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Getting Higher Returns on Your Cash

“Put your money to work,” my grandmother would advise. Getting the highest possible return on your cash seems to be a mark of honor among frugal prospective retirees. But, with interest rates in the tank for most of a decade, if you haven’t bothered, you also haven’t been hurt much. Now, rates are rising. So, …

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Is The Three-Fund Portfolio Right For You?

Investing is simple. But it’s not easy. Most people do best with a passive investing approach utilizing index funds. This minimizes unnecessary investing costs, taxes and common behavioral mistakes made when more active approaches to investing are used. But within this framework, there are countless options for building your portfolio. Strategies range from holding a single …

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Investing in Land

Most financial experts will tell you that investing in land is a bad idea. And they’re probably right. At best, on average, in many cases and places, land will only appreciate at the rate of inflation. And it won’t produce any income while sitting there. Worse still, it will cost you in property taxes every …

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Our Investment Plan: What We Do, What’s Changing, How We’ve Performed

A reader recently asked me to share my investment choices and portfolio breakdown. I’ll do this by sharing our investment policy statement (IPS). This includes our asset allocation, strategies to control investment fees and taxes, and plans for managing the portfolio. A well written IPS ties an investment plan together, marrying investments with a system …

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5 Lessons Learned In My Year As a Landlord

I’ve been intrigued by real estate for years. I first saw it as a way to accelerate my path to early retirement. More recently, I’ve considered the benefits of diversifying out of paper assets due to high stock valuations and low interest rates. But I’ve never been able to pull the trigger. I’ve been stuck …

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DIY Investing Resource #4: All About Asset Allocation

The following post was originally published on Eat the Financial Elephant in March 2015, shortly after my wife and I dug out from under our past investing mistakes. It is the fourth of the four most valuable resources that helped us go from feeling clueless to competent managing our investment portfolio. Our fourth selected DIY investing resource is …

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DIY Investing Resource #3: The Intelligent Asset Allocator

The following post was originally published on Eat the Financial Elephant in March 2015, shortly after my wife and I dug out from under our past investing mistakes. It is the third of the four most valuable resources that helped us go from feeling clueless to competent managing our investment portfolio. My third recommended resource …

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DIY Investing Resource #2: The Little Book of Common Sense Investing

The following post was originally published on Eat the Financial Elephant in February 2015, shortly after my wife and I dug out from under our past investing mistakes. I posted it as the second of the four most valuable resources that helped us go from feeling clueless to competent managing our investment portfolio. If you …

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DIY Investing Resource #1: JL Collins’ “Stock Series”

The following post was originally published on Eat the Financial Elephant in February 2015, shortly after my wife and I dug out from under our past investing mistakes. I posted it as the first of the four most valuable resources that helped us go from feeling clueless to competent managing our investment portfolio. The biggest …

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5 Reasons You Need A Financial Advisor

I’ve shared my poor experience working with a financial advisor and spelled out inherent conflicts of interest that are present when paying for financial advice. You may think I chose the title of this article as “clickbait” to draw readers in for a bait and switch. If so, you’re wrong. Maybe you think I sold …

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The Perfect Storm – Demonstrating Conflicts of Interest With Investment Advice

I began writing about personal finance to create a positive outlet for the anger, regret, and pain I experienced because of investing mistakes I made as a young professional. I became a consumer advocate to help others avoid repeating my mistakes. My mistakes were the result of blindly following the advice of a financial advisor …

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The Worst Investment Advice I Ever Heard–Everywhere

My financial story creates an interesting juxtaposition, as I recently shared with Steve Chen on the NewRetirement Podcast. On one hand, my wife and I did many things well with our money. We achieved financial independence quickly, allowing me to retire last fall at 41 years old.  On the other hand, we made investing mistakes that …

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The Best Options for Investing an HSA

The vast majority of people with Health Savings Accounts (HSA) use them as pass through accounts for the tax advantages they provide. Most people defer taxation on their earnings by contributing to the HSA, place the money in a savings account, and later take it out tax-free for qualified medical expenses. The standard use of …

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A Closer Look at Using a Health Savings Account (HSA) to Save for Retirement

My initial introduction to Health Savings Accounts (HSA) came a few years ago. The Mad Fientist published an article titled “HSA – The Ultimate Retirement Account”. After reading his article I filed it away in the back of my mind. I didn’t have access to an HSA while working. Fortunately, I had highly subsidized medical …

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5 Factors To Consider Before You Roll Over Your 401(k) To An IRA

During my working years, I invested regularly into my 401(k).  I chose to use my 401(k) to take advantage of the considerable tax benefits available to an early retiree. This consistent saving, combined with an incredible bull market over the last decade of my career, left me with a substantial balance in my 401(k) when …

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My Investment Portfolio: 2018

The past year was one of the best of my investing career. And likely yours too. No complaints. But beware complacency. The Dow Jones Industrial Average returned around 28% including dividends for 2017. My very conservative and diversified retirement portfolio couldn’t match the Dow’s return. But it did well enough not only to keep our …

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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 …

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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 …

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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, …

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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 …

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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 …

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