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Certain expenses can sneak up on you, especially if you don’t run into them too often. For example, a new passport costs $110, but renewal only comes around once every 10 years. Other recurring bills like property taxes, car registration, and insurance payments can also make an unexpected dent in your wallet when they pop up. Do you really even consider these types of things when configuring your budget?

There are many ways to budget for these kinds of costs and make sure that you’re financially prepared. The central idea is to assess all of your potential expenses that occur less frequently than a month, do some simple math, and put away enough money each month to cover them when they pop up.

Getting Organized

When it comes to financial planning, attention to detail is key. And the first step to planning for annual expenses is to have a detailed budget in place.

I prefer to use a spreadsheet for mine, but there are many tools that can help you build a budget. I pair my spreadsheet with Mint to help me automatically track my spending and compare my monthly spending against the budgets I’ve set for myself.

I strongly recommend that you use an automated tool like Mint or the new YNAB if you’re concerned about recurring costs (which you should be!). No amount of planning can fully prepare you for all of the different expenses that come about in a year. It’s especially easy to forget something small or things that come around every 2+ years.

For example, I recently had to renew a few internet domains that I keep as a hobby. While checking out online, I realized I hadn’t budgeted for them at all this year. They just hadn’t come to mind when I was logging things like insurance premiums and membership dues. Once I implemented Mint, though, the app showed me these charges and, in a sense, forced me to rebudget.

My budget spreadsheet has two sections. The upper section has categories like rent, clothing, car payments, and other monthly expenses, along with their associated monthly cost. I’ve then made another column to extrapolate those numbers to show how much I pay annually. This is just to give me a better sense of where my money is going as a whole.

The second section flips this model. Instead of categories, I call out explicit purchases. These include things like new eyeglasses, and I estimate how much I expect to spend on them annually. I then divide that number by 12 to see how much I should be socking away each month to cover their cost. At the bottom of that section, I can simply total the monthly estimates. That way, I know much I need to budget each month to cover all of these costs for a year.

Some expenses don’t happen once a year, so you may need to do some simple math to properly estimate them. For example, your insurance may be charged biannually. Just make sure to do the right math to treat these costs like other annual expenses.

The same goes for purchases that happen every few years, like the passport example mentioned at the start of this article. Saving for a passport renewal at $110 every 10 years costs you a whopping $0.92 per month. Which would you rather prepare for: an unplanned $100+ expense hitting your account, or simply putting less than a dollar away each month?

Getting Disciplined

Once you understand how much you should be saving each month, it’s time to start putting it away. I made a second savings account with my bank, just for this purpose. On the first day of each month, I transfer my magic monthly number from checking into that account. It’s no different than how one might transfer a few hundred dollars into a primary savings account, an IRA, or another taxable account. Instead of a second savings account, you can keep track of this through a spreadsheet or other document you’d prefer. However, I find having a discrete account to be really beneficial.

Of course, one hurdle here will be that when these expenses come up for the first time, you won’t have saved enough yet to cover them. Think carefully about what kinds of expenses those are, and make sure to properly save for them as an aside to this process. I also prefer to inflate my monthly number by a bit (~10%) just in case. It never hurts to be overprepared, and that can really help when something you hadn’t thought of (like that pesky passport renewal) catches up to you.

Once you’ve calculated your annual costs, you might be surprised at how much you need to be saving each month. For some of you, it might be hundreds of dollars that you hadn’t previously budgeted. You need to be disciplined in saving that money each month, or you risk putting yourself into potential debt. Stick to transferring that money on the first of each month! I like to make mine an automatic transfer so I don’t have to remember it. And throughout each month, carefully track which costs hit you that aren’t in your normal monthly budget, so you can recoup that money to pay your bills.

My way of tracking recurring costs is by creating a new unique category in Mint called “Annual Expense,” or something similar. I then tag things like eyeglasses or my Amazon Prime membership with this different category. At the end of each month, Mint easily tells me how much I spent on these kinds of expenses, and then I transfer that amount from the second savings account back into my checking.

This allows me to then have enough to make the credit card payments for those charges. It’s a surprisingly simple system (just like most things when it comes to budgeting), but it takes discipline and organization.

Finally, don’t get complacent. This system only works as well as you maintain it. That means that when an unexpected cost comes up, it’s time to get to work. Appropriately budget for it, change your monthly magic number, and plan ahead for what comes next. Yes, it’s work, but that’s what good financial planning is all about. And let’s be fair here: the “work” is actually quite easy.

Your Plan

The method I’ve outlined here works great for me, but I’m curious what works for you. The fundamental strategy of planning for annual costs is to determine what you need to save each month, and put that money somewhere. These expenses will be different for everyone, but you should certainly know where yours stand.

Please chime in if you have a different system for planning, as we’d all like to hear about what’s been effective for you. It’s often hard to think about these kinds of recurring costs, causing people to disregard or fail to save for them. A system that’s easy to understand can go a long way to protecting your financial future.

For reference, here are all the annual costs for which I currently budget: Amazon Prime, license and passport renewal, internet domains, new eyeglasses, vacations and travel, car registration, property tax, gym membership, Xbox Live, veterinary costs, a new cell phone, car maintenance, holiday and birthday gifts, and a local film festival.

What other/different expenses do you see each year?


A reader recently wrote in asking about part-time, work-from-home jobs. The good news is that these jobs are easier than ever to find. The bad news is that they may also be more competitive than ever!

Telecommuting is becoming easier, as technology advances and businesses see the advantages of hiring a remote workforce. In fact, a Gallup poll from last year showed that telecommuting is up 37%. While many workers telecommute only some of their full-time work days, plenty of companies are also offering part-time jobs that are exclusively telecommute.

Whether you’re looking for a side gig to fill out your income or a job you can do while staying home with the kids, here are some part-time, work-from-home jobs and where to find them.

General Work-From-Home Jobs

First, let’s talk about general work-from-home jobs. Many of these can be turned into part-time jobs, if needed, or ramped up to full-time. You typically have some flexibility. These include positions like writer, editor, translator, web designer or developer, software developer, marketing or PR professional, virtual assistant, social media consultant, and more.

The pay for these jobs varies greatly, as do the requirements. However, since most can be worked on a contract basis, they can also be turned into part-time jobs. Plus, many companies looking to hire employees in these areas will offer part-time employment options.

If you’re interested in building skills to create a career working from home, check out jobs like these to begin developing your skillset.

Companies Often Hiring Part-Time Telecommuters

Specific job listings will, of course, vary from day to day. However, many companies today work exclusively with work-from-home employees, often part-time or with flexible hours. These companies may be looking for specific expertise, but many will hire you without much experience. Here are several worth checking out:

1. Sykes Home

As with many of the companies on this list, Sykes Home hires individuals to work in customer care jobs at home. Most of their positions are full-time, but they do offer part-time options, as well. Even the full-time options often come with flexible hours that allow you to set your own schedule.

2. Alorica @ Home

This communications company offers call center-type jobs that you can work at home. Jobs are both full-time and part-time, but agents are able to set their own hours.

3. TeleTech

This employer offers jobs in a variety of areas, including technology, customer care, technical support, and sales & marketing. Many of the jobs are full-time, but some are part-time.

4. VipDesk Connect

This company specializes in providing customer support for other larger companies, and it offers many at-home jobs for at-home customer service representatives. Again, some of the jobs are full-time, and others are part-time.

5. iQor

Yet another company the manages customer service for other enterprise-level companies, iQor is known for promoting from within. Some positions are part-time, and many are work-from-home.

6. Edmentum

This company offers educational software and solutions to school districts around the country. It hires many flex professionals, including part-time telecommute teachers for those with credentials.

7. Appen

This language and technology company hires part-time telecommuters from all over the world. Many of its current listings are for web search and social media evaluators, though many of these positions are freelance rather than employment.

8. Connections Education

A K-12 education company, Connections Education provides online schooling in a variety of areas. It hires full-time and part-time licensed teachers who telecommute and teach exclusively online.

9. Chamberlain College of Nursing

Have nursing credentials, but don’t want to work a 12-hour shift away from home? Chamberlain College of Nursing hires many full-time and part-time online nursing instructors, as well as instructors in other areas.

10. Expert Global Solutions

This customer service and financial care company provides finance services, healthcare reviews, logistics services, and more for enterprise-level companies. They hire full-time and part-time telecommute jobs for a huge variety of skillsets.

11. Brigham Young University Idaho

BYU offers a variety of online courses, and hires telecommute adjunct faculty to teach these courses. Many of these jobs are part-time, and BYU hires in certain states. The University does give hiring preference to those who align with its statement of faith.

12. Grand Canyon University

This regionally-accredited private university offers mainly online degree programs. They hire professors and adjuncts in a variety of areas for part-time, work-from-home positions.

13. DVMelite

This company provides web design and marketing consultations to veterinary clinics around the world. It offers a variety of development, marketing, and customer service positions on a part-time, work-from-home basis.

14. AbilTo

A behavioral health company, AbilTo offers patients telephone or video conferencing therapy sessions. This is a great company for licensed therapists and social workers looking to work part-time from home.

15. Sitel

This outsourcing company offers a variety of work-from-home positions in collections, customer care, and technical support. Many of their offerings are part-time, though some are full-time.

16. Walden University

Got a Ph.D. but want to stay home with the kids? Consider working for Walden University, another online university hiring part-time, telecommuting faculty in a variety of subject areas.

17. Rosetta Stone

You probably know Rosetta Stone for its language-learning software. However, it also offers personalized services, including video conferencing lessons for language learners. Many of its jobs for fluent bilingual speakers are part-time and work-from-home.

18. Worldwide 101

This company provides services in transcription, web development, project management, marketing, and more. With such broad offerings, it also hires individuals from a variety of backgrounds for telecommute positions.

19. Maritz CX

This company focuses in market research, and hires individuals to conduct phone research, as well as higher-level marketing directors for telecommute jobs.

20. LanguageLine Solutions

Offering phone and face-to-face interpretation services, this company hires mainly bilingual interpreters. It offers positions in many different language areas with part-time and full-time offerings.

21. LiveOps

LiveOps hires customer service representatives in a variety of areas, including technical support, sales, and roadside service scheduling. Many of these jobs are work-from-home and involve flexible hours with full- and part-time options.


Want to help students, but don’t want to teach full-time? offers telecommute positions for lesson writers, as well as instructors.

23. Hilton Worldwide

The famous hotel management company offers a variety of telecommute positions for booking and reservations.

24. Xerox

Not just for copy machines anymore, Xerox offers a number of part-time telecommute positions, including customer service specialist options.

25. Elevate K-12

This tutoring company allows you to tutor students online in a variety of areas, including math and English. Most of its positions are work-from-home and allow you to set your own schedule.

26. Social Career Page, LLC

This social media company hires industry professionals to run social media channels for large companies. If you have experience in content marketing and social media, consider a part-time telecommute position with this company.

27. VoiceLog

This company hires work-from-home individuals to verify calls for telephone companies and service industries. It offers flexible shift options and a minimum hourly rate.

28. Reasoning Mind

If numbers are your passion, consider a work-from-home position with Reasoning Mind, an online tutoring company that specializes in math.

29. VirtualBee

Have mad typing skills? VirtualBee specializes in data entry jobs, which are work-from-home and can be part-time.

30. ClickWorker

This company hires people on a contract basis for translation, data tagging and categorization, editing, and web research positions.You can decide when you want to work and which tasks you want to complete.

31. Rev

Rev hires transcriptionists, captioners, and translators with some experience. You can choose your own projects and schedule, so this can be a part-time position.

32. Learnlight

This online learning company offers positions for trainers in a variety of areas, including language learning. If you’re bilingual but don’t have teaching experience, they also offer conversational positions.

33. U-haul

This moving company hires many sales and customer service positions on a work-from-home basis. These jobs pay minimum wage, but can include bonuses, and are highly competitive.

Where to Find the Best Work-From-Home Gigs

While the above companies are known for hiring part-time work-from-home employees, they’re certainly not the only ones. So where can you find a part-time work-from-home job, whether a contract-based freelance gig or actual hourly employment? Try these places:


This website is known for providing leads for all sorts of flexible jobs, from full-time telecommute positions to onsite seasonal options. It lists a variety of part-time telecommute jobs and also allows you to search by your job requirements.

You do need to pay for a subscription to, but if you find a job within two or three months of paying for the service, it’ll be worth your money. An annual membership may be worthwhile if you’re looking at shorter-term gigs or freelance jobs to fill out your schedule.

2. Other Job Search Sites

More and more traditional online job portals are allowing users to search for part-time and telecommute job offerings. Companies such as Monster, CareerBuilder, and other popular online job sites may offer listings for part-time, work-from-home jobs, as well.

3. Company Websites

And, of course, you can go straight to the source by keeping an eye on the job listings at the companies listed above. Or compile your own list of potential work-from-home employers, especially companies that specialize in outsourcing jobs that are within your skillset.

When shopping around for work-from-home jobs, be sure to check company reviews online to ensure that the company is legitimate. You also want to be sure that it pays its employees and contractors well, and on time. Avoid jobs that require hefty fees and setup before you actually start working, as well.

Have you worked from home on a part-time basis? What was your job?


You’re probably familiar with Goldman Sachs, at some level. The multinational banking firm, best known for investment banking, goes all the way back to 1869. But did you know that they also have a web-based arm known as Goldman Sachs Bank USA, or simply GS Bank?

It’s an online bank that pays far higher rates of interest on savings and certificates of deposit than traditional banks, and it competes favorably head-to-head with other well-known online banks. As an example, Ally Bank currently pays an APY of 1.75% on its 60 month certificate of deposit (CD). GS Bank, on the other hand, pays a 1.85% APY on its CD of the same term. (rates as of October 2016)

They may not be the highest paying bank in the market across the board, but they will usually lead the pack on one or more offerings. Let’s learn more about this online division and what they are offering.

About GS Bank

GS bank specializes in online savings accounts and certificates of deposit. They offer high yielding savings instruments with no transaction fees, and FDIC insurance of up to $250,000 per depositor.

Their specialty is working with the small business market. They provide smaller companies with access to relevant education, capital, and business support. In fact, their stated purpose is “unlocking growth and job creation potential of small businesses.”

GS Bank provides the services that you would expect from an online bank. You can check balances, track transactions and deposits, and receive monthly statements electronically. You can also transfer money between linked accounts, as well as make scheduled transfers at your own discretion.

How GS Bank Works

GS Bank uses a four-step process to open an account, and you can do it entirely online. Completing the process takes under 10 minutes. Want to see how easy it is?

  • Select a savings account or certificate of deposit
  • Enter ownership information
  • Review and sign your application
  • Transfer money to your account from outside accounts

For security purposes, you’ll need to create a username, password, and security challenge questions. GS Bank will then issue you a four-digit banking PIN so that you can access your account.

Trial deposits will be used when you open your account. GS Bank will make two very small (just a few cents’ worth) into your external bank account. You will then verify that those transfers have been received in your external bank account, as well as confirm the amount of each transfer. Once that has been completed, you will be able to make actual transfers between your GS Bank account and your external bank accounts.

You can transfer funds into your new account via electronic transfer, wire transfer, or check deposit. You can also set up direct deposits from either your paycheck or your monthly Social Security check.

GS Bank allows you to link as many as four external accounts, and you can then make transfers anytime, night or day. You’ll begin earning interest on your savings account or CD the very same day that a deposit is posted to the account.

Bank Highlights

GS Bank provides the full range of services that you would want, and expect, from an online bank. These include:

Minimum initial deposit requirement. There is no minimum deposit required to open a savings account. You must make a deposit into the account within 60 days of opening it, but that’s it. For CDs, the minimum requirement is just $500. This makes GS Bank a natural choice for both new and small savers.

Types of accounts offered. Individual or joint accounts only. GS Bank does not offer custodial or trust accounts, nor do they offer IRAs.

Deposit limits. The maximum amount of money you can have on deposit for all individual accounts is limited to $250,000 (combined) per account owner. This includes interest earned and credited but not withdrawn. For joint accounts, the combined maximum is $500,000, which includes interest earned and credited but not withdrawn.

Interest calculated using the daily balance method. Your interest earned begins to accumulate on the very first day you deposit money into your savings account or CD. They apply a daily periodic rate on your account balance, and it is calculated based on either 365 or 366 days. On savings accounts, interest is compounded daily, but is paid into your account on a monthly basis.

Fees. There are no fees charged in connection with your online banking accounts. That includes no fees for wire transfers.

Customer Service. GS Bank customer service is available Monday through Friday, from 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM Central time. Customer service can be reached by phone, email, or snail mail. I called the 800 number to get information and was connected to a live person within 2-3 minutes.

Availability of funds. For electronic and wire transfers, deposits are immediately available if they are made before 5 PM Central on regular business days. A deposit made after 5 PM will be considered effective the following business day. For check deposits, funds will be available on the first business day after the bank receives the deposit.

Limits on funds withdrawal. There is a limit of six withdrawals per statement cycle, which is typical with true savings instruments at all banks. (This is what distinguishes them from checking accounts.) Funds can be withdrawn from your account by wire transfer or electronic transfer, and you can also make transfers on weekends and holidays. There is a per-transfer limit of $125,000 when the transfer is done online.

Account protection. All accounts are fully protected by FDIC insurance, for up to $250,000 per depositor. Joint accounts are protected for up to $500,000 ($250,000 per depositor).

Certificates of Deposit

GS Bank’s CDs offer some of the most aggressive interest rates available. You can open one for as little as $500, with terms that run from six months to six years.


The 10-day CD Rate Guarantee. When you open a new CD with GS Bank, you will get the highest interest rate the bank offers within the first 10 days of purchasing the CD. Your CD must be funded within that 10 day period.

What does this mean? Say you hypothetically open a CD (day one) while they are offering a 1.0% APY. Then, 4 days later, the interest rate they are offering jumps up to 1.05%. As long as you fund the CD before day 10, you’ll be given the higher interest rate of 1.05% (even though the rate you signed up for was only 1.0%).

Bank Limitations

There are a few services that GS Bank doesn’t offer, at least not at this time. They include:

No ATM/debit card. You can access the funds in your account by electronic transfer to your account at another bank or by wire transfer. But at this point in time, GS Bank does not offer an ATM/debit card. That may not be a deal breaker, however. The primary purpose of either a savings account or a CD is to earn high interest on your deposits. The accounts are not designed to serve as a typical on-demand deposit accounts, so this may not bother you at all.

Limited account types. Right now, GS Bank doesn’t offer either custodial accounts or trust accounts.

No international transfers. At least for the time being, you won’t be able to transfer of funds to and from accounts outside of the US. However since Goldman Sachs is a multinational bank, we can reasonably expect this feature to be provided at some point in the future.

No IRA accounts. GS Bank does not provide IRA accounts, as of October 2016.

Is GS Bank the Right Online Bank for You?

Most banks today pay something close to nothing – often less than 0.10% year – on savings accounts, CDs, and money market funds. This is why you need a relationship with a bank like GS Bank, in order to hold the majority of your savings. Even if you have great features elsewhere, such as award-winning checking accounts and credit cards, you still need a strong bank that pays high interest rates to hold your savings instruments.

So, what about other online banks that also pay high interest? One major advantage that GS Bank has is that they are backed by one of the most respected financial institutions in the world: Goldman Sachs. Not only should that make your investments more secure, but it also holds the promise of expanded features and opportunities in the future. The kind that only a world-class banking organization could provide.

To get more information, check out the GS Bank website, where you’re certain to find savings opportunities that will interest you.

Have you signed up for a GS Bank account yet? What has been your experience?



What if you could increase your after-tax investment returns by 15% over 30 years? Betterment is claiming you can do just that with their Tax-Coordinated Portfolio. What’s more, they claim that it can even work across several accounts at the same time.

Interested? Read on…

Who is Betterment?

Betterment is a robo-advisor. In fact, it is the largest independent robo-advisor in the US, with more than 175,000 customers and more than $5 billion in assets under management.

As a robo-advisor, Betterment is an automated, technology-driven investment platform that creates and maintains a diverse portfolio for each of its investors. They do this by compiling what they believe will be the best mix of exchange traded funds (ETFs) in your portfolio. They use index based ETFs because they are both low cost and tax efficient (their low turnover minimizes the amount of short-term capital gains generated).

Learn More: Index Funds versus ETFs — Which is Right for You?

Your entire portfolio is constructed of just 13 different ETFs — six stock ETFs and seven bond ETFs — which essentially represent the global financial markets as a whole.

Betterment’s investment management method is based on Modern Portfolio Theory, or MPT. The theory holds that proper asset allocation is more important in portfolio management than individual security selection. This is also why Betterment uses broad based index funds in creating your asset allocation. The right asset mix will provide both a maximum rate of return while keeping risk to a minimum.

Your portfolio is constructed only after Betterment determines your investment horizon, goals, and risk tolerance. This will enable them to include the appropriate blend of both stocks and bonds to fit your investment profile.

Once your portfolio is established, it is fully automated – including regular rebalancing – so that you don’t need to get involved in the process at all. Your sole responsibility is to fund your account to help it grow.

Betterment offers both taxable and tax-sheltered (retirement) accounts, so that you can do all of your investing on the platform.

Betterment Fees

Best of all are the very low fees that they charge. They are just a fraction of what typical traditional investment advisors charge to perform essentially the same service.

The fee is based on a percentage of the amount of money that you have invested on the platform. It is a single, annual fee, as there are no separate charges for transactions or rebalancing. There are three fee tier levels, based on account balance:

  • Less than $10,000: 0.35% of your average annual balance. There is no minimum initial account balance required. However, you must commit to a $100/month minimum automatic deposit. You will be charged a flat rate of $3 per month otherwise.
  • $10,000 to $99,999: 0.25% of your average annual balance.
  • $100,000 or more: 0.15% of your average annual balance.

What is the Tax-Coordinated Portfolio?

Betterment’s Tax-Coordinated Portfolio, or “TCP,”  is based on the use of an automated strategy referred to as asset location. Within that strategy, they manage multiple accounts as a single portfolio. That includes placing assets that are taxed at higher rates into more favorably taxed accounts, like those for retirement. Betterment’s research has estimated that TCP can produce an average annual benefit of between 0.10% to 0.82%.

Using one generalized scenario, TCP boosted after-tax returns by 0.48% per year. After 30 years, this provided an additional 15% for retirement. That’s an impressive benefit, considering you don’t need to do anything extra in order to utilize its advantages.

Betterment came up with TCP through their team of quantitative analysts, tax experts, software engineers, designers, and product managers, who spent more  than a year building the service. They believe that they are the first investment service to offer such a product, and are now making it available to all investors on the platform.

How Betterment’s Tax-Coordinated Portfolio Works

The Tax-Coordinated Portfolio places high tax assets in tax sheltered accounts, such as IRAs. Lower taxed assets are then held in taxable accounts.

That means that high dividend yielding stocks would be held in an IRA to reduce what is called tax drag.Tax drag refers to the reduction in return on investment that comes from the tax liability generated by an investment.

In order to take advantage of TCP you need to have both a taxable account and either a tax-deferred account, like an IRA, or a tax-exempt account, such as a Roth IRA. The benefit will not extend to any non-Betterment accounts.

This means that if you want to take advantage of TCP, you will have to roll outside accounts into your Betterment account. That includes your taxable and tax-deferred investment accounts. Part of the reason that TCP requires at least one retirement account is that Betterment can make larger rebalances in such accounts without increasing your tax liability.

You will still have the ability to change your allocation in your TCP, right on the investment platform. However, any time you do, you run the risk of causing “taxable events,” so Betterment recommends against this. If you do make changes, you can use Betterment’s Tax Impact Preview feature (see below), which will show you a real-time tax estimate before you confirm any allocation changes.

TCP is available to all Betterment investors. However, it is generally not recommended for those whose federal tax bracket is 15% or less. You should also be aware that TCP does not have any impact on any investment accounts that you hold outside of Betterment.

Betterment Tax-Coordinated Portfolio Components and Tools

TCP is comprised of three major components, including:

Tax Impact Preview – This tool provides a real-time tax estimate for a withdrawal or allocation change, and you can use it before you confirm the transaction. It will show you the information you should be focusing on to make an informed decision, before you actually make the changes. It has the potential to lower your tax bill as a result.

Tax Impact Preview will consider if the benefits of the change will outweigh the costs, or if you might consider waiting in order to avoid short-term capital gains. It may also ask you to consider if there is another source of funds you can access that will not have any impact on your tax liability.

TaxMin – This tool will help you select the most tax-efficient lots, selling losses first, and short-term gains last. TaxMin considers the cost basis of the lot, realizing all losses for any gains, regardless of when the shares were purchased.

Lots are sold in the following order, so as to minimize the tax impact:

  • Short-term losses
  • Long-term losses
  • Long-term gains
  • Short-term gains

The algorithm exhausts each category before moving to the next. Within each category, lots with the highest cost basis are sold first. With a gain, the rule is as follows: the higher the basis, the smaller the gain. This results in a lower tax burden. In the case of a loss, the opposite is true: the higher the basis, the bigger the loss. This can, of course, offset gains.

Tax Loss Harvesting (TLH) – This service is available on taxable investment accounts only, since tax-sheltered accounts don’t need it. According to Betterment’s Tax Loss Harvesting White Paper, Betterment’s TLH service generates as much as 1.94% in annual tax offsets. This compares to 0.95% by other automated investment services.

In general, tax loss harvesting involves selling securities that have sustained losses, then buying correlated assets – those that provide similar exposure – to replace the securities that have been sold. The strategy generates capital gains losses, but keeps the portfolio consistent with its intended target allocation mix.

Should You Invest With Betterment Tax-Coordinated Portfolio?

What can you say about a service that has the potential to improve your investment performance by an average of almost 0.50% (OK, 0.48%) per year? Oh, and it charges no extra fee for the benefit.

With the growing popularity of robo-advisors, and Betterment being the largest in the field, TCP  makes the case for using this platform more compelling than ever. This is one of those rare situations in your investment life where you will have nothing to lose, but much to gain.

Betterment offers a compelling combination of automated professional investment management, along with TCP. It also has one of the lowest fee structures in the industry. And you can invest on the platform with both your taxable accounts and your retirement accounts.

You owe it to yourself to check Betterment out.



Fidelity Study Finds Millennials are Moving Back Home in Droves

by Stephanie Colestock

Ah, millennials. They are the first generation to grow up with iPhones, FaceTime, and GPS apps. Most of their banking is done online and, thanks to Amazon, the majority of web purchases arrive at their doorstep within 2 business days. They hit the generational jackpot when it comes to convenience and ease, it would seem. […]

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Ally Celebrates National Online Bank Day with CD Bonus Rate

by Stephanie Colestock

In case you didn’t know, today is National Online Bank Day! Exciting, huh? (Don’t worry, I didn’t have it marked on my calendar, either). Some online banks are offering promotional discounts and interest rates to celebrate, with Ally being one of them. Ally Bank is one of the more popular online banking institutions, offering a […]

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How to Find the Most Affordable Cell Phone Plans

by Abby Hayes

Over the past few years, cell phone providers have declared an out-and-out war to win over consumers. This spells good things for the consumers, who can now take advantage of more low-cost cell phone plans than ever. These days, even the “big four” cell providers — Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon — are lowering their […]

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How to Get Your Credit Report for Free

by Abby Hayes

Many consumers know that they can get a free annual credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. But this report only shows your credit report, not your actual credit score. When you go to get your free annual credit report, the credit bureau will likely ask if you […]

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An Overview of The CFPB Mortgage Protection Rules

by Kevin Mercadante

Beginning in January 2014, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB, issued new rules to protect mortgage borrowers. The rules deal primarily with what is known as the “servicing” side of the mortgage process. That’s everything that happens after a mortgage closes, from setting up escrows and crediting payments to foreclosures. There are nine rules […]

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2016 Federal Income Tax Brackets and Marginal Rates

by Stephanie Colestock

Can you believe we’re already in September? The year has flown by, and IRS Tax Year 2016 will soon be coming to a close. While your filing deadline isn’t until April 17, 2017 (the 15th will fall on a Saturday), now is the perfect time to begin thinking about your taxes, maxing out your retirement […]

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