SEPTEMBER WAS A BIG anniversary month for us. In addition to celebrating our 19th wedding anniversary, we celebrated our third Pelo-versary. In the words of my mother-in-law, we are Peloton addicts. Ask us about our favorite instructors at your own risk.
The general perception of Peloton—for which the entry price is now $1,495—is that it’s priced too high for most people. While I don’t believe that Peloton is “democratizing fitness,” as its CEO suggests,
IN JULY 2020, I rolled over my old 401(k) to an IRA. Between maxing out my 401(k) contributions for many years and strong investment performance, the balance was significant.
I initially invested half the money in a combination of stock market index funds and a bond market ETF. For the remaining balance, I set up an automatic investment plan that invested a modest amount in stock index funds every two weeks. While long-run market returns argued for investing all the money in stocks right away,
DRIVE TO HOSPITAL. Cut the umbilical cord. Figure out names. Open a 529.
While the primary focus upon our two babies’ births was bonding, I had another item to check off: I opened a 529 college savings account for each one within a month of their births.
It’s paid off handsomely. Through automatic monthly contributions—plus stellar market performance over the past decade—they’ve amassed sizable balances for higher education. One child now is in high school,
THE BUREAU OF LABOR Statistics reported last week that consumer prices in August were up 5.3% from a year earlier. This means that, on average, we’re paying $105 for a basket of goods and services that cost us $100 a year ago. Investors and analysts are worried that higher inflation may be here to stay.
My contention: Inflation will prove to be temporary and the Federal Reserve won’t have to increase interest rates to slow consumer prices.
IN A RECENT POST, I suggested three questions that folks should consider before moving out of California. As a California native who has lived many other places, I appreciate the weather and convenience of living here, and I urged others to think carefully before moving away.
The post generated some great discussion when I shared it on my Facebook page. Based on the comments left by my friends, here are some added considerations and tips for those thinking of leaving California:
Take a test drive.
OUR DOG LIKES SOCKS. A few months after Poppy joined our family, she consumed her first sock. Since then, she’s eaten two more. After the first sock was removed, our veterinarian offered some valuable advice: Get pet insurance because Poppy is likely to do this again. Within a few days, we purchased a policy from Healthy Paws for $38 a month. The policy has proven valuable: We’ve had four other unplanned trips to the vet over the past 21 months.
A FEW WEEKS AGO, fellow contributor Dennis Friedman discussed how he’ll remain in California for retirement, despite the lower cost of living elsewhere. Dennis’s post got me thinking about the conversations I hear at my local dog park in Newbury Park, California.
A local realtor regularly talks about the many longtime homeowners who are moving out of state. Within days of listing their home, sellers receive multiple offers above asking price. The sellers then move to places like Arizona,
WHEN I MATCHED UP our monthly spending with the terms of the Starbucks Rewards Visa card, I calculated that I could potentially get a free drip coffee every day of the year. Given the proliferation of Starbucks in our Los Angeles suburb—including one within 400 yards of my office—it’s tempting to cover my caffeination by swiping my credit card.
After some deliberation, however, I’m going to focus instead on amassing travel rewards points. For the past five years,
OVER THE PAST decade, my wife and I have hired others to handle most home improvement projects. It all came down to a lack of time: We had two young children and demanding jobs in the corporate world. But thanks to my recent switch to teaching, I have more free time, so I decided to tackle a few projects this summer. Here are three things I learned:
Painting is possible. For more than a year,
WHEN DESIGNING a portfolio, a critical decision is how to allocate your money across stocks, bonds and other investments. Within stocks, you’ll need to make an additional choice: How to split money between U.S. and international. A quick survey of finance-related websites turns up recommendations of 25% to 40% for an investor’s foreign stock allocation.
While I agree that investors should have a meaningful percentage of their portfolio in overseas stocks, I don’t think investors should lose sleep over whether they’re at the high or low end of this range.
AS I MENTIONED in an article back in June, my wife and I funded a custodial account for our son three years ago. He used the $1,000 we gave him to buy shares of Nike and Exxon.
We figured what’s good for our oldest child would also be good for No. 2. Our daughter recently completed fifth grade and is now age 11. Earlier this summer, we set up an account for her and added $1,000.
LIKE MOST READERS of this site, I’m committed to index fund investing. Still, even though I know I’d have little chance of beating the market as a stock-picker, I’m periodically tempted to buy individual stocks. When a former mentor who’s a brilliant strategist joined Moderna in May 2020, I strongly considered buying shares. Given where the economy was at the time, I passed on buying the company’s shares (symbol: MRNA) and stuck to my standard S&P 500-index fund investing.
MY SON AND I recently completed a cross-country road-trip with Poppy, our two-year-old goldendoodle. We got Poppy just before the pandemic and she’s our first dog, so we learned a lot on this adventure. If you’re a first-time dog owner planning a trip that involves hotels, here are three money-saving recommendations:
Call ahead. I booked rooms many months before our trip and ensured all hotels were “pet friendly.” As I was new to traveling with a dog,
I LEFT MY CORPORATE job a year ago to start a second career in higher education. At the time, I offered five pieces of advice to those considering a similar change. That advice included creating a plan with your family, giving your desired new career a test drive and taking advantage of deferred compensation plans. A year into my new career change, here are four additional tips:
1. Estimate the point of no return.
FOR OUR SUMMER vacation, my family traveled from California to South Carolina. My wife and daughter opted to fly, but my son and I saw it as an opportunity to take a cross-country road trip with our goldendoodle, Poppy. Here are three observations from our journey along Interstate 40:
Summer 2021 may not be a good time to buy a car. We saw dozens of car dealerships as we traveled. In nearly every case,