Today we answer listener questions about timing the market, college savings, and Betterment woes.
We get a lot of questions at LMM and if you’re asking, someone else is probably wondering too so we like to answer questions for everyone.
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1. Is an HSA a good idea for a family that’s pregnant or has young children? An HSA is a good idea for anyone with a high deductible plan, it reduces your taxable income and you don’t necessarily have to use it for medical expenses. Check out Episode 171 for a deep dive into HSA’s. The Mad Fientist also talked about HSA’s in Episode 120.
2. What is your advice for someone looking to start investing this year? I don’t want to attempt to time the market but want to be aware of the market climate before making my decision. The best time to invest is always now. Even if interest rates go up soon, it’s still always better to be in the market than to not be invested. Remember, buy and hold, you’re in it for the long haul.
3. What is the best college savings account? 529 Plan is the one you’ll hear most about but they come with a lot of stipulations, like having to attend in state. If you want a tax advantaged account, put the money into an IRA. You can take out the principle without penalty.
4. If I invest in a Roth IRA or index funds, how does it get compounded? What rate do they use? Why not invest annually? Investments don’t have set rates or terms because no one can predict how they will do. It’s better to have your money invested now rather than once a year, you could miss a huge upswing. You would also miss out on dividend payments. As far as compounding, you can describe investing like that. That’s for things like loans.
5. Is your Betterment tanking? What are some strategies to ride this out? Lots of investors are losing money, Ebola, ISIS, Ukraine, Hong Kong. Big, traumatic world events cause downturns in the market. This is a natural ebb and flow of the stock market. If you’re in it for the long haul, as you must be, it doesn’t matter.
Thanks everyone, keep the questions coming in.
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