April 2018–Best of the Web

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It’s time to explore the best articles from around the web to help you save more, invest smarter, and retire sooner.

This month we start with articles focused on one of our core principles, keeping your finances simple. We also look at times when you can’t oversimplify.

We’ll shine the spotlight on some icons of the FIRE movement, explore the idea of Fat FIRE, and examine challenges of retirement planning.

With that, let’s dive into April’s Best of the Web.

Keep It Simple

One of our favorite blogs is Mike Piper’s Oblivious Investor. He regularly shares straight forward investing, tax planning, and retirement advice. Jonathan Clement distilled some of his wisdom. ObliviousInvestor.com.

Piper recently provided more support for simple, all-in-one portfolios. Are Most Investors Better Off With All In One Funds?

The S&P Indices vs. Active SPIVA annual report was released, giving further evidence for a simple passive index investing approach.

But Not Too Simple

High returns and low volatility in domestic stocks over the past few years have some investors questioning whether owning international stocks is necessary. Larry Swedroe shared his opinion. Don’t Abandon International Diversification.

Dirk Cotton wrote an excellent review of the limitations of Monte Carlo analysis. The Limits of Simulation.

I’m pondering adding complexity to my portfolio, diversifying some of my assets out of passive index funds into rental real estate. But, I’m hung up by my debt aversion. Chad Carson tackles the topic of using debt to invest in real estate. Dave Ramsey Says Debt is Dumb in Real Estate Investing. Is it True?

Pioneers of FIRE

Elizabeth O’Brien featured Vicki Robbin, author of  “Your Money or Your Life”, in the most recent Money Magazine cover article. The article quotes leading FIRE bloggers who’ve embraced Robbin’s principles, including Darrow. A Growing Cult of Millennials Is Obsessed With Early Retirement. This 72-Year-Old Is Their Unlikely Inspiration.

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli were among the first FIRE bloggers at Retire Early Lifestyle. They’ve also written a number of e-books on the topic. I was honored to share my story with them in this interview. We covered topics I’ve never discussed publicly before including overcoming fear, making the world a better place, and how my mom sparked my interest in investing and financial planning when I was in high school.


O’Brien’s article touched on the different variations of FIRE. One variation that appeals to me is Fat FIRE, pursuing FIRE without the emphasis on extreme frugality. Physician on FIRE explores this concept. What is Fat Fire?

I wrote a guest post for Physician on FIRE, Retiring Early in Healthcare Without a Physician’s Income. It wasn’t through extreme frugality. I shared how I traveled the world pursuing hobbies including high altitude mountaineering, SCUBA diving and even attending two Super Bowls while saving a high percentage of a normal professional salary.

Retirement Challenges

Steve Chen outlines the many challenges of retirement planning and proposes better solutions. Note From the Founder, The Why Behind New Retirement.

Jillian at Montana Money Adventures exposes a challenge faced by those approaching the early retirement decision. Most of the people I’ve met taking this path underestimate this challenge. I did too. Trouble with the 4% Rule.

[Chris Mamula used principles of traditional retirement planning, combined with creative lifestyle design, to retire from a career as a physical therapist at age 41. After poor experiences with the financial industry early in his professional life, he educated himself on investing and tax planning. After achieving financial independence, Chris began writing about wealth building, DIY investing, financial planning, early retirement, and lifestyle design at Can I Retire Yet? He is also the primary author of the book Choose FI: Your Blueprint to Financial Independence. Chris also does financial planning with individuals and couples at Abundo Wealth, a low-cost, advice-only financial planning firm with the mission of making quality financial advice available to populations for whom it was previously inaccessible. Chris has been featured on MarketWatch, Morningstar, U.S. News & World Report, and Business Insider. He has spoken at events including the Bogleheads and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants annual conferences. Blog inquiries can be sent to chris@caniretireyet.com. Financial planning inquiries can be sent to chris@abundowealth.com]

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