Tuesday, December 19, 2017

How to Invest

Investing: The Evidence

Want to get rich from investing?

Perhaps you've tried to read articles like this one and said, "Nope, too long," or perhaps you find the jargon too technical and headache-inducing!

If this describes you, you need to watch these brief videos!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

The Zen of Christmas

The Zen of Christmas

It's a truism of popular culture that everybody is rushing around before Christmas, trying to get the best presents, or the best deals, or both. As the thought goes, people are trying to cram 30 hours worth of stuff into a 24-hour day. Of course, this means that everybody is stressed!

I'm not.

Here's how I avoid the stress and enjoy the holidays!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Millennials Get the Best Life Insurance Rates & Don't Even Know It!

Guest post
Today, we have a guest post from Danielle YB Vason of SheMakesCents. This opportunity came up courtesy of HealthIQ, a company that is focused on getting lower health insurance rates for health-conscious folks.

This post focuses on life insurance. Is it right for you? Well, frankly, it depends on your situation. If you have family members that depend on your income (in part or entirely), and/or if you have co-signers on student loans, then life insurance may be a good option for you to financially protect your family against disaster. Life insurance will only get more expensive as you get older!

However, if you do not have a family or student loan debt, then who would be the beneficiary of your life insurance policy? And why? So, as with all insurance products, your personal situation dictates whether it's a smart move or a rip-off.

Danielle's own post, with more detail on the topic, is available here.

Millennials Get the Best Rates on Life Insurance & Don’t Even Know It
                                                              —Danielle YB Vason, SheMakesCents

When you hear the term “life insurance,” what comes to mind?  Is it your parents’ and grandparents’ generation?  Is it a sad thought like death or the process of planning a funeral?  Or, is it something that you have on your to-do list to understand when you are “older” because you are not in that headspace right now?  

Thursday, October 26, 2017

A truly "smart" phone plan

A truly "smart" phone plan!

I used to pay too much!

My old cell phone plan was a $35/mo. prepaid service from Virgin Mobile, which ran on the Sprint network in my area. It worked well, and I liked Virgin Mobile just fine. The service in my area was seamless, and the price of $35 per month (plus tax) was pretty good. The phone itself was well-made, and I became a fan of HTC!

But when I moved to an area that Virgin Mobile did not service, I knew I'd have to switch. And, considering that my old phone (an HTC One V that cost me $80 in 2013) was getting painfully slow, it was a good excuse to upgrade.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Best Laptops (Fall 2017)

Great deals on great laptops!

Looking for a new high-performance laptop? Of course, you want one that will be reliable, cost-effective and capable of handling any task you need!

Well, as always, I've got you covered:

ASUS Flip TP501; $450

Here it is, folks: the laptop deal of the season!

Top headphone deals

Great deals on great headphones!
Do you hate earbuds?

Me too! They're often uncomfortable (especially for people with unusually small or large ear canals), they tend to fall out if you're physically active, they can damage your hearing, and all but the most expensive ones make music sound terrible!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Links for your financial health, August 2017

Links for your financial health, August 2017

There's no substitute for personal responsibility and fair laws (not to mention equitable enforcement of those laws). Their absence may lead to the downfall of the United States: http://howigrowmywealth.com/made-america-wealthy/
     -Don't think the U.S. is fiscally doomed? Illinois might already be.

Excellent advice for college students: http://www.themillenniaires.com/managing-the-colossal-costs-of-college/

Excellent financial advice for college students (and non-college-students, for that matter): https://kjhfinancialservices.wordpress.com/2017/07/18/starting-college-financial-tips/

Would less work make us more productive? https://crew.co/blog/why-you-shouldnt-work-set-hours/

Friday, July 21, 2017

The 5 Best Money Books

The 5 Money Books You MUST Read!

There are self-help books (and podcasts and so forth) on every conceivable topic! So, as you might expect, there are plenty about money as well.

But how can you sift through the garbage to find the gems? Well, I can't claim to have read everything, but I can share the most helpful books that I've found. So, I've compiled a brief list of my favorites, including a couple that may surprise you!

Stanley and Danko

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Money and the NFL

Pining for football during the extended no-football drought? Here are a couple links to topics related to both the NFL (to address your craving for NFL news) and money (because this is a personal finance blog...):

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A Tale of Two Dealerships, Pt. 2

A Tale of Two Dealerships, Pt. 2

Get the full backstorycheck out Part I here!

Though she didn't get pressured into a bad deal on a vehicle she didn't want, my friend "Cailin" was still stuck with an old car that had shoddy brakes, balding tires, and vibrated heavily whenever she pressed on the gas. Time to regroup and go to plan B.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Equity crowdfunding: How YOU can help produce a Hollywood movie

Equity Crowdfunding: 
How You Can Invest in Hollywood Without Already Being a Millionaire

Have you ever wanted to be a part of Hollywood?

Have you ever wished you could share in the profits of a big movie?

Monday, May 1, 2017

Froogal Stoodent guest posts

Running list of guest posts

I've been involved in a few guest posts over the years. I've written a few, and I've recently hosted one, hopefully with more on the way! Since I was recently involved in a couple of these, I figured it would be wise to keep a complete list of what I've done so far.

In chronological order:

Guest posts I've authored:
Compilations of advice to which I've contributed:
Guest posts by others, hosted on The Froogal Stoodent:
If you're seeking a guest-posting opportunity, know that I evaluate 
each post on a case-by-case basis. Send me a brief summary of 
what you'd like to write about, and I'll consider it! 

If you have a proposal, you can contact me
at thefroogalstoodent <at> gmail <dot> com. 
In case you're curious why Iand other peoplewrite their e-mails this way on websites...here's your answer.

Content published on The Froogal Stoodent by the request of others:

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Should you trust the stock market? Pt II

Should you trust the stock market? Pt II

What if I told you there is a surefire way to invest in winners?

What if I told you about a method of stock selection that automatically dumps the losers—without requiring you to lift a finger?

And what if I then told you that this strategy costs less than other strategies, despite being more effective?!

You'd think I was a snake-oil salesman, right? But what if I'm telling you the truth, and the other guys are the snake oil salesmen?...

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Is College Worthwhile?

Two successful serial entrepreneurs are not optimistic about the future of higher education. In the videos linked below, billionaire Mark Cuban and multimillionaire Howard Tullman share their thoughts on the current trends in higher education. Their entrepreneurial histories demonstrate that these two are usually ahead of the curve.



Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Links for April 2017

Links for April 2017

Financial information that everyone, especially (but not only) young people, should know: http://www.youngadultmoney.com/2016/07/25/10-financial-basics-everyone-should-know/

Are you trying to substitute money for something else in your life? It won't work! Wisdom from Mindfully Spent: https://www.mindfullyspent.com/home/money-cant-fill-a-hole

Millennials: having trouble paying off your student loans? Sound the alarmTreat your debt like the emergency it is; pay it off like your hair's on fire!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Investing Peace of Mind

Maintaining Peace of Mind Despite Market Fluctuations

Every day, the stock market goes up and down like an angry mustang that doesn't want to be broken! Today was an example of a big downswing in the morning, followed by a near-full recovery later in the day:

screenshot of Google Finance Dow Jones Industrial Average report for April 11, 2017

screenshot of Google Finance S&P 500 report for April 11, 2017

Patience is the order of the day—every day! Especially with investing!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

25 free programs to help you make the most of your computer!

My favorite free software

I recently discovered this article, a version of which was originally posted here a year earlier (gotta love the Internet!). Recycled content or not, it got me thinking about some of the best free software that I've used.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Value Chromebooks

Best Chromebooks 

If you're looking for a cheap computer to surf the Internet, or for your kids, a Chromebook might be a good option for your needs. Chromebooks have very limited capabilities, and I generally preferand advisecomputers with more robust capabilities. 

But if a Chromebook (or a cloud-first Windows netbook) is all you need, here are some of the best options:

Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga Chromebook; $200

*My top recommendation
   -360-degree hinge, 4 GB RAM, 16 GB eMMC SSD storage, 11.6" HD screen, decent Intel Celeron N3150 processor, very positive reviews

Monday, March 13, 2017

Trick yourself out of debt!

Trick Yourself Out of Debt

As this tragic story demonstrates, debt can have life-shattering consequences. Seriously, follow that link and read the story. I’ll wait here.

Done? OK, welcome back! Pretty somber stuff, huh?...

For all the talk about money—how to save ithow to manage it, how to invest it, how to pay off your debt, which app is best to help you stick to a budget—there is very, very little talk about the emotional side of money. And that’s a topic that we obviously cannot continue to ignore!

You may have heard of the so-called ‘debt snowball’ method: pay off the debt with the lowest amount owed; once that’s paid off, put that extra money toward the next smallest debt, and so on.

Some people take issue with this, since it’s more productive to put your money toward the debt with the highest interest payment first—the so-called ‘debt avalanche’ method. Advocates of the debt avalanche often fail to understand why people would use the obviously inferior debt snowball method instead.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

The 3 best passive income apps

The first guest post to be featured on my site! Dylan of http://www.thecollegecapitalist.com offered to write a guest post reviewing some extra ways to make some extra money. These are some good options to accomplish this goal! Take it away, Dylan...

The Three Best Passive Income Apps
By: Dylan, Founder/Owner of www.thecollegecapitalist.com

Let’s face it: we could all use a little extra cash!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A little fun

Today in unnecessary censorship:

No, Yahoo, my e-mail address does NOT contain a swear word! But gee, thanks for implying it...

This reminds me of the classic (and not kid-friendly...probably not work-friendly either, depending on the personality of your co-workers and/or boss) unnecessary censorship video of Ernie and Bert in conversation.

As far as I can tell, they're playing tag and Ernie is actually saying that Bert is "it." But nonetheless, it cracks me up every time! Maybe I just have a juvenile sense of humor. But hey, it gave me a good laugh anyway!

After all, they say that laughter is the best medicine!

Or, if you've seen The Dark Knight (the second movie in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy with Christian Bale as the Batman), Heath Ledger's Joker seems to think instead that slaughter is the best medicine...
[A good movie, but I obviously don't condone harming anybody]

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Is your retirement in jeopardy?

Due to severe budget problems, Puerto Rico will have to slash its budget, as announced in February 2017 (see http://www.businessinsider.com/the-board-has-spoken-puerto-rico-to-be-hit-with-painful-austerity-measures-2017-2). This includes cutting 10% from the retirement system for government employees, since that system is on the verge of running out of money completely. Sound familiar, U.S. residents?...

Image result

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Should you trust the stock market? Pt I

Should you trust the stock market? Part I

Historically, the returns have been good on the Dow Jones or the S&P 500. But, as every financial advisor cautions, past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Dow Jones (all-time, also note the log scale—this graph has a much steeper incline than it appears at first glance; see below):
A historical graph. From its record low of under 35 in the late 1890s to a high reached above 14,000 in mid-2011, the Dow rises periodically through the decades with corrections along the way eventually settling in the mid-10,000 range within the last 10 years.

Dow Jones (all-time, labeled with some historical highlights):

S&P 500 (since 1950, including adjustment for inflation):

Or, for those who would prefer an annualized chart of S&P 500 returns, here you go (all-time--note that the S&P 500 was called the "Composite Index" before 1957):

Notably, John Bogle (the founder of The Vanguard Group, an investing company) is not optimistic in the short-term: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/john-bogle-says-you-wont-make-much-money-from-stocks-2015-11-05

So, should you be optimistic? Is it wise to invest in the stock market? Is the market really trustworthy?

You don't need my advice. Take a look at the graphs above and decide for yourself.

Friday, February 3, 2017

How advertising ruins your life

According to this article, companies spent nearly $600 billion—that's billion with a b—on advertising around the world in 2015 alone!

All of this money is geared toward one thing: convincing you to spend, spend, spend! Is it really any wonder that consumer debt is sky-high, and 70% of Americans believe that debt is necessary? I'm here to tell you that it's not necessary. Not at all.

The point of advertising is to make you want stuff. And if you spend your money on stuff, it can't be invested and go to work for you. In fact, many businesses use some pretty clever psychological tricks to get people to spend money on an annual, biannual, or monthly basis. So, despite the clickbait-y title, it's true in a general sense: the constant stream of advertising ruins people's lives!

What happens if you don't buy into the advertising hype? Well, take me for example: I live on under $13,000 a year, before taxes. And I make money doing it! Not much money, mind you, but I live well below my meager means!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

A Tale of Two Kingdoms

My friend Bill at Wealth Well Done writes some true-ish stories as a creative way to communicate financial wisdom. So, in honor of Bill and of the parables of Jesus (many of which had to do, at least on the surface, with money), I've created a parable of my own:

A Tale of Two Kingdoms
There once was a kingdom with a very powerful army. One day, the king realized that he could make money while also providing protection for the nations he had conquered: he would allow the conquered nations to maintain their existing social orders, including their own forms of government. In return, each nation could choose one of a few different levels of protection—the amount of the conquered nation’s annual tribute depended on the level of protection they selected.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Links for your financial health, January 2017

Links for your financial health

Confused about the difference between Roth IRAs and regular IRAs or 401(k)s? Mr. Tako explains clearly and succinctly at http://www.mrtakoescapes.com/give-yourself-the-gift-of-wealth/:

"IRA / 401(s) — Don’t pay taxes now, pay later!
Roth IRA — Pay taxes now, but don’t pay taxes later!"
The above link at mrtakoescapes.com provides a great resource on wealth-building--a recommended read! Some other interesting and important thoughts for your financial health: