Friday, September 12, 2008

Personal Finance Questions: One Line Answers

The other day I was going through my Google Analytics page to see what kind of key words bring folks to Money and Such. Actually, there are some pretty interesting ones, so I thought I would put a whole bunch of them in one post and give a one line answer to each (OK, sometimes I may go a little longer than a line, but take it in the right spirit). Here goes:

"Is renting a waste of money?" - Absolutely not. Renting is often a more lucrative form of investment than owning a house.

"Does a hybrid [car] make sense?" - that depends. How much do you drive? You can use this calculator to figure it out for yourself.

"Wife makes more money" - good for you! Now you have more money to save, invest and spend. Enjoy!

"I make more money than my husband" - Are you the wife of the guy from the previous question?

"$10,000 and a year to invest, what to do?" - with a 12 month investment horizon, I would just go with a high yield money market account or CD.

"Am I going to make money in Fidelity mutual funds this year?" - let me gaze into the future for a sec... the spirits... they are saying... "MAYBE!"

"American express late payment, what to do?" - fight it, dude. Of course your chances of success depend on the exact circumstances of your case.

"Average cost to raise twins, calculator" - I don't have a calculator for you, but I do have twins, and all I can tell you is to get ready for some serious money drainage.

"Blowing off a headhunter" - why would you want to do that? Work with headhunters. If you don't want the job, suggest a different candidate. You never know when you would want to take advantage of their services.

"Can I leave a law firm job after one week and not cause damage to my career?" - Absolutely. In fact, if you just joined a new firm it is very much OK to leave, professionally, if you don't feel the position is working for you. In the long run, it will be good for you and will be good for your firm.

"Can I opt out of my company's 401k plan?" - yes you can. However, if you opt-out, make sure you have another plan for saving for retirement. If your employer matches 401k contributions, opting out is probably a very bad idea.

"Can you get a work out with Wii boxing?" - you better believe it!

"Cost to raise a child in the US" - I got data galore for you. Check it.

"Do we get taxed on work related expenses?" - no, we don't, thank god. In fact, if I am not mistaken you can deduct unreimbursed business expenses on your return.

"Does cashing in your 401k hurt your credit?" - nope, but it does hurt your chances of a decent retirement... don't cash in your 401k unless you absolutely have to or if you have actually retired. By the way, rolling over a 401k is not the same thing as cashing it.

"How can I put my IRA in a high yield CD?" - well, there are CD IRAs out there. They just happen to be the worst retirement vehicle ever invented, unless you are just about ready to retire - and even so, I seriously doubt this is a good strategy.

"How much do index funds overlap?" - that depends on what the underlying index is. If index funds track the same index they almost certainly overlap to a very large degree. Some index funds can be totally divergent since they track completely different indexes. Check each prospectus to be certain.

"How much should I pay my stay at home wife?" - dude, you have bigger problems than trying to figure out how much to "pay your wife". Your wife doesn't work for you.

"How to bail out financial institutions?" - boy, I hope that this question was not asked by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson... well, actually, financial institutions fail (like other businesses) when their liquid assets are not sufficient to cover their immediate obligations. Bailing out a financial institution typically involves either giving it a nice cash infusion or taking control of some of its liabilities.

"How to find my 401k money?" - If you lost track of your old 401(k) money, a good place to start looking for it is to contact your old employer.

"How to make money as a pediatrician?" - hmmmm. Maybe you can take care of some sick kids and charge people for it?

"Labor unions - good or bad" - both, I guess. Good for protecting basic workers rights and ensuring people receive a decent wage for their work. Bad any time they do things that make life difficult for everyone else.

"Stupid advice" - I can see why you got to my blog. I am also mildly insulted.

"What not to waste money on?" - things you don't need. See the previous question.


frugal zeitgeist said...

Very, very clever idea. I really enjoyed that one.

Shadox said...

Can you imagine Google sends people my way when they look for "stupid advice...?"

frugal zeitgeist said...

Ha! That's pretty good. If it's any consolation, Google decided that my blog would be a good resource for people looking for "frugal diseases."