Conversations

My thoughts on personal finance and related topics

Don’t Climb the CD Ladder

Certificates of deposit (CDs) are the default investment option for many people’s savings. However, they’re rarely your best choice. Yes, they are essentially riskless investments but you […]

Easy Money

Do you work for public company that offers an employee stock purchase plan (ESPP)? If you answered yes, this note is for you.

Are you in the 4%?

You may have heard about the 4% rule for retirement spending. It’s a simple but imperfect guide to how much you can safely spend each year during […]

Mo Money Mo Problems

Clients sometimes ask me how and where to save additional money if they’ve maxed out their 401K contributions. It’s a nice problem to have and here’s my […]

A Beginner’s Guide To Understanding Stock Market Risk and Expected Returns

As the stock market gyrates and your 401K balance swing to and fro, we’re all re-learning that our investments can go down as well as up and […]

There Is Only One Effective Strategy To Consistently Save Money

What is the best strategy to save more and spend less? When it comes to saving money, passive is the new active.

What are the differences between IRAs and 401Ks?

IRAs and 401Ks are similar in many ways but have important differences that can be confusing. And, it’s not just IRAs versus 401Ks but there are distinctions […]

Should You Invest In Municipal Bonds?

You may have heard about tax-free bonds and are wondering if you should invest in them. Like many of these questions, the answer begins with, “Maybe…” I’ll […]

The Best Way to Save is a Health Savings Account

What is the most tax-efficient way to save money? For those of you who have been clients, a good guess would be a Roth IRA. That’s hard […]

Key Considerations About Including Annuities as Part of Your Retirement Plan

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.

The Magic of Compound Interest

Have you heard about the magic of compound interest? Do you cringe at the thought of old high school algebra word problems on exponential growth? If so, […]

Saving For College With A 529 Account

In most circumstances, a 529 account is the best way to save money for college. I’ll explain how they work.

Let’s Make A Deal

I’m gonna make you an offer you can’t refuse:

Solving The Student Loan Crisis

You may have heard that presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have plans to cancel student loan debt and make college free.

Life Savings

What are the best habits to create and sustain healthy saving behaviors? I’ve worked with lots of clients and seen various strategies that range from stellar, to […]

Nine Reasons Why You Should Choose a Roth Retirement Account

For most people in most situations, Roth contributions are better than a pre-tax 401K or IRA, but keep in mind that either is better than not contributing […]

At what age should you claim your Social Security benefits?

When it pertains to claiming your Social Security benefits, 70 is the new 62. Unfortunately, most of us claim soon after age 62 but, most of us […]

A Beginner’s Guide To Understanding How To Invest In Bonds

You may have some sense of what a bond is, but if you’re curious about the specifics, this note is for you. Investing in bonds generally offer […]

How much should you be saving for retirement and what’s the most effective way to do it?

Knowing how much you should save for retirement and whether you are on-track, are questions for everyone.

Everything to Know About College Financial Aid and Student Loans

There is a lot to absorb about college financial aid and student loans but it is better to understand this before you make potentially lifelong commitments to […]

An Eight Point Checklist To Determine If You Are Financially Retirement Ready

Are you ready to retire? Before you rent the RV, take bridge lessons, and become helicopter grandparents, complete this checklist:

For Your Retirement Investing, You Should Use A Target-Date Fund

When investing your retirement savings, you should aim to: optimize risk/return trade-off minimize effort minimize cost

We Currently Have An Inverted Yield Curve For The US Economy

You may have heard that we currently have an inverted yield curve for US Treasury debt or, you may have no idea what I’m talking about. I’ll explain. What […]

Poker, Personal Finance, and Life

If you’re from Boston, you may be aware that after much ado and $2+ billion of investment, the Encore (nee, Wynn) casino just opened on a riverfront […]

Should You Do a Reverse Mortgage?

In most circumstances, a reverse mortgage doesn’t make good financial sense, in spite of the soothing words from Tom Selleck, Henry Winkler, and Fred Thompson.

Should you be a socially-responsible investor?

Socially responsible investing is a great idea in theory but difficult in practice. I’ll explain why. But first, what is socially responsible investing? It generally takes one of […]

Should you pay off your mortgage?

Deciding whether to pay off your mortgage when you have the available funds is situation-dependent.

It Is Almost Never A Good Idea To Lease Your Car

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 […]

Don’t Spend That Cash Windfall!

If you are among the fortunate who find themselves with a cash windfall, perhaps from a work bonus or a tax refund, you have three choices on […]

Divorce and Your Finances

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 […]

How To Teach Your Children About Personal Finance

Saving money is an unnatural act for most kids. How should you encourage them to develop good personal finance habits? Your kids may not appreciate your guidance […]

Should you borrow from your 401K?

Generally, it’s not a good idea to borrow from your 401K but there are certain circumstances in which it can make sense. Before I explain, here are […]

So, you want to be a landlord?

I live near Boston where we have lots of three-family homes (“triple deckers” in the local patois). Often, homeowners choose to live in one unit and rent […]

What is the most effective approach to set up a budget for yourself?

A budget helps you manage your expenses with the focus on spending less and saving more.

Everything You Need to Know About Your Financial Advisor

You may face a choice when considering a financial advisor — do you want a relationship manager or a financial wiz?

The Trade-offs Between Debit and Credit Cards

Should you use debit or credit cards for your everyday spending? The answer, like many personal finance questions, depends on your personality and your financial situation.

Robo-Advisors Are A New Fin-Tech Innovation; Are They Worth It?

Robo-advisors are a recent innovation in the fintech industry. The two best known companies are Wealthfront and Betterment, although Schwab is aggressively moving into this business.

Are you struggling to make ends meet?

Getting your finances back on track can be a lonely and frightening journey. I’ll share my approach when working with clients in this situation.

The Most Important Tips To Successfully Mix Love and Money

When romance merges with finance, there can be a lot to discuss. When you and your sweetie decide to share your lives together, I suggest you align […]

Should you rent or buy your home?

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 […]

The Differences and Similarities Between Private Equity and Venture Capital

Venture capital (VC) and private equity (PE) investments have much in common but also important differences.

Understanding Employee Stock Option Grants

Employee stock options have been indirectly in the news, given the recent IPOs (initial public offerings) of such companies as Uber, Lyft, Pinterest, and Beyond Meat. In […]

Mutual Fund Fees Will Continue to Decline

Mutual fund fees are slowly but surely heading to zero. At least that’s the conclusion of an industry analyst’s report:

Critical Spending and Saving Tips to Achieve Financial Independence

Achieving financial independence is a process for young adults. For those of you in the midst of building this foundation, focus on three goals:

Should dollar cost averaging be part of your investment strategy?

What is dollar cost averaging? It just means investing your money over a period of time, rather than in a lump sum all at once. It does […]

Financial Advisor Fees Will Continue To Go Down

The traditional financial advisor compensation model may be slowly but surely meeting its demise. The pressure started years ago with low-cost index funds, then ETFs, target date […]

Do you want to think like an economist?

Are you planning to go to a cocktail party full of economists? Here’s a primer on how they see the world.

How To Evaluate Whether Long-Term Care Insurance Makes Sense For You

I grow old… I grow old…I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled. If you’re of a certain age, besides reading The Lovesong of J Alfred […]

A Remembrance of John Bogle

You may have heard that John Bogle died this year. Or, you may have no idea who he was. The financial industry has produced few heroes; instead, […]

How To Evaluate Your 401K Plan And What To Do With It When You Leave

When I evaluate a client’s 401K plan, I assess four dimensions of it: 1. What are the investment options? For most people, the best 401K investment option […]