HAVE YOU HEARD THE parable of the white elephant? In southeast Asia, possessing a white elephant was symbolic of power and prestige. It was a good omen to find one in the wild, signifying peace and prosperity for the kingdom. They were considered sacred and could not be used in war or for labor. To receive a white elephant from the king was a great honor. Who would turn down such a special and unique gift?
EARLIER THIS YEAR, HumbleDollar unveiled its Two-Minute Checkup. All you need to do is input up to nine pieces of information and it spits out advice covering 10 areas of your financial life. When I tried it, I thought it was great—except for one thing. The amount it suggested my wife and I have in emergency cash was $13,000 higher than what we currently had.
I felt comfortable with the amount of cash we were holding,
DURING THE RECENT bull market, I fell off the wagon and bought some technology companies, once again trying my hand at stock picking. I’m talking about companies like Spotify Technology, MercadoLibre and Roblox. It was a small percentage of my portfolio, but I felt the pain.
I’d tried picking individual stocks when I was younger. I thought I had a better chance now. After all, I was more educated and knew more about researching companies.
WE HAVE A PROBLEM: We may have saved too much for our daughter’s college education.
My wife and I started contributing aggressively to our daughter’s 529 college savings account as soon as she was born. For the first two years, we invested the full amount of the annual gift-tax exclusion, which was then $14,000. Now, the exclusion is at $16,000, but lately we haven’t been saving as much as we used to. The reason: Our early aggressive saving,