As featured in The Wall Street Journal, Money Magazine, and more!

January 2004

The Power of Residual Value

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MSN Money – 10 cars that lose value fastest – Save on a Car

Do you own a car that retains a good portion of its value over time or does your car depreciate fast? This article gives some insight and informs the reader about situations where depreciation doesn’t matter as much.

An additional article talks about the dangers of being upside-down on your car loan. Pay it off quickly! The problem is people get an “itch” for a new car that they have to have, and of course, desires like these are completely supported by the media and salespeople. Downpayments are lower, terms of the loan are longer… these factors all contribute.

Financial Update – January

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It has been a month of gift giving and trip taking, so I’m not expecting to see much progress. To the tape!

  January 17 December 17
Cash Accounts: $ 13,760 $ 14,621
Taxable Investments: $ 3,189 $ 2,974
401k (Pre-Tax): $ 8,919 $ 8,250
Roth IRA: $ 1,763 $ 1,416
Credit Cards: ($ 1,821) ($ 2,918)
Student Loan 3.97%: ($ 1,720) ($ 1,727)
Student Loan 2.82%: ($ 9,250) ($ 9,250)
Home Inventory: $ 9,359 $ 9,259
TOTAL $ 24,254 $ 22,626

Well, it’s definitely not a huge increase. I’m planning on cutting back my spending by making my lunch more rather than going out… I tried this last year but gave up after my lunch bag was destroyed. I’ll pick a new one up this week.

Debt is Bad, Mmkay

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MSN Money – 5 tales from debt hell – Manage Debt

Five individual readers of MSN Money Central are singled out in this article for asking the tough questions. They’ve made mistakes, and the author gives them some of the sympathy they deserve. The stories “from debt hell” include co-signing a loan with a relative, overusing credit card balance transfer offers, not considering the value of education loans, choosing the wrong credit counselor and filing for bankruptcy. Of course, none of these are inherently mistakes, but sometimes something goes wrong. Liz, the author, provides some suggestions on how to survive the worst in these situations.

Having a Good Plan

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Save regularly and don’t forget to floss – Jan. 5, 2004

This family has a great plan in place. Sure, they’re in the red now, but with a dentist’s earning potential, that won’t stay the case for long.

The family puts $200 aside each month for their car payment, even though their cars are paid off. That is similar to what I do now; even though I don’t have a car, I put aside that amount every month into my “car” fund. Once I get that to a sizable amount, I’ll start focusing on a “house” fund. Some day will come when I’m ready to settle down, and I plan on being prepared.