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Review: The Pralana Retirement Calculator

The reviews of free retirement calculators here have been some of the most popular posts on the site. There are certainly some useful free calculators available. And since no one calculator has a corner on predicting the future, it’s nice to have the option to run several and compare the results, without having to pay …

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Do-It-Yourself Estate Planning

Benjamin Franklin famously noted that “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Death and taxes. Two of our least favorite topics — also two of the most inevitable. In keeping with the generally upbeat mood at this blog, I rarely focus on either of these morbid subjects. But, …

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My Income Taxes: 2014

Are taxes going to be your single biggest financial concern in retirement? A ravenous velociraptor stalking your financial security? Many pundits say so. Or, are taxes just another expense, and by no means your largest one? Despite their scary reputation, I don’t worry about taxes much. I laid out the reasons why — my political …

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Shopping Obamacare: Good Deal for Retirees?

Open enrollment under the new health care law closed for 2014 at the end of March. There won’t be another opportunity to apply for coverage until late in the year. There is nothing like a deadline to move someone to action. So, even though we are fortunate to have excellent retiree health benefits already, I …

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Frugal Home Renovation: Kitchens, Bathrooms and More…

Home expenses might be your single most important decision variable on the road to financial freedom. Buying and maintaining a home that’s bigger or more luxurious than you need, is one of the most common detours along that road. The amount of money typically spent on a large trophy home, especially if you must hire …

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Asset Classes for Early Retirement

Asset allocation is the most important variable in your portfolio. The way you allocate your money to different asset classes will dictate the risk you take on. And it will likely prescribe the long-term returns you achieve. That’s conventional wisdom. Modern Portfolio Theory says that by combining asset classes that have low correlation, you can …

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My Investment Portfolio: 2014

How do you actually manage your investment portfolio in a real-world retirement? Nearly every prospective or current retiree has this question. And there are lots of answers out there…. The article I wrote at the end of 2012 disclosing my actual investment portfolio has been in the Top 10 Popular Posts here for most of …

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Having Kids vs. Retiring Earlier

How does raising children impact the journey to financial independence? If you choose to have a family, does that mean you’ll be working forever? Does electing to have no kids, or fewer kids, supercharge your way to wealth? And, should the desire for early financial independence even play into decisions about if and how many …

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My Retirement Fears

Reading my story on this blog, you might think I’ve got it made. Thanks to a high-paying job and relatively frugal lifestyle, I managed to save a large sum by the time I was 50, and retire early. Since then I’ve pursued new interests, travelled extensively, and worked when and where I wanted. Recently, we …

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Retirement Withdrawal Strategies

You’ve worked and saved for years, most of a career. Maybe you’re looking at a traditional retirement in your 60’s, or you’re one of the fortunate few who are able to consider earlier retirement. Either way, you’ve amassed a sizable nest egg. Your assets are likely well into seven digits, unless you live very frugally, …

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Moving West – Part 2

We’ve arrived. We’ve left our empty nest, downsized, and relocated from the southeast to the southwest. For the first time in five months, we, our vehicles, and our possessions, are all in one place. It’s been a dramatic change in venue, and we’re excited to begin the next chapter of our lives in amazing new …

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Moving West – Part 1

Blogs are unique because they include personal experience, in addition to the facts. The backstory for this blog over the last six months has been our downsizing and relocation. So here is the first part of our moving story, plus a few financial lessons learned…. In June we sold our house. In July we vacationed …

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Renting vs. Buying: The True Cost of Home Ownership

Rent or buy? We’re about to choose a new home in a new location. So the question of renting vs. buying has come to the foreground for us again. Whether you’re newlyweds starting out, a middle-age couple downsizing, or seniors contemplating retirement communities, you too will likely need to evaluate the economics of renting vs. …

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Should You Pay for a Retirement Calculator?

There are lots of retirement calculators. Naturally, people want to know which ones to use and trust. The reviews I’ve written of free retirement calculators have been some of the most popular posts on this site. There aren’t too many side-by-side comparisons of retirement calculators using realistic scenarios, so those posts generated a lot of …

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Early vs. Traditional Retirement

“Retirement” is a slippery concept. Yes, that R-word is commonly used, and that’s why I chose it for this blog. But it can describe radically different situations: a 20-something Internet tycoon; an extremely frugal 30-something software engineer; a 40-something ex-military officer on a pension; a 50-something who achieved financial independence with prudent investing; or a …

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The Ideal Retirement Location

What is your ideal retirement location? Do you dream of beaches or of mountains? Of your home state, or exotic international locales? Of urban skylines or of rural landscapes? Do you like snowy winters, hot dry summers, or moderate temperatures year round? Will you pack up and retire far away from where you worked a …

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Short-Term Housing

I’ve always been leery of owning two homes at once. I’ve heard too many stories of people stretched thin between two properties — trying to sell their previous home while setting up life in the new one. The costs of maintaining a second, empty residence can be punishing. So, when we put our house on …

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Living Efficiently in a Small RV

Travel is a big part of retirement for many, but it can be expensive. Owning a small RV is one good solution for traveling relatively cheaply in retirement. House swapping and off-season journeys are others. However you do it, developing your own personal angle for reducing travel costs is an essential part of retiring on …

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News, Views and Summer Travels

It’s been two months since the launch of my first book Retiring Sooner, which I worked on in some form for more than two years. When it was finally published, I had no idea what to expect. As most authors will tell you, after spending that much time with the same material you have no …

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Investing in Real Estate

Do you need to invest in real estate for a diversified portfolio? If so, what kind of real estate do you need to buy? And how should you own it: directly, through a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), or via a broad market index? Also, is your house just a home, or is it an …

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How We Sold Our House in 24 Hours

It’s true. We’ve downsized, and it happened fast. Our house was listed last month, late on a Tuesday evening. Early Wednesday morning, while packing to be out of town for a week, we started getting phone calls. By the time we left for the airport after noon, a half-dozen showings were scheduled. Late in the …

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