Thriving is living well at all phases of your investing life, whether you’ve just begun investing or you’re managing a large investment portfolio. Behavioral finance articles explore how making smart investment decisions and maintaining your peace of mind live happily together. Additional aspects of living well include fitness, relationships, and giving. The Thriving category offers insights and practical guidance for enjoying your life.

Avoid Broke: Know These 11+ Examples of Economic Outpatient Care

In The Millionaire Next Door, Thomas J. Stanley, Ph.D. and William D. Danko, Ph.D. coin the term “economic outpatient care” (EOC). This term references economic subsidies that a benefactor bestows on a fully capable adult, generally a parent who provides financial assistance to a grown child.

The irony of EOC is that these subsidies — which may be intended to provide the recipient with the means to become financially stable — may have the opposite effect. Gifts create economic dependence instead of accelerating financial independence.

Initially, I imagined that EOC is a problem associated with wealthy families like those profiled in the “millionaire” books. But even average-income families give and receive EOC.

Guide to Choosing Health Insurance (with Spreadsheet)

Choosing health insurance can be confusing, especially when you compare traditional plans with high deductible health plans (HDHPs). Buying insurance on the open market and comparing employer-sponsored plans taught me that choosing the perfect policy for varying health scenarios is impossible.

Still, I’ve learned that I can make a reasonable guess on the plan that might work best for my family. Here are some steps I’ve taken to clarify the pros and cons of health plans available to me:

Your Net Worth Goes Up When You Take These Actions

>When I was younger, I wrestled with whether to pay off debt, build a cash reserve, or invest for the long-term future? Each was important. Yet, they seemed like conflicting, even mutually exclusive goals.

For example, if I paid extra on any credit card balances or my mortgage loan, then I’d have less cash in the bank or fewer dollars to contribute to retirement and college-savings accounts. I could earn a guaranteed return that is equal to loan interest rates if I paid down debt. But then I’d forgo the potential for compound growth in the stock market.

What I learned was that a positive move — whether making a loan payment, increasing my cash reserve, or investing for the future — can increase my net worth. I don’t have to choose the best move to make. I simply have to take one of these actions and, at the same time, avoid taking on additional debt or spending more than I just saved.