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When to flout conventional financial wisdom

When to ignore conventional wisdom
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When to ignore conventional wisdom

You've been barraged by financial wisdom since the day you landed your first job. Surely you've heard these nuggets before:

  • Save 10 percent of your income for retirement. If you start young, you'll have a nice nest egg by the time you leave work behind.
  • Don't throw money away on rent -- buy a house as soon as you can afford it. While you're at it, spend up to 28 percent of your gross income on that house as long as your total debt doesn't exceed 36 percent of your gross pay. It's an investment in your future.
  • When your children are still in diapers, start saving for their college educations in a dedicated college fund. After all, you don't want them to be saddled with big college loans.
  • Invest heavily in stocks because you're young and have plenty of time to recover from market swings. Over time, the market always goes up. Then ease out of stocks and into cash as retirement looms, when you'll need that money.
  • Once you retire, move any stocks in your portfolio to those that produce dividends, so you'll have a steady income stream. And to reduce estate taxes, give money to your kids and grandkids, up to the maximum allowed in the tax code.

In many cases, this advice is still spot-on. Except when it isn't. Find out when to ignore the conventional financial wisdom and learn what to do instead.


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