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Fastest growing careers 2015 – A Rich Blog interactive tool and guide

We asked Susan Johnston to help us introduce our new, interactive tool with a comprehensive guide designed to help students enter one of the fastest growing careers on a better financial footing. Susan has covered business and personal finance subjects for publications such as The Boston Globe, Mint.com, USNews.com, and Entrepreneur.com.

[Editorial note: Together, the tool and guide form an extensive resource for students and parents planning to pursue higher education. Given its length, we designed the table of contents to help you jump to the tool and different areas in the guide more easily.]

Rising college costs and rampant student loan debt have many people feeling extra mindful about how to get the best possible return on their investment in education. Instead of simply applying to college “because that’s what people do after high school,” it is now more important than ever to carefully weigh your career prospects (is this major likely to lead to a decent-paying job in the future?) against your projected college costs before starting a degree program.

To help you position yourself to successfully enter one of the fastest growing careers, we created an interactive tool that matches the jobs projected to have high-growth potential in the future, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), to colleges that offer degree programs that can help you enter those fields. Then we added national and state median salary data as well as tuition data to the tool so you can reverse-engineer your decision about which occupation you think is best to pursue.

How to use the interactive tool

A good strategy to have in mind when you are deciding which college degree could help you enter one of the fastest growing careers is to:

The interactive tool below was designed to follow that strategy and be as intuitive as possible, so it has two tables – the Compare Careers table and the College Listings table. The top table lets you compare occupations based on their national projected growth rate and national median salary. (You can expand the table to see the complete list.) The careers are sorted based on their projected growth rate – highest to lowest – and numbered 1 through 26 by default so you can always tell how a career compares in terms of its projected growth rate even if you re-sort the list. (You can re-sort the list based on occupation or national median salary by clicking on the column heading.)

Once you select a career in the Compare Careers table, the second table automatically provides a list of colleges that offer degree programs specific to that career. The College Listings table is sorted by school tuition – lowest to highest – to begin with, but it is also interesting to sort the table alphabetically by school, by state, or by median annual wage for state. (Each of the columns in the College Listings table can be sorted by clicking on the column heading.) You can also filter the college listings by adding a search term, such as the name of a specific college, to the Filter Records box above the second table.

The purpose of the tool is to help you gain clarity on the career path you want to pursue and to point you to some of the nonprofit schools that offer degree programs that feed into those careers. It is not an exhaustive list of schools and, although the tuition data represented in the tool is publicly available information, there are still gaps. For example, there may be “N/A” results that offer no tuition information, which simply means that tuition data isn’t available in IPEDS for that institution. In addition, tuition information changes frequently, so it is possible that data may not be 100 percent accurate. It is always best to contact the college or university directly to get more accurate, up-to-date information about tuition.

[Note: Input into the Filter Records box is taken quite literally. So entering “CA” in the box will return results that include “California” if they exist for that career, but it will also return a result like “Trevecca Nazarene University” since “Trevecca” has the C-A combination in the school’s name. You can then click on the State column heading to sort all the schools in the filtered results by state if you like. To back out of the filtered results, you can click “x” in the Filter Records box, delete the previous input, or just search for a new program in the Compare Careers table.]

How to understand and narrow the results

The instructions are relatively simple, but understanding what to do with the information the interactive tool provides is where it gets interesting.

How do you determine which career to pursue?

The options available to graduating high school students are growing at an unprecedented pace. Who thought that a social media consultant would be a mainstream occupation even 10 short years ago?

Ironically, the technology which created the hundreds of new career options available today also offers the tools that can help you narrow your search. Ordinarily, you would enter a search term like “career choices” in Google and be left sifting through the millions of results presented for your consideration with no meaningful way to compare them. It’s a daunting task. But Rich Blog’s widget displays a targeted list of career options to consider and, for each of these possibilities, it lists two critical variables:

National projected growth rate
Twenty-six occupations (as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics) are identified and sorted on the basis of growth, i.e., the number of jobs expected to be added to an occupation. We selected careers that expect better than 14 percent growth in the next 10 years. This is an important factor to consider because the higher-than-expected increase in the number of jobs for a particular occupation bodes well for job security in that field.

National median salary
Next to each of the fastest growing careers is the national median salary for 2013 as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics — the most current data available from the BLS — but don’t count on making that amount exactly. Chances are you will be able to earn more in cities that have a high cost of living and less in other locations. However, the table does give you a fairly good idea of how different occupations compare in terms of salary.

These two factors are especially valuable when you find two or three careers that appeal to you but aren’t sure which to pursue. For example, let’s say you are interested in healthcare. Should you qualify yourself to become a nurse practitioner or a registered nurse?

If you think several occupations could be a good fit, the deciding factor may very well be the kind of income you could hope to earn in that career or profession. If, for example, nurse practitioners are expected to generate about $93,000 per year and registered nurses are projected to earn approximately $66,000 per year, you may decide that the higher median salary could provide a better return on your investment and thus opt to pursue a career as a nurse practitioner. Furthermore, when you see that the number of jobs for nurse practitioners is expected to grow at 23 percent per year as compared to 18 percent for registered nurses, it would appear that the former occupation could offer better job security and further clarify your choice.

Remember that, if you don’t see an occupation which interests you as you begin to work with the widget, you can expand the table to show the entire list – or scroll down the list with your mouse or the scroll bar on the right side of the table.

Should you aim for one of the “big-name schools” or try for one that is close to home?

High-profile institutions like Harvard and Stanford enjoy an enviable reputation, but a different college could offer similar benefits for less. If you are trying to strike a balance between your goals and your resources, then finding a college that offers the right program at a price you can afford takes on greater importance. Nonetheless, it is a difficult decision since colleges offer so many different programs and courses, and we explore it further in the “Evaluating cost and establishing value” section below. In the end, evaluating how important the reputation of a big-name school is to your success will be a decision only you can make, but there are a lot of other factors to consider beyond reputation. Another important choice is whether to pick a residential university or one of the increasingly popular online colleges. In short, with so many choices, how do you find the college that offers the right program at a price you can afford?

Evaluating prospective colleges gets even more complicated when you consider the cost. Finding the true cost for attending every college you are considering can be overwhelming and even disheartening. However, once you select an occupation, the tool ignores institutions that don’t offer an appropriate degree – and then it lists not only the college, but also the state that it is in and the tuition at that institution. If you don’t care about location, the tool allows you to track down the lowest cost to get qualified. Here is an example:

Let’s say you are a photographer considering a way to advance your career in the general area of art or design. In the Compare Careers table, you’d find an option labeled “Graphic Designers.”

If you select that option, you will see that the listings in the second table change to reflect the bachelor’s and certificate programs available for your consideration. The College Listings table contains a few more items of information to help you as well:

Interactive tool

Tips for choosing the right degree

Now that you are familiar with the tool and have an idea about which of the fastest growing careers you would like to enter, it is time to understand the degree program involved and some of the steps you can take to help you gain entry into your chosen field. Degree programs can vary widely. Some careers, like medicine, engineering and accounting, require very specific coursework and degrees to pursue those paths. Without passing an anatomy course, you probably shouldn’t expect to be accepted to medical school so that you can eventually practice medicine, for example.

But in other cases, the job you want may not have such a proscribed educational path. “In the liberal arts and humanities, English and psychology students go into everything,” says Elizabeth Enck, assistant director of career services at the University of Central Oklahoma. “One major doesn’t always equal one career.” With the right internships and experience, an English or psychology major might pursue work in social services, human resources, marketing communications or any number of other career paths. They might later pursue graduate work to become a lawyer, professor or other professional.

While the return on investment of a given degree is an important consideration, it isn’t the only one that should factor into your decision. “I would not want someone to decide on a degree just based on pay,” Enck says. “You do have to think about life. Your ability to do that major or your interest in it should all be taken into consideration.” Remember, if one high-paying, high-growth job isn’t a fit for your interests, there are likely others to consider that will give you a balance of return on investment and job satisfaction.

Here’s a look at the steps you can take to help zero in on the right degree for your career interests.

Tips for finding the right school

Having identified the area(s) you plan to pursue and the degree programs that can help arm you with the knowledge and credentials needed to get a job in that area, it is important to take a good look at the schools that offer those degrees. Whether your interests lie in engineering, accounting or another field, the chances are good that you could have multiple options to consider.

Depending on your needs, you might think about traditional college programs as well as online college programs. Online degrees are now more widely accepted and offer cost savings since you are not paying for a meal plan, dorm room and travel costs. In addition, you can often work while you complete your education online. However, just as not all on-campus programs are created equal, neither are online colleges. And although we pay special attention below to issues that relate to distance learning, many of these tips apply to evaluating a traditional college as well.

So how do you identity the best schools for your needs and career goals? We talked to Ken Brauchle, dean of extended learning at Indiana State University, about the questions students should consider as they are exploring colleges and trying to find the one that will move them closer to their desired career path.

Evaluating cost and establishing value

They say you get what you pay for, but that isn’t always the case with degrees. The most expensive degree won’t always lead to the highest paying job, nor will the cheapest degree automatically relegate you to low-paying work. This section is all about finding that sweet spot between a degree with a reasonable cost and one that will bring you a good, long-term value or return on investment (ROI).

How much will it cost for you?
Once you have figured out the job you want, the degree that will help you get there, and the school that offers that degree and fits your needs, your next step is to look at cost and decide how to pay for college.

Here is a simple worksheet to help you get a handle on your expected expenses:

Cost per credit ______ x credits required for graduation ______ = ________

+ Application fees ______

+ Registration fees ______

+ Textbooks and other ancillary costs _____

Total Cost = _______

If you are attending classes on campus, be sure to factor in transportation costs such as a bus pass, gas and/or parking as well as on-campus housing, food, and entertainment.

Don’t be intimidated if the number is larger than you expected. Students finance their degrees in a variety of ways: contributions from family members, savings, their own income from a job held while in school, tuition reimbursement from an employer, scholarships, financial aid or a combination of all of the above. It is also not uncommon for working students to space out their courses over longer than four years to minimize debt.

Here are some ways to lower your overall costs:

Here are some strategies to try to save money for textbooks:

Financial aid options

A college degree can cost thousands, tens of thousands or, in some cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, research shows that workers with a college degree can earn significantly more than those with a high school diploma. In fact, the median weekly earnings of full-time wage and salaried workers with a bachelor’s degree was $1,108 in 2013, compared to just $651 for those with only a high school diploma.  (Source: http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm) The Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University estimated in 2011 that an average worker with a bachelor’s degree will earn $2.3 million over a lifetime, while someone with a high school diploma would earn just over half that amount, or $1.3 million.

A look at how to pay for college:

Even if you think your family earns too much money to qualify, you should still apply for federal aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is available online and includes information like social security number, birth date, income, assets and household size. However, certain assets like the parents’ retirement plans or 401(k)s, personal property and home equity are not factored into the federal needs-based calculation and are not expected to be used toward college costs.

The FAFSA is your gateway not only to federal aid but also to state and institutional aid (more on those below), and you will need to submit a FAFSA each year you are in school to continue to qualify for federal aid. Pay close attention to the application deadlines so you don’t miss out on financial aid.

Three types of federal aid available:

“In some cases, you may be able to take out a direct federal student loan to fund your education at a college and university outside the United States; however, international schools do not participate in federal grants.”

Three more financial aid options:

When you borrow money for school, you are required to pay back that principal (the original amount borrowed) plus interest (the cost of borrowing that money). Compound interest means that if you start with a high interest rate or you defer payments while the interest continues to accumulate, you can wind up owing a lot more than the original principal. Making interest-only payments during school (if you can) can reduce the overall amount of interest you owe and get you into the habit of making loan payments.

In addition to taking out loans for tuition, you can borrow money to cover living expenses while you are in school, but only try to borrow as much money as you need because it can be expensive to repay. However, taking out a student loan may be more advantageous than financing your education with a credit card, because student loans typically carry a lower interest rate than credit cards and that interest may be tax-deductible (unlike the interest on credit cards).

A look at some of the differences between federal and private student loans:

Federal Loans Private Loans
Interest Rates Generally a low, fixed interest rate Can be a variable or fixed interest rate
Subsidized Interest Some federal loans subsidize interest while you are in school Private loans generally do not subsidize interest while you are in school
Credit Check Federal loans generally do not require a credit check or co-signer Private student loans may require a credit check and co-signer
Repayment Plans or Loan Forgiveness With a federal loan, you may be eligible for an income-based repayment plan or loan forgiveness if you work in certain public service professions for at least 10 years Private loans generally do not have these options

Making a decision about which career path to take and which college to attend isn’t easy, but the Rich Blog interactive tool offers a more fact-based approach on which to start that process of comparing careers and colleges. Coupled with the tips in the article and your own, independent research, hopefully you can move forward more confidently to pursue your education and career goals.

Sources

Comments

  • Heather

    I see a lot of information about how to use the tool, but I do not see the actual tool. Has it been discontinued? Where is it?

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    • Rich Blog Editors

      Hi Heather,
      I apologize — the tool isn’t loading for me, but is for my colleague using another browser (Chrome). We are looking into the fix right now. I really appreciate you bringing this to our attention!
      — Katie and the GRS team.

      loading....

      • Aubrey

        I’m using google chrome and the Interactive Tool is not loading

        loading....

        • Linda Vergon

          Hi Aubrey,

          You might try to clear your browser history and try again. I also noticed in Internet Explorer that the “Interactive Tool” heading appeared without the tool. But when I clicked on “Interactive Tool” in the “Table of Contents” box on the left side, then the tool actually appeared.

          Please let us know if that helps.

          Best,

          Linda Vergon
          Editor of home-mortgage.us

          loading....

  • Joseph P. McGrath Jr

    Are there others out there who owe student loans, struggling financially, and still not in their career. I owe 70,000, have a number of years experience in the Sports Industry in Community Relations, Customer Service, and Merchandise either in the Philadelphia, PA or willing to relocate? Are there contacts out there who can offer contacts I can reach out about opportunities within the industry? Also are there assistance and grants to apply for to get my balance to a zero balance?

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  • Leslie Frey

    This is a valuable resource in many ways.

    I am concerned that the colleges listed here are only “online colleges.” What was the rationale behind that decision? If I understood that, I would have an easier time digging in deeper.

    Also, there is little guidance given to help young people and adults pick occupations to match their talents, interests, and contributions. There is much more to finding the right occupation than expected growth rate and salary. With the extensive information here, I’m not needing you to go into detail on those issues, but it would be helpful to give some general guidelines. This just so happens to be my area of expertise. Please let me know if I could provide a supplementary piece to compliment the excellent work you’ve done here.

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  • Scott

    I imagine it is because of the rise of computer software that can handle most of the basic functions. There will always be a need for specialist, but a lot of the stuff can be done by computers or outsourced. These are just predictions, so maybe something will happen in the next year and change everything!

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  • Jeff

    What the heck. I am used to seeing Accountant on these lists. Oh well. My profession is going to need talent over the next 10 years. A lot of old accountants out there.

    Jeff

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  • Investigating a potential employer: Using financial metrics to protect your future (4 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Ryan Takach.

    There is much to consider before you decide to join a company. Of course it is important to understand the company culture, the workload, management style, performance expectations, pay and benefits. But you will also want to be sure that a prospective employer is viable. To help you gauge how strong your continued employment and even potential for career growth is within the company, you may…

  • How to interview a prospective employer (12 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Honey Smith.

    Speaking about building wealth, J.D. Roth felt that he could never make this point emphatically enough: “Frugality is important, but if you want to make real progress, increase your income.” It’s in this context that being able to ace an interview becomes a very important skill. And certainly part of the interview process should include your asking questions of a prospective employer to make sure that the…

  • Should I get a part-time job in college? (34 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Honey Smith.

    Short answer? Yes. But that wasn’t very interesting, now was it? So let’s weigh the options for working while in school to get a better understanding of why you should consider it. Working as a way to pay for school There are lots of stories about people working their way through school. Unfortunately, it is becoming less common in some quarters, but perhaps the biggest reason…

  • Flexibility can help you reinvent your career (22 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Honey Smith.

    I’ve talked about graduate school before, but mostly in terms of how my decision got me deep into student loan debt. I’ve talked less about that decision in terms of its impact on my career. For a long time, I thought my career path was clear. I started working at a writing center as an undergraduate and stayed there for four years. I adored what I did;…

  • Ask the Readers: What are your best tips for interview success? (30 comments)
    This article is by editor Linda Vergon.

    I have watched a number of people go through the interview process over the years. For some, it’s nerve-racking. Often, the process is mysterious: How do you know what the interviewer is looking for in a candidate? Do they want someone to fit seamlessly into their culture or do they value skill, experience, or reputation above all else? A few of my friends welcome the experience. Even…

  • How to turn down a job offer (or resign) gracefully (18 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Honey Smith.

    So, you’ve done it. You’ve considered all the costs of a new job, networked your heart out, and considered all aspects of your job offer. Now you are facing one of two outcomes: Pull the trigger! Take the new job. Not good enough! For whatever reason, you’ve decided to decline the offer. Either way, someone is going to be on the receiving end of some bad news….

  • What else to consider when accepting a job offer (22 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Honey Smith.

    Let’s say that you and your prospective employer come to a satisfactory arrangement and you accept a new position. Surely you can loosen the purse strings a bit and relax now, right? Well, maybe. Sometimes promises and expectations don’t align with reality. While this can sometimes occur because a company is deceptive, other times this happens because everyone — both employer and potential employee — are…

  • What does it cost to commute? (47 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Honey Smith.

    In recent posts exploring job searches and the cost of jobs in general, the subject of commute came up in a number of the comments. Readers pointed out that a commute makes a huge difference in whether a job is desirable or not because it has a significant impact on quality of life. I couldn’t agree more. When Jake and I were looking to buy a…

  • Consider more than salary when evaluating a job offer (37 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Honey Smith.

    Once you have been offered a new job, you might assume the process is at an end. But is it really? Not all jobs are created equal, and the goal in getting a new job is (typically) to improve your situation. So job offers must be evaluated carefully to ensure that your goals, personal finance and otherwise, are being served. Salary considerations The standard advice when…

  • How to curate your social media presence when job-hunting (16 comments)

    This post is by staff writer Honey Smith. Recently, I’ve been posting on job-related topics like networking strategies and job tenure. Because my current position entails working with college students, I’ve been asked on numerous occasions to talk to various undergraduate groups about getting into graduate school. In fact, I’m giving one such presentation next week. Many of the things I cover in such presentations are also broadly applicable to any situation where you are competing…

  • What does your job tenure say about you? (26 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Honey Smith. Recently, I wrote about networking strategies that can help advance your career, and that got me to wondering what a “typical” career looks like these days. How have careers been affected by the Great Recession? Are people able to stay in a job and retire if they love it, or is the job market more chaotic than that? And what does it say about you either way? For…

  • Networking strategies can help you overcome the fear of trying to advance your career (15 comments)

    This post is by staff writer Honey Smith. I’ve written about the power of personal networks before. Unfortunately, lots of people find networking intimidating for a variety of reasons. Certainly, I used to! For me, breaking networking down into a system that I can follow helps me overcome nervousness and network effectively. Here are the two main networking strategies that I use. Networking via “keeping it warm” What it is: Keeping it warm is a pretty…

  • The 9-to-5 job: Challenging how we earn a living (42 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. (This is Part III in a series about challenging traditional measures of financial success. Part I was The “Ivory Tower”: Reconsidering the college investment. Part II was Challenging traditional measures of financial success: Homeownership.) It was the first semester of my first year of college. My friend and I were driving around our small town, looking for something to eat. But we didn’t have much money, so our…

  • Why I voluntarily slashed my salary (77 comments)

    This is a guest post from former GRS staff writer Donna Freedman. She is currently a staff writer at Money Talks News, freelances for a number of magazines and PF sites, and blogs about money and midlife at DonnaFreedman.com. In January 2007, I wrote an article about being recently divorced, helping to support a disabled adult child and working toward a university degree in my late 40s. “Surviving (and thriving) on $12,000 a year” went…

  • My unconventional plans to pay for my daughter’s college education (42 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Holly Johnson. I just sat down to write this post a moment ago and literally stared at the screen for twenty minutes. I’m still ready to bolt out the door at a second’s notice, if needed, and the tears won’t stop rolling down my face. But thankfully, these are good tears. My mother told me I might feel this way on my daughter’s first day of kindergarten. Like it…

  • Preventing failure before it is an option (29 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle. When I wrote an article about poverty, I wasn’t sure where Brandon and Leah, the two people I shared about, would be in the next few months. I needn’t have wondered. Turns out, nothing has changed. Despite receiving money from various people for rent, access to free babysitting, and bags of groceries, the last few months have been peppered with evictions, arrests, jail, and now prison. Unfortunately, I…

  • What to consider before you invest in a college education (27 comments)

    This post is by staff writer Honey Smith. I’ve spent the last 15 years of my life working at three universities, wearing many different hats during that time. As you can imagine, this means that I’ve developed an opinion or two when it comes to higher education! Based on what I’ve experienced (and what I’ve seen other people go through), one of the most difficult things for people is matching a degree program to their…

  • The “Ivory Tower”: Reconsidering the college investment (62 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. (This is Part I in a series about challenging traditional measures of financial success. Part II is Challenging traditional measures of financial success: Homeownership. Part III is The 9-to-5 job: Challenging how we earn a living.) Not going to college was never really an option for me. “Don’t even joke about that,” my mom once said when I brought up the idea as a teenager. My parents…

  • Why you must teach your children about money (52 comments)

    Former GRS staff writer Donna Freedman has been researching the importance of teaching children about money, and she asked if she could share some things she’s learned. This is the first of two articles on the subject. Donna writes for Money Talks News and blogs about money and midlife at DonnaFreedman.com. While researching a magazine article on “raising money-smart kids,” I felt sorry for parents and terribly worried about their children. (Also greatly relieved that…

  • Taking the Chairman’s Flight and other career-limiting moves to avoid (114 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Sam. Sam spent 13 years working in Equities on Wall Street and discusses financial independence strategies on Financial Samurai. Sam is also the founder of the Yakezie Network, the largest personal finance blog network on the web. Working on Wall Street was tough. I felt like I was constantly being hazed by anybody senior to me. “Sam, go get me some coffee.” “Sam, I ordered a double macchiato with…

  • Book review: “Eventual Millionaire” (15 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Honey Smith. There are many personal finance books and tools out there that are useful to people in all stages of personal finance. I have a lot to learn before reaching financial independence, and the editorial elves thought it would be helpful if I shared some of what I learn with you. My recent reviews include “Personal Finance for Dummies, Fifth edition,” by Eric Tyson, MBA. This week, I’m…

  • Rich Blog: The Course (27 comments)

    This article is from J.D. Roth, who founded Rich Blog in 2006. J.D.’s non-financial writing can be found at More Than Money. Here it is, 2:22 on a Tuesday afternoon. I’ve been up for more than 48 hours straight with only brief naps snatched here and there. I’m exhausted — but I’m happy. What’s the deal? Am I a proud new papa? Well, as most of you are aware by now, I am a…

  • My year-long quest to create a guide to mastering money (25 comments)

    Note: This article is from J.D. Roth, who founded Rich Blog in 2006. J.D.’s non-financial writing can be found at More Than Money, where he recently wrote about how to be happy. “How would you like to write an Unconventional Guide?” my friend Chris Guillebeau asked me last spring. As long-time readers know, I’ve joined Chris to travel across the U.S. by train, travel across Norway by train, and produce the first three editions…

  • What’s the value of work-life balance? (54 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Honey Smith. I was really struck by Kristin Wong’s recent article “Overwork and the illusion of a ‘high-paying’ job.” It’s not something that I’ve had to deal with personally, though I’ve seen people close to me wrestle with it. As an attorney, Jake makes a six-figure salary at his new job, but probably works 80+ hours in a week. While this is undoubtedly tough (on his health, on his…

  • Overwork and the illusion of a “high-paying” job (68 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. I recently read a short article in The New Yorker titled “The Cult of Overwork.” In it, James Surowiecki writes: “For decades, junior bankers and Wall Street firms had an unspoken pact: in exchange for reasonably high-paying jobs and a shot at obscene wealth, young analysts agreed to work fifteen hours a day, and forgo anything resembling a normal life.” Reading that, I had a thought. If you’re…

  • A case for “hard work pays off” (42 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. Over the weekend, a friend of mine came to visit. She’s a career counselor and, while I wasn’t looking for free advice, the conversation naturally turned to my job hunt. “How’s it going?” she asked. “It’s bleak,” I complained. “Oh, I know.” She told me about clients she’s worked with who went on second and third interviews. Those clients were sure they got the job. Then they…

  • Phishing, vishing, and SMShing (28 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Holly Johnson. A few days before Christmas, I was having lunch out when I opened an email that appeared to come from American Express: “Please click this link to authorize a recent charge on your account.” “Well, that’s weird,” I thought. I hadn’t used my American Express card in several months. I was stunned as I read the rest of the email. They wanted me to confirm a purchase…

  • Ask the Readers: How do you handle irregular income? (40 comments)

    This article is by staff writer April Dykman. Those of you who have read GRS for a while know that when I started writing here more than four years ago, I was gainfully employed as a writer-editor-project-manager type. I had a steady paycheck, and every two weeks, I knew exactly how much money would magically appear in my checking account. Two years later, I gave up that predictable paycheck to pursue life working on my own…

  • Student loans: Lessons learned, choosing a major, and overcoming regrets (113 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Holly Johnson. In 2009, Kasey O. graduated college with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Media Arts & Animation. With the support of her family, friends, school guidance counselors, and high school teachers, she had finally earned a college degree in a field that fulfilled her passion. Kasey was proud, hopeful, and ready to begin her dream career. But unfortunately for Kasey, things weren’t exactly what they seemed. What Kasey didn’t…

  • Ask the Readers: Should you move for work? (37 comments)

    These days, if you’ve got work, you’re among the lucky. And not to be picky, but the sad fact is that even if you have work, there’s a real chance you may be “under-employed” – where you either can’t get enough hours to meet your expenses or the jobs that are available to you are far below your abilities. There are a lot of situations out there: from the long-term unemployed to those who keep…

  • Ask The Reader: What is the best way to save for college? (56 comments)

    No doubt you’re aware of the debt burden facing students upon graduation these days. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the outstanding student loan debt in the US now exceeds $1 trillion. For the 2015 academic year, undergraduates will be borrowing at 3.86 percent for subsidized and unsubsidized loans, but the rates go up to 5.41 percent for graduate students and 6.41 percent for parents who borrow to pay for their child’s college education….

  • Changing careers: The grass isn’t always greener (76 comments)

    This post is by staff writer Holly Johnson. Earlier this year, my husband and I made a decision that will change the course of our lives, for better or for worse. After 10 years in the mortuary industry, we decided that it was time for my husband to make a change. He was frustrated, burnt out, and tired of working weekends, late nights, and holidays. He began to wonder if there was something else that he…

  • Ask the Readers: What personal finance skills should college students learn? (70 comments)

    Last Friday, J.D. asked you what concepts have contributed to your financial success, and you responded with lots of good thoughts. Today, reader D. Post has a question for you about personal finance skills college students should learn. Here’s his situation: GRS, I’ve just about made it through college and am about to start my senior year! I’ve had a fun time at school and still have a good-sized chunk of change in the bank,…

  • 4 signs you’re over your job & 5 things you can do about it (29 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong.

    Over the summer, I read a book that likened a miserable job to hanging onto the edge of a cliff. I thought it was an appropriate analogy. Like most people, I’ve been there, and that’s totally what it feels like. You know you have to let go, but letting go is scary. You could land in a better spot, or you could meet your ruin. The author argued…

  • The Opposite of Spoiled: The Right Way to Teach Kids About Money (61 comments)

    Note: This article is from J.D. Roth, who founded Rich Blog in 2006. After a year off, J.D. is once again writing here at GRS. His non-financial writing can still be found at More Than Money. What’s the best way to teach kids about money? That question has haunted folks for decades — maybe centuries. There are dozens of financial literacy programs in the United States right now, but none of them seems to…

  • Book Review: ‘The Money Book for the Young Fabulous & Broke’ (48 comments)

    This post is by staff writer Honey Smith. There are many personal finance books out there, useful to people in all stages of personal finance. I have a lot to learn before reaching financial independence, and the editorial elves thought it would be useful if I shared some of what I learn with you. My recent reviews include “Change Your Life in 7 Days” and “More Money, Please: The Financial Secrets You Never Learned in…

  • Ask the Readers: What would it take to quit your job and pursue your passion? (86 comments)

    This guest post is from Michelle who blogs at Making Sense of Cents. Lately I have been thinking a lot about whether I should pursue what I love and enjoy my life more, or stick it out with my job that provides stable income. Recently, I was reading a post about how one reader quit her very promising and high-paying career so that she could enjoy life instead. After I read that post, I read about how…

  • Time-management strategies for working parents (46 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Holly Johnson. I am sure you’ve heard the saying, “A mother’s work is never done.” This is especially true for parents who continue working after they’ve had kids. Even after putting in a full day on the job, working parents still have a variety of things that have to be done. In fact, finishing up your day job usually means beginning work on a second wave of responsibilities. If you’re…

  • Should you ever work for free? (42 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Sarah Gilbert. I lose count of my “jobs” these days: my literary writing (that theoretically pays, or had better one day or else), a nonprofit board on which I serve as president, and the magazine I started last summer. While I certainly put the same intensity into everything, I can definitely say that I work more hours for free than I do for pay. So when I got the advice from a…

  • Reader Stories: How I built up the courage to quit a promising career with a six-figure salary (42 comments)

    This reader story is from a longtime GRS reader Sumitha, who blogs at afineparent.com. Some reader stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks with all levels of financial maturity and income. Want to submit your own reader story? Here’s how. I said goodbye to a promising career with a six-figure salary last month. I have dreamed about this moment for over…

  • Career strategies of high earners (36 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Kristin Wong. I mentioned in my last post that I read Barbara Stanny’s “Secrets of Six-Figure Women.” Stanny interviewed 150 women who earn more than $100,000 annually and sought to find what traits, experiences and motivators they shared in common. Unlike most books, this one didn’t take me three months to finish. It’s a fast read, and I think that has a lot to do with how relatable it is. I’m not saying I…

  • 9 traits of underearners (75 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Kristin Wong. I just read Barbara Stanny’s “Secrets of Six-Figure Women.” I was happy to find that I share similar traits to the 150 women she interviewed. But there was a section that stood out to me, mostly because I didn’t expect it to stand out to me. We previously reviewed Stanny’s book “Overcoming Underearing.” Guest reviewer Jeremy M. wrote: “[Stanny] learned that the big difference between highly successful…

  • Investing in your investing education: A resource list (23 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Lisa Aberle. Investing isn’t new to me. I opened my first CD in high school back in the good old days of 5 percent interest, and I started contributing to my 401(k) as soon as I was eligible (at age 21). I did everything right according to the articles I read. I: Contributed enough to get the maximum employer match Saved/invested around 10 percent of my income Opened up…

  • A scholarship for small-business folks (12 comments)

    With student debt now topping credit card debt (see page 3 of the PDF), every penny that you can find to put toward education is wanted. We hear a lot about student loans, but not so much about scholarships as a way to pay for education. There are all kinds of scholarships, often sponsored by special-interest groups. Here are a few that Mark Kantrowitz of Finaid.org lists on his site: Scholarship for Left-Handed Students, Little…

  • Ask the Readers: Is traditional advice killing your job search? (25 comments)

    “Vince” was halfway through his MBA program and struggling to find an internship. So, he took his career counselor’s advice and blasted his resume and cover letter to 30 companies.”I just tried to shoot out as many resumes as possible,” says Vince. Nine companies called him back, but the interviews didn’t go well. He only got one offer, and it wasn’t for a particularly great internship. If Vince followed his career counselor’s advice, why was…

  • When you just can’t get the important stuff done (38 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Rich Blog every two weeks. This post is not for those of you who have focused minds and empty “to do” lists. Nay, not for those rarefied people who go to bed knowing that they got just about…

  • Earning more vs. spending less: The decision (89 comments)

    This is the last article in a series. Here are round 1, round 2, and round 3. The need to specialize I have been wrestling now for some time with the question of where to focus one’s energies: whether to earn more or whether to save more. Of course you want to do both, but to get really good at something it takes time, effort, patience and dedication — just like anything you want to…

  • Should you be a generalist or a specialist? (68 comments)

    Way back in 2009, I read a blog post on whether you should be a generalist or a specialist. Sure, the post’s focus was on freelance commercial writing, but every now and then, I would think about its premise: Can you earn more as a generalist or a specialist in a certain career field? Do generalist careers or specialist careers earn more overall? Is it easier for a generalist to be hired? Or does a…

  • Ask the Readers: If parents are paying for college, are any majors off limits? (257 comments)

    This is a guest post from Jacqueline Whiton, who self-financed her undergraduate education and MBA. She is interested in personal finance and is saving to fund her three teenagers’ anticipated college expenses. After saving since your child was in preschool, you celebrate euphorically when your son or daughter is accepted to the college of his or her choice. You’d always imagined that your math whiz would become a chief financial officer (CFO), but are surprised…

  • Side gigs vs. day jobs (132 comments)

    This post is from new staff writer Honey Smith. If you’re in debt — especially if you’re in significant debt — frugality will only get you so far. To really make a dent, you have to increase your income. The option recommended most frequently on personal finance blogs I have read is freelancing or consulting on the side. Another option is a second job (usually hourly work of some kind). However, side jobs aren’t always…

  • 15 Things You Need to Know About Financial Aid (75 comments)

    Timothy M. Hayes, MBA, CFP®, is the founder and President of Landmark Financial Advisory Services, a member of the Garrett Planning Network of fee-only advisors, and an expert in navigating the financial-aid application process. Every January, students and their parents face the daunting prospect of preparing the various financial-aid applications that are required to be submitted in order to determine their eligibility for federal and/or institutional financial aid. Most families find the process, at best,…

  • Back-to-School: The Hidden Financial Bonus for Parents (143 comments)

    I’m headed toward one of those parental milestones to which many of you with multiple children either remember fondly or look forward to with something like desperation: all of my boys will be in public school as of next Monday. September 10th is my independence day. I’m of mixed feelings about this coming date. I, rare among work-from-home moms, love summer and having my kids around all the time, but it is true that managing…

  • Review: How I Make Money Blogging (140 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer Donna Freedman. Donna writes the Frugal Cool blog for MSN Money, and writes about frugality and intentional living at Surviving And Thriving. Let me say that initially I was skeptical about both the size and cost of How I Make Money Blogging: The Beginner’s Guide to Building a Money-Making Blog. The $27 freight seemed a bit steep for a 32-page e-book. Then I opened the PDF and began…

  • How Much Is Your Time Worth? (91 comments)

    This is a guest post by Joel Runyon of Impossible HQ. Did you see the Justin Timberlake thriller In Time last year? Probably not. Nobody else did either. Well, I did, I guess. And while the movie wasn’t very good, it contained an interesting idea that I think relates to personal finance. The movie’s plot revolves around a world where everyone is genetically engineered to live until they’re 25. After that, they have exactly one…

  • What Your Loose Change is Really Worth (83 comments)

    For the next week (or two), we’ll be sharing “audition” pieces from folks interested in being new staff writers at Rich Blog. Your job is to let us know what you think of each of these writers. Pay attention, give feedback, and after a couple of weeks we’ll ask which writers you prefer. This article is from Elizabeth Falwell. “You’ve got to look for the date,” my grandfather reminded me as we sorted through…

  • Reader Story: Escaping Poverty (75 comments)

    This guest post from Karin is part of the “reader stories” feature at Rich Blog. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks with all levels of financial maturity and income. Want submit your own reader story? Here’s how. My family was weird. When you’re young, it’s hard to know how a normal family should look and behave. I do…

  • Are You Afraid to Earn More? (137 comments)

    This is a guest post from Rya Hristova. Rya had her reader story featured at Rich Blog last year. She writes a Bulgarian personal-finance blog called kadebg.com. Did you grow up in a modest family? Walking to school or taking the bus instead of having your own car? Wearing clothes your siblings have grown out of, instead of getting designer clothes? Always trying to make do or do without? And now in your adult…

  • Continuing Education May Make You Wiser — But Richer? (100 comments)

    This post is by staff writer Sarah Gilbert. I live in a world in which I am blessed with lots of friends who are writers, but even I — social media maven that I am — would put my writing community at far less than a thousand. Yet a few weeks ago, there I was in Chicago with (according to one estimate) 11,000 writers, editors, publishers, and writing teachers. It was the Association for Writers…

  • Reader Story: I Quit My Passion and Took a Boring Job (246 comments)

    This guest post from long-time GRS reader Knot Theory is part of the “reader stories” feature at Rich Blog. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. I’m a consumer of the personal finance blogosphere as much as anyone. I support the efforts of J.D. and others who…

  • Reader Story: Re-Evaluating the Rat Race (168 comments)

    This guest post from Joe is part of the “reader stories” feature at Rich Blog. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. Over the last year, some of my friends have left their day jobs to become a full-time bloggers. Their stories are inspirational, but their choice…

  • How to negotiate your salary (73 comments)

    This post is from staff writer April Dykman. One of my goals for GRS in 2012 is to write more about earning money. I quit my job a year-and-a-half ago to become self-employed, but I know that most people are employees, and I’m the last person who would suggest that everyone should quit their jobs and become full-time freelancers. For one thing, it’s not right for everyone. It can be lonely, and it doesn’t come…

  • The Best Books About Money (69 comments)

    In my mind, I write about personal finance books all the time. I certainly read them all the time, and I talk about them with the people I know. But the reality is that I haven’t reviewed many books at Rich Blog during the past couple of years. As a result, I’ve been getting a lot of e-mails asking for book recommendations. Last weekend, I sat down to organize my office. As part of…

  • Career Moves: How to Win the Office Politics Game (Part One) (47 comments)

    This post is from staff writer April Dykman. “Office politics” is one of those phrases that used to make me groan. I worked in an office from the time I was a freshman in college until I quit my job last year, and let me tell you, I had my fill. I dealt with situations that would make our presidential candidates wince, and I tried many approaches to deal with it, such as pretending to…

  • 10 Career Lessons from Julia Child (53 comments)

    This post is from staff writer April Dykman, who believes lavender, chocolate, and honey are the stuff that dreams are made of. Readers, I hope you’ll forgive me for writing another culinary-themed post here at Rich Blog. Last week I wrote about the expense of healthy food cooked at home, and this week I can’t help but to talk about something that’s been on my mind as I’ve read My Life In France by…

  • Why Leaving My Job in Finance Was the Best Decision Ever (41 comments)

    This is a guest post from Sean Ogle, a former portfolio analyst who is now pursuing his goals of starting a business and seeing the world. Ogle writes about travel and entrepreneurship at Location 180. He also helps people build small businesses they can run from anywhere on earth at Location Rebel. This is my third guest post at Rich Blog. The responses from my first two stories — Budgeting for a Lifestyle Change…

  • On the Road to Nowhere: The True Story of My First (and Worst) Job (67 comments)

    It’s Labor Day in the United States, the holiday that traditionally marks the end of summer and the beginning of the new school year. Officially, it’s intended as “a day off for the working citizens”. As usual, GRS is taking a short break. This is a reprint of a column from five years ago. Your job is one of your most important assets. It gives you earning power. It can bring you personal fulfillment. But…

  • Five Career Moves with Exponential Returns (62 comments)

    This post is from staff writer April Dykman. One of my favorite topics to write about is ways to earn more money, though I don’t often cover it here at GRS. As most regular readers know, last summer I quit my day job to work full-time as a freelance writer. Financially and personally, it was the best decision I’ve ever made. Nevertheless, there are a significant number of GRS readers who have no interest in…

  • Is an MBA Worth It? (106 comments)

    This is a guest post from long-time reader Gal Josefberg. Gal writes about self-improvement at Equally Happy and healthy living at 60 in 3. I’ve recently hired my second employee, a newly-graduated technical writer who aspires to one day run his own business. He’s proactive, punctual, hardworking and very capable. The mentor in me wants to make sure he has a great career ahead of him. So imagine my alarm when I heard him say,…

  • Reader Story: I’m a Sugar Mama (and Proud of It!) (127 comments)

    This guest post from Kerry is part of the “reader stories” feature at Rich Blog. Some reader stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. Hello. My name is Kerry. I’m 26, and I’m the sole provider in my household — and have been for the last three…

  • How I Earn My Money (73 comments)

    A lot of what we write here at Rich Blog is theoretical. “This is how you should do things,” we say. Or, sometimes, the articles are meant for inspiration: “Here are some great ideas for taking control of your finances!” We don’t write as often about the things we actually do with our own money. In the early days of the site, I shared many of my own experiences. I’ve gotten away from that…

  • Follow-up: Taking a 20% pay cut (32 comments)

    I get a lot of requests for follow-ups to reader stories and reader questions. People want to hear how things turned out. Because I want to know how things turned out, too, I’ve started a semi-regular feature at Rich Blog. Whenever I hear back from a previous poster, I’ll share an update so that we can all know what happened. Tim Stobbs wrote in September of 2010 to explain why he loved his 20%…

  • Jump-Start Your Career With a Personal Business Model (10 comments)

    This is a guest post from Tim Clark, an entrepreneur, teacher, and the author or editor of five books on entrepreneurship, personal development, and business models, including the international bestseller Business Model Generation and the forthcoming Business Model You. Clark has shared several guest posts here in the past, on topics like making the most of opportunity, how to decide if you should become an entrepreneur, and more. Clark is also one of my real-life…

  • Reader Story: Debt-Free College Education as a Returning Student (68 comments)

    This guest post from Penny Saver is part of the “reader stories” feature at Rich Blog. It’s a response to Crystal’s reader story about how she avoided student loans. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. Penny Saver writes about making the most of meager means…

  • Ask the Readers: Best Non-U.S. Personal Finance Sites? (52 comments)

    People are the same all around the world. Everyone struggles with the same things — including money. Because of this, financial advice from one country is generally applicable to other countries, as well. Sort of. While general advice is easy to transfer from one culture to another, the specifics are often lost in translation. In the U.S., we have a Roth IRA. But in Canada, they have an RRSP. And in the U.K.? Well, I’m…

  • An Interview with Thomas Stanley, Co-Author of “The Millionaire Next Door” (73 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Rich Blog every two weeks. A while back, I mentioned the book The Millionaire Next Door to one of my colleagues at The Motley Fool. “That book changed my life,” she gushed. For some people, it really can be…

  • Studs Terkel’s Working (22 comments)

    A couple of weeks ago, I shared an instructional video from 1948 called You and Your Work. This film painted an ideal (and idealized) view of the workplace and the worker’s role in it. But we all know work isn’t really like that, right? Yes it’s important to work hard, and yes it’s important to maintain a positive attitude, but jobs and careers are complicated. They make up a huge part of our lives, yet…

  • The Time Value of Money (or Why 25 Years of Cable TV Doesn’t Cost as Much as You Think) (31 comments)

    This guest post is from Stephen Popick, a government economist and founder of Coffeecents.org, a personal finance program for young adults. Popick is the long-time administrator of the Rich Blog discussion forums. He loves coffee, even if his habit will cost him a latte-a-day million in thirty years. Just after Christmas, Carl Hendley of The Motley Fool wrote about his cable bill and how much lost investment income that money represented. As an economist,…

  • The Importance of Salary Negotiation (76 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Sierra Black. Sierra writes about frugality, sustainable living, and getting her kids to eat kale at Childwild.com. I have a good friend who recently graduated from MIT with a PhD in something I can’t even pronounce, let alone do. Even in this rocky economy, he has competing job offers. That’s a great position to be in, and I’m happy for him. But when he told me about his options,…

  • Want to Make More Money? Go Back to School! (31 comments)

    Lately, I’ve been more vocal about the importance of looking for ways to boost your income. Cutting costs is awesome — don’t stop — but if you really want to supercharge your debt reduction or your saving, you have to look for ways to earn more money. “That’s great,” some commenters have said, “but how do we earn more money.” That’s a fair question, though it’s much tougher to answer than, “How do I spend…

  • Living Like a Millionaire on Pennies a Day (41 comments)

    This is a guest post from Sean Ogle, a former portfolio analyst who is now pursuing his goals of starting a business and seeing the world. You can read more from him at Location180. You can also follow him on twitter @seanogle. Last fall, I quit my job. As nice as it was to have a steady paycheck and the prestige of being known as a “portfolio analyst”, there was one key component that was…

  • How to Maximize Your Salary (48 comments)

    This guest post comes from Kimberly Palmer, author of Generation Earn: The Young Professional’s Guide to Spending, Investing, and Giving Back, which hits bookstores today. She’s also the Alpha Consumer blogger at USNews.com. Every time I’ve ever gotten close to a job offer, my Dad sits me down for a little practice negotiation session. He acts like my potential employer, and I act like myself. The conversation usually goes something like this: Dad: “Kim, we…

  • College Savings: The Basics of Saving for College (47 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Sierra Black. Sierra writes about frugality, sustainable living, and getting her kids to eat kale at Childwild.com. Got kids? If so, you’re probably hoping to send them to college. And you know it won’t be cheap. College costs are rising faster than inflation, and have been for decades. But that doesn’t mean you can’t afford a good education for your kids, even if you have a modest salary or…

  • Reader Story: Working for Uncle Sam Overseas (63 comments)

    This guest post from Mike is part of the “reader stories” feature at Rich Blog. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. Traveling to exotic new places is a passion of mine. My wife reminisces fondly over a dinner conversation we had about nine years ago…

  • Growing Your Human Capital: 11 Ways to Boost Your Income-Producing Ability (34 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Rich Blog every two weeks. Unless your last name is Rockefeller, Hilton, or Walton (as in Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart — four of the seven richest Americans are Sam’s heirs) chances are you had to work for the…

  • Book Review: The Skinny on Real-Estate Investing (22 comments)

    Book Week at Rich Blog comes to a close today. Well, I guess tomorrow’s Ask the Readers is about books, but this is the final review. I’ve saved the best for last. Over the past year, I’ve had a chance to read several titles in the “Skinny On” book series. And although I’ve only mentioned them in passing here at GRS, I love these books. Today I want to tell you about them. The…

  • Book Review: The Simple Dollar (86 comments)

    My colleague Trent Hamm from may have started his blog six months after I did, but he’s ahead of me in books. He published his first 365 Ways to Live Cheap! [my review], at the end of 2008, and his second, The Simple Dollar, was released this summer. I’m a huge fan of The Simple Dollar (it’s the only personal-finance blog I read regularly besides my own), and I count Hamm as a colleague and…

  • Book Review: The Art of Non-Conformity (52 comments)

    In June 2008, a Rich Blog reader dropped me a line to see if I’d like to have lunch. “My name is Chris,” he said. “My wife Jolie and I will be visiting Portland next week. Do you have time to meet?” “Sure,” I replied. I was just beginning to meet colleagues and readers for lunch, a habit that has since become the best part of this job. “Let’s meet at my favorite Thai…

  • Ask the Readers: How Do I Survive Until I Get My First Paycheck? (95 comments)

    Isaac wrote recently with a question about how to make the transition from college to the Real World. He has a good degree, but it’ll take him time to find a job, especially since the economy is still sluggish. He’s worried about how he should handle is finances in the meantime. Here’s his question: I recently graduated from college with a degree in electrical engineering. I’m currently living at home with my family while I…

  • Reader Story: I Quit My Job and Joined the Peace Corps (48 comments)

    This guest post from Bon is part of the “reader stories” feature at Rich Blog. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. I’ve always been a bit of a capitalist so to speak, so when I decided to join the Peace Corps several years ago, not…

  • Ask the Readers: From London to Los Angeles? (74 comments)

    When Kris was young, her family moved all of the time. Her father was in the Air Force, so they were rarely in one place for long. I, on the other hand, have always lived within the same 25-mile radius. For 41 years. More and more, I feel the itch to live somewhere new, if only for a little while. In fact, I wish I’d lived elsewhere when I was younger. But moving (and living…

  • Your Money: The Missing Manual — On Sale Now! (68 comments)

    Things may seem calm and quiet on the surface of the blog, but behind the scenes here at Rich Blog, everything’s a whirlwind. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but blogging doesn’t scale. That is, one man (or woman) can handle a small blog with a few hundred readers, but the bigger a site grows, the more demands there are on your time. Even though I’m using more and more help lately,…

  • Book Review: The Happiness Project (47 comments)

    One of my core beliefs is this: It’s more important to be happy than it is to be rich. My personal experience bears this out (though I’m fortunate to be both), as do the anecdotes I receive from GRS readers. In fact, of all my fourteen philosophies, this one is most important. It’s so important that I chose to open Your Money: The Missing Manual with a chapter on happiness. No surprise then that for…

  • Invest in Your Most Important Income-Producing Asset (18 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the advisor for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Rich Blog every two weeks. Your net worth is based not only on how much moolah you have in the bank, but also on your human capital — that is, your ability to earn income. “We can think of…

  • Ask the Readers: What If Your High-Paying Job Makes You Miserable? (109 comments)

    On Thursday, I featured a guest post from Free Money Finance that proved to be surprisingly controversial. His five steps to six figures in seven years offered solid common-sense career advice for those looking to boost their incomes. Many readers disliked the post. (Though they didn’t hate it as much as FMF’s previous guest article.) Though I don’t share all of your complaints, I do think some of you made an excellent point: Just as…

  • Five Steps to Six Figures in Seven Years (144 comments)

    This is a guest post from FMF at Free Money Finance, a personal finance blog designed to help you grow your net worth. You can subscribe to Free Money Finance here. Historically, “making six figures” has been to income earners what “becoming a millionaire” has been for those tracking their net worths — a lofty goal achieved by only a select few. And while neither a six-figure earner nor a millionaire can bask in the…

  • Essential Personal Finance E-Books (20 comments)

    A few days ago, I released The Rich Blog Guide to Roth IRAs as a free e-book. Readers who are interested in opening a retirement account can download this short book — which draws from a series of articles I wrote two years ago — and use it as a reference as they work through the process. Though this is my first e-book (it won’t be my last), there are a variety of other…

  • 5 Ways To Rescue Your Rotten Résumé (33 comments)

    This is a guest post from Kerry K. Taylor, author of Squawkfox, a blog where frugal living is fun. On today’s episode of The Personal Finance Hour, Jim and I will be discussing job-hunting skills. First, though, here’s Kerry’s advice about résumés. If you’re anything like my friends, your résumé is probably a little stale and perhaps a lot rotten. I’m sure your skills are not rotten and don’t deserve to be trashed as rubbish….

  • What’s the Difference Between High-Income Earners and Low-Income Earners? (233 comments)

    In June, a user at Ask Metafilter wondered: What are the differences between someone who makes $100,000/year and someone who makes $30,000? As you might expect, this question generated a lot of discussion — all of it interesting. Many commenters noted that, from their experience, high-income earners generally exhibited several of the following traits: They maintain a strong work ethic. They don’t watch the clock. They seek to improve their skills. They do quality work….

  • What is the Value of a College Education? (156 comments)

    This is a guest post from Jason Barr, who writes about personal development at Start Being Your Best. Jason is a potential Staff Writer for Rich Blog. His first post described what he learned from failure. Jason is 32 years old, has been married for seven years, and has a 2-1/2 year old son. He’s now a financial analyst, but he spent five years in the army as a Chinese linguist. What is the…

  • How to Nail an Interview: 20 Job Interview Tips (37 comments)

    After writing about how to negotiate your salary recently, a couple of readers pointed me to another job-related tool on the web. Steinar Skipsness has created a microsite called How to Nail an Interview. Here’s how he describes it: What is it that certain people say or do during a job interview that makes them stand out? Why do some people struggle to find work, while others land a job in no time? I wanted…

  • Starting a Business After a Job Loss (25 comments)

    This is a guest post from Matt, a long-time GRS reader. After earning a master’s degree in electrical engineering, my father joined a large technology company where he did quite well for himself. The company transferred him twice, requiring him to pick up and move his newly-created family across the country. Then he was laid off. Vowing never to let this happen again, he leveraged his network to recruit good people for a new electrical…

  • Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1,000 a Minute (56 comments)

    Most personal-finance blogs write about cutting expenses. But you can obtain powerful results by looking beyond frugality, by boosting your earning power. One of the best ways to increase your income is at the source: during salary negotiations, either when you land a job or during a performance review. This can be scary. For many people, salary negotiations are an awkward thing. I was discussing this subject recently with my friend Michael, who runs the…

  • Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression (31 comments)

    We’ve heard a lot of rhetoric lately about how this is the worst economy since the Great Depression. Maybe that’s true and maybe it isn’t, but even if it were, what would it mean? I have no frame of reference for these sorts of claims. They smack of hyperbole, but I can’t be sure. In my lifetime, the closest I’ve come to experiencing anything like the Depression was during the recession of the early 1980s,…

  • Book Review: Overcoming Underearning (16 comments)

    This is a guest post from Jeremy M, who writes about experiencing a full life at Lucid Living. When I asked GRS readers recently which books they’d like to see revieweed here, Overcoming Underearning was near the top of the list. Jeremy volunteered to review it, so I sent him a copy! Barbara Stanny’s Overcoming Underearning is not what I expected it to be. When I read the title, I expected a book about how…

  • Ask the Readers: Is It Unethical to Work a Second Job? (212 comments)

    To build wealth — or to get out of debt — you must create a positive cash flow. That is, you must spend less than you earn. One way to do this is to cut costs. Another is to increase your income. Because it has worked so well in my own life, I encourage people to boost their income whenever possible: ask for a raise, make money from hobbies, change careers. For many, the most…

  • Free Downloadable Suze Orman Book from Oprah (22 comments)

    Here’s a quick reminder that Suze Orman will be on The Oprah Winfrey Show this afternoon to discuss jumpstarting your personal finances in 2009. Serena wrote to let me know that until next Thursday (15 January 2009), you can download Suze Orman’s new book free from Oprah’s web site. Suze Orman’s 2009 Action Plan features 200 pages devoted to topics like credit, retirement investing, spending, real estate, and “protecting yourself”. This is a real book,…

  • 10 Essential Steps to Take BEFORE You’re Laid Off (94 comments)

    This is a guest post from Kevin Merritt, founder and CEO of blist, a web-based list-sharing and database application. As a nation we have enjoyed relatively low unemployment for the last five years. At the end of 2007 the unemployment rate stood at 4.6%. By comparison, the U.S. unemployment rate peaked at 24.9% in 1933, during the darkest year of the Great Depression. In October of this year the unemployment rate grew 0.4% to 6.5%,…

  • Daily Links: Allergic-to-Bees Edition (32 comments)

    While pressure-washing the sidewalk on Friday, I disturbed a nest of bees (or hornets or wasps — they’re all the same to me). Two of them stung my right hand. Within 24 hours, it had swollen like a balloon. Even after the doctor prescribed medication, the swelling spread to my forearm. It was like I had a meat claw! Fortunately, things had mostly returned to normal by Sunday evening, which gave me time to piece…

  • Phishing Scams in Plain English (32 comments)

    Internet con artists are clever. Even smart people can be duped sometimes. Even those who keep active watch against scams and schemes can make mistakes. As I checked e-mail this morning, I was baffled by a notice from Paypal. “Your eCheck payment of $29.90 USD to [email protected] has been deposited into your recipient’s account,” the message read. But why would I be paying myself? “Do you know what this is?” I asked Kris. “Why are…

  • The Best Recession-Proof Jobs (114 comments)

    In The Little Book of Bull Moves in Bear Markets (which I recently reviewed), author Peter Schiff provides a list of the best jobs to beat the economic collapse he predicts is just around the corner. “I foresee the following as the 10 strongest professions and industries over the coming decade and beyond,” he writes. His list: Engineering, because the abandoned U.S. industrial base will need to be re-tooled. Construction, to rebuild the American infrastructure….

  • Ask the Readers: Best Part-Time Holiday Jobs? (77 comments)

    Christmas is approaching, and with it come seasonal jobs. For some, these can be a great way to earn extra cash, which can be used to purchase gifts, to pay off debt, or simply to save for the future. Kathy recently sent a question asking which part-time holiday jobs are best: I am currently employed full time as an electrical engineer making a decent amount of money, but with the holiday season coming up, I…

  • How Do You Turn Passion into a Career? (And Should You?) (32 comments)

    Ask Metafilter is one of my favorite sites on the internet; I’ve been an active member there for years. It’s a great place to get advice on many subjects, including money. And careers. Recently a user named Entropic asked a question about “finding your passion”, which received an awesome reply from my pal Grumblebee. Here, with permission (and a tiny bit of editing), is that Ask Metafilter exchange. Entropic How did you find your passion?…

  • Best Financial Magazines (72 comments)

    Rich Blog reader Beth wrote recently looking for help in finding the best financial magazines: I’m a public library worker, and my library needs personal finance advice! We feel strongly that we need to keep a personal finance magazine in circulation, but the ones we’ve subscribed to in the past have been met with the deafening silence of complete disinterest. We’ve had Money for a year with no checkouts; before that, we had Fortune…

  • Reader Success Story: How I Gave Myself a Raise (19 comments)

    Jon wrote yesterday to share a success story of personal finance principles in action. Here’s a slightly modified version of his e-mail. I’ve been a reading personal finance blogs for some time now, and one thing I’ve seen repeated over and over is: if you are looking for a raise, the easiest thing to do is to ask for one. I was skeptical of this advice until this last week when I made it work…

  • The Difference Between a Career and a Job (62 comments)

    What is the difference between a career and a job? Trent at The Simple Dollar recently suggested the following dichotomy: A job is something you do simply to earn money; a career is a series of connected employment opportunities. A job has minimal impact on your future work life, while a career provides experience and learning to fuel your future. A job offers few networking opportunities, but a career is loaded with them. When you…

  • 50 Prosperity Classics in a Nutshell (12 comments)

    Earlier today I shared my review of 50 Prosperity Classics by Tom Butler-Bowdon. The author selected fifty important prosperity books and summarized them in just a few pages. For each book, he also provided a one-sentence capsule summary. I think these one-sentence summaries are clever, so I contacted Butler-Bowdon for permission to reprint them, which he kindly granted. I’ve reproduced them below, grouping them into the book’s four broad categories. For additional information, I’ve linked…

  • The Informational Interview: A Job-Hunter’s Secret Weapon (16 comments)

    This article originally appeared at I Will Teach You to Be Rich in a slightly different format. Finding a job can be tough. Competition is fierce, and even if you’ve got the skills, it’s a challenge to make yourself known to the right people. According to Michael Hampton, Director of Career Development at Western Oregon University, informational interviews are a valuable networking technique that can give you an edge on your competition. The informational interview…

  • Best Personal Finance Podcasts (39 comments)

      Podcasts are a great and free way to learn about saving and investing. Here are some of the very best personal finance podcasts we feel are worthy of your “must-listen” line-up: Planet Money Planet Money is perhaps the best all-around podcast about money and economics out there right now. The production values are extremely high — as you’d expect from any NPR show — but it stands out for its ability to explain the most complex…

  • Reader Story: Beware of Scams and Pyramid Schemes (108 comments)

    In the past, I’ve shared the story of the worst job I ever had. In a lot of ways, it felt like I was part of a pyramid scheme or multi-level marketing operation. I’ve been approached to participate in similar operations since then: once by my veterinarian (?!?) and once by a stranger in a book store. Sometimes you cannot tell a scam is a scam until you see it up close, and then the…

  • Robert Kiyosaki: Increase Your Financial IQ (72 comments)

    The problem with the standard financial advice is that it’s bad advice. You’ve been told to work hard, save money, get out of debt, live below your means, and invest in a well-diversified portfolio of mutual funds. But this advice is obsolete — so argues Robert Kiyosaki in his new book, Rich Dad’s Increase Your Financial IQ. Increase Your Financial IQ is the latest installment in Kiyosaki’s tremendously popular “Rich Dad” series of books. These…

  • Life After School: Advice for New Graduates (51 comments)

    On Tuesday evening I gave my first-ever presentation about personal finance. I spoke to a group of about 70 graduating seniors from Western Oregon University. My talk went okay. It wasn’t terrible, but it certainly wasn’t good. It’s a start. I learned a lot, and I’ll do better next time. I was the fourth and final speaker of the evening, though. Before I talked about personal finance, three WOU alums spoke about life after college….

  • Luck Is No Accident: 10 Ways to Get More out of Work and Life (46 comments)

    Some people are luckier than others. How many of you believe this? Why do you believe it? Are you one of the lucky ones? Or does luck seem to pass you by? And just what is luck, anyhow? According to John D. Krumboltz and Al S. Levin, there’s no such thing as luck. In fact, they shirk the use of the word in their book Luck Is No Accident: Making the Most of Happenstance in…

  • Uncommon Lifestyles and the Truth About the 4-Hour Workweek: An Interview with Tim Ferriss (41 comments)

    One of the fundamental premises of the Rich Blog philosophy is that by making sacrifices and smart moves now, you can create a better life in the future. It’s a philosophy of deferred gratification. But what if you don’t want to wait to enjoy life’s rewards? What if you want to take advantage of opportunities while you’re still young? Is there a way to do this while still maintaining a smart approach to money?…

  • How to Quit Your Job Gracefully (54 comments)

    Deb Perelman at eWeek recently shared some advice on how to quit your job with your bridges intact. Too often smart employees let their guard down during their final days, and they do things that may actually damage their career. Perelman polled coaches, recruiters, and workplace experts to create a list of steps that can help you leave your job with class: Be sure you’re making the right choice. Sometimes that dream job isn’t. Do…

  • Ask the Readers: How To Find Work That You Love? (93 comments)

    During yesterday’s discussion about the value of a college education, several people noted that it’s difficult to decide what to study when you don’t know what you want to do with your life. This reminded me of a recent question from the Rich Blog discussion forums. Shaun wants to know: How do you find work that you love? It’s been said, “If you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life.”…

  • The Value of a College Education (141 comments)

    I’ve been thinking lately about the value of a college education. I earned a B.A. in Psychology from Willamette University in 1991 (with a minor in English Lit, and almost another minor in Speech Com). What have I done with this degree? Almost nothing. Yet I do not regret the money and years I spent working to earn it. The financial value of a college degree Does earning a college degree make a difference to…

  • Parents.com Stay-at-Home Calculator (44 comments)

    When a new baby arrives, young couples face a decision. If both parents work, who should stay home with the child? The mother? The person with the smallest salary? Or should both parents continue to work? Often this decision is about more than money — personal values may determine the best course of action. But sometimes both parents continue to work because they believe they need the income. In her book Miserly Moms [my review],…

  • Career Advice for the College Graduate (28 comments)

    This is a guest post from Lisa Lessley Briscoe. My friend (and fellow Bearcat) Lisa writes: “I was just poking around on GRS (I don’t usually read) and noticed that you’d posted an entry for college graduates recently. Funny how summer rolls around and you start thinking about stuff.” She’s passed along some additional advice for those just entering the workplace. Congratulations, you just graduated from an excellent liberal arts college! You worked incredibly hard…

  • Get Rich Quack: David Schirmer of The Secret (37 comments)

    In my review of The Secret, I complained about the get rich quick mentality the book espouses. I was particularly cranky at the financial “advice” to visualize checks coming in the mail. That tip came from David Schirmer, an Australian financial “expert”. Here’s the complete passage from The Secret: When I first understood The Secret, every day I would get a bunch of bills in the mail. I thought, “How do I turn this around?”…

  • Nine Tips For Young People Starting Careers (13 comments)

    Jeanne Sahadi at CNN Money has posted the get-started guide to making it, a set of tips for young people starting their careers. I asked five managers I’ve known over the years and my favorite workplace expert what behaviors and attitudes in their eyes mark a new recruit as promising and promotion-worthy. The following attributes will help you succeed: Be willing to ask for help, but be able to take charge. Employers like for employees…

  • 27 Money Tips for College Students (96 comments)

    School’s back in session, and with it come life-lessons in money management for students. But personal finance can be easy, even if you’re just starting out. You just have to know how it works. All of the following are concepts I wish I had known before heading to college. Money Management Now that you’re on your own, you might be tempted to spend money on all the things your parents wouldn’t let you have before….

  • Free Comics from the Federal Reserve (3 comments)

    Many frugal folks are geeks at heart. Now you can indulge both sides of your personality with comic books from the Federal Reserve Bank! The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has been publishing educational cartoon-style booklets since the 1950s. “The Story of the Federal Reserve System” is one of ten titles currently available. The comic book is intended for the general public, especially students in high school and introductory-level college economic courses. Up to…

  • YMOYL 2006 Review (5 comments)

    This is a guest post by Cat Connor. Every year I try to review the steps in Your Money or Your Life to see how we’re doing.  It’s been about two years since my last review, but much to my delight, I found we are following most of the steps well, and I just needed to update some numbers. Step 1: Making Peace With The Past A: Determine your total lifetime earnings The book was…

  • Why I Love Community College (22 comments)

    Community colleges are an oft-overlooked resource for cheap education. They offer classes from trained professionals and provide access to expensive equipment that you otherwise would never be able to use. I love community college for several of reasons: Affordability — Community college classes are affordable. Despite recent tuition increases, a class at Portland Community College costs about $200. Community education courses (non-credit classes) cost even less. Some employers will pay for classes; my business will…