Buying A First Car: The American Dream

Ester: Hello Judah! Would you like to introduce yourself for the Billfold readership?

Judah: Hi Billfold, my name is Judah Bloom and I am a new car shopper and, hopefully, owner.

Ester: And you are related to me!

Judah: That, too. I am your youngest brother.

Ester: That makes it sound like I have 15 younger brothers, each cuter and more princely than the last! But I only have you. Luckily, you’re great!

Judah: Well thank you. I am just trying to avoid the “little” brother routine that typically arises.

Ester: Yes, we middle children are notoriously insensitive to the feelings of our younger siblings. ANYWAY. You are not little; you are in fact almost 30, are you not?

Judah Yes I am. I am turning 30 in August and have been working a steady job for the past, almost three years.

Ester: Let the record show: You are a millennial with a strong work ethic. You’re virtually a unicorn! What other markers of traditional adulthood can you offer? Can you cook yourself dinner?

Judah: If ordering online or turning on the microwave count, then yes, absolutely. However, I have been a success at living by myself and going to work everyday, which is an achievement.

Ester: In this day and age, that basically warrants you a Nobel prize. Or, as it happens, A NEW CAR! So tell me about your decision to purchase an automobile!

Judah Well, the car I am currently driving is an 11-year-old Acura RSX (two door hatchback) that I got from my parents. It has taken me cross country 3-4 times and been with me for as long as I have been able to drive. However, it is reaching old age and becoming untenable/not financially viable to maintain.

Ester: You mean it’s time to put it in a home?

Judah: I was actually going to try to find it a nice farm up north to let it run around with other old cars.

Pieces of Paper in a Vault

People tend to think of, and talk about, having money in their retirement accounts. They talk about "pulling cash out of the 401(k)" or "making money on a good stock pick." Our casual language for these things is really sloppy. There isn't any money in your retirement account, of course. There are shares. But that's a little abstract, especially in the era of electronic finances, so I prefer: pieces of paper in a vault.

How I Learned to Love Investing

Rachel Laban didn't think she would ever invest money in the stock market—until one day when she did.

How to Choose Investments for Retirement

Why you need to know this: Because you should know what stocks, bonds, and mutual funds are so you can make the right investments and be a rich old person.

Five Incidents of Tuning in to Money

I’m an AmeriCorps member, serving as a quasi-social worker helping low-income families with their financial difficulties. I’m explaining to my client in painfully incompetent Spanish that there’s nothing she can do legally, that the landlord’s letter she handed me says she needs to move herself and her family out of their apartment by tomorrow, that the county will probably offer her shelter since her kids have social security numbers, even though she doesn’t.