Money News, Calculator Reviews and What You Might Have Missed…

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It’s been a good year at There are tens of thousands of visitors here every month. This blog is mentioned often in major media, and I frequently turn down opportunities for more publicity.

My primary purpose is still to deliver practical, do-it-yourself commentary on the real issues in a prudent, retired lifestyle. I hope the publicity won’t ever distract me from that. It’s a challenge to keep this blog from becoming a full-time job.

I love the writing, and being creative and productive. But I am retired, after all. And enjoying life is also a top priority at this stage of the game!

With that in mind, I’ll be taking most of the rest of the summer off from posting. Rest assured that I have an endless supply of interesting financial topics to explore, and dozens of article ideas in various stages of development. And I won’t be completely out of touch: I’ll continue to do my best to answer emails from interested readers.

I’m indebted to you all for your continued support, your comments, your questions, and your stories. My efforts wouldn’t mean much without your involvement. So stay in touch, but be sure to enjoy the rest of your summer too!

Meanwhile, before I head up into the mountains again, let me share some money news, calculator reviews, and the first ever subject index for this blog….

Money Magazine

A few months ago I was invited to start writing a regular column for Money Magazine. So I get the opportunity to cover some of the same personal finance terrain as in this blog, but from a different perspective and for a broader audience. (You can continue to read here for my most in-depth and personal writing.)

Money has a crisp new site under the TIME banner, with lots of interesting content. If you haven’t checked it out yet, or haven’t seen my columns there, here they are:

More Retirement Calculator Reviews

The reviews I’ve written of free retirement calculators continue to be the most popular posts on this site. There is clearly a need for in-depth information on the technical merits of these essential tools for financial planning. There are lots and lots of retirement calculators, and they are not all created equal. But, until I wrote my articles, there wasn’t much available in the way of unbiased comparison using real-world retirement scenarios.

Now another authoritative voice has entered the scene.

Stuart Matthews at Pralana Consulting has undertaken an extensive, technical comparison of numerous free and paid calculators. Stuart divides his field of calculators into “High” and “Low Fidelity” offerings — a valuable distinction, in my opinion. Some calculators offer a high degree of precision (assuming that inputs are known and don’t change). But other calculators are only suitable for “quick and dirty” estimations.

The Pralana evaluations feature extensive charts on the features, useability, and accuracy of each calculator. Matthews also performs a comprehensive tax analysis for the different calculators — food for thought on how important tax modeling is to your retirement planning. Finally he provides extensive comments on each calculator, including a Trustworthiness rating.

These evaluations are the most comprehensive available, to my knowledge — required reading if you are concerned about accurate planning for your retirement.

New Subject Index: Don’t Miss Out

I started this blog in the Fall of 2011 and have been writing several articles a month, on average, ever since. There are now more than 100 articles on the site, reflecting years of research, learning, and experience.

Many of you are newer readers who may not know about popular articles or subjects of the past. It’s natural to focus on more recent posts — the latest and greatest. But, in fact, most of the past posts here also remain highly relevant.

So, to help newer readers, or anybody searching for information on a specific personal finance subject, I’ve created a first-ever subject index for this blog.

Below is a link to the topics available under my broader umbrella of “saving, investing, and retiring,” along with a listing of all relevant articles under each topic.

From annuities, to frugality, to passive index investing, to real estate, to RV’s — there’s something for everyone.

If you haven’t acquainted yourself with all the articles, why not take a few minutes now to see what you might have missed, by clicking here: Subject Index.

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  1. Barry Gray says

    Hi Darrow,

    Excellent post, and many thanks for so many others as well. Have fun for the rest of the summer! I look forward to your return and your new articles.

    Best regards,


  2. Hi Darrow, I really enjoy the practical information on your website. Just curious about your next book, “Can I Retire Yet?”
    When will it be available in 2014?

    • Hi Kathy, thanks for the comment. Current best scenario for that book would be fourth quarter. It’s 90% written but waiting on my time for updates and some key research. Thanks for asking.

  3. Hi Darrow, I’ve enjoyed your posts. Congrats on the Money column!


  4. Thanks for this great recap before you take some time off! I do appreciate the link to the Pralana comparison – it does make my personal financial planning much easier as I’ve ran almost all the free calculators but couldn’t compare the nuances of each one. Especially when applying them to my plans for moving abroad for retirement. Now I’m off to checking your Money mag articles.

  5. Darrow-

    Just a personal note to wish you an enjoyable summer off. I still enjoy your blog and read it regularly. Since my last comment on your blog, I’ve joined the ranks of the retired, well semi-retired since I’m working part time. I enjoy the mix of free time with a bit of work, and plan to keep that mix, with the work part slowly tapering over the next 1+/- yr. We are also headed West at the beginning of next year, and returning to the SF Bay Area where we have many friends and good memories. We’ll rent for a few years and see if that’s the place for us.


  6. Mike Reuter says

    Hi Darrow,

    Love the blog. : )

    I’m a former(?) or current(?) software person myself working on ERP systems. At age 51 I’ve taken a year off to get some major projects done around our house and condo.

    My wife and I are like you and your wife as we are also “mountain people”.

    We have a house in Fountain Hills Arizona for the winter and a condo in Durango Colorado for the summer. Fountain Hills is minutes down the road from the Mayo Clinic and Durango has more restaurants per capita than San Francisco. Both are awesome places to live and have very reasonable costs of living along with excellent trail access, healthcare and incredible mountain vistas.

    Take care and keep on blogging !

    • Hi Mike, great to hear from you! Sounds like you all are kindred spirits. Thanks for the contributions to my “ideal retirement location” list. We needed proximity to a major airport for our home base, but Durango is on our travel list for sure. Thanks again and stay in touch!