Radical Finances

What’s wrong with an interest-free loan to the government?

Every year, amid the discussion of taxes and rebates and the like, there is usually a talking point that goes like this: “Getting a rebate of any amount is a bad idea, because all you’re doing is giving the government an interest-free loan.” I’d like to unpack that, and see how that argument holds up.

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Is it possible to pay in advance exactly the amount of tax you owe?

Welcome back to tax season! It’s an interesting time that can seem extremely fraught to some, and a little exciting to others. For some: so much work to do. For others: big rebates! I’m fortunate to be young enough that I never needed to know the situation my parents knew: that of a dining room … Continue reading »

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That time I almost tried to time the market (but didn’t)

At the beginning of the year, the news reports started piling in: the stock markets were overvalued. P/E ratios were at highs not seen in years. Some people even used the curious phrase “melt-up” (which, correct me if I’m wrong, is kind of an odd thing for something that is melting to do). I watched … Continue reading »

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Another way to track cash expenses

People have very widely varying attitudes toward cash. While some people feel money more when they spend cash, other people don’t feel it at all. In fact, the way some people have explained it to me, if the transaction doesn’t hit their checking account, it feels ?like it never happened”. These people only feel money … Continue reading »

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Pay less now, or pay more later, your choice

There are lots of ways to spend more money than you have to. One of the easiest ways to do that is to buy something before you have the money for it. And there are oodles of ways to do this. The most obvious one is the credit card. You can buy pretty much anything … Continue reading »

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Warren’s wisdom, or on being greedy and fearful

One of the more famous—and certainly eerily relevant—quotes about financial self-awareness is from Warren Buffett, the “Oracle of Omaha”. The quote generally is rendered as: “Be greedy when others are fearful and fearful when others are greedy.” It’s a great slogan, and while it can be a little bit of a Epimenides-esque knot to untangle … Continue reading »

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What to do with the extra tax money in your new paycheck

I really tried to avoid talking about the tax plan, and couldn’t help myself. But that was more of a “feelings” piece, and less practical. This article is coming from the other, more practical side. In the U.S., our new tax plan has now gone into effect. We’re effectively “testing in production”, to borrow a phrase … Continue reading »

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The HSA testing period might have less downside than I thought

If you have an HSA (Health Savings Account)—and if you’re eligible, it’s probably a good idea to have one—you still have time to make your contributions count toward last year. Since HSAs are a great financial deal (only offset by the generally cruddy nature of the health care plans that enable you to have one) … Continue reading »

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(Don’t) take this 30 second challenge about retirement (unless you want to panic)

People always like simple things they can remember. Whether it’s using the Rule of 72 to figure out when an investment (or debt) will double, or whether it’s aphorisms like “own your age in bonds“, (or even “Mary Very Easily Makes Jam”, a mnemonic about the order of the first five planets in our solar system, … Continue reading »

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The folly of choosing a Roth IRA or Traditional IRA based on tax brackets

If you’re saving for retirement (and you are saving for retirement, or at least working towards it, right?) you have probably been confronted with a choice when it comes to self-directed retirement accounts: Do you use a Roth IRA or a Traditional IRA? I’m not going to rehash that debate here. I’m clearly on Team Roth … Continue reading »

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