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

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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 market. So, if the market is down, you cut back. But if the market is strong, whoopee, you take an overseas vacation, do a bathroom remodel, choose a new vehicle perhaps….

But, is that really what it’s all about? The truth is, you don’t need to maximize your spending in retirement. You need to maximize your happiness.

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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]

Book Excerpt: Do You Need a Financial Advisor?

Businessmen talking on homemade can phone

Finally, I can talk about my second book, titled "Can I Retire Yet?" More than three years in the making, the text is in final draft. I expect it to be available on Amazon by early summer. Subtitled "How to Make the Biggest Financial Decision … [Continue reading]

My Retirement Income Taxes: 2016

Form 1040 with pen and glasses

On April Fool's Day I completed and filed my returns for the 2015 tax year. Normally I’m proactive about financial matters. But, for taxes, I wait until a few weeks before the mid-April deadline. That reduces the chances that a late-breaking 1099 … [Continue reading]

Dealing with Uncertainty in Retirement Calculations

Question mark on sticky notes

Remember the game of Telephone? Players whisper a secret message down the line from one to the next. When the message reaches the end of the line, it's repeated aloud to the group. And, without fail, it's been mangled beyond … [Continue reading]

The Best Retirement Withdrawal Strategies: Digging Deeper

gardening tools

A couple of months ago I published new research here. The topic was retirement withdrawal strategies. I was trying to answer a question that had long puzzled me. It's one that I hadn't seen addressed elsewhere: What is the best way to liquidate the … [Continue reading]

Retirement Health Care: What Are Your Options?

Stethoscope on laptop computer keyboard

For years, health insurance in the U.S. was a major roadblock to early retirement. If you dared to leave work before age 65, when Medicare starts, you were on your own for retirement health care. In my case, our assets were closing in on financial … [Continue reading]

My Favorite Retirement Calculators

Calculator on red heart

I've used many retirement calculators. More than 80 at last count. I relied on these tools to plan my own retirement trajectory, culminating in early retirement at age 50. Then I started a blog and began reviewing retirement calculators. Over time, … [Continue reading]

The Next Bear Market: How Bad Could It Get?

Grizzly bear

In November of 1972 the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at a little above 1,000 points. Then it went down, and stayed mostly down, for the next ten years. While the Dow sat still, life went on.... The first U.S. space station and shuttle … [Continue reading]

My Investment Portfolio: 2016

stock certificates

It was another dull year for my investment portfolio. Until last week. In all of 2015, I made a single investing move. Then came the first week of 2016: Questions swirled around highly respected financial firms. I did some long-overdue portfolio … [Continue reading]

New Research: The Best Retirement Withdrawal Strategies

Horse race

Many retirees will use systematic withdrawals from an investment portfolio for retirement income. I've done new research into the best retirement withdrawal strategies. History shows that your success can vary widely using the same portfolio and the … [Continue reading]

Retirement Gifts: My Favorite Toys…

red tricycle

This blog is usually about serious financial topics -- saving, investing, retiring, real estate, health care, insurance. So it's time for me to lighten up! Given the season, I thought I'd review some favorite "toys" from my early retirement years. … [Continue reading]

Comparing the 2 Leading Social Security Calculators

Orange and apple

It was a mystery. I'd spent the morning sifting through results from the two leading Social Security calculators. I was running my eye down the column of numbers generated by the 2nd well-respected calculator. They summed to more than $700K in … [Continue reading]

New Social Security Rules: Do You Need a Calculator?

Calculator and question mark

The only constant is change. Do a little retirement planning, and you'll soon bump into that truth. Earlier this month the U.S. government gave us another reminder: The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 made some of the most significant changes to Social … [Continue reading]

Are You Feeling Lucky? The Two Schools of Retirement Income…

Golden dice

Are you feeling lucky? That's how the debate between the two schools of retirement income often shapes up. Do you keep your retirement assets in the stock market, where you'll have more flexibility and better odds for long-term financial … [Continue reading]

A Short Course in Investing

Empty chalkboard and supplies

You can commit a large chunk of your life to becoming a better investor, if you want. You can read articles, devour books, and enroll in classes. Some people, myself included, will take that full plunge. But in the end, most experienced investors … [Continue reading]

Running Low in Retirement: Income Strategies

Gas pump pumping gold dollars

Running out of money before you run out of life. It's the biggest fear many retirees face. And, for baby boomers and succeeding generations without guaranteed pensions, it's not just a night terror -- it's a realistic concern. Without adequate … [Continue reading]

Running Low in Retirement: Expense Strategies

Fuel pump nozzle

What can you do if you're running out of money in retirement? Even those fortunate enough to have a comfortable nest egg could find themselves feeling financially squeezed at some point. If that happens, what should you do? At the simplest … [Continue reading]