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As we enter October, a month that has delivered much misery to Wall Street over the years, we thought we'd give you perhaps the greatest quote describing the stock market this time of year. We take our hats off to Mark Twain for his delightful insights to the tumult of this notorious month. "October: This is one of the particularly dangerous months to invest in stocks. Other dangerous months are July, January, September, April, November, May, March, June, December, August and February." - Mark Twain Yes, Mr. Twain, we think you've hit the nail on the head! Share | Continue reading
Posted Oct 1, 2010 at TodayForward
Spam assaulting your inbox is bad. Advertising that motivates you to make unnecessary purchases is even worse. So why would we want you to open yourself up to thousands of email that are, for all intents and purposes, spam? Easy, it will save you hundreds of dollars annually. Not Your 'Real' Inbox A junk email account is the best way to keep your 'real' inbox clean, healthy, and functional. By creating an email account that is used exclusively as a spam collector, you'll be able to stay spam free with the email you use on a regular basis. In addition,... Continue reading
Posted Jun 29, 2010 at TodayForward
The idea of the baby emergency fund has been around for a long time, but it has hit the mainstream thanks to Dave Ramsey. The reason $1,000 to $1,500 works so well as an emergency fund is (1) it can be saved quickly and (2) it covers most minor emergencies that come up. Obviously we'd all like to have much larger cash balances sitting on the sidelines when an emergency strikes, but a baby emergency fund is good enough to get you through most of life's trouble spots. Covering the Small Stuff Most of us will have auto insurance deductibles... Continue reading
Posted Jun 28, 2010 at TodayForward
This very fine example of a $20 St. Gaudens gold piece was minted in 1913, the earliest year for which the Bureau of Labor Statistics' inflation calculator has data available. Since we were on the antiquated system of commodity money back then, it is an interesting exercise to see what $20 in 1913 would buy in today's dollars - particularly with the rise in gold prices over the last few years. Obviously we're not using the gold standard, but let's take a quick peek at what inflation can do over a long period of time and compare it to the... Continue reading
Posted Jun 25, 2010 at TodayForward
One of the strange outcomes of sloppy estate planning work is the case of unintentionally disinherited children. Obviously this isn't something that most of us want to do, as you can ask 100 parents off of the streets whom they want to inherit their estate and all but a handful would answer, "My kids." Unfortunately, many estate plans fail to accommodate this simple wish. How Disinheritance Happens The most common way that an unintentional disinheritance occurs is responsible parents draft what is referred to as an 'I love you will'. This is a simple will that essentially says that when... Continue reading
Posted Jun 24, 2010 at TodayForward
We all have our pet peeves when it comes to driving that can range from getting cut off to someone driving entirely too slow on the interstate. While these serve to annoy us, there is also a financial component to these kinds of behaviors (and no, driving 15 mph below the speed limit is not safe or careful driving). When we look at auto insurance, there are commercials galore that extol the virtues of one insurance company over the other when it comes to price, but the reality is that if you want to save a lot of money, you... Continue reading
Posted Jun 23, 2010 at TodayForward
Dates?!? That's hilarious! Since he's been caught in the most public way possible, it will be very telling should he return to this pattern. Either way, your use of the word 'dates' will have us laughing for some time. Thanks for the comments, and feel free to stop by anytime.
Obviously there is a numbers component, as an alcoholic isn't someone who has one drink. Nor does it matter whom Tiger chose to sleep with (prostitutes and adult film actresses are no different than an alcoholic who chooses scotch or pure grain). It is difficult to convict someone of being an addict when the evidence is scant at best. The bottom line to the story is that an addict's marginal utility always remains positive and this causes them to continue their behavior (even when it has obvious negative consequences). Also, just to be clear, are you forwarding the argument that Tiger Woods is definitively addicted to sex?
What would be a sufficient number to qualify as an addict? What is the percentage of partners that typically come forward relative to the total. How can there be a conclusion? We simply state the odds are against him being an addict.
Economics is often thought of as a boring subject, and we'll grant you that it's not as exciting as tabloids covering stories like that of Tiger Woods. But with the U.S. Open underway at Pebble Beach, we thought we'd throw a little spice on consumer preference theory by giving you the economist's view on claims that Eldrick is a sex addict. Using some simple tools, we'll show that the greatest golfer of our generation is not a flesh addict, just another individual guilty of infidelity. Consumer Preference Theory In a nutshell, within the broad subject of economics is something known... Continue reading
Posted Jun 18, 2010 at TodayForward
There are a few reasons why carrying life insurance on your kids can make sense. Among these are (1) inability to afford a proper funeral should they pre-decease you, (2) desire to preserve your child's insurability, or (3) desire to 'set them up for life'. In this post, we'll answer the question and as you will see, much depends on your financial circumstances. Funeral Expenses It is a terrible, terrible thing when a child dies at a young age. Beyond the emotional toll that lasts a lifetime, there is also a financial ingredient as very few of us have a... Continue reading
Posted Jun 16, 2010 at TodayForward
In researching mobile phone options, a surprising anomaly came to our attention - prepaid mobile phone plans were significantly less expensive than those offered by larger carriers. Keep in mind that we weren't just looking at talk time, rather, we were looking for the company that offered the best talk, text, and web pricing for various demographics. While the major carriers dominated the family plans portion of the market, one-off carriers offered some eye popping savings for those on individual plans. About One-Off Carriers The four most well known one-off carriers are Cricket, Boost Mobile, Tracfone, and Virgin Mobile. You... Continue reading
Posted Jun 15, 2010 at TodayForward
The cost-benefit relationship of a college education continues to deteriorate as the costs associated with obtaining a degree climb at rates well above general inflation. Compared to the price of goods as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), post-secondary education costs continue to rise at rates of more than twice that of general inflation. With this in mind, we'll take a quick look at current average costs so you can better size up your college savings goals. College Costs for 2009-10 According to the College Board, average college education costs were: Private 4-year: $26,273, up 4.4% Public 4-year: $7,020,... Continue reading
Posted Jun 14, 2010 at TodayForward
Many advisors almost exclusively advocate purchasing term life insurance while many insurance agents continue to recommend permanent life insurance (sometimes forcibly). Who's right? It depends. Term life insurance is likely the best option for most due to its temporary nature and significantly lower costs, but permanent life insurance has an important role as well. As we'll point out in this post, whole, universal, variable, and variable universal life insurance can all be suitable policies depending on circumstances. The Basic Rule At the heart of all of these situations where permanent life insurance makes sense it the basic principle that if... Continue reading
Posted Jun 9, 2010 at TodayForward
Anytime we look at cutting expenses, we're actually talking about shifting your resources from one area to another in an effort to spend less on something that gives you less satisfaction to something that will give you more. In this post, we'll look at a simple way to save money on energy so you can take the savings and put it someplace that will serve you better. Let's face it. Energy is necessary to an extent, but we'd all rather spend it on vacation instead. Home Energy Audit The fastest and surest way to save money on energy is to... Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2010 at TodayForward
The British Petroleum (NYSE:BP) oil spill is shaping up to be one of the largest environmental disasters in human history as millions of gallons of crude are spewed into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening to spread into the Atlantic and wash up on coastal areas that treasure their beaches. While this is an environmental tragedy to be sure, it is also beginning to take a very real economic toll on the fishing and tourism industries. As such, now is a good time to better understand economic externalities and how to prevent problems of this sort in the future. What is... Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2010 at TodayForward
When we think of what something costs, the most common number that comes to mind is what's listed on the price tag. Unfortunately, this is only the nominal cost and doesn't fully represent what we're paying for a particular product or service. To understand what we pay for a particular item, we must also take into account what else we could do with this money. Opportunity Cost Defined According to Investopedia, opportunity cost can be defined as, "the cost of an alternative that must be forgone in order to pursue a certain action. Put another way, the benefits you could... Continue reading
Posted Jun 4, 2010 at TodayForward
If you read the 'stupid tax' stories on, you'll find that it comes in many shapes and sizes, but what can you do to avoid paying it? Is there some kind of formula or set of rules you can put in place to save yourself a lot of financial grief later in life? In this post, we'll explore answering the question of, "how to avoid paying stupid tax." It is Inevitable First, let's be straight about stupid tax: you will pay stupid tax at some point in your life and it is almost guaranteed that you will do it... Continue reading
Posted Jun 3, 2010 at TodayForward
You've probably seen an ING commercial with people carrying around big orange numbers that all seem to be north of one million dollars. The commercials are about finding the dollar amount that you will need upon retirement to live comfortably through the rest of your life. While it's nice to see this number and it no doubt makes for good advertising, we very much prefer that you lighten the load and get real about retirement. What we mean by this is to figure out what you need to save on a regular basis to achieve your retirement goals. This number... Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2010 at TodayForward
The evolution of Facebook from a college based social networking site to a dominating global internet presence has been a tremendous thing to watch. With the site's incredibly easy-to-use interface combined with a focus on users rather than revenue, the growth of Facebook has been nothing short of amazing. Presently, there are more than 400 million people that use the site around the world, and TodayForward is one of them. Personal Finance Articles Last month, we linked our blog to Facebook so our fans can receive our personal finance articles in their news feeds. This content is available for free... Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2010 at TodayForward
In our previous post, we introduced the concept of 'stupid tax' that has been popularized by Dave Ramsey. Rather than keep this as a nebulous idea that reminds us of some of the stupid mistakes we've made with money, let's take it a step further and actually count the costs. You can download our Stupid Tax Calculator by clicking the links below that are in Excel (.xls) and Open Document (.ods) formats: Excel: Download Stupid Tax Calculator Open Document: Download Stupid Tax Calculator The reason we decided to offer this calculator to you is because it is an extremely helpful... Continue reading
Posted May 28, 2010 at TodayForward
The grand master of debt elimination is Dave Ramsey and one of the terms he has introduced to the world of personal finance through his book, The Total Money Makeover, is 'stupid tax'. While the exact definition is somewhat of a moving target, stupid tax can generally be defined as: (1) anything that cost money, (2) created some form of pain, and (3) later was discovered to be a stupid decision. Note that it's the third part that makes stupid tax difficult to avoid because going into a purchase or other financial transaction, most of us will believe we're making... Continue reading
Posted May 27, 2010 at TodayForward
One of the chief motivations for us in developing TodayForward has been the proliferation of salespeople masquerading as financial advisors. To the untrained eye, it may be difficult to snuff this out, but in the next several paragraphs, we'll give you three things to look for that will uncover whether you have a bona fide advisor or a simple salesperson. Just so we are 100% clear, we do not like salespeople in the world of personal finance; there is far too much at stake to have sales incentives get in the way of good advice. Compensation Ask an advisor, "How... Continue reading
Posted May 25, 2010 at TodayForward
One of the most common retirement planning errors is setting income goals artificially high - causing many retirement plans to look much bleaker than reality. If you're working hard on your finances, the odds are that when you retire, a large portion of your expenses will go away in your golden years. The key to setting an 'accurate' retirement income goal is to take the time to consider what your life will look like down the road. To help you through this process, we've broken it down into three simple steps. Step 1: Start with Your Gross Income The starting... Continue reading
Posted May 24, 2010 at TodayForward
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down more than 1,200 points since its intraday peak on April 26th, and an appropriate question is whether you're taking it in stride or if the temptation to push the panic button is creeping into your mind. When the market sinks more than 10%, Wall Street calls it a 'correction', and now we officially have one. While the causes of this recent decline vary based on whom you ask, we find the entire discussion irrelevant. Here's why: Oracles, Seers, and Fortune Tellers The fact remains that no one can accurately predict the movements of... Continue reading
Posted May 21, 2010 at TodayForward