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My Favorite Retirement Calculators

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, these posts have become the most popular on my site. I’ve recently updated my best retirement calculators list — the most comprehensive survey of retirement calculators available.

Despite their shortcomings, retirement calculators are essential tools in preparing to leave a career. Nobody, not even a highly compensated financial advisor, can foretell the future. Projections from a retirement calculator are the best we’ve got. Just remember, a good retirement calculator is a set of binoculars, not an autopilot. It will give you some visibility into the future, but you still have to drive yourself there….

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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]

What to Do When the Market Tanks

Downward arrow

It was a Monday morning in the fall of 1987. I was young software engineer immersed in a technical project. The older guys in the office were talking about a crash in the stock market. It would become known as "Black Monday" -- the largest one-day … [Continue reading]

Traveling in a Small RV

Glacier

Travel is a key part of retirement for many. And traveling in a small RV can be a fun, flexible, and economical solution. Our Class B camper van has been fundamental to our retirement lifestyle. We’ve spent hundreds of nights in it, and can’t imagine … [Continue reading]

Summer Vacation: Retirement Towns, Adversity and Longevity

Bristlecone

Though I no longer work a regular job, it still feels like a vacation when I break from the usual routine. And, for the past four weeks, we've enjoyed a major break from our regular routine. In late July, we left Santa Fe for an extended road trip to … [Continue reading]

Is Early Retirement Irresponsible?

Hang gliding into sunset

Retirement is an invention of the last half century. Thanks to social welfare programs and longer life spans, more people could look forward to life after a career. But now it's possible for some dedicated and fortunate workers to put together the … [Continue reading]

The Ideal Retirement Location – Will we stay in Santa Fe?

La Piedra

I awake at dawn and glance out our bedroom window. A rosy glow, mixed with a scattering of monsoon clouds, is taking shape over Santa Fe Baldy to our east. The rocky peak rises to 12,622 feet, anchoring the Sangre de Cristo range in our backyard. … [Continue reading]

Why You Need Multiple Sources of Retirement Income

Jicarita peak

The weather is unpredictable in the high mountains. We carry special clothing for sun, bugs, wind, rain, and cold. There is no single garment that works for all conditions. In generating retirement income, you need diversity too. There is no … [Continue reading]

Socially Responsible Investing: Worth the Price?

Bicycle spokes

Most of us want to be "socially responsible" -- however we define that. We don't want to trash the planet for our children and grandchildren. We don't think corporations should exploit their workers or their communities. And we don't intend to profit … [Continue reading]

Long-Term Care Insurance: Why We Aren’t Buying It

Insurance keyboard button

For us, the debate over long-term care insurance (LTCI) is finished. We aren't buying it. In my last article on LTCI, I explored the pros and many cons of this complex product pitched at baby boomers. LTCI does leverage your money in some … [Continue reading]

Long-Term Care Insurance: Beyond the Sales Pitch

Long Term Care

The long-term care insurance (LTCI) debate is chock-full of misinformation. Frightening statistics on nursing home care abound: The costs are huge, the odds are high. It apparently adds up to one conclusion: The long-term care decision is critical to … [Continue reading]

Financial Security in an Uncertain World: Protecting Your Wealth

Knight sword

If your savings are growing, you tend to feel safe. And if they're declining, you tend to worry. That's truer than ever as you get older, and the options for replacing wealth via a job disappear. But your money lives in a fickle financial world, … [Continue reading]