Clicky

Retirement Calculator News, and a Mystery Solved…

It was a blustery winter day, just about a year ago, when I stayed indoors all afternoon to work at my desk. The snowflakes stacked on the railing outside as I broke ground on new software, something I hadn’t done in years. It would be a modeling framework that I could use to research and analyze various retirement questions such as the best retirement withdrawal strategies and uncertainty in retirement calculations.

Despite all the time I’d spent using and reviewing retirement calculators over the years, this was the first time I’d personally tried to create one. As the snow piled up outside, I typed in the first lines of code for the fundamental modeling “loop” — the section of software that would process transactions for each year of the simulation.

Almost immediately it hit me. I was face-to-face with a mysterious problem. It was a key question that would turn out to have substantial impact on the answers produced by the calculator. And, yet, despite my extensive reviews of retirement calculators, despite the hundreds of hours I’d spent reading about and using these tools, I’d never seen anybody else raise the issue….

[Continue reading]

My Investment Portfolio: 2017

stock certificates

Boring. Yes, it's been another dull year for my investment portfolio. Other than an IRA contribution at tax time last year, I haven't initiated a single investment transaction since my last portfolio post. We made it entirely through 2016 living off … [Continue reading]

Alternative Investments for Savvy Retirees – Part 2

Bitcoins

In the first part of this series, I noted that the baby boom generation has lived through a uniquely stable period in human history. Sadly, there is no guarantee that this will last. There are forces in the world that could lead to … [Continue reading]

Alternative Investments for Savvy Retirees – Part 1

Eggs in and out of basket

The baby boom generation has lived through a uniquely stable period in human history. Yes, we've seen regional wars, terrorism, and economic dislocation. But there hasn't been wholesale destruction of a developed country, or its financial system, … [Continue reading]

My Favorite Blogs: 2016

Pens and pencils

Blogs are different, and they're valuable. I still get much of my news and most of my analysis from bloggers. I appreciate the individual, idiosyncratic viewpoints -- not the sanitized or one-sided slop we often get from government, corporate, or … [Continue reading]

Is a Robo-Advisor Right for You?

Robot hand on keyboard

It's been more than six years since the first robo-advisor, Betterment, appeared on the investing scene. For a while, robo-advisors were the star of the show. Because they were new, yet built on proven passive index investing strategies, and because … [Continue reading]

My Political Travels

Chaco walls

For its five-year existence, this blog has offered a politically-neutral view of retirement. In keeping with that tradition, I've avoided commenting on the recently concluded U.S. election. Even now, two weeks after voting, there is little that can … [Continue reading]

The Downside of Retirement

Nantucket sunset

Early retirement has been good, in general. I reached my goal of financial independence after years of frugality and hard work. It's fun being here and writing about the details. But, while I'd like to say I’m so much happier now, in reality, I'm … [Continue reading]

The 3 Stages of Retirement Income

Rocket stages

In real life, retirement cash flow is not as simple as the pundits would have you believe. Try a typical retirement calculator, and you'll be prompted for a single expense number: How much would you need to spend from savings to live in … [Continue reading]

How Much Should You Leave to Your Kids?

vintage chest and key

How do you feel about legacy giving? Chances are, you see the issue differently from your own parents. We're experiencing a generational change in views on inherited wealth. Parents of today's baby boomers, having lived through a World War … [Continue reading]

Mountain Vacation Towns of the West

Telluride

Even once you're retired, you'll still probably go on vacation from time to time. What is a vacation but a change of scenery and routine from everyday living? And you still need that stimulation and respite occasionally, even when you are no longer … [Continue reading]

Getting Organized for Financial Independence

Cogs

You can get to financial independence well enough even if you're disorganized. As long as you're also smart and creative. But, you'll reach financial freedom much faster by being organized about your intentions. Sloppiness with your money is no … [Continue reading]

Tools for Financial Independence

Three old pickaxes on wooden background

The path to financial freedom involves accumulating and managing assets. You need to have more resources coming into your life than going out. And you need to grow those resources. To accomplish that, it helps to have tools and a system. You'll reach … [Continue reading]

Accepting and Managing Risk

Leading at Lemmon

A recent review of my new book grabbed my attention: "Consistent with his background as an adventurer, Kirkpatrick never oversimplifies things by labeling them “safe” or “risky.” He emphasizes that every decision you make has risks, which must be … [Continue reading]

Staying Fit in Retirement

Chromed dumbbells

Use it or lose it. As my wife and I ease into the back half of our 50's, our house has gradually transformed into a gymnasium. It seems like every spare corner and surface holds exercise or physical therapy equipment now. I've been into … [Continue reading]

A Surprising Contender for Tax-Efficient Retirement Saving…

Office windows

Samuel Foote, famous British comedic actor of his time, was chatting with a member of the royal court. The entitled aristocrat complained bitterly of having been thrown out a second-floor window for cheating at cards. Foote's advice? "Don't play so … [Continue reading]

Maximizing Retirement Spending: Is That Really What It’s All About?

Trail over handlebars

Mainstream retirement planning these days is all about maximizing your spending in retirement. And that seems sensible, on the surface. The theory is you want to spend as much as possible in retirement, subject to the whims of the stock … [Continue reading]

Is Your Retirement Calculator Designed for Accuracy?

Working on blueprint with divider, ruler, calculator

Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal published an article titled "New Study Questions Retirement Planning Calculators’ Accuracy." It reported on an academic study of 36 retirement planning tools. The research concluded that "in most cases, the … [Continue reading]

Can I Retire Yet? — The Book

Can I Retire Yet cover

Three years in the making, my second book is available now. You can get it on Amazon, in paperback or Kindle. Can you retire yet? I've been studying this tricky question for a decade, and this book is my answer. It captures the best of this … [Continue reading]

Book Excerpt: Buckets and Your Retirement Paycheck

Buckets of dollars

My second book, Can I Retire Yet? -- How to Make the Biggest Financial Decision of the Rest of Your Life, is coming soon. It should be available on Amazon, in paperback and Kindle, in just a few weeks. To celebrate, I'm publishing another excerpt … [Continue reading]

One Retirement Number You Can’t Afford to Get Wrong

numbered blocks

I've long promoted using free retirement calculators, easily available on the web, to get a better handle on your retirement trajectory. These tools give you a sense for how much you need to save to retire, providing much-needed perspective and … [Continue reading]