Best 529 Plans – 2012 Edition

I’ve written at various times in the past about 529 plans as a college savings vehicle. Well, earlier this month Morningstar released the results of their annual survey of the available plans. They rated 64 plans, ultimately identifying 27 “that are likely to outperform their peers on a risk-adjusted basis over a full market cycle.” […]

Organics for the Win: Why I Still Buy Organic Produce

“Organics, ” said the headline, “not really very much better for you.” And a million mothers wept. Organics not proven “healthier” Indeed, according to a survey of a number of research studies — one of those “studies of studies, ” as I think of them — there are very few proven health benefits to consuming […]

CD Strategies: Minimizing Your Risks While Maximizing Your Returns

As a followup to Friday’s post about the recent changes to Ally Bank’s deposit agreement, I wanted to share some thoughts on minimizing your risks while seeking the best (safe) yields possible. Certificates of deposit (CDs) are an attractive option when trying to boost your savings yield because they pay more competitive rates than a […]

Ally Bank Changes CD Withdrawal Policy

According to Ken over at, Ally Bank has changed (or at least “clarified”) their CD early withdrawal policy. As I’ve noted several times in the past, Ally CDs have been particularly attractive due to their low 60 day interest penalty for early withdrawals. When this policy was combined with their rather competitive rates, Ally’s […]

Shifting Money Worries Into Reverse

If you’re old enough, you may remember when Americans were, by and large, pretty responsible about money management. They scrimped and saved, and stashed money into savings accounts. They squirreled away cash for vacations and home improvements, rather than funding those purchases with credit cards. And their belief was you kept on paying the mortgage […]

Series I Savings Bond Rates – November 2012

The September inflation numbers are now out, which means that we can now predict the new (November 2012) rate for Series I Savings Bonds… As a reminder, the rate for Series I Savings Bonds is made up of two pieces: the fixed rate and the variable rate. The fixed rate is set by the feds, […]

Extending Your Health Insurance Benefits With COBRA Coverage

I was just perusing my employers HR web page looking for information on our upcoming open enrollment period when I ran across a link to information on COBRA coverage for employees who have separated from their employer. While I’ve never had to use COBRA coverage myself, it’s a valuable option to have. In case you’re […]

Killer Gas Prices: Six Ways to Fight Back

The news that gas prices are on the rise again reminded me of the summer of 2007. At the time both of my sons were playing travel baseball, which meant we were driving all over northern Illinois every weekend. We owned a beautiful Chrysler Pacifica at the time — a sporty, comfortable, large car that […]

Popularity and Earning Potential

Years ago — during the first month of this site’s existence, in fact — I wrote about the fact that “good looking” people tend to earn more than others. In fact, they claimed there was a “plainness penalty” of 9% and a “beauty premium” of as much as 5%. Given the above, it should perhaps […]

Inflation Not as High as You Think?

Inflation isn’t as bad as you think. Or at least that’s the premise of a recent article on NPR’s Planet Money. According to economists, consumers consistently overestimate inflation. And not just here in the United States, either. Rather, this misperception appears to be a common occurrence in many countries. Why? Good question. More than likely, […]