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A fun new Thursday tradition

I’m pretty lucky to have the most loyal readers of any personal finance blog (notice I didn’t say “one of the most”). Larry, StackingCash, Mo D, Trina, Ryo, and many others have been reading and commenting on my blog posts for years. Some of you, have lurked for just as long, but never taken the time to actually engage with the community.

Over the last year, I’m sure you’ve noticed a reduction in the number of posts I write each week. This is for a few reasons…

1. MANteresting eats up  a good chunk of my free time

2. After 3+ years of five-days-a-week writing, I run out of things to say

3. I wont write crappy articles just for the sake of getting something up

4. I don’t allow lame “guest posts” or “sponsored” posts like most other PF bloggers do.

5. Girl Ninja comes first. 

So while I might not be writing a thought-provoking article about pedophilia every Thursday, I do plan to start a fun new tradition.


It’s simple. You click the most appropriate answer to whatever question I’ve asked and elaborate in the comments section if you so choose.

You guys/girls already know a ton about me, so this will give you an opportunity to learn a little more about each other. Plus, it’s one less day you have to deal with my horrible spelling/grammar mistakes and immature unicorn jokes 😉

On with the poll….

[poll id=”2″]



  1. Mine pretty much stayed the same. Starting this week I will move from non-exempt to exempt employee with a bump of $12,000 in pay but possibly a whole lot of additional work hours. I am grateful for the unexpected pay increase but doesn’t know yet how this will affect the work/life balance. We’ll see.

  2. I am semi-retired and I work part-time. I have a small but steady income from a couple of sources. The rest of the income I generate depends on my part-time gig. The income from that fluctuates and this month has been a good month.

    I hope to work part-time till I am 60 (I am now 46) and see what I want to do afterwards, depending on my health and wealth:) My progress indicates that I will have plenty to live on but, you never know what your health situation will be. I just heard that a woman two years my junior both from High School and College passed away and it was a reminder of how fragile we are.

    14 more years working part-time looks and sounds good as of today.

  3. My family’s financial situation is slowly improving. We racked up some debt, without even realizing by not paying close enough attention to our CC statements. But as of January, we are making serious dents in the debt reduction. I am glad we realized at a relatively young age (still in late 20’s) that we have debt and a spending problem. We have seen way to many of our older friends get into serious debt, lose their houses, cars, forced to move to areas they don’t want to send their kids…. so I am glad we realized sooner than later, for our daughters future!
    Thank you for your website! Always a good laugh, educational, and informative!

  4. paid off my car last month and i just realized it’s the first time in our 8 year marriage we have not had at least 1 car payment, hopefully we’ll never have one again.

    our next goal is to pay off my $5600 student loan that’s hung around far too long (i always justified keeping it b/c of the “low interest rate” but now i’m tired of looking at it)…..wife is a teacher so when she is out for summer we basically just hold down the fort but when she goes back to work in August we’ll resume with the debt payoff goals. slowly but surely……

  5. Over the last 12 months, stayed the same, but over the last 5 years has improved significantly. That’s when I realized how much trouble I was in and made efforts to turn myself around. I was $60,000 in debt BEFORE my mortgage. I never knew Credit Card debt could get so high.

    Today, I have 0 credit card debt and I am slowly building my savings and retirement fund. We can only take it one day at a time, because I still have spending setbacks (this year I have spent way too much to see Dave Matthews in concert – 5 shows this summer, plus travel expenses), but as my wife likes to tell me, you have to live a little.

  6. Interesting that you’ve gotten 75 votes in your poll but only 5 comments. I now see what you mean by those “lurking’!

    I voted that my situation has improved slightly. The wife and I have been aggressive in saving and paying down my student loans. We’ve maintained our 10% 401(k) allocation and recently started our 11 weeks-old son’s 529 Plan. Also, the housing market has greatly improved where we live – which has enabled us to refinance in the last year and even consider upgrading our home. (I work for a bank and was able to get a bare-bones closing cost refi – so I recouped the expense by month 2).

    However, we did purchase a car last year and took a loan for it. I could pay it off, but enjoy having the liquidity. I am finishing up grad school this year and feel the cash in hand is more important. Also, we monitor our expenses like crazy (especially with the little guy), so sometimes it seems like our situation hasn’t improved as much as it really has. It’s tough to see the forest through the trees sometimes.

    Love the blog. Keep up the posts when you can.

  7. In the past 12 months we got married (and paid for a significant portion of the wedding), went on two international vacations, topped off our 9 month living expense e-fund, and almost doubled our net worth. We’re aggressively saving to pay off student loans (currently in deferment), make a house down payment in about 2 years, and pay for our next car in cash. I think things are currently looking good!

  8. My financial situation has improved a weebit (Try making this one word when speaking out loud, it’s tons of fun). Up until a year ago, I had a job where I traveled significantly so my employer picked up most of my expenses. During that time, I improved a TON. I then switched jobs (less travel, which was nice) and got a big pay bump, but having to cover all my own expenses probably nets me less than I used to. However, that being said, I’m still debt free and continue to see a rise in monetary net worth, since I’ve always been an aggressive saver.

  9. My financial situation has gradually but monotonically improved every year since I graduated from college (2007). I’d say it’s very darn good given our income now! But I expect it will get shaken up a lot (I hope for the better) this year and next year with my husband’s and my graduations and getting our first post-PhD jobs! It will involve moving to a higher cost-of-living area, though, so the higher salaries might be eaten up, plus we’ll spend a lot on flights while we’re living apart, so our net worth might take a hit or not increase as much as it has been.

  10. The stock market has been strong this past year, and that’s made for a substantial jump in my net worth. It’s when you have been investing for about 30 years and are close to retirement that you really start to see the effects of compounding. Of course I recognize that all that growth in stocks could evaporate, but that’s why I diversify into other types of assets. And yes, Ninja, you can still write a thought-provoking article about pedophilia every Thursday.

  11. Our financial situation has improved a bunch in the past 9 months. Of course, this comes with getting real jobs post college.

  12. I won’t lie: my finances have taken a nosedive. I went from a decent paying job in a very expensive city (both of which I hated and were slowly sucking my soul out), to my hometown with a job I love but doesn’t pay nearly enough. Thanks to my famiy, I’ve been able to stay up to date with my student loans while I try to find something that will pay the bills (My area has rather high unemployment, so I’m looking outside my area as well). It can certainly be depressing sometimes, but I’ve cut back on everything that I can and I’ve got some good opportunities coming up. I’m hoping that 2013 is the year I can get back on track!

  13. Ok, enough lurking, stalking, whatever. I’m the only one in my house with a job, hubby’s disabled. Been trying to keep up with medical bills and home repairs without going into debt. It’s been hard but I’ve managed to stay even. I’m thrilled! I looove polls!

  14. I’d like an option for ‘improved according to, or possibly better than planned’. We had crap hit the fan, but the finances (thankfully) survived. My husband had a dual organ transplant within the last year: we had planned for it, and the result in the finances was better than we expected. (I live in Canada, so it involved time off work for both of us, but not the massive hospital costs we could have expected in the states). Our goal for the longest time was to get through the transplant with our finances intact. Now that we’ve made it through the six month mark, we’ve set our next goals:
    Slow and steady is where we’re at: we’ve got a couple of bigger goals we’re planning for (paying off the mortgage by 45 – eight years from now, 100K net worth my July 2014).

  15. I’m a lurker!! Haha, to be honest, I usually read the posts right from my phone, and just don’t think to click over to the actual web page, but I did today! I voted that our financial situation has gotten much better over the past year. Between a decent pay raise from my husband making a higher rank in the military at the beginning of the year, and choosing to live apart these last four months of his time in the Navy in order to save for civilian life, we have really cut back on spending, majorly increased saving, and will now be working on quickly eliminating our debt. We are moving this weekend and my husband will be starting his civilian job, and I will be working toward finishing out my degree until my son is in full time pre-k next year- then I will work full time, which will make a huge impact on our finances!

  16. I started a new job which will help a ton with an increase of $23,000 in salary. I get paid monthly now which is a big change. I am much happier at my new place of work, but am nervous about getting paid monthly. I am excited about being able to pay off debt in larger chunks.

  17. Between refinancing an unintentional rental property, saving some serious coin, getting the ball rolling on some investments, and setting some clear financial goals, it has been a boon of a year. All that considering I started the past 12 months with a month and a half of unemployment and two months with no tenant in the aformentioned rental. I am really looking forward to what the next 12 months holds for me.

  18. So I voted that our financial situation has ‘improved a freakin’ ton’…but if this had been a Thursday post for May 9th I would have to put “crap hit the fan”. On paper at least 😉 You see we are going to lose a giant amount of money in 13 days since we have to fork over our beautiful down payment. Truly I am excited to get our finances back to normal (and move into our dream house!!) but saving for the dp has made my idea of savings a bit skewed since every last penny goes towards that account. I’m looking forward to having a consistant mortgage and a consistant savings account…and getting back to ‘improving a freakin’ ton!!’
    Since I found your site in January of 2010 I have thoroughly enjoyed all of your posts and, most importantly for me, have had some great conversations about money with my husband that we may not have had otherwise. I have a sister and brother in law your age and I am truly in awe of how much you and GN had your act together at an early age and were (and continue to be) so proactive!
    And, as always, Go Cougs!!

  19. My financial situation has gotten slightly worse. Over the past year, I’ve bought a house in the SF Bay Area (North Bay Area to be exact) because of family reasons, and I also bought a brand new car. I can honestly justify these purchases, but at the same time, my net worth has gone down AND I no longer have extra money to pay off my student loans as fast as I originally planned.

  20. Quality over quantity always, Ninja. I have always enjoyed your blog and your sense of humor over the years. Keep at it! 🙂

    I have to say our finances have improved slightly but not enough because of some lifestyle inflation. We got married right after 9/11/2001 and got stuck with unemployment and a serious pay cut from that event. We managed to be extremely frugal and excessively cheap in those years which caused a great deal of stress and anguish. Fortunately, things turned around for us and we luckily avoided the housing bubble of 2007. We actually were able to pay off our house in 2008, of course with it being a small starter home it wasn’t too difficult. However, since then we have been living it up with vacations, eating out all the time, remodeling the home, over maintaining our cars (if there is such a thing), and buying luxury goods. Even though we have been saving, we are spending quite a bit hence trying to find some balance. Although the looming new home purchase has been a bit of a stress factor lately.

  21. Graduating this May with an engineering degree and 50k in student loans and no other debt. Already have a job working as a civilian for the Navy starting this summer. Have a TSP started from my internship with the same job and I am putting in 5%, up to only about 2k. Moving in with the parents for a year to try to knock off 15-20k from student loans in my first year out of college before leaving the nest for good.

  22. I do love some polls. Nice new tradition. I have to say that my situation has improved a lot because I was able to get rid of CC debt and start building some wealth.

  23. While my take home pay has decreased (not as many overtime hours) i have increased my 401K contributions. And because I had been working on scaling back it didn’t seem to hurt me. Not as much goes into my day to day savings, but much more is going into my retirement, and I’m still paying off all bills with ease. So I’m voting for I pretty much stayed the same.

  24. Got married, paid off one student loan, am in the process of paying off another $42k student loan (another 2 years, hopefully less), and established a nice emergency fund. No other debt. I need to get a better paying job but overall I think we’ve done a lot.

  25. My situation has stayed the same though it feels a little worse. I bought a place 6 months ago, was crazily saving for the DP and moving expenses, so it feels a bit off to be back to a more normal saving level.

  26. We got married last August and paid for most of the wedding ourselves (in cash). Once that was done, we paid off my husband’s debt to the IRS, our credit cards, and his personal loan, so we are debt-free now. We are saving for a down payment on a house as well as contributing to emergency savings, 401ks, and a vacation fund. Sometimes I wish we were saving more/faster for a house, but we are trying to find the balance between saving and still enjoying ourselves.

    If I wanted dry humorless information there are plenty of places to go to that and people who don’t like your style can go elsewhere.
    I am here to get thoughtful commentary AND to be amused. It’s a perfect balance which is why I signed up for the newsletter… so I would not miss a single issue.
    Thanks for your time and effort on this blog. Best regards to Ninja Girl and tell her to keep her Jujigata Shuriken safely so you don’t get stabbed hugging her. do I change my assigned avitar???

    • Your avatar has nice lips hehe! You need to go to gravatar to change it. It goes by your email address you use.

  28. I’m a lurker! My finances improved a freaking ton! I paid off my consumer debt last spring and then paid off my car loan in december. I’m totally debt free at this point which is amazing. But now I’m thinking about buying a house……so if I do that I won’t be saying that for long.

  29. Mine has improved a FREAKIN ton! It came with sacrifice, but the reason is due to my husband’s year-long deployment to Afghanistan for the entire 2012 year. ALL of his income made during that year was non-taxable, and included extra pay such as hazardous duty pay and family seperation pay. Funny thing…we are getting a ridiculous amount of money back this year due to our situation and the IRS does not want to give it up without a fight, therefore they are verifing our taxes at the moment. Bastards! It also helped my son who will be going off to college in the fall. He qualified for the pell grant. This is all pretty amazing considering we make a little over 6 figures. Once the IRS decides we are not criminals and hands us our refund, I am excited to find ways to pay if forward!

  30. You couldn’t have asked me this 3 weeks ago? LOL
    I was on track to be debt free in 4 months with $18k backup.
    After 5 years of pursuing no show contractors I finally found someone to repair & paint my house, deck & stairs. After stripping all bank accounts I will be in debt for at least 2 years. ARGGHH.

  31. We increased our networth in 2012 by a whopping $212,081.70 which far surpassed our goals. A significant portion of this was due to a chunk of company stock I received as compensation earlier in the year, but I will continue to have small amounts of stock vest as I go forward, and most of our progress can be attributed to good old fashioned frugality.

  32. Another lurker here! My situation definitely freaking improved! As a result of a great 2012 YE bonus I paid off my car early and paid off a ~$2k student loan. Combine that was some frugal savings and a great stock market performance and I’m on track to hit a NW of $100k by the end of the year!! Now it’s time to be boring and just saving for a wedding/house as both are on the horizon in the next 1-3 years.

  33. […] went all “Who wants to be a millionaire” on you guys and asked the audience a question. It was a simple […]

  34. Refinanced my home loan – went from 4.25% to 3.25%, so I’m putting an extra $200 a month toward my mortage every month without even trying. 401k and vanguard accounts are back up to pre-market-collapse numbers.

  35. Another lurker here. Hi from Amsterdam!
    My situation improved a freakin ton as well this last year. In plain hard cash, but mostly in mentality. Getting money in has never been the problem with me really, but the rate at which I used to spend was just downright ridiculous. As a result I carried overdraft, student loans, car payments, etc for way longer than I should have to. Last year it hit me and I got sick of it. It’s been a slow but steady progress since then. I started reading PF blogs, listening to podcasts like Dave Ramsey and Motley Fool, read several books about it, built a huge excel sheet. Basically got my inner nerd going. And slowly things started to shift. I’m so much more responsible when it comes to money than I was a year ago! Obviously, you can’t change things overnight, but as much as paying down debt hurts, I’m actually enjoying the process. (does this sound weird? :-/)
    And interestingly enough, now that I put my mind to it and have a step by step action plan, things are going fast!! Debt free latest by July, whoop!

    Love your blog (and I ready many!). As someone mentioned before I’ll take quality over quantity any day.
    Oh, and yay for polls!

  36. In the past twelve months, I would that things have gotten way better. I paid off a large credit card with an interest of 26%. Store credit cards…..there’s nothing like them…literally. I paid for LSAT study package in cash. I took a backwards step in the “making money” department to the tune of a $1000’s last month, but cut my spending by 30%. I was able to successfully pay everything including savings and have a big bumper for next month. My behaviors are really what changed. I now officially have no credit debt, haven’t had car debt since the early 2000’s. Between Suze Orman, the PF community and myself, well the next twelve months are likely to see me paying off 50% of my student loans otherwise known as $22000.Yes, I am a lurker, but only for the past 5 weeks.

  37. Our situation has improved slightly…our overall debt number has gone down, which is great, but could have gone down more, as I certainly had missteps in there. I just started a new retirement account (403b since I’m a teacher) and feel good about putting money away again, as I had been on a hiatus for about three years. Currently saving for a wedding while trying to attack debt at the same time…thankfully, the fiance’s job (monthly incentives) is helping us to be aggressively working on both. I’m thrilled to see where we’ll be in another twelve months.

    Just started reading your blog about a month ago…..glad I found it.

  38. Hey Ninja! Thanks for the shout out!! I was on vacation lest week, doing my part to keeping the US economy alive by doing a spot of shopping in Grove City PA… I know I should be spending my Canadian Dollars in Canada, but the lure of the Grove City Outlet Mall was too much to resist! That and you can now bring back $800/per person worth of goods back into Canada!! 😉

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