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Top 10 List: The Most Read Posts of Our2Cents in 2015

As the clock ticks down toward the end of 2015, we looked back at the array of blog posts published since the inception of Our2Cents in March.  Several posts captured particular attention, so we have recapped them here, for those who missed them or read them but need a reminder of their wisdom.

#10:  Where to Save Emergency Funds and What Matters Even More.   Concerned in this low interest rate environment about where to park their cash, many readers reviewed this post, which offered practical suggestions about the types of accounts in which to save emergency funds and the significance of determining how much to save in an emergency fund versus an investment account.

#9:  The 5 W’s of Emergency Funds.  This post explains the basics of an emergency fund–what it is, why it is necessary for everyone, and when is an appropriate time to use it.

#8:  College Funding: How Much Is Enough?  For parents who have not yet begun saving for your children’s college expenses, please put that at the top of your New Year’s resolution list and check out this post to determine how much you should be saving each month to fully fund college expenses.  If you are overwhelmed by a quick glance at the numbers, be sure to read the section on paying for some college expenses out of cash flow.

#7:  Why Do My Portfolio Returns Look Different Than the Returns of “The Market”?  The past year and a half have been unusual in that the asset class that many Americans equate with the stock market as a whole–U.S. large company stocks, often represented by the S&P 500 index–has outperformed most of the other asset classes that comprise the global stock market.  This post explains the importance of comparing apples to apples in evaluating investment performance and maintaining a well-diversified portfolio.

#6:  8 Steps to Opening a Virginia 529 Account.  Once you have determined how much to save for your children’s college expenses (see #8), read this post to see why we recommend using a 529 account for college savings and how to open one (if you live in Virginia).

#5:  5 Factors to Consider in Determining How Much to Save Toward Retirement.  While you might just expect that we would advise you to save the maximum allowable amount in your retirement savings plan, the answer is actually more complex (could be less, could be more!).  This post discusses how your age, income, risk tolerance, and projected retirement age and income dictate what percentage of your income you should be saving toward retirement.

#4:  Mortgage Prepayments:  A Good Investment?  Spoiler alert:  the answer is maybe.  This post explains how to decide whether to prepay on your mortgage depending on interest rates, investment returns, alternate uses for the funds, and your personal financial profile.

#3:  5 Factors to Consider in Determining When to Start Social Security Benefits.  This post discussed how age, longevity, marital status, income, and taxes can play a role in the decision of when to start collecting Social Security.  However, some of the guidance in the section on marital status is no longer relevant in light of recent changes to Social Security, which we discussed in another post.

#2:  Investing 101, Investing 102, and Investing 103.  This three-part series on the basics of investing covered topics that ranged from defining a stock, bond, and mutual fund to explaining the benefits of compounding, passive investing, and dollar cost averaging.

#1:  PLUP:  What It Is and Why You Need It.  A dark horse candidate to be sure, this post on the importance of purchasing personal liability insurance attracted the most attention of any post this year.  While insurance, and particularly liability insurance, can be a dry topic, it can also be supremely important to your financial well-being if the rare and unexpected occurs. 

We appreciate your support and readership over the past year, and, if you have found our posts helpful, we hope that you will share them with friends and family as well.  As always, if you have questions about any financial planning or investment topics and would like to see them addressed in a blog post, please email us at  We hope to continue offering nuggets of wisdom that you can use in your financial life throughout the new year!


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