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My Favorite Blogs: 2016

Blogs are different, and they’re valuable. I still get much of my news and most of my analysis from bloggers. I appreciate the individual, idiosyncratic viewpoints — not the sanitized or one-sided slop we often get from government, corporate, or special interests. So, here are some of my favorite blogs of 2016, with links to …

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Is a Robo-Advisor Right for You?

It’s been more than six years since the first robo-advisor, Betterment, appeared on the investing scene. For a while, robo-advisors were the star of the show. Because they were new, yet built on proven passive index investing strategies, and because they used high technology to reduce costs, robo-advisors received lots of attention. Now it seems …

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My Political Travels

For its five-year existence, this blog has offered a politically-neutral view of retirement. In keeping with that tradition, I’ve avoided commenting on the recently concluded U.S. election. Even now, two weeks after voting, there is little that can be said about the results that wouldn’t be partisan or speculation, or both. In a perfect world, …

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The Downside of Retirement

Early retirement has been good, in general. I reached my goal of financial independence after years of frugality and hard work. It’s fun being here and writing about the details. But, while I’d like to say I’m so much happier now, in reality, I’m probably not…. Don’t get me wrong: I have a great life. …

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The 3 Stages of Retirement Income

In real life, retirement cash flow is not as simple as the pundits would have you believe. Try a typical retirement calculator, and you’ll be prompted for a single expense number: How much would you need to spend from savings to live in retirement each year? But research shows that your gross expenses will change, …

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How Much Should You Leave to Your Kids?

How do you feel about legacy giving? Chances are, you see the issue differently from your own parents. We’re experiencing a generational change in views on inherited wealth. Parents of today’s baby boomers, having lived through a World War and less prosperous times, were usually excellent savers. In their retirement years, their investment assets are …

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Mountain Vacation Towns of the West

Even once you’re retired, you’ll still probably go on vacation from time to time. What is a vacation but a change of scenery and routine from everyday living? And you still need that stimulation and respite occasionally, even when you are no longer working at a full-time career. Everybody has their own idea of the …

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Getting Organized for Financial Independence

You can get to financial independence well enough even if you’re disorganized. As long as you’re also smart and creative. But, you’ll reach financial freedom much faster by being organized about your intentions. Sloppiness with your money is no advantage on the journey to wealth. In my last post I discussed the basic financial tools …

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Tools for Financial Independence

The path to financial freedom involves accumulating and managing assets. You need to have more resources coming into your life than going out. And you need to grow those resources. To accomplish that, it helps to have tools and a system. You’ll reach financial independence faster if you’re organized for the journey. The downfall of …

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Accepting and Managing Risk

A recent review of my new book grabbed my attention: “Consistent with his background as an adventurer, Kirkpatrick never oversimplifies things by labeling them “safe” or “risky.” He emphasizes that every decision you make has risks, which must be managed or accepted to achieve the outcome you desire.” It’s true. I don’t look at life …

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Staying Fit in Retirement

Use it or lose it. As my wife and I ease into the back half of our 50’s, our house has gradually transformed into a gymnasium. It seems like every spare corner and surface holds exercise or physical therapy equipment now. I’ve been into fitness since college, never letting myself get seriously out of shape. …

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A Surprising Contender for Tax-Efficient Retirement Saving…

Samuel Foote, famous British comedic actor of his time, was chatting with a member of the royal court. The entitled aristocrat complained bitterly of having been thrown out a second-floor window for cheating at cards. Foote’s advice? “Don’t play so high.” One secret to successful retirement saving, in addition to getting started, is to avoid …

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Maximizing Retirement Spending: Is That Really What It’s All About?

Mainstream retirement planning these days is all about maximizing your spending in retirement. And that seems sensible, on the surface. The theory is you want to spend as much as possible in retirement, subject to the whims of the stock market. So, if the market is down, you cut back. But if the market is …

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Is Your Retirement Calculator Designed for Accuracy?

Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal published an article titled “New Study Questions Retirement Planning Calculators’ Accuracy.” It reported on an academic study of 36 retirement planning tools. The research concluded that “in most cases, the available offerings are extremely misleading.” This wasn’t news to me. My first article on the inaccuracies in retirement …

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Can I Retire Yet? — The Book

Three years in the making, my second book is available now. You can get it on Amazon, in paperback or Kindle. Can you retire yet? I’ve been studying this tricky question for a decade, and this book is my answer. It captures the best of this blog in a comprehensive, readable “how-to” format. This is …

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Book Excerpt: Buckets and Your Retirement Paycheck

My second book, Can I Retire Yet? — How to Make the Biggest Financial Decision of the Rest of Your Life, is coming soon. It should be available on Amazon, in paperback and Kindle, in just a few weeks. To celebrate, I’m publishing another excerpt here on the blog. The new book takes a comprehensive …

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One Retirement Number You Can’t Afford to Get Wrong

I’ve long promoted using free retirement calculators, easily available on the web, to get a better handle on your retirement trajectory. These tools give you a sense for how much you need to save to retire, providing much-needed perspective and motivation. I’ve also advocated for ignoring the hideously complex U.S. tax code whenever possible in …

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Book Excerpt: Do You Need a Financial Advisor?

Finally, I can talk about my second book, titled “Can I Retire Yet?” More than three years in the making, the text is in final draft. I expect it to be available on Amazon by early summer. Subtitled “How to Make the Biggest Financial Decision of the Rest of Your Life”, this will be my …

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My Retirement Income Taxes: 2016

On April Fool’s Day I completed and filed my returns for the 2015 tax year. Normally I’m proactive about financial matters. But, for taxes, I wait until a few weeks before the mid-April deadline. That reduces the chances that a late-breaking 1099 will force me to file an amended return. Taxes are my least favorite …

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Dealing with Uncertainty in Retirement Calculations

Remember the game of Telephone? Players whisper a secret message down the line from one to the next. When the message reaches the end of the line, it’s repeated aloud to the group. And, without fail, it’s been mangled beyond recognition! Retirement planning can be like that. Seemingly small differences in input can compound into …

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The Best Retirement Withdrawal Strategies: Digging Deeper

A couple of months ago I published new research here. The topic was retirement withdrawal strategies. I was trying to answer a question that had long puzzled me. It’s one that I hadn’t seen addressed elsewhere: What is the best way to liquidate the asset classes in your retirement portfolio? For example, if you have …

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