Investment and Saving

“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest” -- Benjamin Franklin

Giving the Gift of Financial Knowledge

Looking for perfect gift for your children or grandchildren? Instead of giving cash or the latest gadget, try giving a financial gift. These gifts will help your loved ones to develop valuable money skills that will last long after the holiday season. Mutual funds: Giving shares in a mutual fund can be an excellent way […]

How Your Credit Score Is Determined

For something so important, it’s amazing how many women don’t know how their credit score is calculated. Your credit score could be the thing standing between you and that mortgage loan you need to buy your first home. It might tip the scale for or against you when you apply for your dream job. It […]

A Man Is Not A Financial Plan

I’ve said it many times  and I’ll say it again: A Man Is Not A Financial Plan® — Ginita Wall Many of the young women of the millennial generation fully expect to go to college and develop their own careers regardless of whether they get married and have children. In fact, the growing expectation of […]

Five Steps To Building A Portfolio

Is this the year you finally begin building your own investment portfolio? If you feel nervous about putting your money into the stock market, or aren’t sure how to get started, then this article by Lynda Claiborne is the perfect starter for you! What does financial freedom mean to you? For most people, it is […]

Can a Couple with 13 Kids Really Pay Off Their Seven-Bedroom House, Live Debt-Free, and Retire Early?

If you either want to feel extremely inspired or extremely terrible about your own financial habits, head on over to the Washington Post and read the story of the Fatzinger family. Rob and Sam Fatzinger are devout Catholics with thirteen children. Sam is a stay-at-home mom who homeschools her children. Rob, a software tester, earns […]

Are You Spending Too Much Time Trying to Save Money?

Trying to save money on the things you already buy or want to buy is a smart idea, especially considering that according to, the average household with credit card debt is carrying $15,310 on its cards. Ouch! Sure, every penny you save counts, but there are smart ways to save and then there are […]

Riding Out Market Storms

Volatility can make your stomach churn, and the volatility of an unstable stock market causes even the most-savvy investors to reach for the Pepto-Bismol. So you may be surprised to hear stock market volatility can actually be a good thing — at least for your retirement savings. Say you are investing $500 in a stock mutual […]

Waiting for Election Results is not an Investment Strategy

This election season has been interesting to say least, but some things never change, including the leading candidates from both parties predicting dire economic consequences if the other is elected. As we listen to the rants of the various politicians, are there any useful political trends that we can consider as investors? Will the person […]

Ten Common Investor Mistakes That Could Tank Your Portfolio – Part Two

In the first part of this series, we learned about five common mistakes that are so easy for investors to make. Maybe you recognized some mistakes in the list that you’ve made in the past or were making in the present. (You’ve fixed it, right?) Here is the second half of our ten-item list. Review […]

Ten Common Investor Mistakes That Could Tank Your Portfolio – Part One

The world of investing can seem incredibly complex, but it doesn’t have to be if you if you stick with a steady game plan and avoid common investor mistakes that are so often fueled by emotion rather than logic. In this article and a subsequent one, we cover ten mistakes that so many undisciplined investors […]

Did You Know That You Can Use Whole Life Insurance for Risk Management?

For many Americans, the idea of “life insurance” only brings to mind a simple term life insurance policy. Term life insurance is the most popular form of life insurance, but it is far from the only option on the market. In fact, insurance companies offer a wide array of life insurance products in order to […]

When Life Changes…Change Your Life Insurance!

Life insurance is that great safety net that will help take care of the ones you love after you pass away. How much life insurance you need to have will depend in large part on who is dependent on your income and what type of legacy you want to leave after you pass away. Though […]

Should You Invest Your Retirement Savings in Indexed Mutual Funds?

When you invest in an actively managed mutual fund, you are investing in expertise. In exchange for an industry average yearly fee of 1.24% of the money you invest, you get a fund manager and a group of analysts who spend their days trying to pick the investments that will earn you the most money […]

First Steps – Planning for Retirement In Your 20s

Part One in Our Retirement for a Lifetime Series You are fresh out of college with a degree clutched in your hand. Get ready world, you are going to do big things…eventually. First, you have to find a job, figure out a living situation, somehow replace the muffler on your car AND come up with enough […]

What Do You Want Your Retirement to Look Like?

We all know the process. Estimate how much money you will need in retirement (which can range anywhere from 70% to over 100% of your pre-retirement income), determine your available income sources (like pensions and Social Security payments), and then calculate how much you will need to save annually so that you can retire on […]

What You Should Be Doing to Plan for Retirement – Your 30s

Part Two in Our Retirement for a Lifetime Series Welcome to your 30s! There are a few more candles on your birthday cake now, but each one of those candles represents knowledge, experience, and wisdom gained. At this point in your life you probably aren’t scrimping to get by like you were in your 20s […]

What You Should Be Doing to Plan for Retirement – Your 40s

Part Three in Our Retirement for a Lifetime Series Welcome to your 40s. At this point in your life, your earning power should be growing as you use your experience and expertise to reach the top of your field and embrace more senior and leadership positions. Of course, with more money comes more opportunities to […]

What You Should Be Doing to Plan for Retirement – Your 50s

Part Four in Our Retirement For a Lifetime Series What’s that over there on the horizon? It’s your retirement, coming close. Yes, it’s still some years off, but you can see it now in the distance. How do you feel? Excited? Uncertain? Full of dread? By now, you should have several decades of retirement savings […]

DIY Investing or Hire an Investment Pro?

Many women assume that they must have a hefty bank account before a professional investment advisor will even look in their direction. Others worry about big fees and commissions cutting into the investment portfolio the advisor was hired to grow. So, is it financially smarter to hire an investment manager or read up on investing […]

Is It Time For A Portfolio Tune-Up?

When you invest, it is a good idea to allocate specific percentages of your portfolio to different types of investments depending on your age, goals, and tolerance for risk. For instance, a 30-year-old professional saving for retirement may want to invest 70% of her savings in stocks, 25% in bonds, and 5% in cash. Even […]

How Much Flexibility Is Too Much In Your Financial Plan?

When it comes to your financial plan, it is important to maintain enough flexibility so that your plan can accommodate unexpected events that are out of your control. On the other hand, a sound financial plan needs to be firmly grounded by factors you can control so that even in the face of unexpected events, […]

Why You Deserve a Dream Bucket Even If You’re Just Making Ends Meet

In his latest bestseller, Money Master The Game, Tony Robbins encourages his readers to create a dream bucket for themselves. This is basically a piggy bank for your dreams where you save the money that will finance that things you’ve secretly been holding inside your heart. Maybe it’s money to go back to school and […]

How Understanding the Female Brain Can Make You a More Savvy Investor

In the book, Unleash the Power of the Female Brain, Dr. Daniel G. Amen, a psychiatrist and brain imaging expert, imaged the brains of 46,000 men and women. He compared the blood flow and activity patterns between male and female brains and found significant differences. In summarizing his finding, Dr. Amen reported that female brains […]

Don’t Freak Out About the Stock Market – Stocks Are Just On Sale

Oh, we humans and our funny brains. We all hate losing money for all the obvious reasons, but our brains may actually make us fear the loss even more than we should. When it comes to a quickly deflating stock market, our loss-averse brains could lead us to make emotional, fear-based decisions that will lock […]

Six Signs That It’s Time to Sell That Stock

Whether one of your stock purchases is flying high or plummeting downward, it can be tricky to decide when to sell. Is your high riser about to implode? Should you stick with your spiraling stock in the hopes that it will rebound? Here are six signs that it’s time to cut the cord and sell […]

Your Female Brain Can Make You a More Savvy Investor

In the book, Unleash the Power of the Female Brain, Dr. Daniel G. Amen, a psychiatrist and brain imaging expert, imaged the brains of 46,000 men and women. He compared the blood flow and activity patterns between male and female brains and found significant differences. In summarizing his finding, Dr. Amen reported that female brains […]

What Happens To Your Online Estate After Your Die?

We all know how important it is to create a will that clearly states how you want your estate managed and distributed after you die, but does your will include your online assets? What Are Online Assets?   Before the internet was born, our assets were paper bills, record collections, and vehicles that could be […]

Five Preventable (and Expensive) Mistakes Almost Every New Investor Makes

When you first start investing, it’s easy to get caught up in the daily rollercoaster of the stock market or to give into your urge to “beat” the market by trading stocks on your own. However, study after study shows that the majority of investors would be best served by investing their money into plain […]

Five Mental Money Jedi Tricks to Build Up Your Rainy Day Fund

Most financial advisors suggest that a good rainy day fund or emergency savings fund contain three to six months of average living expenses. If you have a monthly mortgage payment, car payment, and some kiddos running around the house, that can really add up! How in the world are you going to save up that […]

If You Sold Investments Last Year, You’ll Need to Figure Out Your Cost Basis for Tax Time

If you sold stocks or mutual funds last year, hopefully you made a tidy profit (whoo-hoo!). Of course, Uncle Sam wants his cut of the profits, which are considered capital gains. The tax you owe will depend on your income bracket and how long you’ve owned the investments. If you owned them for a year […]

Do Your Investments Reflect Your Values?

Every day we make important decisions that reflect our values. Maybe you paid an extra $0.50 for a free-trade coffee or rode your bike to work. Maybe your trunk is filled with reusable grocery bags, and your roof boasts shiny solar panels. Many of us are willing to put our dollars where our values are, […]

Need Some Group Support for Money Issues?

Empower Your Financial Transformation with Money Clubs™ If you’ve ever set a big goal for yourself, you know how much it can help when you announce the goal to your friends and family…or better yet, recruit them to participate with you. Saying your goal out loud makes it feel more real, and once your family […]

Is Fear Running Your Investment Strategy?

It is impossible to think about money, (especially YOUR money), without bringing your emotions along. We all have a huge and complex tapestry of emotions connected to our concept of money. For many women, money represents security, and they fear putting any of it at risk. The thought of becoming a “beggar lady on the […]

Why The Best Investors Are History Buffs

Oh, how easy it is to get distracted by the day-to-day fluctuations in the market. Many investors have a herd mentality. Poor jobs report? Suddenly gold prices spike. A major CEO has the flu? Their company’s stock falls ill as well. The best investors, however, step back from the herd and take a long view […]

Are Bonds Safer Than Stocks?

Bonds are debt instruments issued by the U.S. government, state and local governments, corporations, and foreign entities. The issuer borrows money and promises to pay back the debt plus interest twice a year. If the issuer goes bankrupt, bond holders will be paid before stock holders. Here are some key elements of bonds: Principal or […]

Managing Inherited Wealth

Dream or Nightmare? Money Can Be Both Tamara had dreamed that one day she’d have wealth. One day she did, but it came as a nightmare rather than a dream, when a fiery plane crash killed her husband and two of her four children. For five long years she battled the airline at fault for […]

Chicken Little Investing

“The sky is falling, the sky is falling” cried Chicken Little.  Some investors may agree.  What should you do If you find the stock market plummeting. 1.  Don’t panic. Remember that panic is not an effective, long-term investment strategy. But when the Nasdaq plunges as much as 5% a day for several days running, it’s hard […]

Investing Is Risky Business

These are the times that test investor’s souls, or at least their tolerance for risk. If you invest in technology, biotech and other stocks that trade on NASDAQ, you’ve seen quite a bit of volatility this year. What does the future hold?More volatility, which means risk. In stock market terminology, risk is the chance that […]

One Simple Investment and You Can Retire Early

Would you like to earn 8% or more on your money, guaranteed and risk-free? Like to trim your future expenses so you can retire early? Want to save thousands of dollars in interest expense? One simple investment can do it all: prepay your mortgage. To trim five years off a 30 year, 8% mortgage of […]

Picking The Right Mutual Fund

Your e-mails tell me time and again that one of the most daunting tasks you face is picking mutual funds and monitoring their progress. I’m so busy, you say – how can I make this task easier and less overwhelming? People often take a hodgepodge approach to their investments – even those who read the […]

Got The Stock Market Jitters?

If you like roller coasters, you might be enjoying the ride on Wall Street these days, as the stock market spikes then tumbles, then hits bottom and careens up again. But for most of us, whose stomachs clench at such high jinks, these are unsettling times. But take heart – those reckless gyrations may actually […]

Surfing The Business Cycle

Selecting stocks can be tough. But stock selection is much easier once you understand stock market and economic cycles. Diversification is key. To build a portfolio, you should own several different stocks in several of the eight market sectors: consumer cyclicals, technology, financial, energy, industrials, basic materials, consumer non-cyclicals and utilities. Decide which of the […]

Changing Lanes: Getting Ahead in the Financial Markets

San Diego is growing. There are thousands more cars on the road every day – and they are all in my lane! I’m normally a cautious driver, but when the freeway lane I’m in slows to a crawl while those in adjacent lanes are flying by, I’m tempted to change lanes. But as soon as […]

Investing In The Rain

My cat Augie loves to lie in the sun all day. Who wouldn’t?  But even in sunny San Diego, it sometimes rains. Augie hates that, and he turns away from the open door in disgust. Then he goes to a different door to be let out. He’s looking for the door where it isn’t raining […]

Honey, I Shrank Our Investments — Now What?

Uh oh, the stock market slid again. So what else is new? Even patient optimists have gotten fed up with the market, which is exactly why it’s going down.  As the last rat (excuse the expression) bails off the ship, there will be no more sellers left. With only buyers left at the party, the […]

Home Improvements — A Good Investment or Not?

Making changes to your home can disrupt your life, and it can be harmful to your finances as well. Before you decide on your next home improvement project, check out how much it will improve your home’s value. According to figures from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, remodeling your kitchen or bathroom is […]

Should You Refinance?

Once you have a mortgage, you’re set, right? Not really—though your parents might have kept the same mortgage for 30 years, today’s fluctuating mortgage rates keep you on your toes. So when should you refinance? If you can get a no-cost loan at a rate that’s lower than you are presently paying, why not refinance? […]

Shopping for a House

Is it time to go house hunting? If so, here are eight great tips to help you get the best deal: Start with the basics. Read the classifieds, visit open houses, and let brokers know what kind of housing you’re seeking. Apply to a lender for preapproval so you’ll know exactly how much home you can […]

4 ways to stretch your paycheck and put your money back in your pocket!

Wait! Before you reach into your pocket you might want to read this. Switch to a free ATM card. Automatic teller machines (ATM) are a great convenience, but if you’re being charged a fee to use them, the costs can add up. If your bank charges a fee find a different bank. ANNUAL SAVINGS: $30+ […]

4 Credit Score Secrets

So you want to buy a car or a house? How about get a credit card or a mobile phone? You won’t get any of those things until they check your credit score. There are three main credit scoring agencies – Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. They each issue credit reports showing your creditors’ names, […]

5 steps you can take to ease your financial transition from divorce

Just because your marriage went down the drain, doesn’t mean your money has to follow. The emotional burden of a divorce can be overwhelming. Now add to that the financial adjustments you have to go through and it becomes frightening. But don’t fret, there are certain steps you can take to get your “Divorce and […]

Patience is a Virtue

Is the recent stock volatility in the market making your head spin? You’ve probably heard the comparison between the current stock market and a roller coaster ride. Both have a lot of sudden ups and downs that can make keeping your lunch down a chore. But ask yourself this question- when the roller coaster is […]

Gimmie! Gimmie! Gimmie!

Do your kids think you’re made of money? Does it seem like every time you turn around your forking out dough to your kids? Maybe, it’s time to start teaching them the meaning of that old expression, “Money doesn’t grow on trees” Here are some helpful ideas to make them start respecting the hard work […]

Building Wealth Basics

5 Basic building blocks that will  start you on the road to financial freedom. When the great master told her pupil, “You must first learn to walk before you can run.” She could have very well been giving financial advice. Wealth building is a result of organization, planning, and motivation. Take these 5 tips to […]

On-Line Investment Information

Love to browse on-line? Use the Web to locate valuable investment information. In today’s computer driven era, it seems there’s nothing you can’t find on the Internet. For all you investors out there, or even those of you thinking about investing, the Internet is a goldmine of free information. Whether it’s a company conference call, […]

Social Security Retirement? Plan for Social In-Security…

Thinking Social Security is a major source of retirement income? Think Again. If you’re counting on Social Security as a major part of your retirement income…watch out! The Social Security system is increasingly strained. With people living longer and better health care, more and more people are drawing benefits. To give you an idea:  In […]

A Penny Saved

Before saying you have no money to save, check out the “Latte Factor.” This may be a savings strategy you’ve overlooked when looking for ways to save money. What is the “Latte Factor”?  Let’s make up an example. Tom is a 23 year old, working in an office somewhere, and not getting paid a whole […]

Be Safe, Not Sorry

What Steps Can You Take Now to  Protect the Security of Your Family? One of your first financial goals should be protecting your family’s security from a financial crisis.  To do this, you need to look at four things: First, it’s important to have enough insurance in all major areas. These major areas are life, […]

Your Investment Strategy

Volatile Times in the Market Raise Lots of Questions. Wondering how to invest and what to invest in? Your first step should be to formulate an investment strategy. To do that, ask yourself these questions concerning your exceptions and preferences.  What period of time are you investing for?A short-term investor needs the money in one […]

Decorate Your Financial Future With Style

When I was first given the opportunity to write this column, some of my staff asked, “Why put a financial advice article in a magazine about home decorating?” They wondered whether my readers would have any interest in financial planning, and whether they would embrace the concepts I wanted to address. I understood however, that […]

Top 10 Tips for Successful Investors

There are volumes written about how to become a successful investor, and the advice is often quite complex. Here are some common-sense tips that will improve your investment success, no matter what your level of financial sophistication. 1. Come early to the party, and stay late. Begin investing as soon as you can, be patient, […]

Do Interest-Only Loan Pique Your Interest?

Home ownership has many benefits, but figuring out financing can be tricky. Many people are turning to interest only loans, touted as a way to buy more house for less monthly outlay. Interest only loans come in many variations, but in general you pay a fixed rate of interest but no principal for the first […]

The One, Two, Three of Investing

From what we’ve seen over the past 20 years, women are more likely to be better investors than men. Here’s why: They tend to research their investments more thoroughly and invest to meet specific long-term goals. They are inclined to hold onto their investments longer than their male counterparts, and panic less easily, even when […]

What’s Your Risk Factor?

To help you figure out your relationship to risk, we’ve created a short quiz. Take a few moments to complete it, choosing the answer that best describes you. The results should give you a good idea of how much comfortable you are (or aren’t) with taking risks. When taking this quiz: Answer all questions (guess if you’re not sure) Only check ONE box for […]

Will the Bull Market End?

We have now reached a milestone – the Dow Jones Industrial Average has reached 13,000, and prosperity continues. But economic indicators are mixed, and eventually the economy will slide into recession. Here’s how future economic developments may affect you. Q: If we have a recession, does it mean the stock market boom is over for […]

A Wise Risk Today Brings Good Fortune Tomorrow

Perhaps it was Confucius who said, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” Investing for the future is always a game of chance and risk-taking is part of the game plan.  The goal is to make your money grow—keeping ahead of inflation, using interest rates to your advantage in saving and borrowing, riding safely through the ups and […]

Financing Your Home In Today’s Economy

Appraisals are costlier, and the results less favorable. Many would-be home buyers are receiving lower-than-anticipated appraisals on desired properties. Appraisers now will count only comparative property sales during the last three months. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are requiring appraisers to complete additional research and reporting, and many appraisers are charging more for this extra work. Loans […]

A Penny Saved is Millions Earned

Benjamin Franklin, one of our founding fathers, was a very savvy guy.  He said that a penny saved is a penny earned, but he proved that it really can be worth millions. In his will Franklin left the cities of Boston and Philadelphia 1,000 pounds each (the equivalent of $4,444). He asked that the funds […]

Your Investment Rights and Responsibilities

Today’s investments are steps toward tomorrow’s dreams. Whether it’s real estate, stocks, bonds, or another financial product, we buy in hopes that our investments will prosper and help us reach our financial goals. But all investments carry risk. It’s risk that provides the opportunity for money to grow. We as consumers have rights and responsibilities […]

Words of Wisdom from the Founding Fathers

Bring on the picnics, parades, and fireworks—it’s time for our nation’s annual celebration of faith! July Fourth marks one of the world’s great acts of faith when a bold group of American patriots signed their names to the Declaration of Independence and risked everything for the dream of a free and just society. Of course, […]

9 Things Your Great Depression Grandparents Knew About Saving

Are we heading into a Great Depression? Probably not. “While today’s situation does not necessarily imply another Great Depression, the economic downturn and those comparisons can encourage us to turn worry into a positive,” said Ethan Ewing of “Consider the lessons learned from the Great Depression and apply some of your grandparents’ financial knowledge […]

Mortgage Troubles: Options to consider

Foreclosure proceedings threatened over two million Americans last year, and almost 900,000 homes were repossessed in 2008. If you are having trouble paying your mortgage, here are seven options to consider, courtesy of 1. Determine if you Qualify for Hope for Homeowners HUD’s Hope for Homeowners program may be able to help you refinance […]

Uncommon Sense: Some Money Rules That Might Surprise You

Most money wisdom is pretty straightforward. You simply have to use your common sense to figure out that it’s good to save for a rainy day, spend wisely on things you really need, and keep a hopeful outlook for your financial future. Sometimes, though, a money rule comes along that calls upon your “uncommon sense” […]

The Dow Jones Industrials

By Virginia Hodge “The Dow reaches new Highs!” blares the television. But what is the Dow? Way back in 1880 a newspaper reporter named Charles Dow began writing for the New York Mail and Express. Later he and Edward Jones formed the Dow Jones News Company, the predecessor to Wall Street Journal. Jones was the […]

Diversify your Portfolio with Mutual Funds

After she was widowed, Mary received a lump sum from her husband’s life insurance policy. Mary needed current income and also wanted to invest for her retirement. Her financial planner, Harriet, suggested mutual funds. Harriet explained that a mutual fund is a professionally managed pool of stocks and/or bonds that provide reduced portfolio risk through […]

Stocks: Getting to Know Them

After Anna received half of a joint stock brokerage account in her divorce, she went to see Sam, a stockbroker recommended by a family friend. Sam quickly found that Anna’s knowledge of investments was slim, so he explained stocks to her. Stocks in a company represent a portion of ownership, called shares, that are bought […]

Lifeboat Drills for Stock Market Investors

An excerpt from the seminar “Surviving the Stock Market” by Carol Kean, fee-only investment adviser. How are your investments affected by emotional vs. rational behavior? That is a real concern for many investors as they analyze the stock market. You must deal with your own emotions as a stock market investor, hanging on as the waves get choppy. But even […]

The Wealth Bubble – Real or Illusion?

Happy days are here again! The economy is flourishing, real estate is booming, and Internet stocks are going to the moon. We’re saving less, and no wonder. There’s no need to save, with all the wealth being created under our noses. But how much of the wealth is real, and how much is illusion? Here’s […]

Are Hedge Funds A Better Place To Put Your Money?

By Michelle Kennedy Hogan What is a hedge fund anyway? Recently, I read a report that stated hedge funds might actually be a better place to put your money than mutual funds. The report went on to say that, according to Van Hedge Fund Advisors International (they track hedge funds’ performance), that almost all of […]