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My Money Blog

Personal Finance and Investing Blog

Last Build Date: Wed, 29 Mar 2017 06:12:36 +0000


The Full Spectrum of Financial Advisors

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 06:12:36 +0000

Do you recommend Wealthfront? Betterment? WiseBanyan? Schwab Intelligent Portfolios? Vanguard Personal Advisor Services? The upstarts like to bash on the competition, making it seem like they are your digital savior while everyone else is evil. The truth is that they are more similar than different. Morgen Beck Rochard of Origin Wealth Advisors recently created the […]

Betterment Review 2017: Updated Features List

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 06:29:52 +0000

Betterment is one of several automated portfolio managers that will manage a diversified mix of low-cost index funds and help you decide how much you’ll need to save for retirement. We’re still in the early stages of this “robo-advisor” evolution, with new features announced every few months. Here is an updated feature list for Betterment […]

Wealthfront Review 2017: Updated Features List

Mon, 27 Mar 2017 07:13:48 +0000

There are now several automated portfolio managers that will manage a diversified mix of low-cost index funds at portfolio sizes previously ignored by human advisors. As a result, these “robo-advisors” have been rolling out additional features to differentiate themselves from the competition. Wealthfront is one of the largest independent robo-advisors (i.e. not tied to a […]

Money Diaries: Anthony Bourdain, Spike Lee, Kylie Jenner, and Other Interesting People

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 06:08:31 +0000

It’s been more than a decade since I started this site because I had no other outlet to talk about financial independence. Talking about your money in public remains a mostly taboo topic. The idea of financial freedom through an aggressive saving rate remains a niche interest. I suppose the anonymous nature of the internet […]

RealtyShares Review 2017: Wisconsin Apartment Loan One-Year Update

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 07:43:11 +0000

Here’s a one-year update on my $2,000 investment through RealtyShares, a partial interest in a loan backed by a 6-unit apartment complex in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. RealtyShares is restricted to accredited investors only. Here are the highlights: Property: 6-unit, 6,490 sf multifamily in Milwaukee, WI. Interest rate: 9% APR, paid monthly. Amount invested: $2,000. Term: 12 […]

Lemonade: Homeowners & Rental Insurance With No Incentive To Deny Your Claim?

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 06:00:42 +0000

Right or wrong, many people view insurance companies with suspicion. Even though you pay them money every month for protection, you’re not really sure if they are truly on your side (despite what the commercial says). The problem is that with most insurance companies, any money they don’t pay you ends up in their pocket. […]

Fidelity Brokerage and IRA Bonuses for New Asset Transfers

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 07:01:48 +0000

Fidelity Investments has a few different bonuses if you transfer a certain levels of new assets over to them. These are handy if you want to move money out of an old 401(k) plan or are looking to try out a new broker. Besides a cash deposit, you can also do an in-kind transfer and […]

Dollar Shave Club vs. Dorco USA Razor Price Comparison

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 04:21:02 +0000

Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s are supposedly “disrupting” the shaving industry. Honestly, I don’t get it. Buying a razor is like buying shampoo, soap, or toilet paper. In other words, I buy them in bulk when Costco has a coupon for it. 😉 Last time, I bought this set for $1 per 3-blad razor and […]

Fundrise Income eREIT Review 2017: One Year Update

Fri, 17 Mar 2017 07:35:00 +0000

Here’s an update on my $2,000 investment into the Fundrise Income eREIT. Fundrise is taking advantage of recent legislation allowing certain crowdfunding investments to be offered to the general public (they were previously limited only to accredited investors). REIT = Real Estate Investment Trust. This specific eREIT has sold out of its $50 million offering, […]

High-Cost Index Funds and Low-Cost Actively Managed Funds

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 06:26:41 +0000

Here’s a Vanguard Blog post called Mind fund details, not labels by Frank Kinniry that includes some good reminders about the mutual fund and ETF industry: Low-cost vs. high-cost is more important than actively managed vs. passively managed. Index funds can have high expense ratios. Actively-managed funds can have low expense ratios. You should also […]

More Experience = Less Complexity?

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 05:58:00 +0000

When we had our first child, it seems like we were prepared for the apocalypse whenever we stepped out the door. Below is a visualization taken from Pinterest, while we actually had this $60 SkipHop diaper bag filled to the brim. Compare that with what I grabbed as my “diaper bag” for our youngest baby […]

Groupon Deal: Sam’s Club Membership + $10 Gift Card for $30

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 03:59:03 +0000

Groupon has a Sam’s Club Plus membership deal where for $30 you get the following: One-year Sam’s Club Savings membership ($45 value) Complimentary membership card for a spouse or other household member $10 e-gift card valid online or in-club. Allow 5-7 days for delivery of e-gift card. If you subtract the $10 gift card value, […]

USAA Limitless Cashback Rewards Visa Signature Card Review: 2.5% Cash Back

Sun, 12 Mar 2017 19:28:23 +0000

USAA, which serves members of the U.S. military and their immediate families, has a new cash back rewards card called the USAA Limitless™ Cashback Rewards Visa Signature® Card. This card is currently in an online pilot program and is only available for residents in (a growing number of) eligible states. To check your eligibility, visit […]

Barclaycard CashForward™ World MasterCard Review: 1.5% Cash Back + $100 Bonus

Sun, 12 Mar 2017 19:23:29 +0000

Barclaycard has a new cash back rewards card called the Barclaycard CashForward™ World MasterCard® which earns a flat 1.5% cash back on all purchases with no earnings cap. There is also no annual fee and an upfront sign-up bonus. Here are the highlights: Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on every purchase. Get a $100 cash […]

2017 IRS Federal Income Tax Brackets Breakdown Example (Married w/ 1 Child)

Fri, 10 Mar 2017 07:00:23 +0000

In a continued attempt to better explain the 2017 federal income tax brackets, here is a graphical breakdown of a simple scenario for a married filing joint couple with 1 dependent. See also my previous examples for a single filer with no dependents and married filing joint with no dependents. I will try to explain […]

Vanguard ETF vs. Mutual Fund Admiral Shares

Thu, 09 Mar 2017 07:00:33 +0000

Allan Roth has a new article called Why ETFs Won’t Replace Mutual Funds. Inside, he offers the following reasons why if you are buying Vanguard funds, he typically recommends the Admiral Shares mutual fund over the ETF. Vanguard Mutual fund advantages Can buy fractional shares No premium or discount—all transactions are at net asset […]

How to Buy or Sell an ETF: Real-World Best Practices

Wed, 08 Mar 2017 07:00:38 +0000

In this ETFdb interview with Rich Powers, Head of ETF Product Management at Vanguard, there was a useful bit about the practical mechanics of buying an ETF in your brokerage account. Found via Abnormal Returns. ETFdb: What would you say are three best practices that investors should keep in mind? R.P.: The first is to […]

2017 IRS Federal Income Tax Brackets Breakdown Example (Married No Kids)

Tue, 07 Mar 2017 06:42:05 +0000

In a continued attempt to better explain the 2017 federal income tax brackets, here is a graphical breakdown of a simple scenario for a married filing joint couple with no dependents. See also my previous example for single filers with no dependents. I will try to explain the differences in terms such as gross income, […]

LivingSocial: BJ’s Wholesale Club Membership Discount

Mon, 06 Mar 2017 20:40:59 +0000

LivingSocial has a new deal: $50 for a 1-Year BJ’s Membership + $20 BJ’s Gift Card & $55 in Coupon Savings. Offer expires on 3/12. New members only (you could get your spouse or partner to sign-up). Valid at all BJ’s Wholesale Club locations (East coast mostly). The $55 in coupon savings includes: $5 off […]

2017 IRS Federal Income Tax Brackets Breakdown Example (Single)

Mon, 06 Mar 2017 07:00:09 +0000

I was looking up the 2017 federal income tax brackets and pulled up the commonly-used chart below. This tax table has many applications in personal finance, but it can be hard to understand. What is the difference between gross income, taxable income, marginal tax rate, and effective tax rate? Sometimes I like to run through […]

Five Ways To Get a Free Credit Score (No Trials!)

Thu, 02 Mar 2017 21:05:38 +0000

Updated 2017. As noted, the government requires the credit bureaus to provide you a free credit report once every 12 months from Ideally, you should check in more frequently. The services listed below provide you a free credit score updated throughout the year either daily, weekly, or monthly. Most offer additional data taken directly […]

Dimensional Fund Advisors Profile + 529 College Savings Plan Access

Thu, 02 Mar 2017 06:30:26 +0000

Institutional Investor has an interesting profile of Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA). Since DFA doesn’t do much marketing, there are very few articles about them in the mainstream financial media. A rare example is this 2007 article (backup copy) by Michael Lewis for a now-defunct magazine. DFA funds are similar to Vanguard index funds in that […]

T-Mobile vs. Verizon New Unlimited Data Plans Comparison

Wed, 01 Mar 2017 18:47:46 +0000

Competition is good. Without the popularity of the T-Mobile unlimited data plan, we wouldn’t have the reluctant, new Verizon Unlimited data plan. In turn, Verizon’s new plan features made T-Mobile improve their deal to include HD video streaming video and 10 GB of LTE tethered hotspot data. In addition, starting 2/17, T-Mobile is running a […]

Schwab Matches Mutual Fund and ETF Expense Ratios, Now $4.95 Trades

Wed, 01 Mar 2017 18:40:05 +0000

Update: Schwab has matched Fidelity’s price cut at $4.95 per trade + $0.65 per options contract, effective March 3, 2017. See press release for details. Everyone is battling for your assets and the ability to scale. (TD Ameritrade also announced a price cut to $6.95 per trade, down from $9.99.) Original post: Schwab announced some […]

How to Minimize Investment Returns – By Warren Buffett

Wed, 01 Mar 2017 04:07:51 +0000

At the bottom of the Berkshire Hathaway 2016 Annual Report, you may not have noticed that Warren Buffett republished a previous article from the 2005 annual report titled “How to Minimize Investment Returns”. A version become the first chapter (find it here) of The Little Book of Common Sense Investing by Jack Bogle. I am […]