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Navigating ACA Tax Credits to Purchase Affordable Health Insurance

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A massive challenge for Americans planning to retire early is determining how we’ll obtain affordable health insurance. The earlier you want to retire, the more challenging it is to determine how much you need to bridge the gap until Medicare eligibility at age 65.

Health insurance costs increase faster than the rate of inflation. Medical expenses also tend to rise as we age, reflected in higher insurance premiums for older individuals.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides tax credits for low income households. Your health insurance costs depend on how you are able to structure income in early retirement. It is vital to understand the rules.

While these facts present challenges, careful planning can meet them. A tougher planning issue is the lack of political stability in the system.

If the health care system changes substantially, any projection of health care expenses until we become Medicare eligible would be nothing more than a blind guess. Projected savings needs could be off by six figures in either direction.

Instead of guessing, our plan is to cash flow our expenses year to year by continuing to earn some income in “retirement.”

The upside to this approach is that it allows us to start our transition to early retirement sooner.

The downside is we have to take measures to insure we can continue to earn income in a manner that is consistent with our desired lifestyle. Earning income can also make our insurance more expensive.

Open enrollment has started and continues through December 15. Assessing health insurance options is a tedious and confusing process. However, it allows me to provide insights and resources to assist your planning.
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Getting Higher Returns on Your Cash

dollars through hourglass

"Put your money to work," my grandmother would advise. Getting the highest possible return on your cash seems to be a mark of honor among frugal prospective retirees. But, with interest rates in the tank for most of a decade, if you haven't bothered, … [Continue reading]

October 2018 Best of the Web

October has been a crazy month in the world of finance. The stock markets have been volatile and trending downward. In the past week, the market gave up all of its gains for the year to that point. Many wonder if this could be the start of a bear … [Continue reading]

Pretirement: What Is It and Why Should You Care?

Pretirement is a term being proposed to describe a phase of life between career and retirement. Pretirement is a process that takes place over years, even decades, versus a single decision to retire. It is characterized by cutting back on work … [Continue reading]

Is The Three-Fund Portfolio Right For You?

Investing is simple. But it's not easy. Most people do best with a passive investing approach utilizing index funds. This minimizes unnecessary investing costs, taxes and common behavioral mistakes made when more active approaches to investing are … [Continue reading]

How Accurate Should Your Retirement Calculation Be?

caliper measurement

You run out of money. That's the fundamental event that most retirement calculators try to predict. If there's a strong probability that your money will last your lifetime -- congratulations -- you're financially independent! But, if not, then you … [Continue reading]

September 2018 Best of the Web

It's time for the best articles we've found around the internet in the last month to help you save more, invest smarter, and retire sooner. This month's articles explore how to generate income in retirement from your portfolio and Social … [Continue reading]

A Week In The Life of a FIRE Household

My journey to financial independence and retiring early (FIRE) started largely because I was burnt out on my career. This led to an oversimplified solution. If my career was the source of my unhappiness, I should pursue the opposite: … [Continue reading]

Using Real Estate to Retire Early

I connected with real estate investor, entrepreneur, writer, and educator Chad “Coach” Carson in 2015 when we were both getting into blogging about financial independence and retiring early (FIRE). We’ve developed a friendship around our similar … [Continue reading]

Investing in Land

Twin Meadows

Most financial experts will tell you that investing in land is a bad idea. And they're probably right. At best, on average, in many cases and places, land will only appreciate at the rate of inflation. And it won't produce any income while sitting … [Continue reading]

August 2018 Best of the Web

It's time for the best articles we've found around the internet in the last month to help you save more, invest smarter, and retire sooner. This month's selections explore the latest move in the price war to lower investment fees and what it means … [Continue reading]

Our Investment Plan: What We Do, What’s Changing, How We’ve Performed

A reader recently asked me to share my investment choices and portfolio breakdown. I'll do this by sharing our investment policy statement (IPS). This includes our asset allocation, strategies to control investment fees and taxes, and plans for … [Continue reading]

5 Lessons Learned In My Year As a Landlord

I've been intrigued by real estate for years. I first saw it as a way to accelerate my path to early retirement. More recently, I’ve considered the benefits of diversifying out of paper assets due to high stock valuations and low interest rates. … [Continue reading]

Microadventures Before and After Retirement

Muir Trail Ranch junction

Travel, adventure, seeing and being in new places, is the spice of life for many of us. But there is never enough time. In the working years we mostly have to make do with a few weeks of vacation annually. By the time family obligations and house … [Continue reading]

July 2018 Best of the Web

I hope everyone is getting outside, enjoying the long days, and having a great summer. Next Monday, we'll resume publishing new, original, weekly content. First, it's time for the best articles we've found around the internet in the last month to … [Continue reading]

DIY Investing Resource #4: All About Asset Allocation

The following post was originally published on Eat the Financial Elephant in March 2015, shortly after my wife and I dug out from under our past investing mistakes. It is the fourth of the four most valuable resources that helped us go from feeling … [Continue reading]

DIY Investing Resource #3: The Intelligent Asset Allocator

The following post was originally published on Eat the Financial Elephant in March 2015, shortly after my wife and I dug out from under our past investing mistakes. It is the third of the four most valuable resources that helped us go from feeling … [Continue reading]

DIY Investing Resource #2: The Little Book of Common Sense Investing

The following post was originally published on Eat the Financial Elephant in February 2015, shortly after my wife and I dug out from under our past investing mistakes. I posted it as the second of the four most valuable resources that helped us go … [Continue reading]

DIY Investing Resource #1: JL Collins’ “Stock Series”

The following post was originally published on Eat the Financial Elephant in February 2015, shortly after my wife and I dug out from under our past investing mistakes. I posted it as the first of the four most valuable resources that helped us go … [Continue reading]

June 2018 Best of the Web

Before we dive into this month's best of the web, we need to take care of a little blog business. First, Can I Retire Yet? was featured in several audio formats this past month. I had the chance to sit down with Todd Tresidder for a rare episode … [Continue reading]

5 Reasons You Need A Financial Advisor

I’ve shared my poor experience working with a financial advisor and spelled out inherent conflicts of interest that are present when paying for financial advice. You may think I chose the title of this article as “clickbait” to draw readers in … [Continue reading]