has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Thank you for your support.

$10,000 Benchmark Portfolio Update – April 2013

Here's the April 2013 update for my benchmark portfolio, the first of three portfolios started on November 1st, 2012 as part of my Beat the Market Experiment: $10,000 Passive Benchmark Portfolio that would serve as both a performance benchmark … [Read the rest]

New Safeway Gas Rewards Partners: Chevron, Texaco, Exxon, Mobil

Depending on your area, Chevron, Texaco, Exxon, and Mobil gas stations are new partners with Safeway's gas rewards program (Exxon/Mobil link). This may be good news to those who shop at Safeway supermarkets but don't have any nearby Safeway gas … [Read the rest]

Investment Returns By Asset Class – April 2013 Update

Here is my April 2013 update of the trailing total returns for selected major asset classes. Passive ETFs are used to represent major asset classes, as they represent actual investments that folks can buy and sell. Return data was taken after … [Read the rest]

Cash Reserves Update: Best Available Interest Rates – March 2013

Our family keeps a full year of expenses put aside in cash reserves; it provides us with financial stability with the additional side benefits of lower stress and less concern about stock market gyrations. Emergency funds can actually have a better … [Read the rest]

Student Loan Debt Growing, Along With Delinquency Rate

Here are some interesting charts from a recent presentation about student loan debt by Donghoon Lee, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Total student debt was the only type of household debt that continued to rise throughout the … [Read the rest]

Share Amazon Prime With Coworkers In Your Office

Many people enjoy the convenience of Amazon Prime, which for $79 a year gives you free 2-day shipping with no minimum purchase requirement, a decent streaming-video library, and a so-so Kindle book lending library. You may also know that you can … [Read the rest]

Best Value for Citi ThankYou Points Redemptions

If you have a Citi credit card or a Citibank account from our partner Citi, with the ThankYou points rewards system, you have a wide array of options to redeem your points at But while that fancy coffeemaker may look nice, chances are … [Read the rest]

TurboTax vs. TaxACT vs. H&R Block at Home: 2012 Lightning Review

According to a reader poll taken last year, 52% used TurboTax, 18% used TaxACT, and 14% used H&R Block at Home to prepare their tax returns, which agreed with the most popular software overall in the US. The remaining 16% either … [Read the rest]

Rule of Thumb: When To Pay Off The Mortgage Early

There was a lot of good discussion in my lengthy early mortgage payoff post. Now instead of lengthy details, let me try out a quick rule of thumb about early mortgage payoff. Recall from Wikipedia: A rule of thumb is a principle with broad … [Read the rest]

Fidelity iShares Commission-Free ETF List Updated

Fidelity recently announced new changes to their commission-free ETF list. When Blackrock iShares introduced their 10 new Core ETFs, I wondered how they would market these ETFs. Well, that question was answered today with Fidelity and Blackrock … [Read the rest] in Economics Textbook!

Years ago I was ed by an author named Gary Clayton who wanted permission to feature me in the next edition of his book. I said certainly, and pretty much forgot about it as it wasn't published yet. The book was (is?) the bestselling … [Read the rest]

Pay Off Mortgage Early vs. Save More For Retirement? Digging Deep Into The Details

In the world of personal finance, you can always generate a good debate if you talk about paying off your mortgage early. The argument usually boils down to something like this: If your interest rate is 4%, then paying extra towards that mortgage … [Read the rest]