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Book Excerpt: Do You Need a Financial Advisor?

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 of the Rest of Your Life”, this will be my …

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My Retirement Income Taxes: 2016

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 will force me to file an amended return. Taxes are my least favorite …

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Dealing with Uncertainty in Retirement Calculations

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 recognition! Retirement planning can be like that. Seemingly small differences in input can compound into …

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The Best Retirement Withdrawal Strategies: Digging Deeper

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 asset classes in your retirement portfolio? For example, if you have …

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Retirement Health Care: What Are Your Options?

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 independence as I reached my mid-40’s. But pre-existing conditions precluded …

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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 …

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The Next Bear Market: How Bad Could It Get?

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 were launched. The Watergate scandal came and went. John Lennon was …

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My Investment Portfolio: 2016

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 pruning. And the Dow, adding drama, dropped more than 1,000 points. When the smoke …

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New Research: The Best Retirement Withdrawal Strategies

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 same overall withdrawal rate, without changing your investments. It all depends on how you withdraw from different asset …

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Retirement Gifts: My Favorite Toys…

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. Many of these also make great retirement gifts…. We have spent some money in retirement. …

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Comparing the 2 Leading Social Security Calculators

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 lifetime benefits. That seemed reasonable enough. But wait, it was only half what the …

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New Social Security Rules: Do You Need a Calculator?

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 Security benefits in years. Lawmakers unexpectedly tacked the changes onto an emergency measure …

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

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 growth, along with a chance of failure? Or do you go the safe, secure route and …

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A Short Course in Investing

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 arrive back where they started, with just a few simple principles in …

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Running Low in Retirement: Income Strategies

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 savings, a prudent lifestyle, and regular financial checkups, running low in retirement is a very …

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Running Low in Retirement: Expense Strategies

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 level, there are two solutions: (1) reduce your expenses, or (2) increase your income. …

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What to Do When the Market Tanks

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 percentage decline in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) …

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Traveling in a Small RV

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 retired life without our small RV. In a series of …

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Summer Vacation: Retirement Towns, Adversity and Longevity

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 the West, Northwest, and Rockies. We …

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Is Early Retirement Irresponsible?

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 assets for financial independence years earlier. Traditional retirement typically starts at age 65. …

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

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. Another day begins in Santa Fe…. After breakfast, I …

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