What is a CD Ladder?

I have invested in Certificates of Deposit or CD’s a number of times over the past two decades and lately, I have been doing some reading on the concept of a “CD Ladder”.

I first heard the term CD Ladder several years ago while listening to a Saturday morning radio show that dealt with topics like mutual funds, annuities and estate planning.

Is your store-branded credit card worth the hassle?

I have made no secret of the fact that we use credit cards here at the Stew household. “We” as in, my wife and I – our children do not currently carry plastic, although my seven-year old told me to “just put it on the card” the other day.

She and I might need to have a talk.

Years ago, before I really knew what a credit score was worth, my wife and I would often sign up for store-branded credit cards in order to get the various incentives that come with getting a card: $50 bonus or 20% of a purchase or any number of things.

How much is moving worth?

I have mentioned once or twice that we would like to find a place to rent that comes with lower rent than our current location.

Late last week, Mrs. Stew found a rental that had just come open on Craigslist and called to find out more details. A few days later, we drove over to see the place. It was not terrible, some things we liked, some things we did not like. Let me lay out the pros and cons to see what you think:

How do spouses share expenses?

I recently ran across a question on Personal Finance Q&A’s over at Moolanomy. The question itself was not all that remarkable, but the scene portrayed  in the lead up to the question portrays a marriage that might be headed for trouble in my humble opinion.

Here is a portion of the questions posted by a writer who identified herself as KJC. If you would like the entire context, click through here:

Frugal (and other) thoughts from the road

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Mrs. Stew, the brood and I are on the road this week. In fact, by this time next week, I personally will have driven 3,500 miles in the previous ten days. I have doing a lot of thinking about frugal travel.

More thoughts on marriage not being a financial transaction

On Wednesday, I posted a rant about how our culture sometimes makes the mistake of defining marriage in financial terms. We commit our lives emotionally, physically and spiritually, but we keep the finances separate – just in case things do not work out. I think that this undercuts the purpose and plan of marriage.

Let me discuss the topic further by using the example of Katrina who was so kind as to leave a comment on the article. She suggested that a prenuptial agreement:

Marriage is not a financial decision

I read a lot these days about signing a pre-nuptial agreement with one’s future spouse or checking the credit report of a possible marriage partner. The character of your future spouse is a perfectly good thing to research, but a money can be a distraction from the purpose and heart of marriage.

I still have the possibly old-fashioned, but still biblical view that marriage is for life. The basic premise behind a pre-nuptial agreement is faulty, regardless of your net worth. I might even go so far as to advise a single person  reconsider the decision to marry a future spouse who even mentions the idea of a pre-nuptial agreement.

Tips for selling on Craigslist

Last week, we gave some tips for shopping on Craigslist. Today, I would like to talk about the other side of the bargain – selling.

Emergency fund: what to do if you do not have one, but need cash fast

Times are tight for many people these days. Many Americans have had to use and even exhaust their emergency funds without warning. There is a whole other group of people who never had an emergency fund in the first place. However you get there, being in a cash crunch without an emergency fund is a tough place to be.

Here are some options for dealing with a dire family cash flow problem:

Borrow from relatives

Money can be a sticky topic in family relationships. Something like this might take a whole lot of humility, furthermore there can be long-term consequences from family financial arrangements. However, if your need is genuine, you might have family who can help.

Tips for shopping on Craigslist

Mrs. Stew and I have used Craigslist a great deal over the past few years and I keep finding more and more reasons to return to the site. The Craiglist concept was invented almost before Al Gore invented the internet. The service was first an email distribution list between friends and then the idea became a website in 1999. I used to view Craigslist just as a free version of the online auction site, Ebay, however while it is true that the best thing about Craigslist is the fact that item listings are free, the site is much more than a place to buy and sell.

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