Millennial Missionary Wants To Save For Retirement

millennial missionary

I got a really interesting email from a millennial missionary reader in Malawi. I’ll call him Kirby to preserve his anonymity. Kirby is a 20 something college grad, but he has no retirement plan or other employer savings program. This is a really common problem for workers in the ministry, as churches and other nonprofits tend to not put a lot of thought into benefit programs, or can simply not afford them. What’s a guy to do when he wants to be responsible and prepare for his future but has no organized program to help him do it? Here’s the email below, edited for length and clarity.  Continue reading “Millennial Missionary Wants To Save For Retirement”

How To Decide If You Should Avoid a Toll Road

Google Maps gave every driver in America a powerful choice whether or not to avoid a toll road. Gone were the days when a tourist would mindlessly choose the toll road while locals took advantage of free back road options. Now, all you have to do is type in your destination and Google will give you toll or no toll options and calculate the difference in arrival time for you. Sometimes I am grateful I was born in the ’90s just so I can tell my kids one day that I helped my parents navigate with paper maps on our family road trips around the country. So now that America’s drivers are extremely well informed about their options, how would you go about making the decision?

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If You’re in College You Should Live in a House and Not an Apartment Complex

(photo credit)

While I was hanging out with my brother the past few days, we got into an intense discussion as to whether or not it’s better to rent a house or apartment when you are a college student. He signed a lease at a big brand “campus community” for junior year, and his group of friends are considering the pros and cons of house vs apartment for senior year. If you look at the issue holistically and factor in costs, amenities, flexibility of use, and quality of life, houses win by a long shot. Here’s why if you’re in college you should live in a house, and preferably a cheap one.

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Alfred Morris Has the Smartest Financial Mind in Football

Alfred Morris, the starting Running Back for the Washington Redskins, got a ton of attention recently in the sports and business press for the shocking revelation that he rides his bike to work. Check out that photo on the left. Even though the bike doesn’t look too shabby, consider the parking lot competition he is tempted to compete with. Almost every vehicle is a luxury car. Professional athletes are notorious in the media for driving hot vehicles and spending money like there’s no tomorrow. However, when I got to looking at Morris’s situation more closely, I realized that Alfred Morris has the smartest financial mind in football, perhaps rivaled only by Ryan Broyles, who lives off a $60,000 a year budget with his wife. Continue reading “Alfred Morris Has the Smartest Financial Mind in Football”

Case Study: Buy or Rent a House with Boyfriend in Florida

buy or rent a house with boyfriend

Reader in Melbourne, FL: We’ve been renting for about a year now and we’re wondering if we should take the next step and buy a home before mortgages get really expensive and housing goes back up again. I work with the school system and make about $37,000 a year. My boyfriend is a firefighter and he gets about $60,000 a year. The place we are renting is $925 a month for a townhouse by the beach. We’d like to get a single family home since we’re thinking about marriage. These run about $200,000 and rent is about $1200 a month. Should we try and see if we could use an FHA first time homebuyer mortgage? My boyfriend won’t qualify because he had to walk away from a home he bought in 2008 but maybe I could do it? We don’t have very much saved up for a downpayment so that’s the only way we could afford buying right now, but it stinks feeling like we’re throwing money away and I know that I’ll be here for several years so I would like to put down roots.

Sincerely, Reader from Melbourne, FL Continue reading “Case Study: Buy or Rent a House with Boyfriend in Florida”

Stripper Wants to Save for His Retirement


Reader in Philadelphia, PA: This might be a random situation, but this stripper wants to save some money! In particular, I need to save for retirement. I’ve been doing this gig for a bit and I’m starting to make some serious dough, like $50,000 a year and I’m working about 25 hours a week. My friends in more traditional jobs have 401k’s and stuff like that, but I have no idea where to start in trying to put away more money and do it in a way that helps with taxes and all. I know I can’t do this forever but I feel like I could go another couple years and I think the money I’d make doing something else in the service industry will definitely be less than what I’m making right now. I’ve been taking my tips to the local bank and the teller knows me by now since I’m bringing in a couple hundred in singles, but I feel like there’s a better place to put the money than my bank where I earn nothing on my savings. Thanks! Continue reading “Stripper Wants to Save for His Retirement”

How I Would’ve Handled Money if I’d Gone Into Medicine

gone into medicineOn my way home from the Middle East in summer 2009, I contracted swine flu somehow during the trip home. Luckily, I had the good fortune of making it back to the US before I found out or exhibited symptoms. In my agony while laying in quarantine, I decided that if I made it through I wanted to see if I could help people. So naturally, I signed up for Bio 1 with all the pre-med students for the fall semester. Thankfully for thousands of potential future patients, I decided to try my wares in finance instead, but what if I had gone into medicine? How would my financial life have looked? To entertain this hypothetical, let’s go back in time to 2011 to meet future aspiring med student Travis, a senior in college.

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Doctor Wants to Quit and Become a Journalist

doctor wants to quit


I have some unique choices coming up to make about my professional career. This doctor wants to quit. I am about to finish a fellowship in surgery, and I have been thinking about doing another fellowship. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the fellowship process but basically if you want to specialize further after residency you pick a program, generally three years in length, to hone your skills and do research.  I would love to do a second fellowship or even pursue something totally different like journalism, but I have a debt load from medical school of about $120,000 that carries an interest rate of 6%. I was curious to hear about some of the financial implications of the choices I’m having to make. To give you some salary information, if I did the fellowship option I’d make about $60,000 a year for three years and if I followed the surgery route I would start at about $200,000, which would increase pretty rapidly over five years to $300,000 before growing more slowly. I don’t know how much journalists make but I’m guessing it is less than I would make even as a fellow. 

Sincerely, Conflicted Doctor*

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Keep My Marketing Job or Join a Piano Bar Rock Band?

pianobar (1)

Dear TMoney, 

I’ve gotten very bored with my corporate lifestyle as a marketing professional. My favorite piano bar rock bank in Philly has asked me to audition. I really would love to do this as music is my passion but I don’t know if I can. I’ll definitely make less money. My job right now pays $40,000 a year and I work 40 hour weeks. The piano bar gig isn’t as bad as you’d think. They have benefits that are roughly equal to my current job. I’m not sure exactly what they make, but if I was able to get 40 hours a week, they get tips on top of a decent base wage so I’m thinking around $15/hr.

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