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Archive

Achieve Your Best Financial Self

My clients and students demonstrate a range of personal finance behaviors – from stellar, to clever, to needs improvement. Here’s my list of DOs and DON’Ts to […]

The Best Way to Save is a Health Savings Account

What is the most tax-efficient way to save money? A good guess would be a Roth IRA. That’s hard to beat, but if you qualify, a Health […]

Employee Stock Options

Have you been granted employee stock options from your company or are you just curious about how they work? If so, here’s a simple guide.

Upcoming Personal Finance Classes

I’m teaching three upcoming classes on various personal finance topics that may be of interest to you.

How To Pay A Financial Advisor

Financial advisors don’t work for free and their compensation model is cleverly designed for their benefit, rather than yours.

Considering Long-Term Care Insurance

I grow old… I grow old…I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Paying for Graduate School

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.

Silence is Violence

We all have views on the events that have unfolded recently; I’ll share mine.

The Mystery of Financial Advisors

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 […]

Give yourself some credit

Credit reports and credit scores play important roles in our financial lives. What are they and why do they matter?

From the mailbag: How much emergency savings should I have?

A correspondent asked: I’m nervous about my job situation; how much emergency savings do you recommend someone has? Careful in Carolina

From the mailbag: I’m about to retire and I’m scared out of my stocks

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 […]

The A, B, C’s of Mutual Funds

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 […]

Save Your Money

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 […]

Creating a Budget

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 […]

Time to Refinance Your Mortgage?

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 […]

Is now a good time to panic?

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 […]

How To Evaluate Your 401K Plan

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 […]

Mixing Love And Money

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.

Saving For Retirement

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:

ETFs versus Mutual Funds

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 […]

AGI, MAGI, And You

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.

Potential Changes To Your Retirement Planning

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 […]

2019: A Good Year For… Stocks And Bonds

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 […]

The Risky Business of Investing in Stocks and Bonds

I recently wrote about 2019 investment returns. (Performance was unusually good.) Now, I’ll focus on understanding the riskiness of these investments.

For Your Retirement Investing, Use A Target-Date Fund

When investing for your retirement, you should: optimize the risk/return trade-off minimize effort diversify minimize cost

Investing Your Funds At Vanguard

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 […]

What To Do With Your 401K When You Leave Your Employer

When you leave an employer, you generally have four options for your 401K:

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 […]

There Is Only One Effective Strategy To Consistently Save Money

Do you want 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 […]

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.

Ten Reasons To 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 Bonds

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 […]

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:

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 […]

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.

Should you rent or buy your home?

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 […]

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.

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:

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.

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, […]