From the category archives:

Personal Finance

Individual Investors Make Terrible Decisions – So STOP Making Them!

I just came across yet another report (Marketwatch) demonstrating the abysmal state of US retail investor performance compared to basically doing nothing.  We just can’t help ourselves.  Based on this latest research of 20 years of data, here are a few depressing facts:  Over the past 20 years, while the S&P500 annualized return was 8.2%, […]

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Some Reasons Pre-Paying Your Mortgage Isn’t Worth It

There’s a perennial debate in the financial blogosphere about whether it’s worth paying down a mortgage early or using the funds elsewhere.  Often times, financial calculations are trumped by “emotion” whereby people justify paying down a mortgage early for “peace of mind” or because it feels better not having any debt.  I suppose if you […]

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It’s That Time of Year – How to Calculate Your FSA Contribution Amount for 2012

For those of you who have a Flex Savings Account option at work, it’s time to set the total annual allotment for 2012 before the year starts.  I’ve always had mixed emotions about this provision of the tax code.  On one hand, you’re allowed to deduct medical expenses from your income normally subject to federal […]

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Saving Money at the Risk of Personal Safety – Balance?

When is taking on risk to the personal safety of yourself or others worth saving money?  This weekend, somewhat on a whim, my wife suggested we go skiing.  We already had a trip planned in a couple weeks and would need to be doing a seasonal rental anyway, so she suggested we go pick up […]

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Winning the Lottery Brings Misery, Loss, and Death – Why Bother?

We often wish for things that we probably shouldn’t.  I remember in middle school we were studying the middle ages and our teacher went off on a tangent about how little girls all say they want to be a Princess but what a horrible life it was.  After all, Disney has about a dozen movies […]

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Paying for Christmas Light Hanging Service? Absurd

You’ve probably heard about the services that will hang Christmas lights on your house for you each year for a fee.  I knew the services were out there but never actually knew anyone that used one, nor did I contemplate what the service would cost.  I figure regular able-bodied people either hang the lights themselves […]

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Financial Advisors Keeping You in the Dark?

I have nothing against Financial Advisors as a whole.  Most of the time, they fulfill an important void in delivering valuable advice and guidance in an arena where people are very unfamiliar – investments, money management, tax planning, saving for college, and other areas.  This is really no different than getting legal advice from an […]

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You’re an Impulse Buyer. Blame Yourself? Or This Chemical in Your Brain?

I read an interesting story in NPR this weekend showing how impulsiveness is tied to the chemical content in your brain.  Akin to how plaintiffs attorneys have tried to use genetic makeup to explain why criminals do what they do, I wonder if people knew what their dopamine levels were in their brain, if they […]

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Charitable Contributions – Avoid being Ripped Off

While people mean well by donating money to seemingly noble causes, often times that money ends up being eaten up by administrative costs, waste, or outright fraud.  The other day, I came home from work and my wife was at the door with a teenage kid holding a clipboard talking about clean water and pollution […]

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