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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

HumbleDollar Uses In-Depth Guides and Stories to Help Readers Make Informed Financial Decisions

Humbledollar Helps Readers Make Informed Decisions
Andrew Allen

Written by: Andrew Allen

Andrew Allen
Andrew Allen

For nearly 20 years, Andrew has worked for financial institutions ranging from regional investment organizations to some of the largest banks in the world. At Wells Fargo, Andrew was a Consultant within the Insight and Innovation division. A graduate of the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business, Andrew’s goal has been promoting personal financial wellness and solid money decisions. As a Staff Writer for CardRates, Andrew seeks to inform readers of solutions to help them on their path to financial freedom.

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Edited by: Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro
Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of editing and journalism experience to the CardRates team. She has written and edited for major news organizations, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the New York Times, and she previously served as an adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Florida. Today, Lillian edits all CardRates content for clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement.

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Our experts and industry insiders blog the latest news, studies and current events from inside the credit card industry. Our articles follow strict editorial guidelines.

In a Nutshell: Jonathan Clements, formerly a long-time personal finance writer for The Wall Street Journal, is passionate about sharing his financial guidance and insights. His website, HumbleDollar, features a team of writers who use personal experience and anecdotes to explain complex financial issues. Its comprehensive retirement planning advice and guidance for retirees has a robust, loyal following on the site. HumbleDollar also has articles and practical resources to inform readers of everything else they need to know about money and achieving financial freedom

Revered American author Mark Twain once said,”Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Those who find a job they enjoy still have to perform the job consistently and “work” in the literal sense of the word. But the essence of Twain’s quote is that these individuals will be passionate about what they do for a living. Their mindset and attitude toward their work will reflect that passion.

HumbleDollar is a website that aims “to tell you everything you need to know about money.” Its founder and editor, Jonathan Clements, personifies Twain’s quote. Clements spent nearly 20 years at The Wall Street Journal as its personal finance columnist. During his tenure he wrote over 1,000 articles for the Journal and its sister publication, The Wall Street Journal Sunday. 

HumbleDollar Logo

After his stint with the newspaper, he tried his hand in the corporate world, took a teaching position, and even worked for a tech startup. But his passion for writing about personal finance never waned.

In 2016, Clements launched the website HumbleDollar as an outlet to share his personal finance wisdom with the world.

“I honestly wasn’t planning for HumbleDollar to grow into something as big as it currently is,” Clements explains. “Originally, it was mostly intended as just a way for me to blog occasionally and provide readers with free access to a money guide I had written.”

Since that time, the site has exploded in popularity. HumbleDollar delivers one to two new pieces of content each day. In addition to Clements’ insights, a host of writers contribute to the site. Clements describes the writers, many of whom started as devoted readers of the site, as a team of amateur investors with a keen interest in personal finance issues.

“My guidance to the writers is this: You may not be seen as an expert in the financial world, but you’re an expert on your own life,” Clements says. “So write about your own life, and tell your story and share your experiences with authority.”

Money Stands As The Last Great Taboo

Money management can be a complex and intimidating topic. Money also can be a stressor for many people, regardless of income level. Unfortunately, this often leads people to ignore the finer points of money management, which can allow small money problems to fester.

Clements is also the editor of “My Money Journey,” a compilation of stories from 30 authors that chronicles how each of them found financial freedom. The book provides a candid examination of the writers’ unique pathways to success, and also details the struggles and mistakes they made along the way.

My Money Journey
“My Money Journey” contains stories of people finding financial freedom.

“Through honestly detailing our experiences, including our missteps, we paint a relatable picture,” Clements explains. “Readers can learn, from real-life stories, that even if you mess up by taking on too much debt, or making the wrong investment decisions, it’s still possible to retire in comfort.”

HumbleDollar’s approach is similarly open and honest about money and money management.  Through storytelling, the site’s writers detail specific challenges they’ve faced and how they’ve been able to overcome them. Clements believes that anecdotal evidence is an inspiring and powerful tool that leads to better personal management of finances.

“Money is the last great taboo,” Clements says. “People will openly tell you their political beliefs, their religious beliefs, even details of their personal relationships. But, when it comes to money, it’s just something that people rarely talk openly about. It’s time we got over that.”

Next-Level Advice for Retirement Planning

Clements points to HumbleDollar’s retirement articles as being among the most popular features of the site. While many financial websites offer perfunctory advice on retirement topics, the team of writers at HumbleDollar draw from their experiences to deliver insightful posts about niche retirement matters.

For example, Medicare’s variable pricing system is based on income-related monthly adjustments, so grasping its nuances can help retiree’s better understand their monthly expenses and budget accordingly.

Articles regarding Social Security and retirement savings and withdrawals are also popular on the site. Clements attributes this to the fact that many of the site’s readers, as well as its writers, are relatively affluent and either in retirement or approaching retirement age.

Despite the name of the site and its focus on money management, Clements stresses that it’s not completely focused on financial aspects.

Jonathan Clements
Jonathan Clements is the founder and editor of HumbleDollar.

“Ultimately,” he says,”we explore topics that help our readers understand what it will take for them to live a meaningful and happy life. And finances are certainly a part of that. But, particularly when it comes to retirement, financial comfort shouldn’t be the only thing you consider.”

Clements’ advice for retirees, outside of securing their financial plan, is two-fold. First he encourages them to think about how they’ll spend their time once they are done working. Next, he counsels them to consider their social network and how that may change once they leave the workforce.

“You need to think about what will give you a sense of purpose — a reason for getting out of bed in the morning,” Clements says. “When we retire, we lose part of our identity, and many of our colleagues are also our good friends. If you’re not going to see those people anymore, how are you going to find new friends? Strong social connections are one of the keys to greater longevity.”

Guidance for Younger Generations

HumbleDollar also provides a plethora of articles and resources for all stages of life and financial planning. The site is divided into four primary sections. The first section, Guide, originated as a financial guidebook Clements initially sold in physical form. It’s now available in its entirety, including regular updates, for free on HumbleDollar.

Another section, Checkup, provides a two-minute financial assessment. Here, readers enter nine pieces of information about themselves and their finances and receive 10 pieces of financial guidance. Checkup is an efficient and informative tool that is a great place to start for new visitors to HumbleDollar. Additional post-assessment education is available for those eager to further their knowledge.

Two-Minute Checkup
Readers can take a two-minute financial checkup with HumbleDollar.

The Voices page contains 133 key questions that are often addressed throughout the site. Readers are encouraged to contribute their own opinions on the key questions to promote discussion and inspire others.

Articles is where the daily articles are housed, neatly organized into over 20 categories. Here, Clements and his team touch on topics ranging from “Happiness” to “Estate Planning”.  

Investing resources are prominently featured on the site. One of Clements’ favorite subjects, investing is of particular importance to younger individuals who have more time to grow their money. He was an early advocate of index-fund investing and believes it’s the most rational way to approach the markets.

“From the early 90s onwards, I was pounding the table for index investing,” Clements details. “Very few investment advisors actually beat the market with any regularity. Why not simply accept the market’s return? By indexing, you can do better than 90% of professional investors.”

Clements is also a staunch believer in credit cards, if used appropriately.

“I charge everything to a credit card. The rewards are too great not to,” he says. “But, you need to plan properly to pay off the balance each month. If you do that, credit cards can be a great addition to your financial life.”

Clements is passionate that, with proper planning, everyone can achieve financial freedom. There are two pillars to being financially free that he imparts to readers. The first is being able to spend each day however one chooses. The second is not having to worry about money while doing so.

“We all can worry a little bit about money at times,” Clements observes. “But when you have enough to meet your needs and wants without regular concern, you’ve achieved financial freedom.”