Why we all need financial advice

By |May 4th, 2015|

Generally speaking, most of us fall squarely into one camp or another when it comes to the question of whether to hire a financial advisor. This isn’t that debate. What I’m talking about today is financial advice – and we all need it.

Let me be clear about what I mean when I say advice. I’m not talking about reading

Beyond Six-Months’ Cash: Alternatives for your emergency fund

By |April 29th, 2015|

The concept of an emergency fund is simple. Ideally, we should all have 6 months of expenses put aside in a savings account, just for emergencies. There are generally two objections to this school of thought.
Objection 1: Inflation risk and opportunity cost
From an investment perspective, emergency funds held in cash represent significant opportunity cost. In fact, some experts will

3 Decisions that may Hurt your Diversification Efforts

By |April 27th, 2015|

Asset allocation and diversification are important concepts in investing. Although many investors think of them interchangeably, they are, in fact separate concepts. Asset allocation refers to how you choose to spread your money among investments. Every investor practices asset allocation by virtue of having invested. Whether or not that asset allocation represents diversification is another matter altogether.

Diversification is a

How I Fell Into $40,000 of Debt and Eventually Got Out

By |April 21st, 2015|

Dee Baker is financial contributor who writes about money management, tips for getting out of debt, and investing for the long haul.

I write about personal finances for a living, but that doesn’t mean I’ve always managed my own money like an expert. In fact, it’s some of the difficult growing pains I faced that lead directly to my self-education

Using ETFs for Stock Market Investing

By |April 20th, 2015|

So you want to invest in an equity ETF. But how to go about choosing? Knowing that ETFs are generally index funds, you’ll want to pick an index. And hands down, the most recognized index among US investors is the S&P 500. (I have no scientific evidence for this. But ask any novice investor to name an index and

Reevaluating Risk Evaluation

By |April 17th, 2015|

Risk is a tricky thing. Most of us consider ourselves competent – or even superior – evaluators of risk, yet the world is full of people who take shockingly foolish chances, as well as those who worry needlessly about every outcome, no matter how remote its chances. This indisputable fact does not suggest that we see our risk-assessing capabilities

Think twice before replacing lagging bonds with dividend stocks

By |April 15th, 2015|

Bonds are an important part of any investment strategy. As your time horizon shortens, bonds can be used to reduce the volatility (which should always be read as another word for “risk,” by the way) of your total portfolio. The trade off for this, of course, is that bonds offer lower potential returns than stocks.

Bonds provide interest income, which

A savings plan for the college dilemma

By |April 13th, 2015|

Increasingly, I am seeing opinion and data-based pieces questioning the value of a college education. Exploding student debt rates and outrageous price tags make for flashy headlines and strong opinions, but the pros and cons list is, for lack of a better word, complicated.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I come down on the pro-college side. My parents

Comments Off

Target-Date Funds Take the Guesswork out of Retirement Investing

By |April 10th, 2015|

Target-Date Funds are a big topic in mutual funds right now, for investors and fund companies alike. Investors see them as a one-stop shop for retirement investing. Fund companies have found target-date funds to be a gold mine. Morningstar reports that target date funds account for one third of investment flows for companies that offer them.

The concept of a

Comments Off

5 Reasons I Love my High Deductible Health Plan

By |April 8th, 2015|

It would be difficult to be unaware of the debate surrounding health insurance today.

As the Affordable Care Act jumps into the already-muddied waters surrounding health care and its rising costs, topics for debate and discussion are legion. One of these is the high deductible health plan, or HDHP. Simply put, HDHPs offer lower monthly premiums in return for significantly