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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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Why You Need Multiple Sources of Retirement Income

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 single income source ideal for all conditions. Some types of retirement income are good for …

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Socially Responsible Investing: Worth the Price?

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 from the misery of other human beings. Yet most of us also need …

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

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 health-care scenarios. It has some tax benefits. And it can ensure that …

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Long-Term Care Insurance: Beyond the Sales Pitch

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 avoiding bankruptcy in your retirement. At least, many financial planners and insurance salespeople would like you …

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Financial Security in an Uncertain World: Protecting Your Wealth

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, subject to a variety of risks. Your tools for reducing …

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Financial Security in an Uncertain World: Assessing the Risks

If you are retired or on your way to financial independence, then you have assets. You’ve stockpiled wealth in some form. But that wealth is embedded in an always fickle, sometimes hazardous world. To preserve your assets, you need to understand the variety of financial risks. Then, you need to prioritize them. Every risk has …

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Does Owning a Vacation Home Make Sense?

It was a crisp, cloudless autumn day in 2004. My son and I set off on mountain bikes from a trailhead in rugged north Georgia. We climbed gradually on an abandoned logging road. It led up through beautiful old hardwood forest to near the summit of a stately mountain. We leveled out, then began the …

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The 6 Crucial Questions to Answer Before You Retire

Readers and friends often ask me about the retirement decision-making “process.” How do you prepare, a year out, 6 months out, 3 months out? Do you need a written plan in advance? What about contingencies? Do you just pull the plug, or is there a more systematic way? When is it really safe to leave? …

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Financial Simplicity: What is Your Time Worth?

“Is the oil spilled? Is a little wine stolen? Say on the occasion, at such price is sold freedom from perturbation; at such price is sold tranquility…” –Epictetus Money is a stepping stone to more important things. If you’re on track to your financial goals, you may not need to manage your wealth so tightly. …

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Shopping Obamacare: Comparing Plans / Awaiting a Verdict

Much of my journey to early retirement was carefully planned. I saved a lot, invested carefully, read extensively. But in one area — health care — I was just plain lucky. Health insurance is one of the most critical issues in retirement: To live without it before Medicare starts at age 65 is to court …

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Financial Freedom on a Shoestring

I’ll admit it. I’ve led a life of some privilege. Maybe I didn’t have it easy. But I didn’t have it hard either. Simply by virtue of birth, I inherited most of the essential assets for my journey to financial independence…. No, my parents weren’t wealthy or powerful. I wasn’t given money or land or …

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Roth IRAs and Roth Conversions: Who Needs Them?

Roth IRAs are the darling of the financial media. Maybe it’s because they’re relatively newer. Or because the rules have changed, allowing more people to access them now. Or because, in some situations, they can save you more on taxes. Whatever the reason, there is a pervasive belief that Roths are somehow a better place …

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My Investment Portfolio: 2015

What makes a successful investor? Is it getting double-digit returns? Beating a certain stock index? Outperforming the market for years, and making millions? Or is it just growing and protecting your wealth well enough to achieve your lifetime goals? If you came here looking for sophisticated investing strategies from a self-assured financial wizard, you’ll probably …

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My Favorite Personal Finance Blogs: 2014

I believe in blogs. In a world where hidden agendas and conflicts of interest abound, personal finance blogs provide some of the most unbiased information available for managing your money wisely. The bulk of my weekly reading comes from blogs, not the mainstream media. The best blogs are written by smart people with actual experience …

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10 Tips for More Accurate Retirement Calculations

Retirement calculators are not all created equal. And the differences between them are more than just an academic issue. Why? Because you’ll be using these tools to make one of the most important decisions of your life. If you’re approaching retirement, or want to someday, either you or an advisor will likely use a retirement …

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The Best Retirement Calculators

What’s so important about retirement calculators? Why are these tools of more than just technical interest? Well, they’re important because either you, or a financial planner, will use the results from a retirement calculator to make one of the most crucial decisions of your life: Are you financially independent yet, or not? If you get …

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Should You Be a Dividend Stock Investor?

Dividend stock picking is the most compelling investment strategy that I’ve never tried. I’ve been tempted several times over the years, including recently when we had some new money to invest. The arguments for holding more dividend-paying stocks are attractive. Dividends provide reliable income, and the total returns can be impressive. People I respect have …

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