Investing

Why You Can’t Time the Market: Thoughts on Investing in Stocks

Marcus wrote in with a great reader mailbag question that really couldn’t be answered in brief, so I expanded my answer into a post. Here’s what Marcus had to say: There seems to be a consensus right now that the stock market is near a high point and is going to drop in the future …

And the Stock Market Outlook Is… Who Cares?!

As I write this article on the morning of Aug. 24th, the Dow just opened down over 1,000 points and CNBC is going crazy with prognosticators predicting what the market is going to do next. This is great entertainment, but it shouldn’t guide you as an investor. No one can consistently and continuously predict fluctuations …

The Backdoor Roth IRA

Earning too much money to contribute to a Roth IRA — and its unique tax benefits — is what most people would call a nice problem to have. Even better, it’s barely a problem anyway, since there’s a loophole that props open a back door to Roth IRAs for high earners. Financial experts are big …

Categories: Investing, Retirement

Uncle Sam Wants YOU… to Retire?

When I meet with investors, most believe health care will be their single largest expense during retirement. They’re surprised when I tell them if I were a betting man I’d bet that taxes will be. Yes, the T-word—everyone’s favorite topic. In fact, taxes are the single largest expense for many working people, especially when you …

Categories: Investing, Retirement, Taxes

The Best 529 Plans in America

Saving for college is overwhelming for even the most meticulous financial planners, but the best 529 plans can help you reach your goals. Simply put, a 529 plan is a special account that lets you save up for your child’s college costs and other educational expenses. You act as custodian of the account, keeping complete control, …

How Can Donald Trump Declare Bankruptcy Four Times… and Still Be a Billionaire?

By Doug Hoyes I took my family on a short vacation to New York City this summer, and we had the sense that Donald Trump’s name is everywhere.  There’s the Trump Tower, and more than one Trump hotel.  I even saw the Trump name on an airplane at the airport.  So how can this guy …

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

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