Micawber’s Favorites – December 2016

A roundup of my favorite financial articles from December 2016:

“Finding Contentment in Well Enough” by Penny at She Picks Up Pennies

This won’t be a surprise to those of you who know me personally, but I am not a financial superstar.  I have never made a ton of money and I have struggled to raise four children on a moderate income.  I have had periods of unemployment, both by choice (taking a year off from work to go back to school) and through bad luck (getting laid off).  I have generally made good decisions with my money, although I have also made my share of mistakes.  I didn’t retire at 40…or 50…but I am on track to being able to fund a decent retirement in my mid-60s.  In short, I am doing “well enough,” and I try to be content with that.   This great article by someone else doing “well enough” helped me put things in perspective.

“Growth Without Goals” by Patrick O’Shaughnessy at Investor Field Guide

In a recent post I wrote about how habits are more important than goals.  This idea is expressed wonderfully in this article, and as a bonus it describes an app called “Way of Life,” which is a simple but powerful tool for helping you develop good habits.  I loved both the article and the app.  Powerful stuff.

“The Promise of Your Best Work” by Jason Hewlett

Perhaps the best thing you can do to help your finances long-term is to give your best at work – and in anything else you choose to pursue.  This is a great article about just that.

“How to Do What You Love and Make Good Money” by Derek Sivers

Interesting advice on how to do what you love and make a good living.  The advice is probably not what you are expecting given the title, but the author makes some great points.

“13 Things You Should Give Up If You Want to Be Successful” by Zdravko Cvijetic

Often the quickest way to improve yourself is to stop doing harmful things.  This article is full of great suggestions of things to give up as you consider what you want to accomplish this year.

“In Defense of Savings Accounts” by Matt Becker at Mom and Dad Money

Nothing beats the humble, safe, simple, liquid savings account for short-term saving.  I love my Capital One 360 online savings accounts.  They are extremely easy to use, pay several times more in interest than my local brick-and-mortar bank, and I can set up a new account to save for a specific goal in only a couple of minutes.  In this article Matt Becker explains some of the advantages of savings accounts and I couldn’t agree more.

“When ‘Saving Money’ Doesn’t Actually Grow Your Savings Account” by Jonathan Ping at My Money Blog

On the topic of savings accounts, I am a believer in the idea that “saving money” on a purchase doesn’t do a whole lot of good unless you actually “save” the money by transferring it to a savings account.  Otherwise it will most likely just disappear on some other mindless purchase.  This article makes this point and then describes an app that makes it easy to immediately transfer the money you save on a purchase to your savings account.  Interesting idea.

“What’s the Best Way to Pay Off Debt?  The Answer Might Surprise You” by Avraham Byers

When you are paying off debt should you attack your highest interest rate debt or your smallest balance first?  This article does a great job of looking at both the numbers and the psychological factors involved.

“How to Prevent Fear of Spending from Spoiling Your Retirement” by Walter Updegrave at Money magazine

Many retirees live far more frugally than they need to.  While there are many reasons for this one of them is that it is difficult for some to make the transition from accumulating to spending.  I love to save, so when I do retire I can see this being a problem for me.  The article provides some good ideas on how to prevent this from happening.

“7 Signs You are Spending Too Little in Retirement” by Investopedia

How can you tell if you’re spending as much as you could (or should) in retirement?  This short article gives 7 signs that you need to be more generous with yourself.

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