Frugality

Asking to Assess My Asset Assumptions

A few days ago I had a conversation with a fellow finance nerd-friend about asset allocation. She asked how I make my investment decisions -- I pointed her to my reading list and explained my general approach that I've explained here. Following that conversation, I realized I am overdue for a checkup -- while I have my 401(k) set to rebalance automatically, that's not true for my brokerage account or Roth IRA. I don't believe in following my investment performance on a regular basis, but occasional check-ins are important to make sure we're still on track. And not lying to our friends. It was keeping me up at night (not really), so I decided this would be a good time to see if I what I said I was doing was really in fact what I was actually doing.   (more…)

By Cheddar Pie, ago
Frugality

Investing 102: I am a Robot

I’ve been distracted recently and haven’t given this blog the attention I’d like, with several other creative projects (more to come on this!) taking priority, plus the taking-longer-than-wanted-but-not-unexpected basement refurb. Thankfully, though, my finances are robotocized (that’s a word, I swear) and I don’t have to worry about making sure Read more…

By Cheddar Pie, ago
Investing

Investing 102: Watch Out for Robots

I was reading an outdated New Yorker at a doctor’s office recently and came across this column about electronic trading and the rise of the new robot overlords who control our every financial move. OK, maybe it’s not quite that dramatic, but it provided a good, nugget-sized summary of why an individual trying Read more…

By Cheddar Pie, ago
Advice From the Pie Hole

FTPH: Lost, Annoyed, and Bored by Investing

Dear Cheddar, You know what I hate the most? Trying to figure out how to allocate my retirement investments. I know some of the basics about retirement: I'm comfortable with a considerable amount of risk/aggressiveness at this point, I put quite a significant percentage of my income into retirement pre-tax, I also have a Roth and max that out every year. But when it comes to choosing the funds where my money should sit, I am lost. And annoyed. And bored. Is this conversation over yet? I have tried to figure it out, I've talked to a complimentary advisor my financial institution provides, I have bribed myself with rewards like wine or chocolate for doing the necessary research on funds, I am sort of familiar with the online tools. But my money is still strewn around funds haphazardly, because for some reason this is the most tedious subject in the history of the universe to me. How do you choose funds wisely? What are the most important indicators to look at? Is it worth paying someone and what do these people even charge? I know the socially conscious funds aren't necessarily as progressive as I might hope, but I do hate guns; how do I choose a good socially conscious fund? Will you send me a reward if I get my act together and allocate better? Sincerely, Maybe I Just Need More Chocolate Dear Chocolate, Congratulations! You are doing amazing things! You are saving for retirement, max out your Roth every year, think about where to put your money, and ask great questions! You know what? You are beating 143% of the people out there who are not saving for retirement, and that is a statistically accurate fact. (more…)

By Cheddar Pie, ago
Investing

Investing 101: Allocation, My Ass(et)!

Figuring out an appropriate asset allocation can be one of the most confusing and stressful parts of investing, and its intimidation factor seems to keep many people from investing at all. I'm here to tell you a secret as a new investor: you don't have to worry this -- if the fear of finding the "right" allocation is holding you back from investing, it's OK to skip this step. (As I hear the collective gasp from financial advisors everywhere, this is probably an appropriate time to remind you that I am not a certified investment advisor, accountant, financial planner, or anything else of the sort, and the advice I’m giving here is what’s worked for me. It might not work for you -- but what I know definitely won't work is hiding your money under a metaphorical mattress where it has no room to grow.) There are so many moving factors that can make investing complicated -- different accounts (for example, I have a Roth IRA, a 401(k), and a brokerage account); different goals (retirement savings, stable investments to beat inflation with my emergency fund, and making more short-term cash); and a gazillion different investment choices (mutual funds, bonds, individual stocks, ETFs). If this feels paralyzing, that's normal. But you know what's even more paralyzing? Letting your money sit in an account where it does nothing except lose value over time due to increasing inflation. (more…)

By Cheddar Pie, ago