Talking Real Money - Investing Talk

By Don McDonald, Tom Cock, Vestory, Don McDonald, Tom Cock

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 Jun 8, 2021


30-year financial talk radio veteran, Don McDonald and former host of Serious Money on PBS, Tom Cock, reunite on a weekly call-in program talking about real money issues. Each week they solve real money problems, dole out real investing (not speculating) advice, and really explain the financial issues that effect all of us. It's a show designed to provide the real help we all need to enjoy a really great future. Call in with your questions anytime at 855-935-TALK (8255).

Episode Date
Crypto Curmudgeons

After the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission heavily criticizes cryptocurrencies, BitCoin gamblers might want to pay attention before this house of (fake) cards comes crashing down.

We address a comment from a listener about another purpose for life insurance.

Plus, we take a question about where to move money from an old employers 401k.

Sep 23, 2021
Keep Calm and Carry On

There have been a couple of stock market scares recently. Plus, as always, there is news that seems economically concerning. So, what should you do when fear accelerates?

Plus, a listener wants to know if it's time to fire a financial "advisor" relative.

Sep 22, 2021
Your Future Starts With a Plan

If you're serious about enjoying a better future you need both a goal and a plan. We also discuss how much we believe we will need to retire comfortably. Then, we answer a bunch of your questions and comments:

  • How does someone use both investment advisors and other experts simultaneously.
  • Does it makes sense to move a Roth 401k to a Roth IRA?
  • Looking to dividend funds to try and generate more income and a bit of market timing.
  • What's the best investment for a new granddaughter?


Sep 21, 2021
Do Real Estate Better

While extremely popular, "traditional" real estate investing is one of the most complex and potentially dangerous ways to build wealth. There may be a better way for those who don't want a part-time job. Also, real estate is not a good bond substitute.

Then, we take your questions on:

  • The wisdom of keeping a bunch of "death" policies.
  • How to rebalance a portfolio more tax efficiently?
  • Does it makes sense to invest monthly into a Roth IRA?
  • Should a 3% mortgage be paid off with excess cash?
Sep 20, 2021
The Last Q&A from VA

As Don just sold his house in Virginia, this is the last Q&A from there. In this episode, Don answers your questions on:

  • Investing for a child?
  • How aggressive is too aggressive?
  • Tips for becoming a financial planner?
  • Should a portfolio include dividend stocks or ETFs?
  • Is a stock given as a gift subject to taxes when sold?


Sep 17, 2021
Good Ol' Speculatin'

Tom returns from his speculative investing sojourn in Vegas. Did he win or lose?

His team ended up winning the football game though.

We go back in time to one of the great speculative bubbles in US history.

Plus, we take your questions on:

  • What to do with some company stock along with other individual stocks.
  • Is a CPA needed to look over retirement plan?
Sep 16, 2021
Gambling Thomas

In this podcast/vlog, Don talks about speculative investing, while Tom reports in from the speculative investing capital of North America:

  • Are meme stocks are driving the small cap value markets? 
  • The Bogleheads Forum ban cryptocurrency investing posts with a brilliant explanation.

Then, Don takes a couple of questions on:

  • Converting a Roth.
  • Investing entirely in small cap value ETFs.


Sep 15, 2021
Two-Episode Question


In this edition we finish the question we began yesterday (both in jest and seriously). We also take a bunch of calls:

  • A well off former real estate investor wonders what to do with his many millions of cash.
  • With everyone claiming to be a fiduciary, how do find somone who is reall acting in your best interests?
  • A woman is confused about the taxation of an immediate annuity.
  • An older woman seeks advise on investing a big pile of cash that was earmarked for real estate.


Sep 14, 2021
Ill-Advised Swagger

Too many believe that they can beat the market. While a few "experts" outperformed the broad stock market, after expenses only a lucky few have made more money. Odds are you won't win when playing the market.

Then, we move on to questions from listeners starting with:

  • A primer on Roth accounts.
  • With Vanguard promoting private equity, what's our take?

We take a break from calls to talk about the SPAC disaster. 

Finally, we tackle the longest question we have ever received.


Sep 13, 2021
A Q&A Deluge

We have been getting an outpouring of written questions and very few spoken ones. So, with a little help from a cast of AI voices, Don attacks the surge of queries about:

  • Who should be on the financial Mount Rushmore?
  • An older question about short-term bond funds and retirement accounts.
  • Alternative fee structires for financial advisors.
  • How to invest for a 12-year old daughter?
  • Capital gains tax avoidance on non-owner occupied rreal estate.
  • Investing in sector funds.


Sep 10, 2021
Annuities & Fiduciaries

So, why do we generally dislike annuities, particularly indexed annuities? Can someone who sells indexed annuities be a fiduciary? We talk about the "mistruths" people will tell you to collect that commission which they claim you aren't paying them. 

Plus, a listener claims not to be a market timer. Right.

Sep 09, 2021
Stretching... for Yield

In today's episode, we look at the crazy search for more income from investments. Are you taking too much risk investing in high-yield (junk) bonds and high-dividend stocks.

A listener wonders why we don't suggest investing in the NASDAQ.

Sep 08, 2021
Money Never Easy

Beware of falling into the dangerous trap of financial complacency. Investing can be very dangerous when least expected.

Listeners want to know:

  • What different fees mean in real dollars?
  • Which short-term bond funds might be an appropriate investments?
  • What to do with a Roth after death?
  • How to invest semi-precious stone sales proceeds of her non-tanzanite collection?
  • How do you know when you have enough money to retire?
Sep 07, 2021
Labor Day Q & A

In today's episode, Don tackles a bunch of your questions:

  • Are there three ETFs that can be used instead of the three Fidelity funds?
  • Does it make sense to add an international value investment?
  • Is it better to pay the taxes or pay the high loads of "A" shares in a 403b?
  • What is the purpose of a "stop loss" order?
Sep 03, 2021
What is Passive Investing?

There is an ongoing debate about what defines both passive and active investing. Some are even questioning whether certain income funds are passive investments.

Plus, like it or not, we answer another convoluted Roth IRA conversion question.

Sep 02, 2021
Build Wealth on Wealth

Compound interest has been called the "8th Wonder of the World." It is pretty powerful. Tom and Don discuss the awesome power of compounding for both good and evil.

Plus, they take yet another question of the popular topic of Roth conversions.

Sep 01, 2021
Questions and Cheescake

We revisit Meet Kevin and share a bit of his portfolio.

A caller is looking for ways to save for his daughter's future needs.

Another wonders where to put a bunch of cash for a future home purchase and yet keep it safe.

Does it make sense to have a lot of equity in your home?

A caller takes us to task for using the term, investment pornography,

This leads us to our new code word "cheesecake."

A retiree, doing well, looks for advice on investing a bunch of excess money.

How can you use money from an IRA tax-free?

Why do we suggest bond funds vs. CDs?

Is there a reason to buy an annuity?

Aug 31, 2021
Social Media, Memes, and Money

We take a look at one of the most popular YouTube money "experts," Meet Kevin. This guy has been making more than a million dollars a month getting you to buy the stocks he has already purchased. We hate to break it to you, but this too shall pass (and many of you will suffer).

Everybody hates bonds, but they're missing the big picture.

Why is Wall Street paying attention to social media pundits and meme stocks?

The news guy for our radio show seeks investing advice.

Bonds and stocks haven't behaved similarly in stock market corrections.

Finally, another caller wonders why he should own bonds.

Geez, people, is this that hard to understand?

Aug 30, 2021
Another Day of Q and A

Today's questions run the gamut from:

Would it makes sense to have both a high-deductible and low-deductible health insurance plan?

Moving money from a mutuial fund to an ETF.

The wisdom of using both a backdoor and super backdoor Roth.

The best way to help subsidize parents' retirement?


Aug 27, 2021
Investing Between the Extremes

Most investing advice is either too simplistic or far too complicated. Real investing lies (like almost everything else) lies somewhere in the middle.

A TRM evangelist wonders if it make sense to move 457 into a better 401k.

A younger listener wants our opinion of investing options in his retirement plan.

Aug 26, 2021
Young Investors Mistakes

Wisdom does come with age and that's particularly true of investing. When we're young we tend to think we know a lot more than we do and tend to tae outsized risks until we experience failure.

Plus, we take questions on:

  • What might health care costs be for an early retiree before Medicare eligibility.
  • If it makes sense to borrow against house to free up equity.

You can also watch this episode as a video at

Aug 25, 2021
Passive Shouldn't Mean Work

What does passive income mean? Seems to us that it shouldn't require work. yet, some consider rental houses, Amazon businesses, and writing books as passive income sources. Really?

We take a bunch of your calls on:

  • The taxation of annuity to beneficiaries.
  • Something we covered on a previous podcast.
  • Borrow of pay cash to buy a portion of a house?
  • The best way to pay for a very expensive college right now.

Plus, Tom shares obscure trivia about Daniel Boone and bears.


Aug 24, 2021
How Much Do You Need?

What is the right amount of money to retire comfortably? Will $200,000 be enough? Half a million bucks? A million? More? We help you figure it out.

Then we power through a bunch of your questions live or from our online contact page:

Why are American's so financially illiterate?

What makes ETFs better that mutual funds?

A younger caller seeks Don's changing investing philosophy.

According to his friends, it's time to move from equities into cash.

What do we think of a listener's Avantis portfolio?


Aug 23, 2021
Our Weekly Q&A Session

In this week's Q&A extravaganza, Don tackles your questions about:

Does it make sense to fund a Roth IRA later at 67?

How much of extra earned income can a retiree contribute to a Roth?

What should be done with extra cash?

Rather than adding profit from home sale to down payment, might it be better to pay mortgage insurance?

Aug 20, 2021
Buffett's Investing Advice

Warren Buffett has suggested an incredibly simple portfolio for average investors. Don and Tom examine his reccomendation and make a few of their own.

A listener takes exception with a newsletter's Social Security advice.

Aug 19, 2021
Expert Investing Ideas

Bloomberg asked a group of investing professionals for their hottest investing suggestions. Tom and Don tear a few of them apart.

Plus, a listener is looking for a better way to derive income from portfolio in retirement.

Aug 18, 2021
Is Real Estate Investing?

Buying individual pieces of real estate is a business, not an investment. Investing in Pokemon cards is really crazy.

Plus, we answer listener questions about:

Creating a simple portfolio for mom's future income.

Will someone about to retire get anything from the Washington Cares act?

Refinancing a small mortgage.

A younger listener already set for retirement wants to know how invest more.

Aug 17, 2021
It Eventually Breaks Even

Has gold protected you from inflation? That's about all you can expect from precious metals.

Plus, we hear from listeners about:

  • The pros and cons of the new Washington Cares program and other long-term care protection.
  • Gifting money to son the help reduce his house payment in a refinance.
  • The fallacy of market beating advice and investment porn.

Plus, Don shares his mortgage refinancing experience.

Aug 16, 2021
CryptoCrime + Q&A

A recent $600 million cryptocurrency theft illustrates how wild these "currencies" really are. This led Don to another fascinating comparison between crypto and the early US financial system.

Plus, we keep getting lots of questions. Thanks. In this episode:

  • What happens when a 529 owner dies?
  • How to better diversify a portfolio overseas and in emerging markets.
  • How are ETFs tax-advantaged and can you swith from Vanguard funds to ETFs?
  • How does the Washington Cares fund compare with private long-term care insurance?
  • A listener suggests T-Mobile's home internet for Tom.
Aug 13, 2021
An Ivy League Portfolio

The late manager of the Yale University endowment shared his perfect portfolio. Rather than a complex mess of alternatives and derivatives, David Swensen created a sensible mix of quality, low-cost securities.

Plus, we speak to a listener's concerns about investing in China.

Aug 12, 2021
Too Many Angels

Far too many people believe that providing venture capital is destined to bring riches. Like any form of gambling a few financial angels get rich. The majority, however, are destined to fail.

Plus, another podcaster may have found a way to do a tax-free Roth conversion.

This episode is also a video on YouTube.

Aug 11, 2021
Insurance and Investing Don't Mix

We share an insurance expert's open letter about the difference between whole life and univesal life.Plus, he takes those complex indexed life sellers to task. No matter what they say, there is no high return with no risk.

The Tom and Don tackle fun phone lines to talk about:

  • The need to add a Roth to a retirement plan.
  • The wisdom of investing in Berkshire-Hathaway.
  • A smart, successful daughter has her dad ask us how much she should save for retirement.
  • A high school daughter suddenly decided to go to college and mom wants to know how to save for it.
  • A resident alien wants to know if it makes sense to invest in his 401k.
  • A woman moving to Spain wants to know what to do with an extra $400 per month.



Aug 10, 2021
Seven Investing Principles

From a new book "Wall Street's Wisest Man," Tom and Don discuss the author's Seven Principles for a Perfect Portfolio.

We dedicate most of the hour to the investing guidelines, discovering that we agree with most and have issues with others.

Plus, Don gives a dramatic reading of a listener's question about buying extra pension service years.

Aug 09, 2021
Your Inquiries, Don's Replies

This week, Don answers a bunch of questions phone in to 955-935-TALK:

  • What do we think of the Avantis funds?
  • Is having $400K invested invested enough to be comfortable?
  • After securites are sold will there be taxes owed?
  • It is time to reduce portfolio risk and how?
Aug 06, 2021
Emerging Markets Make Sense

China is one of the world's largest economy, yet still an emerging market when it comes to investing. While risky, you need to invest something in emerging markets funds.

Plus, we hear from another younger listener who explains why some young people don't want to hear what we have to say about money.

Aug 05, 2021
The Best Retirement Account

Tom and Don discuss the various retirement account options from regular IRAs to Roth 401ks to Simple IRAs. Whic ones might be best for your situation?

Plus, how should a young investor invest now and into the future?

Aug 04, 2021
Watch What You're Paying

Many investors are blisfully unaware of the costs they pay for invesments and financial advice. Yet, paying less is a easy way to increase returns. Learn about the different pricing structures and the myriad ways mutual funds charge fees.

Plus, Don takes questions on:

  • Using inflation-protected securities in an emergency fund.
  • Moving from expensive funds from Edward Jones into far less expensive Fidelity funds.
  • When is it time to add bonds to a portfolio?
  • How to allocate $90K in money at the bank.


Aug 03, 2021
The Trouble With IPOs

Robin Hood stock takes a tumble after IPO. Initial public stock offerings are akin to pure gambling.

Yes, we are old. However, are we really out of touch with younger investors? Don reads a recent review that accuses us of reverse agism. The writer claims we failed to give a reasons why we dislike crypto. Plus, is someone with $200K rich?

Then, Don takes questions on:

The wisdom and particulars of increasing equity exposure is a portfolio.

What should someone do to catch up from a lifetime of saving a bit less than needed?

A widely age-seperated couple looks for the best Social Security withdrawal strategy?

A 41-year old non-saver needs to get started.

Aug 02, 2021
Hey, Hey, More Q&A

Don tries to answer a slew of your questions:

How to pick a small cap value fund.

Their fee-only advisor refuses to help with 401k.

Some California houses haven't appreciated.

What is the difference between the $10,500 and $58,000 401k contribution limit?

Jul 30, 2021
Absurd Expectations

If you are expecting your investments to return anywhere near this study's participants, you are bound to be disappointed. What is a realistic amount to expect your investments to make in the future?

Plus, a listener with a complex question on using bonds in a taxable account to fund an education.

Jul 29, 2021
Contradictory Advice

Investing news organizations often use sensible, albeit inane advice to reel you in. Then they hit you with the bad advice that they sell. One of the worst offenders are out "friends" at the Motley Fool.

Then, we take questions on flipping the typical portfolio placement advice and reducing income to increase Roth conversions.

This episode is also a video on YouTube.

Jul 28, 2021
Sky High Houses

Housing prices are up by an unprecedented amount nationwide. Where will they go from here?

Is it better to buy or rent in the current environment?

For lower income buyers do "manufactured homes" make sense?

How can an insurance company guarantee a 4% annual return?

Can onwers of old LTC policies opt out of Washington's new state plan?

An older woman debates the merits of keeping or selling a rental property.

Jul 27, 2021
Forget Past Performance

Past performance does not guarantee future results. This is an understatement. An investment's past is a generally terrible indicator of it's long-term prospects. Tom and Don share a far more accurate indicator of future investing success.

Does it make financial sense to buy a vacation home?

The "best" plcces to park short-term money aren't very good.

Do a caller's found money plans make sense?

Does it makes sense to opt out of new Washington Cares program?

With people spending $250K or more to fly into space, ow much was the first commercial airline flight over 100 years ago?

Jul 26, 2021
Kids Must Earn Income

Another Q&A Day:

Does the child tax credit allow you to fund a kid's Roth-IRA?

How do various compounding methods work?

Jul 23, 2021
Crypto "Cult-Like"

Jackson Palmer, the creator of one of the ten largest cryptocurrencies publicy stated that crypto is "designed to extract new money from the financially desperate and naive." Meanwhile an article in Current Affairs magazine states "the arguments for [crypto's] usefulness fail completely."

Once again, we try and persuade listeners that crypto is a "fool's game."

Plus, a great question about a questionable financial service provider and the problems with the CFP Board allowing members to rip off clients.

Jul 22, 2021
Meaningless Market Moves

The market was way down this week and the news media sounded the alarm. Then a day later it gained most of it back. What do these moves mean to you?

Oh, and Tom sneaks sports into the podcast (again).

Then we take the longest written question ever about one of the worst 401k plans ever.

Jul 21, 2021
Financial Advisors: Good & Bad

Most people need professional financial advice, yet few seek it out. Tom and Don focus the facts about financial advisors, positive and negative (often VERY negative).

We talk dollar-cost-averaging (and Tom questions the callers motive).

California City. We share more information on this old land scam.

A caller is looking for our 401(k) and 403(b) plan review site:

What's an Alford Plea?

Clark Howard shares advice on finding financial advice and the value thereof.

Jul 20, 2021
Inflation Taking Off?

We've hit a fiscal bump on the road to Covid recovery. Inflation has snuck back into the economy. What's the real story and what should you do to plan for possible inflation?

Yield stretching is making junk bonds less rewarding.

What to do with student loan payoff money?

Used cars are selling for more than new cars?

What if moving money to a Roth doubles tax rate?

How to buy I Savings Bonds?


Jul 19, 2021
TGIQ (and A) Day

Don continues to whittle down the pile of listener questions (thanks for these):

  • How should contributions be divided between Roth and pre-tax accounts?
  • Should an extra $10K fund a Roth of pay the taxes to convert to a Roth?
  • Vanguard or Fidelity for a small cap fund?
  • Mom inherited some expensive broker sold mutual funds and wants to give to him.
  • Does it make sense to get involved in an employee stock purchase plan (ESPP)?
Jul 16, 2021
Double Dipping Advisors

Recently, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has started cracking down own fiduciary advisors who sell fee-based clients expensive loaded or hidden load mutual funds. How can you verify your advisors adice is in your best interests?

Plus, we take questions on...

  • changes to Utah's 529 program.
  • using even a low fee variable annuity in a retirement plan.
Jul 15, 2021
TRMSI-Owning Only Stocks

Don, Tom, and Paul Merriman get together again to discuss the pros and cons of owning stocks and the stock market.

Jul 14, 2021
Talking Real Volatility

Stocks are considered risky investments because of their volatility. BitCoin advocates tout it's stability, yet stocks have been much less frightening recently.

Then, Don answers questions about:

  • How to best invest in fixed income in a taxable account.
  • Investing in 529 plans for kids' education.
  • Does it make sense to invest in a mediocre 401k with a match?

The weekend show at KOMO had some recording issues.

Jul 13, 2021
More Queries and Comments

As the e-mail bin remains full, Don creates a special Saturday edition on:

  • The right way to invest in a TSP.
  • Getting started with a better retirement portfolio.
  • A comment on Vestory's free meetings.
  • Is Paul Merriman's 10-fund portfolio properly allocated?
  • Should a pension count as part of a fixed-income portfolio?
Jul 10, 2021
Catching Some Qs

Wow. We must be getting popular. Thanks for all the questions. Don takes a crack at answering your questions about:

  • Paying taxes when converting to a Roth IRA for the kids.
  • Avoiding taxes when moving from American funds to Vanguard.
  • Staying in a Merrill Simple-IRA and rolling money out annually.
  • Creating a diversified portfolio with Chinese stocks.
  • Convesting mutual funds in IRAs into ETFs.
Jul 09, 2021
Investors' Expectations

Once again, investors share their next decade investment expectations and, again, you're probably wrong.

Plus, Tom and Don advise a listener who wants more control over his socially responsible portfolio.

Jul 08, 2021
ConsumerMan on CryptoScams

With Don on vacation, Tom is joined by The ConsumerMan, Hern Weisbaum to discuss a variety of scams and how to protect yourself.

Plus, Tom takes calls on:

  • Taking a lump-sum or pension
  • Paying off
  •  mortgage or investing
  • What to do with a CD
  • and more
Jul 07, 2021
Lifeless Money

Over $22 trillion is languishing in bank accounts, doing nothing for you. What should you be doing with it?

With Don vacation, Tom is joined by Paul Merriman, who is "Talking Millions." Paul shares some small moves that can make big bucks over time. They also discuss where the market might be heading.

A caller wants to know what to do with $500,000.

Another wants to know how to get his free book.

Paul shares an article by Seth Godin.


Jul 06, 2021
Don's Vacation Q&A

Don rarely rests in his quest to educate you. Today:

Educating kids about investing using compound interest.

The great pay-me-now-or-later Social Security debate continues.

Jul 02, 2021
Gambling Away Retirement

There are so many bad "investment" (speculation) ideas being pitched for your retirement assets. Quite possibly the worst idea to date is buying cryptocurrency in your 401k (or IRA, etc).

Plus, a listener wonders what would have happenedd to an investor who unluckily bought stocks at their high every year.

Jul 01, 2021
Richer After Pandemic?

We thought the COVID pandemic would have been bad for the economy. Yet, the stock market and home prices have soared in the past year.

How would an unlucky investor have done buying at the top of the stock market every year?

Jun 30, 2021
Everybody Gets Scammed

It's not just senior citizens getting ripped off by scam artists, the number of young victims is rising. Don takes a chance and clicks on a retail scam on the show.

After scaring some investors a weeka ago, the market roars back,

Listeners are looking for help:

  • Changing to a new investment advisors.
  • Recovering from watching his retirement drawn down by his ex-wife.
  • Where to invest for more income.
  • An excellent saver desperately needs a financial plan.


Jun 29, 2021
Paying Attention?

We keep hearing from listeners who claim to follow our advice, but we find their portfolios are nothing like what we suggest.

A caller wants to know if he's on track for retirement despite the many mistakes he realizes he has made.

A listener wonders if it makes sense to use savings to pay down high interest debt.

While the heat is on, we keep our advice cool.

Jun 28, 2021
Complex Not Better

Should money managers give you what you want or what you need? Do you really need any investment you don't easily understand.

Plus, a listener contributing to a 401k with high fees wants some investing advice outside of his work account.

Jun 25, 2021
Wait How Long?

Again, Tom and Don are joined by Paul Merriman to discuss the time frame over which invetsors should remain patient and how much return can reasonably be expected.

Jun 24, 2021
Brokers No More?

Perceived as nothing more than financial product peddlers, stockbroker would prefer to be called "financial advisors" or "wealth managers." Do, with all the title confusion, how should you  seek out investing advice?

Plus, a listeners asks: Why does it make sense to pay off a mortgage and own bonds?

Jun 23, 2021
Recycled Investment Vehicles

Beware of old securities ideas being offered again. remember, you can't get high returns.

Plus, the "smart" money can be pretty dumb.

Listeners want to know:

The best way to create income from portfolio?

Instead of real estate, what should be done with $100k.

Finally, a multipart question from a great saver who just can't seem to get investing right.

Jun 22, 2021
So, the Market Fell...

People freak out when stock prices fall, but the occasional decline is the price you must pay for decent future retirn potential.

Then, Tom and Don dive into your questions:

  • Is it better to wait for Social Security and live off other investment?
  • After failing to take our advice and liquidate crypto, what now?
  • A caller disagrees with our Social Security withdrawal advice.
  • Is there way to save a surviving spouse from the higher tax rates as a single filer?
  • How to invest extra money after 403b contributions?
Jun 21, 2021
Advisors: Quit Lying

Most of the people selling financial products are misleading their clients and deluding themselves. Are you one of the honest brokers or "advisors?" Is your advisor telling you the truth.

Then, callers want to know:

  • Does it make sense to pay capital gains taxes on real estate or defer them?
  • Why would an advisor suggest actively managed, complex bond funds?
  • How do users read their RisQuiz?


Jun 18, 2021
The Switch to ETFs

A few Dimensional funds (DFA) are now available to the public as exchange-traded funds (ETFs). ETFs has now reached the point where the right kind of ETF (passive or index) can be superior to a comparable mutual fund.

Plus, we hear from a listener who is ready to follow our advice, to a point.

Jun 17, 2021
Take Up Farming?

Someone else predicts the demise of of balanced portfolios and suggests replacing them with farms. 

A famous soccer player kicks $ 4 billion off Coke's price.

Should I-Bonds be a part of an emergency fund.

Jun 16, 2021
Copious Questions

Another special episode after Don discovers that the weekend show on KOMO was not recorded. We head back to our large quantity of questions. Since they're written, utilize AI to act as readers to ask:

  • Does it make sense to use I-Bonds in stead of tax-free bonds?
  • What's wrong with paying taxes from an IRA when converting to a Roth?
  • When to sell overpriced mutual fund "C" shares?
  • What should be done with a strange mix of actively managed mutual funds? 


Jun 15, 2021
Monday Q&A
00:19:54, Don answers a lot of your questions:

Does it make sense to roll 403b plans into a Vanguard IRA?

Should a 15-year old buy his dream car or settle for less?

Is there a reason to move from a great portfolio of funds into ETFs?

Can I-Bonds be used as an emergency fund?

Would is make sense to move a target-date 401k into a Fidelity IRA?

Jun 14, 2021
Houses on (Figurative) Fire

Home prices are through the roof (I know, too easy). Houses is on fire (sorry). Yet, the real estate market has been hot this year. Is there anything you should be doing to take advantage of this crazy market?

Plus, a listener wonders if there are better, cheaper options to Fidelity Balanced fund.

Jun 11, 2021
Busting 3 Money Myths

There are a number of money myths that get shared as fact.

In this edition of the Talking Real Money and Sound Investing, Tom, Don, and Paul Merriman each discuss a popular financial assertions:

  1. Market timing is bad.
  2. There is no need to rebalance
  3. Everyone is entitled to high safe income on their money.
Jun 10, 2021
In Case of Diminished Capacity

An estimated 1 in 9 older Americans suffers from diminished mental capacity, making it difficult to make responsible financial decisions. What should you do to protect your portfolio from cognitive decline?

A listener wonders why we suggest Vanguard so often.

Jun 09, 2021
Did You Forget Something?

Over $1.6 TRILLION is languishing in old company retirement plans. Properly invested, this money could fund a lot of great retirements.

A new investor wants some investing ideas.

A caller wonders if precious metals are good inflation hedges.

A woman has a lot of CDs coming due and wants some investing advice.

Another listeners seeks our opinion on Vanguard High-Yield and Liberty All-Stars.

Does free popcorn make AMC a better investment?

Jun 08, 2021
Pandering Advisors

Financial advisors too often tend to tell you what you want to hear as opposed to what you need to hear. A good advisor will make you do what should be doing. You shouldn't be buying cryptocurrencies.

We also talk about conflicted advice, like the many financial products that Dave Ramsey "recommends" for a fee. These include problematic timeshare resellers.

A listener has a slight difference with our RMD advice for IRAs.

We discuss some silly post Covid "smart money moves."

A caller has a friend who wants to move a TSP into an indexed annuity product.

Another is seeking advice on the tax ramifications of moving money from an IRA to a Roth.

Jun 07, 2021
Overthinking Portfolio

In our zeal to get the perfect portfolio, we sometimes lose track of the big picture. In other words, a strong plan managed properly doesn't need tweaking.

What's our opinion of Dave Ramsey's recommendation of Zander ID theft insurance?

What's the best way to deal with a higher-fee American funds 401k from Edward Jones that offers a decent match?

Jun 06, 2021
Prediction From the Past

It's the two-thirds Bob from Lynwood episode as we try to catch up with listeners questions:

First, Bob wants to know how accurate a newsletter precuction was from 20 years ago.

Then, Bob is back for our opinion of I-Bonds.

Finally, a more involved question about using tax-free bonds in a portfolio.

Jun 05, 2021
Question Everything

Businesses promise much but deliver as little as possible. Make sure you're getting the services and products you deserve by becoming your own advocate.

Plus, we take a question on the ongoing emotional battle between investing and paying off a mortgage.

Jun 04, 2021
Dump Dumb Dow

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is 125 years old. While it should have been retired 50 years ago, Don and Tom discuss why it should no longer be the benchmark for "the market."

Plus, we take a question about variable annuities and the insurance industry's ludicrous argument that surrender fees are actually good for you.

Jun 03, 2021
US Backed High Yield

With 10-year Treasury Notes yielding a paltry 1.6%, it must be impossible to get over 3% from a US government-backed bond. Wrong, Tom and Don share a practically risk-free place to park up to $10,000 that's currently earning 3.5%.

Plus, a whole lot of calls on:

  • Stable-value funds, vs bond funds.
  • An alternative to Wellesley Income.
  • Another renting versus buying question.
  • Determining when to move lump-sum pension to IRA.
  • Investing for a child's education.
  • A crypto trader who's ready to start building a real portfolio.


Jun 02, 2021
Finding Common Ground

Today, we talk about the different ways couples feel about investing money and share a simple way to meet in the middle.

We discuss when it might make more sense to rent than to buy a home.

We take more questions than we expected for a holiday weekend:

  • What to do with house building funds?
  • Tom corrects a previous mistake about Washington's upcoming capital gains tax.
  • What should be done with some long-held land?
  • Is there an issue with an investment advisor becoming a contractor?



Jun 01, 2021
Wealth Killing Emotions

Our brains are wired to make bad financial decisions. Tom and Don talk about why you need to take charge of your emotions to make money.

Plus, a listener wonders if they should sell their home to take advantage of the crazy real estate market.

May 28, 2021
Be the Market

Today, on our joint Talking Real Money/Sound Investing podcast, Don and Paul Merriman discuss index funds and why they are the only way to build a decent portfolio. It's almost impossible to beat the market, so just be the market.

Paul and Don show you:

  • The best indexes to own based on science.
  • Keeping costs low.
  • The differences between funds and ETFs.
  • How to maintain your long-term discipline.

Visit Paul at


May 27, 2021
Designation Confusion

There are over 200 financial professional designations. Most are practically meaningless. There are better ways to select an expert.

Plus, a listener wonders if there's a reason to lock in a profit within a Roth IRA?

May 26, 2021
Is All Debt Bad?

Americans have been paying off record amounts of debt which is good, to a point. There is some debt that is often better left alone.

Plus, are you entitled to a decent return with no risk?

Another caller driven episode waits with questions about:

  • Capital gains taxes on a quit-claimed house.
  • Diversifiying retirement investments.
  • Investing new found money (our most popular questions).
  • Increasing a portfolio's return.
  • Finding a better mutual fund.
  • Parking a home down payment.
May 25, 2021
A Little Here, A Little There...

Making a few small strategic changes to your portfolio can add huge gains in the future.

Plus, we are swamped with questions:

  • Starting with a four question caller: IRA Crypto, Early SS, Roth conversion, Emergency funds
  • Giving money to a child? What are the alternatives?
  • What do we think of automatic 401k investments?
  • Move a 401k to Fidelity funds to save on fees?
  • What's the best way to take money out of retirement accounts?

Plus, we talk about the funding problems most people will face in retirement.



May 24, 2021
Crypto No More

Cryptocurrencies, as we know them today, have no future. Crypto advocates are just too stubborn or greedy to acknowledge their demise. Certainly, digital currencies have potential, but BitCoin and it's breathren are already on the way out. Won't you hate being the greatest fool?

We take two questions on when to take required minimum distributions (RMDs)

Finally, the host of the Simple Money, Simple Life podcast calls to thank us for inspiring him.

May 21, 2021
Who Do You Trust?

The vast majority of financial advice comes from one of three groups:

  • Prognisticators (fortune tellers)
  • Promoters (people pitching products)
  • Preveracators (bald-faced liars)

Who should you trust:

  • Well-vetted academics.

Plus questions on:

  • The total costs of using a fee-only advisor?
  • When is it time for a new advisor?


May 20, 2021
Risk Required

Risk underpins everything we do. Risk is why investing makes money. Without risk there is no return. Yet, there are many kinds or risk and investors can avoid much of it with a plan.

Then we take your questions:

  • Does it make sense to wait to build a new house?
  • Is a living trust better than a will?
  • What should I do with money I can't stand the thought of losing?
May 19, 2021
Home Buying Frenzy

Home prices are up like crazy. What should you do?

Plus, those selling investment property are being pitched DSTs. Can these complex, expensive tax dodging "investments" live up to the hype?

Generally, complex investments are best avoided.

Does it make sense to pay off your mortgage?

Three topics from a listener: Markets must go down? Self-directed IRAs? Local scams?

How can you avoid being ripped off?

How to invest for approaching retirement in the TSP?

A caller meant to enroll in 401k plans in the past. Can she go back and get the company match?

May 18, 2021
If Inflation Returns...

How should you invest in times of rising prices? There is no way to know if inflation has returned or we're experiencing a pricing blip. The good news is that there are many sensible ways to hedge you portfolio against inflation without taking unneccesary risk with gold or commodities.

A listener looks for advice on investing in small cap funds through Vanguard.

We discuss the right portfolio size for a massively diversified portfolio.

A first time talk radio caller looks for REIT investing advice.

We consider better ways to get a 4% income stream from your portfolio.


May 17, 2021
Faulty Financial Feelings

Tom and Don explore how "investors" react to news and events and explain how your fiscal feelings can hurt you.

We start with Elon Musk's recent appearance and the effect it had on the price of Dogecoin. Then we go on to look at variety of other behaviors that can harm you financially.

A listener looks for advice and worries that Dave Ramsey's investing advice may not be the best idea.

May 14, 2021
Picking the Right Funds

Welcome to another joint Talking Real Money/Sound Investing podcast. Today, Don, Paul, and Tom update you on the latest cryptocurrency news.

Plus, with more than 10,000 mutual funds and ETFs available in the US, how do you choose the best ones for your portfolio?

May 13, 2021
Retiring Early?

If you are considering early retirement, you need to consider the possible pitfalls and must have a well thought out plan.

Plus, a listener asks for the best mix of bond maturities for his portfolio.

May 12, 2021
Supporting Adult Kids

A lot of baby boomers are still supporting their adult children.

When does it make sense to convert an IRA to Roth.

Why don't we spend more time talking about speculating?

Should more money be invested in consumer staples for stability?

What to do with two houses?

When is the best time to take required minimum distributions?

May 11, 2021
Following the Crazy Crowd

People are following all manner of crazy investments. While many will plunge to financial oblivion, you can avoid the fall by avoiding the hottest stuff.

Excited about "investing" in crypto? Don shares the "incredible" list of businesses that accept the big one, Bitcoin.

What kind of advice should you expect from your "financial advisor" (a meaningless moniker)?

What the heck is a TFRA? Ah, yet another trumped up acronym to help some "financial advisor" (in this case, insurance agent) sell you something that makes them a huge commission.

A caller wonders when a tax-free, municipal bond fund makes sense.


May 10, 2021
Financial Fee Fury

A new listener is outraged at the fee structure of fee-only investment advisors. Don addresses his concerns.

May 08, 2021
Another Q&A Friday

Don answers five of your questions on:

  • How should mom invest a small windfall for a more comfortable retirement?
  • What is the difference between a bond mutual fund and a bond ETF?
  • A "financial advisor" recommends an annuity or universal life. Is the a better idea?
  • How can she avoid having her mortgage sold to Wells Fargo?
  • Sell a house that needs a lot of work now or fix it and sell it later?


May 07, 2021
Is 60/40 Dead Yet?

Reports of the 60/40 portfolios death have been grossly exaggerated. Seriously? What are the alternatives to bonds in a well-diversified portfolio?

Then we takes questions about:

  • Differences between US vs international bond investing?
  • Which Fidelity funds to use in a self-directed retirement account?
May 06, 2021
Sell in May? Go Away.

"Sell in May and go away." Wall Street has been saying this for decades based on the believe that summers have been bad for equities. What are the facts?

Plus, we share the tale of dumber investment than GameStop, a tiny $100 million New Jersey deli.

May 05, 2021
The Realities of Berkshire Hathaway

We start with a special YouTube channel update.

Then, we talk a bit about Buffett. Is he the best stock picker ever, just lucky, or something else?

Listeners ask questions about Roth IRAs and tax-efficient mutual funds.

We discuss Tom's $43 dollar hamburger order.

Caller want to know when to start converting a portfolio to retirement cash and whether to use ETFs in tax-advanr=taged accounts.

May 04, 2021
Retiring Early? Why?

Survey's show that record numbers of older American's plan on retiring early. Do you have a plan for both the money and the life you want to live.

Plus, YouTube ban's Talking Real Money's video feed for no apparent reason. Still waiting for a resolution.

What's up with Warren Buffetr's Berkshire Hathaway? Is it really doing badly?

Will Amazon rule the world of retail (and more)? Many years ago another company had a similar reputation.

Plus, we take some listener questions.


May 03, 2021
Trampled by YouTube

CORRECTION: Please contact the CEO of YouTube, Susan Wojcicki at

Why was Talking Real Money banned from YouTube? We have no clue. Do they believe that talking about cryptocurrencies will somehow incite violence? We are truly baffled. So, here is the latest on our battle with this giant division of Google and a plea for you help.

Please ask the Google CEO to look into this by sending him an e-mail:



May 02, 2021
Best Way to Balance Portfolio

Don takes a question about the best way to allocate Paul Merriman's 10-fund portfolio.

Plus, he shares the story of YouTube's inexplicable takedown of our first video podcast and cancellation of our "Talking Real Money" YouTube channel.

May 01, 2021
NEW: Tom, Don, and Paul

Watch the video on Vimeo or at

Welcome the first episode of something new.

After working together for many years, Paul Merriman, Tom Cock and Don McDonald are teaming up for a new audio/video podcast every two weeks. The audio podcasts will become a part of both the Talking Real Money and Sound Investing podcast feeds.

In episode one, we share of thoughts and opinions about the various crytocurrencies like BitCoin and discuss the technology behind it.

Apr 30, 2021
Disciplined Buying and Selling

Proper rebalancing is more important than ever, but it needs to involve both buying and selling.

Plus, another listener has a beef about our advice to shop for insurance.

Apr 29, 2021
Social Security Q&A

Tom and Don answer common questions about Social Security.

Plus, a listener is looking for our favorite small cap fund.

Apr 28, 2021
Hottest Consumer Scam

One of the biggest problems people have is our belief that we can get everything we want. This is true for investing and romance.

Then, lots of questions and comments:

  • How to choose a mortgage lender
  • You can move directly between a Vanguard fund and its ETF.
  • We are chewed out for our insurance shopping advice.
  • Are muni bond gains taxable?
  • Why don't we talk more about retirement lifestyles?
  • A real estate agent shares his perspective on mortgage lenders.
  • Does it make sense to use Roth IRA money to buy a second house.
Apr 27, 2021
Stocks Hot. Now What?

We may be nearing peak insanity in almost every financial markets. So, now what should you do with your money?

Plus, we take a lot of calls:

  • Starting over and wondering whether to buy a house or invest.
  • A long-term 100% stock investor nears $3 million. It is time for bonds?
  • As she nears retirement, what should be done with 401k?
  • Why is one international fund doing better than another?
  • How to invest for retirement in your 30s?
Apr 26, 2021
Why Not Berkshire?

On today's QQRR, Don takes a question about the differences between Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway and total market index funds.

Apr 24, 2021
A Big Day for Q&A

This is a great problem to have. Too many questions piling up. So, today Don dives into a bunch of them:

Does it make sense to convert an elderly woman's IRA into a Roth for beneficiaries?

A guy tries to pitch his friend on the benefits of Primerica.

Does it makes sense to have earthquake insurance?

What is a good tax efficient fund?

What should be done with an actively managed Fidelity fund that is paying out lots of gains.



Apr 23, 2021
Be an Imperturable Investor

There is a powerful case for financial stoicism. As an investor there is very little we can control, so it pays to concentrate on those and ignore all of those things over which you have no power.

A caller is heartbroken over a delayed investment.

Missing the best 10 days and you missed a lot. What about missing the 10 worst days?

Apr 22, 2021
More Than Just Investing

In addition to helping you invest better, we also want to help you spend less (while still enjoying life to its fullest).

Why do we talk about bonds being risky?

Jim Rogers is (perpetually) bearish. What should investor do?


Apr 21, 2021
Just Making It Worse

Whatever the markets have done tell you nothing about what they will do. So, stop trying to guess the future. You'll just make it worse.

Is an ultra-short-term bond fund as safe a money market fund?

Do US debt levels make us nervous?

Investing overseas makes even more sense.

Why are speculators believeing Hertz?

How much is a katrillion?

The wrong question gets asked...again.

How many countries back their currency with gold?

Apr 20, 2021
Investing Your Conscience

We discuss the growth of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investing. Is it something you want and how much should it cost.

As part of an effort to reduce the hodgepodge, which agrressive growth index funds make sense.

We take a call about the world's preminent gag cryptocurrency, Dogecoin.

Are there any drawbacks to using bond ETFs?

What should be done with financial gifts to grandchildren?

Where should $100K be parked for 18 months?

Apr 19, 2021
QQRR: Need a Bigger Umbrella?

In a possible new weekend edition of Talking Real Money, Don takes on a single question:

This episode he explores the question of liability insurance. Do higher net worth individuals need greater coverage to protect themselves from torts? 

Apr 17, 2021
A New Way to Q&A

Rather than have Don read the questions he answers we decided to employ some robot readers to read your typed in questions:

  • How should retirement funds be allocated?
  • What do we think about Capital Group (American Funds) and "C" shares?
  • Why don't we suggest mid-cap funds?


Apr 16, 2021
What To Expect

What kind of return can you expect from stocks? No one can possibley know, but Professor Roger Ibbotson guesses it will be less than what we've experienced in the past.

Plus, an 82-year old man is getting divorced and wanst to know what to do after a property sale.

Apr 15, 2021
Beware of Affinity Scams

One of the greatest crooks of all time kicks the bucket. Yet, investment scams continue, including one involving a grandmother ripped off by her own grandsons.

Plus, a caller wants to know what to do with an old managed USAA account that is now at Schwab.

Apr 14, 2021
Too Much Cash?

American have huge sums of money making very little.

Is Tesla fairly valued?

Callers ask:

  • What can be done with cash in a complex self-directed IRA?
  • What should be done with money-losing stocks?
  • What do we think of Ed Slott's generic IRA advice?
  • What should be done with a piece of commercial property before retirement?
  • Where to park down payment money?
Apr 13, 2021
Touting Big Numbers

Mutual funds will soon be bragging about their impressive one-year returns thanks to the elimination of March 2020 numbers. Pay NO attention to short-term performance.

What kind of dividend is better?

After selling a house what should be done with the money?

Does it make sense to transfer money from mutual funds to ETFs?

Even after a great year for stocks, we tend to focus on the bad parts of our portfolios, namely bonds.


Apr 12, 2021
The Next Market Adventure?

WARNING: It's Friday, so we left some errors intact ('cause they're funny)

Is "the market" going up or down? Choose your answer. Tom and Don share a better way to plan for the future of stocks.

A listener takes us to task for our annuity criticisms.

A truly unique episode you don't want to miss.

Apr 09, 2021
Stop the Financial Lies

The financial industry is overflowing with liars and the regulators know it. However, their feeble attempts to improve transparency meet with consistent failure. What's the solution? Should everyone be a fiduciary, all the time?

Plus, a listen is concerned about potential transaction fees in a self-directed brokerage 401(k).

Apr 08, 2021
Free Steak Dinners are Back

Oh, how I have missed the free steak dinner pitches over the past year. Covid must have really put a dent in the indexed annuity sales. Well, they're back and badder than ever.

Apr 07, 2021
Is Investing Like Pickleball?

We examine the claim in Kiplinger's that pickle ball and investing are similar.

After moving American Funds to Vanguard, is the allocation similar?

What's our opinion of SSIRS, a retirement income strategy.

The Motley Fool shares what should you do to prepare for the stock market bubble?

What are the tax ramifications of a parent's gifts?

Will a public employee face a lower Social Security payment?

Looking for a strategy to reduce a spouses future taxes.

Another caller tried to time the market and failed.


Apr 06, 2021
Not Getting Rich Quick?

Finally, the Motley Fool that we should stop trying to get rich quickly. However, their simple advice is seriously lacking.

Then we talk about a caller's hodgepodge portfolio.

Then, we hear from a school employee who gets sent to an insurance salesperson for 403b investing advice. Insurance has no place in any qualified retirement plan.

Finally, we are appalled to hear about a stockbroker who invested an 87-year old woman's money in risky stocks. We try to help her son create a better portfolio.

Apr 05, 2021
Hedge Funds Are Illogical

Why would a main stream publication like US News publish an article on investing in hedge funds? Does investing in hedge funds make sense for anyone. Don explores the (pros?) and cons of these exclusive products.

Plus, a listener is outraged by an article that trys to discourage saving and investing for retirement.

Apr 02, 2021
Enough Money for Life?

How to plan for a lifelong income in retirement. Social Security won't cut it.

Does it make sense to convert an expiring term life policy into pricey cash value life?

Which fund group is best for a 529 plan?

Apr 01, 2021
Homes Don't Grow

Home prices rose at the highest level in 15 years. That doesn't make a home a great investment. We discuss the financial realities of real estate.

A caller wants to know if a pension counts as a his fixed income portfolio.


Mar 31, 2021
Income from Dividend Stocks?

Everyone seems to be looking for an alternative to traditional fixed income investments. Are dividend paying stocks a good source of safe retirement income? 

Are fixed annuities a safe alternative to bonds? 

Is it wise to buy a new home in Arizona and rent the original home?

Real estate is not always as hot as you'd like to believe. Plus, it's illiquid.

Managing your money is not as easy as it seems.

Selling two houses and capital gains taxes.


Mar 30, 2021
Any Idiot Could Make Money

In a market like this, monkeys throwing darts would have made money. A rising stock markets feels good, but doesn't mean you know anything about the future (because you don't).

Many of today's callers want to know the same thing: How can I make more money on my fixed income portfolio without taking more risk?

How to use joint tenancy as an estate planning tool.

Finally, do you prefer nice furniture of low fees?

Mar 29, 2021
Fools, Damned Fools, and Motley Fools

Nobody writes a more muddled and misleading headline than the folks at Motley Fool. They're great at getting your attention, just short on valuable information.

A listener gives Don a new opportunity to pontificate about Infinite banking or Bank on Yourself schemes.

Plus, we're extending the Retiremeet video viewing deadline.

Mar 26, 2021
It's Not in the Stars

Morningstar is really reaching to make a case for the "value" of their star ratings. 

Plus a listener wants to know if he can DRIP into mutula funds.

Mar 25, 2021
The World Didn't End

It has only been a year since the stock markets experienced one of the biggest panics in years. Did you sell? What have equities done since?

Plus a caller wants to know if a pension can be considered a bond substitute.

Mar 24, 2021
Annuity Income Illusions

One of the insurance companies big fibs is the immediate annuity income illusion. While they claim to provide an income of 5%, you are getting nothing close to an actual 5% return on your investment.

Insurance salespeople want you to believe they pay more and are safer than they are. We share the real returns you can expect from the safest of annuities and it's not very much.

Sticking with insurance, we take a question about ads from a firm called LifeRates of America.

Then we field more listener questions on

  • How an expat can open a Roth IRA in the US.
  • The best portfolio allocation (again).
  • The difference between "A" and "C" mutual fund shares.
  • The proper allocation between taxable and tax-advantaged accounts.
Mar 23, 2021
Stimulus Suggestions

We look at the bad ideas for using your stimulus checks and share some better recommendations for making the most of this free money.

Did we correctly predict the rise of small-cap value stocks?

We answer listeners questions on:

  • The wisdom of buying extra pension income.
  • The best way to split assets between tax-advantaged and taxable accounts.
  • Is it better to take Social Security at full retirement age or wait?
  • Why suggest market cap weighting of US and international stocks.
Mar 22, 2021
Expecting the Same Result

It seems like every decade or so we need to re-learn past lessons about chasing the latest hot investment ideas. Remember when people lost a lot of money on initial public offerings (IPOs)? Now the hot trend is investing in special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs - also know as "blank check" companies). Remember, those who don't learn from the past are desined to repeat it.

Don has an update on Thursday's question about Wells Fargo advisory fees.

A listener has questions about collecting an older spouses Social Security and wonders if she should have money in taxable accounts?

Mar 19, 2021
Don't Try This At Home

Once again, the facts prove that active mutual fund managers consistently fail to beat their benchmarks, yet most investors still believe that they can still win big.

Then, we take listeners questions on:

  • Removing excess contributions from Roth IRA.
  • Comparing Wells Fargo's DSIP with index funds.
Mar 18, 2021
Most Advice is Bad

Don gives his state of financial advice address. He starts with a claim by Jim Cramer on CNBC's Mad Money that a stock market bottom can be predicted and then objects to claims that a bunch of financial apps will turn you from a speculator into an investor.

Then, a mom calls in with the story of her wise investing son and the bad advice received from a Fidelity "advisor."

Mar 17, 2021
Bonds Stink!

We get it, you don't want bonds in your portfolio. So, what are the options? Do you really believe that the stock market will stay hot forever or that you possess the magical talents needed to get out before it falls?

We also discuss the dilemma posed by the question (and TV show) Marriage or Mortgage?

Listeners want to know:

  • How to catch up on saving for retirement after a divorce?
  • Does it make sense to wait a year to collect Social Security?
  • Can RMDs be moved into a Roth IRA?
  • Do two 529 plans make more sense than one?
  • What should a young investor do to save for retirement?
Mar 16, 2021
The Value of Diversification

We constantly preach diversification, but our words often fall on deaf ears. For more than a decade, value and small-cap stocks have underperformed. Over long periods, value and small have ourperformed growth and large. However, you will never know when various asset classes will lag or soar.

Plus, we compare Vanguard, Fidelity and Avantis small cap value funds and discuss how you should build an equity portfolio.

What should be done with a bunch of equity in a home?

Don shares the story of time zones.

After winning lawsuit a caller wants to know where to put it.

Why have his 401k Fidelity funds done so poorly when Fidelity Small-Cap Value has risen 29%?

Mar 15, 2021
Make Money Mechanically

It's hard for new investors to get started. One of the best ways to start building long-term wealth is by setting up automatic investing as early as possible. Don share some ideas.

With our inbox overflowing with written questions Don discusses:

  • Vestory's merger with Apella Capital and our sucession plan.
  • The issue of rebalancing and taxes.
  • What to do with paper stock certificates
  • Investing advice for a beginner.
Mar 12, 2021
Stay Away from SPACs

SPACs are nothing more than the latest gimmick to grab your money. Don't fall for the hype.

A listener with a unique retirement matching strategy looks for the best way to invest.

Plus, we share our latest bad review from Apple Podcasts.

Mar 11, 2021
Retirement Planning Mistakes

Planning for retirement is hard. Yet, many of us believe we have it under control when we don't.

Plus, what do you need to do is you funded a Roth IRA then discover you make too much to qualify?

Mar 10, 2021
The Search for a Fiduciary

We are inundated with calls this episode. So, we start with the age old question: How do you find an honest financial advisor who will ALWAYS work in your best interests?

Then we discuss:

  • The tax impacts of selling a home.
  • Ideas for investing rental house profits.
  • After selling stocks in March, what to do with the cash.
  • How do you determine whether you'll have enough retirement income


Mar 09, 2021
ARK Fund Floudering

The ARK Innovation ETF has been all over the news after posting huge gains. Just as money started flooding, ARK started sinking.

Everyone wants to be the next ARKK, so we explore the "buzz" surrounding the latest "innovative" ETF, BUZZ.

Plus, we discuss the eases with which Crypto markets can be manipulated after "crazy" rich guy, John McAfee is accused of playing illegal crypto games.

We also here from listeners with:

  • A question about hold long a fund should exists and how big it should be before investing.
  • Another comment about Tom's "cash is trash" statements.
  • A question about using the proceeds from a reverse mortgage to "invest" in BitCoin, gold, and stocks.


Mar 08, 2021
Scam Review Scam

We discovered that we were targeted by a Russian online scam involving scam websites.

Listeners ask about:

  • A cash value life insurance policy that has turned in to modified endowment contact.
  • Taking a flyer on a BitCoin mutual fund.
Mar 05, 2021
All-Time Highs Again?

A lot of folks seem worried that stock prices are near all-time highs. Do they think that the stock market will eventually stop rising completely? Stop worrying. Rising stock markets are normal.

A listener looks for investing advice for when he can no-longer fund tax-advantaged retirement accounts.

Plus, Don goes off on annuities in teacher's 403b plans and the unions that are complicit in this  blatant rip off of educators.

To wrap up, Tom and Don share old Civil War stories for no apparent reason.

Mar 04, 2021
Cash No Longer King?

Many have proclaimed  that "cash is king" in the past, but in today's low rate environment is hoarding cash a financial mistake?

Plus, a listener wants our opinion of the actively managed Fidelity Balanced fund.

Mar 03, 2021
Privileged People Portfolios?

A mutual fund for wealthier investors gets into trouble promising high returns with low risk.

Don rants about the continued sorry state of 403b investment options for teachers.

Charlie Munger gets called old (hey, he's just 97) for saying that Robinhood is bull****.

Plus, lots of listeners questions:

  • How to invest a small financial windfall?
  • What are the expected returns for various stock/bond allocations?
  • What to with the proceeds from a rental house sale?
  • How to transfer money out of a 401k and give wife a little cash?
Mar 02, 2021
Bond Yields Also Rise

Does the recent pop in interest rates spell the demise of bonds? We discuss bond investing and the primary reason for investing in them.

Are shoes footwear or investments?

Listeners contact us about:

  • Concerns over Vanguard working with a Chines firm.
  • The safety of online CDs.
  • Tom's comments about was.
  • Worries about investing in bonds (see).
  • Buying a house now with FHA or waiting to save a 20% down payment.
Mar 01, 2021
Silly Investing List

Don recently appeared on the "Stacking Benjamins" podcast and played a game based on a list of ten great investor habits. None of the "contestants" did well because the list was a bit weird. We go through the list and try to explain it.

Plus, we take a complex question from a listeners on asset allocation concerns, Fidelity Zero funds, and building a bond portfolio.

Feb 26, 2021
Finally, Commission Skeptics

Finally, investors are beginning to mistrust commissioned financial advice providers. If someone receives a commission for selling financial products that are not acting as your fiduciary!

Plus, a listener asks about the best options to pay for long-term care.

Feb 25, 2021
The Demise of 60/40

Many financial pundits believe that, due to low rates, you need to move away from a traditionaly balanced retirement portfolio. They suggest that you move your safer fixed income investments into riskier higher yielding securities.

Listeners want to know about:

  • Moving money into Roth better in 401k or IRA?
  • The best ways to make future chariable contributions.
Feb 24, 2021
New Investor Truths

Tom and Don share some valuable truth about what is and isn't investing for your future. 

Plus, a listener has questions on possibly transferring non-deductible IRA to a Roth and wants to know what can be done with a non-traded security.

Feb 23, 2021
Clear as Mud "Investments"

Don has railed against indexed annuities for years. Now, John Rekenthaler from Morningstar joins a huge chorus of EIA naysayers.

Why do we keep fooling ourselves about our predictive talents.

Another stupid crypto update and Doge Coin vs. Dumb Coin.

Plus, callers ask about:

  • Using retirement money to buy a house
  • Paying off a mortgage vs investing.
  • The best way to change a portfolio's asset allocation.
Feb 22, 2021
Meet RetireMeet

A note from Don:

Saturday, February 20th is RetireMeet America, our biggest live event ever. As the creator, designer, MC, presenter, and main tech guy, I have been swamped and didn't have time to create a podcast for today. Instead, I created a short recording about the live event and how it works.

Therefore, this podcast will not be of much interest after 2/20/21. In face, I will probably delete it after that. I hope to "see" you at RetireMeet. If you can't make it we hope to have videos of the classes available in a couple of weeks at

Feb 19, 2021
Women Better, More Timid

A recent study shows that women put less money in stocks. While they tend to be better more disciplined investors, everyone needs stocks in their portfolio. There's a better way.

Plus, a caller wants our source for securities data.

Feb 18, 2021
Roaring Kitty Bites

Aftet investigating the big Rediit-fueled run up of GameStock stock (GME) may have been illegal front-running. The SEC has filed suit against the former broker known as "Roaring Kitty."

Plus, we try and help a woman invest a bunch of money that has been sitting around doing nothing for years.

Feb 18, 2021
Investing Backward

To paraphrase a famous President: Don't ask what to do with your money. Ask first what your money needs to do for you. Investor keep asking the wrong questions. What should you be asking?

Then, lots of calls and other fun stuff:

  • What should be done with prevviously restrivted stock units?
  • What should be done with an old pension?
  • His son wants him to "invest" in BitCoin
  • Don shares his Tesla/Bitcoin Index
  • Does it make sense to use future gains to help provide income in retirement?
  • Does Forex trading make sense?
Feb 16, 2021
Don't Feed Permabears

We check back in with a couple of our "favorite" purveyors of doom, A. Gary Shilling and Harry Dent to see if there forecasts have come anywhere near true.

Tom gets a Social Security scam call.

We discuss the stupidity of the market:

  • How can a crypto joke have a multimillion dollar market cap?
  • How can AirBnB be worth more than three of the biggest hotel chains... combined?

Caller want to know:

  • If you can set up a Roth IRA for young snow shovelers.
  • Whether it's better to pay down debt or invest.


Feb 15, 2021
More Money Cheating

We hate to possibly ruin Valentine's Day, but apparently more people cheat financially than sexually. We discuss the problem and the reasons.

Plus, a listener wants to know if two funds are better than one.

Feb 12, 2021
Annuities in Retirement

Many need the security of a guaranteed income in retirement, but do immediate annuities make sense for most investors? Professor Wage Pfau wants to to believe they do.

Are equity indexed a decent way to make money with no risk?

Plus, a listener needs investing help for parents who are worried about the "current" environment.


Feb 11, 2021
Income Hunters

When you search for income on the web, you will probably find some really bad or even dangerous options. There is no magic to creating a livable income. You need a plan.

A high-income Ponzi scheme goes down.

We analyze a listener's mutual fund portfolio.

Feb 10, 2021
Diamond or Paper Hands?

What are diamond hands? How do they differ from paper hands? We checked out the strange world of the trading subreddit r/wallstreetbets. 

Then we take a unique call from a older man concerned for the welfare of his much younger (10) girlfriend who claims to have just come into $5 million.

Later, we explore the ARK of innovation, one of the hottest ETFs around.

We take lots of your questions on:

  • How to deal with old I Bonds.
  • The best way to convert and IRA to a Roth for tax purposes.
  • What to do with an old employer's retirement plan.
Feb 09, 2021
Inflation Ahead?

Just when you thought there was nothing new to worry about, the specter of inflation looms in the distance. If inflation does return what should you do?

Plus, we are inundated with calls on:

  • Parking money for a few months.
  • The performance of cash-value life insurance policies.
  • 401k and IRA creditors protections.
  • Giving up a power-of-attorney.
  • Investing new self-employment income for retirement.
  • How to stop worrying about the stock market.
Feb 08, 2021
Tax Time Again

As April 15th approaches, our thoughts turn to taxes. Be careful. Don't let tax considerations overrule smart investing decisions.

Listeners want to know:

  • Are no-load American or T. Rowe Price funds as good as Vanguard index funds?
  • Can a converted Roth be combined with a regular Roth?
Feb 05, 2021
Investing Is Dull

If you want excitement or huge gains, you're not an investor. Those are the attributes of gamblers. Recent events should help remind us that we can't beat the market, so it's better to be the market.

Plus, Don takes questions on:

  • Using Schwab target date funds
  • Deciding between a rollover into a new 401k or a rollover to Vanguard.
Feb 03, 2021
Feb 03, 2021
Disadvantages of Trading

Studies have determined that trading stocks reduces investors returns, is inherently risky and increases portfolio volatility. Why bother?

Plus lots of calls:

  • A dangerous ETF income portfolio.
  • Why did the market go down?
  • Determinng proper asset allocation.
  • Setting up charitable giving before death.
  • A disjointed investor is unhappy with returns yet wants little risk.
  • Diversifying among multiple IRAs.
Feb 02, 2021
GameStop and Grape-Nuts

Once again, Talking Real Money bites into another nutty "financial" story and we delve further into the instanity of the GameStop stock games. Plus, Paul Merriman drops by to share some ideas that could be woth millions.

Feb 01, 2021
Stupid Stock Speculators

It's just Don today lamenting the idiocy of crazed online stock traders again. If you're one of them, STOP NOW, before you lose real money.

Plus, Don takes a spoken question from loyal listener from the UK on fixed income allocations in the current economic climate and then heads back to US to talk international investing.

Jan 29, 2021
Trolling for Dolllars

The crazed buying of troubled stocks returns with a vengeance as compnaies like GameStop and AMC Entertainment get bid way up by a combination of inexperienced traders and Internet troublemakers. There could even be some illicit behavior.

Plus a caller wants to know about allocating her retirement investments in the few years before retirement. 

Jan 28, 2021
Totally Debt Free?

The are some (looking at you, Dave Ramsey) who believe that you should be totally debt-free. But, does it really make sense to pay off your home?

Tom and Don take your questions on:

  • Ways to reduce income taxes.
  • Are "Worthy Bonds" worthy of your investment?
Jan 27, 2021
Stocks and Bonds Defined

Investing 101

What is a stock? What is a bond? Real investing is betting on the future of the global economy.


  • How to best give money to grandchildren.
  • Places to park cash for two or three years.
  • Overleaded with real estate. Where to invest next.
  • The long-term differences between Roth and regular IRAs.
  • Using Vanguard Total Stock Market for kids.
  • managing unneeded money at age 70.
  • Investing ideas for $50k.
Jan 26, 2021
You'll Never Be Buffett

In a Wall Street Journal article, Jason Zweig implied that investors needed someone off of whom the could bounce ideas, like Warren Buffet's reliance on Charlie Munger. If you do need a money buddy, who should it be?


  • Is it a bad time to invest?
  • Could this be the beginning of the end of AAII?
  • Should you use a QLAC to avoid IRA distributions?
  • When getting out of individual stocks, where should the money go?
  • Are we in a stock bubble?
  • Does it make sense to play stock splits?
Jan 25, 2021
Investing In Troubled Times

What should you do if recent events are worrying you. Tom goes back to basics to help you stay on track.

Jan 23, 2021
It's Business, Not Personal

Many find themselves in financial trouble because they failed to seperate feeling from financial decisions.

Plus, Don answers a bunch of questions about:

  • A financial advisors fees.
  • The value of an international bond component.
  • A wife who wants to bet on hot active ETFs.
  • An all-purpose mutual fund versus three funds.
  • An Edward Jones broker versus do-it-yourself investing.
Jan 22, 2021
Last Year's Hottest Fund

ARKK posted triple-digit returns in 2020. Will this fund continue to be hot or is it another flash in the pan?

It's heavy duty question day as Don's inbox grows full. He answers questions on:

  • The need for an advisor.
  • The effectiveness of rebalancing.
  • Digital dollar vs gold.
  • Small cap or small cap value?
  • Does index investing still make sense.
  • Can index investing stop working?
Jan 21, 2021
Looking for Sure Things

We spend far too much time seeking certainty in our lifes and with our investments. Yet, if you want a decent return on your investments, you must take chances.

Jan 20, 2021
ETF: Exciting Thematic Fund?

There is nothing like a great story to get investor's excited. These days the are a ton of exchange traded funds (ETFs) that have a thrilling tale to tell. Should you be listening?

We share another question you need to answer before retiring.

Listeners look for our opinions on:

  • Morgan Stanley's suggestion of "private equity."
  • Building an apartment in the home for extra income.
  • Moving money from an old 401k to and IRA.
  • Social Security benefits for spouse after death or divorce.
  • The best time to take money out of investments to buy a car.
Jan 19, 2021
Ready to Retire?

A record number of baby boomers are retiring. Are you ready to join them? We share some powerful questions  to help you decide from Kiplinger Magazine:

  • How much longer can you work?
  • What will you do when your stop working?
  • Will you have enough money to retire comfortably?

Plus, a caller wants to retire early, but is worried about health insurance and a listener wants to move money from his Dave Ramsey reccomended stockbroker without huting his feelings.

Jan 18, 2021
Seeking More Women

Robin Hood has stated that it is trtying to attract more women, but are woman stock traders? Tom looks at how women invest and how you new investors should get educated.

Jan 17, 2021
Best Funds in the Future?

The folks at Zacks claim they can pick the best funds for the future. Don looks back at a few of their top picks from a year ago.

How much cash should one keep on hand?

Are there any problems taking money out of a taxable account to fund a Roth IRA?


Jan 15, 2021
Battling Bitcoin BS

BitCoin and other cryptocurrencies may be all the rage, but is the hype justified? Don discusses many of the potential problems with BitCoin and its ilk, again. 

Plus, he takes questions on using sector funds and how to buy a first home.

Jan 14, 2021
From Best to Worst?

Tom shares the hottest funds of 2020 and why you might want to avoid them in the future.

Jan 13, 2021
Stock Market's Next Stop?

Nobody expected 2020 to be a big year for equities. Now many fear we may be in a stock bubble. Tom and Don discuss the possibilities.


  1. What's the best Vanguard fund for modertate growth?
  2. Better to keep a target-date fund or use the TSP?
  3. With the market high does it make sense to sell and slowly buy back in?
  4. Is "longevity insurance" a good substitute for LTC insurance?
  5. What's a fair price for a financial plan and advisor?
  6. How can you fu=ind a godd fiduciary advisor?
  7. A broker put a risk averse investor into an expensive and volatile fund.
Jan 12, 2021
Trading is for Losers

We have always hated the pitches from Online Trading Academy. This organization has, for years, claimed that it could teach you how to get rich trading stocks. Finally, regulators have caught up with them.

A caller shares his experience with OTA.

We share advice about investing in the latest "hot" mutual funds.

There's an an easier alternative to "bucket" investing.

Managing money is not as complicated as we want to believe.

We answer some important RMD questions.

Jan 11, 2021
Market Bubbling Over?

No matter what we say, people still want to believe that the financial future can either be known or accurately anticipated. Did anyone expect that 2020 would turn out the way it did?

Plus, Don takes listeners questions on:

  1. is it better to use Vanguard, Schwab, or Fidelity?
  2. How much income can be expected from a portfolio in retirement?
  3. Does it make sense to move from stocks to bonds for long-term care needs?
Jan 08, 2021
Money (and Life) Lessons

Tom loves life lessons. Tom loves making money. That's why he adores these money and life lessons from Bill Gates and shares one of his own, too.

Jan 07, 2021
Bye, Bye Bad Funds

Good riddance to some bad funds. Tom shares a few ways to avoid bad investments and pick better ones.

Jan 06, 2021
It's Never Your Fault

So you failed to get back into stocks after they started rising in the Spring. Whose fault is it?

Are there hidden commissions in my 401k?

How long does money need to be in an IRA before a Roth conversion?

RMDs are back and, if you're over 72, it's time to calculate yours.

The attraction and dangers of margin debt.

Do Acorns funds underperform?

What will the "Marxists" do to Seattle?

Plus questions about the best vanguard fund for growth and the best Fidelity fund for income.

Jan 05, 2021
Beware of 14.5% Bonds

You know income investors have lost their minds when they start plutting money in high-yielding Uzbeki Som-denominated bonds.

We discuss the tax ramifications of various types of stimulus payments.

Musk moves up to #2 as Tesla stock soars.

With "safe" yields near zero where should investors fo for income (hint: not Uzbekistan).

With most investors paying more for less advice, we dive deeper into those notorious "liar-load" funds (AKA, C-shares).

Jan 04, 2021
New Year's Tips

As 2021 begins Tom shares some easy ideas and simple tips to improve your future financial life.

Jan 01, 2021
Lessons Learned

It's over! 2020 comes to a close and Tom takes this opportunity to share a few ideas that could lead to a better fiscal 2021.

Dec 31, 2020
Your Money AND Your Life

Sometime in our pursuit of money we lose track of the bigger picture. Tom shares his insights on what really matters in life and moneys place in the process.

Dec 30, 2020
Bitcoin is Gambling, Period

Call it what you may, Bitcoin is not and never will be an investment. Sure, someday it COULD be a viable currency. Are Yen or Euros investments?

Plus, we take questions:

  • How does one use Acorns?
  • Better to keep a TSP of transfer to new employer's 401(k)?
  • Is a Roth or Traditional account better?
  • What should you be doing to start the new year on the best financial footing?
  • Why don't we suggest the Fidelity Zero funds?
Dec 29, 2020
Investing is Personal

The future always feels unpredictable, because it is. Far too many "investors" believe investing is something that should be done at the "right" time.

Then, Don and Tom hear from listeners:

  • A policeman looking for rebalancing advice and our opinions on some niche funds.
  • Are there pitfalls to compnay offered mega backdoor Roth?
  • A bad broker mutual fund recommendation.
  • We share some figures from Fisher Investments.
  • How should a young investor play a potentially hot market?
Dec 28, 2020
Holiday Money Wishes

Merry Christmas! After much thought, Don's holiday wish is for a better financial services industry. Wouldn't it be great if you could trust those who provide fiscal advice as much as you trust your doctor?

Plus, answers to some big questions like:

  • What are alternatives to an overpriced "C" share fund from Merrill for a young man's retirement?
  • Why don't we suggest Fidelity "Zero" funds and what do we think of IFA?


Dec 24, 2020
Give a Future

Tom shares a very timely holiday gift that might last a lifetime and could help create lifelong security.

Dec 23, 2020
Bad Robin Hood?

Robin Hood keeps stirring up trouble with regulators and Don gives up his silly random trading experiment.

Then, we answer some of your questions:

  • Does a LIRP make sense for a retirement portfolio?
  • So, what makes us so darned special?
  • What to do after maxxing out retirement plans?
  • Why is the market rising in these trying times?

Plus, we look at the fees structure of many investment advisors and Santa drops by to get some unique gift ideas.

Dec 22, 2020
Tesla Dominates S&P 500

The Standard & Poors 500 is often referred to as "the market." However, a very few hot stocks tend to dominate this index and reduce your diversification. Why you need a truly diversified portfolio. later, we talk about the lack of trust among financial "advisors" and what could be done to improve it.

We hear from caller who want to know:

  • How much gold should be in a portfolio?
  • How to pick the "best" international fund?

Are the "hot" funds skilled or lucky?

What happens when "everyone" discovers the hottest funds?



Dec 21, 2020
Problem Free Solution

There's something new called "Direct Indexing." Why would anyone want to manage an index fund? Doesn't it cease being an index fund of you manage it?

Dec 18, 2020
Get Poor Quick

Day trading (heck, any kind of stock trading) will likely mess up your financial future. If you enjoy gambling, there are better ways to do it. No many lose over $100,000 in Las Vegas yet, with day trading, it's easy. 

Plus, day-trading poster site, Robin Hood is about to get spanked by regulators. Don also answers questions on:

  • The best place to put Roth IRA money for kids
  • Waiting for a 401k match and where to go with the money.
Dec 17, 2020
Financial Life Decisions

Tom talks about making financial and investing decisions when facing major life events.

Dec 16, 2020
Myopic Money Management

What are the odds that Us stocks will beat international stocks in any given year? Apparently you believe the rest of the world makes less than the United States. Tom and Don explain why global diversification makes sense.

Then, they take questions on:

  • Does a track record matters with index funds?
  • Do lower fees improve returns?
  • A couple a really terrrible ETFs that have lost 40% per year.
  • How to easily distribute retirement accounts to heirs.
Dec 15, 2020
How Much Should You Expect?

It's the time of year when financial professionals start predicting future returns. While we understand the need for return estimates, we also know that predicting is almost impossible. while the past isn't prologue, it can give you some hints.

Then, we answer questions on:

  • Making a million with international funds?
  • How do taxable accounts work and what are they good for?
  • Is it time to break a CD ladder to stretch for higher yields?
  • Where should a big retirement payout be invested?
Dec 14, 2020
Sell or Else

When 80% of "financial advisors" are barely making a living, there is huge incentive to sell at any cost to make their commission goal. Don shares his experience as a stock broker and compares it to the ethical quandary many stockbrokers still face today.

Plus, he answers questions about:

  • The best rebalancing strategy
  • The value of risk parity investing.


Dec 12, 2020
Seductive Stock Offerings

Initial Public Offerings: They entice you to buy with a sexy story, but is there any substance behind their pretty faces? Tom explores the tale of two IPOs.


Dec 11, 2020
Glitters, Doesn't Grow

There's a new bug going around, the gold bug. Once again, this shiny metal is being touted as a great "investment." Don explains again just how lousy (and dangerous) "investment" gold has been in the past.

Plus, listeners ask about:

  • Moving Apple stock from an inherited IRA to a taxable account.
  • The most volatile days of the week for stocks to dollar-cost market time.
Dec 10, 2020
Boomers Retiring Early

Many have been forced into retirement early or have been given the option to leave ahead of schedule. What should you do and how you plan for an early exit from the workplace?

Dec 09, 2020
Market Trading Casino

Robin Hood is seriously addictive and now we see why. Plus, Don rolls out a new random stock trading ongoing feature.


  • A previously worried investor who went on a buying spree.
  • A couple wants to purchase a second home and invest.
  • A long-time listener is tempted to try and time the market and the tax code.
  • A question on the wisdom of funding supplental retirement at work.
  • Another wonders why he has more bonds that he thought he did.
Dec 08, 2020
Tough Year to Invest

It has been a strange an upsetting year in many ways. It has been particularly tough on folks trying to stock with an investment plan.

Plus, a caller wonders what would happen if China sold all its US Bonds.


Dec 07, 2020
Forever Investing Rules

Financial publications love to tease with "The Top... to Do Now" type headlines. However, the basic rules of investing rarely change. Don explores "8 Investing Lessons from 2020" that are, in fact, timeless.

Plus, he answers questions about:

  • Moving money inside a Roth IRA
  • Avoiding taxes when rebalancing.
Dec 05, 2020
Risk and Return...

Some things just go together. Risk goes hand in hand with return. Don't be fooled into thinking that you can get high returns without taking on risk's mate: Risk.

Dec 04, 2020
Needless Alternatives

In this episode, Don looks at alternative funds, particularly the AQR Alternatve Risk Premia Fund. He compare this complex hedging offering with a more boring, traditional strategy using a bond fund.

Then, it's off to questions about:

  • Reducing volatility in the TSP by adding more volatile funds.
  • The best three funds to use at Fidelity.
Dec 03, 2020
Futile Financial Forecasts

It's that time of year again. The financial forecasters are making their predictions for 2021. Are they of any value?

Dec 02, 2020
High Yield Hazards

High-income vehicles are being pushed like crazy. The higher the yield the greater the risk. That means a 9+% ETF can suffer big losses.

We take a bunch of calls:

  • One,that makes us go, "wow!"
  • How to catch after a slow investing start.
  • The difference between owning bonds and bond funds.
  • Can a trust avoid trust compnay fees?
  • Is a real estate fund paying 5% a good investment?

Plus we look at current yields for fixed income investments.


Dec 01, 2020
Unloved Sectors Rise Again

It wasn't long ago that many declared small-cap, value, and emerging markets stocks dead. Last month they went from icy to sizzling.

A listeners parents were taken in by a bad insurance selling "advisor." Beware of insurance salepople making investing claims that just don't make sense.

A caller wonders if it makes sense to pay off a mortgage.

Another fears we will yell at him for having too much cash. We do.

Are there any good reasons to hoard cash?

Nov 30, 2020
Fees Can Kill (Returns)

Don explores the case of the incredibly expensive Victory Small Cap Emerging Growth fund and how it compares to someahet similar funds from Vanguard.

Then, he answers questions about:

  • The difference between putting cash in high-yield bank accounts or short-term bond funds.
  • What is Blooom and is it a good service?
Nov 29, 2020
Don't Buy What You Know

We prefer to invest in what we know, but we need far greater diversity to protect ourselves. Don shares an example of extreme home country bias from Canada, but it happens here, too.


  • a comment on experts propensity to claim they know more than they do.
  • A USAA investor wonders if their new mutual fund manager, Victory Funds, is any good.
  • Don shares his personal experience with USAA insurance.
Nov 28, 2020
Try to Die Broke?

Tom considers how you can have just enough money for the rest of your life:

  • How can you create a plan for income that last as long as you do?
  • How much will you need to retire comfortably?
  • How should you invest in retirement?
  • How can you maximize your withdrawal strategy?
Nov 27, 2020
The Best Time for Investors

For Thanksgiving 2020, Tom shares many of the reasons why today's investors should be grateful to live in the best of times for investing.

Nov 25, 2020
Cramer Blames Kids

Stocks aren't doing what Jim Cramer thinks they should do, so it must be  young people's fault. Maybe it's a good time for the Cramer Contrarian Strategy™.

The future: You can't know it.

How to find the best advisor: Trust, but verify.

$100,000 to invest for the long-term, but...

A Motley Fool's foolish investing "rule."

It's almost impossible to make more money with less risk.


Nov 24, 2020
No Money Magic

Many insurance salespeople will go to any length to convice you to buy their complex, convoluted, high-commission products (like Curtis Ray and his "MPI™ system"). Whole (or universal) life insurance is a bad investment no matter what they claim.

Why is this so hard to understand: Making more money REQUIRES taking more risk. PERIOD.

A house flipper is tired and wants to kove into REITs.

Does you financial "advisor" actually care about you?

The lies your broker tells you.

The difference between Vanguard advisors and full-service registered investment advisors.

How have Ken Fisher's investment picks really done?

Nov 24, 2020
Safety and Timing

There is a simple investing FACT that too many "investors" seem to ignore: There is no such thing as wealth without risk. If you want safety, you will not make money. If you want to make money, you must accept volatility.

Nov 22, 2020
Bad Advice on Bad Advice

In an Investopedia article on the best and worst investing advice, a freelance author provides some of the worst advice herself.

Plus, Don tries to help a listener in Hawaii with his TERRIBLE 403b plan that ONLY offers annuities.

Nov 22, 2020
Small is Back on Top

Many investors have fled small cap stocks over the past few years as the big firms have led the market. However, small compnay stocks are perking up and, over many years, have outperformed large cap stocks.

Nov 20, 2020
Give Investing, Not Gambling

In a recent column, Chuck Jaffe encouraged parents to help teach their kids investing by giving them shares of stocks. Tom thinks that is terrible advice, because it teaches kids that investing and stock picking are the same thing. Stock picking is gambling.

Nov 19, 2020
Ponzi Scheme Responsibility

Billions of dollars are lost every year to Ponzi schemes. Whose fault is it? In part it's ours because we suspend disbelief.

Please listeners contact us about:

  • Our opinion of ETFs versus mutal funds.
  • How to move assets to Vanguard.
  • A yound man's success story.
Nov 18, 2020
Retirement Comes First

A caller wants to know whether it makes more sense to fund a health savings account before a 401(k).

Another caller believes the US dollar is destined to collapse. Don and Tom share their opinions. 

Are there better funds than American Funds?

Tom discusses lessons to be learned from Congressional stock trading.

Plus, Paul Merriman stops by to share tips to supercharge your retirement.


Nov 17, 2020
Just Right Risk

Over five TRILLION dollars is sitting around earning almost nothing. Yet, instead of accepting a bit of extra return for slightly increased risk, many are jumping into dangerous investments without realizing.

Plus, callers want help:

  • Choosing between rolling an old 401k into a new 401k or IRA.
  • Investing a string of maturing US Savings Bonds.
  • Finding information on a suggested financial firm (they have a checkered past).
  • Staying with 401k in retirement or rolling into an IRA.
  • Deciding what to do with some old Franklin funds.
  • Understanding how the law of averages effects stock returns.
Nov 16, 2020
Motley Fool: You Can Win!

The Motley Fool wants you to believe you can be a better investor than professional mutual fund managers.

Plus, Don takes questions about:

  • Using this year's deferred RMD to fund a Roth.
  • Creating the right retirement portfolio allocation.
  • Should pensions or Social Security count a part of your fixed income allocation?
Nov 13, 2020
Emerging Markets Spring Back

You can never tell what will be hot and what will not. Emerging markets stocks have lagged for years, but recently they have been showing signs of life.

Nov 13, 2020
Bye, Bye Bitcoin Billion

Did hackers take it or did the original owner finally claim his huge cache of Bitcoin. It's not likely anyone will ever know.

Plus, Don helps callers:

  • Find our suggestions for the UW 403b plan.
  • Determine if buying silver makes sense.
  • Use the Robin Hood app.
  • Pick the best funds at Vanguard.
  • Choose between paying off mortgage, buying a building, or investing in stocks.


Nov 11, 2020
Hard to Predict

Predictions about the future, whether an election or financial markets is harder than it looks. You can't count on "expert" advice.

Plus, after some technical troubles, Don takes calls on:

  • Solving the low yield dilemma with inflation protection.
  • Protecting assets from Medicaid for heirs.
  • An salesperson's advice to buy a variable annuity with 401k money.
  • The pros and cons of paying off investment property mortgages.
Nov 10, 2020
Strange Times

Welcome to a strange show featuring technical challenges and:

  • Wow! What a week for... the stock market?
  • Don reads a note criticizing Tom's advice.
  • Can the markets be beaten?
  • Another Vanguard venting listener.
  • We share our 3-fund suggestions from Vanguard, Fidelity, and Schwab.
  • It's too easy to take out retirement money.
  • Should she take advantage of additional Boening retirement options?
  • The hottest market sector last week.
Nov 09, 2020
More Fund Choices

Vanguard HAS been the leader in broad-based index funds. Not anymore. We now have three fund group suggestions. See them all at

Nov 06, 2020
Wealth Secrets?

How do you make more money: work hard, spend less, save more, invest wisely. Building wealth is not a privileged process.

Plus, Don takes calls about:

  • The downside of fractional share investing.
  • Ways to make more than a miney market fund.
  • Is it time to flee Ameriprise?
Nov 04, 2020
Extra Income Risks

One of the biggest mistakes we make when managing our portfolio is failing to recognize the risks of reaching for greater yield.

What are companies doing with their excess cash? One seems to think that Bitcoin is safer than cash.

We hear from listeners about:

  • Our explanation of the election's effect on the markets.
  • Vanguard's disappointing customer service.
  • Avoiding the wash sale rule when moving money from one fund group to another.
  • The impact of changing rates on long-term bond funds.


Nov 03, 2020
Tricks, Treats, Birds, Bears, and Bucks

Tom and Don talk about tricks, treats, bucks (money), big birds, and bears. They also talk about the election and it's impact on the markets. Then take calls and comments from listeners on:

  • Is it okay to move to a Vanguard brokerage account?
  • Should he move an old 401(k) to his new plan or an IRA?
  • A semi-correction on a previous answer.
  • Whether a woman should listen to her economist husband and stop playing the stocks market.
Nov 02, 2020
More Income, More Risk

With rates near 0%, many are tempted to move into high-yield investments that are often pitched as safe. The reality is that risk and reward are tightly boiund to each other. Be careful!

Oct 31, 2020
Literal Wealth Killers

This Halloween we look at some deadly (or potentially deadly) encounters with financial advisors.

Plus Don takes questions on:

  • The wisdom of giving personal information to brokerage firm.
  • Whether money should be moved from an IRA to an IUL.
Oct 30, 2020
Crash in October?

As October nears an end there are still some who believe that stocks usually take a beating in autumn. Is this true?

Plus Don answers your questions on:

  • investing in a Health Savings Account (HSA).
  • whether it makes sense to booorow against a home to invest for schooling.
  • creating a 529 plan or a small child with a small cap/value tilt.
Oct 29, 2020
Robbin' Robots

Don get's a phone call that has the potential to frighten someone into the arms of a scammer.

Then Don answers questions about

  • a potential tax reduction strategy.
  • finding more information on Fama and French research.
  • the definition of substantailly different to avoid wash sale rule.
Oct 28, 2020
Brokers and Income Don't Mix

We begin where we left of yesterday with acaller who wanted to park safe money with Edward Jones. What she got was more risk because of high fees.

Seeking higher rates has led to a lot of bad investing.

Who sets the prices of stocks and other securities?

Are target date funds an appropriate retirement investment?

An inheritance ends up being placed in annuity. What now?

Advice for a new investor.

Oct 27, 2020
Day Trading Grandparents

Day trading stocks isn't just for Millennials anymore. Some crazy older people are diving into this dangerous game. It's not liekely to end well.

Could big Bitcoin boosters be pumping up the price to dump it later?

Question: Keep TSP or move to Fisher?

Plus, Don explores Fisher Investments reviews at Yelp.

Tom takes on an involved Social Security withdrawal question.

A major value investor decides to throw in the towel.

A woman wants to know if she found safety with an Edward Jones recommendation.


Oct 26, 2020
SPACs Are Back

They once lost investors a fortune. Yet, special purpose acquisition companies are hot again. Should you get involved in the secretive, expensive initial public offerings.

Oct 25, 2020
Safe High Yielding REITs?

Can these real estate investment trusts pay big dividends with low volatility? Hard to know when they're not publicly traded.

Oct 24, 2020
Don't Go Changing

Apparently, the election still has people running scared. Trying to make investement changes because of recent events is not investing, it's gambling.

Plus, Don takes lots of questions:

  • Should someone have both an IRA and a Roth?
  • Does the income from a Roth conversion raise you taxable income?
  • Are Wisdom Tree ETFs better than Vanguard ETFs?
  • Contribution modification deadlines for i401ks.
  • The validity of a foreign marriage license.
Oct 23, 2020
Death of the 4% Rule?

The man credited with craeting the 4% rule for taking money out of your retirement portfolio states that there may be a better withdrawal strategy.

Plus, has Vanguard lost its customer service edge?

Oct 22, 2020
Political Investing

Will the stock market crash under a Biden presidency? Will investors flee another four-year Trump term? Do elections have an impact on the stock market? Don looks at the numbers from the past fifty years.

Plus, we have lots of callers:

  • How long do tax records need to be kept?
  • What should be done with a sudden windfall?
  • Is Edward Jones a fiduciary firm?
  • Some corrections on past answers.


Oct 21, 2020
What Should I Do Today?

The number one question we get: How do I invest my money in the current climate? The answer is always the same.

Should the upcoming election change how you invest?

Is the i401k Apple's latest product? What are they and how much can you contribute?

If you don't pay down your mortgage, your must do this.

A radio advisor apparently vanished with some listeners money.

How do you find an honest financial advisor?

Oct 20, 2020
Is 60/40 Dead?

Multiple articles state that a 60% stock/40% fixed income portfolio is an anachronism. They believe it should be replaced by more modern assets. Tom and Don examine their claims.

A caller getting pitched an indexed annuity looks for the best questions to ask the salespeople.

Another looks for a moderate risk investment for a special-needs trust.

Plus Tom and Don dig deeper into alternative investments and discuss the fees charged by financial "advisors."

Oct 19, 2020
Finding Financial Help

Tom shares some of the basic qualifications for a great investment advisor.

Oct 18, 2020
Proper Portfolio Plan

How do you decide how much to invest in stocks for risk and bonds for safety.

Oct 17, 2020
French Friday: Your Perfect Portfolio

According to Dartmouth Professor Ken French the right portfolio starts with average and then adjusts for you.

Dr. French sits on Dimensional's Advisory Board.


Dimensional Fund Advisors LP is an investment advisor registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Nothing in this presentation shall constitute or serve as an offer to sell products or services in any country or jurisdiction by any Dimensional global firm. For informational purposes only. All information is given in good faith and without warranty and should not be considered investment advice or an offer of any security for sale.

Oct 16, 2020
How Low Can They Go?

Commissions and fees have been coming down for years, but how far can they fall before services suffer?

Plus, listeners want to know:

  • How to calculate the maximum amount to convert to Roth?
  • How much return to expect from retirement investments?
  • Where to invest: Mutual funds, bank accounts, or tech funds?
  • After a brother-in-laws investing advice, what now?
  • Should he move from Ric Edelman to Ken Fisher?
Oct 15, 2020
Not Investments

There seems to be a lot of confusing about what investing is and isn't. Don shares his definition of an investment.

Plus we hear from listeners wanting to know:

  • What to do with an inherited IRA?
  • How to build the best possible portfolio at Vanguard?
  • What is the right investment strategy for a wife's Roth?
Oct 14, 2020
So Many Calls

It's an all-caller hour:

  • How should some aproaching retirement invest and manage a disparate portfolio?
  • Where is the best place to save?
  • What should be done with an old variable annuity?
  • How do two different bond funds compare?
  • What should a retiree do with an old Seattle Mariners 401k?
  • How much is my fund making and how can I do better?
Oct 13, 2020
Facing Financial Future Fears

So are rushing to safety, but are there ligitimate reasons to be fearful. What will you do with your money? We share the reality of high-yields.

Questions and comments:

  • When can I fund a Roth IRA?
  • Don's answer was better than Tom's.
  • What should be done with an Ed Jones IRA?
  • Where should safe money be parked?
  • When does owning a tax-free bond fund make sense?


Oct 12, 2020
Third Quarter Recap

What was hot in the 3rd quarter? What was not? Who managed the best performing fund and will it likely repeat?

Oct 11, 2020
Just Say No IPO

Initial public offerings (IPOs) are back in vogue. Should you be trying to pick the next big winner?


Oct 10, 2020
French Friday: Allocating Assets

Dartmouth Professor Ken French shares his personal formula for creating the stock bond allocation is his portfolio on this week's French Friday.

Dr. French sits on Dimensional's Advisory Board.


Dimensional Fund Advisors LP is an investment advisor registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Nothing in this presentation shall constitute or serve as an offer to sell products or services in any country or jurisdiction by any Dimensional global firm. For informational purposes only. All information is given in good faith and without warranty and should not be considered investment advice or an offer of any security for sale.

Oct 09, 2020
No Need to Overpay

Don gets a call from a fund salesman and discovers yet another overpriced mutual fund. This ESG fund costs six times more than a well-diversified fund from DFA. Environmental investing doesn't have to be expensive.

Plus, do you own your stocks or does Cede & Company? This is not some wacky conspiracy theory.

Following Paul Merriman's advice has led to mediocre returns. Should any changes be made?

Finally, a listener is looking for the right balance between tax-deferred and tax-free retirement portfolios.

Oct 08, 2020
The Market Hasn't Changed

"It's different this time?" People have been saying this for generations and yet, the basic investing rules still apply.

Don takes questions on:

  • Gifting shares to kids from a parents taxable account.
  • Better to refinance or keep investing?
  • Does it makes sense to add a small cap value fund to portfolio?
  •  Is this TIAA-CREF fund a good retirement investment?
Oct 07, 2020
Today's Hottest Stocks

Some of the hottest stocks are being bid up on little more than hope and that makes them extra risky.

Proof that our longer podcasts are recorded live: We take a strange call from a troubled woman. We thought about taking this out, but it's part of the show.

Bonds sometimes beat stocks.

How to allocated among retirement plan funds.

Considering paying down a mortgage?

Where to park safe money.

Advice for those taking early retirement.

Oct 06, 2020
Are You Financially Literate?

Most American's are frighteningly financially illiterate. Can you correctly answer three questions that most when most can't?

How are ETFs taxed?

The ONE must have investment if you're worried about a stock market crash. Seriously?

Global diversification would have saved you in the past.


Oct 05, 2020
Embrace International Investing

Investors who are invested primarily in the United States may be making a long-term mistake. We all love our countries, but investing globally has saved investors in the past.

Oct 04, 2020
You Suze, You Lose

Suze Orman may be popular, but that doesn't make her investing advice good.

Oct 03, 2020
French Friday: Managing Risk

Risk is easier to understand thatn we might imagine when Dartmouth Professor Ken French explains it on this week's French Friday.

Dr. French sits on Dimensional's Advisory Board.

Dimensional Fund Advisors LP is an investment advisor registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Nothing in this presentation shall constitute or serve as an offer to sell products or services in any country or jurisdiction by any Dimensional global firm. For informational purposes only. All information is given in good faith and without warranty and should not be considered investment advice or an offer of any security for sale.

Oct 02, 2020
Eat Free With Pitch

'Tis the season for free dinners and lunches (brunches?) as the equity indexed annuity salespeople are withering away during the COVID crisis. Enjoy a complimentary meal at your peril as they will stop at nothing to sell you a high-commission product. It's bad enough when insurance agents are selling this stuff, but appalling when it's a Certified Financial Planner (CFP).

Don also takes your questions on:

  • ETFs versus mutual funds
  • Managing taxable accounts
  • Investing on margin
  • Picking the best investments from a bad bunch of 401(k) choices.


Oct 01, 2020
Whole Life. Rebranded.

Creative life insurance salespeople came up with some creative monikers and convoluted "benefits" for boring old cash-value life insurance.

Plus listeners want to know:

  • How to track fund expenses?
  • How are brokers and mutual funds insured?
  • How to allocate a new grads retirement plan investments at TIAA?
Sep 30, 2020
Indexed Annuity Lies

Commission grubbing, prevaricating, "financial advisors" continue to spread the BIG lie that indexed annuities can deliver "market returns" with no risk. Avoid EIAs (or FIAs) at all costs or they will cost you big.

We also discuss the foolishness of investors' "home country bias."

Tom wants to spend more time with his "bookie?"

We discuss the current reality of investing and mortgages

Plus questions on:

  • Investing an old 401k in Vanguard 
  • How to find a great fiduciary, low-fee advisor.
  • RMD rules for 2020. Can future distributions be avoided?
  • Is it better to invest or pay off a mortgage?


Sep 29, 2020
Elections Haven't Hurt Stocks

There is no evidence that presidential electioins have had any impact of stocks prices.

Public pensions perform poorly. Why should you do better?

S&P shows that active fund managers fail to beat the market.

A question on asset allocation and a long explanation.

Why do so many investors overweight U.S. stocks?

Whjat are the tax ramifications of an inheritance and how should it be invested.

What is the difference between mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs)?

Sep 28, 2020
Taking Social Security

Tom shares some simple strategies to help you manage Social Security.


Sep 27, 2020
Don't Stash Cash

There is very little advantage to holding cash (except for emergencies). Tom share some simple rules for managing the cash in your portfolio.

Sep 26, 2020
French Friday: Market Timing

Over the next few Fridays we will share the insights and wisdom of Dartmouth College and Dimensional Funds Director, Kenneth French. This week Professor French shows why trying to maime the stocks market makes no more sense than trying to make a living betting on football games.

Dimensional Fund Advisors LP is an investment advisor registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Nothing in this presentation shall constitute or serve as an offer to sell products or services in any country or jurisdiction by any Dimensional global firm. For informational purposes only. All information is given in good faith and without warranty and should not be considered investment advice or an offer of any security for sale.

Sep 25, 2020
Real Investing Scientists

Don shares some investing insights from two of the greatest minds in the pecuniary profession, Professor Kenneth French and Nobel laureate, Professor Eugen Fama.

Then we hear from listeners like:

  • A woman whose husband isn't drinking too much wine, he's investing in it.
  • Adding equity diversification to a family real estate business.
  • Mario accepts our advice, but his friends are still against international investing.
Sep 24, 2020
Investing Can Be Simple

We make investing harder than it needs to be. After attending a DFA conference, Don shares five simple investing concepts.

And we hear from listeners:

  • How much should be in emerging markets?
  • Should bonds be overweighted to Treasury securities?
  • Some advice for those who lost money in life insurance.
Sep 23, 2020
Passive Investing LIves On

Another well-known money manager, Jeffery Gundlach, claims that passive bond investing cannot compete with an active manager.

Plus, are stocks are real estate the best investment?

The we take your questions:

  • A divorced listener needs advice on tranferring spouse's 401k.
  • Is owning individual stocks a good way to improve a portfolio?
  • How much house can they afford?
  • Factoring individual properties into portfolio allocation.
  • VLO: Take the pension or lump sum.


Sep 22, 2020
Ticked Off Traders

In the spirit of fairness we read a rant from an unhappy stock-trading listener. We have to admit it's kind of fun.

  • What is Blockchain and what's it good for?
  • The best way to get a 16-year old started with retirement investing.
  • We also hear from a listener who actually likes us.
  • we argue with a caller who hates investing overseas.
  • What are the gold bugs talking about?


Sep 21, 2020
Talking Real... Estate

Many investors believe that owning real estate is the best way to invest. Yet, the facts contradict that assumption.

Sep 20, 2020
Big Money Mistakes

Tom looks at the Wall Street Journal's list of the biggest recession mistakes and find one investors tend to make no matter what the economic climate.

Sep 19, 2020
It's Not the Economy

The current value of the stock market is not meant to look like today. Investors are always trying to look ahead. Plus, those things we call the market (like the S&P Five) aren't.

Plus, the questions keep pouring in:

  • How should his and his wife's retirement portfolio be allocated?
  • While they may be a bad investment is the a way to make a condo work for parents?
  • Why are payroll taxes being deferred?
  • What should be done with a whole life policy's cash value?
Sep 18, 2020
Mental Money Melee

Anecdotes vs. reality. Beliefs vs. evidence. Desire vs. reality. Ego vs. discipline. All the ways our all-too-human mind interferes with investing.


  • A great call from a doctor who HATES Northwestern Mutual and may be overthinking his long-term retirement planning
  • An alternative to parking emergency money in a money markey fund.
  • What to do with old restricted stock units.
Sep 17, 2020
Investing Illusions

We really don't understand investing. Stocks both rise... and FALL. There are always good reasons to avoid investing. You keep insisting on owning individual stocks. You don't know what you don't know and can't know what lies ahead. Plus, we asnwer questions on:

  • Selling Apple and diversifying.
  • Deciding between an annuity and a bond fund.
  • How a Roth IRA can turn a 20-year old into a millionaire.
  • Trying to time the market.
Sep 16, 2020
Compare Better

How does a DFA global 60/40 portfolio compare with the S&P 500. Are they fair to compare? Plus we take lots of questions on:

  • Moving from drugs to money management.
  • The differece between wills and trusts.
  • The best Fidelity idex funds.
  • Using HSA money to pay long-term care premiums.
  • Keeping your kids in the estate after you die.
Sep 15, 2020
A Day fror Q and A

A podcast filled with great audio questions:

  • Why do we need international stocks when US stocks make money overseas?
  • Does it make sense to trade a target date funds for multiple funds?
  • Is VFSUX better than putting money in the bank for a short-term?
  • Is the Utah 529 plan better than the Nevada 529?
  • Does private equity have a place in retirement accounts?
  • Why have bond funds made more money than the interest rates paid?
  • Should an older couple move money out of CDs?


Sep 11, 2020
Your Money and Your Kids

Most American's aren't saving money for the children.Should putting money away for your kid's future be a priority? And what about paying them an allowance?

Sep 10, 2020
Bored and Gambling

Stock players double recently, yet the fact remains, most people fail at stock picking.

Plus, investing plans are rare, but shouldn't be

We talk with callers about:

  • Giving money to grandkids through daughter
  • Creating a basic investing plan.
  • A sister helping her sibling make better choices.
  • Should REIT funds be in portfolio and how?
  • Would it make sense to roll three old 401ks into a new plan?
Sep 09, 2020
Hot Stocks Stumble

Yes, stocks also fall. Is this a time to be chasing the hot stocks or is there a better way. It's hard to sort the future winners from the losers.

We explore the history of the dumb Dow and talk about Dow stocks old and new.

What do we see for Facebook? Who will be the future winners? Remember the AOL.

Which index funds are good?

And a caller wants to know who we back in the big Merriman/Ferri face-off.

Sep 08, 2020
Stock Market Overpriced?

Many stock market "experts" are concerned about "the market" being historically overpriced right now. To which market are they referring? Is everything prohibitively expensive? Does anyone really know?

Plus, Don answers your questions on:

  • Roth conversion ladders.
  • Fixing a bunch of investing mistakes.
  • Bonds. What are they go for? How do they work?
Sep 04, 2020
Latest Not Always Greatest

Many are saying that building a balanced portfolio is old-fashioned and that today's modern managers have better ways to hedge against declines. Better for whom?

Sep 03, 2020
Stocks In Pieces

When a stock splits it doesn't become more valuable.

We hear from a bunch of callers about:

  • A new investor getting started.
  • Robo advisors and cash requirements.
  • What to do with saved monet and other investments.
  • Listening to all 462 podcasts
  • A lucky listener needs to unload stock.

Plus, which investment do people think makes more?

Sep 02, 2020
Invest Like Buffett?

As Warren Buffett turns 90 many question his investing acumen. The truth about the "Oracle of Omaha."

Is value investing dead? What is it and where might value stocks do from here?

Why the Dow is dumb and getting dumber.

A caller asks for advice on betting on a high-tech private placement.

Sep 01, 2020
Crypto Cons Keep Coming

Once again,Cryptocurrencies prove to be the good for something: Crime. How can so many be so stupid?

Plus, Don takes questions on:

  • The value of fractional ETFs
  • A bunch of new diversified ETFs from Dimensional and Avantis.
  • The ins and outs of brokerage account insurance from SIPC and others.
Aug 28, 2020
Stick With Your Plan

Every investor needs to have a plan and stick with it, even when it doesn't seem to be working. DFA's David Booth say that the value stock premium has always returned in the past.

The Don answers questions on:

  • The value of umbrella insurance policies.
  • Rebalancing at a 60/40 401k.
  • Where to park money that will be needed in a year.


Aug 27, 2020
Mother Knows Best

Tom shares a few of the life and financial lessons he learned from his late mother.

Aug 26, 2020
Gambling with Options

We explain options and how they are used to gamble.

Plus, Robin Hood is raking in the dough and growing.

What is a Series 7 license?

A new and "improved" SEC disclosure document is being ignored.

Where do you usually get financial advice and where should you get it?

Advice on refinancing a small mortgage.

Where to keep your safe, liquid money.

A younger investor panicked out. What to do now?

Is it time to cash out a varaible life policy?

Which is better? Work plan or IRA?

Aug 25, 2020
Buyin' As They're Risin'

Buying the hot stocks can leave you badly burned. Better to buy low.

How can bonds possibly go higher? Yet they have.

Mortgage rates have never been this low. Time to buy or refi?

Looking for higher yields? Beware the risky bets.

How can art possibly pay a dividend?

Why to we buy annuities? How to generate income without them.

Plus, getting young investors started.

Aug 24, 2020
High Fees Suck Big Bucks

Don compares two high-yield (junk) bond funds and explains how fees impact both the returns and the risk profile of the fund. Plus, he warns against using junk bond funds.

Then he answers questions and fields comments on:

  • The wisdom of adding a dividend fund
  • Should a woman mortgage a paid up home?
  • An old listener gives up on Don's advice.
  • Should Social Security benefits be counted as a fixed income asset?
Aug 21, 2020
Fear + Greed = NASDAQ

The tech-heavy NASDAQ has been on a tear lately, but who remembers the 14 years of losses after 2000?

Plus, Don takes some questions on:

The best time to take required minimum distributions?

How to get income in a low-yielding bond environment?

Does it make sense to start an early-retirement Roth conversion strategy?


Aug 20, 2020
Free Isn't Free

Commission free trading at firms like Robin Hood isn't free of costs to you. If they're making a profit there is only one possible source and that's you!

Aug 19, 2020
Smarter than the Market?

What are the odds that the entire stock market and its millions of participants are wrong and you are right? That – in addition to the fact that NO ONE can tell the future – should be enough to convince you that you can't time the stocks market.

Lots of questions on:

What's so bad about universal life?

What should be done with excess cash from a home sale?

Taking a friend's market timing advice.

A listener's anaology supporting market timing.

What is a backdoor Roth IRA?

Plus, some constructive criticism with an apology from Tom and Don.

Aug 18, 2020
Money Myth Busting

In this episode we address the five big money myths:

  1. You don't need much diversification.
  2. Only buy what you know.
  3. It's best to own the S&P 500.
  4. International and U.S. stocks mover similarly.
  5. Market timing is necessary.

Plus, we take calls on:

  • Investing in international bonds.
  • Capitalism vs. socialism.
  • Using Fidelity's Total Market funds.
  • Using municipal bond funds.
  • Finding a less expensive 529 plan.
  • How to get started investing for retirement.
Aug 17, 2020
We Don't Have a Clue

Today, we start with a teachable mortgage moment courtesy of Apple.

Then, Don takes several questions, like:

What's the best way to become a financial advisor?

What will happen to the stock and housing markets?

What can be done with an really bad inherited IRA?


Aug 14, 2020
Complexity Not Needed

Another question and answer day in which the theme seems to be: Keep It Simple.

Don takes questions on:

Reallocating investments from cash and tech stocks.

Why stocks split.

The best strategies for regular and Roth retirement accounts.

What to do with some Dave Ramsey recommended American Funds.

Why do we keep suggesting simple investing strategies.


Aug 13, 2020
Not Very Diversified

Tom explains why your should avoid the S&P 500 and how to be a better index investor.

Aug 12, 2020
It's Crypto, Not Currency

Cryptocurrency is not just a bad investment it's a terrible currency for anyone except criminals.

Since stocks have always recovered, why do we need bonds?

Your real risk tolerance might be lower than you think.

Does it make sense to refinance a mortgage again.

More on the phsychology of money, investing and life.

Why are tech stocks and gold both going up?

Can you really get a safe 11% return?

Aug 11, 2020
Confusing Gambling With Investing

Kodak: Another great example of investors failure to make money trading stocks. 

If you can't afford a share should you buy a slice?

You can own the whole world for less than $100.

How do brokers make money offering free trading?

Diversified investing alternatives from Fidelity.

An "innovative" investing strategy from the Motley Fool.

Plus, caller with questions on funding a Roth IRA in old age and how to invest $100K.

Aug 10, 2020
Is Gold Overvalued?

Gold has been soaring to an infaltion adjusted level only seen twice before since it's price was allowed to float in 1975. Could it be too expensive.

Questions include:

A listener who shares a lot about his portfolio and wants to know if he needs another fund.

Another has saved well and wants to invest for his adult childs needs.

Finally, is it better to add to an existing 401k or start adding new funds to an IRA?

Aug 07, 2020
What Good Are Bonds?

Why should you have bonds in your portfolio. Not just for income.

A listener is worried that his parents may be getting bad advice from their "financial advisor."

Plus a caller is leaving the service and wonders if he should move his Roth TSP.

Finally, which investments should be in buckets 2 and 3?


Aug 06, 2020
Shilling Wrong More Than Right

Why do "investors" continue to follow those who make so many bad predictions? Why don't we realize that accurate predictions are monre likely locky then prescient?

Listeners as Don:

How to allocate amoung asset classes?

What would be an appropriate portfolio to set and forget?

Where should a mother put an investment she probably won't ever need?

Aug 05, 2020
No Annuities in Retirement Plans

Our main story: VALIC (part of AIG) was fined for paying a teachers union to coerce teachers into buying expensive (and unnecessary) annuities and mutual funds in their 403b plans.

Plus callers want to know:

Is is okay to pull income from a retirement plan without reducing principal?

Should an annuity be moved into another product?

How should one with limited assets get prepared for retirement?

Is it possible to fix a mistaken name on an account?

What are some strategies for getting money out of properties?

Aug 04, 2020
Economic Exaggeration

Did the U.S. economy really lose a third of it's value? Don share the reality of the latest GDP report.

Why do younger bloggers continue to insist that the stock market and the economy are one in the same?

Another investment firm claims to be a fiduciary on one hand, but their disclosure documents tell a completely different story. How do the get away with lying?

A caller wonders if the election will impact the stock market and why have DFA  funds done so poorly recently?

Another listener has a seven-year-old indexed annuity and discovers not only how much he's paid, but that he is basically stuck paying a surrender charge to gain a better potential return.

Aug 03, 2020
Markets Know Best

A blogger on Medium says sell stocks now. What does he know that the rest of the market doesn't?

Don takes questions from three different sources again:

How can an investor decided between taxable investing and tax-advantaged investing?

How should assets be allocated between diffient equity asset classes?

When taking cash out of real estate, where should it be invested.

Why "Is it better to invest in a passive or active technology fund?" is the wrong question.

Jul 31, 2020
Markets Anticipate Economic Activity

You would think that after one of the worst economic reports in the history of the United States that the stocks market would crash. Yet, it barely moved after U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) plunged for the second quarter of 2020. 

Why didn't markets fall? Everyone expected bad news, so it was built into prices. You need to understand that markets cannot be beaten. They can only be planned for.

Jul 30, 2020
Tax Deferral Not Worth It

The argument for annuities is pretty weak. Even a no-load, no surrender fee annuity is no bargain.

Plus, a listener takes Don to task about his dislike for gold.

Finally, a caller wants to know if he should use an inheritance to pay of his mortgage.

Jul 29, 2020
Buying Gold is Not Investing

Gold makes nice jewelry. Gold conducts electricity well. Gold never has been a decent investment. It's purely speculative. Feeling lucky?

Is it reasonable to expect financial advisors to be able to predict the futures?

Plus, questions on:

How to invest in a health savings account (HSA)?

How much money is needed to retire comfortably?

What is our opinion of Investacorp?

Jul 28, 2020
The Hazards of Trading

Bored during COVID? That's not an excuse to go gambling on Wall Street using dangerous trading strategies.

Then, we take lots of calls:

Should a TSP be transferred to an IRA with a commissioned broker?

What should be done with cash taj=ken out of the market at the bottom in March?

Advice for someone on a meager income with no assets who wants to invest in stocks.

Are government stimulus checks taxable?

And more.

Jul 27, 2020
Don Disagrees with Dave, Again

Financially, it rarely makes sense to use invested asets to pay off a mortgage. A recent caller was convinced to do just that by a Dave Ramsey video. A Dave listener claims that Dave never said to do that. Did he?

Plus, lots of questions on:

The difference between actively-managed ETFs and closed-end mutual funds.

Tranferring a 401(k) directly into an IRA.

Some questionable income generating advice from a fiduciary advisor.

Jul 24, 2020
Ignore Insular Investing

Tom talks about the need for a globally diversified portfolio.

Jul 23, 2020
Catching Up on Questions

Since Don got a bit behind answering questions he does an all question show.

How should a working child get started with retirement investing?

A listener wishes he hadn't listened to Dave Ramsey and paid off his mortgage. What should he do now?

Finally, a young man finishing grad school seeks future financial focus.

Jul 22, 2020
The Calls Keep Coming

We intended to talk about the hazards of fractional shares, but we were packed with callers. So, we’ll discuss fractional stock next week.

This week we take calls on:

How to gift money to kids.

Various Vanguard bond ETFs.

The tax ramifications of market timing and the mistakes a caller made.

Avoiding capital gains on the sale of a residence before two years have passed.

Investing in a “back-door” Roth.

Finding a very old 401(k).

Jul 21, 2020
Bubbles Always Burst

In this episode we look back at past financial bubbles from the South Sea Crisis of 300 years ago to the real estate bubble of 2008.

What are some of the better options for estate planning?

Does it make sense to invest in a list of market sectors?

The big question: What should you be doing with your money, now?

Jul 20, 2020
Know What You're Paying

You know what a meal costs. You wouldn't buy a car without knowing the price. Yet, as Tom explains, financial services prices are from clear.

Jul 16, 2020
Gold Rarely Glitters for Investors

One more time: Gold is not an investment. At best it's speculative. In the worst case scenario, you can't eat it.

In this episode our very own long-time listeners prove why so many investors are their own worst enemies. DON'T TRY TO TIME THE MARKET! Sorry for yelling, but...

Tom talks about ways to raise cash for a "Cherise?" 

A caller asks if it makes sense to invest in tax liens.

Beware of shady peddlers of 401(k) rollovers.


Jul 14, 2020
Stansberry's Newsletter Mystery

We revisit one of the most notorius financial newsletter organizations, Stansberry Research and its "founder," Porter Stansberry. For years we have marveled at Stansberry's ability to weave strands of nonsense and even outright lies into a lucrative newsletter publishing empire. Stansberry had dropped from our radar until we saw the story of the death of his friend and employee, Ray Rivera –under suspicious circumstances – on the Netflix series, "Unsolved Mysteries." So, we decided to check up on Porter and his many publications.

Plus, we hear from callers wondering if it's time to sell stocks and what the heck is wrong with small cap value stocks.

Jul 13, 2020
Robin Hood in Reverse

The Robin Hood of old would not approve of the 21st century's We have receieved many complaints about them. They have caused suicides. The SEC has fined them. Yet, they contunie to lure unwitting, greedy gamblers with their fun and addictive (and "free") trading system. This is not investing!

Plus, Don helps a caller sort through Vanguard's ETF offerings.

Jul 09, 2020
Pricey Volatility Protection

In an attempt to balance risk and reward, some investors pay way too much for complex market neutral funds. The are easier ways to reduce volatility.

Jul 08, 2020
Real Still Beats Robo

Despite the holiday, we have a ton of calls:

Investing in the Thrift savings Plan or in a Schwab IRA?

The pros and cons of single premium immediate annuities.

Leaving a Roth IRA to a granddaughter.

How the market has done and what the future might bring.

Despite all the robo advisor hoopla, most investors still need the kind of help that only a human can provide.

Jul 07, 2020
Annuities: Good for Anybody?

We devote most of this episode to annuities; fixed, immediate, variable, and indexed. 

Are fixed annuities as good as the guy from TIAA claims they are?

The immorality of selling annuities to teachers and healthcare workers within 403(b) plans.

What are the alternatives? We go through the entire approved investment list of the Seattle School District. 

Callers share their annuity experiences.



Jul 06, 2020
It's Been a Strange Three Months

In this episode, Tom looks back at the second quarter of 2020. You will be shocked to learn what happend to all manner of financial assets.

Jul 02, 2020
Investing or SPACulation?

Even though we discussed them yesterday, the caller took exception to us criticisizing SPACs (special purpose acquisition companies) which he believes are the best investments around. Don begs to differ.

Plus, a listener wants to know whether of not paying off a mortgage makes sense.

Another is concerned that Robin Hood is robbing a friend.

Finally, a security guard is unhappy with a very pricey 401(k) plan. 

Jul 01, 2020
Pay You Now or Over Time

A caller heavy episode featuring questions about:

Retiring early and whether or not to take a lump sum distribution?

After maxing out 401k what are IRA contribution options?

Does day trading make sense?

Are SPACs decent investments?

and more!

Jun 30, 2020
The Smart Money Stayed

Many typical investors panicked, but Vanguard says theirs stuck around.

A caller filled hour:

All about reverse mortgages and their alternatives.

We hear from Sweden with a question about DFA ETFs.

Getting ready to retire:  How to fill a two-year income gap.

Can you return your Social Security payments and wait to file?

Plus, a caller wants to talk with Vestory.


Jun 29, 2020
High Fees Suck You Dry

Don compares a high-fee, actively-managed income fund with a no-load index fund and the results will shock you (but shouldn't).

A listeners want to know about taking the kids names off an old UTMA (custodial) account.

Another is looking for advice on allocating assets between pre-tax and post-tax accounts.

Jun 26, 2020
They Shouldn't Be Certified Anymore

The CFP® Board changed it's code to require that it designates must ALWAYS act in a fiduciary capacity. In just a few months (October, 2020) we'll find out if the new rule has any teeth.

Plus, was buying a whole life policy a good idea?

Finally, what should a cruise line "investor" do with plunging stocks.

Jun 25, 2020
Absolutes Aren't Absolutely Right

Suze Orman recently said that everyone should choose a Roth IRA in every circumstance. Yet, there are times when deductible IRAs make more sense.

Jun 25, 2020
Fees Harming Hedge Funds

Do you really need a hedge fund for "the rest of us?" Hedge funds sport huge fees and pathetic returns.

A caller needs to transfer her 401(k).

Another got lucky getting out and wonders about getting back into the market.

Investing for both risk tolerance and risk need.

The Dow is not the market.

What's the best way to take out home equity for retirement expenses?


Jun 25, 2020
Retirees Making Bad Choices

In this episode we share some of the foolish investment decisions people make as they approah retirement and look for better strategies based on risk tolerance and need. Investing truths lie between the extremes. So, who is responsible for most of terrible investing that occurs?

Tom's target-date fund mea culpa and an examination of various target-date portfolios.

What's the best way for young workers to save for retirement?

Jun 22, 2020
Insurance Investments Aren't Guaranteed

To pay you high yields, the insurance compnaies need to invest at even higher yields. After getting burned in CMOs and CDOs, it looks like collateralized loan obligations (CLOs) may be a lot more risky than they thought (or wated to believe).

Then Don takes questions on:

Annuities in 403(b) plans.

Mortgage forebearance.

Picking the best 529 plan.

Jun 19, 2020
Target Date Funds Compared

While target-date funds are far from a perfect solution, they do offer simplicity. Tom compares some of the better target-date offerings.

Jun 18, 2020
Real Estate Investing Reality

We devote much of this episode to one of the most popular investments, real estate. Is buying and mamanging property really investing? Is flipping house flippin' crazy? What about purchasing property via crowd funding? 

We also discuss the definition of "real" investing.

In this market, is it still wise to fund a 401(k)?

Should you save for your kid's college or for retirement?

Jun 17, 2020
Hard Not to Look

Like driving by a car crash, it's hard to avoid looking at the volatility of the stock market.

Plus, more on the Hertz saga.

The lesson af the 90s is lost on today's traders, so we share some sage (and likely to be ignored) advice for stock traders.

A couple of callers seek advice about GrubHub and Tesla stocks.

Don laments his first negative review on Apple Podcasts.

Finally, how have active managers fared in a market they said was just what they needed to excel.


Jun 16, 2020
Another Fool Rushes In

Don shares another example of a clueless stock trader who believes he has found a sure-fire way to beat the market. His advice may be some of the worst ever.

Plus your questions about:

Creating a living trust instead of a will.

Are oil prices really up $80?

Which of Vanguard's small cap funds should you own?

Jun 12, 2020
Trying Treacherous Trading

Tom thinks some of your have forgotten the lessons of the 1990s as many "investors" try their hand at stock trading again.

Jun 11, 2020
It's Not investing, it's Gambling

A whole lot of people think investing is playing around with bankrupt stocks. Will you be the greater fool?

A caller disagrees with out criticism of a time share exit firm.

Why was Warren Buffett selling stocks?

Should you move from a broker to a 100% fiduciary advisor?

What are the poros and cons of covered options trading?

Jun 10, 2020
Take the Lump Sum or Pension?

Later in the episode, we discuss the last person to receive a Civil War survivors pension and whether or not you should take the ponsion option in your plan.

We start by talking about emergency cash investing.

How do you avoid taxes when selling your home?

Does private equity belong in 401(k) plans?

Is your advisor always a fiduciary and do you know how much they charge?

Wouild pay just any friend thousands of dollars a year for nothing?

How do you plan for retirement income?

Finally, should you now rebalance back into bonds?



Jun 09, 2020
Just a Bad Dream?

Tom and Don talk about the crazy stock market and its miraculous recovery.

A caller gets a earful about the problems with silver investing.

We found that rebalancing really worked.

Jim Cramer gives some surprising advice.

Should anyone investing in specific stocks.

Bad luck for Luckin investors.

There is no chance of getting a steady 7% income.

Jun 08, 2020
What Bear Market?

The stock market has definitely climbed the proverbial "wall of worry" and is almost back where it was on January 1, 2020.

Plus, Don takes questions on the Roth vs/ regular IRA debate, using a 401k withdrawl to pay down a mortgage, and the best options in the Delta 401k.

Jun 06, 2020
Your Funds in Flight

You think flying is scary. Well, Tom is concerned about those of you who are taking a flyer on the JETS ETF investment.

Jun 05, 2020
A Sure Seven Percent?

A new ETF, Strategy Shares Nasdaq 7HANDL Index ETF is promising investors an annual income of seven percent. In one of the lowest interest rate environments in history, that sounds enticing, but how can they possibly pull it off? Don dives deep into this mouthwatering money mystery.

Jun 03, 2020
Good Advice is Hard to Find.

How do you find the best financial advice? Do you know how much you pay your "financial advisor?" No matter what they say you always pay, so Tom and Don share ideas on how to find the right advice.

A caller is shock to discover that having an Edward Jones fee-based account doesn't always mean no commissions and is looking for a better way to invest.

Attorney Rick Gregorek stops by to talk about the new IRA rules.

Who makes sure fiduciaries always act as fiduciaries?

A dad looks for advice getting and 18-year old started in investing.

Plus,how much of the market's swings are driven by program trading?


Jun 02, 2020
Climbing Up the Worry Wall

The stock market often seems to "climb a wall of worry." in other words, stock prices sometimes seem to rise when the news is bad. Are you worried about current events? How should you invest in this environment?

Plus, Space X launched during the show.

Is your financial plan of track? Do you even have one?

We talk about Dave's Ramsey's paid recommendations and bad investing advice.

Plus, a caller shares an investing success story and we share some of Jack Bogle's best quotes.

Jun 01, 2020
A Very Greedy Advisor

Ready to be shocked? While researching a Seattle area "fiduciary" advisor, Don discovers that they seem to care less about making money for their clients than they do for themselves. They charge huge fees, sell commissioned securities and insurance, and make 20 times more on their clients' savings account then do their clients.

Plus, the market is almost back to where in ended 2019.

A listener looks for allocation advice for his UPS 401(k).

Finally, some advice for two callers from another listener.

May 29, 2020