December 2018 Best of the Web

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2018 is coming to an end and it’s time for December’s best articles from around the internet to help you save more, invest better and retire sooner.

This month’s articles share insight on investing in the face of recent market volatility. We discuss the personal aspects of investing, reasonable market forecasts and how to add leverage to your investments while simultaneously managing risk.

Articles also look at retirement income and spending, resources to plan for 2019 and new financial products that should have you both excited and skeptical.

Enjoy the articles, and best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2019.

Investing Perspectives

Ben Carlson shares insights on market volatility with 5 Thoughts On The Market Downturn.

Mike Piper tells why he is Doing Nothing About a Market Decline.

Todd Tresidder writes Expectancy – Millionaire Math that Converts Uncertainty Into Profit. He provides a high-level overview of the expected value equation and associated risk management and leverage concepts for valuing uncertain financial decisions. It is required information if you aren’t following a passive investing strategy.

From the Vanguard blog: Our CIO Talks Expectations, Interest Rates and Blockchain.

The bloggers at Waffles on Wednesday write Putting the Personal Back in Personal Finance.

Too Good to Be True?

Darrow recently wrote Getting Higher Returns on Your Cash. I didn’t anticipate the amount of interest that topic would generate. Apparently, many people continue searching for higher yields, evidenced by the frenzy created by Robinhood announcing savings and checking accounts with 3% interest rates. However, Jacob Passy cautions Robinhood’s New Accounts May Not Be Insured.

Earlier this year, I wrote about investing an HSA account. I lamented the lack of good options at the time. I eventually decided to use Lively. (Full disclosure: I hold my HSA with Lively. I’m not paid to recommend their services.)

Recently, Fidelity announced their entrance into the arena with an HSA with no account or transaction fees.

Lively (in response to Fidelity’s announcement?) announced they are eliminating their already low ($30/year) fees to access their investment platform.

It is an exciting time to be a DIYer. Large brokerages are in a price war with one another competing for our business. Tech start-ups push long established providers to better serve customers.

In this environment, it’s important to be able to step back and evaluate these offerings. Remember there are no free lunches. If things sound too good to be true, they just may be.

These round-ups provide an opportunity to keep you abreast of the latest developments. However, we don’t know how these products will work out over the long haul.

It looks like Fidelity’s strategy is to offer up loss leaders like the free HSA and no fee index funds (featured in a previous round up) to draw customers in to later be sold more profitable products.

The tech companies’ business models are less clear. In the case of Robinhood, they may be offering increased yield to income hungry customers by offering a more risky product. Both Robinhood and Lively may be willing to accept losses to gain customers in an effort to be acquired or draw investment dollars.

In any case, I’ll continue to report new developments while maintaining a healthy dose of skepticism.

Retirement Income

Steve Chen writes Why Retirement is Broken and Needs to Be Reinvented. He says, “The core problem is uncertainty – people have no idea how much they need, because we have created a system around building assets instead of income.” Then he offers solutions.

White Coat Investor is a blog that focuses on providing financial education to high income professionals. Dr. Dahle provides pretty good advice to lower income households, which includes many early retirees, as well with 10 Bits Of Financial Advice For The Average American.

Retirement Spending

If retirement income causes stress, the following article about retirement spending may offer peace of mind. Peter Finch writes The Myth of Steady Retirement Spending and Why Reality May Cost Less.

Planning for 2019

Mark Trautman provides A Reader’s Guide to Financial Independence, an essential collection of books on personal finance, investing and financial independence for those looking to improve their future.

Chad Carson writes 3 Helpful Self-Reflection Exercises For the New Year.

Happy new year!

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