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(What's New: bogleheads and car calculator, hkp)
(What's New: add what is enough article, hkp)
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In keeping with its mission of promoting personal Financial Integrity through education, information, and encouragement, New Road Map Foundation is sponsoring a study of methods used by individuals and families who have successfully gotten out of debt. A project in cooperation with students at the University of Colorado Denver, the study will be used to develop educational materials to help other consumers to avoid or resolve financial distress in lasting, meaningful ways. [[Effectiveness_of_different_methods_of_debt_repayment|Take the survey]]
In keeping with its mission of promoting personal Financial Integrity through education, information, and encouragement, New Road Map Foundation is sponsoring a study of methods used by individuals and families who have successfully gotten out of debt. A project in cooperation with students at the University of Colorado Denver, the study will be used to develop educational materials to help other consumers to avoid or resolve financial distress in lasting, meaningful ways. [[Effectiveness_of_different_methods_of_debt_repayment|Take the survey]]
==In the news: What Is "Enough"? Achieving the Right Balance in Our Lives and Families==
Some solid thoughts from [ Center for a New American Dream] about how to find what is enough, and help children understand the concepts.

Revision as of 04:57, 25 February 2012


What's New

On the wiki: Take our survey!

In keeping with its mission of promoting personal Financial Integrity through education, information, and encouragement, New Road Map Foundation is sponsoring a study of methods used by individuals and families who have successfully gotten out of debt. A project in cooperation with students at the University of Colorado Denver, the study will be used to develop educational materials to help other consumers to avoid or resolve financial distress in lasting, meaningful ways. Take the survey

In the news: What Is "Enough"? Achieving the Right Balance in Our Lives and Families

Some solid thoughts from Center for a New American Dream about how to find what is enough, and help children understand the concepts.

Resources: Bogleheads

No, they're not word-game addicts. Bogleheads is a forum and wiki dedicated to discussion of personal investment information.

Resources: Car replacement calculator

Is your old car sucking up more of your wealth than you can justify? Here's a tool to help you decide.

Resources: Especially for Canadians

We've added several new resources of particular interest to our Canadian members (although there's a lot of universal information on each as well, making them well worth your time to check out).
Moneyville - award-winning personal finance blog
Squawkfox - frugal living with panache
Canadian Couch Potato - low-stress investment strategies (also works for American investors)

Tools and examples: Ready for Zero

If you need help organizing and managing your own debt elimination plan, Ready for Zero may be a helpful tool for you.

Resource: Lending Club

Maybe you’re looking for an alternative to borrowing from the giant multinational banks, or for a lower-cost, fixed-rate loan as a step to retire debt. Or perhaps you want to put some of your money to work investing in the lives of real people, while minimizing risk. One option might be peer-to-peer lending such as Lending Club.

Resource: Canadian Dream - Free at 45

An early-retirement blog with specific resources for Canadians, as well as useful general information.

Resource: Sharing through personal lending

As you progress toward financial freedom, you may find yourself in a position to consider lending your life energy: what do you need to know to do so responsibly? Learn more here.

Resource: Get out of debt guy

The Get Out of Debt Guy provides a broad resource for individuals concerned about getting and staying out of debt. There's also a sister site for debt in the UK

Resource: The Story of Stuff Project

Explore our relationship with Stuff through the multimedia resources at The Story of Stuff Project, and discover ways to reduce consumption for a more sustainable life.

In the news: B corporations: driving a new ecology of commerce

“What is enough?” is both a personal question and one for a wider perspective. Is capitalism inherently harmful, or can corporations act for the benefit of society? Can our investments work for society as well as our personal financial goals? Center for a New American Dream thinks so: “So-called Benefit Corporations (a.k.a. "B Corps")... are about changing (or rather growing) corporate laws, standards, systems, and cultures—evolving capitalism to incorporate greater value for consumers, companies, and other stakeholders.” Read more here

In the news: Look Out, Here Comes the 1099-K

As the January 24 post on Bloomberg Businessweek warns, if you sell goods or services via e-Bay, Etsy, or any venue that provides merchant services, your payment processor is now sending your transaction information directly to the IRS. The article outlines some of the important things you need to know. (Here's a hint: those Step 2 tracking skills are a must!)

Resource: MoneySense

MoneySense is a general-purpose financial website providing specific advice and resources for Canadians.

Resource: LearnVest

LearnVest is a website offering financial tools and support to help you align your spending with your values and increase your savings.

In the news: Reducing Unemployment by Shrinking the American Workforce

Do recent decreases in the unemployment rate stand up to a second look? A look at why it may be wise not to react too quickly in decision-making based on statistics.

Tools & examples: Tracking and money management tools

Check out some new tools for tracking expenditures ( Step 3) and general financial management.

Resources: Tips for parenting in a commercial culture

From Center for a New American Dream, a downloadable booklet to help parents counteract the relentless advertising pressure to commercialize kids.

Resources: Investor tools and education

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) provides tools and education to individual investors, professionals and educators, including this market data research tool.

Resources:, outsmarting investment fraud, a non-profit promoting financial literacy, has put together a Fraud Center to help people protect against investment fraud, including a free 1-hour video on dvd as well as online resources here.

In the news: Why Shopping Isn’t the Answer to America’s Economic Woes

Currently, we hear constant exhortations for consumers to "do their part" in fixing the economy by increasing spending. With most US households drowning in debt and without even modest emergency funds, is this either wise or realistic? See how two countries have based their prosperity on saving rather than spending in LearnVest's article Why Shopping Isn’t the Answer to America’s Economic Woes.


Working toward financial independence so that you can make your own choices regarding work, volunteerism, and retirement? provides a lively community of people discussing their progress and methods toward similar goals.

Resources: Giving and gratitude

Changing your relationship with money, and resisting runaway consumerism, are enhanced when your finances serve your values. Here are some resources for incorporating the values of giving and voluteering into your family's financial plan, and cultivate gratitude to combat the perception that "stuff" will make us happy.

In the news: Shell Games - Reuters special report

Reuters has published an exposé series, investigating the phenomenon called variously “offshore banking,” “tax havens,” and “secrecy jurisdictions,” by following failed hedge fund DD Growth Premium. The report focuses in particular on the US’s own secrecy jurisdictions, Delaware, Nevada, and Wyoming, and their role in helping criminals use incorporation laws, layers of phantom firms to get away with fraud. The series is enlightening companion reading with Shaxton’s ‘’Treasure Islands: Tax havens and the men who stole the world’’.

A little house of secrets on the Great Plains
How two shell companies duped the Pentagon
China's shortcut to Wall Street
The bonds that turned to dust
Shell companies steal hundreds of millions from Medicare.
A cautious crackdown in Nevada
Bubble Boys, a barn and a fraud within a fraud Nevada's big bet on secrecy
States resist steps to find Medicare fraud
On the run, U.S. financier finds Spanish refuge

On the wiki: Organizing study groups

We have members in Brazil and the UK who are looking for like-minded individuals who might be interested in starting up local study groups, or perhaps online study groups. If you or someone you know might be interested, send us an email at info(at), and we'll help connect you.

We'd also be interested in volunteers who would like to help us translate the study guides into Portuguese (or any other languages).

Tools & examples: Safety-first ratio

An important tool for evaluating risk and reward in your portfolio.

Resources: Calculators

We’ve created several new, consolidated pages with multiple related tools to make it easier for you to find calculators and tools for a variety of needs to help you make informed decisions about your financial life. They include loan and debt calculators, investment calculators, and tracking tools.

In the news: Progress on banning Congressional insider trading

Read about progress on banning insider trading by members of Congress.

Resources: The high cost of materialism

How has consumerism infiltrated our lives, what effect does it have on our happiness, and what can we do about it? Can we replace materialistic values with our own intrinsic values? The Center for a New American Dream tackles these questions in their video The High Cost of Materialism.

Resources: provides a variety of tools to help you live or spread the message of financial integrity. It is a program of the Employee Benefit Research Institute's Education and Research Fund.

In the news: Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping

Reverend Billy's energetic, iconoclastic and offbeat look at today’s consumerist holiday mania, What Would Jesus Buy? His plea: don't join the Shopocalypse! Stop buying and start giving.

In the news: Freedom through frugality

Long-time FI community member Jane Dwinell was interviewed on FM1037 The Mountain to discuss her book Freedom Through Frugality. Listen to the podcast from the December 4th "Conversations" here.

Resource: Getting the best value on home electronics

You've done your homework and know what product you need, but is now the best time to buy? Check out for a handy decision tool.

On the wiki: Newsletter archives

Are you new to the FI site, or just interested in looking up past articles or resources? Now you can browse the newsletter archives for any missed issues. Use the permanent link at the bottom of this page, or go directly to the archives here.

In the news: Credit card euphoria

According to research by Promothesh Chatterjee of the University of Kansas and Randall L. Rose or University of South Carolina, "Like a starry-eyed new lover who ignores the downsides of an obviously incompatible but very attractive partner, consumers who swipe plastic when they buy are often blinded to the true costs of their purchases." Using a credit card - even seeing a credit card logo displayed at the point of sale - can induce a kind of euphoria that causes consumers to overlook true costs and overestimate benefits. People who spend cash, however, make much more realistic purchase evaluations.

The researchers believe that marketers are exploiting deeper behavioral weaknesses, beyond convenience, to influence purchasing decisions.

In the news: Black Friday backlash

Many Americans are becoming appalled by the creeping encroachment of holiday commercialism. Over the past several years, “Black Friday” has become a growing force as retailers attempt to lure shoppers to shop earlier and longer. This year, many people believe the trend is going too far, as a number of large retailers plan to extend Black Friday shopping events to Thanksgiving Day. reports on what it calls Black Friday fatigue, and the consumer and employee backlash that has some stores pulling back from “Black Thursday” promotions.

In addition to the relentlessly growing consumerism of the holidays, the effect of this trend is to eliminate the Thanksgiving holiday for many who work in retail stores. One retail employee is calling on Target to reconsider, through a petition on Adding your name to the petition could be one way to make a difference, telling retailers that shoppers don’t all appreciate having their holiday cut short for shopping mania.

Resources: Community building

Join the discussion on One Green Generation on living sustainably and reducing reliance on consumerism by creating healthy communities.

Resources: Holidays simplified

The holidays can be challenging from a frugality/simplicity aspect. How to support relationships while staying true to values and goals for simplicity and frugality? How to talk to family about choices to reduce and simplify? How to celebrate sincerely yet simply? Here are a few resources.

In the news: Voluntary simplicity and home ownership

What does home ownership mean? When we contemplate the power of "stuff," where does our home fit on our personal spectrum of "enough"? Mary Oliver explores the real and symbolic significance of the actual physical structures we call home on her blog Silent Entry.

Resources: Financial Integrity classes

Gordon Morrow is offering a 10-week course, TRANSFORM YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH MONEY, in Ontario this January. Check out the details on Gordon's Speaker page.

Tools and examples: Investopedia stock simulator

Ever wish there was a way to practice investing in the stock market, without risking your hard-earned capital while you learn? Read more here about a free tool for doing so.

Resources: Understanding the time value of money

The website Investopedia offers an explanation, and a simple formula, for understanding how money grows over time.

Tools & examples: Do You Know Where Your Money Goes?

Step 3 introduces tracking your spending as an essential step to transforming your relationship with money. Here are some resources – tips, tricks, and tools – to help you get started, get organized, or just get better.

In the news: “Young America: Economic Barriers to the American Dream”

A new report, released November 2, provides stark data about the economic factors affecting young Americans and fueling the Occupy Wallstreet movement. Pointing out that “People who have no hope for the future don't plan for it," the report,“Young America: Economic Barriers to the American Dream” , touches on subjects from more young people living at home to the economic Catch-22 of higher education vs. debt. Although the research predates Occupy Wallstreet, it helps illuminate the issues behind the movement.

In the news: Bank of America debit card fees

With November 5th, the so-called "Bank Transfer Day" looming, the nation's biggest bank has backed down on its proposed debit card fees, and other major banks including JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo have announced that they are abandoning their tests of fees of their own. What happened? Chalk one up for consumer outrage, as reported on

Though this is a significant victory for consumers, experts warn that the fight isn't over yet (see After debit-card battle, beware of more bank fees). The bottom line: read everything from your bank, especially those fine-print-rich booklets, to be sure you know what new fees and charges may be coming your way.

On the wiki: A simple way to support New Road Map Foundation

What better way to support the cause of educating the world about financial integrity than to leverage something you need to do anyway? GoodSearch allows you to do just that: when you search the Internet or buy online through GoodSearch, they make a donation to a charity or non-profit designated by you. Learn more about how you can donate to New Road Map Foundation (or another entity of your choice) here.

Tools and examples: Can you live on $9 an hour? Play the game

Urban Ministries of Durham, NC has launched an online game with a purpose: to illustrate the tough choices made every day by people living on very little money. The goal is to show the difficulties of those decisions, and how close many of us really are to being there ourselves. Read more about SPENT here.

In the news: Profits recovering, jobs still languishing

We hear a lot today about the need to stimulate job creation by making it more profitable for companies to do business. But according to the article Good Graph Friday: US manufacturers are making one thing - profits on MSNBC's LifeInc., after-tax profits are now well above pre-recession levels, while jobs remain flat.

In the news: A guide to administration's new mortgage-refi plan

President Obama has announced a new plan for helping homeowners who were unable to benefit from the much-criticized HARP plan. Here's a factual guide to the new plan, with a video about downsides of the plan.

In the news: Occupy Wall Street

The controversial protests of Occupy Wall Street, which have spread across the country and internationally, are generating a lot of commentary. Many find the movement natural and understandable: others question everything from its purpose to its motives. Are they just, as has been suggested, simply unemployed malcontents looking for someone to blame? Are they a legitimate protest movement? The “professional left”? Lacking in focus? Is it class warfare? What is behind the protests, and what the protestors hope to gain?

Here are a few resources and opinions about who they are, what they want to accomplish, and why we should care.

The official website, gives an overview of the movement, its goals, and updates on happenings. A companion website, We Are The 99 Percent allows individuals to tell their stories of economic uncertainty and hardship and why they support Occupy Wall Street (or don't).

Why I’m Protesting Wall Street
Misunderstanding of Occupy Wall Street
'Occupy' protesters find allies in ranks of the wealthy
The Underhand is Quicker Than The Eye. This article provides an interesting look into the deeper issues fueling the movement.

Member profile: Steve Scoles

In October, NRM welcomed two new members of the Board, Gordon Morrow and Steve Scoles. We highlighted Gordon previously: now get to know Steve through his FI story in interview form here.

In the news: Taxes, regulations, and business growth

There is deep division about the root causes of our current economic stagnation, with proposed reasons – and cures –falling sharply along party lines. Where is the truth? Is the real culprit "job-destroying" government regulation and taxes? Stagnant demand? Capital flight? Are reductions in taxes and regulations the answer or a cure that may kill the patient?

In the NY Times Economix blog article Misrepresentations, Regulations and Jobs, Bruce Bartlett offers his research and opinions. While the article – like most on the subject – has a partisan bias, the links to studies and resources provide good tools to help readers decide for themselves, as does the spectrum of economist opinions on the blog as a whole. A former Treasury official who has served as a senior policy advisor to several Republican presidents and congressmen, he bucks the party position with his conclusion that taxes and regulations are not a very significant factor. He also offers a biting review of a number of countries where taxes and regulation are minimal in I’d Rather Be an Unlucky Ducky. His column allows thoughtful readers to look deeply into one of the sides of this critical debate.

In the news: Carsharing is growing

The concept of carsharing - renting a vehicle for a few hours without going to a rental office - is evolving beyond Zipcar. Cited as "cars without commitment," new services are expanding in cities and on college campuses especially. Read about new business models in carsharing. Own a car but want a way to share the cost and utility? There are now networks for that, as well.

In the news: American economists win Nobel Prize

Thomas Sargent, a professor at New York University, and Christopher Sims, a professor at Princeton University, have been recognized with the Nobel Prize for economics for their joint work studying the effects of government policy on macroeconomics. The two, who explore economics from different points of view, have tackled the tough questions of causality, groundbreaking work that promises to make a real difference to our understanding of how economies really work.

In the news: Attorneys General Settlement: The Next Big Bank Bailout?

Matt Taibbi reports on California’s withdrawal from the proposed Attorneys General settlement with the big banks, ending the foreclosure fraud investigations with $20 billion from all the big banks combined. Calling the deal “TARP on crack,” he explains in his article in Rolling Stone why the deal as currently proposed amounts to yet another bailout for the banks, and applauds California and New York for refusing to rubber-stamp the deal.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris said in a letter to state and federal regulators that the proposed settlement amount for banks guilty of bad securitization practices leading up to the mortgage crisis was too small and gives bank officials too much immunity.

Taibbi explains how the settlement is essentially a bailout that shelters the big banks for at least a trillion dollars in claims over their fraudulent activities, leaving the states to share a miniscule amount and leaving the creditors - the public institutions and private investors who invested in their sham securities, and the localities who were cheated out of taxes on the sales – with no recourse.

While some kind of deal is probably needed given the mind-boggling totals involved, says Taibbi, if the big banks are going to get a trillion or so in legal immunity, a truly just settlement should give suffering homeowners some kind of meaningful debt forgiveness as well.

Resources: Compare banking options

Compare local banks and credit unions to find the best checking account for your own needs at and

Resources: Financial Integrity classes

Nancy Rae Evans has announced a new 10-week Financial Integrity class series to be held in Newport, RI. For more information on the classes or Nancy's distance coaching, see her Speaker page.

Resources: Loan rates

CNN Money's Loan Center provides up-to-date average rates for various types of loans and investments.

In the news: Changing views on unequal distribution of wealth

“Mainstream economists all around the world used to assume that equality acted as a drag on economic growth and development. Not anymore,” states the blog in its article Look Who’s Soured on Economic Inequality. Opinions of respected economists around the world are trending away from the previous common wisdom, the concept that income inequality actually drives productivity, to an understanding that inequality actually reduces a country’s “sustained growth.” Read the full article for an explanation of both practical and ethical reasons to reduce income inequality.

Resource: The Financial Crossroads and 90 Second Finance

Authors Jom Stovall and Timothy Maurer offer exercises and rationale for telling your own personal money story and building a values-based financial plan for your life in The Financial Crossroads. Tim also presents many of the concepts from the book in entertaining 90-second video format.

On the wiki: Find us on Facebook!

New Road Map Foundation has launched our new Financial Integrity page on Facebook to make it easier than ever to keep up on what FIers are doing around the world. We hope you'll join us there for content, conversation and community in addition to the postings on the wiki and the [ Simple Living Forum]. What's on your mind? How has FI made a difference in your life? Do you have a favorite quote from YMOYL or one of the many helpful books about changing your relationship with money? What are the challenges and rewards? Have a great resource? Need a great resource? Let us know, we'd love to hear from you!

Resources: Transparency International

Corruption in various forms is a driving factor in the current global economic crisis, blocking development of sustainable financial solutions. Transparency International seeks to mobilize world attention to the problems of greed, corruption, and lack of transparency where governments and corporations come together.

Resources: Moneycrush

With the tagline "learn to love your financial life and achieve your goals, Moneycrush offers practical advice and support for changing how you think about money.

On The Wiki: Join the Fun!

Do you have ideas for how to improve Join in the fun – moderating the wiki is a shared volunteer responsibility and it really connects you to what’s going on near and far. We’d love to have you join the team! Contact

Don't miss these items previously featured in What's New

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