Celebrating Our Second Birthday!

Celebrating Our Second Birthday!

We hope you will help us celebrate our second birthday on Friday, October 2, 2020!  In the past year, we published 26 posts on topics ranging from life insurance to investing to financial planning to bitcoin.  In this post, I review what we’ve been doing, our most popular posts and ideas we have for future topics.

Focused on Investing

Our primary focus in the past year has been on investment education.  The posts started with some basics about stocks, expanded to include a number of different strategies for investing in equities, and also covered the related topics of diversification and re-balancing.  If you are interested in this topic, we suggest reading the posts in roughly this order, skipping any topics that don’t interest you.

In our first year, we published related posts introducing bonds and explaining risk and diversification.

Top Five Posts This Year

In Year 2, our most popular posts were these.

#1 Good Debt vs. Bad Debt

Good Debt vs. Bad Debt

One of my readers was considering a business expansion.  He was concerned that he would have to borrow money to finance the expansion.  There is a common misconception that all debt is bad.  In this post, I identify characteristics of good and bad debt.  Based on these characteristics, I think that his business expansion was a great use of debt.

#2 Don’t Make these Financial Mistakes

Don't Make these Financial Mistakes

Good Nelly wrote this guest post focusing on financial mistakes you might make during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Although the context of the post focuses on the current situation, many of the mistakes are actions to avoid at any time.  This post was featured on Personal Finance Blogs.

#3 Reading Financial Statements

Reading Financial Statements

This post is part of my series on investing.  One of the most important actions to take before investing in an individual company – whether it be a stock, bond or option investment – is to review its financial statements.  Every company’s financial statements are different, but they all contain the same key elements.  In this post, I use an example to help you look for the important line items in financial statements and identify the key ratios that investors review.

#4 Don’t Panic.  Just Plan It.

Don't Panic. Just Plan it.

I wrote this post just as COVID-19 was beginning to impact our lives and investments.  In the first half of the post (the “Just Plan It” part), I walk through the key components of a financial plan and how, if you have one in place, you will be much better prepared for the next economic crisis.  In the second half of the post (the “Don’t Panic” part), I provide many statistics about previous market crashes, highlighting the conclusion that selling after a crash is one of the biggest mistakes you can make.

#5 New Cars vs. Used Cars

New vs. Used Cars

This post is the only one in this year’s top 5 that I wrote last year.  It was #6 on last year’s list, so is a very popular post.  In it, I total up all of the costs of owning a car for a variety of different models, ages at purchase and lengths of time owned.  This post helps you understand whether and by how much you would be better off if you buy a used car rather than a new car.  For some cars, it is much less expensive to buy used, whereas for other cars it doesn’t cost much more to buy new especially if you plan to own it for a long time.

Top Five Posts Ever

These posts have been most popular since our inception.

#1 Advice We Gave our Kids

Advice I Give My Kids

This post was the one of the first ones I wrote.  It contains a list of 7 themes about money that my kids heard frequently as they were growing up or as they were starting to make their own financial decisions.  It talks about everything from cash for emergencies to when it is okay to quit a job without a new one to insurance.  In addition, I added two other pieces of advice I wished I had given them.

#2 Should Chris Pre-Pay His Mortgage

Should Chris Pay Off his Mortgage?

Chris @MoneyStir published a post giving a lot of detail about his financial situation.  He asked others for their opinions about whether he should pre-pay his mortgage.  In my response, I illustrated to Chris that, given his particular circumstances, he would be substantially better off a large percentage of the time after he fully re-paid his mortgage if he invested his extra cash instead of using it to pre-pay his mortgage.  One of the broader takeaways from this post is the importance of isolating a single decision and not confusing your thinking by combining separate decisions into one process.

#3 New Cars vs. Used Cars

Not surprisingly, since this post was in the top 10 in our first year and top 5 this year, it is near the top of the list for both years combined.  See above for more information about the post.

#4 Introduction to Budgeting

Introduction to Budgeting

This post is the first one we published.  It explains what a budget is, its benefits and the key steps for creating a budget.  It acts as an introduction to a series of nine additional posts with the step-by-step details for making a budget.  The process starts with tracking your expenses to see how you are currently spending your money.  It then moves through setting financial goals, determining your income and figuring out how you want to spend your money.  The final step is monitoring your expenses to see how you are doing relative to your budget.

#5 Good Debt vs. Bad Debt

This post is the only one that we wrote this year that made the all-time top 5.

Future Topics

I have a couple more posts related to investing planned to start our third year and then will go back to other components of financial literacy.  Some of these topics are:

  • Buying a home vs. renting
  • Mortgages
  • Reverse mortgages
  • Rental property
  • Annuities
  • Insurance for your bank accounts
  • 529 Plans
  • Extended warranties
  • Pet insurance
  • Income taxes (US and Canada)
  • What should be included in your budget

If you have any questions you’d like me to answer or topics you’d like me to cover, be sure to let me know.  While I can’t provide financial advice for your individual situation, I can provide insights on how you might make a sound decision.  You can send me a note from the Contact Us tab on this blog or at susieq@financialiqbysusieq.com.

Thank You!

In closing, I have a number of people to thank.

First is my daughter without whose assistance this blog wouldn’t be possible.  She reviews all my posts, brainstorms ideas with me and does all of my graphics, in addition to all the work she did to set up Financial IQ by Susie Q in the first place.  I also want to thank my mother who proofs all of my posts and adds terrific insights, both of which increase the quality of the posts.

I greatly appreciate the contributions of my guest authors – Kay Rahardjo, Brandon Smith, Good Nelly, Adam Wilson, Baruch Silverman and Graeme Hughes.  They provide content on topics with which I’m not familiar and allow me to take breaks which is especially helpful when I go on vacation or have visitors.

And, most importantly, I want to thank all of you – our followers!  The purpose of this blog is to provide unbiased financial literacy information to people like you.  We hope you find Financial IQ by Susie Q a great resource and that you’ll let your friends know about it.