August 2018 Best of the Web

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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 for you. The articles also look at the challenge of getting, and giving, good financial advice.

Our selections also explore financial and personal challenges of early retirement. Then we dive into why things don’t always work out in real life the way we think they should when analyzing them on paper.

We’ll finish with an inspiring story, showing that adventure is within reach no matter where we are in our financial and personal journeys. Let’s dive in!

Investing News?

It was big news in the financial world this month when Fidelity announced the launch of two new index funds with no expense ratios and no minimum investment. Is this great news for investors, or great marketing by Fidelity?

Jim Dahle has an opinion. He wrote Don’t Obsess About Expense Ratios.

Getting Good Financial Advice

Often, the greatest value of a financial advisor is having someone to tell you the things you don’t want to hear. Allan Roth wrote 10 Tactless Things I Tell Clients.

Blair duQuesnay, CFA, CFP thinks getting good advice can be difficult because the requirements to become a financial advisor are so low compared to other professions, as she wrote in My Yoga Teacher Decided to Become a Doctor.

Unfortunately, the low standards and massive conflicts of interest in the financial industry lead to stories like the cautionary tale Tara Siegel Bernard wrote for the New York Times, Caring for Aging Parents With an Eye on the Broker Handling Their Savings.

Giving Good Financial Advice

Getting good financial advice is difficult. Giving good financial advice isn’t easy either. Mike Piper writes How to Change Somebody’s Mind About Investing.

Challenges of Early Retirement

It’s easy to think that the grind of a job is hard, and early retirement will make everything better. A couple of recent early retirees question that conventional wisdom.

Big ERN looks at the math and asks Why is Retirement Harder Than Saving For Retirement? in part 27 of his Safe Withdrawal Rate Series.

Carl of 1500 Days to Freedom gets personal and asks Could FIRE Set Fire to Your Marriage?

Finding Balance

The preceding article demonstrates that how things should work on paper and how they do work when people are involved are often not the same. This is an important truth in investing, retirement planning, and life in general. Morgan Housel explains why with Real World vs. Book Knowledge.

Ben Carlson balances technical market analysis with fascinating behavioral insights. He writes 8 Questions I’ve Been Pondering.

Get Out There

There are many excuses to not incorporate more adventure into your life. There is never enough time, or money, or perfect circumstances. Jillian, at Montana Money Adventures, shows that with the right mindset and planning you can start now. No excuses.

She wrote the inspiring recap of her family of seven taking a 10-week Ultimate National Park Road Trip.

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  1. Thanks for including my article! It was an amazing, once in a lifetime trip. Except I am planning to do a few more before my kids leave the house. =)

    • Chris Mamula says

      That’s awesome. Our big adventure for the year was making a cross country move from PA to UT this summer, with lots of micro-adventures as we’ve been exploring the area since we arrived. Would love to do something like you did, and guess you took away any excuses for why we can’t with our crew of 3.


  2. Chris, thanks so much for highlighting Jillian’s article. It was a pleasure for me to read about such a like-minded person. My husband and I have worked hard to achieve our status as early retirees, but agreed that our efforts would never be at the expense of living life without travel and adventure. We have only two kids, but they’ve both been traveling since they were tiny tykes and have proven to be excellent at it time and time again. It’s all what they get used to.

    Our National Parks adventures have (so far) been spaced out into three cross country trips totaling just over 13 weeks – we were so blessed to be able to introduce our kids to America and the natural wonders of our National Parks during our extended vacations. It was just tons of fun for everyone and the memories we made will remain in our hearts forever.

    I’ve already bookmarked Jillian’s site and look forward to reading more of her posts. Thanks, again, for including this worthwhile entry!

    • Chris Mamula says

      Thanks for the feedback Mary. Agree that it’s important to figure out what’s important to you and then pursue those things. That’s especially true if you have the opportunity to create these experiences and memories with kids because that time goes so fast. That’s why I loved Jillian’s post so much and included it. Very inspirational person and family. If you weren’t familiar with her before, you should check out her interview on the Choose FI podcast which was awesome.

  3. Jim Richey says

    I just discovered your new endevor as a writer. When I met you in PA in your previous profession, I knew you were really smart, but who knew you could write? It appears that you have a successful new career. You made a good move going to Utah. Thanks for showing others the way.

    • Chris Mamula says

      Thanks for the kind words. Writing is more of a hobby/passion project (like your photography) than a career at this point, but who knows where life will take you. I’d been blogging anonymously for a few years at while working as a PT. I thought it wise to not go too public about plans to retire early, until I was sure it was something I was going to go through with, so as not to have the decision made for me. 😉