Retirement

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 …

Three Questions

Ask yourself these three questions, right now. If you died right now, in your final moments, what would upset you that you hadn’t taken care of? If you knew you had only one more day to live, what would you do with that day? Why aren’t you taking care of those things right now? I …

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

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 …

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

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 …

Are 401(k)s Unrealistic? Only If You Are

In the past few days, three different readers have sent me a link to this great article from Fidelity entitled Five Habits of 401(k) Millionaires. The article offers up five suggestions for readers that will help you sock away a lot of money for retirement: 1. Start saving early 2. Contribute a minimum of 10% …

Categories: Retirement

Why Taking a Lump-Sum Payout Makes More Sense Than You Think

When I was in sixth grade, a classmate’s grandma won a million dollars in the lottery. This made the front page of our small town’s weekly paper.  Even as a 12-year-old I knew that buying lottery tickets wasn’t a smart investment strategy, but one detail of the story that didn’t make sense was why the lady …

Categories: Investing, Retirement

Can the Saver’s Credit Save You Money on Your Taxes?

For many people, two of the most frightening words in the English language are death and taxes. Even among those for whom the words are not terrifying, they evoke strong emotion. Another word that generates strong emotion is retirement. Unlike death and taxes, that word usually brings a smile to people’s faces. That is, until …

Categories: Retirement, Taxes

Best IRA Accounts of 2015

The best IRA accounts are all about great investing options and low fees. Since tax season is here, now is the best time to make your IRA contributions. Luckily most of the top companies that are home to the same places where you would open up an online stock trading account. In a previous post, …

Balancing Act: Pay Down Student Loans or Save More?

You’re finally there: You’ve graduated from college after many hard years, you’ve got a job in your field, and you’re actually able to balance your budget so you’re not only paying your bills, but you have a bit of extra money left over each month. Now the question is, what to do with that extra …

What Is a Fee-Only Financial Advisor?

If you’re looking for a financial planner, one of the first things you’ll want to know is how they are paid. Financial incentives influence decision-making in even the most critical situations, and your financial planner is no different. How he gets paid can impact the recommendations he makes, and if those recommendations become the foundation of …

Categories: Investing, Retirement

The Million-Dollar Retirement Question

One question I’ve received several times over the years is what I’ve jokingly called the “million-dollar question” to my wife. It comes in several variations, but generally boils down to two types. The question is either this one: How much would I need in the bank to live the rest of my life on the …

What Is Index Investing and Why Does It Work?

There are an almost infinite number of ways to approach investing, but my personal favorite is called index investing. It’s a simple strategy that can yield remarkable results. I use it myself and it’s the strategy I recommend to clients who come to me for investment advice. My goal in this post is to explain …

How to Retire Quickly

Over the last couple of years, Sarah and I have essentially been living on one salary. We’ve been investing every dime of my income (minus taxes and specific professional expenses) since late 2011 and living purely off of Sarah’s income. I like to think of it as if we’re saving 50% of our income. That …

Categories: Retirement

How to Tell If You’re on Track for Your Financial Goals

One nugget of personal finance information that I’ve seen repeated over and over is the notion that if you have a year’s salary saved for retirement at age 35, you’re on pace to retire very nicely at age 65. It actually turns out that the statement is more or less true, if you assume, of …

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