher).  I have to re-read this one myself as there’s too much to learn in one read!

The Intelligent Investor

Your Money or Your Life – YMYL takes a full life approach to your finances and shows you what your true hourly wage is.  This is really a fantastic read!

Your Money Or Your Life

The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing – This book provides you with sounds investing advice.  Invest in mutual funds with low or no fees is the running theme here.  Fun read too.

Boglehead's Guide to Investing

The Millionaire Next Door – You may be surprised about the lifestyle of the average millionaire!  Very enlightening book.

The Millionaire Next Door

Accounting For Dummies -I’m actually reading this now.   I want a better understanding of financials which will help me at work and with my own finances.

Accounting for Dummies

Rich Dad, Poor Dad – People seem to love this book or hate it.  When I look back on it I don’t see many concrete ways to fix my personal finances but it did open my eyes to taking control of my finances and thinking of ways to eliminate my debt.

Rich Dad Poor Dad

Not so personal finance but great reads:

Liar’s Poker – Not personal finance but a great look into Wall Street greed in the 80′s which is still very similar today.

Liar's Poker

Moneyball -Baseball fan?  Check!  A book about thinking outside of the given norm to look for value in order to get ahead?  Check!  Same author as Liar’s Poker and also a fun read!

Moneyball

The World Is Flat 3.0 – We are in a world economy now.  This book show you the extent to which this is true and how technology and made it possible not only for anyone to start a business but for businesses to operate the world over.

The World is Flat

The Tipping Point – What makes a product or idea go viral?

Tipping Point

Naked Economics – A look at economics in a language we all can understand.

Naked Economics

How to Win Friends & Influence People – People skills. You need them. Read this book then read it again!

How to Win Friends and Influence People

The 4-Hour Workweek – I can’t say everything in this book works but it is eye-opening to how a business can be run.

4 Hour Workweek

By no means is this a definitive list.  But I can tell you that I’ve personally read each of these books and they are all worth the read!

What do you think?  Know any other books?  I’ll add them to the list!

Sign up with ING Direct and get a $25 bonus

photo credit: guldfisken

8 Ways The Economic Crisis Can Be Good For You

tiny frog

Times are tough out there.  The economy is at the forefront of the news every day.  Companies that were believed to be stalwarts are turning out to be broke.  Many are saying this is the worst the economy as been since the Great Depression.  Is there a silver lining to this economy?!? Yes.

8 Ways The Economic Crisis Can Be Good For You:

  • Lower House Prices and Lower Mortgage Rates – If you don’t already own a home now may be a great time to buy one!  Housing prices have been dropping.  The bloated home prices of the past few years are finally reversing.  If your finances are sound and you can make the payments you might find yourself with a house bargain.  Add to that dropping mortgage rates and this might be the time to buy if you’ve been waiting but couldn’t afford it before.  If you have a variable rate mortgage it could be the right time to lock in your rate.  Mortgages are already low so you figure they have to go up eventually!
  • Buying A New Car – If you have been in the market for a new car then now is a great time to buy!  The big three American car makers are hurting and are basically giving their cars away at cost just to keep their inventory moving.  To compete, foreign car makers are offering deals as well.  Most companies are offering 0% interest for qualified buyers.  That’s a free loan o buy their car.
  • Sales – Just like the car manufacturers many other companies and stores are hurting and are doing whatever they can to sell their products.  Forecast are already low on consumer spending for the holidays.  This means we’re going to see some great sales coming up.  Don’t go out spending just because prices are low but if there was something you were going to get anyway this coming season may be the time to buy it.
  • Low Credit Card RatesLower credit card rates doesn’t mean you should go on a spending spree!  But if you are carrying debt ad making your payments you may be able to negotiate a lower rate with your credit card company.  If your rate is already low you still might be able to find a card offering 0% to transfer your balance to.  Remember, the point is to shrink your debt not increase it!
  • Change Bad Spending Habits – What does it take to break out of the cycle of spending and debt?!?  If this bad economy doesn’t convince you that carrying a lot of debt is bad then what will?  Cash is king in any economy but wen you have a cushion for yourself then bad economies are less stressful.  Let what you see in the news be an eye opener for you if your spending habits aren’t so great.  Make a commitment to put yourself in charge of your finances!
  • Cut the Corporate Fat – Only the strong will survive in this economy (well, except for those that get bailed out).  The companies that come through this will end up with a stronger presence in their industries.  Also, as inefficient companies close up shop they leave open room for newer, smaller companies to take up the market void left over.
  • Cheap Gas – I just filled up the tank on our mini van and it cost us $35.  That would have given us a half tank earlier in the Summer.  Man does it feel good to not pay so much for gas!  One way to take advantage of this is take what the gas would have cost you in the summer and put the difference in what you pay now into a savings account every time you fill up.  Home fuel costs will also be lower this Winter than last Winter.
  • Stocks Are Cheaper – Prices have dropped to where if you invested at the turn of the century you might just have the same amount now; basically a zero return.  Not so good if you’ve lost a lot in stocks but if your starting out investing you could be getting stocks and funds near the bottom when prices are low.  You still need to do your research to find good funds and companies.  If you’re dollar cost averaging your investments you’re getting more stock for your dollar these days.

It’s scary to hear economic news these days.  But if your finances are in good shape then now can be a good time for you!  If your finances aren’t then get working on it now!

What do you think?  What other ways could this bad economy be good for you?

photo credit: kekremsi

Free Newsletter to Keep you Free From Broke!Name: Email: We respect your email privacyPowered by AWeber email marketing