While the stock market gyrates, it seems a good time to talk about investment returns.
You’ve finished college — congratulations — and now it is time to repay your student loans. Here are ten tips to help you navigate the repayment process.
A correspondent asked:
I am planning to switch my bank and am wondering if there’s one you recommend?
Checking in Chelsea
You may have some sense of what a bond is, but if you’re curious about the specifics, this note is for you. It is all about bonds.
A correspondent asked:
Should I buy AppleCare for my new iPhone? It seems like cheap insurance.
Nervous in Needham
Have you been thinking, “Jeez, I really wish I knew what an ETF was.” Probably not. But if you did, this note is for you.
To begin, the acronym stands for Exchange-Traded Fund. It’s an apt name because ETFs are a hybrid of a stock and a mutual fund.
Divorce can be emotionally and financially unsettling. During this nerve-racking process, financial decisions are made with far-reaching repercussions. Your financial security depends on being well-informed both while negotiating a settlement, and afterward when adjusting to a new financial reality.
A correspondent asked:
I heard there is a way for you to protect your credit information from being stolen. Is that true? Should I do it?
Frozen in Frisco
Do you have a financial advisor? And if so, do you know if your advisor:
- Is charging a fair fee?
- Is trustworthy?
- Has the right expertise?
- Has implemented a sound investment strategy?
Many of us have heard of annuities but few understand how they work and if they should be part of your retirement plan. I’ll explain.
There was news last week in the personal finance world:
Fidelity announced that they’re offering two new mutual funds that have no fees — one is for the total US stock market and one is for the total non-US stock market.
Borrowing too much money to pay for college can get you into lifelong financial trouble.
Don’t do it.
I offer some background context and then guidance for both parents and students.
When I evaluate a 401K for a client, I assess four dimensions of the plan:
If you’re of a certain age, you remember when financial innovation was Saturday morning hours at your bank and a toaster for a new account. Times have changed. Now, you never step inside a bank, cash is disappearing from the economy, and new peer-to-peer payment methods have emerged.
Knowing how much you should save for retirement and whether you are on-track, are questions for everyone. Let’s focus on how much you need to save per paycheck, and your target savings at various ages.
And now for something a bit different from the topic du jour... This is the Financially Speaking Quiz — your opportunity to self-assess your financial IQ.
No calculators required and take all the time you need. You’ll find a link to the answers at the bottom of this page. Good luck.
Credit reports and scores play important roles in our financial lives. Let’s sort out what they are and why they matter.
When investing your retirement savings, you should aim to:
- optimize risk/return trade-off
- minimize effort
- minimize cost
Financing a graduate school education has significantly different considerations from undergraduate and you should be well-informed before you begin to borrow.
Are you ready to retire? Before you rent the RV, take bridge lessons, and become helicopter grandparents, complete this checklist:
Vanguard is the largest firm in the mutual fund industry. They manage $5 trillion (yes, with a “t”) of investor assets and are roughly the same size as the number 2, 3, and 4 firms combined.
When it comes to your savings, small fees have big effects.
What is the best strategy to save more and spend less? When it comes to saving money, passive is the new active.
When you leave an employer, you generally have four options for your 401K:
A budget measures your actual spending over a period of time (typically, monthly) and compares that to your intended level of spending.
Financial advisors don’t work for free and their compensation structure can have a significant impact on your financial health.
Social Security is the cornerstone of retirement security for most Americans. Regardless of your current age, be aware of these key features:
If your family is navigating the complex, maddening, and acronym-rich college financial aid journey, I offer some tips to remain sane through the process.
How do financial advisors add value to their clients?
It is easier to understand by first noting how they don’t:
Roth or Traditional? For most people in most situations, a Roth is better.
Let’s first recap the different tax treatments:
For a typical consumer, leasing a car does not make financial sense compared to buying one. A car lease is designed to befuddle you with complexity and hidden fees that obscure the full ownership cost.
Saving money is an unnatural act for most kids. How should you encourage them to develop good financial hygiene? Your kids may not appreciate your guidance now, but years later they may look back fondly on your wise counsel. We can only hope.
It can be turbulent for anyone investing in the stock market. We’re all re-learning that our investments can go down as well as up and it’s unsettling.
As you watch your 401K balance swing to and fro, it’s a good time to think about risk. It’s an abstract concept but we certainly know when we feel it.
Deciding whether to rent or buy your home is one of the eternal personal finance questions. My two cents on this topic may be counter-intuitive to conventional wisdom you may have heard.
I thought a good place to begin this newsletter is with the challenge of mixing love and money. Couples do not always align their financial values and expectations during their courtship or before moving in together.