Carefully contemplate everything you eat and everything you buy—and you’ll find yourself losing weight and saving more.
SEE IF ESTATE TAXES ARE AN ISSUE. With 2017’s federal exemption at $5.49 million, few Americans need worry about federal estate taxes. State estate taxes are an issue in just a third of states, though state exemptions are often below the federal level. For most Americans, the biggest “death tax” will be the income taxes owed on inherited retirement accounts.
I DON’T THINK MY PARENTS ever had any sort of five-step plan to teach me about money. I was always parsimonious, so they weren’t very focused on how I spent. They did, however, teach me two powerful life lessons—which changed not just the way I thought about money, but who I am.
Everything has a cost. I attended private school from fourth to ninth grade, coasting by with B plusses and A minuses.
EVERY MONTH, I revise a slew of pages in HumbleDollar’s online money guide. Here are some recent updates:
Home prices continue to rebound, though they remain just 3.2% above their mid-2006 peak—and houses still look affordable by historical standards.
U.S. stocks are yielding 1.9%, less than shares in almost any other developed country.
I updated the page devoted to retirement calculators, dropping some that now require site registration and adding others that don’t.
I RECENTLY RECEIVED an email from a friend asking, “What financial advice would you give to your younger self, now that you’re older?” I had to think for a while. But once I sat down to reply, I realized my attitudes about personal finance were already well-developed by the time I was in my 20s. I also realized my financial beliefs had been shaped, in part, by growing up in a family where money wasn’t exactly plentiful.
Jonathan Clements is the founder and editor of HumbleDollar. He spent almost two decades at The Wall Street Journal, where he was the personal finance columnist. His latest book: How to Think About Money.