I’m a huge fan of lists: to-do lists (yes, I sometimes add things just so I can check them off), best-of lists, pros and cons lists and yes, top 10 lists. Want a reading list to take you through the end of the year? Without further ado, here are my top 10 favorite money-related articles of 2015:
10. How Many Times Has Your Personal Information Been Exposed to Hackers? (New York Times) This article gets the 10 spot not because I dislike it. I find it incredibly useful and I think everyone should click over and take the quiz. It’s just my least favorite topic.
I actually had a dream last week that a guy used his cell phone to scan mine, hack it and steal my identity in about 5 minutes. The panic as I tried to contact the three credit reporting bureaus to place a fraud alert is still alive, even though it was just a dream. Knowing whether your information is at risk is the first step in protecting yourself. If you aren’t yet aware of what a pain it is to get hacked, lucky you.
9. Does That New Credit Card Chip Really Protect You? (Forbes) Last week, I met a woman whose accounts were hacked by someone using a wand to read the chip on her credit cards through her pocket. I thought the little chips are supposed to prevent credit card fraud! This article by my friend and colleague, Paul Wannemacher, explains how they work and why they’re supposed to protect you.
It makes sense, but it’s still best get one of those protective sleeves. I carry my cards in an aluminum cigarette case. It’s small so I can slip it into my pocket when I don’t want to carry a purse, and bonus: it protects my cards from hackers.
8. Tax Documents: What to Shred, and What to Keep (New York Times) If one of your goals is to get organized in 2016, this article gives great guidelines on what documents you need to keep (and the best way to maintain them) and what you can shred as you prepare for tax time.
7. How to Eat Healthy Meals at Restaurants (New York Times) It’s not directly tied to money, but if you have a health goal like many Americans did in 2015, then eating healthy is a key part. Rather than blow a ton of money on club memberships, juice cleanses and diet programs, try working your health goals into your existing daily life. This article has some great hacks for helping you stick to that healthy eating resolution without having to stay home and cook every..single…meal.
6. The 8 Step DIY Financial Plan for Newlyweds (Financial Finesse blog) Several of my friends have told me they’re using this, along with the hubs and I. It’s a great checklist of things to consider for both newlyweds as well as couples who are newly-committed to figuring out their money.
5. 5 Things Financially Reckless Young People Say (FOX Business) The best advice I ever received in my 20’s was, “Now is not the time to play it safe,” but she wasn’t telling me to be reckless. There’s a difference between saying, “Screw saving, YOLO!” and enjoying the present while also taking care of your future self. Make sure you’re not justifying saying any of these things because you’re young, which leads conveniently to my number 4 pick:
4. An Early Start Can Lead to an Early Win in Retirement Saving (Forbes) This is another gem from my colleague, Paul, who does the math on why starting early actually means you have to save less.
3. 60 Simple Rules of Personal Finance (The Simple Dollar) I mean, it’s only 60. Seriously though, it’s a quick refresher on being your best money self. THIS is a list.
2. What’s Wrong with the Financial Planning Profession? (Forbes) This post from my friend and colleague Dr. Scott Spann is all you really need to read to understand why we receive thousands of applications per year for the resident financial planner position at Financial Finesse. If you’re not one of the 2.4 million employees fortunate enough to have our services as an employee benefit, it will also help you have a better idea of what to look for if you’re seeking a financial planner to help you.
1. The No-Tracking Budget (Financial Finesse blog) Most people don’t stick to a budget, not because they don’t know how but because it’s a pain in the rear, especially for busy people who don’t really like dealing with finances. I wrote this post for all those non-spreadsheety types who want an easy way to force their financial goals to happen without having to save receipts, update an app or balance a checkbook.
How about you? What are some of your favorite money articles from 2015? Please share in the comments and I’ll add them to my list!