Stop Your 401(k) From Robbing You Blind

high 401k fees

You know how much you pay for your mortgage payment, your cell phone bill, and your car payment. But do you know how much you’re paying for your 401k plan? You probably don’t, and that could be costing you tens of thousands of dollars. Because we don’t actually have to write a check to pay for the fees associated with our 401k we never think about what it’s costing us. A few dollars here and there doesn’t seem like much, but over time, and as your nest egg grows, these fees start to add up fast. In some cases they actually take years off of your retirement! I know people (myself included) who have changed banks over a monthly fee being charged to their checking accounts. I know people who will drive an extra 2 miles just to save $0.03 on a gallon of gas. I know people who will spend … Continue reading

Warren Buffett’s 6 Fundamentals Of Investing

Warren Buffett Investing Advice

There’s a funny thing my dog does around the same time every night, when I grab her bowl to feed her dinner. She runs over to the spot where I’ll eventually set it down, and she’ll sit, tail wagging, watching my every move until I bring the bowl over with her food – which gets eagerly and immediately devoured. I tell this story not because I think you’d be interested in my dog’s eating habits, but because this is exactly how the whole of the investing community acts around this time each year as we await the release of Warren Buffett’s annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders.  The letter is more than your typical shareholders letter, it’s usually pretty entertaining and is always chock full of interesting insights and investing advice from Warren Buffett. Thankfully, this year is no different. Not only did Buffett outline his fundamentals for investing, he … Continue reading

Finding Your Financial Tipping Point

financial tipping point

I’ve recently been reading Malcolm Gladwell’s book, The Tipping Point. It’s a fascinating read that in a nutshell, explains how messages, trends and behaviors “go viral”. How small acts and events build upon each other until they reach a critical mass (the tipping point) where they simply take off and become something much larger than the sum of its parts. In the book he uses examples such as Paul Revere’s ride,  the spread of a fashion trend and how a single person can start a “word of mouth” movement for a restaurant they’re a fan of. As I was reading the book I couldn’t help but think of how the concept of the tipping point relates to our investing habits. We’re all aware it exists, and have probably read hundreds of articles mentioning the power of compound interest which is another example of the tipping point theory in action. The Tipping … Continue reading

myRA: What You Need To Know About The Newest Retirement Plan

retirement-fund

If you tuned in to President Obama’s ‘State of the Union’ Address last week you heard him mention a new type of retirement account called the ‘myRA’.  While the President didn’t go into many specifics as to what exactly the myRA would be in his speech, The White House has since released more details. The prospect of having a new retirement account at our disposal piqued my interest. So I went digging to see what it was all about, and more importantly, if it’s a good idea to open a myRA. Here’s what you need to know. What is the myRA? We all know that most people have shockingly little stocked away for their retirement, and according to The White House, about half of American workers don’t have access to a 401(k) or similar employer sponsored retirement plan. The myRA aims to be a “starter” retirement account for people who have little … Continue reading

What Makes A Good 401k Plan

is saving more or earning more money better

For most people the 401(k) plan is their main, and sometimes only source of retirement savings. We know that if we can’t max out our contributions we should at least be contributing enough to receive the full match from our employer, but we really don’t know what constitutes a “good” 401(k) plan. Every year the major financial news sites publish the same articles about this years “best” 401(k) plans, and every year I take major issue with the results in those articles. Too often the studies that these articles reference weigh criteria such as the average account balance per participant too heavily. The same goes for judging the generosity of an employer by looking at the average amount they contributed to each employee in the plan. Of course you’re going to tell me Goldman Sachs has a better 401(k) plan than Wal-Mart if that’s how you’re judging it! Metrics like … Continue reading

Personal Capital – The Best Way To Manage Your Investments

personal-capital-review

As my long time readers are well aware, I’m a huge fan of automating your finances.  For about seven years now I’ve been using Mint.com to track all of my spending, and to manage my budget. While Mint is an amazing service, I found it was severely lacking when it came to keeping track of my investment accounts. Enter Personal Capital. I discovered Personal Capital about a year ago after reading about it on another finance blog and decided to give it a try. For those of you who have never heard of Personal Capital, it’s a free website that allows you to track your spending and investments all in the same place. Think of it as Mint.com with its focus on investing rather than budgeting. After a few bumps in the road early on in my experience, I can now confidently say that Personal Capital is the best way … Continue reading