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My Money Blog



Personal Finance and Investing Blog



Last Build Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2018 22:54:28 +0000

 



Research Affiliates: 10-Year Asset Class Returns Forecast, Q1 2017

Mon, 22 Jan 2018 04:00:26 +0000

Investment advisory firm Research Affiliates has an interactive Asset Allocation tool that provides estimates of expected returns for many different asset classes and model portfolios. Their default model is based on valuations like the CAPE (cyclically adjusted PE, or Shiller PE) ratio that divides the current price by 10 years worth of earnings. If you […]



Charlie Munger’s Life as a Financial Independence Blueprint

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 05:48:19 +0000

Charles Munger is probably best known as the Vice Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway and partner of Warren Buffett. The University of Michigan Ross School of Business recently shared a hour-long talk with Munger on YouTube (embedded below). Munger has plenty of mentions on this site already, but my main takeaway from this talk was a […]



Connexus Credit Union 5-Year CD at 3.00% APY: Early Withdrawal Penalty Comparison

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 04:00:58 +0000

Connexus Credit Union has raised the rates on their 5-year Share Certificate to 3.00% APY with a 365-day early withdrawal penalty. They also have 1-year Share Certificate at 2.01% APY (90-day early withdrawal penalty). Both have a $5,000 minimum deposit. Anyone can join this credit union via partner organization Connexus Association for a one-time $5 […]



The Fall of Landlines and Rise of Cell Phone-Only Households

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 21:33:42 +0000

Here’s an interesting chart from Statista showing how landline telephones are slowly dying away and being replaced by cell phones only. In 2004, more than 90 percent of households in the U.S. had an operational landline phone – now it’s (significantly) less than 50 percent. We use our cell phones almost exclusively, but we technically […]



Sprint One Year of Free Unlimited Data Plan: Still Available

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 21:15:02 +0000

Updated: Offer still available, my 6-month update. Sprint still has a pretty solid promotion that isn’t being advertised (TV, radio, newspaper, etc) and is only available online to new customers. If you bring over your own eligible smartphone and sign up at sprint.com/1yearfree, Sprint will give you a free year of unlimited talk, text, and […]



Berkshire Hathaway vs. S&P 500: Shrinking Edge?

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 04:00:34 +0000

It is well-known that the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK) is Warren Buffett, and that its long-term performance has crushed the S&P 500. This is usually illustrated with an impressive chart like this one from Business Insider: I’m currently reading A Man for All Markets by Edward Thorp. Among his many impressive accomplishments, Thorp even […]



Big List of Free Consumer Data Reports (2/2): See Your Confidential Rental History, Insurance, & Employment Data

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 06:14:07 +0000

Links updated 2018. Here is the second part of my big list of free consumer reports from over 50 different reporting agencies. The first part included your credit, banking, and subprime lending-related information. This part includes your housing, insurance, and employment history. Request a free copy every 12 months of what these databases have stored […]



Sam’s Club: Free 3-Month Membership Extension (or Full Refund Upon Cancellation)

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 04:25:11 +0000

(Update: Sam’s Club has added that language that this offer is limited to “members in closing clubs”. I’m not sure if that includes if you live in the same area as a closing club.) Sam’s Club is offering all of their members a free 3-month extension if you fill out the linked form by March […]



50% of American Households Don’t Own Any Stocks At All

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 19:29:27 +0000

Here’s another stat to add to your knowledge. For roughly half of Americans, the stock market’s record highs don’t help at all, according to a recent Washington Post article. This chart shows that half of US household have no exposure to stocks, either directly or indirectly: Direct vs. indirect. The academic paper by Dr. Wolff […]



Big List of Free Consumer Data Reports (1/2): See Your Confidential Credit, Banking, and Payday Lending Data

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 06:19:17 +0000

Links updated for 2018. Since these are available every 12 months, it is a good idea to check these near or around the same time each year. A lot of companies make their money by collecting and selling data – your personal data. In the past, it was often difficult if not impossible to see […]



Markets Rise and Fall: Is Your Portfolio Ready For Both?

Wed, 10 Jan 2018 05:00:36 +0000

It would be great if you could invest in things with high and reliable returns, going up and up consistently like clockwork and without worry. Unfortunately, that’s usually the sign of a Ponzi scheme. The chart above illustrates what you have to deal with in the real world. It shows how the S&P 500 (1949-2016) […]



What If You Invested $10,000 Every Year For the Last 10 Years? 2008-2017 Edition

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 04:00:51 +0000

Instead of just looking at one year of returns, here’s an annual exercise that helps you look at the bigger picture. You may know the 10-year historical return of the S&P 500, but most of us didn’t just invest a big lump sum of money a decade ago, and most of us don’t just invest […]



Best Interest Rates on Cash – January 2018

Sun, 07 Jan 2018 20:14:08 +0000

Short-term interest rates are rising. Megabanks make billions by pay you nothing for your idle cash. Here is my monthly roundup of the best safe rates available, roughly sorted from shortest to longest maturities. Check out my Ultimate Rate-Chaser Calculator to get an idea of how much additional interest you’d earn if you switched over. […]



Navy Federal Credit Union 0% APR No Balance Transfer Fee Promotion

Thu, 04 Jan 2018 20:40:38 +0000

Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU) has a limited-time promotion where both new and existing NFCU credit cardholders can get 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 12 months. You must transfer a non-Navy Federal credit card balance before February 28, 2018. (All NavyFed cards now have no balance transfer fee, but the APR is usually […]



Citi Simplicity Card Review: 0% for 18 Months (1.5 Years), No Late Fees, No Penalty Rates

Thu, 04 Jan 2018 20:35:31 +0000

One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to pay down debt. Rewards-earning credit cards may not be optimal for those carrying balances and thus more impacted by 18% interest rates than a relatively puny 2% back on purchases. Our partner Citi offers the Citi Simplicity® Card, which is uniquely suited for those that want […]



H&R Block Desktop Tax Software 2017: Fed + State $20 (1/4 Flash Sale)

Thu, 04 Jan 2018 17:51:55 +0000

Deal of the Day again 1/4/18. The benefit of “old-school” desktop tax software is that it doesn’t require your Social Security Number and financial details to be stored in the cloud. Here’s a limited-time deal on H&R Block Tax Software 2017 (download or physical CD). Amazon has H&R Block Deluxe Federal + State for $19.99. […]



CIT Bank Review: Premier High Yield Savings 1.55% APY, 11-Month No Penalty CD 1.55% APY

Wed, 03 Jan 2018 19:30:07 +0000

Update: Premier High Yield Savings now up to 1.55% APY, with no minimum balance requirement ($100 minimum to open). CIT Bank (not to be confused with Citi Bank) has become one of the larger online-only banks with a multi-year history of competitive rates. They don’t offer a checking account, so their products are mostly designed […]



S&P 500 Monthly Total Returns 1990-2017: First 14-Month Win Streak

Wed, 03 Jan 2018 19:24:45 +0000

I mentioned in my 2017 asset class roundup that the S&P 500 went up every single month in 2017 and how that was the first time that had ever happened. According to the WSJ Daily Shot, the S&P 500 is actually on a 14-month positive streak. Here’s a chart showing the monthly total returns of […]



Discounted Apple iPhone $29 Battery Replacement: Available Now

Wed, 03 Jan 2018 06:50:21 +0000

In case you missed it, Apple disclosed that their operating system slows down the phone in some cases if the battery gets too old. As part of their official explanation and apology, Apple has reduced the price of a OEM battery replacement to $29, cheaper than even most third-party repair shops. Apple is reducing the […]



Healthywage Review: Bet on Yourself, Get Paid To Lose Weight

Tue, 02 Jan 2018 19:35:16 +0000

It’s that time of year, and since I eventually lost 50 pounds with the help of this and other weight-loss betting sites (and have kept it off since), and I wanted to share my experiences including both positive and negative aspects. After reading academic studies which found that financial incentives were effective in helping people […]



DietBet Review: Using Money To Motivate You To Lose Weight

Tue, 02 Jan 2018 19:32:50 +0000

It’s that time of year, and since I eventually lost 50 pounds with the help of this and other weight-loss betting sites (and have kept it off since), and I wanted to share my experiences including both positive and negative aspects. DietBet.com runs weight-loss challenges where I bet my own hard-earned cash that I could […]



Investment Returns By Asset Class, 2017 Year-End Review

Mon, 01 Jan 2018 20:58:06 +0000

Happy New Year! As the markets have closed for the last time in 2017, it’s time for a year-end review. While I do rebalance my portfolio quarterly, I only dig into performance numbers once a year. That’s a big change from a decade ago, when I would calculate my net worth down to the dollar […]



New Tax Bill: Pay State and Property Taxes By End of 2017

Thu, 28 Dec 2017 19:14:08 +0000

The new tax bill that takes effect in 2018 raises the standard deduction and caps certain itemized deductions. Therefore, if you will itemize your deduction in 2017, you may want to grab whatever you can this year to get the full value of those deductions. (This assumes you are not subject to AMT.) Here’s a […]



My Money Blog Portfolio Asset Allocation, 2017 Year-End Update

Wed, 27 Dec 2017 21:47:29 +0000

Here is a year-end update on my investment portfolio holdings for 2017. This is my last-minute checkup in case I need to rebalance to make another other tax-related moves. This includes tax-deferred 401k/403b/IRAs and taxable brokerage holdings, but excludes things like our primary home, cash reserves, and a few other side investments. The goal of […]



529 Plans Will Allow Private School K-12 Tax-Free Withdrawals

Tue, 26 Dec 2017 20:41:38 +0000

Starting in 2018, qualified educational expenses for 529 plans will include up to $10,000 a year in tuition and expenses for primary and secondary school expenses (public, private, or religious). Previously, you could only use it towards qualified college expenses. There were also some related changes to ABLE accounts for individuals with special needs – […]