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Forge
A publication from Medium on personal development.

Finance

In Forge. More on Medium.

If nobody was allowed to see it but you, would you still buy it?

Person holding credit card while on laptop.
Person holding credit card while on laptop.
Photo: Karolina Grabowska/Pexels

I used to shop for all the wrong reasons — usually because I was anxious or bored, or because I’d just had a tough week and felt that I deserved something nice. I knew I needed help with my spending, which seemed to be at the mercy of my emotions and all those darn Instagram ads.

Eventually, I was able to break the habit by developing a system, one that pushed me to be more mindful about what I consume. Now, before I buy anything, I pause to ask a series of questions that force me to reckon honestly with…


Never let a downswing take over your emotions

A poker hand.
A poker hand.
Photo: Jonny Schno/Unsplash

Being good at poker is a lot more than keeping a straight face and wearing sunglasses inside. It’s a lot more than reading people, calculating numbers in your head, and putting in the work. To become a successful poker player over time, you must defeat a deadly, invisible enemy: variance.

The mathematical definition of variance can be confusing: the expectation of the squared deviation of a random variable from its mean. But the definition in poker makes it seem simpler.

Variance is just the difference between how you expect to win on average over the long run and the results…


Joint Accounts

Ever since we combined our money, we’ve been fighting all the time

Illustration: Laurie Rollitt

Dear Joint Accounts,

My partner and I have lived together for several years now, and we made the decision to finally merge our finances about a year ago. Since then, it’s become clear to me that that was a mistake: We have very different spending habits, and we’ve been fighting a lot more about money than we did when we kept things separate.

I’d like us to go back to the way things were, but I know that’s easier said than done. So my question is twofold: One, how do I present this in a way that doesn’t cause conflict…


Joint Accounts

How to have an awkward but necessary conversation

Illustration: Laurie Rollitt

Dear Joint Accounts,

I’ve been dating someone for a couple of months and it’s going well. I can see us being in this for the long haul, moving in together, etc. But every time I broach the topic of money, my boyfriend shuts down the conversation. He says he doesn’t like to talk about it, and I always end up feeling crass for bringing it up. Obviously, we can’t spend our lives together totally avoiding any discussion of finances. Help!

Sincerely,

Ready for The Talk

Money is a touchy subject for plenty of people, but when someone refuses to talk…


Joint Accounts

We can’t stop fighting about it. Should we just separate our finances?

Illustration: Laurie Rollitt

Welcome to Joint Accounts, a weekly advice column about money and relationships of all kinds. Have a question? Email jointaccounts@medium.com.

Dear Joint Accounts,

My wife and I keep all our money in joint accounts. She’s generally pretty good with our finances, except when it comes to her adult daughter, whom she spoils grotesquely. Whenever my stepdaughter asks for money — which she does, often — my wife hands it over, to the point that I’m uncomfortable with it from a financial standpoint as well as a parenting one. …


Joint Accounts

My partner doesn’t understand why I don’t want to move in together until I’ve paid off my loans

An illustration of a sweaty woman with her hands out, balancing a fiery dollar sign on one and her partner on the other.
An illustration of a sweaty woman with her hands out, balancing a fiery dollar sign on one and her partner on the other.
Illustration: Laurie Rollitt

Dear Joint Accounts,

Due to some terrible financial decisions I made earlier in life, I’m now very, very in debt. I’m living with my mother as I pay it off, but I feel like I’m barely making a dent, especially because health issues have made it difficult for me to keep a job.

Recently, my debt has become an issue in my relationship. My boyfriend is looking to move to a new place soon, and he wants me to move in with him. Obviously I want to move out of my mom’s house, but it feels financially reckless when I…


A windfall can come with guilt, anxiety, and other complicated feelings

Credit: Thomas Trutschel / Getty Images

Two years ago, I dreamed of some kind of windfall. By day, I worked as a web editor at a literary magazine. By night, I pitched and wrote my own stories, fighting through sleepiness.

It wasn’t the most lucrative arrangement, and I was very acutely feeling the squeeze. I had to sell a book, I thought, or win the lottery, or discover some incredibly valuable painting in a dusty stack at a flea market. …


Joint Accounts

I’m trying to be responsible, but his Amazon packages keep coming

Illustration: Laurie Rollitt

Dear Joint Accounts,

My husband and I both have a tendency to overspend. I’m trying to address it in myself: I’m working on improving my financial literacy and I stick to a budget. But his Amazon packages keep coming.

Our finances are relatively separate, but I’m an authorized user on two of his credit cards, so I can see that he has at least $30K in credit-card debt (and probably more elsewhere). He makes a good salary, so this debt is because of bad habits, not because he can’t afford things he needs.

I’ve tried to talk with him about…


Joint Accounts

We have become financially interdependent, but I’m uncomfortable telling my partner how to spend money

Illustration: Laurie Rollitt

Dear Joint Accounts,

My partner and I have been together for around six years, and we’ve always kept our finances totally separate. We split rent and household bills evenly, and I handle my own student loans, car payments, credit card bills, etc. But even without merging accounts, we’re now financially interdependent enough that I think we should be budgeting together. We always help each other out when one person is short on money, and we do the majority of our entertainment spending together.

Neither of us makes a lot. I want to start saving more and spending less on things…


Joint Accounts

How to set boundaries when you’re financially supporting your parents

Illustration: Laurie Rollitt

Dear Joint Accounts,

I’m in my early twenties, and my parents, who are in their early fifties, are financially dependent on me. I pay for everything: their rent, food, clothes, entertainment, etc. They’ve had some pretty serious legal and financial issues my whole life, which finally got resolved last year, and they’ve been through a lot of trauma. I make a decent amount of money and have managed to put myself and my sister through college, but I’ve also racked up thousands of dollars in debt because of that.

I love my parents, and I’d do anything for them, but…

Forge

A publication from Medium on personal development.

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