Zero-Based Budgeting Applied to Personal Finance

If you have ever run a businesses or worked in corporate finance, you are likely familiar with the concept of zero-based budgeting (ZBB) as an alternative to traditional budgeting.  The traditional form of budgeting - and the one most commonly used in corporate America - uses the amount spent last year in each category (or [...]

Why Many Parents Should Reconsider Covering College-aged or Adult Children on their Health Insurance

Parents generally believe that the longer they can claim their children as dependents, the more tax savings they will accrue.  This is a misleading fallacy for most high-income families.  The reality is that most parents with more than $200,000 of annual income get zero tax benefit from their children and may continue to get limited [...]

The Tax Saving Opportunity of a Lifetime for Early Retirees

Like it or not, the Affordable Care Act will again rule the health insurance marketplace in 2018 regardless of what happens in Congress with tax legislation or whether the individual mandate holds up over the coming weeks.  Also like it or not, there has been a dramatic increase in insurance premiums from the onset of [...]

Guaranteed Income and No Risk of Principal – Too Good to be True?

It is difficult to go more than a week without seeing or hearing advertisements for an investment that guarantees zero risk of principal loss, promises an attractive return (5-10% per year), and ensurers lifetime income that never expires.  Admittedly, these promises can sound very attractive on the surface, especially for risk averse investors.  But are they too [...]

Pregnancy and Voluntary Short-Term Disability Insurance

Everyday investors tend to speculate on stocks based on the often ill-conceived notion that they have unique information or better information than the rest of the investment world.  This perception of ‘asymmetric information’ is often the polar opposite of reality.  In fact, institutional investors have an enormous information advantage over retail investors – one that [...]

Dismissing High Deductible HSA Plans Is a Costly Mistake

This time of year means open enrollment season and that means battling a consistent bevy of confusing acronyms: FSA, HSA, HRA, PPO, HMO, POS, and on.  Reorienting every year to the different meanings, rules, and benefits of these acronyms is akin to relearning the scoring rules of curling every four years.  Most Americans are interested [...]

5 Medicare Open Enrollment Mistakes to Avoid

Records show that organ donation elections vary dramatically from country to country.  Even bordering countries with similar cultures have huge differences in the percentage of citizens who participate in organ donation programs.  Consider two countries that neighbor Germany: Austria and Belgium.  99.9% of Austrian citizens and 98% of Belgian citizens are registered organ donors.  In Germany, [...]

Long-Term Disability Insurance – Group vs. Individual Coverage

From an economic perspective, insurance is useful to protect against low frequency, high severity events.  Quite simply, we are well served to insure infrequent events that would be financially devastating like the loss of a home to fire or an untimely death.  This ultimately begs the question of why people purchase insurance to protect against [...]

Cheap Fouls and Unnecessary Insurance

Players in a college or high school basketball game are limited to 4 fouls and disqualified from competition upon receiving 5 fouls.  This limitation is intended to discourage players from consistently fouling to maintain the pace of play. In basketball, there are good fouls and bad fouls.  A good foul could be the result of commendable [...]