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If you can learn from the mistakes of others, now is a great time to be an investor.
Question: I’m inexperienced when it comes to investing, but I want to build a more secure financial future. What tips or suggestions do you have for a young investor like me? —Caleb Bond, Denver
Answer: It’s a great [...]
Nathan and Stacey Zee have always been good with money. Diligent savers since their early twenties, the young Arlington, Va. couple used to hold monthly budget meetings - just the two of them - to review their spending and investments.
Will I ever be able to retire now? That's a question you're likely asking yourself these days. After a year in which your 401(k) has been hammered by the biggest stock losses since the Great Depression, your home equity has been whacked by the collapse of the real estate market and the specter of being laid off looms larger every day, no one can blame you for being skeptical.
You can always make a case to regularly retool your account - and this year, it’s especially important.
Normally I rebalance my 401(k) at the end of the year. But considering the losses I have in my account, do you think I would be better off waiting for the market to stabilize before rebalancing? - Samuel [...]
Question: I'm 25 and currently contribute 8% of my salary to my 401(k) since that percentage assures I get the full employer match. But since stocks are so cheap right now, I'm considering bumping up my contribution for a few months. I won't miss the extra amount coming out of my paycheck, so do you think I should go through with this plan? --Mike, Houston, Texas
You've heard it a million times: Investing expenses and errors can be costly to your long-term gains. But how much do they actually cost you? One way to think about it is in terms of how much money you'll be able to live on in retirement. The difference in your standard of living can be dramatic.
Question: I've just received the statement for my workplace retirement savings account -- 99% of which is invested in an S&P 500 index fund -- and it shows a loss of 37.5% for 2008. I'm 60, make about $100,000 and I was hoping to retire next year. What immediate next step should I be taking to recover my account value? --Benjamin, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Question: Like many people, I've seen the value of my 401(k) drop considerably over the last year. I am invested for the long haul and am willing to ride out my current losses hoping for recovery. But I'm wondering whether I should re-direct my current and future contributions into my 401(k)'s money-market option until the economy settles. Do you think that's a smart move, or should I just continue investing my new contributions into my current fund allocations? --Mike, Baltimore, Maryland
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