Smart401k Blog

  • Fear and Your 401(k)*

    My name is Kevin, and I have a fear of snakes. Even though I know most of them are harmless, I cannot fight the urge to head the other direction as quickly as I can. I’ve always been somewhat embarrassed by my excessive fear, but it turns out this is fairly common. Studies suggest that this fear has been conditioned in humans because of the danger snakes posed for our ancestors. And besides, the manly-man Indiana Jones was also terribly afraid of snakes.
    Full story
  • It's Never Too Late to Start Saving for Retirement

    Since the day I started working in the financial industry, there has been one question that seems to come up more than the rest. I hear it from family, friends, friends of friends and even complete strangers. The question is this: “I haven’t done anything to start saving for retirement, is it too late?” Whether the person asking is 30 or 50, the answer is always the same – NO!!! And if you haven’t already started, it’s more important than ever to get started now.
    Full story
  • Give Your Kids an Edge: Teach Them About Money Early In Life

    I believe that a major cause for the financial problems that many Americans face is directly tied to a lack of money-related education earlier in life. If you set a good example and start educating them early, you will give your children a significant advantage when they begin their lives in the real world.
    Full story
  • How to stop sabotaging your own investments, part II

    In my previous blog entry,How to stop sabotaging your own investments I explored how our investing behavior can be a detriment to achieving our goals and how a sound plan can help to keep investors on track. I would like to continue the discussion by further exploring habits that may have a negative effect on investment performance and can pressure investors to deter from their plan.
    Full story
  • What I Found Out About Myself in Five Minutes Shocked Me

    Have you ever Googled your address? Well I did and found more than I bargained for. In a matter of seconds, I was able to find out when I bought my house and at what price, estimated square footage, current estimated price and much more. There was even a 3D picture of my house as if the cameraman was sitting in a tree in my front yard!
    Full story
  • Helpful New Retirement Planning Tools

    For the majority of Americans, who do not work within the financial industry, a lot of investment jargon can sound like the teacher in Charlie Brown cartoons (wa wa wa wa wa wa wa) – it just sounds like blather. Even if you understand the investment-speak, there are so many other obstacles to understanding your investments, like knowing your investor type, establishing your investor goals, ...
    Full story
  • Why Bother to Invest if I Never Plan to Retire?

    A few weeks ago I received a call from a new Smart401k member. This individual was upset about how much money they lost during the bear market of 2008 and early 2009. They were worried that they would never have enough saved for retirement and would have to, as this individual put it, “work until the day I die.”
    Full story
  • Celebrating The Fourth of July and Your Financial Independence

    Around each holiday, I try to remind myself of the true significance of the celebration, since tradition often shrouds the actual meaning. This time of year it’s easy to get caught up in the barbeques, parades and fireworks, while overlooking an event that took place 234 years ago.
    Full story
  • How to stop sabotaging your own investments

    I frequently get calls from investors concerned about a number of factors they feel can sabotage their effort to achieve investment goals: soaring government spending, rising public debt and interest rates are all valid concerns. However, there is another factor that can do even more harm to the performance of retirement accounts – investor behavior. It has been widely publicized that many investors act irrationally when making decisions about their investments.
    Full story
  • Summer Trends

    Summer officially started June 21, 2010. It’s the season for swimsuits and sunscreen. In addition to cramming your mini-van to the brim with luggage and gear, or carefully packing your one-bag-per-person-and-forget-the-carry-on luggage, you’ll probably participate in and/or notice lots of other summer trends and traditions.
    Full story
  • Are you sure your investment professional is working for you?

    What does Financial Adviser mean to you? For most people it’ll be someone who makes recommendations and, in some cases, invests your retirement savings and other assets. They may concentrate solely on your investments or they may handle your financial life (investments, taxes, estate planning, etc), but at the end of the day you’ve place your trust in this person to make decisions that are in your best financial interest.
    Full story
  • 401(k) Loans - What you need to know

    Recently I’ve been getting calls from people considering the loan option from their 401(k). They knew their plan offered a loan and wanted confirmation that it wasn’t a big deal to use this feature. With each call I explained the long-term effect taking a loan would have on their account; many were unaware of what this event could do to the long-term potential of their retirement savings.
    Full story
  • The $5.5 Billion Mistake

    Recently The Motley Fool published an article I wrote about the biggest mistakes I see people make with their retirement investments. Take a few minutes to read the article and let me know what you think. I'd love to hear your comments and know if you have any additional mistakes you think we should tackle.
    Full story
  • Planning Your Ultimate Vacation: Retirement

    This is the time of year people plan a summer vacation, and I am reminded of a statistic I’ve heard a few times over the years: many Americans spend more time planning their vacation each year than they do planning for retirement.
    Full story
  • An Article from the Smart401k Women's Series: Investing Perspectives

    People invest for many reasons: retirement, kids’ education, kids’ weddings, home improvements or simply to grow wealth. Regardless of the purpose, investing can be a great way to build long-term earnings. The three women who participated in the Women’s Series each have a different perspective on investing, but we can certainly take meaningful lessons away from each of their investment histories.
    Full story
  • An article from the Smart401k Women's Series: Retirement Perspectives

    Putting money away for retirement is something we talk about a lot here at Smart401k and in doing our research for this month’s women’s series we have taken a closer look at what it will take for women to meet their retirement goals. Industry studies show that among Americans who live to retirement age, women can expect to live about four years longer than men.
    Full story
  • For Richer or For Poorer... A Discussion About Marriage and Money

    Nineteen months ago I made the best decision of my life when I got down on one knee and asked that little question, “Will you marry me?” Now, after over a year and a half of planning I will be getting married in just a few short weeks. After Trisha and I unite our lives by saying “I do,” it’ll be time for another union — a financial union.
    Full story
  • An article from the Smart401k Women's Series: Ellen

    During the month of May, Smart401k will place extra emphasis on women and investing. One element of our Women’s Series will be a set of blog articles that highlight women’s opinions, challenges, interests and unique situations with investment, budgeting and general finance.
    Full story
  • An article from the Women's Series: Being prepared for the death of a spouse or partner

    As a fairly recently married person, it is hard to think that my wife could be left to live her later years in life as a widow, but statistics show that it is more likely than not that she will live a significantly longer life than I will. In fact, nearly half of American women over the age of 65 are widows, and women are more than four times more likely to be widowed than men of the same age, according to the 2002 census.
    Full story
  • An article from the Smart401k Women's Series: Retirement or College - how do you choose?

    I am a fairly new parent with 22-month-old twin boys. Everyone who is a parent, whether your kids are two or fifty-two, knows that there are loads of challenges – with financial concerns chief among them. It can feel like the budget is being pulled this way and that way...
    Full story