If you’re dealing with student loans, it might be hard to even consider the idea of saving for retirement. When you’re paying hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars every month towards your debt, how can you possibly find extra room in your budget to invest? It’s an understandable feeling, but there’s a hidden relationship between these two ... Read More.
As of June 2020, I am no longer creating new content. Some details may change from year to year, but my approach takes a long view. It is my hope that the concepts and philosophy in the archives prove timeless and helpful.
Why the Tax Benefits of Owning a Home Are Overrated
I see people are sometimes tempted to justify buying a home instead of renting because of the tax breaks available to homeowners. The same logic is sometimes applied when deciding to buy a bigger, more expensive house. The tax breaks, the argument goes, lessen the impact of the extra cost.
Sometimes those decisions are justified. Buying can be a good long-term decision, and the tax breaks can certainly be helpful in the right situations.
But there are also many situations in which the tax benefits of owning a home are not everything they’re made out to be. Here are three reasons why. ... Read More.
What Is What: Fiduciaries, Fees and Financial Advisors
I have to admit that sometimes I’m embarrassed by my profession.
Despite the prevalence of financial advisors (it seems like there’s one on every corner), it’s pretty difficult to find, one who genuinely has your best interests in mind.
The majority of financial advisors either don’t have a legal obligation to act in your best interest OR have connections to financial companies that incentivize them to recommend high-cost products. Or both.
So how can you distinguish the trustworthy from the untrustworthy? Here are some key variables to consider. ... Read More.
The True Cost of Undersaving
A little while back I read an article citing research from the Federal Reserve that found that most people wouldn't be able to cover an unexpected $400 expense without either selling something or going into debt. Similar research by the Pew Charitable Trusts found that 55% of people don't have enough savings to replace one month's worth of income.
The author shared some of his personal story as well, explaining that while he managed to send his daughters to private school and buy a house in the Hamptons, he sometimes had to borrow money from those same daughters, now adults, in order to pay for heating oil in the winter. ... Read More.
How to Choose the Right 529 Plan
529 plans are one of the most popular ways to save for college, and for good reason. They offer tax-free growth and tax-free withdrawals for higher education expenses, making them essentially the Roth IRA of college savings.
The problem is that there are a LOT of 529 plans to choose from. Almost every state offers at least one 529 plan, and many offer multiple, and each one comes with a different set of fees, investment options, and features. ... Read More.
Getting the Right Life Insurance at the Right Price
While it may not be the most enjoyable thing to think about, getting life insurance is one of the best ways to ensure that your family will always have the financial resources it needs, even if you're not there to provide for them.
When you shop around for life insurance, you'll probably encounter two different types: ... Read More.