November 2019 Best of the Web

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This month, we start with articles that reinforce timeless financial principles that are easy to forget.

As we rush to meet year end deadlines, prepare for the holidays and start thinking about a new year, several articles explore the importance of simplifying life by slowing down, limiting choices and focusing on the most important things.

However, we acknowledge that sometimes it pays to apply some extra time and effort. A few of the articles go into the weeds to help you save money on taxes, become a better investor and plan for retirement with more confidence.

Our selections also explore how attitudes toward aging and retirement are changing and how to create happy, healthy and fulfilling lives as you age.

We also explore how we all change throughout our lives. That impacts retirement planning, particularly for early retirees trying to project wants and needs 40-50 years into the future.

Enjoy the articles and have a great Thanksgiving!

Getting Back to Basics

Words matter. They create images in our minds that impact how we live our lives. Derek Sivers reminds us what it means to be rich, writing How I got rich on the other hand

Mark Trautman teaches another financial fundamental, creating a net worth statement with The Financial Basics – Where to Start.

Mike Piper uses a parable to remind us Why It’s Hard to Pick Stocks.

Embracing Simplicity

Ben Carlson discusses a few other financial fundamentals, getting the big things right and automating them, writing How Much Time Should You Spend On Your Finances?

One decision I made and put on auto-pilot is choosing to invest with Vanguard when possible. Is that still a good choice with the passing of its founder earlier this year? Allan Roth writes Vanguard Without Jack Bogle.

Zach at Four Pillar Freedom writes about the joys of limiting choices and developing routines with The Paradox of Choice: Why Complete Freedom Can be Paralyzing.

Micaela Marini Higgs explains Why You Should Find Time to Be Alone With Yourself.

Sometimes It’s Not That Simple

One area where a little bit of effort can positively influence your investment returns is proactively tax planning. Allan Roth writes Don’t Miss Out On Tax-Free Money From Stocks.

Karsten Jeske dives into the numbers to help readers understand real recovery times from bear markets, writing Who’s Afraid of a Bear Market?

Getting Older Or Getting Better?

Dave at Accidental Fire expllains Why Middle Age is the Best.

Alix Langone writes What Retirement? People Over 65 Are Launching Encore Careers and Finding Fulfillment Like Never Before.

Changing Personalities, Changing Purpose

One of the challenges of retirement planning is accurately predicting what you’ll want over the rest of your life. Olivia Goldhill reports You’re a completely different person at 14 and 77, the longest running personality study ever has found.

The Financial Living Blog describes The 9 Types of People You’ll Meet In Retirement, giving a different take on finding purpose in retirement. . . or having it forced on you.

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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 Financial planning inquiries can be sent to]

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  1. About Karsten Jeske article Who’s Afraid of a Bear Market? The analysis puts investment at the start of S&P bear market time period. The recovery period from peak to peak was scary. This of course the result of huge drop of S&P that would normally recover at a much slower rate. The problem with analysis the S&P also has huge growth rate outside of bear market. That is my beef with traditional investment advice. They scare one to eliminate lessening of market downturns, yet never balance that out with huge market gains. Look at the history of S&P and know that even with such downturns the gains and accumulated wealth is wholly superior. Basically, during the accumulation phase of 20 years or so, if one just put money in the low cost market index you would accumulate more and gain more momentum to financially be more stable as compared to low volatility investments. Sure, during the need of portfolio failure for monthly income needs complicates investments, nonetheless the stock market gains are so much superior that maybe a better strategy for withdrawal should be exploited. This article really hit home with me the need to ensure the investor has an alternate plan for income as compared to living off investments during these drawdowns. Also, the futility and damage when employing cash like investments. The turbo charging of your portfolio if ever you could minimise spending down during bear markets to the point of maybe investing. I would like to see an analysis of variable withdrawals to 100% stock portfolio.

  2. That is a great write up. Read 30% so far. Good to have better understanding of future possibilities. However, as you addressed the future is unknown. These simulations just can go so far. IMHO, risk will always be present and we would be best served with most probable best direction that will always change as we experience the here and now. Retirees need financial risk to more than overcome inflation. Most of our assets should be placed in the zone of good return. Just a half percent improvement will make for impressive asset growth as compared to all weather portfolios. We need to temper drawdowns concern with the typical large gains. Financial people will state stocks have a typical 2% gain over bonds. That is a hugel historical gain that probably will never be overcomed with portfolio diversity.

    So much change in our economy and financial markets, going back more than 15 years is not valuable for comparisons or to glean any lesson. I think the better solution for security may lay out side of minimal risk investments. Personal finance, plan of action, possible income stream, honing skills and personal talent. Think of life term decisions of when to downsize high cost over size home, remodel diy projects for resale value, better location for recreation and cost of living, remodel for old age needs, decreasing basic cost of living, scouting out low cost enjoyable activities, improve homestead talents for cooking, shopping, preserving food, automotive repair. I think of your friend that just bought a “cabin” in mountains of GA. I to like the smaller rustic cabin for our northern time. I do like to change up lifestyle. One of my older brothers took up hydroponic gardening, another makes a side income on A.C. work after taking classes at community school. Think of AirBNB, Uber and host of part time gigs that could be employed if needed. Back home some of our neighbors worked into the guide business for fishing as tourist had limited time and like the idea of a packaged deal. My cousin liked to build decks and enjoyed income from his unique and low volume business. I’m thinking FIRE community better have a plan of action other than 25x in the bank. My guess a plan of action may produce more security than 3% safe withdrawals. Turbulence is always present. How about charting the most probable course for finances and harden your living expenses, desire/needs if needed. You don’t get paid well in investments if attempting to minimise risk as opposed to the 100% security in hardening you personal finance decisions. As you post every plan has to be personalised to our particular circumstances.

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