Education Costs Continue to Increase

Guess what? According to the US Department of Education, the average tuition price tag at public four-year universities increased 15% from the 2008-2009 school year to the 2010-2011 school year. For the most part, these increases have been driven by cuts to state support for higher education. The 15% average increase works out to an […]


Risk Happens

While perusing the Bogleheads discussion forum, I recently ran across an interesting discussion about ways of taking on additional risk to increase expected returns. In short, the discussion-starter says that he’s socking away as much as he can in a fairly typical three-fund portfolio but that the expected 7-8% returns won’t get him to where […]


Mail Order Friends of the Frugal

Remember the last time you were skimming across the clouds in a big commercial jetliner, looking to pass the time? You may have fished one of the glossy catalogs from the seat pocket in front of you, and flipped through the pages of amazingly ingenious and high-priced items. If only you won the lottery, or […]


Finding the Best Business Bank Account

A reader named Paul recently wrote in asking for recommendations for a good business checking account. He’s been dealing with Chase, which has recently instituted a $20 monthly fee for accounts with balances below $7500. Ouch! My personal experience has been with a “Business Economy Checking Account” from Bank of America, which pays zero interest […]


How Much Does She Spend? Why Comparing Yourself to Others Is a Mistake

I spend too much time thinking about how other people spend money. (But! I’m a personal finance writer!) When someone mentions how hard it is to be a working mother in a two-income family, I think, but that’s a path you chose, working out in my head how possible it might be for that family […]


Should Dividend Payment Dates Matter?

Awhile back I ran across an article asking whether you should worry about dividend payment dates when constructing a dividend-focused investment portfolio. In short, Evan (the author) was wondering if he should be assembling a collection of stocks that pay dividends evenly throughout each quarter. In other words, if you spread your investments across stocks […]


Lending Club High vs. Low Risk Loan Experiment Complete

A little over three years ago, I initiated an experiment with Lending Club. I took $1000 and split it into two auto-selected loan portfolios. With the first $500, I cranked the risk slider all the way down to the lowest level. With the other $500, I cranked it all the way up to the highest […]


Ensuring the Acorns Fall Far From the Oak

T. Rowe Price recently released a new survey that revealed some surprising factoids. The 2012 Parents, Kids and Money Survey revealed that kids age 8 to 14, who tend to listen to their parents on few other topics, would actually appreciate more advice on money matters from mom and dad. Not only are they interested […]


Citi Bonus Cash Back Reward Categories for Summer 2012

EDITORS NOTE: THIS OFFER IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE. Here’s some info on the upcoming bonus categories for the Citi Dividend Platinum Select Visa credit card… As you’re likely aware, many credit card companies have switched to a model where they offer a base level of rewards (typically 1%) plus bonus rewards (usually 5%) in certain […]


Evaluate Your Expenses

Earlier this week I wrote about the effect of investment fees on your returns. The upshot was that if you really want to understand how damaging high fees can be, view them in the context of your returns not your portfolio balance. Similarly, I want to encourage you to think about expenditures in the context […]