Previous Issues

The latest statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, show that we spent more in 2012 on consumer expenditures than during the pre-recession halcyon days that peaked in 2008. While this news may seem eye-opening to those of us still watching our purse strings, where our money goes remains remarkably consistent through both good and bad economic times. The vast majority of our incomes—well over 30 percent, on average, according to the BLS—goes into housing, with transportation coming in a distant second. While I don’t think this information will surprise anyone, it is worth revisiting: The largest investment—and biggest risk—most of us will face is buying a home.And like Pliny The Elder’s famous “Home is where the heart is” quote, our homes are—ideally—our emotional center, our safe places. They contain the kitchens where impromptu parties always seem to wind up. They are where we work, rest, and nourish ourselves. So it makes sense that we’d want to keep our own little pieces of autonomy in tip-top shape, no matter if we have a mortgage or if one of those kitchen celebrations was to honor paying it...
It’s hard to believe January is here so soon, bringing with it another new year. It would be an honest assessment to say I’m caught a little offguard by the “sudden” appearance of 2014—and an outright lie to say I didn’t feel the same at the start of 2013. But this year, instead of cursing an innocent month for my lack of awareness, I decided to dig-in, do a little research, and do my best to make amends with January, the sneakiest of all months.Like we were taught in grade school—with a few possible exceptions—we owe the names of the months to the Romans. They based these names on various events, like February, whose name is based on the Roman purification ritual, Februa. Other months were based on the names of their gods, like March for Mars, the god of war, and June for Juno, the goddess of marriage. And like brides who still pine for a June wedding, the meaning behind January’s name continues to have some merit even today.January is named after Janus, the Roman god of the doorway. Wait, doorway? Yeah, it was a bit of a let down the first time I read it, too. One can only imagine how Janus felt the day titles were being...

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