Comments on Financial Potential
commentson 23 May 2003 : 12:22, Shad Bolling sez:

For sound financial advice--taxes, budgeting and (The Motley Fool) has some really cool message boards for members (membership is free). I, too, have to begin to look at my finances as I am moving to Oregon from Blacksburg, VA (VA Tech) to see what the West Coast has to offer. I have degrees in Geophysics and English, but have no clue how to market myself with that background. I will be leaving behind health insurance and a secure environment for the unknown. If I discover anything during my search this summer (I'm moving Aug. 2 via Amtrak) that might interest you, I'll let you know.

commentson 23 May 2003 : 15:10, mike sez:

Start by spending less than you make. Once you've suffered through that for a few months the rest will be clear to you.

commentson 24 May 2003 : 13:20, Liz sez:

Hi Justin,
I have a good friend who is an accountant and I directed her to your blog. Whether or nor she contacts you, is up to her. I work in healthcare and I can tell you the least expensive coverage is an HMO. You and Jane are young and healthy, so I think it would be fine for you both. Sure, HMO's have downfalls (referels, network docs and such), but it is the least expensive way to go. Feel free to email me if I can help with any other questions on healthcare.

commentson 24 May 2003 : 13:55, Christine sez:

With all due respect to Liz -- I want to add another perspective on the health insurance issue.

I also work in healthcare -- I recommend a PPO plan if you can at all afford it. If something "serious" really does happen, it will pay off, as you are not limited to the network and to certain hospitals, and meds, etc.

DEFINITELY stay away from Kaiser. I have heard too many horror stories about their patient care (both from the patient perspective as well as from doctors) to ever recommend it. My own mother's throat tumor was overlooked for MONTHS (she kept going and going and telling Kaiser something was wrong, they kept sending her home) before her tumor became teh size of an orange.

On the other side of things, Kaiser is an HMO, a physicians' group, and a hospital. MAJOR conflict of interest. As a result, doctors are often not allowed to administer diagnostic tests that they would otherwise order in a regular hospital (Kaiser as an insurance company restricts level of treatment). I know several physicians who quit Kaiser because they couldn't practice medicine the way they felt they should.

WRT HMO's, if you are in good health, you are probably okay with an HMO. However you never know what might happen. A friend of mine signed up for an HMO, knowing she was trying to get pregnant and knowing she had no known outstanding health issues (and because with an HMO, there is less out of pocket fees for overnight hospital stays).

She found out she's infertile, she's had a laparoscopy, she's been misdiagnosed a kazillion times...and all the while, she hasn't been able to pick the doctors she wants to choose because she's limited to the HMO network. Also at one point, the doctors scared her to wits end by stating she had cancerous tumors.

Because she had HMO, she was limited in which hospitals she could undergo surgery...and then, she had a MONTHLONG wait at the one she was allowed to go to.

If you can afford it, go with PPO. You never know.

commentson 24 May 2003 : 19:55, Fleischman sez:


we meet again.


commentson 25 May 2003 : 08:49, Joe sez:

Freelance tax consultant for the digital cowboy - now thats a job!

Just to give you an idea what insurance is out there for freelancers - check out MegNut's search - . I went with Working Today and it was basically what I was looking for.


commentson 25 May 2003 : 11:59, denise sez:

i was going to suggest talking to meg in general. she seems to have a handle on what you want to know.

commentson 25 May 2003 : 18:51, kurt sez:

I suspect Mike's is the only financial advice you really need, J.

Here's more:
Replace every light bulb you use daily with a compact fluorescent bulb. Your electric bills will be cut in half. You'll recover outlay for the bulbs in a matter of weeks.

There is, of course, the old advice about getting a part-time job, from the back-due bandwith thread.

(Forget all the other postings on that thread, J., and HEED Craig's Amen.)

commentson 25 May 2003 : 21:45, Andrew sez:

A few thoughts, completely subjective and qualified only be my own experience:

1) Growth strategies? Freelance writing is a great way to earn a living but not a road to riches.

2) Some people who end up making a bunch of money do so by making something, then selling a lot of identical versions of it: widgets or books. Note: history has shown it has been tough to become a best-seller, but who knows?

3) Some people make a bunch of dough by being able to leverage their actions over the actions of others. Think: partner in a law firm, head of a media production house etc. The problem here is that to do so, you probably have to stop doing what you are good at in the first place in order to manage other folks.

4) We ARE in a health insurance crisis, and independent workers are at the heart of it. If you are young and resonably healthy, insure yourself for catastrophic events, and pay the rest out of pocket. It will be cheaper and you will still have a saftey net. OR....bite the bullet and have you or your partner get a part time position that comes with benefits. This is often 20 hours a week or less.

5) Ignore everything else I have said but this one: find someone who is both a CPA and Certified Financial Planner. Non-accredited folks can get you into trouble.

commentson 26 May 2003 : 19:52, bsharp sez:

an important corollary to mike's point, that i have found: try to make things as automated as possible. the less you have to think, the better.

i was (until very, very recently, like two months ago) the kind of person who just had a checking account that my paycheck went into and i would always be aware of my balance and never spend myself below $1500 or so, as a feeble "just in case" kind of assurance (fat lot of good $1500 would do me if my company imploded or whatever.)

so as an experiment, i changed my payment with my company so that they'd dump a chunk of my paycheck into my savings account (what a novel concept!)

and, lo, i just run on autopilot, noting my balance in my checking account every time i hit an atm, and i haven't even registered the loss. i just subconsciously don't spend if i notice my balance getting down in the red zone.

for me, a lot of general life maintenance comes down to automation and self-brainwashing (or, euphemistically, "the formation of habits.")

or, in other words, if i ever have to think about anything, it will become a hassle -- if there's a recurring bill that i don't put on automatic payment, i will eventually forget to pay it and then get an angry letter from someone and it becomes a big production (especially when they shut off my gas, those bastards.)

maybe i'm just some kind of wild ADD case and this is unique to me, so take it with a grain of salt, but it's definitely the only thing that works for me.

commentson 27 May 2003 : 08:13, katy sez:

If you haven't read it already, I would highly recommend reading "Your Money or Your Life". It is extremely well written and has a lot of information on how to get a handle on your spending/saving, and how to keep them aligned with your personal beliefs and goals. It can be very difficult to track your spending and such, but you learn a lot about yourself in the process. Also the folks on are happy to help out and answer questions.

February 2005 - comments are closed on Thanks.