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 Interest Rates Rise Next Year? And Should You Care?

When interest rates rise, the value of bonds declines. Many experts are sure that rates will increase next year, but should you worry about that? Why are experts convinced that rates will rise next year? For one, the Federal Reserve announced last week that it will start raising the federal funds rate next year from the near-zero rate of today. The Fed is also tapering quantitative easing, meaning that it’s buying back its own longer-term bonds at a much slower pace …

Are ‘Lazy Portfolios’ Right for You?

If you think investing has to be complex and require constant monitoring, then think again. As it happens, the best strategy for growing one’s nest egg over the past decade may have come down to being lazy. Let me explain. About a decade ago, Paul Farrell wrote the book The Lazy Person’s Guide to Investing (Business Plus, 2004). He’s been tracking the performance of these portfolios ever since, which can be viewed live at the MarketWatch Lazy Portfolio page. Eight of the portfolios …

What to Do With That Old 401(k) Retirement Account

Bloomberg News recently wrote about brokers profiting by advising retirees to roll their 401(k) accounts into IRAs. Many of the retirees interviewed said they lost a lot of their savings from investments subsequently recommended to them. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider transferring your 401(k) money into an individual retirement account (IRA). Here’s how to decide: First, a little background. A 401(k) account is an employer-sponsored plan that allows the employee to save and invest, typically receiving a tax benefit when the contribution is …

Why Insurance and Investing Often Don’t Mix

Insurance is a contract between you and an insurance company to protect you from potentially costly events.  You pay a premium to the  company, and it insures you against various unpredictable occurrences:   Insurance can provide you or your family with replacement income if you die or become disabled.  You can protect valuable assets, such as your car or home, as well as liability for accidents you’re responsible for. You can reduce the impact of unexpected expenses with health or …

Interest Rates Are Low Until You Do the Math

I often hear that interest rates are awful and that it’s the worst time ever for retirees needing to live on fixed income. Yet when you look at after-tax, inflation-adjusted returns, a different picture emerges. Many people smile when I tell them that back in 1980 they could have earned 12 percent on a 10-year U.S. Treasury or certificate of deposit (CD). Depositing $10,000 would have returned $1,200 a year. But if a third went to taxes, that gain would …

Those Free Financial Dinner Seminars May Give You Indigestion

Ever get those invitations for a free financial seminar at a restaurant? “Nothing will be sold – we only want to educate you on your financial future,” is the typical pitch. Most specify that “financial professionals may not attend.” However, I recently received one that didn’t exclude me, and decided to see what I might learn about my financial future. Here’s my experience and what you need to know. First, this wasn’t just some seminar at a local restaurant; this …