My biggest advice with respect to personal can be summarized into a series of rules
FinanceProfessor's Top Ten Personal Finance Rules
- Invest as much as you can-Do it now!
- Invest on a regular basis! Set up automatic investments in your funds.
- Realize there are no "free lunches"
- Diversify! The basket is generally more important than the eggs!
- Think long-term and do not try to time the market
- Consider tax consequences and take advantage of tax-advantaged accounts
- Look for low transaction costs
- Save more than you think you need (a penny saved is a penny earned!)
- Compounding matters! Save early, save hard!
- Live within your means. Do not run up large credit card bills.
That said, a good friend recently asked about variable annuities for his mother and for him I broke my silence and agreed that it made no sense (especially since it was already in a retirement account!)
Fortunately, she did not do it. Many people do not know much about variable annuities and hence fall prey to salespeople who have a vested interes in selling the high cost products. So I was really excited when I saw/heard this week's Kim Snider radio show. It had a very good discussion on variable annuities and the problems they can cause. You can listen to it here. Short version: you probably do not want a variable annuity!
As I said before when I mentioned her blog/show: "good stuff." :)