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Dave Ramsey and I are ideological opposites. Listening to his show made me realize that doesn’t matter as much as I thought.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

If you don’t know who Dave Ramsey is, then there’s a high likelihood that you’re probably someone like me: a liberal millennial who, under most circumstances, is not remotely interested in hearing what conservative baby boomers think about how you should live your life.

If you do know who he is, then it’s likely you are one of the millions of Americans who is in serious debt. The Ramsey Show is the third largest nationally syndicated radio show in the U.S., with 20 million combined weekly listeners. His “seven baby steps” formula and 19 national bestselling books have helped millions…


Meik Wiking, author of The Little Book of Hygge, tells us what the Danes know about converting wealth into well-being

Filtered image of a person’s legs dangling over water with European buildings in the background.
Filtered image of a person’s legs dangling over water with European buildings in the background.
Photo illustration; Image source: Alexander Spatari/Getty Images

Every other week, Paul Ollinger investigates how redefining success can help us lead better lives.

Winters in Copenhagen are long and dreary. Denmark’s tax rates are legitimately scary. And Hamlet was a bit glum, to say the least. But year after year, the Danes place at or near the top of the World Happiness Report, a global ranking that uses Gallup World Poll data to measure contentment by country.

By comparison, the United States seems like it should score very well on a happiness test. Winters here are, on average, far more temperate. Our tax rates are relatively benign. And…

What I’ve learned after years of studying money and happiness

Black and white photo of one USD bills against a purple gradient background.
Black and white photo of one USD bills against a purple gradient background.
Photo illustration; Image source: LEREXIS/Getty Images

Every other week, Paul Ollinger investigates how redefining success can help us lead better lives.

In the oft-quoted climax of the 1996 blockbuster Jerry Maguire, Tom Cruise stares through teary eyes at Renée Zellweger, the love interest he’d almost let slip through his distracted, metaphorical hands.

His last-chance pitch to win her back: “You complete me.”

This sincere vulnerability captured her heart and five Oscar nominations despite — or perhaps because of — the fact that his revelation perpetuates a prevalent but childish fantasy: that each of us is an incomplete person lacking only a tiny gift from the universe…

In financially uncertain times, the best thing you can do is maintain your sense of control

Photo: Erol Ahmed on Unsplash

Right now, with nowhere else to go, most of us are spending a lot of time in our own heads. When so much is unknown, it’s hard not to dwell on uncertainty: about how social distancing will continue. About our health. About our finances.

The weight of that last one feels a little heavier each day as the financial impact of the pandemic becomes more and more widespread. Many of us are already struggling through lost jobs, lost gigs, pay cuts. Even those who aren’t there yet are still worried. I’m worried.

Here’s the thing, though: Even if it doesn’t…

Don’t judge that viral nanny ad by a Silicon Valley CEO

Illustration: Michael Rubin

Laura Vanderkam, the time management expert who wrote Off the Clock and Juliet’s School of Possibilities, is here to answer your scheduling questions. Check back every week for more advice, and send your own productivity problems to (Your name will not be used.)

Dear Laura: My spouse and I both have jobs that are demanding but also — fortunately — high-paying. As our family grows, we’d like to use our resources to make life more calm and enjoyable. But how should we go about doing that? …

Joint Accounts

Why money management is something couples should do together

Illustration: Laurie Rollitt

Dear Joint Accounts,

My husband and I have combined finances, but as he works in finance and is generally much better at money than I am, he does the vast majority of our money management. Objectively, it makes sense, but I still constantly feel paranoid about becoming that 1950s-style stereotypical wife who’s clueless about the finances. We have regular check-ins about how we’re doing, but I struggle to understand much of what he says, and I’m uncomfortable with him being in charge of everything. How do I get over this?


Clueless About Money

In any relationship, each partner tends…

It’s possible the problem starts with you

Illustration: Laurie Rollitt

Dear Joint Accounts,

My wife and I are currently saving up for a home, but I’m the only one actually saving. Our salaries are roughly equal, but most of what’s in our house fund has come from me, and she seems unconcerned about changing her spending habits to contribute.

I’m especially frustrated by this because it fits in with a larger pattern: My wife is wholly uninterested in anything that happens with our finances. I make sure the bills are paid, I take care of the budgeting, and I make sure we have enough savings. She says it’s just part…

We all have our own ‘money scripts’ instilled by our parents early on

Illustration: Reza Hasni

A few years ago, I stormed into my apartment, where my sister was lounging on my couch, watching TV. As she paused RuPaul’s Drag Race to say hi, I breezed past her and into my room.

“You okay?” she asked.

“I just need to cry,” I said, as I shut my door.

“Oh no! About what?”

The truth was that I was breaking down about money. Again. Even thinking about money made me nervous. I’ve always worked multiple jobs but somehow barely scraped by. I never budgeted. I never checked my bank account balance unless I got an overdraft notice…

How obsessive budgeting strips away your most valuable resource: time

Jovanna Tosello

My grandfather is the most frugal person I know. For as long as I can remember, he’s worn the same few cardigans, one of which has a hole in it. Years ago, my mother bought him a new cardigan, but my grandfather refused to even take the tags off. A piece of clothing must literally be falling apart before he will even consider throwing it away. He has some savings, but he’s still consumed by pinching pennies.

I get it. The man lived through a wartime era. Growing up, he didn’t know that he’d have food on the table or…

How “money avoiders” can overcome their aversion

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Let’s say an old friend comes to town and is dying to visit some new cool restaurant. You check out the menu ahead of time and see that plates start at $20. You have exactly $7.43 in your bank account but say yes anyway. You know you’ve blown your budget, but you don’t want to know how bad it is, so you avoid looking at your online transactions for a while. If you can’t see the problem, it’s almost like it doesn’t exist, right?

Or maybe you can relate to a different scenario: You’ve been at your job for five…

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