Unlearning Investment Fears

Growing up with their parents’ scary tales of Depression hardship, the generation now approaching retirement age grew up to be wary of investing and owning debts. This means missing out on returns and losing the value of savings to inflation.

The squirrels brought this lesson home for me. Like many others in suburbia, my wife and I had a squirrel problem. We tried various things to keep the creatures out of our garbage cans, with no success. They ate through the covers. Even after we built a wooden shed to house the garbage cans, they got in there, as well.

Retiring Mortgage Free

How often do you think about paying off the mortgage? Retirement may be harder if you still have debt. Ideally, you should enter retirement as free from a mortgage as possible. Here’s why and how.

Not having a mortgage reduces your overhead. That is to say, you need less money to live. You lower your personal break-even point. With limited income in retirement, this is always a good thing. Say your mortgage is $1,500 per month. If you pay it off before you retire, you have $18,000 more per year in your pocket.

The Costs of Loans

No dodging it: You will probably need to borrow money sometime in your life. Different types of loans come with varying degrees of risk and price, no matter what your income level. Best you know all the catches of a loan before signing on the dotted line.

Most loans are either secured or unsecured. Lenders assume more risk with unsecured loans because they can collect no collateral if you default. Bad loans help drive interest rates’ fluctuation, as lending companies try to recoup lost or dwindling revenues.

Why Pessimists Should Relax

Lately, an increasing number of doom and gloomers are sounding off. They worry about the sluggishness of the U.S. economic recovery, an increase in interest rates and a decline in America’s place in the world, especially as China rises. They should relax.

4 Procrastination Mistakes

We’re all busy. There is always some new item on our constantly growing to-do lists. Some tasks are fun to take on; others are tedious, boring, long or all the above. But some of the most important to-do’s in our lives often get overlooked because – well, let’s face it – they’re not all that fun.

Here is the top four, in declining order. See if you are dragging your feet in any of these areas. If so, quit putting off making the necessary fixes. You will be glad you acted.

Pay Off Your Mortgage Early?

As you pursue the American Dream of buying your first or next home, is it a good idea to pay down your mortgage – depleting part of your investment portfolio to eliminate the debt – or keep making the normal monthly loan payment and have more money in a stock market that offers potentially higher long-term returns? Both moves offer advantages depending on your unique situation.

Good Yields But Hard to Sell

What to do in a time of low-yielding investments? One answer is non-traded securities with holdings in real estate, private equity and other assets. They pay out in the mid- to high single digits, far more than almost anything else. The downside: Selling them, should you need to raise cash, is hard.

You Call That Tapering?

On the surface, the Federal Reserve appears to be diminishing its overwhelming presence in Treasury and mortgage-backed securities, by pulling back on its bond-buying program. But it isn’t. Little-appreciated fact: While it may be tapering down the purchases, it still is sitting on a huge pile of bonds that it isn’t drawing down.

End-of-World Money Moves

The coming financial crash always looms. End of the markets, end of civilization, end of the world. How do you prepare?

I, along with many other economists, agree with many of the concerns in these dire warnings. The growing debt and deficit spending taxes those holding dollars. The devaluation in the U.S. dollar risks the dollar’s status as the reserve currency of the world.

Homeowning for the Young

Your time has come to grow beyond renting a home. What now?

Gen Y, those born in the 1980s and early 1990s, look today to build equity and save on rent by researching the benefits of owning versus renting. Whether married or single, when it comes to renting and owning, you must consider these questions:


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