The Happiest Countries in the World – Yahoo! Finance

For the second year in a row, 24/7 Wall St. examined the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s report on life satisfaction in the developed world. Economic prosperity, health and a strong social support network continue to correspond highly with happiness. Once again, the United States fails to make the top 10 happiest nations in the world, while countries like Australia, Israel and all of the Scandinavian nations do.

via The Happiest Countries in the World – Yahoo! Finance.


10 Cheapest and Most Expensive 529 Plans – CBS News

When you buy a car you want to know the list price. It’s the same with a home purchase. But when parents shop for a 529 college savings plan, they rarely think about what it’s going to cost them.

That’s a shame because when you’re investing for this big-ticket item for your children, costs are just as important. Here’s why:

You can’t control what kind of investment returns your 529 plan will generate. Nobody, after all, knows ahead of time how the stock and bond markets will behave. You can, however, control your costs by choosing an inexpensive 529 plan. Most parents don’t understand that a 529 plan’s cost is going to be the most important factor in whether the investments do well over time.

via 10 Cheapest and Most Expensive 529 Plans – CBS News.

5 reasons to invest in a 529 plan – CBS News

Hardly anyone will know what this is because most Americans don’t understand what a 529 college savings plans is. A new survey by the brokerage firm Edward Jones has concluded that 62% of Americans aren’t familiar with the plans.

As a financial journalist this lack of knowledge surprised me. One of the bread-and-butter issues that personal finance journalists have been writing about for years is the 529 plan.

A 529 plan is a great way to save for a child’s college education. That was a primary way that I stashed money away to pay for college for my son and daughter, who earned her bachelor’s degree last year. Sometime during the next 12 months, I will be draining the last dollars in the 529 account for my son, who is now a college junior.

10 cheapest and most expensive 529 plans

529 plans: Why you should invest for 24 hours

According to the Edward Jones survey, the number of people who understand what a 529 plan is rises with a family’s income. Only 27% of those surveyed who make less than $35,000 a year knew was a 529 plan was versus 57% for those making between $75,000 and $100,000. And 62% of respondents earning more than $100,000 a year were familiar with 529s.

via 5 reasons to invest in a 529 plan – CBS News.

3 Lessons From the Best Mutual Funds of the Past Decade – Business – Motley Fool –

Unbelievably, with the right investments, you could have increased your nest egg four- or fivefold over the past decade, even as the S&P 500 sputtered out a measly 2.1% average return per year. If you pulled off massive multibaggers, then hearty congratulations are in order. Count yourself ahead of yours truly, most hedge fund managers, and Warren Buffett. But what lessons can those of us who couldn’t stay ahead of the pack glean from the winners?

via 3 Lessons From the Best Mutual Funds of the Past Decade – Business – Motley Fool –

What is the Difference Between a Fee-Only Financial Advisor and a Fee Based Financial Advisor?

A fee-only financial advisor can only receive compensation directly from you.

A fee-only financial advisor cannot receive compensation from a brokerage firm, a mutual fund company, an insurance company, or from any other source than you. This means they represent you and your interests when giving you advice. After all, think about where someone’s paycheck comes from, and that will tell you quite a bit about where their loyalty lies.

This fee may be charged as a percentage of the assets they manage for you, and thus debited out of your account each quarter, or it could be a flat annual fee, or hourly rate. These are three of the six ways that financial advisors charge fees.

To find a fee only financial advisor, use NAPFA or Garrett (online search engine organizations), listed as item number four and five on my financial advisor search engine list.

via What is the Difference Between a Fee-Only Financial Advisor and a Fee Based Financial Advisor?.

Disadvantages Of The ROTH IRA: Not All Is What It Seems | Financial Samurai

For over two years, I’ve been an opponent of the ROTH IRA after the government came out with its tricky dick way to let us all do a “one-time” conversion from our traditional IRA’s. The title of the post written in January, 2010 is called, “Be A Sloth And Don’t ROTH“.

In these two years, I’ve become a more mellow, laissez faire blogger who realizes that there’s no point trying to force my views on others if they don’t want to change. Instead, I’ve simply sought to lay out the reasons why I think the way I do, and let you readers decide.

If the choice is between NOT SAVING and saving via a ROTH IRA for your future, then the answer is that one should open up a ROTH IRA rather than piss their money away on stupid stuff that depreciates in value. However, do know that you are still pissing money away by giving some of your money to the government. And if the choice is between choosing a traditional IRA over a ROTH IRA, choosing the traditional IRA is hands down the way to go.

via Disadvantages Of The ROTH IRA: Not All Is What It Seems | Financial Samurai.

Why You Need a Roth IRA

One of the smartest money moves a young person can make is to invest in a Roth IRA — and setting one up is easy.


Follow the rules and any money you put into one of these retirement-savings accounts grows absolutely tax free: You won’t owe Uncle Sam a dime as you let your savings accumulate, or when you cash out in retirement. Plus, an IRA is more flexible than a 401(k) and other retirement plans because you can invest it in almost whatever you want, from stocks and mutual funds to bonds and real estate.

via Why You Need a Roth IRA – Kiplinger.

Free Financial Planning Consultation for those affected by HP Early Retirement / Downsizing

If you are an HP Employee who is (or may be) affected by the recent HP downsizing announcement , you are eligible for a free consultation from Steve Martin of  “A Richer Life” Financial Planning to help you understand and evaluate your options – or to discuss any other financial planning-related questions you might have.

“A Richer Life” Financial Planning is a Fee-Only ® Financial Planning firm run by Steve Martin, a former HP employee who retired after 30 years with the company.

Steve is a Certified Financial Planner ( CFP ) and Registered Investment Advisor with the State of Colorado.

You can read more about the company by clicking here.

If you have any questions or would like to set up an appointment, please call Steve at 970-223-4441 or 970-443-1873 or send an email to  .

The consultation is absolutely free, with no commitments or strings attached.

ANALYSIS: Don’t sweat the euro – The Daily

t isn’t hard to understand why the financial markets are going into the summer looking shaky. Fresh Greek elections are set for next month, and may trigger a disorderly exit from the single currency. A slow-motion run on the Spanish banking system is under way. Contagion from the euro crisis threatens to spill out into the rest of the world.

But hold on. It’s not necessarily true. If the euro collapses, it might well be a big financial event. Stock markets will wobble, and some banks will lose a lot of money. But it needn’t necessarily torpedo the global economy.

“After the Asian crisis of 1997, everyone was getting out of that market,” said David Marcus, CEO of Evermore Global Advisers and manager of its Global Value Fund. “But if you’d gone in then, you’d have made a lot of money. The same might well be true in Europe.”

via ANALYSIS: Don’t sweat the euro – The Daily.

Seeking Pension Replacement in Retirement

An interesting article –



Ford Motor Company’s (F) ads urge you to “swap your ride,” but the auto giant also has a swap in mind for 90,000 former employees: a voluntary buyout of their pensions. Ford is offering lump sum payouts to salaried retirees and former workers–a move aimed at cutting pension liabilities and balance sheet volatility.


The huge buyout offer is just the latest sign that defined-benefit pensions are receding as a retirement solution in the private sector. Although DB plans are still pervasive in public-sector workplaces, just 35% of Fortune 1000 companies still sponsor actively accruing plans, according to Towers Watson.

DB pensions and Social Security are the most important sources of guaranteed lifetime income. Both offer critical protection from longevity risk–the chance that you’ll outlive your resources in retirement. Last month’s column looked at ways to get the most from a pension if you’re lucky enough to have one; this month, let’s consider options for those who don’t. How can you create pensionlike guaranteed income on your own? And what new policies and financial tools are on the horizon that might lead to more low-risk retirement-income options?

via Seeking Pension Replacement in Retirement.