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Investing Blog Roundup: Sitting In on a Steak Dinner Annuity Pitch

Salespeople of financial products (especially but not exclusively insurance) are known for hosting free meals as a way to attract prospective clients. Ron Lieber of The New York Times recently accompanied his aunt to such a meal and wrote about the experience. If you’ve been curious about accepting such an invitation before, hopefully Lieber’s article will satisfy your curiosity — without you having to actually sit through the sales pitch.

Other Recommended Reading

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Investing Blog Roundup: Admiral Share Minimum Now Just $3,000

There’s an ongoing battle between Vanguard, Fidelity, and Schwab to win over those of us who prefer low-cost indexed investment products. Vanguard’s latest move in that battle, announced earlier this week, is that they have just reduced the minimum investment for Admiral shares of 38 different index funds from $10,000 to $3,000. They will also soon be offering Admiral shares on a handful of funds that did not previously offer them (e.g., Vanguard Total World Stock Index Fund and Vanguard FTSE Social Index Fund).

Other Recommended Reading

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Investing Blog Roundup: Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment

It’s Affordable Care Act open enrollment season (through December 15), so here are a few resources that may be helpful.

First, a thorough FAQ from the Kaiser Family Foundation about buying insurance through the marketplace. Next, a good overall open enrollment walkthrough from Tara Siegel Bernard. And finally, from Harry Sit, one specific tip that may be useful for some families.

Other Recommended Reading

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Investing Blog Roundup: Maybe This Time Is Different

Stock market declines have always been temporary — at least in this country. So when the market is going down, you can generally take some comfort in the near certainty that the market will, at some point, go back up and eventually surpass its prior high.

As Christine Benz notes though, maybe this decline is different.

Other Recommended Reading

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Investing Blog Roundup: Types of Employer Stock

The biggest news in the tax world since the last roundup is the New York Times’ Trump tax investigation. Political implications aside, I thought the authors did a commendable job of discussing complex tax topics in such a way as to make them understandable.

Other Recommended Reading

I also recently encountered a neat ongoing series from financial planner Sophia Bera about the various types of employer stock that an employee might own:

Thanks for reading!

Investing Blog Roundup: Calculating When to Take Social Security

Financial planner Allan Roth featured the Open Social Security calculator in an AARP article this week.

Roth summarized the Social Security decision succinctly: delaying does not give you an 8% return (despite what some people say). Still, most unmarried people and married people who are the higher earner in their marriage should wait until 70.

He also stressed one thing that I haven’t discussed very much here: the fact that the calculator uses year-by-year probability of being alive rather than assuming that the user dies in a given year. The difference is not significant for a single person. But for a married couple, it more accurately reflects the expected outcome (i.e., with a greater duration of time between the first spouse’s death and the second), with the net result being that Open Social Security is more likely to suggest an early filing date for the lower earner and a later filing date for the higher earner than other calculators or DIY analyses might.

Other Recommended Reading

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My new Social Security calculator (beta): Open Social Security