Saving Through the Ages

Saving through the ages

Matthew Amster-Burton

Reputable financial advisors, websites and your mom say to save for retirement, college, a down payment for a home and emergencies. A typical response might be, “Yeah, but how much?” and “When?” Libraries of books have been written on this subject. The implication is that determining your proper savings rate involves solving differential equations, brushing up… Read More


Is the Fed Really “Stealing from Savers”?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Geoff Considine

In a recent article on MarketWatch, Chris Martenson asserts that the Fed’s low interest rate policy and quantitative easing in recent years is deliberately stealing from savers. This article has elicited a big response, with almost 800 comments and almost 2000 likes on Facebook. The key point of the article is that the Fed’s policy… Read More


Are My Investment Decisions Tax Efficient?

Close up Business background

Geoff Considine

This is the eighth installment in our series on how individual investors can assess their financial health With investment gains, as with other types of income, it’s not how much you make that ultimately matters, but how much you keep.   In other words, you only get to spend what’s left after you pay taxes. There… Read More


How Much am I Paying in Investment Expenses?

Abstract Business Tip of the Dollar Iceberg.

Geoff Considine

This is the seventh installment in our series on how individual investors can assess their financial health. In my experience, I’ve found that many people have no idea how much they’re paying for the privilege of investing. And survey data supports my observations. Ignorance is not bliss. Analysis of investment expenses suggests that many people… Read More


Am I Better Off Investing or Paying Down Debt?

paying-bills

Geoff Considine

This is the fourth installment in our series on how individual investors can assess their financial health. A common dilemma in personal finance is whether to use funds to pay down debt faster or to invest more. The question crops up in various forms: Should I pay off all credit card debt or make smaller… Read More


Am I Saving Enough to Reach My Goals?

Businessman using tablet computer

Geoff Considine

This is the second installment in our series on how individual investors can assess their financial health. The starting point for any discussion of a household’s financial health is to evaluate current savings and savings rates in the context of financial goals.  The three largest expenses that most families will face are buying a home,… Read More


How Am I Doing? An 8-Point Financial Checklist

investment-performance

Geoff Considine

A question that nags at many people is whether they are on track financially.  Even an average financial life can seem remarkably complex.  How does anyone know whether he or she is doing the right things?  A range of studies on how people manage their money suggests that many, if not the majority, are making… Read More


Different Perspectives on Home Ownership

Geoff Considine

The question of whether to buy or rent a home is of enormous economic significance for most families. Home equity represents the vast majority of American families’ net worth (see chart below). In a post in mid-2011, I discussed some of the major economic variables in the decision to buy a home. My conclusion was… Read More


Economic Inequality

Geoff Considine

Income inequality is increasingly acknowledged as a key economic issue for the world.  The topic is a major theme at Davos this year.  Economic inequality is also an increasingly common topic in U.S. politics. A new study has found that economic mobility does not appear to have changed appreciably over the past thirty years, even… Read More


Planning for College Costs, Part II

Geoff Considine

In part 1 of this article, I explored how you can estimate how much college will cost and how much you need to save, going forward, to accumulate enough savings to cover the amount that you plan to contribute towards your child’s college costs.  One of the major variables in this calculation is what you… Read More