What is the Average Cost of Tax Preparation?

I just ran across a bit of interesting information on the cost of tax preparation from the National Society of Accountants. According to their biennial survey, the average tax prep fee for an itemized Form 1040 with Schedule A plus a state tax return is $229. For a Form 1040 and state return without itemized […]

Avoiding and Reducing Mutual Fund Fees and Expenses

Investing in mutual funds is a wonderful way to grow your investments, but all the fees associated with such investments them can be a financial drain. Learning about these expenses and how to reduce or eliminate them is a relatively easy way to increase your returns. Taking the time to mark smart decisions and plan […]

Tax Freedom Day and Some Homework

Happy Tax Freedom Day! In case you weren’t aware, the average American will spend 99 days working to pay their 2010 tax bill. That makes today, April 9th, Tax Freedom Day. In reality, Tax Freedom Day varies from state to state, with Alaska being the earliest (March 26th) and Connecticut being the latest (April 27th). […]

How Many Stocks Do You Need to Be Diversified?

This is a guest post from Philip (a.k.a., The Weakonomist) of Weakonomics. If you like what you see here, please consider subscribing to his RSS feed. According to their latest annual report, Vanguard’s S&P 500 Index Fund holds 503 unique stocks. The S&P 500, of course, has just 500. As most of you know, the […]

The Debt Free Vacation

“Some debts are fun when you are acquiring them, but none are fun when you set about retiring them.” -Ogden Nash As we travel across the country in a motor home, I’m often moved with thankfulness for the simple privilege of vacation. Our fearless crew is comprised of myself, my beautiful wife, my father, my […]

Lending Club Update – March 2010 Performance

As of April 1st, I’m enjoying a 10.66% net annualized return on a Lending Club portfolio composed of 270 notes. As you can see from the graphic below, my performance is somewhere near the middle of the pack. I’m okay with that, however, as I’ve been focused on building a relatively low risk portfolio. In […]

How to Get Out of Debt: Hardcore Tools for Getting to Zero

This is a guest post from Michael Harr, Co-Founder and Chief Content Director at TodayForward. Michael worked as a collections agent for a major credit card issuer, and has more than a decade of experience as a comprehensive financial planner. You can read his personal blog at Wealth… Uncomplicated. One of the great problems on […]

Make a Video, Win Some Money

In case you haven’t heard, J.D. Roth over at GetRichSlowly has just published a new book entitled “Your Money: The Missing Manual.” In honor of his book release, he’s running a video contest with prizes up to $500 in cash. Here are some details: Videos must be 2 min or less Two categories: Personal Finance […]

Learning About Mortgage Escrow Accounts

I just checked the balance on our mortgage to make sure this month’s payment went through. I’m excited about accelerating our mortgage payments and seeing the principal decrease. We’re still waiting on first-time homebuyer’s tax credit, and will be using that $8, 000 to take a chunk out of our mortgage. While looking at the […]

Cash as a Painkiller?

While money can’t buy happiness, it might just be able to reduce pain. That’s the finding of an interesting piece of research from the University of Minnesota. Apparently cash and reminders of cash can help to reduce physical and emotional pain. Indeed, according to U of M researcher Kathleen Vohs: “When people are reminded of […]