Take 5: A Roundup of Reads From Around the Web

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A look at five interesting personal finance posts from other bloggers around the Web. This week: supercharging productivity, finding financial security, retirement planning, the American balance sheet, and lifestyle creep.

1. 7 Ways to Supercharge Your Productivity

[Bargaineering] Get more done, and you can potentially earn more. This idea is nothing new. But Miranda Marquit goes on to provide useful ways to supercharge your output. She identifies the biggest time wasters (avoid the social media trap) and explains why multi-tasking doesn’t always work. Another tip: Sometimes you just have to say no. Check it out for some more pointers – and hopefully you’ll soon be on your way toward an income boost.

2. Reader Story: From Recession to Best Financial Shape of My Life

[Get Rich Slowly] After living through three recessions and several career stumbles, William Cowie details his journey on the path toward financial security. He says he profited from keeping assets as liquid as possible and finding investment opportunities as the economy went south. Cowie’s take on his financial progress might make you contemplate ways to improve your own.

3. 6 Ways to Avoid Running Out of Money in Retirement

[Wise Bread] This checklist of ways to maintain your spending power throughout retirement starts off with the basics – save more, spend less – but also provides some less conventional advice, like knowing when to respond to changes. Is your spending outstripping your income? Is the market moving against you? There’s some useful advice here that pertains to a variety of scenarios that retirees and soon-to-be retirees encounter.

4. The American Balance Sheet

[The Motley Fool] Writer Morgan House breaks down how much money American households have in various assets, how much we owe, and our collective net worth, based on data from the Federal Reserve. She then compares them to totals from when the last recession started in 2007. An interesting fact: Americans have $8.6 trillion in cash deposits today, compared to $7.5 trillion five years ago. While this may seem like good news on the surface, it’s bad news for individuals nearing retirement, or just about anyone interested in preserving their wealth: Cash is earning a negative return after inflation, which surely isn’t the smartest way to prepare for the future.

5. Avoiding Lifestyle Creep

[Five Cent Nickel] This story addresses the enemy of saving: lifestyle creep. This is when your lifestyle improves as your discretionary income rises. In other words, you’re spending more now because you can. But resisting lifestyle creep today can do wonders for your finances tomorrow. We’re not saying you shouldn’t enjoy your money, but if lifestyle creep is hovering overhead, there are some simple ways to beat it.

Stacy Johnson

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