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Investing


  • Is your 401(k) keeping up with the Joneses? (38 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp. Would you like to know how much your friends or relatives have in their 401(k)s? Of course you would! And once you found out, you’d compare their balances to yours. After all, most of us want to know how we’re doing compared to everyone else — so we can endeavor to keep up or even do better. Call it “beating the Joneses.” Perhaps it’s a vestige…

  • Investing: Two ways to beat average returns (52 comments)

    This article is by staff writer William Cowie. If you are serious about your financial future, you’ve got to be serious about investing. Enough has been said about that, so I won’t belabor the point. But here’s a financial maxim that can’t be said enough… Financial success comes from doggedly investing over a long period of time and finding ways to: minimize risk so as not to lose what you have maximize earnings so as…

  • 9 reasons you may never retire (42 comments)

    This article is by staff writer William Cowie. My mom passed away a little less than a year ago. All her life she was the picture of health: She walked every day and ate super-healthy. The extended family dreaded going there, because they knew there would be no sugary goodies, only healthy (boring) eats. We used to joke and say she was so healthy they’d have to shoot her on the Day of Judgment ……

  • I was intimidated by investing, but here’s how I got started (32 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. The first time I felt the intimidating pressure of adult responsibility, I was three months out of college. It was my very first job interview, and I was wearing an old sweater and a pair of ill-fitted slacks, sweating. My would-be boss, the man sitting across from me, was only five or six years older than I was, which made me even more nervous. I’d never met…

  • Buying rental property: Sometimes getting rich means taking it slowly (51 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Holly Johnson. I have two second cousins who serve in the military — both brave young men I am proud to call my family. We don’t always talk much, though. The age gap can be a roadblock and those boys are always traveling around, serving overseas and living on bases in order to fulfill their military duties and finish school. Still, social media makes it easier than it used…

  • You can learn how to make money investing: Just do it! (40 comments)

    This article is by staff writer William Cowie. Several readers responded to our “Big Question” post by saying they’d like to see something about investing, and some elaborated that they’d like to see some advice for investing on a small scale. Small in scale obviously means different things to different people — but I’ll relate my experiences, for what it’s worth. My background is in finance and accounting. You’d think having 10 years of college, focusing…

  • Ask the readers: Whom do you turn to for money advice, humans or robots? (34 comments)

    This article is by staff writer April Dykman. My personal finance education began here at Get Rich Slowly. I went from owing more money than I had to being debt-free (although now I have a mortgage). And along the way, I learned about money on websites and blogs. I used Mint to get my spending aligned with my goals and to track debt repayment. I opened and started managing my husband’s and my Roth IRAs…

  • What to do during the “What’s Next?” stage of finance (43 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. When I first started writing for Get Rich Slowly, I’d just become interested in my finances. While I’ve always been frugal, I started to realize there was much more to personal finance than finding ways to save money. Here’s where I was, financially, at that time: I was rebuilding my recently depleted emergency fund. I had just started to earn more. I was working hard for my money,…

  • How close are you? (32 comments)

    This article is by staff writer William Cowie. A short while ago, our readers were asked (talking about your personal financial journey) “What is the next step?” J.D. offered an answer in his 2009 article: the third stage is… investing. Why? Why invest? In life, you can get income from only two sources: your work (in a job or business) your investments Most people start at No. 1 and work their way to No. 2. It’s what…

  • Act surprised: Your wedding ring is a terrible investment (95 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Holly Johnson. Divorce. It’s an unattractive yet common end to a relatively high percentage of marriages in the U.S. In fact, as many as 50 percent of American marriages end this way, often leaving catastrophic personal and financial consequences that linger for years. The division of assets. Alimony. Child Custody Issues. Who gets the Stuff? These are all things that must be dealt with during and after a divorce, whether…

  • The pursuit of passive income: Is it time to become a landlord? (53 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Holly Johnson. If you visit personal finance or investing blogs on a regular basis, you’ve probably read countless articles on the virtues of passive income. After all, many personal finance experts believe that passive income is the key to early retirement, financial independence, and permanent wealth. But, what exactly is it? A definition: Investopedia describes passive income as “earnings an individual derives from a rental property, limited partnership or other…

  • The new way to get rich slowly (84 comments)

    This article is by staff writer William Cowie. The face of getting rich slowly is changing right before our eyes, even as the status quo is failing. Before this year’s State of the Union address, the President’s media supporters, fretting about his low approval rating, fumed: “…never during his time in office has the state of the economy been better — yet rarely has he gotten such low marks from the public for his handling of it.”…

  • Best CD Rates | Certificate of Deposit (14 comments)

    Current Certificate of Deposit Rates A certificate of deposit (CD) is considered a time deposit because it is not a liquid asset that can be accessed on demand. Instead, the amounts deposited into a CD are expected to remain untouched for a specific period of time. (In general, the longer the term, the higher the interest rate for a CD.) Historically, interest rates for CDs have been higher than for high-yield online savings accounts, and…

  • Reader Stories: The Notebook (Part 2) (23 comments)

    Jim, a reader of our Facebook page, shared some of his personal finance journey in Facebook comments a while back. We reached out and asked him if he would elaborate so we could share his story with the Get Rich Slowly website readers. This is Part 2. Some reader stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks with all levels of financial…

  • How will the new Small Business Capital Act affect you? (18 comments)

    This article is by staff writer William Cowie. Amid the hubbub of stock-market activity last week, the House of Representatives quietly approved a new law giving Wall Street an exclusive monopoly on funding for smaller businesses – including even your little side hustle. Sponsored by Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.), it goes by the innocuous-sounding name of “H.R.3623 – Improving Access to Capital for Emerging Growth Companies Act.” (As with all U.S. legislation, you can find all the…

  • How you, too, can DRIP with cash! (27 comments)

    This article is by staff writer William Cowie. In my previous post, I listed three things you need to start investing. Number three was opportunities. Sometimes those opportunities are unique, one-off types of things; however, they can just as easily be something that’s always been out there but you just weren’t aware of them because you weren’t paying attention to investing. Let’s explore one of those little-known opportunities — one that’s legit, good, and yet often…

  • Professional investment advice (and why you should ignore it) (77 comments)

    This article is from J.D. Roth, who founded Get Rich Slowly in 2006. J.D. recently appeared on the Microblogger podcast, where he talked about taking control of his financial life, moving from debt to wealth. In January, I accompanied Kim to an appointment with Paul, her investment adviser from Edward Jones. Paul’s brother was my best friend in grade school and junior high, and we have many mutual friends. I sat and listened while Kim…

  • How to get started investing (33 comments)

    This article is by staff writer William Cowie. Confession time: Despite a financial and business education more comprehensive than most, I never invested. I grew up poor and just couldn’t wait for my first “serious” job and those big bucks. It was so bad, I decided to drop out of college in my senior year. “None of this ivory-tower crap is going to make me any more money,” I told everyone who would listen. Fortunately,…

  • The opportunity fund: How to be prepared for lucky breaks (32 comments)

    Note: This article is from J.D. Roth, who founded Get Rich Slowly in 2006. J.D.’s non-financial writing can be found at More Than Money, where he recently wrote about how to retire early. The first step on the road to financial freedom is to eliminate debt. The second is to save for emergencies. Your emergency fund acts as self-insurance, cushioning you from small disasters. Life is full of unexpected surprises, many of which cost money…

  • 8 investing ideas that avoid the stock market (36 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Jeff Rose, CFP. Be sure to check Jeff’s latest project Operation: #investNOW where he’s encouraging 1 million to start investing in themselves. Investing in the stock market requires resolve and a long-term vision. In fact, looking back over the last 14 years or so — a relatively short period of time — the stock market tested the resolve of many. The S&P 500 shed 46 percent from August 25, 2000,…

  • Too much emergency fund? Spend it (75 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Holly Johnson. Growing up, I learned all kinds of money lessons from my mother. An avid saver, she socked away every cent that she possibly could. She cut coupons, shopped at garage sales, and drove cars without heat or air conditioning. She even paid for our family piano with money she got from refunding (people often earned extra money sending in for small rebates in the ’80s), and paid…

  • How to handle a windfall (29 comments)

    Note: This article is from J.D. Roth, who founded Get Rich Slowly in 2006. J.D.’s non-financial writing can be found at More Than Money, where he recently wrote about the difference between moderators and abstainers. When my father died in 1995, he left behind a small life insurance policy that awarded each family member $5,000. It wasn’t much, but it was the best he could do based on the fact that he had cancer. He…

  • Your future … seriously (25 comments)

    This post is from staff writer William Cowie. The science fiction author Isaac Asimov, inspired by his visit to the New York World’s Fair back in 1964, wrote down some predictions of life 50 years hence. Fifty years from 1964 brings us to today, and the New York Times recently re-published the piece in honor of the occasion. What did Mr. Asimov foresee that came true? To me, his most impressive predictions were flat-screen televisions and…

  • The Sheep and the Wolves: Smart investing made simple (36 comments)

    Note: This article is from J.D. Roth, who founded Get Rich Slowly in 2006. J.D.’s non-financial writing can be found at More Than Money, where he recently wrote about winning the jackpot. Imagine that you’re a farmer. You live in a rural county where everybody raises sheep. The county’s farmers, on the whole, prosper. Their flocks tend to grow by 10 percent every year. Some years are better than others. In the best years, the…

  • How I kept saving even during a job loss (57 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. A few months ago, I wrote about a job loss. It was a first for me. To recap, a high-paying client let go of the majority of their freelancers, which included me. I felt rejected, but I quickly came to terms with it: It’s business. However, since I’d been focusing 90 percent of my work life on this client for the past couple years, I consequently lost…

  • What is market timing, and should you do it? (20 comments)

    This article is by staff writer William Cowie. In my previous post, a few commenters brought up the issue of market timing, generally taking me to task for appearing to advocate it. Market timing is a topic of much discussion, primarily in the world of stock investing. With this post, I hope to explain the issue and show how it applies to you, even if you never invest in a stock or mutual fund. What is…

  • Your investment traffic report for 2014 (27 comments)

    This article is by staff writer William Cowie. Visitors approaching Denver through the Rocky Mountains usually get a chuckle when they come through the last mountain pass and see these signs on flat stretches of highway: They’re there for a reason: Looks can be deceiving. Truckers, when they get to the easy-going, think the rough stuff is behind them and that they can finally relax. When they encounter the first sharp turn on the 7-percent grade,…

  • Develop your investing edge to become a better investor (26 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Sam, the Financial Samurai. The hedge fund community talks about the concept of “edge” all the time. In order to earn their exorbitant 2 percent/20 percent fees, such hedge fund managers need some type of edge over the average investor or else why would anybody bother to invest with them and pay such fees? Yet for all the hoopla over how great and prestigious the hedge fund industry is,…

  • The one-page guide to financial independence (71 comments)

    Note: This article is from J.D. Roth, who founded Get Rich Slowly in 2006. J.D.’s non-financial writing can be found at More Than Money. This year, I learned a lot about money. I think the biggest breakthrough I had in 2013 was to connect the ideas of personal and financial independence. I spent a week in Ecuador talking with folks about this subject, and then I spent a couple of months putting my thoughts onto…

  • Understanding the IPO process (17 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Sam. Sam spent 13 years working in Equities on Wall Street and discusses financial independence strategies on Financial Samurai. Sam is also the founder of the Yakezie Network, the largest personal finance blog network on the web. So you missed out on Twitter’s meteoric first-day rise because the stock gapped up to $45 from the initial public offering price of $26 and you couldn’t get in. With a market…

  • A primer on the most important economic metric (part 3) (22 comments)

    This is a guest post (part 3 in a 3-part series) by Sam, author of Financial Samurai, “How to Engineer Your Layoff,” and founder of the Yakezie Network. Part 1 is A primer on the most important economic metric and Part 2 is A primer on the most important economic metric (part 2). TREASURY YIELDS AND YOUR NET WORTH Feeling financially emboldened yet? The easiest way to track the 10-year Treasury yield is on Yahoo Finance. Now that you…

  • What you wouldn’t want to hear from your adviser (32 comments)

    This article is by contributor Jeff Rose, CFP. He blogs at Good Financial Cents. My role as a financial adviser sometimes feels like a fortune teller. (Get it?) I’m peering into the crystal ball of your finances while trying to take everything into consideration: how much you’ve saved for retirement, how long you have until retirement, how much debt you hold, and historical trends for your asset allocation. I’ve had the privilege of sitting down with countless…

  • A primer on the most important economic metric (part 2) (14 comments)

    This is a guest post (part 2 in a 3-part series) by Sam, author of Financial Samurai, “How to Engineer Your Layoff,” and founder of the Yakezie Network. Part 1 is A primer on the most important economic metric and Part 3 is A primer on the most important economic metric (part 3). We started to explore the 10-year Treasury yield in my first post earlier this month and looked at why it is such an important economic metric. In this…

  • What are savings for? (62 comments)

    Note: This article is from J.D. Roth, who founded Get Rich Slowly in 2006. J.D.’s non-financial writing can be found at More Than Money. Last week, I wrote about a conversation with my investment adviser. In the article, I mentioned that my current income roughly covers my current spending except that I’ve been spending an average of $2,000 per month on travel. Because of that spending deficit, I’ve been drawing down my medium-term savings, which…

  • A Meeting With My Financial Adviser (90 comments)

    Note: This article is from J.D. Roth, who founded Get Rich Slowly in 2006. J.D.’s non-financial writing can be found at More Than Money. Once every six months, whether I need to or not, I meet with my investment adviser from Fidelity. I’ve been doing this for five years, and have come to value the experience as truly educational. On Tuesday, for instance, my new adviser Michael talked me through some income planning. My financial…

  • A primer on the most important economic metric (63 comments)

    This is a guest post (part 1 in a 3-part series) by Sam, author of Financial Samurai, “How to Engineer Your Layoff,” and founder of the Yakezie Network. Part 2 is A primer on the most important economic metric (part 2) and Part 3 is A primer on the most important economic metric (part 3). Finance and investing don’t have to be complicated. Consistently buying low and selling high can make you rich beyond your wildest…

  • Investment Workout: 6 drills to cut the flab on a portfolio (15 comments)

    This guest post is from Andy Creak. Andy is the co-founder and director at the DIY investment platform rplan. He is passionate about helping self-investors make better financial decisions and turning the UK financial services industry on its head. As the years of my life go by, I’ve been putting more and more effort to stay in a good physical shape. During my recent 6 a.m. jog around the woods I had a light-bulb moment…

  • 5 ways to get over the money blues (25 comments)

    This article is by contributor Jeff Rose, CFP. He blogs at Good Financial Cents. In a surprising conversation with a client, I learned that he logs into his account online in the morning and again in the afternoon every single day. What makes this even more peculiar is that our online access gets updated once daily (in the morning) and reflects the previous day’s market close. So when he logs into his account for the…

  • How to avoid hiring a shady financial adviser (23 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Jeff Rose, CFP. How would you feel if the financial adviser you hired to take care of your investments had four previous instances of customers filing a complaint against them? What if they had been fired from two previous financial institutions? Hopefully it would give you the same sick feeling it gives me. How would you feel if you learned that you could have discovered all of this if…

  • Thoughts on Financial and Personal Independence (88 comments)

    Note: This article is from J.D. Roth, who founded Get Rich Slowly in 2006. After a year off, J.D. is once again writing here at GRS. His non-financial writing can still be found at More Than Money. ¡Saludos de Ecuador! For the past two weeks, I’ve been enjoying my third trip to that seldom-remembered continent, South America. I love this place, and love it more each time I visit. My past trips have been personal…

  • Top 10 High Interest CDs that can double your interest income (15 comments)

    This guest post is by Richard Barrington, CFA, senior financial analyst for MoneyRates.com. The latest cruel trick played on savers is that while mortgage rates have started to rise, bank deposit rates haven’t budged. If you want higher interest rates on your deposits, you’re going to have to do something about it yourself. According to the FDIC, five-year CD rates (certificates of deposit or CDs) are currently averaging just 0.75 percent nationally. Fortunately though, not…

  • Bernie Madoff was not alone (18 comments)

    Bernie Madoff, perpetrator of the most staggering case of investment fraud in U.S. history, is apparently not alone – and neither are his victims. According to a new FINRA Investor Education Foundation survey, fraud in America is on the rise and it’s estimated to be costing Americans over $50 billion a year! The survey defined “fraud” as an occasion when “… someone intentionally gives you false information to encourage you to make an investment.” Email…

  • 7 rules for growing slow (but sustainable) wealth (31 comments)

    This guest post is by Pejman Ghadimi. Pejman is the founder of SecretEntourage.com, an author, an entrepreneur and a leadership consultant. Many will argue that fortunes can be made overnight; while that may hold very true in some cases, the majority of those who have made it will tell you it did indeed take a great deal of time coupled with some correct financial choices. For me, wealth did not come solely from entrepreneurship or…

  • Confessions of a former stock broker (47 comments)

    This is a guest post from John S. John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a dad, a husband and a veteran of the financial services industry. He’s passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes so that they can enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. Follow him on Twitter. For four and a half years I dragged myself dutifully to a job I was not ideally suited for. I lived for weekends…

  • Book Review: ‘The Smartest Investment Book You’ll Ever Read’ (18 comments)

    This post is by staff writer Honey Smith. There are many personal finance books out there, useful to people in all stages of personal finance. I have a lot to learn before reaching financial independence, and the editorial elves thought it would be useful if I shared some of what I learn with you. My recent reviews include “More Money, Please: The Financial Secrets You Never Learned in School” and “The Money Book for the…

  • Easy ways to give your 401(k) a tune-up (34 comments)

    This is a guest post from Jeff Rose, CFP. Jeff is well known among bloggers for his various causes: The Debt Movement, The Roth IRA Movement and The Life Insurance Movement. He also blogs at Goodfinancialcents.com. As it stands right now, there is just over $4 trillion in 401(k) plans. That’s trillion with a capital “T.” If you’re working for a company, then you’re probably one of the 67 million Americans who have a 401(k). It was included as…

  • Farewell, Get Rich Slowly — and why bother getting rich anyway (51 comments)

    This is the final post from staff writer Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. It is with heavy heart and overflowing to-do list that I have decided to hang up my Get Rich Slowly writing boots. An expanded role at The Motley Fool (my home planet) and the growing responsibilities of growing kids have led me to make…

  • Five factors for your asset allocation (16 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. When you think of your portfolio, visions of stocks, bonds and cash likely dance in your head. Generally, the mix of those investments is based on some measure of risk tolerance, with a little bit of time horizon calculation thrown in, and — voila! — you have yourself…

  • Is the Roth right for you? (58 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. This year, it happened — something many have been predicting for years: Taxes went up. And most likely, the hikes will just keep coming. There’s no other way to pay off the country’s debt and fund the ballooning entitlements due the baby boomers as they…

  • SEP-IRA vs. Self-Employed 401(k) (43 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Kristin Wong. A couple of months have passed since my 30th birthday, and that means getting started on some of my money resolutions for the year. One of those resolutions was choosing an additional savings plan for retirement. Currently, I have an IRA that I’m planning on — and getting close to — maxing out for the year. Last time I wrote about my financial goals, I planned to save…

  • Where to put your next investment (16 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. Let’s say you’ve decided to add a new investment or two to your portfolio — maybe a stock, maybe a bond, maybe a mutual fund that invests in either or both. But now you’re confronted with another decision: In which account should you buy them?…

  • How to save for college, though begrudgingly (39 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. Here’s an idea: Leave juvenile delinquents in a prison for three hours to be harangued by hardened criminals in an attempt to convince the kids to change their ways. That was the premise of the 1978 documentary “Scared Straight!” which won an Oscar and an Emmy. When…

  • Understanding fundamental and technical analysis (11 comments)

    This guest post is by GRS reader Russell Kith, an avid value investor, fan of Warren Buffett and personal finance blogger. You can find more of his articles on investing on his blog, Money Street Smart. Investing is a lot like going to college. You start off with a broad range of general options (mutual funds or classes), then once you have a solid foundation, you learn the value of specificity (investing in stocks or…

  • Invest like Warren Buffett… but not really (35 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. If you want people to read your investing-related post or book, you’ll increase your chances by mentioning Warren Buffett in your title. After all, I just did it — and it might be why you chose to read this. Every financial media company does it, including…

  • Will you have what you need when you need it? (35 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. Let’s say I told you of a company whose stock posted the best 15-year return of any Fortune 500 company between 1965 and 1995, earning more than 18.5 times the return of the S&P 500. Had you invested $10,000 in this company at the beginning of…

  • How to audit your own investments (23 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Lisa Aberle. I’ve hinted before that I was a passive investor. And by passive, I mean that I have always set up a 401(k) and IRAs, then promptly ignored them. But since 2013 is the year I want to learn more about investing, I knew I needed to evaluate our current investment portfolio. Am I saving enough for retirement? Am I diversified? Is the risk of my investments appropriate for my…

  • Are there any safe investments? (37 comments)

    This guest post is from William Cowie, who has contributed to Get Rich Slowly and other personal finance blogs. He also blogs about investing and offers a free Investing Basics course on Bite the Bullet Investing. Earlier this month our readers were asked, regarding your personal financial journey: “What is the next step?” The answer J.D. offered in his 2009 article was… investing. Why invest? In today’s economy, we can get income from only two…

  • Invest in this: How I pick stocks (34 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Sarah Gilbert. I’ve been doing what I call “investment banking” for a friend’s company (I say it that way because the work I do is almost definitely not what you probably think of when you hear the term), and I get this question almost every day: “So, I guess you know a lot about investing!” Well, I know more than perhaps most people about investing. But, again, it’s not…

  • The stock market has recovered, but have you? (27 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. The financial media world is all abuzz with U.S. stocks — as measured by the Standard & Poor’s 500 — surpassing where they were in October of 2007, right before the Great Recession and a more-than-50 percent plunge. It took more than five years, but…

  • Reader Stories: I bought a duplex to save money on rent (35 comments)

    This story is from Karl Boericke. He is the author of The Frugal Berry, money-saving tips of all kinds for home, office, and small business. In 1990, I was honorably discharged from the Navy and quickly found a job in an electronics manufacturing company as a technician in their test department. While renting an apartment at the time, I wondered how I would ever be able to afford to buy a house with my meager…

  • Ask the Readers: What will you invest in this month? (47 comments)

    And before you know it, it’s April, and hopefully, you’re starting to see some signs of spring where you live. Our first two challenges were about sowing some seeds, and now maybe we can watch them grow. Here’s our challenge to the GRS community for April: What will you invest in this month? Now, let’s be clear, we’re not telling you to sink your hard-earned dollars into your brother’s plan to design a “Business Snuggie”…

  • Investing in your investing education: A resource list (23 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Lisa Aberle. Investing isn’t new to me. I opened my first CD in high school back in the good old days of 5 percent interest, and I started contributing to my 401(k) as soon as I was eligible (at age 21). I did everything right according to the articles I read. I: Contributed enough to get the maximum employer match Saved/invested around 10 percent of my income Opened up…

  • Morningstar’s day for individual investors (3 comments)

    Hey, GRS readers, you have been invited to the Morningstar Individual Investor Conference. This is an all-day webcast (although I’m sure you can jump in and out of the webcast depending on which sessions most interest you), and it features an all-star lineup of personal finance experts. The theme is retirement savings and setting goals. The conference is on Saturday, March 23, and starts at 9 a.m. Central time. Here’s the link for registration http://www.morningstar.com/conference…

  • The most powerful ways to secure your retirement (34 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. Whether you can retire, and whether your money will last after you retire, starts with a very simple maxim: spend less than you have. However, once you start actually crunching some numbers, you find that the equation of retirement is actually quite complicated, with many…

  • Finding money to invest (besides under the couch cushions) (70 comments)

    When we decided that we were going to start investing more in 2013, I didn’t know where we would find the money in our budget. My personality embraces risk… as long as all our other savings goals are met and our bills are paid. So, because I wanted to have fun investing (and not lose sleep at night), I knew I could not cut our retirement contributions or our savings deposits. What I hoped was…

  • The problem with financial advisers and anyone who brags about their investments (57 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. Way back in the ’90s – a primitive time when a mobile phone could only be used to talk to another phone – I was a broker (i.e., salesman) with Prudential Securities. While we all used the title “financial adviser,” the majority of efforts were…

  • Reader Story: Dividends or bust: Thinking critically about investment (53 comments)

    This is shared by Steven Hogan (Twitter @stevehlaw), who has learned a few things about investing that he wanted to share. This story is part of our Reader Stories series. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks with all levels of financial maturity and income. Want submit your own reader story? Here’s how. The back story When I was 18,…

  • The most important decision you’ll make about your portfolio (29 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. A lot of decisions will affect the future value of your portfolio – which investments you buy, how much you concentrate your portfolio into those investments, and when you decide to sell them. But it all starts with one very important question: How much risk…

  • Fear of investing: Divide(nd) and conquer! (68 comments)

    I’ve read hundreds of books, articles, and blog posts about money. I save. I like to pay cash. I avoid consumer debt. I know how to make more money. Sounds good, right? Well, I have a skeleton in my closet: I am afraid of investing. And 2013 is my year to conquer it (or at least subdue it a little). At first glance, you may not believe me. After all, I started contributing to a…

  • The consumer, the ower and the owner (21 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. Happy Day After Christmas! Do you feel like you’re getting rich slower? Yes, ’twas the season for all kinds of holiday traditions, including, of course, Coca-Cola commercials. They’ve been a part of the holidays since the 1920s, and may have even played a role in…

  • A few things to consider before becoming an expatriate (23 comments)

    This post is from Justin Boyle. Justin is an experienced English tutor and writing coach who works as a designer in the tech industry. He lives in Austin, Texas, and finds a lot of things interesting, especially food, finance, education, gadgetry, software, art and travel. He never stops thinking about food. He is probably eating right now. There are plenty of possible reasons you could want to leave the U.S. Perhaps you’ve always dreamed about making the sand…

  • Ask the Readers: How can we help pay for nieces’ and nephews’ education? (40 comments)

    Strategies for saving for college haven’t been discussed much on Get Rich Slowly over the years. And yet student debt has been a regular and pressing problem for many. Saving before you get to college seems like an important financial step. Reader Lynn K. wanted to ask the readers several questions about saving for college – for her coming nieces and nephews, not even her own children. How generous is that? So here are Lynn’s…

  • The really, really, really long-term view…and when you’ll die (50 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. I know it’s the holidays, but I’m going to begin this post with a somber topic: death. I think about it quite a bit, not because I’m morbid, but because it’s one of the important variables in the calculus of retirement planning. After all, your…

  • Reader Stories: My strange love of stocks or: How I learned to stop worrying and love the Buffett (36 comments)

    This Reader Story comes from Rick Lee. Rick commented on William Cowie’s post about investing, and several readers wanted to hear his story. So we reached out to him and asked if he’d tell us how he became a successful investor. Rick is a 40-something husband, father, retired chartered accountant, blackjack card counter, entrepreneur, aspiring chef, musician, and lover of travel, food and wine. Want submit your own Reader Story? Here’s how. At the end…

  • Reader Stories: Making friends in ‘God’s Waiting Room’ (30 comments)

    This guest post is from Mrs. PoP, who writes at plantingourpennies.com.This is a fitting post near Thanksgiving, as Mrs. PoP has a lot to be thankful for. This story is part of our Reader Stories series. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks with all levels of financial maturity and income. Want submit your own reader story? Here’s how. Mr….

  • Is investing optional? (101 comments)

    This guest post from William Cowie. William has contributed to ConsumerismCommentary.com, BudgetsAreSexy.com and other personal finance blogs, including his own, Dropdeadmoney.com. We’ve all seen this bumper sticker, haven’t we? Other than singing the Disney song from “Snow White,” how does it make you feel? “Wouldn’t it be great if I didn’t HAVE to…?” And isn’t that most people’s fantasy: not having to go to work? Other than most fantasies, this one is actually achievable. How?…

  • 5 principles of fund investing, as illustrated by a zombie (20 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. On this Halloween, I have a frightening tale of decaying wealth, failed attempts at resurrection, a dying reputation, and a Lynching. Of course, I’m talking about the Fidelity Magellan Fund, once the largest…

  • Being a landlord: Is it worth it? (127 comments)

    This is a guest post from Holly Johnson. Holly is a 32-year-old wife, mother of two, and frugal lifestyle enthusiast. She blogs about saving money, frugal habits, and whatever is on her mind at ClubThrifty.com. In 2006, my husband and I bought our first rental property. We put 10 percent down ($8,500) on a small brick ranch in the same Midwestern community that we call home. I had gotten my real estate license several years…

  • How Wall Street eats a third of your savings and makes you work longer (35 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. In my post from a few weeks ago, I explained how Wall Street wants your balls – that is, if you compare retirement savings to balls, as I did in the second video…

  • Risk-a-Palooza: All that can go wrong and how to prevent it (30 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. Note: Robert’s post is particularly timely this week, which is National Financial Planning Week. Time to get your finances in order! Let’s get this out of the way up front: This post is…

  • Reader Story: From recession to best financial shape of my life (53 comments)

    This guest post from William Cowie is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. William has contributed to ConsumerismCommentary.com, BudgetsAreSexy.com and other personal finance blogs. Some reader stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks with all levels of financial maturity and income. Want submit your own reader story? Here’s how. Fresh out of college in South Africa in…

  • Get Free Financial Planning Help (10 comments)

    I’ve been working with a fee-only financial advisor recently to be sure all my eggs are in the right nests for my future. I’ve been impressed with her knowledge of law, taxes, insurance, investing — all aspects of financial life. While I’ve covered personal finance topics as a journalist for more than 20 years, I haven’t been so diligent about managing my own affairs. Yes, I’ve been saving for retirement all along, but I’ve been…

  • How to Pick the Best Darned Account for You (9 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. Happy World Wide Invest Better Day! What, you’re not familiar with this holiday? Well, it might because we at The Motley Fool invented it, and today is the first time we’re going to…

  • Community-sourced Investing: Should You Fund Capital Improvements? (35 comments)

    “But, is it a good idea to invest?” asked my friend Marlene, grandmother of a neighbor who was super-excited about the fundraising campaign for a local spice, herb and tea shop. She seemed skeptical. The campaign, meant to raise money for a new cooler to store and sell local, organic produce wasn’t a bad idea — in our neighborhood, it would be the only produce supplier within about a mile focusing on local, seasonal grocery…

  • Is Your Money in the Right Place? (51 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks, and likes carrots. When it comes to investing, you have two big decisions to make: What to buy, and where to buy it. As for the former, you have all kinds of choices:…

  • How to Invest Using Direct Stock Purchase Plans (52 comments)

    For the next week (or two), we’ll be sharing “audition” pieces from folks interested in being new staff writers at Get Rich Slowly. Your job is to let us know what you think of each of these writers. Pay attention, give feedback, and after a couple of weeks we’ll ask which writers you prefer. This article is from Michael Robertson, a writer and avid personal investor. It was originally published at GRS in April 2009….

  • Your 401(k) Stinks, and Here’s What to Do About It (63 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. We at The Motley Fool have always been champions of the individual investor, encouraging each person to take control of her or his financial destiny. In theory, the transition of America’s retirement apparatus…

  • What is a Roth IRA? A Short and Simple Guide (83 comments)

    Note: This post is part of the Roth IRA Movement event organized by Jeff Rose at Good Financial Cents. Today, dozens of financial bloggers are posting articles about Roth IRAs. This is mine. Most of us know we should save for retirement, but sometimes it’s tough to get started. If your employer sponsors a retirement plan — especially if it offers a generous match to your contributions — that’s usually the best place to begin….

  • Buy a Coke — or the Company (84 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. Do you buy things that disappear or reproduce? That’s the question that first prompted me to think hard about my financial future, way back in the mid-1990s. It came from a radio call-in…

  • Four Reasons to Invest Internationally (40 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. Chances are, right now you are surrounded by things that were invented, assembled, or grown outside the United States. We’ve become very accustomed to buying goods from other countries. There’s no reason why…

  • Is Retirement Just Too Dang Risky? (158 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. I’ve been saving for retirement since my mid-20s, and I write a retirement-planning newsletter every month. Yet here’s the thing: I don’t plan to ever fully retire. And while most people list “retirement”…

  • Ask the Readers: How Much Should I Save (and What Should I Save For)? (107 comments)

    Many of the reader questions I get here at Get Rich Slowly follow a familiar formula. The person sends me a breakdown of her income and expenses, also sharing how she’s allocating her savings. From these figures, my correspondent wants to know if I’d make changes to her budget. Unfortunately, I’m not qualified to answer questions as specific as these. (And I don’t have time to answer them all!) That said, there are often certain…

  • What Really Makes Your Retirement Accounts Grow (77 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. As far as investing goes, 2011 won’t be a particularly memorable year. The Standard & Poor’s 500 began the year at 1,257 and ended the year at the exact same spot. So if…

  • Learn More About Money from an Investment Group (17 comments)

    I love to learn. That’s part of what makes me who I am. And so I spend large chunks of time pursuing passions like astronomy and Spanish…and investing. Sometimes I’m asked if I have a method for picking up new skills and new knowledge. “Not really,” I say. “I just try to keep an open mind and to absorb as much information as possible.” As you’ve probably noticed around here, I try to never say…

  • The Follies of Fortune Telling (25 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. I grew up watching “60 Minutes” Sunday evenings, so like many people, I was saddened to hear of the death of commentator Andy Rooney last month. He was occasionally too curmudgeonly even for…

  • A Closer Look at Bonds (33 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. In the past, I’ve illustrated some of Robert’s posts with cats. Today, I’m illustrating his article with some of the scrappy animals I’ve met in Peru. Bonds may seem boring, but you need to…

  • Reader Story: Saving for Retirement with More Than Mutual Funds (66 comments)

    This guest post from Randy is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. For the past twenty years, I’ve saved a significant percentage of my income due to career growth, semi-frugal living, and not having any offspring….

  • Eight Little-Known Facts about the Roth IRA (98 comments)

    This is a guest post by Jeff Rose, a Certified Financial Planner. Rose is also the author of Good Financial Cents, a financial planning and investment blog. He’s also working on his book entitled Soldier of Finance, which combines his military background and financial planning experience. Most Americans want to save for retirement, but most don’t know how to start. Putting money into a savings account is ideal for short-term goals and emergency funds, but…

  • Ask the Readers: How Do I Get Started with Investing? (79 comments)

    I’ve begun to sort through the batch of questions GRS readers submitted a few weeks ago. Surprisingly, many of them are about the basics of investing. But looking at the archives, GRS hasn’t covered investing much in the past couple of years; I assumed that the articles in the archives were enough. Maybe it’s time to revisit the subject. As an example of the sorts of questions people sent in, here’s one from Becky about…

  • Compound Interest vs. Increased Income — Which Matters More? (54 comments)

    Like nearly everyone else on the internet, I’m a fan of xkcd, the nerdy webcomic from Randall Munroe. My wife, who’s a chemist, loves xkcd’s science episodes (such as this and this), while I like everything else (especially this and this). And let’s not forget the map of online communities! Many of you e-mailed to tell me that yesterday’s xkcd tackled a subject near and dear to our hearts: personal finance. Specifically, Munroe poked a…

  • Estate Planning Essentials: Preparing for the Unpleasantly Possible (24 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He also has a blog, Twittering thing, and other things that are supposed to be important but he often forgets about, such as hygiene. Robert contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. As I mentioned in my missive from two weeks ago…

  • Can You Live on Dividends Alone? (73 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He also has a blog, Twittering thing, and other things that are supposed to be important but he often forgets about, such as hygiene. Robert contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. A few weeks ago, I attended the Morningstar Investment Conference…

  • All That Glitters: Why I’m Not Investing in Gold (215 comments)

    Over the past two years, I’ve received a lot of requests to write about investing in gold and silver. I’ve ignored these requests. For one, I feel unqualified to comment. For another, I’m afraid that anything I do say will just make people angry. Last week I realized, however, that I don’t have to come at this as an expert. Because I’m not one. Instead, maybe we can have a discussion about the pros and…

  • Your Retirement Account Survival Guide (55 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He also has a blog, Twittering thing, and a piece of carpet that was once in Elvis’ jungle room (no joke!). Robert contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. An IRA is a simple little thing. It’s a common, garden-variety retirement vehicle,…

  • How I Invest My Money (58 comments)

    Earlier this month, I shared a new financial framework I’ve been developing, one that stresses earning, spending, and saving as the building blocks of personal finance. Two weeks ago, I elaborated by sharing how I make money. Last week, I turned to the other half of the basic personal-finance equation: I shared how I spend money. (Or, more precisely, the ways in which I try not to spend money.) Today, I’ll share the ways I…

  • Rebalancing in Real Life, Part II: Reading and Research (58 comments)

    Last week, I mentioned that I’ve begun the process of rebalancing my investment portfolio. When I opened my accounts with Fidelity Investments in 2009, I chose an asset allocation (though I can’t remember why). Because my investments have grown over the past two years, and because I think some of my former choices are goofy, I need to move some money around. Right now, my investments are allocated like this: 5.08% in Fidelity Canada (FICDX)…

  • Rebalancing in Real Life (54 comments)

    Earlier today, Robert Brokamp wrote about the importance of rebalancing your investment portfolio. Over time, as your various investments rise and fall, your actual asset allocation drifts from your intended asset allocation, slowly pulling you away from your investment goals. I’ve recently been working to rebalance my own investment portfolio, so I thought it might be instructive to walk through the process over the next couple of weeks as I try to bring things back…

  • Rebalancing Your Investment Portfolio (39 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He also has a newly reinvigorated blog, and you can have your day interrupted once or twice by his Twittering. Robert contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. How would you like $4,290,387? It’s easy! Just go back to 1972 and invest…

  • All About Asset Location: How to Make the Most of Your Accounts (68 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He also has a newly reinvigorated blog, and you can have your day interrupted once or twice by his Twittering. Robert contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. When he submitted this, Robert advised, “File this under the ‘long and tedious but…

  • The Tao of the Dow: All About Stock Market Indexes (15 comments)

    This is a guest post from MP Dunleavey, who is a contributing editor at Money magazine and the editorial director at Daily Worth, which offers free, daily money tips for women. What exactly is the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the mythic number that punctuates each day’s stock market report? I’ve always wondered. Now, with the Dow crossing 12,000, I decided to roll up my sleeves and delve into what that 12,000 really means. Why should…

  • What To Do with an Old 401(k) (68 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Sierra Black. Sierra writes about frugality, sustainable living, and getting her kids to eat kale at Childwild.com. When a friend of mine changed jobs recently, she discovered she had half a dozen old 401(k)s trailing her from her past jobs. She wanted to get on top of her financial planning, but wasn’t sure what to do with all those old investments. she asked me for advice. Truth is, I…

  • A Brief Intro to Peer-to-Peer Lending (62 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Sierra Black. Sierra writes about frugality, sustainable living, and getting her kids to eat kale at Childwild.com. Lately, I’ve heard a lot of buzz about how peer-to-peer (P2P) lending is a great alternative for investors who feel burned by the stock market. Proponents of peer-to-peer lending say it’s a smart way to get a good return on your money without the risk of a failing economy. But before you…

  • The Most Important Factor in Retirement Savings (67 comments)

    “Wanna see something neat?” Kris asked the other night. She was holding the year-end statement from her work-based retirement plan. “Sure,” I said. “Show me the money.” She handed the statement to me. “Look at my account balance,” she said. “Look how it’s grown. It went down a little bit in 2008, but because I kept contributing, the balance has gone crazy during the last two years.” Kris’s retirement account took a hit in 2008,…

  • Don’t Get Rich Any Slower Than You Have To (66 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. This is one of those boring articles about investing that is actually very important. To liven things up, J.D. has illustrated this article with photos of one of his cats. It’s quiz time, folks….

  • Stupid Stock Market Tricks (65 comments)

    USA Today has just published what might be the most irresponsible piece of financial journalism I’ve seen in the past five years of writing Get Rich Slowly. It embodies everything that’s wrong with the popular perception of stock-market investing. Author Adam Shell touts a hot trading trend: Stocks jump on the first day of the month. Shell writes: Stock investors looking for a trading pattern that all but guarantees a profit need look no further…

  • Index Funds: The Investment Answer? (40 comments)

    Yesterday, GRS reader Mike Robertson sent me a New York Times article about Gordon Murray, the author of a new book called The Investment Answer. Mike writes, “I’m at a point in my investing life where I disagree with the guy, but what an interesting, compelling story.” (For reference, last year Mike shared a guest post about direct stock purchase plans.) What is this interesting, compelling story? It’s about how Murray, who used to work…

  • Morningstar Ratings: Useful or Useless? (19 comments)

    This is a guest post from Edwin Choi, the founder of Mariposa Capital Management. Edwin is a fee-only investment advisor in Los Angeles and a long-time reader of GRS. Prior to starting Mariposa, Choi spent many years as a portfolio manager with Merrill Lynch in New York. Previously at GRS, Choi explained how to choose a target-date fund. The financial industry generally places more emphasis on style than substance. Because of this, when their work…

  • Best Books on Investing: My Favorite Investing Authors (24 comments)

    Best Books on Investing: My Favorite Investing Authors This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. A few weeks back, J.D. listed his favorite finance books (and encouraged readers to suggest their own). It’s a fine list, full of money-saving, debt-defying, financial-liberating…

  • Dinner with the Diehards: A Chat About Investing (37 comments)

    It’s been a long time since I wrote about investing at Get Rich Slowly. I haven’t abandoned the subject, but my mind has been on other things. Besides, I’ve been practicing what I preach. I’ve invested my money in low-cost index funds (and some bonds), and I never make a trade. Because I know it pays to ignore financial news, I have. Earlier this week, I peeked at my portfolio for the first time since…

  • Book Review: The Skinny on Real-Estate Investing (21 comments)

    Book Week at Get Rich Slowly comes to a close today. Well, I guess tomorrow’s Ask the Readers is about books, but this is the final review. I’ve saved the best for last. Over the past year, I’ve had a chance to read several titles in the “Skinny On” book series. And although I’ve only mentioned them in passing here at GRS, I love these books. Today I want to tell you about them. The…

  • How to Help Your Kids Build $25,000 Stock Portfolios (61 comments)

    Mary and her husband set out to build a stock portfolio worth $25,000 as a college graduation present for each of their children. That’s a lofty goal. How did they do it? In her entry to the GRS video contest, Mary explained: Here’s how Mary describes her method in a post at her site, Frugal to Rich: When our children were born and people wanted to get a gift for the baby, we asked family…

  • Investing in Stocks: It’s Not as Bad as You Think (44 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. Stocks stink. That’s something you hear a lot these days, and with good reason. The Standard & Poor’s 500 sits at around 1060, a threshold it first crossed in the beginning of 1998. In…

  • SEC Proposes New Rules for Target Date Funds (29 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer April Dykman. During the 2008 financial crisis, target date, or life-cycle, funds were hit hard. People who were just a couple years away from retiring held 2010 target date funds that lost 24% of their fund’s assets on average, with a range of 9% loss to a staggering 41%. Same date, different allocation According to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), many investors believed that their asset mix…

  • Choosing a Target-Date Fund (35 comments)

    This is a guest post from Edwin Choi, the founder of Mariposa Capital Management. Edwin is a fee-only investment advisor in Los Angeles and a long-time reader of GRS. Prior to starting Mariposa, Edwin Choi spent several years as a portfolio manager with Merrill Lynch in New York. So, you find the lazy way to invest very appealing: You like the simplicity and the long-term results. But you don’t want to bother with building your…

  • The Marginal Utility of Money (36 comments)

    This is a guest post from Mike Piper, who writes at Oblivious Investor, where he explains such thrilling topics as 401k rollovers and Roth IRA rules. I know I’m taking a risk by starting an article by defining a term from economics. But please, stick with me. It’s not a hard concept to understand, and it directly relates to your financial success. Utility is a term used in economics to describe how much value or…

  • The Best Way to Pay for Advice: The Advantages of a Fee-Only Financial Advisor (37 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. A few weeks back, I wrote about having a financial health day at work. With the help of some of my Foolish colleagues, we’ve created a PDF that outlines how to host your own…

  • The Snowball: How Compounding Affects Money, Knowledge, and Life (48 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. Happy anniversary to…well, all of us, I guess. This post marks my one-year (and five days) anniversary of being a contributor to Get Rich Slowly. It’s been a hoot. My very first post was…

  • MyFinancialAdvice.com Helps the Average Person Find a Financial Advisor (13 comments)

    Many companies send me press releases and e-mail trying to get my attention. Some of these companies suck. Others are fine, but I don’t have the time to look at them. Every once in a while, though, I find what seems like a true gem, something I think would be of real use for Get Rich Slowly readers. Last week, I spent an hour chatting with the folks from MyFinancialAdvice.com. Based on what I’ve seen…

  • Roth IRA Conversions Made Easy (41 comments)

    This is a guest post from Steve Juetten, a fee-only certified financial planner in Bellevue, Washington, and long-time Get Rich Slowly reader. He has written a book for consumers on the topic of 2010 Roth IRA conversions. You can find out more about Steve, the book, and his services at finpath.com. Traditional and on-line media have been filled with 2010 Roth IRA conversion stories since the start of the new year, and if you’re wondering…

  • The Problem With Prognostication: Why You Shouldn’t Invest Based on “Expert” Predictions (32 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the advisor for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. I find predictions, and the people who make them, fascinating for a few reasons. First, I — like everyone — would love to get a hint of what’s coming up. But successful forecasting is…

  • How to Get the Best Rates on Your Savings — Safely (64 comments)

    Over the past year, one of the frequent questions I get is: “Where I can safely invest my money to get a decent return?” For example, Joseph wrote in November: Around February/March I should have $5,000 to invest. My debts are under control and my wife and I have lowered our monthly expenses. I was wondering if you had any advice on ways to invest $5,000? I don’t want a savings account because the interest…

  • How My Real Estate Investing Adventure Came to an End (57 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Adam Baker, whose own blog previously featured a comparison of money gurus in Dave Ramsey vs. Suze Orman. This is final article of a three-part series on how he stumbled into real estate investing at age 23. Be sure to read part one and part two. In the second part of this series, I discussed two mistakes I made when jumping into real estate investing. Despite running a successful property management…

  • Lessons Learned from Rushing Into Real-Estate Investing (40 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Adam Baker, whose own blog recently featured a must-see graphic on credit card transactions around the world. This is part two of a three-part series on how he stumbled into real estate investing at age 23. Be sure to read part one here. When we last left off, I’d just walked away from my first real estate closing with an eight-unit apartment building and $1000 cash in my hand. I was…

  • How I Bought an 8-Unit Apartment Building with No Money Down and Walked Away with $1000 Cash at Closing (91 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Adam Baker. Baker recently outlined his ambitious 2010 goals for his blogging, business, and life. When I was 23, I bought an eight-unit apartment building with no money down. And I walked away with $1,000 cash at closing! Sounds pretty fancy, right? Wrong. It was one of the dumbest (and riskiest) moves I’ve made in my young life. I escaped without a scratch, but it was due to an…

  • Ask the Readers: Life After a Maxed-Out IRA? (82 comments)

    It’s been a long time since we had an Ask the Readers around here. Time to remedy that situation! Jeff recently wrote with a question about saving. The lucky dog has saved so much that he doesn’t know what to do next! Two years ago I started getting smart about my finances and in the time since, I’ve been able to put away enough money to max out my Roth IRA. I’m a grad student…

  • Getting Started with Asset Allocation (37 comments)

    This is a guest post from Dylan Ross, a certified financial planner and a long-time GRS reader. If you’re new to investing, recognize the merits of using low-cost index funds, but you’re not sure how to allocate your long-term savings among various types of index funds, this information is for you. Asset allocation basics While there are many ways to divide investment assets into different categories, there are two main classifications: stocks and bonds. Here’s…

  • Index Funds: Why Choose Anything Else? (126 comments)

    This is a guest post from Mike Piper, who blogs at The Oblivious Investor, where he reminds readers that investing doesn’t have to be complicated or stressful. Mike is a long-time GRS reader and the author of Investing Made Simple. Like many other investors, J.D. and I are fans of taking the slow, sure path to wealth. We invest much of our money in index funds. An index fund is a low-maintenance, low-cost mutual fund…

  • The Roth IRA Made Easy (76 comments)

    Starting a Roth IRA is one of the easiest — and best — steps you can take to save for retirement. I know I’ve written a lot about the Roth IRA in the past, but I still get questions all the time. People find them intimidating. For example, Lynn wrote last week: I’m a 36-year-old single mother of two. I want to start investing for my future, but I am so overwhelmed by all the…

  • Pay Yourself First (57 comments)

    This article is the fourth of a fourteen-part series that explores the core tenets of Get Rich Slowly. It’s also a part of National Save for Retirement Week. One of the oldest rules of personal finance is the simple admonition to pay yourself first. All the money books tell you to do it. All the personal finance blogs say it, too. Even your parents have given you the same advice. But it’s hard. That money…

  • Dow 10,000 and Other Nonsense (70 comments)

    A reporter from SmartMoney contacted me a couple of weeks ago to ask me to participate in a little game they were hosting. “All you have to do is guess when the Dow will hit 10,000,” she said. “This is just for fun.” “I’ll do it,” I replied, “but I want to make it clear that this is just a guess. Nobody really knows.” I told her the Dow Jones Industrial Average would reach 10,000…

  • Investing 101: How Diversification Reduces Risk (29 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the advisor for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. Quick! If you had to choose just three types of assets that should be in a well-diversified, long-term investment portfolio, what would they be? If we polled the Get Rich Slowly audience, we’d get…

  • Sound Saving and Investing: Taking the Road to Riches Step-by-Step (28 comments)

    This is a guest post from Richard Barrington, a freelance writer and novelist who spent over 20 years as an investment industry executive. Barrington is a regular contributor at MoneyRates. Previously at GRS, he shared how to find the right CD or money-market account. The problem with saving money is that it’s like hiking toward the mountains. The target seems so distant that it feels like you’ll never get there. However, people who start putting…

  • Free eBook! The Get Rich Slowly Guide to Roth IRAs (27 comments)

    In early 2008, I put together an e-book. I collected my series of articles about the virtues of the Roth IRA, cleaned them up, added new information, and drafted a 30-page document to serve as a sort of introduction to this important retirement plan. The great folks at Web Warrior Tools took my work and made a polished e-book. For the past 18 months, it’s been available for $7 from their website. But this information…

  • Mr. Market’s Wild Ride (171 comments)

    The U.S. stock markets have provided a wild ride over the past year. The S&P 500 stock market index recently posted its best five-month gain since 1938. Yet many people missed out on this. And no wonder. During the previous five months, the market suffered one of its greatest five month losses, which understandably made investors gun-shy. In fact, many were shoveling money out of stocks instead of into them and so missed the turnaround….

  • Ask The Readers: What Is Your Appetite for Risk? (75 comments)

    This is a guest post from A.J. Clark, a long-time lurker at Get Rich Slowly. A.J. is a potential Staff Writer for GRS. He is a recent college graduate who writes software in the financial services industry, while trying to find his financial footing in the Real World. In his first post, A.J. explained that he’s hoping to finish ahead by starting behind. As I mentioned in my previous post, I recently transitioned into my…

  • How Much Is Your 401(k) Costing You? (48 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the advisor for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. I don’t want to dump on your boss. She/he/it gives you a job (assuming you still have one). Besides a paycheck, you also get some benefits. One perk might be a retirement plan such…

  • What Squirrels Can Teach Us About Investing (23 comments)

    This is a guest post from Paul Puckett of Beacon Wealth Advisors. Puckett is the author of Investiphobia: You Can Invest Without Fear. This piece originally appeared at his blog, Just Puckett, and I liked it so much that I asked for permission to reprint it here. Here’s a little exercise that might be beneficial to your stress level and might even help you with your investments. No matter where you live in America, there…

  • Investing as a Couple: Draw on Your Differences (35 comments)

    This is a guest post from Cristina Adams, editor of DailyWorth. DailyWorth offers daily personal-finance tips for women. It’s official: Warren Buffet has a feminine side. Not that the billionaire investor parades around in drag. He doesn’t. But the investment patterns of men and women show that Buffet has apparently, over time, tuned into his so-called feminine insight when making investment decisions. You say potato… According to Dr. Ellen Peters, a research psychologist at the…

  • Saving for the Short Term (49 comments)

    Dave wrote yesterday with a common question. He’s looking for a low-risk investment with decent returns, but not having any luck finding one. He writes: I currently have a Money Market Savings account and the interest rate has dropped to 1%. It used to be 5%. When it was earning 5%, I had roughly $25,000 in there, and would make something like $60-$90 per month in interest. Now I have $50,000 in there and only…

  • How Long You’ll Be Investing (18 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the advisor for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. A couple of weeks ago, I spoke to a group of elementary-school teachers about their 403(b) plan (the 401(k) equivalent for non-profit employers, in case you didn’t know). Like most investors, they were a…

  • The Problem With Market Timing (76 comments)

    I’m in the process of consolidating all of my investment accounts at Fidelity. This isn’t because I think Fidelity is “the best”, but because I think they’re good and they’re certainly convenient. There’s a Fidelity “investor center” not far from my home. (In other words: I’m not endorsing Fidelity; I’m merely following my own advice to pick a good option instead of spending forever looking for the best.) As I gather my various accounts under…

  • What Makes Us Tick: A Short Film About How the Stock Market Works (from 1952) (15 comments)

    It’s been several months since I’ve discovered a new money movie to share with you. I love these things, but I’ve exhausted most of my sources for Public Domain material. However, while browsing the Prelinger Archives again the other day, I discovered a little gem that had slipped my notice before: “What Makes Us Tick”, a short cartoon from 1952 that describes how the stock market works. Note: The Prelinger Archives offer hours of amusement…

  • An Investor’s Manifesto: 20 Guiding Principles for Investment Success (41 comments)

    Knight Kiplinger is the editor-in-chief and a columnist for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, one of the “big three” money magazines. In the June issue, Kiplinger offered an investor’s manifesto, a list of twenty guiding principles for making smart investment decisions. Kiplinger’s manifesto is a great list, effectively summarizing mainstream investment theory on a single page. I liked it so much that I obtained permission to reprint it in its entirety. Here are the twenty points in…

  • Investment Risk and the Growth of Wealth: The Importance of Course Corrections (63 comments)

    This is a guest post from Carl Richards at Behavior Gap. I have a problem. In fact, I think we all have a problem: We have been way too focused on returns, resulting in the utter destruction of our wealth. The investment industry has been built using tools that might be appropriate for understanding investments, but are totally worthless for investors. In real life, real people, using real money do not care about returns. We…

  • Why I Love the Roth IRA (49 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the advisor for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. Want tax-free investment growth? Want more control over your retirement savings? Want to leave a bigger inheritance? If so, you should consider contributing to or converting existing retirement savings to a Roth IRA. For…

  • The Lazy Way to Investment Success (494 comments)

    While researching investment strategies for my retirement savings, I’ve been reading a lot of books. There are hundreds of authors offering thousands of tips for turning a small pile of gold into a big pile of gold. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell whose advice to heed. To be honest, I find the simplest investment strategies most appealing. I just finished reading Paul Farrell’s The Lazy Person’s Guide to Investing, for example, and I found myself…

  • Reminiscences of a Stock Operator (19 comments)

    I read a lot of personal finance books. Most possess a certain sameness. They offer good advice, yes, but there’s nothing special about them. Perhaps that’s why I’m drawn to two specific types of financial books: narratives and histories. If a book can combine both of these elements, it’s a good bet I’m going to like it. Between 10 June 1922 and 26 May 1923, The Saturday Evening Post published a series of twelve articles…

  • No Crystal Ball Required: Getting Better Investment Returns (Without Guessing) (24 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the advisor for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. Imagine it’s 30 April 1989. You just came into a hundred grand. You plan on investing this money for the next 20 years. Where do you put it? Here are four options. No need…

  • How to Build Wealth, Ignore Wall Street, and Get on With Your Life (235 comments)

    This is a guest post rom Bill Schultheis, author of The New Coffeehouse Investor: How to Build Wealth, Ignore Wall Street, and Get On With Your Life. Schultheis is an investment advisor in Kirkland, Washington. To learn more, visit his website. What a difference a decade makes. Ten years ago everyone was chasing the next hot stock. Equity markets were generating double digit annual returns and dot-com companies were doubling overnight. Greed was widespread in…

  • Developing an Investment Policy Statement (46 comments)

    I’m in the process of consolidating all of my investments under one roof. This includes: My Roth IRA (currently with Sharebuilder) My profit-sharing pension through the family box factory (currently with Vanguard) My self-employed 401(k) (now at Fidelity) My non-retirement accounts (scattered hither and yon) Between these accounts I have a large sum to invest. I don’t know the exact total (the market fluctuates daily, and I don’t really know the value of the Vanguard…

  • Three Lessons from Warren Buffett (34 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Beginning today, Robert will contribute one article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. It’s my hope that he’ll bring a fresh perspective to this site, while also providing coverage of topics where I have weaknesses. Today he’s writing about one of my financial heroes, Warren Buffett. From what I can tell, there were no drugs, no free love, and just a little…

  • How to Find the Right CD or Money Market Account (21 comments)

    This is a guest post from Richard Barrington, a Chartered Financial Analyst and 20-year veteran of the financial industry. Barrington blogs regularly at MoneyRates. Conservative savings vehicles such as certificates of deposit (CDs) and money market accounts look especially appealing these days, despite low interest rates. But how do you pick the right savings vehicle for your needs? There are many options, and a little information will help you make the best choice for your…

  • How to Create Your Own Target-Date Mutual Fund (35 comments)

    This is a guest post from Frank Curmudgeon, who writes about bad money advice at his aptly-named blog, Bad Money Advice. You may have heard of target-date funds. In 2006 they were okayed as default investment options for 401k accounts, so if you said nothing about where you wanted your 401k money to go, you might even have found yourself the proud owner of one. A target-date fund is a mutual fund that is made…

  • How to Read a Mutual Fund Prospectus (28 comments)

    This is a guest post from Neal Frankle, a Certified Financial Planner, and the author of Wealth Pilgrim, a blog about his financial journey. If we’ve learned anything from the current financial crisis, we’ve learned that it’s important to understand what it is we’re actually investing in. No more black-box investing, right? That’s true of the folks on Wall Street, but it’s also true of the average mutual-fund investor, too. If you invest in mutual…

  • Investing 101: How Bonds Work (34 comments)

    This is a guest post from Joe Light, a staff writer for Money Magazine. Light also shares daily insight at his blog, Invest Wisdom. You probably know how to find and buy stocks. It’s so easy, E*Trade says, a baby can do it, right? Unfortunately, while online stock brokers have made stock investing child’s play over the last 10 years, bond investing has been slow to catch up. In fact, on many online broker sites,…

  • The Basics of Bonds (23 comments)

    Tomorrow morning, Get Rich Slowly will feature a guest post about how bonds work. Bonds don’t get a lot of press. They’re not as sexy as stocks, and many beginning investors simply ignore them. (I know that has certainly been true in my case.) Before tomorrow’s story, though, I wanted to take some time to review the basics of bonds. When you buy stock, you are buying a piece a company, but when you buy…

  • Fail-Safe Investing? Harry Browne’s Permanent Portfolio (64 comments)

    “The first rule of investing is don’t lose money; the second rule is don’t forget rule number one.” — Warren Buffett At the end of March, I asked you what topics you’d like to see covered during Financial Literacy Month. I received many great suggestions, and will continue to fulfill requests not just in April, but for months to come. One comment especially caught my eye. Kenneth F. LaVoie III wrote: Never again will I…

  • Investing for Your Future (8 comments)

    Sometimes you can find financial advice in the most unlikely of places. Recently, I was browsing the website of the Oregon State University extension service for gardening information. Kris and I have found that university extension offices often have fantastic resources for do-it-yourselfers. Our extension office has gardening calendars and how-to articles, for example. Apparently the extension office also offers a variety of financial resources. The front page of the OSU extension website promotes a…

  • Investing 101: An Introduction to Asset Allocation (31 comments)

    This is a guest post from ABCs of Investing, a new site for novice investors. ABCs of Investing offers one short and simple investing post each week. Understanding asset allocation is a key piece of financial literacy. In my last post at Get Rich Slowly, I explained the basics of passive investing and why it’s a good strategy. I explored the differences between index funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and showed how they’re great tools for…

  • Direct Stock Purchase Plans: A Better Way to Invest (64 comments)

    This is a guest post from Michael Robertson, a writer and avid personal investor who lives in Washington, D.C. He is keenly interested in raising money for, and awareness of, multiple myeloma. So you want to buy stocks? Great! But you only have a small amount of money each month to invest? You’re worried about any potential returns being wiped out in the beginning by brokerage fees? You’re wise to worry. Invest $100 bucks per…

  • The Fundamental Rules of Investment Success (28 comments)

    John Templeton was born in the small town of Winchester, Tennessee in 1912. As a young man, he graduated first in his class from Yale University before earning a law degree as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University in England. Eventually he became a billionaire by popularizing globally-diversified mutual funds. Templeton started his own mutual-fund company in 1954. He sold his firm to Franklin Resources in 1992, which became known as Franklin Templeton Investments after…

  • Snake-Oil Salesmen? Debating the Role of the Financial Media (74 comments)

    Jim Cramer is the manic host of CNBC’s Mad Money, a television show that offers stock recommendations and investment advice. Jon Stewart is the host of Comedy Central’s satirical news program, The Daily Show. Cramer and Stewart engaged in a war of words recently, which came to a head last Thursday night when Cramer appeared on Stewart’s program. Stewart’s complaint is that CNBC doesn’t offer financial news and advice so much as it acts as…

  • The Index Fund Wins Again (31 comments)

    Although I mention other methods of investing around here from time-to-time, the fact is that most of my retirement investments remain ensconced in index funds. Index funds are mutual funds created to track the movement of a stock market index, such as the NASDAQ or the S&P 500. Their goal is to earn the same return as their corresponding index. But in a year like 2008, during which the stock market fell about 40%, who…

  • Should CNN Replace Stock Analysts — With Cats? (16 comments)

    You know what? Personal finance is too serious — especially lately. I have a “funny money” category, but I rarely use it. Maybe I should post something to it now and then. Something like this: Cats and investing! What could be better? You can find more silly cat pictures — or lolcats if you prefer — at I Can Has Cheezburger?. Most of them have nothing to do with money, but they make me smile….

  • REAL Long-Term Investing: 7% Annually for 135 Years (23 comments)

    Now that I’ve finally finished the busiest month of my life, I can begin reading the stories submitted by GRS readers again. I find plenty of neat stuff while surfing the web, but there’s no question that you folks submit the best articles! For example, Jeff V. pointed me to a piece in today’s New York Times that demonstrates some real long-term investing. Thirty-nine bondholders still own securities issued by New York City shortly after…

  • The National Economy Versus Your Personal Economy (52 comments)

    Yesterday I attended the mid-winter conference of the local financial planning association. I listened to various speakers talk about the economy and how it relates to personal finance. One of the presenters was John Mitchell, a local financial guru, who spoke about the current economic climate in the state, the nation, and the world. Mitchell’s presentation was outstanding — I wish I had recorded it. He argues that this country has encountered similar problems before,…

  • Investing 101: Average is NOT Normal (48 comments)

    This is a guest post from Carl Richards at Behavior Gap. It’s based on one of my favorite posts at his site, and is a terrific complement/counterpoint to my article on how much the stock market actually returns. As he points out, average returns are not normal. On average, stock market returns are higher than inflation, money markets, or bonds. Understanding this is an important step to any successful financial plan, but there is a…

  • Behavior Gap: The Psychology of Investing (19 comments)

    At Behavior Gap, Carl Richards is on a mission to help investors overcome the self-destructive behaviors that prevent them from prospering. Over the past week, while preparing for an upcoming presentation to a conference of financial planners, I’ve had the chance to e-mail and speak with Carl about his site and his goals. “Any way we can encourage people to think about money is good,” he told me. He wants people to become aware of…

  • The Young Money Stock Market Game (31 comments)

    Several GRS readers have asked me to recommend a “stock market game” so that they can learn the basics of investing without risking actual money. Though I’m aware of such tools, I’ve never used one myself. During my recent interview with The Motley Fool’s David Gardner, I asked him if he could suggest one. He recommended CAPS, which is The Motley Fool’s stock evaluation tool. But that’s not really the same thing.  I was recently…

  • Tune in Tonight: Nightly Business Report Interviews Warren Buffett (20 comments)

    As part of its 30th anniversary, Public Broadcasting’s Nightly Business Report is airing an interview with Warren Buffett tonight (Thursday, January 22nd). Susie Gharib spoke with “the oracle of Omaha”, asking him about the economy, about President Obama, and about investing. Here are some excerpts from the transcript, posted with permission. Update: Video of the interview is now online. Susie Gharib:  One thing that Americans aren’t buying these days is stocks. Should they be buying?…

  • Interview: The Motley Fool’s David Gardner Talks About Stock-Market Investing (19 comments)

    Earlier today, I reviewed the new book from The Motley Fool, Million Dollar Portfolio. I had the pleasure to interview author David Gardner at the end of December. This post contains excerpts from that interview. The complete interview will be included as part of the hypothetical future Get Rich Slowly podcast. J.D. Earlier this year, you met with Stephen Popick, a government economist who writes for Get Rich Slowly. During the first part of your…

  • Million Dollar Portfolio: The Motley Fool Guide to Stock-Market Investing (46 comments)

    “People want to make money fast, but it doesn’t happen that way.” — Warren Buffett Over Christmas, I read Roger Lowenstein’s fantastic biography of Warren Buffett, one of my financial heroes. Because I currently prefer to invest through index funds, it was fascinating to read how Buffett has been able to make billions by purchasing individual stocks. Next, I picked up the new book from David and Tom Gardner: The Motley Fool Million Dollar Portfolio….

  • Tax-Loss Harvesting: How to Use the Market Downturn to Save on Taxes This Year (26 comments)

    J.D. is on vacation. This is a guest post from Linden Cornett. Linden is a Portland-area professional with an interest in finance. The stock market is down this year, and many people have asked me if I’ve made any changes to my investments as a result. My general strategy is to buy-hold-rebalance my stock and bond investments, so I’ve mainly used this downturn as an opportunity to buy stocks at bargain prices. There is one…

  • How Much Does the Stock Market Actually Return? (85 comments)

    This post is graphics-intensive. To see the entire thing, you may have to click the “more inside” link. The recent market turmoil has the naybirds out in force, and they’re decrying the long-term viability of stocks. I think this is nonsense. Though I try not to be dogmatic around here, today is an exception. Today I am going to sing the praises of the stock market. Learning from the experts When I began to turn…

  • Yes, You Can Achieve Financial Independence (33 comments)

    In the midst of our rush to earn money, our scramble to save for retirement, our focus on frugality, it’s easy to lose sight of why we’re doing this. What is the goal? What is it we’re trying to accomplish by getting rich slowly? For me — and for many others — the answer is Financial Independence. Your Money or Your Life defines Financial Independence as “having an income sufficient for your basic needs and…

  • Investing 101: An Introduction to Index Funds and Passive Investing (56 comments)

    This is a guest post from ABCs of Investing, a new site for novice investors. ABCs of Investing offers two short and simple investing posts each week. Personal finance bloggers are vocal proponents of passive investing in index funds and exchange-traded funds. But not everyone knows much about these, and not a lot of bloggers do a good job of explaining the basics of passive investing. This post is intended to explain the basics —…

  • How to Invest in a Bad Economy (63 comments)

    Yesterday, USA Today published a piece describing how you should invest in a bad economy. Though the market is in shambles, the authors write, it’s no time to panic: Enough. The stock market — and your savings — have gone down steadily, day after day, for more than a year. You’ve lost thousands this month alone. It’s time to do something. But…what? Should you shift more money into stocks? Put it all into a savings…

  • Bull Moves in Bear Markets (55 comments)

    In high school, I once dated a girl whose father believed the world was doomed to nuclear destruction. While his family lived in a trailer house (as did mine), this man spent a lot of time and money building a bomb shelter in the back yard. He stocked up on food supplies. He warned anyone who would listen about the coming armageddon. He cited many reasons — Biblical, historical, political — that a fiery death…

  • Put Your Savings on Steroids with Certificates of Deposit (73 comments)

    High-yield savings accounts are great. They allow you to set aside money in a safe place to earn a respectable return. (That return is low right now, but will increase as the economy improves and interest rates rise.) But did you know you can put your savings on steroids by using a certificate of deposit? Certificates of deposit (often simply called CDs), by definition are time deposits. You give your money to the bank and…

  • Meeting the Diehards: Profiting from Shared Wisdom (22 comments)

    A GRS reader dropped a line last weekend. “I want to invite you to the Diehard Organizational Meeting on Wednesday,” he said. “I’m new to the group but obviously we’re all believers of value of index funds and John Bogle’s investment philosophy.” “Hope to see you there,” I replied. I’m still new to investing, but my reading continues to point in the direction of index funds. (An index fund is a mutual fund designed to…

  • Investing in a Bear Market (93 comments)

    On 09 October 2007, the Dow Jones Industrials hit a record high, closing at 14,279. What a difference a year makes: Last Friday, the Dow closed at 8451, and there’s a good chance it will drop even further. Unsurprisingly, my inbox is filled with e-mail from people who wonder what they should do. Here are some typical questions from readers like you: “Originally we had planned to open Roth IRAs this weekend, but with the…

  • Are You Worried About Today’s Economy? (44 comments)

    I drove to the box factory earlier this week to chat with my former co-workers. While I was there, I asked my cousin Nick (the bookkeeper) for info on the company retirement plan. I still have $80,000 that I need to roll over once I set up my new 401(k) for the blog. Only, it seems I don’t have $80,000 in retirement savings anymore. It’s more like $60,000. 2008 has not been kind to American…

  • All I Really Need to Know About Stocks I Learned in the Sixth Grade (An Interview with David Gardner) (28 comments)

    This is a guest post from Jericho Hill (a.k.a. Stephen), Get Rich Slowly forum administrator and resident economist. I recently attended a focus group at The Motley Fool, a website about financial education. After the focus group, I had a few moments to talk with David Gardner, one of the site’s founders. I asked David if he’d be willing to sit down for a few minutes for Get Rich Slowly. He was happy to chat,…

  • How to Cope with a Lousy 401(k) Plan (42 comments)

    “The Mole” is a certified financial planner and public accountant who, in his spare time, provides a behind-the-scenes view of the financial planning industry for Money magazine. In his most recent column, The Mole explains how to deal with a bad 401(k) plan. “401(k) providers don’t actually care how they make money,” he writes, “just as long as they make a tidy profit.” The providers can make money by: Offering good choices to employees, but…

  • Simplify Your Investing: An Introduction to DRIPs (42 comments)

    This is a guest post from Sara, who writes about reaching for a life of greater simplicity and deeper meaning at On Simplicity. I’m a simple girl and I love simple solutions. That’s why I’ve fallen in love with DRIP investing — it’s about as simple as investing gets. If you’re an investor who likes to set it and forget it, DRIPs are a great weapon to have in your financial arsenal. What Is a…

  • Ask the Readers: How to Get Started with Investing? (70 comments)

    Christina sent a question that puzzles many people — including me. Once we’ve established good personal finance habits, we know that it’s time to begin investing. But how? Christina writes: I’ve had an ING direct account for a few years now, and today I decided to take the plunge and open a ShareBuilder account. No sooner had I gotten to the “What do you want to do?” page did I realize that I have absolutely…

  • The Four Pillars on Index Funds (20 comments)

    This morning I reviewed the highly-regarded The Four Pillars of Investing, in which author William Bernstein makes the case for diversification and investing in index funds. At the end of chapter three (“The Market is Smarter Than You Are”), he summarizes his arguments (which I’ve reformatted to be more readable in this context): Obviously, a concentrated portfolio maximizes your chance of a superb result. Unfortunately, at the same time, it also maximizes your chance of…

  • The Four Pillars of Investing (15 comments)

    For the past year, I’ve been looking for a book to recommend for novice investors, a book that would offer sensible advice without becoming too technical. I believe I’ve finally found that book. In The Four Pillars of Investing, William Bernstein describes how to build a winning investment portfolio. He doesn’t focus on the details — he tries to explain fundamental concepts so that readers will be able to make smart investment decisions on their…

  • Report from Motley Fool HQ: How Do People Find and Use Financial Information? (7 comments)

    The Motley Fool is a web site devoted to helping average people make better investment and financial decisions. Recently, GRS forum administrator (and resident economist) Jericho Hill got a chance to visit The Motley Fool headquarters. This is part two of a report on his experience. (Here’s part one.) When I was in high school, I participated in my state’s stock market game. It was designed to introduce our economics class to the world of…

  • Picking Stocks with The Motley Fool’s CAPS (15 comments)

    The Motley Fool is a web site devoted to helping average people make better investment and financial decisions. Recently, GRS forum administrator (and resident economist) Jericho Hill got a chance to visit The Motley Fool headquarters. This is part one of a report on his experience. When I was in high school, I participated in my state’s stock market game. It was designed to introduce our economics class to the world of investing. That’s where…

  • Personal Finance Made Easy: Pay Yourself First (84 comments)

    Yesterday I shared some financial tips my father gave me when I was a sophomore in college. He didn’t stop there. After I graduated, he continued to offer advice. One of the things he told me was, “Pay yourself first.” To explain, he gave me a copy of George Clason’s 1926 classic, The Richest Man in Babylon. I didn’t read it. In retrospect, I ought to have been a little less stubborn. It took years…

  • Why It Pays to Ignore Financial News (27 comments)

    Financial news can be dangerous to the health of your investment portfolio. I spent some time yesterday reading recent articles about the stock market. What I found was mostly hysterical hype (“Gasp! Dow Jones Industrials tumble 400 points!”). All the financial stories seemed to be written as if our investment horizons were days, not years. No wonder people panic when the stock market hits a rocky patch. But do daily market movements — even 400…

  • Warren Buffett on Market Fluctuations: Investors Gain When the Market Falls (20 comments)

    Berkshire Hathaway held its annual shareholders meeting over the weekend. The company, run by Charlie Munger and Warren Buffett (the world’s richest man, and one of my personal heroes), continues to do well, though Buffett warned shareholders not to expect continued stellar returns as in years gone by. “Anyone that expects us to come close to replicating the past should sell their stock,” Buffett said. “It isn’t going to happen. I think we’re going to…

  • Trading Stocks: How Do I Find Good Stocks? (64 comments)

    This is a guest post from John Forman from The Essentials of Trading. Forman is the author of a book by the same name. He has been a trader of the stock and other markets for over 20 years, and is a professional stock market analyst for Thomson Reuters. The wealth building potential of the stock market is enormous. I think we all realize that. The long-running debate, though, is whether one is better off…

  • I Quit My Job — What Should I Do With My 401k? (81 comments)

    This is a guest post from Todd at The Working Dollar. When you leave your job, you have several choices regarding your 401(k). These options are pretty much universal, meaning they apply to every 401(k) and to every job change situation. Your options are: Cash the 401(k) plan and receive a full pay-out I’ve listed this option first because it has the most serious ramifications. First, if you take a full payout, you will have…

  • Book Review: Investing 101 (9 comments)

    Soon after I started this site two years ago, Bloomberg Press sent me several books to review. I thumbed through them, but then put them on my shelf and forgot about them. Recently, while researching diversification, I pulled down one of these forgotten volumes, Kathy Kristof’s Investing 101. I started reading the diversification chapter, then read another. Before I knew it, I’d read the entire book. It’s a solid introduction to investing. The mental game…

  • Saving and Investing: An Introduction to Stock Valuation (13 comments)

    April is Financial Literacy Month, during which Get Rich Slowly is exploring the fundamentals of personal finance. I don’t know much about stocks. I’ve read some books about traders (Den of Thieves, for example), and I understand the rudiments of the stock market itself, but I don’t know anything about the language of stocks. I don’t know anything about the nitty-gritty. I can vaguely describe a P/E ratio, but that’s about it. Obviously, I’d like…

  • What Would Warren Buffett Do? (28 comments)

    You folks have been sending me a lot of Warren Buffett stuff lately. I appreciate it. Buffett is one of my financial heroes, and I love to soak up his advice. Because I don’t have room to highlight all the Buffettology that comes my way, I’d like to briefly point out two of the stories. First, Vincent sent me an article from Fortune magazine about what Warren Buffett thinks. A lot of people like to…

  • What If You Didn’t Start Saving Early? Advice for Late Bloomers (30 comments)

    “Saving is the key to wealth,” I wrote last week while trumpeting the extraordinary power of compound interest. “If you do not spend less than you earn, and if you do not save the difference, you cannot build the wealth you desire.” The younger you are when you begin saving, the more time compounding has to work in your favor, and the wealthier you can become. “The next best thing to starting early,” I wrote,…

  • Saving and Investing: An Introduction to Diversification (25 comments)

    April is Financial Literacy Month, during which Get Rich Slowly will explore the fundamentals of personal finance. Today we’ll take a quick look at diversification. Last year, I shared a series of YouTube clips from Michael Fischer, who is on a mission to educate people about essential personal finance skills. His book, Saving and Investing, is 132 pages of fantastic financial information. Fischer doesn’t provide any scams or gimmicks — he just gives the facts….

  • How to Conquer Your Fear of Investing (33 comments)

    Writing for Kiplinger.com last month, Erin Burt laid out some tips to help conquer your fear of investing. This article is specifically aimed at those who are nervous about getting started in the stock market. She writes: The thought of possibly losing any money is a terrifying prospect. And the fact that today’s economy has seen better days probably isn’t helping those fears. Investing in the stock market has its risks. But if you give…

  • The Compound Return Marathon: Which Retirement Strategy Will Win? (53 comments)

    This is a guest post by G.E. Miller, head author of the personal finance blog 20-Something Finance. It’s a nice companion to my article this morning about the extraordinary power of compound interest. Both articles are a part of Financial Literacy Month. Before we fire off the gun to start the ‘Compound Return Marathon’, let’s cover some basics on what compound returns are and why you should care. What is compound interest? You probably became…

  • The Extraordinary Power of Compound Interest (92 comments)

    If you’re young, you may not think you need to open a retirement account. You probably think it’s easier to worry about it five years from now. Or ten. You’re wrong. No matter what your age, now is the time to begin saving for retirement. In The Automatic Millionaire, David Bach writes, “The single biggest investment mistake you can make [is] not using your [retirement] plan and not maxing it out.” Saving is the key…

  • The Individual Investor’s Guide to the Top Mutual Funds (19 comments)

    Because I thought it would be a great source of material for Get Rich Slowly, last fall I enrolled in a lifetime membership to the American Association of Individual Investors. AAII is a non-profit founded in 1978 to provide individual investors — people like you and me — with tools and knowledge to better approach the stock market. I’ve been receiving the monthly publications for a while now, but haven’t had a chance to give…

  • What’s the Safest Thing I Can Do with My Money? (41 comments)

    “What’s the safest possible thing that I can do with my money?” wonders Afroblanco over at Ask Metafilter: I take bearishness to an extreme. Having witnessed the 2000 tech crash, I have no faith in the stock market or the US economy. I keep all of my money (USD) in a savings account. However, with the recent financial turmoil, I have a few questions: Is it conceivable for the FDIC to fail? If so, is…

  • The Number One Impact on Your Investments is YOU (18 comments)

    This is a guest post from Kent Thune, The Financial Philosopher, who applies timeless wisdom and inspiration to investing, personal finance, and the economy. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” — Reinhold Niebuhr Recent volatility in the financial markets and a weakening US economy have tested the resolve of even the most patient of investors,…

  • The Kitchen-Table Investor: Wealth-Building Strategies for Working Families (25 comments)

    As you might expect, most of my personal investments are safely tucked away in index funds, those mutual funds designed to track the performance of a particular stock market index. This is a smart way for the average investor to achieve solid growth over the long-term. However, I continue to hold about 5% of my investment capital in reserve as “mad money”. While the rest of my investments are conservative, I use this money to…

  • How Lower Fees and Expenses with Index Funds Could Mean 33% More to Spend in Retirement (29 comments)

    This is a guest-post from Dylan Ross. Dylan is a Certified Financial Planner and owner of Swan Financial Planning, LLC a registered investment adviser in New Jersey. He is an active commenter at Get Rich Slowly, both on the blog and in the forums. “Fees are the investor’s enemy,” J.D. recently told me. He’s right. There are many ways to illustrate the drag that fees place on portfolio returns. This is often shown by calculating…

  • Money Hack: Use CDs to Beat Falling Interest Rates (42 comments)

    When the Federal Reserve cuts short-term interest rates, as it did yesterday, you feel the pinch in your savings account. My ING Direct account, for example, has dropped from 4.50% when I opened it to 3.65% today. It may drop again. Brian from The Job Bored dropped a line with a money hack for those who like to chase the highest interest rates. “Why not buy protection?”, he wonders. Here’s how: Since ING makes it…

  • Does the Financial Industry Subtract Value from the Economy? (23 comments)

    Vintek pointed me to a Bill Moyers interview with John Bogle, founder of The Vanguard Group and patron saint of index funds. (He’s also one of my financial heroes.) Mostly, the conversation revolves around the problems with the modern U.S. economy: BILL MOYERS: What is the job of capitalism? JOHN BOGLE: Well, ultimately, the job of capitalism is to serve the consumer. Serve the citizenry. You’re allowed to make a profit for that. But, you’ve…

  • Ask the Readers: Is Now a Good Time to Buy Index Funds? (64 comments)

    A shaky stock market makes people nervous. Naturally, they’re scared of losing money. Alex, a reader in the U.K., wrote to say that he’s finally ready to begin investing, but he’s not sure that now is the time to do so. Should he wait? I recently switched jobs to one that pays me better (and makes contributions to a pension!). My current savings are healthy enough to be considered an emergency fund; if I lost…

  • Growing Money: A Complete Investing Guide for Kids (14 comments)

    During my family’s Christmas celebration, I learned a little more about my oldest nephews. I don’t see them often, so it’s hard to know what interests them. This year, I learned that six-year-old Alex likes art. You can bet I’ll be encouraging this productive hobby — the only other two things I know he likes are dinosaurs and video games. I was also pleased to learn that his older brother, Michael, likes money. “I have…

  • The Basics of RRSPs: Registered Retirement Savings Plans (28 comments)

    This morning we have a little something for our neighbors to the north. This is a guest post from Frugal Trader, who writes about personal finance from a Canadian perspective at Million Dollar Journey. J.D contacted me to contribute to his retirement account series with an explanation of Canadian RRSPs. An RRSP is the closest thing Canada has to a 401k or Roth/Traditional IRA. What is an RRSP? RRSP stands for Registered Retirement Savings Plan….

  • What to Consider When Opening Your First Brokerage Account (23 comments)

    This is a guest post from Dong, who writes about personal economy at Ask Dong. Who can forget their first time? I certainly can’t.  I was 22 and fresh out of school.  The NASDAQ was around 4000, and young turks like myself were getting jobs that we had no business holding.  The times were good. Even if I couldn’t work for a dot-com, there was no reason for me not to invest in them. The…

  • The Random Walk Guide to Investing: Ten Rules for Financial Success (18 comments)

    In 1973, Burton Malkiel published A Random Walk Down Wall Street, in which he argued that a blindfolded monkey could pick stocks as well as a professional investor. Though I bought a copy of Random Walk for $3.99 at the local Goodwill last year, I haven’t read it. It looks dense. I know it’s written for the layman, but it still seems rather academic. In 2003, Malkiel published The Random Walk Guide to Investing, “a…

  • Ben Stein: Buy Low, Sell High (32 comments)

    Dave pointed me to the latest column from Ben Stein, in which he writes about market fluctuations and subprime morality. The first half of this article interests me more — it discusses a fundamental principle of investing. I continue to get questions about whether now is a good time to invest in the stock market. The truth is: nobody knows. In his column, Stein stresses the importance of maintaining a cash reserve. When things get…

  • The Pros and Cons of Sharebuilder (80 comments)

    Bill wrote the other day looking for my opinion on Sharebuilder. Sharebuilder is an online discount brokerage that encourages automatic scheduled purchases of stocks and exchange-traded funds. In plain English, the company makes it easy to start investing. Here’s what Bill had to say: I was wondering what you thought about Sharebuilder. I am considering signing up for an Individual Retirement Account. I am not sure if Sharebuilder is a good place to start, or…

  • Ask the Readers: What to Do When Money and Ethics Clash? (51 comments)

    Here’s a personal finance truism: if your employer offers a 401(k), be sure to take advantage of any matching funds. That’s a terrific idea, but what if doing so presents an ethical dilemma? Eric wrote looking for advice on a sticky situation: My employer is moving our 401(k) accounts from one investment firm to another. The new investment house is condemned by human rights groups because their investments facilitate the genocide in Darfur. What am…

  • Can You Have a Savings Account in a Roth IRA? (24 comments)

    Yesterday, Brent wrote with a question regarding the types of investments one can have in a Roth IRA: Is there such a thing as a Roth IRA “savings” account that gets rates comparable to a good “regular” savings accounts (5% APR or higher)? Is there a reason this is so difficult to find information on (at least for me)? It seems like any place that I want to take my Roth IRA to will require…

  • Roth IRA vs. Traditional IRA: Which is the Best Deal? (23 comments)

    I’m often asked, “Which is best, a Roth IRA or a traditional IRA?” There’s no one right answer. Which option you choose depends on your goals, and it depends on what you think your income will be like in the future. In theory, there’s no difference between the eventual returns. In practice, there are a variety of factors that can affect your decision, of which tax rates are perhaps the most notable. Walter Updegrave at…

  • Book Review: The Automatic Millionaire (59 comments)

    David Bach is perhaps best known for coining the term the latte factor, a phrase that has almost become a joke in personal finance circles. That’s too bad, really, because Bach has some good ideas. And the latte factor is a marvelous concept, applicable to many people who casually spend their future a few dollars at a time. Bach’s most popular book is The Automatic Millionaire. I’ve referred to it often, but never reviewed it…

  • The Upside of Risk: Why Market Volatility is a Good Thing (13 comments)

    The November 2007 issue of Kiplinger’s has a great article from James K. Glassman called “The Upside of Risk”. Glassman’s explanation of market risk is wonderful. Normally, I’d post an excerpt from the online version of the article and then point you to it, but I can’t find this piece anywhere on the web. Instead, I’ll post a longer excerpt than normal. Imagine a world in which stock investments performed the same year after year….

  • One Man Who Beats the Market (and His Suggestions for Individual Investors) (47 comments)

    I’ve edited this post to clarify a few things, and to add information researched by GRS readers. Thanks! The average investor cannot beat the market on a regular basis. For her, index funds are the best investment. Even a majority of professional money managers fail to beat the market most of the time. However, there are those — like Warren Buffett — who seem to have a sort of financial genius, who are able to…

  • Countrywide and Me: A Real-Life Look at Risk Tolerance (42 comments)

    My month-long experiment with Countrywide Financial is over. As I’ve mentioned before, I keep a small portion of my investment portfolio designated for “fun” trading. That is, trading that is more speculation than investment, the sort of thing most people think of when they consider the stock market. About $80,000 of my retirement accounts are invested in index funds, but I have $1,000 set aside to buy whatever I want. Speculation is NOT investment In…

  • 12 Investing Mistakes I’ve Made (and How You Can Learn From Them) (63 comments)

    This is a guest post from Pinyo, author of Moolanomy, a personal finance blog about money, wealth, investing, and more. I’ve been investing since 1996. In the process, I have learned a lot, mainly from trial and error. I’d like to share my experience with you. Here are some of the mistakes I’ve made: Not investing soon enough — I have been working part-time since my first year at college in 1991. If I had…

  • Lifestyles of the Rich and Boring (12 comments)

    Index funds are boring. They’re not sexy. No one gets excited when your hot stock tip is to buy the Vanguard Total Stock Market Fund (VTSMX). Yet indexed mutual funds are the best choice for most investors. Last January I shared a story about the best investment advice you’ll never get written by Mark Dowie of San Francisco magazine. Dowie’s piece explored the rise of index funds, and the reasons traditional brokers are reluctant to…

  • Questions and Answers with Warren Buffett (16 comments)

    How often can you hear advice from the world’s greatest investor? In 1998, at the beginning of the tech bubble, Warren Buffett spoke to a group of MBA students at the University of Florida. He spent ninety minutes answering questions about his investment philosophy. Though this presentation was made almost nine years ago, his advice is just as valid today. For example, at the 1:15 mark of the following clip Buffett explains why he believes…

  • 20 Great Nuggets of Personal Finance Advice (12 comments)

    Yesterday I mentioned a Money magazine article called “The Best Advice of All Time”. The web version has been posted, though it’s in the annoying “gallery” format. (It does contain links to supplemental information, though, which is cool.) Here’s a list of the “rules”, along with the quotes that author Carla Fried chose to pair with them. For detailed information on each point, follow the links. Be humble. “When you do not know a thing,…

  • What if the Stock Market Makes You Nervous? (31 comments)

    A couple of readers have mentioned that they’re nervous about the stock market’s recent volatility. I’ve read similar concerns on other blogs and financial news sites. People are worried that the stock market’s performance over the last month portends an impending bear market, and they don’t know what to do. Reading these concerns reminded me of Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes, which I reviewed last week. In the book, the authors discuss panic…

  • Community Investing and Other Socially-Conscious Banking Options (22 comments)

    This is a guest post from Penny Nickel of Money and Values. If you’ve ever looked into socially conscious personal finance options, you may be familiar with Socially Responsible Investing (SRI), probably in the form of mutual funds.  But did you know that there’s a whole world out there of products like savings accounts and CDs that will allow you to participate in community investing? When you put your money in a bank to earn…

  • Questions and Answers about Roth IRAs (40 comments)

    Over the past month, I’ve covered the basics of Roth IRAs. I’ve explained what they are, how (and where) to open one, and which investments are best. Today in the final part of this series, I’m going to answer your questions. Remember: I am not a financial adviser. I’m just a regular guy trying to gather information to help you. If you need more specific answers, please consult a CPA or an investment professional. All…

  • Stock Tips from Ten-Year-Olds (31 comments)

    We spent several hours last Saturday walking the streets of southeast Portland, looking for bargains. Portland’s posh Eastmoreland neighborhood held its 22nd annual garage sale (which I wrote about last year), and we joined the thousands of others who were hoping to find some great deals. Kris scored a bunch of cheap canning jars, but I didn’t find anything on my list. I did, however, find the girl who last year sold me jokes and…

  • Which Investments Are Best for a Roth IRA? (37 comments)

    This is part three of the GRS introduction to Roth IRAs. You may wish to begin with parts one and two. I used to believe the stock market would make me rich. All I needed to do was pick the right stock and I’d be a millionaire. In March of 2000, I decided that stock was PALM, which I bought the morning it went public. Within days my $1,000 investment was worth $600, and my…

  • How to Start a Roth IRA (and Where to Do It) (240 comments)

    You’ve heard how awesome Roth IRAs are and how starting one now can mean big bucks when you’re older. You’ve even done some research so you have a vague idea of how a Roth IRA works. Now what? How do you actually start one yourself? It’s surprisingly easy to set up a retirement account and to begin investing in your future. Before you invest Putting money in savings accounts or certificates of deposits for retirement…

  • What is a Roth IRA and Why Should You Care? (88 comments)

    The most common e-mail I get goes something like this: I’m going to start a Roth IRA on my own, and I’d like to know what online sites you or your readers would suggest. I want to invest in index funds, having heard they are the bee’s knees, but books and the web, and magazine articles are sadly silent on the HOW, spending lots of time on the WHY. Right now I’m looking heavily at…

  • Working Dollars: Investment Lessons from 1957 (10 comments)

    Here’s a 1957 cartoon about the virtues of stock market investing from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Fred Finchley is a family man with a good job, a lovely wife, two rambunctious children, and all the conveniences of modern life. What he doesn’t have, however, is enough money to pay for his dream vacation. When Finchley’s boss gives him a raise of $60 a month, he faces a dilemma. Should he use the money…

  • Ask the Readers: Is It Better to Invest or to Prepay a Mortgage? (194 comments)

    Paul writes with a common question that illustrates how challenging personal finance can be, even when you’re doing the right things. Sometimes it’s difficult to choose between several good options. Here’s his dilemma: I refinanced my house a few years ago at a great rate (5-3/8%). At the time, we had a lot of equity in the house so we borrowed against it in order to build an addition. After we were finished, we had…

  • When and How To Hire a Financial Planner (14 comments)

    Last week Dylan Ross, a certified financial planner, explained what a financial plan is and why it’s important to have one . Today he discusses why you might want to hire somebody to help you create one. Typically people seek the help of a planner when they don’t have the time, know-how, or desire to do create their own financial plan. In its 13 February 2006 issue, Newsweek featured a great article by Jane Bryant…

  • Beat the Market with Lazy Portfolios (26 comments)

    Vincent wrote to tell me about “lazy portfolios”: Paul Farrell of MarketWatch tracks a group of portfolios composed of index funds, and watches how they are performing vs. the S&P 500.  He writes an update a couple of times a year, with both a long-term and short-term perspective.  The portfolios consist of as many as eleven funds and as few as three funds. I like reading the series because year-after-year, without exception, these lazy portfolios…

  • Casey Serin: $2 Million in Debt in Two Years (60 comments)

    Casey Serin of I Am Facing Foreclosure recently held a two-hour conference call to take questions from readers and to explain his situation. I didn’t hear the call, but I did read the entire transcript (part one, part two).     For those of you unfamiliar with him, Casey Serin is the Napoleon Dynamite of real estate investing. He took real estate seminars from Russ Whitney and read books by Carleton Sheets. He bought into…

  • Book Review: Time is Money (4 comments)

    One of the most puzzling things about money is knowing where to begin. You get out of college and suddenly find yourself in the real world, with a job, with rent, with student loans, and wonder how you’re going to make ends meet, let alone save for retirement. Retirement seems so far away. It’s easy to just forget about it. Ignoring retirement could be one of the biggest financial mistakes you’ll ever make. Compound returns…

  • What the Stock Market Decline Means for You (23 comments)

    You might have noticed that the U.S. stock markets took a tumble today. In fact, the drop was the largest in five years. What does this stock market correction mean to the average investor? What does it mean for the fellow who’s just plugging a few hundred dollars a month into his IRA? In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t mean much. The slow, sure path to investment success is to “buy and hold”…

  • More Real-Life Prosper Experience (14 comments)

    Earlier today, Frykitty shared her experiences with Prosper, the person-to-person lending site. Her post prompted an excellent discussion. Here’s some follow-up information from Justin McHenry of Zen Personal Finance, who last month posted this collection of comments and reviews from Prosper users. He’s kindly granted me permission to reprint it verbatim. One of the most-read posts I’ve written at Zen Personal Finance was the one from last June titled “Why Prosper.com Will Fail”. To be…

  • Prosper: Investing on YOUR Terms (52 comments)

    Note: I’ve received many questions about Prosper, but I’ve never used it. Here’s a post from Frykitty, the very very quiet second author at Get Rich Slowly. She recently set up a Prosper account and has written to share her experience. Last December I discovered Prosper, a site that connects private lenders and borrowers, and manages the resulting loans. Because I’m not a fan of the stock market, this looked like a perfect opportunity to…

  • Jim Cramer on AAPL (15 comments)

    Here’s a video I found while surfing YouTube: Now, I’ve read a little about Jim Cramer before — and wrote a brief piece about him last spring — but I’ve never seen him live. Is he always like this? How’s his financial advice?

  • Ask the Readers: Finding a Financial Advisor? (33 comments)

    Last week we helped a reader get started with stocks. This week Rebecca asks how to take the next step. Where should she go for help? For my birthday this year my Grandmother gave me some stocks. She uses Edward Jones, but tells me that I can go anywhere. Would anyone be able to recommend a good “financial advisor” company? I’m looking for someplace: Local (in Portland, Oregon) or maybe something that has a good…

  • Ask the Readers: Where to Start With the Stock Market? (42 comments)

    Jono is ready to dive into stock investing, but he doesn’t know where to begin: I currently attend UCLA and am just a first year (undergraduate), but I am extremely interested in investing in stocks after reading some of your articles. Doesn’t hurt to start early right? I am skeptical as to how to start the process though, and I don’t really want to turn to my parents because I don’t feel like they have…

  • Are Index Funds the Best Investment? (59 comments)

    For 35 years, Bay Area finance revolutionaries have been pushing a personal investing strategy that brokers despise and hope you ignore. [This is] the story of a rebellion that’s slowly but surely putting money into the pockets of millions of Americans, winning powerful converts, and making money managers from California Street to Wall Street squirm. So writes Mark Dowie in a recent issue of San Francisco magazine. Dowie describes how Google prepared for its IPO…

  • A Brief Conversation About Money (12 comments)

    10:58 AM Sparky: are you truly making boxes? J.D.: No, we’re bitching about stuff. 11:00 AM Sparky: gotta get back to rewiring 11:10 AM Sparky: i made my own mutual fund last night and backed tested it from January 6, 2006 Sparky: it came back with a 30% increase to-date. J.D.: Nice. J.D.: GM? MSFT? Sparky: no, that’s the JD mutual fund Sparky: 12.3% Consumer Discreationary Sparky: 8.5% Consumer Staples Sparky: 11:15 AM Sparky: 23%…

  • Morningstar’s Investing Classroom (7 comments)

    Marty wrote with an awesome tip for those interested in learning how to invest: Lifehacker has a great link to free online investing classes at Morningstar. I signed up and have taken a couple. They are not bad at all — I wish my college had offered courses like this. They are not overviews, but get into the nitty gritty. The Morningstar classes include information on: Stocks — “Get in on the ground floor of…

  • The Beauty of Penny Stocks (23 comments)

    William at A Financial Revolution has some words of advice on penny stocks. The beauty of penny stocks is that they are one of the only investments for which one simple, blanket rule applies without any exceptions: There is never a good reason to buy a penny stock, ever. Why not? Penny stocks cost very little for a reason.  The efficient market hypothesis states that the stock price generally reflects all available knowledge about that…

  • Should You Invest Like Your Congressman? (9 comments)

    Do you believe that politicians act in their own best interests? Do you believe that they’re likely to implement laws that help their aims rather than hurt them? What if you knew in which companies your politicians invested? How would that affect your own investments? Dave C. forwarded several links to opensecrets.org, which bills itself as “your guide to the money in U.S. elections”. This site is run by the Center for Responsive Politics: The…

  • The Billionaire Next Door: The Wisdom of Warren Buffett (33 comments)

    Warren Buffett is one of my heroes. He’s the second-richest man in the world, yet he lives more frugally than I do. CNBC recently broadcast an interview with Buffett. Naturally, it’s been posted to YouTube. Here’s the show in its entirety (with notes and excerpts I made while watching). [Update 16 April 2007: The show is no longer available via YouTube. Instead, you can view excerpts at CNBC.] As a kid, Buffett would go door-to-door…

  • Tax Tips for Tykes (6 comments)

    Here’s some end-of-the-year advice from new GRS-reader W.C. Varones, a finance professional from San Francisco. Varones writes that if you have investments for your children, now is the time to maximize them. If you have stocks or mutual funds in investment accounts for your children, don’t let December pass without taking the opportunity to step up the cost basis of the investments. Every year, a child is allowed $800 of investment income without having to…

  • Intro to Mutual Funds: Index Funds (6 comments)

    Before I delete the GRS forums, I’m moving the best posts here. Last month I shared Vintek’s introduction to mutual funds. Here he explains index funds. In my previous discussion of mutual funds, I mentioned index funds: Along came index funds, and this was hailed as the ultimate in investing. You’d invest not in just a basket of stocks, but in the entire market. Since the manager wasn’t required to do research and pick stocks…

  • No One Ever Went Broke Taking a Profit (11 comments)

    If you are interested, and can afford it, you might consider setting aside some personal “investment fun money”. This is money with which you allow yourself to invest outside the standard “buy-and-hold index funds” method. If nothing else, it’s an interesting psychological experiment. It certainly teaches you how willing you are to hang onto losses, and how afraid you are of losing gains. I already have a fine retirement account through my employer. I also…

  • An Introduction to Mutual Funds (18 comments)

    The GRS discussion forums have become spam magnets. They weren’t used much anyhow, so I’m taking them down. (To be replaced by something better in the future.) I don’t want to lose any of the contributions from readers, though, so I’ll move the best posts to this blog over the next few weeks. This first post is an introduction to mutual funds from VinTek — original thread here. This is a very basic introduction to…

  • The Good Stuff: Choosing Quality Over Price (32 comments)

    Saving money doesn’t have to be dull. It’s possible to be too frugal, to deny yourself too much. It doesn’t have to be that way. You can enjoy the good life — eating out, spending time with friends, indulging yourself — while exercising thrift. The key is balance. One way to practice financial prudence while living the good life is to buy quality products, products that are a pleasure to use, products that will last…

  • Make Money Quick! In the Stock Market! (16 comments)

    There is no reliable way to make money quickly. If there were, everyone would be doing it. Get-rich-quick schemes are just that: schemes. Sure, it’s possible to get lucky at a casino, or to make a well-timed stock pick, but these feats are the exception, not the rule. They generally are not reproducible. An AskMetafilter user recently pleaded for some hot stock tips. Where online do you go to find “best buys” about new and…

  • Reader Submission: Old Lady with Loads of Money (1 comment)

    Get Rich Slowly-reader D submitted the following story, which is typical of many similar that I’ve heard: A few years back I was working in the city for a CPA firm when an associated legal firm brought in an interesting case. Their client had passed away, and the family had no idea where to begin. Money was never a topic the family discussed, and the kids were in the dark of their mother’s positions. This…

  • Cashing in on CDs (20 comments)

    Certificates of Deposit (CDs) are safe, conservative investments. They’re a fine place to stick idle cash, though they can also be used for goal-directed saving. When you open a CD, you deposit money with a bank and promise not to touch it for a certain period of time. Terms generally range from three months to five years. The longer you agree to let the bank use the money, the higher your rate of return. My…

  • The Hardest Thing to do in Investing (3 comments)

    Penepole Wang says that it takes guts to sell what’s hot and buy what’s not, but it’s the fundamental key to success on the stock market. The oldest adage in investing is “buy low, sell high.” When’s the last time you pulled that off? Exactly. No need to beat yourself up. Selling high, after all, requires you to pull money out of investments that are doing spectacularly well — a move that’s both counter-intuitive and…

  • Phil Town’s Rule #1 Investing (41 comments)

    Rule #1 by Phil Town is not a general personal finance book, and it’s not a book for beginning investors — it turns a lot of conventional investment wisdom on its ear. The book explores a philosophy ascribed to Columbia University’s Benjamin Graham (author of The Intelligent Investor), and popularized by Graham’s student, Warren Buffet (perhaps the most successful investor of all time). What is The Rule? “There are only two rules of investing: Rule…

  • General Investment Tips (2 comments)

    Matt’s General Investing Tips reflect common investment wisdom as I understand it. There is nothing new or shocking here. This is mainstream investment advice. If you’re looking for an introduction to the various investment vehicles, Matt does an excellent job summarizing the pros and cons of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Matt stresses several factors: It is not possible to outguess the market. “If you see a piece of news in the media you should…

  • Investment Strategies for Potential Nuclear Attacks (1 comment)

    The latest issue of Smart Money landed in my mailbox on Saturday. Inside was this doozy of a question: I’m confident in my investments, but one thing could throw them off: a nuclear attack on a major U.S. city. Can you recommend a portfolio that would hold up? My first reaction was laughter, but that’s not fair to the questioner. It’s probably a real concern to some people. Stephanie AuWerter, the Ask SmartMoney columnist, does…

  • Ticker: Stock-Tracking Software (1 comment)

    Ticker is a simple (and free) stock-tracking tool for the Macintosh. It’s a little software gem. Because Ticker doesn’t try to dazzle with a wide array of features, it’s very easy to use. To add a new stock, click new and enter the data. The stock is added to the list of securities. You can change the sort order of the list by clicking on a different column heading. If you double-click on a stock,…

  • Jim Cramer’s Mad Money (3 comments)

    Jim Cramer, manic host of CNBC’s Mad Money, has something of a cult following, especially among investment bloggers. (Did you know there were investment bloggers? There are many!) Nancy Franklin, television critic for The New Yorker, pofiled Cramer and Mad Money in last week’s issue. Franklin seems to be more amused by Cramer than anything: People have very definite opinions of Jim Cramer’s bonkers CNBC show Mad Money, just as they do of professional wrestling,…

  • Pep Talk: Pay Yourself First (7 comments)

    All the money books tell you to do it. All the personal finance blogs say it, too. Even your dad has given you the same advice: Save ten percent of everything you earn. But it’s hard. That money could be used someplace else. You could pay the phone bill, could pay down debt, could buy a new DVD player. You’ve tried once or twice in the past, but it’s so easy to forget. You don’t…

  • The Wealthy Barber on Compound Returns (6 comments)

    I’m nearly finished with The Wealthy Barber, and will post a review soon. However, I wanted to share this passage, which echoes my previous comments on the power of compound returns. Roy, the wealthy barber, is lecturing his patrons: “Regardless of which tax-deferred vehicle you select, IRA or other, start contributing now! I can’t stress that enough. “Two twenty-two-year-old twins decide to start saving for retirement. One opens an IRA, invests two thousand dollars a…

  • Playing the Stock Market: Don’t Second-Guess Yourself (0 comment)

    Earlier this year I decided I had enough extra income to to begin making regular investments. Since January, I’ve invested $400 in a Sharebuilder IRA plan. This move was inspired by David Bach’s Automatic Millionaire. I realize that $100/month is not a lot to invest, but it’s a start. (Ad: Buy Stocks for $4 at ShareBuilder.) After doing some reading, and after evaluating my personal goals, I decided that I wasn’t comfortable investing directly in stock yet, particularly not in…

  • Socially Responsible Investing (4 comments)

    Last week a reader asked about socially responsible investments. I recruited a friend to provide a brief overview of the subject. Now Money and Values has posted a terrific introduction that offers more information, as well as plenty of links for further exploration: Socially Responsible Investing, Part One and Socially Responsible Investing, Part Two. The article defines three socially responsible investment strategies: Social screening — “Positive screens seek out especially good companies on a certain…

  • The World’s Easiest Guide to Retirement Accounts (3 comments)

    Ramit at I Will Teach You to Be Rich has posted The World’s Easiest Guide to Understanding Retirement Accounts, a brilliant introduction to these important investments. “If you start a retirement account in your early 20s and fund it regularly, you will be rich,” he says. He’s right. Topics covered include: The magical benefits of retirement accounts — how the tax advantages of a retirement account are better than a standard investment account. Your 401(k)…

  • Clearing Up Roth IRA Confusion (1 comment)

    Today’s CNNMoney “Ask the Expert” column clears up a common confusion regarding the nature of Individual Retirement Accounts. A woman writes: I opened a Roth IRA at my credit union, but now I’m confused. As I understand it, my Roth, which the teller told me is “just like a CD,” lasts only 23 months. Based on what I’ve read about Roth IRAs, however, I thought you could put your money aside for a couple of…

  • Reader Question: Socially Responsible Investments? (6 comments)

    A Get Rich Slowly reader recently submitted a question: “What options exist for socially responsible investment?” My husband and I save, and we own a house and may invest in more property later, but one thing we won’t do is play the stock market.  We spend a lot of time thinking about the ills of the world and the way to live our lives to make things even a little better. It seems to us…

  • Investing Basics Article Archive (0 comment)

    Get Rich Slowly is a personal finance site, not an investment site, but we will cover useful information on investing from time-to-time. This is one of them. The Investopedia has an enormous archive of articles on investing basics. Each week Investopedia focuses on a particular topic that will help you learn the fundamentals of investing. From stocks to bonds to asset allocation strategies, everything you read about is explained from the perspective of a new…