Saving some of your earnings by living below your means is a key to successful investing. There are many ways to find money to invest, such as living simply so you’ll save more money and developing a career so you’ll make more money. The Earning and Saving category equips you with practical tips for spending less and earning more.

Why 401(k) Default Options May Not Be Enough

I’ve been reading Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics by Richard H. Thaler. A point of interest is the discussion of automatic enrollment in 401k plans. Automatic enrollment may get employees started saving for retirement. But 401k default options associated with this type of sign-up (such as an investment choice of a money market fund and a savings rate of 3%) may be unlikely to help employees achieve the outcomes needed for a comfortable retirement.

According to Thaler, “Both of these default choices — the money market investment option and the 3% savings rate — were not intended by the employer to be either suggestions or advice. Instead, these options were picked to minimize the chance that the company would be sued.”

So, what’s the story about these default options?

Choosing and Navigating Public Schools (So You Can Save Money)

Educating children can be challenging no matter where they go to school or how they learn. School quality can vary. And my experiences may be much different than yours — both as a parent and as a student back in the ’60s and ’70s during the somewhat chaotic years of desegregation . Whatever your circumstances, hopefully these thoughts can give you insights into choosing and navigating your children’s school situation:

The Long-Term Cost of Private School (with Spreadsheet)

Choosing a free public school over a private school can save parents about $9,518 per year (the average private school tuition per year, according to the Private School Review) or more — as the cost can be significantly higher in certain parts of the country (a good high school in my area costs $20,000 per year).

Parents make a lot of decisions for their children, hoping to make the best choice, not only for the child’s current circumstances but also for the child’s future and the family’s well-being. For example, when I was growing up, I knew a boy who attended a public school while his twin brother attended a private one; the parents wanted their children to develop unique identities and made this unusual (to me) choice. As for my husband and me, we chose to send our children to public schools. The schools in our area are good ones and we liked the idea of saving money on education.

I’ve put together an Excel spreadsheet that can allow parents to run the numbers and let you know how much private school tuition could impact a personal balance sheet.

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