Investing Articles for Beginners and Pros Alike

Here you'll find our articles on investing. We cover everything from asset allocation to mutual fund selection to investing in 401k, IRA and other retirement accounts. The goal is to help you become a better, more successful investor.

How to Calculate Investment Returns–A Simple Approach

Personal Capital You Index

I‘ve had several readers email me about how to calculate investment returns. It seems like it should be a simple task. We all have ready access to our mutual fund and brokerage accounts. These accounts often report a performance measure of some sort. Surely we can bring all of this information into one place to […]

Published or Updated: August 28, 2014

DR 099: 5 Gotchas with Commissioned Based Brokers

5 Problems with Commission Brokers

A reader we’ll call Frank recently emailed me about his advisor (we covered part of his email about dividends here). She had placed him in A shares of American Fund mutual funds. This told me he was working with a commissioned-based broker, as these mutual funds charge a sales fee of 5.75% to compensate the […]

Published or Updated: August 16, 2014

DR 098: Dividend Investing (Part 2): Mutual Funds and Dividends

VTSMX Dividend Yield

We began our series on dividend investing by examining the ins and outs of dividends. Today we continue the series by looking at how dividends work with mutual funds and whether the yield on a fund should be a key consideration in our investing decisions. This topic came to light from an email I received […]

Published or Updated: August 12, 2014

DR 096: Dividend Investing (Part 1)–What are Stock Dividends?

What are Stock Dividends

One of my favorite aspects of investing is receiving a dividend payment. Each month I look to see how much I earned in dividends, and I track this amount yearly. In fact, dividends play a significant role in my investment policy related to individual stocks. With the exception of Berkshire Hathaway, every business whose shares […]

Published or Updated: August 16, 2014

DR 093: 401(k)s vs. IRAs: What are the Pros and Cons?

401k vs IRA Retirement Accounts

In the world of tax-advantaged retirement savings accounts, there are plenty of options. But the two most commonly-used options are the 401(k) and the IRA. Both come in traditional (save taxes on contributions) and Roth (save taxes on withdrawals) options. While there are many similarities between a 401k and an IRA, there are also some […]

Published or Updated: July 25, 2014

DR092: How One Doctor is Learning to Invest Like a Pro

GRADUATINGDEBT FREE (3)

It all started with a simple question about dividends and mutual fund fees. A listener to the podcast named Stephanie wanted to know if a fund’s returns were after fees and dividends. (They are.) After I learned more about Stephanie’s finances and career through several email exchanges, I popped the question. No, not that question. […]

Published or Updated: July 24, 2014

DR 090: Roth vs. Traditional IRA or 401k: The Math Behind This Important Decision

Roth vs. Traditional 401k

It’s without a doubt the most frequent question I receive from readers of this blog. People want to know whether they should put their retirement savings in a Roth vs traditional IRA or 401k. I’ve written a lot about these retirement options. If you are new to retirement accounts, I’d suggest you start by reading […]

Published or Updated: July 24, 2014

DR 086: How to Spy on Your Own Investment Portfolio

Portfolio Performance

Recently I’ve started receiving the Morningstar Portfolio Monitor. It’s a monthly pdf that Morningstar puts together for premium members who track their portfolio using Morningstar’s Portfolio Manager. Simply put, it’s an amazing look into an investment portfolio. In this article we’ll walk through a detailed review of the Portfolio Monitor (including screenshots). At the end […]

Published or Updated: July 10, 2014

DR 084: Where To Invest When You’ve Maxed Out Contributions To Retirement Accounts

401k

It’s a good problem to have. You’ve maxed out your 401k and IRA contributions for the year and you still have some more cash to invest. What are your options? That’s the situation a reader named Harout recently emailed me about: I am a little obsessed with your podcasts. I listen to about one a […]

Published or Updated: July 10, 2014