Why You Shouldn’t Substitute Stocks for Bonds

A friend sent me the following article from the USA Today insert of his local paper. The article proclaimed “The 60/40 stock-and-bond portfolio mix is dead in 2016” and went on to explain that with bond interest rates near historical lows, one should reach for higher returns by taking more risk with stocks. The article quoted one adviser who suggested investors in their 60s invest 70 to 80 percent of their portfolio in stocks. I couldn’t disagree more, and here …

End of a Musical Era: Goodbye, Columbia House

I wanted to become a member of the Columbia House mail-order music club in the worst way. Remember those ads in magazines trumpeting amazing music deals: 8 records, 10 tapes or 12 CDs for just a penny?! (Shipping and handling extra, of course.) The idea of so much for so little made me dream of the stack of fabulous hits I could pop into my Walkman or into the cassette player in the family car. Everything from Chicago to Jim …

Financial Adviser Exposes Own Portfolio

People are often surprised when I describe my personal portfolio to them. Using an analyzing tool from Chicago-based Morningstar, I’ve put together a brief description of my own daringly dull portfolio and, far more important, why it looks like it does. Most of my investments are in mutual funds with an average expense ratio of 0.16 percent annually. I don’t have enough money to diversify by buying individual stocks, so I buy low-cost index funds that track the overall market. …

3 Ways to Cut Your Investment Tax Bill

As tax season draws to a close for another year, you may be among those feeling the pinch from taxes paid on investments. I admit that paying taxes is not exactly my favorite thing, so I always look for ways to be more tax-efficient. Here are three things you can do to keep more of what you earn: First, buy tax-efficient investments. Mutual funds that turn over stocks in the portfolio pass along any taxable gains to their holders. Many active funds …

Where to Stash Your Cash This Spring

If you want to make a hundred bucks or even thousands for just an hour of your time, then this post is for you. All you have to do is pick the right place to stash your cash and perhaps change your thinking on certain certificates of deposits (CDs). Read on, and you’ll see that CDs which appear too good to be true really do exist. The power of inertia often has us leaving large sums of cash at our local …

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 …