Effort Counts Twice

Anika Hedstrom  |  September 11, 2020

WHEN ROSE O’DONNELL was five years old, her mother passed away from the 1918 flu epidemic. This was shortly after her four-year-old brother died. Rose, and her remaining brothers and sisters, were raised by their father, Edward O’Donnell, in San Francisco. Edward had left school after the ninth grade.
What Edward lacked in formal education, he made up for with grit—a special blend of passion and perseverance. Edward became a self-taught expert in copper,

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What’s the Plan?

Robin Powell  |  September 10, 2020

IF YOU ASKED everyday Americans to define a financial plan, chances are they’ll talk about investment strategy. And for many people who call themselves financial advisors, that’s what a financial plan amounts to.
But a real plan is so much more than that.
To be sure, investment strategy will form part of a financial plan. But a strategy that isn’t moored to each individual’s goals, risk tolerance, financial situation, family circumstances and values isn’t really a strategy at all.

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Happier at Home

Rick Moberg  |  September 9, 2020

YESTERDAY, I made the case for investing heavily in foreign stocks. Were you convinced? Many investors aren’t. They feel there’s no need to venture abroad. Here are three key arguments for keeping your stock portfolio close to home:
No. 1: The U.S. market provides adequate diversification.
Proponents cotend that, on their own, U.S. stocks offer all the diversification that an investor needs. U.S. shares represent a majority of global stock market capitalization,

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Venturing Abroad

Rick Moberg  |  September 8, 2020

STOCKS WORLDWIDE have a total market value of some $85 trillion, with the U.S. accounting for 54%, developed foreign markets 35% and emerging markets 11%. Should your stock portfolio have similar weightings, as some experts suggest?
Tomorrow, I’ll look at the argument for keeping your stock market money close to home. But today’s article presents the case for venturing abroad—by focusing on three key arguments:
No. 1: A global stock portfolio is less risky than a U.S.-only portfolio.

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Paradise Lost

Richard Connor  |  September 7, 2020

BACK IN AUGUST, Adam Grossman wrote a thought-provoking article about regret. He offered six strategies to minimize the chances you’ll end up kicking yourself for a choice you made. That got me thinking about the financial decision I most regret.
I bought a timeshare.
I know this admission will generate strong reactions in the personal finance community. I’d like to claim the ignorance of youth, but I was in my early 50s. I’d like to blame my wife,

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Eyeing the Exit

Adam M. Grossman  |  September 6, 2020

TWO WEEKS AGO, I described how to scour your portfolio for holdings that no longer fit your financial plan. At a high level, these investments fail at least one of two tests:

Risk. Some investments are just inherently unsuitable or excessively risky. Alternatively, an investment might be perfectly fine, but it represents a big risk simply because you own so much of it.
Return. You might have an investment that has chronically underperformed,

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Small Pleasures

Jonathan Clements  |  September 5, 2020

TODAY, I SING the praises of spending—on the little things in life.
We fiercely resist the suggestion that money doesn’t buy happiness. Commentators will often trot out the quote—which has been attributed to all kinds of folks—that, “I’ve been poor and I’ve been rich. Rich is better!”
I think that’s true. But it isn’t proportionally true. If you went from earning $100,000 a year to earning $200,000, or your portfolio grew from $500,000 to $1 million,

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Stay in Your Lane

Anika Hedstrom  |  September 4, 2020

MICHAEL PHELPS and South Africa’s Chad le Clos had an intense rivalry. In 2012, le Clos took home the gold medal in the 200-meter butterfly. In 2016, they met again in the finals of the same event. A photographer captured the moment when Phelps was intent on winning gold, while le Clos seemed intent on watching Phelps.
How many times in life have we been more focused on what others were doing and how they’re doing it?

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Debtors’ Prison

Isaac Cathey  |  September 3, 2020

IT’S BEEN MORE than three years since my wife and I paid off the last of our consumer debt. Since then, we’ve enjoyed the benefits of a debt-free life: less stress, no interest payments and a lower cost of living.
While these reasons alone make a strong case for paying off credit card balances, car loans and other consumer debt, the true cost of borrowing goes beyond the obvious. Here are five drawbacks that I wish I’d considered before taking on debt:

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Decisions, Decisions

Kristine Hayes  |  September 2, 2020

I’VE BEEN EMPLOYED fulltime for nearly three decades—and retirement is now on the horizon. That means I’m spending more time trying to figure out how best to generate retirement income.
One obstacle: I keep getting bogged down by the seemingly endless choices. Despite knowing how critical these decisions are, I often find myself throwing up my hands in frustration and opting to do nothing. My experience isn’t uncommon. Welcome to the paradox of choice: When faced with a host of options,

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August’s Hits

Jonathan Clements  |  September 1, 2020

FORGET THE SUMMER doldrums. In terms of total page views, August was HumbleDollar’s third best month ever. What caught readers’ attention? Below are last month’s seven most popular articles, three of which were penned by the ever-insightful Adam Grossman:

Should you refinance your mortgage to take advantage of today’s rock-bottom interest rates? Rick Connor shows you how to run the numbers.
If you own a jumble of stocks, bond funds, ETFs and more, you need to figure out whether this adds up to a sensible portfolio.

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Much Appreciated

Richard Connor  |  August 31, 2020

WHAT’S YOUR CAPITAL gains tax rate? It’s a crucial number to know—and it could open the door to some big tax savings.
Most investors are aware that there’s a significant difference between the tax rate on short-term capital gains—investments held for a year or less—and that on long-term gains, those held more than a year. Realized short-term gains are dunned as ordinary income, just like your salary or any interest income you earn, while long-term appreciation gets taxed at a lower rate.

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Making Time

Adam M. Grossman  |  August 30, 2020

INVESTING IS JUST one ingredient for financial success. In fact, one of the best routes to financial security is also one of the most obvious: Increase your income.
In the middle of a pandemic, this might seem like a tall order. After all, most people’s work and home life have been turned upside down this year. But it’s for precisely that reason that I wanted to pull together the following time-tested strategies for increasing work productivity.

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Brain Candy

Jonathan Clements  |  August 29, 2020

IT SEEMS QUAINT now, but a quarter century ago conversations would often degenerate into arguments over facts. How much do homes typically appreciate? How much does the average American have saved by retirement? What does a nursing home cost? Such questions would trigger tedious debates built on anecdotal evidence and half-remembered newspaper articles.
But as my father—who died in 2009—often remarked during the final decade of his life, there’s no point anymore in arguing over facts.

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Ripple Effects

Mike Zaccardi  |  August 28, 2020

I STILL CONSIDER myself one of the younger folks at the energy trading firm where I work. The more tenured employees will sometimes talk about the early 1980s, when mortgage rates were north of 10%. “Try paying that down quickly,” they’ll quip, as we watch the 10-year Treasury note yield scroll by on the ticker—at around 0.7%.
I never thought interest rates would stay this low, especially given the recovery since March by both the stock market and many economic indicators.

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