The other day, a coworker asked me if making a lump sum contribution to a 401(k) with the market depressed in the midst of COVID-19 would be a good idea. In essence, he was looking to time the market, buying when things looked low. I reminded him that “time in the market is more important… Continue reading Front-loading 401(k) Contributions
A few weeks ago we closed on a refinance of our mortgage. We kicked off the process mid-February, before the COVID-19 storm really kicked in. We closed just shortly after the market did the dizzying drop mid-March. Why refinance now? Rates had dipped in early February to the point where we could drop another .75%… Continue reading Is A Refinance Worth It?
My previous twenty tax returns are a treasure trove of lessons learned. In many ways, my experience can provide a road map for young, up and coming professionals that are fresh out of college and embarking on the rest of their life. Here’s a one sentence, Jeopardy-summary-plus-commentary for each of the previous twenty tax seasons.… Continue reading Twenty Years of Tax Lessons
It was Thanksgiving 2017 and I was having an investing conversation. During the conversation, I tried to explain the dangers of “return chasing”, picking investments solely based on past performance and projecting past performance into the future. Picking a fund that has had a good run is not an effective investment strategy. Instead of return… Continue reading Return Chasing
The A1C is the number that a diabetic uses to determine how well they’re doing managing their diabetes. Over time, a diabetic who consistently runs a high A1C, they face significant health risks. By checking their A1C regularly, diabetics can track how well they’ve been managing their diabetes over time. When I read about J.… Continue reading My Financial A1C
Despite complications to my taxes, I have personally found the financial benefits of participating in employee stock purchase plans (ESPPs) to outweigh the cons. What’s an ESPP? In a nutshell, ESPPs give employees the opportunity to buy company stock directly from the company at a discount. Employees choose a percentage of their salary to set… Continue reading A Tale of Two ESPPs
Every year I learn something new when I complete my taxes. This year was no different. A Seventeen Year-Old Is Not a Child The first thing I found out this year was that my oldest, who turned seventeen in 2019, no longer qualifies for the Child Tax Credit. I had thought I had until the… Continue reading Taxes – 2019 Edition
Reviewing the 2017 changes to the federal income tax laws brought me back to a conversation I had years ago with a coworker, who I’ll call Jason. Jason suggested that alternating between taking the standard deduction and itemizing my deductions could reduce my taxes. Come again? To understand this tax optimization, let’s take a look… Continue reading Bunching Charitable Contributions For Lower Taxes
It’s that time of the year when offers to lock in natural gas rates show up in my mailbox. The offers usually employ fear driven marketing, preying upon consumers’ fear of paying too much in utilities and of “unexpected” charges. The offers typically refer to the local utility with terms like “unpredictable”, “unexpected”, “gambling” and… Continue reading Locking in Natural Gas Rates
We’re barely into 2020 and already my goal to simplify our family’s financial picture is being challenged. I find myself tempted to open another bank account. What?!? Bank error in your favor, collect $600 Let’s back up a bit. Last year when we were preparing for our family DIY study abroad to Spain, we opened… Continue reading Are Banking Signup Bonuses Worth It?