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

Don’t Let Your Investments Get Spooked by World Events

Over the past few weeks, the world has watched as events have unfolded in the Crimean peninsula. Will Crimea be allowed to secede and join Russia? Will there be a civil war? Will other nations be dragged into the situation? All of this has tumbled right onto the investment pages. Some advisors encourage people to …

Categories: Investing

The Hows and Whys of a Target Retirement Fund

You’ve finally decided that you need to start saving for retirement. You’ve taken that first step of signing up for a 401(k) or a 403(b) or a Roth IRA. The next step is a doozy, tough. You see tons and tons of investment options. How do you know which one to choose? You turn to …

Categories: Investing, Retirement

Does the Investing Advice of a Billionaire Help Ordinary People?

A reader passed along this interesting interview from the Wall Street Journal with Mark Cuban. For those unfamiliar, Cuban is a billionaire who made a significant amount of his wealth in the early days of the internet era. His argument in this interview? Diversification is “for idiots.” First of all, let’s talk about what diversification …

Best IRA Accounts of 2014

Most of the top companies that are home to the best IRA accounts are the same places where you would open up an online stock trading account. In a previous post, I ranked the best online brokers so I had a head start when it came to finding the best Roth IRA or best Traditional …

Best Online Stock Trading Brokers for 2014

I’ve had an online stock trading account since I was 13 years old and I’ve used at least a dozen of the best online stock trading platforms. I’ve gained a few “learning experiences” from managing my own account and working as a proprietary day trader in Chicago for several years. There are over 50 online …

Some Thoughts on Assets, Liabilities, and “Free” Spending

Right at the start of my professional career, an old friend of mine sat down with me and gave me some advice that I didn’t pay much attention to at the time, to my regret. I thought enough about it to jot it down in my journal a couple times during the late summer of …