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th-2Dear Members of the Class of 2016,

You’ve gotten that diploma and landed a job – maybe even your dream job. Now that your career has officially begun, it’s time to think about how it will end.

Even though the ink is barely dry on your new business cards, you need to focus on retirement – specifically, on the need to save for it either through the workplace or on your own. Retirement is decades away but your new best friend, compound interest, is here right now.

Some financial experts say you need $1 million or more for your old age. The median starting salary for the class of 2014 was $45,478, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Your mileage may vary, of course. If you majored in something like early childhood education, music or communications your paycheck is more likely to be in the $31,500 to $39,800 range. Or maybe you haven’t landed the right job just yet and are making do with retail or other gigs.

Scary, huh? But you have a secret weapon: Time.

 


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GetAttachmentThumbnailOver at the Budgets Are Sexy blog, host J. Money shared a startling fact: He almost gave away his coin collection.

The mohawked numismatist is known throughout the personal finance blogosphere to be someone completely devoted to what he calls “tiny pieces of metal.” Yet he’s reflecting on whether such attachments are entirely healthy.

“That’s right – the guy who only has one main hobby left, and created an entire blog dedicated to these historic beauties, almost gave up collecting entirely,” he wrote in a post called “When it’s time to detach yourself from your things.”

The collection was “the last remaining ‘thing’ I owned that I was still overly attached to and didn’t want to be anymore.”

I get it. Marie Kondo and her “Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” is all the rage right now. The underlying theory is good: Get rid of what you don’t use/may never use/no longer matters.

But allow me to point out that fads come and fads go. Minimalism may be one of them, and joining in could mean shooting yourself in the frugals.



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thSome very interesting reader comments appeared on my April 6 post, especially as regards grown sons and daughters who expect help with down payments and furnishings.

“Just got an email from my stepson who wants us to co-sign on an FHA home loan because they don’t have enough income to qualify for the loan,” wrote Kandace.

She hasn’t said “no” yet, but she will. But she knows that won’t be the end of it.

“Then they will likely want us to co-sign on an apartment, but I’m not comfortable with that either. I’m thinking about what I would be willing to give – or lose – financially. It will probably be an amount that helps get them (he, his wife and their two kids), into an apartment. But no co-signing for me.”

Not everyone was able to make that kind of call – at least initially.

 


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Keeping it real online.

thYesterday I read a long, painful and moving essay on the LoveLifeEat blog called “When you can’t be the person the Internet wants you to be.” It affected me so much that I wrote to its author, Felicia Sullivan.

Short form: I told her that writing about the dark places in her life make her honest, not self-indulgent.

I also said that her words matter. By daring to tell the truth about life, i.e., that sometimes it is horrible, she has helped and will help an unknowable number of people.

Some readers will be bolstered by the fact that they aren’t the only ones dealing with depression, unemployment, the loss of a parent, a difficult relationships with the surviving parent, the search for meaning. I’d bet my next freelance paycheck that her essay encouraged some readers to examine their own dark places and get help for them.

What a refreshing change from the everything-is-awesome drumbeat that makes up so much of the Internet. So many blogs resemble a never-ending, humblebragging stream of fake Christmas letters: Look at me! Look at me and my perfect life!!!

Riiiight.

 


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My frugal Valentine.

thThe other day I awakened to the sound of a vacuum cleaner, but the noise wasn’t quite right. It sounded a bit muffled, and why would DF be vacuuming anyway? We have a robot to do that.

Maybe he was dust-busting around the fireplace insert, which he sometimes does when he cleans out the ashes. Whatever. Because I was zonked on cold medicine, I went back to sleep instead of getting up to check. Later that day I found out that he was getting his ears lowered, i.e., using the Flowbee in the basement.

The sound of a man cutting his own hair…Now that’s frugal sexy. He’s been self-saloning for decades, saving who knows how much money. This is just one of the reasons I find him devastatingly attractive.

Newer readers who aren’t clear on DF’s backstory should check out “Midlife love rocks! (Ask me how I know),” the post that introduced him back on Valentine’s Day 2013. We’re still together and still entirely stupid about each other.

 


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