Things I Wish I’d Known Before Plunging Blindly Into My Role as a Manager

There are so many things I wish I’d known before plunging blindly down the management road. Here are some of the things I’ve learned on the job, challenges I’ve faced and how to approach them, and other random thoughts on managing a team that might hopefully be helpful to others facing similar situations

Defer Student Loans? Paying the Minimum on Credit Cards?

If I ultimately have to either stop paying my loans (which are in deferment while I'm a student) or go back to paying just the minimums on my cards, what's the better choice? The dollar amount I would save monthly is the same.

Just Say No

Is there a kind and gentle way for C. to say "Mom, I can't give you any more money?" Are there resources we can suggest to help her develop better spending habits (if it matters, she's in her mid-50's and—thank goodness!—has a generous pension when she retires, so retirement saving isn't a big issue)?

When Other People Get Promoted

She absolutely deserves the promotion, and I don't want to seem like I begrudge her success. I also think I may be making too much of a big deal about this because I'm thinking about leaving my job in a few months anyway. — Anonymous

A Few Ways S.F. Tech Can Work to Be Hated Marginally Less

Over on his blog today, Anil Dash offers a few timely “Stupid Simple Things SF Techies Could Do To Stop Being Hated.” He talks about how the New York tech community has escaped similar degrees of disdain and resentment because 1. Wall Street will always be worse, and 2. in New York, tech workers have a better “ethos of community involvement.”

His first suggestion is simple, but legitimate:

First, people in tech should use their voices to push the leaders of their companies and industry to do the right thing. It is just as easy for a CEO to ask the city to accommodate affordable housing as it is for them to demand tax rebates. And if a CEO believes their employees expect this kind of request, most tech company execs will do anything to keep their engineers happy. If Google is the symbol of entitlement in San Francisco right now, Larry Page could simply and consistently amplify the voice of those already working on housing solutions and make a huge impact.

The Personal Finance Industrial Complex and Our Raison D’Etre

Helaine Olen has written a book about why the personal finance industry is pretty much disgusting, and in this great interview with Anna Clark for the American Prospect, she explains it all. BAAASSICCALLLYYY this is exactly why our site exists: “One of my complaints with the whole personal-finance industrial complex is the censorious, judgmental tone, that all too often sounds like a modern updating of a Victorian morality tract, complete with the wealthy so-called personal-finance experts lecturing the less financially well-off on how to behave.”

Getting An Actual Date and Time Down is Crucial When Networking

I know the onus is entirely upon me to pursue an informational interview with this man; it's just that figuring out how to politely pick his brain is proving a challenge. I tend to be reserved and to way over-think things; please help me figure out how to smoothly and tactfully request a career chat with this guy. — K.G.

Reader Mail: My Credit Card Company Reduced My Credit Limit

I just noticed that the credit available on my three credit cards has been drastically reduced. For example, I used to have a $5,000 limit on one, and now it's down to $1,800. It's not a problem, since I am determined not to use these cards Ever Again, but it seems counterintuitive.

The Guardian Takes on Family Finances

Yesterday, our pal Heidi Moore had a chat with Oliver Pursche about managing money and while raising a family and, you know, all the expenses that come with living in a house. The transcript of that chat can be found here, and next month, they will be tackling "investing in an uncertain world."

Who Opened My Mail?

How worried should I be about receiving credit card offers in the mail that have obviously been already opened by someone else? This has happened to me twice in the last six months, and I even notified my post office after the first time it happened. What else can I do to protect myself against identify theft and keep my mail secure? — M.V.

Death by a Thousand Small Purchases?

So Mike/Readers, if I may ask: What tricks do you use to make sure you're properly stocked/organized/under control and avoid overspending dumb money because you're not prepared. — S.M.M.

Reader Mail: Should I Borrow Money from Retirement?

I've currently got two credit cards with balances: one with $5,500 (interest rate is 9.9%) and one with $1,700 (with a 20.99% interest rate). I've got about $4,000 in my Roth IRA, none of which is invested. I'm trying to figure out if it's worthwhile to withdraw the $1,700 from my IRA to pay down the higher-interest credit card and focus all my monthly payments on the lower-interest one. I've always been told "never borrow against your retirement," but it seems that this might be a good idea. Help?! — N.C.