William Spaulding: Author Website
This is a new website, so there isn't much here yet. I am the author of all the articles on the website thismatter.com, which consists of over 850 articles of tutorials about money, including economics, personal finance, and investments, many of which are well illustrated, formatted for quick comprehension. However, I want to start writing books, so I want to use this site to promote my books.
The Pauper's Money Book shows how anyone can manage their money to greatly increase their standard of living.
- Save, Invest, and Earn More Money
- Increase Your Credit Score
- Learn to Negotiate Successfully
- Manage Time Effectively
- Invest for Maximum Results with a Minimum of Risk
- Minimize Taxes, Earn Tax-Free Income
- Earn More from a Career or from Running a Business
I am a financial writer who has been writing about financial topics since at least 2005. I have a degree in philosophy and business from Millersville University, located in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, but most of my knowledge comes from constantly reading, writing, and thinking, and doing examples. I continually read textbooks, magazine articles, and other news sources about economics, personal finance, and investments. Unlike most other sites, I continually edit my articles to provide more or updated information and to make it clearer, especially when my readers alert me to mistakes or ambiguities. I also provide worked out examples for many of the articles. In my opinion, writing is the best education, because it forces you to think deeply about the topic, to research it thoroughly, and to ensure that it coheres with other principles and facts. I do sometimes disagree with the consensus and I will point out why I believe it is so, allowing you to decide if my argument has merit. I also get feedback from readers like yourself, pointing out mistakes, which I correct immediately — one of the many benefits of reading from a website rather than a book, even an ebook.
I provide many references to my topics, including to individual facts, such as points of law, where you can review that information instantly by clicking on the link, which will open in a new window. For instance, in my tax articles, I provide direct links to all the referenced IRS forms, their instructions, and direct links to many of the individual provisions of the tax code and to the numerous instructions and other publications provided by the IRS.
Another source of my knowledge, of course, is from personal experience, although it is, by necessity, much more limited than the many topics that I cover. Nonetheless, writing about many topics gives me a greater perspective and better insight into each individual topic, since they are interrelated.
A Note to the Grammarian Police
Originally, grammar was the study of how a language was constructed, how the individual words are put together to form meaning. Then, in time, some people have dubbed themselves to be the grammarian police — grammandos! — and have asserted that writing must follow the rules of grammar rigorously, and, nowadays, we even have grammar software to ensure that our writing is so constructed. I disagree with maintaining a rigid grammatical structure.
I believe that the main purpose of language is to communicate. If there is a better way to communicate, then it should be done, even if it breaks the rules of grammar. Case in point: writing numbers as actual numbers rather than as words, because numbers can be read much faster when they are written as numbers rather than as words, including the numbers 1 through 10. (The only problem with 1 is that it looks like I, depending on the font family of the letters, and my voice recognition software seems to prefer "one" over 1.) However, I only use the number 1 when referring to the number, not when it is being used to refer to a person or thing, such as "any one of you". I also know that grammandos are not gonna like "gonna" nor the fact that I put the period after the apostrophe. (Okay, I only used "gonna" here to make the grammandos cringe a little.) I also often write first as 1st and second as 2nd, and so on. I don't always write ordinal numbers this way, since I have to consider how people will search for certain topics. So in those cases where the ordinal number may be part of popular search terms, I will continue to write it out as a word.
Because nouns can also be used as adjectives, I have also chosen, in many cases, where there is no possibility of misinterpretation, to use the noun as an adjective rather than using possessive forms of the noun. So, I write stockholders equity rather than stockholders' equity. I think this looks cleaner. I have also decided to put punctuation marks after quotation marks instead of before the end quotation mark. I think it looks a little better and there are sometimes reasons why I do not want the punctuation marks to be within the quotation marks, such as quoting search terms. For instance, to get basic information about companies from general search engines, I may write to just search for the term stock + the ticker symbol, such as “stock MSFT”. This also makes it easier to select the search terms without selecting the punctuation mark, and the punctuation mark itself also stands out.
I think language can be improved in many ways to speed comprehension. For instance, using mathematical symbols for some words, such as = for equals. I don't do this on my site because I believe that too many people would probably have a negative opinion of what would probably look awkward to them. However, I believe the awkwardness is only because people are not accustomed to seeing things written that way, but if they were, they would become accustomed to it. But I do believe that people would be able to comprehend written words faster if documents were so written. It might be worthwhile to have some scientists measure the differences in comprehension speed between a document that used all words and a document that used other common symbols.
In fact, I believe that a committee should be formed that should seek ways to improve language in much the same way as the W3.org works to improve HTML and CSS.
I would like to make 1 suggestion right now. In the English language, no word refers to either male or female in the 3rd person singular. Hence, writers are reduced to saying he or she, his or her, or him or her, or they are forced to alternate between the references to avoid being labeled sexist. Sometimes this is useful when using 2 people in examples, since this removes any ambiguity in pronoun referents, but usually it results in superfluous language. Therefore, I propose the following: e to refer to the 3rd person singular for either sex and er to refer to the objective case, as her does for the pronoun she, and ers for the possessive case. Maybe this new 3rd person singular should be capitalized as the pronoun I is, to distinguish it from the natural logarithm base e, although, usually, context should clarify the meaning. In any case, this is just a suggestion. I will also probably use singular they more, if the meaning is clear.
I also believe that we need a 2nd person plural pronoun that is different from the singular pronoun. Although context could often be used to distinguish between the 2 possibilities, there are too many times when the referent is ambiguous. A natural suggestion would be “yous.”
I have also decided to cut back on my use of the words generally and usually, and other, often superfluous, words. Although I use these terms a lot because most statements have exceptions, not modifying the statements with generally or usually doesn’t mean that the statement is categorical. But removing these terms often makes the reading better, I think. I will only use these words when necessary. I have only decided to do this on November 23, 2019, so most of my articles still use these terms liberally.
This is not to say that there are not unintended grammatical errors on this site that do impede comprehension. Although I do run the documents through a grammar checker for a 2nd opinion, even if I don't always follow that opinion, I am sure that errors slip through anyway. Nonetheless, if you want to comment on this, please e-mail me. I would be interested in your opinion. Maybe I should set up a Facebook page for this topic, but, alas, I do not have the time.
Since there are over 800 articles on this site written over more than 12 years, my thoughts on grammar and my propensities have changed through the years, yielding some inconsistencies in the rules that I have used, something that grammandos the world over are definitely not gonna like, but considering that what is acceptable and not acceptable in grammar has changed throughout the years, as evidenced by the changing results of Usage Panel surveys, and as evidenced by literature itself, my main objectives are clarity and conciseness. You can at least be consoled that there is no Beowulf here.
At the bottom of every page, including this one, I provide an e-mail link so that if you want to respond to any page or to comment on it, you can do so by e-mailing me. As I have said, I always appreciate constructive feedback. The e-mail address is a forwarding address that will forward all e-mail to my true e-mail address. The reason why I do this is so that I can readily change the e-mail address on the webpages when I start getting spam.
Remember: The purpose of this website is to give a fundamental overview of the topics covered. You should not rely on the website for advice on specific matters. Readers frequently email me, asking specific questions. I will gladly respond to errors or ambiguities in the articles. However, I do not have the time or expertise to answer specific questions about your particular situation, so please do not ask.
Sometimes people email me with lengthy questions or ask me something that would require a lengthy response for a proper answer. I believe that many of these people are students. Usually, I will not respond to these types of questions, because I don't have the time and because it isn't my duty to do their homework.
I am also not on any of the social networks, because I do not have the time for general chitchat. Since I already do a lot of writing for my website, it is much more tiring to also write extensively on social networks. The only reason why I am on Google+ is to establish my authorship link, since I do have to worry about my ranking authority to generate traffic. However, I do not update my Google+ profile that much. I do believe that the authorship attribute is a great idea, since it presents a great impetus to write the best articles, but I would rather do all my writing on my own site, where I have complete control and where I can benefit the most from my writing.
I hope you enjoy my site. If you have any constructive comments or suggestions, please email them to me.