Social Security Claiming Strategy Calculators Compared

Financial Engines was founded by Nobel laureate William Sharpe. It offers investment advice primarily through workplace retirement plans. Recently Financial Engines launched a free Social Security planner. I test-drove it with some hypothetical cases. I also ran the same cases through the free calculators by AARP, T. Rowe Price, and SSAnalyze via Bedrock Capital. Because Social Security benefits for singles are relatively straight forward. I chose only married couples for my test cases. Case 1 [...]

Bonds Had Good Returns: Wrong In CDs?

Both stocks and bonds did well in the first half of 2014, especially bonds. Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund returned 3.9% in six months ended on June 30 whereas Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund returned 7% in the same period. If we get a [...]

Insights From How America Saves 2014

Vanguard produces a comprehensive study every year of the 401k-type plans it administers. The study includes 3 million people. The large sample makes it reflective of the population as a whole. I'm noting down the bits I found interesting in the [...]

Having a Mortgage and Buying Stocks On Margin

From the previous two posts on investing and home ownership -- The Difference Between Asset And Investment and Is Imputed Rent Income? -- we determined that buying a home is partly an investment and partly prepaying an expense. Why does it matter [...]

Is Imputed Rent Income?

This continues the series on homeownership and investing. Last week's post The Difference Between Asset And Investment was fairly straight forward. We concluded that whether your home is an investment or not depends in part on whether your living in [...]

The Difference Between Asset And Investment

Questions about investing and homeownership bugged me for a long time. Is your home an investment or consumption or both? Is your mortgage a negative bond? If you invest while you have a mortgage, are you buying stocks on margin? If you don't own a [...]

Barclaycard Arrival Card Becomes Elite, Adds Chip and PIN

The Barclaycard Arrival card I wrote about last year is still the best credit card for charging "everything else" outside special categories such as gas or groceries. It pays a 2.2% reward on every purchase when you redeem the earned miles/points as [...]

Bond Closed-End Funds: Good Or Bad?

Reader Rosemarie asked me to comment on closed-end funds, because they are sort of a stepchild that everybody ignores in favor of the more popular open-end mutual funds and ETFs. A few weeks ago TIAA-CREF announced it was buying Nuveen, which is a [...]