Debunking The Myths Of Whole Life Insurance

Saturday Selection: Debunking The Myths Of Whole Life Insurance This classic post originally appeared on The White Coat Investor.   There are more than 400,000 insurance agents in this country, and almost all of them would love to sell you a whole life insurance policy.  If you buy a policy with premiums of $40,000 per year, the commission would typically be somewhere between $20,000 and $44,000 for that agent. As you might imagine, that commission can be highly motivating, especially given the median insurance agent income of $47,000.  To make matters worse, many of the worst policies offer the highest commissions. As […]

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Top 5 Reasons This Physician Holds $500,000 in Cash

Minnesota 51 Iowa 14

Today’s Top 5 list is a guest post from VagabondMD, a late-career interventional radiologist who has been a regular reader here, and a frequent contributor of wisdom on the WCI forum. In his early fifties, he is looking forward to reducing his workload to part-time status this fall. Take it away, VagabondMD!  Top 5 Reasons I Keep a Half Million Dollars Under My Mattress*   (* my wife asked me to add here that we really do not keep any money under the mattress. None at all. Really.)   It is personal finance dogma to maintain a liquid (i.e. cash) […]

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Revisiting and Revising the Investor Policy Statement

Lego Pet Town

A year ago, I published a post with an authorative, almost demanding title: You Need an Investor Policy Statement. Did you listen? Or even hear me? Most likely not, as my readership then was a fraction of what it is now. Either way, I encourage you to go back and consider the original post. While you may not need an IPS, this simple document will help you define your goals and the strategies you intend to implement to achieve stated goals. An IPS is a set of guiding principles. Asset allocation is a vital piece, and if you don’t have an IPS, this […]

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Plan Bs, Redundancies, and Contingencies

I woke up to a cool house a couple weeks ago. Not the “hey man, cool house!” type of cool (well, actually, yeah, it is) but I’m referring to the air temperature in this instance. It wasn’t ice cold, but rather chilly, so I put on another layer and waited for the furnace to do its thing. The furnace did not do its thing. It was 10 a.m., the thermostat was set to 69° F, and it was 61° in the house. Air was coming out of the registers. Cool, 61 degree air. The furnace was out. I didn’t freak out. […]

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Top 5 Reasons to Front-Load Your Investments

amana front loading washer

As January comes to a close, it’s a great idea to explore what it means to “front-load” your investments, and why you should do so if you can. To front-load is to invest a lump sum of money early on, as opposed to dollar cost averaging over a longer period of time. Typically, we’re talking about investing as much as you can afford in the beginning months of the year, although there are other ways to front-load, as we’ll discuss in reason number four. Note that front-loading has nothing to do with a front-end load, which is a fee paid up […]

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From 28 Funds to 3: Simplifying to a Three Fund Portfolio

In real life, I don’t talk about money with many people, but there is one retired couple that I discuss dollars with rather freely. In recent years, as I’ve broached the subject of early retirement, they’ve taken a little more interest in what I’m doing, and have taken a closer look at what they’ve been doing. As you might know, I am a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) investor. The man in the couple I’m talking about is a DIY master in many ways. He repairs things. He designs things. He builds things. Then he remodels them. He built a complete 24′ by 30′ workshop for […]

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Vanguard Backdoor Roth: a Step by Step Guide

This year, I made my fifth pair of “Backdoor Roth” contributions with Vanguard. If you’ve heard of the Backdoor Roth, that’s great! You’ve been paying attention. If not, I’ll give you a brief overview, and a number of links to additional articles with more complete descriptions of the history and important caveats. I want this site to be a source of both good information and quality, relevant resources. I won’t re-invent the wheel of cheese, but I will cut you off a slice by walking you through the steps, complete with screen shots. I’ll also show you one goof that I made, and […]

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PoF Portfolio Returns: How Did We Fare in 2016?

A new year is upon us, and I can’t think of a better time to look back and take stock of what we’ve got in the portfolio and analyze its performance. 2016 saw its share of highs and lows. We dealt with the lingering threat of raising interest rates from historic lows. There was the Brexit vote, which rocked the markets for about a week, then completely blew over. We had a vote of our own in November that had profound effects on the markets. After it looked like the bottom was falling out in the overnight futures, the markets recovered […]

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My Money Is Worth More Than Your Money

Sam Adams picture

No, Kate and Andrew, I’m not talking about your loony Canadian dollar. Nor am I referring to the measly seventy cents or so that the New Zealand and Australian dollars are now worth. This article has nothing to do with exchange rates. Although, friends, it is true that my money is worth more than yours. Today’s post is focused on the value of the American dollar in various retirement accounts. While I have seen a few very detail-oriented people adjust their net worth based on where their money is held, most of us — myself included — just add up […]

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DAF Giving Tutorial from Fidelity and Vanguard Charitable

One of my goals when I started this site was to inspire. Inspiration is a lofty goal, and a loaded word, but charitable giving is one area where I love to see others follow my lead. A month ago, I shared the news of my gift of $100,000 with you, and I am happy to report that several of you were indeed inspired to contribute handsomely to newly founded donor advised funds (DAFs) of your own. Via the comments section and e-mail, I heard from at least five readers, two of whom also reported giving $100,000. One of those five readers, a young man […]

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What You Don’t Know CAN Hurt You

Ka'anapali beach

I’ve learned so much about life and money in the last couple years. When I look back to mid-November, 2014, I was entirely unaware of the world of personal finance blogs. If someone were to mention MMM, I’d assume they were either referring to the Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing company (also known as 3M) or maybe the similarly named delicious chocolate with the thin candy shell. Late November that year, I would discover Mr. Money Mustache, and within a couple months, The White Coat Investor. I would read more books, put my investments under the microscope, and start making projections […]

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Which Costs More: A 10% Tithe or a 1% Account Fee?

A few weeks ago, I was asked by a reader to consider writing about the financial impact of charitable giving on wealth building. I was hesitant. While I believe in charity — I’ve pledged to donate half of this blog’s profits — the inescapable fact is that parting with money decreases wealth. Greed Trumps generosity when it comes to financial gain. I let the idea simmer on the back burner for a few weeks. How could I write this post without looking like a cold-hearted jerk who wants you to hoard your money? That’s not me! I absolutely believe you can […]

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Our Second Home is One of Our Best Investments

A few weeks ago, Mitch Wasterlain, CEO of CAPFUNDR, asked and answered a question many physicians will ask. Is a second home a good real estate investment? While there are many individual factors to consider, the math points to a second home being less than ideal as a pure investment. Today, I’d like to share the story of our second home, and why, for us, it has been a fantastic investment. I never imagined I would want, let alone have a second home. Maintaining one home is challenging. Doubling the property doubles the work. And you need to have lots more stuff. We have too much […]

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Is a Second Home a Good Real Estate Investment?

image credit:

[Today’s guest post is a great follow-up to Tuesday’s post where I revealed my annual spending, including nearly $5,000 in expenses for our second home which was used by us or friends pretty much the entire year. The author, Jean-Michel “Mitch” Wasterlain, is the founder & CEO of CAPFUNDR, the curated real estate fund marketplace. CAPFUNDR is a site sponsor, but this site received no compensation for this well-written article. Enjoy!]   Is a Second Home a Good Real Estate Investment? I just spent a few days at the beach in the Hamptons, New Yorkers’ favorite place to show off their tans and […]

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Bonds: What Are They Good For? Part II

[Note: The following is Part II of a guest post that I requested from one of my Gold Sponsors, Johanna Fox, CPA of Fox & Company Wealth Management. In case you missed it, please visit Part I of Bonds: What Are They Good For, then come back for the rest of the story.] Let’s open this second part of our bond series with a couple of statistics: On average, the stock market experiences an intra-year drop of 14.1%. On average, we have experienced a bear market (defined as a sustained drop of 20% or more) every 5.5 years since the […]

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Bonds: What Are They Good For? Part I

[Note: The following is a guest post that I requested from one of my Gold Sponsors, Johanna Fox, CPA, CFP® of Fox & Company Wealth Management. She was one of the first people to see my Sponsorship proposal. I sent it to her not because I expected she might be interested in sponsoring the site, but because I know she is not afraid to speak her mind. If I was asking too much, she would tell it to me straight. On the WCI forum, she has expressed her opinion on bonds, and I thought it would be great to allow her […]

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How I Brofited from the Brexit

The sky wasn’t falling. The end wasn’t near. But you wouldn’t know it if you had access to a computer, television, or radio recently. The overreaction wasn’t limited to major new outlets, although they were all over it. Even a couple of my favorite financial companies got in on the act. When I logged in a full week after the vote to Brexit, both Personal Capital and Vanguard had Brexit pop-ups (Brop-ups?). We in the blogosphere gave our perspectives, which tended to be more sensible. Recommendations to ignore the news, stay the course, and don’t believe the hype were standard issue. […]

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He Has Read Over 250 Investing Books. He Recommends These Three Funds.

Marquette Sailboats

I was browsing the Bogleheads forum recently, when an “old” post from 2014 was brought to the top of the page by a new comment. The thread was started by Taylor Larimore, revered Boglehead Emeritus. In the post, Mr. Larimore states, “Nearly everything I know about investing I learned from experience (the hard way) and reading books.” He goes on to list the investing books he has read. Mr. Larimore has read more investing books than I have read Dr. Seuss, Eric Carle, and Little Golden Books combined. Color me impressed. What’s even more impressive than the number of pages he has […]

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I Just Made a Bad $10,000 Investment. On Purpose.

Our post-recital ice cream social was in full swing. The kids were running rampant, the leftover ice cream was slowly melting in the tubs, and the adults were enjoying some adult beverages and some non-violin music. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from children’s music recitals, it’s that the violin must be a really difficult instrument to learn to play well. Fortunately, our boys play piano. I was chatting with another proud father, learning a little more about his line of work. He works for the local small business development corporation, funded by the federal Small Business Administration (SBA). He […]

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