When Having an Emergency Fund is the Right Move – Or, At Least, Not Counterproductive

We've got a bit of a hangup with emergency funds on this site - we feel that the advice to immediately save 6 months of living expenses in a low-interest high liquidity savings account isn't the best course of action for everyone trying to reduce their debt. In fact, the demand is counterproductive, in many cases.  Savings accounts pay maybe a … [Read more...]

Geographic Arbitrage

As I mentioned in previous articles, I have moved from Texas to California. With this move came a significant increase in both salary and cost of living. This has led to my savings rate decreasing but my overall dollar savings level staying relatively the same. I wanted to explore the pros and cons of working in a high vs. a low cost of living area … [Read more...]

Why Getting an Emergency Fund While in Debt Ignores the Real Emergency

Let's not bury the lede on this one: in any actual emergency situation I can imagine (short of losing my credit cards) my first move is to... pay for it with my credit cards. My opening sentence was way too verbose, but you know I can't stop a blog post there.  Let me go over the reasons why my emergency fund philosophy has evolved to my current … [Read more...]

Taming Your Spending Per Decade

My cowriter and I briefly discussed (verbally, not through some sort of electronic medium) how spending can be roughly modeled by looking at it from different perspectives - one of the key ones being "how old you are".  Even though many pieces of advice are specific, it's the concepts which can be applied elsewhere - a 30 year old buying a house is … [Read more...]

Income by Age: How Income Changes and Increases Over a Career

Ever wonder how income changes over the course of a career? Wondered how a new worker's salary will look after working a few years - or an entire career? Sure you have - we surely did, and we can tell you that articles like our net worth by age and income by age calculators (actually, the savings rate by age one too) get more than a fair share … [Read more...]

What Type of Investors Perform Best?

Yep, it's kind of a trick question. According to an internal study at Fidelity, and reported on second hand during Bloomberg Radio's Masters in Business podcast, a hilarious answer was given by guest James O’Shaughnessy: the best performing accounts held at Fidelity were the ones held by people who forgot they had an account. Think about … [Read more...]

Mortgage Rates versus Inflation Expectations

On Monday, we discussed how to quickly determine the rough inflation expectations in the general market, at least when it comes to CPI.  We also linked you a calculator we built which calculates inflation expectations over various timeframes. All that is well and good - but what can you actually do with that information? Therein lies the … [Read more...]

Market Predictions of Future Inflation, As of May 2015

One of the interesting things you can do with Treasury yield data is get a feel for what the markets expects to see in terms of inflation over the next thirty years or so.  By subtracting real (read: after inflation) yields on inflation protected securities from the yield on non inflation protected securities, you can see the premium suggested for … [Read more...]

Another Core Tenet of Personal Finance: Taking Free Money

A weird thread goes through my mind as this article comes together... and isn't quite finance related.  But I have a hammer, everything looks something something. When I was much younger, I was in Boston with a few of my friends - and we were looking to take a T back to South Station to get on a commuter train back home.  I forget where we were, … [Read more...]

A Core Tenet of Personal Finance: Shopping Around

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a relatively new Independent Agency of the United States government which concentrates on... well... consumer financial protection.  Admittedly, their mandate is a bit up in the air right now, but they have made waves and headlines with a number of fines handed out to financial firms. They also, like … [Read more...]