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Your Money: The Missing Manual

Book Description

Keeping your financial house in order is more important than ever. But how do you deal with expenses, debt, taxes, and retirement without getting overwhelmed? This book points the way. It's filled with the kind of practical guidance and sound insights that makes J.D. Roth's GetRichSlowly.org a critically acclaimed source of personal-finance advice.

You won't find any get-rich-quick schemes here, just sensible advice for getting the most from your money. Even if you have perfect credit and no debt, you'll learn ways to make your rosy financial situation even better.

  • Get the info you need to make sensible decisions on saving, spending, and investing
  • Learn the best ways to set and achieve financial goals
  • Set up a realistic budget framework and learn how to track expenses
  • Discover proven methods to help you eliminate debt
  • Understand how to use credit wisely
  • Win big by making smart decisions on your home and other big-ticket items
  • Learn how to get the most from your investments by avoiding rash decisions
  • Decide how -- and how much -- to save for retirement

Table of Contents

  1. A Note Regarding Supplemental Files
  2. The Missing Credits
    1. About the Author
    2. About the Creative Team
    3. Acknowledgements
  3. Introduction
    1. About This Book
      1. About the Outline
      2. About MissingManuals.com
      3. Safari® Books Online
  4. I. Blueprint for Financial Prosperity
    1. 1. It’s More Important to Be Happy Than to Be Rich
      1. How Money Affects Happiness
        1. The Fulfillment Curve
        2. Caught Up in the Rat Race
        3. How Much Is Enough?
          1. Understand your goals and values
          2. Practice conscious spending
          3. Reduce clutter
          4. Seek balance
      2. It’s Not About the Money
        1. Living a Rich Life
    2. 2. The Road to Wealth Is Paved with Goals
      1. The Road to Success
        1. The Importance of Passion
        2. Setting SMART Goals
      2. Tools and Resources to Help You Achieve Your Goals
        1. Accountability Partners
        2. Web-Based Tools
        3. Old-School Tools
      3. Coping with Mistakes and Setbacks
        1. Final Thoughts on Pursuing Goals
    3. 3. “Budget” Is Not a Four-Letter Word
      1. Mapping Your Financial Future
      2. Building a Budget That Works
        1. Simple Budget Frameworks
        2. Budgeting in Practice
      3. Sticking to a Budget
        1. Tracking Your Spending
        2. Envelope Budgeting
        3. Think Yearly
      4. Automating Your Budget
        1. Desktop Software
        2. Web-Based Tools
      5. Why Budgets Fail
    4. 4. Defeating Debt
      1. The Power of Positive Cash Flow
        1. Cash Flow Basics
      2. The Basics of Debt Reduction
        1. Stop Accumulating Debt
        2. Establish an Emergency Fund
        3. Destroy Existing Debt
          1. Destroying high-interest debt first
          2. Destroying low-balance debt first
          3. Other approaches
          4. Other Tips and Tricks
      3. Curbing Compulsive Spending
        1. Where to Find Help
          1. Debtors Anonymous
          2. Consumer credit counseling
          3. Financial Peace University
      4. Start Now
  5. II. Laying the Foundation
    1. 5. The Magic of Thinking Small
      1. Why Frugality Matters
        1. The Power of Small Change
      2. Frugal Tactics Anyone Can Use
        1. Eat Well for Less
          1. Supermarket savings
          2. Dining out
          3. Greens from the garden
        2. Pay Less for Power
          1. The electric company
          2. The phone company
          3. The cable company
        3. Doctors and Drugs
        4. Maximum Fun at Minimum Cost
        5. Save While Shopping
      3. The Tyranny of Stuff
      4. Leading a Rich Life on a Budget
    2. 6. How to Make More Money
      1. Working for Others
        1. For Love or Money: Which Career Should You Choose?
        2. Starting on the Right Foot: Salary Negotiations
        3. How to Ask for a Raise
        4. Moving On
        5. Taking a Second Job
      2. Working for Yourself
        1. The Pros and Cons of Entrepreneurship
        2. Resources for Entrepreneurs
        3. Money-Making Hobbies
          1. Do what you love
          2. Be creative
          3. Don’t expect too much
          4. Don’t underestimate yourself
          5. Market yourself
          6. Hone your skills
          7. Choose carefully
      3. Other Ways to Make Money
        1. Selling Stuff
          1. Selling on eBay
          2. Holding a yard sale
          3. Posting items on Craigslist
        2. Donating to Charity
        3. Earning Extra Cash in Your Spare Time
          1. Research studies
          2. Tutoring
          3. Mystery shopping
          4. Renting out a spare room
          5. Unclaimed property
          6. Blogging
          7. Other ideas
      4. A Pep Talk
    3. 7. Banking for Fun and Profit
      1. Choosing a Bank
        1. Types of Banks
          1. Traditional banks
          2. Credit unions
          3. Online banks
        2. The Right Bank for You
      2. Finding Accounts That Meet Your Needs
        1. Types of Accounts
          1. Checking accounts
          2. Savings accounts
          3. Money market accounts
          4. Certificates of Deposit
        2. Choosing Accounts
      3. Making the Most of Your Accounts
        1. Finding the Best Rates
        2. Keeping Your Accounts Optimized
        3. Getting Fees Waived
        4. Switching Banks
        5. Avoiding Overdraft Fees
        6. Targeted Savings Accounts
        7. Building a CD Ladder
        8. Protecting Yourself with Parallel CDs
          1. Get in the game
    4. 8. Using Credit Wisely
      1. Credit Cards
        1. Why Use a Credit Card?
        2. Choosing a Card
        3. Using Credit Without Getting Burned
        4. Disputing Charges
        5. How and When to Cancel a Card
      2. Your Credit Report
        1. Getting a Free Credit Report
      3. Your Credit Score
        1. The Anatomy of a Credit Score
        2. How to Get Your Credit Score
        3. Boosting Your Score
      4. Final Thoughts on Credit
    5. 9. Sweating the Big Stuff
      1. Counting the Dollars
      2. Buying a Car
        1. The Wrong Way to Buy a Car
        2. The Right Way to Buy a Car
        3. Buying New
          1. Money matters
          2. Do your homework
          3. Take your time
          4. Go for a test drive
          5. Research prices
          6. Make a deal
          7. Close the deal
          8. Take delivery
          9. Sell your old car separately
        4. Buying Used
        5. Selling a Car
        6. Reducing Your Cost of Ownership
          1. Lowering maintenance costs
          2. Saving on gas
        7. Car-Free Living
      3. Finding Deals on Vacation and Travel
        1. Travel for the Adventurous
          1. Hospitality exchanges
          2. Volunteer tourism
        2. Travel Tools
        3. Hometown Vacations
      4. Cash Is King
    6. 10. House and Home
      1. The Eternal Question: Rent or Buy?
        1. Tips for Renters
      2. Buying a Home
        1. How Much House Can You Afford?
        2. Choosing a Home
          1. Getting pre-approved
          2. Making a list
          3. Shopping smart
        3. Picking a Mortgage
        4. Closing the Deal
      3. Owning a Home
        1. Saving Money through Regular Maintenance
        2. Making Mortgage Payments
          1. Private Mortgage Insurance
          2. Should you prepay your mortgage?
          3. Strategies for prepaying your mortgage
    7. 11. Death and Taxes
      1. An Introduction to Insurance
        1. General Insurance Tips
        2. Car Insurance
        3. Homeowners Insurance
        4. Life Insurance
          1. How much life insurance do you need?
      2. What You Need to Know About Taxes
        1. How Income Tax Works
        2. Tax-Trimming Tips
          1. Know what you owe
          2. Shift income and expenses
          3. Hire a pro
          4. Don’t cheat
          5. Other moves
        3. What To Do If You Can’t Pay Uncle Sam
        4. The Pros and Cons of Refunds
        5. Where to Get More Tax Info
      3. A Brief Overview of Estate Planning
        1. Drawing up a Will
  6. III. Building a Rich Life
    1. 12. An Intro to Personal Investing
      1. Why Invest?
        1. How Much Do Stocks Actually Earn?
          1. Average is not normal
          2. The future is not the past
      2. The Tools of Investing
        1. Stocks and Bonds
        2. Mutual Funds
          1. Index funds
      3. Being on Your Best Behavior
        1. Know Your Goals
        2. Think Long Term
        3. Keep Costs Low
        4. Keep It Simple
        5. Don’t Follow the Herd
        6. Ignore the Financial News
      4. Common-Sense Investing
        1. Lazy Portfolios
          1. The Couch Potato Portfolio by Scott Burns
          2. The Second-Grader Portfolio by Allan Roth
          3. The No-Brainer Portfolio by William Bernstein
          4. The Coffeehouse Portfolio by Bill Schultheis
          5. Other lazy portfolios
        2. Single-Fund Portfolios
          1. Lifecycle funds
          2. All-in-one funds
        3. Getting Started with Systematic Investing
          1. Discount brokers
          2. Employer-sponsored plans
          3. Mutual fund companies
          4. Make it automatic
          5. Conduct an annual review
          6. Action beats inaction
    2. 13. Retirement: The Final Frontier
      1. What Will Retirement Look Like?
      2. Figuring Out How Much to Save
        1. A Better Way
        2. Retirement Calculators
      3. Why You Should Start Saving Today
        1. The Power of Compounding
      4. A Brief Guide to Retirement Accounts
        1. Funding Your Future with a 401(k)
          1. Advantages of 401(k)s
          2. Disadvantages of 401(k)s
        2. Learning to Love Roth IRAs
          1. Roth IRA rules and requirements
          2. How to open a Roth IRA account
        3. Extreme Retirement Saving
      5. Early Retirement and Other Dreams
      6. The Final Frontier
    3. 14. Friends and Family
      1. Financial Blueprints
      2. Friends with Money
        1. Handling Peer Pressure
        2. Lending and Borrowing
      3. Love and Money
        1. The Importance of Teamwork
        2. Joint or Separate Finances?
        3. Kids and Money
          1. Raising money-smart kids
          2. Allowances
      4. Church, Charity, and Community
        1. Social Capital
      5. True Wealth
  7. Index
  8. About the Author
  9. Copyright