Share Your Wisdom

HERE’S YOUR CHANCE to help others with your financial insights. To comment, log on using your username and password from Disqus, Facebook, Google (Gmail), Twitter or WordPress. For more on how to comment, click here. And please come back often. We’ll be regularly updating the list of questions.

Is rental real estate a good investment?

"Yes I think residential property investments can be great - I did a small development and built two duplexes, and they are cash flow neutral and become more positive over time as the property appreciates in price and rent, and I pay the loans down. Definitely something to consider for a long term investor if you have a consistent income and risk tolerance and can manage the upkeep and also have a sensible LVR loan"
- Captain FI
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What’s the best financial book you’ve ever read?

"The Big Short by Michael Lewis. Also, any other book by Michael Lewis."
- Ken Begley
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If you couldn’t buy index funds, how would you invest?

"The very largest companies are in many ways their own "index" fund. For example, Pepsi makes all kinds of food and beverage, but of course they also have real estate, run factories, and even have a transportation company. Berkshire Hathaway is of course famous for being a curated "index" of well-run durable goods companies, energy companies, financial companies, transportation, real estate, food, et al. Exxon Mobil is a vertically integrated international conglomerate in energy, chemicals, manufacturing, real estate, ad infinitum."
- Steve Spinella
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When does it make sense to buy a home?

"When you are debt free and have 3-6 months of emergency funds in the bank."
- Jeff Amick
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Which banks, brokerage firms and other financial companies would you recommend to friends?

"I use Charles Schwab for all my investments except my HSA, which HSA is at Fidelity. I use Affinity Federal Credit Union for my transactional accounts. Why split them? Schwab does not have an HSA, but it is a core product at Fidelity. Why not use Fidelity for everything? They have separate platforms for the HSA, 401K and investments. While it is not clear trying to move funds between them, or find an overall view is difficult. at Fidelity, easy at Schwab All have great service and products that meet my needs at a low price."
- Mark Eckman
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What should investors do about the possibility of higher interest rates?

"I hold 15% of my fixed income in four- and eight-week T-Bills. The remainder is in an intermediate-term treasury index fund. I think the large allocation to cash equivalents in this higher yield environment isn't terrible and will give me some protection if interest rates go higher. Cash does reasonably well in a rising interest rate environment. And rates may indeed rise. The future is absolutely unknowable."
- Brian Kelly
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What everyday purchase do you consider a bargain?

"Services provided by local country recreation centers (pool, gym, classes, etc.). Sometimes free/discounted for seniors. And during the daytime - not busy at all."
- AnthonyClan
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Should children be paid for doing chores?

"Yes and no. There is the "belonging to the team (family)" aspect of chores that reflects pulling your weight and contributing to the team's purpose, survival, etc. And then there is the financial life lesson of working hard, doing a good job, and being rewarded for your efforts. Both are critical to a child's upbringing."
- Rob Thompson
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Should investors own alternative investments—and, if so, which ones?

"I am not a fan. I could see investing in a REITs fund again but I’m not sure that qualifies now that REITs are in the S&P 500. Yeah, gold investors look like geniuses now, and I used to have a gold mining company ETF years ago. But I’m not buying back in now having missed the recent move. I think the question is what you can reasonably expect the returns to be. I have a high risk tolerance so I can hold on when stocks fall and much of the rest of my portfolio is in short Treasurys and money markets and CDs, which will not lose value. So I don’t see the need for assets just to smooth out volatility or go up when stocks go down if their long term return potential is less than stocks."
- billehart
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What are the smartest financial moves you’ve ever made?

"Quit trying to time the market."
- Ken Begley
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What are your top financial worries?

"One big worry. The stability of the U.S. with all this fighting and deficit spending by both Republicans (I am one) and Democrats. If we collapse into in-fighting then the only thing to invest in is gold bricks and shotguns."
- Ken Begley
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What popular financial advice do you ignore?

"Keep a record of your expenses and budget. I always save at least 10% of my income. Usually much more than that, maxing my company's 457 plan and funding a traditional IRA also (we need the tax break). It doesn't matter how I choose to spend my money if I see my savings increase each month."
- Dominique Simonian
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