Tales From the Wallet: Insurance Fun!

What Kind of Insurance Do Women Need? || CorporetteWhat kind of insurance do young working women need?  Reader D wonders…

Kat, I’m wondering if you would consider a post about certain types of insurance such as life insurance, disability insurance, and umbrella policies? I’m wondering how people decide on buying additional insurance beyond what may be included in work benefits?

Great question!  (Pictured: Tiffany & Co. Coin Purse, available for $85.) Personally, I’ve had: [Read more...]

Open Thread: When Did You Set Up House?

When Did You Set Up House for Yourself? | CorporetteWhen did you first really set up house for yourself — buy dishes and nice furniture? Did you wait until you were married, or when you bought a house or apartment for yourself? When you turned 30? Are you still waiting? I don’t know why this has been on my mind lately, but I just thought it might be an interesting topic.

For my $.02, I had some basic (cheap) stuff — kitchen basics and furniture — from college onward, but it wasn’t until I was 29 or so that I started buying nice dishes and furniture for myself.  This was due to a lot of factors, I suppose:  when I was in my early 20s I was on a tight budget; I spent my middle 20s in law school; and I spent my late 20s working extremely long hours so I was never really home that much.  (I am also about as far as you can get from a domestic goddess like Martha Stewart.)  I do think another big reason is that I spent my 20s, for the most part, single, and didn’t want to “jinx” future happiness/”give up hope” by setting up house by myself. A few random memories around this topic: [Read more...]

Tales from the Wallet: Setting Financial Goals

You always see personal finance articles advising you what to do at the end of the year — but I see far fewer of them advising what to do financially in the beginning of the year. Personally, I like to do two things around now:
a) I take a “financial snapshot,” and
b) I make three or four financial goals for the year.

(Pictured:  FOLLI FOLLIE Blue Stripes Wallet, available at Lord & Taylor (having awesome sales of up to 80% off today) — was $85, now $51.)  

The “snapshot” was inspired by the Excel spreadsheet that I started when we were looking to buy the apartment.  It’s just a listing of all of our accounts, investments, debts, and property — and it lists the current value for each of those line items.  Big deal, you say — [Read more...]

How to Decorate Your First Real Apartment

Reader R wonders about how to decorate her first apartment after grad school…

I’m about to graduate law school and will be moving into my first “grown up” apartment soon. I’ve never really had to buy furniture, decorate, or do any of that kind of stuff before, so I would love to see a post on the basics of how to go about it. I’m not ready to invest in serious re-modeling or fancy antiques or anything like that, but I’d like to create a nice environment for myself and get some furniture that I can keep for at least a few years. Thanks!

Congratulations! I’m curious to hear what readers say. My own experience with interior decoration has been somewhat surprising. You see, I’ve always considered myself fairly fashionable and style savvy — so it kind of blew me away how much my first apartment (between college and law school) really looked horrible. My roommate and I decided to paint the living room a horrid shade of yellow… and then complement that with a pink rug. (I’m pretty sure this was all her idea.) My bedroom was even worse, if that’s possible. I had my posters from college, a really cheap rug, a huge folding table (which I thought would be a great idea to use as a really big desk… guess what was just a huge eyesore in my room?) and … wait for it … a huge La-Z-Boy reclining armchair, borrowed from my parents. It was like I forgot the “chic” part of “shabby chic.”  In addition to looking absolutely horrible, I hated spending time there — but didn’t know how to make it better.

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Tales from the Wallet: Tax-Savvy Investments

Marc by Marc Jacobs - Turnlock Shine Long Tri-fold (Electric Teal) - Bags and Luggage Something I’ve been thinking a lot about since I read it is this Mint article on “The Value of Tax-Deferred Savings.” According to the article, “[u]nless you make enough money to max out all of your tax-advantaged accounts (401(k), IRA, 529, HSA, and the like), it rarely makes sense to do any investing outside them.”  (Please note, I am not a financial adviser — this is all just my personal knowledge, so take it with a grain of salt.) (Pictured: Marc by Marc Jacobs – Turnlock Shine Long Tri-fold (Electric Teal) – Bags and Luggage, on sale at Zappos from $198 down to $150 today. Lots of great sales on Marc by Marc Jacobs stuff on Zappos today, actually.)

To be honest, the value of tax-deferred investing isn’t something I understood until really, really recently. So I thought we’d review some of the main vehicles for tax-savvy savings here, answering — for each, the main questions on everyone’s mind:

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Tales from the Wallet: Thoughts on Buying Property

how to buy a condo.indexed(1)When should you consider buying an apartment or house to call your own? What should you know before you start the process?

When I asked the readers last week what sort of financial topics they wanted to talk about, a number of people chimed in asking that we talk about buying an apartment or house. All finance topics are fairly huge ones, but this one is particularly huge — books! classes! blogs! — not to mention very regional-specific. I’ve looked to buy an apartment in the New York City area twice, so I’ll share my experiences there, but let’s just keep in mind from the get-go that this post will be written in very broad strokes.  This has kind of turned into a runaway post, so I’ll put some reader Qs up front — ladies, what have your experiences been with buying property?  Have any of you decided that, despite having the money to buy, that you would rather rent?  What factors would you advise a younger woman to look into?  What resources did you find most helpful when researching? (Pictured: FOR SALE BY OWNER (if you can find it), originally uploaded to Flickr by The-Tim.)
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