Friday, December 23, 2011

Short Takes: Long-Term Effect of Fees, Cutting Back, and more

This will be the last regular post until next year. I may write one or two before then if the mood strikes. To all my readers, I wish you happy holidays and all the best in the new year.

Where Does All My Money Go? breaks down the effect of mutual fund fees on a 25-year investment. Check out the spreadsheet that lets you enter your own inputs to see how much of your money goes to your advisor, the dealer, and the fund company.

Gail Vaz-Oxlade conducted a poll to find out how much people could reduce their monthly expenses if they had to (in a post no longer online). The most striking thing about this poll is that the highest category is “15% or more”. I could reduce my expenses by 50%. If I absolutely had to, I could go further by moving my family somewhere cheaper. I think people have a misguided sense of the distinction between necessities and wants. Necessities are food, simple clothing, shelter, education, and not much more.

The Blunt Bean Counter shows that there is no advantage to earning income in a corporation because of the way that dividend taxation is integrated with personal taxes. I wonder if maybe there are certain narrow situations where using a corporation can be used to smooth personal income between years. One strange situation would be two people who run a company by each working every other year. They would prefer to declare $75,000 every year rather than $150,000 every other year.

Retire Happy Blog reviews Andrew Hallam's book, Millionaire Teacher.

Tom Bradley takes on the claims that the world's financial troubles are “different this time”. Ironically, one of the ways that things remain the same is that people tend to think that present conditions are different from the past.

My Own Advisor had some fun making a financial version of Christmas poetry.

Big Cajun Man makes the case for giving cash as a Christmas present.


  1. Spreadsheet fever is going around!

    To all of MJ's readers: I will keep you warm through the holidays. I've just put up a massive wall of text, no fewer than 3 spreadsheets, and I still have 3 draft posts just about ready to go to keep the posting rate up over the holidays.


  2. I love a good spreadsheet myself, but I like it more with Baseball or Hockey Statistics on it...

    Merry Christmas and all that stuff!

  3. The Blunt Bean CounterDecember 23, 2011 at 7:56 AM

    Michael, thx for the link and your support during the year. Best of the season to you.

    Three quick comments regarding your tax planning of alternative years taxation. 1.There is no benefit to earning investment income in a corp. but that does not mean the distribution of that income cannot be tax effective depending upon the income level of the owners 2. To take advantage of point one, we often set up corporations with discretionary shares that allow them to stream dividends to one party or another depending upon their personal income as per your suggestion. Without having discretionary shares, you must pay dividends equally and 3. Your suggestion of on again off again remuneration could force a higher average tax rate over the two years upon the person depeding upon their income level.

  4. @Mark: I knew I could count on useful commentary on my vague question. Thanks for the information.

  5. Thanks for the mention Michael.

    I also appreciate all the blog support during 2011.

    I wish you and family a great, happy and healthy holiday. Best wishes for 2012!