Don’t be passive when managing investment costs

As you know, gains in your stock investments are not guaranteed, even though it may feel like it if you’ve been invested in the market for the last decade.  Looking at the last five years, the S&P 500 index has increased an average of nearly 17% annually, with only minor corrections along the way.  In fact the S&P 500 returns have been so consistent that most large cap equity funds haven’t been able to beat this performance. Over a five year period only 17.6% of large cap equity funds beat the S&P Index (see exhibit 1 below).  In other words, if you had simply invested in the S&P 500 index then you would have done better than the majority of professional stock investment managers. But that’s not the end of the story. Even if you had invested in a fund that tracks the S&P 500 index, you still could have under-performed depending on the fees you paid to the investment company that managed your money.  Continue reading “Don’t be passive when managing investment costs”

Don’t pay to manage your credit score

I was asked earlier this week what’s the best way to check a credit score? There are a few ways to get your credit score, but check to see what your credit card company offers first. Many credit card issuers now provide cardholders with their credit score as a free benefit.  The card issuer I use provides my FICO® score, score history, key factors affecting my score, and suggestions on how to improve my score.  Continue reading “Don’t pay to manage your credit score”

How much money do I need to retire?

I was recently asked by a friend if I’ve calculated the amount of money I need for retirement, and if so, how did I do it?  I think he was surprised by my response that I calculated the amount a long time ago when I first started working and have been updating the plan numbers every year based on new information. I asked him if he had a retirement plan and his response was that he’s also been saving for retirement since he started working many years ago, but his “plan” was to save as much as he could, whenever possible.  Continue reading “How much money do I need to retire?”

Have we declared our financial independence?

Financial literacy (a.k.a. FinLit) is the education and understanding of various financial areas, such as saving, spending, investing, insurance, budgeting, retirement and tax planning. The positive impacts of financial education on people are clear, as are the negative impacts to those that lack FinLit.

Continue reading “Have we declared our financial independence?”

4 ways to get free money from spending and saving

Free money does exist, but you need to know where to look for it and how to get it.   Free Money is available when you save by compounding savings and through employer-sponsored matching of retirement savings.  For spending, you can get access to Free Money through cash back credit card programs and federal grants for college. Technically, these methods are not entirely “free” in the true sense of the word since you need to give something to get something, but I consider using these methods like getting Free Money since you need to spend and save any wayContinue reading “4 ways to get free money from spending and saving”

Thank you!

Many thanks if you downloaded my book on Amazon!

Your efforts helped me achieve a #1 ranking in 3 Amazon Business & Money categories during my free promotion launch.

A BIG thanks if you also provided a review!  If you downloaded the book, but haven’t had the chance to review yet, you can still do so at any time.  Every review helps!

Also, if you liked the eBook, then check out my website at, and follow me by downloading the playbook tools, and/or by signing up for my blog.

I’m already working on a second book that will help Millennials understand the cost of making big financial decisions, like raising children, so stay tuned!

Thanks again for your support and enjoy the holidays!

Savings evolution: Use these three measures to become a money master

When my kids were younger we taught them to save money by using three envelopes:  One to save money for charity, another for short-term spending, and the last one for longer-term savings (deposited into a bank account).  For example, if they received a $25 gift for their birthday then the money needed to be split as evenly as possible among those three envelopes.  This approach was a very useful way for my wife and me to help our young children understand the importance of saving for different purposes and timeframes.   Continue reading “Savings evolution: Use these three measures to become a money master”

Developing financial know-how by learning to speak money management

You may have heard the term “financial literacy” which by definition is the education and understanding of various financial areas, such as saving, spending, investing, insurance, budgeting, retirement and tax planning.

Financial literacy fundamentals are often taught in schools starting in middle or high school, with mixed results at best.  A study completed by George Washington University and PwC proves this point.  Based on a survey of over 5,500 Millennials, it was determined that only 24% of Millennials exhibited basic financial literacy, and only 8% demonstrated high financial knowledge.  Part of the problem is that school-taught financial literacy focuses on concepts with limited application to the school-age audience.  To help this young audience succeed over time, we must be prepared to offer timely support to foster “financial know-how”.  Continue reading “Developing financial know-how by learning to speak money management”

How do I follow my money? By tracking funds flow

I thought it would be good to kick off my blog series with an important section from my book, Following Your Money, on personal flow of funds.  This fundamental personal finance concept was the inspiration for naming my website.  Clearly in order to follow your money you must understand the concept of cash inflows and outflows, and most importantly how decisions regarding those flows will impact your ability to fund life events and goals.

Continue reading “How do I follow my money? By tracking funds flow”