April 2019 Best of the Web

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Spring is a time of new beginnings. If you’ve been putting off planning retirement, we’ve got a great collection of articles from around the web this month to get you back on track.

This month’s articles explore the benefit of preparing for early retirement, even if you’re not sure you’ll ever want to retire early. We also dive into research on the factors that lead to happiness in retirement.

A reader of the blog was interviewed, sharing fascinating insights into the challenges and benefits of retirement. Articles also examine the conflict that many of us face between saving for our own retirement and helping our children financially.

We close with articles exploring niche topics that will be of great interest to particular segments of our audience.

Happiness in Retirement

The Financial Planning Association published Time Allocations and Self-Reported Happiness of Retirees: An Exploratory Study. A key finding: “retirees spending more time on “passive” activities tended to be less happy than those engaged in “active” activities”. . . “as retirees age, it actually becomes exponentially more important for them to try to figure out how to remain social and engaged.”

Samantha Lamas and Sarah Newcomb ask What Is Financial Health? They point out that having enough, or even more than enough, financial resources doesn’t necessarily translate to good financial health and happiness.

Case Study of a “Normal” Early Retiree

I started sharing my story to share the perspective of a “normal person” pursuing early retirement, as opposed to what I perceived as extreme stories of other FIRE bloggers. But once I became a blogger and left my career behind at 41, I ceased being “normal” and became another FIRE blogger. So I enjoyed reading the case study of an actual “normal” early retiree who happens to be a long-time reader of Can I Retire Yet?. ESI Money shares his story in Retirement Interview 6.

Be Prepared

Investors tend to have short memories and the market continues to soar. Jonathan Clements knows it can’t continue forever. He writes The 5 market crashes I lived through and what I learned.

I’ve started to cringe when I see mainstream personal finance personalities and publications take on the topic of FIRE. The Today Show’s Jean Chatzky is about as mainstream as it gets, but she’s embraced the concept and shows she actually understands it, writing 5 Things to Take from the FIRE Movement (Even if You Don’t Plan to Retire Early)

Tanja Hester makes the compelling argument Why everyone should save like they’re going to retire early.

Kids vs. Retirement

Many of us have competing saving priorities between saving for our children’s education and our own retirements. Physician on FIRE gives a thorough overview of one option, writing 529 Plans: What You Need to Know About College Savings Plans.

Many parents are providing at least some financial assistance to their kids into adulthood. Reshma Kapadia writes How Your Kids Can Ruin Your Retirement – And How to Make Sure They Don’t.

Niche Topics

The timing of my early retirement was far more a lifestyle decision than a financial one. It was important to us to both be involved in our daughter’s life. So I loved reading about other Fathers on Financial Independence by Julien at Rich and Regular.

Most people don’t relocate after retiring. However, both Darrow and I are exceptions to this rule, as are a portion of this audience drawn by our stories. For those looking to relocate in retirement, Silvia Ascarelli and Catey Hill recently shared a new tool to help determine Where Should I Retire?

Another niche topic for a segment of our audience is spending time traveling in an RV in retirement. You’ll enjoy reading Fritz Gilbert’s ambitious summer plans in The Great American Road Trip.

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  1. Thanks for the honor of being selected among the “April’s Best”, Chris! I’m honored to be among such esteemed company!

    • Chris Mamula says

      Enjoyed reading it and you are welcome to stop by when passing through northern Utah.

    • Wow! To each their own, I suppose, but this post on “The Great American Road Trip” is, in my opinion, an exercise in overkill. Perhaps the author should have read Darrow’s post ( on a more reasonable manner of travel. Admittedly I am not a fan of these types of big rigs because of their initial cost as well as the cost to the environment and the huge footprint they place on fragile campgrounds and ecosystems. If you insist on this type of luxury comfort travel, drive a reasonable car, stay in nice hotels along the way, get a nearby AirBnB, and just visit and use the parks during the day. In my opinion, camping should be an experience with nature, not a hotel stop within nature. My apologies for this note of disagreement, but I don’t think this sort of thing should be encouraged as we seek to preserve our national natural heritage.

      • Chris Mamula says

        I appreciate a variety of opinions and the feedback is helpful to know what readers like (or don’t like to read). I was drawn by the sense of adventure and desire to see the country on the relaxed schedule of an early retiree, which I think a fair number of readers of this blog will relate to. If you go back to Fritz’s article and read my comment, I think you’ll get an idea of where I personally fall with regards to living a more minimalistic lifestyle. 😉

  2. Link to Where Should I Retire? is broken

  3. livelovelaugh says

    An excellent selection of articles. Thank you!

  4. Valley Dan says

    Hi Chris,
    Very enjoyable collection of articles. Thanks!

  5. We weren’t too far from Raleigh before this last move. I am now in one if the income tax free states! Wasn’t a strategy there though, more chance, but I will definitely consider that in the future. I never heard of # 1 Henderson, Nevada but when I looked it up it isn’t too far from Vegas which is also on the list. Nevada is another state with no income tax – could be part of the draw! Have a good Sunday.

    • Chris Mamula says

      I think that is an interesting tool that serves as a great starting place to compare different factors that are important to an individual/family and find some places that may not have been on your radar. One thing that I think people may miss when looking at a single factor, in your example taxes, is that things tend to balance out.

      For example moving recently from PA to UT, I couldn’t believe how much lower property taxes are in UT. But Utah has higher sales and income tax than PA. Looking to the future Utah has one of the lowest in-state college tuitions in the nation, while PA is one of the most expensive. Many of these things will balance out over time.

      We looked at overall quality of life and overall cost of life to ultimately choose our location. That said, the MW tool we shared is worth checking out and experimenting with based on different factors.