Clicky

10 Steps to Investing Success

“…the issue isn’t managing your investments, it’s managing yourself while you manage your investments.” –Charles Hugh Smith I started investing in my mid-30’s and became financially independent at age 50. Over that time, I learned much, had my share of successes, and made some big mistakes. But I reached my goals, despite two of the …

[Continue reading]

Deciding Whether to Take a Pension Lump Sum: The 2 Opposing Methods

The following is a guest contribution from reader and fellow blogger Grumpus Maximus, a 40-something U.S. military officer with 18 years of active duty service under his belt. Grumpus has recently realized that, with some minor lifestyle adjustments, he will reach Financial Independence by his military retirement point. With no formal education in finance, but …

[Continue reading]

The 3 Great Misconceptions About Retirement Saving

Retirement planning can be hard. Annuities, estates, health care, retirement calculators, safe withdrawal rates, Social Security, taxes. There are many pieces to a successful retirement plan. But almost all of those topics boil down and feed into the one question that outranks all others: How much money do I need to retire? I’ve been a …

[Continue reading]

Managed-Payout Funds: One-Stop Shopping for Retirement Income?

The holy grail of retirement income is guaranteed, inflation-adjusted payments that last a lifetime, with principal left over. Annuities offer that kind of lifetime income, at the cost of giving up your principal. But true inflation-adjusted annuities are hard to find, and very expensive. On the other hand, investment portfolios with a sizable allocation to …

[Continue reading]

Summer Travels: Seize the Day

It would be my last night in the Sierra for a long while. As I stared into the campfire under the star-filled sky last week, I reflected on how far I’d come: That day we had hiked nearly nine miles with full backpacks. We had climbed 1,000 feet up, past the famed Vogelsang High Sierra …

[Continue reading]

Getting a Mortgage When You Have Assets But No Income

Most early retirees have no pension, annuity, or Social Security income. Even if you’re a traditional retiree, you might have only one of those income streams. But what if your lifestyle plans require a home purchase? Even if you have the savings to afford a house, you might not necessarily be able to liquidate enough …

[Continue reading]

Designing Your Home Ownership to Retire Earlier

The following is a guest contribution from reader and blogging friend Chris Mamula, a pending early-retiree in his 40’s. Chris has been writing on personal finance topics for several years. His efforts first came to my attention with his insightful review of my second book. In this post, Chris explores how to craft home ownership …

[Continue reading]

Raising Cash: My Retirement Withdrawal “System”

Our cash was running low. It had been a year and a half since I sold significant assets. Last month, when I added up our liquid reserves, they were down to about six months of living expenses. For many a young worker that would be a cushy emergency fund. But for me — an early …

[Continue reading]

Generating Retirement Income Before Age 59-½

You’ve saved diligently your entire working career. You’ve maxed out your retirement savings accounts. And it’s paid off. You’ve reached the point of financial independence, early. Or, maybe you were laid off, or took an early severance package. Whatever the reason, like me, you got to retirement ahead of the usual schedule. Maybe in your …

[Continue reading]

Dealing with an Inherited IRA

The letter caught me by surprise. Titled “IRA/ESA Certificate Maturity Notice,” it was from a major credit union where, so far as I knew, I had no accounts. The document went on to say that an IRA Certificate of deposit, with my name on the account, was scheduled to renew soon for the specified term. …

[Continue reading]

Gone Fishin’

Are you a beach person, a lake person, a mountain person, or a mixture? For my money, there is nowhere more beautiful on earth than the high peaks in summertime. I don’t fish much, but I sure do like to camp, hike, and bike in the mountains. This summer we have a full schedule of …

[Continue reading]

Identity Theft Strikes Home!

Something was very wrong. I sensed it as soon as I scanned my email late that morning, about two weeks ago. Long before my conscious brain could process the data on my computer screen, my subconscious was screaming “EMERGENCY.” What was I seeing? Sitting in my inbox were notifications about three withdrawals from a large …

[Continue reading]

Camping in Retirement

Cooking over a hot flame on a chilly night. Sleeping under an ink-black sky with a million stars all around. Waking to a cool breeze crossing a foggy meadow in dawn’s early light. Is there any experience that compares to the joy, the thrill, the simple economy of camping out? Humans have a prehistoric connection …

[Continue reading]

What to Do With a Lump Sum in Retirement

It’s a common problem in or near retirement: A relative passes away and leaves you an inheritance. Or you receive a lump sum pension payout. Or you sell the big family home and downsize. In each case you suddenly have a large sum of cash on your hands…. What should you do with the unexpected …

[Continue reading]

5 Simple Asset Allocation Strategies

Passive index investors reject market timing and stock picking in favor of owning broad index funds. This simplifies most investing decisions, but leaves one very important one: asset allocation. How do you deploy your money across different asset classes such as stocks, bonds, cash, real estate, and commodities? Of those asset classes, the allocation between …

[Continue reading]

A Strong Marriage in Retirement

A stable marriage is the bedrock of personal and financial success for many of us. Having recently celebrated my 30th anniversary, maybe I’m entitled to talk just a little bit about what works, and what doesn’t. Though, I know there is no “formula” for human relationships. Each is unique. And each relationship requires effort every …

[Continue reading]

My Biggest Investing Mistakes

You expect financial pundits to speak with authority. “The market will do this.” “The economy will do that.” And of course they should be right, because who’s going to listen to a money expert who makes mistakes? But I’m no financial pundit. I’m just an early-retired engineer, reporting on my real-life experiences in saving, investing, …

[Continue reading]

Retirement Calculator News, and a Mystery Solved…

It was a blustery winter day, just about a year ago, when I stayed indoors all afternoon to work at my desk. The snowflakes stacked on the railing outside as I broke ground on new software, something I hadn’t done in years. It would be a modeling framework that I could use to research and …

[Continue reading]

My Investment Portfolio: 2017

Boring. Yes, it’s been another dull year for my investment portfolio. Other than an IRA contribution at tax time last year, I haven’t initiated a single investment transaction since my last portfolio post. We made it entirely through 2016 living off existing cash, dividends, and a bit of blog income. What kind of portfolio can …

[Continue reading]

Alternative Investments for Savvy Retirees – Part 2

In the first part of this series, I noted that the baby boom generation has lived through a uniquely stable period in human history. Sadly, there is no guarantee that this will last. There are forces in the world that could lead to unprecedented disruptions in modern life. I hope not. There are also forces …

[Continue reading]

Alternative Investments for Savvy Retirees – Part 1

The baby boom generation has lived through a uniquely stable period in human history. Yes, we’ve seen regional wars, terrorism, and economic dislocation. But there hasn’t been wholesale destruction of a developed country, or its financial system, since halfway through the last century. It would be nice to think that the world has put such …

[Continue reading]