Are you as leveraged as Goldman Sachs?

IMG_3620For decades, many of us have been putting more and more of our money into real estate. Strange enough, it is an asset class that many owners do not even consider when they answer questions about their stock portfolio or investments even though it is by far the most significant in many cases.

Are you among those who complained about the major banks’ excessive leverage?

Chances are that you or your neighbour is leveraged at least as much if not more. Think about it”¦ If you own a house that is worth 400,000$ and you have a 360,000$ mortgage, you are leveraged 10 to 1! Many banks used that kind of leverage.

Lucy, you got some [financial] ‘splainin’ to do!

wedding rings

I have been doing a lot of thinking about family finance and especially the financial relationship between a husband and wife. I do not have all of the answers to solve every problem in this area, but I thought I would share just a few thoughts:

Family finance is about priorities. Both the husband and the wife should contribute to these priorities. It is our money, regardless of who may have directly earned it. My paycheck might be bigger, but Mrs. Stew does a whole lot of things that allow me to do the job for which I am paid.

Oh, the weather outside is frightful

cold house

. . . or soon will be.

We used to live in one of the coldest areas of the country. Our heating bills for a 1,200 square foot house ranged from $225 and $275 a month during the winter. We now live in a state with a more mild winter and our heating bill never really goes over $100 in a month. Needless to say, in our former home, we did everything possible to hold costs down and even though our current heating expenses are not as great, we still take measures to reduce heat loss.

Carnival of Money Stories – My Money Flaws Edition

Welcome to this edition of the Carnival of Money Stories! Since all featured posts reflect a money story, I decided to share my money flaws along with the articles.

If you are new to Gather Little by Little, you should read the following articles:

How to build a compost bin

How to get your finance under control

Simple ways to make money online

zero percent transfer balance credit card

shopping centerMoney Flaw #1: Having Spendthrift Moments

Friday Gathering: Daylight Savings Edition

alarm clock

I don’t know about you, but I think Daylight Savings is dumb. Why not just let the amount of sunlight wax and wane naturally? I miss driving home when the sun is still up at 5 pm . . . not a big deal, but I would love to get rid of it. Here are some articles that I found interesting this week:

Ron from the Wisdom Journal posted the top 10 consumer credit card events of 2009 – a good read. I am not sure that our current credit paradigm is going to last much longer. We’ll see . . .

Are you preparing for the worst?

explosionLast week, after reading Stew’s article about why he does not expect to buy gold, I started thinking. Over the past few months, I’ve been hearing an increasing amount of interest in preparing for “worst case scenarios”. It seems as though last year’s major crisis left some very important consequences. So what are these dark scenarios? Here are a few that are often discussed:

Collapse of the entire financial system: This one can no longer be dismissed easily since it was a distinct possibility during last year’s collapse of several US and foreign banks.

How much does your vice cost?


Wikipedia defines a vice as a practice or a habit considered immoral, depraved, and/or degrading in the associated society. In more minor usage, vice can refer to a fault, a defect, an infirmity or merely a bad habit.

Recently, I spent some time thinking about how much money I spend on things that I really do not need – not necessarily things that make life easier – but rather things that are simply a habit, a pleasure or a waste of time. I am not going to exactly reveal my particular “vices”, but I think it is a good idea once in a while to take stock of the little money trickles in our budget. You know the holes that allow a few bucks to slip through during the course of a month? Some of these items might even have a legitimate place in our lives, but we all must consider the cost.

10 Small Ways to Save Money That Make a Big Difference


Image: alamosbasement

When it comes to saving, sometimes starting small feels almost like not starting at all. A bit here and a bit there tends to add up like drops in a bucket. The important thing to remember though when it comes to saving money is that those drops can eventually grow to a trickle, then to a stream, then a torrential current of cash.

Be a discriminating customer, a diligent employee and a generous entrepreneur


The free market is not perfect. We all know of stories about unethical or corrupt businesses, but lately capitalism has been getting a bad rap. I just thought it might be nice to remind ourselves of a few of the benefits of America’s historic economic system – not because it’s perfect or because it was ordained of God or anything – but just to help us realize that capitalism is not all bad:

“In Cheap We Trust”: Review and Giveaway

in cheap we trustIf we had to separate people into 2 different clans: The Thrifts and the Spendthrifts, I would probably be closer to the latter. Unfortunately, the thing I like most about money is spending it. However, being a husband and father of two beautiful children has helped me be more responsible financially. While I never really wasted my money, I have always enjoyed earning more to spend more in order to indulge myself from time to time.

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