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Trent Hamm

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The Simple Dollar
debt, budgeting, investing
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United States
Life stage:
DIK (Dual Income, Kids)

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Latest Blog Posts

Nadine writes in: Does it make sense to use a Roth IRA as an emergency fund? It seems like I could contribute money to it, have it build tax free for a while, then I take out the contributions in an emergency and just keep those earnings for retirement. Why not do this? Well, as you can see from the title of this article, I don’t actually think this is a very ...
Posted: Jul 21 2017 @ 10:00 AM
I recently had the pleasure of reading Scott Adams’ book How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big. At one point in the book, Adams refers to a set of skills that will serve a person well in succeeding in virtually any career path that they might choose: Public speaking Psychology Business writing Accounting basics Design basics Conversation Overcoming shyness Second language Golf Proper grammar Persuasion Technology basics Proper voice technique I found this list quite compelling, but I would actually ...
Posted: Jul 20 2017 @ 10:00 AM
With traditional pensions all but disappearing, the workplace retirement plan has become the bedrock of many people’s retirement savings strategy. Four out of five Americans work at a company that offers a 401k (or a variant such as a 403b). And while far too many workers still don’t or can’t contribute to their 401k, it’s a great tool for those who do, for several reasons. For starters, a 401k is one ...
Posted: Jul 20 2017 @ 6:00 AM
This is the final entry in a short summer series covering smart strategies for using leftover staple foods – things like rice, beans, pasta, and so on. Here’s what you do when you cook a bit too much and don’t know what to do with the rest! Before we dig into techniques for using leftover sweet corn, let’s look back at the earlier entries in this series: 10 Smart Ways to Use ...
Posted: Jul 19 2017 @ 10:00 AM
If you started summer with the goal of picking up part-time work, you might wish you had started searching sooner. While it’s still possible you’ll pick up some seasonal employment, most summer job openings have come and gone – at least until next year. But, there are other ways to earn money, some of which don’t require working for someone else. If you could pick up a gig as a dog ...
Posted: Jul 19 2017 @ 6:00 AM
One common question that readers send into the Reader Mailbag revolves around learning a particular language without a lot of expense. Most of the well-known methods of learning a language – classroom learning and Rosetta Stone, for example – are quite expensive and, for many people, only really make sense if you have an immediate and urgent need to learn a language for your career path. What if you’re in ...
Posted: Jul 18 2017 @ 10:00 AM
Credit scores aren’t static. They don’t rise and fall like temperature. No, credit scores are simply a snapshot evaluation of your credit report information at a given point in time. But when the information on your credit reports changes, your scores will generally be different the next time they’re calculated. Certain credit events may lead to a predictable difference in your credit scores. For example, if your credit report shows a new ...
Posted: Jul 18 2017 @ 6:00 AM
What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to summaries of five or fewer words. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question.1. Income change and credit limits2. Water filter advice3. Figuring out lifestyle inflation4. Upgrading wardrobe to “professional”5. Finding specific used items6. Best place for Roth IRA?7. Value of rice cooker8. Resolving banking error9. Parking money in retirement10. Next step after ...
Posted: Jul 17 2017 @ 10:00 AM
You probably already know that it’s important to have an emergency fund. You know, money that keeps you out of debt and on track, even when life throws you a curveball. You’ve probably also heard that you’re supposed to keep this money in a savings account, safe and sound, so that you can be sure it’s there when you need it. And while you definitely want this money to be safe, it probably ...
Posted: Jul 17 2017 @ 6:00 AM
Whether you’re trying to get out of debt or just need spending money, there’s something eerily satisfying about selling your unwanted “stuff” for cash. Your old picture frames, unworn or outgrown children’s clothing, and forgotten home décor may not hold a place in your heart any longer, but that doesn’t mean someone else won’t gladly swoop these items up – for a price, of course. Because I’ve always been obsessed with earning extra ...
Posted: Jul 16 2017 @ 8:00 AM


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