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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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Financial Security in an Uncertain World: Assessing the Risks

If you are retired or on your way to financial independence, then you have assets. You’ve stockpiled wealth in some form. But that wealth is embedded in an always fickle, sometimes hazardous world. To preserve your assets, you need to understand the variety of financial risks. Then, you need to prioritize them. Every risk has …

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My Investment Portfolio: 2015

What makes a successful investor? Is it getting double-digit returns? Beating a certain stock index? Outperforming the market for years, and making millions? Or is it just growing and protecting your wealth well enough to achieve your lifetime goals? If you came here looking for sophisticated investing strategies from a self-assured financial wizard, you’ll probably …

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Should You Be a Dividend Stock Investor?

Dividend stock picking is the most compelling investment strategy that I’ve never tried. I’ve been tempted several times over the years, including recently when we had some new money to invest. The arguments for holding more dividend-paying stocks are attractive. Dividends provide reliable income, and the total returns can be impressive. People I respect have …

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Y2K and Black Swans: Investing for the Next Crisis

It was late 1998 and I had traveled across the country to present at a software conference. In the lobby of the hotel was a group handing out literature on the impending “crisis” that would become known as “Y2K” (Year 2000). I hadn’t heard of it, so I began reading. I could see there was …

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