Cheer For The Second Best

We all want the best in everything, the best vacuum cleaner, the best smartphone, the best investment allocation. Many businesses make a good profit in helping people figure out what are the best: Yelp for restaurants, TripAdvisor for hotels, CNET for tech gadgets, Morningstar for mutual funds. When I write blog posts, I have to make sure to put the word "best" in the title. The second best get no love. Their minor flaws get magnified and picked on when people defend their choices for the [...]

Early Retirement and Comparative Advantage

I sometimes hear that one way to achieve early retirement is by lowering your required budget in retirement. If you can live on $25k a year after you retire, you only need to accumulate half as much as you do when you must have $50k a year. When you [...]

2016 and 2017 HSA Contribution Limits

The contribution limits for various tax advantaged accounts for the following year are usually announced in the fall, except for HSA, which come out in the spring. The IRS announced contribution limits for Health Savings Account (HSA) for 2017. Due [...]

Mutual Fund Or ETF Dividend Frequency and Compounding

Over on the Bogleheads forum, for a short while, a number of posters were wondering why they didn't see a dividend posted from certain Fidelity funds. Fidelity Spartan Total Market Index Fund, for example, typically pays dividend twice a year in [...]

Mega Backdoor Roth in TurboTax

A mega backdoor Roth means making non-Roth after-tax contributions to a 401k-type plan and then taking the money out (with earnings) to a Roth IRA. It's a great way to put additional money into your Roth IRA without having to pay much additional tax. [...]

Early Retirement and Opportunity Cost

Opportunity cost is a fundamental concept in economics. It's the value of the best alternative forgone. When you choose to do X, you forego the value of doing Y. Opportunity cost is everywhere in our financial decisions. The opportunity cost for [...]

Warranty On Car Repairs Out of Town

Back in the winter, on a skiing road trip, our car ran into a problem. The power steering pump was making a loud noise. The power steering fluid tank was overflowing. We were in a very small town, without much of a choice in repair shops. We found a [...]

Leave Some Money On The Table

I said this a few times in my replies to comments on different posts. I'd like to put it in a separate topic for everyone. What I observed is a tendency among some people to over-optimize, in other words trying to wring out every last drop. It's not [...]