books

Choosing the Next Billfold Book Club Book

My top suggestion is The Millionaire Master Plan: Your Personalized Path to Financial Success by Roger James Hamilton, for two reasons…

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How Wizards Do Money: Neville Longbottom

If Neville Longbottom and Hannah Abbott were Muggles, they would be considered DINKs.

However, the wizarding world doesn’t quite have a word for a dual-career couple who have chosen to remain childfree, and so Neville and Hannah are anomalies, spending their days managing Herbology classrooms and Leaky Cauldrons, respectively, and ignoring the continuous hints that it might be time for the two of them to think about settling down and procreating.

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The Billfold Book Club Discusses Helaine Olen’s ‘Pound Foolish’

I want to start the discussion of Helaine Olen’s Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry with a true story.

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Ask A Human Who Actually Practices GTD (‘Getting Things Done’)

Here is an real tweet that I really tweeted yesterday:

My inbox may be zero, but my GTD list is spiraling out of control. Time to reconfigure my Horizons of Responsibility or something. #GTD

— Nicole (@HelloTheFuture) July 21, 2014

I meant every word of it.

I’ve been practicing GTD, or David Allen’s Getting Things Done system, since 2008. That’s well over 300 Weekly Reviews. An uncountable number of Ubiquitous Capture Devices. The regular, systemic processing of my Inboxes to Zero.

What does this have to do with personal finance, you might ask? When I was working as an executive assistant, practicing GTD didn’t have all that much to do with finance except for the part where it helped me pay my bills on time. It was only when I switched to the freelance world that GTD became an essential part of my money management.

It’s probably time for a quick update of what “GTD” is. At its core, “practicing GTD” means sorting through all of the various inputs that come at you every day — email inboxes, Twitter feeds, online chats with editors, personal conversations — and isolating every task that you have agreed to complete onto a single list. Then, you organize the list into completable chunks of action items, and you get things done.

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Blame the Patriarchy For Your Lack of Social Mobility

You’d be forgiven if you saw today’s The Atlantic article “What’s In a Name? Everything.” and thought it was another Freakonomics-style piece about how passing along certain surnames to your children can inhibit their social mobility because we as Americans are presumptive and racist jerks.

Well, passing along certain surnames can inhibit social mobility, and we as Americans are often presumptive and racist jerks, but that’s not why these two items are necessarily connected—not according to UC-Davis economic historian Gregory Clark’s new research, anyway.

Gregory Clark’s new book The Son Also Rises: Surnames and the History of Social Mobility examines how wealth, status, and opportunity are passed down from parents to children, and how likely it is that a family—not an individual, but an entire family—is able to rise socially and economically over time.

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Reminder: The Billfold Book Club Will Discuss Helaine Olen’s ‘Pound Foolish’ on Wednesday, July 23

I am literally drinking a Starbucks Tall Java Chip Frappuccino as I write this.

Thank goodness Helaine Olen and I both know that this single indulgence won’t ruin my capacity to save for tomorrow or save for retirement. My “capacity to save” has much more to do with large-scale economic forces than with my individual financial choices. Hooray!

Are you ready to discuss Pound Foolish next Wednesday? I have no idea what I’m going to write about this book yet. I might just post a picture of me looking terrified. I might type “I knew it!” in 100-pt font. Or maybe I’ll write a song titled “Benjamin Franklin Does Not Think 1.5% Compound Interest Is All That Magical.”

We’ll talk soon. If you haven’t read Pound Foolish yet, you still have time before Wednesday.

You should also read Mike Dang’s interview with Helaine Olen, “A Conversation with Helaine Olen About the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industrial Complex,” because it is both an excellent companion to the book and an excellent interview.

(In fact, you could probably participate fully in the book club discussion by reading the interview in lieu of the book. Not that I’m suggesting you do that. But it is an option.)

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How the Baby-Sitters Club Does Money: Karen

Karen is 35 this year, six years younger than her step-sister Kristy and the other members of the BSC. Karen realizes just how lucky being 35 makes her.

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How the Baby-Sitters Club Does Money: Abby

Abby Stevenson lies about her age. She’s about to turn 41, like the other members of the BSC, but she’s always felt years younger. She posts her Buzzfeed “How Big of a ‘90s Kid Are You?” quiz results to Facebook, as if to claim her space in the generation below her.

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How the Baby-Sitters Club Does Money: Dawn

Dawn never saw herself as living in “that part” of San Francisco, but there she is. She never thought of herself as being a full-time stay-at-home mom to two children on the autism spectrum, but there she is. She never, ever thought that a family could be earning more money than most people on the planet and still be in debt beyond their capacity to ever pay it back, not to mention the general paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle, but there she is.

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How the Baby-Sitters Club Does Money: Jessi

Jessi knows what her students call her. She can tell by the way they look at her, most of them, the ones that don’t take her class seriously.

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How the Baby-Sitters Club Does Money: Mary Anne

It was a shock to everybody. A pleasant shock, or at least a “let’s pretend we think this is a good idea” shock, and in fact their wedding, which took place during the summer after Mary Anne’s freshman year of college, was the last time the entire BSC was together.

They’re still married. They still live in Stoneybrook, or technically just outside of Stoneybrook, in an old farmhouse that they remodeled together, nearly from the ground up.

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How the Baby-Sitters Club Does Money: Claudia

The first time Claudia illegally streamed episodes of Girls she was 39, and didn’t even think about it. The show was great. She was absolutely a Jessa, except without the drugs. Yeah, it was a little white. Whatevs. Two seasons later, she’s 41. She really should pay for HBO. She’s a grown adult. She’s in her 40s. That’s what that means, now.

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