November 2018 Best of the Web

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It’s time for our monthly collection of articles to help you save more, invest smarter and retire sooner.

We share several newsworthy events and announcements that occurred in November. The IRS announced increased contribution and income limits for retirement savers.

As market volatility continues, we share a few different perspectives on retiring at a market peak. In other investing news, Vanguard fired the most recent shot in the price war that is benefitting all investors.

We also explore some timeless topics. Our selected articles cover producing income in retirement and gaining a better understanding of your investments. We also share a few different perspectives on planning for health care costs in retirement.

We close with a few articles that will challenge you to think and act differently on the road to financial independence and a secure retirement.

Producing Retirement Income

Michael Kitces asks How Do You Actually Create A Steady Retirement Paycheck From A Volatile Retirement Portfolio? He reviews several strategies for creating retirement income and recommends creating a Withdrawal Policy Statement to guide you.

Mike Piper writes Lessons from the Open Social Security Calculator. He notes, “One thing that’s interesting to me is that these are all things that I (and other people) have been writing about for years. But for many people, being able to fiddle around with a calculator was what it took for the concepts to actually ‘click.'”

Increased Retirement Account Limits

The IRS increased contribution limits for retirement accounts, HSAs and FSAs for 2019. They also increased income limits for contributing to a deductible IRA or Roth IRA. Harry Sit summarizes all the changes and explains how inflation drives them with 2019 401k 403b IRA Contribution Limits.

Nervous About the Markets?

Markets remained volatile in November. If you’re feeling skittish, take a deep breath and read these articles to keep perspective.

Karsten Jeske, aka Big ERN writes, So what, we retired at the peak of the bull market? Here are seven reasons why we’re not yet worried…

Ben Carlson wrote What If You Retire At a Stock Market Peak and then followed it up with Revisiting the 4% Rule.

Understanding Your Investments

Mark Hulbert writes Your fund performance is even more about luck than you thought. A key insight shared is “even over 10-year periods – generally viewed as ‘long-term’ by most advisors and clients making evaluations of investment results – stock market volatility is great enough that there’s still a material risk that a superior strategy or factor will underperform.”

Brian Moriarty calls Vanguard’s Inflation Protected Securities (VAIPX) fund An Excellent Pure-Play Inflation Hedge. VAIPX is not a high-flyer, but it serves a purpose. Interestingly, it is the only common fund found in Darrow’s portfolio and my own.

Some think investments must be passive. If you actively invest in things like real estate or a hobby business you’ve just created a new job and you’re “not really retiring.” If you’re in that camp, skip this next one. For those of you who are willing to be a bit more open minded, the Mad Fientist writes Why Everyone Should Have Their Own Business (and How to Guarantee Success).

Tis The Season

Open enrollment season continues for a few more weeks. I shared my perspective on ACA insurance and health care sharing ministries this past month. Here are some other perspectives.

Tanja Hester shares her detailed and thoughtful approach to buying health insurance in early retirement. She writes Early Retirement Health Care Costs for 2019 and Beyond.

When planning for early retirement, it’s easy to get preoccupied with the challenge of figuring out how to get affordable coverage until Medicare. However, the Medicare years present their own challenges and planning issues. Danielle Kunkle writes 7 Things You MUST Know About Medicare.

Price Wars Continue

This month, Vanguard lowered the investment minimum on their Admiral shares of 38 index funds to $3,000. From the Vanguard blog, Vanguard Shareholders To Save Estimated $80 Million Through Broader Access To Low-Cost Admiral Shares.

Some Things to Think About

We’ll close with two articles to challenge you to become a better you on the path to financial independence and early retirement.

As we focus on developing a high savings rate, giving can often be seen as another expense that slows down the process. ESI Money lays out The Case for Giving on the Road to Financial Independence.

Another common theme among FIRE blogs is that you’ll be happy after you retire. It’s easy to blame a job or a boss for what ails you. Seth Godin thinks you’re wrong. He writes The World’s Worst Boss.

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