November 2021 Best of the Web

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This month, we cover a variety of important topics. We start with an effort to determine the safe retirement spending rate in a time of high market valuations and low interest rates.

The Best

The world is changing faster and is noisier than ever. Articles explore how to make sense of the world, and when it’s better to opt out of new technologies.

Articles will help you prepare your portfolio for a bear market, minimize your taxes, and better understand your Social Security and health care benefits.

I’ll share a resource that will help you deal with a serious medical diagnosis (your own or a loved one’s) with courage, grace, and empathy. Finally, I close things out with a selection guaranteed to put a smile on your face.


What is the Safe Withdrawal Rate?

Christine Benz shares insights into research she and her colleagues John Rekenthaler and Jeffrey Ptak did to answer the question What’s a Safe Retirement Spending Rate for the Decades Ahead?

Insights on a Changing World

The previous article is based on the research of experts. They incorporate the best information available based on past market performance and present conditions. It’s worth reading to understand their ideas and methodologies.

That doesn’t guarantee their conclusions are correct. Conditions constantly are changing. This could be an example of what Morgan Housel describes as the opinions of Experts From a World That No Longer Exists

Change is one of the few things that are guaranteed in life. Change in technology is accelerating at a mind blowing pace. 

In the face of this change, J.D. Roth shared a compelling resource that hit home with me: What the Amish know about technology that the rest of us don’t.

Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Inflation remains prominent in the news. As such, we hear a lot of hyperbole and frankly nonsense.

Cullen Roche asks Is Hyperinflation Coming? He suggests those spreading this message don’t put their money where their mouth is.

Last year I shared that I put (a small percentage) of my money where my mouth is, adding gold to our portfolio. Roche shares why that may be an example of a decision based on a world that no longer exists, writing Did Bitcoin Kill Gold’s Monetary Utility?

Prepare for the Bear

Allan Roth says the most recent bear markets have been “Teddy Bears” and reminds us to start Preparing For The Grizzly Bear.

Tax Planning

This month, I went back to basics to review what AGI, MAGI, and taxable income are and why they matter.

Mike Piper neatly summarizes key information you will need to put that information into practice for the upcoming year, writing 2022 Tax Brackets, Standard Deduction, and Other Changes.

Changes in Social Security Statements

Michelle Singletary says you should Check your redesigned Social Security statement. It makes it easier to see if you can retire early. 

Are You Covered?

I recently did an in depth analysis on purchasing affordable individual health insurance through the Marketplace as an early retiree. I’ve also considered health care sharing ministries.

A common argument against the health care sharing ministries is that they are not real insurance, and can leave you vulnerable. While this is technically correct, it isn’t that simple. Even with “real” insurance, you can be vulnerable. 

I share the next two articles not to scare you, but to show those of you who haven’t spent time in or around our healthcare system how your insurance doesn’t always protect you. You have to pay attention to what you are getting when you buy insurance, how you utilize it if you need care, and whether you are being billed correctly for care you actually received.

Dave from Accidental FIRE shares a cautionary tale, writing Having Health Insurance Just Might Not Matter.

Rae Ellen Bichell explains How Billing Turns a Routine Birth Into a High Cost Emergency.

‘Tis the Season

If you’ll be spending more on holiday shopping and/or travel, it may be a great time to get a new credit card to earn the sign up bonus.

This month I shared how you can earn over 100,000 Southwest points and potentially a Companion Pass that allows a guest to fly free with you on all Southwest flights for a year by signing up for a single credit card. The increased sign-up bonus ends December 7th.

For those of you that prefer cash back rewards, you can find the best cash back offers currently available here.

Dealing With Serious Illness

I recently listened to an interview on the Tim Ferriss Podcast with Suleika Jaouad. She was diagnosed with cancer that would need to be treated with aggressive chemotherapy followed by a bone marrow transplant.

Her story was extremely relevant to me, as my mom was going through the same process at the time I was listening. So I picked up Jaouad’s book Between Two Kingdoms: A Memoir of Life Interrupted. She is a gifted author who holds back nothing in this memoir. 

The first half of the book is a valuable resource for anyone dealing with a serious illness or caring for someone who is.

The second half deals with the struggles of figuring out how to live again after dedicating years of her life to overcoming her illness. It is relevant to the struggles anyone who works for years towards a goal may face, only to find that they have changed in the process and have to figure out what comes next.

This is the best book I’ve read this year, capturing the complexity inherent in the human condition. I highly recommend it.

Giving Thanks and Ending On a Happy Note

This month, I travelled back east again to spend time with my parents. We were all grateful that, while there is still a long road ahead, my mom is doing better than expected. She was able to return home following her bone marrow transplant a month earlier than anticipated.

During our time together, we watched a video that someone sent her that helped get her through her time in the hospital. It has no relevance to anything I normally write about on this blog, but it is a pure joy to watch so I want to share it.

Enjoy and have a great month!

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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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