Taking Stock of Lump-Sum Investing vs. Dollar-Cost Averaging

Some investors favor a dollar-cost averaging (DCA) approach to deploying their investment capital. Unlike lump-sum investing, in which the full amount of available capital is invested up front, DCA spreads out investment contributions using installments over time. The appeal of DCA is the perception that it helps investors “diversify” the cost of entry into the market, buying shares at prices that fall somewhere between the highs and lows of a fluctuating market. So what are the implications of DCA for investors aiming to generate long-term wealth? (more…)

Evidence-Based Planning

“I don’t know…something just doesn’t feel right,” you mumble through your mask to your primary care doctor while sitting on the examination table under a flickering fluorescent light in a room decorated with anatomical charts and hand-sanitizer dispensers. After listening to your heart and your lungs, the doctor diagnoses your feelings of worry as a mild condition that is easily treatable but could become serious if a proper treatment regimen isn’t followed. The doctor gives two treatment plans: one coming from the New England Journal of Medicine and the other from a health magazine that can be purchased at your local convenience store. Which plan do you choose? (more…)

Holistic Planning for Later Life

We often equate preparing for old age with achieving the financial security needed to sustain us throughout life.  However, a truly successful and fulfilling aging experience requires planning and preparation in all areas of life.

Financial planning is indeed important, but money alone cannot “buy” happiness, good health, meaningful relationships, and purposeful activities.  In The Late-Start Investor, John Wasik wrote:

“Instead of absorbing an obsolete view of retirement, you should consider what I call your New Prosperity. This includes a flexible life plan that provides for your financial, vocational, physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.  Unless you look at your future holistically, merely saving up a pile of money will be a meaningless act.” (more…)

How Bonds Work

“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet” were words most famously spoken by the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle. The wisdom in this adage can be applied to so many aspects of life, including investing. The current low interest rate environment has many investors reaching for yield by moving into longer-term, lower-quality bonds. But the fruits of that decision might not be as sweet as expected. Those who exercise patience, however, can reap the rewards that short-term, high-quality bonds have to offer. (more…)

Money for College

When it comes to college, you’re more than what you pay

Are you sacrificing your financial security for your child’s higher education?

Here in California, we joking refer to Harvard as “the Stanford of the east.” That gentle jab reflects the rivalry between two schools renowned for their stunning campuses, prominent faculty, prestige and sky-high costs. Four years of tuition at either school will set a family back more than $200,000.

That’s a staggering amount of money, but we assume that it’s “worth it” because of the advantage a degree from a top-notch school confers on our kids, who need all the help they can get in a job market that’s been in the doldrums for years. (more…)