Clicky

How Much Umbrella Insurance Do You Need?

What does umbrella insurance cover, exactly? Do you really need it? And, if so, how much? I recently reviewed our umbrella insurance policy. I’ve carried it for years, but without really digging into the details of the coverage. It was recommended to me long ago, and appeared to be relatively cheap, so I added it …

[Continue reading]

Building Your Retirement Getaway Home on the Cheap

Who doesn’t dream of having their own little getaway home? Maybe it’s a condo in a favorite city. Or a timeshare at a beach or ski resort. Or a cabin in the mountains. Owning a second home has long been a perk of the affluent. With rising standards of living, now more and more people …

[Continue reading]

My Biggest Retirement Fear

Last November was a bad month for us. My wife went in for major dental work. We broke an expensive iPhone. My Forester needed two new engine seals. Altogether, the bills amounted to thousands of dollars. So much for our frugal retirement budget that month! Even though we have substantial resources and try to live …

[Continue reading]

3 Bad Financial Decisions That Helped Me Retire Sooner

We tend to judge our decisions by outcomes. In her book Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts, Annie Duke points out the faulty logic of thinking this way. We love things to fit in neat little boxes. But life is far more nuanced. Nearly all decisions have to …

[Continue reading]

Budgeting or Expense Tracking: How Much is Enough?

One day in 1991, a package arrived at my doorstep. Inside were thick paperback user manuals, and a shrink-wrapped bundle of floppy disks. I carefully sliced open the shrink wrap and inserted the first disk into my desktop computer. I then typed the letters “Q-U-I-C-K-E-N” at the command prompt, and recorded my first financial transaction. …

[Continue reading]

We Finally Get Better Credit Cards

What would you do for an extra $500/year? I’ve written about how much I value my time and often choose financial simplicity over saving a few bucks here and there. For that reason, we’d been using the same 1% cash rewards USAA credit cards for many years. But, given the recent economic stutter, and my …

[Continue reading]

Microadventures Before and After Retirement

Travel, adventure, seeing and being in new places, is the spice of life for many of us. But there is never enough time. In the working years we mostly have to make do with a few weeks of vacation annually. By the time family obligations and house chores are done, there can be precious little …

[Continue reading]

Downsizing, 5 Years Later: Any Regrets?

Five years ago this month we downsized for early retirement. With a series of yard sales, charity pickups, and gifts to friends, we reduced the volume of our possessions by about one-half. We then carefully staged our 4-bedroom family home where we’d lived for 17 years and put it on the market with a trusted …

[Continue reading]

My Retirement Income Taxes: 2018

A few weeks ago I completed and filed my returns for the 2017 tax year. Once again, without much attention to the matter, I paid very little in taxes. And, once again, despite what many financial professionals will tell you, I didn’t find taxes threatening my retirement lifestyle… I’m proactive about most financial matters. But, …

[Continue reading]

Doing Good Better with Your Money

This blog has always focused on saving more, investing smarter, and retiring sooner. It’s about living your financial life efficiently and effectively so that you reach your goals, and reach them sooner. But there is more to life than getting rich. Accumulating assets for their sake alone is a dead end. Having money lets us …

[Continue reading]

Using Domestic Geoarbitrage to Retire Sooner

Geoarbitrage is a concept popularized by Tim Ferriss in his book “The 4-Hour Workweek.” Geoarbitrage sounds complex, but the principle is easy to understand and apply. Different geographic areas have different costs of living. Geoarbitrage is simply taking advantage of these differences. This can be a powerful tool during your wealth building years, and it …

[Continue reading]

Why Taxes Matter for Retirement Calculations: The New Law

First, many thanks to the hundreds of people who downloaded and tried our new Free retirement calculator for Android, and to those who have purchased the Pro version. We appreciate the support and positive reviews! We’re committed to making these the very best retirement calculators for Android. In fact, we are planning a significant upgrade …

[Continue reading]

The 3 Great Misconceptions About Retirement Saving

Retirement planning can be hard. Annuities, estates, health care, retirement calculators, safe withdrawal rates, Social Security, taxes. There are many pieces to a successful retirement plan. But almost all of those topics boil down and feed into the one question that outranks all others: How much money do I need to retire? I’ve been a …

[Continue reading]

Designing Your Home Ownership to Retire Earlier

The following is a guest contribution from reader and blogging friend Chris Mamula, a pending early-retiree in his 40’s. Chris has been writing on personal finance topics for several years. His efforts first came to my attention with his insightful review of my second book. In this post, Chris explores how to craft home ownership …

[Continue reading]

Identity Theft Strikes Home!

Something was very wrong. I sensed it as soon as I scanned my email late that morning, about two weeks ago. Long before my conscious brain could process the data on my computer screen, my subconscious was screaming “EMERGENCY.” What was I seeing? Sitting in my inbox were notifications about three withdrawals from a large …

[Continue reading]

Camping in Retirement

Cooking over a hot flame on a chilly night. Sleeping under an ink-black sky with a million stars all around. Waking to a cool breeze crossing a foggy meadow in dawn’s early light. Is there any experience that compares to the joy, the thrill, the simple economy of camping out? Humans have a prehistoric connection …

[Continue reading]

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 …

[Continue reading]

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 …

[Continue reading]

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. …

[Continue reading]

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 …

[Continue reading]

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 …

[Continue reading]