Investing

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 …

Categories: Investing, Saving Money

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 …

Categories: Investing

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 …

Categories: Education, Investing

How To Start Investing: A Collection of Resources

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 …

Categories: Investing

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 …

Categories: Investing, Retirement

Savings for Short Term & Investments for 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 …

Categories: Investing

How Can I 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 …

Categories: Investing

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. …

If 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 …

Categories: Investing

Can Collectible Investments Pay Off?

Kevin writes in: I have a small collection of vintage baseball cards from the 1930s that have a list value of about $30,000. I started collecting when I was a kid and my grandpa gave me some to start with, but over the years I’ve bought many more, almost completing a Goudey Heads Up set. …

Review: The Little Book of Commodity Investing

Every Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book or other book of interest. Commodity investing is one of those areas of personal finance that I simply don’t know much about. When I think about commodity investing, I think of listening to an AM station where a dry-voiced announcer is saying, “February soybeans two …

Beginning Investors: Costs of Investing Can Be Painful

I’m going to make a little illustration about investments using the stock of Verizon (VZ) as an example. On September 18, 2009, a share of stock in Verizon closed at 29.59. In the following months, Verizon issued four dividends of $0.475 per share. On September 24, 2010, a share of stock in Verizon closed at …

How To Invest In Stocks: Conservative or Aggressive?

If you’ve read the reader mailbags for a while, you’ve noticed that I often get messages from people who have worked their way into a good financial place and now have some money to invest, often for the first time in their life. They look around, watch CNBC, read investment advice online and in books, …

Review: The Investor’s Manifesto

Every Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book or other book of interest. The Four Pillars of Investing, an earlier book by William Bernstein, was one of my favorite books I’ve ever read on investment topics. It was intellectually challenging, offered great investment advice, and stuck to reasonably conservative investment plans – in …