Early Retirement Resources 1/30/23

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I have an outstanding collection of resources this month. We’ll start with two always popular topics among readers of the blog, shifting from saver to spender and creating retirement income.

Online retirement resources

I have a resource that gives details on new legislation that impacts retirement and education planning. We’ll also look at financial scams and how to protect yourself.

We’ll explore what you can know and what you can’t as you do your financial planning. Finally, I close out with a challenge regarding how we use our most valuable resource, our time.


Spending Your Money

Morgan Housel does a deep-dive into The Art and Science of Spending Money. Of particular value to many of us in this audience is what he describes as “frugality inertia,” describing the challenge many of us who are natural savers have when we try to shift to spending from our assets.

Notice I say “us” and not you when describing this challenge. My wife, Kim, and I recently discussed how this phenomenon created stress around money for the first time in our relationship at the time when we had more than ever before. Listen to the conversation on the Earn & Invest Podcast: Should I Retire Yet?.

A book about how to spend money that has been on my radar is Bill Perkins’ Die With Zero. That book got bumped way up the list after listening to the insightful discussion he had on Peter Attia’s Drive Podcast: Optimizing life for maximum fulfillment.

Retirement Income

Allan Roth provides a thoughtful review of current safe withdrawal rate research, writing Challenging Morningstar’s Safe Withdrawal Rates.

Jeffrey Levine and Ed Slott provide key insights into a potential way to create early retirement income, 72(t) Payments, Yes of No?.

Lisa Rabasca Roepe gives an honest take on a topic that is often misrepresented in the personal finance space. She writes What’s Passive Income? It’s Not What Influencers Say It Is.

Secure Act 2.0 — The Details

Last month, I shared early reports on the Secure Act 2.0. The new bill was passed just before the end of last year, and I wanted to share information about this bill that impacts financial planning, though details were still rolling in.

Earlier this month, I expanded on some key changes to RMD rules in the law when answering a reader question in a post about creating retirement income.

Now that the dust has settled, Jeffrey Levine presents the most comprehensive review I’ve read as it relates to financial planning aspects of the new law. He writes, Secure Act 2.0: Later RMDs, 529-To-Roth Rollovers, And Other Tax Planning Opportunities.

The significant RMD changes have already been incorporated into the NewRetirement PlannerPlus tool, allowing you to see how they impact projected income, taxes, and Roth conversion strategies.

Protect Yourself

I devoted more time in these “round-up” posts that I would have liked last year discussing scams, fraud, and how to protect yourself from them. Unfortunately, these are topics that are likely not going anywhere.

Lily Hay Newman reports on yet another data breach, to a company that exists specifically to prevent such occurrences. She highlights the challenge of protecting your data in an online world, writing Yes, It’s Time to Ditch LastPass.

A scam I reported on late last year was “check washing.” Mike Piper shares his experience as a victim, writing My Experience With Check Fraud – And What You Can Learn From It.

What You Can Know…. And What You Can’t

We all desire certainty when making financial projections and creating plans. Meg Bartelt shares why Reasonable But Arbitrary is the best you can do with financial decisions.

It’s common to waste time and energy on things we can’t possibly know. Simultaneously, we’re often ignorant to things that absolutely can be known. One that is vital to your financial outcomes is investment costs. Yet Michael Taffe reports Most Clients Don’t Know How Much Their Advisor Costs.

Spending Your Time

I started the collection with articles about spending money. Brendan Leonard challenges each of us to consider how we’re using our most precious resource, our time. He writes Feeling It.

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[Chris Mamula used principles of traditional retirement planning, combined with creative lifestyle design, to retire from a career as a physical therapist at age 41. After poor experiences with the financial industry early in his professional life, he educated himself on investing and tax planning. After achieving financial independence, Chris began writing about wealth building, DIY investing, financial planning, early retirement, and lifestyle design at Can I Retire Yet? He is also the primary author of the book Choose FI: Your Blueprint to Financial Independence. Chris also does financial planning with individuals and couples at Abundo Wealth, a low-cost, advice-only financial planning firm with the mission of making quality financial advice available to populations for whom it was previously inaccessible. Chris has been featured on MarketWatch, Morningstar, U.S. News & World Report, and Business Insider. He has spoken at events including the Bogleheads and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants annual conferences. Blog inquiries can be sent to chris@caniretireyet.com. Financial planning inquiries can be sent to chris@abundowealth.com]

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  1. Good stuff! I just wish he included real estate (REITs) in his analysis, since I have 10% in a REIT fund.

  2. The “spending money” issue is a challenge for me, but not in the way it’s usually discussed. It’s my personal belief that economic conditions will become worse for my children than they were for me, and so I choose to try to preserve as much of my capital as possible to pass on to them as a supplement to whatever they may save themselves (which I believe will be nowhere near what I and my wife were able to achieve). I’ve lived to see economic conditions where the salary of a single wage earner in a family working 40 hours/week was enough to provide for a family of four; today it takes two workers working in the neighborhood of 60-80 hours/week to accomplish the same goal, and one of those workers may even have a side hustle. Perhaps in the future you might consider offering some guides to those of us who choose not to spend our money so as to leave a decent legacy for our families. I think that’s just as reasonable a goal as “dying with zero.” Thanks.

    1. Completely agree with you! We plan on leaving a fairly substantial inheritance (7figures) to each of our adult children. We have a great life but we watch what we spend and continue to live in a moderate manner which is how we accumulated our net worth. Nothing wrong with that.

      1. Helen and Tom,

        I would encourage you to listen to the interview and/or read the book. My take after listening is that Perkins wouldn’t say there is “anything wrong with” leaving money to your kids (or charity or anything else you choose). It’s your money and your choice.

        His argument is that you should be doing this while you are alive. He makes compelling arguments as to why he thinks this that are at least worth considering and discussing with a spouse/partner who is involved in giving the gift and potentially discussing with the beneficiaries as well.

        I think Perkins would argue that if you want to help your kids, why not do it now while you can educate them and influence how they will use the money. Giving a large sum of money without guidance and direction can result in as much harm as good. Money is just a tool.

        Even if the money is used wisely, once you are gone you have no way to know that or enjoy helping people or causes you love. So often the real reason we wait to give is our own fears and insecurities about having enough, issues of control, etc.

        These aren’t always easy conversations to have, but they can be life changing.

        I’d be curious to hear your thoughts if you listen to the interview or read the book for yourselves.


        1. Thanks Chris. Good suggestions. I have thought about the various gifting options, and once I start receiving RMDs, I am thinking of funding Roth IRAs for each child. We gave one child a down payment for a house, and another some money to start a business. So I’m doing some of that. I don’t have a fully formed plan yet, but perhaps Mr. Perkins can offer me some good suggestions.

  3. Hello Chris!

    I enjoyed reading the article on 529 to Roth IRA Rollover. It touched on a planning technique for the Grandparents to prime the pump for their grandchildren’s retirement account. Thank you for the info and making the world a better place!

  4. I love the spending topic! Morgan Housel completely whiffs on the spending paradigm. If you’re an introvert you could care less what others think of you. He speaks to the narcissists on social media. The one thing I spend money on, only I know of. No one else. It brings me some pleasure but I still feel guilt and shame.

    Guilt and shame, because I’ve had to deal with 2 sets of parents and their “stuff” after they died. “Stuff” they thought was precious and valuable. Most of it landed in a dumpster. I want less in the dumpster.

    1. John,

      Thanks for the feedback and sharing your perspectives. I think we all have our “stuff” to deal with. You are just relatively rare in recognizing and grappling with that. So kudos to you.

      I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on the Perkins/Attia “Die With Zero” conversation. I think Perkins would agree with the idea of having less stuff, and particularly not leaving it for others to deal with.


      1. I read the book last year and I agree with Bill’s thoughts, advice, and ideas. However, I’m not sure how other people reacted but I made a mistake to read Bill’s story at the back of the book after reading the first couple of chapters. Knowing that Bill is a multi-millionaire kind of stood as a mental obstacle to accept everything very easily when I read other chapters. It probably shouldn’t matter, but I think a lot of people would say it’s much easier to divide say $100+ million and then spend the rests vs. dividing a $2-3 million stash when both persons are of the same age as Bill.

        But when reading “Die With Zero” I had another thought and this is directed to you, Chris. While I was reading I thought on a couple of occasions “If Chris read this book, would he agree with Bill that there is indeed Luck in one’s life?” This is in regards to one or two of your articles and a discussion in the comments in which you were adamant that there is no luck in one’s life and that you don’t believe in luck as to how people accumulate their NW or what career they pursue, etc. and that everything is earned with one’s sweat. I don’t recall the posts but they touched not only on money, but on other issues as well. So, I was glad that Bill was quite frank about the lucky stars in his life 😉 and that confirmed my own belief in luck.

        1. SM,

          I haven’t read the book yet, so I will reserve comment there until I do. But what you write makes sense.

          Re: my ideas on luck. I think you greatly mischaracterize my ideas in saying I am “adamant that there is no luck in one’s life and that you don’t believe in luck as to how people accumulate their NW….” That is simply not true.

          We all are subject to circumstances that are completely out of our control, i.e. luck. What I have written is that while we can’t control those circumstances, we have a lot of control over how we react to them, and so that is where we should focus our efforts and attention. Focusing and dwelling on things out of our control is equally as senseless and unhelpful as denying that they exist. Reality is much more complex and nuanced.


    1. I don’t recall that being something they talked about. That said, any taxable income could reduce ACA subsidies. Was there a specific point about 72(T) distributions that disproportionately impact subsidies that you thought should be mentioned? There is nothing that I know of.


      1. Its just that 72(t) distributions are a formed of forced income much like most pensions and annuities. If one needs the money to FIRE one needs the money but once distribution are started there no optionality about them.


  5. “The significant RMD changes have already been incorporated into the NewRetirement PlannerPlus”
    I can verify that PralanaGold has also implemented Secure ACT 2.0

    1. Thanks JT. I got the Pralana email announcing that the new version was released with these updates just a few hours after publishing and was planning to mention that next week.


  6. The Lastpass boondoggle is a reminder that convenience will always compromise security.
    How many people are still using Windows 7 or XP or haven’t frozen their credit with the 4 major agencies or have a debit card linked to their primary checking account?
    My guess is millions.

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