Investing

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Owning a Rental Property

When I was a little kid, a cousin of mine owned several rental properties in the small town near my home. This was basically his livelihood, as he spent his time taking care of the properties as needed, collecting rent, and so on. He spent about 20 hours a week on his collection of properties that …

Categories: Real Estate

Roth vs. Traditional IRA: Retirement Showdown

IRAs, or individual retirement accounts, allow you to sock money away for retirement in a way that offers certain tax advantages over other savings methods. There are actually nearly a dozen types of IRAs, but for most people, the choice boils down to two main options: a Roth IRA or a traditional IRA. If you’re trying …

Categories: Investing, Retirement

How to Find the Best CD Rates in 2015

Are you searching for the best CD rates? If you’re frustrated with savings accounts’ low interest rates but are wary of high-risk investment strategies, you’ve probably identified Certificates of Deposit as an ideal middle ground. Your money will be safe and you’ll receive a better return than a savings account would offer, though the best …

USDA Loans: Not Just for Farmers

If your income level, credit score, or down payment (or all of the above) are a bit too low for you to qualify for a conventional mortgage, and you don’t insist on living in a major metropolitan area, you might want to look into USDA loans and their eligibility requirements. USDA home loans, which were …

Categories: Housing, Loans, Real Estate

How Betterment Won My Retirement Account

Earlier this year, I began writing a series chronicling my decision to roll over my old 401(k) into a new IRA with an automated investment advisor such as Personal Capital, Betterment, or Wealthfront. Since my old account was worth more than $85,000 at the time, this decision wasn’t one I took lightly. In fact, I spent …

Will Mortgage Rates Go Up if the Fed Raises Interest Rates?

By Peter Miller There’s a widespread view that if the Fed ultimately raises interest levels then mortgage rates will also rise. Financial history shows that’s not the case — and it can be argued that mortgage rates might actually fall. Let’s start with the first idea. All over the Internet it’s been suggested that borrowers …

Categories: Housing, Loans, Real Estate

10 Tips for First-Time Home Buyers

In the summer of 2007, my wife and I purchased our first home. As a first-time home buyer, I knew we needed to spend a considerable amount of time researching our purchase. So that’s exactly what we did – we read as much as we could, educated ourselves on the local real estate market, and …

How to Do a 401(k) Rollover

When you leave an employer, whether it’s for a new job or retirement, you’ll probably hear about a 401(k) rollover. What does that mean, and what’s the best way to do it? Well, hopefully you’ve been contributing to the company-sponsored 401(k), and perhaps by now you have a sizable balance. A 401(k) rollover is simply …

Categories: Investing, Retirement

Can Alternative Credit Scoring Help You Get a Mortgage?

By Peter Miller Lenders have an ongoing problem: No matter how many loans they create, they want to make even more. And that brings us to the 67 million people who lack the credit needed to borrow in today’s tough lending environment. What if we changed credit standards so that more people could qualify for …

Choosing Your Personal Financial Focus

When I first started my professional life, my main financial focus was on my career. I tried really hard to establish a great professional foundation and took on a number of hard projects, presentations, certifications, public speaking opportunities, and other challenges in order to cement a positive reputation and resume. During that time, I didn’t …

Using the HARP Program to Refinance an Underwater Mortgage

Just a few weeks ago, reader Sarah wrote in for advice on how to handle her underwater mortgage. Like many people who bought homes at the peak of the housing market in 2006 and 2007, she and her husband still owe significantly more than their home is worth. Her note describes her thought process as she considers how …

When to Use an SEP IRA

Just a few decades ago, opening a simplified employee pension — otherwise known as an SEP IRA, a retirement plan for self-employed workers — wasn’t a big concern for most people in the workforce. Times were different then. Whether or not you graduated from college, the story was often the same: Most workers were employed …

How We’re Investing for Financial Independence

It’s not exactly a secret that my wife and I are investing our money with a goal of financial independence. We achieved our goal of complete debt freedom – including our mortgage – in 2011, and so our natural follow-up goal was something even bigger, especially considering that we were no longer sending out a …

Categories: Investing

Betterment vs. Wealthfront

As I explained in previous posts, I’m on a quest to roll over my old 401(k) into the best retirement account I can find. My account currently stands at around $85,000. I socked this money away in my 20’s by living very frugally, but it’s sitting in an account at my old job where I …

Categories: Investing, Retirement

Should You Pay Off Your Mortgage Early?

If you have a mortgage on your home, you’ve probably wondered at least once whether it would be worthwhile to pay it down ahead of schedule. And if so, you’re not alone. The debate over whether to prepay your mortgage has persisted in the personal finance world for some time now, and it’s not going away any time …

Personal Capital Review

As I explained in a few previous posts, I am on a quest to roll over my old 401(k) into a new account with better long-term benefits. I got sidetracked a bit on this series, but today I’m going to review online financial advisor Personal Capital. If there’s one thing I learned from trading the …

Eight Best Places to Retire Abroad (and Enjoy the Good Life for Less)

More than 373,000 Americans had retired abroad by 2013, according to the Social Security Administration, and for various reasons. For some, the decision to retire overseas could be based on a desire to experience different cultures and surroundings. Others may want to be closer to relatives or friends. But for a certain percentage of would-be retirees, the decision to …

Roth IRA vs 401k? You May Not Have to Choose

One of the most common retirement questions I get asked is: Roth IRA or 401(k)? Although both are good options worth considering, the answer isn’t always as straightforward as one might think. Also, it’s crucial for you to understand that you may not even need to pick one or the other. If you’re able to …

Where Do Investment Returns Come From?

The whole point of investing is to give yourself the possibility of earning better returns than you can get from a savings account. If you can find a way to make your money work just a little bit harder for you, maybe you can reach those long-term goals a little bit sooner. But where do …

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