News, Views and Summer Travels

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It’s been two months since the launch of my first book Retiring Sooner, which I worked on in some form for more than two years. When it was finally published, I had no idea what to expect. As most authors will tell you, after spending that much time with the same material you have no idea how it will sound to others. I’ve been amazed, delighted, humbled, by what happened next….

The book received some great initial publicity from friends in the blogging world, resulting in many thousands of downloads during the free giveaway. Since then it has sold steadily, generally residing among the top-10 Retirement Planning eBooks on Amazon — even occupying the #1 spot for several days!

Best of all have been the dozens of positive reviews, on Amazon, and in private emails.

Writing a book like this is a long-term labor of love. It should pay for expenses and produce a little profit, but that’s not what it’s all about. To know that it communicates something valuable to real people is what makes it all worthwhile. So, if you’ve written a review or sent me an email about the book, thanks again, from the bottom of my heart, for your support!

Popular Posts

As the months roll by and the posts add up, it’s fascinating to watch the internal traffic statistics here at to see which articles and subjects wind up being especially popular, generating their own momentum.

In the last few months, two topics stand out: retirement calculators and real estate. It’s clear that there is a high level of interest and concern out there around making the retirement decision, and understanding the true value behind home ownership.

Another perennial favorite has been my blog post about other blogs: Don’t Miss These 6 Investing and Retirement Blogs if You’re Serious about Financial Independence. That post described some of the blogs that I personally read — all highly unique and reliable sources of financial information. Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that readers of this blog would be interested to know about other similar blogs.

With that in mind, I thought I’d pass along a few more favorite personal finance blogs that you might find useful if you haven’t already heard about them….

Great Blogs

  • jlcollinsnh — James Collins earned a lot, invested wisely, and became financially independent well before it was fashionable or popular to do so. He’s an expert investor, a world traveler, and a wise and touching writer. He started his blog to pass on some life financial wisdom to his daughter, but now we can all benefit. You can’t predict what his posts will be about, but they’re usually a fun mix of personal finance, travelog, and compelling images. His educational series on the basics of investing is one of the best. Highly recommended!

  • Mr. Money Mustache — Mr. Money Mustache carves his own unmistakable and sizable swath through the field of personal finance blogs. He’s so popular and irreverent that you might be tempted to dismiss him unless you’ve actually read his great stuff. His writing is darn good, fascinating, and useful. You’ll be hard pressed to find a more unique or clever perspective in the personal finance world. If you’re interested in living well on a frugal budget, ignore him at your own peril. And don’t miss the fun video that he and family just filmed with Farnoosh Torabi.

  • Monevator — A top UK-based personal finance blog, Monevator features a crisp and incisive approach to investing. You’ll find everything from tutorials for beginners, to original thinking on key investing topics. If you’re based in the U.S. you may have to translate the content a bit. Not every detail is applicable here on the other side of the Atlantic. But a surprising number are. You might appreciate the international perspective. And the clear explanations will be appreciated no matter where you call home. Check it out!

  • FinancingLife — Rick Van Ness is a financially independent engineer and MBA who voluntarily teaches financial topics so that others can reach their dreams. He has a fresh, witty, engaging, and unbiased approach to personal finance that has to be seen to be fully appreciated. One of his latest offerings is an interactive video for new investors that gives a quick, fun way to learn the key arguments for index funds. It starts with the Outfox-the-box game and quickly gets to the dilemma: Which fund to choose: (1) highest performer, (2) lowest cost, or (3) 5-star rating. Thanks Rick for your excellent teaching and generous spirit!

Summer Travels

With our house sold now, we’ve been living on the road in a mixture of short-term rentals and our trusty camper van. We’re just completing a tour of the southwest to scout out possible locations where we might settle more permanently. We love some of the mid-size high-altitude cities in the 4-corners states. (The photo at the start of this post was just taken in the New Mexico high country.) But, we are in no rush to decide.

Given all the recent excitement, I plan to take August off from regular posting for some R&R and to focus on my 2nd book, mostly written, but still requiring some key research and editing. It will cover the retirement question: Can I Retire Yet? in as much detail as I can muster. I aim for this book to be an essential, and realistic, discussion of the retirement decision and finances, and how to evaluate them for your own life.

After that I still have dozens and dozens of interesting topics to explore here on the blog, including more on real estate, saving, investing, retirement income, and health insurance. So, stay tuned, and look for more posts here soon….

P.S. I’ll continue doing email as usual. I love hearing from readers and do my best to reply to every message. Stay in touch!


  1. That’s high praise indeed, Darrow. Thank you!

    Thanks, too, for your advice on my book project. As you know, my Stock Series will be at its core. But I’m beginning to realize just how much more work is yet to be done.

    But you’ve been an inspiration!

  2. David Guy says

    I’m most interested in hearing how you spend your investments in retirement. What are your withdrawal strategies?

    I loved your book. Keep up the good work.

    • Thanks David. I’m still figuring out that withdrawal strategy. For now, it’s to hold plenty of cash (1-2 years) and replenish that with interest/dividends and by selling small positions that appear to have appreciated well. I’m working at formalizing all this, and probably integrating single premium immediate annuities, in my 3rd book.

    • Bo Boland says

      Personally, I like to hear about early retirees’ strategies for withdrawals during a downturn. Calculators like FireCalc can model a lower-limit to your spending (as a percentage of last years spending) in case your portfolio drops a lot and can no longer sustain the Safe Withdrawal Rate. Calculators like cFIREsim allows you to have a lower-limit and an upper limit tagged to a constant rate of inflation or CPI. Whenever folks talk about spending a % of their portfolio, I find it hard to imagine them spending a ton more during years of huge market upswings.

      • Thanks Bo, that’s a fascinating topic. I’m very interested in calculators that can model different withdrawal strategies too. Like you, I don’t see most prudent retirees living lavishly just because the market is up. Nor should they necessarily cut back drastically just because the market is down. After all, the theory behind most safe withdrawal rate studies is to pick a conservative rate that allows your nest egg to survive such swings. Still, many of us would probably adjust our spending in bad times, and a calculator that can simulate that might give us more confidence that we can handle whatever comes. But I have my doubts how many real-world retirements will actually look like those tidy simulations: In my experience it’s mighty hard to implement a consistent strategy over a few years, much less a few decades of retirement. I think we’ll be making adjustments as we go along….

  3. Howdy Darrow,
    I hope you are having a GREAT time exploring. If you get the opportunity check out the Las Cruces New Mexico area. We have research it pretty well. One thing that may appeal to your practical side is, I found in my research that one possible, maybe even likely limiting factor to enjoying life in the southwest is the availability of a reliable water supply. I found out that the Las Cruces area is one of the few places that has a working 40 year water plan.

    Darrow I have to confess I have not yet purchased your book. I guess I’d better hop on my internet horse and get that done!

    Happy trails to you and your wife, cowboy Mike

    • Thanks Mike! In fact we were through Las Cruces recently. It has some nice factors going for it. I didn’t know about the water plan, so add that to the list. There is a lot to see and do in that part of the state too. Thanks again for the support and good wishes.