Trying to beat the market is a game for the rich. Only they can afford the inevitable disappointing results.
FUND YOUR IRA—FOR 2017. This time of year, folks are exhorted to get their IRAs funded for 2016 before the April 17 tax-filing deadline. That’s a good idea. But if you want to get the most out of your IRA, you should also make your 2017 contribution. That way, your money will be invested for longer—and there’s the potential for even more tax-advantaged growth.
LIKE ALMOST EVERYBODY ELSE, my wife and I faced large health care cost increases this year. It wasn’t all from changes in our health insurance. We’re getting up there in years. We go to the doctor more often. Not all hospital charges are covered by Medicare or our health insurance. And there are some costs that aren’t covered at all–namely dental, ear and eye problems.
We’re fortunate: We can afford the cost growth.
IN EARLY 2005, when Hannah was age 16 and Henry was 12, I took them out to a local diner and told them exactly how much financial help I’d provide. I would make sure they graduated college debt-free. I would seed a retirement account with $25,000 and a house-down-payment fund with $20,000. On top of that, I’d give them $5,000 upon graduation, plus another $5,000 toward the cost of a wedding or at age 30,
WHEN I BOUGHT my small rowhouse in Philly, I was swept up by the idea of homeownership. Like many of those I talked with at the time, owning meant no more wasting money on rent, plus it was a great no-risk investment.
Six years later, whenever I hear that friends are considering buying, I’m more cautious and often advise holding off—or at least peeling back the onion, so they’re aware that buying a home is rife with tradeoffs and not obviously “the right thing” to do.
Jonathan Clements is the founder and editor of HumbleDollar. He spent almost two decades at The Wall Street Journal, where he was the personal finance columnist. His latest book: How to Think About Money.