savings


Why, Where & How of Roth IRAs

Someone contact me recently about how to set up a Roth IRA. It’s a common enough question that it feels like a good time to revisit this topic. In this article I’m going to tell you exactly why, where and how to set up a Roth IRA and even make three investment suggestions for three generic situations. Your specific situation could differ, of course. But first, what? A Roth IRA is a little bit like […]


Strange Change, Rainy Days and Big Emergencies

You know you need emergency money, right? But what does that actually mean? Here are the three kinds of “emergency” money I counsel my clients to have. One is what I call “strange change”. You should have some cash in the house that you can use if you need to Get Out Of Dodge right this minute: no standing in line at the (probably empty) ATM, just get in your car and drive. For this, […]


Preparing for the Great Trumpression

Back in 2006 a client walked into my office with an impossible mortgage. Countrywide Bank gave a 70 year old a 30 year mortgage for more than 100% the value of her house. She was underwater the day she closed, with no possible way to ever sell that house. I was aghast, and wondered what was going on that Countrywide was willing to take on risk like that. I didn’t quite understand the whole securitization […]


Financial Literacy for Young Adults

A client asked me if I had any financial literacy suggestions for teenagers. It kicked off a reading festival! Here are my notes. Years ago I read Suze Orman’s Young Fabulous and Broke and I was underwhelmed. She seems to think that everyone is as clueless as she was and needs to have a come-to-Jesus moment and she’ll tell you how. Most people I know just want to know some facts and they’ll integrate them into their […]


Tips about Savings

Have some emergency money in the house, enough to pay for necessary groceries and medication if the banking system went down and you had to pay cash. You can also think of it as “refugee money.” If you needed to evacuate NOW, how much cash would you want for travel costs to far away family? Gas, hotels, meals on the road? Have that much in small bills and rolled coins.  (We like rolls of dollar […]


Spotlight on budgeting

Clients are calling up to ask for help. “We’re making a lot of money but can’t make ends meet. Help!” I tell them to grab as many statements as they can from every bill they’ve got and every account they’ve got and bring the whole pile to me. Here’s what I know about people’s expenses: the overwhelming majority have expenses that nearly exactly match their income, except, perhaps, they spend about $50/month more than they […]