Allan Roth is the founder of Wealth Logic, an hourly-based financial planning firm in Colorado Springs, Colo. He has taught investing and finance at universities and written for Money Magazine, The Wall Street Journal and others. His contributions aren't meant to convey specific investment advice.

Are You an Irrational Investor? Here’s How to Tell

Too many of us are irrational investors. Acceptance of this fact and understanding the roots of our irrationality are the keys to better investing. First, the facts. Many studies show that a lot of investor money moves in and out of stock funds at the wrong time, often buying high and selling low. For example, at the height of the 2007 stock market bubble, investors were pouring money into stock mutual funds. After the 2008 plunge, however, those same investors took their …

Why You Should Pay Down Your Mortgage

Many in the financial services industry will advise you not to pay down your mortgage. I can’t disagree more. Why? Because a mortgage is essentially the inverse of a bond: Mortgage: borrowed money where you pay someone principal and interest. Bond: money you lend where the borrower pays you principal and interest.   It’s that simple. For example, the high-quality bonds I wrote about here recently, or bank certificates of deposit (CDs), will pay you roughly 2 percent. The average mortgage rate is about 4 percent. My conclusion …

‘Boring’ High-Quality Bonds and Why You Need Them

Between mid-September and mid-October, the S&P 500 average sank nearly 150 points, or about 7.4 percent. Many investment pundits now suggest stocks are quite risky and the next great Bear Market could be coming. Suddenly bonds, previously shunned by many investment advisers, are looking more appealing. To better understand how high-quality bonds and bond funds act as a portfolio’s shock absorber during market volatility, let’s go back to the very painful period that ended on March 9, 2009. The stock market had plunged well …

8 Year-End Tax Moves to Make Now

As we enter the home stretch of 2014, it’s time to consider some tax moves. Here are a few you might want to consider: Give to charity. For those who itemize, making a charitable contribution could lower your taxes. Rather than just giving cash, consider giving your most highly appreciated securities. You usually will get a deduction equal to the full value of the securities and will not have to pay a capital gains tax. Max out your 401(k). Those over …

Why the Stock Market Plunge Is Not World’s End

The headlines read “Stocks Plunge” and “Why the Selling Is Just Getting Started.” It’s enough to get anyone scared and ready to exit the market.  Before you do, consider the following: First, have a little perspective. Sure, the benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average is down about 1,300 points in less than a month, but remember that the Dow isn’t the entire U.S. stock market and doesn’t reflect dividends. I prefer to look at the entire U.S. market considering a longer perspective, using a …

How to Be Really Rich With Less Money

Most people define their net worth in dollars. As a financial planner, I define net worth in time. Allow me to explain. When I ask people to tell me what money means to them, I hear words like freedom, security and independence. Money, and having enough of it, allows us to do whatever it is that makes us happy. Reframing wealth as time turns some millionaires into paupers, and it makes those with $250,000 in 401(k) savings into the very …