If you're in the right mood, there's something a little bit depressing about the subject of investing: how boring it is. An easy way to think about this is that if you make the maximum contribution to a 401(k) and IRA every year, for 20 years, at the end of that 20 years, you'll be rich. How rich you'll be depends on a lot of factors, but the fact you'll be rich doesn't depend … [Read more...] about Differences between non-retirement investment options
The finance blogosphere has been ablaze the last week with Vanguard's announcement that they'll be eliminating trading fees on an enormous swathe of ETF's that currently cost $7 to buy and sell. Reducing transaction fees is an unalloyed good for investors, but I think there are some interesting additional consequences of the change to think about. What's happening On July 2, … [Read more...] about Thinking about Vanguard’s no-transaction-fee ETF announcement
It's a slow, rainy Sunday around here, which is as good an occasion as any to contemplate the mysteries of life. In that spirit, here are three questions I genuinely don't know the answers to about Americans and their financial habits. Why don't Americans save in other currencies? I'm fascinated by currency risk and have written before about exposure to currency risk in the … [Read more...] about 3 questions about Americans and money
I was listening to the latest episode of the "Animal Spirits" podcast with Michael Batnick and Ben Carlson, and they mentioned a statistic in this (paywalled) Wall Street Journal article: just 2% of the 285,000 professionals giving financial advice in the United States are fee-only financial advisors, who are held to a fiduciary standard that requires them to put the interests … [Read more...] about Why do so few people use non-conflicted financial advisors?
Like aircraft flying at very low altitudes, the US tax code does strange things when very low incomes are involved. Most people know about, or have at least heard of, the earned income credit, which phases in quickly as "earned income" (which includes wage and self-employment income) rises, then phases out somewhat more slowly. I think that's bad program design, since it … [Read more...] about Basics of IRA recharacterizations