Financial checkup

I’ve read that people spend more time planning their vacations than planning their personal finances.

It seems that part of the problem is too much free information: on the internet, magazines, TV — most of it more confusing than useful, imho.

I’m a big believer in minimizing investment fees and taxes as one of the best ways to increase your investment returns — rather than chasing the latest hot stock. Which means working with an investment management company which acts as a custodian of your assets, not a salesman.

I highly recommend Vanguard; I’ve been a customer for years. For example, here is their list of things to do before (& after) December 31.

I also recommend reading Jonathan Clements’ personal finance column in the Wall Street Journal, “Getting Going.” An annual subscription to WSJ.com costs $99, or two tanks of gas (four if you drive a Prius).

Clements receives lots of hate mail for his simple index funds-based approach, but in developing an investment strategy, simpler is better. Besides, who wants to spend all their free time managing their finances?

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