When Roth is Wrong

In the book, Predictably Irrational, author and esteemed behavioral psychologist Dan Ariely wrote an entire chapter about the strong emotional impact of getting something for free.  He describes how we go back for free extra courses at the buffet despite not being hungry or how we wait in line for an hour to get a [...]

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 [...]

How A Negligent Rule of Thumb Causes Poor Divorce and Estate Planning Decisions

An important consideration in divorce and estate planning that often gets ignored, underappreciated, or just poorly evaluated is the relative comparison of different account types: tax free accounts, tax deferred accounts, and taxable accounts.  While many people tend to think of $100,000 as $100,000, the account type in which the money resides can make a [...]

Good and Bad Reasons Why High Income Earners Miss the Opportunity With 529 Plans – Part I

Mid-career professionals with young children severely underutilize Section 529 College Savings Plans.  That is not to say that these parents are unaware of 529 Plans or not using them for college savings.  In fact, most mid-career professional parents who I meet already know about 529 Plans and are often funding these accounts for future college [...]

Asset Location: The High Cost Mistakes People Make

Earlier this month, we published an article explaining why investors would be well served to organize their portfolios like their kitchens.  This process, one that the finance industry calls ‘asset location’, is simply intended to make the most of the existing tax code.  The IRS sets the rules with different tax treatment for different account types [...]

Asset Location: Organize Your Portfolio Like Your Kitchen

My family’s kitchen will not be profiled on HGTV as a model of organization.  We face the practical limitations of 25-year old builder-grade cabinets and constrained space.  We also face the reality confronted by many parents of young children.  That is, the focus of children emptying a clean dishwasher is on getting it done quickly [...]

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 [...]

Protecting Children and Grandchildren with an IRA Trust

One of the most challenging roles of parenting is finding the proper balance between protecting children too much and not enough.  In the early years, we cover electrical outlets, protect household edges with soft bumpers, and spend hours analyzing all the safety features of car seats.  Parental protection then evolves to monitoring what our children [...]