A Well-Placed Bet

Kristine Hayes  |  Aug 5, 2021

THREE YEARS AGO, I bought a home a few weeks before getting married. The purchase wasn’t so much an investment as a necessity: My new husband and I owned four dogs between us, and we knew we’d have a difficult time finding a rental that would allow that many pets.
I’d lived in the Portland, Oregon, metro area for nearly 30 years and had owned two other homes. I knew which neighborhoods to avoid,

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Not Buying It

Sonja Haggert  |  Aug 5, 2021

I’VE BEEN READING UP on stock buybacks because I want to know how they’ll impact my investments. As best I can gather, there are two schools of thought: Those who love them—and those who hate them.
Those who love them point to the reduction in the number of shares, which means the value of those that remain should increase. Earnings per share (EPS) is net income divided by the number of shares, and EPS increases when shares decrease.

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Did I Say That?

John Goodell  |  Aug 4, 2021

THE MOST FAMOUS market-timing (mis)statement may be that of Irving Fisher, who—as a result—ultimately suffered a fate similar to that of President Herbert Hoover. Both men are inextricably linked to the Great Depression, despite a lifetime of achievement and their positive work to improve the lives of humans everywhere. Fisher, whose theories on capital, interest rates and lifecycle investing are still relied on by economists today, will likely continue to be remembered for his statement nine days before the 1929 market crash that,

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Buying Everything

Dennis Friedman  |  Aug 4, 2021

IN A FEW YEARS, my wife and I will have additional income, thanks to both Social Security benefits and required minimum distributions from our IRAs. Our thought: Any money we don’t spend from these two income streams we’ll invest for the long term. We wanted to keep this money separate from our other investments, so we opened a new joint brokerage account at Vanguard Group.
We decided to invest our extra cash in the Vanguard Total World Stock ETF (symbol: VT).

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What’s Your Number?

Ben Rodriguez  |  Aug 3, 2021

MY WIFE AND I are aiming to retire in 10 or 15 years. With the Dow Jones Industrial Average close to 35,000, I can’t help but wonder: At what level for the Dow can we retire?
Yes, I know the Dow is a terrible index. But it’s also the one that’s most commonly mentioned in the media. I’ve followed it for most of my life, so I’m much more emotionally tied to it than the S&P 500 or any other index.

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Unexpected Bonus

Mike Zaccardi  |  Aug 3, 2021

FRUGALITY GETS A BAD rap these days. It seems today’s standard advice is to “go ahead and buy your darn daily latte.” Instead, we’re told to worry about bigger financial issues.
That’s probably good advice. Small purchases here and there will likely boost our mood, while clipping coupons probably won’t move the net worth needle. Still, I’ve adopted a cheapskate practice that can be lucrative: brokerage firm retention bonuses.
To snag these bonuses, you typically need a sizable IRA or taxable account.

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Summer Relief

Sanjib Saha  |  Aug 2, 2021

LIVING IN THE PACIFIC Northwest, my favorite time of year is summer. I love the extra daylight and relief from the nagging rain. In recent years, there’s been an additional reason to look forward to summer: I get to see my paycheck again.
Some background: A few years ago, in an online investment forum, another participant—I’ll call him Dave—gave me a tip for early retirement. He suggested that I practice living off my investment portfolio even while working.

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Personal Touch

Andrew Forsythe  |  Aug 2, 2021

I’M 69 YEARS OLD and so have spent most of my life dealing with people—and businesses—in person. That said, I’ve loved and greatly benefited from the internet revolution and appreciate its marvels in a way that only a person who lived in the “before” period can. I’ve been thinking a lot about this recently, and about how important it is—or isn’t—to have face-to-face relationships with the people I do business with.
For many years,

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Save First

Richard Quinn  |  Aug 1, 2021

IT’S A TOPIC WHERE I always seem to be in the minority. The controversy: Should you save first and then spend what remains—or, instead, prepare a budget which then determines how much you can “afford” to save?

Budgets are scary and stressful. Go ahead, make a budget if you like. But if you conclude that you can’t afford to save, there’s no progress in that.

A Northwestern Mutual survey found that 49% of U.S.

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Submerging Markets

Mike Zaccardi  |  Aug 1, 2021

JULY WAS ANOTHER positive month for U.S. stocks, which gained 1.7%. But overseas markets were down 1.4%, with emerging markets faring even worse, tumbling 5.9%.
Last week, the Chinese government clamped down on its education and technology industries, sparking a sharp selloff. The return of Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (symbol: VWO), which is 40% Chinese stocks, briefly turned negative for the year, while U.S. stocks continue to sport year-to-date gains of more than 15%.

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Looking Further

John Lim  |  Aug 1, 2021

IN MID-MARCH 2020, a friend and I were anxiously discussing the financial ramifications of the evolving pandemic. I posited the following question to him: Suppose the stock exchanges announced that they’d be shutting down for six months, starting the day after tomorrow. What do you think would happen to the stock market on its final trading day before closing?
Answering my own rhetorical question, I said it wouldn’t surprise me if markets paradoxically staged a huge rally—upward of 20%—the day before shutting down.

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Cold Comfort

Jim Wasserman  |  Jul 31, 2021

IT HAD BEEN A WHILE since we’d last shopped for a refrigerator. There was a time when such an appliance merely kept things cold and, for me, fancy meant the fridge could deliver crushed ice for my iced tea.
But today, there are all kinds of features. French-door style. Sub-area climate controls. The big new thing: see-through doors so you can choose without staring into an open fridge—a favorite pastime of my youth on hot Texas days.

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Park Place

Richard Connor  |  Jul 31, 2021

OUR SOUTH JERSEY beach town transforms from empty to overrun during the summer. This past July 4th weekend was one of the busiest many of us had ever experienced. On these occasions, parking spaces go from a mass-produced commodity to the rarest of diamonds.
We had company for the weekend, so we had to park four cars instead of the usual three. Before the weekend, we grabbed a desirable spot in front of our house and vowed never to move it.

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Travels with Poppy

Kyle McIntosh  |  Jul 30, 2021

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,

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Lean Times Ahead?

Kristine Hayes  |  Jul 30, 2021

THE HEADLINE GRABBED my attention—because it seemed to speak to my situation: “Planning for Retirement: Women in Two-Income Households at Highest Risk.” The article suggested that women in their 50s in two-income households are at greater risk of being unable to maintain their preretirement standard of living when compared to single women and women in one-income households.
A big factor: Dual-income households tend to save a smaller percentage of their income compared with single-income households.

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