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What to Do With a Lump Sum in Retirement

It’s a common problem in or near retirement: A relative passes away and leaves you an inheritance. Or you receive a lump sum pension payout. Or you sell the big family home and downsize. In each case you suddenly have a large sum of cash on your hands…. What should you do with the unexpected …

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5 Simple Asset Allocation Strategies

Passive index investors reject market timing and stock picking in favor of owning broad index funds. This simplifies most investing decisions, but leaves one very important one: asset allocation. How do you deploy your money across different asset classes such as stocks, bonds, cash, real estate, and commodities? Of those asset classes, the allocation between …

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A Strong Marriage in Retirement

A stable marriage is the bedrock of personal and financial success for many of us. Having recently celebrated my 30th anniversary, maybe I’m entitled to talk just a little bit about what works, and what doesn’t. Though, I know there is no “formula” for human relationships. Each is unique. And each relationship requires effort every …

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My Biggest Investing Mistakes

You expect financial pundits to speak with authority. “The market will do this.” “The economy will do that.” And of course they should be right, because who’s going to listen to a money expert who makes mistakes? But I’m no financial pundit. I’m just an early-retired engineer, reporting on my real-life experiences in saving, investing, …

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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 …

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My Investment Portfolio: 2017

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 existing cash, dividends, and a bit of blog income. What kind of portfolio can …

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Alternative Investments for Savvy Retirees – Part 2

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 unprecedented disruptions in modern life. I hope not. There are also forces …

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Alternative Investments for Savvy Retirees – Part 1

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, since halfway through the last century. It would be nice to think that the world has put such …

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My Favorite Blogs: 2016

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 special interests. So, here are some of my favorite blogs of 2016, with links to …

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Is a Robo-Advisor Right for You?

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 they used high technology to reduce costs, robo-advisors received lots of attention. Now it seems …

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My Political Travels

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 be said about the results that wouldn’t be partisan or speculation, or both. In a perfect world, …

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The Downside of Retirement

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 probably not…. Don’t get me wrong: I have a great life. …

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The 3 Stages of Retirement Income

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 retirement each year? But research shows that your gross expenses will change, …

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How Much Should You Leave to Your Kids?

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 and less prosperous times, were usually excellent savers. In their retirement years, their investment assets are …

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Mountain Vacation Towns of the West

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 working at a full-time career. Everybody has their own idea of the …

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Getting Organized for Financial Independence

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 advantage on the journey to wealth. In my last post I discussed the basic financial tools …

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Tools for Financial Independence

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 financial independence faster if you’re organized for the journey. The downfall of …

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Accepting and Managing Risk

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 managed or accepted to achieve the outcome you desire.” It’s true. I don’t look at life …

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Staying Fit in Retirement

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 fitness since college, never letting myself get seriously out of shape. …

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A Surprising Contender for Tax-Efficient Retirement Saving…

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 high.” One secret to successful retirement saving, in addition to getting started, is to avoid …

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

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 …

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