The 4% Rule, Revisited

In talking about drawing income from a retirement portfolio, I’ve often referred to the 4% rule. This rule holds that, if you withdraw an inflation-adjusted 4% from a balanced stock/bond portfolio, there would be a high likelihood of your money lasting 30 years. However, the 4% rule dates back to academic research that was published […]


Putting Money in Its Place

We’re now a couple of weeks into the New Year and I have to admit that I have mixed feelings about New Year’s resolutions. That being said, resolutions provide us with a framework for putting our personal finances in the right perspective. Call it putting money in its place. It’s probably being a long-time gym […]


Convert to the Discover it Card

In case you haven’t heard, Discover is spotlighting their newest card, known as Discover it. Notably, they have re-worked the rewards structure associated with this card. While they’re still offering 5% cash back on rotating categories, subject to enrollment and quarterly maximum spend, they’ve dropped the spending tiers for non-bonus purchases, meaning that you’ll get […]


Interest Rates, Inflation, and ‘Real’ Wages

Are you tired of uber-low interest rates on your savings account? Well, you can thank Federal Reserve policy for that. And it’s not likely to change anytime soon. About a month ago, the Fed gave a clear indication of what it will take before they’ll start letting interest rates rise. They saying that, as long […]


The Rule of Reciprocation: An Introduction

Give and you shall receive. This Biblical saying has been well-used and mis-used so many times that I’m sure no one could count. I grew up in a very conservative Baptist household and, while I don’t think we always gave a flat 10%, giving was a constant, even in our poorest times. We did receive, […]


Supplement Your Nest Egg with Sweat

Over the holidays, I ran across a nice article by Philip Brewer over at Wisebread. In it, he talked about how much you’ll need for retirement in the context of safe withdrawal rates, using the 4% rule as an example. In other words, if you assume that you can safely withdraw 4%/year from your retirement […]


Buying Your Way Around Roth IRA Contribution Limits?

Here’s a thought exercise for you… One of the main reasons to choose a Roth IRA over a traditional IRA is that you can pay taxes now in return for tax-free distributions later. This is also good from the Federal Government’s perspective, as it allows them to collect taxes right now vs. sometime down the […]


Haggle? Yes, an Amateur Can Do It

I’m not a big fan of haggling. I rarely do it. I’d much rather walk into a transaction knowing the price and making a calm decision based on that price. Plus, being a small business owner, I understand the value of margins and am happy to pay the list price when I can afford it, […]


IRS to Begin Processing Returns on January 30th

This is just a quick note to let you know that, due to the eleventh hour fiscal cliff drama, the IRS will not begin processing individual tax returns until January 30th. From their press release: Following the January tax law changes made by Congress under the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA), the Internal Revenue Service […]


Extreme Couponing Gone Wrong

I’ve shared my view of coupons (and run a poll) here on FCN in the past. While I’m well aware that you can save a decent amount of money on groceries with coupons, we’re just not the coupon clipping sort. And we’re definitely not into extreme couponing, where the focus tends to be more on […]