Archives For Blogging

From 2008…

August 20, 2015 — 3 Comments

A look back in the history of AFM. This was in Money Magazine in 2008:

AFM in Money Magazine - 2008

I found this while cleaning up my office yesterday. I chuckled a bit when I read it. I remember 2008 well. My Dad passed away in March. The housing market was going nuts. There was a very pessimistic feel in the air. Good times to be “strangely comforting”. I’ll take it!

The last couple of years have been a blur. My blogging took a backseat to getting our old house ready to sell. Then, once it sold, we had to move to an apartment for several weeks, then finally to our new house. Between adjusting to our new house and my total lack of motivation, I have not kept up with blogging and the personal finance blog realm.

So, tell me:

What personal finance blogs are people reading these days?

You can skip the GetRichSlowly’s, the SimpleDollar’s, and the other “big” blogs. I already know about them. I’m looking for newer blogs.

If you know of one, please share. If it’s your own blog, please make it known in your comment.

Ten Years Gone By…

October 13, 2014

It is hard to believe that I started blogging ten years ago today.

I remember going to lunch with a group of men from my church. After lunch, I came home and set up AllThingsFinancial on the blogger platform.

Why did I start blogging?

I had read an article in the Wall Street Journal about a guy who set up a private blog for his extended family so that they could keep up with all the happenings of his kids. I got to thinking that it might be cool to use the same platform to talk about personal finance.

When I started blogging, there were literally only a handful of personal finance blogs. Mine is one of the oldest (especially when you consider those who started personal finance blogs and then sold them).

Blogging was fun and exciting at first. It was such a new platform that it wasn’t hard to get attention from the media. Every month I kept track of my growing traffic and revenue from Google Ads. It was fun to watch it grow.

Then something changed in 2008.

My dad passed away. My traffic inexplicably started dropping. Other blogs were passing AFM up in popularity. Revenue started dropping (I never cared for all the control Google had over ads. For all I know, they could have cheating me out of ad revenue). My motivation dropped. I simply wasn’t willing to do what was necessary to keep my blog’s audience growing (posting meatloaf recipes and how to make soap and such) or to boost revenue by hawking credit cards.

It wasn’t fun anymore. How many articles could I write about budgeting or saving for retirement? I grew bored with personal finance issues and started getting more into politics, which drove some people away. I remember people emailing me to tell me that they were no longer going to ready AFM. It’s easier to like someone when you don’t know that they vote differently than you do. But, there was so much to write about: elections, the housing crisis, the bailouts, food stamps, welfare, etc. I enjoyed the banter back and forth with AFM readers and I always took pride in the fact that we could express opinions without insulting each other.

So, here I am ten years down the road…

A lot has changed. I was nearly 35-years old then. I’ll be 45 in two days. My daughter was only a few months old then. Now she’s a fifth grader. My boys were in 2nd and 3rd grade then. Now one is a freshman in college and the other is a senior in high school. My dad was 58-years old. Now he’s been gone over six years. My wife and I had been married 11 years. Now we just passed our 21-year anniversary. We had been in our house a little over five years. Now we are in a new house after having lived in our first house nearly 15 years.

Time flies.

Where do we go from here?

Stay tuned…

Finally Moved In…

October 9, 2014

I’m happy to report that we FINALLY got moved into our new house nearly two weeks ago. I just got internet set up on Tuesday. As you can see, I still have some work to do on my office…

Office (small)

There is no discussing facts Pamela Yellen. Here’s a copy of our back and forth for your entertainment:

JLP says:

April 28, 2014 at 5:49 pm

Why did you choose to use price returns for the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Averages instead of real returns, which would include dividends?

Pamela Yellen says:

May 1, 2014 at 12:28 pm

I DO discuss the impact of reinvested dividends right below my S&P 500 chart, as follows:

“Even when you include reinvesting dividends, the real purchasing power of your investment remains negative after 14 years! And this assumes you have no fees, commissions or taxes, which will take another big bite out of your savings.”

How did you manage to miss that, just like Allan Roth missed it? And if you and he missed something that obvious, what else did you both miss?

And then you have the nerve to compare me to The Beardstown Ladies on your post tearing me down on your blog on your AllFinancialMatters website? Based on my supposedly omitting something I clearly noted on BOTH my website and in my book?

I’ve come to expect that of Allan Roth. Hopefully you are a man of honor willing to admit when you are wrong.

You know, Mr. JLP, it’s easy to write whatever you want – regardless of the impact it might have on others – when you hide behind anonymity, as you do. I doubt you could take the crap and abuse I put up with on a daily basis for even one day if you used your real name.

JLP says:

May 1, 2014 at 1:38 pm

Thanks for the reply.

I still don’t understand why you just don’t use total returns for all your numbers. Why the difference? You clearly emphasize price returns over real returns, do you not.

Pamela says:

May 2, 2014 at 11:03 am

The reason is simple, JLP – I write my books for the consumer, not financial planners and investment advisors. Most consumers don’t know what the phrase “total return” means and would never be able to relate to the total return numbers of the S&P 500 index, or any other index.

When you turn on any market watch report or read the Wall Street Journal, are they reporting the total returns of the indexes? NO!!!!!!!! So, if I did, it would only confuse people!

Besides, the point I’m making is that I DID spell out that the chart in my book and on my website did NOT include reinvested dividends. Isn’t that what really matters?

But you never did address the issue I brought up in my statement: Even when you INCLUDE the dividends, the returns did not even keep up with inflation!!!!!!

Now riddle me this:

Why do you and Allan Roth both ignore the fact that the stock market returns you are talking about are BEFORE fees and commissions, BEFORE retirement account fees, and if investing in a tax-deferred account like a 401k or IRA, they are also BEFORE taxes?

Then you turn around and have the gall to compare them against the return of a Bank On Yourself- type dividend paying whole life policy, which is shown AFTER fees and commissions, AFTER account fees and AFTER taxes!!!!!!!!!

But, somehow that’s okay, right?

The numbers in all the policy examples in my book are bottom line numbers after ALL costs and taxes are deducted. You’d know that if you bothered to read my book. At least you admit you haven’t read it and don’t intend to. Roth either only read 5 pages of the book, or just ignored the rest because it didn’t support his arguments.

It is the height of intellectual dishonesty, but it’s the only way you can make your strategy look good. And the cherry on top of it is that those following YOUR advice get the pleasure of worrying about whether the next crash will wipe out 50% or more of their nest egg again, right before they planned to retire.

So, the real question is this: Are Allan Roth and Jeffrey Pritchard of AllFinancialMatters misleading their followers?

JLP says:

May 2, 2014 at 11:33 am

Actually, I ran the numbers using Vanguard’s S&P 500 Index Fund. I adjusted the numbers for the monthly CPI index. It turns out you would have eeked out a paltry gain of .38% per year. Since these are inflation-adjusted returns and they are positive, a person would have kept up with inflation…just barely. I’m not here to tell you that the last 14 years have been great. They have not. But, that is only part of the story.

Let’s say we look at these numbers from a DCA perspective. It would be very rare for a person to invest all their money on March 24, 2000, right at the VERY PEAK of the S&P 500 Index. However, let’s say a person started dollar-cost averaging into Vanguard’s S&P 500 Index Fund on that date and adding the same dollar amount at the end of every month. Adjusting for inflation (if you would like my numbers, let me know and I’ll email you my spreadsheet), they would have had a personal rate of return (using Excel’s XIRR function) of 4.98% over the last 14 years. Not great, but not bad either considering how bad the market was over those years.

Pamela says:

May 6, 2014 at 10:35 am

Well, I ran the numbers using the S&P 500 index numbers from Yahoo Finance and the inflation numbers from, rather than the numbers from a mutual fund, and there was no gain. And, given your demonstrated pattern of missing key data and reporting inaccurately, I am going to go with the numbers my team calculated, rather than yours. (But I can recommend a good reading comprehension course for you…)

But whether the gains beat inflation or not is interesting, but NOT the really critical issue, which you keep avoiding addressing. (I can’t imagine why…)

The KEY issue is that your numbers are BEFORE taxes and BEFORE all fees… and the Bank On Yourself numbers are AFTER all fees, commissions and taxes.

If you believe the taxes and fees are insignificant, you should be immediately stripped of any licenses you hold, as well as the “license” to run your AllFinancialMatters blog. (This is why most blogging isn’t writing. It’s graffiti with punctuation.)

Let’s say I give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you do know taxes and fees have an impact. Can you tell us how much a 1% annual fee over 30 years and a 25% effective tax bracket in retirement will reduce these returns?

I DO know the answer. Are you really as clueless as you appear?

Here’s a hint: According to the most recent 401k Averages Book, the average total plan cost for small plans is 1.46% per year per year. (FYI – IRA fees are usually higher.) Even the largest plans have fees that average 1%.

Fees that are added on, like 401(k) fees and mutual fund costs, compound AGAINST you. Deduct that 1.46% per year cost over a 30-year period. Or just run it with a 1% annual fee for 30 years.

Now let’s assume you’re fortunate enough to retire at “only” a 25% effective tax rate.

Tell me what’s left of your return?

Maybe 4.98% before fees and taxes “isn’t bad,” but it SUCKS after you account for fees and taxes.

Don’t just keep repeating yourself like a parrot! Run the numbers! And I DARE you to publish these comments IN FULL along with that result on your blog! (That’s assuming you could even calculate those numbers correctly – which is questionable.) In fact, I’ve noticed how you have conspicuously NOT included any of my comments on your blog. After all, they drive a hole as big as a Mack truck through your logic. And you’ve let the lies you originally published stand. Shame on you, Jeffrey Pritchard.

JLP says:

May 2, 2014 at 12:36 pm

Additionally, isn’t it dishonest to pick the absolute market top as your starting point?

Why not be fair and pick the absolute bottom since March 24, 2000, run the numbers again, and compare results?

Pamela says:

May 6, 2014 at 10:36 am

If I really wanted to slant the numbers, wouldn’t I have done the chart from a market top to a market bottom?

But I didn’t – I took it to another market high, ending the week my book got published. I suppose you would have me take it from a market bottom to a market top?

You have demonstrated that you are both dishonest and uneducable, Jeffrey Pritchard. I have a “3-strikes” rule on this blog – and you are now officially OUT. This conversation is over and you are now banned from this blog.

We found out a couple of months ago that we are going to be moving. With a senior in high school and another right behind him, the timing is horrible. My wife didn’t feel like she could turn this job down. We managed to stay in the same house for 14 years.

Our house wasn’t ready to go on the market, so I’ve been spending a lot of time getting it ready to sell. Combine remodeling with taking care of kids and all the other household stuff, and it leaves little time for AFM.

Anyway, AFM’s not going away. I’m just too busy to even think about blogging. I have come across great material recently but haven’t had the time to post about it. I do have one post in the works that will blow your mind (at least I think it will).

Take care and please remember my family and me in your prayers.

AFM Inflation Project

May 20, 2013

Tell me, what do you guys think about starting an inflation project?

Here’s what I have in mind:

Readers from different parts of the country (North East, East, South East, North Central, Central, South Central, North West, West, and South West) track a small number of goods (mostly grocery items) and report the numbers to me and I’ll put them in a spreadsheet for everyone to see.

Why would we do this?

Because I think the government’s numbers are fiction.

So, what do you think? Interested?