New & Notable #1

by Chris W. Rea on

Here are a handful of posts from elsewhere that I read recently, with my comments:

FrugalTrader at Million Dollar Journey posted How to Save Money at Costco. My family has had a Costco membership for a long time. We don’t do our regular grocery shopping there, but we do visit on average once per month to resupply some dry or non-perishable food items (coffee!), household supplies such as paper towels, bathroom tissue, vitamins, shampoo & conditioner, etc. and office supplies like paper, toner, and envelopes. We also had occasion recently to exercise Costco’s excellent return policy on a suitcase that had left us less-than-satisfied. Costco accepted the slightly-used suitcase back without a hassle.

Jonathan Chevreau at Wealthy Boomer posted Radical concept: Financial planners should give clients financial plans and wrote a related FP news article, Planners should make plans. I don’t use a financial planner myself (a story for another day), yet I find it astonishing that many individuals with the title “financial planner” fail to actually deliver a financial plan. A financial plan should be more than just how much of your advisor’s investment products you should purchase. Someone I know showed me a plan they had made by a real professional (in my opinion) and it covered much more: where the money for regular savings would come from, how it should be invested, tax strategies that could be considered, what would happen if one or the other spouse were disabled before retirement, what insurance was available for the family and would it be sufficient in the event of early death, etc. Financial planners should consider much more than just your investment portfolio.

Dan Hallet at The Wealth Steward posted BMO Monthly Income sets the distribution bar unreachably high. I don’t invest in this mutual fund, but I did have an experience long ago where a closed-end fund I had invested in had too-good-to-be-true distributions. I didn’t pay attention to where the money was coming from. The result was a share price that simply eroded over time. Overall returns were less than the impressive yield. The lesson is to look more closely at what you’re investing in and don’t just chase yield.

Writer Alexandra Levit guest-wrote the post How to Ask for a Raise in a Bad Job Market at Get Rich Slowly. I liked this post because it highlights the need to be assertive while suggesting tactful ways to deal with the raise conversation. Great people end up short-changing themselves when they avoid asking for raises. In my experience, if you only receive the typical salary increases offered by companies — e.g. low single-digit percentage increases — then you are leaving money on the table, especially when your skills and responsibilities have increased substantially. If you’re excellent at what you do — and you better be if you want more money! — then consider asserting yourself (in the right way) when it comes to compensation.

That’s it for now.

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