Sign up for myemail newsletter

    [anr_nocaptcha g-recaptcha-response]

    Newsletter Archive

    Don’t Put Your Mortgage in Reverse

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

    70 Is The New 62

    What is the best age to claim your Social Security benefits? Most people do so soon after age 62 but, most of us should delay until age […]

    Exponential Growth is a Double-Edged Sword

    The COVID case count has been growing exponentially in recent weeks. Are you unclear on what that means or do you cringe at the memory of old […]

    The Perils of Student Loan Debt

    Borrowing too much money to pay for college can get you into lifelong financial trouble. Don’t do it.

    The Masters of the Universe

    The big tech companies that now run our lives were all initially funded with venture capital — Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Netflix, and many others.

    Are Robo-Advisors Worth It?

    Robo-advisors are a recent innovation in the fintech industry. The two best known companies are Wealthfront and Betterment, although Schwab, Vanguard, and others are moving into this […]

    Should you invest using dollar cost averaging?

    I’m frequently asked if you should invest all your money now or do it slowly over a period of time?

    Evaluating Your Financial Advisor

    Do you have a financial advisor? If so, how do you know if s/he is serving you well? As with any professional expertise you lack, it’s not […]

    Pay Taxes Like Trump?

    The news that Trump pays no federal income tax will surprise no one. Absent tax fraud, I don’t know any way to cut your taxes as low […]

    Mortgage Refinancing 101

    Are you thinking about refinancing your mortgage? You probably should as interest rates have never been this low. If so, consider these 6 questions:

    Why is the stock market doing so well?

    This is the most frequent question that I’m asked — why is the stock market so damn high* while the economy is in a deep recession with […]

    Vanguard versus Fidelity

    Clients and students may know that I’ve strongly advocated use of Vanguard mutual funds, particularly given their low cost and broad selection of index fund options.

    Which bank to use?

    Consumer banking is a commodity service with little that distinguishes one from another. They all have FDIC insurance, ATMs, online bill payment, etc.

    Hurricane IRMAA

    If you’re of a certain age (60s+) and income (higher), you may be aware of Medicare’s Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA); more likely,

    Invest well; do good

    Socially responsible investing is a great idea in theory but difficult in practice. I’ll explain why.

    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.

    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 ~$6 trillion (yes, with a “t”) of mutual fund […]

    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 a 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

    So, you’ve maxed out your 401K contributions and have more money to save? It’s a nice problem to have and here’s my ranked order of saving options.

    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.

    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 […]

    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 […]

    Are you 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 pay off your mortgage?

    Deciding whether to pay off your mortgage when you’re fortunate to 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.

    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 […]

    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:

    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, […]