In the first part of this series, I wanted to test the claim that dollar cost averaging (DCA) was an effective strategy for protecting your investments. Too often I’ve heard claims against investing within the media saying that if you had bought stocks (particularly) during “The Lost Decade” between 2000 and 2010, then you would have had a -23% return on your money. After crunching the numbers, we determined that dollar cost averaging would have beat a static investment in the S&P 500 and returned a -6.8% return instead of a -23%. That’s great, but who wants a negative return?! Why didn’t we just hide our money under the mattress and do nothing? Unfortunately, that may be true. But remember that when it comes to investing: Defense … [Read more...] about Would Dollar Cost Averaging and Bonds Have Saved You From “The Lost Decade”?
From time to time when I get my 401k statement, there is a small newsletter mixed in with my financial statement. It usually presents some very introductory information about retirement, investments, etc. In this issue one of the topics was dollar-cost averaging. For those of you who don’t know, dollar cost averaging (DCA) is a strategy where you invest the same amount time after time. During the good times when shares are higher, you buy fewer shares. During the rough times when shares are lower, you buy more shares. This strategy prevents you from buying at the wrong time and over-spending or under-spending on your investments by “averaging” your price over time among these periodic investments. Sound familiar? That’s exactly what … [Read more...] about Would Dollar Cost Averaging Have Saved You From “The Lost Decade”?
What would be the point of a blog if we didn’t explore an idea that may be slightly controversial? Anyone who reads this blog knows that my quest for financial freedom heavily relies upon disciplined saving and planning for retirement. Like many people, I am using my employer-sponsored retirement plans, IRA’s, and personal savings to build up a fortune that I can one day live off of. All of that is fine and good in theory, but what if everything I just said was ALL WRONG! What if all the money I’m saving will one day be worthless? It sounds crazy, that’s exactly what one famous author is promoting in one of his new books. … [Read more...] about Are We Fools for Saving Our Money?
Yea! I got my income taxes done. Any day now I should be expecting both my Federal and State return to direct deposit into my bank account. I’m not getting back as much this year as I had hoped, but it will still be quite a handsome amount. Just like back-to-school signs and Christmas decorations, you can almost pin-point the time from December on when a swarm of tax-filing hysteria starts to show up in our lives. But among the tax software and lists of documents we’re told to dig out of our file cabinets, financial advisors also like to argue one age-old debate: • Should you wait to get your big tax refund check or take it throughout the year? … [Read more...] about The Now or Later Tax Refund
At many times throughout this series and especially in Part 2, I told you not to worry just yet about your individual credit card purchases and to treat them all as one “big category”. The reason I did this is because I didn’t want our lesson to get hung up on analyzing credit card purchases to death. You have a lot of other bills besides a credit card, and most of them are fixed each month. As we’ve already shown, knowing what you’re going to spend each month versus what you’re going to take in is extremely helpful in creating a budget. But in no way does this mean that we should ignore your credit card purchases. In fact, hitting the credit card category is the first place I usually look to cut my spending and re-direct the money … [Read more...] about How to Budget – Making It Easy with Mint
Time to test the gold in fire. Earlier I told you that a well designed budget would be the key to money management and staying within your means. This is still true. If you’ve created something that is tailored for you, meets your goals, and is comfortable enough for you to live with, then you should do well. All of this would be great if “you” were the only person this budget was for. The problem is that it’s not just “you”. A budget is usually for you, your spouse, and your family. Although that doesn’t sound like a lot, there’s a lot going on inside that group. Just like how a company sets a budget, each department will likely have competing goals and agendas. Similarly, sometimes each person in the family feels differently about … [Read more...] about How to Budget – Step 7 – Sticking to the Plan!
So after Step 5, does your budget meet our goals? Did you make adjustments and sacrifices? Do you have a positive balance for each month throughout the year? Is less money going out than is coming in? If so, then you are ready to move on to adding in your investment goals. Notice we didn’t do this in any of the previous steps. This is because you have get your business in order before you can start getting advanced with your budget - You have to walk before you can run. After we’re meeting our basic set of goals, let’s start digging a little deeper and adding in our investment goals. … [Read more...] about How to Budget – Step 6 – Adding In Your Investment Goals
Every great budget follows one simple formula: • [ Money In > Money Out ] = Good Or in other words … • [ Money In – Money Out > $0 ] = Good Basically you’ve got to have more money “coming in” than “going out”. Any other way is just a recipe for disaster! Don’t under-estimate how incredibly powerful this equation is. Everyday, people make the mistake of buying things on credit that they can’t afford or taking on payments when their income simply can’t sustain it. It’s simple physics that you can never have more going out than coming in. … [Read more...] about How to Budget – Step 5 – Apply the Formula for Success