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There's an App for That

by Tonya Mason Branch


Cellphone usage has grown in the past 20 years. At least 94% of Americans have one. We use our cellphones roughly 16 hours a day, and we check them at least 150 times per day!  Today’s “smart” cellphones and other devices can host a variety of mobile applications.  These “mobile apps” are internet applications that are designed to work on smartphones. App usage has grown so much because apps work faster than websites, a well-designed app can perform functions more quickly, and apps usually store the data locally on the mobile device. There are currently over 3 million apps available for use. You can use apps for buying meals, tracking your daily exercise routine, and even maintaining your personal finances.

What Is Going On? … The VIX of It All

By Carolyn Walder

"Nine Experts, Four Surprises, and One Million Dollar Bet"

by Diana Batchelor

A fascinating article by Weston Wellington of Dimensional Fund Advisors, entitled "Nine Experts, Four Surprises, and One Million Dollar Bet," is presented for your reading enjoyment.  This article shows, once again, the importance of following an investment approach based on discipline and diversification rather than market predictions and timing.  After a great year in

TSPs: The Good, the Bad, and the Confusing (Part 2)

by Carolyn T. Walder

Christmas in July

by Tonya Mason Branch

How to "Read" Your Quarterly Reporting

by Liz G. Gillette

What does it mean when your portfolio is up 10%?

TSPs: The Good, the Bad, and the Confusing

by Carolyn T. Walder

This blog is the first of two that addresses aspects of the Federal Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) for federal employees. Although it is a wonderful retirement plan that allows millions of Federal employees to save for retirement, the TSP has rules and limitations that are important to be aware of when deciding how to tap into this retirement plan when a participant desires (or is required) to withdraw the funds.

There are few retirement plans available that can match the Federal Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) for its extremely low fees and decent lineup of globally diversified index funds. If you are a Federal employee or a member of the military, you have the ability to take advantage of this great retirement plan. During your working career, saving into the TSP and receiving the government match (for Federal Employees Retirement System [FERS] employees) is a “no-brainer,” as you are building retirement savings in a tax-efficient, very low-cost manner. You have the option of saving into the traditional TSP, where you get the upfront reduction in income allowing you to save on your Federal and State income taxes. You also now have the option of saving into a “Roth TSP.” The Roth TSP does not give you a current tax deduction, but it does allow all contributions to grow tax-free, such that your earnings (and contributions) can be withdrawn in the future with no tax consequences.

Smart Money, Smart Kids Is More Than Just a Financial Read

Valuable parenting techniques and plenty of laughs in this #1 New York Times Bestseller!

by Liz G. Gillette

Smart Money, Smart Kids is a renowned how-to financial book that goes far beyond simple strategies to help parents teach their children to win with money. Sure, it discusses the importance of budgeting, creating three spend/save/give envelopes, and teaching kids to work on commission versus receive an allowance. I wouldn’t expect anything less from the no-nonsense co-author, Dave Ramsey. He and his daughter, Rachel Cruze, provide helpful money management techniques broken down by children’s age groups and encourage parents that it’s never too late to grow money-smart kids.  And in typical Ramsey fashion, it’s an easy conversational read with relatable stories.

Things to Consider for Your “To Do by December 31st” List

By Carolyn T. Walder

Financial Aid—What Is It?

By Tonya Mason Branch

This fall, I sent my daughter off to her first year in college. I thought I knew all I needed to know about applying for, paying for, and receiving financial aid for tuition expenses. Was I wrong! I have learned that all types of college funding falls under the umbrella of FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).

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