A Simple Test to Know If It's Better to Rent or Buy a House

This weekend my friend and I got into a discussion regarding the housing market; he was wondering whether current prices were still cheap enough to justify taking the plunge and buying a new home.

“It’s a good question,” I told him, “We could ask my Magic 8-Ball, but it’s in the car and I don’t feel like getting up.”

I know what you’re thinking. The portable navigation system I was using

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My Blog Is Back! ... But I've Still Got Some Work to Do

Yes, I’m still alive, folks.

In case you missed it … my blog ended up crashing on Saturday morning after a major malfunction at my old web host (Yahoo).

I won’t bore you with the technical details, but let’s just say Yahoo’s customer service was atrocious. In fact, after spending most of Saturday and part of Sunday on the phone with them, they essentially told me their engineers had no idea

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100 Words On: How to Determine If You're a True Financial Success

How many times have you heard someone suggest that all their financial problems would magically disappear if they only made more money? But high incomes can’t guarantee financial freedom; there are countless examples of people who earned millions yet still ended up bankrupt. The common thread among folks who get into financial trouble — no matter how much money they make — is their inability to consistently spend less than they

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What a $184 Cheese Sandwich Can Teach Us About Hype & Value

Would you pay $184 for this?

Last week, Britain’s Daily Mail reported that celebrity chef Martin Blunos created a very unique sandwich with a menu price of £110. For those of you here in America, based on current exchange rates, that comes out to approximately $184.61.

According to Blunos, who happens to be a Michelin-starred chef, “We Brits are known to love our cheese sandwiches, and here’s one that not

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Black Coffee: Easter Jellin' with Ms. Yellen

It’s time to sit back, relax and enjoy a little joe

Welcome to another rousing edition of Black Coffee, your off-beat weekly round-up of what’s been going on in the world of money and personal finance.

Happy Easter, everyone!

I tell ya, I’m still feeling the impacts of my recent blog crash and the ensuing rebirth. It’s kind of like waking up with a big hangover: The blog is standing

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My Kids' Loan Interview with the Bank of Dad

(Readers: While I’m still working on getting my blog back up to speed, I thought I’d dig into the archives and run this classic post from way back on February 3, 2009 — long before my kids became teenagers.)

When it comes to money matters, my two kids manage their personal finances in completely opposite ways. In fact, it is utterly amazing to me that my children are even related.

My

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100 Words On: Why I Don't Feel Guilty Getting a Yearly Tax Refund

From a purely financial perspective, there’s no doubt that it’s better to maximize income tax withholding exemptions on your W-4 form because the resulting additional take-home pay can be invested or placed in an interest-bearing savings account. After all, the alternative is to give the government an interest-free loan every year. Even so, I still prefer to get an annual tax refund — mainly because the guaranteed lump sum windfall makes

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The Exceptionally Low Running Costs of Electric Motorcycles

Although itís taken its sweet time, electric car sales are on the up, having increased by an impressive 447.95% in the US last year. The†Nissan Leaf†and†Tesla Model S†are proving the most popular, with sales of the Nissan passing 35,000 since its 2010 launch. Mind-bogglingly, when compared to 2012 Tesla sales have improved by 8056.25% ó this makes a little more sense when you realize that in the first quarter of 2013,

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The 5 Worst US State Quarter Designs

Itís hard to believe, but the US Mintís very successful†50 State Quarters†program ended five years ago. It was a 10-year initiative that honored each of the nationís states in the order that they ratified the Constitution or were admitted into the Union. Each quarter was only minted for a brief 10-week period, and will never be produced again.

At the time, it seemed like†everybody was collecting these quarters. I completed my

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Why I Prefer a Spreadsheet to Track Expenses & Manage My Finances

Iíve been diligently†managing my personal finances†and tracking household expenses for more than 20 years.

How diligent, you ask?

Well, I can tell you that my cable bill in February 1998 was $8.03, and that I spent $141.16 in 2006 for an annual subscription to the Los Angeles Times.

I can also verify with total certainty that 7 percent of my income in 2007 went towards groceries, and vouch that I spent

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