Is a Tax Refund Really That Bad to Receive?

Ahh, April.  Your taxes are now (or will shortly be) filed, and you've got a tax refund on the way. All's right in the world, right? Well, yes - but in the Personal Financial niche, you can expect the sanctimonious chants of "but you gave the IRS an interest free loan!" to start posthaste - likely before the ACH from the Treasury even hits … [Read more...]

Emergency Funds are Overrated: Part Three of Three

(Read parts one and two.) In the first two articles, I covered: How important it is to be cash flow positive How to cover very small shortfalls with credit How to cover truly large expenses with different forms of insurance. The most important large unplanned expenses that could potentially be covered by an emergency fund are the … [Read more...]

Emergency Funds are Overrated: Part Two of Three

In part one on Monday, I wrote about how credit cards can provide short-term liquidity where emergency funds would typically be recommended. In this article, I will write about how most "emergencies" people list as reasons for an emergency fund are not true emergencies and can be easily planned for (and anything that is above and beyond can be … [Read more...]

Emergency Funds are Overrated: Part One of Three

Emergency funds are a controversial topic that have always irked the writers here at DQYDJ. Okay: overall, we think they are a decent idea... but the singular focus on obtaining one despite the (usually ignored) costs is  the incorrect focus for most financial prioritization decisions. In this series, I will lay out three reasons why emergency … [Read more...]

Should You Buy Many Lottery Tickets for One Drawing, or A Few Tickets For Many Drawings?

Let me stop you right there: neither.  So whatever you were thinking about doing with the answer to that question, you go right on thinking... and not doing. But hey, you're here for some math, right?  Since I recently stole a question straight from a web forum, I decided to go fishing again.  A question on Reddit's 'Ask Science' subreddit found … [Read more...]

How to Make an Emergency Fund With Your Health Savings Account

If you're looking for a place to put your emergency fund, your search has come to an end: the oft-overlooked Health Savings Account. Keeping Something in Reserve A common refrain heard from the Personal Finance proletariat is that a person should keep 3 (or 6 or 12) months of expenses in a so-called “emergency fund” to insure oneself against … [Read more...]

It’s a Matter of Principle (Principal)

I try to run my personal finances like I would run a business: Use debt to leverage high ROE assets. Limit expenses and maximize revenues by exploring future potential revenue streams. This manifests itself in many ways in my life... and how I pay my bills. When a bill is due, I wait until the last possible day to make the payment. After … [Read more...]

Further Reasons Why Dollar Cost Averaging is Best For the Typical Investor

If you have been following us lately, last week we posted an article which argued that typical Americans were better off not trying to time the market when they invested monthly through paycheck deductions (say, 401(k)s or automatic investments in IRAs). This being the internet, the goalposts were quickly moved and we were forced into the … [Read more...]

At a Glance – Margins on the S&P 500′s Major Sectors

In our last post we had an interesting breakdown of an oft-overlooked piece of financial reporting: revenues.  Furthermore, revenues per sector... and even further, normalized and inflation adjusted to tell us the full story on all of the major economic sectors since Q2-2009.  You know, in the S&P 500 anyway. Go On... Smart readers (and … [Read more...]

No, You’re Not Saving Too Much for Retirement

I love Morningstar, I really do.  My respect for the company is one of the reasons I had a particularly exaggerated eye-rolling session upon reading Morningstar's report that some Americans, horror of horrors, might be saving too much for their impending retirements. Woe are the retirees who find themselves with more money than they … [Read more...]