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Financial Advisers: Problems I Have Encountered (Series)

A few readings have compelled me to clarify my position on financial advisers plus tell cautionary stories. My experiences may help others understand what they may want to consider when engaging a professional to provide guidance on financial matters.

The impetus for this series was the #YourTurnChallenge on Seth Godin’s blog. The challenge is to write one post every day for seven days, starting today. After some contemplation (and despite a full schedule), I decided to accept this challenge. I thought it would be enlightening to readers and cathartic for me to write about my experiences with financial advisers.

Investing and Taxes: Capital Gains and Dividends

When I started investing, I was concerned about picking the right stocks, mutual funds, and ETFs; matching any financial goals with the right asset allocation; and holding down investment fees. Those issues are important. But I also have learned not to overlook the impact of taxes on investment returns. That said, I can’t be so concerned about taxes that I’m paralyzed from making an investment move. But it helps to consider how investment decisions impact tax liability, both in the present and for the future.

Earned Income: Why It Matters for IRA Contributions

I’m not a tax expert but my understanding is that, generally, you need to have earned income (or some form of taxable compensation) to contribute to an IRA. If you’re working full-time in a regular job, then you may have enough earned income to make a full contribution of $5,500 as long as you meet other requirements. But if you work part-time, then you may not make enough to contribute this amount; still, you may be able to contribute up to the amount of your earned income.