Friday, June 22, 2012

To 403(b), or not to 403(b), that is the question

There is an excellent article on 403(b) and 457 retirement plans in the July 2012 edition of Kiplinger's (a personal finance magazine).  Every teacher should read the article, and peruse these two websites:


403(b) plans are typically found in K-12 school districts and other state a local government entities and are similar to corporate America's 401(k) plans.  However, the 403(b) market is referred to as the "Wild West" of retirement systems due to

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Why Everyone Should Buy Index Funds

Question: What are your odds of picking a mutual fund that beats a low-cost index fund? 

Answer: Zero

Proof: Watch this video of University of Chicago Finance Professor Gene Fama.

Want more proof?: Here's the research behind the video.

Quick Summary:
Famous finance professors Gene Fama (Univ. of Chicago) and Ken French (Dartmouth) analyzed all actively-managed US stock mutual fund data from 1984-2006.  They found

Friday, June 15, 2012


I don't usually blog about how to save money when shopping, but this was just so big, I wanted to tell everyone.  Recently I found a way for my family to save $1,175 per year - on one item.  

Our 7-year old twins both take over-the-counter Claritin for allergies.  There are generic pills available, but I have not found a chewable generic for kids.  I never paid much attention to what we pay for Children's Claritin until BJ's Wholesale Club quit carrying it and we had to begin buying it at Walgreens.  

It seemed quite expensive at Walgreens.  So, being the finance nerd that I am, I created a spreadsheet to calculate the annual cost.  I was a bit shocked when my annual estimate came to $1,532!  

$20.99 per 20 or $1.05 per pill, but my kids need 2 per dose so $2.10 per dose.  With 2 kids and 365 days per year, that means 720 doses per year or 720 x $2.10 = $1,532

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Gold should be stored in a jewelry box, NOT a retirement account

Click here for another excellent article listing reasons why gold should be stored in a jewelry box and NOT in an IRA. For example, before gold's recent 10-year run, it actually lost money the previous 20 years and thus was neither a good investment nor even a good hedge for inflation.  Keep in mind, if you own a stock index fund (and you should) you essentially already own stocks in companies that mine gold.  Combine that with what is in your jewelry box, and you already have enough exposure to gold.  I'm sure this will rankle my gold bug friends!