June 2021 Best of the Web
This month’s resources cover a diverse array of important topics that will help you save more, invest better and retire sooner.
We start with a focus on current events. This month, the Supreme Court ruled decisively on the most recent challenge to the Affordable Care Act. We explore how the judgement impacts health insurance options for early retirees.
Another hot topic is inflation. Should you be more concerned? What you can do to protect yourself? Resources help answer those questions.
Articles also explore timeless topics for readers of this blog: determining when you have “enough” and getting on the same page as your spouse financially.
Finally, we close with another consistent theme for this blog: living a more adventurous lifestyle while pursuing financial independence. Dive into this month’s selections and then get out there and create your own summer adventures!
The ACA Survives
Julie Rovner writes Supreme Court Declines to Overturn ACA — Again.
There are many entrenched interests invested in the status quo. Mary Ellen McIntire explains, writing Industry cheers Supreme Court ruling on health care law.
Many people either love or hate the ACA based on their politics. I see validity in the arguments on both sides. As has been the tradition of this blog, I’ll try to avoid the politics and focus on figuring out what the law is and how we can best work within those constraints to manage risk without ruining our finances.
One of the best things we can do to navigate our imperfect system is to become an educated consumer of healthcare services. To those ends, this month I read, and highly recommend, Elisabeth Rosenthal’s An American Sickness.
Inflation Concerns are Inflating
Inflation is on a lot of people’s minds these days. This month I published Darrow’s thoughts on your personal rate of inflation and my comparison of I Bonds and TIPS as an inflation hedge.
Jonathan Clements and Peter Mallouk discuss whether concerns of rampant inflation are warranted in a rational and balanced way in Up, Up and Away.
Do You Have Enough?
Something we all will need to determine as we pursue financial independence and a secure retirement is how much is enough?
Ben Carlson makes a compelling argument that If You’re Still Worried, You Aren’t Wealthy.
Fritz Gilbert writes 10 Steps to Make Sure You Have Enough Money to Retire.
Corey Fawcett shares how he assessed whether he had enough, both financially and from the perspective of purpose, before leaving his medical career. He writes How I Knew it was Time to Retire.
Marriage and Finances
One of the most common questions I get is how to get on the same page financially with a partner with different goals and values. There is no easy answer to that question.
Kim’s and my financial and life goals always aligned and took little effort… until they weren’t and we needed help. We had to work hard to understand our different perspectives and find common ground on what life should look like after achieving our financial goals.
This month an anonymous reader of the White Coat Investor blog transparently and vulnerably shared a much different (and likely more common) perspective on the twenty years (and counting) financial journey with their partner, writing Financial Security When Partner Isn’t on Same Path.
Living a More Adventurous Life
Different segments of our audience may find this next resource interesting for different reasons. Alyssa Ravasio spoke with Patrick O’Shaughnessy on the Founder’s Field Guide podcast about Supply, Demand and the Outdoors. Consumers of outdoor adventures will be interested in Hipcamp, the company Ravasio started to help travelers find campsites and unique accommodations to facilitate more time outside. Land investors will learn about the opportunity to use her Hipcamp platform to make money on your vacant land while helping others get outside and away from crowds.
I’ve been pursuing my own adventure as I’ve been on the road a good bit over the past month. While driving, I’ve been loving the podcast Climbing Gold to pass the time. This collaborative effort between Alex Honnold and Fitz Cahall explores the history of rock climbing in America by telling the stories of the people who made it happen.
Of particular relevance to this audience that are not specifically interested in climbing is this bonus episode profiling alpinist Steve Swenson. It is an inspiring look at someone living a balanced life. Swenson prioritized family and financial security while still managing to pull off amazing adventures in the world’s high places.
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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. 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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I think it would be an interesting update if you and Darrow went back and had an update to your most popular post from 2013 on renting vs. buying a home. If a couple decided after reading to not buy and rented in 2013. You could choose any budget but it would be fun to see if someone with $1M decided to buy a home in say Denver, put $200k down, then invest the rest of the $800k in VTSAX, the other couple puts the full $1M in the market then rents over the same time period. Assuming the couples had a $200k/yr combined income to support paying mortgage or rent & life expenses, maxed out 401ks each year.
How do their NW stack up when the numbers are run? Of course there is no right answer and real estate is very location dependent, but would be fun to understand how it shook out. There were a lot of personal financial blogs discussing the virtues of renting around this timeframe.
Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I agree that could be interesting, but it would really depend on your assumptions. For example, I’ve lived in Johnstown, PA (a market with little to no appreciation) and Ogden,UT one of the hottest markets over that period. Depending on what market you compare the numbers would look dramatically different.
Another issue I would have with such a retrospective comparison with investing in the market is knowing how well the market has performed over the past decade. Even if you bought in one of the hottest real estate markets, stocks would likely look pretty good in comparison. By 2011, many “experts” were bearish on a bull market that had been running for a few years. Who knew the next decade would be so good? So I’m not sure how useful any conclusions about the past would be to guiding future decisions.
I’ll have to ponder this and see if there is a compelling and useful way to write something up.
I think it is useful, because so many of the original and greatest FIRE-Bloggers touted the virtues of renting over ownership. So it’s important to take any opinion with a grain of salt and make your own decisions based on your own circumstances and beliefs. This should be the case for all advice. Even one of the guys I respect the most JL Collins preached about this. So someone taking his advice at that very juncture, how would they have done. My guess is this was not the greatest advice. You can’t just filter the good advice and ignore the rest (like invest in VTSAX, and don’t touch it). Of course nobody knows the future, and it doesn’t discount all the other good stuff, but it would be really insightful to your readers (and it would be an original FIRE Blog Post to all the same old stuff that gets regurgitated again and again). Just an idea…sort of a spot check on FIRE advice.
I totally agree its very subjective and location specific, but I think it would be interesting to go back and evaluate how good of advice this was in a scenario where both real estate and stocks have been successful. You could do a spot check in a LCOL, MCOL, and HCOL area, like say your hometown in PA, Chicago (JL’s hometown), and San Francisco. Let the chips fall where they may!
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