Six Tips

Rick Moberg  |  August 12, 2020

WORRIED ABOUT inflation? You might be drawn to inflation-indexed Treasury bonds—officially known as Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities, or TIPS. These bonds protect you from unexpected inflation, plus there’s no risk of default.
Those features make TIPS attractive to investors who are concerned about rising consumer prices, and especially the impact of inflation on the bond portion of their portfolio. Intrigued? Before you invest, here are six factors to consider:
1. Hedging vs. speculating. TIPS can be used to hedge against inflation or to speculate on it.

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Five Lives

Tom Welsh  |  August 11, 2020

WE GO THROUGH phases in our financial life, just as we do in our biological life. There seem to be a least five financial phases that adults pass through, each with their own priorities, risks, opportunities and tradeoffs.
Here’s how I would think about those five phases:
1. Party Time (ages 25 to 30)
Yes, you’re starting a career, and you want to get ahead and make money. But in all likelihood,

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Refi or Not?

Richard Connor  |  August 10, 2020

MY WIFE AND I bought our first home in the mid-1980s. We were thrilled to get an 8% mortgage, though we had to pay three points—an upfront fee equal to 3% of the loan amount—to get that rate. Many of our friends had bought a few years earlier and were paying 14%, a common occurrence back then, according to Freddie Mac data.
We kept our eyes open for opportunities to refinance our high rate.

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Minimizing Regret

Adam M. Grossman  |  August 9, 2020

LAST WEEK, I learned the disappointing news that our next-door neighbors—possibly the nicest people in the world—have put their house on the market.
While I’m sorry to see them go, I understand their decision. With a growing family, they’re looking for more room. During the pandemic, in fact, many people are making changes of one sort or another. Will they be happy with their choices?
That brings me to a new project, developed by author Daniel Pink,

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Risking My Life

Jonathan Clements  |  August 8, 2020

THREE WEEKS AGO, I wrote about my plan for generating retirement income, including my intention to make a series of immediate fixed annuity purchases. Immediate annuities are a profoundly unpopular product, so I was surprised when the article generated a slew of questions from readers.
Perhaps that interest reflects today’s miserably low bond yields, which have left immediate annuities as one of the few ways to generate a safe and sizable income stream. Intrigued?

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Trust but Verify

Dennis Friedman  |  August 7, 2020

WHEN I WAS in my 20s, I joined a large aerospace company. It was my first job out of college. I was an employee who thought all my colleagues were team players working toward the best interest of the company.
Back then, I’d never heard of the term “office politics.” But Ron, my boss, took it to a whole new level. He was an expert at manipulating people.
Ron joined the company a year after I did.

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Raw Deal

Mike Zaccardi  |  August 6, 2020

THE MID-2000s were my introduction to the investment world—and even today my thinking is heavily influenced by what was happening then.
Take a moment to recall the 2004-07 period. Stock prices were marching higher, foreign shares were crushing U.S. stocks, small caps were doing all right and you could get a decent interest rate on your savings account. Good times. Another feature of the mid-2000s market: a big bull run in commodities.
Back then,

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About That 4%

Richard Quinn  |  August 5, 2020

IT’S SCARY TO RETIRE with a pool of money, knowing how you handle it determines your financial security for the next 25 years or so. It must seem even scarier to everyday Americans who don’t think they can count on Social Security.
A recent Tweet caught my eye. It linked to an article about the problems with the so-called 4% rule. As you might recall, the 4% rule states that, if you withdraw 4% of your portfolio’s value in the first year of retirement and thereafter step up the dollar amount withdrawn with inflation,

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Working the Numbers

Richard Connor  |  August 4, 2020

THIS YEAR’S TAX DAY was the strangest I can remember. Amid the pandemic, the filing deadline had been pushed back to July 15, three months later than usual. And for me, it was our most complicated tax year ever. I had both retirement income and income from various in-state and out-of-state consulting gigs.
But the biggest complication stemmed from last year’s sale of our second home. This was a vacation home that we rented part-time and also used ourselves.

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Don’t Be That Person

Adam M. Grossman  |  August 2, 2020

THE TRICKY THING about investing is that there’s no single “right” approach. In an earlier article, I described the approach I favor—what I call the five minds of the investor, which involves being part optimist, pessimist, analyst, economist and psychologist.
But there are many other ways to be successful: You might invest in real estate, or follow a quantitative investment strategy, or invest in private companies. There are plenty of people who do very well with these approaches.

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Take the Low Road

Jonathan Clements  |  August 1, 2020

“BUYING THE DIP.” It’s a phrase often uttered with contempt by Wall Street strategists and money managers, who look down their nose at everyday investors who instinctively shovel more money into stocks simply because share prices have fallen.
Commentators “caution against” it, dismiss it as “not an investment strategy,” predict it’s going to “die,” argue it could get “very, very nasty” and contend that—when everyday investors buy on dips—it’s a “contrarian signal.” And I got all that based on a quick internet search.

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Needing to Know

William Ehart  |  July 31, 2020

YEARS AGO, when the kids were teenagers, single Dad here was cooking dinner. You guessed it, hot dogs.
I skillfully picked one up from the hot pan with my fingers and tossed it in a bun.
When my daughter began to imitate me, I nearly shrieked. She lacked my years of experience in gauging exactly how hot the sides of the dog would be, how far from the splattering grease I needed to position my fingers,

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No Vacation

Dennis Friedman  |  July 30, 2020

I SOLD MY CONDO last month and the first thing I wanted to do was celebrate. It was such a relief to get rid of it, because owning a second home requires spending precious time maintaining it. At age 69, I can think of better ways to spend my time than looking after a vacation home.
At first, I was reluctant to put the condo up for sale. I had lived there for more than three decades.

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Just Another Day

Jonathan Clements  |  July 29, 2020

WELCOME TO OUR new daily market report, which we’re going to run exactly once, which is probably once too many. In market action yesterday, stock prices fluctuated—a development that shocked market observers who noted they hadn’t seen anything like that since the day before.
“If we can stay above the psychologically important 3,200 barrier, that’ll create an important support level that could build a base for a new bull market,” opined market strategist Ross Nodamus,

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Cooking Up a Story

Mike Zaccardi  |  July 28, 2020

I’VE PREPARED countless meals over the past few months—a result of COVID-19, which continues to have a big impact on daily life, especially here in Florida. Still, I’ve come to enjoy cooking and eating at home has saved me a ton of money.
But not all coronavirus habits have been good for our financial health. That brings me to the (supposed) rise of the Robinhood trader. By now, we’ve all seen the headlines and read the stories.

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