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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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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 …

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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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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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The Next Bear Market: How Bad Could It Get?

In November of 1972 the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at a little above 1,000 points. Then it went down, and stayed mostly down, for the next ten years. While the Dow sat still, life went on…. The first U.S. space station and shuttle were launched. The Watergate scandal came and went. John Lennon was …

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My Investment Portfolio: 2016

It was another dull year for my investment portfolio. Until last week. In all of 2015, I made a single investing move. Then came the first week of 2016: Questions swirled around highly respected financial firms. I did some long-overdue portfolio pruning. And the Dow, adding drama, dropped more than 1,000 points. When the smoke …

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A Short Course in Investing

You can commit a large chunk of your life to becoming a better investor, if you want. You can read articles, devour books, and enroll in classes. Some people, myself included, will take that full plunge. But in the end, most experienced investors arrive back where they started, with just a few simple principles in …

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What to Do When the Market Tanks

It was a Monday morning in the fall of 1987. I was young software engineer immersed in a technical project. The older guys in the office were talking about a crash in the stock market. It would become known as “Black Monday” — the largest one-day percentage decline in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) …

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Socially Responsible Investing: Worth the Price?

Most of us want to be “socially responsible” — however we define that. We don’t want to trash the planet for our children and grandchildren. We don’t think corporations should exploit their workers or their communities. And we don’t intend to profit from the misery of other human beings. Yet most of us also need …

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Financial Security in an Uncertain World: Protecting Your Wealth

If your savings are growing, you tend to feel safe. And if they’re declining, you tend to worry. That’s truer than ever as you get older, and the options for replacing wealth via a job disappear. But your money lives in a fickle financial world, subject to a variety of risks. Your tools for reducing …

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