About Emily Guy Birken

Emily Guy Birken is a former English teacher, and an excellent freelance writer. She's also a stay-at-home-mom. She resides in Lafayette, IN, with her engineer husband and son. Emily's thoughts on parenting and life in general are found at The SAHMnambulist.

Should You Go to College or Start a Business?

Go to College or Start a Business

It’s been almost four years since former PayPal Chairman and CEO Peter Thiel started the 20 Under 20 program—the controversial initiative that paid 20 college students up to $100,000 to drop out of school. Basically, Thiel’s initiative hoped to show that the best path to success is not necessarily through education (and its attendant debt […]

Time Management for Part-Time Entrepreneurs

Time Management for Part Time Entrepreneurs

Part-time entrepreneurs have the best and worst of both worlds. While they face less financial risk by keeping their full-time jobs while growing their business, they run up against the problem of time management. How do you find the time to grow your business when so much of your time is already spoken for? The […]

How to Protect Yourself From Credit Card Theft

Credit Cards

If you were to turn over any credit or debit card in my father’s wallet, you would find that instead of signing his name in the signature box, he had written “Check Photo ID.” His rationale was twofold: 1. On the off chance that a cashier or waiter were to actually try to compare the […]

Why Window Shopping Will Actually Make You Happier

Porsche 911

Ever since I was about 14 years old, I have lusted over the early 1970s-era Porsche 911 RS. My ideal dream car has not changed in twenty years, and to this day, I can still see myself speeding around curvy mountain roads in my Superman blue 911 with a tan leather interior. If you do […]

How to Help Your Teenager Begin to Build Credit Responsibly

These happy teenagers need to learn to use credit responsibly

Your little one is all grown up! He might be heading off to college in the fall, or she might start working full time after high school graduation. In either case, your job as a parent isn’t quite done. You also need to make sure they are on the path to building good credit. The […]

What to Look for When Reading a Mutual Fund Prospectus

Reading the Fine Print

The intimidation factor of choosing an investment vehicle can be one of the reasons why potential investors might feel more comfortable keeping their nest egg in their mattress. Not only does it seem as though the financial world speaks an entirely different language from the rest of us, but we also know that making a […]

5 Meaningful and Unique Wedding Gift Ideas

unique wedding gift ideas

Every spring and summer, it can feel like every couple you know all decide to get married around the same time. Once you’ve received the third or fourth wedding invitation in a season, it’s natural to wonder how on earth you are going to afford to attend each wedding and give a nice gift. This […]

Is a Roth 401k Conversion the Right Decision For You?

Uncle Sam Roth 401k Conversion

Back in January of 2013, we were relieved to have averted the so-called fiscal cliff that had been the non-stop talk of the 24-hour news cycle throughout the end of 2012. While many aspects of the compromise—known as the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA)—were both well-reported and somewhat controversial, one benefit of the […]

How to Increase Willpower and Stay on Track Financially


It’s happened to all of us. No matter how committed we are to our frugal goals. We start the day by brewing our own coffee at home, instead of stopping by our favorite coffee shop on the way to work. We manage to say “No, thanks,” to the group at work going out for lunch […]

5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Applying for Yet Another Job

Surviving Unemployment

When I graduated from college back in 2001, I started my post-college job search with incredible optimism. That lasted about a week. I quickly realized that, while there were untold numbers of potential positions available out there, very few of them fit with my education and qualifications and my own career goals. In desperation, I […]

The Gerber Grow Up Plan: Sound Investment or a Scheme for Suckers?

Gerber Grow Up Plan

We can all recognize the adorable half-smile of the Gerber baby. It has been around long enough that today’s parents and grandparents who are feeding pureed carrots to their little ones once smeared that same Gerber brand baby food in their own hair. That longevity makes it one of the most well-known and trusted baby […]

Pros and Cons of the 15 vs 30 Year Mortgage

15 vs 30 year mortgage

Until about 2005, I never realized there were any mortgage terms other than 30 years. In addition to the fact that I’d never been in the market for a house prior to 2005, there were some excellent reasons for my ignorance. First of all, the 30-year mortgage came into being after the Great Depression—prior to […]