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.

Why I Gave Up on Airline Frequent-Flier Credit Cards

I’m a recovering frequent flier and hotel frequent stayer junkie. My United and Delta credit cards added to my flights and hotel stays. Over the decades, my wife and I have had many free vacations (air, hotel, car) in places such as Australia, Hong Kong and Hawaii. I’ve even had a nice Caribbean cruise. But those days are over and here’s why, as well as what I think is a better way. First, it’s important to point out that I use …

Should You Buy That Extended Warranty?

Whenever I buy something electronic, whether a new smartphone, TV, laptop or whatever, I typically receive a hard pitch to buy an extended warranty on the product. I generally opt not to, but is that the right choice? To answer that question, there is both an economic and a psychological way to look at it. Economics of an extended warranty An extended warranty is essentially an insurance policy. If the item fails beyond the basic warranty — typically one month …

Investing: Encourage the Kids to Invest in Stocks

Just 26 percent of people under 30 are investing in stocks, according to a survey published by Bankrate.com, a personal finance site. By comparison, 58 percent of adults ages 50 to 64 invest in stocks. Since millennials have a much longer time horizon, stocks are generally more appropriate for them. So this trend is exactly the opposite of what logic would dictate. But it’s not logic that’s at play here — it’s emotion. According to a poll by Goldman Sachs, …

What You Need to Know About Bonds

Ever wonder why prices of bonds and bond funds do what they do when interest rates fluctuate? Here’s what you need to know about how bonds work — as well as what you may think you already know that’s wrong. When you buy a bond, you are merely lending money to a government entity or corporation. Assuming there is no default, they will pay you interest for a period of time and then give you back your principal. Bonds have …

Top 5 College 529 Saving Plans

Every couple of years or so, I evaluate college 529 plans. These are savings plans, usually sponsored by states, that allow us to put money away to help fund college for a child or grandchild. In fact, students are increasingly turning to grandparents to help pay for college. The plan you choose has no bearing on where the child goes to college or the state you happen to live in. I’m a big fan of 529 plans because they allow for …

Reframing the Social Security Decision

When should you begin taking Social Security benefits? That was a question asked of AARP.org visitors and registered website users . Less than 19 percent selected age 70, though that’s exactly what I tell the vast majority of my clients to do. Most object to my recommendation until I frame the decision in a different way, which is that they can spend money now and still let it grow. Take this recent case, for example. Kate is 66 and is …