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Getting a Mortgage When You Have Assets But No Income

Most early retirees have no pension, annuity, or Social Security income. Even if you’re a traditional retiree, you might have only one of those income streams. But what if your lifestyle plans require a home purchase? Even if you have the savings to afford a house, you might not necessarily be able to liquidate enough …

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Designing Your Home Ownership to Retire Earlier

The following is a guest contribution from reader and blogging friend Chris Mamula, a pending early-retiree in his 40’s. Chris has been writing on personal finance topics for several years. His efforts first came to my attention with his insightful review of my second book. In this post, Chris explores how to craft home ownership …

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Raising Cash: My Retirement Withdrawal “System”

Our cash was running low. It had been a year and a half since I sold significant assets. Last month, when I added up our liquid reserves, they were down to about six months of living expenses. For many a young worker that would be a cushy emergency fund. But for me — an early …

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Generating Retirement Income Before Age 59-½

You’ve saved diligently your entire working career. You’ve maxed out your retirement savings accounts. And it’s paid off. You’ve reached the point of financial independence, early. Or, maybe you were laid off, or took an early severance package. Whatever the reason, like me, you got to retirement ahead of the usual schedule. Maybe in your …

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Dealing with an Inherited IRA

The letter caught me by surprise. Titled “IRA/ESA Certificate Maturity Notice,” it was from a major credit union where, so far as I knew, I had no accounts. The document went on to say that an IRA Certificate of deposit, with my name on the account, was scheduled to renew soon for the specified term. …

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Gone Fishin’

Are you a beach person, a lake person, a mountain person, or a mixture? For my money, there is nowhere more beautiful on earth than the high peaks in summertime. I don’t fish much, but I sure do like to camp, hike, and bike in the mountains. This summer we have a full schedule of …

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Identity Theft Strikes Home!

Something was very wrong. I sensed it as soon as I scanned my email late that morning, about two weeks ago. Long before my conscious brain could process the data on my computer screen, my subconscious was screaming “EMERGENCY.” What was I seeing? Sitting in my inbox were notifications about three withdrawals from a large …

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Camping in Retirement

Cooking over a hot flame on a chilly night. Sleeping under an ink-black sky with a million stars all around. Waking to a cool breeze crossing a foggy meadow in dawn’s early light. Is there any experience that compares to the joy, the thrill, the simple economy of camping out? Humans have a prehistoric connection …

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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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