January 2018–Best of the Web
I hope your year is off to a great start. We received some major publicity to start the year. Glen Ruffenach of the Wall Street Journal included Darrow among his favorite writers on retirement planning, placing him in very impressive company. Also, MarketWatch ran an edited version of my first post. Welcome new readers finding us in the past month!
Our goal is to provide a valuable resource to shorten your path to retirement and help you live well in retirement. To those ends, we made some internal changes to start the year.
We are going to do our best to keep a regular publishing schedule, with new posts every Monday.
If you’ve been interested in our Can I Retire Yet? – Pro retirement calculator for Android, but haven’t bought a copy yet, please consider doing so before the end of this week. Our version 1 development effort is drawing to a close, and so is our introductory pricing. Less than $5 for a high-fidelity retirement calculator with detailed tax calculations has been a steal. We plan to raise that price to a more realistic level next week. Please act now to get the introductory pricing, plus unlimited free upgrades going forward, before it’s too late.
We also want to make a concerted effort to connect with readers and also with others who share our mission to help you to save more, invest better, and retire sooner.
On that front, we brought comments back to the blog, giving you a place to provide feedback to us and share ideas with other readers.
I also created a Twitter account. Click the link and follow us on Twitter if you haven’t already.
Finally, the final Monday of every month we will share a few items from around the internet that Darrow and I have found particularly interesting, informative, and/or inspiring.
With that, on to our first monthly round-up….
January is when most people are scrambling to get their taxes together for 2017. Hopefully, readers of this blog are not most people. Here are a few posts to help you optimize your taxes for 2018.
- Mike Piper does what he does best, making the complex simple, in his post “2018 Tax Brackets, Standard Deduction, and Other Changes.” He summarizes the most relevant changes from the 500+ page new tax bill into a short easy read.
- Piper also wrote “How to Calculate the Deduction for Pass-Through Business Income” . This will be particularly helpful for any of you who make your living or supplement retirement income with a small business.
- The Mad Fientist blog is my go to source for tax strategies specific to the early retiree. He writes “The New Tax Law and How It Impacts Your Early Retirement.”
- One of the little quirks of the law that I was certain would go away with any tax reform was the “Backdoor Roth”. It allows high earners to skirt the income caps that would otherwise prevent them contributing to a Roth IRA. Physician on FIRE shares that this loophole remains wide open, and he walks readers through his 2018 contribution with “Vanguard Backdoor Roth 2018: a Step by Step Guide.“
Health Insurance in Retirement
A topic that is popular here in any season is discussing the challenges faced by early retirees needing health insurance. Tanja has written extensively on the topic at Our Next Life. I therefore found it interesting, and a bit discouraging, to see that even she had a hard time navigating the process of enrolling through her state exchange for the first time as she shared in “Signing Up For ACA/Obamacare Health Insurance for Early Retirement.”
Managing Risk While Building Wealth
From Kitces.com, Derek Tharp shares “Why Two Incomes Aren’t Always Better Than One.” Especially interesting to me was the insight that two incomes can be less secure than one unless you make the decision to live off only one. This was the initial thinking behind our high savings rate that allowed me to retire after having only a 16 year career.
Retirement Income Strategies
Chad Carson shared how he uses planning concepts and risk management strategies that Darrow explained in his newest book, Can I Retire Yet?. He then applies these strategies in a novel way as part of his strategy that emphasizes rental properties as his primary investment vehicle as explained in “My Rental Retirement Strategy (or How to Not Run Out of Money).”
For those of us using paper assets to fund our early retirement, I have found Early Retirement Now’s Ultimate Guide to Safe Withdrawal Rates series fascinating. It is a unique voice among FIRE blogs that can often become echo chambers. His most recent addition to the series examines the question “Can the “Simple Math” Make Retirement More Difficult?.”
Retirement is Changing
Returning to Kitces.com, Michael Kitces breaks down “3 Types of Retirement and Their Very Different Savings Strategies”. Kitces notes that many people are opting for non-traditional retirement paths and highlights different saving and planning implications for each.
A Little Inspiration
We’ll finish with three reads to provide some inspiration to those on different paths to early retirement.
Jared Casazza writes at Fifth Wheel Physical Therapist. His story demonstrates what is possible when thinking differently than the masses, developing a plan, and taking massive action. Jared reached out to me a little over a year ago and shared a story I witnessed many times while mentoring physical therapy (PT) interns. Both he and his girlfriend, Whitney, graduated PT school with 6 figure debt. In only three years since graduating, they put themselves in financial position to take a six month mini-retirement at age 29. They will travel through Europe and Asia over the second half of the year as he shared in “Semi-Retirement in 2018!”
For those of you with a wanderlust who found your way here via Darrow’s popular RV posts, you’ll love Steve’s “Performance Review: One Year Anniversary of Early Retirement” from the blog ThinkSaveRetire. Warning: you may become jealous looking at Steve’s stunning photos, taken over the course of his year long adventure of traveling and living out of an Airstream.
Finally, Mark Trautman retired after a 28 year career in the financial services industry. In retirement, he is helping others increase their financial literacy in a variety of ways. That is a mission we can get behind. I encourage you to check out his post, “Make Some, Save & Invest, Live on the Rest.”
[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. Now he draws on his experience to write about wealth building, DIY investing, financial planning, early retirement, and lifestyle design at Can I Retire Yet? Chris has been featured on MarketWatch, Morningstar, U.S. News & World Report, and Business Insider. He is also the primary author of the book Choose FI: Your Blueprint to Financial Independence. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.]
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