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As with many professional services such as lawyers, doctors, plumbers, and car mechanics, financial advisors provide expertise that their clients don’t have. Unlike those services, it can […]
Financial advisors don’t work for free and their compensation model is cleverly structured for their benefit, rather than the client’s.
Credit reports and credit scores play important roles in our financial lives. What are they and why do they matter?
A correspondent asked: I’m nervous about my job situation; how much emergency savings do you recommend someone has? Careful in Carolina
A correspondent asked: I plan to retire in a couple of years and the current state of the world and stock market is scaring me. Should I […]
Are you curious how mutual funds work? All of your retirement savings are probably invested in them so you may want to understand their key dimensions and […]
What are the best habits to create and sustain healthy saving behaviors? I’ve seen various strategies that range from stellar, to creative, to works in progress. From […]
In this Coronavirus new normal in which we find ourselves, many of us are thinking about how to reduce our spending. Creating and using a budget is […]
In the midst of COVID-19 craziness, interest rates on bonds are at all-time lows across the world. This is not good news if you rely on the […]
After the stock market turbulence of 2020, it’s understandable to ask if now is a good time to panic, but there’s no wholly satisfying answer. I don’t […]
Not all 401K plans are created equally. To assess your employer’s plan, consider these four dimensions: 1. What are the investment options? For most people, the best […]
When romance merges with finance, there can be a lot to discuss. I suggest you align on various financial issues before they create misunderstandings or resentment.
How much should you save for retirement? This is the most frequent question I’m asked by my clients. To answer, I’ll go through the following three questions:
Have you’ve been thinking, “Jeez, I really wish I knew what an ETF was.” Are you wondering if you should be investing in them instead of mutual […]
Adjusted gross income (AGI) is an important number to understand on your tax return. Why? Your eligibility, cost, or subsidy for many programs is determined by it.
You may have heard that Congress recently passed the SECURE Act which makes some changes to retirement accounts. More likely, you have no idea what I’m talking […]
Stocks and bonds generated near-record returns in 2019 — 31% for US stocks and 21% for long-term bonds. If your IRA or 401K was not up a […]
I recently wrote about 2019 investment returns. (Performance was unusually good.) Now, I’ll focus on understanding the riskiness of these investments.
When investing your retirement savings, you should: optimize the risk/return trade-off minimize effort diversify minimize cost
Vanguard is the 800 pound gorilla of the mutual fund industry. They are the largest firm and manage nearly $6 trillion (yes, with a “t”) of mutual […]
Are you considering graduate school? A graduate school education has significantly different loan dynamics from undergraduate and you should be well-informed before you begin to borrow.
When you leave an employer, you generally have four options for your 401K:
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 […]
Do you work for public company that offers an employee stock purchase plan (ESPP)? If you answered yes, this note is for you.
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 […]
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 […]
Do you want to save more and spend less? When it comes to saving money, passive is the new active.
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 […]
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 […]
What is the most tax-efficient way to save money? A good guess would be a Roth IRA. That’s hard to beat, but sometimes there’s a better option. […]
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.
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, […]
In most circumstances, a 529 account is the best way to save money for college. I’ll explain how they work.
I’m gonna make you an offer you can’t refuse:
You may have heard that presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have plans to cancel student loan debt and make college free.
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 […]
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 […]
You may have some sense of what a bond is, but lack the specifics; if so, this note is for you. We’ll cover the long and short […]
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 […]
Are you ready to retire? Before you rent the RV, take bridge lessons, and become helicopter grandparents, complete this checklist:
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
Deciding whether to pay off your mortgage when you have the available funds is situation-dependent.
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 […]
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 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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 recent innovation in the fintech industry. The two best known companies are Wealthfront and Betterment, although Schwab is aggressively moving into this business.
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.
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 […]
Venture capital (VC) and private equity (PE) investments have much in common but also important differences.
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 are slowly but surely heading to zero. At least that’s the conclusion of an industry analyst’s report:
Achieving financial independence is a process for young adults. For those of you in the midst of building this foundation, focus on three goals:
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 […]
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 […]
Are you planning to go to a cocktail party full of economists? Here’s a primer on how they see the world.
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 […]
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, […]
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