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.

Will There Be a Santa Claus Market Rally?

Since 1950, December has proven to be the best month for the stock market. According to MoneyChimp.com, the S&P 500 has turned in an average gain for December of 1.62 percent, outpacing any other month. So far this December, Santa has left nothing but coal in the stock market’s stocking, with the S&P 500 losing more than 65 points, or about 3.77 percent, through Dec. 15. Not exactly anyone’s idea of a rally. >> 5 Bad Investment Moves No need …

3 Lessons from a Stock Market ‘Freak Out’

Just about two months ago, on Oct. 15, the headlines read “Market Freak Out” as the Dow Jones Industrial Average “plunged.” Headlines warned “Why the selling is just getting started.” Fear had returned to the market. My editor asked me to chime in and I posted “Why the Stock Market Plunge Is Not World’s End.” As it happened, not only did the world survive, the stock market quickly recovered. Now is the perfect time to review three investment lessons that …

Your Bond Income Could Be an Illusion

One of the saddest messages I am most often required to deliver to new clients is that their bond income is merely an illusion, and a tricky one at that. In fact, in most cases, their actual income is a tiny fraction of the amount shown in their brokerage statement. If you own individual bonds (not bond funds), this is probably happening to you as well — and costing you dearly. And this can occur indefinitely without your ever noticing. To better understand this, …

Two and a Half Inflation Myths

Inflation lately has been pretty tame. Still, the possibility that it could raise its ugly head again, eating away at our spending power and standard of living, is always in the back of our minds. That’s why it’s important to understand inflation to better protect ourselves from its potential impact. Knowing these myths about inflation is a good place to start. Myth one: Inflation is easy to predict. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) measures inflation and reports consumer …

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 …