Novice landlords, renting out a residential property (house, vacation cottage, apartment) for the first time, may assume that their homeowners insurance will cover all the costs in the case of a natural disaster, accident or other damaging event. Read the rest of this entry »

The basic goal behind buying insurance is to make you financially whole following a loss. You agree to pay a (relatively) small fee to an insurance company today, causing a small but certain loss to you now, in exchange for a guarantee from the insurance company that it will bear the burden of a large but uncertain loss in the future. Read the rest of this entry »

Frequent flyer miles aren’t what they used to be but they’re still a traveler’s best friend for getting perks, discounts and those double-triple-diamond status badges that every traveler covets. Read the rest of this entry »

If you’re not a frequent international traveler, foreign transaction fees won’t matter much to you compared to other benefits your credit card may provide. But for people who frequently travel outside the U.S., fees can add up fast. A 2% fee charged on all purchases while you’re out of the country is sticker shock enough, but some banks will add an additional fee so you end up paying 3% or 4%. Read the rest of this entry »

Remodeling a home can be a very costly venture. Homeowners looking to add value to their homes may try to add upgrades or renovate entire sections of their homes to make them more marketable. Not all home upgrades and renovations are worth spending your hard-earned money on, though. Read the rest of this entry »

You’ve done the right thing by contributing to your 401(k) up to what your company would match. You’ve also monitored the account and made changes periodically to match market conditions. Because you’ve done the right thing with your account, you’re amassing a large balance. Read the rest of this entry »

To make a “qualified” withdrawal from a Roth 401(k) account, the account holder must have been contributing to the account for at least the previous five years and be either 59 1/2 years old, deceased, or completely and permanently disabled. Because contributions to a Roth plan are made with after-tax dollars, you do not need to pay income tax on qualified distributions, though you would still report them to the IRS on Form 1099-R when filing your taxes. Read the rest of this entry »

The method and process of withdrawing money from your 401(k) will depend on your employer and the type of withdraw you choose. Withdrawing money early from your 401(k) can carry serious financial penalties, so the decision should not be made lightly and should be a last resort option. Read the rest of this entry »

There is a good reason why the importance of rebalancing a portfolio is emphasized. Not only does rebalancing allow you to buy your stock and bond mutual fund shares at a lower price, it also forces you to sell at a higher one. Rebalancing may also boost returns by a quarter percent or so. But, how do you rebalance a 401(k) portfolio? Read the rest of this entry »

When the Federal Reserve and various other central banks cut benchmark interest rates down to basically zero during the Great Recession, it set-off a stampede of income seekers into potentially riskier segments of the market. Investments such as corporate bonds and master limited partnerships (MLPs) have seen greater investor interest in the form of bigger allocations. Read the rest of this entry »