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financial planning

The Walls of Babylon: The Richest Man in Babylon, Pt. 6 of 9

Sixth installment of the lessons found in The Richest Man in Babylon, George S. Clason’s seminal book. The lesson from this chapter is primarily about safety.

The Gold Lender of Babylon – The Richest Man in Babylon, Pt. 5 of 9

Fifth installment of the lessons from The Richest Man in Babylon – entitled the Gold Lender of Babylon, featuring lessons about lending money.

The Five Laws of Gold: The Richest Man in Babylon, Part 4 of 9

The fourth installment in review of the lessons found in The Richest Man in Babylon. This lesson is all about the five laws of gold.

Meet the Goddess of Good Luck: The Richest Man in Babylon, Pt. 3 of 9

This is the third in a series of articles reviewing the lessons found in the definitive classic, The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason. If you’d like to start at the very beginning (a very good place to start!) – you can find the first article here. Meet the Goddess of Good Luck In this chapter, Arkad is asked by a student about how to attract good luck. It is noted that people may work side-by-side with one another, and one may have good luck while another does not. The students are questioned about times when they had experienced good fortune to perhaps find out the way that good luck came upon them. One student found a wallet full of money – but could not reckon how to continue finding more wallets. Another noted that Arkad himself had been seen at the horse races, betting on the grays. […]

Seven Cures for a Lean Purse – The Richest Man in Babylon, Pt. 2 of 9

The second in a series on the lessons to be learned from The Richest Man in Babylon. This article covers the Seven Cures for a Lean Purse.

The Richest Man in Babylon: Pt. 1 of 9

I’m re-re-reading a classic, George S. Clason’s The Richest Man in Babylon. As a result, I’ve decided to re-do and refresh my review of the lessons in the book (last updated in 2009) – not a book review, mind you, but going through each of the lessons in the book in its entirety. There are nine parts to my review, and I’ll be releasing a new part every week over the coming 8 weeks. What’s very interesting about this book is that the lessons aren’t anything new. Perhaps it’s fanciful to assume that these very conversations were being had in ancient Babylon, but the basic lessons have been around for ages and they still apply! Yes, there may be new tax legislation all the time, and from time to time a groundbreaking product may take the stage, but all in all the way to gather and maintain wealth is unchanged […]

Bonds and Bond Funds

Do you know the differences and benefits between investing in individual bonds or bond funds? This article may help you better understand it.

The Formula for Success

The formula for success isn’t rocket surgery – but applying it can be tough. There are ways to make it work for you, as it has for so many!

Year-End Planning

As the year comes to an end there are some things you may want to consider before 2021 arrives in just a few weeks. Increase your retirement savings. The maximum amounts allowed to 401k and IRA retirement plans remains unchanged for 2021 at $19,500 ($26,000 if over 50) and $6,000 ($7,000 if over 50) respectively. Consider saving as a percentage versus a dollar amount. Some 401k plans allow you to increase your percentage savings automatically every year. Replenish your emergency fund if necessary. Three to six months of living expenses is a good idea. If you found yourself using more during the pandemic, consider an emergency fund of six to nine months. Consider lowering your debt. Reducing and eliminating debt could mean making extra payments on your mortgage or vehicles. It may also necessitate refinancing your mortgage. With current rates as low as they are, it may be wise to […]

Post-Death Options for Directing a Retirement Plan to a Spouse

There are a few post-death options that you might be able to use to direct a retirement plan to a surviving spouse.

Just Starting Out – Resources to Help With Money Stuff

Resources for money “stuff” when you’re just starting out, fresh out of college. Includes blogs, podcasts, and video-logs.

Why Most People Are So Bad At Stock Picking (and what does Howie Mandel have to do with it?)

Comparison of the old game show “Deal or No Deal” to stock picking strategies, and why contestants and stock pickers lose more often than not.

What Can a Broker Do For You?

You have choices when it comes to investing. You can go directly to a mutual fund company (such as Vanguard or T. Rowe Price) and choose investments yourself, or you can use a fee-only financial advisor to assist you in choosing investments. One of the most common methods is to work with a broker. Brokers are companies like Edward Jones, plus many, many other companies, including insurance company brokerage divisions, banks, and the like. What’s the Difference? You’re probably wondering – what’s the difference between a broker and, for example, a fee-only advisor? You’re right to be confused, because until you start working with one or the other and you know what the difference is, they look pretty much the same from the outside. Here’s the difference: Brokers are salesmen. It is their job to sell you an investment product, and that’s how the broker gets paid. They are required […]

Have Confidence – In Good Times and Bad

Note: this is a re-working of a note I received in email some time ago… it’s not necessarily about money or investing, but rather success in all things. It is particularly applicable to financial matters, I think, as it is critical to maintain confidence in your plans, both in prosperity and adversity. Confidence is one of your most important success ingredients. With it, you can achieve most anything. Without it, there is no psychological pill that can make you succeed. Faith is the ability to believe even when you have no reason to. Faith is necessary sometimes to move forward and do something you don’t know if you can do, or when the world around you is telling you that you cannot. This is also when a trusted guide can be useful to help you figure out what is valid and what is not. Experience gives you the proof you […]

Facing the Possibility of Incapacity

Odds are significant that you may face incapacity at some point in your life. It’s a good idea to get your ducks in a row early on to address problems.

Make the Most of the Gift of Time

Time. It’s the one commodity many of us don’t value until we realize it’s running out. Some choose to squander this precious resource, while others spend it doing trivial things – those which don’t improve our lives or the lives around us. Few of us make the most of it. In the last few months we’ve witnessed unprecedented times with regards to the events changing our realities forever. The communities we live in have slowed down or have come to a screeching halt, yet the people that inhabit them don’t have to. Many of us are homebound – waiting for the curve to flatten and the biological concerns to run their course. We have a choice to make. We can either sit idle – and let time and life pass us by – or we can be grateful for this gift and make the most of it. Choose to make […]

Financial Recordkeeping – How Long Do I Keep This??

How organized is your recordkeeping? Do you have any idea how long you should hold onto some of those documents? This article should help.

Noise

Every day we are bombarded with information. It can be difficult to wade through this sea of data and pick out the material that means anything to us. Of course, it doesn’t help that the existence of 24-hour news channels, social media outlets, and the scuttlebutt around the water cooler make it difficult to avoid. So how do we filter all the noise and get only the information we really need? I’ll offer a few suggestions that have worked for me. Perhaps they can help you. Turn off the news. This was one of the biggest mood lifters and time savers that helped me. I made this decision about 4 months ago and decided to make a conscious effort to not watch the morning and evening news. I also cancelled my newspaper subscription (it wasn’t that great anyway). Consider reducing or elimination your social media usage. This can be hard […]

Sometimes the Obvious Choice Isn’t Optimal

Situations arise where it seems like the law was written in our favor. Tax laws change, retirement accounts have their tax advantages, and the best intentions get us excited to take action. However, it may not always make the most sense to do what seems to be the best or most obvious thing. There are times we can stop, think, and see if the most obvious choice is the best decision for our situation. For example, the tax law allows an individual with company stock in their 401(k) to take advantage of Net Unrealized Appreciation in their retirement account. To understand what NUA is, please see our previous articles and posts. In a nutshell, by keeping employer stock in the account until retirement and taking advantage of NUA, the tax law allows significant tax savings on the appreciation of the stock in a 401(k). However, just because it makes the […]

Stressful Events

At times in our lives, we may be faced with sudden events, occurrences, or outcomes that we never expected to happen. Such events may cause us to react, even overreact out of emotion rather than taking time to think things through. Granted, this is easier said than done. The death of a loved one can take a huge emotional toll on us. Aside from coping with our loss, there’s the additional stress of taking care of things after the death. Wills, trusts, property transfers, and retirement accounts all need to be handled. Divorce is also a stressful event. Deciding on property division, living arrangements, parenting time, and legal aspects all take their toll. Feelings of fear, anger, sadness, and resignation can linger for a long time. Losing a job also adds stress to our lives. Our minds may reel with the sudden loss of income, what we’re going to do […]