Recent Entries

  • Safeguarding Your Data After Equifax Hack

      by Rick Kahler   The massive computer hack of Equifax, one of the three largest US credit reporting agencies, exposed the Social Security numbers, names, and contact information for up to 143 million of us.How should you respond? A lot of conflicting advice is floating around; here is...
  • Worldwide Increase in Financial Well-Being

      by Rick Kahler   Do you think the world is getting better, or worse, or neither? Based on a recent survey by Max Roser of the University of Oxford, you probably said "worse." That was the answer from about 95% of the survey respondents, who were from Sweden, Germany, and the US. &nbs...
  • The Value of Index Funds

      by Rick Kahler   Steve Forbes, editor of the well-respected financial publication Forbes Magazine, once said, "You make more selling advice than following it. It's one of the things we count on in the magazine business, along with the short memory of our readers."   Scores of p...
  • Passive Investment Strategy or Reverse Churning?

      by Rick Kahler   Both fee-only financial planning firms and companies that sell financial products are beginning to see some unintended consequences from the recent Department of Labor fiduciary rule.   The rule requires that all financial advisors who deal with an investor's r...
  • Avoiding Fatal Financial Mistakes

      by Rick Kahler   Can a poor financial decision ruin your life? Possibly. Financial failures vary in severity, depending on a wide range of variables such as your age, earning capacity, education, and timing. Some can be minor bumps in the road to success, some are valuable learning ex...
  • After Brexit, What's an Investor to Do?

      by Rick Kahler   British voters shocked the world last week with their 52% to 48% decision to leave the European Union. The uncertainty of how this complex divorce will play out over the coming decade sent global markets reeling. London's Financial Times Stock Exchange 100 lost 4.4% o...
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  • Grey Rhinos and Other Financial Threats

      by Rick Kahler   "There he is," our South African guide whispered excitedly. About 200 feet away stood a black rhino, the rarest and most aggressive of the rhinos. The rhino focused his full attention on us as he repeatedly took a few steps and stopped. After several minutes, he moved...
  • When to Say Yes to Car Rental Insurance

      by Rick Kahler   Many travelers, including me, rarely purchase the insurance offered by the car rental company. The daily charge of $20-$40 is expensive, and the coverage often unnecessarily duplicates that provided by your credit cards and personal auto policy   Before you ass...
  • Use Resources to Check for Financial Adviser's Past Misconduct

      by Rick Kahler   Shopping for a financial adviser you can trust has never been easy. The new Department of Labor rule requiring brokers to act in a fiduciary capacity when dealing with retirement plan assets has not made it any easier. The government's intent was to help consumers cle...
  • Simple Living Not Always So Simple

      by Rick Kahler   "Living simply with fewer material possessions leaves room for more soul" (meaning more joy, connection, peace, and spirituality). "Material possessions prohibit one from finding deep contentment."   Recently I had a conversation with a person who deeply believ...
  • Giving and Happiness: A Complicated Partnership

      by Rick Kahler   Recently a reader suggested I write about the relationship between giving and happiness, noting that research shows people who give to charity are happier. One such study from Harvard Business School in 2009 is titled "Feeling Good About Giving." It not only found a l...
  • Private REITs Not a Good Choice for Small Investors

      by Rick Kahler   Real estate is one of the asset classes I recommend including in a diversified portfolio. For many small investors, the best way to hold real estate is through a REIT, or real estate investment trust.   So far, so good. But some REITs are about as appealing as ...
  • Real Rate of Return

      by Rick Kahler   Is there anything more important than the overall rate of return you earn on your investment portfolio? Yes, there is. It's the real rate of return.   Over the past five years, even diversified portfolios have earned relatively low returns. Many investors are f...
  • Finding a Financial Advisor with Heart Skills

      by Rick Kahler   I've written from time to time about the qualities to look for before you engage a financial planner, such as experience, professional qualifications, and having a fiduciary responsibility to clients. One other factor is often important, as well: whether a planner is ...
  • Classic Money Advice

      by Rick Kahler   Some financial advice just doesn't grow old. Many recommendations I've made for years are as applicable as ever for the 21st century, and they bear repeating. Here are some of the best financial moves to consider as you move into 2016:   1. Understanding and ma...
  • Budget Act Cuts Social Security Filing Options

      by Rick Kahler   Congress is about to curtail two little-known, but very useful, benefits of Social Security. These are the ability to file-and-suspend and to file a restricted application. At the time of this writing, Congress had not formally passed the bill but it was expected to p...
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  • Be Wary of Investment Guarantees

      by Rick Kahler   The prospective client interviewing me was nervous and skeptical. She insisted on some type of guarantee that, if she hired my firm to manage her investments held for retirement, we would make her money.   I asked her what she meant by "make her money." She sai...
  • Why Shifting Tuition Payments to Retirement Fund Seldom Works

      by Rick Kahler   College graduation is obviously a cause for celebration. When the graduate is the youngest child, some parents have an extra reason to rejoice: no more tuition payments.   At the end of the college years, many parents who have chosen to fund their kids' educati...
  • When Doing Nothing Is Investment Strategy

      by Rick Kahler   A few weeks ago, when the US markets started dropping dramatically, a reporter for The Wall Street Journal called. He asked me if I had received any calls from worried clients. I told him I had heard from 5% of my clients. "What changes in their portfolios are you mak...
  • Term Life Insurance Most Affordable for Young Parents

      by Rick Kahler   The stage in life when most adults have the most need for life insurance is when they are parents and their children are young. Unfortunately, this is often a time when financial resources are already stretched. Unlike health insurance and house payments, life insuran...
  • Giving Kids the Best Financially

      by Rick Kahler   Almost all the financial decisions parents make around our kids have one thing in common: we want what's best for them. This is the case whether we're setting the amount of an allowance for an eight-year-old, helping a teenager make college choices, or deciding whethe...
  • Getting Out of Poverty Takes More Than Financial Literacy

      by Rick Kahler   Helping people work their way out of poverty isn't just about money. It requires addressing the beliefs and culture around money that may be keeping people stuck both financially and emotionally.   Like many of my financial planning colleagues, I have an intere...
  • How the Rich Got Rich

      by Rick Kahler   Ask ten people how the rich got rich and you will get at least ten opinions. Some of the more common assumptions are that people become wealthy by inheriting fortunes, taking advantage of those less fortunate, or "playing" the stock market. I even remember one governm...
  • Millionaires and Billionaires

      by Rick Kahler   Would you like to build up a million-dollar nest egg by the time you retire? For middle-class earners, that goal is challenging but possible if you start at age 25 and save $1750 a month. Many married couples could do this by maxing out their 401(k) contributions. Or ...
  • Business Profits Essential

      by Rick Kahler   I recently had a conversation with a teenager who was annoyed at Disney's ongoing promotion of the movie Frozen. The young woman's point was that Disney is a creative company, and by pouring so much time and resources into promoting Frozen, it was robbing its loyal cu...
  • Protect Yourself When Hiring Contractors

      by Rick Kahler   This time of year, half the homeowners in town are trying to hire landscapers. All of us check our phones even in the middle of meetings or medical appointments, because we desperately hope it might be the yard guy calling back.   As my wife and I work on our y...
  • Money Realities for New Adults: Toothpaste and Toilet Paper

      by Rick Kahler   The daughter of one of my clients left home right after high school graduation for a full-time job and part-time college classes. As she was settling into her first apartment, she told her mother, "I never thought I'd be the person who had to buy things like toilet pa...
  • Ease College Loan Burden–Borrow Like a Pessimist

    by Rick Kahler High school graduation is a time of optimism and possibilities. Commencement speakers all over the country urge graduates to follow their dreams and reach for the stars. But when it comes to funding the education you need to fulfill those dreams, you might be better off with a dose ...
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