Author: Jim Wang

im Wang has been writing about personal finance for over fifteen years. He runs Wallet Hacks, a personal finance blog where he shares his strategies and tactics for getting ahead financially and in life. He is not a trained financial expert, he has no certifications or letters after his name, but he was formerly a software engineer and brings that technical eye to managing his own money. It's this outsider's perspective that it helps him understand and explain complicated financial subjects in plain English. He currently lives in Maryland with his lovely wife and two kids.

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How to build a financial plan without a professional financial planner

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Years ago, I dropped my business card into one of those fishbowls near the front door of a restaurant. You’ve seen them too – put your …

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7 money moves you should make now, from home

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If you’ve found yourself with some down time and you want to make some small “spring cleaning” types of moves in your finances, here are some great …

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8 ways to increase your income

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When it comes to making more money, the best place to look is where you’re already working. Side gigs are great for some supplemental income. You …

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10 things you have to know to retire rich

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We have all heard the phrase “time in the market trumps timing the market.” That phrase simply means that timing the market is a fool’s errand. …

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8 sites that pay you money (for things you’re already doing anyway)

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An hour? (yeah right!) Two? Three? Five? If you’re using search engines, surfing the web, watching videos, playing games or doing one of a dozen other …

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6 reasons spreadsheet budgets beat automated tools every time

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When I started working, I tracked my spending down to the penny in a spreadsheet that I named the Budget Bible. (it was borrowed from my …

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6 reasons why I don’t use a robo advisor

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Robo-advisors have been around for years. Betterment, one of the oldest, was founded over ten years ago in 2008 and has $13.5 billion in assets under …

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Stick to student spending habits after college & watch your savings grow

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When I started working after college, I went from earning a few thousand dollars a year as a college student, mostly doing crazy side hustles, to earning …

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How to avoid financial investment bubbles

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We are wonderfully predictable creatures, aren’t we? We love to gamble. We love the get rich quick story. We love the lottery. We love the rags to riches …

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5 common myths about renter’s insurance (No. 3 might scare you)

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Years ago, when we had a lot of friends living in downtown Baltimore, they’d routinely get their cars broken into. It got so bad for one …

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How to get ‘free’ airport lounge access

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I have a few close friends who do a lot of international travel for work and business. One of the perks is travel to far-flung corners …

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How to prevent your packages being stolen over the holidays

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Package theft is a huge problem around the holidays. It’s so huge that police in New Jersey have teamed up with Amazon to deliver “fake” packages with real …

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5 ways to start investing in real estate with just $1,000

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When the stock market is doing well, not too many people talk about real estate investing. It kind of makes sense though. The stock market is …

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Do you know your 2018 federal income tax bracket?

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I remember my first (legit) paycheck.  I was earning something around minimum wage as a banquet waiter in late-’90s New York. The banquets were brief, so …

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6 non-cash alternatives for charitable giving

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As we near the end of the year, charities will make their big fourth quarter push to drum up contributions. Many folks think about donations near …

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What is an Ultra FICO score and how do you get one?

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Just when you think you understand credit scores, they go and change the game on you.  Fair Isaac Corporation, the company behind the original FICO score, …

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Alternative investing: A fun & (sort of) irresponsible guide

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I have a friend who enjoys horse racing. Well, to be precise, I have a friend who enjoys betting on horse races. When we go to …

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Is AAA worth the cost? Here’s what to consider

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When my girlfriend (now lovely wife) and I first started dating, we’d go on various road trips together. I don’t think it was that long ago …

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7 PayPal alternatives for making electronic payments

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Every New Year, we rent a vacation house with friends from college. We get one of those big, 12-bedroom vacation homes, fill it with food, games, …

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How to find the cheapest gasoline anywhere you go

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There are two gas stations very close to my house, each within a couple of miles, and both are name-brand companies you’d recognize. They both sell …

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6 best banks for refinancing & consolidating student loans in 2018

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In college, I was required to live in campus housing for my entire freshman year.  At Carnegie Mellon, that meant Donner Hall. We were on the …

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How I beat my internal irrational investor (and how you can, too)

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I enjoy reading the news but it can be stressful to see the stock market go up and down. Well, only when it goes down. The …

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Should you be using a robo-adviser?

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In 2010, I found myself attending the Finovate Fall event in New York City. Even though I’d been a personal finance blogger for over five years, …

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How to invest in yourself

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Pandas are pretty much awesome. They live one of the most casual lifestyles. For 14 hours of each day, they eat. They need to eat 40% of their …

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Earn extra money with these 10 legit paid survey sites

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There is so much downtime during the day. Whether it’s waiting in line at the grocery store or waiting to pick up a friend, wouldn’t it …

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7 lessons from my many investing failures

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The internet, and your office water cooler (what an anachronism!), is littered with stories about how so and so made a bundle selling their home or …

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The flattery project: Thanking 42 companies scored this blogger some freebies

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Companies take complaints very seriously. Years ago, when I still drank Diet Coke, I opened up a can that tasted funny. It tasted closer to seltzer …

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Want financial success? Know these 5 critical numbers

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We tend to remember numbers that are important to us. Everyone knows how much they weigh. If you were so forward as to ask, the person …

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Want free food? Download one of these 25 apps!

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Do you like free food, but it’s nowhere near your birthday? If you have a smartphone and are willing to download some apps, you can still score some …

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How to get the best deal when financing an engagement ring

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An engagement ring is a big step. It’s also a big purchase. Maybe you have enough cash on hand if you tap into your emergency fund. …

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How much is my house worth? How to appraise your own home

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When we track our net worth, one of the line items is the value of our home. We keep it as an offset against the mortgage, …