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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.

When is it worth remodeling a home?

"As others have stated, when viewed from a strictly financial perspective, it almost never pays off. But, occasionally it does. When we were selling my husband's bachelor pad condo, the neighborhood had gentrified and yuppies were snatching up snazzy condos. But non-improved units fetched a much lower price because yuppies didn't want to do the work themselves. The kitchen in the condo was from the 80s, and cheaply done. Also it was small. It was so small that we didn't have to spend a lot on materials; even good cabinets and granite don't add up to much in a 10 x 7 space. We found a good contractor to install the cabinets and a few new appliances and gained about $50,000 on the sale. Bottom line: it pays to evaluate the financials in each case."
- Jackie
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Which financial markets are in a bubble, if any?

"Ask me this question in 10 years. We see bubbles in the rearview mirror."
- Kurt S
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What are the smartest financial moves you’ve ever made?

"I have been fortunate to make many great moves and learn from my mistakes. The best? As long as Congress doesn't change the rules in the middle of the game, funding a Roth IRA and aggressively investing in some huge winning stocks."
- Kurt S
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What’s the best place to stash money you’ll spend in the next few years?

"I’ll need a bit more than my pension to cover living expenses for three years, until I’m ready to claim Social Security. I’m stashing that money in laddered CDs, which I’ll cash quarterly. I’ll sell some bond funds to buy a flat in a retirement community, once I’ve decided which of the options I’m considering will suit me best."
- Ginger Williams
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What’s your favorite actively managed fund—if any?

"As a former member of the board of the Sequoia Fund, I am less than objective on the question of ‘what is your favorite mutual fund.’. Nonetheless, Sequoia it is. During the two-three years prior to 2016, the fund built up a outsized position in Valeant—it may have been 30% of the fund—and after making manager changes, the position was sold in the 2nd quarter of 2016. Today the five member investment committee adheres to a diversified approach—the fund holds around twenty-five positions—and holds steady to a philosophy of buying advantaged businesses that can be expected to have nice increases in intrinsic value over the years. Investment results since changes were put in place 2nd quarter of 2016 are returns slightly ahead of the S&P 500. This performance should continue for a long time."
- Tim Medley
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What’s the best strategy for getting a good deal on a car?

"Used is the best way to go but that can take time and you do run some risks of issues even if you are mechanically inclined. I think if you must go new, the key is patience and narrow your choices down to a couple of models otherwise understanding what is a good value becomes hard to easily determine in your head. We just got what I consider a pretty good deal on a new Toyota CHR, I was against the idea but when my wife started talking about and using the word Lexus, I moved fast :) We by chance found a decent salesman told him what we wanted and he called us about 2 weeks ago when he had it. The price was less than some of the cars they had on the lot of the same model that were 2-3 years old. They took almost 22% off MSRP then added half back on fees. Not sure you can negotiate well on the fees or not. We showed up 30 minutes before closing and they had to curb the extra sales. If it was for me I might have tried to get better deal or waited till pandemic was over, which I guess is straight good advice but my wife felt she needed a car , she had enough of the 2008 mini van."
- rayanmiller6303
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Which financial tasks do you keep putting off?

"Consolidating multipleTraditional IRAs/Roth IRAs/old 401(k)s from pat road-stops on my life journey with one custodian and better leveraging index funds instead of multiple actively managed funds contained in my retirement portfolio currently."
- Newsboy
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What’s your No. 1 goal for retirement?

"Work consistently on my health ... without it none of the other things (travel,golf,hobbies etc) are enjoyable"
- George Counihan
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What’s the best way to teach children about money?

"One of our "go-to" strategies was to install "Quicken" on our kids laptops before they left for college and setup automated downloads of checking account expenditures from their bank. Mint (free online tool also owned by Quicken) offers comparable functionality. Playing good defense (i.e. tracking their consumption habits and budgeting) is just as important as playing offense (Saving and investing) in the early years of a young adult's journey into the workforce. Plus, and having them open Roth IRAs, with a parent match of their $50/month contributions - but match only comes at the END of the full year."
- Newsboy
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Is it okay not to leave a tip at a full-service restaurant?

"Some servers are so good that you want to tip them well. Then there are those with "attitudes" and they deserve nothing since they are clueless about how the system works. It still kills me that you can find bubbly older ladies busting their butts in cafes/diners where prices are so low that even a 25% tip is chump change, but you can go to a pricey steakhouse and get some snarky young guy/gal who is pissed because you don't want an appetizer or alcohol to juice up the tab for a bigger tip. And it is the pricey steakhouse that has a busboy or server trainee deliver the food and they ask "who gets the Filet rare?", etc."
- Chazooo
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Should you prepay a mortgage?

"For those on the cusp of retirement, it seems like a good idea if you have plenty of near-cash reserves to tide you over in event of a market crash. The stock market is sky high. It might be good to harvest some of the gains and decrease required monthly cash outlay. I am about to retire with decent savings, but without a meaningful pension. I am only 60, and don't plan to collect SS until 70. As I get ready to switch from saving to spending, the importance of income and cashflow is coming into sharp focus. I haven't paid the mortgage off yet because I am unsure of which type of account to take it from - retirement or non-retirement, if retirement Roth or 401K? I am trying to catch up on my financial literacy and figure it out before the market crashes. Thanks Jonathan for this site - its an awesome resource!"
- Jackie
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What spending brings you greatest happiness?

"Donating both time and treasure to education initiatives that support financial literacy among our youth. A form of "paying it forward", if you will. A recently call from a young adult offering thanks for mentoring them during their high school years in this area felt like winning the lotto!"
- Newsboy
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