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 nine

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

I’ve 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 $88.95 at

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Are Two Household Incomes Really Better Than One?

Not too long after our first child was born, the Honeybee left her position as a paralegal for a bankruptcy attorney to become a stay-at-home mom. It was a decision that we had both happily agreed to before we were even married. That course of action effectively turned us into a single income family, and it’s a decision I’ve never regretted for one moment.

Yes, if the Honeybee had remained working,

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9 Indispensable Financial Tips for Teens & Twentysomethings

I hate to admit this, kids, but I used to think my parents were really dumb too. A few peas short of a casserole. All foam, no beer. Dumber than a box of hair.

I get it; Matthew, you’re 16 and, Nina, you’re 14 going on 29, which, by default, means you both already know everything about anything. But as time passes by, you’ll begin to realize that the older you get, the

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The Best Household CEOs Understand the Power of Saying 'No'

By most accounts, there are more than 250,000 words in the English language.

Of course, I have my favorites.

For example, I’ve always been quite fond of platypus; I smile every time I hear myself say it.

For some reason, there happens to be a soft spot in my heart for the word kerfuffle too.

And I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I also find myself occasionally thinking of ways to insert words like

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Why You Should Insure a Rental Property

(This is a guest post by Tali Wee of Zillow.)

An investment property is likely to initially cost more than a single-family home. Buyers don’t get the loan benefits of buying an owner-occupied property. Plus, multiple residents increase the likelihood of accidents and structural damage to the home. Landlords are liable for most of the maintenance issues required for the property. Between the large sum of money invested and the probability

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Your Big Fat Expensive Wedding: Stupid Is As Stupid Does

According to the New York Daily News, Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky spent roughly $3.3 million in 2010 on their marriage celebration.

Talk about a big fat expensive wedding.

The good news is, more than three years after saying “I do,” the famous couple is still, apparently, happily married.

Truth be told, 18 years ago I spent a little over $6000 on my wedding, excluding the Honeybee’s engagement ring and wedding band.

With that in

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Drive-By Movie Review: The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3

Readers: Here is an oldie but goodie from the Len Penzo dot Com archives. Yes, I used to do movie reviews with the Honeybee. After reading this, you’ll know why we eventually stopped.

This is a review of the 2009 movie The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 starring Denzel Washington and John Travolta.

Plot Summary: Armed men hijack a New York City subway train, holding the passengers hostage in return for

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Why I'm Making My Daughter Pay for Her Dental Braces

“This is going to hurt me a lot more than it is going to hurt you.”

That was an admonition Mom or Dad occasionally gave me and my sister when we were growing up — and I know we weren’t the only kids to hear those words either.

Of course, as a kid, whenever my folks said that, I naturally assumed they were full of, well … you know. I’m sure my

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News Flash: A High Income Can’t Guarantee Financial Freedom

Remember Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich? He’s the guy who was impeached in 2009 and then convicted in Federal court a couple of years later on multiple corruption charges, including the solicitation of bribes for political appointments.

Blagojevich’s actions left a lot of people wondering why the ex-governor would ever do such a thing. Here’s the short answer: “Blago” needed the money — even though he and his wife had a combined

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