• Retirement Investment Obsession

    Vitaly writes in: My problem is that I can’t stop looking at my retirement accounts. Whenever I see an investment option that’s doing a little bit better than whatever I’m doing, I start to feel sick to my stomach and I panic and I have to switch my investments over. Then a week later I …

  • Saving for Future Uncertainty

    I’m at a pretty content point in my life. We have no debts. Our home is paid for. I have work that I’m happy with and a number of long-term projects I’m passionate about. Sarah has work that she loves as well. We have some money saved up. When we look ahead, we don’t see …

  • Investing with Indirect (or No) Financial Returns

    When a person is free from debt and is earning more than they spend, the natural thing to do is to turn to investment advice. Should I invest in stocks or bonds? Should I buy some real estate? The goal of such investments is straightforward: the person simply wants to raise more money. Now that …

  • Savings Account as Investment

    Quite often, I’ll get emails from readers saying that they’re looking to invest their money and that the money they want to invest is currently sitting in a savings account. What these readers often overlook is that the money in their savings account is already invested. An investment simply means that you’ve put aside a …

  • Review: The Bold Truth About Investing

    Every Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance or other book of interest. Also available is a complete list of the hundreds of book reviews that have appeared on The Simple Dollar over the years. A week or two ago, I was scanning the radio dial while on a road trip, looking for something …

  • Saving Pennies or Dollars? Investment Fees

    Saving Pennies or Dollars is a new semi-regular series on The Simple Dollar, inspired by a great discussion on The Simple Dollar’s Facebook page concerning frugal tactics that might not really save that much money. I’m going to take some of the scenarios described by the readers there and try to break down the numbers …

  • Unrealistic Returns in Personal Finance Writing

    This is an issue that I’ve discussed a few times in reader mailbags, but I continue to receive so many questions about it that I think it needs to be thoroughly discussed. Over and over again in personal finance writing, you’ll find references to investment returns on the order of 10% to 12% per year …

  • Choosing a 529 Plan

    A few weeks ago, I put out a call on Twitter and on Facebook for detailed posts that people would like to see. I got enough great responses that I’m going to fill the entire month of July – one post per day – addressing these ideas. On Facebook, Edita asks a simple question: “Among …

  • A Collection of Useful Resources for Learning about Investing

    A few weeks ago, I put out a call on Twitter and on Facebook for detailed posts that people would like to see. I got enough great responses that I’m going to fill the entire month of July – one post per day – addressing these ideas. On Facebook, Shannon asked “What book/blog/resource do you …

  • Is It Worthwhile to Invest in Precious Metals?

    A few weeks ago, I put out a call on Twitter and on Facebook for detailed posts that people would like to see. I got enough great responses that I’m going to fill the entire month of July – one post per day – addressing these ideas. On Facebook, Silver requested a post on the …

  • Which Retirement Plan Is Right for Me? Traditional IRAs Versus Roth IRAs Versus 401(k)s and 403(b)s

    Kelly writes in: I’m reading about retirement and I see terms like Traditional IRA and Roth IRA and 401(k) thrown around without really explaining what they are or what the differences between them are. Do you have a summary of these plans and how they work? There’s no better time than the present to offer …

  • Why Savings in the Short Term and Other Investments for the Long Term?

    Tammy writes in: You often tell people to put money in their savings account if they’re just saving for a year or two, but then you tell people to put money into stocks or other stuff if they are saving for lots of years. Why? It’s probably easiest to explain this with an example. Savings …

  • Some Thoughts on Investing in Dividend-Bearing Stocks

    As I’ve mentioned several times recently on The Simple Dollar, one of my biggest areas of thinking in terms of personal finance right now is how to create a secure future for myself and my family. Right now, except for our mortgage (which has a pretty low interest rate), we’re debt free. We own both …

  • Can Individual Investors Beat the Stock Market?

    You’d be surprised how often I’m asked some variation on this question. People will write in to me asking me whether they should buy an index fund (in other words, they would own a little bit of a LOT of stocks and ride the averages of the stock market), a managed mutual fund (where someone …

  • Building Passive Income Streams

    As time goes on, the value of having multiple income streams becomes more and more apparent to me. The more income streams you have, the less trouble your life will have if one of those income streams goes defunct or experiences a downturn. Thus, I’ve been thinking a great deal about developing more income streams …

  • Review: The Power of Passive Investing

    Every Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance or other book of interest. Also available is a complete list of the hundreds of book reviews that have appeared on The Simple Dollar over the years. Passive investing is a strategy that has a great deal of appeal to me, so I was quite eager …

  • Saving IS Investing

    One common question I get from readers appears in this type of email: Dear Trent, My husband and I are finally on the path to financial freedom. We have only a debt or two remaining and have built up an emergency fund. We would like to start investing. Please tell us how. Signed, Sally Saver …

  • Some Deeper Thoughts on Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Lending

    A few weeks ago, I gave a somewhat negative opinion of P2P lending sites such as Lending Club and Prosper. Here’s what I said about them: Quite honestly, if I were going to invest my nickels and dimes into peer-to-peer lending, I’d probably do it with Kiva and not worry that much about a return. …

  • When Investment Banks Fail, What Happens to the Little Guy?

    One of the most frightening things (to me) about the 2008 investment bank failures of Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns coupled with the fraud of Bernie Madoff is the impact it had on individual investors who had used these groups as a means to invest. It’s no different than what most of us do with …