The Harsh Realities of Individual Bond Investing

Spend any time working in the kitchen of a restaurant and you will think of restaurants very differently going forward.  Following a short experience in a restaurant kitchen during college, I’ve never once sent a meal back for being undercooked, overcooked, or even the entirely wrong order.  Use your imagination and we can just leave [...]

The Benefits of Leasing a Vehicle…Debunked

There are some can't miss ways to start an argument.  Talk politics in a diverse room.  Attend a Michigan home football game wearing an Ohio State jersey.  Suggest that The Rolling Stones were better than the Doors and that Highlander was the best movie ever made.  Or just decidedly state that buying a vehicle is better than leasing. The [...]

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, [...]

Cybersecurity: Resources and Advice to Stay Secure Online

Cybercrime will cost approximately $500 billion to the global economy this year and that number is expected to grow to $2 trillion by 2019.  For criminals, the reward is great, the future is bright, and the risks are low.  For consumers, the risks are high and the potential costs of time and dollars are real. As [...]

More Smart Tax Planning with 529 College Savings Plans

In an article last month about saving for college, we outlined some of the many ways to handle overfunded 529 college savings plans and why these underpublicized options justify aggressive funding of 529 plans.  In the opening paragraphs of that May article, we explained how the rules treat 529 account funds used for non-qualified expenses: The first [...]

Why Non-Deductible IRA Contributions Are Generally a Bad Idea

High income families faced with high annual taxes are often looking for ways to reduce their taxes or save additional dollars in tax-efficient ways.  Unfortunately, these well-intentioned pursuits often result in irrational behaviors (such as permitting the government to shortchange your retirement savings) or unfavorable outcomes (such as paying more taxes than you would have [...]

Flexibility of 529 College Savings Plans Often Argue for Aggressive Funding

In the 20 years since Section 529 was added to the Internal Revenue Code under the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996, many families have discovered the significant advantages of the “Qualified Tuition Programs” which we collectively now refer to as 529 College Savings Plans. Among other benefits, these plans offer tax-exempt investment growth [...]

Costco Credit Card Transitions from Amex to Visa – Now What?

One recurring question that we have fielded from clients over the past several months has nothing to do with the stock market, Roth conversions, the upcoming election, or Social Security changes.  Instead, it takes some variation of the following: “Do you have advice on what credit card I should get to replace my Costco American [...]