Investing

What I Wish I Knew Before Buying Rental Property

In early 2006, my husband and I decided to purchase our first home in my hometown of Greenfield, Indiana. With 1,300 square feet, a few nice-sized bedrooms, and an open kitchen and living room, our first “starter home” was practically perfect for us. And since we had moved there from a one-bedroom apartment with only …

Is This the Perfect Investment for Your Kid’s College Fund?

How’s this for a sweet investment: Anyone can buy it, with no fees or commissions. Its value has gone up by about 130% since 2000 — an 8.6% annualized gain. It’s tax advantaged, so those gains were tax-free. And in that time, investors had virtually no chance of losing their money at any point, even …

Startups to Help You Save Money and Manage Your Finances

From holiday shopping to family vacations to unexpected car repairs or medical bills, staying ahead of your finances is both an important goal and a constant challenge. We could all use a little help managing and saving our money. Today we’re going to explore several startups out there that promise to help save you money, curb your spending, and …

Betterment Review

As I explained last week, I’m on a quest to find the best retirement plan to roll over my old 401(k). I’m going to conduct the most thorough research I can — publicly — and then put my money where my mouth is, literally rolling over my old 401(k), worth approximately $85,000, into the best …

Don’t Let That 1,000-Page Mortgage Application Scare You

By Peter Miller The 1,000-page mortgage application is here, but don’t be alarmed: It’s a paper tiger, a low barrier to financing, and no more frightening than a marshmallow. At first it may seem amazing that a loan application could be larger than a Tom Clancy novel, but it’s true. In fact, in today’s marketplace, …

Why Facebook and Twitter May Not Be Overvalued

It’s easy to write off social media stocks and their ludicrous valuations. Take Facebook (FB), which reports third-quarter earnings Tuesday. The stock is already up 42% in 2014, and 267% over the past two years. With a market cap of over $200 billion, investors value the company more than Ford (F), Boeing (BA), and Starbucks …

Categories: Investing

The Panic Button

On September 18, the S&P 500 closed the day at 2,011.36. As of my writing, the S&P 500 sits at 1,864.84. In other words, the S&P 500 has lost 7.3% of its value in less than a month. Let’s put that in dollars and cents. Let’s say that on September 18, I had $100,000 in …

The Best Retirement Plans and 401k Rollovers are Online

I’m on a quest to find the best retirement plan to roll over my old 401(k). Since millions of other people are in this same boat, and don’t know where to turn for sound advice, I figured I would conduct the most thorough research I could — publicly — then put my money where my …

How to Find the Best CD Rates in 2014

If you’re frustrated with the low interest rates of savings accounts but wary of high-risk investment strategies, Certificates of Deposit (CDs) might be your ideal middle ground. Your money will be safe and you’ll receive a better return than a savings account would offer, though the best CD rates largely depend on how long you’re …

Cash Flow vs. Capital Gains Investing: The Two Investing Paths

Ever wondered what it takes to become a successful long term investor? You don’t necessarily need to have deep macro knowledge about international trends, or a gambler’s mentality. No, long term investing really comes down to your investment principles, and having the courage to stick to them. In the investment world, there are two basic …

The Problem with “Hot” Investments

About once a week, I take a trip to my local library to read up on the latest information about personal finance. I’ll grab current issues of all of the personal finance publications like Money and Kiplingers along with a newspaper or two and whatever personal finance books are on the “new release” shelf. I’ll …

Categories: Investing

Why Fees Matter

The absolute first thing I look at when comparing investments is the fees that are charged on that investment. I look at it before I look at the history of that investment or anything else. Why am I so interested in the fees? There are two reasons. First, the fees charged on your investments are …

Categories: Investing

Buffett’s Prediction Versus the Past: Why Can’t We Expect 10% Returns?

A few days ago, I was running some errands and listening to a real estate guy on talk radio. He was arguing about investments with a caller and along the way, he made a statement that stuck with me. He said that if you go back and look at the history of the stock market, …

Categories: Investing

How Does “Pay Yourself First” or “Bank on Yourself” Really Work?

I often see and hear ads for programs that involve the ideas of “banking on yourself” or “paying yourself first.” They’re pretty prevalent on talk radio and you’ll sometimes see ads for programs like these in the newspaper or in the back of financial magazines. The claims made in the ads seem extraordinary. Many of …

Personal Finance 101: Comparing Saving and Investing

Just the other day, I was sitting at my favorite local library (if you happen to go there at the right time, you’ll probably find me sitting at a table with a notebook open in front of me with several personal finance, career, time management, and self-improvement books piled around me). I was browsing through …

4 Ways to Tell That Your Personal Finance Advisor is Scamming You

This article first appeared at U.S. News and World Report Money. Most personal finance advisors provide solid money advice that will help you achieve your goals. They sincerely want you to succeed, make genuine efforts to understand the specifics of your situation, and do their best to translate those specifics into a powerful plan for …

Categories: Investing

Personal Finance 101: What Is Rebalancing?

Step by Step Guide to Portfolio Rebalancing One topic I see referenced quite often in personal finance books – especially books focused on retirement – is the idea of rebalancing. It’s often discussed as though the writer assumes that the reader knows what rebalancing is, but given the confusion I sometimes see in reader emails, …

Personal Finance 101: What Is a Dividend?

Understanding The Risks and Rewards of Dividends A few days ago, I was working on an article where I referred to dividends. Since I didn’t really provide any sort of explanation of what dividends were, I went looking for an article where I explained in detail what a dividend actually is and, to my amazement, …

Five Quick Questions About Stocks and Taxes

The idea of investing in stocks (outside of retirement accounts) can be rather stressful if you’ve never done it. Just figuring out what to invest in can be really confusing. Am I doing the right thing? Is this worth the risk? When you add taxes to the equation, it can get really, really confusing – …

Categories: Investing