In my last post, we covered some of the financial trade-offs to consider before you decide to pay off your mortgage on the early side. Still, sooner or later, I hope that payoff day does arrive for you. There are few financial acts more gratifying than ensuring your castle is all your own, free and clear. Before you pop that cork on the bubbly though, it’s important to make sure you...

We hear this question often: “Should I pay off my mortgage early?” As you’ll hear us say even more often, the answer is, “It depends.” It’s nice to no longer have that monthly mortgage payment, and there’s something satisfying about owning your home outright. That said, if you allocate dollars to paying off your mortgage, you’re essentially ruling out other ways you could be spending, saving or investing that same money. Here...

If there’s an investment instrument that has withstood the test of time, it’s the good, old U.S. savings bond. Since their 1935 debut under “New Deal” President Franklin D. Roosevelt, they’ve never been known for their get-rich glamour. But to this day, investors still turn to them when appropriate. When do savings bonds still make sense, and what are best practices for managing them these days? The Enduring U.S. Savings Bond As...

Okay, I know budgeting is rarely fun for anyone, but it can be especially hard on young adults. You’ve just wrapped up your formal education and received your first decent paycheck – way more than you’ve been earning between classes. What’s a common reaction? “I deserve a shopping spree!” Meantime, the necessary expenses add up too: food, clothing and shelter for today and tomorrow. You get to the end of...

Ah, there’s nothing quite like that new-car smell? It’s so popular, you can even buy it in a can. To me, I’m not sure that’s worth it unless I get an actual new car along with it. That said, given the costs, when it does come time to replace your classic clunker with a shiny (and fragrant) new edition, you may be wondering if it makes more sense to buy...

Last week, I talked up Headspace. I try to get my Zen on every day, but for a Type A type like me, sometimes one resource just doesn’t cut it. Is it ironic that even when it comes to my meditation I tend to be an over-achiever? Hey, I’m in good company. Consider this interesting article about the late, great Steve Jobs and the one question he asked himself every...

Remember Ray and the late Tom Magliozzi of Car Talk? I miss their weekly advice, and so does my car. I’ve even been known to have browsed their “shameless commerce” division. Today, I’m going to engage in some shameless commerce of my own … but not for myself. As I reflect on some of the things that make me happy, I want to share that onward by pointing you to...

We all have our symbolic security blankets, right? Mine is Madeleine L’Engle’s “Wrinkle in Time.” I first read it when I was a young adult, shortly after it became a Newbery Medal winner and I was still the book’s target audience. It was such a bull’s eye that I continue to revisit it every few years, wrapping myself up in its satisfying triumph of good over evil. For investors, one of...

Today we share a series of charts on trade deficits.   Reminder: These charts come to us compliments of independent economist Fritz Meyer, a seasoned economic and markets analyst whose insights appear regularly on CNBC, Bloomberg TV and the Fox Business Network.  Here is what Fritz has to say about trade deficits: … A trade deficit isn’t a debt that must be repaid. It is often a sign of economic prosperity. … It means...

A curated list for your reading pleasure -- some light-hearted articles, some that are thought-provoking, and some of a more practical nature: This Bull Market Isn't as Old as Some Seem to Think (BloombergView) “Why is this important? Understanding how old a bull market is may very likely affect your expectations of future returns, your risk appetite, even your investment allocations. Misunderstanding when a bull market began is potentially a...