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Matt Bell

Matt Bell

Managing Editor

Matt joined SMI in 2012. He leads SMI’s content strategy — managing the company’s monthly editorial calendar, writing many of the articles, sourcing content from outside the company, and either writing or overseeing much of what appears on our website. He also represents SMI in various radio guest appearances.

Prior to joining SMI, Matt was an independent biblical money management writer and speaker. He is the author of four personal finance books that were published by NavPress, including Money and Marriage: A Complete Guide for Engaged and Newly Married Couples and The Grad’s Guide to Money (written for high school seniors and college freshmen). He does some outside speaking as well at churches, universities, conferences, and retreats throughout the country. Matt has been involved in stewardship ministry since 1990 when he began serving in the Good $ense ministry at Willowcreek Community Church.

Matt earned an undergraduate degree in Journalism from Northern Illinois University and a graduate degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from DePaul University, where he wrote a thesis about the history and influence of our consumer culture.

Matt and his wife Jude have three children at home. 

Most Recent Articles

Money Roundup: What Will Cause the Next Recession, How to Climb the Wall of Worry, and More

Our latest picks for the best investing and personal finance articles from around the web.

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Understanding “Regression to the Mean” Helps Manage Expectations

In investing, as in life, it’s important to manage your expectations. There’s nothing quite like an unmet expectation to drive misery and misbehavior. That helps explain why fewer people own stocks today than before the Great Recession (54% now vs. 64% then). Many of those who left the market likely had no idea the market could fall so far so fast.

One way to manage your expectations is to have a working knowledge of regression to the mean.

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Money & Marriage: It Takes More Than a Spreadsheet

While preparing to do some teaching at my local church about managing money effectively as a couple, my research reminded me once again why money is often such a divisive issue between spouses. Study after study shows that men and women simply think about money in very different ways. As you look at the following examples, please keep this in mind: I’m just the messenger here; I realize the research does not represent every marriage.

Different financial beliefs lead to different financial behaviors. When asked how they feel about money in general, men are more likely to say they feel confident, whereas women are more likely to say they feel anxious.

That may explain why men tend to overstate how much income they earn, whereas women tend to overstate how much debt they have.

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Not Everything That Matters Can Be Measured and Other Points to Ponder

Stick with your plan

“If you are going to do better than most, it won’t be by continually anticipating a market crash. That has invariably been an exit ramp onto a dead end street. Tuning out noise and consistently following investment rules and hard data is far more challenging than it sounds, but the performance of those that do it can be in the top 5%.” – Urban Carmel, writing in The Fat Pitch about the importance of following an objective investment process. Read more

Not everything that matters can be measured

“You can measure everything about a bubble except the most important part: When investors will stop believing in it. The end of the bubble is just the end of enthusiasm. And enthusiasm isn’t a tamable statistic. It’s a hormone that owes nothing to the logic of your data.” – Morgan Housel, suggesting on the Collaborative Fund blog on 7/5/18 that spreadsheets and statistics will only get you so far. Read more

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Gap Between Retirement Confidence and Preparedness Still Very Wide

The number of today’s workers who are confident they’ll enjoy a secure, comfortable retirement continues to be at odds with their actual preparedness, according to the latest annual Retirement Confidence Survey from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).

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Money Roundup: Over-Thinking the Yield Curve, Statistics Will Only Get You So Far, and More

Our latest picks for the best investing and personal finance articles from around the web.

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How Recession-Ready Are Your Finances?

Every day seems to bring new headlines about the next recession — what will cause it, when it will hit, and how bad it will be. Today, for example, MarketWatch is prominently displaying this article: "Why a major trade war could mean a ‘full-blown’ recession."

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Money Roundup: A Retirement Surprise, What Matters Most When Withdrawing From Retirement Accounts, and More

Our latest picks for the best investing and personal finance articles from around the web — a rare Monday edition since we had strategy updates last Friday.

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The Real Cost of Mutual Funds

At first glance, the cost of investing in a mutual fund seems straightforward. The net asset value (NAV) is the price of each share. For example, the NAV of the Allianz International Small Cap fund (AOPAX) as of this writing is $45.44. That’s what one share costs.

But there’s more to the story. Of course, the company offering the fund has to get paid for its services, and it does so through one or more of the fees described below. To be an informed investor requires an understanding of the true cost of the funds you buy.

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The State of Our Finances: Room for Improvement

Two new reports paint a less than rosy picture of the financial health of U.S. adults, with implications for those who aren’t doing so well and for those who are. Let’s start with some of the key findings.

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