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How to invest

Diving Into Mutual Funds

You may have heard the phrase, "A mutual fund is a like a basket of stocks." (Here, we compared a mutual fund to a box of wines.) Now it's time to explore what that really means, as part of our new Investing 101 series. When you buy shares of a...

How to Open an IRA

When we met Ashley on Monday, she was pacing the floor, worried about her future savings—when suddenly she got the news that her mother had already opened a Roth IRA in her name. This raised several questions for Ashley, and a particular one for...

Helping Ashley Start Her IRA

We recently heard from Ashley, 25, a documentary filmmaker in Seattle: "How do I get started on an IRA? Or a Roth? I want $340,000 in 30 years!" We offered to help Ashley launch her retirement account, and she agreed to share her saga, as it...

Decide When to Refinance

  Q: How do I decide whether it makes sense to refinance my mortgage at a lower interest rate?In this example, imagine that you're refinancing a $160,000, 30-year fixed mortgage that is currently at 6.5%, into a 30-year fixed at 5.5%. Your current...

Target Date Mutual Funds

A recent study found that most investors who have target date mutual funds don't understand how they work. What makes this discovery sort of funny—but not in a good way—is that the point of target date funds (TDFs) is that they were supposed to...

Doing the Math on a Roth IRA

Now that we're all focused on Saving UP!, I want to address one of the great IRA puzzles: What is the difference between a regular IRA and a Roth? Luckily, it's an easy and fun question to answer. Let's imagine there are two cars: a Chevy Ira and...

Investing Lingo Demystified, Part 1

  The primary reason many people (especially women) feel anxious and alienated by the investment world is they don't know the lingo. Think about it. Most women can quickly decode the following:Sales of the new Donna Karan Hobo soared after...

Live on 40%, Save 60%?

Could you live on 40% of your income—and save the other 60%? It sounds impossible (or tortuous), yet Mary-Jo Dionne says she's learned to make it happen—and happily—with a system she calls the 1-2-3 saving strategy. "Every time I get paid, I...

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